book reviews, spoiler free

A Good Girls Guide To Murder…

cover145858-medium.pngA Good Girls Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

Rating; XXXXX

Published: May 2nd 2019 by Electric Monkey

“This project is no longer the hopeful conjecture is started life as…An innocent life was taken and everyone in this town turned it ugly in their mouths…”

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. Almost everyone. Having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi chooses the case as the topic for her final project. But when Pip starts uncovering secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden, what starts out as a project begins to become Pip’s dangerous reality . . .

I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you to Electronic Monkey who gave me the opportunity to win an advanced copy of this book at YALC (which I won on the last day), even if you monsters did tear out the last few chapters from the ARCs (I actually thought this was a fun and clever way to get more people talking about this debut book as well as being able to tell just how many people read the arcs). Thank you to Charlotte and Hannah for telling me all about this book and introducing me to Holly! Thank you to Holly Jackson for many things! For taking the time to talk to me and my friends at YALC, for meticulously signing my book etc and for writing said absolute rollercoaster ride of a book.

A Good Girls Guide to Murder is set up fantastically as part narrative, part school report where main character Pippa talks to us directly about her findings and theories giving the reader a real sense of closeness and inclusion into what’s happening and where Pips train of thought is going. Not only is the format well chosen but the writing style chosen to accompany it feels spot on, it drips with mystery and unanswered questions. Holly is very good at feeding us just the right amount of information so that it feels like we a good level of understanding without being bogged down with too many uninteresting info dumps. Of course, then she artfully pulls the floor out from under you leaving you to wonder which way is up and question everything you think you know while you piece together every single scrap of evidence you can get your hands on.

As Pip investigates the narrative is pleasingly organic, nothing feels especially twee or too much of a coincidence, I love that Pippa is resourceful, determined, loves to study and sticks up for what she believes in. I also realised while waiting for the last few chapters to arrive (as mentioned previously, they had been ripped out and a ransom note of sorts left with a contact email for the publisher to receive access to the last few chapters), that none of the things Pip does are particularly out of the realms of possibility for an ordinary teenager which I really liked.

One of my favourite things about this twisty book is that everyone feels untrustworthy at one point or another as things change and different pieces of information and evidence come to light, I think throughout this book I’ve suspected almost everyone at least once. A Good Girls Guide to Murder as a brilliantly realised, deliciously tense tale of whodunnit wrapped in danger and betrayal.

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Debut books and authors

Honestly, how is it still March? I feel like this month has been ending for months and now we’re finally here with an ode to Debut books and authors. Thank you so much, as always to Steph at A Little But a Lot for the Six for Sunday prompts and happy it’s almost April folks.

1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I had missed most of the hype train that preempted Caraval releasing as I had only dipped my toe back in reading YA at this point and hadn’t even considered blogging again yet but was pleased when I found it in my Fairyloot box for the month after having it recommended to me by a bookseller at Waterstones Picadilly while visiting with a friend. I read it in just over twenty-four hours, which for me was unheard of at this point and I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the mystery, the strange setting of the Caraval and the shady story of Legend. I’m sorry to say I have yet to read Legendary despite buying it on release, I think maybe I’m worried I won’t like it as much as the first?

2. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I know this is one of the books I almost always mention but it is one of my favourite debut books and As a result, is now one of my instabuy authors. (Keep an eye out for my Summer Bird Blue review coming Monday 8th April)

3. The Near Witch by V.E Schwab
I’m gutted I didn’t have a chance to read this when it first debuted but so glad I got the opportunity to read it on its rerelease. This book is super spooky and perfectly witchy, a fantastic debut for Schwab’s distinctive style.

4. A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Another of my most anticipated releases to come this year, I was lucky enough to receive a super early ARC at YALC last year and this murder mystery with a dark turn is a must read, it’s full of great tense moments and really keeps you guessing. (Review to come in May closer to release).

5. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
I had expected to like this book because kick-ass girl and dragons but I absolutely ADORED it, another debut that has made this author an instabuy name for me. Before this book, I had grown a little bored of fantasy but The Last Namsara felt like it really gave the genre new life for me.

6.The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
Another book I don’t often stop talking about, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a brilliantly funny and thought-provoking book that really challenges a lot of norms in our society while being fantastically witty and an absolute dream to read. I’m desperate to read the sequel, “A girl called Shameless” which is out now!

 

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

TBR Thursday – Janurary

The very first Thursday of the year has arrived and thus the first of January, this means it’s time for my monthly (when I remember) TBR post! I’ve had so much to read lately and there are still so many great books coming out this year that I’ve upped my Goodreads reading challenge goal from fifty to sixty for 2019 and I’m feeling pretty confident I’ll easily smash that. As for this month, I’ve got a couple of my highly anticipated books to read, a future release and a recommended title before I start to dig into my ever mounting physical TBR pile that I’ve been meaning to get to for the whole of last year! Let’s take it easy and just start with January for now though shall we?

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A Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
This is my current read and I’m having to listen to most of it via Audiobook because it’s just so huge and heavy it feels impossible to read physically. James Masters is a brilliant narrator and there have been some absolutely brilliant scenes but so far there is A LOT of filler and I can’t believe I’m saying it but I’m so done with the over the top teen angst right now and I literally live for books full of it normally, not to mention the crazy amount of sexual tension but it just feels so overdone in this book that I’ve already had to take a couple of breaks from it. I would really like to get it finished this month if possible.

Monsters by Sharon Dogar
This is a Young Adult fictionalising of the early life of sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein from Anderson Press. I was lucky enough to receive a proof for this book due out in February 2019 and have just started to read this book that I think sounds very promising and from what I’ve read so far I’m sure will keep me enthralled. 

The Wicked King by Holly Black
I’m so excited to be back with my favourite trash ship Jude and Cardan this year despite feeling like one of the only people to have not already read the sequel to The Cruel Prince. The first folk of the air book completely blew me away and I have high hopes for its successor, with less than a week to go however I’m cursing the fact that I forgot to preorder it though so this may end up being a kindle read until I can afford to get to a town with a bookshop or it comes back online at Waterstones or Amazon!

A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
I’ve technically read almost the whole of this book already after I devoured my beautiful advanced reading copy I was lucky enough to win at YALC. Electronic Monkey were super clever and tore the last few chapters out of the ARCS so we had to contact them to have access to those last few chapters which I’ve done and although I received them last year and promised myself I would read them as a reward for finishing NaNoWriMo things have just been too hectic but this month I’m determined to finish it ready to read the finished copy when it releases May 2nd!

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A Boy made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
This book was actually a gift from Nate’s childminder and although at first glance it is nowhere near my kind of book she recommended it to me after reading it herself and it turns out it’s about a little autistic boy who loves to play Minecraft. As me and Chris have always enjoyed Minecraft and now Nate is rather obsessed with it I knew this was something I had to read and like with Monsters I have started it already although I’ve only made a small amount of progress as I feel like I need to be in the right frame of mind to read it as it can feel a little emotionally heavy and perhaps a little close to home for me and I’m sure it’ll rip my heart out so I’m taking it slowly between my other reads for the time being.

As you can see there’s a nice bit of variety mixed in but sadly no Sci-Fi unless I get stupid lucky and Rock The Boat accept a blood sacrifice for an advanced copy of Aurora Rising then of course all of these other books get thrown out of the (not literal) window until that’s done, I’m actually thinking of focusing purely on some science fiction reads next month so I’ve kept it out of my TBR this month before I become utterly obsessed in spaceships again next month. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on my TBR and if you liked them? What are you most excited to read this month?

Events

Day Three YALC Recap

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YALC Day three recap is here! After the huge post from yesterday you’ll be pleased to know Sunday was a much quieter, much less hectic day. I got a lift up with some “non bookish” friends I’d persuaded to join me for LFCC which was fun, even if we did have to take some detours >.< For the most part though the journey was pretty good and not too stressful. I popped upstairs to YALC first for a flying visit as Harper were holding a raffle for unbound proofs of Shadow of the Fox, I waited with Kirsty and was surprised to find out I had actually won a copy! As today was pretty relaxed we had a good look around at the LFCC floors which were much less crowded and stressful then I remember them being last year which was great because I got to pay a visit to my favourite stand at any convention, the lovely people at Cake in a Jar! They’ve just changed their cake recipes so that they’re now plant-based and Vegan friendly, not to mention still delicious ❤ They did so well they sold out twice and I’m so glad I managed to grab a couple of their yummy cakes!

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After a wander around I decided to head up for the Vampire Talk with Paul Wesley and Daniel Giles, I hoped if I got there in good time I might get an okay seat but nearly had a heart attack when I saw the length of the line already. I started to forget getting a good seat and become worried I wouldn’t get one at all. The line was HUGE and spanned a whole side of the gallery. I’d seen the size of the talks area and I had no idea how they planned to fit us all in. My friend spoke to some of the Showmasters crew who told her that they don’t sell more tickets than seats but I didn’t find myself convinced. Eventually the line started to move very slowly and I was horrified that by the time I got to the front of the line the talk had ALREADY STARTED! I was SO angry that I’d paid for this talk and missed almost half of it already! I will say that thankfully what I did see of the talk was FANTASTIC, Paul and Daniel had such great chemistry together and it was a laugh a minute to the point where I’d almost forgotten my annoyance. I did manage to get a seat in the end but only through complete luck as there were a few single seats left but a lot of people were left standing. I really think Showmasters need to think this through in future and maybe get people in and seated much earlier to avoid this in future.

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Next up I rushed back up to the YALC floor for the Akemi Dawn Bowman signing, I had really wanted to make the talk she was in but with getting through the large crowd forming upstairs for some of the big photo ops I just didn’t make it in time. I did manage to find an excited/slightly nervous Charlotte and Lydia in the signing queue which was lovely because I was a bit nervous myself!

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know how I feel about Starfish and I wanted to try to tell Akemi how much her book meant to me. After mocking Charlotte a little for having actual feelings (love you really!) I ended up being the one getting a little bit teary! Meeting Akemi was absolutely lovely and I’m so excited for her new book Summer Bird Blue coming to the UK next year.

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With most of my to do a list for the weekend now over with I took the time to sit and relax with my friends for a bit, we took a picture in front of this years book wall later on we managed to see Jason Momoa walk past multiple times as well as quite a few other people which was pretty cool.

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I went for a bit of a last walk around YALC towards the end of the day and spotted Holly Jackson (author of A Good Girls Guide to Murder, who thanks to Charlotte I’ve come to know as Murder Lady >.<) sitting in the Book of Dust canoe. After speaking to her when Charlotte won a proof Saturday I became really interested in her book and she was pretty awesome to talk to, she’d signed a sampler for me already but I headed over to say hi and she told me she was hiding. Electronic Monkey have been doing a proof giveaway for her book where if you find Holly during certain times she’ll give you a numbered ticket and if you’re ticket matches a proof at their stand you win it! I’d tried Friday and Saturday but hadn’t thought about it on Sunday so when I realised what she meant I asked if it was okay to have a ticket. I’d seen the poor woman get pretty much mobbed on Saturday so didn’t want to seem like I’d just come over for that but seemed pretty pleased to give me one which was lovely. Once I had my ticket the flood gates seemed to open and the masses descended, I thanked her, waved and got out-of-the-way. A little later on once the crowd around the stand had died off I headed over and it turned out I had managed to win a copy of A Good Girls Guide to Murder After talking to Holly I had gotten SO excited for this book so I may have jumped up and down a little bit!

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My new friend from the Sunday YA chat who I’d been hanging out with a bit at YALC who was also excited for the book won one as well which was brilliant as now I could talk to her and Charlotte about the book which is always a bonus!

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Holly was super sweet and signed my book while we had a great chat and then posed for a picture with me and the book. Honestly I think this may have been the highlight of my day! A Good Girls Guide to Murder is next on my TBR and I’m SO EXCITED for it! Not to mention I love (although I’m sure will hate when I get to it) that the publishers ripped out the last few chapters of the book and left a note blaming the murderer at the back with an email we could contact for the last few chapters! I think it’s such a great idea and a really fun little quirk which makes it feel even more special, this was absolutely my favourite ARC I got over the YALC weekend.

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With that and my friends photo shoots done we decided to call it a day and head off. The journey back was a lot smoother and after all agreeing we were hungry and in dire need of chicken nuggets we headed to McDonalds for what was dubbed “Nugfest18”

Although there were definitely some issues over the weekend I had a great time and two weeks later I’m still enjoying reminiscing about the fantastic three days I had. Overall I think a lot of aspects were much better than they had been the year before and I hope they can continue to improve. I hope everyone else had a great time and feel free to drop me links to your YALC blogs in the comments because I’m loving looking back at it all. I’ll be back with my review of The Last Beginning by Lauren James Tuesday so I’ll talk to you all then!

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