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Thoughts on : One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Posted by on July 21, 2017 4:44 am in 3 stars reads | 4 comments

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Audio narration : Kim Mai Guest , MacLeod Andrews , Shannon McManus , Robbie Daymond
Genre : Mystery, YA
Stand alone

About the Book  :

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

My Thoughts :

One of Us is Lying was, mostly, exactly what I wanted : it had an intriguing premise, secrets, a carefully built mystery. It had a lot of twists and surprises, and while the ending didn’t surprise me, I was mostly pleased with it. I also really enjoyed how the media played a part in the story. I’m fascinated by the media and the public’s reaction (including my own) in this type of stories, and I felt this one was realistically done.

On top of that, the narration for the audiobook was really well done. Each of the four characters had their own narrator, and while I sometimes confused the two girls, they overall did a great job of giving these four people distinct personalities.

And yet, I couldn’t give this one my full recommendation, because an aspect of it really disappointed/annoyed me. I need to say : it’s a small spoiler, I guess, but nothing that will spoil the most important parts of the story.

So, each of the four main characters has a secret they want to hide. They are revealed as the story advances, building up the mystery. It’s mostly about lies, cheating, that sort of thing, except one, for whom the secret is their sexual orientation. In other words, we are “led to believe” the character is straight until, SURPRISE! They are not! How shocking, right?

Not being straight, or keeping it for yourself, is obviously not the problem here. But the approach in this story is completely wrong. I found it to be lacking in taste and sensibility. Especially nowadays, when sexuality, gender and identity are such important topics. And nothing about the story required this character’s sexual life to be presented as a “shocking surprise”. In fact, it would have made this character much easier to relate too if their sexual orientation hadn’t been used for shock value.

I also wasn’t please with how mental health was presented in the book, but not as bothered by it.

All in all, One of Us is Lying isn’t a bad book. It’s a good mystery, but its lack of delicacy regarding certain topics makes it disappointing at best, and insulting at worst. If this doesn’t bother you though, you might enjoy the story which was otherwise well written, suspenseful and a real page-turner!

Filling the Shelf

Posted by on July 17, 2017 9:13 am in Book talk | 7 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Good Monday readers! Hope you all had a great week!

I’m a bit late with my post today, but we’re a few minutes shy from 9 a.m. here, so that works, right?

We’ve had a busy week, but I managed to do a lot of reading. Most of it was Victoria Schwab’s duology, Monsters of Verity. I bought the second book (featured in this haul) as soon as I finished the first, and reviewed them both here. It was a lot of fun!

I am, as always, excited about this week’s new books. Josh Malerman’s novella sounds super intriguing, and I’ve already heard many good things about Final Girls. I also love the idea of Because You Love to Hate Me, an anthology which teamed up popular YA authors with youtubers. I’ve already read through parts of it and it looks good so far.

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman – Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie

Final Girls by Riley Sager (audio) – Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Thoughts on : This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Posted by on July 16, 2017 3:20 am in 4 stars reads | 0 comments

This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Genre : Fantasy, YA
Completed Duology : Monsters of Verity, books 1 and 2 

About the Books  :

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection.

All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music.

When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. 

My Thoughts :

As soon as I finished reading This Savage Song, I went to the store and bought Our Dark Duet.  These books were so much fun! 

Let’s start with This Savage Songthe first book of the duology and, I think, my favorite between the two. From the start, I adored the dark atmosphere Victoria Schwab created. If I were to categorize this duology, I would say it’s somewhere between urban fantasy and horror. Her monsters are merciless, and while some might remind you of vampires and zombies, they are their own brand of evil, created in a unique, unsettling way.

The pace was good, the writing was engaging and, most of all, I loved the characters of Kate and August. I was pleasantry surprised by the absolute lack of romance, and yet, I found their relationship so fascinating! Their transition from enemies to allies is expected, but the pleasant surprise is how naturally it evolves, without ever feeling forced. On top of that, I also loved Kate and August for who they were.

I would have loved to have a worldbuilding that dives deeper into the monsters’ world. I wanted to know more about the “why” and “how” of their existence, but I found this aspect of the book lacking. We know about the “surface” of the world, which left me with so many questions. Fortunately, the story moves so fast, the twists and turns keep coming every chapter, so I never had time to think about the worldbuilding too much : I needed to know what came next!

Which is why I couldn’t wait to read the second part of the story! Our Dark Duet starts six months after the previous book, and again, Victoria Schwab offers a story filled with action, suspense, twists and horror. Here she delves deeper into the worldbuilding, explaining more about what we knew while also adding to it. The pace is fast, and the story keeps surprising page after page.

I loved where the story went, and I think the conclusion suits it very well, too. Difficult, heartbreaking decisions were made, but they made sense with the characters and the story. I also appreciated how Kate and August grew as characters. This being said, for me, this book was too focused on the action and I felt it went a little too long.

All in all, I found Monsters of Verity to be a really entertaining fantasy series, and it would definitely make me want to read more from the author. I appreciated how the author talked of identity, pointing out that what you are isn’t who you are. You can chose to be or not to be a monster, or a good person. That was one beautiful aspect of the books. While I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorite series, I’d say it’s a solid read which combines cinematic horror scenes and fascinating characters. It’s definitely worth a try if you are into YA fantasy, monsters and books with little to no romance!

Filling the Shelf

Posted by on July 10, 2017 2:17 am in Book talk | 5 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Hello all!

What a great week we had, filled with sunny days! Well, the rain was already back on Saturday morning, but at least we had some variety. I also had a great time with my mom, who possibly found a new home closer to us. She loves the place she found! There’s only one detail left to finalize the sale of her current condo, which should be confirmed in a couple days. Fingers crossed!

Also, new books! Mostly thrillers, and The Wildings, which I’m not sure how to categorize yet. I’m super intrigued by Fierce Kingdom though. It sounds like the kind of thriller that could be read in one gripping sitting if well done. It’s quite close to the top of my TBR now, but I’m considering keeping it for our August vacation.

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips – Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

The Dry by Jane Harper (audio) – The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy

What books did you recently add to your shelves?