Books to Read Based on Your Favourite Buzzfeed Unsolved Episode

I AM A MASSIVE BUZZFEED UNSOLVED STAN. What can I say? I just love Shane and Ryan with all of my heart. I’d let myself be possessed by a demon if it meant saving their lives. I’d step in front of a flying bullet coming from a mob they’d pissed off if it meant they could continue making their amazing content. #AllHailTheWatcher

But for all of you Shaniacs and Boogaras out there craving more BUN goodness, I’ve compiled a little list of books you can go on to read, based on your favourite episode! Well, these are just four of my favourites, and I hope you liked these ones as well. Is there anything better than a good old fashioned mystery? I DON’T THINK SO.

Well, maybe a ghost. Ghosts are cool. I would very much like to meet a ghost please.

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Crime & Mystery Recommendations

I think crime and mystery are two genres that are underrated. I mean, usually when people talk about what books they like reading, the two most popular choices are fantasy or contemporary, but crime and mystery rarely get a look-in. And I think that’s because it takes a certain writer to be able to write these genres really well — in a way that stays with the reader long after the final page and makes them wish they could reread it for the first time again.

32887579Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.Read More »

The Chemist – book review

the-chemist

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. 

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. 

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. 

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.Read More »

Trouble is a Friend of Mine – book review

Trouble is a Friend of Mine

Trouble is a Friend of Mine is an intriguing and addictive book, written by Stephanie Tromly.

The first time Zoe meets Digby, he’s rude and treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to. But before she knows it, Zoe has allowed Digby – annoying, brilliant and somehow.. attractive? – to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous and vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of Digby’s little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.

But is Digby really a hero? Or is his manic quest simply an attempt to relieve the guilt from that fateful day eight years ago? Whatever the answer is, does Zoe really care?

*

I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy reading Trouble is a Friend of Mine until I picked it up. I found that it had many similar aspects to the Every series by Ellie Marney, which was great, because I love that series! I feel in love with Zoe and Digby and their interesting friendship. The thing that kept me reading this book wasn’t the mystery, it was actually wanting to know what would happen between these two teenagers. As far as crime and mysteries go, Trouble is a Friend of Mine definitely isn’t intense or hardcore. It’s definitely towards the lighter end of that scale. This book was cute and quirky and filled with a ton of fun dialogue.

While I liked getting to know the main characters, I have to admit that they were relatively stereotypical. Let’s talk about Zoe for a moment. I found it really easy to connect with her. She’s a girl struggling to define who she is, particularly now that she’s living farther away form her overbearing father and she’s starting to realise that perhaps her mother isn’t as clueless than she thinks. I loved watching the relationship with her mother grow. In the beginning, Zoe didn’t think her mother had much of an idea as to what Zoe’s life was like and how things were going for her, but the more I read, the more I realised that her mother was pretty clued up about things and cared deeply for Zoe, even if Zoe didn’t realise it at first. Another thing that I liked about Zoe was watching her become more of a strong and brave character – and not only in the ways that you’d expect. Yes, her courage grew as she did more crazy and adventurous things with Digby, but that wasn’t the only way she grew. In the end, some of the decisions she made to stand up to various people would have taken a lot of bravery, and I commend her for that. I loved watching her grow from a somewhat timid and malleable teenager into such a strong-willed young woman.

The thing that I didn’t like about Zoe that much was the fact that she was so one-dimensional for almost the entirely of the novel. She was the type of person that was always so dry and cynical and while that’s interesting initially, her attitude really carved out her stereotype. She was the type of girl that didn’t like ‘other girls’. She was also such a push-over; she was willing to do anything for other people as long as it made them happy. I also found that she didn’t have any aspirations besides getting out of her new town and going to a fancy private school so that she would get into Princeton. I would have liked to have seen her character change more throughout the book and not just at the very end. A more gradual transition between her initial personality and the person she became would have been more believable too.

Okay, so you should know that I can’t help but fall for book boys who would never exist in real life because of how unrealistic they are. Augustus Waters, Will Herondale – prime examples. Digby was more of a Will Herondale-type character. He was mysterious, somewhat brooding, deeply flawed – but also extremely kind, loyal and willing to sacrifice himself for those he loves. He was the type of person that you know can’t possibly exist, but you can’t help rooting for them anyway and hoping they end up with the other main character. Another thing that I liked about him was how random he was. Like, he’d dress up as a bear and just appear in Zoe’s house – though not at the same time. He would always turn up in the most unexpected of places and every time he made another appearance, I would always laugh. I found myself constantly on the edge of my seat, waiting for him to pop up out of nowhere and start planning another adventurous evening with Zoe. The conversations between him and Zoe were always enjoyable to read and there were a lot of swoon-worthy moments in the novel.

Digby is basically a young Sherlock Holmes, just like Mycroft in Every Breath. I love both of these characters, but Digby just felt too unrealistic at times. The things he deducted things were not normal for a teenager, but I suppose that’s what made him special. As much as I loved spending time with him, I found Digby a little hard to relate to. But there was one thing about him that made me dislike the way he was written. I love complex character and characters with issues, but Digby’s issues were straight-up concerning. There’s a scene when Digby is having a panic attack and he is telling Zoe all the medication he was prescribed. It becomes apparent that Digby has some kind of mental illness, but this matter never gets pursued. Zoe actually seems indifferent about it and doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t want to take the medication that was specifically prescribed to make his life easier. I can understand where Digby was coming from, but that doesn’t mean that you have to disregard someone’s mental health just because they think they can manage. I felt like this book slightly made mental health problems seem simplistic because it was implied that if you get things you want in life, all your existing problems will just vanish. I would have liked to have seen Digby’s mental health explored more and for it to be done with honestly and more of an insight into what mental illnesses are really like – and that you can’t turn them on and off like a switch.

Sadly, I wasn’t all that keen on the supporting characters. If I made it seem like Zoe and Digby were somewhat one-dimensional, these characters were less than that. They were zero-dimensional. I know I probably should have paid more attention in science class because that doesn’t sound right, but it’s what I feel in my heart. Just roll with it. Anyways, these characters were very simplistic. They were like the characters in The Breakfast Club when they all turn up at school first thing in the morning. They were so fixed in their own mindsets and it was disappointing that I didn’t get to see much of a change with them. There were minimal improvements with them in the end, but not enough that it redeemed them for their lack of intrigue in the beginning. For how dull they were, I was surprised I even learnt their names.

If you’re looking for a serious crime/mystery YA novel, this one is not your best idea. The overall plot is rather uncomplicated and the ‘big reveal’ of the ‘bad guy’ was expected. However, it was a fun read and I enjoyed being taken on an adventure with Digby and Zoe. Despite all its flaws, I ended up really enjoying this book. It was addictive and intriguing. By the end of the book, I was still craving more. But overall, I was happy with the way things turned out, even if they were a little cheesy. Overall, I’d give Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly a score of 7.5 out of 10. A little simplistic, but an enjoyable and funny read. So let’s hear your thoughts! Have you heard of this book? Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes or BBC’s Sherlock? Do you like crime/mystery books? I’d love to know 🙂

Thank you to Hot Key Books Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Rumble – book review

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins is a raw and powerful book about faith, blame and forgiveness.

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything. Not in his family, which was left in chaos and disarray after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in his so-called friends who simply turn their backs and ignore the problems when things get hard. Not in some higher being who allows too many bad things to happen in the world. And definitely not in everything and everyone who keeps on telling him that things will get better. How could things possibly get better after something like this?

No matter what Matt’s girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, Matt just can’t let go of the blame and the guilt. He’s determined to ‘live large and go out with a bang’, but a horrifying event plunges Matt into a dark and silent space. But then he hears a rumble. This rumble wakes him up and calls everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

*

I really enjoyed reading Rumble. This was the second book by Ellen Hopkins that I’ve read. Ever since reading Impulse, I’ve desperately wanted to read another book by Ellen. I loved her style of writing. Both of her books that I’ve read have been written in free verse poetry. It’s a really different way of writing a novel, but somehow, Ellen just makes it work. The way the free verse poems sit on the page is really cool. This book is written in first person so when the main character speaks, it’s in speech marks like a normal book. When another character speaks, their speech is indented and in italics. Admittedly, it does take a little while to get used to this style of writing. However once you’re used to it, this book really flies by. This book didn’t feel long at all because I absolutely sped through it and didn’t want to stop reading it. Again, this is a book I read in a day. That’s becoming quite a habit for me. I never know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing because sometimes I want to savour the book because it’s so amazing, but at the same time, I want to know what happens in the end. Rumble is definitely one of those books. It was highly addictive.

One thing I really liked about this book was the plot. If you’ve read any other books by Ellen Hopkins, you’ll know that most of the things she writes is really dark and deep. I said this in my Impulse review as well, but I wouldn’t recommend reading these books if you don’t enjoy reading dark and emotional stuff. Even though I enjoyed reading this book, this isn’t a book that I’d reread again in a hurry just because of how heavy it is. I’m really glad I read it though, because this book definitely discusses some important themes like dealing with someone close to you committing suicide, making good relationships with those around you, having faith in a religion, and having faith in yourself. This book is fundamentally about a boy whose younger brother committed suicide after being bullied for so long about being gay. Matt, the main character and older brother, struggles to deal with his loss and the anger he holds for those who ultimately caused his brother’s death. Matt also doesn’t have very strong relationships with his family and his girlfriend is somewhat unsupportive of his actions and his lack of belief in religion. This book is quite depressing at points, but it had interesting characters and strong themes, so I felt like it was definitely worth my time.

Matt was an intriguing character. In the beginning, I felt like I couldn’t really connect with him. It took me a little while to fully understand him and his actions. Once I got to know him, I really liked spending time with him. At first, he was introduced as a somewhat angry teenager with a multitude of flaws. In the end, I loved Matt, flaws and all. After all, flaws are what makes a person human. Matt seemed to be a big ball of anger in the beginning. He was angry at his parents for not excepting his brother for being gay, he was angry at the kids at his school who bullied him, and at god for seemingly turning his back on him. Most of all, he blamed himself for what happened. I liked seeing his journey from that angry teenager to someone who understood what had happened and found a way to forgive not only his parents and the kids at his school, but also himself. All of the characters in this book were really well developed. I felt like I knew all of them really well, even the ones we didn’t get much time with. Every person was different and every person had their own story. I liked the individuality of everyone and I liked seeing their lives intertwine.

Surprisingly, I really liked reading about the religious aspects in this book. I’m not a religious person and I’m often aware that some books are trying to force feed you information on the religion that the author believes in. However, this book is in no way that type of book. The religious aspect in this book was done very well and it played a somewhat major role in the story. Because this book is all about blame and forgiveness, it ties in really well. It asks questions about what happens after death and if there really is a supreme being watching over us, and if that being is capable of turning its back on a select few for being ‘unworthy’. Matt often questioned the existence of such a being because he asked questions like, how can their be a supreme being if there’s so much hatred in the world and how can this being let such tragic and awful things happen? I found his perspective on religion and higher beings very relatable and I understood his anger towards the people who believed the higher beings were disapproving of his younger brother’s homosexuality. I felt like this was definitely an interesting contribution to the book.

The ending of this book was definitely unexpected. By the end of the book, I felt so connected to all of the characters. I felt like the ending could have been drawn out a little bit longer because it felt as though everything ended too soon, but I was happy with the ending nonetheless. Everything was tied up neatly and this book definitely fulfilled my hopes. I’d give Rumble by Ellen Hopkins a score of 8.5 out of 10. If this sounds like the type of book you’d be interested in or if you’ve read some of Ellen’s other books, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a try!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Every Breath – book review

Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Every Breath is the alluring first book in its series, written by Ellie Marney.

Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne with her family from the country and is struggling to cope with her new life. James Mycroft is Rachel’s neighbour, a teenage genius with a love for forensics. When the pair discovers a gruesome murder, Mycroft is determined to find out who the killer is. Rachel finds herself unable to resist when Mycroft tells her that he needs her help. Together, the pair collects clues and hunts down anyone that could be suspects, until they find themselves in a lion’s den – literally! Can they stop the killer before it’s too late?

*

I started off not enjoying this book, but within 20 pages I was absolutely in love with the characters and the plot. Let me explain. I’m a massive fan of BBC’s Sherlock. And I’m one of those crazy Sherlock fans that doesn’t like the American Elementary show just because it came out after Sherlock did and I felt as though I had to be loyal to Sherlock and not be one of those Elementary and Sherlock lovers/traitors. So this is what happened at the beginning of this book. I got all: No! It’s too much like Sherlock! I’ll be a Sherlock traitor if I like this book! I told myself to forget that mindset, read the book, and not think about how it is really similar to Sherlock. Wow this book was good! Maybe now I am a Sherlock traitor, but I don’t really mind.

Once I got over my little Sherlock issue, I found myself being pulled into the storyline and really enjoying reading what was going on. At first, I wasn’t completely head-over-heels for the characters. For some reason, Mycroft calling Rachel ‘Watts’, like Watson, was annoying in the beginning. And I kept picturing Mark Gatiss, the middle-aged man who plays Mycroft in Sherlock, talking to Rachel whenever it was supposed to be this tall, hot teenager Mycroft. However, soon I got used to it and really enjoyed every part of this book.

This book is basically a modern and teenage version of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, where both the characters are dealing with their own issues. Rachel Watts is a country-girl who is struggling to cope with her and her family moving to the city of Melbourne. James Mycroft had to move to Melbourne from London to live with his aunty after his parents died. Rachel and Mycroft really get along and seem to connect because they’re both struggling to find out where they belong in a world that doesn’t understand them.

At first I wasn’t too convinced that I’d love Mycroft as much as I did. He was witty and outgoing, but there wasn’t really anything in the beginning that made me think: I want him! Perhaps that’s because this book is written from Rachel’s point of view, and she doesn’t think of Mycroft as anything more than a friend… until later, at least… It was towards the end of the book that the romance ignited into a dazzling flame. But the thing I liked about this book was that the relationship between Mycroft and Rachel never seemed forced. It was completely natural, and of course awkward and teenager-y at times. And the romance between them wasn’t put there simply to attract more teenage girls to keep reading, it was an important part of the book that really showed how much Mycroft and Rachel needed each other.

The main part of this book was about solving a murder, and of course, this is where the Sherlock Holmes part comes into it. At first, I was afraid this book was going to do the Sherlock Holmes thing really badly and that it would just come off as cheesy. I was so happy to find out that it didn’t. Not at all. I felt that the mystery could have been more mysterious and the suspense more suspenseful, but overall it was a really enjoyable read. Be warned, this book is a little gruesome in parts, but nothing too horrific. I loved reading Every Breath by Ellie Marney and I’d give it a score of 8.5 out of 10. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!