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.

Read More »

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 »

With Malice – book review

With Malice

When Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of her life are a complete blank. All she has been told is that she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident… wasn’t just an accident.

With no memory of what happened or what she did, can Jill prove her innocence? And can she really be sure that she isn’t the one to blame?Read More »

Black – book review

Black

Black is a haunting and addictive novel, written by Fleur Ferris.

Ebony Marshall is in her final year of high school. Five months, two weeks and four days… She can’t wait to leave the town where she’s known only as ‘Black’. Because of her name, of course. But for another reason, too.

Everyone says Black Marshall is cursed.

Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. After Oscar, the whispers started. Now she’s used to being on her own. It’s easier that way.

But when her date for the formal ends up in intensive care, something in quiet Dainsfield starts to stir. Old secrets are revealed and terrifying new dangers emerge.

If only Black could put all the pieces together, she could work out who her real enemies are. Should she run for her life, or stay and fight?Read More »

The Leaving – book review

The Leaving

The Leaving is a suspenseful and intriguing novel, written by Tara Altebrando.

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back — with no idea of where they’ve been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are… find. Scarlett comes home and finds a mum she barely recognises, and tried to be the person everyone expects her to be. But she thinks she remembers Lucas.

Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answer. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother — dead or alive — and it’s buying this whole memory-loss story.Read More »

Moth Girls – book review

Moth Girls

They call them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. Drawn to it. Or at least, that’s what was written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore a dilapidated house in their neighbourhood. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Many’s memories of the disappearances of her two friends are reignited, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

*

What I’m loving about some of the books I’m reading at the moment is that they are focussed on friendship more than romance because I think we’re all realising romance is being overdone in YA fiction. Moth Girls is a novel that takes a closer look at teen friendships, loyalty, and the impact that the disappearances of two girls can have on those left behind. I was surprised to find that this book isn’t told in a linear way. It’s split into parts – some parts focus on the present and some on the past. While initially I thought it would be a little hard to navigate through the alternate view points and times, I found that it really added a great deal of meaning and depth to the story, particularly the friendships between the three girls. It enabled me not only to get understand the dynamics between these girls, but also of their own pasts and how this impacted on all their lives. Without this story being told from different viewpoints and different times, I feel like it would have become very one-sided because we would only hear things from the one person we experience the story from and not be able to really get to know anyone other than Mandy.

Which leads me on to talking about Mandy. She was so affected from being the only one still here after her two friends disappeared, and I could really sympathise with her. She was able to convey the loss and guilt she was feeling with such clarity and I felt as though it was easy to relate to her. Even though her situation isn’t one that we can all relate to, and nor would we want to, but I feel that the emotions she experiences can be translated to other areas of our lives. In that way, this book resonated with me highlighted the effect that living with this sort of guilt can have on a person. It was heartbreaking to see her blaming herself for the disappearance of her two friends, mostly because it’s such a normal response to produce. Even though I felt like shouting at her that she needed to move past her guilt because there was nothing she could have changed about what happened, I understood how she was feeling.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel is how Mandy eventually overcame those feelings of guilt and grief and started to live her life again. In the beginning, it was like her life was on pause. She couldn’t move forward because her mind was stuck in the past, reliving the day her friends disappeared in a desperate attempt that something would turn out differently. To me, I feel that you can’t push a person to change. You can’t simply tell them over and over that something is not their fault. Until they believe it, nothing you say will change anything. It has to come from inside the person. And that’s part of what was so satisfying to see in the end. I loved Mandy’s character development and seeing her overcome that part of her life. It was still inside her and she would still never forget it, but she was simply not allowing it to consume her anymore. It was almost as if we, as the reader, could finally exhale again. There was a feeling of, not relief, but the serene qualities that follow a storm. You know that the worst of it is over, but that’s not to say a storm won’t come again. I think that a part of dealing with grief and guilt is making it past the first storm and knowing that because of it, you’re better equipped for the ones to come.

Another thing I loved about Moth Girls was how the mystery of the girls’ disappearance was used to examine the friendships between the characters. When Mandy first meets Petra and Tine in the months before they disappear, she feels like the outsider and as though she wouldn’t ever be a part of their tight friendship. While I found it a little bit irritating that she so desperately wanted to be a part of her group, I could understand why she wanted to be included in the special bond they shared. To me, it was very reminiscent of my middle school days… four years ago aha 😅

To be honest, I thought that this book would have more mystery in it. Yes, there was some mystery surrounding what happened to the girls that disappeared, but there wasn’t much else going on. Perhaps this was because a lot of the storyline was written from before their disappearances so that it enabled the novel to focus on the friendships of the girls rather than just on the mystery of their disappearance. But for me, the parts I loved most in this novel were the twists. There were definitely a few twists that I never saw coming and I absolutely loved feeling the thrill of being caught off-guard. I just would have loved to feel as though I was on the edge of my seat for the entire novel, not just at fifty-page intervals. But then again, perhaps the most horrific thing in this novel wasn’t the disappearance of the girls. Something that I found more horrifying that the potential deaths of these two girls was the abuse that a secondary character had to deal with. I won’t go into too much detail because spoilers, but this particular secondary character was definitely a person I loved reading about and it hurt to see her being abused the way she was. I’m just so pleased that she was able to stand up for herself in the end.

Overall, this is a book I definitely enjoyed reading and I’m sure I’ll be reading again in the near future. It’s a character-driven thriller with an ending you’ll never see coming. I’d give Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy a score of 8.5 out of 10. So let’s talk! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review, hasn’t it? How’ve you been? What’s been going on in your life? What are you reading at the moment? Are you thinking of reading Moth Girls now? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Hotel Ruby – book review

Hotel Ruby

Hotel Ruby is a thrilling and suspenseful book, written by Suzanne Young.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother are on their way to live with their grandmother while their father drowns in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions, including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey finds out about the new people’s she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s town in different directions – between the weight of her past and its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…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!

As Red as Blood – book review

As Red as Blood

As Red as Blood is a fast-paced and thrilling book by Salla Simukka.

In the depth of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Anderson stumbles upon a stash of money hanging to dry in her school’s dark room. But these notes just weren’t wet, they were splashed with crimson – someone’s blood.

Living by herself in the city of Tampere in Finland alone in a studio apartment far from her parents, Lumikki has finally left the past behind. She’s transferred to a prestigious art school and she’s focussed on only studying and graduating. She ignores the cliques and the gossip, preferring to spend time with herself where she doesn’t have to be forced to pretend to be someone she’s not.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Lumikki is swept up into the world of deception, corruption and danger as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Things turn even more sinister when Lumikki finds that there’s connections to the international drugs trade. Lumikki is smart, but can she outsmart a criminal mastermind? Will she be able to bring down the infamous ‘Polar Bear’, or will she become another one of his victims?

*

I had mixed opinions about As Red as Blood. There were a lot of things that I liked about this book, but equally, there were the same number of things I didn’t really like. This book is definitely fast paced. For a book with its number of pages – a little over two hundred – you’d want to make everything important in that short amount. I felt like everything in this book was put there for a reason and there wasn’t any unnecessary details or information that we didn’t need to know. Everything was very precise and the book flowed smoothly. I didn’t find one moment in this book where I was bored because this book is quite thrilling and it makes you want to know how everything is going to work out.

One of the things I didn’t like about this book as much as I could have were the fairy tale references. I knew that this book was referring to one of them, but I didn’t really understand that and it could have been a bit more clearer if this book was really going to have the desired effect. I felt like that if this was clearer and done better, it could have made this book stand out a lot more, rather than just being one of those books that I enjoyed while reading but will most likely have forgotten all about in less than a month.

I really liked Lumikki as a main character. She was the type of character I hadn’t really seen much lately. She was the type of person who preferred to be alone, but she wasn’t lonely and being alone was her own choice. She’s a really smart person and also very brave. I really admired those traits in her. The fact that she liked to be alone came off as a little cold in some scenarios in the beginning and it felt like she wasn’t really making an effort at anything, but I soon understood what she was like as a person and I liked the fact that she was a little different from everyone else. I often get tired of reading books that have almost the exact same main character as all the other YA books out there. In a way, Lumikki felt like a sort of Sherlock character. She reminded me of him in lots of different ways. Even if she couldn’t deduce things like he can, she was determined to see through the problem and would never back down from a situation. I would have liked some more backstory to Lumikki and what her family situation was like. Even though we got little snippets of this throughout the book, I still want to know more about her. I’m hoping we’ll get more of that in the next book because I feel like there’s a lot we don’t know about her yet.

One of the things I enjoyed reading about was the friendship between Lumikki and Elisa. Because Lumikki distanced herself from people in the beginning and preferred to be alone, the conversations between Lumikki and Elisa and hearing some of Lumikki’s internal dialogue during these scenes was entertaining. I loved watching their friendship grow. In the beginning, being nice and friendly towards Elisa was something she felt sort of morally-obliged to do because of how defenceless and naive Elisa could be at times. However as the novel progressed, Lumikki and Elisa because better friends and they realised they relied on each other more than they initially thought. However, these two characters felt like the only ones who were fleshed out. The other characters felt a bit bland and I didn’t really get to know them. Lumikki and Elisa were the only two characters who I felt connected to and I would have liked to have seen some more background information on the other characters so I could care about them more.

For the most part, I really like the mystery in this book. It was fast moving and interesting, but there were a few places I got lost in it. I didn’t fully understand why the characters needed to do certain things and at times I questioned their behaviour, but it was still exciting to read and I loved the dramatic things that happened to Lumikki in this book. Some of the most enjoyable parts of this book to read was when Lumikki was in danger. I loved seeing how she could keep her cool in most situations and work things out methodically without getting flustered.

Overall, I enjoyed most of this book and I think I’ll read the next book when it comes out. I’d give As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka a score of 7.5 out of 10. I’d recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a quick and exciting new YA thriller!

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