Book Review · Books

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Bad Things Happen Here is a beautiful story with a lot of lessons to give. It has a little bit of everything and just enough to keep you intrigued and melt your heart!

About The Book:

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Luca Laine Thomas has lived in Parris Island all her life. And one year ago, she lost Polly, her best friend. Now there’s a new girl that moved into Polly’s house and the curse that surrounds this island strikes again. 

Young women keep being murdered and the cases remain unsolved. Now it’s Luca’s turn to do some investigating on her own and figure out what the hell is wrong with this island. 

Luca is such a refreshing character.

She is mixed-race, queer and plus sized, but most importantly, she’s hilarious, smart, and not afraid to stand up for herself. I was glad to see her embrace her mental health journey and show us how she is dealing with grief. She is not afraid to open about her feelings – and thank God for that – we need more Luca’s in our lives and on our pages, so that people start realising that talking about emotions is okay. 

The story is intriguing and captivating. Meeting a log of characters and having those parties on the island gave me some “We Were Liars” vibes. The chapters are short and the way they end prompts you to continue. I stayed up until 2am, finishing this book. 

“People lie about where they were when they don’t want anyone to know what they were doing and where they were doing it.”

I liked the mystery elements, although I think there were some flaws. Luca relied on just one source to give her clues, and if that source ceased for some reason, she wouldn’t have been able to reveal anything. Additionally, I think in real life, that person would never reveal anything at all, because of how it relates to them and the connection, in my opinion. And even though we get one reveal in the end, we don’t get answers to the old cases at all. There was supposed to be some connection between all the murders, and it was never entertained afterwards. It left me slightly disappointed from that point of view.

I liked the romantic connection Luca had, and how real it all was. Especially towards the end. It proves to show that you can love and care for someone so deeply, but still cannot forgive or forget if they hurt you bad enough. We don’t always get the happy ever afters. And maybe time will heal their wounds and destiny will guide them to each other again. We’ll never know, and we can only hope, and that’s the beauty of it. 

About The Author:

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Rebecca Barrow is the critically acclaimed author of Bad Things Happen Here, Interview with the Vixen, This Is What It Feels Like, and You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. She is a lover of sunshine, Old Hollywood icons, and all things high femme. She lives and writes in England. Visit her at www.rebecca-barrow.com

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Book Review · Books

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so excited I got to read “Family of Liars” before its publication date and receive an uncorrected proof. This review is SPOILER FREE for both “Family of Liars” and “We Were Liars“.

About The Book:

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 298

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof (paperback)

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★

Synopsis:

The prequel to We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.

Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars.

My Thoughts:

“Family of Liars” is the prequel of “We Were Liars” and it features the parents from “We Were Liars” as teenagers. “Family of Liars” contains spoilers for “We Were Liars”, so if you haven’t read any of the books, I strongly recommend reading “We Were Liars” first, and then reading “Family of Liars”. I won’t give too much information on the synopsis – same like the first book, this one is better reading blind. I’ll just say this -it features the same private island, the year is 1987 and some new characters join our characters for the summer, when everything kicks off.

If you enjoyed “We Were Liars”, you will also enjoy this book! I don’t want to say it follows the same template, but it kind of does. The chapter flows in the same way, as well as the writing – still beautiful and easy to read. This writing style is a style I really enjoyed reading. If for some reason the writing bothered you in the first book, be aware that it’s very similar here too.

The emotion side was more enhanced in this book. I felt more love, heartbreak, anger and sadness and I loved it so much! I was expecting a twist this time though, and I did get it. And then I got a few more I wasn’t expecting. However, the twists in this book didn’t give the chock or wow factor and didn’t have the same intensity. They were still very cleverly done and I did not see them coming.

In my opinion, “We Were Liars” was amazing and “Family of Liars” just couldn’t top that. But that being set aside, this book was extremely enjoyable and incredibly gripping. A must-read for the fans of this genre and fans of the series. There’s definitely something about this private island that will always tickle my curiosity!

About The Author:

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham CIty Hero is a graphic novel.

Website | Instagram | Twitter

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Book Review · Books

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber [BOOK REVIEW]

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber [BOOK REVIEW]

Twin Crowns was such a magical read. From the moment I read the synopsis, I wanted to know more about these two sister twins. The action starts from the very first page, and it never stops. Even when it ended, I was immediately craving to read the second book in the Twin Crowns series. Needless to say, I will be pestering and stalking both authors for book spoilers and updates.

About The Book:

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 512

Format I read it in: Paperback / Limited Edition Uncorrected Proof

Publisher: Electric Monkey

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★★

Synopsis:

Two sisters. One throne. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to avenge her parents’ murder and usurp the princess, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves.

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility including marriage into a brutal kingdom. Life outside the palace walls is a place to be feared and she is soon to discover that it’s wilder than she ever imagined.

Twin sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better… 

My Thoughts:

The royal theme entwined with magic really hooked me. The stories about the witches were some of my favourite scenes whilst reading this book. All the awful things that happened to them, things that were done to them. How they were forced to go into hiding and give up so many things, the throne being one of them. However, what really made me love them was the willpower for them to keep fighting. They never give up and finally come back to fight for what truly belongs to them.

“When you break open the stone heart of Anadawn Palace and seize your rightful place on its throne, all the winds of Eana will sing your name. May the courage of the witches go with you, my little bird.”

I also loved that this book features twin sisters.

I was very glad that we didn’t have any of those stereotypical moments that authors like to do with twins. It was such a relief! Wren and Rose are two completely different people with different personalities, and this book really explores that. They are both so very lovable in their own unique way. I connected with Wren slightly more than I did with Rose. Perhaps due to the fact that Wren is more adventurous, outspoken and sarcastic. However, Rose is also amazing – and her story is very emotional. The development she is going through is inspiring. It’s not easy to suddenly realise that your whole life has been based on lies, and now you are away from home and have to relearn everything from the beginning.

“I imagine the battles a princess must fight don’t often call for knives and swords.”

Everything about this book captivated me. The world, the twin sisters, the witches… Then Tor and Shen, the Cliffs, the desert and the unknown places we are still yet to explore. I can vividly imagine every detail in this world, because it was so perfectly described. The story itself carried excitement and suspense at the end of each chapter. It made me desperate to keep reading. And the chapters swapping between Wren and Rose’s points of view only add up to the fast pace the book has.

The romance in this book is adorable.

We have a few slow burn romances entwined with humour. I am so invested in these people’s relationships and I can’t wait to read about their happy ever afters. The bonds that they make are very wholesome and adorable, and I am here for it.

Rose glared at him. “Do you always talk to women the way you talk to your horse?”
“You should be flattered. There’s no one in this world I respect more than Storm.”

I also had the privilege to attend two online meetings and meet both authors. They shared so many incredible details about the book, the places and the motivation behind it. Reading this book with some amazing bookstagrammers as part of a readalong and also whilst chatting with the authors made this book very special to me. I will forever cherish that experience!

To sum up, although I could go on forever, please pick this book up! It’s the magic YA fantasy you’ve been yearning for. As soon as you finish the first chapter and the magic starts working, you won’t be able to put Twin Crowns down. I am sure Wren’s enchantment spells have something to do with this!

About The Authors:

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber [BOOK REVIEW]

Catherine Doyle grew up in the West of Ireland. She holds a first-class BA in Psychology and a first-class MA in Publishing. She is the author of the Young Adult Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa), which is often described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. Her debut Middle Grade novel, The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury, 2018), is an adventure story about family, bravery and self-discovery.

​Aside from more conventional interests in movies, running and travelling, Catherine also enjoys writing about herself in the third-person.

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber [BOOK REVIEW]

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California in 1987. She currently lives in London with her husband, Kevin, and their young daughter. In addition to her YA, Katherine also co-writes young fiction, as Katie Tsang, with Kevin.

She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life and has travelled to over 45 countries. Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.

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Book Review · Books

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman [BOOK REVIEW]

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman [BOOK REVIEW]

The Devouring Gray has a very gripping introduction. I love a trope when a new person comes to town. And add to this a small town with founding families that all keep secrets. Very creepy small town setting and danger looming. I loved this book and can’t wait for the next one.

About The Book:

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 389

Format I read it in: Paperback

Publisher: Titan Books

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★

Synopsis:

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

My Thoughts:

It was so easy for me to get sucked into the story. Even though we have four founding families with a lot of characters and different histories, it wasn’t too hard to understand how they all fit into the story as a whole. If you have read “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart, you can feel the same vibe from this book too. The adventures of the group, their personal stories, secrets and battles. Their eagerness to defeat the status quo and the Gray.

“She thought about heroes, and villains, and legends, and monsters. And decided that whoever told the story was more powerful than all of them.”

Without spoiling anything, the danger that looms over this town is unique. There is a strangeness and an eeriness. The spookiness that an episode of “Stranger Things” can bring. And in this whole world, where things are very real, but they seem very unreal, we have our main characters. They make this fictional town seem very real. They make us readers believe this is the normal, and I believed them throughout the book. The family roots and history tales, the power and responsibility they carry. Their bravery to fight something they know is very dangerous.

Violet was my first favourite character. But very shortly after she arrived, Harper because the queen in my eyes. And then all of them, every single one of them. Now, I am most intrigued by Isaac. But maybe because his story is not told in full. He’s yet to share the full tale and when he does, I’ll be here for it.

“People could hurt each other without being monsters. And they could love each other without being saints.”

The Devouring Gray is that YA fantasy thriller that you’ve been waiting for. It will give you the chills and the feels. New girl comes in town with a mystery town eerie twist is something that should intrigue anyone. I will be eagerly waiting for book 2.

About The Author:

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman [BOOK REVIEW]

Born in New York City but raised in Japan and Hong Kong, Christine Lynn Herman subscribes to the firm philosophy that home is where her books are. She returned to the United States for college, where she traded out a subtropical climate for harsh, snowy winters and an Honors English degree at the University of Rochester. Currently, Christine and her books reside in Brooklyn, along with her partner and their extremely spoiled cat.

Her debut novel, THE DEVOURING GRAY, will be released by Disney Hyperion on April 2, 2019, with a sequel to come the following year.

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Book Review · Books

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs [BOOK REVIEW]

I wanted to read Hollow City as soon as I finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. And now, after finishing Hollow City, there’s only one thing I want to do. Immediately start Library of Souls – the third book in the series.

About The Book:


Pages: 428

Format I read it in: Paperback

Publisher: Quirk Books

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★★

Synopsis:

We start where we left off, as soon as the children escape the island, they realise foes are everywhere. Everyone is out there to get them and now they need to save Miss Peregrine as well. Get prepared to join these peculiar children and go through many different loops, discovering other peculiars. And most importantly, saving the woman that has been taking care of them all throughout these whole years.

My Thoughts:

The first thing I loved about this book was the beginning. I loved the eerie theme that the books starts with. Travelling at sea and getting from one island to another is a great start to project the turbulent experience all of these children are about to experience.

“I, too, said a silent goodbye, to a place that had changed me forever – and the place that, more than any graveyard, would forever contain the memory, and the mystery, of my grandfather.”

Their adventure, albeit very dangerous, was also very thrilling to me as a reader. Witnessing the children surviving and discovering new places, new destinations and new loops was a blast. Firstly, we get to visit a loop that was only supposed to be a story they read about in a book. A myth that actually turns to be true. And not only that, but we also meet some of the most peculiar creatures with the most incredible personalities. New quest to add to my personal journal – find yourself a chicken that lays explosive eggs. Because why not.

“But you can’t feel bad every second, I wanted to tell her. Laughing doesn’t make bad things worse any more than crying makes them better. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you’ve forgotten. It just means you’re human.

The children then continue their journey, encountering a few caravans with Gypsies. This part of the book was the most exciting one for me. The fear the children have melts from the hospitaling of these lovely people. And although they’re on a mission and surrounded by danger, for once they felt safe. Meeting Radi, the son of Bekhir and reading about his story was incredible. I could almost feel how he felt and could only imagine how hard making choices must be in his situation.

“In that moment I was deeply grateful to the Gypsies, and for the simple mindedness of the animal part of my brain; that a hot meal and a song and a smile from someone I cared about could be enough to distract me from all that darkness, if only for a little while.”

Hollow City was so good, I even started liking Jacob a bit, especially towards the end of the book. I am not so sure how I felt about Emma in the end, though. She was trying to make decisions that weren’t hers to make, and that really put her in my bad books. I think Library of Souls will probably cover more of this section and answer some questions for me. Also, a little tip – don’t read this series alongside the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. There’s a big chance Emma and Melisandre to clash as the same character. Fire and age, well, what do I know. 🙂

“She thought they were weak and cowardly – that they’d taken the easy way out. I couldn’t help wondering, though, if these peculiars simply knew more than we did about what the wights did with their captives. Maybe we would choose death, too, if we knew.”

Ransom Riggs impressed me again, and I am so happy I read Hollow City. Once again, the photographs were amazing. But even more important than that, is how Ransom took these photographs, and made them into a story. All whilst making them in an order that compliments the reading perfectly. He is truly a master of his craft.

Please pick it up! To escape reality and enter a peculiar world! To meet children who are so incredibly unique. And to witness a new world, full of time-manipulation, adventure and grave danger. Pick Hollow City – to experience childhood again, for it is the most confusing, interesting and amusing part of all our lives. And also, the most peculiar.

“There was romance in the unknown, but once a place had been discovered and cataloged and mapped, it was diminished, just another dusty fact in a book, sapped of mystery. So maybe it was better to leave a few sports on the map blank. To let the world keep a little of its magic, rather than forcing it to divulge every last secret.”

About The Author:

Hi, I’m Ransom, and I like to tell stories. Sometimes I tell them with words, sometimes with pictures, often with both. I grew up on a farm on the Eastern shore of Maryland and also in a little house by the beach in Englewood, Florida where I got very tan and swam every day until I became half fish. I started writing stories when I was young, on an old typewriter that jammed and longhand on legal pads.

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