Just like I do the beginning of each year, as a way of getting stuff to put on my ever-soaring TBR pile, I’ve been combing through lists of this year’s most anticipated books, and in YA this mystery/thriller by Ash Parsons just caught my eye. Not that it matters much but the author isn’t new to this genre and has published a couple titles, which though to be honest I’m not sure how well they’ve been received, but like I said before hype isn’t the big thing here. You’re So Dead centers on a character Plum, an Instagram influencer who goes to an influencer-only convention where it turns out there’s a killer on the loose. I have read a lot of novels in which the M/C is either a social-media star or blogger and I’ve enjoyed them all quite a bit and so I probably should like this one as well, especially with its inbuilt Agatha Christie vibe. What I am not sure of however is how much drama will come from the fact that Plum is at the festival possibly while pretending to be her older more-celebrated sister, and tropes like that, or something similar, have been employed many times before and might get a little cheesy, but I guess we will see.
Here’s the whole Goodreads blurb…
Plum Winter has always come in second to her sister, the unbelievably cool, famous influencer Peach Winter. And when Peach is invited to an all-expenses paid trip to a luxurious art and music festival for influencers on a private island in the Caribbean, Plum decides it’s finally her time to shine. So she intercepts the invite–and asks her two best friends Antonia and Marlowe to come along to the fest with her. It’ll be a spring break they’ll never forget.
But when Plum and her friends get to the island, it’s not anything like it seemed in the invite. The island is run-down, creepy, and there doesn’t even seem to be a festival–it’s just seven other quasi-celebrities and influencers, and none of the glitz and glamor she expected. Then people start to die…
Plum and her friends soon realize that someone has lured each of them to the “festival” to kill them. Someone has a vendetta against every person on the island–and no one is supposed to leave the island alive. So, together, Plum, Antonia, and Marlowe will do whatever it takes to unravel the mystery of the killer, and fight to save themselves and as many influencers as they can, before it’s too late.
I have been following Jael Richardson on Twitter for long, and I’m also on her mailing list as she runs the Festival Of Literary Diversity, FOLD, and I was so thrilled to learn she is publishing her first novel. Titled Gutter Child, I went on to order this book on Amazon, and have already begun to read it although I’m not going as fast with it as I might have wanted.
Its major theme is race in a dystopian era, where the country—possibly the US or Canada—is divided into two, the Mainland for the over-privileged majority and the Gutter, for the oppressed minority. We follow our M/C Elimina Dubois, a fourteen-year-old child of the Gutter as she enters into a school on the Mainland, and the earliest vibe I got is that it might be brutal for her there.
The book is certainly promising to be a thought provoking read, but what got me into buying it at first is that it’s from a diverse author, one who literally has been left, right and center of the Canadian publishing scene fighting for diverse voices to be heard. For all this brief is worth though, I haven’t gone too far into the story for me to be able to say how great or how bad the book is but I guess we will see.
How about you, what are you currently reading?
An interesting introduction to the magic world of Eira Snow, who recently has returned to small-town life after a bit of a messy divorce. Eira is a witch—who can work magic—and now she has opened a shop that sells potions, and it is while she is on a business errant that she fortuitously comes across the dead body of one Tanya. To the ordinary eye, everything is set up to look like the perfect accident, but then Eira is one of a kind: she can see and talk to ghosts. Immediately on discovery, Tanya’s ghost appears to Eira and tells her that this death was no accident but rather a carefully calculated murder. Consequently Eira is then sucked into the mystery as she investigates what happened.
I liked Eira a lot, though I cannot give the details of how she went about solving this one, because that would be so spoilery. A supporting character to really like is Fleur, a teenager who soon comes into Eira’s employ, and has witching talents of her own. Other side characters aren’t as fully developed.
The book is short, and a fast reader can finish it in a day. Try this one for a little bit of magic and murder.
An abundance of Katherines.
I have just begun checking out this book, which is one of those titles by John Green that I hadn’t picked up but always meant to, and now have gotten around to doing. It’s a bit of a slow burn for me and some elements of it seem rather pointless, as though John was just trying to find out whether the story idea would work or not, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have worked. I will probably end up giving it two stars.
What amazes me more about the book though is that it comes in a lot of cover versions, making it one of the most attractive books to feature on Cover Friday. Below are a few more of the versions I liked. Please tell me which one looks best.
Here is one of those cute, little, over-hyped books I totally ignored when it came out, but have recently decided to just give it a try. Now I’ve gone though the first few chapters, and been introduced to the socially-awkward, fan-fiction-addicted main character, her sister and a couple others. I can’t say I’m liking Cath very much nor is the plot particularly engaging but the story is turning about to be okay and easy to read. I may end up rating it a three, because I don’t foresee any intelligent twists coming, but all the same I’m going to continue reading it.
LOOKING FOR ALASKA
I loved this book when I read it first time, then I checked it for a second time and still loved it. It’s a very nice contemporary YA book, although it cannot compare in quality with John’s later bestsellers, The Fault In Our Stars, and Turtles All The Way Down. In fact my second look at this story consisted of listening to the audio book, and I thought the narrator did a good job of bringing out the emotions of all the characters, although I’d have preferred it more if he sounded younger and not so middle-aged like he did.
How about you, did you like it when it first came out and have you ever considered taking it on a second time?
Hello everyone! First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
I like this feature a lot as it tests how well we remember the opening lines of the books we so much loved. So without further ado, here is my feature for this week.
Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? My wings aren’t white or feathered; they’re green, made of green silk, which shudders in the wind and bends when I move—first in a circle, then in a line, finally in a shape of my own invention. The black behind me doesn’t worry me; neither do the stars ahead. I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination. People cannot fly, though before the Society, there were myths about those who could…
And the answer is…
MATCHED, Ally Condie
To confess I’ve only just begun to take a look at this title, but the reason I have featured it is that I love it’s cover, all iterations of them, of which there are several. I will let you know whether I like the book or not. Cheers for now.
2020 has been a very bad year pretty much on all fronts, and the ongoing lockdowns have severely curtailed our social lives, but if there is any silver lining to this horrendous situation, it’s that the stay-at-home orders have vastly increased the amounts of time we have for reading. Personally I can say I have completed more than fourteen books already, and that’s a feat, given that I’m not such a fast reader, and my lack for time, particularly when things are normal, is legendary. Audio books have offered help to an extent, in that I can listen while driving—mostly—but these days having nowhere to go during my off days has greatly given me the time to hold on to a physical book and indulge in one of my favorite pastimes.
Of late I’ve been checking out a lot of YA—used to totally ignore it—and I’ve since discovered some of the stories do really pack a punch and should not be dismissed out of hand. My eyes have therefore been open to take a peek at what’s coming in that genre and one book that has caught my eye, and which I can’t wait to give it a try, is Legendborn by Tracey Deonn, a series actually.
According to Goodreads, Legendborn starts when sixteen-year-old Bree Mathews suffers a loss after her mother dies in an accident, and she must join a residential school—where on her first night she witness a magical attack. And while this attack does not succeed, it has the effect of unlocking Bree’s own magical powers and she will surprisingly learn that her mother’s death is not quite what it seemed.
The book sounds a lot like an Urban Fantasy, and I haven’t read those in a while and so I should enjoy it when I finally get hold of this one. How about you; does this title intrigue you?
Like those who know me well do, I’m not usually drawn to contemporary YA novels, especially of the romance variety, but I just got drawn to this debut from Emma Lord as it was all over Tweeter and that got me wondering. Well, I then picked it up to see what all the noise was about, and got myself very surprised to find that this book is actually quite entertaining. Although the story-line is not exactly outrageously unique, for after all, the story is based on a social media war—of which there’s been quite a smattering of those lately—I found this book to be quite cute and humorous. At the center of it is Pepper Evans, a teenaged perfectionist and daughter of owners of a fast-growing burger chain, and Jack, her classmate, an underrated boy who for most of his life has lived under the shadow of his more popular twin brother.
The two are unwittingly drawn into a Tweeter battle when they take sides in a war of words between their parents’ businesses, the inciting incident being the supposed or actual theft of a grilled cheeseburger recipe by Big League Burgers, on Pepper’s side, belonging to Jack’s grandma. While this warfare is raging on the internet, a romance is developing between Pepper and Jack. A sprinkle of supporting characters add sizzle to this conflict-filled story and you’ll love to see how siblings add unusual twists to this entertaining piece.
Emma’s writing is modern and refreshing and the snarky Tweets she cooked up between her protagonists are quite hilarious. I have already given this book four stars on Goodreads, even though I have yet to finish it.
My TBR pile is sky high at the moment—whose isn’t—big sigh. Two books in particular though seem like they finally might get lucky to be picked, as soon as I’m done with what I’m currently reading.
First on the radar is Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth. This mega-selling author impressed the world, including me, with her Divergent series which, in the YA Dystopian genre, was perhaps only outsold by The Hunger Games. Now I am curious to find out if Roth has lived up to expectations, after her debut effort did that well. Goodreads reviews, though, aren’t particularly great for Chosen Ones, but I remain keen to know for myself how good or bad this story is.
The next one is The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. This title, a prequel to the famous Hunger Games, was one I initially wasn’t too keen on after I learned that it was based off the character of President Snow. I so much couldn’t bring myself to imagine there could be anything good to tell about someone who went to so much lengths to bring grief to other people like that. To the contrary, reviews have been encouraging, and many who have read it say it’s a valid addition to the series, not just the money grab I’d initially suspected it to be. They also say that the book paints another side of Panem that the original Hunger Games didn’t, and that got me sold.
So, I guess we’ll see how things turn out.