Category: Review

One of Us is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: May 30, 2017
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 25- March 1, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

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?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Jessica’s Review:

One of Us is Lying (to be referred to OOUIL for the rest of this review) was quite the debut for Karen McManus.  The mystery of who killed Simon never drags and you take turns suspecting each student that was in the room. They all had reasons to kill Simon, but so did most of the school…. This has a similar feel to the movie The Breakfast Club, and we have characters that you grow to like. 

This is one that you do not want to put down. You want to keep reading (or in my case listening)!  These characters start out as the clichés they represent and they grow out of that by the end of the novel.  I did not figure out each student’s secret (one secret I was not surprised about) or who killed Simon (OMG!) until all was revealed.

I listened to the audiobook, which had four different actors narrating for Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper. This helped with the narration as it was a little difficult keeping each student straight.  I did have a post-it note in my car with the names and the stereotype they represented. 

This novel has been a popular one and McManus has written a second book I will be reading (Two Can Keep a Secret).  Two is not a sequel to OOUIL but McManus will have a sequel coming out in 2020. I cannot wait to read it to see what happens next.  According to McMannus’ website, here is a little about the upcoming sequel:

 Bronwyn’s sister Maeve gets main character treatment when Bayview High’s newest gossip game turns deadly. Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate aren’t POV characters, but you’ll see plenty of them. As of now the book is scheduled for release in January 2020, but subject to change of course.

 

OOUIL is highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

I Owe You One

Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: February 5, 2019
448 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 22- March 5, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars

Book Description:

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

Jessica’s Review:

I adore Sophie Kinsella. In fact, it was her book, Can You Keep a Secret?  That got me reading again. Unfortunately the last couple of her books have not been for me.

The premise of I Owe You One had me intrigued, but the delivery failed.  For a start, I did not connect with the characters at all. Fixie’s name did not work for me and she constantly let everyone walk all over her.  Her siblings were very annoying and I did not like Ryan at all.  I suspected him of ill will.  All of the characters had issues of some kind, and the combination just did not work. 

Yes, the scene where the ‘certain disaster’ where Fixie saves the laptop is hilarious and left a lot of promise for the novel. This scene is classic Kinsella.   Despite I Owe You One not being for me, I will continue to read Kinsella novels, I just may need to stick to her older novels.  I think I might need to give Can You Keep a Secret a re-read this year. 

Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher  for granting me a copy to read and review. I wish I could have given it a favorable review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Short Story Sunday: The Scientist by Andrés Cruciani

Short Story Sunday is back! This is where I review a short story/novella. I love short stories (as long as they are well written) but I don’t think they get enough attention. The reviews for short stories can be difficult to write because of the ‘shortness’ and not wanting to give anything away!

Today’s short story is The Scientist by Andrés Cruciani:

Author: Andrés Cruciani
Published: January 1, 2019
9 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: March 7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Short Story Description:

The Scientist is the tale of a woman who believes one must suffer to achieve greatness.

Jessica’s Review:

If you want a dark and disturbing short story that is under 10 pages, then The Scientist is for you. From the beginning Cruciani pulls us into the scientist’s life.  She is determined at all costs to become a great scientist and for that to happen she must be miserable, as all scientists need great misery in their lives. She goes to the utmost extremes to become miserable.

The descriptions are crystal clear.  I could picture our scientist as she was doing what she did throughout the story. You will wonder how far our scientist will go to become miserable so she can therefore become great…  Then you read it! 

Special thanks to the author Andrés Cruciani for sending me a copy to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

 After graduating from Cornell, Andrés Cruciani earned a Master’s in Education from Brooklyn College and an MFA from The New School. He has been a teacher for 15 years and has taught writing at FIT and the Hispanic Center for Excellence at Albert Einstein College among other places. Andrés has had numerous pieces nominated for awards and published in The Westchester Review, Pamplemousse, Green Mountains Review, and Welter among other magazines. He served as editor for LIT magazine and is the current senior editor of Brooklyn Aikikai Journal. He recently founded Toho Publishing. When not writing, Andrés trains in Aikido. You can learn more about him at andrescruciani.com.

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