Friday 28 February 2014

Review: Witch Finder - Ruth Warburton

Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton, published by Hodder Children's Books on 2nd January 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.

Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.

Sticking to a winning formula of witches and magic, 'Witch Finder', the first book in Ruth Warburton's new trilogy, was a wonderful read which quite literally swept me away.  I finished it in one evening because it was impossible to put down.  I loved the Winter series and so I enjoyed getting to see events unfold through the eyes of not only Rosa, a young witch, but also Luke, a witch finder who has sworn to kill her and become part of the Maleus Maleficarum.

What makes the story really interesting and gives it an unusual twist is that although Luke sets out with the intention of killing Rosa and finding the witch that murdered his parents, when he eventually meets her, he realises that she may have magic but she's also a person in her own right.  She's kind and compassionate and beautiful and so all his strongly held convictions are shaken to the core.  This doesn't mean that he immediately strays from his chosen path and he still attempts to take Rosa's life on numerous occasions but his feelings for her grow stronger as he begins to understand who she is.  He has to struggle with his morals as he's torn between which course of action to take.

Unlike her previous books, Ruth Warburton has set 'Witch Finder' in 1880 which lends a historical slant to the story.  We get to see how men have most of the power over women and how Rosa is caught between saving her family and marrying a man she doesn't love.  I enjoyed seeing how people lived during this period and how different classes struggled with many of the problems that we still face today.

I loved this story which flowed so well that I quickly became immersed in the characters' lives.  There are some unusual twists in the plot and I never found it predictable or slow.  I kept getting to the end of each chapter and then wanted to keep on reading to find out what would happen next.  I'm now extremely eager to get my hands on the next book in the trilogy, 'Witch Hunt' which is out later this year. 

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare - Kody Keplinger

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger, published by Hodder on 6th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Whitley Johnson's dream summer of shopping, partying and tanning on the beach has just turned into a nightmare. Because Dad didn't tell her he doesn't live by the beach anymore, or that he's no longer a bachelor. He's picked up and moved to a tiny, lame town called Hamilton and gotten himself a fiance. A fiance whose son just happens to be what's-his-name from last week's drunken graduation party one night stand. Just freakin' great.

As if the summer couldn't get worse, Dad seems to forget Whitley's even there. She doesn't fit in with his perfect new country club family, and Whitley does what any kid lucky enough to go all summer unsupervised does: she parties. Hard.

So hard that she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a younger future step-sister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't 'do friends') and a smoking hot, sweet guy who isn't her step brother (yet) and who actually seems to care for her. It will take all three of them to convince her that they're not phoneys, and to get Whitley to get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

I'm such a huge fan of Kody Keplinger and so I was dying to read 'A Midsummer's Nightmare'.  I love her writing style and the fact that her stories are very real and honest.  Her teenage characters mess up and make mistakes, but that's all part of becoming an adult and is one of the things I love about her books.    

Whitley, the main character, is spending her last summer before college with her father.  She's looking forward to a relaxed summer of lazing by the beach and having some quality time with her Dad.  She doesn't however, count on him having got engaged and having a brand new family living with him.  Whitley's situation would be challenging for anyone and although she deals with it pretty badly in the beginning, she does eventually manage to work through her problems and begins to be honest with her parents about how she's feeling.  Families feature prominently in Kody Keplinger's books which I really like because she shows that they're definitely not always perfect but they are an important part of our lives.           

I loved Nathan, who is set to become Whitley's new step-brother.  He was a bit of a mystery at the start and his character had me really intrigued but I enjoyed getting to know him and I loved all the scenes between him and Whitley in the book.  He knows a lot about what she's going through and there's no way she's going to scare him off.  Sparks literally fly when they're together and I absolutely loved the romance between them.  The fact that he was going to be her step-brother didn't bother me at all but I could see how this might be an issue for some readers. 

I can't get enough of Kody Keplinger's books.  She's an amazing author and a writer that teens can really identify with.  'A Midsummer's Nightmare' was just as good as 'The Duff' and a five star read.  I can't wait for more by her! 

Monday 24 February 2014

Review: Dead Silent - Sharon Jones

Dead Silent by Sharon Jones, published by Orchard Books on 6th February 2014
Goodreads synopsis:

When Poppy Sinclair and her boyfriend visit snowy Cambridge, she doesn't expect to discover the body of a student - arms outstretched in the act of smearing bloody angel wings on the chapel's floor.

Suddenly, Poppy is faced with the possibility that the one closest to her heart might be the one committing the most malicious of crimes.

Dodging porters and police, dreading what she might find, Poppy follows the clues left by a murderer bent on revenge...

‘Dead Silent’ by Sharon Jones was an exciting and fast-paced read in my new favourite YA genre, crime thriller. Poppy is back and embroiled in another mystery when she goes to visit Cambridge with her now boyfriend Michael. What starts out as a perfectly normal trip for a university interview, turns out to be far more dangerous than anticipated when bodies start turning up dead. With someone very close to Poppy looking suspiciously guilty, she sets out to prove their innocence and solve the string of murders.  

I loved the setting of this book.  Cambridge is steeped in history and this made it a brilliant place to unravel a crime, drawing on some of it's secret traditions. The campus itself also felt like its own small community, which lent an air of claustrophobia and suspicion to proceedings. It was hard to know who could be trusted among the Oxford elite.

I really like the way that although the crime itself embroils Poppy deeply, we still get to see her dealing with day-to-day problems, such as whether or not to take the next step with Michael and repairing the fractured relationship between her and her father. She’s a very interesting character and in ‘Dead Silence’ it was intriguing to see some different aspects of her personality and beliefs being explored in more depth. I’m curious to see how this will be developed in further books in the series. I love the transition of Poppy and Michael’s friendship into romance as I was dying for them to get together in the previous book. I only wonder how they’ll cope in the future being at different universities.

The story was gripping from start to finish and extremely unpredictable. I had no idea who the guilty party was which meant that the unveiling of the truth was incredibly exciting. If you love crime novels, or even if you don’t, you definitely need to read ‘Dead Silent’ which is perfect for fans of contemporary YA who also love a good mystery, a dash of romance and a strong, entertaining and intelligent female heroine.

I hope that there are lots more Poppy Sinclair mysteries on the cards from Sharon Jones in the future. 

Friday 21 February 2014

Review: Earthfall - Mark Walden

Earthfall by Mark Walden, published by Bloomsbury on 6th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Sam awakens to see strange vessels gathered in the skies around London. As he stares up, people stream past, walking silently toward the enormous ships, which emit a persistent noise. Only Sam seems immune to the signal. Six months later, he is absolutely alone.

Or so he thinks. Because after he emerges from his underground bunker and is wounded by a flying drone, a hail of machine-gun fire ultimately reveals two very important truths: One, Sam is not, in fact, alone. And two, the drone injury should have killed him—but it didn’t.

With his home planet feeling alien and the future unstable and unclear, Sam must navigate a new world.

The author of the H.I.V.E series, Mark Walden, has turned his imagination to envisioning the coming of aliens to earth.  'Earthfall' is the first chapter about school boy Sam and his fellow survivors, who band together to create a renegade group, intent on thwarting the unwanted intruders to their planet. 

From the opening chapter, the reader is thrust straight into the fight as our as yet unnamed hero battles against a drone-like creature - an octopus type object with deadly tendrils.  This left me in no doubt that the rest of the book was going to be a rollercoaster ride for survival. 

I thought Mark Walden did a really good job of depicting the world as its now become.  The majority of humans have become Walkers, as Sam calls them and among them are his mother and older sister.  There's quite a detailed and slightly complex explanation of events near the end of the book which provides a fresh perspective on things which have happened.  This was a bit hard to follow at first but I gradually began to make sense of it all and found it fascinating.

I would have liked to have seen more of Sam's progression in the book, as his training was skipped over quite quickly.  Although he's wily and tough from the beginning, I think after having been on his own for such a long time, that it would have taken him longer to adjust to being part of a group.  It would also have been interesting to have found out more background to some of the other people that he joins up with. 

'Earthfall' was a promising start to the series which will appeal to slightly younger readers, boys in particular. There's lots of action and excitement which will have them totally hooked!

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Review: Pawn - Aimee Carter

Pawn by Aimee Carter, published by Mira Ink on 3rd January 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered. The same one that got her killed…and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

This is the first book in a new trilogy by Aimee Carter, whose Goddess series is a big favourite of mine.  'Pawn' is set in a future America where overpopulation is a huge problem for the government to deal with.  Too many demands on food, housing and other such commodities, has led to people having to take a test.  This test assigns them with a number which dictates how their lives are led, what sort of job they get, how many children they are allowed and where they live. 

Kitty is one of millions of Extras - second children who are taken away from their parents and given the surname Doe.  She's grown up in a group home and is in love with her best friend Benjy, who she's always had to rely on and help her with her dyslexia.  When she takes the test and is given a III, she fears that she'll hold Benjy back from the future he deserves.  A chance opportunity to elevate her rank, seems too good to pass up but this decision leads to her becoming embroiled in a conspiracy more twisted and complex than she could ever have imagined. 

I really loved Kitty.  She's brave and strong and was my favourite character in the book.  She may not always make the best decisions but she tries to do what's right and is very protective of those she loves.  I thought that Benjy could have been fleshed out a bit more as I felt his character was a little one-dimensional at times.  It certainly came across how much Kitty loved him but I would have enjoyed more good ol' romance between them.

In 'Pawn', I thought Aimee Carter had come up with an interesting idea for a future America.  The story raised lots of questions about how society can operate as a meritocracy and about the part that people have to play in contributing to the world they live in.  The idea of Elsewhere - a place that people are taken when they have no way to contribute was pretty scary and horrifying. 

Engrossing, thrilling and with an abundance of secrets just waiting to be spilt, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment 'Captive' so that I can find out what awaits Kitty next.     

Monday 17 February 2014

Review: The Academy: Love Match - Monica Seles

The Academy: Love Match by Monica Seles, published by Bloomsbury on 13th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
After a star performance in the semi-finals at a tennis competition, Maya is labelled The Next Big Thing and books a high-profile modelling job. The only problem is her co-star in the campaign is her super-hot ex-boyfriend, Jake Reed – and this is a job that her rival, Nicole, wants! Maya’s only just put the betrayal by Jake and Nicole behind her and now Maya is being drawn back into a circle of jealousy and desire. Luckily, she knows Nicole’s latest secret and gossip is a powerful weapon at The Academy!

'The Academy: Love Match' is the second book in Monica Seles's series about promising tennis player Maya, who finally seems to be getting her fair share of the limelight.  I enjoyed the first book last year and although I liked the fact that it combined sport with lashings of drama and gossip, I did wish that the tennis angle had been played up a bit more.  I wanted to be given more details and insights into what it meant to be a full-time player trying to make it on the big on the professional circuit and the sacrifices that this entailed.  Sadly, this wasn't remedied in 'Love Match' as I felt like I never really saw the blood, sweat and tears that Maya should have been putting in to achieve success.  That aside, I still enjoyed the story and I found it a light, entertaining read which I finished in one evening. 

At the end of the previous book, things were left in a bit of a mess between Maya and her boyfriend Jake and I was looking forward to seeing how this was going to be resolved.  Their romance was however put on the back burner for most of the story and it wasn't until the very end that this thread seemed to be picked up again.  There was a lot more Travis than Jake throughout which was a shame because I think Travis is definitely the more one-dimensional of the two brothers.

I love the friendship between Maya and her friends Cleo and Renee.  They've really formed a strong bond and it was nice to see them helping each other out and supporting Cleo through a difficult situation.  I imagine that the environment they're living in fosters intense competition between athletes but also provides them with a built-in support system because everyone understands what they are each going through.

Although a little light-weight on plot, I'm sure sports fans will lap this up.  I still feel invested in Maya's story but I do hope that the next in the series will remedy some of the issues I had with 'Love Match'.  I'd love to see Maya finally put some of the petty dramas behind her and really step up to the plate.  I know she has it in her to do so.       

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Review: Bet Your Life - Jane Casey

Bet Your Life by Jane Casey, published by Corgi on 13th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Jess Tennant has now been living in Port Sentinel for three months, and is just beginning to relax and think of it as home after the murderous events of the summer. But in the small hours of a dark night, a teenage boy is left for dead by the side of the road. Seb Dawson has a serious head injury and may not survive - and Jess decides to find out who beat him up, and why?

As she investigates, Jess discovers that Seb was involved in some very dangerous games. A secret predator around girls, he would do whatever it took to abuse them, from lying and blackmail to spiking drinks. Could a group of vengeful victims be behind his attack? Or is there someone else with a grudge against Seb and who will stop at nothing to silence him?

'Bet Your Life' is the second book about teenage detective Jess Tennant.  Although she claims in the book that she's not interested in becoming Port Sentinel's answer to Nancy Drew, she has the same quick wit and ingenuity and the same uncanny knack of seeing things that other people don't.  It's this skill which gives her the ability to connect all the dots and uncover the truth, even when others may want to keep it hidden.  Of course, this also means that she often risks her own life in her single-minded pursuit of the truth but that only makes me admire her even more. 

Jess is asked to investigate the case of local boy Seb Dawson, who has been left for dead by a supposed hit and run.  His little sister suspects that there's a lot more to the 'accident' and wants Jess to find out the truth.  As she begins to dig into the incident, she discovers some startling secrets about him, as well as a hidden conspiracy more shocking than she could ever have imagined. 

The opening chapter of 'Bet Your Life' was so creepy.  You know that something terrible is going on but you have no idea exactly what yet and who is involved.  It was a fantastic start to the book and really sent shivers down my spine as I read it. 

As well as some intriguing and unexpected plot twists concerning Seb's case, I also like the fact that Jane Casey interweaves Jess's day to day life into the story too.  She's dealing with problems with her family, as well as romantic troubles and this helps to ground the story and make it more realistic.  After the events of the first book in the series, things are not great between her and Will but she also has another boy, Ryan, chasing after her too. 

Tense, twisty and with an ingenious mystery, I completely loved every second of this book.  I sincerely hope there are many more Jess Tennant thrillers to come as she's Nancy Drew for a whole new generation of readers!

Monday 10 February 2014

Review: Anything To Have You - Paige Harbison

Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison, published by Mira Ink on 7th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever.  Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies.  Brooke is the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens - one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget.  Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.

I really wanted to read 'Anything To Have You' because I've enjoyed both of Paige Harbison's previous YA novels and I thought this would be an interesting exploration of friendship between two best friends.  It started off well but while I liked the idea for the story and the way it developed throughout the book, I really struggled to connect to either of the main characters. 

The two female protagonists have completely contrasting personalities, which makes them an unusual pairing.  I identified with Natalie in the beginning because she is much keener on staying home and baking or watching old movies, than she is of going out and partying.  Brooke, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild child and likes nothing more than to go out to parties and to get drunk.  She flirts with other boys but she also has a long-term boyfriend, Aiden.  Although I liked Natalie in the beginning, I couldn't help but feel like she allowed herself to be led quite easily at times and should have stood up for herself more.  She ends up going to a party where things get out of hand and wakes up the next morning in a bed with Aiden beside her...but with no recollection of what actually happened. 

From them on, the book alternates between the perspectives of the two girls as they cope with the changes in their lives and in their friendship.  However much I tried, I just couldn't find anything to connect me with Brooke who seems intent on self-destructing.  I also found that the constant jumps in the narrative and time-frame, sometimes made the story feel a bit disjointed.    

There's a big reveal near the end which I assume was meant to be unexpected, but within a few chapters of the book I could see the direction in which the plot was going to go and I quite easily guessed what was going to happen to the characters.  I was slightly surprised by the outcome for Brooke but she still didn't seem like the type of girl that I would have wanted to know. 

There was also quite a lot of swearing throughout, almost excessive amounts I thought, which I didn't think was particularly needed.  Not all teenagers talk like this. 

Although the book was no where near as good as I was originally expecting, I'm still a fan of Paige Harbison's work and I'll continue to look out for new offerings by her in the future. 

Saturday 8 February 2014

Paige Toon's writing playlist

Paige Toon has put together a playlist of songs which have inspired her writing.  Some of these are actually my own personal favourites too!  Check them out:
Ever since writing my debut novel, Lucy in the Sky, at the tail end of 2006, I’ve loved creating stories to music. Here are some of the songs that have inspired me.
‘When You Were Young’ by The Killers
This song will always remind me of Nathan from Lucy in the Sky. It was one of the happiest times of my life – I was ecstatic to have a book deal – and I played this recently-released song incessantly, even putting it on Nathan’s personal mix tape which he gave to Lucy.
‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls
I created a Johnny-inspired rock playlist when I was writing Johnny Be Good and I think my favourite song is still the first one on there: ‘Iris’. ‘Sex on Fire’ by Kings of Leon’s comes a close second. Radiohead’s ‘Talk Show Host’ and The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ are also favourites on my Johnny playlist; the latter is key to one scene in the book.
‘Someone Like You’ by Adele
I had two babies between writing my second book, Johnny Be Good, and my sixth, One Perfect Summer, so I hardly wrote to music at all as I was always listening out for my children to wake up. When my son went to school and I got a little childcare for my daughter, I was able to write again to music – and I had missed it. The whole plot behind One Perfect Summer was actually inspired by this Adele song, so it goes without saying that I played it a lot while writing. Kingmaker’s ‘You And I Will Never See Things Eye To Eye’ inspired me to make Joe wear a Kingmaker T-shirt…
‘Pull Me Down’ by Mikky Echo
I love this song so much and played it over and over while writing The Longest Holiday. It’s completely dreamy. Also, Kal Lavelle’s ‘Shivers’ is so sexy and brooding it reminded me of Leo. I purposefully chose it to write the end of the book to.
‘Jump Into The Fog’ by The Wombats
This song will always remind me of The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson. It’s my favourite song on the album ‘This Modern Glitch’, which I often wrote to. Black Kids’ ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You’ and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Maps’ both inspired scenes in the book.
‘Love’ by Daughter
I was walking near my home, trying to ease some writer’s block when writing Thirteen Weddings when this song came on my playlist. It reminded me so much of what wedding photographer Bronte was going through with the love of her life – a groom who’s set to get married to someone else. I wrote it into the storyline. I also loved writing this book to the soundtrack for ‘The Great Gatsby’. It’s completely brilliant. I have a lot of respect for director Baz Luhrmann.
Paige's new YA novel, 'The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson' is out now, published by Simon and Schuster.  You can read my review here

Friday 7 February 2014

Review: Storm and Stone - Joss Stirling

Storm and Stone by Joss Stirling, published by Oxford University Press on 14th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Behind the ivy-clad walls of an exclusive boarding school, lurks a sinister web of corruption, scandal, and conspiracy. American student Raven Stone has noticed something is horribly wrong. First there were the unexplained disappearances. Then there were the teachers' lies. And now the death threats ...Also entangled in the disturbing turn of events is the enigmatic Kieran Storm - a fellow student with a killer intellect and a body to die for. He's heading for trouble and taking her with him. Raven can feel herself falling in love, but can she trust a boy she knows almost nothing about?

I adore Joss Stirling's books and I was extremely excited about reading 'Storm and Stone' which is her new standalone novel.  I wasn't disappointed because it was a thrilling read which had me hooked from the start. 

The story is set in an English boarding school called Westron.  Raven is an American scholarship student at the school.  She's ostracised and picked on by everyone until she meets new students Kieran and Joe, who discover that there is something strange going on at the school.  After reading the blurb I thought it was going to be a fairly typical high school romance story but I was wrong when part way through it turned into something much more gripping and mysterious.   

I loved the relationship between Raven and Kieran.  He is clever and incredibly intelligent but Raven definitely makes him lose his head.  They fit together so well and function perfectly as a team.  The romance in the book is realistic and brilliantly written.  A trait of all Joss Stirling books.  There's no case of instant love but instead an attraction which simmers away between Raven and Kieran and eventually turns into something more.  He feels protective about her and often tries to steer her away from danger, but she is more than capable of looking after herself which she definitely proves at the end of the book. 

Joss Stirling is one of my favourite British authors and if you're a fan of her Soulfinders series then you will love this new offering.  As I was reading, I could even picture it as a TV series because I think the concept is perfect for the small screen.     

Although this was originally billed as a standalone, I've since heard that it could actually be the first in a series about the characters which is excellent news! 

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Review: The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson - Paige Toon

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon, published by Simon and Schuster on 30th January 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
My fifteenth birthday was the worst day of my life, and it's inconceivable to think that any single day in my future will ever be as bad. My mum was killed in a freak accident on her way to pick up my cake. Even when there was still no sign of her after two hours later, and my friends started to arrive at our house, it never occurred to me that she wouldn't be coming back.

 That was six months ago. My mum died without telling me who my real dad was. And for a while I hated her for it. I thought she's taken the secret of my father's identity with her forever. But she didn't. Holy hell, she didn't. Because three weeks ago I found out the truth. And I'm still reeling from the shock of it. My dad is none other than Johnny Jefferson, mega famous rock star and one-time serial womaniser. And now I'm on my way to LA to meet him and his family.

This is the first YA novel by author Paige Toon, who already has a successful adult following.  I haven't read any of her previous books, but many of the characters pop-up in the story which centres around Jessie Jefferson, daughter of the rock star Johnny Jefferson. 

Jessie is fifteen years old and her whole life changes when her mother dies and she discovers that her biological father is a famous musician.  I'll admit that I wasn't too sure about her character at the start, as she seemed quite immature and childish but she definitely grew on me throughout the story and I could eventually see that underneath her tough exterior she just wants to fit in and be part of a family.  Life hasn't always been kind to her but when she flies out to Los Angeles to meet Johnny and her half-siblings, she has a chance at building new relationships and making new friends.  It was nice to see Jessie gradually getting to know her Dad and I thought her new little brothers were very sweet. 

Both Johnny and his wife Meg have featured in Paige's other books so I didn't know about some of their history together.  This really didn't matter as many of the gaps were filled in but it has made me want to go and read some of her earlier titles about the couple now. 

'The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson' was a quick and easy read which swept me away to sunnier climes.  It's the perfect book to cheer you up during a dark and dismal winter and although I thought it was a bit predictable at times, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more about Jessie in the next in the series which will be published during spring 2015. 

Monday 3 February 2014

Review: Vengeance - Megan Miranda

Vengeance by Megan Miranda, published by Bloomsbury on 13th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
When Decker drags his best friend Delaney’s lifeless body out of the frozen lake, he makes a deal: Anyone but her. Everyone but her. The lake releases her. It takes another...

All their friends blame Delaney for Carson’s death. But Decker knows the truth: Delaney is drawn to those who are dying, and she would have tried to help Carson.

Or so Decker believes until a body lies in front of him in a pool of water on his kitchen floor. Until he sees in Delaney’s eyes that she knew this would happen too – and she said nothing. Until he realises it isn’t the lake that is looking for revenge – Delaney is part of someone else’s plan.

This is the sequel to 'Fracture' which is one of my favourite books.  I thought it was amazing the first, second and third time I read it!  'Vengeance' was therefore one of my most anticipated books of the year and hit the top of my TBR pile immediately.  I love the new look covers for the series which look so pretty on my shelves.

The story is told from Decker's point of view.  A part of me missed seeing events unfold from Delaney's perspective as I love her character but it didn't take me long to adjust to the change of narrative.  It was interesting to hear first-hand how Decker was dealing with everything that had happened between the two of them in the previous story. 

Decker, Delaney and their circle of friends believe that they've been cursed by Falcon Lake after Delaney was pulled from the water.  Does the lake have the power to destroy them or are they looking in the wrong place for answers?

A really shocking and unexpected event occurs at the start of the book which I thought was a bold and brave choice by Megan Miranda.  It sets in motion a chain of events which unfold between Decker and Delaney and threatens their future together.  The ramifications of this are felt throughout the whole story as we see Decker struggling with feelings of grief, anger and sadness.  He's emotionally traumatised and pushes away those closest to him.  I missed the closeness between him and Delaney and spent much of the time wishing that he would just forgive her. 

I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere which hangs over all the characters and leaves the reader in the dark and frantically guessing about what is truly going on.  Megan Miranda teases things out and lets the tension build wonderfully. 

'Vengeance' is the perfect winter read and cements Miranda's place as one of my favourite authors.  She can do no wrong! 
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