Thursday, 18 January 2018

Review: The Amateurs - Sara Shepard

The Amateurs: Follow Me by Sara Shepard, published by Hot Key Books on 5th October 2017

Goodreads synopsis:
Everyone knows Chelsea Dawson. Day and night, her tens of thousands of followers on Instagram watch her every move. So when she goes missing from the sunny beachside town of Lafayette, it makes headlines.  The police are searching everywhere for her kidnapper, but when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees Chelsea's picture, she knows instantly who took her. Chelsea looks exactly like her friend Aerin Kelly's murdered sister - and Seneca's own mother, who was killed five years ago.

Seneca's suspicions are confirmed when the killer contacts her, threatening to hurt Chelsea if Seneca goes to the police with what she knows. Seneca makes the only move she can, reaching out to Aerin and Maddox and Madison Wright, her friends from Case Not Closed, an amateur crime-solving community. Together they go to Lafayette to work the case, to save Chelsea, and to bring the killer to justice.

But the killer has a plan of his own. He wants Seneca and her friends in Lafayette, but he wants them to play by his rules. One wrong step could mean the end for Chelsea - or the Amateurs.

This is the follow-up to the sensational 'The Amateurs' by Sara Shepard which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The second book in the series was an absolutely brilliant read - a cunning whodunit with a cat and mouse game played out between the mysterious Brett and Seneca and her friends. I love detective stories and this one kept me well and truly on my toes. 

When a local girl goes missing in a small beachside town, the Amateurs believe that the game is on again. Their suspicions are confirmed when Maddox receives a taunting letter in the post and so they head to Lafayette to begin the chase.

I love Seneca's determination not to be beaten by Brett and her desperation to make him face justice for her mother's murder.  She and Brett are well matched opponents, although he always seems to be two steps ahead of them.  Some chapters were told from his point of view and it was creepy being in his head.  I suspect there is still a lot to be revealed about him, his past and his motives. 

I was hooked on this book and read it in practically one sitting.  Sara Shepard has such an ingenious mind and plots incredibly well crafted stories that always leave you puzzling over the series of events.  There are so many twists and turns and well planted red herrings that it makes for fantastic reading.  I was totally engrossed from start to finish.

The ending of the book was a real jaw-dropper.  I can't believe that Sara Shepard left things hanging where she did. I'm so impatient to get my hands on the next in the trilogy - this is a series not to be missed. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw - Michelle Hodkin

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin, published by Simon and Schuster on 17th November 2017

Goodreads synopsis:
Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

This is one book that I didn't see coming.  I loved the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin but I never expected there to be any more books in the series, even if I was still intrigued to find out what was going to happen to Mara and Noah after their happily ever after.  Hodkin takes the reader right back into their twisted universe with this opening chapter of the Noah Shaw confessions trilogy.

I do have a confession of my own to make before I continue this review.  As much as I enjoyed the original trilogy, it's a long time since I read it and I honestly couldn't remember everything that had happened previously to all the characters.  I wish that I had reread the books prior to picking up this one because I think it would have helped enormously to have refreshed myself on all the details.  Previous events are referred back to and there are some brief memory jogging moments but I would have got into the story quicker if I'd had time for a reread first.

It was interesting to see all the events in the story happening from the perspective of Noah.  He was always my favourite, more so than Mara, so I enjoyed getting more of an insight into his thoughts and feelings.  He and Mara are keeping secrets from each other and there's a sense throughout the book that one wrong move and everything they had built together would all come crashing down.  I think they have a rocky road ahead of them.  There are lots of other characters in the book too, including some very familiar faces and it was great getting to learn more about the Gifted and their abilities.   

The story itself is quite slow, particularly in the beginning but it does pick up the pace in the second half and concludes with an extremely dramatic climax that hooked me right back in.  Fans of the original will definitely enjoy plunging themselves back into this world, however strange and twisted it may be at times.  I personally can't wait to see what Hodkin has up her sleeve next!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Books I'm looking forward to in 2018

I love the start of a new year because there are so many wonderful new books to look forward to.  Here are just a few of my most hotly anticipated titles for the first half of 2018.

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens
Published by Puffin on 8th February

When Hazel Wong's beloved grandfather passes away, Daisy Wells is all too happy to accompany her friend (and Detective Society Vice President) to Hazel's family estate in beautiful, bustling Hong Kong. But when they arrive they discover something they didn't expect: there's a new member of the Wong family. Daisy and Hazel think baby Teddy is enough to deal with, but as always the girls are never far from a mystery. Tragedy strikes very close to home, and this time Hazel isn't just the detective. She's been framed for murder!

The girls must work together like never before, confronting dangerous gangs, mysterious suspects and sinister private detectives to solve the murder and clear Hazel's name - before it's too late . . .

The Prophecy by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Hodder on 8th March

The end has come.
Old gods will fall.
New ones will rise...
and Seth and Josie will need more than love to survive the final battle that could not only destroy them, but the world as they know it.

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
Published by Orchard Books on 27th March
After Maddie's Secret Service dad takes a bullet for the president, he takes Maddie somewhere he thinks they'll be safe - far away from the White House and the president's son, Logan.

But when Logan comes to Alaska, so does the danger.

If there's one thing Alaska has taught Maddie, it's how to survive. And now her best friend's life depends on it ...  
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on 1st May
Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated - scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Published by Gollancz on 8th February
In the opulent world of OrlĂ©ans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle's powers can make them beautiful.  Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle - the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family.
But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater - and far darker - than she ever imagined.
When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.
Are you looking forward to any of these too?
Which books do you have on your wishlist for 2018?
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