July 2015 Book Reviews

SUICIDE NOTES FROM BEAUTIFUL GIRLS

Lynn Weingarten

June isn’t convinced that Delia committed suicide. Even though the two of them are no longer best friends, June knows Delia as well as she knows herself, and something doesn’t add up. The signs all suggest that Delia was murdered, but by who? And why? June delves into dangerous territory with her investigation, and what she discovers only produces more questions.

This is the hardest type of book to review! It was so twisty and brilliant and had me guessing, and guessing again, the whole way through (and long after finishing!). It really stuck in my mind, and I know it’s a story that’ll stay with me, always on the tip of my tongue to recommend. Told in chapters both past and present, readers get an all-round view into what led June and Delia to be friends, what led them to fall apart, and what it has taken to drive them back together. Guilt, grief, secrets, and lies—the pages sizzle with uncertainty and possibility. I didn’t read much about this before starting as I knew it was a mystery/thriller and think the best way to go in is knowing as little as possible. Dark and light, painful and beautiful, SNFBG is a clever, powerful read that leaves a lasting impression.

DARKMERE

Helen Maslin

Leo inherits a remote castle and invites Kate and friends to join him there for the summer. With music, bonfires, and a private beach, it seems like the perfect getaway for the gang. But as Kate and the others explore the old haunted castle, they begin to uncover its dark secrets—a suicide, a curse, and a string of deaths and disappearances. The castle suddenly seems like a sinister place and their deadly destination may include a few uninvited guests . . .

The way this is written is so clever, told in switching POV between Kate (present day) and Elinor (1800s). The castle’s past is really intriguing and Elinor’s chapters feed information about it into Kate’s. Instead of being simply shown, readers are handed the pieces of the puzzle and pointed in the right direction. This gives a real sense of involvement in both sides of the story as things slowly start to reveal themselves in each time period, and we discover how certain events influence each other.

The atmosphere of the castle could change so suddenly depending on the mood of Kate’s group. Then we’d go back to Elinor’s time (which I completely adored) and everything would shift again, creating more layers to the castle and its past, with its creaking doors, hidden bookshelves, tricks and levers, and underground tunnels. It’s a wondrous building with so much history, such a huge story to tell following generations of occupants, that it almost felt as if it was alive with all it held, all it’d witnessed, and all it’d taken.

An expertly crafted story with a breath-taking conclusion – genius!

WITCH HUNTER

Virginia Boecker

5 stars

When a plague took Elizabeth’s parents at a young age, she travelled to the castle with her only friend Caleb to find work. The two of them worked their way up to becoming Witch Hunters, facing severe tests of strength, skill, and survival. Elizabeth is one of the best Witch Hunters in service . . .  until she’s accused of being a witch herself and sentenced to death.

Elizabeth hates magic, believing that it was magic that caused the plague that killed her parents. But as Elizabeth unravels dark truths, she begins to question everything she’s ever known. Maybe she doesn’t hate magic, perhaps she just doesn’t understand it, perhaps she’s only ever been allowed to see its bad side. When faced with a choice between witch hunting and witches, the line between good and evil, right and wrong, starts to blur and only Elizabeth can decide how to move forward.

Gosh, I LOVED this book. Elizabeth is so strong and so set on doing the right thing, whatever it takes — I adored her. The majority of the cast were just as easy to fall for and I was really rooting for them to succeed in their quest. The story moved fast, without a single dull moment, and built to an exciting finish that had me constantly wondering how things would play out, how things could possibly work out. The twists were brilliant.

I loved this medieval world of magic and danger, rival sides both as strong and determined as one another, and a main character caught between the two. This was a real page-turner and I’m already looking forward to the next book. I’d recommend this one to fans of Cassandra Clare.

ALSO READ THIS MONTH:

The Fix by Natasha Sinel

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L Jensen 5 stars