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Final Girls by Riley Sager

Disclaimer: I read this book as an advance copy from Netgalley. My thanks go to them, Random House UK, Ebury Press and to the author, Riley Sager, for this opportunity. The opinions stated in the review are my own. 

This is one of the best thrillers I've read! The book has wonderfully complex characters as well as a compulsive reading plot. The author takes the movie trope of a Final Girl, the lone survivor of a terrible event, and makes her the focus of this book. Quincy is already dealing with the aftermath of a massacre that killed her friends some years ago when a new threat is found at her door. The book starts slowly, giving the reader time to allow musing on the different ways of handling trauma and grief. The pressure builds to revelations that pull you down a rabbit hole of theories and red herrings. The protagonist was very interesting to watch as she works to unwind the memories she hasn't been able to access since that  terrible day and tries to handle to the situat…
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Room Empty by Sarah Mussi

This was a hard read but a worthwhile one. It should be noted as a trigger warning that the book contains anorexia, drug abuse, child abuse and suicide. 
Room Empty is about Dani, a foster kid living at a rehab centre and being treated for anorexia. She meets Fletcher and, at his urging, they become recovery buddies. Dani isn't sure she wants to be rescued but Fletcher is determined to help her. They form a relationship outside of the bonds of 'buddies' and it has an intensity that both helps and hinders them. 
It'd be wrong to say that I liked this book, it was too brutal for that I think. What it did do was make me care deeply about both of these characters. Dani was rather unlikable but this is largely because she judges everyone, including herself, very harshly. She finds comfort in the manifestation of her illness, her alien, her thinness, who loves her only when she follows the rules. Fletcher challenges her constantly, to open up, to solve her illness like it was …

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

To start this review I have an announcement, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl is one of my go-to comfort reads. When I feel massively overwhelmed by things I love running to hang out with Cath as she travails her first year of University. 
Describing 'Carry On' in this context is a bit of a twisty tale: in 'Fangirl' Cather is a fan of a series of books about Simon Snow, particularly championing the shipping of Simon with his nemesis, Baz. The Snow series is set in an English boarding school of magic and there are vampires and a mysterious threat that is leaching the world of magic. The idea of the book obviously has some basis on a certain other magic boarding school series but Watford School of Magicks isn't Hogwarts. The twisty bit is that 'Carry On' isn't a Gemma T. Leslie (Rowell's fiction author of the Snow Series) novel, it isn't Cath's fanfic. It's Rainbow Rowell's fanfic of a world she created which makes it quite the fascinating…

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

There are some books that you sit down to read with great anticipation, be it for the author or the subject but the very best ones are the ones that come as a recommendation from a reader-friend. The book pressed into your hands with a look that says 'you need to read this'. This is one such book.

Although this is the second book in the series I was assured that I could read this one and then scoot back to the first one, which I absolutely will be doing. The plot follows a boy, Will Stanton, on his eleventh birthday. The world opens up and changes and he faces an ancient challenge, a clash of good and evil.

The language was lovely, the settings were vivid and the characters interesting. I look forward to returning to the world Susan Cooper created with the other books in the series.

This is a book aimed at older children or young adults.

Stuffocation by James Wallman

Brief background: A few months ago I started changing my approach to stuff. As in I have accumulated a lot of things up until this point in my life and have not let go of many of them. This is something I am now working to change. I picked this book up as I am curious about this issue.

Wallman talks raises some interesting points during this book but throughout the process of reading it I felt uneasy in a way that comes with a side of greasy salesman. Wallman starts by looking at the issue of what he calls 'stuffocation', the acquiring to stuff when in search of happiness and ending up just with things. There is some interesting research done and the points are valid and important.It also provided an interesting history of consumerism and how change can be tracked.

Wallman then looks at three solutions to this problem that people have embrace. Minimalism, Simple Living and Medium Chill are each examined and dismissed for what he terms experientialism. It looks quite shallowly at…

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Disclaimer: I read this book as an advance copy from Netgalley. My thanks go to them, to Penguin Random House UK and to the author for this opportunity. The opinions stated in the review are my own.


This book grabbed me simply the illusion on the cover to The Breakfast Club. 'A Jock, A Criminal, A Brain, A Princess.' It does, however, ramp things up with a murder. The premise is five students find themselves wrongfully in detention; one of them does not survive it and suspicion rapidly descends on the remaining four. An issue which is not helped by the fact that the boy who died was the school gossip and each characters has something to hide.

Cooper, Nate, Bronwyn and Addy find their lives change in the aftermath of that day. They are questioned by police, hounded by the media and gossipped about by their peers. They also find themselves looking with suspicion at each other and at the same time bound together by their experience.

McManus does a wonderful job of bringing these cha…

The Best Minds of My Generation A Literary History of the Beats by Allen Ginsberg

Disclaimer: I read this book as an advance copy from Netgalley. My thanks go to them, Grove Press, to the author, and the editor Bill Morgan, for this opportunity. The opinions stated in the review are my own.
When I was in University I had a fantastic teacher who lit a fire under our class (or at least me) and set us off to read as much of it we could. It spoke to me as a teenager, particularly as one who yearned to travel. I still love reading so much of the work that came from these writers, particularly Ginsberg, Corso and Snyder. What has come to my interest more recently is the work that came after the wild phase that lives more in legend, after the time that was kicked off during the Columbia University days. 
This book is a fascinating look at back taken from Ginsberg's lectures at the Naropa Institute and at Brooklyn College, around twenty years after the publication of 'Howl'. He speaks about the works, not particularly focusing on them in terms of adventures, but …