Review: One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus

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 4.5 Stars out of 5

(Spoilers Ahead)

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

Published on May 30th 2017, “One of Us Is Lying” is the debut novel of American author Karen M. McManus. Described as “The Breakfast Club” meets “Pretty Little Liars”, the novel centres around the murder mystery in a California high school. One afternoon, five students enter detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the creator of a notorious gossip app plaguing Bayview High School, has an allergic reaction and dies in hospital – only the investigative team involved say his death was no accident and that each of the four students in the room at the time had motive to keep Simon quiet.

“One of Us Is Lying” is one of those rare contemporary novels that swoops in out of nowhere and creates a genuinely compelling narrative in which you, the reader, have no idea what is going to happen next.

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Review: Killer Game – Kirsty McKay

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3 out of 5 stars
(Spoilers ahead…)

Published in 2015, Killer Game is a YA mystery novel written by Kirsty McKay. Set in a boarding school isolated on a private island, the story follows new student Cate as she is invited to play the school’s traditional game – Killer. The rules are simple: amongst the Guild of Assassins, there is one chosen Killer whose job it is to secretly murder the rest of the guild through a series of pranks until there is either no one left or they are caught out. Unfortunately for Cate, this generation of the game begins to feel like more than just a prank – there is a real killer on the loose and Cate is the next target.

There was something about the synopsis of this story that really drew me in when I first found this book in the store. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

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Review: Dream House – Marzia Bisognin

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2 out of 5 stars
Spoilers ahead

“I’ve never noticed this house before, and yet it’s always been right where it is. I know that.
Somehow.”

Published in April of 2016, Dream House is the debut novel from YouTuber Marzia Bisognin. The story follows protagonist Amethyst as she finds herself outside of a house she has never seen before but feels drawn to for reasons she can’t explain. Caught in a storm, she is invited inside by the owners of the mansion to stay until the weather’s calmed down. However, when she wakes the next morning, she discovers the owners have left and she is alone, trapped by a feeling that she can’t leave.

I had relatively high hopes for this book; the general concept was something that I found interesting the minute I saw on Marzia’s channel that she was going to be writing a horror novel. Horror is pretty much my favourite genre of all time, and I’ve found some of her short stories she’s made videos of to be pretty creepy. But this fell flat so hard.

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Review: Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes – Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley

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3 out of 5 stars.

(Spoilers)

Released as an extension of the indie video gaming franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Silver Eyes is the debut novel written by series creator Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley. It was first published in December 2015 in typical FNaF style – i.e. ahead of schedule and as a complete surprise to everyone keeping tabs on any sort of FNaF updates.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this story.

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Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud – Andrew Lane

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4 out of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead.

First published in 2010, Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud is the first novel in a (at this point in time) seven book series written by British author Andrew Lane. As the title suggests, it follows the fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes in a time before he met John Watson. The first novel is sees Sherlock’s father sent over to seas to India whilst his mother is ill and his sister is left to care for her. As the oldest male in the house, his brother Mycroft sends Sherlock to spend his summer holidays in a small village near Portsmouth with relatives he can hardly remember. At the same time, a young homeless child named Matty witnesses a dark cloud floating away from a building only to learn that whomever had been inside had been found dead from a mysterious illness. When Sherlock discovers another body under similar circumstances, the two boys team up to discover the truth.

I was left with a fair few questions after reading this book – but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

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Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud

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4.9 out of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead.

The Screaming Staircase is the first novel in the Lockwood and Co. supernatural-thriller series written by British author Jonathan Stroud. It was first published in 2013 and follows a trio of teenaged ghost hunters as they try to solve the murder of a young woman they discover in the recesses of an old home in London. They are soon threatened financially and professionally, and finally find themselves with the task of cleansing the most haunted building in Britain in a race against time to find the truth and save themselves. It’s written from the point-of-view of fifteen-year-old Lucy Carlyle, the newest member of Lockwood and Co. whose only other members are the charismatic Anthony Lockwood and his not-so-enthusiastic friend George Cubbins.

I went into this novel with an open mind. The cover stood out to me among all the other YA novels on the shelves at Asda and I was very much in the mood for a good ghost story when I purchased it. Thankfully, the story didn’t disappoint.

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