Monday 24 May 2021

Book Review | The Family Tree by Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry | prettylittlewriter

 I was recently accepted by Netgalley for an eARC of this novel, and it certainly did not disappoint!

'The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree…

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?'

The novel starts by diving straight into Liz finding out that she's adopted, via a DNA ancestry kit gifted to her by her cousin. After this revelation, she takes it upon herself to find her long lost paternal family, and discovers a Great Uncle and his wife only a couple of hours away.

What I really loved about this book is that there's no rambling or inconsequential writing, everything that you read is important to the novel; because of this, I was hooked. 

The fact that this book is written by co-authors is brilliant; you really cannot tell as all of the writing flows seamlessly. 

I also loved that after every chapter, you get a chapter with the victims of the Tri-State Killer. You read from their perspectives and get a glimpse into the man that Liz is related to. 

Without giving too much away, after Liz discovers that her 'Grand Uncle' could be the Tri-State Killer, it's a race against time for her to find out if he really is the man the FBI have been after for years, to not only rescue his current victims, but also to protect Liz as she herself could be in danger.

Knowing nothing about Steph and Nicole, I went into this book blind, unsure whether I would enjoy it. Turns out, they are both incredible writers, that have written an utterly brilliant story.

It is gripping, clever and has plenty of twists and turns!

4/5 stars

Thursday 13 May 2021

Book Review | The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman | prettylittlewriter

 It's not very often that you come across a novel written by a celebrity that is actually worth the hype that it receives, never mind it being their debut novel. Since its release, The Thursday Murder Club has spent almost every week on the NY times bestsellers list, and quite often, at number 1.

Richard has done a spectacular job of creating a unique and creative story that keeps you guessing until the very end.


'In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?' 

Each and every character has their own unique perspective throughout the novel, which is conveyed quite well via the third person storytelling.

The only person that really gets to use her own voice is that character of Joyce, a widow and former nurse that is part of the Thursday Murder Club, as we get to read her diary entries throughout the book.

The idea of a group of pensioners in a retirement home solving crime is one of good humour and quite special; I have never come across this before, and it has been done quite cleverly. Osman keeps us guessing through the book, hinting at possible suspects and throwing lots of different options into the mix. I had one slight inkling of a certain characters involvement, but I honestly had no clue about the rather large twist at the end.

It did take me a little while to get into the book to start with, as Osman writes it in a way that I would imagine a retired pensioner would write, especially throughout Joyce's diary entries. This keeps the aesthetic true, and as the story progressed, I found myself being pulled in and wanting to find out who the murderer was and if the Thursday Murder Club may have had some involvement themselves.

It is not your typical crime novel, but a great read and I would highly recommend to anyone that likes crime but wants something a little different!

4/5 stars

Sunday 9 May 2021

Book Review | The Burning by Laura Bates | prettylittlewriter

A brilliant and powerful YA novel that every teenage girl needs to read.

'Anna Clark is the new girl in a Scottish school who has fled with her mother from a dark past. Finding it difficult to make new friends, she dives head first into a school history project, and focuses on a young woman who was accused of witchcraft for bearing a bastard child. When Anna's past comes back to haunt her at her new school, the treatment of the young woman accused of witchcraft feels very close to home, and makes Anna all the more determined to figure out what happened to her, and tell her story'

 I wasn't sure what to expect when I first went into this novel, having never heard of the author before, and the blurb not really giving too much away. 
It is one of the most powerful and truthful YA novels I have read in a while. 

Anna's character, along with a few others within the school, suffer slut-shaming, victim blaming, bullying and revenge porn. The novel highlights the reality of social media for young girls, and what often happens to them and how they are frequently the blamed party.
Couple that with the strong and harrowing story of Maggie, the young girl that Anna decides to study for her history project, it creates a link between how the treatment of young women in the past is not far from the truth of today.

Without giving anything else away, the ending for Anna almost had me in tears. 

Laura Bates has created a dynamic and influential book that I would highly recommend any teenage girl reads. It may just help them navigate through their school years.

5/5 stars