Friday 25 June 2021

Book Review | Come Closer by Sara Gran | prettylittlewriter

 I was very kindly gifted this ARC by Faber books.

'If everything in Amanda's life is so perfect, then why the mood swings, the obscene thoughts, the urge to harm the people she loves? What are those tapping sounds in the walls? And who's that woman following her?'

Come Closer by Sara Gran is a thrilling, horrifyingly brilliant story about a slow progression demon possession.

Told in the first person perspective, most of the horror within this book takes place within the mind of protagonist. This blends together elements of traditional horror with psychological suspense as we experience first-hand, what Amanda is going through.

As it is such a small novel (less than 200 pages) I was expecting it to be fast paced and to pack a punch.
However, it was more of a slow burn, with the steady progression of the demon taking over Amanda's life. This was in no way a negative however; it created more intrigue and an incredibly tense atmosphere. 

I really felt for Amanda; even before the Demon had started altering her life in a big way, her husband Ed, seemed to be quite selfish in my opinion, so he was never going to realise that something was seriously wrong with her. 

The small things that Amanda started doing, such as the shoplifting, was something I hadn't really seen with Demon possession before; with Amanda not realising what she was doing until afterwards, or the blacking out; it was really interesting to read.

The way Gran described some of the appearances of other demons that Amanda met along the way were ridiculously creepy; I could picture them quite vividly and it was not a pretty vision.

Without spoiling anything further, I would seriously recommend this novel. I will be sharing with my family and friends and encouraging them all to read! A brilliant, absolutely chilling horror novel.

Watch out for Come Closer, being published on 1st July 2021.

4/5 stars

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Book Review | Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey | prettylittlewriter

  I was recommended this book by a couple of relatives, and after reading the synopsis, it sounded just like something I would enjoy. 

A scatty mystery with an unreliable narrator. Heartfelt and hilarious.

'Lately, Maud's been getting forgetful. She keeps buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she's made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.'

I love a good mystery novel, especially when it's something incredibly unique like in this case, with the character of Maud suffering from dementia and being a completely unreliable narrator. 

The way Emma Healey writes the character is incredible, you truly get a sense of how a dementia sufferer's mind works, and it creates such strong empathy for them.
Emma also links certain things throughout the novel very well, such as the marrows, and their significance is unknown until you get near the end of the novel.

I did struggle to get through this book however, as I was getting a bit frustrated with Maud's character. With Maud being unreliable, I was struggling with her forgetfulness and I just wanted to know what had happened to both her friend Elizabeth, and her sister, Sukey (I guess I need to work on my patience!). 
It was a hard read with the repetitiveness of Maud, but other than that it was a great read, with a lovely storyline and interesting mystery. Some of the moments were laugh out loud, as Maud got herself in some very curious situations!
I also enjoyed the twist at the end (although I did guess it, which I always love to do!)

3/5 stars

Friday 11 June 2021

Book Review | Five Minds by Guy Morpuss | prettylittlewriter

 I was so lucky to have been given access to an eARC via Netgalley of Five Minds, and I have to say, it is the BEST novel I have read so far this year.

'Earth has been severely overpopulated, so new rules have been put in place to establish control. At the age of 17, everyone must make a choice that will give them a certain lifespan, and lifestyle. One of those options is a Commune, 5 minds within 1 body. 

Alex, Kate, Sierra, Ben and Mike are a commune. They have spent 25 years together so far, but something isn't right. Someone is trying to kill off members of their commune. And when the 5 minds cannot see what the others are doing, it makes it very difficult to catch the killer..'
Challenging and brutal competitions, untrustworthy viewpoints and a lot of drama, Guy has created an incredibly clever and highly unique story, which I could not put down.

The games within Death Park were written incredibly well and were very, very clever; I was eagerly trying to solve them myself alongside the characters. Each character also had their own distorted perspective, which created a blend of chaos when trying to figure out who the killer really was.

The concept itself is very thought-provoking, what would you choose, if you had to? I took the personality test on Guy's website ( and got Worker, which is not much different to real life, but I told myself I think I'd choose to be a Hedonist, live the life of luxury and die happily at 42 (actually living that would probably give me a completely different perspective though). 
I certainly would never have chosen Commune, especially after reading this book!

The ending was something I did NOT see coming, which I absolutely loved. Being able to figure something out before it happens is great, but it also can be a bit anti-climactic, whereas this ending was very much a surprise!

An incredibly well written, thoughtful and inspiring debut novel from Guy, it absolutely blew my mind!

Will be recommending to everyone!

5/5 stars!

Monday 7 June 2021

Book Review | The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman | prettylittlewriter

 This read was an unexpected contender for my favourite book of this year so far.

'Mia Eliot is a British actress, famous for starring in an adaptation of Jane Eyre. She’s always wanted to make it in Hollywood. During pilot season, her agent fixes her up with a 3-week trip across the pond for some very promising auditions. At one of the auditions, she meets Emily, another out-of-towner actress, and they immediately bond. However, after Mia does an odd favour for Emily, Emily disappears.
Perplexed, Mia doesn’t quite know what to do...until Emily shows up at her rented condo the next night. But the woman on her doorstep isn't the Emily she met at the audition, and now Mia realises something strange is going on. Can she figure it out without getting in too deep? Or is it already too late for that?'

What I loved about this novel is that it went straight into a bit of drama. Mia has a pretty harsh break up before she heads off to Hollywood, and the way it went down really made me feel for her. 
The fact that the author is also an actress really helped set the scene for Mia; Steadman has done a great job of fleshing out the characters and locations, it was also interesting to get a behind scenes look at Hollywood and the audition process, knowing absolutely nothing myself about it.

I was also in suspense throughout every single chapter, which helped me get through this book in just a couple of days. I was hooked!

There were plenty of twists and turns all through the novel, keeping me on my toes. I did NOT guess the ending, which I always enjoy as it means it was well plotted. 

The only negative thought I have is that Mia was incredibly naïve. In the real world, I'm sure she would have simply taken the car keys and wallet to the police and let them handle it.

Overall, I really enjoyed and was very impressed.

This novel is being released in the UK on the 24th June 2021, so keep your eyes peeled for it, or pre-order now, definitely worth it!

4/5 stars.

Sunday 6 June 2021

Book Review | The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern | prettylittlewriter

 The Night Circus is a novel I was recommended by so many people, especially on bookstagram and booktok, so when I was gifted a copy by a family member, I was super excited to read!

'Le Cirque des Rêves is a travelling circus that only opens at night. No one knows when it is going to arrive, no one knows how it operates, no one knows how long it will be there for and no one knows where it is going next. Behind the scenes of this circus, two young magicians (Celia & Marco) have been trained since childhood to compete against one another to create the most amazing, spellbinding performances & illusions using the circus as their stage.
Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.'

So when I started reading, I was disappointed to find that I wasn't enjoying it as much as I had hoped. I felt that the storyline wasn't gripping me, the plot just seemed to take ages to get going, and the romance was a very slow burn, which I really just wanted to get stuck into. I also felt that most of the characters (bar Bailey, Widget and Poppet) fell flat. There was no progression for them and I just didn't really care about them.
The blurb is also very misleading. 'A remarkable battle' it is not. 

I will say that the writing style is absolutely beautiful. The imagery that Morgenstern creates is ethereal, delicate and imaginative. I also absolutely love the concept of the circus itself; I would certainly be someone that attends every day if it was a real thing. It is such a magical place.

It took me well over a week to read in the end, instead of days/hours, as it just felt like a chore to get through. 

I would recommend to anyone that loves intricate and thorough descriptions, and those of you that do not mind a slow burn, but if you're like me, and you like a well-paced plot and interesting characters that are well developed, I would give it a miss.

2.5/5 stars