Saturday 28 August 2021

Book Tour | Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez | prettylittlewriter

Thank you to Penguin for giving me the opportunity to take part in my first ever blog tour for such a brilliant novel!

'In Gap Mountain, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18 year old Hannah Warner, daughter of the sheriff and aspiring FBI agent. But when Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators. As the blaze destroys their town and heads towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate most, it’s liars.'

Lies Like Wildfire is a YA thriller with so many twists and turns that keep you guessing till the very end.

The first line of this novel hooked me straight away. ‘I’m not dressed to find a body.’ Thrilling and intriguing, I desperately wanted to find out why the main character was searching for a body in the first place.


The character of Hannah, our leading lady, was very likeable, and I actually felt incredibly sorry for her. Her friends, especially Drummer, take advantage of her often, and this leads to some severe self-deprecation from Hannah. Drummer is the boy that Hannah has had a crush on since she was young, and she has been following him around little a little lost puppy, hoping he would finally come forward and say he likes her too. Unfortunately for her, this doesn’t happen, but it doesn’t stop her from doing absolutely anything for him.

I disliked Drummer’s character from the start. I don’t like a guy that purposely keeps a girl hanging on for his benefit, it’s such a crappy thing to do to someone, and Hannah did not deserve it.

There was also a memory that Hannah eluded to within the novelthat shook me to the core. Without spoiling anything, it seems that Drummer has been making her keep secrets for him for some time now, and those secrets are not something to be kept lightly.


I also liked the character of Violet, she seemed pretty down to earth and kind, even though she was known as ‘the rich one’ in the group. She was often on Hannah’s side, especially when things started to get rough with the other friends blaming Hannah for their situation.


There were also a couple of moments in the book that I got teary over. I even had to put the book down for a moment to compose myself at one point. Most of the parts that involved animals, including a part where a flock of sheep were completely obliterated by the fire, were the bits that got me emotional.

I liked that the aspect of amnesia that came into things near the end also, as it added even more mystery to what had really happened before one of the friends went missing.


I even learnt one or two things from the book around wild fires, as we don’t really get them in the UK, so it’s interested to know how they move, how quickly they move, and what happens to anything in the vicinity of the point of origin.


I genuinely did not see where the novel was heading. Alvarez surprised me with the huge twist at the end, and I ended up staying up till midnight to finish it as it was SO GOOD.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written, with interesting characters and a brilliant premise, and I highly recommend to anyone that likes a YA thriller with some deep dark secrets within.

Grab your copy from 7th September!


4/5 stars.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Book Review | My Policeman by Bethan Roberts | prettylittlewriter

 This novel was so heart-breaking and emotional, that it took me quite a while to read. I haven’t been this affected by a book in a long time. 

‘From the moment Marion first lays eyes on Tom - her best friend's big brother, broad, blond, blue-eyed - she is smitten. And when he comes home from National Service to be a policeman, Marion, a newly qualified teacher, is determined to win him. Unable to acknowledge the signs that something is amiss, she plunges into marriage, sure that her love is enough for both of them...

But Tom has another life, another equally overpowering claim on his affections. Patrick, a curator at the Brighton Museum, is also besotted with his policeman, and opens Tom's eyes to a world previously unknown to him. But in an age when those of 'minority status' were condemned by society and the law, it is safer for this policeman to marry his teacher. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.’

Initially, I felt so utterly devastated for Marion, as she clearly loved Tom to-death. He used her to hide the fact that he was homosexual from any outsiders. However, I also think Marion chose to ignore quite a few of the signs. There were plenty of them, little things here and there, such as all the gifts Tom would receive from Patrick that he would show off to her with pride, and the occasional remark from Tom’s own sister, Sylvie.


I do believe Tom loved Marion, especially at the beginning, but I think it was more of a sisterly love; he loved her like he would a family member.


Patrick gave me mixed feelings. He seemed to be a very kind and intelligent person, but in some ways, I also think he took advantage of the fact that Marion supposedly knew nothing of the relationship between him and her husband. Taking Tom away to Venice for instance, no invitation to Marion whatsoever, and also purposely telling her about it, knowing full well that Tom had not yet told her himself.

I did feel for him later in the novel, when some repercussions from his ‘sexual invertedness’ occurred, as it shocks me to the core that being gay in the 50’s could have such horrific punishments by law. The freedom we have in this day and age is such a stark difference to how it was back then, that I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for anyone with a sexual preference different from ‘the norm’.


Bethan has written this novel beautifully. Her descriptions of the places, and the people, were so intricate and well detailed, that I felt like I could envision them all fully (it also helped that I knew Harry Styles is going to be in the movie adaptation). I also liked that we had different parts to the novel, so we heard from both Marion’s and Patrick’s point of view. It enables the reader to have a broader perspective, and not have any bias towards one particular character as we see the bigger picture.


I highly recommend this novel to anyone that loves a period piece, and a book that pulls at your heartstrings. It really is a beautiful piece of art.


5/5 stars

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Book Review | The Silent Patient | prettylittlewriter

This psychological thriller keeps you guessing right until the very end. 

‘When Alicia Berenson commits the ultimate crime by shooting her husband in the head five times, she vows to be forever silent. Psychotherapist Theo Faber decides he is the one that can break her silence, so he takes a job at the mental health facility where she is located, and commits to getting a breakthrough.

Theo’s search for the truth threatens to consume him, and his true intentions become questionable.’

I was hooked on this book.

I have seen so many mixed reviews on this novel, so when I picked this up, I was nervous about how much I would enjoy it.


Theo is a likeable character, although his dedication to Alicia’s truth is quite strange to begin with, it seems he only has good intentions, and really does want to get Alicia talking again. You also feel incredibly sorry for him when you find out his wife is cheating on him, as it sends him spiralling further.


As we do not hear from Alicia herself until later in the novel, mainly through her diary entries, it is difficult to really gauge what kind of person she is, and whether she really did kill her husband.


I liked the aspect of the Greek tragedy play within it, Alcestis. It really adds to the narrative, and is a very clever way of eventually explaining why Alicia is staying silent.


Throughout the novel, there are other characters that you are thrown as a potential suspect in the murder of Alicia’s husband, Gabriel, or at least, one of the reasons for Alicia herself refusing to talk. You begin to wonder whether she did murder her husband, or if she is covering for someone else.


I thought it was very well written (ignoring the few spelling mistakes within), and had a clever plot, with an absolutely brilliant twist at the end!


I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a shocking ending, and fans of psychological slow-burners.


4/5 stars

Thursday 5 August 2021

Book Review | Mrs March by Virginia Feito | prettylittlewriter

 Mrs March is a novel I had heard lots of brilliant things about. I’m currently eagerly awaiting the delivery of a special signed edition from Goldsboro upon its release (it has lovely spredges) and so when I was approved via Netgalley to read the book early, I couldn’t wait!

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings. A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book - a sex worker - is based on Mrs. March. One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.


This is an interesting psychological gothic novel about a woman that eventually drives herself mad. She obsesses over the remark one woman makes, to the point that it’s all she can think about, and is determined not only to prove everyone wrong, but also, prove her husband has secrets. 


Mrs March is a very complex character. In some ways, I loved her, and in others, I couldn’t stand her. One thing that frustrated me the most is how much weight she put on that single remark from an acquaintance, and yet she doesn’t even read her husband’s book to find out for herself. I feel that if she had read the novel, or talked to her husband properly about how she felt and whether he had truly based the character on her, then she wouldn’t have been driven mad.

Mrs March is also a very judgemental character; she always had something to say about those around her (in her head mostly) and it is especially apparent how she thinks of the character within the novel, Johanna, as being completely abhorrent just because she’s a sex worker. She hasn’t read the novel, she doesn’t truly know what the character is like, so who is she to judge?


I don’t think we are ever given a date as to when this novel takes place, but from the cover, and the way that Mrs March and her husband are as characters, I assume it to be around the 1950’s. With this in mind, the character of her husband, Mr March, is true to that era, but to me, he is still a bit of a dick.

He’s always running off leaving Mrs March, never inviting her to go with him to his events or really valuing her opinion.

It seems however, he used to; as Mrs March comments that she always used to read his drafts (albeit she did not enjoy it).


Without giving anything major away, Mrs March starts to see things that others cannot, such as cockroaches, and this is the start of her spiral into a madness that she cannot escape or control. She gets these ideas in her head, some of which are almost on point, but not quite.


Virginia Feito’s writing style is brilliant, delving deep into the inner workings of Mrs March’s mind, we get to see her character with all her flaws, learning her memories as she allows us to. 

I also really liked the fact that we only find out Mrs March’s first name on the very last page, it created a requirement to keep reading.


Overall, I did enjoy this novel, however, I will say I felt a little bereft at the end, and I did feel it was lacking something.


3.5 out 5 stars