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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…

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

Disclaimer: I read this book as an advance copy from Netgalley. My thanks go to them, to Abrams Books and the to author, Sarah Nicole Lemon, for this opportunity. The opinions stated in the review are my own.


This is one of the more intriguing YA books I have read in a long time. Initially I selected it for the cover image but found the writing style, characters and plot worked together brilliantly. The writing style is somewhat jarring at first but when  I became more attuned to it as I read and it has a great rhythm and vividness. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions throughout the book of the mountainous landscapes and of the town resting in the wilderness. A lovely reminder that a place can seem so peaceful and yet be so noisy and fierce. The setting connected the dual components of the location to this story of order and chaos, delicate relationships and blunt brutality.

The book centres on the two female characters, Tourmaline and Virginia. Tourmaline is the daughter of the pre…

Surf Mama by Wilma Johnson

Starting off honestly, I want to learn how to surf. I am not 100% sure why or where this idea has come from. However, it is here and it is not going away. This, as a landlocked city dweller, poses something of a problem for me. As a result I have started reading books and watching films that are about surfing. If you have any recommendations please do add them in the comments!
 The most recent member of this category is Wilma Johnson's book detailing her journey to surfing and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Johnson was an artist living in Ireland doing the 'earth mother' thing with three children and being made a, what she terms, surf widow when her surfer husband would disappear off to chase the good waves. When, after ten years, they make the move to the south of France and the marriage dissolves she finds her way to make good on her earlier determination to learn to surf herself. What follows is a lovely telling of her adventures. The book was funny and told a charming st…