3 stars

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren JamesThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Gift
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

I’ve got mixed feelings about The Loneliest Girl in the Universe because on the one hand, I read it in a single sitting and I did enjoy it. On the other, I think the book could have been improved in a few different ways. It’s a real mixed bag for me.

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Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Speechless by Hannah HarringtonSpeechless by Hannah Harrington
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 28th August 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Speechless wasn’t a bad book, to be honest, but it was a little underwhelming. It was such a short book, and a lot happened in those 200 or so pages, that I felt almost disconnected from the story. It did make for a really quick read, though, which is what I was after.

I liked Chelsea, the main character, well enough. There was a lot of character growth there, which is always a sign of a decent book. She acknowledges that she stays silent for far too long, and she also learnt from her mistakes. The protest itself was silly, really, so I’m glad that it played out the way it did in terms of Chelsea’s character growth. Also, Chelsea was attractive and she knew it. It was really nice to read about a main character who knew she was good looking. I love that confidence.

I am probably going to remember the beginning with the assault more than anything. This isn’t the most memorable book but it definitely had bits that will stick with me.

Book Club: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Book Club: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou BerneyThe Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 10th February 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

With the compelling narrative tension and psychological complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?

Some friends and I have started a monthly book club, and while discussing things with them, I came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating the book club into my blog. One of my friends, Gemma, is also a blogger, so we’ll be doing a joint post each month in which we share our separate thoughts on the book and talk about how the book went down with the book club as a whole.

The Long and Faraway Gone was actually our first book club pick. It went down really well, because all of us love a good mystery. The Long and Faraway Gone focusses on two characters who both experiences trauma in the past, and who are now drawn back into investigating the incidents that affected them so much.

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Book Club: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

Book Club: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol GoodmanThe Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 2nd January 2002
Publisher: Ballantine
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.

Since freshman year, Jane and her two roommates, Lucy Toller and Deirdre Hall, were inseparable–studying the classics, performing school girl rituals on the lake, and sneaking out after curfew to meet Lucy’s charismatic brother Matt. However, the last winter before graduation, everything changed. For in that sheltered, ice-encrusted wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of senseless suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden for more than two decades in the dark depths of Heart Lake.

Now pages from Jane’s missing journal, written during that tragic time, have reappeared, revealing shocking, long-buried secrets. And suddenly, young, troubled girls are beginning to die again . . . as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface.

Some friends and I have started a monthly book club, and while discussing things with them, I came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating the book club into my blog. One of my friends, Gemma, is also a blogger, so we’ll be doing a joint post each month in which we share our separate thoughts on the book and talk about how the book went down with the book club as a whole.

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

As I Descended by Robin TalleyAs I Descended by Robin Talley
Release Date: 6th September 2016
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

Talley’s books have been very hit and miss with me so far. I adored Lies We Tell Ourselves, but her second book, What We Left Behind, didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I’d been looking forward to As I Descended, though, because I liked the idea of a genre switch-up. Thankfully, I did really like the book. I didn’t love it, but it was good.

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