The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Penguin Random House

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Thoughts:

I have to admit that this book’s synopsis really pulled me in and had me eagerly downloading it. Luckily, it’s a publisher that had auto approved me (thank you Penguin Random House) so I could download it straight away. I think The One Memory of Flora Banks is a very unique read and I’m pleased that I had the chance to read it.

The story centres around Flora Banks who is a seventeen year old girl. After suffering a brain tumour, Flora has lost the ability to create long term memories. She can keep things in her head for a few hours at the most. One night she kisses her best friend’s boyfriend and finds herself remembering that moment. It leads Flora to an adventure to find this guy as he is now in the Arctic. Flora is determined to find out why she can remember the kiss and only the kiss.

This book was intriguing because I don’t think it comfortably sits in one genre. It’s of course, a YA read, but there’s also an element of thriller and mystery which I hadn’t anticipated. There’s a bit of romance as well.

I really enjoyed the character of Flora. She was incredibly brave, intelligent and I loved her resilient. Flora is such a vulnerable character. I felt for her every step of the way through the novel. I completely bought into her story.

The writing style is interesting because it can be repetitive at times which I think is really fitting to the story because Flora herself has to go through the same thing every day. I can’t imagine a life like that. I can imagine that it might frustrate some readers but I would encourage you to stick with it because it’s worth it.

I do think this book suffers a little from a slow pace towards the middle of the story. However, I found the end to be particularly gripping. I did have a few unanswered questions at the end of the book, but nothing that annoyed me too much.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

An interesting story. I’d definitely read more from this author!

V is for Violet

V for Violet

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hot Key Books

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Quietness
The Madness
The Beloved

Synopsis:

Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing – but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck. But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…

Thoughts:

I am unashamedly a massive fan of Alison Rattle’s writing. Seriously. I can’t get enough. I devour (and love) everything that she has come out with. When I first heard about V is for Violet, I didn’t even need to read the synopsis, if I’m totally honest. It was a no brainer. She’s an autobuy author. I just NEED to read her books and love when I get the opportunity to read them before they’re released. Fangirling aside, I shall try and put some coherent thoughts down for you.

V is for Violet is set in Battersea in the 1960s.  It’s quite a bleak time for Violet and her family. Violet’s family lost their first born son when he went missing during the war. Violet has just left school and instead of following her friend, Jackie into a career at a sugar factory, Violet is made to work in the family fish and chip shop. Not the most exciting job. Violet feels like she’s losing Jackie. Jackie is growing up and doing things that she always promised she’d do with Violet. Jackie’s becoming really popular and Violet believes she’s lagging behind. Then girls of around Violet’s age begin to go missing and then their bodies turn up. There’s a murderer out on the loose and when Violet’s brother, Joseph, returns to the family home, Violet begins to suspect something.

As always with Alison Rattle books I absolutely adored the characters. Violet is such a brilliant protagonist. I imeediately liked her, warmed to her and wanted the best for her. I felt for her as she tried to create an identity that was much more than the dutiful daughter who would work in the family business. She didn’t want to be like her sister Norma. Norma seemed too old for her age and was married to an incredibly boring man. I adored the introduction of Beau who was a complete contrast to Violet. He was a biker bad boy and so different to Violet. He really spiced up her seemingly dull life. There are elements of mystery within this book which I absolutely adored. It was never clear cut who the murderer was, which I really appreciated. Twists and turns aplenty. I like!

Again, with Alison Rattle’s writing, you can guarantee that there will be great atmosphere and build up. I seriously don’t know how she does it. She’s a genius, but I always feel like I’m IN the book watching the story unfold. Her books may be marketed at Young Adult, but I truly believe you can enjoy Alison’s writing no matter what age you are. She has a way with words and really should be read more!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

Another gem from one of my favourite writers. READ IT!

The Accident Season

The Accident Season

How did I get it?:
It was a Christmas present!

Synopsis:

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Thoughts:

At the end of last year, I heard so much about this book throughout the blogosphere. I knew I wanted to get my hands on it, so I put it on my Christmas wishlist. I was lucky enough to get a copy at Christmas time! I’m thrilled that I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual read, which really wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s an incredible debut novel which makes me very excited for the author’s future work!

The Accident Season centres around Cara and her siblings. Cara’s family have been cursed with bad luck. Every October, they have to be careful as it is the accident season. It is a time when every member of the family gets hurt in one way or another. Some accident seasons have ended in death- others are cuts, bruises and broken bones. Cara’s mother is extremely paranoid and makes her family cover up, she hides dangerous items and does everything she can to prevent accidents. Cara is infuriated by her mother’s paranoia. She decides that this year she will have a Halloween party in a spooky old house that she’s just discovered. The Accident Season is mysterious throughout. We begin the story learning about a girl named Elsie who is strangely in every photograph that Cara has taken. Cara wants to find out why Elsie is appearing everywhere and then suddenly, isn’t as present in ‘real life’.

Don’t expect to go into reading The Accident Season expecting to know what was going on. There were times throughout that I didn’t have a clue where the story was going. I didn’t always understand what was going on at all times, but that’s what was so unique about it. I wasn’t frustrated though. It really worked in this book.

I struggled to categorise this book, because there really is a slice of everything. It’s certainly a YA read, but it’s also got a paranormal, fantasy, magical realism and a slice of romance edge to it. It’s a book that many readers will enjoy but at the same time, I get the feeling its uniqueness will divide! I recommend that you read it to form your own opinion!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic, addictive debut which will make you think!

Moth Girls

Moth Girls

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bonnier Publishing/Hot Key Books

Previously read by the same author:
Dead Time
Killing Rachel

Synopsis:

They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy’s memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

Thoughts:

I have read and enjoyed two books by Anne Cassidy before, so when I heard about this book from Hot Key Books, I was immediately intrigued. The synopsis pulled me in, so I knew that I’d be giving it a go ASAP.

Moth Girls centres around two girls that have gone missing. The girls are called the Moth Girls because they have always been drawn to a house. The book is split into parts. Sometimes the reader is learning about the present, narrated by Mandy who is talking about her two best friends Petra and Tina. The rest of the time, the reader is learning about the past and what led the girls to go to the house on Princess Street which is narrated by Petra.

I expected this story to be dark, Anne Cassidy’s previous work does have a bit of a darker edge to it. It certainly has an atmospheric feel which built as the story progressed. I was interested to read what had happened to the girls and I didn’t predict it right from the offset, which is always a good sign!

Anne Cassidy’s writing is easy to read. The mystery keeps you turning the pages. I am looking forward to reading more of her books!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An intriguing, atmospheric mystery!

Dead To You

Dead to You

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Ethan was abducted from his front garden when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle. At first. Then the tensions start to build, and his family starts falling apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable.

Thoughts:

The synopsis of this book immediately intrigued me when I picked it up in the bookshop. I found Dead To You to be an intriguing page-turner although I was a little disappointed with its predictable ending. Perhaps I just saw it coming, so it didn’t surprise me, perhaps other people were excited/unprepared for the ending! You’ll have to read it to find out, if you like the sound of Dead To You. 

Dead To You centres around Ethan who, at the start of the book, return to his family 9 years after he was abducted from his garden. We hear from Ethan’s point of view and learn how his family, especially his younger brother, are adapting to having him back in their lives. I can’t say much more about the plot otherwise I’ll ruin it!

I was really excited by the start of this book. I found it interesting to read about the family adapting to the changes in their life. It was particularly intriguing to read how Gracie, Ethan’s sister who was born after the abduction, adapted to having a big brother that she had never met. The reactions were believable with a mixture of emotions involved. I kept turning the pages to see if I was right with my predictions. It certainly kept me interested.

So why was it three stars and not four? I was just let down by the ending. I had predicted it from the start which I’m always a little disappointed by. I also thought it could’ve easily had more closure. I know some authors and some books work well with such an open ending, but I was left dissatisfied. Perhaps you’d feel differently. I think it’s a book worth trying!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not as wonderful as I wanted, but still a solid three star read!

Find Me (Find Me #1)

Find Me

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

A girl is dead…
A killer’s closing in…
And two little words are the only clue…
“Find Me”.

These are the words that Wick Tate finds in Tessa Wayne’s diary. And now Tessa has been found … dead. Does someone out there really expect Wick to uncover the truth about her death?

An expert computer hacker, Wick has the skills for the job, but with the threat of her ex-con dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around and new foster parents to keep happy, getting involved with a murder case is the last thing she wants to do. Until her little sister, Lily, is the next target.

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker-girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare. And now she’s going to find this killer, no matter what it takes. Because it just got personal.

Thoughts:

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I had heard some good things about it when it was initially released, but nothing about the rest of the books. I thought Find Me was an incredibly engaging read which read very much like a thriller. I couldn’t wait to devour the book and I practically read it in one sitting!

Find Me starts with Wick, who lives with her sister Lily and their foster parents. Wick is a computer hacker, and is able to hack people’s emails and find out information about them. She uses these skills to help women who believe that their husbands/partners are cheating. One day, Wick receives a diary from Tessa, a girl who has recently committed suicide. It is left on the doorstep with the note ‘Find me.’ Wick certainly has a mystery to solve and it gets personal as her sister, Lily could be the next victim…

I thought the characters in this book were absolutely fantastic. Wick was a great protagonist. She was so real and easy to like. I also really enjoyed how her love for her sister was portrayed. I do love a strong sibling relationship and it was clear that Wick and Lily really cared for one another. Griff is a character that I don’t feel like we got to know very well, but I am excited to learn more about him further on in the series.

The plot of this book is fantastic. It starts with a bang and continues to impress for me. I couldn’t put the book down. The only reason that I gave this book four stars instead of five was because I had guessed who was involved with Tessa/Wick/Lily and I feel if I had been completely wrong it would have been an unforgettable reading experience. Don’t be put off by that though, I truly think Romily Bernard has created a fantastic, exciting, engaging series!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This series is off to a great start. I can’t wait to continue with it!

Talking About ‘I Let You Go’ with Bibliobeth

I Let You Go

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.

DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.

As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.

Thoughts:

CHRISSI: The author Clare Mackintosh is an ex policewoman. Do you think this is evident in the story telling?

BETH: The author has an immediate advantage over all other authors working in the crime genre because of her previous profession! She’s someone that has seen things first hand and is aware of all the necessary protocols and procedures. If I hadn’t known she was in the police I would say she is an author that has done her research very well and I’m sure she still had to do a bit of research to write this fantastic story.

BETH: What kind of effect did this book have on your emotions?

CHRISSI: I have to admit, it was a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. I think I went through so many emotions throughout the course of this story. I had a bit of everything, from heartbreak, to confusion, to doubt, to anger and to hope. There really a journey (sorry, that’s cheesy!) throughout this story and I was completely invested in the story. I felt a real connection to the characters, and that’s why I experienced such strong emotions!

CHRISSI: Without spoilers, discuss what you think the future holds for Jenna.

BETH: This is going to be so hard! Okay, Jenna has been through the mill in this novel and has suffered more than any person should have to. However, I think her strength shines through in the way she manages to pick herself up and get on with her life as much as she can. She also has the support of a good man beside her and her family and friends so I have high hopes that Jenna is going to be okay. Maybe a bit of therapy would be good though?!

BETH: There are two stories going on in this novel – the story of Jenna and the one of Kate and Ray. How do you think the author dealt with this?

CHRISSI: If I’m being completely honest, I felt like Kate and Ray’s story sort of fell flat for me. I think it was an interesting element to the story, but at the same time I don’t think it really added much (but some relief from the confusion of Jenna’s life and back story). I feel like Kate and Ray’s story could have been fleshed out a little more, just to add some more depth to it, but that’s purely my opinion. Perhaps it was intentional to not have them as a focus but more of a support in the story. Hmm. Definitely interesting to think about.

CHRISSI: Did you predict at any point where the story might be going?

BETH: No way. At no time! The twists and turns in this story absolutely floored me and I love being surprised by a novel, even when I think I’ve got it all sorted in my head. It often seemed to change genres as well from contemporary to psychological to thriller which proves just how versatile a writer Clare Mackintosh is.

BETH: Discuss the relationship between Ray and Kate

CHRISSI: I kind of touched on this in your last question, but I didn’t think their relationship was as fully fleshed out as it could have been. I mean, it was believable that’s for sure, but I didn’t think it had much depth to it. This could be intentional of course. I could completely understand how they would find a connection with one another, but I’m really not sure what Kate meant to Ray. Was it a longing for his old life/his single days? Did she remind him of his wife before their lives changed with having children? It could have been all of the above, but I was never really fully clear of how he felt about his wife and how his feelings for Kate compared.

CHRISSI: How do you think this book stands up to others in its genre?

BETH: It doesn’t stand up. It stands out! As a debut novel, this is a fantastic piece of writing that keeps you guessing and constantly amazes you. I’m really excited now to see what Clare Mackintosh is going to do next, she’s definitely one to watch. No pressure or anything Clare!

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Oh yes. I said to you as I was reading this book that I thought I had predicted what was going to happen. I totally hadn’t and I love that. Clare Mackintosh is one to watch out for!

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Without a doubt!

CHRISSI: Without a doubt!