Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

unrivaled

Goodreads Synopsis

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Details

Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

ISBN: 0062324527 (ISBN13: 9780062324528)

Published: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 420

Genre: Mystery, Romance,  Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

Fun beach read!

Unrivaled is the first novel in the Beautiful Idols trilogy by Alyson Noel. The novel focuses on three people vying to win Ira Redman’s Unrivaled Nightlife promo competition. Ira owns several Hollywood nightclubs and the competitors score points based on how many celebrities they can bring into Ira’s clubs and how famous those celebrities are.

Layla dreams of becoming a journalist but currently runs a celebrity blog called Beautiful Idols.

Aster feels stifled by her wealthy but conservative Persian parents and aspires to become an actress.

Tommy has just moved to Hollywood from Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a famous guitarist and showing up his father who doesn’t even know he exists.

Madison Brooks is a star actress and worth the highest amount of points in Ira’s competition. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that there are dark secrets in Madison’s past. Madison’s story is where the mystery comes into play.

Unrivaled is a really fun read, perfect to take with you to the beach. 

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them.

I also loved that the chapters are all named after songs. I found that fit in really well with the Hollywood setting of this novel.

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them. The action starts to heat up towards the end of the novel, just in time to leave you dying to know what happens after the crazy cliffhanger. I’ll definitely need to check out the next book in the series to find out!

 

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler: Book Review @TerryTyler4

devil

Description

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a twist-rich, character-driven psychological drama/thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end!

Details 

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: October 3rd, 2016 by the author

AISN: B01LXQISIY

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Drama

Format:  Kindle

Pages: 340

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

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My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Terry Tyler fan, and The Devil You Know is one of my favourites so far! It’s a psychological drama, which is a completely different genre from her other novels, and I very much admire how effortless she made it look to master a new style. I also loved the multiple points of view, which is a technique this author has perfected. I always love piecing the story together from different characters. I feel like you get the full story that way, not just one or maybe two character’s perspective.

The Devil You Know is told from the viewpoint of five different characters who each suspect that somebody they know could be the Lyndford Strangler serial killer. As the story progresses each character becomes more and more convinced that their suspicions are correct as the murders become more frequent and people continue to behave suspiciously.

I was definitely surprised when the true Lyndford Strangler was revealed and, in true Terry Tyler style, I never saw the big surprise coming in a million years. I love that even though I know this author is an expert at sneaky plot twists that I’ve never been able to figure it out until the very end yet!

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview

Fast paced thriller with a complex teen heroine. outliers

The Outliers began with such an interesting concept. Kimberly McCreight wrote that she became interested in the highly emotional frequency that her daughter and many of her female friends often operate on. This is often seen as a flaw in character, but the idea that perhaps it’s actually a great strength led the author to explore this concept in The Outliers.

I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. A lot of people would say that I’m far too sensitive and emotional, but I have recently begun to see some of the benefits this can bring. I often look back to times where people or situations made me feel uncomfortable and more often than not hindsight tells me that I should have listened to what my gut instinct was telling me!

The main character, 16 year old Wiley, suffers from extreme anxiety and agoraphobia which has gotten much worse since her mother passed away in a recent car accident. Even though her relationship with her best friend, Cassie, has been on the rocks lately when she goes missing Wiley knows that she has to help her.

Wiley and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, decide to drive across the country to rescue Cassie when they start receiving text messages from her asking for help. I have to admit that it is a little bit unbelievable that Wiley was able to leave the house so easily, but you never know how strong you can be until you’re in the middle of an emergency.

There are so many plot twists to Wiley and Jasper’s trip to rescue Cassie that I probably shouldn’t get too much into this part of the novel to avoid spoilers. It’s incredibly fast-paced and expect to have everything that you thought was going on turned on its head at least a couple of times.  I’m definitely hanging out to read the second installment of the series after the huge plot twist at the end!!

Description

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Details

Title: The Outliers (The Outliers #1)

Author: Kimberley McCreight

ISBN: 0062359096 (ISBN13: 9780062359094)

Published:  May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genre:   Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: Paperback 468
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones

When Margaret and Louise set off to visit Thunder Bay, Ontario, for a church retreat theyserenity get a lot more than they bargained for. Instead of a nice relaxing holiday, they experience a series of unfortunate events that end up in a murder investigation. Will they solve the mystery of the Serenity Stone murder or will they become the killer’s next victims?

This was a really fun short read. Louise and Margaret are lovely characters. They’re two women in their 50s and Jones did a brilliant job of developing their bantering style of relationship. Louise and her cheeky dog brought a lot of smiles and lightness to the overall feel of the story and were a perfect foil for Margaret and her slightly grumpy ways.

Description

The peaceful city of Thunder Bay is shocked when one of its most prominent businessmen is murdered with a stone stolen from a nearby church garden. Visiting the city to attend a retreat, friends Margaret and Louise become intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the murder and quickly find themselves embroiled in the investigation. Will they discover that they’ve stepped into something they won’t be able to walk away from? Will the murderer target them next?

Details

Title: The Serenity Stone Murder

Author: Marianne Jones

ISBN: 9780981251684

Published: September 6th 2014 by Split Tree Publishing Inc.

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 204

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Beautifully written crime thriller missing

When Edith Hind suddenly disappears the police immediately treat her case as high priority. Her father, Sir Ian Hind, is a prestigious doctor with connections to the royal family and politicians so they don’t want to stuff this one up. Missing, Presumed is told from the perspectives of Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, Edith’s mother, Detective Constable Davy Walker and Edith’s best friend, Helena.  Through the multiple points of view, we are able to see the effect a missing person case has on everyone involved, both the police investigating and the family and friends who are going out of their minds with worry.

I really enjoyed reading this novel from the multiple points of view. This allowed far greater character development than you normally find in crime thrillers. Steiner did a brilliant job of bringing each character to life and I enjoyed finding out more about each character by reading about them through the eyes of the other people they interact with.

This novel is also beautifully written. It is a bit of slow-boil thriller, but it is definitely worth the wait because by the time I got to the twists and final reveal I felt like I was reading about people I knew intimately. Add this one to your TBR list if you like crime thrillers with the depth and observation of literary fiction.

Description

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.

As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.

A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her.

Details

Title: Missing, Presumed

Author: Susie Steiner

Published: 1 March 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9780008123284

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Literary Fiction

Pages: 400

Source: Review copy from HarperCollins Publishers Australia

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Review: Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman

 Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again… rebecca

Rebecca’s Tale is an unauthorised sequel of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Gothic mystery. The year is 1951 and Colonel Arthur Julyan, long-time friend of the De Winter family, is still haunted by the circumstances of her death. With the help of his daughter, Ellie, and mysterious newcomer, Terance Grey, he determines to uncover the mysteries surrounding Rebecca’s death and her life before Manderlay.

The novel is told from multiple points of view, Colonel Julyan, Ellie, Terrance Grey, and Rebecca. During the course of their investigations Rebecca’s journal is discovered! Her journal details her childhood and why/how she came to marry Maxim De Winter and come to Manderlay. I loved reading from Rebecca’s point of view, even if she is proven to be an unreliable narrator, along with everybody in this story.

A lot of people have posted negative reviews of this novel. I think the biggest issue is that this version of Rebecca doesn’t match the way they see her. The author does use quite a lot of poetic license to create her version of Rebecca and the other characters. I really love this novel, though. It’s not quite as atmospheric or mysterious as the original, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Description

April 1951. It has been twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the hauntingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter, and twenty years since Manderley, the de Winter family’s estate, was destroyed by fire. But Rebecca’s tale is just beginning.

Colonel Julyan, an old family friend, receives an anonymous package concerning Rebecca. An inquisitive young scholar named Terence Gray appears and stirs up the quiet seaside hamlet with questions about the past and the close ties he soon forges with the Colonel and his eligible daughter, Ellie. Amid bitter gossip and murky intrigue, the trio begins a search for the real Rebecca and the truth behind her mysterious death.

Details

Title Rebecca’s Tale

Author Sally Beauman

ISBN 006117467X (ISBN13: 9780061174674)

Published 2000

Pages 464

Genre Mystery, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Gothic

Source Own Copy

My Rating 5/5 stars

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

Atmospheric mystery. Epic love stories. The Shadow of the Wind has it all! shadow2

In Barcelona, just after the Spanish Civil War, 10 year old Daniel Sempre is grieving for his mother. To cheer him up, his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he must choose one book to take home and care for. The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax seems to choose Daniel. It was such a brilliant novel that he assumes Carax must be a well-known author, so he visits book dealer, Gustavo Barcello, to try and hunt down more of Carax’s books. When Barcello informs him that he might actually own the very last copy of any of Carax’s novels Daniel begins his quest to discover the mystery of Julián Carax.

I absolutely loved this book! I purchased my copy at a second-hand book store and the second I uploaded a picture of my book haul on Instagram I was inundated with comments from people telling what a fantastic novel it is. I kind of feel like I had a tiny Cemetery of Forgotten Books moment!

The Shadow of the Wind has a very Gothic feel to it. The mystery is convoluted and full of twists around every corner. I also really enjoyed the way the novel easily moved between the present and the past. Each revelation seemed to come at exactly the moment I was pulling my hair out wanting to know what was going on.

This novel has something for just about every book worm out there! Mystery, romance, books, writing, and it was an interesting depiction of Franco’s Spain.

Description

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Details

Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

Published: October 5th 2005 by Phoenix Press (first published 2001)

ISBN: 0753820250 (ISBN13: 9780753820254)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Gothic, Spain

Pages: 520

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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