YA Review: This Book Kills

Title: This Book Kills
Author: Ravena Guron
Edition:
Kindle ARC
Rating:
4/5

YA review: This Book Kills

Are you ready for the twists and turns of this gripping boarding-school murder mystery?

Jess Choudhary feels out of place in her very white, very rich boarding school. She’s there on a scholarship, and if she breaks the rules she won’t escape with a telling-off – unlike the paying rich kids, she’ll lose her funding and be sent home. Jess is determined to succeed, to stay out of trouble, and escape the attentions of the notorious Regia Club, the school’s mysterious secret society. But when one of the richest students in school is murdered, Jess finds herself at the centre of the investigation. Whoever killed Hugh Henry Van Boren used one of Jess’s short stories as their inspiration, and the crime scene matches her description perfectly. When Jess begins receiving death threats, she realises she needs to figure out who the murderer is before she loses her scholarship, takes the blame for murder – or becomes the next victim.

It’s a brilliant premise, and a great way to start a murder mystery. There are plenty of clues woven into the story, and a whole lot of red herrings and missing pieces for Jess and her friends to puzzle over. Jess is a perfect narrator – someone smart enough to figure out what happened to Hugh, but limited in her ability to investigate the murder. She can’t afford to break any rules, and she doesn’t have many friends among the privileged rich kids. No one is beyond suspicion – staff, students and outsiders all feature in her investigation, and she uncovers plenty of scandalous secrets about her classmates as she searches for the truth.

It’s an addictive read – I found it hard to put down, and the more confusing the clues became, the more determined I was to figure out the mystery. I didn’t guess whodunnit, even though I was convinced I had solved the murder, but the ending makes perfect sense when you get there. It’s a satisfying story with an intriguing and complex setting, and Jess is an interesting and engaging narrator. Perfect if you’re looking for a new bookish obsession!

Have you read This Book Kills? What did you think of the mystery? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

This Book Kills will be published on January 5th 2023.

YA review: This Book Kills cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: Her Dark Wings

Title: Her Dark Wings
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Edition:
Paperback
Rating:
5/5

YA Review - Her Dark Wings - Paperback cover image

This wonderful YA retelling of the Persephone myth grabbed me from the first page and kept me reading right to the end. I loved the setting, the characters, the gorgeous writing style, and all the twists and turns of the story.

Seventeen-year-old Corey lives on an island, somewhere off the coast of the UK, in a world where the Greek gods still rule. The calendar is based around their festivals, and it is a temple, not a church, at the heart of island life. There are rumours that an entrance to the underworld can be seen just offshore if you look for it from the right spot, but no one has ever proved its existence.

Corey is recovering from a devastating double betrayal. Her best friend Bree has stolen her boyfriend Ali, and on her small island it is impossible to avoid them and try to forget what happened. At the Autumn festival, she attempts to move on, but when Bree arrives with Ali she can’t help wishing her friend dead. When Bree drowns after Corey kisses a stranger, Corey can’t stop blaming herself.

As she looks for a way to bring Bree back, Corey experiences her own brush with death, the underworld, and the gods. Searching for answers, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery – and finds herself impossibly far from home.

Her Dark Wings is an empowered, modern take on the Persephone myth. Corey is far from being a helpless victim, and as she discovers more about herself she begins to understand her own powers and calling. The female relationships are perfectly described, from the Corey-and-Bree friendship and betrayal, through Corey’s heartwarming relationship with her stepmother, and the women she meets on her journey. It’s a coming-of-age story that doesn’t follow a predictable path, and I enjoyed every page.

Have you read Her Dark Wings? What did you think of Corey’s story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: The Agency For Scandal

Title: The Agency For Scandal
Author: Laura Wood
Edition:
Kindle
Rating:
5/5

Mystery, intrigue, danger, romance, and secret 19th century feminism come together in this gripping new book from Laura Wood. I’m not normally a romance reader (YA or otherwise), but I’ve loved every Laura Wood book I’ve picked up, and this one once again makes the grade.

Izzy is a self-confessed wallflower with a complicated life. Following the death of her father and the loss of his income she is battling to keep the family home and pay her brother’s school fees. Her bed-ridden mother has no idea that most of the servants have been laid off, and almost all the furniture sold. Izzy works hard to maintain the illusion of wealth and status for her family, keeping their secret from everyone – even her best friend.

But Izzy has another secret. Trained by her father before he died, she is an expert lock picker. No one her father worked for will hire a woman in his place, but her skills have caught the eye of a very secretive organisation. Izzy is an undercover agent for a group of exceptional women, whose mission is to defend other women, and put right the injustices of a system where wives are the property of their husbands, and women are not seen as equal to men.

The women are hired, Sherlock Holmes style, to investigate a puzzling case, and Izzy finds herself working with the Duke of Roxton – a man on whom she has a crush, but can only hope to admire from a distance. He’s a Duke, and she can barely support her family. As they work more closely together, Izzy finds herself falling for the Duke, but knows she can’t afford to develop feelings that cannot be reciprocated.

I loved this book. I loved the glittering parties and the dangerous exploits, and Izzy’s relationships with the people around her. I loved the undercover investigations, and the teams of women hiding in plain sight as they worked to right the wrongs of their society. I loved all the strong, capable women – especially Izzy, whose sensible approach to her feelings is balanced with a refreshingly bold attitude to the risks of her job. It’s an engaging story with a colourful cast of characters, and a highly sympathetic narrator. Come for the Bridgerton-style society intrigue, stay for the all-action feminist spycraft, and swoon over the wonderful romantic leads.

Have you read The Agency For Scandal? What did you think of Izzy’s story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

The Agency for Scandal will be published on January 5th 2023.

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.