Mini Reviews: January Reads

In this edition of Mini Reviews, I’m looking reviewing some of the books I read last month.

mini review

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus

Ellery and her bother Ezra arrive in Echo Ridge to find a hit and run victim, but that’s not the first murder this town has seen. Two prom queens have been murdered in recent years, and it seems the perpetrator is back when Brooke goes missing, suspected to be the next victim. There are interesting leads. Ellery is obsessed with solving crimes and looking for clues and this makes for a really interesting character and perspective on the events of the book. The book is told from her perspective and that of Malcolm, the brother of the man accused of murdering the last victim, and Malcolm finds himself a suspect. I really enjoyed this storyline. I did find the twist and reveal a little disappointing, but then the last line of the book blew me away. Worth a read if you like an interesting crime story with a dramatic conclusion.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is the story of Baz and Simon. Simon is the Chosen One, but he’s not a natural, magic doesn’t come easily to him. He has no parents, one friend (Penny – I love her so much) and a girlfriend, Agatha, who was last seen in the arms of his mortal enemy and roomate Baz. Baz is a vampire who seems to want him dead. Baz is amazing. Baz loves fire. He is snarky and pretentious and I adore him. They all attend a school for Mages, and their world is on the verge of a war. At first, Carry On did feel like I was hitting a story in the middle of something, and I did struggle with the spell names, which didn’t flow well, but this was a fun read and I did thoroughly enjoy it.

Us by David Nicholls

Us is a heartbreaking story examining the end of a marriage. Douglas and Connie’s son, Albie, is leaving home, they plans the trip of a lifetime around Europe. Then Connie announces she is leaving too, at the end of the trip. The book tells their story as they travel Europe and Douglas tries to work out where things went wrong and how to save his relationship. It also flashes back to the past showing how they came to be together and highlighting Douglas’s difficulties in his relationship with his son. It’s a beautiful but sad story, the characters are lovable and annoying in equal measure. There are times when you want to just sit them in a room and make them be honest with each other. One of the best things about the book though was the setting, the way David writes about Europe makes you feel you are actually there. I loved this book. It’s not the happiest read, but it’s certainly a worthwhile one.

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

Oh my did this book make me wish I was back at YALC! Lexi works at bookish conventions with her Dad. He is THE Angelo who runs some of the most well known conventions in the world. Lexi loves it, but it’s also a lot of pressure. I loved this behind-the-scenes look into what conventions are like for those running them. You really get a sense of the effort and the stress that goes into planning a book convention. I also really loved the cameo appearance of Melinda Salisbury just casually crossing the floor! Lexi gets given a proof book to read and really falls for it. Then she meets the author, Aidan, and everything changes. Yes, there’s a romance plotline in this book, but the thing I loved most of all was the friendships. Sam is wonderful, she’s not shy about calling Lexi out, but she’s also incredibly supportive. The whole idea of the convention staff being her family was just lovely. This is such a heart-warming read and I can’t recommend it enough.

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