Search

Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed

Category

Mystery YA

Review: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Summary

Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

Sourced from Goodreads

add-to-goodreads-button

Review

Hey, everyone! Sorry I haven’t been posting lately. You’d think by this point I would learn to give notice for these things, but no! 😀 Hopefully, if I ever decide to take a break again, I’ll be more considerate in the future.

Well, this time around, I want to talk about A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee. Where do I even begin? There’s so much to talk about. First of all, I’d like to say that this is the first historical fiction I’ve read in quite a while; the last one was in 2013 or 2014. I just never got back into it for some reason. But I thought I’d give this one a whirl because of the elusive Agency mentioned in the blurb. I wanted to see how this would fit into the Victorian period. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed with the Agency since it didn’t live up to my standards of what I thought it should be. There was just so much potential for it. But ultimately, I realize that this is the first book and it might set up stuff for the next books instead of giving everything at once, which would just be too much.

While the book was pretty slow in the beginning, it did pick up by about halfway through. Then there were so many different theories about what everyone was up to that I could hardly keep up!

I felt kind of the same way about Mary Quinn. In the beginning, I didn’t really get a sense of character from her; she just seemed flat. Maybe it was her delivery or because she was pretending to be a paid companion at first. Either way, I wasn’t really sure about Mary until much later, like near the end of the book. I’m not saying she isn’t resourceful or clever, because she is. I just didn’t really connect with her as much as I could have, excluding one part in the middle and as the novel was near its end.

Well, that’s all I have to say about A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee. I don’t know if I’ll go on to reading the second book in the series, mainly because of the really slow beginning but also because of the lack of information that was given about the Agency, and now that I think about it, Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. At the moment, they seem more like tools used to explain Mary’s purpose within the story rather than being separate entities with entirely developed functions and histories. But hopefully if I ever do continue reading the series, this will change. If you have any questions about A Spy in the House, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below!

Have a nice day!

– Sumaya

Advertisements

ARC Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Sourced from Goodreads

add-to-goodreads-button

Review

Trigger Warning: emotional abuse and molestation 

Hello, fellow readers! It’s been a while, but I’m back with another review, this one being on Sadie by Courtney Summers. While I haven’t read any of Courtney Summer’s other books, as soon as I heard about this one at the latest TeensRead event, I knew I wanted to read it. It’s kind of surprising, since I’m not a huge fan of thrillers, what with me questioning every decision the protagonist makes, but this one seemed different. Possibly because of the podcast element. And I wasn’t wrong.

First of all, I loved the chapters alternating between Sadie’s POV and the podcast transcript. There was just so much story in both. For instance, as one chapter ends, the next POV would carry on seamlessly. The podcast would fill readers in on anything Sadie might have left out in her narration and vice versa. Plus, the storytelling elements for both of these POVs were superb.

Then there were the characters. These were fleshed-out people whose story cannot be contained in a single novel, but the author did an outstanding job in giving readers a glimpse. What I’m trying to say is that the author gives us characters that aren’t good or bad – with the exception of some – but have their own story to tell alongside Sadie’s. And for most of these characters, you feel some level of empathy for them. Especially Sadie. As I’ve said before, a lot of time when I try to read thriller or mystery, I find myself constantly questioning the protagonist and their motivations. Not this time. I understood exactly why Sadie was doing what she was doing and empathized with her throughout the entire novel.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this novel for now. If you’re into true crime podcasts, Macmillan made a fake one for Sadie called The Girls (the name of the podcast in the novel). The first episode is available right now, too! As for the novel, I honestly would recommend this to anyone who likes to read thriller or mystery; it gets you questioning the sad truths about missing girls and how people shouldn’t simply fit them into a stereotype just to make it easier. Fair warning though: the ending will leave you with more questions than answers. And for those of you are interested, Sadie comes out on September 4th, 2018.

Also, after reading Sadie, I plan to read more of Courtney Summer’s novels. If anyone has read one of them and they would like to recommend it, feel free to share the title in the Comments Section below!

Thanks for reading everyone!

– Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell

Summary

One week. That’s all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future–decisions they had been fighting about for weeks. Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he’s run away, but Jessie doesn’t believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river–the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened. As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie’s town who don’t like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris’s character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats. Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that’s happening while he’s gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit.

Sourced from Goodreads

add-to-goodreads-button

Review

My rating:

green4

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review! Today’s review is on This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell. Now, when I started this book, I did try to keep my expectations low and it worked! I think I ended up enjoying my reading experience a whole lot more because of this!

First of all, I really liked the author’s writing style. The story was told in Jessie’s POV, focusing on the current situation of her boyfriend Chris missing. But it also used a lot of flashbacks to expand on their relationship, all their ups and downs, and how it might have related to the present. It made the story a lot more interesting than if it were written in a chronological manner. Not only did readers get to learn more about Jessie and Chris, but the flashbacks also served as a way to extend the story. In my opinion, the story would have been either finished much more quickly or stretched out if the flashbacks weren’t embedded  in the story.

Then there were the characters. To be honest, I actually liked how the author portrayed the characters within the novel. They were realistic with a capital R. You may not agree with everything they say or do, but that’s what make them the round characters they are. The point is that you understand these character’s motives and empathize with them, which I did for almost all of the characters (there were just a few characters that I didn’t empathize with). The only character that I didn’t get a sense of that roundness from was Tamara, who filled the role of mean girl for the novel. The author also used these characters to talk about relevant issues regarding racial prejudice, stereotyping, bullying and mental illness.

Overall, I thought that This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell was a pretty good read. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to read something within the realm of mystery. For those who are interested in This is Not a Love Letter, the novel comes out on January 30th, 2018. Oh, and if anyone has comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

My rating: 


(3.75 stars)

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a restful weekend! 🙂 I’m back with another review, this one being on Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly. I actually read this book a while ago, but I’ve been meaning to review it, especially since I plan on reading its sequel… It’s about Zoe, who recently moved to your run-of-the-mill town after her mom’s divorce. It might have derailed her plan for getting into Princeton, but as long as she got out of town into a prestigious boarding school, she should have no trouble  getting back on track. But then she met Digby, amateur detective, who had a knack for getting her into a lot of trouble. Together, they investigate and discover secrets that might have been best left alone.

Well, first of all, I’ve got to say that this book reminded me a lot of Sherlock. Probably because when I read this book, I was anticipating the BBC version Sherlock by watching the episodes over and over again until it came on. In fact, the day I finished reading this book was the day before Sherlock was coming on. And I was anticipating season 4 most anxiously… That being said, I saw lots of parallels between Digby and Sherlock that made me think that this book was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic. But that wasn’t the only enjoyable thing about the book. I really liked how suspenseful it was. I literally felt myself panicking for a character because I got to relate with her. Now, this didn’t always happen, with her being less relatable in the beginning, but by the end, I felt as if I knew and liked Zoe as a character.

But God, I liked Digby a whole lot more. He was basically the whole interesting side of the story. Her life was pretty much uneventful until she moved with her mom after the divorce to where Digby showed up. He was witty, made solid arguments, had this whole reckless thing down to a T and then there was the mystery surrounding him and his family. Due to the ending involving both these characters, I felt as if the first book was setting up the scene, and that hopefully the second book, Trouble Makes a Comeback, will be much more exciting. My only problem with this book was that it had a slow start in being exciting. Sure, there were a few good moments here and there in the beginning, but once it got to the nitty gritty of the situation, I got really invested. So that’s why I’d give this book a 3.75 star rating.

There are so many unanswered questions that I’m hoping to return to once I start reading Trouble Makes a Comeback, the sequel to Trouble is a Friend of Mine! Hopefully, Zoe’s character development will grow even more within it! Well, that’s all I have to say about Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Take care, and keep reading!

– Sumaya

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑