Title: The Vanished Bride

Author: Bella Ellis

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters—the Brontë sisters—learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines—it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

The Review

I have a firm belief that you are either an Emily girl or a Charlotte girl (sorry Anne). If you read work by the Bronte sisters you will fall into either camp and it usually depends on which you read first: Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I, myself, am a Charlotte girl. I love Jane Eyre and for me it is the book form of a comfort blanket. It is the book I return to every few years and still fall helplessly in love with the heroine.

I have always thought that the life of the Bronte sisters must have been incredibly limited. The era in which they lived offered few opportunities for women and from what I did know about them beyond their work was limited. Therefore, it is brilliant to read a book like The Vanished Bride that affords the Bronte girls the chance to have excitement and a life filled with intrigue and mystery. Bella Ellis has really opened my eyes to how interesting their lives may have actually been. Granted, it is a fictional retelling but the story does have elements of truth in it and also uses historical accounts to help develop these writers into fully formed women which I found myself ignorant of.

The story of The Vanished Bride is really well told. It shows how the sisters were unable to quell their curiosity and had an opinion on what was right and wrong. It has all the elements needed for a gothic story and is in fact just a jolly good romp of a mystery. It is definitely worth a read.

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis is available now.

For more information regarding Bella Ellis (@brontemysteries) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Pages: 528 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.

The Review

I am going to admit that I should have known better. You see, it tells me on the blurb that The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has a whole Groundhog Day quality to it. I hate the movie Groundhog Day. There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that is similar that gets me very stressed out when I watch it. I get worn out when I have dreams whereby I am doing the same thing over and over and over again. I should have known I wouldn’t love The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

That is not to say that it isn’t written very well. Stuart Turton has masterfully created a murder mystery that I will admit had me guessing to the very end. The way her controls the story and drips nuggets of information and clues with each character is mindboggling.

If you like murder mysteries and time travel then this novel is totally up your street. If you get stressed out by character changes then maybe give the decision to read The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle a lot of thought beforehand.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is available now.

For more information regarding Stuart Turton (@stu_turton) please visit www.stuturton.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks) please visit www.sourcebooks.com.

Title: Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One)

Author: Dani Oden

Pages: 216 Pages

Publisher: Dani Oden

The Blurb

College freshman Jill Holloway takes one look at the stuck-up girls going through sorority rush and nearly returns her borrowed dress and heels. Against her best judgment, she ends up falling for the prestige and parties, and snagging a bid from a top house. After moving in, she quickly grows skeptical of her too-perfect sorority sisters. She tries to ask questions, but no one will take time from their busy social calendar to give her any real answers.

Jill wastes no time digging for everything she’s not supposed to find, and soon comes face-to-face with a big and bloody secret hidden in her sorority’s basement. She knows she’s in over her head, however taking off so soon would raise the perfectly-plucked eyebrows of her suspicious new sisters. She’s stuck until she can make a smooth exit.

The closer she gets to leaving, the more it becomes clear that it won’t be as simple as she hoped. A tempting fraternity guy, a best friend who needs her, and new details about what has really been happening in the basement have her questioning what her next move should be, and whether or not it’ll be worth the risks.

The Review

Handpicked is like a Scooby-Doo episode for a Y2K generation. It focuses on Jill, college freshman who is rushing a sorority but when spooky things start to happen she, along with friends Hannah and Lindy, begin to wonder if the sisterhood is really for them.

Handpicked is a really easy read. It is one of those books that you can get lost in but not feel overwhelmed by. You don’t feel guilty when you put it down to deal with real life stuff. Personally, I felt that it was a little anticlimactic but as it is the start of a series I am willing to forgive that. If you’re not into heavy literature and you just want a book to brighten your day then Dani Oden could be your next favourite author.

Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One) by Dani Oden is available now.

For more information regarding Dani Oden (@MsDaniOden) please visit her Twitter page.

Title: Your Turn to Die

Author: Sue Wallman

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic Fiction

The Blurb

Sue Wallman’s most spine-tingling thriller yet!

Every winter, three families gather in an old house to celebrate the New Year. This year, 15-year-old Leah and the other kids discover that the house has a dark past. As they dig into the history, terrible things start happening, and if Leah isn’t careful, this New Year might be her last.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

To try and get members of the school book club to read out of their comfort zone I picked up five copies of Sue Wallman’s book Your Turn to Die. I had previously read Lying About Last Summer so I knew she was a writer I could trust to deliver a good story. What I wasn’t expecting was a book so intense and so gripping that I was practically shoving it into the book club member’s bags and demanding that they read it, read it now.

Your Turn to Die has all the elements that make a good mystery – remote location, strange interloper and a series of odd events that just keep happening. Wallman is so clever at story telling that I genuinely found myself shocked and gasping at certain points in the story. Ok, so I am not that smart when it comes to mysteries and I never guess who dunnit but dammit I stand by my review.

Your Turn to Die is an excellent murder mystery and I defy anyone to read it and not enjoy it!

Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman is available now.

For more information regarding Sue Wallman (@SueWallman) please visit www.suewallman.co.uk.

For more information regarding Scholastic Fiction (@scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

My Side of the DiamondTitle: My Side of the Diamond

Author: Sally Gardner

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books/Bonnier Zaffre Books

The Blurb

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared.

But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air.

Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance?

Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

The Review

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is a very curious tale that had me reading way outside of my comfort zone. It is part YA which I love, part thriller and mystery which I am lukewarm to and part science fiction which is so not my genre.

However, Sally Gardner has created a really compelling story and full bodied cast that I found myself unable to put the damn book down! The story is told from multi-perspective which lends the book an air of displacement and discomfort. I did not feel comfortable or settled reading it. I constantly questioned my characters – on their morals and what they said.

I do feel more settled now that I have finished My Side of the Diamond but it has left me irked in the best possible way.

I would love to know if the Lazarus theme is a link to David Bowie? There are too many shout outs. If anyone knows if this was a choice by Sally Gardner – or if indeed Sally Gardner you would like to answer this question for me – then I would be really grateful.

My Side of the Diamond is a strange little book that begs to be read.

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Gardner (@TheSallyGardner) please visit www.sallygardner.net.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre Books (@BonnierZaffre) please visit their Twitter page.

3 Stars