Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Mini Reviews: Hot Key Books






Title: The Perfectionists
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don't have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it's about time he paid for what he's done. They come up with the perfect murder - a hypothetical murder, of course. It's all wishful thinking ... until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed - in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn't do it. So who did?
The Perfectionists is my first Sara Shepard book, as I'd never been tempted to try the Pretty Little Liars series. I think what probably won me over with this book is the gorgeous, yet simple cover. I'd heard about the book whilst at the Hot Key Blogger Brunch and loved the sound of it too. It's the story of five girls who bond over their mutual hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss, who is king of their high school. They come up with the idea for the perfect way to kill Nolan, whilst never planning to actually use it. The only problem is that Nolan ends up dead, just the way they had discussed. They didn't kill him, but now they have to figure out who did.


I liked this story and I whizzed through it at super speed because I wanted to find out the truth. I loved that each girl had her own individual story and reasons for wanting Nolan dead. I liked learning about the characters and how they ended up together, plotting the murder of a teenage boy. I thought the pacing was brilliant and there was a good deal of suspense in this story. It worked to get my attention and hold it, then leave me wanting more. I finished this book and just had to get to the sequel because I needed answers.



Title: The Good Girls  (The Perfectionists #2)
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed. Or are they about to become the killer's next targets?
If I thought book one was a read I whizzed through, then book two was one I got through at supersonic speed. I read this in one sitting and didn't put it down once, I needed my answers. And answers I got! I don't read many YA murder mystery type books, as a lot of the time I think they can border on the ridiculous - Far From You by Tess Sharpe being the most glorious and wonderful exception. So I was a little nervous about how this story would play out and who the murderer would be.

By the end of the book I wanted to go back and start over to see if there was anything I had missed whilst reading, if there had been more clues. I guessed the culprit, but very late in the game and so it didn't bother me. I do think this book went into a more ridiculous plot at some points, where I couldn't believe that those things would ever actually happen, but I still enjoyed the book. I think it's a great duology and I am glad I read it. I think fans of Pretty Little Liars would absolutely love it, for obvious reasons.


Title: Sophie Someone
Author: Hayley Long
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Book Depository 
'Some stories are hard to tell.Even to your very best friend.And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.But if you bottle them up, you might burst.So here's my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.'Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she's fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion - and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can't put it into words. But it's also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.
Hayley Long is absolutely hilarious and she completely sold me on this book when I met her at the HK brunch. In this book Sophie uses her own language to tell the story, as it's the only way she knows how. She swaps out words for other words - like teacher becomes torturer - and I was worried it would make this hard to read. It didn't, it's surprising just how quickly you pick up the language and what every word means and it didn't bother me at all when reading.

There is a lot of mystery that surrounds Sophie and her family, she knows they left the UK to come to Belgium when she was little, but she has never been quite sure why. Or why she has no other family that she sees. This book is about Sophie going on a journey to discover the truth about her family and who she really is. I loved Sophie as a character, she has a wonderful personality and she had me laughing a lot whilst reading this book.

This is an easy and enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it, but I'd say it's more of a teen read than a YA read. I'd probably recommend it for younger teens though, as it doesn't necessarily feel like a YA read to me.



Title: Being a Girl
Author: Hayley Long
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
Being a girl is not all sugar and spice. How can you possibly survive school and even think about talking to your crush when you have spots in places you didn't even know you had, your boobs are too big (or too small) and the friend drama is off the charts? Luckily, bestselling YA author and sixth-form teacher Hayley Long provides a straight-talking guide to puberty - from cattiness to kisses, and everything in between. With witty black-and-white illustrations by Gemma Correll throughout, BEING A GIRL tells you everything you need to know about surviving puberty, in an honest and humorous way.
This is a book where Hayley Long's wicked sense of humour really gets to shine through. This book had me in stitches the whole time I was reading it, which is quite embarrassing when you're reading a book on a packed train. This is a book that I feel every young girl should read, and I wish it had been here when I was younger.

This book is not only funny, it's incredibly informative too and a read I think every young girl needs to read. It has chapters on sex, periods, hair and so much more, everything you could need from the book is in there. My favourite chapter was probably Herstory, where Long looks at the amazing women throughout history - I learnt quite a bit myself whilst reading that one. I think this is a book that every girl should read, and every boy too, because they can learn a lot from it. It's a book that should definitely be on the shelves of the school libraries, and readily made available to anyone who needs it.



Title: Under My Skin
Author: James Dawson
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
Meet Molly Sue. Once she's under your skin there's no getting rid of her...Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally's about as shy and retiring as they come - but all that's about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour - and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back - hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head - or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue's. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl - in fact, she's mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue... and before long she's going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody 'under your skin'.
I wasn't the biggest fan of tattoos before I read this book, but now I think I am put off of them for life. Sally, a quiet and shy girl, has a rebellious moment when she gets a tattoo on a whim. Sadly the tattoo isn't all it seems, which becomes clear to Sally when her tattoo - Molly Sue - starts talking to her. She gives Sally a new found confidence, which Sally appreciates. But soon it becomes clear that Molly Sue isn't happy taking a backseat, she wants to be in control.

The only problem with the book, and something that stopped me enjoying it as much as I'd liked, was the fact that it felt far too American for a book set in the Britain, and written by a British author. The characters use words that no one here would actually use - like jock for example. It just felt weird when I was reading it and kept taking me out of the story.

I love the creepy feel to the book though and it definitely makes me eager to read more by the author. I am most excited for his next read, All of the Above, as it's a contemporary read that sounds amazing!


Title: Only We Know
Author: Simon Packham
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
What is the secret of Lauren's past?Lauren's family have moved house very suddenly, and she and her sister Tilda have to go to a new school. Lauren's determined to reinvent herself, but she's panic-stricken when she sees Harry, who she knew a few years ago. Luckily Harry doesn't recognise her, and she knows she has to make sure it stays like that. Lauren, unlike Tilda, settles in well. She makes friends, is helping to organise the school fashion show, and has boys asking her out. But just as her life finally seems to be looking up she starts receiving macabre packages. When she gets a message: 'Isn't it time your new friends knew all about you?' she has to admit that someone knows her secret. But who - and what should she do?
Only We Know was such a wonderful and surprising read and I had no idea what to expect when going into the book. There is a mystery surrounding Lauren and the reason why her family had to move. All we know is that an incident took place, and it meant that Lauren and her family had to move away from their old life, and start over somewhere new. But we don't know whether Lauren was to blame or not or how much she was involved in the reasons for why they are moving.

This story sees a person from her past reappear in her life and threaten to wreck the new life she has built for herself. It also brings the risk that the truth about her will be revealed. This led up to a shocking reveal I didn't see coming, but one that I really have to applaud. This was the first book I had ever read dealing with this particular issue, and it's something we definitely need to see more of. Whilst I thought the ending felt a little too happy in the end, it was still realistic for the most part and dealt with the seriousness of the issues it was touching on. I won't give anything else away as it's definitely a story you don't want to have spoiled for you. 





18 comments:

  1. Whizzed and supersonic sounds like it was an easy read?

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    1. Yes, very easy to get through and I read this in a few hours.

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  2. It looks like all of these were pretty good reads! Great mini reviews!

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  3. It seems like Hot Key Books has a lot of good reads that are well worth the time! I am glad you were able to enjoy them all so much - not a single one an under three star read! I hope the future books are going to be just as good as well. The one I have seen around quite a lot would have to be the Perfectionists.

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    1. I love Hot Key Books, they have such a great selection of books.

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  4. About half of these books I hadn't heard about. So thanks for bringing some of them to my attention. :)
    I've yet to read PLL or watch the show. Just don't think it's really my thing. But since The Perfectionist is a duology I can see myself trying out the first book so I can give Sara a go.
    Being A Girl sounds like it could informative for any age. I actually do want to give it a try.
    Great bunch of reviews!
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. Being a Girl really is great for any age, it had me in hysterics.

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  5. Being A Girl sounds very fun. Thanks for your reviews on all of these. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. I had so much fun reading that, I laughed so much!

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  6. OOh, I want to try Sophie Someone! And I kiiiind of want to read Being A Girl because FUNNINESS?!! I'M IN. I usually get turned off titles/covers like that tho, but still. Funniness is my weakness. xD Try going for a walk with an audio book and just randomly cracking up while strolling down the street. *digs hole and hides in it* XDXD

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    1. Being a Girl had me in hysterics. I LOVED it!!! :)

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  7. I really want to try something by Sara Shepard and Under My Skin sounds so cool!

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  8. The Perfectionists remind me a little of John Tucker Must Die, I think that was pretty much along the same lines, but without the murder mystery element. I haven't read Pretty Little Liars either, or have had any inclination to pick up the series, but this one sounds pretty good. I'm always on the lookout for fast reads to pass the time on a Saturday night. Really interested in Only We Know as well, I love mystery contemporaries where the reader needs to piece the storyline together. Well colour me intrigued. Awesome reviews Charnell, so glad you enjoyed these <3

    Kelly @ Diva Booknerd

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    1. Yes, it is really similar to that movie when you think about it. I really enjoyed Only We Know, it was a very surprising read.

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  9. I haven't read PLL either, but The Perfectionists sounds really interesting!

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