Friday, 20 January 2017

Book Review- What Remains of Me

Title: What Remains of Me
Author: Alison Gaylin
Published: Feb 23rd 2016
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4/5

Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s got a drawer somewhere with something hidden in it.
On June 28, 1980—the hottest night of the year—Kelly Michelle Lund shoots and kills Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a party in his home. . . . And instantly becomes a media sensation, her chilling smile fodder for national nightmares. For years, speculation swirls over the enigmatic seventeen-year-old’s motives, information she’s refused to share. Convicted of the murder, she loses her youth and her freedom—but keeps her secrets to herself.
Thirty years later—and five years after her release from prison—the past has come back to haunt Kelly. Her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall, is found in a pool of blood in his home in the Hollywood Hills—dead from a shot to the head, just like his old friend John McFadden.
Once again, Kelly is suspected of the high profile murder. But this time, she’s got some unexpected allies who believe she’s innocent—of both killings—and want to help her clear her name. But is she?
Written with masterful precision and control, What Remains of Me brilliantly moves forward and back in time, playing out the murders side by side—interweaving subtle connections and peeling away layers of events to reveal the shocking truth. -Goodreads

I received this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This is a thriller set in Hollywood about a teenager called Kelly who is sent to prison for killing director John McFadden. The novel begins when Kelly has been out of prison for 5 years when her father-in-law (movie legend Sterling Marshall) is killed in the same was as McFadden, and Kelly is a prime suspect.
Gaylin cleverly uses dual timelines in this novel. We follow Kelly's POV when she is out of prison, and we also follow her when she is 17, leading up to the first murder. Reading this we have to piece together what happened as we go, flipping between the present and the past to try to figure what exactly happened and how the pieces all fit together. 
I must admit that I found this read quite slow to begin with, and it was heading towards a 3 star rating, but the second half saved the rating! I struggled to get interested in any of the characters, it was all a bit boring. I actually put the book down and only picked it up again because I had received it to review. 
However I'm really glad I picked the novel back up, the novel really picks up in the second half. The mystery aspect of the novel is very well done, I was never sure whether Kelly killed either of the men, and this ambiguity really added to my enjoyment. It meant I couldn't really trust any of the characters, and the author made you doubt Kelly's voice too, so you were never sure exactly what the facts were!
The author makes good use of news articles and TMZ reports placed sporadically throughout the novel. This pause in the narrative allowed a pause in the story, and allowed the author to show us what the public's view of the murders and Kelly was. This added to the mystery and confusion surrounding what happened, and just gave me more questions about the characters and what the truth was.
Kelly is an unusual and fascinating main character. As a teen, her journey from quiet shy awkward teenage girl to confident drug taking rebel was very interesting to read about. Her life outside of prison, with her husband is just as interesting, although completely different. The insight into the way the Press and the public view her, and her vilification by them because she didn't act a certain way when arrested, was well written by Gatlin. This was a character that I really enjoyed getting to know and reading about. That's not to say that she was likeable, she was a hard and intense character to read about, but that didn't stop me enjoying her, and feeling some sympathy towards her. 
The supporting characters are well done too. Kelly's childhood/adolescent friends are drug taking party goers, children of famous names in Hollywood. Kelly is a lamb among wolves, she is the innocent one that soon finds herself fully involved in the madness of the celebrity children's lives. There is also some fairly problematic parents, all tied to Hollywood somehow, all with problems and vices and pretty poor parenting skills. 
With the addition of a detective with a bias towards Kelly, a group of people living in a commune and Kelly's neighbour who likes to sculpt with chainsaws, Gaylin has created a wide ranging and fascinating collection of characters that all keep the story moving, and are interesting to read about.
I personally would have liked to have read something about Kelly's time in prison, she sat on a lot of information for a long time. She kept many secrets in prison, it would've been interesting to see how she dealt with them. However this is a minor gripe!
Overall I enjoyed this novel. It's a thriller filled with twists and red-herrings, and some very intriguing characters, and if you like mystery thrillers I would give this novel a try!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My 2017 Bookish Resolutions

I've set myself 10 bookish targets I hope to reach by the end of 2017. Whether I manage to do it or not is another questions, but I'm beginning the year with positivity!!

1. I have set my Goodreads challenge at 50 books for this year, I managed to read 46 in 2016, so hopefully I can push it to 50!

2. I also want to read 12 review books, either from Net Galley, from authors or other review sources.

3. I also want to feature more Scottish authors on this blog, so I'm aiming to read 12 novels by Scottish authors this year.

4. I currently have around 130 unread books in my TBR pile, and my aim in 2017 is to reduce this to under 100, either through reading them, gifting them to others, or donating to charity.

5. I also want to limit the amount of books I purchase this year, so I'm going to try (!!) to limit myself to 1 new book for every 5 I read! Whether this is a resolution I can actually stick to remains to be seen!

6. I want to finish 5 series this year, I only managed to finish 1 in 2016, so I really want to up this for 2017!

7. I also want to read more classics, I'm aiming to read 10 in 2017, quite a few of these will come from my Uni reading list, but I'm still going to include them!

8. I also want to reduce my "Put down for now" shelf on Goodreads. These are where I place all the books I've started and then lost interest in.

9. I also want to re-read 5 novels this year, I don't re-read many books, so I want to increase this!

10. My last resolutions isn't really a resolution as it happens every year, but I want to re-read The Sherlock Holmes novels/short stories, and the Harry Potter series in summer!


Thanks for reading!!

Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Top 10 Books of 2016

Hi guys, apologies for the lateness of this post! I took part in Bout of Books last week, so I wanted to wait until it was finished before I posted this! These are my 10 favourite books that I read in 2016, as usual they aren't in order of preference.
I had a pretty good year of books this year, I read 5 5 star books, which is a lot for me, and only 5 1 or 2 star books. Hopefully 2017 can be even better!!

1. All The Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr
Review here












2. Salt To The Sea- Ruta Sepetys
Review here













3. Himself- Jess Kidd
Review here












4. Code Name Verity- Elizabeth Wein













5. Raven Black- Ann Cleeves













6. Exodus- Julie Bertagna













7. Dunsinane- David Greig













8. Outlander- Diana Gabaldon













9. The Martian- Andy Weir
Review here












10. Rivers of London- Ben Aaronovitch
Review here












Thanks for reading guys!

Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Shelf Control 10/01/17


This is a weekly feature that I will be posting on a Tuesday, where I will be spotlighting a book that I have on my shelves that I haven't read. This is a great idea for a weekly post, as I have loads of unread books, and i find it really interesting to read why others have purchased and want to read certain books!! This is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

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This Week's Book:
Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: 2007
Pages: 409


Synopsis: About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear... 
How/When I Got It:
This is actually a novel I own on my Kindle, but I reckon I bought it in 2012, and I've just never got around to reading it!

Why I Want To Read It: 
I have read a couple of Snyder's other books and I really enjoyed them, so hopefully I will enjoy this one too!

Happy reading everyone!

Twitter | Goodreads 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Bout of Books 18 Wrap Up!

Books Read: 

A Scandal in Bohemia- Arthur Conan Doyle
A Case of Identity- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Red Headed League- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Boscombe Valley Mystery- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Five Orange Pips- Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read: 459

Thoughts: 

I really enjoyed Bout of Books this week, it was very fun to take part in the twitter chat, and although I wasn't that productive in terms of pages read, I still feel pleased with the reading I accomplished!!
I can't wait until the next one!!

Happy reading!

Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Bout of Books 18 Update #6


Currently Reading:

American Gods- Neil Gaiman
The Spider and the Stone- Glen Craney

Books Completed:

A Scandal in Bohemia- Arthur Conan Doyle
A Case of Identity- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Red Headed League- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Boscombe Valley Mystery- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Five Orange Pips- Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read Today: 59

Total Pages Read: 416

Thoughts:

I didn't get much reading done today either, but I'm really enjoying American Gods, and I decided to pick up The Spider and the Stone because I have it for review!!

Happy reading!!

Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Bout of Books Update #4 and #5


Update #4

Currently Reading:

American Gods- Neil Gaiman

Books Completed:

A Scandal in Bohemia- Arthur Conan Doyle
A Case of Identity- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Red Headed League- Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read Today: 114

Total Pages Read: 306

Thoughts:

I managed to read quite a bit of American Gods today, mostly because I wasn't working and was able to dedicate a good bit of time to it!


Update #5

Currently Reading:

American Gods- Neil Gaiman

Books Completed:

A Scandal in Bohemia- Arthur Conan Doyle
A Case of Identity- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Red Headed League- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Boscombe Valley Mystery- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Five Orange Pips- Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read Today: 51

Total Pages Read: 357

Thoughts:

I am really enjoying reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and short novels, they're quick and easy to read, but enjoyable too!


Happy reading!!

Twitter | Goodreads



Thursday, 5 January 2017

Bout of Books 18 Update #3


Currently Reading: 

American Gods- Neil Gaiman

Books Completed:

A Scandal in Bohemia- Arthur Conan Doyle
A Case of Identity- Arthur Conan Doyle
The Red Headed League- Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read Today: 55

Total Pages Read: 192

Thoughts:

Another rather disappointing total for today, I spent time with family so I didn't have as much time to read as I thought I would.

Happy reading!

Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Bout of Books 18 Update #2


Currently Reading: 

American Gods- Neil Gaiman
A Case of Identity- Arthur Conan Doyle

Books Completed:

A Scandal in Bohemia- Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read Today: 26

Total Pages Read: 137

Thoughts:

I'm pretty disappointed with this total for today, but I was working all day so I guess it's to be expected! I'm not working the next couple of days, so hopefully I can get a better page count for the rest of the week!!

Happy reading!

Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Bout of Books 18 Update #1


Currently Reading:

American Gods- Neil Gaiman
A Case of Identity- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Books Completed:

A Scandal in Bohemia- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages Read Today: 111

Total Pages Read: 111

Thoughts:

I'm pretty pleased with this total for Monday, I finished 1 Sherlock Holmes short story, and managed to schedule 2 blog posts too!

Happy reading!!

Twitter | Goodreads

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Book Review- The Bone Season

Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Published: 20th August 2013
Pages: 466
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: The Bone Season #1

Rating: 3/5 

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.- Goodreads

I've owned this book for maybe three years, I bought it with a load of other books and just never got around to it. I finally decided to pick it up because I have the hardback version and it was taking up a lot of room on my TBR shelf! As this suggests, I wasn't overly eager to begin this novel, and if it hadn't been hardback I probably wouldn't have. 
Firstly, the problems I had with this novel. 
This novel is an info-dump. The author throws so much information at the reader that it got a little overwhelming in places. I understand this has to be done to set up the world, but even with the huge amount of information we were being given, parts of the world still didn't really make sense. That led me to feel that the information we were being bombarded with was a little pointless at times.
The author also uses so much slang words that the novel required a 10 page glossary at the end to list all the words. I'm not a huge fan of the over use of slang; I don't mind a bit, but there were so many that at times I didn't know what I was reading about. Obviously I could use said glossary, but I really can't be bothered to flick back and forth while I'm reading!!
This novel comes across as very predictable. It seems like a regurgitation of many other YA or fantasy novels. The whole storyline with 'Warden' was so predictable from the beginning, but when the inevitable did happen it seemed out of place and unsubstantiated from what had happened/how they acted previously. (This paragraph refers to one character falling in love with another, after initially hating each other. I kept it vague to try and reduce spoilers!)
The characters all felt predictable and recycled too. Paige is the main character, and there is very little to separate her from other YA heroines. Warder is every other 'dark, brooding' male character in YA, a paranormal being that starts bad and distant but ends up good! Even the minor characters are oddly developed. Some we are supposed to become attached to, but we never really find out much about. Some are mentioned and created only to further Paige's sob story. Even our antagonist is poorly developed, I'm not even really sure what her 'power' was, and I know nothing about her, but I'm sure she'll be a big character in the next book!
I actually felt quite detached from this novel. It's like I could see where I was supposed to feel sad about a character's misfortune or death, but I really felt nothing at all at any of those moments. I never felt attached to any of the characters, and I didn't really care what happened. 
I also really vehemently dislike the 'slave falling in love with master' trope that is so popular in YA novels. This master drugs her, physically hurts her, invades her memories without her knowledge, and 'feeds' on her mind or something. There is something inherently wrong about this behaviour, and the subsequent relationship they develop. I hate it. This really put me off this novel.
However, despite this overwhelmingly negative review so far, I did enjoy some aspects of this novel.
I liked the setting of this novel. I always like a novel set in London, and I thought the novel had a steampunk feel to it, like a sort of Victorian London but in the future; I thought this setting was used well by the author. 
I also like the amount of action in this novel, the plot was very fast paced, and although there was a lot of info dumping, there was also a lot going on. There was quite a lot of tension and excitement too, which meant this was actually quite a speedy read, although there was a lot going on.
Although I thought this novel was predictable and some elements of the plot put me off, I think there are encouraging signs for Shannon's future. This is only her first novel, and she is young, and I am sure that she will improve. Her imagination and story telling skills are something that will serve her well for further writing.
Overall, I thought this was an ok debut from Shannon, and first novel in the series. There were some good elements; the storytelling and setting were good, but I'm not sure if I will read any further in this series.

Happy reading! 

Twitter | Goodreads 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Bout of Books 18

This will be my third Bout of Books, and I'm excited to take part!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team




I'm hoping to read 3 books this time, 2 of which I need to read for Uni this semester, and a few short stories about Sherlock Holmes.


  • Atonement- Ian McEwan
  • Possession- A.S Byatt
  • American Gods- Neil Gaiman
  • Some Sherlock Holmes stories- Arthur Conan Doyle 
If you're taking part in Bout of Books, good luck! If not, happy reading anyway!

Twitter | Goodreads

Monday, 26 December 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?


This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

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Well, its Boxing Day. I'm sitting here while the snow falls outside, we were so close to having a white christmas!!
Since it's the end of the year I have been doing a lot of reading so I can reach my Goodreads challenge total! 


What I Read Last Week:




What I Am Currently Reading:















Up Next:














Merry Christmas guys, and happy reading!!

Twitter | Goodreads