Loading...

Follow The Bookish Outsider on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?


Oh. My. Goodness. Everybody knows how much I like my YA thrillers and I've read a lot of them over the past couple of years as they've gained in popularity but A Good Girl's Guide To Murder (GGG from here on out!) is one of the best. It's also a debut which makes its 'grab you by the throat and don't let go'-ness even more astounding! I've been incredibly lucky with my reading recently in that everything I've picked up has been good and I've read it in one go. GGG was no exception, I picked it up at about 9pm and finished it at 1.30am - that's how good it is! I literally could not put it down.

I was desperate to know who did it, was it really Salil 'Sal' Singh, the boyfriend? He confessed by text message shortly before killing himself so everyone has accepted that as the universal truth, if in doubt it's the boyfriend. Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't convinced though so chooses this as her EPQ (Extended Project Qualification - equivalent to half an A Level) and sets about trying to discover what really happened to Andie Bell. Is it just me or does everyone immediately think of Erasure or Oasis when reading the name Andie Bell? Nope? Just me then...

Going against her advisor's warning not to contact the families involved Pip contacts Ravi Singh, Sal's younger brother, who is only too happy to help Pip with her investigation when he discovers that she thinks Sal might be innocent. Pip's best friend's sister was best friends with Sal so Pip feels invested in finding the truth if only to help Sal's family but there's definitely more to this case than meets the eye. Pip and Ravi are soon totally immersed in chasing down leads, interviewing people, and generally sticking their noses into places where they really shouldn't. Pip starts to receive threats by text message telling her to drop the investigation but of course, she's not going to. It's only when tragedy strikes that she stops what she's doing to try and keep her family and friends safe.

GGG is a rollercoaster of a thriller and I tell you now, there's no point trying to guess who did it if Sal didn't. There's misdirection on every page and you're never quite sure who's telling the truth and who's not. Pip starts to doubt everything and everybody, especially as her investigation starts leading her down a dangerous path. The story switches between third person and Pip's coursework documenting her finds. There are EPQ forms, maps, drawings, and interviews with people Pip thinks know the truth, all of which add to the page-turning power of GGG and make it an even more compulsive read. It has the perfect amount of moments that will make you gasp and at times you will want to yell at Pip for putting herself in danger, it will make you laugh out loud, and it will make you cry - well, it made me cry anyway...

If you're a fan of Serial, Veronica Mars and YA thrillers then A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is well worth investing your time in. My only doubt about it is, if GGG is this good as a debut then how on earth is Holly Jackson going to improve in her next novel?


A Good Girl's Guide To Murder - Holly Jackson
ISBN - 9781405293181
Publisher - Electric Monkey
Release date - May 2nd, 2019
Source - bought in bookshop
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

How far would you go to save those you love?

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, aging community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artifacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion. 

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice...


I'm going to start this by saying I absolutely adored this book! I've loved all of Lauren's books but something about this one just stuck with me a bit more. Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people left alive on the entire planet after a virus struck causing permanent infertility and there's never been any success in finding a cure or discovering what caused it.

Lowrie is bisexual, torn between her feelings for Shen but not wanting to lose their friendship in case things don't work out, and Shen is Shen. Laidback, aware of his feelings but not pushing Lowrie, fully prepared to wait until she's ready - even if that takes forever!

I've seen this referred to as soft apocalyptic SF and I quite agree, there's no imminent danger but you do get the feeling time is running out. Everyone is carrying on as usual but after a rather shocking helicopter crash it's obvious things are starting to go wrong and it's going to be up to Shen and Lowrie to solve the problem.

The Quiet At The End Of The World is a beautiful blend of romance, science fiction, and philosophy. There's plenty of discussion about how to carry on the human race, about aliens and if they really are out there, and talk about infertility and how to solve it. There's so much to love about it, from lifeguard robots called Mitch to social media posts from the 21st century when the virus originally struck. I really liked how Lauren blended these tweets and FB messages into the main body of the story, and how Lowrie and Shen used them as a way of learning about history.

There are a couple of cracking twists in this book, which I didn't see coming, but they make the story so much more entertaining! And the nod to who Lowrie's ancestors were, and where they live, is both hilarious and jaw-dropping! I read this in one sitting, and I don't regret the lack of sleep at all. I'm looking forward to seeing what Lauren comes up with next.


The Quiet At The End Of The World - Lauren James
ISBN - 9781406375510
Publisher - Walker Books
Release date - March 7th, 2019
Source - Bought from bookshop
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Yes, you can believe your eyes... I've not only finished my reading schedule but I've also made a header - go me! My reading schedule is split into two parts because, well because it's rather large! I think there are 44 authors on my list at the moment and I'm almost certain I've forgotten to add a couple too. There could well end up being a third part to this list if I have. Apart from actually putting together a reading schedule, I've also made a start on the actual reading and written some reviews. I know, what's wrong with me? Who is this strange person actually being organized? Enough with the sarcasm, here's part 1!

Ben Aaronovitch - Rivers Of London (whatever number I've got to, not the whole series!)

K.K. Perez - Sweet Black Waves

Mary Watson - The Wickerlight

Eoin Colfer - Artemis Fowl (#7, #8 if I have enough time)

Derek Landy - Skulduggery Pleasant: Midnight, Bedlam

Kiran Millwood Hargrave - The Deathless Girls

Sharon Doggar - Monsters

Renee Ahdieh - Flame In The Mist

Melinda Salisbury - State Of Sorrow

Sarah Maria Griffin - Other Words For Smoke

Yaba Badoe - Wolf Light

V.E. Schwab - This Savage Song

Vic James - Sanctuary

Zen Cho - Sorcerer To The Crown

Emily Barr - The Girl Who Came Out Of The Woods

Holly Jackson - A Good Girl's Guide To Murder

M.A. Bennett - The Island

Karen M. McManus - Two Can Keep A Secret

Key

Bold - Read

Purple - Own

Red - Borrow From Library
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I'd love to give a warm welcome to Ella Okstad today, who has written a great post about coming up with the initial illustrations for a new picture book series and to share some of her early sketches! I'm very much a fan of Ella's style and it's one which I admire and would love to be able to emulate!

Illustrating Sophie Johnson - Ella Okstad

When I first read the Unicorn Expert it was instantly clear to me how Sophie would look. As she is a self-confessed expert on unicorns and a detective genius it was very important to capture this in how she moves and behaves. For the Unicorn Expert, the publisher sent me a link to a John Lewis Insurance commercial video to describe her personality which I felt was really on point.


I wanted her to have a simple stripy dress and a couple of thin legs. This way it would be quite easy to mover her around. Her face is dominated by a large pair of round glasses which gives her an important look; she is, after all, an expert and it also makes room for lots of different expressions.




Whereas Sophie's look came quite instantly, the real Unicorn was a little more tricky. At first, I imagined it to be quite flamboyant with a more horse-like body and a long wavy tail and mane. Then after re-reading the text and sending a couple of emails back & forth, we decided to go with the chubby quite insecure type of unicorn. It is, after all, seeking unicorn advice from the world's best unicorn expert!





In Detective Genius, Bella the dog is always there with an attentive look keeping an eye on Sophie. She is the true detective!



The guinea pig from Unicorn Expert can be spotted a couple of times in Detective Genius. Have another look and see if you can spot it hiding in the pages!



Review Links

Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert

Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius







Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sophie Johnson studied very hard to become a detective and it's a good thing she did – there has been a terrible crime!

Someone has stolen Lion's tail. Unfortunately, this means that Sophie doesn't have time to train her new (and not very good) assistant, Bella.

However, is it possible that, while Sophie is busy rounding up suspects, she doesn't see that Bella may be better than she thinks?


Following on from the joy that is Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert Sophie is now a fully qualified detective! She also has an assistant, Bella the dog, who naturally isn't as good as Sophie, but there isn't anyone else to fill the position!

Lion's tail has gone missing, believed stolen, and Sophie is busy interviewing suspects and taking fingerprints. In the meantime, Bella has her nose to the ground and finds the tail long before Sophie, but Sophie remains oblivious - as usual! It's obvious who is the better detective but Sophie has had training and she sometimes eats her vegetables.

Ella's wonderful illustrations bring the story to life and the two blend together seamlessly to make a fabulous tale that any little one will enjoy. There's a touch of humor on every page and some of the animal's expressions are priceless when they're watching Sophie follow all the wrong clues and question the wrong suspects. Sophie yet again misses what is happening right under her nose but it's okay because Bella is there to save the day. Sophie might think she's smarter, more hardworking, and observant but we all know she's not, and that adds to the charm of the story.

As with Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert, this is a great book read out loud and both children and adults will enjoy something on every page. Some of the illustrated hints might need some explanation to younger children who won't quite understand what they mean but this doesn't detract from the genius that is Bella, I mean Sophie! I'm very much looking forward to Sophie Johnson's next adventure, Morag and Ella have created something special in her and I think she'll become a firm favorite. Oh, and check out the title page. It shows a row of houses and shops, and it just so happens there are a detective agency and a unicorn emporium right next door to each other!


Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius - Morag Hood & Ella Okstad
ISBN - 9781471145650
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Release date - May 30th, 2019
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I'd love to give a warm welcome to Ella Okstad today, who has written a great post about coming up with the initial illustrations for a new picture book series and to share some of her early sketches! I'm very much a fan of Ella's style and it's one which I admire and would love to be able to emulate!

Creating Sophie Johnson - Ella Okstad

When I first read the Unicorn Expert it was instantly quite clear to me how Sophie would look. As she is a self-confessed expert on unicorns and a detective genius it was very important to capture this in how she moves and behaves. For the Unicorn Expert, the publisher sent me a link to a John Lewis Insurance commercial video to describe her personality which I felt was really on point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqgoUWPx4eE
I wanted her to have a simple stripy dress and a couple of thin legs. This way it would be quite easy to move her around. Her face is dominated by a big pair of round glasses which gives her an important look; she is, after all, an expert and it also makes room for lots of different expressions.
Whereas Sophie`s look came quite instantly, the real Unicorn was a little more tricky. At first, I imagined it to be quite flamboyant with a more horse-like body and a long wavy tail and mane. Then after rereading the text and sending a couple of emails back and forth, we decided to go with the more chubby quite insecure type of unicorn. It is, after all, seeking unicorn advice from the world’s best unicorn expert!



In Detective Genius, Bella the dog is always there with an attentive look keeping an eye on Sophie. She is the true detective.
The guinea pig from Unicorn Expert can be spotted a couple of times in Detective Genius. Have another look and see if you can spot it hiding in the pages!



Review Links

Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert
Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Here's a taste of what I've been reading, and watching, over the last week!

Currently Reading

 This is one of my YALC reads (I'm still putting together my reading schedule, at this rate it'll be time to go before I do...) and I am loving it! I follow Lauren on Instagram - cute puppy alert!!! - and Twitter and I've loved all of her books so far. This one is about the two youngest people left in the world, Shen and Lowrie, after a virus caused mass infertility and the population of London is 300.
 I absolutely love Rotherweird and this is my second re-read! I'll follow it up with a re-read of Wyntertyde, by which time Lost Acre should be out! Rotherweird is a town in the UK that is governed by the residents of Rotherweird, there are no guidebooks, and they don't particularly like strangers unless necessary...
This is Anna James' MG debut and from what I've read so far, it's Thursday Next for children. I like the 40 or so pages I've finished, and it's another book on my YALC list.









Up Next

I love Christina Henry's books and I especially love her fairy tale retellings. This is her take on Little Red Riding Hood and I can't wait to dive in. I'll be reviewing this and a couple of her others for my fairy tale series in August so keep an eye out!








New On The Shelves

 I've followed Katie on Instagram and Twitter for quite some time, her nails are a thing of beauty! I requested this one on Netgalley and wow, this book is incredible! If you liked The Secret History and The Craft I'm pretty sure you'll like The Furies!
Huge thanks to Raven Books for this one! I saw it on Netgalley so was really pleased when I was asked if I wanted to read a copy. Never Have I Ever is the story of Amy who seems to have it all, until the night a mysterious stranger joins her book club and her life starts to spiral out of control. This is out in early August so look out for a review.







On The Big Screen

I'd heard incredibly mixed reviews about Late Night, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, but decided to ignore them and see the movie anyway. The most curious thing is that my friend and I were the only women there, and the audience seemed to consist of single men on their own... Anyway, we enjoyed the movie for what it was. I do love both Mindy and Emma but whether I'd watch it again is doubtful!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A killer is at work in the supposedly-safe commuter belt.  DCI Gillard needs answers, fast...
Promising architect Peter Young is shot dead at his desk. DCI Craig Gillard is quickly on the scene, looking at what appears to be a brutal and highly professional hit: two bullets, fired with ice-cold calm.
Gillard knows that the most crucial question in solving the crime is one word: Why? Two weeks later, on the Lincolnshire coast, another body is found on a windswept beach. In this case, there is no identity for the young man, just a curious brand burned into his neck….
As the mystery deepens Gillard is plunged into a case without answers, finding himself up against dark forces, people who believe in only two things: blood and a warped code of honour. This time lives are on the line, children's lives - and his own.
Having loved Nick Louth's first DCI Gillard book, The Body In The Marsh, I was very much looking forward to book two in the series. The Body On The Shore arrived a year after Marsh, and it was worth the wait.
Gillard's life has changed and he's now happy and in a relationship with Sam, the PCSO he encountered in book one. His new case could be about to change all that though, as its not just the victims who may lose their lives. An architect has been murdered, and it looks like a professional hit. When they discover that the man was Albanian and came over from Kosovo as a teenager, the team are even more stumped. Gillard also gets a call from someone he's helped in the past, Sophie Lund, seemingly unconnected except for the that the woman's two children are adopted orphans from Albania.

When another body is found shot to death, on the Lincolnshire shore, bearing all the hallmarks of the architect's murder except for one thing - a strange brand burnt into his neck, Gillard and his team are becoming ever more desperate to find answers. What happens next though, nobody could have predicted... Sophie's children are kidnapped and the brand on the body turns out to be the mark of one of the most feared branches of the Albanian Mafia.

The Body On The Shore is definitely darker than anything I've read previously by Nick Louth. This book somehow seemed more real, and much grittier but I suspect that it was all the tiny details that painted a portrait of our killers, the (fictional) Albanian Mafia and their long history of blood feuds, wiping out entire families over the smallest of slights. As with all his books, I was completely engrossed from start to finish and unable to stop reading until I had turned the last page. There's no obvious culprit for the murders that take place, only a slightly uneasy feeling that they might not be who you're expecting it to be, and when the killer is finally revealed? Almost complete disbelief but also somehow not unexpected thanks to the background of the story. It's sad to think that in this day and age it is completely plausible that the killer is who it is and I admire Nick Louth for writing the story this way. It certainly amped up the tension and made for a great read into the wee, small hours!

Other Books In The Series

The Body In The Marsh
The Body In The Mist

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A very funny story about a little girl who thinks she knows all there is to know about unicorns...
Sophie Johnson is an extremely endearing new picture book character, just bursting with information and knowledge that she is keen to pass on. She’s a self-confessed unicorn expert (among other things) and has dressed up her toys and pets with their own unique horns. Strange then, that she doesn’t seem to notice the real unicorn who has come into her house...


A wonderfully humorous story, from a new picture book dream-team, about a unicorn hiding in plain sight and a little girl who is totally oblivious to his presence!


There's a certain young lady I know who is mad about unicorns, she has unicorn books by the dozen but Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert stands out from the rest of the crowd! Sophie has seventeen unicorns, from her baby brother to the family dog to her stuffed toys - nobody is safe from having a unicorn head attached to their heads!

Sophie spends a lot of time looking after her unicorns - defending them, teaching them, and most time consuming, cleaning them. She's so busy looking after them that she doesn't notice when a real unicorn joins her in all of her adventures! It's a great way of showing littles how you have to look after something.

Both text and illustrations join together to make a fun read for all little (or not so little) fans of unicorns. It's a fun book to read out loud and to be shouted at by said little ones that they can see the unicorn, followed by lots of laughter that Sophie can't, because she is the expert.

I've read several of Morag Hood's picture books with the twins and read several other books illustrated by Ella Okstad and admired both. Ella's illustrations are fantastic and very much of the style that I wish I could draw! I'd like to applaud whoever put these two together as I think it's a stroke of genius!

If you'd like to see more of Ella's beautiful illustrations check out her Instagram page! Next up in the Sophie Johnson series is Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius and I'll be sharing my review and a guest post from Ella herself about coming up with the illustrations for Sophie.


Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert - Morag Hood & Ella Okstad
ISBN - 9781471145629
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Release date - April 5th, 2018
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This is a new and hopefully regular feature on the Outsider. I really want to get back into blogging more than twice a month so fingers crossed this will help! I'll mention books I'm reading or have read, new books that may have accidentally landed on my desk, and movies that I've been watching - both big and small screen. Let's start with the books!

Currently Reading

After devouring Now You See Her I was so excited to receive a copy of Come Back For Me in the post a couple of weeks ago. An unknown body buried in the garden and a small island community is making for some tense reading! It's not out until July 11th in hardback but it came out in e-book format on June 1st, and if you hurry you can pick it up for 99p as a limited time deal on Amazon during June. I'm taking part in the blog tour so look out for my review on publication day!
Now the twins are 9 (!!!) they're reading more, especially E, so I like to check out books I think she might like. The Middler is by Kirsty Applebaum and published by the wonderful Nosy Crow. It's about Maggie, the middle child, her older brother Jed and her younger brother Trig, forbidden friendship and betrayal. I'm only about 25 pages in but loving it so far.












Up Next

This is the first of my YALC 2019 reads and I cannot wait! I loved The Wren Hunt so much, it was one of my top 10 books of 2018. In fact, I'm contemplating doing a re-read before delving into The Wickerlight but trying to create a YALC reading schedule before I decide.














On The Big Screen

 I'm off to see Dark Phoenix tomorrow, and apart from the fact that Sophie Turner is playing Jean Grey, I've managed to avoid spoilers and reviews. Really hoping this one lives up to the hype!
I saw Godzilla: King Of The Monsters yesterday and loved it! I love monster movies and will quite happily watch them for days! There was a man sitting in front of me though who obviously didn't share my love of Mothra because he alternated between playing with his phone and falling asleep and snoring - loudly...







Can't Wait For...

Hurrah! A new Jackson Brodie from one of my favorites, Kate Atkinson. This novel has been a long time coming and I always just assumed that there would be no more new Jackson stories. Very happy to be proved wrong! Extra bonus - Jason Isaacs, who played Jackson in the television adaptation, is going to be at ComicCon 2019...
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview