sara shepard

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard: BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: The Amateurs

Authors: Sara Shepard

Pages: 307

Reading Format: Paperback

Read: 11th December, 2016

Rating: 4.25/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold.


REVIEW:

Plot: 4.89/5

Characters: 4/5

Writing: 4.5/5

Well, I think it’s fair to say that Sara Shepard, aka. mystery/thriller/murder mystery goddess, has done it again with her latest novel, The Amateurs.

This novel was my most highly anticipated read of 2016, and I’m so glad it did not disappoint, even though I knew there was no chance it would.

It was crazy, exhilarating, and packed with mystery. It really got me being an investigator alongside our main clan of protagonists.

I love how this book was told from such an array of different characters, we really got to see how everything went down for everyone, and the ways in which they went about things. I found it so interesting to be able to assess each character as they were seen from their own points of view.

However, the characters did fall sort of flat-ish for me at times.
Usually, the characters are one of my favourite parts of (well any novel), but especially Shepard’s books. Even more so, the friendships between her characters draw me in the most, and I feel this book didn’t quite have that same feeling as her other series, say like Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game.
But, I do think that is simply because it’s the first instalment in a series, and I have absolutely no doubt that both the characters, and their friendships will only grow immensely from this novel forwards.

I also cannot wait to see more of the side characters in future instalments *cough* Thomas *Cough*.

The concept of this novel, and the ‘Case Not Closed’ situation, I found to be so entertaining, and it certainly kept me on my feet throughout the course of it.

I loved the nature of the book. It was just such an enjoyable read, whilst still making me nervous and skeptical of every corner I turned… oh, and every page too…
Shepard always imagines the best settings/scenery, and immerses the characters, as well as the reader, into her fictional world, and makes it feel a little less like fiction.

The ending made me simultaneously go crazy, and think “really, the only person I didn’t suspect was found to be the murderer, seriously”. AAAAND they also happened to be one of my favourite characters in the whole book!!
However, that made me love it even more. I don’t quite know how but Shepard manages to fool me with every.single.new.story she comes out with. Seriously, my jaw always ends up on the floor.

I can’t quite believe that we found out the murderer in the first book! (Unless theres some twist put on it and it isn’t really who it is, but it is, but it isn’t…) Yep, that would only make sense to Shepard’s long-time reader fans.
It worked though! I am barely able to contain myself for the next book, I just need to see what happens to the squad (and to the murderer).

I cannot wait for the next instalment to come out in this crazy new series by my favourite author. I wonder if it’ll be another 16 book series. I don’t think I’d oppose.

Bring on more sleuthing, sneaking, and mystery, because no one does that better than Sara Shepard!

That’s all,

Kate :)

Where have I been? UPDATE

Date: 28th June, 2016

Ummm, hello lovely devoted blog reader who has obviously stuck by me through my extremely varying posts lately. I appreciate you, thank you.

It has now been 3 months since I drafted this post, yes 3 months since I was actually going to post my where have I been schpeal. That’s pretty ironic. But here it is…

First of all, I’d like to apologize for my lack of posts on this platform, even though there’s been around 1-2 posts a month, so I haven’t been completely awol, that’s not good enough to me. Basically, the reason I have been so absent from everything this year is because I’m in my last year of schooling! (cue the party) I’m so excited for that to be done with on November 9th when I finish my last exam (squeals), and then I’ll be annoying all of you with a lot more weird and whacky content. *5o people unfollow right now*

Please stay… hahaha

I miss being able to have the time to sit down and really focus on writing a blog post (the only reason I’m able to do it right now is because I’m on a 2 week break). I also miss having time to be able to take pictures for TheBookGram, which if you’re reading this, I’m guessing is probably where you came from. I haven’t been neglecting that as much as this, but still haven’t been putting out as much as I’d like.

One more thing, I really miss reading. Reading has been a rather foreign concept for me this year. Whenever I’m not super busy with study, I’m usually so tired that I end up watching TV shows, which is in no way a bad thing because that is hugely another passion of mine that has really grown this year. But I wish I read more. I guess it’s no

I guess it’s no ones fault but my own, maybe it’s  schools fault a little though, or a lot.  Reading rarely occurs now without stressful thoughts appearing in my mind that makes me unable to concentrate on what I’m reading. I think that’s why Harry Potter has been such a prominent thing in my life lately, I mean, reading the books for the first time in my last year of schooling is pretty cool.

I just can’t wait to be able to do things guilt free again, and never have to worry about school, or the things that come with it ever again. I’m also kinda excited to try and start creative writing more, and maybe share my stories with you guys.
I apologize for this being a sort of rant-filled update, but hey, if you read this far, I applaud you!

For now, I just want to say thank you so, so much to those of you who have stuck by me through my strange content schedule, etc. I appreciate you all so much, and honestly am so excited to be able to join in more with the community towards the end of the year.

November 9, 4:15 pm, I’m coming for you with everything I have.

Until next time,

Kate XOXO

 

Pretty Little Liars 6×11: REVIEW RECAP

Welcome to my first TV recap/review i cant quite figure out what to call it!

Let me know what you guys think, I hope you like it!

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Episode Title: 

“Of Late I Think Of Rosewood”

Air Date:
January 12th, 2016

Synopsis:
After years of tormenting and numerous shocking revelations, the Liars finally uncovered the true identity of “A” in the summer finale of season six. Now, five years later, the girls have each pursued their own paths and have started adjusting to a life without “A,” when something happens in Rosewood that forces them to go back to where it all started. Torn between their old habits and their new lives, the events in Rosewood compel the Liars to join forces once again, as relationships are put to the test and secrets are revealed. Having matured over the past few years, these are not the same girls who left Rosewood. As new lies emerge – how will they push forward without going back?

**Warning, this will contain spoilers**


RECAP/REVIEW:

PLL’s season 6 mid-season premiere, or the re-birth of PLL as I’m calling it, starts 5 years into the future of the girls lives after the reveal of A, and it really does feel new.
I found it to be a fresh take on the 6 year running series, giving it a born-again feel which I loved.

What went down:

teacher

So, the episode begins where we see Ali reading to her students, yes, her students. Alison, the girl who never went to school mainly because she was being fake kidnapped is a teacher… anyway…

dr rollins

Dr. Rollins comes in, who if not already is most likely going to be Ali’s husband as we saw her last name was Rollins at the end of 6×10. I’m not sure what to think of this guy yet, we’ll have to see how he plays out.

letter

Alison sends a letter to each of the girls asking them to come back to Rosewood and attend court to help get Charles, um, Cece, oh sorry, Charlotte out of the institute.
We see Spencer somewhere with a very dodgy green screen, which we really don’t need a picture of to see again.

aria

Aria’s chillin’ at a book signing where she picks up Ezra’s novel and stares longingly at his beautiful face on the back of it.

hanna

Next we see Hanna on a plane on her way back to Rosewood, where we all get played by the writers and think she has a kid, but it turns out to be some random ladies kid from the plane that she was looking after for some reason.

em

Then hello Em, working at some fancy tiki lookin’ bar with a Pina Colada shirt on looking like she hasn’t aged a day in 5 years, seriously they should’ve done something to her hair at-least.

slefie

The girls meet up at the good old Brew and take some super cute selfies, and it’s just like old times.
Also after that Hanna goes to the new Radley, which is now a hotel where her mumma is working, and our fav mother-daughter pair catch up.

ezra

The return of Ezra shows him looking a little worse for wear, but still gorgeous, he’s gonna be having a little trouble with alcohol throughout this season I do believe.

spoby

Toby is back, and so is all the thousands of Spoby feels *cries*. We see him building a house, which is totally gonna be for him and Spencer in the end.

mona

Mona is here, and she looks fab asking Spence about her nightmares because why wouldn’t you still have them after 6 years of torture… even if you were the one doing the torturing for a while. I love Mona, we need to see more of her.

caleb

We also see Caleb, and he’s looking as bomb as ever, aaaand brings back all the Haleb feels in one swoop, including Hanna’s feels.

court

The girls go to the Court to help Ali in getting Charlotte out of the institute/jail, and Aria is the only honest one, which is weird because she’s probably the best/most frequent liar of the 4. Also the acting from all 4 girls was on point here.

coroner

Charlotte gets out.
And then she dies. In true PLL fashion.

sarah

We have a funeral and this biatch makes a come back, acting like she’s a blind Jenna with her male prodigy helping her walk. Why do you need help walking Sara? Can you not see from behind that damn veil? Oh and now the veil is see-through. She’s so irrelevant while trying to be relevant.

funeral

It turns out Charlotte was murdered, and it wasn’t a suicide, what a surprise!

So now we have a new question on our hands that’ll most likely last us a season and a half…

Who Killed A?

The Good Girls by Sara Shepard: REVIEW

THE DETAILS:

Book: The Good Girls, book 2 in The Perfectionists duo-logy

Author: Sara Shepard

Published: Hot Key Books, July 2nd 2015

Pages: 288

Read: July 31st, 2015

Rating: 4/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY of book one:

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?


REVIEW:

I really enjoyed this book, I think more than the first instalment because I already knew who all the characters were and I was so excited to find out who the killer was!

This book was mind-blowing! That plot twist…

On page 245 we find out exactly what the heck is going on in Beacon Heights, and boy did Ms Shepard not disappoint!

I was very impressed, shocked and creeped out by how Shepard constructed the plot and revealed the killer (and yes we do find out, this isn’t a 16 book series). I loved who it turned out to be and the story that went along with it! Amazing.

Although I had my speculations about certain characters, and I was kind-of on the right track, the overall reveal of the killer still left me with goosebumps and left me too scared to sleep facing the wall…

I cannot express my satisfaction enough in relation to the ending, I’m happy with how every characters story arc’s tied up. Even though Shepard has a knack for ending her series with a loose end, and an opportunity to write more, I don’t think I’d oppose to that… I am still content with the ending.

Basically, I’d buy and read anything Sara Shepard writes, and can’t wait to see what she has in store for the future! More murder mystery books, please.

I recommended to:

Anyone who has read the first book, obviously, and anyone who loves a good plot twist, is a fan of mystery, suspense, and seriously good scary novels!

Yeah that’s it,

Kate 🙂

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard: REVIEW

perfectionists

THE DETAILS:

Book: The Perfectionists, book 1 in The Perfectionists duo-logy

Author: Sara Shepard

Published: Hot Key Books, October 2nd 2014

Pages: 267

Read: June 28th-29th, 2015

Rating: 4/5 Stars


goodreads summary:

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?


Review:

As I expected, I really enjoyed this book, of course it’s Sara Shepard, how could I not?

My thoughts on each of the main characters: 

Parker: she was a really interesting and in-depth character to read about, who was just so complex. I can’t wait to find out more about her in the next book. I predicted what was going to happen in regards to her relationship plot line, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

Mackenzie: I loved Mac, she was so fun to read about. She’s the musical character, and her story with her so-called ‘friend’ Claire, and her boyfriend was really intriguing, and I’m excited to see how that is all handled in the next book.

Ava: I also loved Ava, I feel like she played the biggest role in relation to the main ‘suspect’ in this novel, and I love her relationship with Alex.

Julie: she was great, I really enjoyed reading about her ‘secret’ relating to her home life, and how she was always there for her friends.

Caitlin: I really loved Caitlin, her relationship plot line was the most interesting to read about out of all the girls, and I’m so excited to see where that goes in the next book. I’m also interested to see how her whole ‘soccer’ situation plays out.

This book was quite short, so there’s not a lot to say, but I really, really enjoyed it and can’t wait to pick up the second and final instalment.
I really enjoyed all the characters, and despite the huge amount of characters in this book, it didn’t take me very long to decipher them from one another.

I’m so intrigued and eager to find out who the killer is… Have to wait not so patiently for the second book to come in the mail…

I recommended to:

Anyone who’s a fan of Sara Shepard’s writing, anyone who’s not, if you love mystery and suspense, fans of Pretty Little Liars.

 

Yeah that’s it,

Kate 🙂

Vicious by Sara Shepard: REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: Vicious, book #16 in the Pretty Little Liars series

Author: Sara Shepard

Published: HarperTeen, December 2nd 2014

Pages: 336

Read: June 27th-28th, 2015

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


REVIEW:

Oh my gosh, it’s over… how bittersweet!
I can’t believe this series is over, after 16 books (I don’t think i’ll ever read a series bigger than this in my whole life) haha
It’s honestly so strange to be sitting here writing my last ever review for the PLL books, unless more are added of course. We all know what Sara Shepard is capable of, hahaha, but really, I don’t think I’d be opposed to more books…

Let’s get into the real stuff:
This book was a lot less creepy and suspenseful than all the others, which kind of sucked, but oh well.
I feel like this book wasn’t quite as good as it could’ve been, yet I still really enjoyed it nonetheless. It was definitely not the bets book in the series, but just because it’s the last, I guess I automatically had semi-high kind of expectations, especially since the final book in Sara Shepard other series, The Lying Game was so amazing.

The ‘ending’ to do with Hanna and Mike was the sweetest thing ever, and I’m so happy that it was incorporated into the novel, as these two have been my favourite couple throughout the entire series.

I loved how all the character arcs were wrapped up in the end, they all left me with a big smile on my face, and I’m so happy for the girls, and that they can now move on with their lives.

Overall thoughts on the Pretty Little Liars:
Spencer: For me, Spence was one of my favourites out of the liars, if not my favourite throughout the first half of the series, up until I started to lose interest in her story, as it became increasingly less interesting throughout the course of the series. I’m so happy that she and Melissa turned out to be so close towards the end. The only thing I’m a little iffy on is who Spencer ended up with, I don’t actually remember if I liked him or not, seeing as he’s been absent from the series since the early books.

Emily: Oh Em, she was my least favourite character for so long, up until the second half-ish of the series, when she just went through some incredible character development. She became so interesting to read about, and I actually found myself wanting more and more of her chapters. I’m so sad that she didn’t end up with a certain person, not that she could, because I loved them together so much. However, I love how her story wrapped up, she become so strong, and totally shut down Ali, whenever she tried to torture her about Em’s ‘love’ for her.

Aria: She is a character that I found not to have much change throughout the series, and I enjoyed her stories throughout pretty much the whole series. I’m so happy with who she ended up with, even through all their difficulties.

Hanna: Ahh, she is my favourite character. I love Hanna so much, and will miss her the most. I’m SO happy that her story ended the way it did, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Hanna constantly had the most interesting storylines, and kept me on my toes all the time. I just love Hanna’s character!

Alison: is just so different from the TV-show, and I really have no sympathy for her whatsoever in the books…gosh, she’s horrible. I’m glad she got what was coming for her, and I would love to see another book about Ali sometime in the future, as I loved the Ali’s Little Lies prequel novel.

This was a satisfying ending to this amazing series, however I do feel like it was left a little open-ended, even though it was sworn to be the last book in the series.

I’ll miss these characters, and these books so much, and this series will forever hold a special, very large the side of 16 booksplace in my heart… Thank you, Ms Shepard, for another incredible series, I can’t thank you enough…

Order of PLL books from fav to least fav: (roughly)
1. Wanted
2. Crushed
3. Wicked
4. Burned
5. Deadly
6. Toxic
7. Vicious
8. Killer
9. Pretty Little Liars
10. Twisted
11. Unbelievable
12. Ruthless
13. Heartless
14. Flawless
15. Stunning
16. Perfect

Favourite quote:

“Ali didn’t manage to kill us,” she said. “She only made us stronger.”

 

Yeah that’s it,

Kate 🙂