Book Review – ‘The Vanishing Girl (Daphne and Velma, Book 1)’ by Josephine Ruby

TITLE: The Vanishing Girl (Daphne and Velma, Book 1)
AUTHOR: Josephine Ruby
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 272 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Scholastic Australia on May 1st, 2020
RRP: $16.99 AUD (paperback)


It’s the classic girl detectives like you’ve never seen them before!

Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley have a terrifying new mystery to solve – and this time, the culprit is far more frightening than any man in a mask….

Popular Daphne Blake and über-nerd Velma Dinkley are not friends. They aren’t enemies either, but they don’t have any reason to speak to each other, and that’s how they prefer it. The two girls grew up together—they’d been best friends since pre-K—but when they hit middle school, Daphne dropped Velma and never looked back.

These days, Daphne’s deep in the popular crowd, daughter of the richest family in town, while Velma’s an outsider, hiding from the world behind her thick glasses. When they run into each other in the halls of Crystal Cove High, they look the other way.

But then Daphne’s best friend, Marcy—who happens to be Velma’s cousin—goes missing. A century ago, there was a wave of disappearances in Crystal Cove, and many local people believe that supernatural forces were behind it. Now the whole town believes those same forces are back . . . and up to no good.

Daphne and Velma may be the only ones who can solve the mystery and save Marcy—if they can trust each other enough to try. Especially since the truth might be stranger—and scarier—than either girl can imagine . . .

This was such a fun read! It’s different to the Scooby gang you may be used to from the childhood cartoons, but I enjoyed the new take on the franchise, especially how it centered around Daphne and Velma’s relationship as teenagers.

Continue reading

Mini-review: ‘Please See Us’ by Caitlin Mullen

TITLE: Please See Us
AUTHOR: Caitlin Mullen
GENRE: Mystery/Thriller
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 352 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Simon & Schuster Australia on April 1st, 2020
RRP: $29.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home. ⁣

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there. ⁣

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims? ⁣

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.⁣

Please See Us is an unusual crime thriller with its own unique style. This slow-burn psychological drama focuses on fleshing out its long-suffering cast of characters, giving us ample insight into their dreams & motivations, mistakes & failures. ⁣

We’re given intimate knowledge of the slowly decomposing murder victims, even though they’re only refered to as Jane in order of death (Jane 1, Jane 2, etc). It’s an interesting choice and I appreciate the focus on the victims’ humanity instead of glorifying the killer, but it makes for heavy reading knowing how their lives are tragically cut short. ⁣

The two living narrators Lily and Clara are suffering in their own way, with Clara’s story being particularly gutwrenching as she’s a teenager forced to pickpocket, con people and eventually trade her body to keep a roof over her head. I found it tough to read her chapters as things spiralled out of control and kept getting more bleak and depressing. ⁣

The writer is clearly talented and effortlessly immerses the reader in this seedy, crumbling town that nearly suffocates with its aura of despair. I felt way too sad reading it, but if you gravitate to dark, moody reads, this will be perfect for you. ⁣

Personal Rating: 3 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.


Disclaimer: Physical copy provided by publisher free for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

ARC Review – ‘Night Owls and Summer Skies’ by Rebecca Sullivan

TITLE: Night Owls and Summer Skies
AUTHOR: Rebecca Sullivan
GENRE: Contemporary YA
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 288 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Wattpad Books on June 30th, 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

Lumberjanes meets the frothy, fun tone of a YA Marian Keyes in this cute romance between two girls away at summer camp

Emma Lane’s forced to face her fears when her mother unceremoniously dumps her on the doorstep of Camp Mapplewood, abandoning her for the summer while she heads off on a cruise with her latest husband. It’s the last place Emma wants to be with scary creatures, creepy crawlies, and much that can go bump in the night. When Emma breaks into the tool shed on her first day there, the fall out from her escapades leads her right into the path of her counsellor, Vivian Black. . . .

The cute cover and premise of sapphic summer love at camp lured me in, and I whole-heartedly wish I enjoyed it more than I did. Unfortunately this book didn’t hit the mark for me, but it may appeal more to younger readers as it’s a quick easy read.

Continue reading

Book Review – ‘So This Is Love’ by Elizabeth Lim

TITLE: So This Is Love
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Lim
GENRE: Fantasy, fairytale retelling
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 384 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Scholastic Australia on May 1st, 2020
RRP: $16.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper? Unable to prove that she’s the missing princess, and unable to bear life under Lady Tremaine any longer, Cinderella attempts a fresh start, looking for work at the palace as a seamstress. But when the Grand Duke appoints her to serve under the king’s visiting sister, Cinderella becomes witness to a grand conspiracy to take the king-and the prince-out of power, as well as a longstanding prejudice against fairies, including Cinderella’s own Fairy Godmother. Faced with questions of love and loyalty to the kingdom, Cinderella must find a way to stop the villains of past and present . . . before it’s too late.

This is a fantastic read both for fans for the Disney tale and newcomers to the story of Cinderella! Each book in the Twisted Tale series has a ‘what if’ moment which spins off the narrative into a whole new original story and it’s such a delight to see the author’s take on what might have happened instead.

Continue reading