Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus *spoiler-free*

Hello and welcome, fellow bookworms!

For any of my followers/regular readers of my blog, I apologise for my lack of posts! I’m back with one of my favourite reads of July: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus!

I purchased this book from Book Depository after reading the blurb on the site whilst browsing for new books. I initially started reading the blurb after spotting the words “recommended for fans of Gossip Girl” as I’m a big fan, although I’ve only seen the first two series!

I got a fab surprise when I opened my parcel…THE PAGE EDGES ARE RED! (see featured image of this post).

But onto the book itself…

The blurb of the book is below:

“Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.”

SOUNDS GREAT, RIGHT?

It was. This book definitely lived up to my expectations and more! I had so many theories from the beginning and most of them were wrong but I figured one thing out!

I don’t want to say too much for fear of ruining the book for any who are going to read it (you all should) but there were so many twists; it really kept me guessing! It was so good that I read it in a day, around being at work!

Rating:ย 5 Starsย 

(I’ve also added to my favourites shelf on Goodreads – there are only 3 other books on there, so I think that says a lot)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review enough to read the book…trust me, it’s worth a read!

Until my next post.

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚

Top 3 Tudor Fiction Books

Hi there, fellow bookworms!

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you may already know that I’m pretty interested in History. In particular, the Tudors.

I studied Tudor history (along with Luther and the German Reformation and the Witchcraze in Europe and North America) for 2 years at a-level (results day is getting closer and I’m getting nervous) and that’s when my obsession with historical fiction properly began; when one of my teachers recommended reading Philippa Gregory’sย The Other Boleyn Girl.ย 

The vast majority of the historical fiction books I’ve read so far have been set in the Tudor period and written by Philippa Gregory, although I have quite a few historical fiction books that aren’t set in the Tudor period, that I haven’t gotten round to reading yet (surprise, surprise).

So here are my top 3 Tudor fiction books…happy reading!

1. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

I picked this up second hand from a charity book stall, last year, and was really excited to read it…I finished it in 9 days.

It is set between the years 1548 and 1558 and follows the story of a Jewish girl called Hannah Green who has the gift of the “Sight”, which allows her to foresee the future. She and her father are forced to flee Spain and come to England in order to escape the Inquisition. Robert Dudley brings her to court to be a “holy fool” for Queen Mary I…to spy on her. Iย really enjoyed this book it’s definitely one of the best that I’ve read!

Rating: 4 Stars

2. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

I owned this book for several years before I actually read it (why am I like this?) but honestly, this book was amazing! It looks at the life of Elizabeth I, right from her childhood, when she noticed that people were no longer calling her “Lady Princess” but “Lady Elizabeth” (the book starts just after the execution of Anne Boleyn). The book looks at how the relationship between Elizabeth I and her older half-sister, Mary I, grew and changed throughout their lives – at the beginning of the book, Mary genuinely loves her younger sister and is the one to tell Elizabeth about the death of her mother, but begins to grow increasingly wary of her as she gets older. The book also looked at the relationship between Elizabeth I and Thomas Seymour, which I thought was interesting, although not necessarily accurate. But all in all, this was a really good read!

Rating: 4 Stars

3. The King’s Secret Matter by Jean Plaidy

This book follows the “King’s Great Matter” – Henry VIII’s desire for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his desire for a male heir and his lust for Anne Boleyn. Henry is angry that his wife has been unable to provide him with a “suitable” heir (Mary was disregarded as this as she was female). Upon the arrival of Anne Boleyn and her refusal to become his mistress, Henry begins to secretly formulate a plan (with the help of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey) to divorce Catherine and make Mary illegitimate…but Catherine fights back. This was one of my favourite aspects of my Tudor course and so I enjoyed this book!

Rating: 3 Stars

I hope you found this interesting! Try reading one of these books (or another by one of these authors), they’re great!

Happy reading!

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚

bookmarks everywhere, except where I need them

Hi fellow bookworms!

I doubt I’m alone in the fact that over the years, I have accumulated a (very) large amount of bookmarks…and I’m only 18. (I dread to think how many I’ll own by the time I hit 21, let alone 40+).

And yet I can never find one when I’m actually reading a book. Surely I’m not the only one?

The majority of the time, you’ll see me using a crumpled bus ticket as a bookmark (crumpled because I screwed up and then had to try and smooth it out when I realised that I had no bookmark on me). Luckily, I get one or two buses a day, six days a week, so my bag is usually full of bus tickets!

But I don’t understand how I always seem to have this problem. I have a mug that I use to keep my actual bookmarks in and you can usually spot a couple lying on the floor in my room, or sticking out of books I haven’t finished reading.

I swear, I could have a bookmark for every book I own and I’d still never have one when I need one! I reckon it’s just one of those things.

Anyone else have this problem?

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚

Extracts from my current tbr pile

Hello, fellow bookworms!

I have a tbr pile of 39 books, some of which have been on it for several years (I know, I’m a disgrace). So I decided to make a post on some of the books which I want to read the most from this in the hope that I’ll remember that I own them and actually get round to reading them sooner!

1). Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

I’ve had this book on my tbr pile for the longest…since 7th November 2015 (terrible, I know). I bought this book in a sale, in a bundle with the books Demelza and Jeremy Poldark, also by Winston Graham, because I love the Poldark series. I’ve heard that the books are different to the TV series,  but I’m still super excited to read them…when I get round to it!

Sidenote: I plan to read this first book when the current series ends (two episodes to go!)

2). Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

After spending two years listening to my History teacher telling us all to read (and watch) Wolf Hall, I bought it for myself. I really enjoy reading books based in the Tudor period and am looking forward to reading this!

3). An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson

I am a huge fan of Milly Johnson’s books and this is the third of her “seasons” collection. I have already read the spring and summer books and have the winter one on my tbr pile alongside this. I want to read the autumn book before the winter one but I plan to read this in the autumn!

4). Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

I actually bought this book a year ago, but forgot to add it to my tbr list on Goodreads until this week, when I was tidying my bookshelves. I meant to read it in October last year and totally forgot about it (oops) but definitely want to read it this October (I’ll have to set a reminder to actually make sure I remember).

5). One Day by David Nicholls 

I bought this book in February last year and have been meaning to read this for ages. A friend read it before me and has been trying to convince me to read it ever since. I watched the film and liked it and definitely want to read the book soon!

This is just a very brief extract from my tbr pile, I have loads more to read! Does anyone else have such extensive tbr piles? I feel like I buy books and forget that I own them!

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚

My Favourite Book Quotes

Greetings, fellow bookworms!

I thought it would be fun to write a blog post consisting of some of my favourite quotes from books, so here goes!

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart” – Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are” – J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them” – Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens” – J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Sleep is like a cat: it only comes to you if you ignore it” – Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

“So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world” – J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

“There are questions that you don’t ask because you’re afraid of the answers to them” – Agatha Christie, The Moving Finger

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody” Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Is it just me who has a list of their favourite quotes?

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚

My favourite places to read

Hello again, fellow bookworms!!

I thought it would be fun to talk about my favourite places to read and why I love them!

1. My bed

I guess this one is fairly obvious. It’s comfy and cosy and I love to read until I fall asleep. When I’m working, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read, so I like to go to bed maybe an hour before I plan to sleep and curl up with a book. Even better if it’s raining because I sleep in an attic and I love hearing the rain on the roof.

2. The living room

I don’t know what other people call this, my family just refer to it as “the room” but other people say “living room”, “sitting room” or “lounge”…but you know where I mean. My house isn’t always the most peaceful, but after eating in the evening, I like to curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a blanket and read. This is improved by the presence of my dogs asleep on my knee/feet.

3. The car

If you have read one of my previous posts (the one about having no patience with people who say that they don’t have time to read), you may have assumed that I’d have the bus included somewhere in this list. But now I’ve left college, my daily bus rides aren’t as long and due to my panicking about missing my stop, I daren’t read on the bus anymore. But I love reading in the car. Long journeys are a great way to catch up on your reading (providing someone else is driving, obviously) and, thankfully, reading in the car doesn’t make me feel sick as I know it does to some of my friends.

4. The bath

Last on my list is the bath. I don’t often have the time, but one of my favourite things to do is run a bubble bath (or use a bath bomb) and just lie there, reading. Face masks are a bonus, although I tend to lose track of time and forget how long I’ve had it on for! Unfortunately, my family aren’t keen on me reading in the bath as it means no one else can use the bathroom!

Do we share any of the same favourite places to read? Leave me a comment!

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚

Required reading lists: real or myth?

Good morning/afternoon/evening, fellow bookworms!

Now one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people online (I’ll be honest, this is mainly from reading captions on Bookstagram posts) seem to have “required reading lists” from their schools. But that wasn’t a thing when I was at school…not at my school, anyway.

If you’ve read my post from a few days ago (a rant about a library that wasn’t a library), you’ll know that, in my opinion, my old secondary school had some odd ideas about things. Mainly the library.

So I wasn’t sure if it was just my old school that didn’t seem to have required reading lists. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as though we never read books in school, it’s just that we were never given a list of books that we had to read or even a list of recommended books relevant to a subject.

In my first year of secondary school, I remember our English teacher telling us that we had to always bring a book with us and throughout my 5 years of school, there were random English lessons where we would just sit and silently read a book of our choice for the full hour.

The only books I remember having to read for school are Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird , John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls (‘m not sure if this last one counts as it is technically a play, but I actually really enjoyed reading and watching this, so I’m including it anyway).

Both Of  Mice and Men and An Inspector Calls, we read in class, going round the room and taking it in turns to read a paragraph aloud (I used to hate this – I had to count ahead and work out which paragraph was mine, long before it was actually my turn to read). But I don’t think this counts as “required reading”, certainly not in the way that I mean, because we didn’t actually have to go away and read them ourselves, all of the reading was done in lessons (only I bought myself a copy of Of Mice and Men and re-read it – my old English teacher would be proud).

However, To Kill a Mockingbird was different. We started off by reading this in class, but then, as everyone reads at different paces, were given several months to finish the books. We were given some lesson time to read this too (e.g. “if you finish your essay, just read To Kill a Mockingbird until the end of the lesson”), so, again, I really don’t think this counts. Side note: I found my copy of this on my bookshelf earlier this year (see the featured image) so it looks like I never handed it back in; belated apologies to my old English teacher, who will never see this post. 

It goes without saying that college was different. In History, we were given lists of suggested reading; both fiction and non-fiction books based on the time period of each paper we studied for (The Tudors, Luther and the German Reformation and the Witchcraze). Surprise, surprise, I actually read some of the books on these lists. And kept the lists for future reference.

Obviously, if I had taken a course such as English Literature at college, this would have been different and I would have been issued with a list of books I needed to read. But, like I said, college is different to school and lists of required reading would not be necessary in a lot of subjects.

So to conclude this longer-than-intended blog post, I’m not sure if required reading lists are real (in schools). Maybe it was just my school or maybe it’s just in the UK that they’re not a big thing, who knows?

Did your school give you lists of required reading? Leave a comment, along with your country, down below! Let’s discover whether this is a myth or a real thing!

Elanor ๐Ÿ™‚