One of us is lying by Karen M McManus: A Book review

One of us is lying by Karen M McManus: A Book review

Do you know who is up to date on all book trends and posts reviews as soon as they finish a book? Not me. Even when I rarely catch up with trend and read something that everyone likes and raves about, everything doesn’t go as smoothly as planned. Let us take the example of One of us is lying by Karen M McManus, a YA ‘whodunnit thriller that rocked the Twitter and blogs last, read on to know more.

Almost a year ago, everyone I knew and followed read and spoke about One of us is lying. After a tedious hunt I found the book and read it as fast as could. You see, I do try to keep up. But I never posted a review because I am generally forgetful and I forgot about the book. Read further to know why the book was so forgetful.

About One of us is lying

One of us is lying

Book Name: One of us is lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Mystery

Characters: Bronwyn, Nate, Addy, Jake, Cooper, Simon

Setting: California, The USA

Plot Summary of One of us is lying

The story begins at detention with five students that fit the popular stereotypes – Bronwyn the class nerd, Nate the brooding bad boy, Addy the pretty and popular girl, Cooper the athlete, and Simon the outcast.

Simon holds a knife over everyone else’s head with help of the school’s gossip website and he knows a lot. Things go haywire when Simon dies of an allergic reaction right in front of them at the detention center.

The police suspect foul play and the four teens are brought under spotlight. Did the fact that Simon was going to publish their secrets the next day had anything to do with his death? You will have to read One of us is lying to know more.

Book review of  One of us is lying

As someone who loves reading whodunnit, I sorta guessed the murderer easily. Well, my theory almost worked, though not completely. Karen M. McManus’s writing was fast at some places, especially around the murder, and then lagged in other places. I wish it had a consistent pace but it was not a deal breaker.

Things that worked for me

  • It is definitely an easy to read book and I finished reading it in a few hours. And needless to say it was un-put-down-able.
  • Kudos to the author for writing such a mostly fast paced story with typical characters and yet, make her mark. 
  • I liked Addy’s character growth, from an airhead to sort of empowered(?). It would have been great if there was such a character development for all the other characters as well. 
  • Though marketed as a thriller, it has much more of romance and drama from the other side plots, which kept the story moving, all though slowly. 

Things that didn’t work for me

  • The multiple POVs for various characters sounded pretty much the same to me. 
  • How many red herrings are too many? ‘One of us is lying’ many. Since I kinda already guessed it, I felt the clues were too many apparently misleading. 
  • The romance kinda felt forced and the book might have been more crisper without it.
  • I think I keep repeating this on all my YA reviews. Where are the adults? And why is the police so incompetent? 

Bottom line

Despite the cliched characters and events, One of us is lying held my attention for the few hours it took for me to finish it.If you like a YA mystery that is more on the side of YA, you might like One of us is lying. If you are looking for more solid mystery/thriller, there are better options.

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One of us is lying

Let us chat

Have you read One of us is lying by Karen M McManus? How did it fare on your scale? What are the clichés that turn you off the Young Adult genre? Let us talk.

One of us is lying by Karen M McManus: A Book review

Sunday Musings #17: One that went as productive as never before

Helloo people!

I hope you had a good week and have some interesting plans for the weekend. I had an almost productive week and I am super excited to talk about it.

I think the change in weather is one of the main reason for my better mood. Yes finally the temperature and humidity has fallen to bearable limits in Dubai. 

Is anybody else obsessed about watching organization and cleaning videos on Youtube? I am definitely not the best of the organized creatures in the world, yet I am addicted to watching these videos.

Not that it helps me to battle the mess that is around me, but hey leave me alone with my organization porn! If you have a favorite non bookish vloggers share them with me. 

What I read this week: 


I read just one book this week, due to the above mentioned obsession and the consequent efforts to be more organized. But found a few books for my A-Z challenge which I will be reading this week.

What I watched this week:

I cut off my Movie/Series time by more than half this week (again note the second paragraph). I might be watching the Nun this week on the cinemas, but I know the entire world has already watched. 
I watched this week

  • Cable girls – S 3 
  • Money Heist (Spanish) – part 1
  • Brooklyn nine-nine (re-watching) – S 1

I liked the drama filled Cable girls and the cleverly made Money Heist (thanks to the subtitles). Of course I have lost the count of the times I have watched B-99 yet.

On my blog

I spent a fairly good time on my blog and made 4 posts after a very long time. If you have not checked it out yet, please do right away.

Around the blogosphere

I visited almost  everyone’s blog this week. In case I had missed yours, leave me a comment and I promise to visit right away. Here are few of my favorite finds from the blogosphere for you to enjoy.

  • Kris posted a question on her blog asking if you edit your older reviews and called up for a very interesting discussion.
  • You think you are weird? Read Sim’s post on her weird reading habits and I share some of those habits. I guess we are all weirdos. 
  • While some of us are still far behind on their A-Z reading challenge of 2018, Megan and Crystal from Gingermomreads have announced for the 2019 A-Z challenge. Join right away. I sure did. 
  • On Clo’s blog Mervin shares her thoughts about the bookish community (yes, US!!) from a newbie’s perspective. And she sure has some praises and answers to a lot of questions that the newbie’s might have. 
  • Thanks to BookJotter for sharing this amazing gem on how to write a book review from Bookish on her weekend wrap up post.
  • Catherine from Books rock my world posted an awesome post on what bookish heroines have taught us.

I will be linking today’s post with Caffeinated reviewer’s Sunday post Meme.

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Let us chat

So how was your week and what are your plans for the weekend? Don’t feel shy, let us talk. Don’t forget to tell how is the weather wherever you living right now. 

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One of us is lying by Karen M McManus: A Book review

Top Ten Unreliable Narrators That We Love

There was a time when I was not particularly interested in reading first person narratives and drop the books like it was infected if I find an ‘I’ in an active voice sentence in the first paragraph. That was a long time ago when I was about 8-10 years old. But then, I started trusting the first person narrators and even liking a few a lot – until I came across an unreliable narrator. 

An unreliable narrator shatters the reader’s trust by contradicting themselves or misrepresenting the facts or even outright lying. Well, they can be doing that out of naivete or guilt. That is for the readers to find and that is exactly why I started looking out for such characters. 

Narrators


I can not recall the first time I read a book with an unreliable narrator but as I grew I no doubt I started loving them. I have read more books with an unreliable narrator in the past three years than all the years before then combined. So here I am presenting with my top ten narrators that all of us have come to love, in no particular order.

My Top Ten Unreliable Narrators

10) Humbert Humbert, Lolita

Narrators

Humbert Humbert is the first character that pops up on any reader’s mind when anyone says unreliable narrator and correctly so. Humbert Humbert fancies under age girls and he falls for the 12 year old Lolita. He even marries and kills her mother (I don’t think that is a spoiler) just to be with his step daughter.

As if that is not enough to dislike him, he is an unreliable narrator as well. He not only tries to justify his actions, but also tries to convince the reader of the same through flattery. He constantly contradicts himself and makes outrageous promises both to his ward and the reader.

9) Rachel, The Girl on the Train

Narrators

Rachel’s life is filled with lies, mistrust, depression and alcohol induced blackouts. Sh would live in her past, her dreams or at her drunk state, but her real life. When she suspects a foul play nobody wants to believer, unsurprisingly. 

Her obsession with her unknown people and her ex alike add up to her ‘craziness’. What makes Rachel a great unreliable narrator is the fact that she means well, at least most of the times.

8) Pat Peoples, The Silver Linings Playbook

Narrators

Pat Peoples has just been let out of psych ward and has lots of repressed memories as well. He is emotionally immature and has no concept of negativity. 

He does not remember why he is divorced and is hoping that ex will take him back if he proves himself to be good. He is proof that crazy attracts crazy. And to things make worse, Pat is the worst because he spoils the ending of many classic books. He is definitely one of those unreliable narrators.


7) Jack, Room

Narrators

Five year old Jack has never been out of a shed, where his father had him and his mother trapped even before he was born. But now he is out of his confinement and experiences world for the first time.

With the limited experiences that he has had, he narrates everything as he sees, which may or not be true. It opens the chance for the readers to interpret the events. With the naivete of a young boy’s eyes, Jack thus becomes a classic unreliable narrator. 

6) Unnamed narrator, Fight Club

Narrators

I know I cannot proceed with the list of unreliable narrators without adding Jack from Fight Club. If reading Chuck’s books were difficult his unnamed characters make the reading more difficult and keep it exciting. 

After all that Tyler Durden put our narrator through, the narrartor is not able to prove it was Tyler who caused the Mayhem. He spends a quarter of the book trying to do just that and proving him more and more unreliable as time passes, even to us – until the final reveal.

5) Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Narrators

Charlie, a freshman in high school, narrates the story in the form of letters to his ‘friend’ and he is taken in by seniors under their wings. He is over emotional yet detached from life as such.

While the story is narrated by him, he blacks out often and has lots of repressed memories making him a perfect choice for unreliable narrator. 

4) Nick and Amy Dunne, Gone Girl

Narrators

I love Gone girl but the two manipulative leads Nick and Amy Dunne made me wonder if everyone around me was lying.

We start by hating Nick and his secrets (and misrepresentations and lies) and want to protect the innocent little Amy, only to find that she is more unreliable and everything we heard from her was a lie as well. If you can read only one book of this list, Gone Girl would be my pick. 


3) Libby Day, Dark places

Narrators

Another one from Gillian Flynn (if you can’t tell, she is one of my favorite authors) on the list. Her other books the Grown up and Sharp Objects have unreliable narrators too!

Twenty five years ago, 7 years old Libby Day testifies against her 15 years old brother Ben, for the massacre of their family – their mother and two younger sisters. Ben is convicted for life, partially on Libby’s testimony and partially on the evidences.

Libby is mentally stunted and doesn’t want to remember anything from the day of murders. And just not that, she is selfish, lives on trust fund and would do anything to get money without working – even trying to revisit her past. Well, that is my favorite kinda narrator – totally unreliable. 

2) Grace Marks, Alias Grace

alias grace

Alias Grace is one of my best reads of the year and its Netflix adaptation is a huge hit as well. The true crime story based on the 16 years imprisonment of Grace Marks for double homicide of his employer and fellow worker.

While her co-conspirator was hung in public, Grace was sent off the mental asylum for years. In the fictionalized version a psychiatrist tries to see through the web of deception and manipulation spun around and by her to set free. With the number of versions of the event and her own mental status, Grace is definitely one of the top contenders for the best unreliable narrators.

1) Piscine ‘Pi’ Patel, Life of Pi

Narrators

Pi crosses the mighty ocean alone in a raft except for the company of a man eating mammal, Richard Parker, a tiger. The narrative of the exhaustive 7 month journey makes one wonder how much is true and how much was just a cope up mechanism.

To make matters worse (or better) Pi leaves it to the reader to decide which version one wants to believe in at the end making us doubt everything we just read. No wonder he is on my list of narrators who are unreliable. 

Do you like unreliable narrations? Who are your favorite unreliable narrators? Do I have them on my list? Let us chat.

narrators
One of us is lying by Karen M McManus: A Book review

How I follow your blog?

You can ask any of my fellow bloggers about the one thing that is vital for any blog and I am sure most of them would assure you that it is ‘blog engagement’. It is no news that we bloggers love making friends and look out for the approval from our peers in form of comments and follows. 

When I decided I would stay on top of the blogs I love and follow, I promised myself that I would have meaningful engagement with my fellow bloggers, not just for namesake. But I confess, I didn’t realize how difficult it was gonna be, given the humongous number of blogs that I ended up liking.

For me following means reading all of their posts and commenting on them. The number of followers doesn’t matter for me as much as the number of responses I receive, in the form of participation in the discussion through comments, likes or shares. If you think like me, then you might like the bloggers comment junction. Now getting on to the topic at hand.

Earlier in one of my posts, I started a discussion on why I would follow a blog and what you can do to make your blog more appealing to your readers. This post is kinda its logical continuation where we will discuss how I follow these blogs, bookish or otherwise. 

Depending upon the number of blogs that you are following regularly your method might vary. Keep doing what works for you, and if it works well share it with us in the comment section so that we can try it as well. 

Keep yourslf updated in three ways

  1. Social Media
  2. Visiting your blog regularly for updates
  3. RSS feed subscription

Following your social media

While there are so many social media websites that help you follow a blog, not all are equal right? As a book blogger I have my profile on all these sites but when it comes to using them to keep myself updated with the happening in the book blogosphere the following are my favorites.

Twitter:

If you are a book lover, then there is no better place to waste spend your time than Twitter. As an obsessive book blog reader, I love the community and to top it all, I get to read about all their bookish / bloggish and personal stuff here. 

Type of update I find: Rants, New Post updates with link, what you are reading – All in tweet length.

See what I mean?

Facebook:

While I do have a profile I visit Facebook for personal usage and my feed is filled with bookish posts and updates. I like it that way. 

Type of update I find: Funny Memes, New Post link

The only problem I have with Facebook is not many of the book bloggers I know and follow have a Facebook page for their blog and if they do, they do not update them regularly If your favorite bloggers are on Facebook then you should definitely give them a follow.

Instagram:

These image friendly sites are usually the fastest way to know what my favorite bloggers are upto. I use them only to stalk their book shelves and know about their book hauls. Once I start on #bookstagram I usually end up with some serious book envy.

#bookstagram

Type of update I find: Book haul, book shelves, What you are reading – pretty book covers.

Visiting your blog regularly for updates

To know what is happening in a blogger’s life, the no-nonsense method is to visit their blog regularly. Of course. But if you happen to like more than say 3 blogs, you know you can’t keep visiting them to get th updates. And here are simpler ways that I use or used. 

Email Subscription:

I am sure even friends who do not have a blog would know about subscribing to blogs via email. I had been blogging for years before I even understood, why everyone (read as all websites) wanted my email id and kept offering an opt in or freebie when I sign up.

Cluttered Inbox

I know many of my friends still have subscribed my blog through email because it is the most convenient to read the post directly from their inbox as and when they are published or as a weekly digest. Well, this worked for me before I turned a blogger. 

Bookmarks:

I used to mark the sites that I wanted to revisit as a bookmark on my browser. Well, it worked until the number shot up for obvious reasons. Also I never remembered whether I had checked a site in a while or not, let alone leave a comment on them.

Spreadsheets:

When I was following about 25+ blogs I realized bookmarks may not work, especially when I was hoping to leave a comment on them regularly to boost engagement. You know, give and you shall receive has always worked for me

I am a spreadsheet addict who uses it even to-do list, so no wonder I ran towards a spreadsheet to tackle this problem. This worked so well that I never even thought of looking for another solution. For a while.

Spreadsheet
I have attached a simplified version of the spreadsheet I used earlier. (click to enlarge)

My spreadsheet told me when I had to visit a blog and when I had left a comment recently. I almost had 35+ blogs on the list and religiously visited them for about six months, thanks to my sheet. Then something happened and that broke my system. 

RSS based subscription

I moved to WordPress and my own domain, and shortly the number of bloggers I wanted to talk to, learn from and be friends with exploded. And that meant the end of my pathetic little system and I needed the big guns. 

The Rich Site Summary AKA Really Simple Syndication AKA came in as a savior. After the closure of Google Reader I never found a good RSS reader and I had not looked hard enough. But now I had to find one. 

WordPress subscription

Since I moved into WordPress, I tried using the default reader for sometime. While this did its work, but its feed works like Facebook. And I kept missing a lot of posts. Though I still look at it once in a while, I am not fully sold.

Feedly

I should start with I love Feedly and I use it almost everyday. Feedly is a subscription platform that help you read and follow blogs without much hassle. It is pretty much everything that Google reader was.

I organize the blogs that I have subscribed into smaller groups and I hop unto the latest post from the unread list. It lets to add specific posts to boards, which I love.

My Feedly groups

There are more features like integration to Zapier and IFTTT (another tool that I love) and social scheduling apps on the premium accounts, which I am not using. 

Bloglovin’

Bloglovin’ is almost similar to Feedly. It also allows a blog owner to claim their blog and lets them flaunt the number of subscribers. A few websites even let us read their full content without leaving the Bloglovin’ website itself. Of course we have to hop to the blog / website to make a comment. 

Bloglovin’ lets us even to categorize the blogs you follow into groups and even share them from the app. I know a lot of bloggers swear by Bloglovin’. 

Yet I had no luck on it, until recently. Due to some technical glitches I had not been able to claim my blog and that put me off for a long time. Now their support team has sorted out but I am already in love with Feedly and I might not make a switch any sooner.

Now that you are here and thinking about following book blogs, start by following my blog and me right now 

Blog | Bloglovin’ | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram |

So what are your methods to keep yourself updated? Do you use Feedly or Bloglovin’? Which do you prefer? Are there any spreadsheet lovers like me? Let us chat.

One of us is lying by Karen M McManus: A Book review

Book review: Jellicoe Road

I picked up Jellicoe Road on a whim as the title started with J for my A- Z reading Challenge. I had not then realized that it was written by Melina Marchetta, who has been on my radar for a while as I wanted to read ‘Looking For Alibrandi’.

By the time I realized Jellicoe Road was written by the one and only, I had already fallen deep into it and it didn’t matter. Had I known it was her maybe I would not have contemplated quitting it (I will explain). All is well, I guess. Let us get on to the book, shall we?

Jellicoe Road

Book Name: Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Mystery

Characters: Taylor Markham, Jonah Griggs, Chaz Santangelo, Hannah

Setting: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Before I proceed I want to warn you, I strive to write a spoiler free review. But here is what happened; I didn’t understand what was going on in the book until I was in the middle of it. I even thought of abandoning the book but the writing was beautiful and kept me going. And when it started making sense, it was worth all the chaos. 

If you want to enjoy the book that way, you should skip the (spoiler-free) blurb of Jellicoe Road here and jump into the review and then maybe the book. Otherwise, go ahead. 

Plot:

Taylor Markham, a 17 year old loner, is now the leader of the boarders of a school in Sydney. She has to lead the ‘fight for territory’ with the townies and the cadets, who camp near their town for a few weeks every year. To make things worse the new leader of the cadets Jonah Griggs and Taylor share some complicated history. 

Amidst all the kiddish territorial wars, Taylor’s caretaker Hannah goes missing and no one at the school would take Taylor’s complaint seriously nor would tell her what was going on. All that is left of Hannah is her unfinished manuscript about five kids set in 1980s, which become Taylor’s only clue to finding Hannah. 

Did Taylor win the trust of her fellow boarders? What was so important about the tree-house that both the Townies and the Cadets will do anything for it? Where did Hannah go? To find the answers to these questions and more you will have to read Jellicoe Road. 

Things that I loved:

  • As I mentioned earlier Jellicoe Road is definitely tough to get into but Melina Marchetta’s writing will suck into this strange world where kids learn to protect theirs and take over others’ land. 

  • I loved that all the characters had multiple layers and a deeper story. I loved that even before I understood the plot I got deeply invested into the lives of these kids that I couldn’t stop reading.I am totally in love with the kids from 80s in the manuscript.

  • The characters in Jellicoe Road deal with death, grief, abandonment, drugs addiction and suicide and I am sure for a Young Adult book this is too heavy. I am still confused whether to tag this one as Young Adult or contemporary or even a mystery. 

Things that didn’t work for me:

  • I am finally getting used to not searching for responsible adults in YA and you wouldn’t find them in Jellicoe Road. 

  • And I am not gonna lie, it did feel like it took ages to understand who they were and what happened to them. Though I kinda guessed it about three-fourth into the story, but I am not going to complain. 

  • While I am happy at how things turned out for the three factions, I also am kinda annoyed that the story took huge diversion from that part of the story. 

  • There were times when the teenage angst and the whiny female lead got to me, but I am glad I chose to eye-roll and ignore them. 

Bottomline:

If you are ready for a roller coaster ride that may or not end up in happy tears Jellicoe Road is the perfect YA for you.

Have you read this one or from this author earlier? What are you thoughts about the writing style? How many pages would you read before you will decide to quit a book? Let us chat.