Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

9781743318638I had zero idea of what to expect from Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer. And what did this glorious conglomeration of paper give me? AN INCREDIBLE, MIND BLOWING STORY. I am such a fan. I’m absolutely going to dig out Brigid Kemmerer’s other series (The Elementals) to and devour it immediately because this author is marvellous.

Thicker Than Water is basically the story of Thomas Bellweather, who moved to a small, backwoods sort of town with his mother after she re-married a cop. THEN SHE IS MURDERED. Thomas looks very guilty. He’s totally friendless in this town and everyone thinks he did it. But he befriends Charlotte and they try to solve the mystery.

Although the thing to note is this is a paranormal murder-mystery thriller. I didn’t know that when I started, so I confess: I was thrown. But it’s still set in an “normal” sort of town and the story is like 80% reality and 20% paranormal.

Thomas and Charlotte’s relationship is basically a “forbidden romance”. Everyone thinks Thomas is a killer and Charlotte has an entire family (!!) in the police force; father plus three brothers. They do NOT want her anywhere near a potential killer. But I loved how low burning their relationship was though! They’re attracted at first, but neither really acts upon it. And it’s entirely adorable how they learn to trust each other.

 

A Small List Of Other Things I Loved About This Book:

  • I was absolutely rooted to my chair. I could not stop reading. It’s been aaages since a book has gripped me this much!
  • The characters were all fantastic. It’s dual narrated by both Thomas and Charlotte. And even though it’s in 1st person for both (which I usually find confusing) they both had very distinct voices. Plus I loved them both so there was no sighing at the alternating POVs.
  • Thomas was an incredible creature. He was really angry and bitter, particularly since everyone was condemning him for this murder he didn’t do. He was frustrated and lashed out a lot…but I really understood him. And there was so much emotion! When he’d struggle not to cry….oops. THERE GO MY EMOTIONS TOO.
  • Charlotte made some pretty dumb decisions when chasing after him (and was constantly being hurt…okay, she was slightly a bit of a damsel) but I can’t blame her because Thomas was intensely interesting.
  • I do have much love for Charlotte too! She has Type 1 Diabetes and she has a huge family (lots of cops) and they’re all very traditional and want her to be a “lady”. She’s often left with the dishes and treated as a child, despite being nearly 18. So she quietly struggles with the sexism of her family life, too, but she still adores her family and they’re all so loving. I adore reading about big families!
  • Plus Charlotte really loved to cook. There is so much FOOD in this book. Please bring a snack when you start to read it.
  • It’s set in a sleepy small summery town and I felt so sucked into the atmosphere. Excellent writing!
  • The murder mystery aspect kept me on my toes, too! I was REALLY curious how it’d play out in the end, especially when the paranormal aspects came out.
  • The twists will probably leave you shrieking.
  • Just sayin’.

 

Thicker Than Water was definitely a solid win for me! I loved the writing and the characters (I mean, aren’t characters the best part of a book anyway?!) and the fact that my eyeballs were glued to the page. And maybe the paranormal aspects did take the realism out of it, but it still made the book so thrilling and addictive and exciting. The ending was left WIDE open, though, and I’m clamouring for a sequel!

[Purchase Here]

Whodunnit?! A List of YA Murder Mysteries

There’s nothing like a good, solid murder mystery to curl up with in the evening. After — you know — you’ve double checked all your doors are locked and armed yourself with with a deathly looking lampshade and a fearsome whisk for protection. (Sometimes books feel real, okay?!) And if you like the Young Adult variety, oh oh, have I got a list for you.

 

YA Murder Mysteries You Need To Consume

 

9781743316429EVERY BREATH by Ellie Marney

Not only is this by a homegrown Aussie author, it’s also a Sherlock Holmes retelling. (Can it seriously get anymore awesome than that?!) It’s set in Melbourne and follows Rachel Watts and her best friend James Mycroft as they solve a murder the police don’t seem to care about. It’s absolutely stuffed with Australian slang (!!) and humour and gallons of tea.

Best of all…it’s a trilogy! Don’t forget to check out Every Word and Every Move (the last one I haven’t read yet, but I am impatiently awaiting its arrival in the mail because I’m 90000% sure this series can do no wrong).

 

9781471119149DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas

This is the kind of book that will leave you spinning. It was my first taste of a REAL murder mystery, where the protagonist is the “accused” and we watch her go through courts and trials to see if she’s guilty or not. The backstory unravels as you read. A couple of teens…off on a beach holiday…what could go wrong?! (Um, everything.)

I’m still in shock over the ending. It absolutely took my breath away and it’s masterfully written!

 

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AS RED AS BLOOD by Salla Simukka

It’s about Lumikki who lives in Finland (!!) and becomes tangled up in a cacophony of blood soaked money. She’s like the Finnish Nancy Drew, basically. And she’s awesome. She loves liquorice and black coffee and comics, so basically she won my heart right then and there — and then she went on to be awesome at solving mysteries too.

Also this book is TINY. It’s like 240-pages and you won’t be able to put it down.

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THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I was so so chilled while reading this. It’s about kids with supernatural abilities who track down murderers. And the narrator, Cassie, has the ability to “read” people (nearly in a Sherlock Holmes way, too…except hers is supernatural). It’s pretty gruesome and gritty and wow.

It also has a sequel: Killer Instinct.

 

9780755348817I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells

So the title sounds pretty incriminating, right? Um, yes. BUT ANYWAY! It is about John Wayne Cleaver, who is not a serial killer but is definitely a sociopath. His family business is a morgue (how fitting) and he gets caught up trying to solve a supernatural murder mystery. So think demons and monsters for this one, folks. And possibly you will find yourself hiding under the covers and suppressing a need to scream. I understand, I do.

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THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon

Okay, it’s only a dog that’s murdered…but it’s still a big deal for the narrator, okay?! Christopher is Autistic and super smart and determined to find the killer of his neighbour’s dog. This one is more about tugging at the heart strings, but it still involves mystery and family secrets and timeless coming-of-age story line.

 

 

Re-Reading Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

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Review – The Secret History by Donna Tartt

With Donna Tartt’s highly anticipated The Goldfinch due for release on October 23  (don’t miss out on our special pre-order offer) and remembering how brilliant Donna Tartt is I decided it was time to re-read The Secret History. I don’t normally have time to reread books because there are just so many books, new and old, that I haven’t read but Donna Tartt is so amazing I wanted to revisit her.

The first time I read The Secret History I can distinctly remember being blown away. Just like the book’s 9780141037691main character Richard I was sucked into the world of Hampden College and the tight-knit group studying Ancient Greek. Having originally read the book 10-11 years ago my memory was very fuzzy and I remember the book being about Richard falling in with this elite group who thought themselves above everybody else, so much so, that they believed they could get away with murder. But they couldn’t get away from the guilt and the secrets after the fact.

Reading it the second time (and being 10+ years older) changed the whole perspective of the book for me. I was around the same age as Richard the first time around so I guess I was susceptible to the charms of both the college and its inhabitants. Second time around I was much more aware of the subtle manipulation of Richard. This was probably in part to having already read the book but also part being older (and hopefully a little wiser). Instead of being charmed, like Richard,  by Henry, Francis and the twins I found them completely pretentious and detached from the real world. Their money, their attitude, their cleverness hid their naivety and I think on my first reading I (again like Richard) was the more naive one.

What I found really interesting was I pretty much remembered most of the book up to Bunny’s murder but not a thing afterwards. The whole unwinding of each member of the group and the group itself felt completely new to me. I knew it happened but Bunny’s funeral and the eventual ending had completely escaped me. The first time I read the book I felt the murder changed everyone involved. The weight of guilt and having to keep a secret ate away at everyone until everything disintegrated. This time I don’t think the murder changed anyone, with maybe the exception of Richard. I think the murder just highlighted who each character really was and they eventually turned on one another as they had turned on Bunny.

Despite reading The Secret History with this new perspective (or more likely because of it) I thoroughly enjoyed the book second time around. Donna Tartt is an immense talent and is well worth reading again and again.

Buy the book here…

Pre-order The Goldfinch here…

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