One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

one-of-us-is-lyingDelacourt Press/ Random House 2017

One Monday afternoon, five kids walk into detention in Mr. Avery’s science room. They’re not friends; they’re not even the usual suspects. Branwyn is the brainy, uber involved mathlete who has never had detention before. Cooper’s headed for baseball fame, if his father has anything to say about it. Addy’s the gorgeous girlfriend of the quarterback and hangs with the popular crowd. Nate’s the school’s dealer and all around bad boy. Simon’s the inventor of the gossip app that’s plaguing the school.

Every one of them got bagged for carrying a cell phone into science class, and every one of them swears that they’ve never seen that phone before. But before long, they’ve got a lot more to worry about than some illegal cell phones because before long one of them is dead and the rest? They are at the top of the list of suspects for the murder of their classmate Simon.

McManus has written an engaging Agatha Christie style mystery. Set in a modern high school, four appealing characters battle the expectations of their families, the cut throat social pressures of their peers, and the unpredictability of a murder investigation. Their most hidden secrets come out, making them pariahs among their peers and causing discord with their families. Against the advice of their lawyers, the remaining four tentatively build a friendship and work their way through the tangle of events that led to Simon’s being wheeled out on a stretcher and never coming back.

This mystery was a great read! Not only was it filled with the angst and social pressures of senior year of high school, but the story beautifully reflected the tightrope of senior year. Pressure comes from everywhere: parents, teachers, friends, college choices. When you add being investigated as a murder suspect? It’s a wonder they don’t all blow to pieces. Instead, in the most satisfying way each character seems to embrace the pressure, and rather than allowing it to blast them to pieces, each character instead grows stronger and begins to mold themselves into the adult they will soon be.

I was lucky enough to win an ARC of One of Us Is Lying on Twitter. I was drawn into the story from word one and read it in one weekend. It comes out May 30th. I will definitely look for more books from Karen McManus in the future.


Want to Read Wednesday, January: 1/25/2017

This past week was busy and allowed for less reading time than usual and significantly less time to read  about books. As a consequence, my To Read list on Goodreads did not grow. However, I did receive several new advance reader copies that I’m looking forward to reading.

perfectPerfect by Cecelia Ahern

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.


seven-days-of-youSeven Days of You by Cecilia Venesse

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: Anna and the French Kiss meets Before Sunrise in this smart and swoony debut.

beautiful-broken-girlsBeautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: After two teenage sisters, Mira and Francesca, drown themselves in a neighborhood quarry, their next-door neighbor Ben receives post-mortem letters from Mira. This letter challenges Ben to track down the hidden, cryptic notes hidden in seven places alluding to where the two secretly touched. As Ben uncovers each note, he starts to unravel the hidden lies and secrets that these girls kept, and just how complicated their bonds with the outside world were.


echoes-in-the-canyonEchoes in the Canyon by Marco Behrens

Release Date: November 23, 2016

Source: Web Review Request

Publisher’s Description: Myra Louise, a desert tortoise, and her close friend Minnie Squawking Bird, a cactus wren, live in the Arizona desert with their friends Stinky and Smelly—javelina brothers who have a propensity to seek out adventure…and trouble. The javelinas are schemers and dreamers, and Myra Louise and Minnie Squawking Bird have a full-time job keeping the boys grounded and heading in an appropriate direction. Luckily there is also wise Joe Fox—the law in this part of the desert—and his pals Reynard Fox and Hunter Coyote. Echoes in the Canyon is an entertaining look at the critters of the Southwest desert and their antics, and each chapter ends with lessons learned. Above all, this delightful book offers a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Arizona desert and the amazing animals who dwell there.

Just looking at this list of new books to read has me pining for a string of snow days!

Wilder by Lena North


FAB Publishing, 2017.

When Wilder’s mother and her grandfather die at the very same time, her life changes, and it’s her grandfather that she misses most. Wilder’s mom was devoted only to her husband and Wilder always felt like she was in the way, but Willy, Wilder’s grandfather, loved her unconditionally and spent as much time with her as he possibly could.

Wilder’s not sure how to go on without Willy in her life. She’s always tried to please her father, but received nothing in return. Then, when Willy’s will is read, Wilder learns that her mother’s husband wasn’t her father at all and her father is a mysterious man who lives in the mountains where Willy and Wilder went every winter to ski.

Wilder and her best friend Mickey go to the mountains to explore this unknown part of her life and find far more than they bargained for. Soon they’ve met a whole community of strangers who know all about them, they’re embroiled in a two thousand year old mystery, and the secrets are popping up all over. And did I mention the romance? There’s also romance.

Wilder is smart as a whip and tough. The characters in the book are interesting and flawed and I not only rooted for them while I was reading but now that I’m finished I want to know more about them. Good thing this is the first book in a series!

The fantasy is rooted in a modern world that is familiar. The characters drive cars and motorcycles and have cell phones and technology, but the physical location doesn’t match with any place in the real world, and the history of the story in no way matches history as we know it. The world building is beautiful, however, and the technology we know from the world today blends seamlessly with the fantastical elements of the story.

I would have been happy with antagonists that were a little less gullible, slightly smarter, and harder to defeat. But on the whole, the conflict was a satisfying one, and the emotional pull I felt toward the sympathetic characters more than made up for any disappointments in the antagonists.

In Wilder, Lena North wrote a fantasy that kept me up reading past my bedtime two nights in a row and had me ignoring my to-do list the final morning just so I could finish reading. I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for book number two in the Books of a Feather series.

I received a review copy of Wilder courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.

Want to Read Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again! Here are the books I added to my Want to Read List last week.



Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

I’m always looking for books with transgender characters. I can’t remember where I saw this first, but I’ve included a link to the Goodreads page.


hidden-figuresHidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

We went to see the movie based upon this book this weekend and loved it, but movies sometimes have to make concessions to the facts in order to make the story work in a short, on screen format. Now I want to read the book and see how they match up!



Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Thrice Read’s account of the Susan Dennard signing was enough to get me interested in this witchy series.



This Nerdy Book Club post featured Marie Marquardt, the author of two books that feature the experience of undocumented and asylum-seeking immigrants in the United States: Dream Things True and The Radius of Us


Bonus: Here’s a great post full of LGBT book suggestions.