Never Ever Getting Back Together was a story that I really didn’t know what to expect from…but it was so much more fun than I could have hoped for.
We are given the premise of a reality TV show (think Love Island meets The Selection) all about second chances. Even though it was two years ago, Maya still remembers how upset she was when her boyfriend of the time cheated on her. He maintains he did nothing wrong, and now he is in the public eye he is firmly in control of the narrative of their break-up. When he rings Maya and asks her to take part in this show – where he spends time in a remote location with a number of exes as he tries to work out which one he would like a second chance with – Maya, quite rightly in my view, is stunned at his audacity. However, then she takes it upon herself to see this as an opportunity to set the record straight and get her revenge.
What Maya didn’t bank on was the involvement of the other girl involved in her particular triangle, Skye. The two girls do not get off on the right foot, and while it is clear that drama between the two girls was being banked on for ratings what comes next is even more entertaining.
Over the course of their attempts to sabotage Jordy’s show, Skye and Maya end up realising they have a lot more in common than they first thought. Their relationship was far more engaging than the fake ones put in place for the show, and I could not wait to see exactly how things panned out. This was a relationship that it was hard not to root for.
Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this before its expected publication in November 2022.
The Second Stranger takes us on an increasingly audacious journey, set in a remote location and featuring a small cast of characters that all seem to be hiding something.
Our main character Remie is the sole worker at the McKinnon Hotel on its last night before winter closing. There are only two guests, and she is counting down the hours until she can leave the next day. Unfortunately, things don’t go quite to plan.
The Hotel is close to a high security prison. With a storm approaching, the news of a disturbance doesn’t bode well. When Remie hears police officer Gaines at the door asking for assistance she lets him in. Though the situation is tense, it ramps up in drama when a second man arrives at the hotel claiming to be Gaines.
Suddenly we have a very different situation. One of the men is Gaines, but which one? And how can Remie work it out?
From start to finish we are placed centre-stage in an increasingly tense scenario. There was a sense of disconnect throughout, which is linked to Remie’s secret, and though this seems rather implausible once we’re given all the details it made for a rather satisfying diversion.
For fans of Karen McManus and anyone who likes twists in their tales, Friends Like These is a story where you can never wholly trust the characters who are sharing their story.
Our main focus is rich girl Tegan, former friend of Jessica and ex of Jessica’s boyfriend, Jake. Her parties are synonymous with excess, but her end of summer party becomes known for all the wrong reasons.
It’s not giving anything away to say that this group of classmates have a long and complicated history. Things come to a head on the night of Tegan’s party when she kisses her ex and ends up having sex with him…but the whole thing is filmed and shared with their classmates downstairs (including Jake’s girlfriend). When Tegan goes missing the night after the party, people are quick to judge.
Before we know it, bodies are found in the sea. There’s a lot of background to this story, that seems a little distracting but is actually crucial to our understanding of what happened. We learn that a number of people are lying about their involvement in the evening’s events, and once things are wrapped up it made me very pleased to not be a teen today.
When victims fight back, things get dirty…
Kitty Collins is not a character I have any affinity with. As a beautiful wealthy Influencer, she’s not the type of character I expected to like…her proclivity for murder doesn’t do much to endear her. However, her snarkiness and deadpan delivery really do make her a rather entertaining young woman to spend time with.
Our first meeting with Kitty relays the evening when a sleazy guy from a bar follows her, tries to force her into becoming more physical and then ends up dead when he falls onto a broken bottle. Most people would call the police and hope for the best, but Kitty has form…so she goes home and continues her life.
The situations that Kitty finds herself in are increasingly audacious. Some are very graphic, and while I can’t say I enjoyed the book at times, it was certainly entertaining.
I had my suspicions about Kitty from early on, and it was gratifying to see that I wasn’t too far off the mark. The ending certainly left me open-mouthed and I’m wondering if perhaps Kitty has met her match in Charlie.