Sugar Lump // A Disappointing, Over The Top ‘Mystery’

Author: Megan Gaudino
Genre: Contemporary // Mystery //  YA
Goodreads rating: 4.07
My rating: ⭐

 

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old travel blogger CC is stuck on a never-ending road trip with her wanderlust-addicted father. When her dad lands the job of his dreams in Sugar Lump—wedding capital of the world—CC finally finds a place to call home. Complete with two quirky best friends and a quixotic guy to crush on, Sugar Lump is more shades of perfect than she can possibly count.

But when CC accidentally overhears the mayor complaining that she has to “take out” a rogue employee for not fulfilling the terms of his contract, the idyllic town’s facade crumbles. Devastated by the possibility of having to move yet again, CC discovers everyone has been keeping a massive secret from her—including her own father.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

I’m sorry but this was just,, not great. The writing wasn’t very good and the telling instead of showing started to drive me crazy, especially because a lot of it felt like it had already been said a bunch of times. The characters were flat and stereotypical (token gay friend who I found very over the top, brooding love interest), there are a lot of things left unresolved and the mystery? SUCH a let down.

There were quite a few characters, most of which I had no idea who they were except for the main ones. I almost actually screamed ‘WHO ARE YOU’ multiple times because?? Confusion?? I have the memory of a goldfish so if it had taken me a while to read this I would’ve blamed in on myself, but it was only a few days.

I really liked that CC was a travel blogger, but we never actually see her blog? She’s just taking pictures all the time, and at first that was fine, because she had just moved to a new town, but as us bloggers know, blogging takes up a lot of our time and we constantly think about it. Considering she has a huge following, surely it’s a big part time of CC’s life too? So why don’t we see that?

I loved the relationship between CC and her dad – pretty much the only saving grace of this book, but the ‘mystery’ completely ruined it as her dad just went along with it and didn’t tell her about it.  It’s such a shame too because her dad was such a sweetheart and they had such fun interactions? Like when Thorn, the love interest, is there to pick her up and asks if she’s ready, he accidentally says that she’s been sitting ready for forty-five minutes waiting for him:

Dad came through the living room with an expression on his face that matched my insides.
”I’m sorry I said that.” He crouched next to me on the floor like we were both hiding from Thorn. ”What do we do now?” he whispered.

And then when Thorn asks if she can go to the lake:

”She can’t.” Dad clutched my elbow and pulled me closer. ”CC’s grounded for… for… knocking over a licquor store.”
I shook my elbow free. ”Are you having a stroke?”
Dad laughed in a totally fake way then pulled me in close again. ”I don’t know if you want to go with him or not, and I wanted to say you did something cool to make up for before.”

SEE? Such a nice dad I loved him. But the mystery bnfshdg Okay we’ll get there, let’s get to the romance first. The love interest is of course a broody bad boy, who everyone is telling CC to stay away from but she’s immediately intrigued and wants to ‘tame the wild beast’ I shit you not. She constantly refers to him as a ‘wild beast’ like???

It’s also insta-love and honestly was very annoying to read about.

And now, finally, the mystery. Like I said, it was SUCH a let down. It was ridiculous and over the top and just… Not realistic? This a big spoiler but I need to rant about it, so open at your own risk:

 

 

 

Spoiler!

The big secret that everyone is keeping is that everyone is signing contracts to not get a divorce. The mayor is offering them a huge sum of money in return, because she wants to keep up the zero divorce rate of the town to attract more people to get married there. Because of these contracts people are getting married to someone they have a good platonic relationship with, and then just cheat on them with someone they love akndgjhs The mayor even offers CC, a 17-year old, a million dollars or something to marry her son Thorn, give birth to his children and become the next mayor. Oh and when people want to get divorced or just don’t want to live there anymore, they have to either pay back the money or fake their death and start a new life as someone else jghjsfgb CC’s dad knew about all of this before they moved there and though he doesn’t want to cheat on his future wife, he’s just?? A-okay with all of this?? Plus he never tells CC about it, even when she’s getting really worried that something weird is going on. The ending just makes this whole thing worse, because CC and Thorn solve everything by blackmailing the mayor into resigning and helping Thorn, who hasn’t even graduated high school yet, become mayor instead even though he has no skills or qualifications to be a good mayor dkngsjh And then they just ride off into the sunset singing Kumbaya. This whole thing is just so ridiculous and weird and over the top to me. It makes no sense?? The author made it sound like something terrible was going on and then I got this instead.

 

 

 

The writing and characters weren’t that great, so finding out what was going on was the only thing that kept me going. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.Have you read Sugar Lump? What did you think? Any good YA small town mysteries you’d recommend to me? If you read the spoiler, what do you think about the mystery? Let me know in the comments!

Review: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

IMG_3309

Genre: YA, contemporary, mystery, part graphic novel
Goodreads rating: 4.09
My rating: ★★★★★

summary

Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives (Goodreads).

review

When I spotted this beauty at the bookstore, I knew I had to have it. I mean, can you blame me? Look at the gorgeousness of it. You fellow bookworms get me right? I’m pretty sure we’re all suckers for breathtaking covers.
Okay, I did read the blurb first to see if I really had to have it, and I was right. I mean, read the summary above. It sounds awesome- and it was.

But let’s focus on the beauty of this book first. What I didn’t know when I bought it, is that it’s illustrated. Not only does this make the book 1000000 times more beautiful (I’ll be using the word beauty/beautiful a lot in this review), it also added to the story as there are pages of the Princess X comic for you to read. It’s so much more fun to read bits of the comic yourself instead of reading about it!

Collage_princessx

I didn’t photograph any of the actual comic pages, as that might spoil the story too much. There are many more illustrations though and it’s just, again, beautiful.

Now if that didn’t convince you to buy this yet, on to the story itself. It is suspenseful and funny, heartwarming and sometimes sad, and oh my god I couldn’t stop reading. I was going to go bed on time, but Princess X had other plans. I couldn’t stop turning the pages and I found myself covering the pages with my hands many times to stop myself from spoiling myself (I can’t help it, when things are getting exciting my eyes tend to wander and I’ll spoil myself). The mystery is solved piece by piece, and with every piece things get more interesting (and a bit scary!). My heart was beating fast during many scenes!

Possible minor spoiler. 

Another thing I liked was the friendship between May and Trick. It was pure platonic (HALLELUJAH!) and they just had this great relationship where they teased each other and joked around. When Trick was introduced I got a bit annoyed, because I was afraid it would turn into a romance and I really wasn’t in the mood for that. I mean, her best friend may or may not be dead, is at least missing and she has a mystery to solve. She does not have time to fall in love!  So I was definitely happy about the fact there was no romance at all in this book. It just would’ve felt off!

I could go on and on about Princess X. It’s definitely a new favourite of mine and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. I would’ve loved to say more about it, but I really think you should go into it without knowing too much! Have you read I Am Princess X yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

– The Writing Hufflepuff

Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Genre: Fantasy | sci-fi | mystery
Series: The Invisible Library
Goodreads rating: 3.80
My rating: ★★★★

summary

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake (Goodreads).

review

I would have finished this book a lot quicker if it hadn’t been for exams, as it’s brilliant and fast-paced, written in a witty manner with witty dialogue and fun characters. I wasn’t immediately drawn into the world, thus the four stars instead of five, but I really can’t wait for the sequel.

Irene works for the Library, which is something I think all of us would want to do. She travels to alternate universes to collect works of fiction. Alternate universes? Yes please. Sometimes with fairies, vampires, dragons, detectives and adventure? Hell yeah. Collecting books? Sign me up.

Irene is a great protagonist, smart, funny and witty, who knows how to get out of a tricky situation. Through the novel we get to know her pretty well and she starts to have some doubts about her and the Library’s morals, which I hope will be explored further in The Masked City. Kai is like her Watson, he is reliable and thrustworthy and knows that Irene knows what she’s doing. The side characters are all interesting and quirky. If you’re looking for the perfect squad to solve a mystery with, look no further.

The worldbuilding is also well done. Cogman explains the way the library and the alternate worlds work piece by piece, not all at once. She tells you what you need to know for now, without leaving you completely clueless. Questions were answered I didn’t even realise I had. And can I again say: alternate worlds? Fairies and vampires and dragons and detectives and adventure? And of course there is magic and ‘the Language’, which is sort of the Librarian’s magic.

And oh the mystery was well done. There were plot twists I didn’t see coming until Irene started to figure them out. They left me open mouthed and wanting to read more and more. Why oh why was this only released this year? Why do I have to wait so long for The Masked City? (Okay, according to the publisher it will be released in October, which isn’t such a long wait, but still) I need more of Irene and Kai and their companions. I need to know what happens next.

This book was amazing. Writing this review I fell in love with it all over again. Read it, you won’t regret it. And if you do, I hereby give you permission to chase me with pitchforks. And if you do, please don’t chase me with pitckforks.

signature