Pages

Monday, 29 June 2015

Book Review & Giveaway (CLOSED): All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie

The shocking truth behind a massive inheritance turns Evie Brown’s world on its head. Devastated by her family’s lies and desperate to discover more about a secret which overshadows her past, Evie ends up at Lightsea – an island institute for troubled teens – where she meets the gorgeous but enigmatic Kit…

Rumour has it that Lightsea is haunted and soon Evie sense a strange presence following her. As she is drawn deeper into the island’s mysteries, Evie realises that it’s not just the past, or the dead, that she has to fear.

Trusting the wrong person could cost her life.

Image credit: Simon & Schuster
Before I read All My Secrets, I saw a lot of 2-3 star reviews. So with these in mind, I was expecting to be disappointed. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised.

I don’t know why the other reviewers found fault with it because I really enjoyed it – in fact I finished the majority of it in one night because I had to keep reading and find out what happened!

Unlike a lot of YA fiction, I didn’t find it predictable. I hadn’t guessed what was going to happen until it actually happened, and the story was unexpected, peppered with exciting twists and turns. Similarly, I also liked that it was fast-paced and full of action and drama throughout. Just a dash of romance was nice too, rather than the love interest becoming the main focus of the story (this tends to happen a lot in YA!)

All the characters were interesting with different personalities that really made for an engaging and involving read. I particularly liked Pepper and Josh, although they all had their good points. The author has definitely managed to accurately capture the wide range of feelings and emotions that a group of ‘troubled’ teenagers would be experiencing in this situation. From Samuel’s innocence to outspoken Pepper, not forgetting Evie’s childish reaction to her family at the start, it’s clear Sophie McKenzie has worked hard on this.

I actually really liked the setting of Lightsea too. I often think stories perform better with a limited or single location, because that forces the characters together. In turn that provokes certain dramatic situations and actions, which makes it much more interesting to read. The author has also mastered the technique of ‘show, don’t tell’. This is just my writing background coming through, but I really appreciate an author writing well. For example, Evie notices that some of the rooms at Lightsea are disused and that the owner, David Lomax, wears a threadbare jacket. This shows us that Lightsea is having money issues without outright telling us - things like that are perfect examples of good writing.

Personally, I think the beginning was by far the weakest part of the book because it didn’t draw me in straight away. But don’t give up - stick with it – because as soon as Evie moves to Lightsea the story really comes into its own.

A lot of reviewers have complained that the basic premise is too far-fetched. Sure, the set-up isn’t exactly realistic, but why should that matter? It’s fiction, not real life. The concept might not have been fully realistic, but the way that the characters dealt with it was, and that’s definitely what made this story for me.

Rating: 4 stars.

I really enjoyed reading All My Secrets, and I’m sure you will too. So it’s just as well that I’ve got another copy to give away to one of my readers, courtesy of Simon & Schuster. If you’d like to win yourself a copy, just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:
1. Giveaway closes on 12th July 2015 at 11.59pm (GMT).
2. The prize consists of one paperback copy of 'All My Secrets' by Sophie McKenzie.
3. Upon confirmation of the winner's address, the prize will be posted to the winner by Simon & Schuster, NOT The Writing Greyhound.
4. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 13 and over.
5. The winner will be randomly generated by Rafflecopter once the giveaway has ended.
6. The winner will be informed by email once the giveaway has ended.
7. The winner will have 72 hours to claim their prize. If the winner has not responded by this time, another winner will be announced.

All My Secrets is released on July 2nd. If you can't wait to read it or don't want to risk not winning a copy in the giveaway, it's available to pre-order now.

Are you a fan of Sophie McKenzie? Let me know in the comments below!

78 comments:

  1. am reading Getting simon, it's a true story about 2 gay America male doctors trying to get a child either through surrogacy or adoption

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not reading anything at the moment, so a new book would be lovely

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have just finished Grey......hmmmm x

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds really interesting, thanks for the chance to win a copy of it!

    I'm currently reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver, which is a Dystopian and a very good one so far. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh that's on my tbr pile, let me know what you think when you've read it!

      Delete
  5. Currently reading Hilary Mantel's Place of Greater Safety for the second time :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one I haven't read - what's it like? :)

      Delete
  6. A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

    ReplyDelete
  7. Paula Readings01 July, 2015 14:32

    Woman in black by Susan Hill

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm currently reading "Star Maps"!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit that's one I've not heard of before!

      Delete
  10. Hi! Currently I am reading "The Fall and Rise of Harriet James" by Susie Hooper and "Why Italians love to talk about food" by by Elena Kostioukovitch :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They sound interesting - good luck!

      Delete
  11. Leave a comment and let me know what you're reading at the moment! . . . . . . Clan of the Cave Bear (again) by Jean M Auel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard good things about this book but have never read it myself (yet!)

      Delete
  12. At the moment I'm reading Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
    by Jill Steeples. I would love to win this for my daughter who is a big Sophie McKenzie fan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds interesting! Good luck Jayne!

      Delete
  13. I just finished Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich, I normally like her books as they are an easy read after a long and day and quite funny, but this one fell far short of that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel - it's always a shame when a book doesn't live up to your expectations.

      Delete
  14. I'm bookless atm looking for inspiration x

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cocktails at Le Carmen by Isabelle Andover

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's interesting as I've just finished 'The Sunrise' by Victoria Hislop which has rave reviews, but I found it rather flat. I've only read 10 pages of 'The Last Runaway' by Tracy Chevallier and am already enjoying it more. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Linda, it's always a shame when a book doesn't live up to your expectations - I'm glad you're enjoying The Last Runaway more! Good luck!

      Delete
  17. Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

    ReplyDelete
  18. been trying to work my way through some of the classics x am reading oliver twist at the moment x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good choice Michelle! I find it can be a struggle to make time for the classics, but they're definitely rewarding when you finish them!

      Delete
  19. Rory's Proposal by Lynda Renham :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. At the moment I am reading Precious Time by Erica James. I love her books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never read any of her books, might have to check this out!

      Delete
  21. The good life by Martina Cole

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good choice, Martina Cole books are brilliant!

      Delete
  22. reading wind in the willow with my daughter and friends

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Classic - I hope you all enjoy it!

      Delete
  23. The Girl at Midnight - Melissa Grey :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now this one definitely looks interesting! Good luck Minnie x

      Delete
  24. Replies
    1. Can't go wrong with a Jodi Picoult!

      Delete
  25. Not reading anything at the moment. I have 'Grey' and the reworking of 'NorthAnger Abbey' from the Austen Project put aside for my holiday reading.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm reading Geek Girl Model Misfit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard a lot of good things about the Geek Girl series - how are you liking it so far?

      Delete
  27. Replies
    1. A popular choice! Good luck Rebecca.

      Delete
  28. Unsuitable for Ladies by Jane Robinson

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm reading the Walking Dead graphic novel :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've just finished reading the phantom thief graphic novel

    ReplyDelete
  31. im reading YOU at the moment i love it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that! Good luck Lindsay.

      Delete
  32. At the moment I am reading the fabulous Agatha Christie's The Hollow x

    ReplyDelete
  33. im reading child bride by cathy glass at the moment

    ReplyDelete
  34. The wolf in Winter by John Connolly

    ReplyDelete
  35. Pam Francis Gregory12 July, 2015 18:09

    Great giveaway. I am reading Game of Thrones by George R R Martin at the moment

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen the TV series but I'm still yet to read the books! Good luck Pam.

      Delete
  36. I'm reading Phoenix Rising by Bryony Pearce

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm not actually reading anything at the moment as been focusing too much on uni work recently so need a new book to get stuck into!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what that's like! Best of luck Emily.

      Delete