Party Girls Die in Pearls is a high class whodunnit murder mystery. Ursula has just started at Oxford University and finds a dead girl in her first week. As she wan’t to be part of the University Newspaper, Ursula must solve the mystery by her deadline Sunday. Alongside this she must make friends, socialise, work on her essay and take time to settle into Oxford.

Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery (Oxford Girl Mysteries)

I’m reading a lot of mysteries set around upper class schools recently, but Party Girls Die in Pearls far surpasses S.T.A.G.S. in my mind. Although I did figure it out before Ursula, it did take me a while to choose who the murderer was. But I was also slightly wrong. There’s two people with very similar roles and I chose the wrong one. This kept me reading throughout the book.

I actually really disliked the American exchange student/best friend. It felt very forced and that she was there to show off outrageous fashion choices that every loves. Although Plum Sykes does have a background in fashion so it’s understandably a focal point for her.

I enjoyed the footnotes as extra information as I didn’t understand some things mentioned. But some made me feel slightly old. Such as explaining who Cyndi Lauper is? I’m sorry but I do not believe young teens do not know who she is. Also, the footnotes weren’t placed properly on my ebook version, so I’d get a footnote before the text referencing it. But it may have been fixed in the published version, as I did get it as an ARC. Plus, of course it would be perfectly fine if you’re purchasing a physical copy.

Although it’s a murder mystery, there’s a lot of exploration of the high life of Oxford students. It’s extremely frivolous, with champagne and parties every night. But this contrasts nicely with the rather grisly death on campus. The characters were largely stereotypes although I feel like Sykes has pulled features and exaggerated them from people she knows. This is plausible as after searching, I found Sykes was a socialite and attended Oxford herself.

I would recommend Party Girls Die in Pearls to anyone who enjoys books similar to Sex in the City and Gossip Girl as well as mysteries. I received Party Girls Die in Pearls* by Plum Sykes as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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Cetaphil is a brand which caters for sensitive skin. It’s main selling point is how gentle the products are. I got these samples from my parents who had picked them up somewhere. As I have sensitive and eczema prone skin I was excited to try these out.

The first product is the Gentle Skin Cleanser. This is another foaming in water cleanser but a lot more affordable than the Clinique one I tried. It comes as a thick gel substance which doesn’t lather up too much when washing. When I used the cleanser I didn’t really feel anything which is good for my sensitive skin. My skin also did feel clean without feeling oily or dry which can sometimes happen with cleansers.

Next we have the Moisturising Cream. This is meant for your body rather than face according to the website. I tried it on both, because it’s a handy sample size for me to pop in my bag. It works well to moisturise without making my skin feel greasy or oily. It’s formula is similar to most handcreams and it soaks into the skin quite fast. I also tried it on a patch of eczema on my elbow, which has completely gone down now.

Then we have the Moisturising Lotion. This is for your face and comes as a very thick substance, similar to the cleanser but white. Similar to the cream it worked really well to moisturise without making my skin too oily. It also soaked in fast, but I did find it sat on my skin for longer than the cream. So I accidentally put my foundation on over it a bit early a couple of times.

Overall Cetaphil is a wonderful brand for my sensitive skin. The one thing of note is that there’s no ingredient which is solely to target acne, which is something I need a lot. Therefore I probably wouldn’t use the cleanser but I would definitely buy the Moisturing Cream for my face and body.

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After a cave expedition gone wrong, Simon finds himself the sole survivor. His near-death experience being filmed means he’s now famous. Which means he has more to prove. Simon must now climb Mount Everest and film it all whilst trying to keep himself sane.

The White Road

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy The White Road at first but at less than 300 pages I decided to give it a shot. First I was worried the writing would be full of technical terms. I was wrong. Simon, our main character, often walks us through experiences as he’s also new to high altitude climbing.

We’re straight into action for the caving incident. It’s horrifying, detailed and really draws you in. The aftermath also makes you want to know more and how Simon is going to cope on Everest. There’s a strong focus on mental health after both ‘incidents’ within the book. The PTSD that Simon suffers from is written really well. I was sympathetic and intrigued on how it would affect the rest of the book.

I enjoyed that there were diary elements for Juliet’s POV. There were also emails during Simon’s POV. The different formats of writing helped to differentiate the two, but also helped to increase intrigue. Having two POV’s was originally a shock as Juliet isn’t mentioned on the blurb. But I did enjoy the very different experiences they were having at the start. Also, it’s not clear how the two are linked until very late on in the book. Wanting to know the link between them made me want to continue reading faster.

It was thoroughly creepy nearing the end. I questioned whether there was a logical explanation.Many explanations were given within the book as a whole, but none fit completely. The White Road finishes with an ambiguous ending. As I finished this right before bed, I found it extra creepy.

I received The White Road* by Sarah Lotz as an e-book from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, via Bookbridgr. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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From moving to Mars, to an unseelie Queen, to a small child who loves Maleficent over the princess. Wicked Wonders is a collection of wonderfully written short stories from Ellen Klages.

Wicked Wonders

Because there are multiple short stories, it felt like it took much longer to read than a normal length novel. I found it particularly difficult to jump in and out of each story. This was because they’re all so different. Some were magical. Other’s were more sci-fi leaning. And then there were some that were contemporary.

Although vastly different, the writing style was consistently good throughout. Each story caught my attention and pulled me in. I was intrigued every time a new story started. Often confusion at first would turn to faster page turning.

I especially loved St Cecelias. We end up playing within board games such as Cluedo, snakes and ladders and Monopoly as part of Queen Mab’s games. I loved the settings that were described. The Queen was manipulative but fair with her deals. Plus I definitely would have read a whole series based on that one premise.

Singing on a Star was also one that has really stuck in my mind. I would love to have delved deeper into that storyline. Especially as the ending was ambiguous. So many of the stories were truly wonderful plots. I would love to read more from Klages as she has wonderful ideas and entrancing writing.

I received Wicked Wonders* by Ellen Klages as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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After Greer starts at prestigious school S.T.A.G.S on a scholarship she’s isolated for the majority of term. When she’s invited for a weekend of huntin’shootin’fishin’ with the ‘cool’ group of the school, she jumps at the chance. But… is it friendship they’re looking for? Or victims?

S.T.A.G.S

I wanted to read S.T.A.G.S. because it sounded like a really different kind YA book. I’m not used to reading YA thrillers. Plus, I had high hopes it would actually be thrilling and not just claim to be a thriller. The premise intrigued me so much because I wanted to know what was going to happen on this hunting, shooting and fishing trip.

I loved the premise of the book. From the very start we know a murder will occur by the end of the book. Therefore anticipation builds throughout as we wonder how it’s going to happen. Full of stereotypes, the villains aren’t particularly sneaky but they are highly manipulative with the victims. I felt that in some places the posh stereotype was overplayed slightly but it was more funny than annoying. The plot also affected more than the 4 days we are living it within the book, which made it more interesting.

The three victims were all very different characters. They’re all distinct  whereas the Medievals are carbon copies of one another. I also found it funny how they showed how backwards they were in thinking, they discussed technology as if it was a big problem. Greer our main character happily points out all the fantastic things we can do with technology, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. I honestly didn’t understand how all the pupils in S.T.A.G.S. didn’t use mobile phones just because the popular crowd didn’t.

This isn’t a classic whodunnit mystery. We know who is murdered and by who fairly early on. The biggest mystery is about what the trip to Longcross is really for, and why the students are going along with this trip every year. The ending, although shocking, felt abrupt. There was a little bit too much time spent on filler. Such as a clichéd YA romance and Greer talking to a stuffed deer head(??). It would have been better focusing on why it was happening earlier on in the plot. Overall though, I really enjoyed reading S.T.A.G.S. as it really caught my attention.

I received S.T.A.G.S.* by M.A. Bennett as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

Watch my video review here:

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