Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction

Book Review: The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Star Rating: 4/5
Title: The Wicked Girls
Author: Alex Marwood
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 384
Genre: Mystery, Thriller and Crime

Purchase here

One fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.

Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day when they were just children. But with new lives – and families – to protect, will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?

I have been reading this book for a very long time. My thesis has completely taken over my life and made my desire to read fiction pretty much nonexistent! There was a point where I just stopped reading for – probably an entire year. But this started to help me get back into reading and I found myself lost in the story.

Firstly, I loved how this book went back and forth between the present day and the past of the girls in the story. It kept me going and it didn’t reveal what happened immediately which helped as you really wanted to know how it happened. I did have to keep reminding myself who was who when they were adults as they of course had changed their names, but after a while I started to get used to it.

I really enjoyed the fact that the two girls ended up with two entirely different lives, ones which meant that one would resent the other for being able to have a good, nice life after everything that happened. I found myself feeling sorry for the characters despite their past, which is likely due to the way in which the murder occurred.

I don’t want to give away too much about the story, but this book was almost like a story in a story. Which kept it really interesting and was a good parallel with the past events. I really enjoyed the novel, the writing and the characters. I would definitely like to read more from this author, I really liked the style of writing!

Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction

Book Review: Eeny Meeny by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace 1)

Star Rating: 4/5
Title: Eeny Meeny
Author: M J Arlidge
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 448
Genre: Mystery, Thriller and Crime

Purchase here

The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it.

Days later, another desperate escapee is found – and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed.

Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind?

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors – living calling cards – who hold the key to the case.

And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die . . .

For quite a while now, I have been struggling with reading for pleasure. I know that when I pick a book up, I will enjoy it and can read for quite a while; however, as I have been reading a lot for my PhD recently, I have been finding it difficult to have the motivation to pick up a book in the first place.

I decided to try a brand new author, but a book that had been recommended to me. This case, the book was recommended to me by my mum, who loves crime fiction. I decided to give it a go.

Firstly, I thought the premise of this book was incredibly interesting. The problem with crime fiction can be that a lot of them will use serial killers and it can get very tedious reading book after book with a very similar premise; but, this book was very original. Without giving anything away, this killer doesn’t actually do any killing themselves. They simply kidnap people in pairs, lock them away, and tell them they can be let go if one of them kills the other. It was something I myself had never read before.

All the way through the book there was chapters of a flashback perspective. You don’t know who the flashback is from or why it’s being included, though you begin to guess, which I really enjoyed and thought it added to the story very well.

I really enjoyed the authors style of writing, as someone who is only just getting into crime fiction, I feel like he is a good author to start with as it’s easy to follow, the language makes it easy to picture what’s going on and you get very involved with the characters themselves.

One small word on the ending itself, I definitely did not guess it and I was not expecting it either. I will definitely be reading more books by this author and I recommend giving him a try. This was the first book in the Helen grace series and I can’t wait to delve into her life further.

Posted in Education Help and Advice, Life as a Research Student, PhD Journey

Top 5 Books that saved me on my PhD

I love reading and I always have. So, when I started my PhD first thing I asked about was “what books do I need to read?” And whilst I was met with a lot of people who didn’t use that many books on their PhD, I did manage to find some books myself which I think were really useful to me and could be used across a wide range of disciplines.

Discovering Statistics Using SPSS by Andy Field

I will never stop recommending this book. Not only does it help with SPSS (he has one for R too) but it helps with understanding the statistics behind it, knowing what test to use and why you’re using it. I’m one of those people that if I don’t understand why I’m doing it then I just can’t understand it at all! This book is good right from the basics up till the more advanced. I myself bought it in my first year of my undergraduate and have used it since!

PhD: An Uncommon Guide to Research, Writing and PhD Life by James Hayton

When I first started my PhD I actually got this book for Christmas, it’s only short but it really helps you to get started, understand what you should expect from your PhD and how you should plan your time. I have actually met the author as well (he did a talk at my university) and he was super nice and really helpful! He also has a YouTube channel where he discusses about doing a PhD so I’d also recommend checking that out.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

As I have written about before, publishing is an incredibly daunting experience on your PhD and I am still trying to figure it out and learn from it. This book has been really helping me, although written by the American Psychological Association it can go way beyond the psychology discipline and a lot of journals do actually recommend you read it if you are thinking of submitting a journal to them.

Doing a Literature Review by Chris Hart

I honestly think the majority of my books are from sage publications, and this is no exception, as it’s part of the sage study skills. This is a must have book for every scholar, it really helps with writing a literature review and puts it very simply. This is especially useful for those who struggle with organising themselves or understanding the best way to tackle a literature review. It’s a super useful book and really helped me to be more efficient with my literature review writing.

Qualitative Research Methods by Monique Hennink

Clearly my love for publications by sage continues! I really wanted to find a book to help me to get to grips with qualitative research. I myself prefer the quantitative methods but this book has completely helped me to understand the processes around qualitative research and analysis. It’s really easy to understand and very useful for anyone undertaking qualitative research.