The Hand on the Wall|ARC review|Blog Tour|Giveaway

Welcome to my stop in the blog tour of one of my most anticipated book releases of the year – The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson. I have already reviewed books one and two here if you would like to check it out. I would like to thank The Fantastic Flying Book Club and HarperCollins for giving me an opportunity to read the conclusion to this wonderful series much before everyone 😀

About the Book

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3)
by Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 21st 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Purchase from Amazon, B&N, Book Depository

Synopsis

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph.

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

My Thoughts

If you have read books 1 & 2, you would know they both end in a cliffhanger. The Hand on the Wall provides you all the answers you have been waiting for and it does so, with a lot of twists and page turning scenes. I’m at awe of Maureen Johnson’s writing because she maintains the same suspense throughout the three books and keeps us super engaged. I think before bingeing into this book, one should go back n just waltz through books 1 & 2 for hidden clues in there. I’m not saying you might find some, you may or may not. But definitely you wouldn’t expect the twist that comes at the beginning of book 3. BuWAHHAhaha, I’m evil!(Although in hindsight, maybe not, because this was released on an excerpt in Epic Reads site)

Okay as I cannot talk about the plot, let’s talk about the characters. I cannot believe I love the series so much but not the main character, Stevie Bell. Don’t come at me, ok, I just don’t find her character to be interesting. She’s socially awkward, yeah, but there is not much in her that I find intriguing enough, although definitely good anxiety rep.. On the other hand, I like David 😀 He is trouble personified and is hell bound on causing ermmm hell for his father. In this book though, he drives both Stevie and us insane. And there’s one more socially awkward person – Nate, who even though tends to avoid contact at all possible cost, surprises us now and then with quirky remarks and is the supportive best friend to Stevie. Other than these three, rest of the characters didn’t have much to offer. And oooh I forgot, I liked Leonard Holmes Nair too. (No spoiler intended :P)

Overall, the book was a satisfying 4.5 stars for me. I rated it as such because I never lost interest and the parallel timelines are nicely done.

Before I finish, there’s a US only give-away  that runs till 4th Feb 2020 and you can click on the link and participate to win a copy of the book. Go !!

Favorite Quotes

Nate being Nate –

Are you trying to make me have an emotion?

Also Nate –

“Fun fact,” Stevie said, trying to lighten the mood in the vast gloomy space. “this fireplace?, Henry the Eighth had one just like it, in Hampton Court. Albert Ellingham had an exact copy made.”

“Fun Fact,” Nate replied, “Henry the Eighth killed two of his wives. Who wants a murderer’s fireplace?”.

“I’m not sure, but thats the name of my new game show”.

Stevie’s inner turmoil at one point in the book –

Why were humans wired like this? Why were we built with a current that could short out our powers of reason and judgement at any time? Why were we filled with chemicals that made us stupid? How could you feel so excited and enraged and like you were being pierced with a thousand emotional needles in the brain all at the same time?

Dream Cast

So the below dream cast is totally in my opinion (and some friends’ too) and as such opinions might differ. And also let me point out, it was difficult to put a face to these characters because not many of them have character descriptions.

Practice note-7 2

I hope we can all agree on one Mr Edward King, if not all of them 😀

I hope you enjoy(ed) reading this series like I did. Do drop in your thoughts on the series. An don’t forget to check the rest of the tour here

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74

About the Author

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

Goodreads | Website | Instagram|Twitter

The Vanishing Stairs by Maureen Johnson |Audiobook Review

The Vanishing stairs is the 2nd book in the Truly Devious trilogy. You can read the review of the first book here.

Image result for vanishing stair maureen johnson review

At the end of Truly Devious, there was a huge cliffhanger and nearly half the mystery was left unsolved. So its only right when I say I was biting my nails in anticipation for the next book in series. Thankfully I read the book in Dec 2018 only so I had to wait only for a month. **But waiting for the third book now is a whole other thing ***

The title of book#2 gave me major Nancy Drew feels. Did ya feel the same?

Image result for palpitation gif

Spoilers from Book#1 ahead!!!

So if you remember, Stevie Bell was trying to resolve the original Ellingham murder mystery in book# 1, which also included the murder of her classmate. Book#2 is about the first two unresolved mysteries and the missing case of Element Walker who Stevie suspects for the present day murder.

The second book starts with Stevie being taken out of school, but still thinking about her unresolved cases. She makes a deal with the devil, Edward King himself and re-enters Ellingham academy to keep an eye out for David, who’s been acting out ever since she left. There’s a lot of ‘unresolved’ feelings here but both of them shy away from the topic as much as possible.

While there was less time spent on the other characters in Book#1, here Nate and other friends of Stevie have more to contribute to the plot. I loved Nate for his dry sarcasm. Every other new character introduced felt shady to me 😀

The plot is pretty much at the same pace as the first book, with twists you didn’t see coming and parallel stories from the past, mostly the investigations and Albert Ellingham’s life after the murder of his wife.

Yet again the book ends in a major cliffhanger which only irritated me slightly because I felt most part of the mystery is over and a few more chapters would have ended the book as a Duology. But then again Maureen Johnson wants us all to wait. One more year.

My rating 4/5 stars

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74[3]

 

 

Truly Devious – Book Review

|Books I read in 2018 but never wrote a review|

Truly Devious is a YA mystery novel that revolves around the murders committed in a boarding school in early twentieth century.

Schools may be famous for many things: academics, graduates, sports teams.
They are not supposed to be famous for murders.

Ellingham Academy is not your normal boarding school. Its a place where “learning is a game“. img_7347Albert Ellingham, business tycoon and philanthropist opens a school where kids can learn on their own pace, in their own way with no restrictions to the modes of learning. And its completely free but only accepts 30 students per year, a mix of rich and poor.

Ellingham and his family lives right in the middle of the school grounds and when his wife and daughter are kidnapped, another student – Dottie Epstein – is also found dead. In the present, a fresh batch of students, including Stevie Bell, a true crime aficionado, are joining the school and Stevie’s one goal in life is to become a detective. Naturally, she is pulled towards the centuries old  unresolved mystery and tries to get into the bottom of it. Literally!

The story is written in parallel timings – and we have two murder mysteries to resolve – one in present, and the other from 1936. The writing is incredibly good and kept me hooked. Like other boarding school mysteries or murder mysteries, we are presented with so many clues, suspects but never ever can one keep guessing whats gonna happen. Hell, I wasn’t able to.  And the riddles signed Truly, Devious were creepy and definitely didn’t help in finding who Devious was. There was definite lag of pace in the beginning, but it picked up in the second half.

I loved reading the book even though it left us with a cliffhanger. The sequel is out on Jan 22 2019 and expectations are very very high!!

If you don’t like reading YA, I still recommend this book to you because you will be super impressed.

If you like YA, its much more better than Charlotte Holmes series.

Rating 5/5 stars

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74

More about the book:

Author: Mauren Johnson

Publishers :HarperCollins

Published on: January 2018

Source : Audiobook from storytel.in

First in series|Part of series|Cliffhanger