“If I’m already dead to the people I love, I might as well die for them.” // Review of “Killman Creek” by Rachel Caine

Title: Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre:
Thriller
Date Read: 23/11/2017 – 24/11/2017
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

After completely devouring the first book in this series, I was very excited to find the second as  Read Now book on NetGalley. I could get straight onto it!

I won’t do much a summary here to avoid spoilers for the previous book, but rest assured that this instalment in the Stillhouse Lake series is just as gripping and nasty as the last. It delves into the world of the darknet, corporate greed, and the way a single seed of doubt can be sown so easily. I will say this: this book is not for the faint-hearted. If you have a weak constitution, you might want to find another book to read. By the time I reached the end, I needed to go seek comfort in a beloved childhood book for a while.

Unlike the first book, which is all from Gwen’s POV, this one also has chapters from Sam Cade’s, as well as the two Proctor kids, Lanny and Connor. At first I was a bit wary, as I’m often not a fan of mulitple perspectives, especially in first person, where they can all start to sound the same. I needn’t have worried, though; the way the narrative unfolded made perfect sense.

The first quarter or so of the book felt a bit road-trippy, with nothing really happening. But then as things started to be revealed, as wires got crossed and characters’ loyalties to each other were tested, I found myself just as hooked as I had been on the first book. I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what had happened to the characters, and whether or not they were telling the truth (it wasn’t always easy to tell, even when I thought I knew them).

The book wraps up this particular story, though there was the slight suggestion of other things to come. If this series does continue, I’ll definitey be checking it out, but I was definitely left feeling satisfied at the end of this one.


Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers for a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Save

#WWW Wednesday – November 29, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I had a great reading week this week, finishing no less than four books!

I finished Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine after posting on Wednesday night, then found the sequel, Killman Creek available to read straight away on NetGalley. These were intense! But if you like thrillers, I definitely recommend. I reviewed Stillhouse Lake on Monday and my review of Killman Creek is scheduled for Friday.

After that, I read Stay: the Last Dog in Antarctica by Jesse Blackadder. This is a middle-grade book based on a true story of a fibreglass Guide Dog (these are outside supermarkets all over Australia and you can put money in them that goes to Guide Dogs Australia) who was smuggled to Antarctica in 1991 and has lived there ever since. This was a sweet little book, and the last one I needed to fulfil my Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2017.

Last but not least, I listened to Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy on audio. I think this was supposed to be YA thriller, but it was more just a drama. It’s about a girl who has been released from prison after killing her best friend when they were ten. She is trying to start a new life under a new name, but the press interest makes it hard. I enjoyed it, though her boyfriend really bothered me because he was a controlling jerk and that was never addressed. :\

I also finally got around to reviewing Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee. You can read that review here.

What are you currently reading?

I have just started Renegades by Marissa Meyer and I’m keen to see her take on superheroes. So far I love the idea of the Puppeteer villain. At time of writing, I’m only at Chapter 4, so apart from that, I don’t have much of an opinion just yet.

I’ve also just started the sequel to Looking for JJ, Finding Jennifer Jones. It has a different narrator, though, which is mildly annoying.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve said it the last couple of weeks and it might still be The Game You Played by Anni Taylor. Another thriller but I seem in the mood for those right now. Though there are a lot of reviews for this one that say it is overlong, so I’m a bit wary.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

“In the morning, there’s another girl floating dead in the lake.” // Review of “Stillhouse Lake” by Rachel Caine

Title: Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre:
Thriller
Date Read: 21/11/2017 – 22/11/2017
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

I love a good serial killer book, even if it does make me start looking over my shoulder when I go out alone for a couple of days afterwards. This book certainly delivered not only on that front, but also on showing the dark side of the Internet, and how innocent people can be in danger from  the mob just be virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When a car accident reveals Melvin Royal’s seceret life as a serial killer, his wife Gina is tried as an accessory, and even after being acquitted, is still dogged by those on the Internet who think she escaped justice, or who want revenge on behalf of the victims. Fearful for her own safety, as well as her own children, she establishes a new life under a false name in the quaint town of Stillhouse Lake. But when a body is discovered in the lake baring her husband’s MO, she realises that maybe she has never been out of danger.

Stillhouse Lake is fast-paced and intense. I read most of it in one sitting because I knew if I didn’t get the closure of the ending, I wouldn’t sleep that night. While Melvin Royal is not present on the page all that often, when he is, he is slimy and horrifying. Gina’s reinvented persona, Gwen, is strong and fiercely protective of her children. I was filled with dread whenever it transpired that the alarm on their home hadn’t been set, or when one of the kids disappeared.

I did guess a couple of the twists throughout the story, but the overall villain remained a mystery to me, and there were several twists I didn’t see coming at all, but which made a whole lot of sense once I knew them. Knowing there was a second book, I had figured that something like what happens right at the end would take place, but I was able to get my hands on a copy of the sequel straight away, so it didn’t bother me.  It is pretty cliffhanger-y, though, and I know some people don’t like cliffhangers, so fair warning for that.

This has been a good year for thrillers, and this is  another one to add to the list. Gripping, suspensful, with a great climax. Stay tuned for my review of book 2!

#WWW Wednesday – November 22, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

This week I finished Nyxia by Scott Reintgen and I really enjoyed it. Some of the world-building annoyed me, but the characters and decent writing made up for it. I think that’s a series I will continue to follow. I posted a review here.

What are you currently reading?

I started reading Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine last night, and I am now at work feeling tired because I stayed up past my bedtime. I’m about a third of the way through it at the moment and I’m really enjoying the themes it’s bringing up about trying to stay on the down-low in the age of social media and how being on the run can affect a family.

I’m also reading Not Your Villain by C. B. Lee but I’m not really into it. A lot of the reviews do say it starts off slow because it covers the events of the previous book from another character’s POV, but that it picks up once it gets into its own story. I want to signal boost this series because of the diversity, but while I read an entire third of Stillhouse Lake last night, it’s taken me a week to read a quarter of this one. :\

What do you think you’ll read next?

 I’m not sure yet. Maybe another thriller? The Game You Played by Anni Taylor is on my until-the-end-of-the-year TBR along with Stillhouse Lake. I haven’t read many books from that list in November, so if I can power through a few easy and/or gripping ones before the end of the month, I’ll be pleased.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – 14 September, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Thbeccacarlislecovere Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley and posted my review here. I ended up quite enjoying it for the most part. I also read The Mysterious Adventures of Becca Carlisle by Cate Morgan, which is the second in a series of steampunk novellas. This one was less steampunky as it dealt more with the Carlisle family’s legal matters and building a case against their enemy, but as with the first one, the characters were vibrant and fun and it was a quick read. In related news, my review of Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine also went up this week.

What are you currently reading?

dragoninthegardencoverThe Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner, which I also got from NetGalley. I’m almost halfway through it. Not  much has happened so far, but the world-building and characters are interesting. I’m a bit worried it might get messy, though, as we already have fallen angels and dragons, and the fey are apparently going to start showing up, too.

Still going with Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis on audio. I haven’t had as many opportunities to listen to it but luckily I was able to renew it so I should be able to finish it before it gets returned.

What do you think you’ll read next?

illkeptoathcoverI want to try to read The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune in time to get a review up around its release on September 27. This is the one I accidentally-on-purpose requested from NetGalley last week. I have another one I that I requested in the same manner this week. Still waiting on approval for that one, but fingers crossed! After finishing the Birdman’s Wife and getting through Dragon in the Garden quite quickly, I feel a bit better about having a few ARCs sitting around.

I’m going to love you and leave you on that note, and try to do something that involves moving about. I thought I would try a new class at the gym yesterday, but it turned out to be well beyond my abilities, and  unlike the one I normally go to, didn’t really have different levels for those of us who are beginners. As a result, 36 hours and a massage later, I am still stiff and sore, but it wears off a bit when I move around.

See you all later!

~ Emily

Hard habit to break, friendship.” // Review of “Paper and Fire” by Rachel Caine

Title: Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: YA/dystopian
Date Read: 25/08/2016 – 08/09/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

paperandfirecoverThis is going to be a hard book to review, because I can’t tell you exactly why I didn’t like it, just that I didn’t much. I’ve been having a terrible time with series this year. They keep impressing me at the outset and then ultimately disappointing me. Unfortunately, this was another one to add to the list.

Jess Brightwell is continuing to juggle his family’s smuggling business with the intense training of the High Garda soldiers at the Great Library in Alexandria. When he and his group of friends learn that their friend Thomas may not be dead, but alive and in prison in Rome, they make it their first order of business to rescue him, regardless of the consequences.

I can’t exactly put my finger on why this book disappointed me. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a book slump at the moment. Perhaps it’s because I had read some reviews in the same vein as this one and I let them influence me a bit too much, so I was looking for the flaws as I read. I know I definitely didn’t really care what happened to the characters, and that I never cared about the peril they were in. The aftermath from events in the first book, such as the war in Oxford, didn’t seem to have had much more than a superficial effect on anyone, and life seemed to be going on as it always had for them. Jess and Morgan’s romance didn’t work at all. It’s all tell and no show. It just feels shoehorned in.

I saw another review somewhere that said that the use of the “Ephemera” excerpts before each chapter ruins any suspense and to an extent I agree. If you already know that someone is going to secretly work for the main characters, even if it will cost them their career, because you’ve read an excerpt from their secret journal, there’s very little tension when the characters run into this person. The Ephemera thing worked a lot better in the first book, but it seemed to be used a bit too much and to less effect in this one.

I’ve got a year to decide whether I’ll finish the series or not. Maybe I’ll feel differently when the final book comes out, but this one turned into such a chore to finish, I’m not even sure I want to bother.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Save

#WWW Wednesday – 07 September, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

paperandfirecoverI finished Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine and I am disappointed to say that it was a real chore to get through in the end. Admittedly, part of this may be that I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, and so it’s probably not the book’s fault entirely, but…

All I can say is I’m having a really awful run with series this year! I need to get me some more standalones.

thecollectorcoverI also finished The Collector by John Fowles on audio. While I did find the second part of the book, from the POV of the kidnapped girl, a bit boring, overall this is definitely a book that will stick with me a long time. It was chilling, and I had a couple of moments after finishing it where I was quite wary about leaving my house. In hindsight, reading it when my partner was away for a week so I was alone during the evenings probably wasn’t the best idea, either.

My review of The Collector went up on Monday, along with my review of the first Marcus Didius Falco book, The Silver Pigs, last Friday. Click the links to read them.

What are you currently reading?

birdmanswifecoverI am back to reading The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, a fictionalised account of the life of illustrator Elizabeth Gould. I’m over halfway through now. I think it may end up being one of those tricky books to review, because while it’s well-written and enjoyable, there is the fact that is based on someone’s actual life, so there’s no “plot” exactly,  just stuff they did. Which is sometimes a bit frustrating.

After a brief flirtation with Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, I realised that shadaowsinbronzecoverclassics don’t really do it for me in audio form either, and I decided to stick with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of that one. Instead, I’ve started the audio book of the second Marcus Didius Falco book, Shadows in Bronze. I’m really enjoying these books, though it’s a different narrator for this one! He’s not bad, but I really liked the first guy. And going by Overdrive’s listing, it sounds like nearly every book in the series has a different narrator. Oh well.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m debating whether to return to The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, or keep going with some more ARCs. I accidentally requested another book from NetGalley today. The cover seduced me. I couldn’t help it. I do have two four hour train trips coming up this weekend, so I’ll be able to get quite a bit of reading done on those at least.

What are you reading this week? If you’ve read any of the books listed above, what did you think?

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – August 31, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What are you currently reading?

paperandfirecoverMy main focus at the moment is Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine. It is doing that middle-book-in-a-trilogy thing of being well-written and easy to read even though nothing much is happening. I really enjoy the world it’s set in, though, so I’m okay with that.

On audio, I have started The Collector by John Fowles. This book came up in conversation at work a little while ago and I thought it sounded delightfully disturbing, so when I saw the audio book available, I grabbed it.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finally finished the audio book of Votive by Karen Brooks. I still enjoyed some parts of the story, but I felt it was too long and had too many POV characters. My review is here. I do want to see the series through, but I’ve decided I’m going to read the third book rather than listen to it. It’s much easier to skim the boring parts of a print book than one you listen to.silverpigscover

I followed that up with The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis, which I also listened to. This is the first in the Marcus Didius Falco series, a series of crime novels set in ancient Rome. It was light-hearted and fun, and exactly what I needed after a dense historical fantasy!

I also posted my review of This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab.

What do you think you’ll read next?

birdmanswifecoverOnce I’ve returned Paper and Fire to the library, I need to get back to  The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley so I can get my review of that up before publication, and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, which I have on loan from a friend.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – 24 August, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

thissavagesongcoverI finished This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab and while I liked the plot, I never really warmed to either of the main characters, so that let it down for me. I’ll go into more detail in my review, which will go up on Friday.

My reviews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling et al and Tallow by Karen Brooks both went up in the past week.

What are you currently reading?

birdmanswifecoverMy main focus at the moment is The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, which I received from NetGalley. This is historical fiction based on the life of the illustrator Elizabeth Gould. I’m about a third of the way through and John Gould’s demands and taking for granted of his wife are making me frowny, but the fact that she was so overshadowed by her husband is partially why the author set out to the write the book, so I am glad this book exists.

I am still going on Votive by Karen Brooks and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I have about five hours left of Votive, so I’ll probably finish it in the next couple of days. I am still enjoying it but it’s way too long! I didn’t relaly feel like returning to the world of the Rook immediately after This Savage Song, hence checking out The Birdman’s Wife first.

What do you think you’ll read next?

paperandfirecoverPaper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine is waiting for me at the library, so that will be next. The reviews have been mixed but I hope I like it as much as I liked the first one. After that, back to my extensive list of ebooks and physical books that I own and need to get through.

That’s all from me today. I’ve decided to take a bit of a hiatus from WIPpet Wednesday while I’m editing rather than writing. See you on your blogs!

~ Emily

“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it.” // Review of “Ink and Bone” by Rachel Caine

Title: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: YA/alternate history/fantasy
Date Read: 11/16/2016 – 16/06/2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

inkandbonecoverEveryone knows I love a good alternate history. This one also brings in elements of dystopia, steampunk and fantasy, blended beautifully into a great, character-driven series opener.

In a world where ownership of original books is illegal and all knowledge is controlled the Great Library of Alexandria and its daughter libraries across the world, Jess Brightwell is the son of a book smuggler, running illegal books across town to weathy collectors. When he is offered a place to study at the Library, his father insists he take it, but as Jess studies and works towards a coveted position somewhere in the Library, he starts to learn that perhaps this ancient institution should not be held in such high regard.

While some of the world-building in this book took me a little while to get my head around, I took to Jess pretty much instantly, and the other characters as they were introduced. It’s no easy task having a large ensemble of characters as this book does (Jess has several classmates, and at least six or seven of them are focused on). However, these characters each felt like a different, three-dimensional person. Their proctor, Scholar Wolfe, probably became my favourite, as it was revealed that underneath the harsh exterior was a man trying to atone for past sins and do what he thought was right.

Amongst the large cast, we have different ethnicities represented, as well as LGBTQI*relationships. Oh, and there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE! AT ALL! I wish this wasn’t such a novelty in YA, but it really is. There are romances and relationships going on, but there is no situation where two characters are obsessed with the same third character, and both think they are entitled to him/her.

As I said above, some of the world-building is a little hard to follow, but I think by about halfway through I had mostly grasped how the Library ran things and how technology worked in this world. While not all of it entirely made sense to me, I was happy to just roll with things.

The second book in this series comes out sometime in July, and I am very excited that I won’t have to wait too long to join this world again.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Save