Book Review: “Wolfhunter River” by Rachel Caine

Title: Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre:
Thriller
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 11/04/2019 – 17/04/2019
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

Back in 2017, I devoured books one and two in this series in four days. I absolutely loved them, so I was really looking forward to the long-awaited third instalment. It didn’t quite deliver on the fronts I hoped it would, but it was still a good read overall.

At the heart of the novel is the Proctor family, along wtih Sam Cade, trying to move on with their lives post-Melvin Royal. Their pasts still haunt them in ways they could never imagine, and there are betrayals lurking around every corner. I enjoyed this character-driven stuff even as I was a bit disappointed that the suspense was lacking.

The crime story and the suspense really picked up in the last third. Up until the 60% mark, I was thinking that not much had really been happening plot-wise, but there was enough in that last third to make up for the rest. It did get a bit complicated and I had to remember who a lot of different people were. A few different sub-plots all came together, so there was a lot to keep track of.

I suspect that this is something of a bridging book between the original Melvin Royal duology and future crime-solving instalments. I am definitely interested to see if/how this series continues.


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

Advertisements

#WWW Wednesday – March 21, 2018

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

Due to me having no time a couple of weeks ago and still alternating Wednesday posts between this blog and my writing blog, it’s been about three weeks since I last did a WWW Wednesday. I’ve finished a number of things, and am progressing through my March-April TBR quite nicely. But it does make for a bit of a long post! Sorry!

What have you recently finished reading? 

First up, I finished Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  I enjoyed quite a few of the essays in here, particularly the way she explained her depression and the stories about Simple Dog and Helper Dog. I’m not going to get around to reviewing this one properly, but I would recommend picking it up if you enjoyed the HaaH blog.

Next, I finished my ARC of Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge. This was such a cozy urban fantasy mystery and I enjoyed it a lot. Though it did make me hungry. I want to hang out in Lola Dodge’s kitchen while she’s baking. My review is here.

The next one was Deep Storm by Lincoln Child, which I listened to. This was a sci-fi thriller, I guess. I found some of the ideas quite interesting, but it is in a third person omniscient style, and I found it a bit too detached to get interested in anyone.

On the same day, I finished an ARC of Daddy Dearest by Ellery Crane. This was a compelling thriller though there was one character where I couldn’t decide whether to sympathise with her considering how messed up she was, or whether I just thought she was completely irresponsible. So that did affect my enjoyment a bit. You can read my full review here.

Next I finished Call Me Sasha by Geena Leigh. This is Geena Leigh’s memoir of her time working in prostitution in Sydney. I’ve read a few books in this vein and it wasn’t my favourite. Though I think the audio book narrator also contributed to that because it sounded like she pouting at everything. You can read my review here.

A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester was my next read. This was a damn fine piece of historical romance, set in 1920s New York, and featuring young women bucking societal norms and also lots of Broadway. So I was sort of destined to like it. My review is here.

Last but certainly not least, I finished the audio book of The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. This was fascinating, and I’m already pretty sure will be one of my favourite books of this year. It is another historical fiction, set during the “War of the Currents” and featuring historical figures such as Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. I have never googled so many real events to find out more while reading a novel. My review will be up on Friday.

Phew! That’s it. Only seven books, but I do tend to go on a bit, don’t I? (I have actually been drafting this post for at least a week and adding books as I finished them, but it still feels like it took forever to write).

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve been reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, which is on my March-April TBR… I feel like the blurb promises one thing and the words between the covers go off in a completely different direction and I’m not sure how I feel about that. So I’m having a bit of a break from it.

In the meantime, I have started The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I’m not quite as into it as I was into The Last Days of Night. I think it’s little things like small Americanisms in the chapters set in Victorian London, and a fictitious descendent of Arthur Conan Doyle (I’m never sure how to feel about liberties taken with such recent historical figures). But I only started it last night and I’m  already a third of the way through, so there’ s that.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve got Ready Player One by Ernest Cline out from the library. To be honest, the excerpts I’ve read, along with everything I’ve heard from people with similar reading tastes to me, suggest that it is pretty terrible, so the best I’m hoping for is “so bad, it’s good.” Yes, every now and then I like to rage-read a book, it’s true.

It will probably be another three weeks before I post a WWW again, as I am flying to Nepal on April 2! Eeeek! I won’t be reading much while I’m there, but I have a number of ebooks lined up to read on the flights!

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

Book Review: “Daddy Darkest” by Ellery Kane

Title: Daddy Darkest
Author: Ellery Kane
Genre:
Psychological thriller
Date Read: 0/03/2018 – /03/2018
Rating:
 ★★★

Review:

This thriller started off very strong, and the writing was strong the whole way through. I definitely found it gripping, but as I went on, I did find myself a bit confused by some of the choices one character in particular made, which resulted in an ultimately lower rating.

When Sam’s best friend, Ginny, disappears in an airport bathroom while wearing Sam’s letterman jacket, it soon becomes clear that the kidnapper intended to take Sam. As she struggles to find Ginny, she starts to question whether everything she’s ever known is a lie…

The book alternates between chapters in Sam’s first-person POV and her mother, Clare’s, bacak in 1996, when she worked as a prison psychiatrist. I enjoyed Sam’s chapters, I thought her voice was really authentic. Even if it did sometimes stray into YA tropes such as kissing the hot guy you’ve known for two days, despite the fact he seems to be pretty shady.

Clare’s chapters were well-written and unraveled the details of Clare’s past at a good pace. It was Clare herself I couldn’t figure out. I couldn’t work out whether her messed up upbringing could be blamed  for her bad decisions, or whether she was just completely irresponsible. While the author was going for the former, I expect, the more I thought about it, the more it felt like the latter to me.

There were a few aspects of the plot that I had predicted, but it wasn’t completely predictable overall. It was interesting to see how all the characters were tied to one another, not just in obvious ways. The ending was intriguing, but I felt it fitted the events of the book. I think it is just an ambiguous ending, and that there will be no follow-up, but it works that way.


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

#WWW Wednesday – February 14, 2018

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?

Only one finish this week: Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker. I know many people really loved it but I wasn’t a fan. I just couldn’t make sense of a lot of it. You can read my review here. Sorry it’s a bit ranty.

I actually DNFed Hellhole by Gina Damico, as the humour wore off after a while and I wasn’t really into the story. And given that I had completely forgotten about it until I looked at last week’s post to start this one, I guess that shows how much I was into it.

I also posted my review of Hunted by Meagan Spooner this week. You can find that one here.

What are you currently reading?

I am finally reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. For those unaware, this book came out of the Black Lives Matter movement and is about a black teenager whose best friend is shot by a white police officer while unarmed. I have put it off for a long time because I was worried about how I would find it. And it isn’t an easy read and is making me frustrated and angry a lot of the time, but in a good, this-book-is-challenging-me way.

On audio, I am still listening to Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, though I’ll probably finish it today or tomorrow. I like many of the ideas, but I’m not so sold on the plot itself. The MC is surrounded by characters who refuse to explain what is going on, mostly for the sake of padding out the plot, which is annoying. And I don’t care about her best friend who is trying to find her back on earth. I’ll finish this but unless the ending is really impressive, I don’t think I’ll read the sequel.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m going to try to knock a couple more books off my February TBR. Possibly Dollhouse by Anya Allyn will be next. Or The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon if I feel like a physical book instead of an ebook.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

Book Review: “Keep Her Safe” by Richard Jay Parker

Title: Keep Her Safe
Author: Richard Jay Parker
Genre:
Psychological thriller
Date Read: 09/02/2018 – 10/02/2019
Rating:
 ★★

Review:

I’ve been having a bit of a bad run with thrillers. After listening to a disappointing one that opens with a stranger in the protagonist’s house, I had hoped that this one would be better. Unfortunately, I found the writing in this one quite lacking, and while it did improve for a while, it never really impressed me.

Since I am about to go on to say a lot of negative things, I will start with something positive. As you can see from the dates above, I did read this quite quickly. Even as I was questioning some of the things that happened or why characters were doing certain things, the writing was overall quite readable. There was a chunk in the middle (from about 20% through to 65%) that I read in one sitting. The tension was good, and I did admittedly want to see how everything panned out.

The theme of this book was “How far would you go for your child?” but I feel like the author had very little experience of parenthood, and mothers of young children in particular. Some of the dialogue between the two mothers felt strange; I think they were explaining things for the benefit of the reader that one mother would not need to explain to another. There was also a reference to Maggie being an “older mother” at age 34 (32 is hardly an unusual age to be giving birth anymore).

I had other issues with the writing as well, like the fact that the mastermind behind everything has an actual villain monologue… not only that, said monologue goes on for a chapter and a half. There are other ways to explain a character’s motivations, rather than just a huge info-dump. Speaking of the villain, I couldn’t quite work out why he decided to send the two women on a wild goose chase when the initial murder he’d intended didn’t work out. I don’t know why he would have decided to reveal himself (eventually) and then the way everything wrapped up seemed a bit too easy.

I have to agree with the other reviews of this that say that the almost constant action scenes were at the expense of character development. Apart from “I’d do anything for my child”, there was really nothing else I knew about either of the main characters for most of the book. Some information was dropped in the last third which I think was meant to make me sympathise more with them, but I just didn’t have enough interest by that stage. When a bombshell was dropped about one of them, it had very little effect on me.

This was my first read by this author and while I can see his books are very popular, I don’t think I will be revisiting.


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

#WWW Wednesday – February 07, 2018

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 finished two more audio books this week! All my training for my Nepal trek in April is paying off. I was driving for about five hours on Saturday, with a two-and-a-half hour hike in the middle. Good for audio books but my bum was rather sore by the end of the day.

First off, I finished Hunted by Meagan Spooner. The style of writing in this is a bit like The Night Circus in that half the time, I wasn’t sure I was into the story much. Then I sort of got used to its rhythms and the fact that it was more character-driven than anything else, and I really loved the descriptions of the setting. So if you like your Beauty and the Beast retellings and those things mentioned above, I recommend this one overall.

Next I finished You Sent Me Letter by Lucy Dawson. The problem with this was that it wasn’t very thrilling for a thriller. Though I wanted to know how it ended, I felt a bit unsatisfied by the time I actually got to the end. Oh well.

I also finished the ARC of Your One and Only, a sci-fi YA romance by Adrianne Finlay. I had been putting this off for ages, but I ended up really enjoying it.

This week I reviewed Lion by Saroo Brierley and Your One and Only as well.

What are you currently reading?

I started Hellhole by Gina Damico which is about a squeaky-clean teenager who ends up accidentally summoning a demon, who moves into his basement. It started off quite funny, though it’s worn a little thin. I’m still waiting to see if it picks up again.

On audio, I am listening to Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley. This is not what I expected at all; from the descriptions, I expected it to be a lot closer to literary fiction, but it’s actually far more standard YA than that (by which I mean, accessible language, snarky teenage MC, etc). But it is interesting to see a totally different mythology being drawn on to most fantasy books.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Since I didn’t get around to it this week, I will stick with saying Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker. I’m hoping this will be a better “wake up to find a stranger in your home” thriller than You Sent Me A Letter turned out to be.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – December 06, 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?

Ayeesh, from a week where I finished four books to a week where I didn’t finish anything.

It hurts my heart to say it but after taking a week to reach page 200, I decided to DNF Renegades by Marissa Meyer. I just felt that it way way too long, and nothing had happened at that 200-page point for me to really care about. But I also think maybe superheroes are just not my jam, since I thought Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee was just okay and I didn’t even reach page 100 in Not Your Villain.

I did manage to post my review of Killman Creek by Rachel Caine. Click the title to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I have started The Game You Played by Anni Taylor but I’m taking it slowly because unfortunately, the reviews that mentioned poor editing are correct. I can’t even blame that on it being self-published, so I don’t know what’s going on there. I think this is also going to be a bit of a slow read and I’m possibly comparing it to Stillhouse Lake/Killman Creek, which is probably not fair.

My main read at the moment is The Penultimate Peril, the second-to-last book in the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I had never read this one or the last one when I was younger, so this is a new experience. I was torn between finishing this series before the end of the year, or ticking off more books on my monthly TBR. I decided finishing this in 2017 would be more satisfying.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I will definitely read The End by Lemony Snicket and see the series through. Knowing I’m so close to the end of this series is giving me a bittersweet feeling, but I think I might check out some of the other books set in the same universe.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

“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!