#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!

#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

Book Review: “I Am Watching You” by Teresa Driscoll

Title: I Am Watchinig You
Author: Teresa Driscoll
Genre:
Thriller
Date Read: 01/11/2017 – 02/11/2017
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

This was not a good choice of book to read when I had a final paper to write! I started reading it on my phone when I had 20 minutes or so to kill while waiting for a friend, and then ended up reading the whole thing in a couple of days because I got so drawn in. I’m writing this review while it’s still fresh in my mind, thus further delaying the writing of the essay.

I have a bit of a fascination with missing persons stories. I have not known anyone who went missing for more than a few hours, but the thought of not knowing what happened to a loved one, and possibly never knowing, makese my stomach churn. So obviously I read lots of books about it and evoke that feeling in myself. That seems sensible.

This book looks at the case of missing girl, Anna Bollard, from four different perspectives. There’s her father, who has his own secrets; the friend who should have been looking out for her, who has not been entirely forthcoming about what happened that night; the witness who feels she could have prevented everything; and the private investigator hired on a related matter who has just become a father and is only now beginning to understand how a missing child can affect the parents. I felt these four characters were all quite well-developed, even if I didn’t necessarily like all of them.

Some of the characters held attitudes that I really didn’t agree with, and while I reminded myself that characters can believe certain things without that being a reflection of the author’s beliefs, these attitudes weren’t really challenged within the text,  so it sort of felt like the author was supporting them. And there was a husband that really gave me an off vibe; he was suppoesdly protective but to me it seemed overly controlling, so that bothered me, too.

The mystery itself had a number of red herrings, and I wasn’t sure that there were quite enough clues as to the actual villain’s identity throughout. It felt a bit out of the blue when it was revealed at about the 85% mark. Still, as I said, this book had me completely engaged, so I definitely recommend for any fans of the thriller genre.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Save

#AWW2017 “How far a woman could travel if she really put her mind to it. And I put my mind to it.” // Review of “See What I Have Done” by Sarah Schmidt

Title: The Natural Way of Things
Author: Charlotte Wood
Genre: Thriller
Date Read: 19/10/2017 – 24/10/2017
Rating: ★★

Review:

Well, damn. This was one of my most anticipated reads this year.  I think it failed for me for a lot of reasons. 

  1. I think I over-hyped it in my head.
  2. I think I assumed it was going to be things that it never promised it would be.
  3. It turned out to have a literary fiction vibe, which is perfectly fine, but not my thing.

See What I Have Done is a fictionalised account of the murders of Andrew and Abbie Borden in 1892. It is told from the points of view of sisters Lizzie and Emma Borden, their maid, Bridget Sullivan and an mysterious outsider, Benjamin.

I expected this book to be thrilling and tense, and for me to never quite know what was going on. I didn’t know what was going on, but that was more because no one really knows what happened that day, not because I felt Sarah Schmidt was making me ask any new questions about the case. With the exception of a bit of getting into the characters’ heads, there was very little here that I hadn’t already learned by reading the Lizzie Borden Wikipedia entry.

What Sarah Schmidt did do well was the claustrophobic, tense atmosphere of the Borden house. There were times when I had to stop reading because the descriptions of someone throwing up or the smell of the three-day-old mutton heating on the stove made me feel sick. But after a while, even that stopped having an effect on me. As I said, I think this was more in the literary fiction vein than I was expecting, and so a lot of the language use and other techniques that would impress fans of that genre, but they just don’t do it for me.


This review forms part of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge for 2017. Click here for more information.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#WWW Wednesday – October 25, 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 breezed through Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer, due to having some car trouble and having nothing to do but sit in the car and read for a couple of hours while I waited for roadside assistance. So that was pretty great. I will have a review of this up this week. I enjoyed it a lot!

I also finished the ebook See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. This is a fictional of the Borden murders and Lizzie Borden’s trial. This was a hugely anticipated read for me but in the end it didn’t really work for me. I read a review that said it didn’t really add anything new to all the theories and stories surrounding the Borden murders and that was exactly how I ended up feeling.

I also DNFed The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones, which I was listening to. It couldn’t seem to decide what tone it wanted to take. Sometimes it was quite funny (a bit of a Discworld vibe), then suddenly it’d be really violent and someone would be nearly dying, or a group of side characters would be leery and gross towards a female character.

I’m a bit behind on my reviews at the moment. Only one posted this week, for The Asylum by Johan Theorin. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I am over halfway through Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron. This is a slow read, but I am going to renew it from the library and take it on holidays with me in a couple of weeks, where I can knuckle down and enjoy it. Because I am enjoying it, it’s just taking a while to get through.

I’ve also started reading Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology. I don’t read a lot of anthologies but I am definitely enjoying the writing in this one. It features a lot of new-to-me authors whom I will definitely be looking into further, along with authors I’ve known of and loved for a long time. The LoveOzYA movement is about foregrounding Australian YA authors, and I’m all down for that. I saw three of the authors speak at the Canberra Writers Festival and it was very inspiring.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I don’t really know at the moment! I’m not feeling drawn towards much at all on my official TBR. I might not have much time for reading in the near future as I have two 3000-word papers due at the end of next week. Then I’m going on holidays for five days, and I want to take the last three Series of Unfortunate Events books with me. So that’s really the only plan I have for now.

What are you reading this week? 🙂~ Emily

 

 

 

Book Review: The Asylum by Johan Theorin

Title: The Asylum
Author: Johan Theorin
Audio book narrator: Thomas Judd
Genre: Thriller
Date Read: 28/09/2017 – 13/10/2017
Rating: ★★

Review:

Heh. For a thriller, I did not find this book especially thrilling. I think some of that may have been due to a clunky translation from Swedish, but I think also it required more willing suspension of disbelief than I was willing to give it.

Jan Hauger takes a position at The Dell, a pre-school attached to St Patricia’s Psychiatric Hospital for the children of the patients’ parents. Jan wants to make contact with a person in his past who he believes is inside, and the other staff of the Dell have their own secrets and connections to the asylum as well.

Disclaimer: it’s possible the next paragraph won’t make much sense. I’ll try to be as coherent as possible.

This is the type of thriller where certain facts have to be revealed at certain times. They are things the characters already know, or even events in the characters’ past that he was present for, but if the reader knows about them, it ruins the suspense. As a result, the character sometime acts as though they aren’t aware of these things they lived through until it’s revealed to the reader. It annoys me when this happens. It’s poor writing.

Jan was an incredibly naive character and learning more about his past in the last third of the book didn’t really justify a lot of his choices to me. I just kept thinking “Well, you brought this upon yourself with all your stupid decisions, didn’t you?” I think the very ending was supposed to make me go “Oh no! After everything he’d been through!” but I just though, “Really? That’s the final punchline?”

It also didn’t make a lot of sense to me that a whole pre-school would be established next to a psych hospital when the children were only meeting with their parents one a week for an hour. The idea of having the passage between the hospital and the school seemed a lot of effort when they could probably just come with their foster parents to the front door.

Having said all that, there were a few honestly creepy moments. Mostly when Jan was creeping through the underground passage from the pre-school into the hospital. And one particularly claustrophobic chapter in Jan’s flashbacks. So it wasn’t all bad. Just mostly not really one I could get behind.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#WWW Wednesday – October 18, 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?

In print, I finished The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina, which means I have actually completed reading a series. It didn’t quite work for me (all three books got 3 stars in the end) but I still recommend it as a very good example of YA dystopian fiction.

I also completed The Asylum by Johan Theorin on audio. I have a review scheduled for this one but in short, the plot required a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me to really enjoy it. I also think the translation from Swedish was a bit clunky?

Reviews of Fake Geek Girl by Tansy Rayner Roberts and  Georgie Spider are posted here and here respectively.

What are you currently reading?

I am about a quarter of the way through Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron. I’m usually more into thrillers than straight crime fiction but I am enjoying this one. PI Kit O’Malley is a good lead character.

‘I have also started Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer, because the crime fiction is pretty straightforward and while I am enjoying it, I need something to get a bit more invested in. But at time of writing, I have literally read half the prologue, so it’s far too early to make any comments.

On audio I am listening to The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve always found DWJ’s books a bit of a mixed bag:  I loved Howl’s Moving Castle but A Tale of Time City and Hexwood didn’t work for me. This one is leaning more towards the latter two, but I’m moving through it pretty quickly so we’ll see how it turns out.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am feeling drawn to See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt next. This is a fictional of the Borden murders and Lizzie Borden’s trial. I’ve had this on my radar nearly all year, but I wanted to read it even more after seeing Sarah Schmidt talk at the Canberra Writer’s Festival. Though that was back in August and it’s still taken me this long to get to it. Though when I went to the GR page to get the link, I see the reviews are very mixed. I really want to love this one, though!

What are you reading this week? 🙂~ Emily