Thursday, 24 November 2016

Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See You - Clare Mackintosh

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

My Rating:

Having previously read Clare Macintosh's debut novel and been completely blown away by it, I was itching to get my hands on this book. Every bookshop I tried was completely sold out, but fortunately the last shop I tried managed to find a copy hidden in the back of the store. If some poor soul had stashed it for themselves then they're out of luck, it's mine now!

I have mixed feelings about this book. I did enjoy it and I flew through it in no time at all, but it didn't have the same impact as I Let You Go. I think perhaps I was all hyped up and preparing myself for a massive twist that would leave me reeling like I experienced with I Let You Go, and as a result maybe my expectations were too high.

Even though I found I See You to be a page turner and it drew me in right from the beginning, I feel there was something missing. I couldn't connect with the main character, I didn't find her engaging and there was nothing appealing or likeable about her. At times she felt rather dull and old for her age, yet at other times she came across as overly needy and somewhat childish.

On the other hand, there was something unputdownable about the book. The sections told from the perspective of the stalker were great and the scenes on the underground were done well. It's scary how easy it is for someone to watch you in this way and I found myself being drawn into the whole experience. It could happen to anyone and it's frightening to realise how unaware we could potentially be of someone watching, waiting, learning our daily routines and habits etc. It really brings to the forefront how vulnerable we are as individuals and why we should pay more attention to, and be more aware of, our surroundings and those around us.

All in all, I liked the concept and I found it to be enjoyable at the time of reading. However, the ending felt rushed and I had already worked out who the guilty party was before the reveal. The very last twist did come as a surprise, but I don't know if I liked it, it felt like it was thrown in purely for the shock factor.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review: Vyrmin by Gene Lazuta

Vyrmin - Pete Kahle, Gene Lazuta

Vyrmin by Gene Lazuta

My Rating:

Vyrmin started out well but once the story jumped forward in time to the present day it lost me a little. It started to feel hectic - especially the sections with police running here, there and everywhere. For a large part of the book, I felt like it wasn't going anywhere and was beginning to feel repetitive. At times it felt like two completely different stories thrown together, sort of like throwing scenes from an action movie into a dark atmospheric gothic movie.

I also had trouble getting the characters of Cooper and Conway straight in my head. For the first third of the book I kept losing track of who was who. Cooper and Conway were getting jumbled together and their names being similar didn't help. The writing style wasn't consistent. Some characters, scenes, and events were described vividly and were easily pictured in the minds eye, but other characters and scenes felt flat and distant - the characters were just names on the page. I found myself being drawn out of the story when it switched.

Vyrmin kind of held my attention, but I wasn't being drawn in as much as I wanted to be, and wasn't being drawn to pick it back up when I put it down. It just didn't work for me at all.

Not one I would recommend.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Review: The Murder Game by Julie Apple

The Murder Game - Catherine McKenzie writing as Julie Apple

The Murder Game by Julie Apple

My Rating:

I would like to thank Lawsome Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

The Murder Game is a book written by Catherine McKenzie released under the pseudonym of Julie Apple. Julie - for anyone unfamiliar with McKenzie's other works - is the protagonist in McKenzie's previous book, Fractured, who after writing her first book (The Murder Game) is forced to move across the country in order to escape a stalker that has been terrorizing her family since its publication.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fractured and couldn't put it down, so I was keen to move onto the book behind the story. I think I was expecting The Murder Game to be as gripping as Fractured, but it just didn't grab me in the same way. Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable and it held my interest, but I didn't get the same sense of urgency that I did with Fractured.

I enjoyed getting to know the story behind the story, but I can't say too much as I want to avoid spoilers for both this book and for Fractured. I will say though that it gave me a better understanding of certain things that happened in Fractured, but it is also a decent book in its own right. I do feel the plot seemed too simplistic in parts. I also struggled with the believability at times, especially with regards to the conflict of interest in trying the case, and I didn't warm to the characters as much as I did in her other book. I don't feel they were as appealing or fleshed out in the same way.

All in all, it was a quick and entertaining read, but I much preferred Fractured.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Can't believe I haven't come across this channel before! Ambient sounds and video for LOTR, Hobbit, GOT, Harry Potter, and more. My inner nerd is in heaven! That's my background noise for reading sorted for a long time.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Review: Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly

Seriously Shifted - Tina Connolly
 Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly

My Rating:

I would like to thank Tor Teen for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Seriously Shifted is a fun story full of magic, mischief, and quirky characters. I flew through it in no time at all. It was great fun to catch up with Cam and to join her on another journey full of shenanigans, which in this next installment happens to be a trio of witches who are up to no good.

I did find myself having the same problem with this book as I had with the first. In Seriously Wicked I didn't feel that the characters stood out enough visually and I struggled to build a picture of them. I found it to be the same in Seriously Shifted. The descriptions centred too much on one thing rather than painting a complete picture. Each time there was a new character introduced I learned their name and whether they were white, brown, caucasian, Chinese-American, or Thai. That's not enough. There is much more to a person than that. Paint me a picture. What colour are their eyes? Their hair? Do they have freckles? Are they tall, average, short? I couldn't see them with so little information.

I liked the way the magic was written in riddles and how Cam was trying to stick to her ethics, but it was missing colour and imagination. Cam mixed all these different ingredients and cast her spells but it didn't feel magical. It was rather like baking a cake without the amazing aroma spreading throughout the kitchen, or watching fireworks in black and white with no sound, or sitting by the fire without the crackle of the logs and the heat of the flames. There was no colour or spark to it, it fizzled out.

All in all, the storyline was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it and had a smile on my face for much of the book, but visually I found it lacking and it needed more colour and description to fire the imagination.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Review: Beloved Poison by E.S. Thomson

Beloved Poison (Jem Flockhart) - E. S. Thomson

Beloved Poison by E.S. Thomson

My Rating:

I would like to thank Little, Brown Book Group for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

I went into this book not sure what to expect. It was initially the beautiful cover that caught my eye and on reading the blurb it piqued my interest even more, but I knew nothing more about the book. I didn't know if it was a mystery, crime, or a thriller etc. I had no inkling of what genre it fit into so I didn't have any expectations going in, and I certainly didn't expect it to enthral me as much as it did.

I was completely captivated by this book. The imagery was so vivid that I was transported completely to another time. I was so wrapped up in the dark and gloomy world of victorian London, surrounded by the sights, the smells, and the crumbling old buildings, that the world around me ceased to exist. When I wasn't reading I found myself thinking about the world and the people that I had left behind on the pages, eager to get back to them.

The writing style played out in my head like a movie. I could picture everything, the sights, the smells, the characters, the environment, and I was completely taken over by the book the whole time it was in my hands. The characterisation was fantastic. Every character was so well written and fleshed out, especially those of Jem and Will. Jem is an amazing character, she enveloped me and drew me into her world, she was as real as I was and I was right there with her from start to finish. Her voice was a light in the darkness and I was drawn to it and couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

I want to say Beloved Poison is a character driven story, the characters are a huge part of the book and feel as real as you or I, but it's also very world driven. Victorian London surrounded me the whole time I was reading, I was there amongst the old buildings, breathing in the tainted air and passing the people on the street like I was one of them. To me, this was a story that I lived rather than a story read. Even though there is a mystery running throughout, and of course I wanted to know who the guilty party was, it was the experience of living and breathing in Victorian London and my love for Jem's character that made this an outstanding read.

Quite unexpectedly, Beloved Poison is one of my favourite reads of 2016. I never thought I would ever say that about a historical fiction book. I can't wait to get my hands on the next instalment!

Beloved Poison is going to be a hard book to follow. I'm going to have to choose my next read very carefully.

Highly recommended.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Greetings from Moon Hill by Anthony J. Rapino

Greetings from Moon Hill - Amelia Bennett, Anthony J. Rapino, Todd Keisling, Todd Keisling

Greetings from Moon Hill by Anthony J. Rapino

My Rating:

I was provided with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Greetings from Moon Hill is a collection of short stories that are all set within the town of Moon Hill. I liked the idea behind the book, but I really struggled with it. I am now at the 50% mark and I've decided it's time to DNF it. I just can't face the thought of picking it up again.

The stories didn't tie into each other like was expecting them to. They felt random and unconnected and the vast majority of them felt incomplete. It feels to me like the author came across a folder full of ideas and random short stories that he had written previously and planned to return to at a later date, but instead decided to put them in a collection and use the gimmick of them all being set in Moon Hill to try and make something of them.

This is of course only my own opinion, many others seem to have loved the collection, but I am extremely fussy when it comes to short story collections and I'm just not feeling this one at all.

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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