Tuesday, 20 February 2018

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

Book Title: He Said/She Said
Author: Erin Kelly
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Own a Kindle Copy

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

What did I think?

When it comes to thrillers and mysteries we all expect twists and turns, and I must admit I rate these books based on how much they manage to surprise me. I only read this genre occasionally, so I'm pretty sure many books that do surprise me won't surprise a mystery fan. So, take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I read this more or less in one sitting, and I couldn't figure out where He Said/She Said was headed. It's not that I didn't see the twist and turns coming, I had simply no idea what was going to happen. At all.

And I think it's best enjoyed blind.

Now, the book is slow at first. Erin Kelly builds the plot with care and takes her time to add depth to her characters before things take off. Stick with it, it's worth it. And no, it's not one of those boring thrillers, but the twist makes it worth your time. Erin Kelly wrote a compelling relationship and an addictive, intricate plot with great characters that are deeply flawed.

Recommended to all fans of the genre.

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn

Book Title: The Rending and the Nest
Author: Kaethe Schwehn
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.
Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object--and other women of Zion follow suit--the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.
I got a review copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

What did I think?

3.5 Stars.

I've read this book a week ago and I am still thinking about it. What a read! Throughout, I kept wondering: do I like this? Is this too weird? Is this brilliant? Or not?

I still haven't found the answer to most of these questions. What I can say is, I did enjoy the read and I read it in one sitting. The pacing is great (if you enjoy character driven stories), the world engrossing, and the characters are well developed.

I really connected with the main character and Mira is the main reason this book kept my attention. I liked reading about her experiences and her life in this weird new world.

But...the story is just so bizarre and absurd. Women give birth to inanimate objects, like vases, dolls and decorative birds. Kaethe Schwehn writes a lot of poetry, and I feel like this book is more a metaphor than a coherent story. The writing itself is also very poetic, which I liked but might put a few people off.

The plot takes a while to get going. The antagonist does not show up until almost halfway through the book, which might ruin the pacing for readers who don't enjoy the main character as much, and ultimately I do think it was a tad too weird for me.

There is no explanation given to the reader about the state of the world. Why has everyone disappeared? Where did they go? But that is okay, at no point did I feel like we're missing out by not getting an explanation or that an explanation would make the book better.

If you liked Station Eleven, enjoy slow burning books and find the premise of The Rending and the Nest interesting, give it a shot.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

TTT (24) - Valentine's Day

Once upon a time Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Now, it's moved to the wonderful That Artsy Reader Girl. The rules can be found here. And this week's post here.

This week the topic is a LOVE freebie. I mean, Valentine's Day is around the corner. More like Galentine's Day, am I right? Anyway, I don't really celebrate the day of making money with love...call me cynical. BUT...I do love (haha) a good love story.

I've talked about the couples I adore in this blog post here. Now, let me talk about the romantic relationships that everyone talks about that I've yet to read or watch.
  • I've not yet and will never read Fifty Shades of Grey. I tried the first page and had a small aneurysm right there in the bookshop. Sorry to all fans, I just can't. (I've read and enjoyed Twilight however.)
  • The Notebook. At some point I will definitely read this.
  • North and South by Gaskell. I've seen the BBC adaptation, and I will definitely read the book.
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover.
  • A Walk To Remember.
  • Little Women. Maybe I'll stick it in the freezer like Joey.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • When Harry Met Sally.
Huh, for someone who isn't a big fan of romance, I sure can't find more couples to populate this list. Interesting...I've clearly watched and read many after all!

Please name your favourite couple in the comments, so I can find more I'm missing and continue my journey of swooning when the perfect man meets the perfect woman (I'm looking at you Mr. Darcy.)

Monday, 12 February 2018

Sunday Post (28) - Winter Can Go Now

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

If you participate (and you totally should because the community is amazing) don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

My healthy diet is making me cry occasionally. I'm kidding. Though, I did look mildly grumpy one Saturday and my partner promptly ordered pizza. Bless her. I did have my very first small pizza. Who orders small? Why do they make them in that size? It's PIZZA. Anyway, it was 9'' and I'm pretty sure it was the smallest pizza I've ever seen.

I'm eating lots of nuts, avocado and fish in an attempt to boost my good cholesterol...if I can't bring the bad one down, may as well try to improve the ratio by loading up on the good stuff. Still waiting for the lipid specialist.

Otherwise, nothing much happened. I'm writing. I'm reading and both winter and darkness can go now. I'm ready for spring.

I did discover a new (old) TV show that I've not watched yet and that I fell head over heels in love with: My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. THERE'S MUSICAL NUMBERS, WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME? (Also if you haven't seen The Good Place and are into comedy? This is me telling you that it's a brilliant show.)

We bought some clippers because we have one nervous Cocker Spaniel, deadly afraid of the vet and groomers. I spent three hours just cutting dog hair last week and ended up feeling muscles I never knew I had. Now, she looks like a lamb. Hello Lola!

On my blog:

  • IRON GOLD BY PIERCE BROWN. I've only been waiting for this for a million days, or that's what it feels like. And in the end it did not let me down.
  • A new Five Star Fantasy read. Inda by Sherwood Smith. Family, friendships, first love, betrayal, military academy, pirates...amazing read.
  • Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds. Crime in space. If you're into crime novels and would like to read one set in space. Boom. This was a Netgalley read.
  • Top Ten Tuesdays: Books I Can't Believe I've Read and Books I Liked But Can't Remember Much About

At the cinema: If anyone is on Letterboxd, this is my profile. In the last two weeks I went to see several films...

  • The Shape of Water [I love Guillermo del Toro but I didn't connect with this one emotionally so I wasn't a fan. But damn the soundtrack, cinematography, directing and Sally Hawkins, they were all flawless.]
  • The Greatest Showman [Musical with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. Great soundtrack, senseless plot.]
  • The Post [A film about the Washington Post and Meryl Streep can do no wrong. Plus it has Tom Hanks, Spielberg directs and John Williams wrote the soundtrack.]

Currently Reading:

I'm still considering sharing some flash stories with you. Might do that from March on. Got another rejection last week, they still sting.

How was everyone else's week? I'm off to visit blogs.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Book Title: Iron Gold (Red Rising #4)
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Sci-Fi
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Goodreads, Amazon UK


Goodreads Summary: A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?
And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever: A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined. An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy, or pay with his life. And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.
Here are my reviews for Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star.

What did I think?

I am always worried when I pick up a sequel to a beloved series. Worried I might be disappointed or that something terrible could happen to some of my favourite fictional characters.

Halfway through Iron Gold a certain disappointment did start to seep through. I felt like I wasn't connecting with the book and the characters. Thankfully, the second half of the book grabbed me and by the end I was excited to read more.

A similar thing happened with Red Rising. I liked it but didn't love it, and then...Golden Son blew my mind.

Iron Gold is told from the point of view of four characters and not just Darrow like Red Rising. At first I didn't really care much for the other characters, and because the first half is mostly set-up and moves considerably slower than the second half it wasn't until much later that I discovered that I was suddenly attached to everyone.

Pierce Brown's writing is elegant. He excels at fast-paced action scenes and can really crush your heart with emotional moments.

If you liked the Red Rising series don't hesitate and give this one a try.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Inda by Sherwood Smith

Book Title: Inda
Author: Sherwood Smith
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Paperback

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: Indevan-Dal is the second son of the Prince and Princess of Choraed Elgaer, destined to become his elder brother Tanrid's Shield Arm-his military champion. Like all second sons, he is to be privately trained at home by Tanrid, the brother whose lands he will one day protect.
When the King's Voice comes to summon Inda to the Military Academy, he might well feel foreboding, or even fear-war is imminent-yet youthful Inda feels only excitement. But there are things that Tanrid hadn't prepared him for, and Inda will soon learn that the greatest threats to his safety will not come from foreign enemies, but from supposed allies within his own country.
What did I think?

I'm giving Inda five stars despite a few minor complaints, simply because the ending made me well up. I'll definitely continue with this series. There's a total of four books.

Let's get the minor complaints out of the way first.

Most characters have an official name and a nickname plus a honorific. The honorific is different depending on which language the characters use, which means there's at least four different ways a character can be referred to. It took me a long time to be able to keep everyone straight in my head, and I spent a lot of time flicking back and forth to verify I'm indeed thinking of the right character.

The other complaint is a bit more peculiar. Smith uses an omniscient narrator to tell the story and sometimes switches POV character in the middle of a paragraph. There are chapters where the POV shifts through several characters on a single page. Basically this is a novel for people who are fully awake and are paying full attention.

The world building is ambitious, detailed and intricate. The prose takes a while to get used to, but once you get into the book it flows beautifully. I really enjoyed Smith's narration throughout the book.

The characters are diverse, well developed, and I especially enjoyed the depiction of different sexualities. Plus: realistic women! The first book, Inda, is basically a coming of age story. It has everything: betrayal, a military academy, pirates and magic.

There's definitely a steep learning curve, but it's already worth it by the end of the first book.

I recommend everyone who loves fantasy to give this a try.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

TTT (23) - Books I Can't Believe I've Read

Once upon a time Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Now, it's moved to the wonderful That Artsy Reader Girl. The rules can be found here. And this week's post here.

This week the topic is Books You Can't Believe You've Read.

There are many books I can't believe I've read, mostly they're the Classics kind that I struggle with today, but, somehow, as a stubborn child was able to push through and enjoy. Of course, there's also books completely out of my comfort zone that I can't believe I've read, because...well, they're not what I'd usually pick up.
I can't believe I read Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children simply because it took me several tries. I tried it first at the age of eighteen. Again at the age of twenty-five. And then finally got through the book at the age of thirty-two. But damn, the struggle. It's such a difficult book for a non native speaker and I was too stubborn to pick up a translation.

Open by Andre Agassi: I don't read biographies and when my book club picked this one I inwardly groaned and no, I did not enjoy the experience. However, if you're interested in Agassi, it's a good book.

And, I almost never read Harry Potter because I was a cool teenager who didn't do hype. Ugh, everyone is reading this, so I definitely won't. Thankfully, I did pick it up and fell in love.

Prada & Prejudice: I'm not a fan of chick lit and have hardly read any chick lit, but I could not stop myself from picking this one up because of Pride and Prejudice. Damn my Austen addiction. Same reason I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I can't believe I read Piccoult's My Sister's Keeper because it has the worst ending ever. Deus Ex Machina like it's defined in the dictionary. Such a great premise, such a great story and then the author did not dare to choose an ending.

Dark Lover: I don't usually read paranormal romance. Especially not one where the main characters are called Wrath, Thorment, Rhage and Phury. But guess what? I love this series. My guilty pleasure.

I still can't believe I got through this at the age of eleven. I'm pretty sure falling in love with Audrey Hepburn's Natasha was the reason. I'm currently re-reading this one to see how much went over my head back then.

What about you? Let me know in the comments.