Saturday, 22 April 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes

Book Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
What did I think?

I picked this book up on a whim because I like dark main characters. Not only is the main character dark, every character in this book is frankly unlikeable. I enjoyed reading about them but I'd rather cut a finger off than spend time with any of them, thank you very much.

The book is told in the 2nd person and tells the story from the point of view of the stalker, Joe, who is going after Beck, determined to make her his. The use of 2nd person makes it so Joe is addressing Beck directly throughout the book.

"You walk into the bookstore and keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn't slam."

It's creepy. It's disturbing. It's gross. This book made me recoil in horror. To be in the mind of someone like Joe is horrendous. I winced more than once and I even closed the book a few times whispering, no, no, no!

Caroline Kepnes captures the thoughts of a sociopath like Joe well. Joe is convinced Beck loves him. He's convinced he's the good guy. Anything bad he does, Beck made him do it. Watching him justify his actions from up close is actually downright frightful.

I read this book in a single afternoon, I just couldn't stop and had to find out how it ends. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn't mind vulgar language, some sexual content and being inside the mind of a seriously deranged human being.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

TTT (12) - Things That Make me Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing the top ten things that make them instantly want to read a book. Their post this week can be found here.

I rarely choose to read a book on the fly anymore. Often I carefully research which books I want to read and which I'd rather avoid. I don't often walk into 1 or 2 star reads because I know what I like and what I don't like. Plus, lately, I've been giving myself the option to stop reading a book if I'm not enjoying myself and I don't rate books if I don't finish them.
  1. Dystopia. When it's about future versions of our world and the possible governments that will form or weird tech that will shape our lives, I'm immediately interested.
  2. Pretty Cover Art. Yes, that is a shallow reason to pick up a book but it works.
  3. Book shows up again and again and again in my Goodreads timeline.
  4. Certain authors. Like Stephen King. I always pick up a new Stephen King.
  5. Alternative History. Depending on the premise and time period. I'm a sucker for Nazis won the war stories.
  6. Anti Heroes. I love a good villain and if the villain is also the hero, I'm most happy.
  7. The summary on the back of the book. I sometimes browse through a bookstore and randomly read the backs of the ones with pretty cover art.
  8. Parallel Universe. Fascinating subject.
What makes you instantly want to read a book?

Monday, 17 April 2017

Sunday Post (14) - Easter

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

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

If you participate, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The movement streak is still going strong and we got into the habit of doing a 2km jog in the evening before going to bed. Sadly my dog injured his leg playing frisbee (mostly jumping up and trying to catch it in the air) and isn't too happy putting weight on it. So, he has to stay behind... instead we found a garden snail with a hole in his shell and my girlfriend decided we need to take him/her home and feed him carrots and make sure the snail recovers... so far so good.
Camp NaNoWriMo is going well and I'm editing my Middle Grade fantasy novel while at the same time working on a suspense thriller that I'm editing.

Last week in my kitchen: Nothing special, really. But tonight I'm trying this recipe with a whole duck that I'll roast in the oven with this orange sauce.

Last week on my blog:
Next week on my blog: I have yet to review Big Little Lies, The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Obelisk Gate and The God of Small Things.

I'm currently reading Moroda by L.L. McNeil. It has dragons, one can't go wrong with dragons, right?


I'm also trying to gather pins for the Pinterest boards for my writing group. You can find our Pinterest here. If you have any writing related or creative boards, please let me know, I'd love to follow you.

I wish everyone a great week!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Title: Morning Star (Red Rising #3)
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Sci-Fi
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: I own the Kindle version

Amazon UK, Goodreads

There are NO spoilers in this review which is why I'm including the summary of the first book. Review of book #1 is here and book #2 is here.

Goodreads Summary: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power.
What did I think?

4.5 Stars.

Honestly? The second book in the series is the true highlight, at least in my opinion. But I must admit, this is one of the best series I've ever read.

If you love Sci-Fi and Space Opera do yourself a favour and read the Red Rising trilogy. It's not YA, so don't let that put you off. Yes, the main character is 16 years old in the first book but he's older in the sequels and the story is far too gritty and dark to pass as YA.

The series is full of plot twists and amazing action scenes. It offers a deep and compelling story with believable characters, intriguing political narratives and a main character who makes morally grey decisions. I absolutely love Darrow because he is flawed and hot-headed and makes the wrong decision more than once but he is also strong and courageous and ultimately believes in the good in others. Gaining strength to overcome oppression without losing sight of loyalty, friendship, family and love is an important theme in the entire trilogy.

I was hesitant to read Morning Star at first, not because I was worried I wouldn't like it but because I didn't want it to be over. Pierce Brown tied everything together in the last book and I'm satisfied with the ending.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Sci-Fi
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Own a hardback copy

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.
When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!” Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And someone is hunting him.
What did I think? It's a bit difficult to review Dark Matter, to be honest, because basically anything I can say about the philosophical questions it poses would give part of the plot away. Don't read up on it, just read it with all of its surprises.

The most important thing you need to know is this: I read it in one sitting. Dark Matter is a little over 300 pages and I started reading one afternoon and I refused to make dinner until I was done. I literally could not put it down.

If it weren't for that aspect I'd probably have given it 3 stars. Why, you ask? Because despite it being a thrilling story that asks some deep philosophical questions and offers an original and creative premise, I was somewhat disappointed by the final act.

It starts out great, even the dreaded slow middle is fantastic. The entire book feels more like a movie than a book, that's how fast the plot moves forward. I predicted the twist, but only because I'd read similar books.

While the beginning and middle are surprising and original, sadly, the ending is a bit too neat and played out exactly as I thought it would. I would have appreciated and even expected Blake Crouch to take the story one step further, which he failed to do.

Nonetheless definitely worth a read if only because of its addictive nature.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

TTT (11) Most Unique Books I've Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week they're sharing some of the most unique books they've ever read. Their post this week can be found here.

Unique books. What an interesting subject. What does unique mean? What do I classify as unique?

I guess books where I thought, oh, this is new, I haven't read anything like it before. I'm pretty sure though that very often it just means that I've not really read many books in that particular genre and not necessarily that the book is unique.
  

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, because it's not about plot but about characters and because it's intimate, subtle and diverse sci-fi.
The Promise of the Child by Tom Toner, because he built such a complicated and extensive world that is wonderful to explore and there's a multitude of new species that humans evolved into.
Saga by Brian Vaughan because it's a comic unlike anything I've ever read.

 

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, because it tells of a school shooting as it happens. I didn't particularly like the book but it was unique.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because it's narrated by the personification of Death. I didn't particularly like this one either, but it's loved by most.

  

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles because the character stays in a hotel for the entirety of the novel and the book is still captivating.
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin because she uses the 2nd POV and it works.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman because who knows what genre this is but it's a fairy tale for adults and it's beautiful.

I haven't read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff but the way it's put together looks pretty damn unique.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sunday Post (13) - Rollerblading!

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

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

If you participate, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

I bought myself new roller blades on Friday and yesterday we went to Victoria Park in London and just slowly, very slowly did our rounds. It was a lot of fun and the first really warm day this year. Though to day I feel muscles I've never felt before. I think this is all part of the getting old business. Last week it was yard work that made my muscles go ouch and this week wheels on my feet.
It was a good week otherwise. I got lots of writing done. Camp NaNoWriMo is going well and I can't wait for Easter because of all the chocolate.


Last week in my kitchen: I made the most epic sandwich ever on Sunday night. A mustard/garlic mayonnaise as the bottom layer, then thinly cut rump steak (cooked rare) and topped with a chilli coriander jam. Basically I took this recipe but I didn't make the bread myself (next time I will) and I didn't add any vegetable.

Last week on my blog: 
Next week on my blog: I still need to blog about Morning Star by Pierce Brown (Red Rising #3), You by Caroline Kepnes, The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin, The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and The God of Small Things by Roy Arundhati (wow, I'm behind).

Watership Down and Big Little Lies are next.

I hope everyone is having a great week with lots of sun!