Virginia

Title: Virginia

Author: William Esmont

Genres: Thriller

Length: 57 pages | 796 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Devious Productions, LLC

Publishing Date: February 13th, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

Ray Shelby’s wife is dying of cancer.
While visiting her in the hospital, Ray meets a mysterious stranger that gives him a card and tells him to call the number on it because they may help.
Desperate, Ray calls. They can indeed save Virginia… if Ray is willing to pay the price.

Review:

Virginia is an extremely quick read but an enthralling one. You can connect with Ray, feel his desperation towards his wife’s impending death. The coming to terms with her fate but at the same time not being able to perceive a life without her.

And then a stranger opens a door. What if?…

The way Ray is introduced to this mysterious organisation is quite well achieved. The way it develops sort of hints at something paranormal because there are things the organisation’s representative simply had no way of knowing but, as is the way with novellas, we don’t get closure on that front.

I wish Ray had been more curious about some things. Eli is pretty much dragged into a car and it doesn’t even seem to bother him. Not only is he not curious or even afraid for the guy but he doesn’t stop to think what kind of stuff he may have gotten himself into, and goes ahead and dials the number he gave him. Also, where was the contract Eli referred to and Ray admitted he didn’t read? I don’t recall it being mentioned, just the NDA.

There are some things that are justified by Ray’s desperation. Others by his denial. So the author did manage a good balance between keeping the author interested in the story and justifying why we don’t get to know certain things – Ray keeps fighting what is proposed and by the time he wants some answers he is unable to reach them.

Virginia is clever, disturbing and makes you deal with uncomfortable questions like how would you deal with the imminent death of someone who is really close to you and how far would you go to save them.
Recommended.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read on April 22nd, 2017
GR Review

Stacking The Shelves [11] April 22nd

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Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Another fairly quiet week on the book front, I only added two books to my shelves.
I know I have been quiet, so sorry but work has been busy for a while now and will continue to be. I tend to want to get into my bubble and read or otherwise rest so I haven’t posted much. I hope you guys understand!

Without further ado, these are the books I got this past week:


Book Depository


Library of Souls : The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience. A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom. The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children. They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.

I pre-ordered this book over a year ago and have always planned to read Hollow City (book 2 in the series) and then this one right after. I have quite a list of paperbacks to get to but I plan to give these two priority so I don’t forget even more about book 1 than I already have. I remember I thoroughly enjoyed it, I was transported to Jacob’s world, so I am very excited about these.


Netgalley ARC

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

The Original Ginny Moon
by Benjamin Ludwig

Meet Ginny Moon. She’s mostly your average teenager—she plays flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and reads Robert Frost poems for English class. But Ginny is autistic. And so what’s important to her might seem a bit…different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, taking care of her baby doll and crafting a Big Secret Plan of escape.

Ginny has been in foster care for years, and for the first time in her life, she has found her “forever home”—a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family who will love and nurture her. Though this is exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for, Ginny has other plans. She’ll steal and lie and reach across her past to exploit the good intentions of those who love her—anything it takes to get back what’s missing in her life. She’ll even try to get herself kidnapped.

Told in an extraordinary and wholly original voice, Ginny Moon is at once quirky, charming, bighearted, poignant and yet also heartbreaking and a bit dark. It’s a story of a journey, about being an outsider trying to find a place to belong and about making sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up.

I have been hearing about this book for a while now and when I read the blurb I immediately requested it. I love unique characters so this should be right up my alley. I have never read a book with an autistic character so I am excited about this one.


And that’s it for this week!

Have you read any of these or do you plan to?

Are you excited about reading any particular books you got this week?

Please comment below and if you have a STS post please post it in comments.

The Girlfriend

Title: The Girlfriend

Author: Michelle Frances

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 352 pages | 4326 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: April 20th, 2017

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

Laura is a very lucky woman. Rich, has a job she utterly loves and a son who is her pride and joy.
One day, Daniel mentions he has a new girlfriend. Laura vows to do her best to welcome her because she wants her son to be happy.
As time passes, Laura senses that something is off with Cherry and the sense of unease is reciprocate. Cherry is determined to be happy with Daniel and that does not include her mother.
In desperation, Laura tells a lie that will change everything. How far will these women go to keep Daniel in her lives?

Review:

The Girlfriend started well enough for me. I found all characters very interesting and believable. The author did a good job of creating an extremely privileged family that is still relateable.

There were a couple of things here and there that I felt were plot devices, like the car. Right at the beginning, why did Daniel have to lend it to Cherry, why not just drop her off at work if his concern was for her not to be late as he put it? And later, why did Laura’s personal assistant change? If that person wasn’t new there is no way that stuff would have happened and there doesn’t even seem to be a reason for Willow’s appearance.

I wasn’t as happy with Daniel’s character as with the others because he had to behave a certain way for things to advance the way they did. I still don’t get why, with such a close relationship with his mother, he was able to spend so long without speaking to her. When was he willing to speak to her, his wedding day?

However, other characters were a pleasure to read about and they were so varied in their backgrounds that they brought a live dynamic to the story. I especially liked Cherry’s mother and Howard. They felt the most real to me.

I was mesmerised at the dynamic between Laura and Cherry and at their inner thoughts, justifying their actions to themselves. I could see why each had their prickle of annoyance towards the other and, as things escalated, I could totally see why it happened, despite the few plot devices mentioned above.

The Girlfriend can be quite dark and heavy at times and you can’t help but wonder how much further any of that will go. I did find it engrossing. The character building is the best I have read in a while. You actually get these people, where they come from, why they do what they do and why they find it justifiable.
The book is quite well-written and I think it has good chances of becoming one of the best psychological thrillers of the year.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 17th to Apr 22nd, 2017
GR Review

The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1)

Title: The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1)

Author: Helen Phifer

Genres: Crime | Psychological Thriller

Length: 320 pages | 4066 locations

Source: Negalley

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: March 24th, 2017

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

Lucy’s return to the police force is anticipated when a body is discovered in a terrible state.
Why was he found on the grounds of the town’s old asylum? Is there a connection to the horrid things that happened there all those years ago?

Review:

So we have another detective series beginning, this time featuring DI Lucy Harwin. I did not find her particularly likeable or otherwise; to be honest, she seemed kind of bland to me. Just your average single cop who lives for her job and goes home to ready made meals and a bottle of wine or vodka.

There was one thing that kept bugging me – Lucy is made to have this terrific sixth sense when really it’s all conjecture and the only way the reader can buy it is because she says those things after we know the killer’s perspective and therefore what exactly happened. Her ‘gut feeling’ is always on the money, even though there is nothing much to support it (example: an open gate).

The book focuses a lot on Lucy and her sidekick Mattie. When that happened I sped read because I wanted to get to the juicy bits and I found those utterly uninteresting. The blurb got to me with the mention of the asylum and I really wanted to learn more about that part. I wish it had been more developed.

I thought certain things were unnecessary clichés, like Mattie’s crush on her. Also, when well used, I don’t even notice swearing in the books, but here it felt completely out of place and unnatural.

I liked the structure of the narrative. The timeline switches between 1975 at the asylum and present day and there are a couple of entries from our killer after the crimes have been committed, which brings the reader a nice perspective. The story flows fairly well, slowly connecting the dots, though a bit slow-paced for my taste because there were just some things I did not appreciate and wanted to move on.

There are several red herrings, some don’t tie that well in the end, several things are unnecessarily repeated (like the mentions of Isabella and her mother) and the ending felt rushed. Although there are some exciting bits my overall assessment is that, considering the amount of series of the sort that are out there and done in a more appealing manner (to me at least), I do not intend to follow this one.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 14th to Apr 17th, 2017
GR Review

Movies I Really Want to Watch [2]

Hello there, ladies and gents!

Well, I have to say I am pretty upset because two of the films I had been looking forward to watching the most did not premiere after all – A Cure for Wellness and Our Little Sister. I will continue to look for them but things are not looking up…

So during the past month I only managed to watch three movies out of my list. Click to see their reviews:

A Man Called Ove
The Handmaiden
Life


Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant

The crew of a colony ship discover an uncharted paradise, with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Alien is the horror movie I remember making the biggest impression on me – closely followed by Gremlins. Yes, I watched them at a very young age!
Anyway, that first movie, which came out in 1979 (can you believe it??), had several ingredients that made it the horror classic it is today, and since I have heard this film captures much of that I am looking forward to watching it, despite the nasty nightmares it will surely give me. I need to make sure I watch this early in the day!

 


 

The Circle

The Circle

A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.

This one is actually not new to me, as last year I came across the short audio story We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better by the same author, which basically introduces us to the novel’s world. I found the concept intriguing and wanted to know more so I will definitely watch this one. Also, it’s been so long since I have watched something featuring Tom Hanks! And Emma Watson does sound perfect for this role.

 


 

Get Out

Get Out

A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

Have you watched this trailer?? Watch this trailer! Tell me it doesn’t freak you out!
I have got to watch this.

 

 

Viral

Viral

Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a young woman documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.

I know this is not going to be the most mind-blowing movie I have ever watched but it has been a while since I have watched an end-of-the-world flick so I think I may end up going for it. The idea of something messing with people’s brains to the point they turn them into something they are not has appealed to me for a long time.

 


 

Please let me know if you watched any of these and let me know what you thought – no spoilers, though!

Stacking The Shelves [10] April 15th

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Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


In my ever-going quest to bring down my TBR I managed a tremendous achievement if I do say so myself and only added ONE book to my shelves this week!

Granted, I have been very busy at work so that helps with requesting less but still, I am happy with this.


Netgalley ARC

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

The Darkest Lies
by Barbara Copperthwaite

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.

Despite that horrible last line (I don’t know why publishers continue to do that kind of stuff) the blurb intrigued me enough to seek this out. I am curious about the whole idea of a parent not knowing their child, I imagine it happens more than we’d care to imagine.


And that’s it for this week!

Have you read any of these or do you plan to?

Are you excited about reading any particular books you got this week?

Please comment below and if you have a STS post please post it in comments.

Life

Life

Rating: 2.5/5

From IMDB:
A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form, that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

Review:

I actually watched this movie a while ago but found it so unremarkable that I forgot to write a review.

It started out well enough and the photography was quite enjoyable, as expected. The didactic aspect of life in space is not usually portrayed in films of the sort so that was good. Although naming the alien Calvin was a bit too much, in my opinion.
The familiar environment made the team immediately grow on me and I wish the characters had been further developed. The only one that I did like was the first to die. Go figure.

However, after a point, it was bad decision after bad decision and some reactions felt so unnatural that they completely broke the pace and brought the quality of the movie well down. Also, too many developments require much too much suspension of disbelief and my disappointment only grew. Just a tiny example: the alien just happens to destroy the specific thing that causes communications to the exterior to go kaput. Whaaat??

Also, the description of the alien was creepy but beautiful and yet that thing that was described as being brain and muscle and eye in its entirety, suddenly develops a face and linear vision throughout the film. It’s like everything that was unique about the movie was absolutely wasted to make it fall into the same old clichés of amazing graphics in determent of plot.

The set-up for the ending made no sense and made me anticipate it early on. Kudos for originality but it could have been less obvious.

Alas, Life had a few pleasant surprises but overall it was an unremarkable and forgettable film.