The Fates

Title: The Fates

Author: Thomas Tessier

Genres: Horror | Science Fiction

Length: 217 pages | 2355 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

A series of odd events occur in small town Millville.
At first it was just small things like fluttering paper with no discernible cause but then deaths start coming up.
What could be causing them? Is it pollution? Aliens? A religious phenomenon?

Review:

The Fates was quite different from what I usually read. I was very intrigued.

However, there were a lot of characters. For the first fifth of the book we are bombarded with new characters and new situations.

Then they start coming together and things pick up a bit but I still found the pace fairly slow because there were just too many characters to keep track of and not much was happening.

The point of view changed constantly in the same chapter and the ARC needs thorough revision. Not only were the subchapters not easily separated but there were several words mistyped, such as bam instead of barn and modem instead of modern or fed instead of feed, and a serious lack of punctuation.

Storywise, there were a few attempts to liven things up and shock the reader, such as mentions of bestiality, but for the most part I kept wanting something new to happen and some answers to be given.

Overall, I thought it was an interesting and even thought provoking book but it came across as an essay on how people would react when they were faced with something they could not comprehend and that just isn’t enough to make a book stand in my opinion, let alone with such a poor resolution.

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 Nov 25th to Nov 30th, 2016

GR Review

We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Title: We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Author: Dave Eggers

Narrator: Dion Graham

Genres: Contemporary | Short Story | Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 46m 36s

Source: Promotion on Amazon

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Premise:
Mae is lucky enough to get a job in a major company.
Soon she will find out that the job comes with strings attached.

Review:

This was a thought-provoking story about the impact of the media in our daily lives and how far our employers may demand us to go.

However, the main character was extremely bland.

When the agenda becomes clear, she completely loses interest, providing one or two word replies and relinquishing any sense of personality.

Some things did not seem plausible and the ending felt rushed but this is definitely a frightening glimpse of the future because it feels like it could be real.

This is free on Audible and I enjoyed the narration so I do recommend it.

Listened to on Nov 28th, 2016
GR Review

Safe With Me

Title: Safe With Me

Author: K.L. Slater

Genres: Mystery | Psychological Thriller

Length: 324 pages | 4829 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

Thirteen years ago after ruining her life, Anna sees the woman who caused it all.
She views it as a sign and starts plotting her revenge.
But what really happened back then? And is Anna able to tell the good guys from the bad guys?

Review:

Safe With Me started fairly surreptitiously. You can tell something is off with Anna and as the narrative evolves you get to see just how much. The more I read the more I though that if this was the victim, I did not want to meet the perpetrator.

Getting into the mind of Anna was quite disturbing and definitely the highlight of the novel. However, that by itself does not sustain a book and I did feel the pace lacking throughout most of it.

There are quite a few things going on, both in present day and in the past, 13 years prior to the narrative. Mostly we read Anna’s side, told in first person, but there are chapters referring to her neighbour Mrs Peat, Carla Bevin and an unknown person.

Things do wrap up in the end but I felt it took too long for them to click into place and that a lot of what happened before the climax did not really add much to the story, so I was actually bored at times.
On the other hand, things that were said to lead the reader a certain direction were not followed upon, so even though the main events are explained in the end other things felt rushed and I wished I had closure for them.

And then there were some episodes that did not make much sense, like a triage nurse wasting so much time with a patient and actually tending to their injury. I don’t know how it’s done in the UK but here they want the quick run through of the patient’s symptoms, assign them a colour correspondent to the urgency degree and off they go.

Also there was a crucial thing in my opinion, which was Anna saying Today is my thirty-third birthday and 13 years ago she was said to be 15, so the math does not add up.

Finally, if there’s one thing I dislike is that the title of the book does not connect to the story in a clear manner, which happens here.

Overall I would say this book is definitely unique on the psychological side but the pace threw me off, and the resolution took too long and felt rushed.

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 Nov 20th to Nov 24th, 2016

GR Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Review:

I wonder if I am getting to old for this but the fact is I found this movie only so-so.

Eddie Redmayne was as good as he could be, considering what he was given. I could not relate to any of the characters.
Dan Fogler provided several humorous moments, although that seemed to be the single reason for him to be dragged along throughout the movie.

The special effects were terrific – I especially loved the scenes where we were first introduced to Newt’s creatures. Each was very different and that entire scene was very magical. However, it was just pretty stuff being dumped for the sake of dazzling the viewer.

There just did not seem to be much story to it, or what is there is underdeveloped and confusing.
Newt has these creatures and some have escaped so he needs to find them. Also, there is a bad guy wreaking havoc throughout Europe (no background whatsoever on the guy). And then there’s this weird disturbance distributing mayhem throughout New York.

The way these facts came together did not feel tremendously well done and there was just too much going on, with no clear thread uniting it. I feel like this movie can only be truly appreciated by people who read the book because I for one was very confused.

Unfortunately the movie did not interest me enough to want to watch the sequels and I cannot say I recommend it.

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Title: In a Dark, Dark Wood

Author: Ruth Ware

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Thriller

Length: 352 pages | 4016 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

Nora has not seen or spoken to Clare in 10 years and suddenly she receives an invitation to her hen-do.
Taken aback, she agrees to go, despite the nagging feeling that she shouldn’t. However, some secrets should stay in the past.

Review:

This book started out really nicely for me.

We get to know Nora, a writer in her mid 20s who has settled into her routine. She seemed very real.

When Nora gets Clare’s invitation to her hen-do via best friend/maid of honour Flo, she is shocked. Not only have they not spoken in a decade, something bad happened in their past that made this the least thing Nora expected.

The events that follow are suspenseful and you can tell from early on that the setting provides the right atmosphere for truly thrilling moments. The descriptions of the house and its surroundings were ominous.

The narrative is interspersed with Nora’s experiences at a different time. At first you don’t even know if it is before or after the events we are witnessing but then it becomes progressively clearer, growing to an exciting crescendo.

And that is when things went downhill for me. There was such a build-up that the revelation about Nora’s 10-year-old secret was almost disappointing. Also, some things were glazed over and the last third felt like it dragged so much. By that time I was craving resolution to what had happened and still had to go through all the main character’s extensive whodunnit. And the worst part is I had seen it coming ages ago.

Some things felt just plain ridiculous
(like seeing footprints from the garage to the main house not once but twice and no one even thinks of checking the garage for instance, or you’re sitting with a person who you are almost sure killed someone and you drink the tea they made even though it tastes tremendously bitter? And you keep taking another sip and complaining it’s bitter and another sip and another and another…?) and others seemed to have been put there for the sake of justifying the outcome ( like Nora’s amnesia lasting that long or Tom saying that Bruce had had an awful argument with James and then Bruce turns out to actually like James and it’s actually Clare he didn’t like).

So overall I truly enjoyed the characters (Nina was amazing) and the tension but the resolution definitely put me off.

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 Nov 17th to Nov 19th, 2016

GR Review

Lies

Title: Lies

Author: TM Logan

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Psychological Thriller

Length: 320 pages | 4179 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

When Joe witnesses his wife doing something completely out of her routine, he would never imagine his entire life would suffer such a meltdown.

Review:

Lies left me with mixed feelings.
On one hand, for most of the time I wanted to know what came next and so I found it difficult to put the book down. It really is quite well written and watching Joe’s life unravel like that was quite shocking.

On the other hand, the main character seemed so gullible and at times even dense that he became quite annoying after a while.

You see, the premise on which he was basing did not make sense to me from an early stage in the book. By halfway or so, I had completely discarded it. So all that time I was like ‘no, no, no, that is not what is happening, come on!’ Also, by then I had figured out who did what and why. I don’t know, maybe I am getting too good at this *cough cough* but going through half a book with that thought in mind is not exactly pleasant. Also, it meant I noticed all the things that didn’t quite click.

The book wraps up nicely in the end and there were even a few surprises that truly shocked me. However, since I noticed those little things, not absolutely everything felt like it was explained and some things felt like taking the easy way out.

However, the novel really was masterfully written. Those last few pages truly captured my attention and would not let go.
Also, the book is thought-provoking. It stays with you after you finish reading it.

Lies is quite the page turner and I have no doubt you will find it extremely difficult to put down. I immersed myself in the story completely and payed extra attention so maybe that is why I figured it out early on but the fact that I still managed to want to read what came next should be a clue to how well it is written so I do recommend it.

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 Nov 13th to Nov 17th, 2016

GR Review

Arrival

Arrival

Rating: 4.85/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

Review:

Having heard about this movie and seen part of the trailer I had written it off as yet another sci-fi movie featuring aliens. There were people running around and being violent and aliens talking about weapons and an explosion and everything was frantic and I just did not feel like it was my cup of tea and that other similar movies have been made.

I could not have been more wrong and I am so glad I read a review on IMDB that changed my mind and made me want to watch it because that is so not what it is like. This is not just another movie about aliens. It is so much more than that. It is absolutely stunning. Mysterious and heartbreaking and everything comes around at the end. I honestly don’t understand why try to pass the movie as something it is not.

There are very suspenseful scenes indeed where you can feel the sense of urgency and it is totally justified but ultimately the vibe of the filme is awe-striking and somewhat dreamy, which has a reason why and is made clear as the movie comes to a closure.

The close-ups are incredible, moving, and the soundtrack blew me away. Oh my gosh. It gave an entire new dimension to the movie and completely involved me and intensified the alien atmosphere.

There is only one scene that I did not like because it felt like it did not belong, and the slow pace was a struggle sometimes, even if it was part of the movie’s charm, but overall this was an absolutely incredible work of art and I hope you will watch it. If you stick to the story and pay attention, it will stay with you and you will want to discuss it after sitting on it. I know I do!

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Review:

This was my first time on IMAX and I actually did not know about Doctor Strange so I went into it fully open-minded.

And you know what… This was actually pretty good! Granted, some things were not very realistic and the character development was much too quick in certain parts but overall this was very well achieved.

The movie is reminiscent of Inception and Matrix and I absolutely loved the first scenes, featuring the Ancient One.

Cumburbatch played this character wonderfully. He is witty and egocentric and even though there is development to the character he never ceases to be true to himself.
Some of the humorous moments are simply hilarious. He seems to have been born for this part, much like Iron Man seems to have been created for Robert Downey Jr.

All the other actors performed brilliantly as well, though. Tilda Swinson was simply amazing and her interactions with Cumberbatch were so much fun and awe-striking.
Rachel McAdams did great as well; it’s not easy to shine in such a roll but she was very good and believable.
Mads Mikkelsen as the villain was also superb. I had not expected such a humane approach to him.

I had a great time watching Doctor Strange and definitely recommend it.

The Many

Title: The Many

Author: Nathan Field

Genres: Horror | Thriller

Length: 274 pages | 3740 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

After Stacey went out on a date with a handome doctor, she returns unrecognizable to her brother. Little does he know his older sister’s erratic behaviour is just the tip of the iceberg.

Review:

The Many was an intense, compelling read, for the most part. I rushed through the pages and I was so enthralled I wanted to read it in one go.

However, it was especially exciting during the first half or so of the book. Once the two main characters got together, I found myself questioning why the story was being taken a certain way because it did not make sense. Quite frankly, from then on it only went downhill.

There were still some moments when I gripped my e-reader a little too hard, but ultimately the resolution felt so messy. Almost as if the author had a tremendously good idea but came to a blank as to how to execute an end to it.
Also, the book needs reviewing before being published; there are words missing, wrong character names are used, etc.

If you can get past the disappointing ending, The Many can be a thrilling, chilling, unexpected read. It really is a shame it didn’t end differently.

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 Nov 11th to Nov 12th, 2016

GR Review

An Old Year Resolution

It’s already mid-November! Is it just me or is this year flying by?

So as you may know I am an avid Netgalley fan.
In fact, most of the books I read are provided by them.

For the last couple of months, my feedback rate has been hovering maddeningly close to 70%. Usually 67 or 68 and a couple of days ago it actually got to 69. However, there are so many amazing titles just waiting to be requested that I simply cannot resist.

Well no more! I vow that before the year ends I will get that rate to 70%. I shall commit to not requesting more books or at the very least to focus exclusively on Netgalley books. I have actually requested several different genres so it should not be a chore.

Who knows, maybe next year I will finally get to 80%, which not only gets you a spiffy new badge but increases your chances of getting accepted.

Wish me luck!