Hope’s Peak (Harper and Lane #1)

Title: Hope’s Peak (Harper and Lane #1)

Author: Tony Healey

Genres: Crime | Mystery | Thriller

Length: 207 pages | 2848 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

A young black girl is found dead, a crown of vines over her head, her eyes closed. She has been brutally assaulted. And she is not the last… nor the first.

Review:

The first book of Hope’s Peak was quite thrilling at times but it left me wanting on several aspects.

First of all, I never even got a clear image of how the detectives look or who they were really. They seemed bland.

Many things did not feel realistic, much like the dialogues. Even the way the detectives addressed each other, particularly Stu calling Harper ‘kiddo’ when they were sleeping together, irked me.

The procedural aspect felt lacking as well. All the time they were using a psychic to move forward in the case I kept wondering how they would justify their findings and it bothered me that neither of the detectives did that.

The scenes where the killer is described are what kept the book up for me and, consequently, the rating. He was a truly wicked fellow.

Hope’s Peak had its highlights but I would not say it shines amongst other of the genre. It is still an exciting read, for the most part.

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 Jan 29th to Jan 31st, 2017

GR Review

Never Out of Sight

Title: Never Out of Sight

Author: Louise Stone

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 320 pages | 3579 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

 

Premise:

Freya’s daughter is missing. And now she is torn between telling the truth about where she was and keeping her secret, which would devastate her life as well as those around her. It couldn’t possibly be relevant to Zoe’s disappearance… Right?

Review:

Never Out of Sight gripped me because I felt that this could happen to anyone.

Freya is a woman approaching 50 who is searching for the woman she once was. When she finds a way to do just that, she does not realise how much that affects her life and those in it.
Now her daughter is missing.

As the narrative advances, we watch Freya unravel as she realises she doesn’t really know her own daughter. I was torn between feeling sorry for her and judging her for being so focused on herself and all the self-wallowing, until I reached that conclusion that it really could happen to everyone. If you don’t pay attention, life just goes by, and those who you take for granted may not be there one day and then it is too late to say you love them.

Therefore, this was thought-provoking and heartbreaking. I did feel however that the book got a bit repetitive. Things kept being said over and over as if it was the first time, like when Freya talks about her own parents not showing her love, for instance. When that happened I felt the book dragged on a bit and became uninterested.

It was still very exciting for the most part, though, and even if I had somewhat anticipated what had happened and a couple of things felt off-character, there were still plenty of surprises towards the chilling end. This was a thrilling read and I 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 Jan 28th to Jan 29th, 2017
GR Review

Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Title: Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Speculative Fiction | Thriller

Length: 565 pages | 7940 locations

Source: Author

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

Book 3 of the Lake of Sins takes place four years after the events of the previous one. While High Hugh Truent was in prison for claiming that all classes were genetically similar, the world outside changed radically. A war is looming… and the allied classes need Hugh.

Review:

When I first looked up the book details I thought whoa, 565 pages, that is going to take me a while. But it went by so fast! I never imagined I would finish in just three days.

I cannot say this enough, L.S. O’Dea is such a talented writer. The pace is relentless but that does not mean that the world and character development is not satisfying, on the contrary. There is a lot going on but it is quite easy to follow and it only made me want to know what happened next.

It’s a YA book, not my favourite genre, so there will always be things I don’t particularly like as the characters end up sounding too dramatic for my taste. Trinity ticked me off a few times but I enjoy to see her keep growing.

There were quite a few repetitions – a lot of disgusted looks, for instance, and the way Hugh kept correcting mother to Sarah and father to General Truent when he found out the truth just felt forced and overdone, just like the excessive compliments on both Trinity and Hugh. I feel that their actions say enough, we don’t need to be told several that Trinity is brave and honest, even through the voice of another character, or that Hugh really doesn’t want more deaths on his conscience.

All in all I had a really good time reading this. Some parts made me laugh out loud, which earned me quite a few puzzled looks on the bus ride home, while others had me biting my nails. Some scenes were just so tense that I figuratively stood on my toes.

I can honestly say this is amongst the best YA reads I have stumbled upon and encourage you to pick up these books. This series has all the ingredients to become an epic.

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

Read from Jan 25th to Jan 28th, 2017
GR Review

Movies I Really Want to Watch

After such a long time without a single movie that I really had to watch, there are quite a few now that I do not want to miss.

In no particular order, here are the 11 movies that I am looking forward to watching over the next couple of months (the covers link to IMBD page):

Moonlight

Moonlight
A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.


Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures
Based on a true story. A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.


Toni Erdmann

Toni Erdmann
A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO’s life coach.


Split

Split
Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.


Rings

Rings
A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in 7 days.


20th Century Women

20th Century Women
The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s.


Fences

Fences
A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.


The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us
The first human born on Mars travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl to discover how he came to be.


The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My Mother
A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life.


The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe
A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.


Ah-ga-ssi

Ah-ga-ssi
TA woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.


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

Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.

Review:

This movie was such a pleasant surprise. It was riddled with beauty and sorrow and I was just hypnotised throughout it.

We are presented to Susan Morrow in such a subtile manner. We get a glimpse of her current life and then the action is interspersed with bits of her past as well as scene’s from her ex-husband Edward’s novel. Everything is just so smooth. You are presented with just enough to understand the dynamics in her life and what she and Edward have felt. Every scene is precious and engaging and I did not want the movie to end but at the same time I did because the tension was just so rich.

Some images are quite shocking, starting with the opening one. The soundtrack is quite enthralling and, much like the narrative, it wraps up nicely towards the end. The sobriety of Amy Adams’ character’s look, as well as her surroundings, as well as other very clever scenes add to the dark atmosphere but not in a in-your-face sort of way. The film is just so well made. Everything comes together to produce an entrancing work of art. It is an intense and powerful movie with little clues scattered throughout that will make most sense towards the end but that you can definitely take with you and mull over.

There were a couple of cheesy lines both in the ‘real world’ and the novel one but overall I am blown away by this movie and so glad I managed to watch it. The ending caught me off guard but once I digested it I saw it made sense.

And the performances. Amy Adams stunned me and Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing as always but I absolutely have to mention Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. My goodness, they were stunning in their role. Pretty much everyone was superb, but these guys shone extra bright and I hope Shannon wins the Oscar. I will also definitely be looking out for more movies by Tom Ford.

I hope you watch it. Nocturnal Animals will hopefully stir your emotions, as it did with me.

A Collapse of Horses

Title: A Collapse of Horses

Author: Brian Evenson

Genres: Horror | Paranormal | Science Fiction | Short Stories

Length: 220 pages | 2683 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

A varied short story anthology.

Review:

What a wonderful collection of short stories. They manage to be thought-provoking, engaging and entertaining.

Overall they were quite disturbing, exploiting the darkest corners of the human mind, and really got under my skin. Some struck me as almost psychedelic and/or nightmarish. They were not only quite philosophical but also just plain insane and my oh my there were so many types of insanity.

As in all anthologies there were stories I liked better than others and there’s always the feeling of disappointment when I finish a story that is just too short or unresolved, but if you are a fan of the genre and don’t mind your mind being turned into jelly I am sure you will enjoy this.

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 Jan 21st to Jan 25th, 2017
GR Review

Guest post – Lake of Sins character hierarchy – L. S. O’Dea

Very useful considering I plan to read book 3 soon!

If you haven’t read the first two books yet make sure you do, especially since if you have not read them this hierarchy in the linked post will be a spoiler and the world should definitely be discovered bit by bit.

You can find my review for book 1 here and book 2 here!

David's Book Blurg

The 3rd book in the Lake of Sins series, Hangman’s Army by L. S. O’Dea has just been released and I can’t wait to read my copy. Look out for a review in February!

If you havent already you can see my reviews for the previous titles in the series here :-

Book 1 – Escape

Book 2 – Secrets In Blood

It’s fantasy..dark and gruesome secrets will be revealed!

To get your free copy for the first two books in the series click the image below!

books-by-ls-odea

Another bonus is that the author has kindly agreed to a guest post to give some background to the hierarchy within the series. Enjoy!


David was kind enough to ask me to write a guest blog on the hierarchy of the world of the Lake of Sins.

Book one in the series (Lake Of Sins: Escape) is told from the point of view…

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The Fire Child

Title: The Fire Child

Author: S.K. Tremayne

Genres: Mystery | Psychological Thriller | Thriller

Length: 400 pages | 4007 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

 

Premise:

Rachel moves in to her secluded new home, after having recently married 10 year older David Krethen.
Her stepson acts weirdly and there seem to be too many secrets that no one is willing to talk about.
Is she safe?
What really happened to David’s first wife?

Review:

The Fire Child left me with a bittersweet feeling, much like the author’s previous novel, The Ice Twins. Even the setting was similar.

First of all, when a book requires too much suspension of disbelief I just cannot seem to enjoy it much, no matter how well it is written. Rachel put me off from the beginning. I did not get why she married David so soon, especially since she described herself as an independent feminist. Sure, she can feel attracted to the guy but marry him and give everything up in the span of a few months? Or one month, I think I read somewhere.

She just felt jaded. Like in this quote:
“See you for dinner. You’re a great sitter.”
He kisses me softly before striding away, around the house, heading for his car, calling out for Jamie. Like we are already a family. Safe and happy.

He described her basically as his kid’s babysitter and she says she feels part of the family? I don’t get it.

There were other details, of course, like the maid having lived there for 10 years and at 32 years old still not being able to speak an entire sentence of proper English, let alone have a chat with Rachel.
In order for events to unfold the way they did, our main character had to be isolated and this just felt like a cop-out. I meant, at the very least make her older so she would have more trouble learning a new language or something.

The Fire Child was an intense thriller at times, while at others it got repetitive and I felt that it dragged on. I have read plenty of dark books and have enjoyed probably the large majority of them, but this just felt bleak and desolate for pretty much the entire time. I was confused, annoyed (I could not take one more line of Jamie wanting his mother and then not wanting her anymore because he was scared and then wanting her again) and finished the book beyond disappointed at the wrap-up.

Sure, there is plenty food for thought but it just felt rushed and not believable at all.
I do think that many people will love this novel but the more I think about it the more I realise that there were indeed several isolated episodes where I kept flipping the pages as quickly as I could but, as a whole, the story just did not satisfy me.

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 Jan 17th to Jan 21st, 2017
GR Review