February 2017 Wrap-Up

February was such an amazing month!

I managed to read a few great books, watch a couple of awesome movies and work quite a lot on the blog, considering what I usually manage to do.

I went through the list of blogs I followed and found that some had not posted anything since as early as 2015. Others did not post anything I could relate to. So I unfollowed some and searched for new ones. In the process I came across a couple of awesome challenges that will help me stay motivated and started two new blog features as well!

In this month I have striven to reach out. Besides looking for new blogs, I made an effort to visit them often, liking posts and commenting whenever I had anything to say. The fact is I want to get to know you all! I really enjoy meeting people from all over the world and luckily work was very manageable during February and though I know it will start to get hectic again I will do my best to keep up.

I made an effort to post at least once a day and things that I normally wouldn’t, since Ana’s Lair is ultimately a blog for book and movie reviews. I shared bits of my day with you, stuff I bought, and stuff I found online that struck me as interesting or funny and felt it would be nice to share. Several of you took the time to like and comment these posts, which I really appreciate!

I ventured with hashtags for the first time. I cannot begin to tell you what a noob I am when it comes to social media. The fact is I never knew what all those # thingies people use were exactly for. I knew it had something to do with Twitter but I never delved into it. Then I decided to venture there, typed #Netgalley and found all sorts of interesting things. And pronto, there was another awesome way to meet new people who had similar interests! And ‘lo and behold, it appears that they work on Facebook too. Go figure. (yes, I am still quite the noob at this)

My final discovery was Bloglovin’. I found it is a great way to discover new content and I absolutely love the Save option.
I added the Follow me on Bloglovin’ button to my sidebar, I hope you will add me.

So that was February for me. Short but sweet!


Summary:

Total Books Read: 8

Longest Read: Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1) (412 pages)

Shortest Read: The Picture of Dorian Gray (165 pages)

Book of the Month: The House

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 17/52

British Books Challenge: 11/12

2017 Netgalley: 14/35


February Books:

 

The first book I picked up in February was Blink, by K.L. Slater.

It took a while to pick up but once it did the tension gripped me.
I did struggle with Toni’s character and both the plot twist highly advertised and the resolution did not seem believable to me but I believe fans of psychological thrillers were love the book because it is full of unexpected twists, and do recommend it.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

Doll House by John Hunt was a very creepy read.

However, the premise was too cool for the way it was executed. I craved a more thorough psychological development, especially of the main villain, and I had trouble connecting with the characters. There were truly creepy parts but it could have been so much better.

I rated it 2/5 stars.

 
 
Wicked Prayers, by S.D. Moore was classic gore horror.

I was truly creeped out by those descriptions but the dialogues made me cringe and not in a good way.
I was really sad to give it such a low rating but I could not find much positive with this book.

I rated it 1.5/5 stars.

 

Then I moved on to Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer, the first book in DI Robyn Carter series, and finally things started looking up.
The prose was enthralling and I kept wanting to know what happened next. It got quite intense and it is full of twists and turns. There were only a couple of things I would have liked to see done differently. Otherwise, highly recommended. For sure one of the best of its genre out there.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 

I wanted to read something different so I picked up Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1), by Sylvain Neuvel.

It was a pleasant surprise! I can see not everyone will appreciate the detached narrative style as the story is told mostly through interviews, reports and whatnot, but I for one enjoyed it.
The plot is quite ingenious as well and although the cliffhanger ending made me want to find out what happened next I was content with this book.

I rated it 4.25/5 stars.

 

I really wanted to like See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. I have seen so many 4 and 5 star reviews that it makes me feel I missed something really important. At the end of the day not all books will please everyone and this struck me as overdone and repetitive, and I had really hoped for proper closure at the end after such a morose development.

I rated it 1.75/5 stars.

 
 

I will be trying to read one paperback per month and since The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde was mentioned quite a few times when I asked you what I should read next I figured I would give it a go.
I found it quite a profound book that made me contemplate today’s society as much as Wilde’s. However, it exhausted me at times. Lord Henry’s constant aphorisms and all the flowery descriptions tired me and I found it difficult to focus even when the narrative became interesting again.
Still, I am glad I read it and recommend it.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

I ended February with a bang. The House by Simon Lelic was a surprising, enthralling read, which narrative style pulled me in and made me care for the characters and what happened to them.

There were a few things I would have liked seen handled differently but overall this was a fast-paced book with a strong psychological charge, which I always love.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.
 


Where I got the books:

Book Depository

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

 
Netgalley

  • Blink
  • Doll House
  • Wicked Prayers
  • Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1)
  • Sleeping Giants
  • See What I Have Done
  • The House

 

Movie Reviews:

 

Features:

 

Reblogs:

 

Other Posts in February:

 


How was February for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!

January 2017 Wrap-Up

January was great! It was month of getting cosy indoors with a good book and leaving the cold outside so I ended up reading much more than my usual amount and overall really enjoyed all books. I am so glad I managed to go through 2850 pages in only a month.

I was also able to post other topics besides the usual book and movie reviews, which brought a few reactions from you lovely people. I was so happy to read your comments, thank you so much to all who take a few minutes to interact with me! You are truly amazing.

This was a wonderful start to my year, thank you for being part of it!


Summary:

Total Books Read: 9

Longest Read: Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3) (565 pages)

Shortest Read: Fungoid (177 pages)

Book of the Month: Fungoid

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 9/52

Netgalley: 7/35


January Books:

 

What a way to start the year! Fungoid, by William Meikle, was a tense apocalyptic tale, extremely well thought out and developed, and with a creepiness factor off the chart.

There were only a couple of things that bothered me but overall this was really well achieved. A gem amongst others of the genre.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 
 

In Bitter Chill (Inspector Francis Sadler #1) by Sarah Ward was a pleasant surprise. I am not usually a fan of crime novels but this one was quite enjoyable.

There were too many characters and the book got repetitive/dragged on every now and then but overall I had a good time figuring out whodunnit and I had not seen it coming.

I rated it 4.25/5 stars.

 

I immediately moved on to the sequel, A Deadly Thaw (Inspector Francis Sadler #2).

I was afraid I would be disappointed but ended up enjoying it quite a lot.
I was not sold on the explanations at the end but I appreciated the book for the journey instead of the destination.

I rated it 4/5 stars.

 
 

Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock was a unique experience for me. The book spans across 5 generations and is very thought-provoking. I could definitely see some of that stuff happening.
Unfortunately the disjointed and abrupt narrative made me unable to connect with the characters or care about what happened to them but I can definitely appreciate the value of this book.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 
 

I then read The Fire Child, by S.K. Tremayne.

In some points it was an extremely tense thriller but the resolution left me really disappointed. It just did not live up to the tension built up throughout the narrative and some plot devices were too obvious.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 
 
 

A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson was an entrancing short story collection. It is definitely amongst the best I have ever read.

All were very thought-provoking and utterly insane and although quite dark and heavy at times I enjoyed them.
Probably best to balance this with a lighter book.

I rated it 4/5 stars.

 

When I started book 3 of the Lake of Sins series by L.S. O’Dea, Hangman’s Army, I had no idea I would be done that fast.

There are many characters but the narrative is easy enough to follow. The book is full of tension, fun banter and adventure and I am sure fans of YA will love it.
Do read the previous two books first, though.

I rated it 4/5 stars.
 
 
 

Never Out of Sight by Louise Stone was a gripping psychological thriller.

The main character got on my nerves a bit but it was terrifying to realise something like this could happen to anyone if you did not pay attention.
The ending sent a chill down my spine.

I rated it 4/5 stars.

 
 

My last book of the month was enjoyable but it didn’t really shine amongst others of the genre.

Hope’s Peak (Harper and Lane #1) by Tony Healey had a really creepy villain and that is what brought the rating up for me.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 
 


Where I got the books:

Author

  • Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

 

Gift

  • In Bitter Chill

 

Netgalley

  • Fungoid
  • A Deadly Thaw (Inspector Francis Sadler #2)
  • Dreams Before the Start of Time
  • The Fire Child
  • A Collapse of Horses
  • Never Out of Sight
  • Hope’s Peak (Harper and Lane #1)

 

Movie Reviews:

 

Reblogs:

 

Other Posts in January:

 


How was January for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!

December 2016 Wrap-Up

Well, this is it, the end of the year is here!

December was a fairly good month. Lots of tea and hot chocolate and I even got a week off work so I got to relax.

Also, the days are finally getting longer, which I truly craved.

This month and really the whole year were quite a ride. I am so very grateful.

Here’s to the New Year!


Summary:

Total Books Read: 5

Longest Read: An Intimate Obsession (360 pages)

Shortest Read: The Catcher in the Rye (230 pages)

Book of the Month: An Intimate Obsession

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 60/50

2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 42/?


DecemberBooks:

 

My month started with Dark Vision, by Debbie Johnson.

The main character’s voice was refreshing but overall the ideas felt underdeveloped and that the book dragged on for too long.

I rated it 2/5 stars.

 
 
 
 

I have to admit Only Blue Will Do by Mark Rippon drew me in by the cover.

I suppose it could be one of those books that people either love or hate.
What I did comprehend of the scrambled narrative amounted to an utterly pointless effort and I finished the book feeling quite disappointed.

I rated it 1.5/5 stars.

 
 

Carnivalesque, by Neil Jordan, is a fantasy book that lost me at times but that is immensely special.

The way the author incorporated magic into the ordinary life (or is it the other way around?) makes it an entrancing ride.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 
 
 

An Intimate Obsession by Elizabeth McGregor was an enthralling thriller than got under my skin. There is so much tension on those pages and a lot going on. Some of the characters had features I did not find believable and the climax of the story happened quite early on to me but I do recommend it.

I rated it 3.75/5 stars.

 
 

My last book of the year was a classic I have been meaning to read for several years now – The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

This was special and unique but I did struggle to keep reading at times.
I can definitely see why it is a classic, though, and there is plenty food for thought amongst these pages.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 
 


Where I got the books:

Book Depository

  • The Catcher in the Rye

 

Netgalley

  • Dark Vision
  • Only Blue Will Do
  • Carnivalesque
  • An Intimate Obsession

 

Movie Reviews:

 

Reblogs:

 

Other Posts in December:

 


How was December for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!

November 2016 Wrap-Up

November was a pretty amazing month!

I cozied up with several great reads while it was raining outside and it was heavenly.

I read shorter books for the most part and so I was able to get fully involved with the stories, instead of there being so many breaks in between reads.

Also, I set myself a challenge – get to at least 70% feedback rate on Netgalley and stay there – and I achieved it! It’s the staying there part that proves a challenge but so far so good.

And finally towards the end of the month I had a job opportunity that allowed me to travel to Southampton, England and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Still with my head in the clouds a bit.


Summary:

Total Books Read: 10

Longest Read: The Summer Goddess (464 pages)

Shortest Read: Drayton, the Taker (Drayton #1) (70 pages)

Book of the Month: All We Shall Know

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 55/50

2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 37/?


November Books:

 

I began the month by finishing The Summer Goddess, by Joanne Hall.

This book left me with mixed feelings. I did not care for the main character and, although interesting, it was not one of those books I felt I had to know what happened next, but I feel that was mostly because I was not the target audience for this, as the overly descriptive pose lost me quite often. I know other people will enjoy it very much.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

I then read White by Tim Lebbon.

It is a cabin-in-the-woods where everyone starts dying one by one sort of tale sort of tale but the author manages to do something completely different with it. The horror and sense of hopelessness is palpable.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

I then immersed myself in All We Shall Know, by Donal Ryan.

This was such a new and positive experience for me. I really wish I could have read this in one sitting. Melody Shee is not a lovable character but she is a very deep one and this book is just amazing on so many levels. Highly recommended.

I rated it 4.8/5 stars.

 

I moved on to another short tale, Drayton, the Taker (Drayton #1) by Tony Bertauski.

Once again the author does not disappoint.
This is a short story introducing a vampire inspired character who is so much more than that. There are details that make the story and character unique and I have to recommend it.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 

I moved on to The Many, by Nathan Field.

Boy, that one had me hooked from the get go. It was so suspenseful with such freaky stuff going on. I never knew if there was something supernatural with it. I love being kept in the dark. Then around halfway through the book the turn of events became quite disappointing. I felt this book deserved a much better resolution. It was still an exciting read, for the most part, and I absolutely adore the cover.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

I then read Lies by TM Logan.

This truly was a gripping psychological thriller. The author does a terrific job at explaining how an average Joe would find his life turned upside down. There were quite a few surprises but the fact I figured out what was happening about halfway through the book brought the rating down. Still, it was very well written and I recommend it.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

I finally got to In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware.

This began so well and the development was great up until the last third or so.
Then it felt like it dragged on, with obvious devices being used to stretch out the narrative and come to the resolution the author intended, which I found predictable.

I rated it 3.25/5 stars.

 

Still sticking with psychological thrillers, Safe With Me by K.L. Slater was next.

The main character was something, alright. I don’t think I have ever read a book starring someone as deranged.
Watching things through Anna’s eyes was disturbing, which I loved but got old after a while, and I felt not enough interesting stuff was happening. On the other hand I wished for more closure on a few things.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better, by Dave Eggers and narrated by Dion Graham was a very quick listen.

The characters were weak but it was a thought-provoking story, so I recommend it.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

 

My final book of the month was The Fates by Thomas Tessier.

Well, it was different. Unfortunately not in a good way.
The characters were many and not very development and the lack of resolution was quite disappointing.

I rated it 2/5 stars.

 


Where I got the books:

Audible

  • We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Netgalley

  • The Summer Goddess
  • White
  • All We Shall Know
  • Drayton, the Taker (Drayton #1)
  • The Many
  • Lies
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood
  • Safe With Me
  • The Fates

 

Movie Reviews:

 

 

Other Posts in November :

 


How was November for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!

October 2016 Wrap-Up

October went by so quickly!

Some of what I read was pretty darn awesome. I was particularly lucky with the movies I watcehed.

Fall is finally here! Time to cosy up with great books and hot beverages and blankets.


Summary:

Total Books Read: 4

Longest Read: Falling (400 pages)

Shortest Read: Ozarium (Transitional Delusions #2) (281 pages)

Book of the Month: Falling

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 45/50

2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 28/?


October Books:

 

Ozarium (Transitional Delusions #2), by Brick Marlin was the first book I read in October.

I have to admit I enjoyed the first book of the series much more. I had lots of trouble with the pacing and writing on this one.
However, it was a tremendously creative work of fiction and I believe other folks will enjoy it more than me.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

I then read Falling by Julie Cohen.

My first journey into the so-called ‘chick-lit’ was very positive. This book featured very real characters, and even though three generations were portrayed I could relate to all of them.
Falling was very thought-provoking and I thoroughly recommend it.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 
 

Hidden (Dragonlands #1), by Megg Jensen had one of the most interesting premises I have read in a fantasy book in a long time.

However, it did not deliver at all. The narrative was chunky, the characters were unlikable and unrelatable, the novel was riddled with clichés and stilted dialogues…
The prose was easy to follow and there were a few interesting concepts. I really wish this would have been better executed. It could have been an awesome book.

I rated it 1.5/5 stars.

 
 

Love You To Death by Caroline Mitchell is the first book in a new crime investigation series.

I think fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy it.
Personally, I found it a bit lacking, particularly in the character development development.
I still recommend it.

I rated it 3.25/5 stars.

 


Where I got the books:

Author

  • Ozarium (Transitional Delusions #2)

 

Netgalley

  • Falling
  • Hidden (Dragonlands #1)
  • Love You To Deat

 

Movie Reviews:

 

 

Other Posts in October:

 


How was October for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!

September 2016 Wrap-Up

In September I updated my Books page and I have to tell you, after 8 months of not a single one, it was not an easy task! A very fulfilling one, though. Quite an eclectic mix I have there!

I also updated the Movies page. Only 4 months late and much less to update so that was quicker.

I had a week off at work so yay, finally, some time off to relax, read, watch movies, see interesting places. I did all that and I have to admit it was a brilliant month. I truly enjoyed most of the movies and books and I went on a roadtrip to the north of my country (Portugal for those who don’t know), which I absolutely loved.

September was utterly amazing!


Summary:

Total Books Read: 5

Longest Read: Emissary (440 pages)

Shortest Read: City of Endless Night (256 pages)

Book of the Month: When She Was Bad

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 40/50

2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 25/?


September Books:

 

I began the month by finishing City of Endless Night, by Milo Hastings.

This book was astounding. I could not round the rating up to 5 stars because the development of the story was not satisfying to me in several aspects but I cannot tell you how impressed I am by this. I am dumbfounded and in awe at how something like this could be written and published in 1920. Absolutely terrifying. You need to read this if you haven’t yet.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 

I then read The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland.

This book was quite hyped and as I read it I just could not see why. When I finished it I could finally see the appeal but the largest chunk of the book was just not well developed enough to keep me interested. I saw several of the revelations coming from a very early point and some key aspects just did not make sense.

I rated it 2.5/5 stars.

 

I then read Emissary, by Chris Rogers.

It didn’t grow on me because it went in a very political direction and I had expected/hoped for more sci-fi. There were many characters, long-winded descriptions and explanations, and it just dragged on too much. There were some interesting parts but not nearly enough to keep me very engaged.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

In a time when I just cannot seem to find a solid good read in the horror section, The Tone Poet by Mark Rickert truly blew me away.

While the first few chapters grasped my attention more than the rest of the book, the fact is this is a unique theme and I truly enjoyed the writing. Enough to say it is very much inspired by the works of Stephen King and I think the author did a pretty terrific job of emulating my favourite author while attempting to create something his own.

I rated it 4.25/5

 

I cannot gust enough over When She Was Bad, by Tammy Cohen.

This book was a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.
I guarantee you it will hold your attention and not let go.
If you enjoy psychological thrillers please pick this up.
Now.

I rated it 4.9/5 stars.

 


Where I got the books:

Book Depository

  • City of Endless Night

Netgalley

  • The Girl from the Sea
  • Emissary
  • The Tone Poet
  • When She Was Bad

 

Movie Reviews:

 

Reblogs:

 

Other Posts in September :

 


How was September for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!

August 2016 Wrap-Up

August flew by!

Again, one of the busiest months at work but I still managed to relax a bit.

The month did not start out very well in terms of reading but it ended with a bang.


Summary:

Total Books Read: 4

Longest Read: Writers of the Future Volume 31 (496 pages)

Shortest Read: Our Future Good (2h and 47m)

Book of the Month: Made For You

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 35/50
2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 21/?


August Books:

 

After one month I was finally able to finish Writers of the Future Volume 31, a sci-fi and fantasy anthology featuring various authors.

I enjoyed most of the stories quite a lot, others did not tickle me much, but what I really did not appreciate and felt out of context was all the self-patting on the back of the people who put it together.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

 

I then read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

It was a fast-paced, thought-provoking novel with several things I felt should have been better explained or developed.
Even with all the flaws I kept wanting to know what came next, so I recommend it.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

 
 

Our Future Good by T.J. Kirby was a novella that had quite a lot of potential but ultimately was very disappointing. There was all this cool sci-fi going on and no interesting direction whatsoever.
It was nice listening to an audiobook, I hadn’t done that in a while.

I rated it 2/5.

 

 
 

Made for You by Melissa Marr was such a welcoming surprise!

This was my first book by the author and I have a feeling that her others might not be up my alley but Made For You worked as a psychological thriller peppered with paranormal and romance.
What an intriguing narrative, I absolutely recommend it.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 

 


Where I got the books:

Blogging for Books

  • Dark Matter

Netgalley:

  • Writers of the Future Volume 31
  • Dark Matter
  • Made For You

 

Rafllecopter:

  • Our Future Good

 

Movie Reviews:

 

TV Reviews:

 

Other Posts in August:

 


How was August for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!