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

Gambit (The Prodigy Chronicles #1)

Title: Gambit (The Prodigy Chronicles #1)

Author: C.L. Denault

Genres: Dystopia | Paranormal

Length: 556 pages

Source: Author / Giveaway

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3/5

 

Premise:

Sixteen-year-old Willow lives in a world where humans with extraordinary skills lead lives completely apart from the normal ones. Her life in the small village compares nothing to the Core, but she is free… Until her secrets are exposed and Willow is forced to choose between her freedom and the life of her family.

Review:

Gambit had a bumpy start for me because I could not take to the main character. She was made to be too much of a bad-ass – He planted a delicate kiss on my forehead, the one man in the room brave enough to dare such a thing, and went back to work. – and was manipulative of those who care about her (father, best friend, etc). I really didn’t like that, although it played into the story. Still, she was just not someone I liked and that remained throughout the book.

Then there was the all too seen best friend who wants to be something more and the main character doesn’t. At this point I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.

However, the prose is so engaging that next thing I knew I had read well more than half the book in one sitting and it was the wee hours of the morning. I had to force myself to stop because, you know, headache, blurry vision and so on.

There were quite a few characters, so I had to keep reminding myself who was who but after a while I got used to it and each had their own voice. This is a long book and I got a good idea how it was like for Willow in her life before all the madness happened and then with all the changes she endured.

The novel sets a new world well, where for some reason I kept hearing Hook from Once Upon a Time every time a villager spoke with their ‘Aye’ and addressing Willow as ‘love’ or ‘lassie’. At the same time, it touches quite a few important issues, specifically human ambition and its potential consequences. Genetic manipulation and irreparable damage to the environment surely loom in today’s future so to some extend this was pretty believable.

There were a few things I didn’t get.

I didn’t quite grasp the concept of the Surge. It seemed like something that should be hidden in case you were a normal hiding a skill but at the same time it seemed expected that Willow go through it, regardless of being a prodigy or not. Did everyone go through it? Always at 16? I didn’t even get how people went from begin normal to becoming prodigies and that seems pretty basic world building to me. I am hoping this and other things left unexplained will be addressed in further books.

I had major issues with the men in this book. First of all, every man that shows interest in Willow, which is pretty much any male she comes across, seems to be coveted by numerous females, including her teasing best friend. Then I don’t understand why rebellious-I-can-take-care-of-myself Willow would trust Joshua so blindly from the moment they met. Not to mention it’s totally creepy, with him at least looking twice her age and all. And the way he kept calling her little one got old really fast. I realise it was probably done to keep from such climate was emerging but it was still creepy. And then the level of intimacy 23-year-old Reece had with Willow was just plain wrong. She’s 16, for crying out loud. Yes, he was respectful enough, but it just feels wrong.

Action takes place in former London but American spelling is used everywhere.

Why would Reece saying that he is genetically incapable of lying be enough for Willow? He could totally be playing her this whole time! Why did she not even consider double checking this information??

I wanted to know the secondary characters better. Several people, not least of them Willow’s parents, had who they thought for sixteen years was their daughter suddenly taken away and I could not get a glimpse of how this affected any of them, least of all big-hearted Fenn.

I was sorry to see so much was left unexplained at the end of the book. I at least wanted to know what secret Reece was keeping.

All in all, Gambit was a fast-paced adventure that is sure to keep you entertained and there is enough tension that will keep you wanting to know what comes next. Personally, I needed more character and world development and a few clichés eliminated from the narrative to feel fully satisfied but I believe YA fans will enjoy it very much and do recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author of the book and the author of the blog that held this giveaway.

Read from Apt 8th to Apr 9th, 2017
GR Review

Discovering Edelweiss #2

My goodness, I am such a noob.

After well over half an hour with Amazon support, I realised (on my own by the way) that the reason why I was not able to receive Edelweiss files was because I had not added their address to approved emails on my Amazon account.

I had done this when I joined Netgalley of course but that was in 2014, I think.
The guys from Edelweiss replied in the meantime with the same information. Apparently they even had a guide for it and somehow I managed to miss it. I think it would be useful to have a link saying something like ‘Having trouble receiving the e-galleys?’ linking to that guide, I can’t be the only one having this issue… Right? O.o

Anyway, I hope this information helps someone out there!

Also, I received confirmation for a book I was really looking forward to but was rejected on Netgalley, so it’s already worth it for me!

Happy days! :D

I wish you all a lovely Wednesday :)

My First Edelweiss Approval

Oh wow I am so excited!

I was actually wondering if I would ever get an approval. The fact that I might get one less than a week after signing up was far from my thoughts.

I have to admit I squealed when I saw this in my email:

I have heard so many good things about this book, so I am extra excited about it.

*does happy dance*

Now I just need to figure out how to get it in my Kindle because it says the file is sent but it’s not working :(
I have issues with Netgalley’s protected files as well so fingers crossed it will work…

*does some more happy dance*

Have you read this book?
In your experience, does Edelweiss usually send protected files or also regular mobi versions?

Discovering Edelweiss

Well, now I have done it. I finally signed up to Edelweiss. Because that is just what I need, more places to get awesome books from, right??

For some reason I thought I could not sign up because I am from Portugal but I guess that only drastically decreases my chances of actually grabbing the books I want to read so I figured, why not give it a try?

It seems that it is migrating from Edelweiss ‘classic’ to Edelweiss+, at https://www.edelweiss.plus
I never tried the old version but I can imagine this is more user-friendly than the previous.

At first I struggled with it but the help articles were very useful.
However, there are still several features I don’t know what they are for.
I still don’t get why, when I am trying to do a search, I don’t immediately get the option to only view titles available for request. I have to filter first by publisher or publishing date or format or whatnot.
So I am a bit confused about the site’s purpose. Obviously we get to request review copies, but what else is there to it?

Alas, I added some of my previous reviews and requested several titles – only 10, not bad huh?? I am really trying here.
I didn’t find many of the titles I got from Netgalley, though. I wonder what the criteria is to putting a book up.

Also, does it have a feedback rate like Netgalley? What exactly to the publishers use as criteria for accepting a request?

Do you use this site? I would love your opinion of it and any info/tips about it, really.

I have seen a Friend option there, I guess that means you could add me?

Looking forward to your comments!

Slade House

Title: Slade House

Author: David Mitchell

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal

Length: 233 pages

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

In an alley, there is a tiny iron door that only shows itself on certain times and is only visible to certain people.
If you happen to be one of them, be careful. Slade House has two inhabitants who will want you to stay forever.

Review:

Ok this review is going to be different because I simply have to gush over this amazing cover:

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Not only is it absolutely gorgeous but it also conveys the feeling of the book splendidly.

And inside… Inside you are able to glimpse something that is one of the many secrets of the book in a chilling design:

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Also gorgeous!

Alright, enough gushing, on to the proper review.

Slade House is a difficult one to review. There are some books where you just can’t say much without spoiling the experience because the unveiling of the mysteries at the pace that the author presents them is what gives it such power, and this is one of them.

What I can tell you however is that it is a deliciously magical novel. For me, it was absolutely riveting, fast-paced and most of the time I was completely enthralled by the narrative. And every time I thought I knew what was happening, doh! Nope, the author got me.

I had heard good things about David Mitchell and this was my first experience with him. I can definitely say I would love to read more by him.

There were a couple of things I did not understand and if you have read the book I would love for you to let me know:

If it is said that Gordon did not call the handyman then that means he never left the orison that first time, right? Not like anyone else did. So how did he write the report describing the little door then?

It is said that one of the twins creates the orison and we don’t see much of that one during the interaction with their guest. I got the feeling that that twin does all the work keeping it up and whatnot. However, in some cases both Norah and Jonah appear, especially in the first one with Nathan. So how exactly does it work?

I was confused as to why they had to wait 9 more years after Freya. Does the door only open on that specific day at the end of October?

Norah kept arguing with her brother but I never got what alternative she was proposing. If they left, their bodies would age and rot, so what could they do?

Also, I was not a fan of the open ending and it makes me wonder if there will be a sequel, though it doesn’t look that way.

Other than that, this was an amazing read, highly recommended if you are looking for a magical tale with a chilling touch.
A solid 9 out of 10.

Read from Mar 3rd to Mar 4th, 2017

GR Review

The Roanoke Girls

Title: The Roanoke Girls

Author: Amy Engel

Genres: Mystery | Thriller

Length: 276 pages | 3877 locations

Source: Blogging for Books | Negalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

When she was 15, Lane went to live at Roanoke with her grandparents and cousin Allegra, from whom she discovers the gloomy fate of all Roanoke girls.
Over a decade later, Allegra disappears, and her granddad begs Lane to return.
What happened to Alegra? And can Lane resist Roanoke?

Review:

I am still not 100% sure how to feel about The Roanoke Girls.

It surprised me, that’s for sure, right from the description of Roanoke. It was not a beautiful, imposing mansion like in other novels. Instead, it looked like something an insane person would build, or someone who didn’t give a shit.

I was very thankful for the family tree in the beginning of the book because at some point I didn’t know who was who and how they were related to such and such.

The prose was extremely engaging. I never got tired of it and kept wanting to know what happened next.
However, there was something about the way that was structured that I didn’t find very appealing, for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the narrative alternates between now and then and the ‘now’ chapters announce things that happened ‘then’ in a somewhat anti-climatic manner. Stuff that is so powerful and is just dropped there. I don’t know.

Ultimately the ‘then’ chapters as well as the ones about each Roanoke girl served to form a picture of the hideousness going on in that house. And although the entire premise resting on a character being so charming to those around them that they get away with it seems a bit far-fetched, I could see how it would come to be, lest of all due to the isolated nature of the people living in that house.

Lane was the epitome of the unlikable main character, which usually doesn’t bother me. However, she came across as unnecessarily bitchy and whiny at times.
Again, I could see why she came to be that way but I guess I needed something to balance that constant nasty feeling out and the fact is every single character was quite depressing.
The ending was very predictable but I still appreciated how it was described.

This book really makes me wish for half stars since it is a solid 3.5 for me. I am very undecided about rating up or down but since ultimately I kept wanting to keep reading I will round it up.

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

Other info:

Read from Feb 28th to Mar 2nd, 2017
GR Review