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

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Genres: Horror | Magical Realism

Length: 165 pages

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

After meeting Lord Henry Wooton, young Dorian Gray engages in a self-destructive lifestyle.
If only his picture, an unparalleled work of art, could take the consequences instead of his youthful body…

Review:

The Picture of Dorian Gray is quite a work of art. From that first chapter I was enraptured, and I found the way our main character and his picture were introduced quite ingenious.
The main characters were quite entrancing, particularly Sir Henry Wooton.

However, at times I found it too philosophic, particularly after halfway or so. Sir Henry’s lines that I had previously enjoyed became overbearing, and the long flowery descriptions about perfumes, jewels, music and christian artefacts caused my attention to wander, making the book’s meagre 165 pages stretch on and on.

Also, I found characters repeatedly telling Sir Henry that he did not really believe what he was saying annoying after a point, and I found myself thinking that there was much talk of sins being committed but not much was shown in that sense. Though I appreciate the level of subtlety throughout the story, I believe further descriptions along those lines would have helped me form a better image of the de-evolution of Dorian Gray.

There is so much more to The Picture of Dorian Gray than a magical painting. Even though the ending was predictable I still think it is worth reading and contemplating. And it is quite amazing how contemporary this theme is, in a society which obsesses over youth and beauty more and more.

Read from Feb 22nd to Feb 26th, 2016

GR Review

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

Title: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

Author: Sylvain Neuvel

Genres: Fantasy | Science Fiction

Length: 304 pages | 4572 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.25/5

 

Premise:

When she was 11-years-old, Rose Franklin fell through the earth. When she comes to, she finds herself surrounded by glowing symbols and sitting on a giant hand.
Seventeen years later scientists still don’t know what it is. Rose, now a physicist, is closer than anyone else to unveiling the mysteries.
However, what consequences will her success have?

Review:

Sleeping Giants read like mature sci-fi. It is told in the form of interviews, journal entries, reports and news articles, amongst others, so it is safe to say it is not an emotional narrative style. Personally, I loved the detached approach to the narrative and I kept wanting to know what happened next. There were moments of great excitement, suspense and awe and I had never read anything quite like it.

All interviews are conducted by a mysterious individual who orchestrated all efforts into putting together a team to solve the puzzle the book relates.
The book approaches different issues like how government handles delicate situations, work relations, religion, amongst many others.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the narrative style not only because it was detached but because it was subtle. We are told how things happened through different characters and different methods and nothing is repeated, although you may get different perspectives of the same event. So if you are reading something through, let’s say, an interview, there might be a news article after that and then an experiment log and you get to know everything that happened, everything relevant anyway. I appreciate that a lot.

There isn’t much more I can say without giving too much away. Even though the little we know about Mr Mysterious is that he is not military, I cannot see him condone an intimate relationship betwwen co-workers, especially given the importance of the endeavour. I just did not find that believable. Still, I thought the plot was well constructed and this was a surprisingly character-driven story, which is quite unusual, at least from other sci-fi books I read. While the style is not for everyone, I for one enjoyed it very much and 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 Feb 14th to Feb 17th, 2017
GR Review

Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1)

Title: Little Girl Lost (DI Robyn Carter #1)

Author: Carol Wyer

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 412 pages | 5551 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Premise:

An 8 year-old-girl goes through a traumatic experience and no one protects her.
A 60 year-old millionaire shows up dead.
A woman is receiving veiled threats about keeping secrets and insinuations that her husband is cheating.
How do these three stories relate?

Review:

Little Girl Lost got me from the first line. That prologue had me gripping my Kindle.

Then we meet our DI, who is working for a private investigation company. I immediately liked her.

She was a results woman. She would catch this guy no matter how long it took to collect the evidence.

Yes, we are told that she is patient and persistent, but more importantly we are shown that through her actions.

There are a few things that I wasn’t sold on: The child voice did not seem that age. Some things didn’t make sense to me like Abigail not trusting that she saw something or heard certain things. I would have to be really messed up to think that, and she was lucid on a couple of occasions. And there were several other details like during the first phone call the perp was supposedly holding a baby and there were no noise at all to indicate that; also, it shouldn’t be that hard for the police to get ahold of the approximate location of a subject using their phone; and the death of Paul was related before Christina’s, which is not chronologically correct.

There were surprisingly little repetitions. Other than variations of Jackson not knowing Abigail’s secrets and that he was really good at solving puzzles, I don’t remember much.

There isn’t a lot I can tell you without giving away the story. Little Girl Lost is full of twists and turns that will set your head spinning and have you turning the pages as quickly as you can.
I had a clue of who was who but I was never 100% sure because the narrative is ambiguous like that, and I really love that, that I was able to put 2 and 2 together but that it wasn’t too obvious – and also that those things that I didn’t get by then didn’t feel under-explained afterwards, which happens to me frequently, endings getting rushed.

I would actually have been happy with the story finishing at like 80%. It felt like the book dragged on a bit after that, especially in the last 10 percent, although there were still plenty of revelations and tension.

Highly recommended, a gem amongst others of the genre. I will definitely be looking out for this author in the future.

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 Feb 12th to Feb 14th, 2017
GR Review

Wicked Prayers

Title: Wicked Prayers

Author: S.D. Moore

Genres: Horror | Paranormal

Length: 246 pages | 3753 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.5/5

 

Premise:

It all started with a priest not being able to let go of his wife and now dark forces are awakening in Autumntown.
Can the evil be stopped?

Review:

I usually read while eating. Couldn’t do that with this one.
Man, there were some disgusting bits.

Wicked Prayers started really well for me. That prologue immediately grasped my attention.
But shortly after it all went downhill.

I just could not appreciate the characters. The dialogues felt like right out of the crappiest B-movie and the plot was so messily constructed that I could not enjoy the book.

When I was coming to roughly halfway through the book it started to majorly drag out for me. There were pages and pages of useless dialogue and I often innerly yelled Come on, get to the juicy part already and cut it out with the crappy attempts at humour!

The more I read the more it felt like a parody of a horror book instead of a proper one, with soldiers throwing lines like No hot girls are getting eaten on my watch! or Yeah the frickin Beast is a beeeast!

There wasn’t even a proper evolution. One minute the characters did not believe in anything supernatural and then next they are (especially our main character Del) experts on how to kill the ‘monsters’ and how to make the Beast weaker.

I had to keep fighting the urge to skim through the text and trudged through most of the book. More and more characters kept being introduced (or rather dumped into the story) and I just could not keep track, nor felt any will to catch up by that point.

The ARC needs major editing. Lack of punctuation, missing words and misspells (even with main characters names) were just a couple of issues I constantly found.

Wicked Prayers is one of those reads that has so much potential but when you don’t have believable characters it is just ruined, at least for 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 Feb 7th to Feb 11th, 2017
GR Review