One of the Boys

Title: One of the Boys

Author: Daniel Magariel

Genres: Contemporary | Literary

Length: 176 pages | 1654 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Scribner

Publishing Date: March 14th, 2017

 

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

After a bitter divorce, a 12 year old boy and his brother go to live with their father, who they admire and fear in equal parts.
Thinking they finally escaped hell, they find that it has only taken a different shape.

Review:

One of the Boys is a harrowing tale. When you think you have read or watched pretty much all bad things that could happen to a kid, this little book goes the extra mile.

It is quite a rotten coming-of-age story. There isn’t much I can say without spoiling it, but the psychological depth of the characters is palpable and the range of emotions is disturbing.
It was so sad watching those children go from feeling bliss and pride to absolute terror and guilt.
Watching our main character grow and come to realise what was what was quite a bittersweet feeling.

I believe I was not so invested in the tale because the boy did not sound 12. Maybe also because the characters are all nameless? I don’t know. I am still mulling over why such ugly things did not move me more.

Also, the ending disappointed me very much. While I am not immune to the beauty of it, I felt it was out of place, especially since there was not a prologue to mimic. I think I would be happier with book finishing in that last chapter before the epilogue. If you’re going to leave an open ending, might as well stay true to the tone of the rest of the story.

Alas, One of the Boys is gruesome. I think I will need to take a break or read something lighter after this.

Note: This book will be published in 3 days.

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 Mar 10h to Mar 11th, 2017
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

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

All We Shall Know

Title: All We Shall Know

Author: Donal Ryan

Genres: Contemporary

Length: 192 pages | 2025 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.8/5

Premise:

Melody Shee has done very shameful things. Getting pregnant at 33 by a 17 year old was the most recent one and the final drop. Will she finally go insane?

Review:

My oh my, what an amazing book.

The opening lines are among the best I have read:

Martin Toppy is the son of a famous Traveller and the father of my unborn child. He’s seventeen, I’m thirty-three. I was his teacher. I’d have killed myself by now if I was brave enough. I don’t think it would hurt the baby. His little heart would stop with mine. He wouldn’t feel himself leaving one world of darkness for another, his spirit untangling itself from me.

The novel is told in the form of a diary and I have never read anything quite like this. The Irish expressions and the colloquial style of writing enthralled me. Unlike with other books, here the long lines just kept me wanting to know what came next. Were it not for obligations I have no doubt I would have read this in one sitting.

The book explores the life of Melody, who is not a good person. She is not a bad person either. She is real. Everything she says is real, though some brushes insanity. However, it’s an insanity to which we can all relate to, and that is why the book is so very engaging.

There are so many subtle nuances to what Melody writes and there is such depth to this character.
Melody is insightful and we get to know the characters surrounding her so well because of that. She does not judge, she says things the way they are. She is the personification of every time we look at something in hindsight, wondering if we would have done it differently if we knew the outcome.

I don’t want to spoil the story for you. Just please read this book. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on 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 7th to Nov 9th, 2016

GR Review

Hidden (Dragonlands #1)

Title: Hidden (Dragonlands #1)

Author: Megg Jensen

Genres: Fantasy | Romance

Length: 314 pages | 4576 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.5/5

Premise:

Tressa’s hometown, Hutton’s Bridge, has been shrouded by a mysterious fog for the past 80 years. Anyone who ventured into the fog has not returned.
However, Tressa must do it now and when she does her discoveries will put everyone she knows in danger.

Review:

He’d seen enough to know he had to suspend disbelief.

Yes, that line is actually in the book and that is exactly what I felt was being asked of me time and time again. Ironic, ey?

The book started with such an interesting premise in the prologue. A 13-year-old kid wakes up to a village where every single adult disappeared and they are now surrounded by fog. However, in general, the book was very disappointing.

It has been a while since I have read something so full of plotholes. The character and world development were just so poor. For instance, we do not even know how big the village is and then there’s this thing where people resent single people for taking up resources but at the same time they want to make babies like mad – in a town where they cannot possibly expand, so what gives? Do they want more people or fewer people? Do they need more resources or are the ones they make enough for the population to increase? How do people survive? Where does everyone live? I didn’t get it, still don’t.

Also, we are introduced to Tressa’s great-grandmother, told what happened to her parents, but not a word about her grandparents, on either side of the family. Instead, we are repeatedly told her great-grandmother is the only family Tressa has left.

As the narrative progressed, I just could not connect to Tressa nor find her story engaging. I could not even think that hey she is a teen, she makes bad decisions because nothing felt true to character. The story moved along as it was supposed to in order to achieve a certain result and, again, suspension of disbelief was required because we never get proper explanation for anything. We are told people are important to her but they just disappear from the story and it does not seem to matter. Adam didn’t even say goodbye and Tessa didn’t notice his absence nor on other occasions even though he was the closest thing she had to a father. Tressa and Bastian would not be alive without Nerak and yet neither gives her a second thought, wondering what happened to her.

It is so difficult to give examples without spoiling the story. I do have to mention that some of the most blatant ones were making Bastian’s wife the most despicable human being to ever walk the face of the Earth only to justify cheating. Also, if it was forbidden to forge weapons, where did all the swords Bastian used to train the villagers come from? There is no mention of it whatsoever. There was just so much more I could mention but I stopped taking notes. It was just pointless.

There is just so much missing from the evolution of the narrative that I could not relate or care about the characters or what happened to them. Bastian did not once show genuine love towards his daughter, much less put her in first place. Only Tressa mattered. Check this out: Tressa:“You have a daughter.” Bastian: “I grew up without a father. So did you.” Seriously?? He only seemed to remember he had a daughter when she was thrown into his arms. Disgusting.

There really isn’t much I can discuss without spoiling the story. I was so frustrated. There was just so much wrong with the book.
I am rating it up because the prose was easy to follow and there were a couple of interesting things but the chopped manner in which things happened added to the clichés and sufferable character and world creation and development made it a very disappointing experience and I for one am not interested in following up on this series.

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 Oct 16th to Oct 21st, 2016

GR Review

Falling

Title: Falling

Author: Julie Cohen

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Thriller

Length: 400 pages | 4534 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Three generations of women find themselves falling because of their secrets.
Can they come together and help each other through those hard times or are they too much to bear?

Review:

I was quite apprehensive before I started reading Falling, especially because it was defined as chick lit and I never read any book by that category because I felt it would not appeal to me. Having finished the book, I can honestly say that not only did I enjoy it tremendously but this was some of the finest character development I have ever seen.

This novel fully grasped my attention for the get-go. The chapters are composed of alternating views between the three main characters, told in third person, although Lydia’s has some entries in first person, of when she writes in her journal. I found this very dynamic and made me want to keep reading.

I still don’t understand how such normal situations and issues would have me so mesmerised but the fact is they did. I fell in love with all three female characters. My involvement with the story progressively increased as some aspects of their character and actions which had previously not made sense or came across as so off-putting finally came into place and I realised that there was so much more depth to the characters than I had originally perceived. There were actually reasons for them to act the way they did and the fact that I had judged them when I did not know made me think about how easy it is to do it in real life.

The ARC does have some errors that need to be correct and there were a couple of things here and there that I did not love. For instance, I felt there was a bit of insta-love (but then again romance is not my cup of tea) and a couple of things felt off character (but mostly for the secondary characters). However, since the parallel stories were so enthralling it didn’t hinder my commitment to the book, or my enjoyment of the experience.

Mostly I wanted to keep reading and I was sad when I finished, which is always a good sign of a terrific work of fiction. I think that I had been so wrapped in the story, getting to know the characters and watching them evolve as the narrative progressed that the ending felt somewhat rushed. However, I do believe it was mostly me wanting to keep reading the book; I did not want to part with Falling, I wanted to keep knowing about these characters and where life took them.

Falling is an extremely thought-provoking book and I hope you will pick it up. A solid 4.5 stars.

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 Oct 10th to Oct 14th, 2016

GR Review