The Doll Funeral

Title: The Doll Funeral

Author: Kate Hamer

Genres: Mystery | Paranormal

Length: 368 pages | 4060 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Publishing Date: February 16th, 2017

Rating: 2.75/5

Premise:

On her thirteenth birthday, Ruby finds out she is adopted.
From then on she strives to find her real parents. She will rely on the help of Shadow Boy and new found friends.

Review:

Phew, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever finish this one.

First of all, to say this blurb is misleading is an understatement. It is objective and succinct, everything the book is not. I could never have imagined this had such a lyrical style of writing based on it. Even Ruby’s beatings were almost poetic and I did not appreciate that.

Quite often I wasn’t even sure what was going on. And my attention would frequently wander. Also, though the descriptions were amazingly beautiful and vivid, I completely forgot what was important to the story itself.

I felt the book was unnecessarily long. There were entire paragraphs that didn’t add anything to the story, maybe even chapters, like the Evil Book one. There was no reason at all to burn that book. I at least had long forgotten it by then. Sorry, book lover at heart here.

Yes, it all served to convey an atmosphere of how Ruby felt about what surrounded her and how it affected her, and the paranormal aspect was very subtle and approached in a way I had not seen before. However, I kept wanting the book to end or at least for something relevant to happen.

The Doll Funeral was a curious, new experience that I mildly appreciated.

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 19th to Mar 26th, 2017
GR Review

I Found You

Title: I Found You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Genres: Mystery | Thriller

Length: 464 pages | 3525 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Arrow

Publishing Date: March 9th, 2017

 

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

In East Yorkshire, Alice, a single mother of three, finds a man sitting on the beach in the middle of the pouring rain wearing nothing but a shirt and jeans. Against her better judgement, she takes him in, after finding out that he does not remember who he is.
At the same time, at Surrey, Lily’s husband goes missing. They have only been married for a couple of weeks and she does not know much about him but she knows he would not just leave like this.
Who is this lost man and how does his past relate to the two stories?

Review:

I Found You started out really well. The writing was very engaging.

I found myself enjoying the chapters about Alice more because she seemed more real, even though she was obviously a bit off in the head:
And even if (…) he’s killed someone, he’d have a good reason for it; she knows he would.
Often saying she knew she was didn’t exactly help, it was just stating the obvious.
It was that realising things well before the character did that threw me off a bit. I mean, it took her forever to really grasp that she was putting her children’s life in danger by bringing in a complete stranger.

There were things that didn’t add up like how on earth she could support herself and three children and an unexpected guest just by selling her art occasionally.
Still, I enjoyed several aspects of this character, particularly her parents and everything she needed to deal with. It was refreshing to read about 40 year-old characters, their daily lives and concerns.

Lily on the other hand, I struggled to relate to. I just don’t get why a 21-year-old would move to another country, without money, without family, not even knowing her fiancé’s family or really much about him – or anyone else in that country, for that matter. It just didn’t seem realistic, fully relying on a single person to survive. And not having any money because Carl payed for everything? Nah, just doesn’t seem feasible. And, again, it took her forever to realise what I had grasped within a few lines.

I did appreciate viewing things at a foreigner’s point of view, since I am not native to the English culture and do find myself wondering about stuff that is so familiar to them.

After that, we get introduced to more characters – brother Gray, sister Kirstie and mysterious Mark – and things get even more interesting. The way the chapters ended made me want to know what came next and I looked forward to finding out how all three storylines would progress.

The way that we are told they are two separate missing men is very well achieved, with innocuous clues here and there. And even the whole memory loss thing, which is so popular in psychological thrillers these days, was quite convincing.

I did anticipate most of the revelations but as the book’s end approached I was surprised on a couple of occasions and appreciate how it wrapped up to the book’s title in the final lines – these days, often times I find myself wondering how a book’s title was picked. Most of them are just so generic. No wonder I can’t remember most titles when thinking of a particular character or storyline. I think this one, simple as it is, will stick with me.

As a note, the ARC’s quality was a disappointment. I am used to not having a chapter index but incomplete words were a first. Sometimes letters were missing in the middle of words, other times the beginning or end, and I had to guess based on context. Most times I could do that, others not so much.

All in all, I Found You was quite enjoyable. Not the most amazing thriller I have read but very enjoyable and I wanted to know what happened to all characters. Recommended.

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 11th to Mar 16th, 2017
GR Review

The Fifth Reflection

Title: The Fifth Reflection

Author: Ellen Kirschman

Genres: Crime | Mystery

Length: 272 pages | 3013 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

 

Premise:

Dot is a Psychologist at the police Kenilworth PD in her fifties trying to give another chance at having her relationship. But when her fiancée’s teacher and friend calls him distraught because her toddler was taken, this will affect both Dot’s personal and professional life. Who took Chrissy? And what will finding the truth cost Dot?

Review:

The Fifth Reflection was not a bad book but it wasn’t utterly amazing.

I actually really enjoyed the first chapter, almost more than the rest of the book, because of the familiar setting and the fact that the characters were older than I am used to finding in fiction I enjoy reading. It was interesting to see how they related and how they welcomed Frank’s girlfriend into their mist. However, Dot came across as much more posh than she turned out to be, whereas Frank developed into almost the opposite, with all his fancy cooking.

When the author jumps back in time to introduce us to the very particular circumstances of Chrissy’s disappearance, I lost a bit of interest, probably because it was a brake in the pace I had so enjoyed. And as the narrative evolved I could not understand why Dot kept inserting herself to the investigation when it was obvious it was putting a strain on her relationship with Frank and that the results of her doing so weren’t good for the investigation either. It’s almost as if she was investigating for our benefit. It would have made more sense to follow someone more personally invested in the event.
On the other hand, I enjoyed discovering what a psychologist at a police station is supposed to do.

Towards the end things just felt clumsy and rushed. Things begin falling into place much too nicely, with a character even spelling things out for us: It would cut down considerably on the investigation if this were a rare comestic not widely available for sale. I didn’t even get why no fingerprints were recovered from either Chrissy, the blanket or the box. I don’t remember any mentions of the perp wearing gloves.

The Fifth Reflection is not your typical psychological thriller full of twists and turns, where you are utterly surprised by each revelation. It has its own pace, with an unusual but fairly relateable main character and it was an enjoyable read, just not something I was absolutely looking forward to pick back up.

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 5h to Mar 10th, 2017
GR Review

The OA

The OA

Having gone missing seven years ago, the previously blind Prairie returns home, now in her 20s with her sight restored. While many believe she is a miracle, others worry that she could be dangerous. – IMDB


I came across this by accident. I was curious that Brad Pitt was an executive producer for it and the premise really intrigued me.

The pilot reassured me that this was something I would enjoy. A young blind woman who had been missing for 7 years not only returns but is now able to see. As she comes across the least expected secondary characters, the story evolves into something unique, pure even, with a hint of sci-fi/fantasy.

The more you learn about what Prairie endured the more heart-breaking but also hopeful you feel for her. Each episode left me wanting more and I struggled to pace myself and leave another episode for next time because I wanted it to last.

The OA is truly a true piece of art that demands your full attention. I absolutely love the camera work here and above all the sound production. When you consider the two together it is really something special.

There are so many plot holes, though. There were just so many things that did not make sense like there is no way she could reach to her back to make those scars or we never even get to know why she jumped to the water on that first episode; maybe one of the most blatant ones is Steve being sent away, Betty pays 50k for him, and then he is back to normal life – just to name a couple.

Also, I could never relate to the characters and still don’t know how they got pulled in to all the craziness.
I don’t remember any episodes focusing on Jesse at all so that one’s a complete stranger for me.

And finally, the last episode was a big let down for me, and I can see why several people wrote reviews stating that the entire thing was an enormous waste of time.

I don’t regret watching it. I still think it is beautiful to watch, the image and sound are amazing, but the content could have definitely been improved.
I believe I would watch a new season.

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

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

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