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 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

Doll House

Title: Doll House

Author: John Hunt

Genres: Horror | Thriller

Length: 204 pages | 2972 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Olivia is excited to move to uni and live on her own but on her first night she gets abducted by two man in creepy masks.
She wakes up in a pink cell with bolted pink furniture. Olivia is now their doll.
What she endures is not for the faint of heart.
Can she ever escape? And if so, will she ever be able to lead a normal life?

Review:

Doll House is definitely not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of explicit violence.

When I read the blurb for this book I thought that this could be an episode right out of my favourite show, Criminal Minds. A pink cell, two sickos wanting to make this girl their doll – I wondered what made them tick.

The more I read the more disappointed I would get. The characters felt flat, and not only do we not get to know how these guys came to think the way they did but we also do not even find out how they met and teamed up.
And it is indeed creepy to read a man gets an erection every time he thinks of maiming a girl but after a while it is just not enough.

There were other ways in which the psychological aspect majorly lacked. I could never even relate to any of the characters. Harry did not sound like the middle-aged adult he is supposed to be and Olivia just sounded fake, like the author worked too hard to make her sound like a heroine.
Even the constant swear words, which I usually don’t notice because they blend in with the stories when properly used, stood out like a neon sign because they did not add anything.

The writing drove me insane since I kept reading the same things over and over again. Because of that, the book actually dragged on for me.
It also sounded very immature, especially when the voice turned to Harry, or the police detectives, who I just could not take seriously.
Even the attempts at humour were too silly to be funny. Example:

Sargent: So? You’re sure he’s not our guy?
Detective: I’ll be sure when we get DNA. But I’d have to say, at this point, his story checks out. We’ve proven that much of it.
S: Poop.
D: Yes. Poop.
S: Call if you need anything.

The lack of punctuation was an issue as well. The writing just felt clumsy.

Example:

After Davis left Olivia closed the door and locked it behind him. She felt exhausted and leaned her heard against the door, her head swimming with information.

Still, Doll House has its qualities. This is not a book just about twisted men abducting and exerting extreme violence over young women. It’s about what happens if the unthinkable becomes real and the captive breaks free. Would you be able to lead a normal life? Especially if the person who caused you so much pain was still out there? Would you ever feel safe?

It does explore these questions so not all is bad and I am sure several people will enjoy it very much. Unfortunately I did not find it memorable at all and could not help finishing the experience feeling disappointed, especially since even the last line seemed corny.

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 3rd to Feb 6th, 2017

GR Review

Split

Split

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

Review:

Out of all eleven movies I really want to watch this is probably the one I was looking forward to the most. The trailer was just so exciting! The pace seemed amazing.
However, it didn’t quite deliver for me.

There were lots of good things. First of all, I believe it is safe to say this is the role of James McAvoy’s lifetime. Even though we only get to see 8 of the 23 (or is it 24?) multiple personalities, what we are presented with is utterly brilliant.

There was depth to the movie. We are told bits of Casey’s past that serve to give important background to the character, even though they are never too obvious.

The tension is palpable in several scenes and you’re constantly on tiptoe, never knowing what comes next.

As in all horror movies there are scenes where you just can’t help wonder what the hell the character is doing. Why didn’t Casey open the car door when she obviously had plenty of time but most of all why Doctor Fletcher didn’t leave the premises when it was obvious Dennis was going to let her, and get proper help for the girls she knew were in danger.

It’s a pet peeve of mine when the trailer features scenes that don’t appear in the movie. In this case, it was Casey saying that the flowers meant they were special.

The film wasn’t very well balanced, in my opinion. The pace that seemed so well accomplished in the trailer just wasn’t. It was quite slow in the beginning and also there were scenes where Dr Fletcher spoke for what felt like forever.

Split was an exciting film but there was much too hype around it. It’s exciting but not mindblowing.

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

Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Title: Hangman’s Army (Lake of Sins #3)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Speculative Fiction | Thriller

Length: 565 pages | 7940 locations

Source: Author

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

Book 3 of the Lake of Sins takes place four years after the events of the previous one. While High Hugh Truent was in prison for claiming that all classes were genetically similar, the world outside changed radically. A war is looming… and the allied classes need Hugh.

Review:

When I first looked up the book details I thought whoa, 565 pages, that is going to take me a while. But it went by so fast! I never imagined I would finish in just three days.

I cannot say this enough, L.S. O’Dea is such a talented writer. The pace is relentless but that does not mean that the world and character development is not satisfying, on the contrary. There is a lot going on but it is quite easy to follow and it only made me want to know what happened next.

It’s a YA book, not my favourite genre, so there will always be things I don’t particularly like as the characters end up sounding too dramatic for my taste. Trinity ticked me off a few times but I enjoy to see her keep growing.

There were quite a few repetitions – a lot of disgusted looks, for instance, and the way Hugh kept correcting mother to Sarah and father to General Truent when he found out the truth just felt forced and overdone, just like the excessive compliments on both Trinity and Hugh. I feel that their actions say enough, we don’t need to be told several that Trinity is brave and honest, even through the voice of another character, or that Hugh really doesn’t want more deaths on his conscience.

All in all I had a really good time reading this. Some parts made me laugh out loud, which earned me quite a few puzzled looks on the bus ride home, while others had me biting my nails. Some scenes were just so tense that I figuratively stood on my toes.

I can honestly say this is amongst the best YA reads I have stumbled upon and encourage you to pick up these books. This series has all the ingredients to become an epic.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 25th to Jan 28th, 2017
GR Review

Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.

Review:

This movie was such a pleasant surprise. It was riddled with beauty and sorrow and I was just hypnotised throughout it.

We are presented to Susan Morrow in such a subtile manner. We get a glimpse of her current life and then the action is interspersed with bits of her past as well as scene’s from her ex-husband Edward’s novel. Everything is just so smooth. You are presented with just enough to understand the dynamics in her life and what she and Edward have felt. Every scene is precious and engaging and I did not want the movie to end but at the same time I did because the tension was just so rich.

Some images are quite shocking, starting with the opening one. The soundtrack is quite enthralling and, much like the narrative, it wraps up nicely towards the end. The sobriety of Amy Adams’ character’s look, as well as her surroundings, as well as other very clever scenes add to the dark atmosphere but not in a in-your-face sort of way. The film is just so well made. Everything comes together to produce an entrancing work of art. It is an intense and powerful movie with little clues scattered throughout that will make most sense towards the end but that you can definitely take with you and mull over.

There were a couple of cheesy lines both in the ‘real world’ and the novel one but overall I am blown away by this movie and so glad I managed to watch it. The ending caught me off guard but once I digested it I saw it made sense.

And the performances. Amy Adams stunned me and Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing as always but I absolutely have to mention Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. My goodness, they were stunning in their role. Pretty much everyone was superb, but these guys shone extra bright and I hope Shannon wins the Oscar. I will also definitely be looking out for more movies by Tom Ford.

I hope you watch it. Nocturnal Animals will hopefully stir your emotions, as it did with me.