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review 2018-07-14 18:36
Review: Savage Island
Savage Island (Red Eye) - Bryony Pearce

Review: Savage Island

 

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This started out pretty good. A fairly interesting premise, it's a UK based horror novel - a group of teens enter a contest where the prize is one million pounds - each. The group will be whisked off to a reclusive billionaire's private island for some sort of survival contest where there will be a number of tasks to complete and other teams to compete against. Last team standing who complete all the tasks win the prize. Sounds pretty good, right?

 

If however, you're a horror movie fan like me and have seen more horror films than you can count or remember red flags should be going off immediately and the obvious question that should be on anyone's brain - what's the catch here? There has to be something that's going to go hideously wrong very quickly. 

 

The characters are pretty ordinary teens, told from the point of view of Ben who lives with his younger brother Will and their divorced mum, pretty girl Lizzie, Ben's long time crush, and friends, Lizzie's BFF mouthy Carmen and smart guy Grady. There's something uncomfortable right off with Will, told in flashbacks - he's got some personality problems and is very manipulative, and cruel especially when he doesn't get his way. Ben's a people pleaser. The peace maker. Will manages to convince them to bring him along. He's very smart and resourceful and could be useful. Despite his sociopathic behaviour issues. Or I'm guessing all part of said personality disorder. 

 

For a horror novel it's not scary in the slightest, (but that could be a personal feeling really as I may be rather jaded from having seen so many movies and read a fair amount of Stephen King which seems to be the yard stick I measure horror against). And while the novel was pretty silly there was something in the narrative that was enough to make me as a reader keep going to want to know what the point of it all was. To be fair it did manage to be pretty tense.

 

When the kids get to the island there's a list of tasks to complete, a riddle to be solved and a tithe to be paid before getting the instructions to the next point. The first team to clear the checkpoints, pay all the tithes and get to the final checkpoint by a certain time is the winter. The first tithe is a little gross, and if that's the first...how bad are the rest going to be? And what about the other teams competing? How far are they willing to go to win?

 

It all starts getting pretty despairing as things get more violent and go from bad to worse. It has some pretty eye rolling for fuck's sake moments, the plot manages like I said earlier to at least keep the interest alive. It is quite visually striking - it's very easy to picture what's going on as if it were a movie on the screen. Despite some eye rolling moments, the kids aren't stupid, they're fairly logical regardless of the growing panic and fear the worse the situation gets and the more threats that approach. 

 

Problem was the kids had in my opinion zero personality to make them remotely memorable or likeable, with the exception of Ben and Will. We get flashbacks of their complicated relationship and unpleasant family history. They are the only ones who seem to get some sort of fleshing out. 

 

What really let this novel down for me was the end. It was...stupid. The whole reveal of what was going on and the final body count....was like what the fuck did I waste my time on this for and was really disappointing. 

 

While this is a standalone novel it's part of a group of UK YA horror called Red Eye, and despite the crappy ending, I sort of would recommend it if you like cheesy horror, which is pretty much what I gather the Red Eye series is. Or at least what I'm guessing I will find this series. I have a number of other titles to try in the series. While this title was by no means somethingI I will read again I do look forward to trying the Red Eye series. 

 

The writing did show promise, so I would probably try something else by this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Stripes Publishing for approving my request to view the title. 

 

 

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text 2018-07-04 19:12
Secrets of the Island - Linda Hughes

 

The oldest twins of the Sullivan family both enlist to serve in WWII... Harriet as a WAC nurse and Harry in the army, and end up in the same location in northern Africa. Harriet learns Harry has been injured and is being hid the day after she married her childhood sweetheart and Harry's best friend Bill. Her new husband has been injured in battle resulting in a broken leg, but when he learns Harriet is determined to rescue her brother from behind enemy lines from a native's hut, he refuses to allow her to go alone. While enroute to the rescue, they are spotted by Nazis and unbeknownst to them are followed to the hut. While in the hut, a Nazi storms in, kills Bill, wounds Harry even more and rapes (though not described in graphic detail) Harriet. A British spy posing as Nazi makes his appearance at just the right time and saves Harry and Harriet. 
Back in the states, after they return and are battling PTSD (or shell shock as it was known back then), the Sullivan family starts to uncover secrets of their progenitors that they had been unaware of. One shocking secret leads to another, and the Sullivan clan comes to realize that much of what they had thought of their ancestors was wrong. They all realize that those living trying to conceal secrets are not alone, and each generation had its share. 
This is a entertaining read, and those that enjoy historical fiction, mystery, suspense (with some romance thrown in), or unraveling genealogical puzzles would enjoy this. I received this book in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!
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review 2018-07-01 10:54
Give Me a Boat: “The Tale of the Unknown Island” by José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
The Tale of the Unknown Island - José Saramago,Peter Sís,Margaret Jull Costa

 


“A MAN WENT TO KNOCK AT THE KING’S DOOR AND said, Give me a boat."

In “The Tale of the Unknown Island” by José Saramago


I love the way Saramago builds this parable by using the Portuguese King D. João II and Columbus. He went to Lisbon in 1476 and remained here for several years, seeking the support of King D. João II and gathering nautical and geographic intelligence from the returning sailors. Why did we want to embark on the Age of Discoveries? Easy: We saw a niche begging to be literally explored. On the other hand, Spain was fighting the Moors, the Turks were attacking Italy, and Austria and France and Britain were fighting each other in the Hundred Year War. Portugal, on the other hand, was a united kingdom with relatively few internal problems and enemies. Smart, uh? We’re always looking for an opportunity to shine bright…

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-06-28 18:24
The Sheikh’s Island Fling (Sheikh's Meddling Sisters Book 2) by Leslie North
The Sheikh's Island Fling - Leslie North

 

 

How to mend a broken heart? Don't get under it, step over it. Let the healing begin. The Sheikh's Island Fling seems a little to good to be true. A beautiful island, a brooding prince and a two broken hearts mesh into a sweet escape. Ani and Raj are on the verge of giving up on love, but their hearts have other plans. North can tempt a saint with her scorching tale of lust, love and happenstance.

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review 2018-06-25 00:02
Secrets of the Island
Secrets of the Island - Linda Hughes

Twins Harriet and Harry Sullivan both served during WWII.  Harriet as a Red Cross nurse, Harry as a soldier.  Fate brought the siblings to the same place at the right time.  Harry had been missing in action and Harriet received information about where he was.  Harriet rescues Harry in a dangerous mission that took a mental toll on both siblings.  When the twins return home to their parents and eight siblings, nothing feels the same.  The twins are shell-shocked.  They decide to instead head to their grandfather Herbert's summer home on Mackinac Island.  While staying in the old estate on the quiet island, Herbert shows them an old letter addressed to their great-grandfather from a woman, Fiona.  With the letter in hand, the twins go on an 'ancestry quest' that uncovers secret after secret for three generations.  

Secrets of the Island began very slowly for me and took a while to get into as multiple characters were introduced and set up in order to understand three generations of family members.  I was pulled into the story as Harriet goes on her mission to rescue Harry and they returned home.  The signs of shell shock were all very true to life and this is when I could finally hone in on characters and get to know the twins.  Once they traveled to Mackinac Island, I was not only enchanted by the people, the lifestyle and the beauty of the island, but taken in by the many mysteries that one family managed to keep under wraps.  The many mysteries could have easily become tedious to manage, however they were carefully written and layered so everything seemed possible.  In addition to the mysteries, the transformation and healing process that the search allowed for Harry and Harriet was heartwarming.  Overall, a wonderful historical mystery that will make you wonder what could be hiding in your family tree.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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