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review 2018-03-16 19:03
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins,Bahni Turpin

This was a fun read until the killer was revealed with four hours left to go on the audio. This is way too early! Way, way too early. I was left highly disappointed with the dud of a reveal and disinterested in all the romance and minor bloodshed that followed because of it. But I’m kind of a jerk when it comes to these things and you may love it.


Someone is killing the talented high school kids in terribly gruesome ways but, no worries, most of the gore is left to the imagination. This is basically a 90’s teen slasher movie come to book life minus the scares and most of the grue. Who will be next? Why are they doing this? And, oh hell, who cares?! When will he give me a big sloppy kiss and bite his lip ring again?!


This is a romance set in a world where a serial killer just so happens to be murdering random people that have no impact on our main characters and zero emotional impact on the reader. The romance was well done and I liked the two teens together, they were interesting, imperfect kids, but I feel like too much went so very wrong with the “murdering” bits of the story. Also, many gut-wrenching opportunities were missed by keeping our main lovers too safe and that made reading it to the end a chore. I suppose I’m used to meaner stories that kick you in the gut. This one? I guess I’d recommend it as a good stepping stone for those who may want to meander over into the horror genre with their pinky toe and not get too scared or emotionally wrecked. I enjoy the wreckage and carnage and scares that a good horror story can deliver but none of those things were successful here. I’m bumping it up from a 2 ½ to a three only because there was one scene with a naked character that is still making me laugh when I think about it.

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review 2018-03-16 02:46
Great concept, great characters, and a nail-biting ending
My Little Eye - Marland, Stephanie
They say I was dead for three thousand and six seconds. They say that when I woke I was different, but I don’t know if that’s true. What I do know is that my world became a different place once every one of those precious seconds had expired.

No matter how gripping the prologue might have been, when those're the first words you get from a character's POV, you sit up and pay attention.


The Lover is a serial killer just beginning to plague London, and a semi-distracted DI Dominic Bell with his team are making little progress in apprehending him (he's trying his level best not to be distracted by the press and the brass won't let him leave his last operation in the dust). Given that the Lover's technique is improving as the time between kills is decreasing, the pressure is mounting for Bell and the police. One group dissatisfied with their achievements are the members of True Crime London -- a group of True Crime aficionados from (duh) London. Some of them have decided to take matters into their own hands so they'll investigate these crimes themselves -- some for the thrill, some to show up the Police, some to draw attention to the fact that the Police are understaffed and underfunded. Clementine has her own reasons -- she's spent some time studying these people as part of her doctoral work in psychology; she hopes to get a better understanding of online communities through this group and she has a theory about "crowd-sourcing justice" she'd like to establish.


We meet both groups (through Dom's POV and Catherine's) as they begin to look into the third victim of The Lover. The race is on (even if only one group realizes there's a race) to find and put a stop to The Lover. I wouldn't mind more time getting to know the individuals in the respective teams as this goes along -- we do get to know some of the people involved in the investigation a bit, but this book focuses on Dom, Clementine and their hunts -- everyone else doesn't matter as much. I could talk a little more about the context for Dom, Clementine and the hunt for the killer -- but you don't want to know more until you get into this book.


The killer? We learn exactly as much as we need to in order that we know that the right guy has been taken care. He is not the most interesting character in the novel -- I guess he might be, but Marland didn't give us enough detail. This is such a great change from serial killer novels that dwell on the obsessions/fetishes/compulsions/methods of the killer, that seem to relish the opportunity to revel in the depravity. Marland shows us enough to be disturbed and utterly sickened by him, to believe that he's capable of the heinous acts he's guilty of -- and no more. I'm not saying everyone has to write a serial killer this way, but I love that approach.


The protagonists are far more interesting -- possibly more damaged even -- than the killer. They are wonderfully flawed characters and repeatedly -- and I do mean repeatedly -- do things that readers will not want them to -- because it's unwise, stupid, dangerous, unethical, immoral, or all of the above. And as much as I was saying "No, no, don't do that," I was relishing them do that because it meant great things for the book. At times it's almost like Marland wants you to not like Dom or Clementine, maybe even actively dislike them. Set that aside, because you will like them, because they are the protagonists hunting for a serial killer; because despite themselves they are likeable characters; and because they're so well written, with so many layers, and nuances that it's impossible for Marland to fully explore them and you want to know more. Both are in the middle of professional and personal crises as the book opens -- and all of those crises are going to get worse before we leave them (yeah, Dom's professional life is in worse shape than Clementine's and Clementine's been in crisis since just before those 3,006 seconds, so they're not exactly parallel).


Sometimes the police investigation and the True Crime London's investigation dig up the same information at about the same time, but on the whole the two follow very different approaches -- one more methodical, careful and predictable. The other is haphazard, reckless and (at times) criminal. But both get results, and for the reader, we get a full-orbed view of the investigation which is almost as engrossing as the protagonists carrying it out.


The book is able to say a lot about online communities, True Crime (and some of those who love it as a genre), public acts of grief, criminal investigations and the media -- and even a little about memory. All while telling a great story.


While I enjoyed the whole thing, the last quarter of the book was full of surprises that kept me leaning forward in my chair and completely glued to my screen as the plot raced from shock to shock to reveal to [redacted]. There's a reveal that took me utterly by surprise, but made sense when you stopped and thought about it. There's another reveal at the end that seemed fitting but wasn't what you expected -- and it followed an event that I never would've predicted. Oh, and that last sentence? I can't tell you how many times I swiped my Kindle screen trying to get what comes next, unwilling to believe that was it.


I was a fan (almost instantaneously) of Marland's alter ego's Lori Anderson and that series. My Little Eye has made me a fan of the author -- Broadribb, Marland, whatever names she's publishing under, it's an instabuy. This book got its hooks into me straightaway and didn't let go, I resented work and family as they distracted me (however good or pressing the reason) from Clementine and Dom's quests. I can confidently say that I've not read a mystery novel like this one -- and that's not easy this many decades into my love of the genre. I have no idea how Marland's going to follow this one up -- there's no way that book 2 is a repeat of My Little Eye, but beyond that? No clue what she'll be able to do. I don't care -- I just want to read it soon.


Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Orion Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to both for this.
N.B.: As this was an ARC, any quotations above may be changed in the published work -- I will endeavor to verify them as soon as possible.


Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/03/15/my-little-eye-by-stephanie-marland
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review 2018-02-21 02:52
Review: The Instigator by Stephanie Julian
The Instigator (Redtails Hockey Book 4) - Stephanie Julian

Derek “The Instigator” Flaherty loves playing hockey and enjoys his current team, the Redtails. His dream is to play in the NHL, so he works hard and is well respected. And his teammates all love him, even though they don’t necessarily see the real guy behind the laughs and good times. But that’s okay, Derek prefers to keep things casual, never allowing relationships to mess with his head or run his life.


As the baby of her family, Sophie is the good girl who does what’s asked of her. She keeps her dreams of traveling abroad to herself, rather than seeing any kind of disappointment or hurt in her family’s eyes. Working to finish her degree and putting in all sorts of hours at her dad’s bar, Sophie doesn’t have time for guys or a social life. However, when she meets Derek, she feels something stir inside of her and thinks maybe a little fun isn’t bad.


Although this is the fourth book in the Redtails Hockey series, The Instigator is a standalone romance that can be enjoyed without previous knowledge of the series. Derek and Sophie hit it off right from the start, and I love their chemistry. They are almost always in sync - whether in the bedroom or not. They are the kind of couple who clicks and can have lengthy conversations like two old friends. They also have other “lengthy” activities, and their romantic encounters are pretty smokin’.


The story moves fairly smoothly, filled with genuine emotions and conflict. I appreciate that their issues are common and real, and that they move past them together. Both Sophie and Derek each has some growing to do, and they start by admitting to themselves how they really feel. There are a few of hiccups along the way, including a couple of minor inconsistencies that took me out of the story. I also felt like some issues were brought up but not fleshed out enough - like why everyone kind of dumps on Derek being not good boyfriend material and Derek’s ex-girl friend, which is hinted as being a bad breakup. I kept expecting more details to fill in why maybe Derek is the way he is.


All in all, I enjoyed The Instigator, and really love Derek and Sophie as a couple. They are genuine and adorable. They are scared, but move forward. They learn to communicate. The Instigator is a nice paced, happy story.


My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot

Review copy provided by author

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-03 02:32
Morium by S.J. Hermann
Morium - Stephanie Needleson,Hermann S. Füeßl

Morium by S.J. Hermann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whilst walking home one night, Alexandria and Nathan catch sight of something crashing to earth - some form of rock. Letting their curiosity get the better of them, they decide to seek out the object, but little do they know their lives will forever be changed. Gaining supernatural abilities, they find themselves having the power to rise up against the anguish that dominates their daily life.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to S.J. Hermann for giving me the opportunity.

Having been bullied in school, this book instantly struck a chord with me. The sad thing is, everyone's bullied in one form or another during those supposed "best days of your life" - a term I constantly heard as a child. I'm a firm believer that whilst school is necessary, it's a toxic environment through and through. There will always be a pecking order, and those at the bottom will undoubtedly suffer. Hermann did a good job in depicting the misery in which Lexi and Nathan had to endure. The descriptive writing, despite containing a few errors, successfully communicated their array of emotions. I genuinely felt for them, especially Lexi and Stacy, who were the most likeable.

At first I did feel sorry for Nathan, and his downward spiral toward villainy - he experienced power for the first time in his life, something able to stop his daily torment. The temptation was just too great, the pull too strong. It makes sense that he'd direct his anger toward those who wronged him, or those that prey upon the weak, but my pity for him evaporated when his actions became too indefensible. This is where I'm going to address the elephant in the room, but first let me state that I've no issue with adult themes. Many of the books I read delve into the uncomfortable and extreme, so the subject matter itself isn't why I'm bringing this up. You see, being labelled as "young adult", I admittedly found the rape and sexual tones to be a bit much. There's no question that it was sexual abuse; not only did Nathan feel up both Lexi and Stacy against their wishes via mind control, he also used his mind to impose his will upon a teacher, his intention to lose his virginity to her right there in a classroom.

I've read other reviews, and none have mentioned this aspect. Hell, someone complained about the swearing and self-harm, which absolutely baffled me, when there's literal murder and rape. The tone of the book was thus exceedingly dark, I'd even say too dark for younger readers. But I get it, I do - Nathan was a teenager, having never explored his sexuality, and suddenly he became intoxicated with otherworldly power. It's not far-fetched to believe a teenager would do horrid things with that sort of ability, but it sets the book, as a whole, to a more mature level. I suppose this relates to the name of the book itself; "Morium" in Latin meaning "character" and "morals". Hermann creates two similar people with the same adversities, yet they go down very different paths.

Moving on from that main critique of mine, the plot itself kept a decent pace, yet at times I truthfully felt a little bored, but being a relatively short book, it was easy enough to get through and reach the parts that piqued my interest. "The Gift" certainly did hold my attention, specifically the voices in Nathan's head.

It was very obvious that it would have a sequel, possibly even a third book following, as nothing at all was concluded in the end. I was left wanting to read more, to find out what happens to Lexi, her father Robert, Stacy and even Nathan. I always appreciate when an author pulls me in, in such a way that I'll gladly carry on with the story after the initial instalment.

In conclusion - My interest wandered off at some points, but when it got down to it, I enjoyed it. It's however my opinion that the themes included are more adult than young adult.

Notable Scene:

As the dust settled over the ground, a streak of energy made its way to every root buried under the burnt soil. From the root hairs, to the secondary roots, the energy travelled through the epidermis, flowing through the xylem and phloem, making its way up the stems and filtering into the leaves. The cell structure of the plants and vegetation altered as the mysterious energy invaded each of the plant's individual cells. It was photosynthesis on steroids and the exchange took place within seconds.
Energy flowed through each wilted plant, bringing them back to life, stronger and healthier than ever. The once decimated twenty-five-square-foot area where the objects had fallen was now teeming with scores of new life.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/03/morium-by-s-j-hermann
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text 2018-02-01 20:51
Reading progress update: I've read 111 out of 368 pages.
Lost for Words - Stephanie Butland

I'm enjoying this so much. I wish I could just sit here and read it, but bloody life!

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