logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: bookblogger
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-15 13:00
The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards
The Devil's Work - Mark Edwards
The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sophie Greenwood's thrilled to have been accepted into Jackdaw Publishing - a job she's dreamed of ever since childhood. Crushing down the dark memories of the past, she doesn't hesitate to jump right in; the work itself showing off her exceptional skill and experience. Paradise doesn't last long, however, as the mystery of her predecessor begins to chip away at her mind, whilst all things business and personal seem to be at risk.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

My first experience with Edwards was with The Magpies, which introduced me to not only his extremely direct writing style of telling rather than showing, but also his ability to create a sense of unease whilst writing about a situation that could be very real - the former I consider a bad thing, and the latter a good thing, thus the overall impression of his work strikes me as rather average. He likes to delve into the ugly side of humanity, which I appreciate, and raise the question of what people are capable of, and how badly we can treat our fellow man. He does it well enough in this one, despite things coming across as a little too far-fetched at times.

The setting was one of familiarity; the mundane, day-to-day routine of work, with a character who started off as optimistic and happy at having landed her dream job, yet over time became increasingly paranoid and troubled. I couldn't help but share in Sophie Greenwood's concerns, as after all, I was merely an observer to her side of events. Even I, at the beginning, accused Cassie of being the antagonist. She was the most obvious, yet we all know; the more obvious someone is, the less likely they're the actual culprit. Cassie became too obvious, yet there was still something about her, something off...

This is where I need to discuss Cassie, and the apparent reason for her dislikeability. I feel a lesson tried to be included, a moral to the story, and I'm honestly not sure it was executed well. To put it bluntly - it seemed ham-fisted in the representation of autism. I know it's a very serious developmental disability, and it affects how a person communicates with others, but Cassie was so boldly labelled as the villain for the majority of the book. It was heavily insinuated that if she wasn't the person trying to make Sophie's life hell, that she was at least a very questionable individual. To suddenly turn it around and say; "Oh, she was autistic, don't be so quick to judge!", was to me, rather poor storytelling. Am I supposed to feel bad or guilty about not liking her? This is someone who clearly flirted with Sophie's husband, and was in contact with him behind her back - not to mention the other things she did throughout. It occurs to me that perhaps I just didn't get the point, but I hope I've divulged my thoughts clearly.

I didn't suspect the actual perpetrator, the real woman behind it all, until she made her dramatic appearance. It was a twist for sure, but I was unfortunately left unbelieving. It wasn't rational enough for me - I certainly didn't click my fingers and have that "Oh!" moment. With such a build-up and from what I understood of Sophie's past, I expected it to tie together in the end, but it didn't. The woman's accomplice - fine, sure, fair enough. But her? I suppose the insignificant should never be ruled out.

I may have a few complaints, but I didn't hate the book. It was quick and easy, bringing with it simple entertainment. I enjoyed the shift from present to past; the friendship with Jasmine especially interested me, despite it ultimately having little relevance overall. I assume it was meant to serve as nothing more than a distraction. Sophie herself was unremarkable, and whilst I believed her selfish in some regards, I also tried to picture myself in her position. Imagine trying to be your best, yet some unknown presence threatens your attempt at stability. I'm pretty sure I would've handled it just as badly.

In conclusion - It passed the time and was easy to get through, however some aspects left me in disbelief. I hope I can give a higher rating to the next Edwards novel I read.

Notable Quote:

But for fifteen years - since she woke on the morning after her lost night, the hours she still kept locked tight in her memory box - she had carried a sadness with her. Sadness and guilt. It was like a splinter, buried so deep in her skin that she would never get it out. The impurity, the flaw, would be in her forever.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

 

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/16/the-devils-work-by-mark-edwards
Like Reblog Comment
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-11 13:00
Stephen by Amy Cross
Stephen - Amy Cross
Stephen by Amy Cross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Forty years after her traumatic ordeal at Grangehurst, Beryl Seaton is finally ready to relive her past and recollect the events that have haunted her every day since. As a much younger woman, Beryl is accepted to be governess in the household of Doctor Elliot Brooks, her job to help his wife take care of their only son, Stephen. But there's something terribly wrong with Stephen, and it becomes inevitable that things could only get worse.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

If I ever thought that books could go too far, then I'd more than likely say that about this particular one. It's one of those stories that heavily relies upon the shock factor; it wants you to ask the question of what-the-hell-did-I-just-read? And I did, in fact, chew over that question myself, especially after the much dreaded, yet highly anticipated chapter twenty-eight. When it comes to this novel, that chapter is rather infamous - all you have to do is glance over reviews to see the affirmed revulsion. If that wasn't enough, then Beryl's own words should certainly give you an idea:

"Let me state this, then: I, Beryl Seaton, write the next chapter only because it is a true account of what happened. I take no pleasure in the telling of this tale, nor do I in any way recommend that anybody should read the following chapter. I shall set down the events entirely within a chapter of their own, so that any right-thinking reader can simply skip that chapter and go to the next..."

The entirety of twenty-seven is one big forewarning, but it's obvious that its intention isn't to deter us from the next chapter; its intention is to make us want to read it all the more. The whole plot has been leading up to that moment, so what could possibly be so bad, you wonder? Well, I'm not going to include the specifics, and not because it's a spoiler, but because I simply can't bring myself to type the words. It's truly disgusting, and if you're that curious, just read it for yourself!

As for the character of Beryl, I didn't find her at all dislikeable, but the writing suffered a great deal due to her personal narrative. I get that it's a retelling of her life - or the most horrific part of her life - and that at the time of documentation she's in her seventies. She's an old woman, and I'm fully aware that the memories of elderly folk just aren't the same, but the sheer amount of repetition in this book bothered me. Beryl states again and again how her younger self is naive and gullible. Those exact same words are recycled; as if they somehow gave us new insight every time they were written. Perhaps it really was to highlight her old age, or maybe it was merely to make the overall book longer. Either way, it didn't do any favours, as after all, Beryl's lack of real-world experience was integral; nothing would've happened otherwise.

Despite the faults that irked me, I enjoyed the plot for what it was; definitely eerie, and truthful in the ugliness of the situation. Let's face it, there's nothing pleasant about a dead child, and there's doubtlessly something morbid about treating it as if it were alive and breathing. As unsettling as it is, there's been cases of it happening in real life. Such a loss can indeed affect the mind, so Severine's madness was not so far-fetched.

However, I do think that it would've been better had some aspects been removed. Beryl's masochistic tendencies were out of place, and the scene with the apparition added absolutely nothing aside from filler. Anything paranormal played such a minor part, I wondered why it was there to begin with. It's like Cross tried to cram in too many things, and ultimately they didn't quite work together. Sometimes being much more simplistic has a greater impact, and I think this one would've benefited from it.

The ending also didn't make much sense to me. Why did she seem so goddamn obsessed with Severine? I understand the need for closure, but her attitude, like she was in love with the other woman, just seemed so out of character.

In conclusion - I found it to be pretty average. I liked the premise of the plot - it was creepy - but there were issues that got in the way. I'll not be adverse to reading more of this authors work in the future, though!

Notable Quote:

"It is astonishing how one can perform mental gymnastics and persuade oneself that left is right, up is down and so forth."

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter
Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/12/stephen-by-amy-cross
Like Reblog Comment
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-08 13:00
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
The Taste of Night - Vicki Pettersson
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Joanna Archer, representing the Light-side Sagittarius sign in the Zodiac troupe of Las Vegas, continues to juggle her new-found life in her sister's body. Not only does she have to keep up appearances of being the sole progeny to the richest man in the city, she also has to protect society from the Shadow organisation hellbent on terrorising the innocent. Finding herself in a rather peculiar predicament, Joanna reluctantly makes a deal with a Shadow initiate; one that she might come to regret.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I've always been fond of the good ol' fight between good and evil, so the aspect of superheroes was definitely refreshing to return to. Whilst finding The Scent of Shadows to be rather average as a whole, I believed this instalment (Signs of the Zodiac series is six instalments long) to be a large decline - primarily because of the heroine herself, Joanna Archer. I personally love the first-person perspectives that dominate the genre; it gives an in-depth and intimate picture of the character, however it can be especially unforgiving if that character happens to be someone you dislike.

And boy, did I dislike her.

I'm a firm believer that characters should be flawed, because people are flawed, however there's only so much I can take when I can find very little redeeming qualities. Joanna repeatedly made the exact same error and refused to learn from it, instead putting herself and her troupe at risk over and over. I'm legitimately shocked how anyone could find her actions reasonable, and how anyone could consider her a good protagonist. Being vengeful is one thing, but being stupidly selfish is another thing entirely.

Let me give a rundown of her transgressions; the ones that bothered me the most. 1: She kept going off alone after the bad guy, with the knowledge that her enemy was stronger. Thus, he would obviously get the better of her and she would need rescuing by her team. This happened three times, if I remember correctly. 2: The gateway to the Light side's secret hideout, she compromised it twice (the second time she was well aware of her actions), and so put the safety of her group, not to mention children, at risk. 3: Due to jealously, she couldn't allow her ex-boyfriend to move on, so she forced herself back into his life, when he was just beginning to be happy again. And she spent a night with him, then disappeared again.

The third one bothered me the most, I think. This is a woman whose identity needs to be kept a secret, yet as soon as she caught a whiff of a new woman in Ben's life, she didn't waste any time to metaphorically urinate all over him. The fact is, she can't have any sort of relationship with him, she can't even allow him to see her physical appearance unless she uses a prepubescent's shield-mould-thing. Am I the only one that found it creepy, that she had sex with Ben whilst using that little girls essence or whatever it was?

I'm going to end the rant about our dear Joanna there, if I can bring myself to it.

I can't say I favoured any of the other characters either, except maybe Regan. She really did play her role expertly, and I daresay she'll be one hell of a villain for the team to battle in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the Light side. Sometimes you just have to root for evil, because in this case, the Light doesn't exactly offer anything substantial. I mean, what do we have? Hunter? Well, he took a page from Joanna's book; his selfishness actually resulting in someones death. I'm not a fan of love triangles anyway; I'd much rather he or Ben be removed from the equation altogether. Warren and Tekla's frustration throughout was understandable - they were definitely the adults of the situation.

The plot itself could've been better. I honestly expected the plague to have more of an impact, but it didn't even occur until a hundred plus pages. The focal point seemed to be Joaquin, and because of such the tone of the book was needlessly dark. Joaquin was portrayed badly; his entire thought process being about rape, despite him apparently being an avid collector of the comics. It was basically telling us he had depth, yet every time he was on-page he was constantly sexually abusing and / or harassing women. At one point he even yelled: "I will rape you, Joanna!", which in itself summed up his character perfectly.

I like the premise of this series, I do, but I got pretty sick and tired of Joanna's mess. I dearly hope she'll develop into something better.

The Touch of Twilight is the third book in this series, and was first published in 2008.

Notable Scene:

"Uh... good doggie?" I said, taking in the sight of an animal with the muscle of a bear and the angular ferocity of a wolf. He let a warning rumble loose in his throat, and the deep reverberation jarred through my immobile bones like a jackhammer through concrete.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

 

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/08/the-taste-of-night-by-vicki-pettersson
Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-01-12 14:19
And I Darken
And I Darken - Kiersten White

(This review is also on my personal blog Atta's Bibliophilia.)

 

 I expected something a little more different but And I Darken is everything I could have ever wanted in a book even though there is no magic! I can't believe what an amazing book Kiersten White has written and I expect for the whole trilogy to ruin me emotionally and I will enjoy every second of my misery. This is the effect And I Darken had on me.
  
 Kiersten White writes in a beautiful and captivating way and I was immediately caught up in it. Her style is really good and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I couldn't be more satisfied with it than I already am.

  And I Darken is like nothing I've read before! It's something completely new to me, I didn't expect to like it so much! It's a historical fiction about the female version of Vlad The Impaler a.k.a. Vlad Dracul- Lada Dragwlya later Lada Dracul. The book appeals even more to me because the story takes part in the time of the Ottoman Empire and there are mentioned Bulgarians and even Varna- my city! I totally loved everything about it and I will just comment the characters as usual.

  Lada is a strong, ruthless heroine who I loved from the second she was born, literally. She is one of the strongest characters I've ever read about and she earned my respect when she was very young and then she kept proving that I respect her for a reason. She is frighteningly aware of the things that make her weak and easily manipulated and she does everything in her power to eliminate them even if it costs her her heart and happiness. Despite being distant to her brother and to their shared friend- Mehmed, she cares very much about them and protects them with everything she has. She is loyal and a very good friend and I couldn't like her more!

  Radu is weird. He is Lada's far more gentle brother who is beautiful and more intelligent and clever than people realise. He is impressive but not as much as his sister and his role in the empire gets bigger and bigger with every chapter of the book. He is not strong, not by my standards anyway but he is a cutie that I couldn't help but like. In the beginning of And I Darken he cries a lot but their story begins with them being born so it is understandable. He grows in the shadow of his sister and therefore learns how to use this to his advantage. Radu is amazing in his own way and I enjoyed his chapters almost as much as Lada's.

  Throughout the book the development of the Draculesti siblings is obvious and there is a big change in them. I expected Lada and Radu to work a little more together but the way things turned out to be are even better. They work very hard to protect Mehmed and Lada is maybe the best bodyguard someone will ever have. I also enjoyed pretty much the way their relationship with Mehmed was described and developed. I saw the feelings coming of course but I still loved it very much!

Nicolae is Lada's sidekick who is a very good and loyal friend to her. I was immediately impressed with him when he was first introduced to us. He is Wallachian and that's why Lada befriended him at first. He is one of the characters that I liked the best.

I love everything about And I Darken and I am even more fussy about Now I Rise! The first book is so amazing and overwhelming that I just cannot wait for the next one!
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-10-25 08:42
Reading progress update: I've read 22%.
Die Seiten der Welt: Roman - Kai Meyer

Ich bin nun schon etwas voran geschritten in der Geschichte, aber ehrlich, ich kann mich leider nicht so recht fokussieren und hätte jetzt schon sehr viele Anfragen an den Autor. Na, mal sehen, wie es weitergeht. Und wann, denn gestern Abend packte mich dann eher die FF-Leselust...

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?