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review 2018-04-19 22:10
A ghost story set in the Arctic landscape of fictional Gruhuken; the darkness and frigid cold alone are nightmarish enough!
Dark Matter - Michelle Paver

I’m now (finally) done with Dark Matter, my latest read for my #ScreamsByMail #HorrorPostalBookClub on Litsy. When I was actually reading it, it sped by, but I took a MASSIVE break in the middle of it because of animal death (yes, I know it’s par for the course in the Arctic circle but I couldn’t deal with it at the time). It reads as a journal, so it’s fast reading, but honestly being stuck on a polar ice cap in the dark sounds like a horror story to me anyway! I can’t think of anything more lonely or terrifying...
I was distracted for a good part of the book by the dogs’ well-being (the main character Jack luckily had huskies for company), as well as how animals are spoken about. This sort of thing trips me up in novels quite a bit (see above). It pulled me out of the actual story, and away from the ‘ghost story’.
Since we are writing in a journal (funnily enough) for the postal book club, and mailing that around too, I won’t write too much here. I will say though, that the writing by Michelle Paver is remarkable and fits very well with the time period and the character she writes for. I was very struck by this. She also obviously did extensive research into the area she writes about (although Gruhuken is fictional), and this is key to the effectiveness of the atmosphere of the novel. It will also ensure that you never, ever find me going near these parts. And it reminded me how much I hate the snow!

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text 2018-04-19 14:03
Valentine on Sale Today for 99ยข
Valentine - Michelle Hughes
 

 
You think you know what love is, even if you've fought against feeling that emotion your entire life. Valentine was my life altering moment. Have you ever wanted something desperately, but knew to have it would destroy everything you were? Lust is a powerful motivator. His passions were dark, and they called to a primitive part of my soul I didn’t know I possessed. He didn’t make love, instead he wanted a woman willing to be claimed, owned, giving her heart, mind, and soul. At least that’s how I saw him. The truth was I didn’t know him at all. I watched him play at a local BDSM club and everything I thought I knew about life changed irrevocably.

Who I was, what he was, none of it mattered. Our eyes met, and it was like the world stopped spinning and for that one moment we were suspended in time. I couldn’t catch my breath and he couldn’t look away. The feeling was so powerful that when my feet would move again, I ran. You think you know what love is. What if everything you thought you knew was a lie? Surrender is a powerful word. Escaping the reality of who you are and giving in to the fantasy? That’s even more terrifying. What would you do?

“Valentine is a full-length standalone novel. No cheating, alpha hero, virgin heroine, billionaire, with elements of romantic suspense. This new romance by Kindle Scout Winner, Michelle Hughes, is a seduction of the mind and will take you on one wild ride.”
 
 

Source: amzn.to/2vnXM6u
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review 2018-04-16 16:21
Officially Over Thrillers With Terrible People-You Cannot Achieve Gone Girl Status! Stop it!
You Were Made for This - Michelle Sacks

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not impact my rating or review.

 

Huge sigh. This book was a mess. At first I was momentarily intrigued because the book seemed to be setting up things with the husband in this story (Sam) to be sinister. All of his rules for mothers/wives seemed to be playing that way. But then you get further into the book, and when Merry's "best friend" Frank comes to visit, the book just goes freaking dark. I just needed something to break up this mess. There was nothing redeeming about a single character. You don't even get a semblance of characters getting their just desserts. Instead you know that it seems that the cycle will continue again in maybe 10 or 20 years. This book gets one star for taking place in Sweden. That's about it. 

 

"You Were Made for This" is about a husband and wife (Sam and Merry) who move to Sweden to live in a house that is left to Sam. There are some allusions to something happening that caused the family to move. But you never get the full details. Just other characters blurting out things later on dozens of pages later. 


Sam is happy in Sweden, but struggling to make ends meet. He used to be a professor at a university in New York. And now is trying to be a filmmaker. 


Merry used to be a set decorator (that sounded cool and wish we had gotten more details about) but is now a full time mother to her son Conor. Merry is not feeling seen anymore as a stay at home mother. Instead she is trying to follow the rules for motherhood that Sam seems to think she needs to do (which includes making homemade baby food and scrubbing the whole house with organic ingredients). Merry I was initially sympathetic to, but Sacks blows that away pretty quickly when you find out about the darkness in Merry. Merry is dreading, but also wants her best friend Frances (known as Frank) to come visit.

 

Frank and Merry have a toxic friendship. There is no other word for it. I just could not with Frank once you saw everything she had done in the past, and what she currently did in this book. Her talking about being the only one to "see" Merry was just head shaking to me. 

 

Merry wants to show off for Frank to show her "that she's won" and Frank is not worth as much since she's not married and has no children. That could have been an interesting dynamic with two women who chose two different paths. Heck even show the dark side of motherhood and talk about post par-tum depression. Instead we don't get that at all.

 

Sam is obviously awful, you don't really get why Merry wants to be with him. You do get why he wants to be with her though. He has someone to mold into whatever he wants. There are some hints there that something dark happened to Sam. Once again though, you don't know since the author doesn't like to spell things out. I for one got really tired of people talking past things. 

The secondary characters that we get (there are barely any) don't figure into this book at all really. We have Merry and Sam's closest neighbors who are there merely to move the plot along. 

 

I really didn't like the writing. The multiple POVs with Merry, Sam, and Frank didn't help. They all started to sound the same after a while (psychopaths with the need for instant gratification). And the book started to feel endless after a while along with being repetitive. 

 

The setting of Sweden was the only reason why I gave this book a star. I was intrigued about the location, the mention of the lakes, the ability to be truly alone if you want to be in the place that Merry and Sam lived. 


The ending was a mess. I think that Sacks should have changed the ending. It felt like such a waste to me to have to wade through this book for no reason in my opinion. I think she was going for a Gone Girl twist, but it didn't work. I just sighed really loudly at this point because you are given enough context clues that it seems the cycle would just continue for all parties. 

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text 2018-04-16 15:20
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
You Were Made for This - Michelle Sacks

A book about terrible people doing terrible things to each other. 

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text 2018-04-16 02:08
Reading progress update: I've read 40%.
You Were Made for This - Michelle Sacks

Everyone is terrible. The husband (Sam) the wife (Merry) and her supposed best friend (Frank). With friends like these, who needs enemies.

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