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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?

Read

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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)

 

Reviewed 

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Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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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

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/16/the-devils-work-by-mark-edwards
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