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review 2018-08-11 22:25
'Sadie' has an inventive approach and is an emotional read; you won't forget this character or book for a while
Sadie - Courtney Summers

This is a wildly inventive and brave thriller, one that weaves ‘Sadie’s’ story, in which a teenage girl tries to find the man who has killed her beloved sister Mattie, together with a ‘podcast’ called ‘The Girls’. The two writing devices make this a refreshing read, and now with the podcasts actually streaming (yes, in real life), Courtney Summers and Macmillan have made this book a living breathing thing.

 

The book feels so 'alive', that you almost forget that Sadie (who has had a tough life: she has a stutter, her sister has been murdered, her addict mother has left) is missing. Author Courtney Summers opens the book with: 'Girls go missing all the time', so we may think of our main character as just a number, but then we are challenged when we are forced to get to know this young girl and so we start to have emotions towards her as we read the book.

 

Sadie wants to find the man who killed her little sister Mattie, and through both Sadie's perspective as she goes from buying a car so she can leave the tiny town of Cold Creek, to the shocking and emotional end of the book, along with 'The Girls' podcast as recorded by West McCray, this is a great big hunt; it's a hunt to find this man, a hunt to find Sadie, a hunt for the truth. There are lots of characters along the way that West speaks to, who knew the girls, their mother, who have made assumptions, as he tries to find the truth and get to Sadie, and he uncovers a tragic home life, and uncovers what likely many runaways and abused children go through each and every day beyond these pages. Sadie becomes more than just a vigilante seeking retribution for her sister; she is a tragic character who represents that 'lost little girl', the scared abused teenager on-the-run.

*Needless to say, many push-button issues come up in this book: child abuse, pedophilia, addiction, so there may be some readers who need to stay away for those reasons.

 

I left this book with a big hole in my heart, knowing that the issues contained within are real, even if the story isn't, even if Sadie isn't a real girl who went looking for her sister with all that love in her heart. The final two pages had me crying and smiling at the same time, and even with a bit of an open end (be warned, if you don't like those - I happen to love them), 'Sadie' finishes perfectly. Kudos to Courtney (and Macmillan) for bringing Sadie to life.

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review 2018-07-30 18:35
Whodunit: Horror edition
The Outsider - Stephen King

The Outsider is the newest notch in the belt of one of the most prolific writers of supernatural horror, Stephen King. It's been a good long while since I've sunk my teeth into a King novel but when I read the premise (and saw the ultra rad cover) I knew that it was time to take a bite. (That metaphor got away from me.) The very beginning launches the reader into a graphic description of the murder of an 11 year old boy named Frank Peterson. [A/N: As this is literally the first two pages I don't consider this a spoiler. I do want to point out that it is very graphic and involves a sexual element so if this is in any way triggering to you please steer clear.] It seems to be an open and shut case because of the preponderance of evidence which points directly to a prominent member of the community...who also happened to be the coach of the Chief Detective assigned to the case. Can anyone say conflict of interest? However, things are not so cut and dry because it turns out that this man has an alibi with witnesses. So how was he in two places at once? What next occurs is a roller-coaster of police procedural drama with a heaping dash of supernatural horror thrown in for good measure. I wrote tons of notes about this book after I had read it but because they are mainly about the plot and super spoiler-y I don't feel that I can enumerate them here. Suffice it to say that in trademark King style there are always more twists and turns just when you think there couldn't possibly be any more. I enjoyed it thoroughly right up until the very end which I felt was not up to King's usual standard. With that being said, I did really like it and immediately lent my copy to another coworker with my recommendation so I can't help but give it a 9/10.

 

What's Up Next: The Figure in the Shadows The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring by John Bellairs

 

What I'm Currently Reading: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-05-01 02:51
The Lord of Lost Causes (Millcastle Book 1) by Kate Pearce
The Lord of Lost Causes - Kate Pearce

The Lord of Lost Causes - Kate Pearce 

 

Francis is a man that fell from grace while still a soldier. He’s now a rich man that can be best described as callous, cynical, and mercenary. His relationship with Caroline started as a business transaction and nothing more. While I appreciate the historical accuracy of Caroline’s circumstances I was not happy with the way she was coerced into doing things she most definitely didn’t want to do in order to pay her debts. That part of the story reminded me of the old bodice rippers, when the woman fell head over heels by the “hero” despite him being a jerk. 
And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to hate Francis. He might have been a reprobate however, and as much as he tried to deny it, he was also compassionate and just in his own way. In the end, his redeeming qualities outdid his ruthlessness and he became the man Caroline always knew he could be. And what is best is that it was done in a totally believable way. 

That being said, I’m not a fan of stories where the heroine must suffer quietly while the man has his way with her and everyone around him. I know, that’s the way things used to be but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

**I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**

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review 2018-04-23 05:22
Psychological thriller that puts sexual assault and harassment at the center, and keeps you gripped all the way through; an unassuming title but a great twist
The Girl I Used to Be - Mary Torjussen

This is a psychological thriller that is hard to put to down, and despite the unassuming title, this novel goes from being a story about a seemingly innocuous meeting with a prospective client for estate agent Gemma to a full-blown harassment and sexual assault case. Gemma is the breadwinner of her family, with her husband being at home with their three-year old son, and while she is trying hard to deal with the mounting stress of running a company, she’s constantly dealing with the anxiety of an incident in her past. Suddenly she is very much alone in a world where she is being harassed by private messages and letters, and she is finding herself lying and wondering who she is becoming.
It’s so hard to review this without revealing a major amount about the plot but this had me quickly turning the pages because author Mary Torjussen has crafted the perfect thriller whereby she has weaved a story from the character’s past into one in the present day, and while I was reading I felt Gemma’s anxiety - and fear - all the way through. It really was compulsive reading.
I will also personally disclose that the initiating incident that Gemma experiences, the one that she feels she must run from, and the one that is the cause of so much tragedy (revealed in part 2), is something that I personally went through myself. I only wish this sort of thing didn’t actually have to be something that becomes the basis of both adult and YA fiction, but (yes, this is my trigger warning), sexual assault happens, and will continue to be a part of fictional and non-fictional works. As women start to fight back by talking about it, as now it is very much a topic of our time (there’s a line in the book acknowledging that once upon a time, it wasn’t talked about so easily), it has become different when we read about it too.
This is actually the second book released this year that I have read with this similar sexual assault issue.
The book is thoroughly engaging to read and I liked the ‘two parts’ that it was separated into, with the massive twist. I don’t know what I’d change it to, but for some reason I have an issue with the title, although I understand the concept of how we look back at what we ‘used to be’, feeling like we have changed so much, or looking at what we were back then, but I want something else to grab people by. This book is so good and too clever for people to miss.

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review 2018-04-05 21:10
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton

For the year 2018 I thought I would step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to read a genre new to me.  Not knowing where to turn or how to begin this new journey, I took to Youtube and Bookstagram for inspiration and after watching many book hauls, book reviews and lurking on many Bookstagram pages, I chose fantasy.  I mean, I enjoy watching movies of magic and mystical powers and enchanted universes, why not read about them.

 

To kick-off my new adventure I chose a YA fantasy, The Belles by Dhionelle Clayton.  I'm going to forego the synopsis because I'm sure many of you have already read it, so I'll begin my review.

 

TWs: sexual assault, gay killing, body shaming.

 

One of the reasons I wanted to read this novel was because of the captivating cover.  Beautifully detailed, I was anxious to begin reading.  The vibrant map on the inside of the cover is an extra bonus.

 

The author poured out her heart and soul on every page.  From the picturesque surroundings, to the kaleidoscopic garments, mystical creatures and delectable cuisines, I took pleasure imagining all that was taking place.  However, many times throughout the book the descriptions were overpowering and the moment dragged on.

 

Powerful characterization from the author and with each character's mannerism, I experienced a different emotion.  Annoyance, anger, empathy just to name a few. I'd love to have read more building up of some characters and less of others.  

 

Although the plot was interesting and intriguing, it didn't draw me in right away.  It was a slow start due to the overly detailed paragraphs and I didn't become involved until the middle of the book.  At times the story lacked balance.  Some parts of the story dragged and some parts were rushed.  The subplot was a nice added a touch of mystery.

 

I'm glad I chose Dhonielle Clayton's YA fantasy novel, The Belles, as a new genre for me to explore.  Inside there's magic and fascination, but the author also touches on body shaming,  how one perceives beauty and the depth people endure to achieve it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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