sensitivemuse

sensitivemuse

Book blogger, chef, gamer, avid reader, hockey fanatic. Potential book hoarder and cat lady.

Review
4 Stars
Emotional read...yes this stuff really did happen in the last century
Darktown: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

This is such a great powerful read. On one hand you feel like going into the book and start punching every bigot you see since they’re such awful hateful people. Yet on the other hand, you feel for Boggs and Smith. They’re trying so hard to elevate themselves and make everything a better place for the community and pretty much for their race. Yet they’re non stop met with opposition from both sides and it’s disheartening to see yet the most awful thing about all of this is, this all happened in the last century. It’s mind blowing and horrible how humans are but it’s a reality we all must know and be aware of.

 

The plot itself was very interesting and the pace is steady. There’s plenty of characters to read about and the supporting characters gives the story plenty of substance. The emotions and tensions are dutifully felt in the book and you can only read on with the feeling of hopelessness as Boggs and Smith attempt to try and do their jobs as best as they can but they’re thwarted at every turn. It’s amazing they stick with the job, and admirable because of the amazing amount of strength and grit they display to go through all the obstacles they face while trying to do their investigation.

 

The plot was also good at showing both sides of the story. Besides Boggs and Smith you also have Rakestraw who seems more moderate thinking than the rest of the characters, his behavior is certainly different and he tries to be understanding - however still maintaining his superiority mentality. It’s a start I suppose to eradicate this kind of behavior in a character but you can’t help but feel frustrated as this type of hatred and belief that is so deeply ingrained in everything; in society, thinking, in life. It’s horrible to see and to think this type of behavior still persists in other forms and methods.

 

Definitely recommend this read despite the awful things some characters do in the book. It’s eye opening and gripping read. It will elicit powerful emotions but it’s accurate and detailed. No sugar coating here but the truth. Worth the read.

Review
3 Stars
Slow steady plot, take it or leave it
Saving Meghan - D.J. Palmer

The pace of this plot was steady and although it did keep your reading and page turning, there just didn’t seem to be enough to get me to really like the book. Yes I was intrigued by what was going to happen next, if everything was really all in Becky’s head, if there were other things behind it, or if Meghan really was sick with some weird rare condition.

 

The mystery aspect of it was not too bad and getting to the bottom of it was basically what carried the novel for me. It did feel like bits here and there were dragging and by the last third of the book I pretty much wanted it over with as it was just getting too much. You really do feel for Meghan here because she’s caught between both her parents and you can feel her isolation.

 

I don’t feel much for the other characters mentioned in the book. They’re really not that likable - Meghan would probably be the one I like the most in this book but even then her personality is flat and not that much substance is put into anyone.

 

The last third of the book got me to forgive the slow dragging plot. It was like watching an avalanche go down a hill and the pace got super quick after that. It was enough to get me to forgive the book for the slow dragging plot as I pretty much wanted to know what was the final outcome and what was the ending of it all.

 

Slow plot, great mystery aspect with bland characters, it’s an interesting read and if you’re into the slow build up to a climactic ending, then by all means read it. It was okay for me.

Review
4 Stars
Anti heroes join this great read
The Conqueror's Shadow - Ari Marmell

I haven’t read a good fantasy in such a long time! And this one was excellent! It’s fun to see a bunch of misfit anti heroes come together to try and save the world because not only did they leave on bad terms back then in the day, Corvis actually had the galls to come back to ask them for favors (we all had that one friend didn’t we?)

 

Each of the characters have their distinct quirk and personality. Also they’re not afraid to tell Corvis how it is (and he surprisingly takes it...which makes them a more fun bunch to read) I can’t really say I have a favorite although I admit I was disappointed in Khanda towards the last half of the book. He definitely had the best and more fun personality to read on but he just *had* to do it didn’t he? (you’ll see when you finish the book)

 

The plot had a steady pace and it was good. I was actually surprised as to who the Serpent really was as you’d think it was obvious. It was a good surprise and the action in the last third of the book was massive with lots of action. Although it gets pretty dark at times and Corvis isn’t a hero per se (more like a terrorizing horrible despot who decimates towns and villages to his liking) it has black comedy elements in it and overall because of this provides a ‘lightness’ to the story. It helps that the cast of characters have witty retorts and comebacks which also provides a few laughs here and there.

 

The world building and setting is pretty much your standard fantasy setting that is portrayed in most novels of the genre out there. Nevertheless it doesn’t take away from the novel and still provides a good foundation for it.

 

A plot rich with a variety of characters, good light banter, and some action is what makes up this book in a nutshell. I definitely recommend it as it was an enjoyable read.

Review
3 Stars
Good Retelling of The Iliad
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

This is a retelling of The Iliad - no need to read it however a bit of the basics of it would help you understand this book more, just for background information.

 

It can be a rather difficult read. Not to say it’s hard to understand, but more of the detailed subject matter. It’s shocking to read when these women are going through an era where war is prevalent, and the best outcome for them is to be a trophy, instead of a slave. (Although, those two terms are pretty much the same thing if you think about it) It’s scary, and eye opening at the same time. These women go through a lot of trauma and Briseis has it slightly better than the other women out there (which says a lot). They’re pretty much treated like cattle and nothing could be done with it. Unfortunately this is the norm during war.

 

The relationship between Briseis and Achilles was interesting. Despite the conqueror and war trophy titles, it develops and evolves as Achilles goes though life changing events through the novel. You do however, have a heart for Patroclus. He seemed more human and his friendship with Briseis is what might have kept her going through all this time in the book. In a sense too, she also benefited from being with Achilles (albeit, not her choice)

 

This is definitely word a read through if you’re interested in Greek Mythology and retellings this is worth the read, despite the slow but steady pace. The retelling of the Iliad from Briseis’ point of view is a good one.

Review
3 Stars
Quick but Disappointing
Creed - Trisha Leaver, Lindsay Currie

This one read out like a B movie. Entertaining for the most part, but then you’re left empty and at times it felt like you were cheated out of a potentially good story. It was over so quickly hence why you get the feeling you were cheated. Which is too bad. The plot had promise, but it fell short.

 

It started off well. Just enough to get your attention, the creep factor was all set. A breadcrumb trail was set up and it was good enough to keep the plot going steady. Considering the length of the story, you don’t really have the time to connect with the characters, which is all right. I suppose the same would be said of characters in a horror movie. You’re just there to see their untimely end ;)

 

Despite there being a shocking moment in the book, it wasn’t enough to redeem the plot. There were so many unanswered questions and a rather drab mediocre last third of the book. You wanted to know so much and yet nothing much was produced. I’m not sure if that was meant to be a teaser but it was disappointing.

 

It was a quick read, this could be considered something to read in between books, or a light one to pass the time. Nothing eye opening or any wow factor will redeem this one. You’re not going to miss much if you pass this on.

Review
4 Stars
Great start to this series (yes I'm late to the party)
Throne of Glass - Sarah J Maas

It can be somewhat on parallel with Hunger Games except on a fantasy setting and sans the dystopia. Celaena is quite the character to like. She’s witty, smart, she’s got the talk and has the walk to prove it, she’s everything you like in a strong female character and more. I love her sass and overall personality.

 

The plot itself was good and engaging to read. There’s a mix of everything. Mystery, intrigue, action, and romance. I’d have to say it’s a little bit too much of a mix. I was really more into reading about the competition and Celaena’s skills. The mystery aspect did not really capture my attention and didn’t think it was very exciting. Sure, it did keep you guessing but it wasn’t filled with any twists and turns one might expect in a mystery.  The romance was all right although I also didn’t think a love triangle was necessary in this one. (It was pretty hard to choose which one of the two were better. They both had their qualities that made them likable so I’m going to sit on the fence and be neutral on this)

 

I also enjoyed reading into Celaena’s and Nehemia’s friendship. I rather liked the bond they shared and Nehemia can hold her own as well so I liked how the two of them shared some common ground.

 

The ending was excellent and I’m going to be reading the rest of this. I hear it gets better! So I’m looking forward to getting the second.

Review
4 Stars
Subject worth reading about
Dreamland Burning - Jennifer Latham

I noticed a large trend in these kinds of books where it’s half in the present, and half in the past. It’s not a trend I particularly like as I adore historical fiction and mixing it with things happening in present day takes away the historical aspect, but I gave this book a chance. This one grabbed my attention because of the subject which interests me. I have not heard of the Tulsa Race Riot until I grabbed this book. It was an eye opener, and definitely something that can’t be ignored or forgotten.

 

The switch between Rowan and William is seamless and flows throughout the novel. Rowan attempts to figure out the mystery behind the skeleton while William’s story not only gives you the background information but also gives you the sense and the climate on how it was for African Americans back in those times. The historical aspects of the book is well written and gives you a good general idea.

 

At first, William doesn’t seem that all a likable character. As the plot progresses though, you change your mind as his behavior and outlook changes to something much  more favorable. Rowan’s side of the story is interesting too. She’s been pretty much sheltered in a good, privileged life who is also suddenly awakened by recent events affecting herself and others around her. She’s a well written character as well, but I’d have to say I prefer reading William’s side of the story more as I found Rowan’s point of view dragged in a few areas of the story.

 

The plot overall is well done and interesting. The mystery and historical elements of the story also keeps the plot engaging and it’s a good educational read.  Definitely something to read more into and a good subject to write about.

 

Review
2 Stars
Mediocre plot. Disappointing book, unfortunately.
An Anonymous Girl - Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

In a nutshell, this book has three not so very nice characters in one setting and they’re all trying to outdo each other in the art of being a sly crafty villain.

 

While the plot is interesting to read at first, because you’d like to find out what Jess got herself into, at the same time, it’s so so and falls flat. The characters themselves are rendered unlikable. Well, I should say two of the three are unlikable, the one that sticks out for me is Dr Shields. Now that’s a pretty good villain to read up on.

 

I found myself rooting for her throughout the book. She’s cold, she’s calculating and she’s always prepared with a plan B in case things don’t work out. I love it. She was playing the mind games like a pro. I had no like for Thomas (well, self explanatory) and I started disliking Jess more as the plot carried on. Maybe it was because she thought she was the smartest cookie on earth. Or maybe it was because she thought her stuff didn’t stink. Either way I just started not liking her so much and didn’t care too much for her behavior. By this time, I was pretty much just finishing the book just for the sake of finishing and my interest in the plot waned.

 

Which is unfortunate.  I read The Wife Between Us and absolutely loved the book and loved the twists that was provided. The twists here were minimal, the mind games were great but hardly anything suspenseful or to be surprised about. Maybe I got spoiled by The Wife Between Us, but this one didn’t really live up to it.

 

I’m hoping if they do future releases that they’re better than this one. Sadly this one dissapoints for me.

Review
4 Stars
Great follow up to the first one
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

It is advisable to read the first one before you get into Moon Over Soho. You’re pretty much carrying on right after the events in the first book so it’s always better to get the background information before carrying on :)

 

I was pleased with this one, complete with rather macabre scenes that will stick with me for a while. I still enjoy the way it’s being narrated by Peter Grant. He tells it pretty bluntly and explains well for some of us who don’t live in London which helps understand the setting more. The setting is dark and gritty, just right to complement the mystery that is prevalent to the case. The mix with the supernatural blends quite well with real life London, I believe it’s probably even more enjoyable to read for those that are quite familiar to the city.

 

Supporting characters and some new ones are featured in the book. It’s nice to see Leslie again despite what happened to her (ahh but the ending though!). Peter takes a lot of beating (both verbal and physical) during the book which is to be expected. He does have a thing with Simone that covers a good latter part of the book which is ok, although I thought it provided a lot of filler and it slowed the pace down considerably. You almost wanted to ask; “Peter, don’t you have a case to work on?”

 

It proved to be a quick read with a good open cliffhanger ending with the mystery of The ‘Faceless One’ which makes the series even more intriguing at this point. I’ll be definitely be picking up the third one. A great series to read so far!

Review
4 Stars
Much better than the third one
Valentine's Rising - E.E. Knight

I was pleasantly surprised with this book after the drivel that was number three. I’m not sure if it was because Valentine decide to finally grow up and get a pair or circumstances in the novel made him this way (likely the latter) but it made for very good reading. There were some very important choices Valentine had to  make for himself and his crew; some of them extremely difficult and the way he dealt with the aftermath was good. It was nice to finally see him being part of a team instead of a one man army and doing everything himself.

 

Again the supporting characters are what made this book going for me (still on the anti-Valentine train for now) they had their distinct personalities and they weren’t flat or meant to just be part of the plot. They each had their part to play whether small or big and it made the plot better and rounded out. I have a soft spot for Ahn-Kha and Styachowski I like them both for their strengths and although they were ‘quiet’ they played substantially in the plot. (More so Styachowski than Ahn-Kha).

 

The plot was good albeit it slowed down to a crawl at the end. It was getting to be too much and by that time, I was already wanting to close the book. There’s plenty of action so that does not disappoint. There were some parts where I came close to closing it because of Valentine’s idiotic behavior, but otherwise, this was much better than the third.

 

This one was enough to redeem itself so I will carry on and read the next. I hope it continues this way.

Review
4 Stars
Keep you guessing until the last pages
The Last Time I Lied - Riley Sager

What I enjoyed about this one is the twists and turns happening all throughout the novel. You think it’s one thing, but it’s leading to another, yet out comes another possible solution to the mystery however it ends up being another red herring and so on. The guessing games keep the book on your toes.

 

The plot flows through smoothly, alternating between past and present so you get a feel for the background story on the events leading up as to why Emma is back. There were times where you had to question her sanity  because her behavior was erratic and unstable. As mentioned before, the guessing games throughout the novel kept the plot going and exciting to read. Expect mean girl behavior and shenanigans, and Emma’s character overall isn’t too likable but tolerable at the most. Vivian isn’t any better but the role she takes upon herself as a ‘big sister’ is endearing and gets instant idolization from Emma.

 

What I loved the most about this book is I wasn’t expecting such a great ending. I was thinking it was going to be a lackluster one at the most with a simple explanation as to what was behind the girls disappearances. It’s not until literally, the last pages of the novel where you get hit with a mega surprise and it was instant mind blow. I was left shocked for a fair amount of time as it was expertly done.

 

I heard more good things about Sager’s other works so I’ll definitely be picking them up. Hope they’re just as good as this one!

Review
3 Stars
Slow plot, good character development, but disappointing
Radical - E.M. Kokie

This one was off to a slow start, and it was pretty much slow throughout. What compelled me to finish this book to the end was wondering whether this Clearview group was legit or if there was something more to them.

 

You also follow through Bex and her life at home, which doesn’t seem very pleasant to start with. Her mom tries to change her despite her orientation, there’s financial issues at the home, and her brother is, quite frankly, an ahole. You quickly figure out Bex is into guns, and survival training. There’s extensive description on how she takes care of the guns, how she loads them, fires them, and we can go on. It gets tedious and lets the plot slow to a crawl. If you want intrigue and surprises, this isn’t going to happen until much later. Much much later.

 

There’s also focus on Bex and Lucy. They both seem to compliment each other and there is slight chemistry between the two of them but it’s not a romantic type of love story that you get if that’s what you’re looking for. They’re polar opposites and compliment one another but you also get that feeling it’s nice while it lasts.

 

There isn’t much to the plot until the last third of the novel, which is disappointing. However it’s jarring to see how much of the concept of survivalism is drilled into Bex and pushes her to the edge to the point of becoming paranoid over every minute detail. It’s sad to see what her parents attempt to make her do, when it comes to the subject of her brother. It’s also disappointing to see hardly any mention of Clearview except for smidgens here and there and although it plays a part in the plot, it’s not what you think and you wish there was more to it. It would have made the book much more interesting.

 

It wasn’t the best, but not the worst either. I’d suggest to take this out from the library instead of a purchase.

Review
4 Stars
Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it
The Blessed - Tonya Hurley

What I liked about this book is it was able to draw you in slowly to the plot and it unfolds gradually by introducing you to the main characters and their backgrounds. You can’t help but keep reading to see what will happen next. Your curiosity is piqued and it’s worth reading through. There is a chapter here and there that lets you think ‘Gee what the heck am I reading here’ but it makes up for it wholeheartedly towards the ending of the book.

 

The plot and the pace is slow but steady. You’re taken through each girl’s perspective and when they finally come together, if you can bypass the pettiness and mean girl attitude (some parts were quite fun to read, the comebacks are something to be filed away for future use should need arise) they actually do make a solid team. Each girl has their own story and their own pain to deal with. Of the three, I’d taken a liking to Cecilia. She’s a tough one and although all three have gone through a substantial amount of pain, Cecilia seems to be the most likable and the most independent (plus she’s a Rocker girl. Who doesn’t think Rocker Girls are cool?)

 

As the story unfolds, it gets chaotic towards the last third of the novel. Pretty good action - brutal at times so might not be for the faint of heart, and of course it leaves room for more things to come (two books follow after this one). Understandably this book might not be for everyone. Gratuitous swearing, references to Catholicism which may be offensive to some, some serious what the F chapters that make you wonder what kind of shrooms they’re on, and references to rape are mentioned in the book.

 

So while it may not be for everyone, I was surprised that I enjoyed reading this one so much. Although it took awhile for the book to gain momentum and this thing with Sebastian being a somewhat Charles Manson wannabe without the murders is a bit tedious, it was actually pretty good. However it comes across as a book that either you’ll really like, or you’ll really hate. So, when in doubt, just take it out of the library and save your money for other things.

Review
4 Stars
A Must Read and good one to discuss..
The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After - Clemantine Wamariya

It’s not an easy subject to write and review about. What can you really say about it when it’s filled with tragedy, mass displacement, and human suffering. It’s definitely an eye opener and if you’re wanting a book to read and discuss this would be an ideal one.

 

What is prevalent all throughout the novel is Clemantine’s feeling of displacement and how she’s not really entire ‘whole’ or she’s never really had a place to call ‘home’ considering all she’s been through. She’s gone through various countries through Africa only to be displaced time after time. It’s emotionally jarring and to even think that Clemantine was only a child during this period would be traumatizing to any child exposed to this world.

 

I find the book interesting and shows how her behavior is like once she moves to the US. Clemantine constantly seeks new opportunities but it feels as if she’s doing so to learn more about herself or to constantly fill herself so she can feel wholesome. Every time she accomplishes something, she goes out to do more. It’s never ending. It’s an admirable trait if you look from another perspective but if you don’t know her real background, you would assume she’s a normal, overachieving teenager.

 

Claire’s strength is admirable throughout the story. Despite all the chaos going around her, she is constantly trying to improve so she can get out with Clemantine. The sad part is, because of what was happening around them, they didn’t really have the chance to be actual sisters. Claire looked out for everyone, Clemantine stayed home and held the fort.

 

No matter how hard you try you can’t really put yourself in their perspective. You can’t really know how it is until you’re actually there experiencing it too (and no one wants that obviously) you can only wish Clemantine and her family will continue to lead on successful and fulfilling lives like they rightly deserve just like everyone else.

Review
2 Stars
Worst one of the series
The English Breakfast Murder - Laura Childs

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

This would have to be the worst book in the series so far. I read this through because I just wanted to get to the end of it in the hopes of having somewhat of a satisfying ending but even that was denied.

 

The plot wasn’t that interesting. It tried to have intrigue and mystery but it was severely lacking. What you read more was more tea parties than anything else. Yes, she owns a tea shop and has two large events that somehow took over nearly half of the book. The mystery takes a back seat in this book and it’s disappointing. The pace of the book was slow and although it tried to make it a little engaging with two issues going on at once it wasn’t enough to really capture my attention.

 

I wasn’t even that interested in the suspects. Nothing stood out and even when it was revealed it was so lackluster. There wasn’t much of an action scene and it completely did a nose dive. The suspect was nabbed. Done. No explanation, no way to tie the loose ends. Everything was just left open and unfinished. I have no idea what in the world happened in this book with the mystery aspect of it. Then there was the issue with Nadine being a complete kleptomaniac. Okay, she stole stuff….so...what ever happened to the items she stole? Nothing was said. Was it ever recovered? And Delaine, lordy. She got the point where she became annoying everytime she appeared in a scene.

 

I read this book just because it was following the series. I think the next one will determine if I continue on with it or not. It’s too bad. I actually enjoyed these and thought they were quaint little mysteries to get into after heavy reads. Not so with this one. You could probably skip this one and go to the following. You’re not missing anything.

Review
3 Stars
Not what I expected but it's ok
The Anomaly - Michael Rutger

What was enjoyable about this book was it could be a movie. Imagery in the book was pictured clearly and the plot was good enough to make you think ‘This should be a movie’

 

The plot was all right. It’s enjoyable and makes for quick reading. It’s not overly complicated and the action scenes provide a good thrill here and there. It flowed and kept things interesting, however around the midway mark of the book things slow down and not much happens. Things do pick up quickly in the latter half. I didn’t expect the outcome to turn out as it is. I was looking forward to more of a plot like the movie “The Descent” with more thrills and horror. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

 

The characters on the other hand, don’t have much to them. They’re pretty much flat and are just there to keep the story going. Although I admit I rather liked Ken throughout the book. He was brash and hotheaded. Everything was either a complaint or an insult which made him stand out from the others. Although Nolan was the ‘leader’ in this group there really wasn’t much to him. There was a small background story to Nolan to give him more substance but it really isn’t much.

 

There’s a lot of intrigue and some bits of thrilling scenes to enjoy, some mystery in the end but overall I can’t really say it’s something I would gush about. Perhaps because I was expecting this to be more of a horror than anything else. Which is too bad, it had potential to be better but it fell short. I’d say take it or leave it. There’s no regrets reading it but don’t expect it to be gripping and exciting. It’s...meh.