sensitivemuse

sensitivemuse

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

Review
4 Stars
Rich detailed setting and memorable characters
Amberlough - Lara Elena Donnelly

This was the type of book that when I finished it, I had to lie back down and just stare at the ceiling. It was mind blowing. There are layers of intrigue and you don’t watch it unfold, in fact it’s the opposite, you watch it form and develop as the story progresses.

 

The setting in this one is one of a lot of political instability. It’s explained in the earlier parts of the book. It’s a bit difficult to follow (notes may help some readers) perhaps a character list would help in this case to keep everything straight. A glossary would have helped as well as the characters have their own slang - most of it straight forward but it would help nevertheless. That being said despite these little shortcomings, the world is rich and detailed. Amberlough is decadent and has remnants of Weimar Berlin. Now I did say previously it’s hard to follow because of the slang, but it’s precisely because of this slang that makes the world more detailed and fun to read.

 

The pace of the plot is slow and steady as it sets up the stage for what would follow after. It is essentially, a spy novel, so it quickly leads to a lot of double dealing, moments of backstabbing and betrayal. There are only three characters that you really need to focus on as the supporting ones just add to the flavor of the novel. Of the three that are central to the plot, one must love Aristide.

 

With a name like Aristide Makicosta you know he’s going to be a character to remember. He’s flamboyant, street smart and clever. Despite the world burning around him he always manages to do everything in style. It’s hard not to fall for his charms and so you would understand Cyril’s love for him.  I still don’t know what to think about Cyril. He was doing the job and had to. It came at a great cost but he had no choice and he had to think for himself (although I know there seems to be a lot of hate for him).

 

I love Cordelia. She’s got sass, she’s just as street smart and a survivor. Her character development is on point in this book. Yes she may be just a ‘dancer’ but she soon develops into someone with a cause to defend the city she loves. Despite the horrors she goes through in the latter half of the novel, she doesn’t let it break her. It’s admirable and she’s likable not only because of her catchy personality but also because of her unstoppable strength.

 

That ENDING THOUGH. I felt my eyes grow wide each time I turned the pages throughout the last third of the novel. This was why I had to sit back and just absorb everything I’ve read when I finished this one. It was that good.

 

Greatly recommended if you like intrigue, a decadent setting, and memorable characters. I absolutely enjoyed this book.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Great villains, annoying heroes
Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen

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

 

I rather enjoyed this one. Somewhat. The characters are really what drives this book (some of them that is) and while the plot moves at a medium pace, it’s understandable as this introduces you to the setting, the characters and what’s in store for us as readers.

 

World building is straight forward and there’s a handy guide in the beginning so you can figure out who is who and from which Kingdom (there are three). It pretty much centralizes on a small group that are central to the main plot and it’s easy to figure out who is who as you quickly start developing favorites :)

 

And this is where it starts getting interesting. I notice this happens sometimes with fantasy books. The good characters are downright annoying, nauseating (even more so when the love factor is involved) and induce eye rolling moments while reading. The not so nice characters are  more interesting to read, you quietly cheer for them and hope they turn out for the better because you don’t want them going down that path because most likely, they’ll end up being gone and you’ll have nothing else to read but the good guys.

 

I tried to like Cleo. I really did. However all I see is a little naive twit who’s annoying and I don’t really see her worth in this book and I wonder why Magnus just doesn’t end her so she can join good ol dependable Theon. I am hoping she turns out better in the later books but so far she’s not looking so good and her romance with Theon was so eye rolling inducing it’s characters like these that make or break the novel.

 

Thankfully, I love the Magnus story arc. He’s turned into a jerk but it’s not really his fault as dad isn’t really nice. The thing with Lucia is creepy and although they’re not blood related it still gives moments of queasiness (dude, you have like so many girls in the Kingdom come on). That being said though, I love reading about Magnus and Lucia. Their story lines are interesting, they have faults, and they deal with it (albeit, perhaps not in an all too healthy manner).

 

The story arc with Jonas was also interesting and I wish more was written about him (I think Cleo’s got way too much time in spotlight) as he’s gone through so much to get his revenge and only to find out it just opened a giant Pandora’s box and we’re heading towards more epic battling.

 

The latter third of the book gets really interesting. I’m only hoping there’s going to be a good outcome for everyone and I really hope Cleo’s character improves because she’s really what could make or break my desire to continue onto this series. Sometimes it takes that one character to ruin it all. That being said, I think it’s off to a great start and I’m ready for some more! Great for those into YA fantasy.

Review
4 Stars
Perfect tension with lots of mind games
LoveMurder: A Novel - Saul Black

This can be read as a stand alone if you come across this book although it’s highly encouraged to read the first one only because it’s just as good!

 

This time around, Valerie doesn’t get pummelled all over the place and you don’t cringe as much when she gets hit by something (whether it’s a bullet or a hit to the head). The plot held up to the same standards as the first; fast paced, filled with scenes of gratuitous violence and some sexual content here and there. This may not be for some readers as it does get graphic but I think without it, it would be hard to describe how heinous the crimes are.

 

Throughout the novel, Valerie has these tete a tetes with Katherine and they’re well written. You feel the tension between them and the mind games Katherine plays are subtle and sometimes even frustrating because she’s maddingly brilliant and manipulative. You’re running along with Valerie trying to catch this killer and you follow through the chase filled with puzzles and cryptic notes and gifts (none very nice gifts either…). The killer is brilliant and when you think he’s this one person, he ends up being someone you didn’t realize and it’s  mind blowing considering who this killer ends up kidnapping.

 

And just when you think everything’s done there’s more extra twists happening. This is what makes this novel so quick and fast to read. You’re deeply engrossed in the plot and in the chase to find this killer but you forget he most likely has a plan B and you’re blindsided again. This is what makes this book so good!!!!!! I loved every minute of it!!!

 

The only concern I have is, how much more can happen in this series before this starts getting repetitive. I love the way it’s going and I hope the series can stay fresh and exciting like it’s been so far. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next, given there’s a bit of a teaser at the very last page of the book.

Review
4 Stars
Like a reality show you can't stop watching
New Girl - Paige Harbison

This is one of the few times where I enjoyed the book however the characters were so unlikable I was amazed that I stuck through and finished the novel. It was well written enough that I was super curious as to what happened to Becca and whether she was really around or if she had a horrible outcome. The mystery element was well done to keep you guessing. The point of views changes between Becca and Callie’s. There’s a good easy flow between the two perspectives so it makes the reading easy to follow and quick.



That being said, the characters were just awful in a sense not that they were unreadable (almost) but they were just horrible awful people. Even our main character wasn’t that likable. However I digress. Let’s break them down:

 

Becca; Oh darling. You horrible awful attention seeking harpy. Not only do you have issues of your own but because you aren’t happy you feel the need to destroy others and to make sure you drag them down into the mud and follow you through your misery. I had no sympathies. Even when it was revealed what happened. Except for ...well you know.

 

Max: Another horrible creature and he’s pretty much meant for Becca anyway as they’re both rather terrible people. The “I like you but I don’t want to be together” spiel is ugh. On top of that after you say that you go and do the pursuing. You’re the emotional manipulative type just like Becca and it’s hard to figure out which one is worse. You emotionally  play with the main character and give her the yo-yo treatment then get mad when she’s talking with your best friend..oh wait sorry let’s re-write that: “Best Friend”. Dude, you’re like a horrible Tinder date gone wrong.

 

Dana: You’re a psychotic twit and holy mother mary do you have issues. I get what happened and you stood there and was an observer but you lashing out and being Queen Horrible to Callie (main character) was inexcusable. This behavior can’t even be blamed on grief, you’re just pure malice. Your obsession with Becca is creepy it makes you look like the type of fangirl nobody ever wants.

 

Madison and Julia: You have no spines and you follow Becca like she’s a Goddess. Stop being sheep and your condescension towards Callie was uncalled for. You each deserve a swift kick for treating her like that.

 

Johnny: You broke the Bro-Code. You should be banned for life.

 

Callie: Where do I start with you? You started off as a great main character and a lot of sympathies to you because you started off on the wrong foot and in a precarious situation. However then you did this yo-yo game with Max saying “Yeah I like you but I never said I was going to be with you” sure, that was a savage burn on your part but you keep *whining* about how you like Max so much and he’s not returning the favor because of Becca but he keeps coming back to you like you’re the side piece and you don’t seem to mind that treatment. You try to stick up for yourself with Dana (which was admirable) but then you shrink back into your turtle shell and you just *walk* into these situations even though YOU KNOW it’s going to turn out with potentially bad consequences. You’re like the friend that complains about how horrible your significant other is treating you but you’re still with that person but you don’t listen to advice. You have got to be one of the most frustrating characters I have ever read so far.

 

Well now! That sums up my opinions of the characters. I say go for reading this one. It’s almost like you’re watching reality TV and it’s such a guilty pleasure but you can’t help but not look away. Maybe because the characters were just so hateful you had to keep on reading. You just wanted to know what was going to happen next.

Review
4 Stars
An eye opener, and worth the read
Factory Girl - Josanne La Valley

This was a great eye opener albeit a sad read on what’s going on with the Uyghur and how they’re being treated by the Chinese government. They’re not a very well known group of people and after finishing this book it’s an eye opening experience.

 

Throughout the novel you follow the narrative of Roshen, who’s left her family behind and a potential fiance to work in a factory. As a reader you already have an idea on how this is going to go as factories over there are usually sweatshops with grueling horrifying conditions. What I was not expecting, and because I didn’t know much of these peoples is they’re on the bottom rung of the ladder everywhere they go. Since they don’t look like your average Chinese, they stick out as a visible minority and because their beliefs are very much different, they get treated horribly and are pretty much slaves.

 

You follow Roshen and a group of Uyghur girls as they toil through the factory under horrible conditions. You can feel their fear and mistrust, even amongst themselves because anyone can become an informant. What I was not prepared for, was for Hawa’s character. You already had an assumption about her because of her behavior but when she does something completely unspeakable on behalf of Roshen it was a complete blindside. The negative feelings you had towards Hawa disappears completely and is replaced with a kind of respect for what she went through.

 

Definitely recommended to read. It’s horrifying what these families and girls go through, and awareness is key.

Review
5 Stars
Great horror novel with creep factor
The Supernaturals - David L. Goleman

The beauty of reading horror books is this: even though you’ve probably read this same thing or read the same horror book with similar plots, cookie cutter characters, etc, what really matters at the end of the day is; does it provide you with enough chills and creep factor to get you reading?

Thankfully, this one delivers!

The plot is pretty standard; haunted house that is on the market but nobody buys it. It needs a super cleansing and a group of people are gathered and led by a Professor who’s looking out for redemption. It seems pretty much like a typical horror plot out there but it’s well written and the flow is consistent. That being said, the real action starts about the last third of the book. Think of this book as an introduction to a cast of characters, and what their ‘gifts’ are like. Their background stories are provided, and everything leading up to the night at the house is well done. It prepares to reader as to what to look forward to (with some creep factor in between)

So let’s get to the creep factor. It’s definitely there. The descriptions and events happening is enough to give the reader chills and leaves it to their imagination. There’s plenty of loud noise moments, evil laughter, and things going bump in the night to contribute to the enjoyment of reading this book.

The characters could have been better now, perhaps because it’s an introduction to the group but there’s not much substance to them (at least to some) I was a bit disappointed in George and Leonard because they had a lot to contribute but it seemed to have fizzled out when it really counts. For the most part it’s mostly John, Jenny and Gabriel in the spotlight. They’re all pretty much likable and their own storylines are good to read to provide more ‘fleshing out’ of the character.

It’s a solid horror story with a good ending. Of course it looks like there’s a second book coming out and I’m going to go and read it. I enjoyed this one immensely.

Review
3 Stars
Great historical setting, mystery is meh
Falconer's Crusade - Ian Morson

This is a pretty short mystery to read through. Looks can be deceiving though. Despite being short, it’s packed in with some heavy duty stuff.

 

The setting for example. Very rich in detail and gives you a sense on how it was back then in William Falconer’s time. Add in some political intrigue, a Jewish Quarter, and some rioting and it gets pretty exciting. I really can’t get over how great the setting is. It’s so descriptive you can feel the darkness and the dampness that permeates throughout the novel. Morson also does an excellent job to stay close to historical accuracy here in this novel as well. Forensic pathology is frowned upon, and you even get to see Falconer try on a strange contraption that looks a lot like Medieval opera glasses at the time. :)

 

The plot is pretty straight forward although there is not much of a secret mystery element in it. The suspect list is not extensive (thankfully! You’ll see why as you read further into this review) and when revealed it’s not much of a surprise or an a ha! Moment. There isn’t much personality to the characters except Falconer and his student Thomas. Thomas is a particular dolt. A Farmer boy who managed to be gifted and chosen to study and be a Scholar, well, for all the idiotic moves he makes, you have to wonder how the University chose this guy to let him attend their school. He fumbles and stumbles at the worst times and always manages to get himself into some life threatening situations (and doesn’t learn from it). It was funny the first few times, but after a while it gets annoying and you want to slap this boy upside the head. (You don’t deserve Hannah’s attention, you twit).

 

I’m going to assume it will get better with other books in this series, and this one serves as an introduction to the series. Since I really do love the historical aspect I will stick with this series and see where it takes me. Historical mystery lovers will love the setting and theme of this book, the mystery part, not so much.

Review
2 Stars
Very Lackluster and hardly any suspense at all
Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense - Julia Heaberlin

I was psyched for this one! I love these kinds of books that keep you guessing and sets you on the edge of suspense. Among other things that are prevalent throughout the novel. Unfortunately, I think I was just a little too hyped over this book.

 

Although the plot had some good moments and the occasional suspense, I found it lackluster and often wondering where this is going to take me. I wish the mystery and suspense was more heightened. It was a very flat plot with not much going for it except the mysterious bits and even  then, it feels like you hit what you think it was a climax only for it to die down quick and we’re back to the same flat plot line again. It feels like a long dreary car ride with people you don’t like. (The entire book they’re frequently on the road, so this relates.)

 

When all the mystery is revealed - it was all right. Yet it felt like a simple shrug of the shoulder and it was off to go back home. It was a bit frustrating, and it wasn’t anything to be surprised about. Nothing creeping from out of the blue, or anything to blind side you. It’s similar to the feeling when you are opening a gift and you already know what it is. There’s not much element of surprise or much feeling to go with it.

 

However, the one theme I did like was the one with dementia. It’s pictured with accuracy and this aspect of the book was well written. You can feel the high strung energy and  the main character feeling ready to snap when Carl starts going off track in his mind and unfortunately that’s really how it is when dealing with someone who is suffering from this disease. It’s extremely hard to maintain your patience but at the same time you are realizing it’s not their fault. Her relationship with Carl throughout the novel perfectly depicts this and because of this dynamic, this was why I stuck through and read the book.

 

This book could have been better in the suspense area. Overall the plot is pretty much lackluster and had few suspenseful moments. Worth reading? I say read for the character relationship and development. Otherwise those that want a scare or a surprise won’t find any of that in here at all.

Review
4 Stars
Quick to the point, engaging story line!
The Rat Tunnels of Isfahan: Scorpions and Silk – Book One (Volume 1) - Alejandro de Gutierre

So what I liked about this book. It’s to the point! And I love it! Anyone who’s writing this type of book could have gone on about every little detail thus making the plot drag, and adding all sorts of fluff to even make it ‘poetical’ and ‘lyrical’. None of that nonsense here. Yes, there are some parts which are descriptive. However the great thing about it is, it’s descriptive to enhance the plot, and also to move it along. There’s been too many times I’ve read something similar, and it gets stuck at describing every little surrounding, and every little feeling the protagonist is going through. This is where attention span goes down and the book is then put down and forgotten or ends up in the “Did not finish” pile.

 

So the good thing is, although there’s a dream sequence, and few moments of prolonged description, but because of these moments you learn more about the character and his background. To be frank, you’re pretty much just as lost as he is at the start of the story. It’s the things like that, which immerses the reader into the plot and makes the reading experience more enjoyable.

 

There’s two  more books after this one, and the first one ends in a semi cliffhanger because of what’s going to happen to our main protagonist. I thought it’s a great light read and it’s quick and it’s to the point. Looking forward to what’s going to happen next to our main guy!

Review
3 Stars
Great ghost story, but dragged out ending
Silence for the Dead - Simone St. James

Anything to do with a horror ghost theme and an asylum has to be good right? Well, yes and no. The book was somewhat enjoyable to read but it had its’ moments.

 

The plot itself was good. It  had the elements of a good gothic theme - not scary enough to make people read it in daytime (seriously?) but it had some good decent creep factor in it. It’s enough to set the mood and theme of the book but nothing to make the skin crawl. The element of mystery was also there and the ghost story aspect was good - nothing to blind side you - except perhaps for a little twist in the end (with where the ghost was and who was it manipulating etc etc). It’s pretty much a stable plot with all the main points closed (or is it? *queue creepy organ music*) so I’d have to say the gothic ghost story was what was in it for me.

 

Character wise. Kitty is likable. She’s resourceful, and a survivor from horrible abuse. Big applause for her for being strong and able to stand up and survive through various ordeals. Captain Mabry stood out for me because I enjoyed reading about his character. He seemed to be the strong stable silent type in the asylum where you have various patients with various issues (most were casualties of World War One) and there was a certain calmness about him that made him likable.

 

It’s pretty much obvious Kitty and Jack were to be together. The romance aspect in the book was all right. Necessary? I’m not sure perhaps. It’s not really for me. When their romance was more cemented was where the book was starting to take a slight turn downhill.

 

So near the ending when everything was revealed, all plot holes start to close. Sometimes, depending on the writing, you can stretch it out and make it interesting. Or you can make it drag. This one, unfortunately drags. We’re done with the ghosts, everything was answered, and the last 30 pages or so I just wanted the book to end. The romance of Kitty and Jack intensify and this is where intense eye rolling is also induced. Dear Lord, am I reading this just to see if there’s a scary twist at the end? Or am I wasting my time? Well sadly, I wasted my time. It was good to see what happened to characters like Mabry, and even Matron, but it just dragged way too much. Yeah okay we get it Kitty and Jack forever. Why do we need so many pages of this, am I suddenly reading a romance now?

 

Other than the ghost story in this book, the romance nearly killed it for me and a dragged out ending. Perhaps a nice twist in the ending would be nice. Or maybe skim the 30 pages and be done. I would say take it or leave it with this book. It was moderately enjoyable for me.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Great plot with good action
Hemlock - Kathleen Peacock

***Possible spoilers, you’ve been warned***

 

The book starts off well and has a good pace and momentum throughout the book. The setting is also well done and small with a handful of characters so it’s simple and makes the reading enjoyable. I particularly liked the dream sequences Mac has with Amy. They can be cliche but it helps move the plot along and adds to the mood.

 

The werewolf aspect is interesting in the book. The notion of them having a ‘rehabilitation’ camp has a dystopia feel and there’s also Mac trying to solve Amy’s murder. So there’s different characteristics of the book to please YA readers which makes the experience reading this fun and enjoyable.

 

Of course you need a bit of romance in the story as well right? I’m all for Kyle and Mac being together. I found the love triangle aspect here irritating and forced on. Jason did not have sort of chemistry at all with Mac. It felt forced, awkward, and well...it just didn’t sit well with me (your boyfriend likes your best friend...just. No.) The love triangle just made things so cliche and sappy. The story didn’t need this. It was fine with just Kyle and Mac!

 

The mystery aspect was good throughout the novel. The crumb trail to figuring out who was behind the attacks wasn’t that obvious until the late third of the book and although it was already known who it was, the action sequence and climax of the story was pretty exciting and a lot of things are revealed. The revelations weren’t the type to blind side you, it fits well into the story and puts the pieces together. Which is fine. I think the action scenes are enough to keep readers interested.

 

I was happy with the way the book ended and I’ll be picking up the second one. Recommended for YA lovers who just want a good light read with some good action and a readable enjoyable plot.

Review
3 Stars
Substantial cast, good historical fiction mystery
The Ninth Daughter - Barbara Hamilton

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I would! It was a great mystery with a hefty set of characters (historical and otherwise) with an underlying theme of political tension playing throughout the plot.

 

I think that’s what made the book enjoyable, was despite the mystery being the main hook, the political tension and bickering between the patriots and the British was always in the forefront and mentioned when need be as it was central to the story. Every so often you had mention of Abigail’s refusal to drink tea for example, or minor scuffles happening between citizens and the Redcoats.

 

Despite the tensions however, Abigail puts her ideas and beliefs aside and works alongside the British to solve this mystery. I enjoyed reading her character. She’s strong willed and has a good retort every so often when she needs to speak out, which shocks other characters as it wasn’t considered “proper”. I enjoy Abigail’s unorthodox behavior and it may seem as if she gives an air of an annoying stubborn woman, but it’s because of her personality that things get done no matter whose side you’re on or who you support.

 

John and Abigail’s relationship was also nice to read. They’re both equals and you can see a subtle quiet strength between them and they compliment each other perfectly. There’s a mutual respect between the two and if they were alive now, they would probably be a political supercouple ;)

 

The mystery aspect of the book was good and the intrigue is definitely noted. The setting is superbly done and very descriptive. The list of suspects was substantial and revelation of the culprit isn’t much of a surprise but the execution of obtaining the criminal and his background story was excellent to read , and was very satisfying to see the bad guys get their dues. The supporting characters are also well done - although I have to admit, there are just a little too many for me. Even minor characters have their personality and details and although it’s good and makes the world building more detailed and rich, sometimes it’s a bit hard to follow as to who’s who. (Perhaps a section of cast of characters would help in this case - especially when some characters share the same last name)

 

I’ll be picking up the next book to read. It’s definitely worth looking into for those that love historical fiction mysteries. The tea has been dumped!!! So you have to figure out what sort of chaos is going to happen and what mystery Abigail will solve next.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Sad to see this series go!!
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

***Spoilers. You’ve been warned***


The plot was a pretty fast paced one, just like the first and second. This one’s got more heartbreaking moments and I’m glad to see the romance drama has cleared as well. You still feel the awkward tension between Mal and Alina and it does induce moments of eyeball rolling but the heartbreaker comes when hell breaks loose and Nikolai gets taken away and becomes corrupted by the Darkling.

Did I ever want to cry out loud in horrifying rage.

Of all people Nikolai just HAD TO BE THE ONE. Just when things were getting a little better, when it looks like he might have snagged Alina and they might be together (just maybe?) but noooo! He had to be corrupted and although he valiantly did try to fight it my heart broke into two. (I guess you could say I’m all for Team Nikolai) Which of course clears the path for Mal and Alina to try again and rekindle their love.

This love triangle was one where I was happy with who she would end up being with either way. Of course I would have preferred Nikolai because I loved his character and personality. But now that Mal stopped his stupidity the chemistry was back between himself and Alina. It just felt right. 

I loved how everything just came to full circle to close this series. How in the end, Mal and Alina go back to recreate the orphanage to house children just like how they used to be when they were young. It was sad to see Alina decline to be at Nikolai’s side, but also to decline to be at court with the other Grisha but, it was for the better. Alina had never felt like she was part of them, neither did Mal. It was touching when she received the kefta with the note (yeah I got a little something in my eye with that moment)

And even though the Darkling didn’t deserve it, kudos for Alina to take the high road and giving him a proper ending.

I enjoyed reading this series. I’m sad to see this series come to an end. I didn’t realize how attached I were to some characters. It was a nice sigh of relief at the end though. When I closed the book after reading the final page. It was a beautiful but bittersweet ending. 

(David and Genya!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!) :D
 

Review
4 Stars
Suspenseful with a hateful villain!
Her Every Fear - Peter  Swanson

I love these kinds of stories where there’s a twist with a horrible villain that’s rotten to the core. There’s plenty of mystery and the creep factor is definitely there throughout the book.

 

What I liked about the book was the mood and the way it’s written. The element of mystery is excellent. You’re even doubting Kate and questioning her sanity because of certain events in the book. When you realize it’s all real the creep factor greatly increases.

 

The characters in this book are well done. You do feel for Corbin but at the same time, he brought it upon himself. (Doesn’t anyone just TALK about it anymore? It’s all about just lashing out and getting revenge???!!) And Henry, he’s just a special character all in his own group. I’ve read some pretty hateful characters...but Henry’s pretty high up on the list. He’s got some pretty serious issues and he’s overall a pretty unlikable character. But, to his credit he’s devious. Devious to the point where he could be a runner for villain of the year. His planning and methods were crafty and calculating. Imagining having someone like Henry in your vicinity is enough to get the hairs on your arms rise.

 

The plot was well done and flowing nicely. There is also a good amount of backstory throughout the novel so it helps you understand the actions and behavior of the characters, and that’s what I really enjoyed the most of this book. The climax of the novel was also very well done and everything comes to a perfect closing towards the end.

 

Two things that irked me in this book; Kate and Alan. Alan’s creepy in his own way (harmless creep) but a creep nevertheless. He’s awkward and not that likable but then again, Kate’s choices aren’t really that stellar anyway (not her fault).

 

Another thing; I have no idea why the author had to be so descriptive to the point as to describe *exactly* what novel Kate’s reading, what type of music Alan is listening to, etc. Are you trying to name drop? To advertise? It was to the point where it got annoying - perhaps it’s because I’ve had bad experiences with this type of writing so I’m thinking that’s why it stands out and irked me. Next time, no need to advertise? Please?

 

Greatly recommended for thriller lovers! You got a good villain to hate here!

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
1 Stars
Started off great, but went downhill quickly
Quietus - Vivian Schilling

 

***Possible spoilers you have been warned***



I was absolutely into the first half of the book. I loved the dark setting, the dark descent of madness for poor Kylie and trying to figure out what is happening to her and her world. The mood and the setting is dark and meant to be so, this part is excellent and sets the tone of the book. You get the eerie creepy feelings and the writing style is good enough that it could be played out like a movie in your head.

 

So Kyle as a character is all right. She has her flaws, her marriage has flaws but I’ll be honest to say I really did like her and Jack together. You knew they had major flaws and issues that should have been resolved but they just never got around to it. But their chemistry was excellent and you could feel their love even though sad to say, it was going on a path that just wasn’t meant to be. Although their relationship wasn’t that great to begin with, love was never a problem and they looked and seemed great together but it just wasn’t meant to be.

 

So let’s get to the plot. It started off on the right foot. Lots of creep factor. The plane crash incident well done. Kylie’s recovery, and the slow descent to what looks like madness (but isn’t) and the book tries to explain this to you while you read. Okay. I can handle this. I wanted to know what happens next.

 

Then we come across this incident in Kylie’s past that’s coming back to haunt her (see what I did there? Har har) okay. It’s pretty traumatic, and well you did send the guy to death because of a crime he committed so I get it.

 

Julius though….This guy was a grown man while Kylie was a little girl when he died and all of sudden he’s going all creepy touchy feely and managed to induce this semi wet dream/alternate reality sequence with present day Kylie while she was on public transportation. Yeah. Ok. And stop calling her Kylie Rose. It’s annoying but also creepy in a Pedo kind of way.

 

So after being introduced to Julius the incubus ghost wannabe the plot just slides down the hill and it becomes almost a chore to read through. I can’t believe this book has to be 608 pages as we already know what’s going on with Kylie and her crew about 200 pages in. It gets too descriptive, too mushy and it attempts to do some sort of surreal thing about life after death yadda yadda yadda.

 

I tried to like it. I can’t. If you cut the book in half and redid the ending so it wasn’t one long dreary part then the book would have been much better and more enjoyable to read. But this falls so short and it’s unfortunate the theme had promise and even the characters had potential.

Review
3 Stars
A Must Read with Serious Subject Matter
Cut Me Free - J.R. Johansson

You simply just can’t imagine the terror Piper had to go through all throughout her life, and then to get out of that vicious cycle shows how strong she is. It’s sad that it had to come to severe extreme measure for her to escape but nevertheless she was able to do so is a feat in itself.

 

The way the characters; both Piper and Sanda are extremely well done in this book. They’re both mistrustful of others (can’t blame them) and although they try hard to learn how to integrate with society, they do tend to stand out. (Examples such as Sanda being fearful of not seeing Piper again or Piper learning how to register Sanda to school) This is so well done by Johansson. It’s very realistic of their characters and it shows how they struggle to blend in because of their fear of standing out due to their trauma. They shy away from physical contact to the point where it causes them physical discomfort. This is well written and felt by the characters accurately.



The plot itself was good as well. It just seems like wherever Piper goes horrible awful things just seem to follow. It’s serious and dark, and Piper being stalked does increase the chill factor several notches up. The idea of someone breaking into your apartment and leaving lovely goodies to freak you out is unsettling and terrifying. These moments are well written and does set the mood for the plot. There’s a moment or two where you feel so angry because of particular actions and the suffering some of the characters go through. (Yes Lily, I’m looking at you...you horrible girl you…)

 

I’m not sure what to think of the relationship between Cam and Piper. Sure Piper has a great deal of mistrust and puts Cam at an arm length’s distance but seriously? Romance? I know he’s trying to be friendly and has a bleeding heart for those in need but I’m not sure Piper would jump in at the chance to have a romance with him. Yes, she puts him as far away from her as possible and he tries hard to approach her through different ways but I really don’t see a romance as a thing in this story. Should there even be one? Why was there one in the first place? I found it rather unnecessary considering the serious subject matter.

 

This novel is nerve wracking, and props to Piper and Sanda for their inner strength. It was a good read. Not a light hearted one, but one worth the read nevertheless.