Dark mood and intricate plot makes Jar City a good read

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When a lonely old man is found dead in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, but not convicted, of an unsolved crime, a rape. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him? As Erlendur reopens this very cold case, he follows a trail of unusual forensic evidence, uncovering secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man. (From Goodreads)

What made this book enjoyable was how such an intricate web was spun throughout the novel giving the reader enough interest to keep reading. I was not sure what to expect from this book. Although I’ve heard good things about it I didn’t think I would be so engrossed and be flying through the pages to find out what will happen next.

I’m still not sure what to think of Erlandur as a character. Like most protagonists in series like these they usually have an underlying personal issue (whether it be health, or family for example) which he does have, but his personality I can’t really quite make out. He doesn’t seem to have much of one except he cares for his daughter and her well being even though they are estranged. He does have some sense of humor and wit but overall he appears to be driven by his work and hard working to solve the crime (we all need police like these don’t we?.)

I’m liking how his relationship with his daughter is turning out. It’s nice to see them slowly step away from their estrangement and it shows they do truly care for each other even though it’s done through yelling (most families are like that though, aren’t they?) It shows a lot of tough love, and I’m hoping the best for Eva Lind in the next books (I hope she appears as I’m slowly starting to like her more.)

What I enjoyed the most of this book was the plot like I mentioned earlier. It went from point A to point B but in such a dramatic motion it certainly kept you reading to find out what was going to happen next. The mood of the story also, was excellent. It was dark, dreary, melancholy, and although not suspenseful like the majority of the crime novels, it didn’t have to be. It made the setting suitable for the plot and made it more enjoyable.

One little thing I do have to add though, is the side story with the bride. I’m not sure why that was mentioned as it had little to do with the main story and it seemed like a filler. It wasn’t necessary as the plot itself was fine without it. I also enjoyed the ending of the book. It was sad, but you came to the realization it had to come to an ending like this.

As this is book #3 in its native language, it’s considered book #1 in its’ English translation. It seems all right and nothing seems to be lacking. Perhaps a bit of backstory might have helped but it was comprehensible to read. Greatly recommended! It’s a great break from the usual detective novels we have out there.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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Paintings and children make this one pretty eerie…

48fc036cb417fe6596d4b637051434f414f4141.jpgYou’re living the dream…A beautiful house, a loving wife. Two kids, a dog, and a tenure track professorship teaching art at the local university. Your name is Daniel Rineheart. You’ve got it all….But All Dreams Must End. For this autumn heralds the arrival of a mysterious painting. No name. No date. No signature or frame. A disturbing work of grotesque perfection: two children with cruel eyes, a window onto an endless field, and a dying tree on top of a hill. A work of art… that changes with each viewing.

So Begins The Nightmare……Where wretched children crawl from a canvas prison to stalk the quiet halls of this happy home….Where painted clocks tick-tock away in the dark hours before dawn, and a missing dog whimpers from between the walls….Where all answers lead to a dark artist and an impossible creation, a cursed canvas with a twisted past……And A Horror That Will Devour All. (From Goodreads)

The horror aspects of this book was really good. It was creepy enough to give you the heebie jeebies and anything to do with strange looking paintings and children always make things more creepier than they should be. (The Shining, anyone?)

I can’t really say I like Daniel as a character. He had it coming to him. It was an awful cruel thing he did and he deserved every last bit of it. None of the characters really stood out here since Daniel was really the center of the plot, but wow Karina. You’re just some kind of special aren’t you? She played on Daniel’s sympathy until he realized she’s completely bat crazy and well, you walked into that one didn’t you? This is what happens when you want the cake and the cherry on top. Just don’t do it. However tempting that is.

Plot wise, it’s pretty entertaining and good stuff for a horror book. It does come off as reading a horror movie in print which is pretty good and frankly, if this ever was a movie, I’d probably watch it and enjoy it better. The ending was great and is everything  you would expect in a horror movie or book. There’s mystery elements into the book which does not affect the story that much and adds more intrigue.

Although the horror elements were good, the execution of the story could be better. I thought certain aspects of the plot were just there for convenience. There could have been more to the Mabel plot arc. It was just planted there with no real explanation except it was given about 2-3 pages but no real contribution. I wish there was more to it. It would have helped, and could have made the story much better.

Despite some of the shortcomings of the book, it was an enjoyable read. It was creepy enough to give you the chills and the ending was what you would expect in this genre. Recommended to horror lovers!

I give it a 6 out of 10.

 

Our Dark Duet Punched me in the Gut.

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THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY. KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it. AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost. THE WAR HAS BEGUN. THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING. Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons. Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

***Possible spoilers below. You’ve been warned***

The plot was off to a pretty slow start in this one. Before I start, I’d have to recommend you read This Savage Song before going to this book. You would need the foundation that was set up in This Savage Song to really benefit and enjoy reading Our Dark Duet.

As mentioned before, the plot slow in the beginning. Kate and August are on both different ends of the spectrum but have changed drastically. They’ve definitely ‘grown up’ so to speak. Kate becomes monster hunter extraordinaire. August leads his own squad in the FTF. Kate’s part of the story was definitely more interesting. Despite trying hard not to warm up to people she manages to have her small group of friends (but of course, shuns them anyway despite one of them trying to reach out to her numerous times). I love this quality in Kate. It makes her so much more realistic and puts her way from the group of those ‘stone cold butt kickers that apparently have no soul’.

That being said about Kate. Oh. Lord. That ending. Kate dying with August nearby got my stomach into knots and twists. I can’t believe it. It was beautifully written though and a suitable ending for her. Kate was pretty much a pariah and a lone wolf. August was one of the few that was able to get to know Kate at a more deeper level. It was only fitting that she meets her end with that one person by her side. Beautifully done.

I didn’t really think the romance scene between Kate and August was necessary. It was a minor filler that didn’t need to be added. I never saw August and Kate that way. They were too different and didn’t have that nice ongoing chemistry together. Fighting partners, yes. Partners in love? No I don’t think so.

So more about characters dying. Am I the only one that felt a punch to the gut when Ilsa died? Ilsa was a character I really loved in these two books. She went down in a blaze of glory though (albeit, a shocked blaze of glory.)

You have to admit, Sloan is one of the better villains I have read in a long while. I like him teaming up with Alice even though villains they are, they are looking out for themselves. He’s creepy, malicious, calculating, and cunning. He’s a perfect villain.

The last half of the book, which was filled with action, blood, explosions and all the good stuff set the pace for the great ending to a wonderfully written duology. I know fans out there are asking for more, as it’s not the end of the adventures for August and Soro. For me, it’s just enough and it’s a perfect ending. Well done Ms Schwab! Now I’m off to read your other works!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

 

Mr Darcy Will Always Be Loved…

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After her father’s death, Elizabeth Bennet goes to work as a governess. Little does she know the Willstones are social acquaintances of the Bingleys and the Darcys, and Elizabeth finds herself once again drawn into Mr. Darcy’s orbit. To make matters worse, Mrs. Willstone’s sister sets her sights on Mr. Darcy. With Elizabeth’s social status even lower than it was before, she knows she must abandon all hope of Darcy renewing his proposals, even as she begins to see him in a completely different light (From Goodreads)

I’m such a sucker for these kinds of books featuring Pride and Prejudice. There are so many different types of retellings and most of them are good. This one has its moments and it was enjoyable to read.

So in this twist, our beloved Mr Bennet dies prematurely and Elizabeth becomes a governess. This was rather interesting, and it does suit Elizabeth rather well – although back then in the day it’s a drop in the society ladder and everyone she knows makes sure she knows it.

So she meets Rosalyn which I thought at first, was an ideal friend for our dear Lizzie. She’s a bit  vapid and valley girl type of character. Especially when Mr Darcy is around (can’t blame her, we all love Mr Darcy) but it’s almost to the point where she’s annoying about it.  It’s not until the latter half of the novel where Rosalyn does a complete 360 and she becomes a pretty awful person (including her mother).

The plot in this one tries to stay within the main one we’re all familiar with it just diverts the path a bit and comes back to full circle. Which is nice as it tries to stay true to the original story at the same time you just get a different “what if” scenario to enjoy reading. I’d have to say I enjoy reading Hamilton (another cousin of Darcy’s) playing along with Elizabeth. It was playful banter and he sounded like the type of rogue we all love to read and fall for (albeit, foolishly). It was a bit hard to get into at first but it’s worth going through to the end as once Rosalyn does her 360 turn, everything becomes much more interesting.

The only thing I did not enjoy reading is towards the end Darcy does something completely out of character and it just did not sit well with me. He’s not the type to be outspoken even when it comes to be madly in love. Don’t make him something he’s not. It nearly ruined the entire book as it was doing so well staying close to the true nature of the characters only to have him do something he wouldn’t EVER do (nor can you picture him doing so).

Also, the ending just dragged too much for me. We get it. We all know what’s going to happen. We all know what did happen. There’s no need for extra fodder in the last few chapters of the book. It could have just ended with the proposal or wedding and done. Perhaps the last few chapters could have been made into an entirely new idea for another book to be made. It was just so unnecessary.

Overall, it was a good read for those that love Pride and Prejudice “what if” scenarios and fans. I enjoyed it despite those changes in characters that nearly caused me to grind my teeth and yelling out certain expletives.

I give it a 6 out of 10.  

Goats Just Don’t Look The Same…

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When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn’t possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees . . . (From Goodreads)

So you know when  you’re watching a horror movie and there’s an unseen being involved and you only catch little glimpses here and there throughout the film, and when you do actually see it you think (or more likely, scream out) WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

Yeah that’s basically what you get throughout the book. It could be similar horror elements like Blair Witch Project, only you do find out what it is towards the latter part of the story. (And it’s still pretty creepy to figure out and picture).

I really do enjoy the horror aspects in this book and the feelings it invokes. You can really feel the desperation, frustration, and anguish felt within the characters. Tempers flare and understandably fights happen from within the group. You feel Luke’s anger and his highs and lows as you follow him throughout this horror journey.

There’s not many twists or blindside moments in this book it’s pretty much standard that you would see in horror books but the setting is very well done. A remote forest in Scandinavia while there’s something big and bad out there provides great atmosphere for the dark and scary.

It does drag out through the last third of the novel where you just have to feel for Luke and you wonder how much the human spirit can take. The ending really should have ended about 50 pages ago and there is repetition through the novel that some may find a trial to go through when reading. It’s manageable most of the time but I was close to losing my interest towards the end of the novel but powered through. It was still an enjoyable read, and recommended for those that want a good solid horror.

I’ll be reading more of his books for sure. I enjoyed the thrill and can only imagine what his other books will be like.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Twists Turns Surprises Oh my

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When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement. You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves. You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her. You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships. Assume nothing. (From Goodreads)

 

I got this ARC from a contest I entered and started reading it as soon as I was able to. It started off excellent in the first chapters and it completely caught my attention.

The book certainly keeps you guessing all throughout the novel and it certainly keeps you on your toes and you realize this is probably how the ex wife (can’t name names, it would give the plot away) felt as you progress through the story. The twists and turns keep you blindsided and it keeps you guessing even until the final pages of the book. It was a great and thrilling. Every other chapter I heard myself going: “WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST READ?”

I really felt for the ex wife though. There’s a lot of cringeworthy moments for her and it almost hurt to read her part of the plot. I was stuck feeling like I wanted to give her a good girl pep talk or slapping her upside the head for acting in a particular way. However when it’s revealed why her actions were done then you’re left with a smile and approving nod.  Ma’am, you are bloody brilliant. Manipulative, but brilliant and it costed you just about everything.

So with the multiple twists and turns, and the roller coaster feelings you get, the novel does a great job in tying everything together and making everything meet at an apex point. It’s very well done and everything is explained to you. Now I didn’t like how some of the characters got away with what seems like a slap on the wrist, and I wanted to know more about Maureen’s motives which although was explained in very minimal detail so in this aspect, it was a bit of a cop out.

Otherwise, this was such an excellent book to read and greatly recommended for thriller lovers who like to be surprised at every twist and turn possible. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

This Book Had It’s Moments…

1616203536.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgWhen a building collapses around five teenagers and they just barely escape they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page (From Goodreads)

 

I have to agree, this was indeed a page turner. It started off with a bang and it was one event after another until our four characters started putting the pieces together. It got really thrilling at certain moments of the book and even you are left wondering what the heck is going on and you’re feeling just as lost and confused as the characters.

The plot itself in general was all right. Be prepared for some predictable scenes. It didn’t bother me as much as it was expected but there were plenty of moments in the book where you were blindsided with surprise which makes up for some of the predictability.

The characters were well done and complimented each other as a group despite each one having their differences. The narration done throughout the novel is by Caleb and Saralinda. Both characters are likable to an extent. I prefer reading Caleb’s side of the story instead of Saralinda only because she got annoying towards the second half of the novel. I thought she was trying too hard to be the happy nerdy girl with the forceful jokes. (You certainly CANNOT be thinking of first kisses and romance while you have the police and your murderous parents after you…seriously now?)

The read was all right. Some thrilling moments here and there and an ending that’s enough to close the story. Would I recommend this? Not really. I’d say more along the lines of: take it or leave it.

I give it a 7 out of 10.