Mister Tender ain’t so sweet

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How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender? At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels. Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear… (From Goodreads)

This was a really good thrilling read. I enjoyed the twists and the overall feeling of the book really gave you the feeling you were being observed just like Alice felt throughout the novel.

Depictions of anxiety, of Alice breaking down and feeling defeated, her constant fear of being watched and followed, there’s a lot of emotions in the book and you can’t blame her as she went through a real rough patch in her past. It’s amazing she’s able to do the things she does (like owning a coffee shop for example). Alice is a very strong and determined character with considerable vulnerabilities.

I wasn’t really much into the guessing game as to who’s the one doing the following here. I was much too engrossed on how Alice was faring throughout the story as it seemed she was going to snap at any moment.

However, let’s get to the last third of the book.

Holy jeez. I don’t even know what to think.

You ever get that horrible creepy feeling when you come across something so terrible and bizarre and the only thing you can do is keep reading about it until your curiosity either gets the best out of you and you can’t sleep for the rest of the night or you turn away (but your curiosity hasn’t been satiated and you go back to step one)

That’s how I felt while reading the last third of the novel. To even think something like *that* actually exists out there (and worse) is frightening.

Now there were some unanswered and strings that weren’t really tied together or finished. Some characters just vanished without a trace and you’re left wondering what’s going to happen to them or if Alice is going to keep in touch with these particular people. Or maybe, Alice is just going to start fresh again ? who knows. I just didn’t like that some of them were just left there forgotten.

Other than that little bit, I enjoyed reading this book. You’d be surprised what awful twisted things lurk out there in the world and they’re probably just watching without us even knowing it. Great suspense and thrills. Worth a read!

I give it a 7 out of 10.

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The horror and thrill…oh but Stella smella….

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Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back. Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets. Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t. She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers ahead you have been warned***

What really got me turning the pages in this book was the horror and mystery aspect. It set the mood and the setting perfectly. It certainly gave you the necessary thrills and chills to keep you interested in the book. There’s some supernatural element to the story but as you progress into the finale well, answers will be revealed in time. 🙂

I loved the plot, the setting and the mood. There was no stalling. No dry bits. It was perfect flow throughout the book. This was so excellently written that I completely bypassed my extreme dislike for the characters. (Yes the plot was that good.)

So onto the characters. I just don’t like Stella. Not only is she particularly nasty to Sam, but her attitude and personality just stinks all around. She’s your typical mean girl (or should I say, the Queen Bee’s lackey?). I hated her treatment towards Sam, and Sam being your typical nice guy takes it like a doormat. Oh and he gets walked on not one, not twice but more than enough times to count. You know what this smells like? This smells like a dysfunctional relationship heading towards some horrible form of co-dependency. It’s horrible to read and if this is some sort of messed up way of redeeming Stella for all the things she’s done, I hardly think this qualifies.

True, Stella had a pretty traumatizing event happened to her. But I can’t sympathize with her behaviour. Zoey is just as bad and just as spiteful but one thing she had going for her was her extreme loyalty. I had to admit that was something you need in a best friend. Minus the Queen Bee behaviour of course.

This is one of the few books where I disliked the characters, but the plot just kept me reading. The elements of mystery was so well done that I enjoyed reading this one. I would recommend this one for the plot, but don’t expect to like the characters much. But thankfully they don’t make a negative impact on the plot at all.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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.

 

Cloak and Dagger Challenge 2018!

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Aside from the Historical Fiction Challenge, I’m also going to join this one: the Cloak and Dagger Challenge for 2018. Mystery/thrillers are one of my favorite genres so I think I should have no problem achieving my level. I’ll be aiming for: Detective (16-25 books)

Can’t wait to start my reading challenges for 2018! I’m hoping to find a few more to get my reading going!

 

One of the best crime thrillers I’ve read so far…

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When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done. For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of victims–women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them–has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens. But the murders at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena’s ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more dangerous than what she’s running from. (From Goodreads)

Oh lord this book was a roller coaster ride. I’d have to say as of after reading this book, it’s been the best thriller/crime book I have read so far.

The pace of the book is pretty fast and you’re breezing through the book trying to figure out how this is going to come into play. There’s three different story arcs happening here in this book and it’s brilliant how it all came together in the end in one full circle. There plenty of moments where you’re saying to yourself; “Oh no…this is going to happen..” only something else will get in the way and you breathe a sigh in relief. This pretty much is a rinse repeat throughout the book but it doesn’t get tiring or boring. It enhances and makes the plot go faster and more exciting.

Hoo boy Xander/Leon. You are one pretty sad soul. Horrible childhood and all that is understandable but man oh man this is some brutal stuff you’re doing. Normally I cheer for the villains in most book but this one, I can’t. He’s horrible and twisted. You’re torn because you do feel pity for what he’s gone through as a child but he turned out so horribly wrong. This book is not for the squeamish for sure.

Valerie’s got my respect. She’s a total mess getting into the novel and has a lot on her plate. She faces a lot of overwhelming odds and constant pressure it’s no wonder she suffers from constant blackouts and physical reactions to stress. You almost wanted to beg her to stop and just take a breather, she’s a working machine that is endless even when her body is telling her it’s reaching the limit.

Actually you pretty much feel that way with all the characters in the book. They’re in constant emotional physical and mental anguish, they’re at their limit as to what their bodies can take but they all take it and go one step further it’s amazing how they’re still standing. I mentally begged Valerie to end it. I was just about to be in tears for all of them and the suffering they were going through.

The characters were great, the pace of the plot was excellent with a great ending to end things to a full stop. (A little weak on the explanation for Carla’s behavior, understandable but  a little extreme don’t you think?) In any case, I greatly recommend this book. It’s an excellent read.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

More Like a Guilty Pleasure Book

1616203536.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgHarper has never been worried about falling in love, something she is skeptical even exists. But everything changes when Logan moves to town, and to Harper’s shock, the two tumble into an intense romance. It’s everything she never thought she wanted. Then she meets Logan’s twin brother, Daemon, who was expelled from his last school. True, he’s a bad boy, but Harper can’t shake the feeling that there’s something deeply sinister about him–something dangerous. When Logan starts pulling away, Harper is convinced that Daemon’s shadowy past is the wedge being driven between them. But by the time she uncovers the truth, it may be too late. (From Goodreads)

 

I would call this a guilty pleasure book. Why? Because it’s not the most greatest read out there but you read it anyway because something about it just draws you to continue reading. Whether it be characters, or the cheesy plot albeit ridiculous as it may be.

This is supposed to be a modern day retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I see some similarities although the way it’s explained (the soul thing) is a bit of a stretch. At least with Jekyll/Hyde he had something concrete and explanatory (eg; the serum that gets him to change personalities).

The book itself is filled with oodles of cliches so it’s not for everyone. It may induce eye rolls and may have some readers frustrated and quit reading altogether. Why did I keep reading? It’s a very simple plot and there’s not much when it comes to twists and turns, there’s a bit of a creepy and chilly factor which was actually pretty well done and I stuck with it. Despite the plot being as it is, the writing was pretty good and I enjoyed it.

A couple of things however. I’m not sure what Madison really had to do with the story. She’s just your average mean girl but doesn’t really add to the plot (except for being a previous romance. Woopie) so to me, this was just unnecessary filler moments in the novel.

Harper isn’t really that likable and there were moments where she goes off the deep end into the realm of stupidity. I do admit though, she’s got good chemistry with Logan and the writing that conveys their feelings towards each other is well done. Logan seems to be a great boyfriend if it wasn’t for that fatal flaw. Harper does tend to have some annoying qualities to herself – being a forgiving doormat for one, and lacking common sense in particular stages of the story (seriously? You’re going to break into a house and you say: “hello?” can we say first one to die in a horror movie here?)

Although this book has quite a few flaws, I couldn’t help but enjoy reading it. It’s a very quick read and it’s like you’re watching a B movie but you enjoyed it despite the many cliches and things you normally wouldn’t watch. There’s just something about it that makes you want to continue reading it. I’m not going to recommend this one, but if you’re up for a quick read to get back into the reading groove, why not?

I give it a 6 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.