Review: The Last Widow – Karin Slaughter

2

Will Trent #9

I received this in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor.

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves. – via Goodreads

YES! YES! I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of this, you all know I am a ridiculously huge Karin Slaughter fan. I started this pretty much the second I got my hands on it, and I had no regrets. As with all Slaughter’s work (bar Pieces of Her), you will get sucked in almost immediately, and the story barrels along super fast.

The Last Widow flips between characters, telling the story simultaneously from differing perspectives, and it works so well. I absolutely love reading about Sara and Will, I think they are great together. It is a testament of Slaughter’s writing that she managed to merge two series so successfully, and especially how she brings Sara and Will together, and there is no resentment (because come on, Jeffrey man). The side characters don’t get as much focus in this one, making them more bit characters than usual, but that is alright.

I thought the story for The Last Widow was engrossing and interesting. The book  has it all – romance, action, drama, the works. Sara’s family makes an appearance again, and some truly hurtful things are said in that section, but it definitely contributes to all that goes on.The Last Widow is without a doubt a whirlwind read. The events take place really quickly, so the book is essentially a snapshot of time with characters we have grown to love over the years. I absolutely cannot wait for more in this series!

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

6

“Now we’re four misfits who don’t belong together, we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.”
– Freddie Mercury

SYNOPSIS: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985). – via IMDB

So I went to see this when it came out in cinema, and I was sadly out of the blogosphere when it hit, so I didn’t write about it. I recently purchased it in Blu Ray and I was interested to see whether it would hold up for a second viewing, and if the experience would be diminished any by not seeing it in theatre, on a big screen.

Well, let me tell you, no disappointment to be had over here! I thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was just as good at home as it was in the cinema, I don’t feel like any magic was lost. So, let me see what I can say about this movie… obviously it had one of the best soundtracks of all time xD Seriously, I absolutely loved listening to the music, seeing it come to life on the screen, it was great and there were so many moments where I had goosebumps because wow.

So on to the performances. I am not usually a fan of Rami Malek. I don’t know, I’ve never actually liked him outside of his video game portrayal of Josh in Until Dawn. So when I heard he had been cast to play the iconic Freddie Mercury, I was dubious to say the least. I mean, he isn’t a terrible actor or anything, he has just (until now) not really done anything that has really blown me away. Then I saw pictures of him as Freddie and I was quite surprised. By the time we had hit the trailers, I was really excited, and Malek nailed it. Not only is Malek fantastic, but the rest of the cast playing the members of Queen are brilliant and cannot be overlooked. Gwilym Lee’s Brian May, Ben Hardys’s Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello’s John Deacon are excellent. The actors had wonderful chemistry and it was great to watch them. Such solid performances all round from them, and man, they nailed the look of each of the band members. Excellent casting – not only did everyone look right, they appeared right, too, without stuffy performances.

I really liked that the movie stayed more with the band and the music as opposed to a tell all scandalous interpretation of everything. I get that there was drama and all that, but that is so not why I went to see this. So yes, the narrative is a little skinny and all that, but that takes nothing away from it. What you need is there – some drama, some backstory, some struggle and all that, but the movie focuses on the band and the music, and I appreciated that. Also, there was some highly entertaining humour sprinkled through it.

Naturally, this review would not be complete if I didn’t mention that phenomenal Live Aid performance, so here it is. Wow. I was so impressed with the level of detail that went into this (especially if you take the time to watch the two side by side). I love that such care and attention went into it.

So, overall, I obviously highly recommend checking out Bohemian Rhapsody. It is not a biographical, gossipy tell all or anything like that, but if you like Queen (hell, even if you don’t), and you like the music, then this is well worth the look see. It is just as charming the second time around, and even my husband willingly rewatched it (seriously, no coaxing or begging or anything, he asked!). I had a great time with this, and I can see how I will go back to it a few times. Okay, I am going to stop here. Just go watch it.

Review: Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare

4

The Infernal Devices #2

Please note, there was a lot I wanted to talk about in this review, so there is a spoiler paragraph. I will note it, however.

SYNOPSIS: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart. – via Goodreads

Oh. My. God. I just knew that this was going to shatter my soul, I knew it! I did not expect to fall so completely and utterly in love with these books, but here we are. I mean, I expected to enjoy them, but I did not think that they were going to take over my life, though why exactly I didn’t expect it is beyond me, seeing as how I am hopelessly addicted to The Mortal Instruments series. I got wrecked reading this book.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: I started this one hot on the heels of Clockwork Angel, as I was so interested to see where Clare was going to take the story. And boy, I was rewarded and crushed. It seemed evident in the previous novel that she was cooking something up between Jem, Will, and Tessa, and the horrors! A love triangle?! Who knew?! But no. Let me stop you there. What Clare wove instead is a positively tragic, complex web between these characters. It’s tangled and twisted and so sad. It’s like… you know the horse you are supposed to be betting on is Will, but you have nothing but love for Jem from book one, and when he finally displays his interest in Tessa openly, you know that it is going to end in pain and suffering for everyone involved, including the dear reader. You would not be wrong, either. Seriously. I think this is probably the first time ever that a love triangle has not grated on me. Instead it broke my heart.

Okay, that is clearly an aspect I can discuss for ages, so let me break away. The characters grow much more into themselves in this one, rounding out and becoming more whole and complete. We discover much about Will and his past, and Jem also has his shining moments. Tessa becomes a far stronger woman than before. Jessamine still works on my absolute last nerve though. There is Charlotte and Henry and some wonderful developments between them, and Sophie grows into a wonderful character to read about. The pages are filled with loads of wheelings and dealings all over the show, and you are so interested to see where it all goes. Let us not overlook our beloved Magnus Bane, who is still just the most fabulous character. I do so love to read about him! I did not think I would love the characters in this like I loved the characters from The Mortal Instruments series, but I was dead wrong about that.

The writing is also really solid, and breezes along. The humour is back in full swing, and there were tons of times where I actually snickered and laughed out loud. It has been entertaining my husband endlessly, who says I am so very expressive when I read.

Sooooooo happy to have read more about parabatai in this one, as anyone who has read my reviews for Clare’s work must know that I am obsessed with the concept.

Needless to say, I was completely taken in with this book. I am in love. I cherished every page as I devoured it, feeling that there was not really filler material, just a story that demanded to be heard. Clockwork Prince is far more character-centric than its predecessor, and I thought it to be most rewarding. I enjoyed the more contained romance within this, and feel Clare did a great job bringing the time to life. Clockwork Prince is well written and tells a beautiful and terribly sad story. Yes, there are developments that are predictable and not shocking, but it does not come across as tired, as you just want to stay with the characters. I highly recommend giving these a read!

Review: City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

2

The Mortal Instruments #6

SYNOPSIS: Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned… – via Goodreads

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It’s over! It’s done! And now I have to deal with this horrific hangover! I feel like I freaking lost people. Ugh. I got so invested in this, so not only am I mourning Grey’s Anatomy being over, I now have to mourn this being done! Yes, I got a little unhealthily attached to this series. It had three excellent books, a fourth instalment that read like filler stuff, a fifth that redeemed, and a finale that was a bittersweet return to form. And now it is over 😦

Okay, coherent thoughts… go! Man, there is so much to love about this book. Clare returns to the humour that makes you laugh out loud, and scenarios and happenings that make you gasp and flip out and laugh and cuss (trust me, my husband was telling me I had to reign it in and hush at a stage – but what does he know?!). I loved that we got back to that, to the characters being more like the ones we met in the original three books, and the issues they face reaching into your heart again. The pacing is also really fantastic, coming across like City of Glass, which is great. You get dragged in and the action and tension and everything else just never stops. It gets you right in the damn feels.

Then there are the characters. There is plenty of character growth to be found here, and I really enjoyed the interactions between characters. There was a lot that changed and grew and was said, and I loved every darn minute of it. Then there is Sebastian Morgenstern. For reals, Valentine was an awesome villain and all of that, but Sebastian just blows him out of the water. He made me so mad, like a little freaking roach. He is so dark and messed up and disturbing, ughhhhhhhh. But he brings it, and I find him to be a worth opponent for Jace and Clary to face off against. Also, back to a book crush for life Jace Herondale. Just saying. He’s been my book crush from the off, but I felt that Clare did him a disservice in City of Fallen Angels and then in City of Lost Souls I knew that that Jace was not the right Jace and felt like such a betrayer.

City of Heavenly Fire also gives us a little more on what it means to be parabatai. Goodness knows I could read a whole book on it and still want more, but we got a few more scraps. The concept fascinates me, and there were sections of this book that dealt with what it was to lose a parabatai or to be bonded to a parabatai and it is still a beautiful concept to me. MORE!

Okay, so as you can tell, I was hooked. Like City of Glass, I feel that this is a solid end. The former read like a conclusion and would have been one that I would have been happy with. I was worried about how Clare would pull it off a second time, but she manages to. I love the way she closed it off, so bittersweet. City of Heavenly Fire is a return to the form of the original trilogy, and a solid conclusion to the series. I can see that I will go back to this series time and time again. I highly recommend it.

Review: City of Glass – Cassandra Clare

2

The Mortal Instruments #3

SYNOPSIS: To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost? – via Goodreads

Continuing my binge, I zipped right on through this one, and it is without a doubt my favourite of the bunch so far. It’s a great read that answers questions, does its thing, builds on a fantastic story so far, and is really immersive.

We return to the world of the Shadowhunters, and ideas that have been taking shape in my mind since the first book have started to come to fruition here, and it has been awfully rewarding. Also, there was a plotsie that happened that had us all cheering, because nobody really believed the whole thing of Jace and Clary being related (right? Or my denial was so strong). I think it would have been more ballsy if Clare had left that one there, that would have been the shocker of note, so I think we were all really just waiting for her to correct things. Anyway.

Our favourite characters are back, and we get to journey to Alicante, the city we have heard so much about and never been to, so it is fascinating to read about the city and the laws. Jace is his tortured self, and reading about him and Clary is painfully heartbreaking. I loved reading about Luke assembling the Downworlders to work with the Shadowhunters, to potentially unite against Valentine, because unity is strength. While we are on that topic, we get so much more insight into Valentine and the monster that he is and it is properly horrifying. Ick man, that man is cuckoo katchoo! What a dark bastard, but great for us who likes a good villain.

So many events take place in this book, and you are so hooked you just race on through it to learn more. The characters, too, change and grow in this, becoming even more real, and the relationships between characters grows more complicated in some instances, and less in others, but all the while moving towards something. I do so love reading about this world, it is fascinating. I really hope that they speak more about the concept of parabatai, it is such an enthralling idea, so painful and yet so full of hope.

City of Glass breezes by. It is chock full of action and plot developments, character growth and revelations, and I adored every second of it. The others have entertained me, but this one ensnared me. I was so hooked. I feel like I loved this one so much that I can’t collect myself enough to really review this and express myself properly. Oh well. Now on to the next!

Review: City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare

4

The Mortal Instruments #2

SYNOPSIS: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? – via Goodreads

So I dove straight on into this one after City of Bones. Naturally, this was after I calmed down about that horrific plotsie. Meaning I had to sleep on it, collect myself, breathe deeply, steel myself and then return to the world of the Shadowhunters. Glad I did, even though I still want to flip the heck out about the Jace/Clary arc. UGHHH. But we will come back to that.

City of Ashes returns with Clary’s mother still being comatose in hospital, which is, of course, exactly what Clary needs, what with this entire alien world and all the confusion it brings. Like, why would she need guidance? There is also the sudden shifts of Jace being close to the Lightwoods to them being his actual adoptive family, which was never actually mentioned in the first book. But we will move on from that. The book wastes no time getting back on the “Valentine is cuckoo crazy” train, and the journey is still good (though, just like the first, a little long in places).

There was so much frustration, pain, and suffering for me reading the scenes between Jace and Clary, and I don’t know when last I resented something so much and wanted it changed. There were parts of this book that inspired hope that it’s all been a mistake, and others that make me afraid Clare will try stick with this preposterous development. Then there is Clary and Simon, who actually start sort of dating each other, and it is just awkward. Like, it doesn’t feel right, even though I like Simon, I don’t like him with her, and he deserves someone that wants him totally, too. The Magnus and Alec arc is also a strange one, but one I totally appreciate and am hoping for the absolute best on.

There is more craziness going down than you can shake a stick at in this one, and not nearly as much world building as City of Bones, but that does not make this any less engaging or entertaining. I am quite enjoying this series so far, and will definitely see where it goes. There is a lot going on with Valentine, and the more I read about him, the more I think he is not nearly as straightforward a villain as you are initially led to believe, which is interesting. The Inquisitor made me think a little of Umbridge in some ways.

In any even, this series has been good so far, and I hope it continues this way. City of Ashes is an easy read, though a touch too long (as I said), but I am enjoying them. There is a lot to like here, I can highly recommend.

Review: Haunting the Deep – Adriana Mather

3

How to Hang a Witch #2

SYNOPSIS: Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers. – via Goodreads

So I devoured How to Hang a Witch and loved every second of it. When I saw that Adriana Mather had a second book, I didn’t even hesitate to order it, and as soon as it arrived, I sunk my teeth into it. I didn’t read a single thing about this book before buying it, so I was beyond thrilled to see that we got to continue on with Sam’s story. This is a great example of a sequel not ruining all that fantastic groundwork laid in the first novel.

Sam’s dad is back in action, and he is actually a character I thoroughly enjoy. The setup between the Meriwethers and the Mathers is adorable, too, and I am impressed with how Mather handled the whole Jaxon/Elijah/Sam triangle from the first. Speaking of, having Elijah pop up made me way happier than I can say. For reals, the interactions between him and Sam are fantastic.

While the villain of this book was not surprising or shocking, the read is a super fun journey to undertake again. There is magic, romance, teens with their issues, friendship and personal growth, so Haunting the Deep hit all the same highs as the predecessor, which is rare. It’s cool that the Descendants are back, and we get to learn a bit more about them here, too. Salem is also the perfect town for the backdrop for this world that has been woven, so that is really cool.

Adriana Mather writes well, has given us characters to love and a world eager to be returned to, and there is not really much more you can ask for. There is heart, humour and fun to be had. Again, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Go out. Read them now. You won’t regret it!

Review: How to Hang a Witch – Adriana Mather

4

How to Hang a Witch #1

SYNOPSIS: Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself. – via Goodreads

I stumbled on this randomly recently, thought it looked alright, bought it, let it languish. I mean really, isn’t that what readers do? Then I saw it in my library and was like “it’s time”, and man, I have no regrets. This book is absolutely fantastic! It is so much more than I thought it would be, and it really does tick like all my boxes. I think one of the blurbs was something like “Mean Girls meets the Salem Witch Trials”, and dammit, it really is just like that.

I need to back up a minute and find a way to articulate myself. There is just so much going for this book that had me thrilled every step of the way. Uhm, let’s see… I really enjoyed the characters. They are not super deep characters or anything, but they all have their little quirks and things, and they really give the story some oomph. The author gives a great, authentic vibe throughout the book, too. The story flows and doesn’t ever feel forced or unnatural.

I was super swept up by this, as you can tell. Everything just worked in it, and I particularly enjoyed Elijah’s character, and Sam, too, is a fun protagonist to follow. Mrs Meriwether is a lovely lady, and Jaxon (despite that spelling) is worth reading about. The book is steeped in history, but not like historical fiction. It has most definitely been modernised, and you can tell the author has put a lot of research and time into the history (not surprising when you see she is a fourteenth generation Mather).

I think that How to Hang a Witch has it all. We have romance, fun, the supernatural, a mystery, magic, everything you would need. I really felt like a young kid reading this again. It’s awesome because while this is probably directed at young adults, it totally works for adults, too. The book speaks of bullying and alienation and other themes, too, but I am really not going to get smack involved with discussing the hell out of that. Know that there are a lot of themes in this and they are all handled really well.

The book is really well written with some super fun characters and a great story to sink your teeth into. I raced through this and was heartbroken when I got to the end because, well, then it was over. I can see how this is something I am going to revisit again in the future. I loved this and highly recommend it, and will calm down now and put a sock in it.

Review: Kisscut – Karin Slaughter

20

kisscut

Grant County #2

SYNOPSIS: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton–the town’s pediatrician and medical examiner–finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister’s death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again . . . – via Goodreads

Man, another dark, solid entry into the series. Again, miss Slaughter holds nothing back, and delves into a depth of storytelling that a lot of writers will not touch with a ten foot barge pole. I could feel anger radiating off of me while reading this book, because she manages to write in emotions that you are able to identify with.

Lena is still dealing with losing her sister and the brutality that she went through, and there are some shifts and changes in the relationship between her and Hank, which I liked. Lena is such a bitch, and it does not endear her to me in these novels. Even in the last, I did not see her as a strong woman so much as an irritation, but that is just the character. Jeffrey I felt so bad for in this, as he has a lot on his plate, and executing a child can never be an easy thing, no matter what the circumstances. Sara is quite a complex character, one you fluctuate between liking and disliking. Again, the flaws of these people make them real.

I appreciate that there are things changing between Sara and Jeffrey, as I really think they are good together. Yes, there are issues, but they also bring out good things in each other. I also really love reading about Sara and her family, as it really makes for interesting reading, and I really like Eddie and Cathy Linton. But now that we have moved past those things, it must not be missed that Kisscut is an exceptionally difficult read, and I mean this from the content side, not the writing side (which is, as always, excellent). It will get under your skin, it will peeve you, it will make you think, it will make you angry. Slaughter again proves that she is not scared to get her hands dirty.

Kisscut is a fantastic read, well written and well researched, a great read for any time, chilling to the bone as always, and I highly recommend this series (of course). This is by no means an easy read, but it is gutsy and draws you in. The story flows, and gives you more to look at with the characters, fleshing them out more and more, and then there is the story, the victims, the mystery. Everyone has their own demons, and I appreciate how Slaughter can give you a main story and still weave these people’s lives outside of the story in.

Review: The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel

2

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again. – via Goodreads

Wow. Just wow. The Roanoke Girls is just so up my alley. I think the last book I read with such a hunger was Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter. I didn’t want to work or anything. I just wanted to curl up and read and ignore the world. I was drawn in from the off, and fascinated with the entire book.

I enjoyed the way that the book was written, with the “then” section and then the “now” section, as well as the little snippets of the other Roanoke girls sprinkled throughout. It really created tension, and this dark atmosphere you get sucked into and wrapped up in. Yes, the big ick is revealed pretty early, but that in no way affects the book negatively. In fact, it makes you even more observant on the dysfunctional behaviour you were wondering about before. The Roanoke Girls is really well written and flows, with the reveals slowly but surely painting the complexity of the story.

I really liked the way that Engel created the characters. Each had their own story, and each little flashback revealed some more, and every little section of the present peeled away yet another layer. Allegra is totally different from Lane, yet you can see how the girls are bonded. Allegra has a terrible secret, and is jealous because she knows how things will be, yet she loves Lane. It is very complicated. Add to the mix how the author created their grandfather, Yates, and you are in for an disquieting ride. The man does come across as charismatic and charming and loving, which leaves you with a perverted, sickening, uncomfortable feeling, which is amazing to establish the family ties at Roanoke.

Then there are the side characters, most notably Tommy and Cooper, and that is a whole other kettle of fish. Cooper pretty much immediately swept me off my feet, so I totally got why Lane was bowled over. Not everyone’s cup of tea,  to be sure, but total book crush for me. Their relationship was amazing, and then it was crazy, and I could see the shift of it, even while I didn’t like it. They were both damaged creatures inexorably drawn to each other, and just clicked. Tommy is also the all American boy, the safe kid, the nice guy, but he also has multiple layers to him. These characters having so many layers makes for interesting dynamics, and you are so hooked.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Roanoke Girls. I just gobbled this book up, it was thrilling, sick and rough and yet there was hope tinging the edges. It had that same dark, twisted vibe as Averil Dean’s The Undoing, a book I liked a lot more than most people did, it seems. I highly recommend this read if you like something a little warped and unsettling, something that peeks into some messed up places.