Review: The Summer Children – Dot Hutchison

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The Collector #3

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: This FBI agent has come to expect almost anything—just not this…

When Agent Mercedes Ramirez finds an abused young boy on her porch, covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear, she has no idea that this is just the beginning. He tells her a chilling tale: an angel killed his parents and then brought him here so Mercedes could keep him safe.

His parents weren’t just murdered. It was a slaughter—a rage kill like no one on the Crimes Against Children team had seen before. But they’re going to see it again. An avenging angel is meting out savage justice, and she’s far from through.

One by one, more children arrive at Mercedes’s door with the same horror story. Each one a traumatized survivor of an abusive home. Each one chafing at Mercedes’s own scars from the past. And each one taking its toll on her life and career.

Now, as the investigation draws her deeper into the dark, Mercedes is beginning to fear that if this case doesn’t destroy her, her memories might. – via Goodreads

Just quickly: it chaps my ass I can’t find a proper, big image for this damn review of the cover. UGH!

You know, I really have a like/hate relationship with these books. They are by no means bad books, not at all, but I find them to be wildly inconsistent and that they never really deliver the goods. Ever. Now, let’s move on.

The Summer Children naturally features all these terribly broken FBI agents once again. You don’t dislike them, but you have to wonder how they are all cleared for duty, what with their various issues, because their issues are not necessarily ones they have successfully dealt with, as the fear is constantly with them. Anyway. We also, naturally, have Priya, Bliss, and Inara rejoin in here, and it is always nice to read about them.

This book focuses on Mercedes and all the crap she has been through, and I must say this book has been my least favourite read of the lot so far. I don’t know why. I read it and I was interested, but I always feel that while Hutchison deals with dark topics, they don’t have a true feeling of dread. It is also not helped along when you read about all this awful stuff going down, and these agents revert to children, all having huge sleepovers and falling apart at the seams.

I don’t think these are books I will ever go back to reread, but if Hutchison does any more I will likely read them because they aren’t difficult reads. Yes, they deal with some heavy issues, but as I said, it feels more like they are touched upon than actually explored really in depth. If you have read the books, you will know what I mean. I mean we explore nasty crimes and get in depth looks at different characters in each of the books, but it feels superficial when all is said and done. Okay, I am going to stop now. I don’t really have anything other to say than it was okay.

Review: Wayward – Blake Crouch

2

Wayward Pines #2

SYNOPSIS: Welcome to Wayward Pines, population 461. Nestled amidst picture-perfect mountains, the idyllic town is a modern-day Eden…except for the electrified fence and razor wire, snipers scoping everything 24/7, and the relentless surveillance tracking each word and gesture.
None of the residents know how they got here. They are told where to work, how to live, and who to marry. Some believe they are dead. Others think they’re trapped in an unfathomable experiment. Everyone secretly dreams of leaving, but those who dare face a terrifying surprise.

Ethan Burke has seen the world beyond. He’s sheriff, and one of the few who knows the truth—Wayward Pines isn’t just a town. And what lies on the other side of the fence is a nightmare beyond anyone’s imagining. – via Goodreads

So I returned to this after completing Pines, a book that was entertaining enough, albeit predictable and messy. Wayward brings more to the table, though it is still flawed. The fragmented sentences still reign supreme, and Ethan is still not the most likable protagonist in the world, and the logic and reasoning is still all over the show and a little hard to swallow, but overall the story definitely had more kick to it this time around.

Wayward breezes along, and to not have to follow Ethan around just trying to figure out who he is and just running is nice. We understand all that is sinister, and while we don’t know everything, we know enough to follow what’s cooking. Ethan’s actions are sometimes beyond ridiculous, but I have come to accept that it is simply how this character is. David Pilcher is explored a little more in this novel, and so is Pam. Ethan and Pam are supposed to hate each other to the ends of the world, but it just doesn’t feel real.

The story of Alyssa, while super engaging, was also rapidly swept under the rug, and dragged out once in a while to remind us that there was a murder investigation at play. I am interested to know what else Tobias learned on his furlough beyond the town, but it was no shocker whatsoever to learn who he is. Theresa annoyed me quite a bit – finally learning the truth and taking that anger out on Ethan, making out that he is an idiot for not changing things, that is not fair.

This book also did a much better job at addressing how things are handled in Wayward Pines, the structures, and how things worked. It almost makes it worse knowing how everything works in the town. Something I did take issue with, however, is how they want the residents to think that they are dead right, but they keep them in line with the fear of death? If you are already dead, how is death an effective threat? SO CONFUSED. I felt that there was a lot of filler stuff in between the actual plot as well as the explanations behind the town and what was going on, but because of the writing style this just zips by at least. As before, the book is more predictable than it would like you to believe.

Anyway. I will definitely read the final installment of this series. I have come this far and I need to know how things are going to work out for everyone, and what the end game is.

Review: Final Girls – Riley Sager

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final-girls-cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5Alrighty, this one was actually good. It is what I expected – entertaining, keeps you reading, reads really quickly, but never actually delves into the psychological aspects of surviving something so horrific. Sure, it touches on it, and uses some abnormal behaviour to showcase it, but it never gets to the guts of it. That being said, I enjoyed this read.

The story barrels along, and between the main story, there are flashbacks to Pine Cottage, telling us what happened to Quincy. They are spaced really well, because it is not frequently enough to rip you from the main story, and gives you just enough to get us wondering what exactly happened on that terrifying birthday trip. I appreciated that. The pacing was also pretty decent. I feel that the book could have been tightened up in places, it felt a little long winded at times, but not so much to make the book a drag.

To be honest, I was not really taken with any of the characters. I found Jeff to be empty and spineless, Quincy to be the insubstantial shadow she was (I suppose we call that good writing right there), and then there was Sam, who was constantly so abrasive I could not stand her. The situations these two women find themselves in is crazy, and yet you are interested to see where it all goes.

I really wished that Sager had delved more into the psychology of survival, but didn’t really expect it, so I was not horrified when it was all there. I thought the novel truly succeeded in not being bland and boring or overly predictable, as it kept you guessing and also showcased some great twists and turns.

SPOILER: I didn’t ever actually buy into Joe Hannen being the Pine Cottage killer because Sager almost tried too hard to sell that, so my back was up. Plus (and this was intended, I am sure) when you read more about him later in the flashbacks, something just doesn’t sit right or ring true about him being crazy like that.

Final Girls was a fine pick, and an entertaining read that I can see becoming rather popular. I can definitely recommend the read, especially if you are into horror. If you aren’t into horror, no worries, there is plenty to keep you entertained here. The book did drag a little strangely in some places, but I enjoyed it. Worth checking out!

Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

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suicide-squad-poster

“But we almost pulled it off despite what everybody thought. Worst part of it is they’re going to blame us for the whole thing. They can’t have people knowing the truth. We’re the patsies; the cover up. Don’t forget, we’re the bad guys.:
– Deadshot

SYNOPSIS: A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. – via IMDB

suicide-squad

GRADE 6This movie is one of the films this year that got showered in hate. And a lot of it. I have finally seen it to form my very own opinion and, while I thought it was messy and a missed opportunity, it really was not the heinous film that it has been painted. There was quite a bit to like, but there was more to dislike, and that is quite the issue.

We know David Ayer has the goods – just look at Fury, if you want a quick, amazing example. He knows how to shoot a film, and weave a super engaging story. Suicide Squad did not do that, and it sucks, because there were moments in the film where you could almost see something brilliant hiding, something that could have broken free. I thought the film boasted some super sketchy effects, and it really just threw you out of the watching experience.

Let’s also look at the whole concept of the Enchantress. Why? I mean Amanda Waller creates the Suicide Squad, but in so doing creates the threat, and then her newly formed squad must end the threat? Come on. Let’s also not forget a group of psychopaths becoming besties in a matter of hours. As a psychology graduate, I had such issues with this. The music, too, was something that irritated me. Initially it was something I loved, great music choices, but ultimately it was something that grated on me because it felt like as many cool songs as possible were being squeezed in, and when the soundtrack becomes more important than the film, and overshadows what you are watching and pulls you out of the movie, you have done something wrong.

I gotta say though that the performances were pretty good. I thought Robbie and Smith worked wonders together, and were hands down the standouts of the film. One of my biggest issues with this? Jared Leto as the Joker. In the trailer I could already tell he wasn’t going to work for me, but I had no idea how terrible he was actually going to be. Every time he came on the screen, I felt that he was just killing the movie for me. Ugh.

Overall, the movie wanted to be something more than it was, and it was sad because you could see something awesome trying to escape the mess it eventually was. It didn’t break barriers tot he genre, and was quite predictable throughout. Not the worst watch in the world, and certainly not deserving of the hate, but it’s a decent, mindlessly entertaining watch.

 

The Vampire Diaries: Season 1 (2009 – 2010)

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vampire diaries season 1

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Damon is such a jackass, but it is entertaining. Gosh, if everyone were like Elena and Stefan I would lose my cool, it would be so boring. Damon brings some spice to the show, and takes take a little to warm up to, which I think was the point. He is unapologetic about being a toolbag, and that makes him even more fascinating. Biggest reason I stuck around, no jokes. He is great.
  • Alaric Saltzman is very cool, but I was an even bigger fan of the begrudging alliance that developed between him and Damon, they really couldn’t stand each other, yet made it work.
  • When the Salvatore brothers do stand together, even when they don’t want to, it shows that they are a force to be reckoned with.
  • How the vampires manage to infiltrate the Founders Council. Well played, guys, well played.
  • Seeing bits and pieces of the Salvatores past.
  • The relationship between Stefan and Elena. While not an easy one, they fit together really well (surprisingly) and don’t necessarily make me want to retch, which is a change from most teen dramas. They are so similar.
  • How the show progressively got better with each episode – and I had written it off after the first few. It actually took some time but really started catching when the ball finally started rolling.

vampire diaries season 1 elena stefan

What I didn’t like:

  • The score. I know, I always moan about that in these kinds of shows, but really. At least every here and there they threw me a bone, but not really much to look forward to.
  • “Dear Diary”… I mean seriously now! I didn’t think that was a for real thing when I saw “The Vampire Diaries”. Sheesh. Mistaken me.
  • I love the way these guys are supposed to be teens… and they just look like men. I don’t know if things are maybe just different in the States, but when I think of the guys I went to school with, none of them looked like freaking men. Just saying.
  • When you are supposed to be seventeen, but you can say your ex-girlfriend and playing football was “a long time ago”, what exactly do you mean? WTF is a long time ago for a girlfriend and football when you are only seventeen?
  • Tyler Lockwood is such a dweeb. Really. Although, when you start to see what a twat his dad is, so much about him starts to make sense.
  • Matt Donovan is so damn needy and interfering, and that really grated on me.
  • Why are first expressions of love always followed by sex in shows/movies? It is the most annoying thing in the world!
  • Caroline Forbes is the biggest irritation ever. She is needy, snippy, jealous, competitive, shallow, bitchy, insecure and whines. So not the kind of combination that is any fun.

VAMPIRE DIARIES SEASON 1 DAMON

Rating:
Coercion. That is how I ended up here. That, and Natasha’s penchant for teen drama 😉 So, right off the bat, let’s not even try to pretend this is anything other than a teen drama. It also has one of the worst opening (half) seasons ever. It takes forever to even try bring in some stories, and instead spends a chunk of time focused on a depressed girl and her crazy obsession with the new boy, who happens to be a vampire. At least this is not the same unhealthy crap as Twilight, I would just like that to be say. Elena Gilbert might be sad and all that, but she moves on, and as much as she loves Stefan, she still has some wits about her. It’s not just about being with him forever.

Eventually the season finds traction and moves on and actually becomes quite entertaining. Moving on – I am a huge fan of Damon Salvatore. I came for the mindless television watching, and unashamedly stayed for him. He is just immensely awesome. He is such a toolbag, but spends no time even remotely trying to hide it, and the show succeeds in making you take some time to warm up to him, which suits him completely. I also love the relationship between the brothers. It sure as hell is not an easy one, and they hate each other, yet they exclusively hold the right to execute the other. Goodness forbid someone else tries to do this.

The Vampire Diaries has so many characters going at any given moment, but you grow to love or hate them. I absolutely cannot stand Vicki Donovan and Caroline Forbes. Vicki is a nuisance, and Caroline is so weak and whiny and useless. Jeremy is whiny, but changes. Tyler Lockwood is also a total douchebag, but when you see what his home situation is, you are a little more tolerant of him being a dweeb. Bonnie is a character I thoroughly enjoy, though it takes some time for her to get into her things. I am pleased as punch with the addition of Alaric – really cool character and I like him and Jena together a lot. Man, I am going to stop here. These are just some of the characters.

I thought the plot to take out all the vampires in town was hectic, and it was great to see how the brothers will go to extreme lengths to protect each other. I gotta say, when they stand together, it is absolutely brilliant. Let’s take a second to look at the whole concept that Elena’s real dad is actually her “uncle”, and that her mother is a vampire, a woman who was at one point Alaric’s wife. This is just messy and nasty, yet they rolled with it, and so it worked with the show. There are so many little plots littered all over the show, but they are all pretty interesting.

I like how Elena and Damon start becoming friends as the show progresses, although they are never really tight. It gets me that all the time how Damon is always the one doing the big, difficult things that Stefan can’t (especially for Elena), and yet he is still treated terribly. That being said, what he did in connection with Lexy was heinous and unforgivable. But moving past that, there is so much more to him. I do think that Elena and Stefan work absolute wonders together, and complement each other every step of the way. Also, things aren’t too sloppy between them that all you want to do is retch watching them, which is great. On the other hand, Elena has fantastic chemistry with Damon.

There weren’t too many plots going on in this season, and it was a little messy, what with a lot of the characters having partners then not then having again (Jena and Jeremy are the main culprits here). Anyway, this is the kind of the show that is mindlessly entertaining. Though the first season starts off quite rocky, it finally does find its feet and build momentum, and the mood is dark and broody, so I can totally see why this appeals to adults.

vampire diaries season 1 elena damon dance

Scream: Season 1 (2015)

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scream poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Noah Foster. Holy crap, this guy! I absolutely adore him. He is so geeky and I find that immensely cute, but aside from that, I find him to be a great character. I mean, just the way he says things, example: “Oh, holy Manson family album”, etc. It was like finding my spirit animal – just the weird ways of expressing oneself. I love it! Plus, he is the character pointing everything out to us in the show, as well as narrating the events.
  • The contemporary references, etc. that made the originals so awesome.
  • Everyone is fair game, and when they get killed, the gore is so rewarding. Yes, again, Noah could be my spirit animal.
  • The humour. Really, this is something I had a total blast with. It was pretty geeky and quite entertaining.
  • Noah Foster screaming. Really, it rivals Dean Winchester!
  • The throwbacks and references to the movies, as well as how some scenes were shot. Big fan of the little details like that. This is an awesome page to check out to see more about it.
  • The gore. Yep. At least they got that right, even though it was undercut by that stupid soundtrack.

I actually really enjoyed Kieran’s character, and hope we see more of him in the next season. And while not necessarily my cup of tea, he was pretty easy on the eyes. Just saying.

scream

I beg to differ with Noah’s assessment. Sure, maybe not conventional, but the cute, geeky, nerdy guys have always been way more appealing to me!

scream noah zero game

What I didn’t like:

  • The way this whole show feels like a girls show. I mean it, the music, focusing on such mundane things like your ex being a tit, and how you feel about the new guy. That’s all good and well, but could we check something besides relationships out? I am all for it, but not when her love triangle becomes the most important thing. UGH.
  • The music. I bitched a bit in the point above, but really? Do guys actually listen to that crap? I might be really out of touch what people are listening to nowadays, but seriously. I hated it, and it irritated the hell out of me. It also undercut the gore and stuff, because the show just doesn’t feel like it is built for everyone, if that makes sense? The music alone could stop an entire demographic watching it because it just doesn’t gel with the content.
  • Piper Shaw. She was such a flat, bland character for me, and didn’t break the mould in the slightest.
  • How predictable the show was at the best of times.
  • Emma. I know this is awful, she is the lead, and we are supposed to back her, but she just grated on me, for reals. She was whiny, flaky, annoying, silly, icky. She will never be the new Sidney Prescott, I don’t care what anybody says! What a useless lump.

scream ghostface

Rating:

So I finally got to watching this, though I had my reservations, what with being a huge fan of the movies. The series isn’t really like the movies, but it is, if that makes sense. There are certain aspects that spill over, like the in your face way it tells you what is going to happen, and how all horror/slasher formulas work, and the stereotyped characters. However, where the movies succeeded, this failed in the sense that the show is really soft. It made me think (on more than one occasion) more of Pretty Little Liars and not so much other shows like American Horror Story or Hannibal (although nothing is like Hannibal, to be fair).

I expected something more hardcore, especially with the blood and gore that Scream would feature. Not to mention that the soundtrack does not help this out at all. I don’t know, do guys actually listen to that stuff? I might just be really out of touch with what people listen to as I don’t listen to the radio and watch TV, but I don’t know… it’s a little femme. I don’t say this in a derogatory sense or that guys can’t listen to that, I am just saying that this is the kind of music you find in chick flicks and shows for teenage girls (*cough cough* again why I thought Pretty Little Liars). Add to that, there is a hell of a lot of teenage drama going on, and so much relationship mush. Yep, these are all things that bugged me.

scream scream

I know we are supposed to get attached to the characters and care, but only some of the characters that were killed were handled that well, the rest, not so much. Also, let’s just explore this really messed up relationship between Emma and Kieran – how is that ever going to work out? She has dropped this guy, hurt this guy, run back to her ex, jerked Kieran around, accused him of murder, crushed him, but hey, let’s do this thing? I am so darn confused. How much is he going to take from her, and why is he okay with it all? Also, I am not a fan of Emma, and found her entitled, whiny, and annoying, which  made giving a crap about her damn difficult. In fact, I didn’t, even right at the very end. Her fate is none of my concern.

Then there is Noah, and he is the only one I am concerned about, no kidding. That guy is my favourite thing about this show, and the reason I continued watching (because, let’s face it, the beginning of this show was rocky at best). He is hilarious, and so unapologetic about the nerdy, serial killer obsessed dude that he is, and I love that. My spirit animal, I swear. I wish that some of the other characters had been given more time. In a movie I can understand not having the time to focus on other characters, but in a series based off of a movie that is just under two hours in length, I would say there is spans of time to flesh out the side characters.

Anyway, this is a fun show if you don’t take it too seriously, though I don’t think it will ever, ever hit the heights of the movies. Not the worst series you can waste your time on if you have nothing else to watch, and it is a real quick, eight episode filler watch, probably great for when you are trying to decide what to move on to next.

scream cop ghostface

Rapid Review: Legend (2015)

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legend poster

“Life isn’t always what we want it to be.”
– Reggie Kray

SYNOPSIS: Focusing on the relationship between Reggie Kray and Frances Shea, told from France’s’ point of view as someone who knew him best, as well as the mental health issues Ronnie Kray faced and their rise to power as the notorious gangsters of London. – via IMDB

legend tom hardy kray twins

GRADE 7I have been waiting for this movie for sometime because, let’s face it, double Tom Hardy in a film? Sign me right up! And I don’t even say that just for… aesthetic purposes either, because that is something I have only very recently come to appreciate. Now, moving right on from that, let’s look at the movie itself. Okay, pit stop – how ridiculously hot is Hardy in a suit?! I know that Reggie was a bastard, fine, but damn, Hardy just physically made him massively appealing. Okay, okay, really now, back to the movie. I think that this movie gets way more flak than it deserves. I found it to be entertaining, and did not really paint these guys to be amazing or awesome or anything, because heck, they weren’t, but the movie shows these guys and their issues and how they are with each other, and it was highly entertaining to watch. I know it sounds awful, but Hardy’s turn as Ronnie Kray had me laughing at times. He was unstable, but when they went to that bar for the meeting and his immense displeasure at the lack of guns for a shootout really cracked me up. Hardy overall delivered a powerhouse performance of note here. We all know the man is immensely talented, we do, but to see him take on two roles, these twins, in one movie was something. On sight you knew exactly which Kray twin you were dealing with. He had mannerisms for both, styles of talking, the clothes, the posture, everything. I was completely amazed. Whatever people may think about this movie, it has to be seen for Hardy’s performances at the very least. Emily Browning is an actress that pops up on my screen from time to time, but not someone I actively seek out. I must say that I found her to be incredibly dull here. I must say that the writing may not be the tightest in the world, but I did not find it as scattered as some people have complained about. I followed what was going on, even though it did jump quickly from violence to humour to romance, I didn’t have a big issue with it. Not the greatest movie, not the worst movie, not deserving of the hate it receives – I liked it, I didn’t love it. I think it was a pity that this became a love story instead of really digging into the source material. There was just so much more potential to have worked with. I expected a gangster films with more, well, gansterness to it, not this romance stuff, but I will survive. Legend did not paint these brothers in a particularly good light at all, so while we may laugh and all, one cannot deny that these two were horrible. Oh well, you aren’t just a mobster in power for nothing, I suppose.

Okay, now, let me just get right down to this whole Tom Hardy… study.

How do you even resist this outside your window?!

legend tom hardy hot flowers

Oh. My. Goodness.

legend tom hardyLEGEND TOM HARDY WINK

The confidence. That is all.

legend tom hardy walk

Review: Fool Me Once – Harlan Coben

7

harlan coben fool me once cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.  – via Goodreads

GRADE 7I don’t think I have ever read a Harlan Coben novel before. Crazy, right? I read a lot and I have never read any of his work. Well, here’s a start. I thought that Fool Me Once was alright, though not a great novel. It flowed well and it was a quick read, but it never really went anywhere, if that makes sense. It carried on meandering in the same circles, nothing really changing, nothing really being added to the story at all, lots of mystery and complaints about civilians using war analogies. The story is a little fantastical and gets a little too complicated for its own good at times, but unlike most novels like this, it ties up quite nicely at the end. The plot is pretty skinny though, complicated, but skinny. There are a lot of characters in here, and none of them are really likable, with the exception of Shane I reckon. I also liked the relationship between Maya and Eddie, it was quite a layered, deep one. The book was nothing really special, but I did enjoy the twist at the end of the book. It worked nicely. I think Maya’s parenting skills were incredibly questionable too – she always seems so distant, but loves her, but never considers her daughter in her big, crazy decisions. Does that sound like a good parent? Also, I didn’t really like her, which made it super difficult to actually care about her. I don’t have too much more to say about this book, when all is said and done. However, all things aside, I will certainly read more of Coben’s work.

Review: The Doorkeepers – Graham Masterton

4

the doorkeepers graham masterton

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: As far as her family knows, Julia Winward, a young American woman, has been missing in England for nearly a year. When her mutilated body is found floating in the Thames, her brother, Josh, is determined to find out what happened to his sister for all that time, and exactly who – or what – killed her.

But nothing Josh discovers makes any sense. Julia has been working for a company that went out of business sixty years ago, and living at an address that hasn’t existed since World War II. The only one who might have been able to help Josh is Ella, a strange young woman with psychic abilities. But the doors she can open are far better left closed. For behind these doors lie secrets that should never be revealed – secrets too horrible to imagine. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7After the last awful book from Masterton, I really wanted to try another one that was not part of the Katie Maguire series, see how I felt about it then. I have read his stuff before and enjoyed it, but that series sucks. Anyway, reading this was quite cool. It is a very quick read, even though it does get drawn out in places, it isn’t something that is going to occupy you for ages. The big reveal, so to speak, I figured out before the characters did, but that was no big deal. The story has a lot of potential, some that is explored, and other times where things are just glossed over and never satisfactorily answered. This is Masterton as I know him – weird supernatural horror, and it does not waste time getting where it needs to go, ripping you out of what you thought was a plain story. The characters are never really fleshed out, but are there merely to carry the concept and story, which is why it makes it difficult to really care about what is going on all the time, even though you are interested. There is a difference. Anyway, the pacing is good, the story is entertaining, albeit flawed, and I did not feel like I had wasted my time. There were moments where I felt the writing could have been tightened up so that things did not feel like they dragged in places, and other times I wish that the author had delved into some things more, to make them more meaningful as well as give us more insight into some of the goings on. Also (but this is typical for a horror novel), the logic is rather astonishing at the best of times. I am not always sure how certain leaps and bounds were made, as well as the reasoning behind a lot. Things happened in the book, too, that were they fleshed out better, would have carried a bigger bang. Also, the end is something that left me a big uncertain as to whether it was a stroke of genius or just lazy, but I would let each reader decide that for themselves. Anyway, not a bad read, and one that I enjoyed, and one I would recommend very easily over the Katie Maguire series, it flows well and is engaging from the outset, so well worth it.

Review: The Passenger – Lisa Lutz

6

the passenger lisa lutz cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past? – via Goodreads

GRADE 6Well, this looked like it would be an interesting read, a decent thriller. It was a decent read, but it was flawed. I had a few qualms with it. My biggest one was that the entire book felt slightly incomplete, like there were a bunch of events, and they were all loosely tied together, but it felt somehow as though Lutz was supposed to have gone back and fleshed things out a little better and never did. The story was interesting, and I really wanted to know what was in Tanya/Amelia/Debra’s history, because it must have been something major for her to go on the run and live a life of pain and suffering, and be hunted for something that has happened a decade before. Sadly, the payoff at the end is quite a let down. This major event was alluded to for so long that it actually got a little annoying, so when we finally got to it, all the air went out of me. Like a “really, that’s it?” kind of moment. Which is a pity, because there was so much potential. There were so many opportunities to explore the psychological recesses of our lead character’s mind, but they never really got looked into very closely, which meant the most important character of the book lacked depth, meaning I could not identify with her at all and I found her to be a tad melodramatic, too. No, that didn’t help matters. Blue was a really interesting character that I wished had been explored a bit more, she was just a dash cuckoo, and to uncover more of her secrets would have been fascinating. Maybe not overly believable and her placing was slightly too convenient, but I liked her a lot. Then there is the relationship between our main character and Domenic, which I enjoyed quite a  bit. It was insane, it was strange, but it worked for the whirlwind of a story that we got. The pacing was alright, albeit a little bit confusing initially, it starts to make sense and the book flows from there. I would definitely say that The Passenger is a quick read, engaging although not brilliant, with some interesting characters and events that certainly held more potential than they were eventually granted. A lot of these events I feel were set up and rushed through, and they were given such a big hype up beforehand (looking specifically at the family home that the lead character had stayed at) and nothing came from it ultimately. I enjoyed the book without loving it, wishing for some more thrills, and I was not so enamoured with the way that a lot of the book felt like rinse and repeat, reading the same thing, just slightly different – new name, new hair, new town. Repeat. Repeat. I was hoping for a faster, darker thriller, and this story trundled along, some interesting times, others not so much. What I can say is that if you are looking for a fast, decent read between books, this would be it. I liked the author’s work and would probably try out some of her other stuff should I come across it.