ARCs Update: Review (The Cabin in the Woods)

Hello readers!

I’ve been in such a mood for thrillers lately, so here’s another thriller review!

Reviews

The Cabin in the Woods by Sarah Alderson

Pub Date: 7 Jul 2022

I really did not like this, unfortunately. I enjoyed The Weekend Away very much, it was bonkers and even when the main character was insufferably clueless, it was still a fun read. But in The Cabin in the Woods, I was bored out of my mind and was put into a slump after finishing it. I should have DNF-ed it when it became clear in the beginning that this was not going to be as fun a read as TWA, but I thought at least it would have a few twists that would make it all worth it in the end… but that didn’t happen. Yes, there are a couple twists but they never feel worth it at all.

We get a dual narration, in one we know that the main character has escaped an institution where she was kept after having a breakdown, we know she committed a crime and we know it has to do with her husband, who’s a bad man. She spends most of this timeline stressfully bumbling about with an infection in her arm. In the second timeline, she’s meeting the husband, who’s perfect (we know he’s not) and does not realize he’s the actual devil until Something Happens (I will not say what exactly, for spoiler reasons) and by then like, 75% of the book is over. We KNOW he’s bad. I didn’t care to watch their relationship in such slow motion.

The ending felt like the writer got tired of writing the book and decided to just quickly finish it by introducing a random new character who does 98% of the work. It does not feel very satisfying at all, just forced, overdone and boring.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

ARCs Update: Review (The Cliff House)

Hello readers!

Sorry, I only have one review today to share. The last ARC I read (which is not the one I’m reviewing today) put me in a slump and I haven’t been able to read for a few days now.

Reviews

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre

Pub Date 24 May 2022

The Cliff House is a And Then There Were None Retelling if it were set in a Scottish island for a hen party and everyone has secrets. This gives me strong Liane Moriarty and TJR vibes (if they wrote this kind of closed-room whodunits). This is very in line with the more over-the-top, fun thrillers that have seen a bit of a resurge lately and I’ve been having a lot of fun reading this kind of book. This was no exception! For a fun, over-the-top read, definitely pick this one up, it will keep you entertained – even if I thought the solution was pretty obvious, it was still fun to get there.

This was very good and entertaining, but it felt like I’ve read this story so many times before.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ARCs Update: Reviews (The Club, Hide, Devotion)

Hello readers!

Some interesting titles this week, as I try to read a few ARCs to compensate for the stuff I just received, and now I’m back to 80% rating! Success.

Reviews

Hide by Kiersten White

Pub Date 24 May 2022

Hide is Kersten White’s adult debut and I was ecstactic to receive this ARC! I loved And I Darken, but ended up not finishing the series because I was in the process of falling out of love with YA at the time, so this horror/thriller was way up in my list of most anticipated reads for 2022. And it didn’t disappoint!

This new(ish) wave of social horror works really well for me, and Hide is no exception. It has the very cool setting of an abandoned amusement park, and it’s about fourteen people competing for a prize on a potential reality show. I really liked how we got insight into every cahracter and, although with such a huge cast it’s impossible to really get into each one very deeply, I never felt like they were treated superficially, not even the first ones to leave the contest. It feels to me that White’s writing has matured a lot since the last book I read from her, and not only because she’s writing adult fiction.

This made me stay up way too late, not only to finish the book but because it terrified me SO much, which does not happen often with books at all. I had a great time reading this and hope she will continue to write horror and thrillers!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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ARCs Update: Reviews (Daisy Darker, The Sentence)+ Received

Hello readers!

Some interesting titles this week, as I try to read a few ARCs to compensate for the stuff I just received, and now I’m back to 80% rating! Success.

Reviews

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Pub Date 18 Aug 2022

Okay so I reviewed Nine Lives by Peter Swanson not that long ago, and proceeded to swear off retellings, especially of And Then There Were None (I’ll refer to it as ATTWN). Nothing so far has been able to evoke quite the same atmosphere of ATTWN, and I tend to appreciate better those which are only very loosely inspired by it. But then I saw Alice Feeney had a book out this year and it was a rather close retelling of ATTWN and I immediately requested it – all lessons from the last ARC promptly forgotten.

Daisy Darker tells the story of a family who gathers to celebrate grandma’s 80th birthday on Halloween, in a private island where they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for several hours. At midnight, grandma is found dead. One hour later, another member of the family dies…

I had such fun reading Rock, Paper, Scissors that I had faith Alice Feeney would at least tell a very entertaining and twisty story. Boy, did she! This kept me turning pages like there was no tomorrow. It’s not a perfect book by any means, there were some pacing issues because of all the flashbacks especially on the first half of the book, but I was so intrigued to find out everyone’s secrets that I just flew threw this. Plus the family’s interactions were so awkward and full of juicy drama. And! Lots of twists, as it’s truly Alice Feeney’s specialty. If you love a good Agatha Christie vibe – including rich-eccentric-person-leaves-a-controversial-will (one of my favorite tropes) – plus you enjoy Gothic, creepy stories, definitely pick this one up!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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ARCs Update: Reviews (Vladimir, Our Wives Under the Sea)+ Received

Hello readers!

Some interesting titles this week, as I try to read a few ARCs to compensate for the stuff I just received, and now I’m back to 80% rating! Success.

Reviews

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

Pub Date 1 Feb 2022

This is a dark, provocative debut, and I LOVED it. Vladimir is the story of a woman in her 50s whose husband is being investigated for his relationship with students in the past, and she becomes obsessed with a new professor in her University (the eponymous Vladimir). This novel has such an incredible, addictive voice and it’s just such fun to read. I could hardly believe this is a debut, the writing was just so electrifying and bold.

One of my my favorite things was how the main character is this complex, unlikable, self-absorbed woman and how her relationship with Vladimir is about her objectifying him and projecting her own desires on him, which is an interesting shift from so many novels where it’s the male protagonist obsessing over a younger, beautiful woman. She is stuck in her thoughts and learned behaviors when it comes to sex, politics and power, from a time when women were trying to become sexually liberated, and this often comes in conflict with the views on sexuality and power dynamics from younger generations (like her daughter and her students). It’s just such a perceptive look into generational differences and gave this novel a depth I was not quite expecting. Vladimir really got me thinking and adjusting my perspective and getting into the headspace of the main character – which is always the sign to me of a brilliant novel. There was no way I was going to give this less than 5 stars. It was just such an enthralling read that had me talking about it nonstop for days. I just recently got a physical copy of it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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ARCs Update: Reviews (The Wolf Den, Cherish Farrah, Matrix)+ Received

Hello readers!

I finished a couple ARCs this week and received a few more, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about what I read and what I added to my shelves!

Reviews

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper

Pub Date 29 Mar 2022

This novel was a wonderful read. I could not put this down and missed out on some sleep to read it. Who needs to be awake at work? I NEEDED to read this. First of all, it’s one of those stories that could easily be a heavy read that makes you feel ill and depressed reading, and while the author does not sugar coat any of the horrors of the life of a prostitute in Pompeii, neither does it become too gruesome to read on. I think Elodie Harper found a good balance between being sensitive about difficult topics and still presenting a faithful image of reality.

I read Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker a while ago and while I liked it, I did not love it really. The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper gave me exactly what I kind of hoped for from SotG – a main character who is vulnerable but smart, a bit cold and very resourceful. Amara is a wonderful main character to follow and I loved seeing the world of Pompeii through her eyes, and I also enjoyed that while the people of Pompeii believed in gods, they (the gods) don’t make an appearance at all, giving you the impression of a realistic and well-built world. I also loved the secondary characters in their flawed personalities and how they brought this story to life.

Also! I need to look up Pompeii’s history because I’m pretty sure a lot of historical references are going over my head.

I’ve been lucky enough to receive this as an ARC and I absolutely loved it. I cannot really think of any complaints about this novel, although I was wondering at times if some of the characters didn’t fall a bit too much on the usual tropes, but I think they have been written in a beautifully human way and the tropes didn’t bother me much at all.

Highly recommend this!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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ARCs Update: Reviews (This One Sky Day, The Odyssey)+ Received

Hello readers!

I finished a couple ARCs this week and received a few more, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about what I read and what I added to my shelves!

Reviews

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

Pub Date April 13th 2021

I was a bit in an audiobook mood this week so decided to pick this up in audio since I have tried before to read it and was so supremely bored I considered DNF-ing it (which I did), but then saw so many 5-star reviews from bloggers I admire that I decided to give it another chance (which I now did). And, well, it was fine.

I am shamefully late with this one, but in my defense… I didn’t want to read it. This is one of those books where I can see its merits, and I can objectively admire how vivid and viscerally this is written, the characters coming alive in Leone Ross’ brilliant writing. I also thought I’d like it because it was a magical realism literary fiction, which is something I absolutely love reading, but I just did not click with it at all. I am not able to articulate exactly why, but something about the storytelling did not grasp me, and even when I enjoyed the writing, I could not enjoy the story itself. This is a slow-paced novel, which made the chore of finishing this drag on even more. It just never seemed to really pick up steam and then the Big Event that happens around half or two-thirds in was just so weird and absurd. It just really put me off.

It did not work for me, I was simply not the right audience – so I guess it will be a better match for other readers, perhaps if you enjoy absurd humor and magical realism. Don’t let me my uninspired review stop you from reading it if this book interested you.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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ARCs Update: Reviews + Added to the shelf

Hello readers!

I haven’t been writing reviews a whole lot lately, but I wanted to talk more about the ARCs that I receive, as they’re usually recent releases that my readers might be interested about and I have to review them for Netgalley / Edelweiss anyway. December 21 and January 22 I basically decided to read every brick I received, which means it took me weeks to write this (brilliant planning, as usual) even though there are only a couple reviews. Anyway!

Reviews

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee
Pub Date 2 Dec 2021

The Green Bone Saga is one of my favorite series of all time, and I can say with no hesitation that it’s one of the best fantasies out there. I adore Fonda Lee’s ability to bring the stakes higher and higher, keeping me on my toes during the entire book. This was about 700 pages long and yet I was never bored. Politics, family drama, so much scheming, martial arts, plots twits, this really has it all. I cannot express enough how much this world is vibrant, complex and so wonderfully crafted.

This final book of the series completely blew my mind. I gave 5 stars to every single book of the trilogy, but this might just be my favorites. The author did NOT hold back and I had to fight tears very often (I was reading this in buses and trains a lot) and take breaks to fully absorb what had just happened. Really, this is even more explosive and incredible than the other two books. Highly recommend for fantasy fans!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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eARC Review: Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (Rant Review) (LOTS OF SPOILERS)

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson


Okay, so if you clicked by accident on this review without reading the full title, I warn you: this post is dedicated to spoiling the hell out of Nine Lives! If you are looking for a spoiler-free review, I just posted one: eARC Review: Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (NO SPOILERS)

I’m writing a full-on spoiler-y review after it got a very positive reaction on Twitter:

Lots of spoilers ahead!

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eARC Review: Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (NO SPOILERS)

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

Categories: Thriller, Mystery

First Publication Date: March 15th 2022


Synopsis:

Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke–until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list.

First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor, and they’re located all over the country. So why are they all on the list, and who sent it?

FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next…

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