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Book Review: The Girl before

Title: The Girl Before

Author: J.P. Delaney

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A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season. (Source: Goodreads)


The book The Girl on the Train paved the way for mysteries, where the main role is an unreliable woman. And The Girl before follows this trend. In the flood of similar mysteries, this book is one of those who tries to combine the themes of different successful books.

The story switches between two personal stories. Personally, I really like reading books with multiple perspectives, even if it’s hard to separate from them at the beginning. I always struggle with who is who. In this book, I did not have a problem with the separation between the two women, even that their stories are very similar. Some things even repeats but one perspective is written in past and another is told in present.

The house is the main theme connecting personal stories, which I found interesting, but at the same a little bit bizarre. I mean, I loved the idea but at the same time I had difficulties to imagine a house or why should anyone wanted to live there.

The main characters are Emma and Jane. We are following Emma’s story in the past, while Jane’s is told from the present time. And the only thing that connects them is a particular house.

Both had personal tragedies, they are mentally at the bottom … Since the synopsis promised similar story as Gone Girl or Girl on a train, a reader knows that they are unreliable as a character and that we can expect a certain turnaround. At first, Emma and Jane seem different, as if they have nothing in common, except the house, but it turns out that it is not. Like most crime-like creatures, we did not like Emma, neither did Jane. I simply can not identify with such a type of woman.

 I did not expect much from this book. I read it very quickly because the chapters are short and it’s truly a quick read. Somewhere in the middle of the book, I thought that the book was actually very predictable, but then it began to get complicated on the next few pages. After that, the author began to exaggerate. With each new chapter came to a new twist and after a while, I didn’t know anymore who is lying and who is talking the truth or what was really happening.
I would recommend this as a summer read. It’s perfect for readers who like mysteries but still want to enjoy somewhere on the beach and not think too much about the story itself. It was fun and tense enough that I enjoy it.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it?

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Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby

Title: Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin

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“Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor – husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet’s circle is not what it seems.”

Source: Goodreads


Despite the fact that both, the book and the movie, are considered classics, I had no idea what this book (or movie) is about. According to the title and genre of the book, I concluded that it would be about baby, a devil (?) and that would be tense or creepy.

The book is quite short, so I read it quite quickly. It was fantastic from the first page and if I would have more time, I would probably read it in one sitting.

The tension is rising through the story. It starts innocently when Rosemary and Guy are searching for an apartment, and they find a perfect one but later hear a lot of unpleasant things about it. Nevertheless, they move in and Rosemary is beyond excited. She focuses all her energy on the decoration and the idea of having a baby. At first unusual neighbors, soon become part of their new life.

I didn’t found book neither scary or horrifying. I was just excited about what was going to happen. Since I didn’t know anything about the story, with each page I expected a shocking twist. As the thrill grows, the story becomes more mysterious until it reaches its peak. And during reading, we get to know Rosemary, who is a central figure in the book.

Rosemary is a girl/woman who would I consider as a person with no character. This is also a reason why she finds herself in this peculiar situation. It’s quite easy to manipulate with her because of her character. She is completely subordinate to her husband – although she would probably have claimed otherwise. But she is completely dependent on the husband, both financially and emotionally. She doesn’t know how to stand for herself, so she becomes a victim.

The story is actually rather simple, but it’s written so fantastically that I understand why it’s considered a classic. It does not contain turnarounds or unexpected situations. Ira Levin simply wrote the story so fantastically that it doesn’t even need them. Everything is in place. At first, I was a little bit disturbed by the ending, which seemed to me to be very average for such a book. But after thinking about it, I came to the realization that the ending is excellent. It’s simple, just like the story itself. But it still shocks the reader.

 

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: The Dry

Title: The Dry

Author: Jane Harper

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Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

(Synopsis is taken from Goodreads page. I changed it a little bit).


After only a few pages, I completely fell into the story. How could I not? The reader soon discovers, that there is something else going on, not just a story we read about. And that things aren’t the way they seem.

Location, where the story unfolds, makes everything more interesting and intense. A drought increases the tension in sleepy little town and it also supposes to be the cause of double murder and suicide. It’s a story about a small town with their typical inhabitants, where everyone knows everyone and where the past is never forgotten but it’s also affecting present even thoug people try to escape it.

It’s the same with federal agent Falk who tried to escape his past by leaving the town and moving to the big city but he’s back for the funeral of his best friend. Now Falk has to deal with unexpected death, his past and it’s secrets. Falk is not one of the most interesting detectives I read about. Actually, none of the characters stood out in any way. They are extremely good or bad. Those in between are almost irrelevant and do not have too much influence on the story. Falk as a character seems rather plain and it’s difficult for a reader to create an opinion about him. We can learn the most about his character from the records of his youth when he is described by his friends.

But the story was still tense enough for me, that I keep reading with interest. It was a quick read that kept me in tension until I read it. The ending was maybe a little bit unexpected because I surely didn’t foresee such an ending. Still, it was good enough that I will read another book about Falk.

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The Famous Five Series: Mini reviews of books 1-5

As I mentioned before, this year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. That’s why I decided that I will re-read all 21 books from the series. I’m slowly finishing with reading – I still have one book to read. But here are my mini-reviews of first five books in the series. Synopsis and pictures are from the official site.

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Five on a Treasure Island

Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who – and what – will they find there?

This is the first book and as expectedly this book is more of an introduction of all the characters. We get to know their personalities and setting, their adventure remains behind. Still, it was a nice read.

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Five Go Adventuring Again

In their second adventure, the Famous Five find a thief at Kirrin Cottage. They think they know who it is, but need to prove it. Will the discovery of a very old map help uncover the true culprit?

I thought this adventure was quite boring, especially for the second adventure in a row. Maybe it was because of the winter time and the fact, that friends were limited with outdoor space. Still, it was fun to read about secret passages and mysterious map.

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Five Run Away Together

The Famous Five discover that someone has been on George’s island. And what is locked in the mysterious trunk hidden on Kirrin Island? The Famous Five think they’re on the trail of smugglers – until they hear a child scream…

This book was really interesting. The bad guys were interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about our friends spending time on George’s island. They are so independent and what a lovely housewife Anne is! This adventure was intriguing and it kept me hooked until the end.

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Five Go To Smuggler’s Top

The Famous Five stay at the large old house at Smuggler’s Top. They discover secret hiding places, underground tunnels, and one night they catch people signalling out to sea! Are there still smugglers at Smuggler’s Top?

This book was dark! And because of that, it was amazing! Such a dark settling, with wonderful descriptions of marshes and creepy old house. The adventure was entertaining and full of twists. Not to mention spooky Block and new friends of our five friends. I was really entertained while reading.

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Five Go Off in a Caravan

The Famous Five go on a caravan holiday. When they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

The new location, a new adventure. As far as I love mysteries in Kirrin or Kirrin Island, I also love it, when Five go around, traveling and meeting new people. At first, I didn’t like this book, because I thought that kids were a little bit pushy. But after a while, reading became fun again. And there are smugglers in adventure again!

 

Did you read any of Famous Five books as a child? What did you think about them then and what do you think about it now? Do you remember any of this five books mentioned here? Please, share your thought with me!

 

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The Famous Five 75th Anniversary

This year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I adored reading about Famous Five adventures as a child and I read all the books numerous times.

There are 21 books in the series and I wanted to reread them for a long time. When I find out about the anniversary, I decided it’s finally time.

I will make a mini review for every single book, probably for five books in a time.

If you’re interested, you can also check Enid Blyton’s official site, which is gorgeous and amazing. You can also find coloring pages there and a checklist for all Famous Five books (and many other things).

Of course, you can also read about Blyton’s life and her other books. You can find a link to the page here. Please, check amazing new covers made for the 75th anniversary. Seriously, I can’t believe how gorgeous they are (I will read translated versions of books from my local library)!

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Book Review: Fear Nothing

Title: Fear Nothing

Author: Dean Koontz959386

Christopher Snow has a rare genetic disorder that doesn’t affect many people – he is very sensitive to light. He spends his days in his house, and only at night, he can walk through the abandoned streets of the Moonlight Bay. Despite his illness, his parents tried to provide him a normal life.

On the evening of his father’s death, Christopher witnesses events that turn his life on the head. He discovers the secrets of Moonlight Bay and its strange inhabitants.


I regret that I gave this book a chance at all. I wanted to give it a chance because this was my first Koontz book and then I was so far, that it would be unreasonable to quit.

I also won’t go much into the details of the plot because I don’t want to give out key details. All can I say is, that it’s too bad because the story itself has a potential that unfortunately has remained unused. In the small town of Moonlight Bay, the main hero witnesses events that turn his world upside down and lead him to further exploration, leading to the shocking secrets hidden by the city and its inhabitants.

The main character is Christopher Snow, who has a rare genetic disorder that makes him very sensitive to light. Of course, this complicates a story, because he’s not like other heroes who can heroically go out to explore the secrets. Christopher has to care that he is hidden and protected from light, which means that he can move around the city only during the night time, even so, in dimly lit spaces. This certainly brings additional tension to the plot. But with this, the positive aspects of this book end.

Christopher (at least to me) was a pretty unpleasant character. Regarding his disorder, he is very confident in himself and his actions. He was fearless and immediately for action, which I would not expect from such a character and which did not fit his personality. Above all, I was disturbed by his strange reactions to most of the events, which were completely pointless and for which it would be difficult to say that one of us would also do.

I will write just two examples, there are not any big spoilers but still, don’t read if you’re interested in a story.

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Example I: In a house where they just killed a woman he knew, he examines all the rooms, even though he knows he’s not alone. He’s not thinking about escaping, but it’s his goal to check all the rooms (?!? – we don’t know what he’s looking for). Then, they set him a porcelain doll in a passage, with his hat in the doll’s hands. But that doesn’t terrify him at all. The doll only arouses his discomfort because he doesn’t know why the doll has his hat?!?

Example II: His father leaves a letter for him, explaining some of the events from the past. But Christopher does not read it because it’s always time for that. He rather went to his girlfriend and they spend a whole day in bed.

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Most of the time, I was like… wtf?!? And such examples appear throughout the book and while reading, I was constantly wondering what was wrong with him. But it’s not just him, all the characters are like that. And that’s why reading is bizarre. Additionally, there is a whole bunch of pointless descriptions and irredeemable dialogues that are not at all relevant to the story.

In the end, I also found that this is the first part of a series of three books. I did not like the ending, the whole book even less, and despite the fact that in this book we don’t get to know anything about the mystery of the Moonlight Bay, I have no interest to read any other book in this series.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it? Are all Koontz’s books like that? Or would you recommend reading any other? Please, leave comments below!

 

 

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Book Review: Ripper

Title: Ripper

Author: Isabel Allende

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Unexplained murders are happening in San Francisco and even the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide is having a hard time investigating them. But his seventeen years old daughter Amanda is helping him. Amanda was always fascinated by crimes and she’s also a leader in online game Ripper, where she’s solving crimes with her online friends. With her players and help of her grandfather, she soon discovers that crimes in San Francisco are connected to each other and they’re work of a serial killer. And suddenly her mother disappears. Is she a next victim?


This was my first book from author Isabel Allende. I have heard wonderful things about her books but I was even more attracted by this book because of its synopsis. I love a good mystery book so I couldn’t wait to read it. But, I was truly disappointed.

The story reveals the process of searching a serial killer and details about murders. However, unfortunately, this part is often pushed into the background, because the author focuses on other details of the story which are not really relevant. Thus, most of the story consists of descriptions of people, who they are, what were they doing in the past and what they are doing now. Yet, even these descriptions are not well written or entertaining, but they are quite poorly written. Like short summaries, which are repeated too many times. I also noticed that in most cases, events and extensively writing about them have not provided anything to the story, but it was a ballast that made reading awkward and extended book to more than 500 pages.

Because of that, even the story about a crime isn’t as interesting as it could be. Often I completely forgot what book was about. And it’s like the author had the same problems as I had – every few chapters this serial-killer-story is forcibly resurrected back to life. I guess just because readers are expecting it?!?

All the characters stood out too much to be pleasant. Nobody was average, they were all some crazy-bohemian-heroic persons. This for me was also a reason, why reading about their relationships sounded insincere and unnatural. There were too many complications, rather than focusing on the original story that actually attracted me.

The last few chapters of the book were for me the most pleasing, when the story of a killer began to unfold and where the reader finds out about killers motives that brought to crimes. Again, there was a lot of details but it actually made sense. The rest of the book was just *yawn*.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read Ripper? What are your thoughts about this book? Can you recommend me any other book by Allende?