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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?

 

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Book Review: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Title: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Author: Kate Mosse

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1921, Sussex. Connie lives with her father, who used to be a successful taxidermist with his own museum of stuffed animals. He had to close the museum after Connie’s accident when she was twelve years old. Connie doesn’t remember what happened at the night of the accident but since then, her father was not the same. They sold the museum and moved to Fishbourne Marshes.

Since then, her father seeks consolation in alcohol and Connie is the one who’s trying to continue the family business. However, taxidermy is no longer popular as it used to be and they’re having a hard time. Besides that, her father’s behavior is stranger every day and Connie is not sure anymore if it’s only alcohol to blame. Besides, she’s having a hard time also, getting into a strange condition where she remembers fragments of her accident which she can’t connect. Things get even worse when they find a body of a murdered woman near the house and her father goes missing.


Oh, Kate Mosse. How I used to love her books. I was obsessed with Languedoc Trilogy! She really can conjure the gothic obscure atmosphere in her books. She didn’t disappointed with this book either because she has chosen a truly perfect place for a mysterious storyline of this book – the misty marshes of England. Kate Mosse truly knows how to invoke a horror of the place, so reader can easily imagine being there.

This book was full of charming details, including the details of taxidermy. There were many descriptions of animals, particularly birds. Honestly, maybe this book would impress me even more if I would understand everything completely. But because I read this book in English, I was too lazy to check every word in a dictionary (there were too many unknown words).

The story itself was interesting. It was tense, despite the fact that I have soon found out, what’s going on and what’s behind the disappearance of men’s. Notwithstanding this, I still enjoyed reading. There are actually two stories in one plot, the one from present days and the one from the past. Which of course, connects at the end.

The characters were unremarkable. Connie is a nice young lady who takes care of her father and has found her solace in taxidermy. She was helpful and nice to everyone. But that was pretty much everything. There were many other characters – too many sometimes because I was often confused about all the names. Moreover, one of them were named after birds (ugh!).

Certainly, I expected more, especially more refined plotline. The writing style is superb and I could read Mosse’s writing every day. Descriptions of the landscape, the weather, all the details exceeded my expectations. But sometimes this just ain’t enough.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Book Review: The Last One

Title: The Last One

Author: Alexandra Oliva27245997

A new reality TV show begins in the wilderness of American forest. It’s the biggest, the most expensive show and the contestants will have to show maximum strength and skills to survive. Twelve contestants are venturing into an adventure for a big prize and they’ll have to survive at least three weeks in the wild, or until all will surrender and the last one will survive.

Contestants soon get used to the presence of cameras and cameramen around them and challenges that test the limits of their endurance. They lose their sense of reality and the only thing they have in mind is winning the great reward. Just like one of the contestants, called Zoo, who is wandering alone and disoriented through the wild, even when cameras and her co-contestants are not around anymore. Even more and more bizarre challenges, desolated cities and mannequins which look just like real dead peoples can’t discourage her from continuing and the only goal she has – be the last one.


This was such an incredible book! Every page was more intense and entertaining and I couldn’t put it down.

Through the chapters, we get to know all twelve contestants and about filming a reality show and also Zoo, who is the narrator of her own chapters.

Background of shooting a show and getting to know all the contestants was such a fun! I also watch reality TV shows sometimes, I know that everything is not like they show us but still, I was surprised how things actually work. All characters (competitors) are show suitable – they are the most diverse characters that you can imagine and of course they are all completely different among each other. They soon show their nature and find out how to play this game and what “role” they were assigned to show.

Zoo is of all the most likable character, but she also stands out from average. Her devotion to a game and the fact that she’s willing to do everything to won was stunning. She just keeps hold on to the illusion of reality show, even when she starts to doubt a little bit and this was just fascinating to me. How can someone be so focused on a goal that he’s not able to realize reallity?

The idea of the plot seemed incredible, but yet completely real. It wouldn’t surprise me if something like that would really happen. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some tv show would really manipulate their contestants to believe they are in some sort of dystopian reality show.

Because after all, I really believe this is a book about media manipulation, how they affect people and our minds and are taking advantage of our naivety. Even the most spontaneous events/scenes are well thought out and nothing is left to chance. And people still don’t separate between reality and illusion.

This was really a unique dystopian novel that I would recommend to every reader.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Did you read The Last One? What did you think about it? 

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Book Review: The Passage

Title: The Passage

Author: Justin Cronin6690798

Six-year-old Amy lives with her mother. But circumstances force her mother to leave her. She leaves Amy in a convent where nuns could take care of her and disappear without a trace. Sister Lacey takes care for Amy but soon two men appear, claiming to work for Secret Service and they need to take Amy away. Special Agent Brad Wolgast and his partner had already traveled across America, with a secret project to bring twelve, to death convicted criminals, to a secret base where special government experiment is going on. Amy is their final task.

However, things go terribly wrong.  Wolgast is fascinated by little Amy and wants to do everything to protect her. But he can’t do anything against apocalyptic destruction which is a result of failed experiment.

He’s protecting Amy as he can but at the end, he’s only human who’s suffering the same fate as all the others. And then Amy remains alone. Her faith is to wander around aimlessly, while decades are passing by. The world is destroyed, full of fear and terror. But Amy has the power to restore it.


What to write about a book, which is one of best books you ever read? The Passage is a book, that I read for the third time and each time it was better. The reason is probably also, that with each new reading, I discovered new details and understood a story better.

But despite reading this book many times, it would be probably easier if I would write a review after first reading. Now, it will be probably just bragging how this book is amazing. And, I already read the second book (twice), so I know everything that happens.

As I mentioned, this book is multi-leveled and full of details that can be easily overlooked if you don’t pay enough attention to them. But precisely those details create the story, although sometimes seems as unnecessary information. There are many side characters, that Cronin devotes a lot of attention, a reader learns everything about their life and past and then they’re gone. However, this also has its charm. But despite detailed writing of characters and events, this book never becomes boring, even though is huge!

Characters are amazing! I loved main characters, Amy and Wolgast. Especially Wolgast. He’s such an amazing man, and his character develops so well through the story. I liked him even more than Amy. And believe me, it’s hard to love somebody more than her. Despite being quite and shy little girl, she has such a powerful role in this book. But still, I think, that Wolgast really stands out!

The world after the apocalypse, when a world was destroyed by the virus is creepy and horrible. Vampires are just like they should be, horrible and bloodthirsty. I usually don’t like books about vampires because they are too romanticized, but here are scary and perfect.

Reading about the world after a virus was enjoyable. Perhaps, it was little too similar to the world before, which annoyed me. After all, so many decades passed by and I would assume, some things would be different, people would act differently. But nevermind, diversity of characters is fascinating and I didn’t have any problems with connecting to them and enjoying their story.

Maybe it’s just the last part of the book, which can be confusing and I was all “what’s going on?”. But exactly this part is full of tension, action, and events.

In spite of the diversity of characters and different stories, everything connects at the end. Again and again, I was amazed, how the fates of people connect one way or another through the novel and that Cronin manages, despite detailed narration, to unite all the elements in the story.

Once again I can say, that this book is just amazing. Enjoyable characters, great background stories and gruesome vampires. Tense, emotional and frightening.

Rating: 5/5 stars

What were your thoughts about this book, if you have read it? Do you have any other vampire books recommendations? Or did you read any similar books that I would like?

 

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Book Review: Stone Bruises

Title: Stone Bruises

Author: Simon Beckett18189475

Sean is a young Englishman who is on the run. He finds himself on a remote farm in the French countryside, where he accidentally steps in the trap, set for animals. Because of the bleeding, he passes out and after a while, he wakes up in an attic. He’s confused at first but finds out that a woman from a farm took care of him and his wound. However, her father, old Arnaud, who is also a farm owner, doesn’t want him on his estate. Nevertheless, Sean stays on the farm, because the injury is really bad.

His past is chasing him but at the same time, he’s attracted to the mysteries of the farm and its residents.


I read Beckett’s mysteries when I want to read a good crime novel but at the same time I know, I won’t have to think much while reading. His books relax and entertain me. They are always good enough and until I read this book, I was never disappointed.

Book Stone Bruises actually combines two stories – first is about Sean on the run and how he ends in the farm, while the second story are snapshots from Sean’s past from London and the events that lead to his run.

After Sean’s arriving on the mysterious farm, I was constantly in tension, what secrets would be revealed and I was expecting horrific crimes that residents on the farm are hiding. Things were unveiled but I had to wait almost to the end of the book. And it was far from shocking and far from horrific things that I expected to be revealed. Until the end, this book was just describing Sean’s daily routine on the farm, his work and tense relations between Arnaud and his two daughters.

I didn’t like none of the characters and I can only assume, that this was an intention of the author if he wanted to show intolerable relations on the farm and its eccentric inhabitants. I even didn’t have a good opinion about Sean. Despite the fact, he was on the run, he still insisted in intolerable conditions and allowed to be humiliated by old man. He involved himself into something that was not necessary. He could leave anytime. But no, he stayed on the farm and got himself into a strange and unenviable situation.

I was also disappointed with Sean’s story about his past/crime he committed. Through the book, the story is progressively revealed but I expected so much more from it also.

As I already mentioned, all the secrets are revealed. But in the last few pages, which is really a pity. It was just too much of everything and not shocking at all. Too bad.

This book was not bad, but in my opinion, there are many other better crime novels to read, so I would probably not recommend it. Just grab some other book, if you want to enjoy a good mystery.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Did you read any other Beckett’s books and what did you think about them?

 

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Book review: The Girl in 6E

Title: The Girl in 6E

Author: A. R. Torre

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Deanna hasn’t left her apartment for three years. That was her decision because she doesn’t trust herself. She has terrible desire to kill and the only way to control herself is being locked and isolated from other people.
Everything she needs, she gets on The Internet. Moreover, she’s working as a cam girl – via online cameras, she offers sexual services to her clients. And she’s successful at what she does. Deanna aka Jessica has different types of customers but each of them is looking for a pleasure and sometimes even for fulfilling their fantasies and fetishes.
But a man can’t be isolated from people forever and at first, Deanna’s peace is disturbed by UPS delivery guy, who regularly carries her packages she orders online. And later she discovers, that one of her customers has strange desires and that his fetish crossed the line and he may actually be a madman who will hurt someone.


I must admit that I was very surprised by the book. I thought it would be just another crime story and I definitely haven’t expected so much sexual content. But to be clear, that doesn’t bother me at all. But maybe some readers could be disturbed by that.

I didn’t know much about cam sex. Ha, I didn’t know anything at all, to be honest. And I loved reading about it! It was really fascinating and while reading I could see that author did a research about the topic and everything was presented and explained well.
The story emerges slowly because, in the first half of the book, a reader gets to know Deanna and her clients. However, it was so interesting to read about all the different characters who are really unique.
First, there is Deana aka Jessica. I can’t even imagine, that somebody has such a desire to kill and he’s aware of it, so he’s willingly isolated from others. I thought that Deanna was an inventive person and in spite of her character, very pleasant girl.

At the same time, I was fascinated by a variety of Deanna’s clients characters. I can easily imagine that cam girls who are offering sexual services online can meet some “strange” clients and this little insight into their lives was fantastic. How many different fetishes I never heard about before! And I liked that through Deanna chatting with clients I was able to get to know her character.

I must admit that I liked the first half of the book more than the second. In the second part, Deanna is trying to discover who could be the secret client and how could she resolve the situation. And if the first half of the book seemed truly credible to me, I was not impressed with the second part. According to Deanna’s complexes and problems, it just seemed unbelievable. And I felt same with learning about Deanna’s past and reasons for hers desire to kill.

I would probably give this book fewer stars if the first part of the book wouldn’t be so enjoyable and I also liked a really unusual idea of a story.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Book Review: As Black as Ebony

Title: As Black as Ebony (Snow White Trilogy #3)

Author: Salla Simukka26144675

Lumikki’s life is slowly returning to normal after she returned from Prague, where she exposed the evil purpose of a religious sect.
She started to go to school, where she met Sampsa, a wonderful guy who became her boyfriend. Lumikki can’t believe how loving he is and how lucky she is to have him. But nothing changed with her relationship with her parents and more are the events from Prague drawing away, less courage she has, to ask them about her missing sister.
Then suddenly, she starts to receiving secret messages/threats from a stalker. He threatens her and her loved ones and apparently knows all the details of her life. Even those that she doesn’t know. And, as it’s not enough for Lumikki trying to find out who this person could be and what will be his next move, in her life suddenly appears her ex, Blaze. That Blaze who broke her heart and Lumikki didn’t get over her yet.


I can only say, it’s too bad that this book is so short. But not because it was so good, but because it could be so much better if the author would extensively explain certain things. It seemed to me, that everything happened too quickly, and despite the fact that things are clarified, something was still missing.

Like in previous books, I liked Lumikki’s character in this also. She’s a bit older and more mature and so is the book topic. She finds herself in a love triangle, she’s lost and doesn’t know what to do. Despite everything that Blaze did, Lumikki still wants her and has feelings for her. Which is a reason why her new relationship is suffering. I must admit that I felt sorry for her boyfriend because he really didn’t deserve this. He was such a nice guy, really in love with her and did some really amazing things, and Lumikki wanted Blaze?!? As if she wouldn’t leave her suddenly and (almost) without a reason. Pfff! Yes, I never liked Blaze too much.

I also felt like a stalker was somehow pushed into the background and served only to ensure that once in a while Lumikki got a new clue about her sister. And in that way, this book is different from the first two – if in previous books there was always some crime in front and mystery to be solved, in this book Lumikki mostly explores her thoughts and life.

The end of the book came too fast and in the few last pages is explained everything regarding Lumikki’s past and her stalker.

This trilogy is now finished. Otherwise, books were good, but I still believe that the author could better exploit the potential of the plot(s). Because the combination of a crime novel and teenager as the main character is attractive and I haven’t read many books like that.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read any book by Simukka? What did you think about it? And of course… I would be more than happy if you could recommend any good crime novel with a teenager as the main character. Thanks!