0

Book Review: The Girl before

Title: The Girl Before

Author: J.P. Delaney

untitled

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?

Advertisements
0

Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby

Title: Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin

11282000

“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

3

Book Review: The Dry

Title: The Dry

Author: Jane Harper

27824826

 

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.

1

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.

***

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.

***

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!

 

 

0

Book Review: Ripper

Title: Ripper

Author: Isabel Allende

18090150

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?

 

0

Book Review: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Title: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Author: Kate Mosse

21530082

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

3

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?