Sunday, March 12, 2017
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
What it's about: The story revolves around a woman named Quincy, who was the lone survivor of a mass murder in a cabin in the woods when she was a teenager. Quincy has blocked out most of the memories from that night, and is now a baking blogger living with her boyfriend in the present day. Then she finds out one of the other 'Final Girls' (what the press has dubbed Quincy and others sole survivors of killing sprees) has killed herself and another suddenly shows up on her doorstep, desperately trying to make Quincy remember what happened that night in the cabin.
My thoughts:First of all, I'm never a fan of writing negative reviews. But, sometimes a book is just so disappointing and makes me so frustrated that i have to get my thoughts out, no matter how much of an unpopular opinion it may end up being.
**WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD**
I hated this book. Hated. It.
Which makes me sad, since this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. I've had it on pre order for months and i was squealing like a deranged fangirl when i received an ARC through netgalley. I was so excited that i dropped the other two books i was reading in order to dive right in to this one.
It started out promising enough. In fact, for the first 50-60 pages i was all in. It kept my eyes glued to my kindle and i was excited to see where the story was going.
Right around the time Quincy and Sam decided to be vigilantes in Central Park...my eyes started to roll. Then Quincy's behavior begins to spiral and i get the whole 'unreliable narrator' (a trope that is VASTLY overused and very rarely works) vibe and my spidy senses start to kick in that i might end up having a few issues with this book.
Damn those pesky spidy senses.
I don't even know where to begin delving into all the ways this story ended up falling apart.
It had nothing to do with the over the top nod to 80's slasher movies. I loved that. In fact, that was part of the reason i was dying to read this. Instead my first problem with this story was something i keep running into in thrillers; an unlikable protagonist and cast of equally irritating supporting characters. Quincy was a selfish asshat. Period. She only cared about herself, and what she went through...not about any of the other victims, both in the cabin and her fellow Final Girls. Sam was just a crazy beyotch, and the fact that after knowing her all of 5 minutes Quincy allowed her to come and live with her and her boyfriend and repeatedly took her side over said bf? Just another reason not to like Q OR the direction this book was heading in. Other characters, like boyfriend Jeff, intrepid reporter Jonah, all the victims from the cabin.... are all flat, cardboard characters. Even the only somewhat interesting character, hero cop Coop, comes off as someone plucked out of 50 random horror movies. We don't actually know very much...if anything...about these people. In fact, so non-fleshed out were they that it wouldn't have surprised me if they all turned out to figments of Quincy's imagination.
Most of the time...the behavior and actions of these characters Make. No. Sense. None. I understand the need for a heavy dose of suspension of belief here, but COME ON!!!!!
That is especially true of the final 25-30 pages of the book. The backstory given to explain the motives behind everything that happened was out and out absurd. Even a bad 80's horror movie would have handled the climax better than this mess.
It is honestly impossible for me to sit here and try to be calm while writing this review. Because it truly made me angrier than anything else i've read in a very long time. Gone Girl pissed me off....so did The Girl On The Train. But this one was far more disappointing to me considering how promising it seemed in the beginning.
This ARC was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
6+ rocket ship to the top of my all time favorite book list, stars.
If ever there were a book that i could describe as life-changing...it would be this one.
Is it for everyone? Absolutely not.
There are sections of this book that are brutal. That are intensely hard to read. And there are themes throughout the book that might be triggers for some people.
But, for me this was easily one of the most beautifully written books i have ever come across in my life. I literally ran out of my trusty small post its due to all the sections I marked.
I am still trying to process my thoughts after finishing this several hours ago, but i do hope at some point to be able to come back and write a proper review to try and express just how much this book effected me.
These characters and this story will stay with me for the rest of my life. And i feel fortunate to have decided to take a chance on a book so far outside my comfort zone.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I'm kind of at a loss as to how to start this review/rant.
For the first half of this book, i was completely blown away by how much i was enjoying it. It takes a lot...A LOT...to freak me out/make me uncomfortable while reading a book, and this book...in the beginning at least, did both those things big time.
Around the 50% mark though, i started to get a weird feeling. A feeling that told me that this book was possibly going to start to go down a path I was not happy with. One that would have left me feeling both annoyed and have me rolling my eyes at the sheer predictability of it all. Well, what i ended up feeling by the end of this book was out and out anger. Angry at the fact that the book showed so, so much promise, only to have it turn into this massive, silly train wreck that made me feel like pounding my kindle into a wall when i turned the last page.
Okay, i might sound a bit melodramatic here, but honestly....there is nothing i love more than a good, scary read. And because i am a huge horror movie fan, and have basically grown up watching any horror movie i come across, i tend to be more cynical when it comes to horror/suspense fiction. I can count on one hand the times i have considered myself to be unsettled by a book...and have yet ever really find myself being scared by one. But, the beginning chapters of Head Full Of Ghosts knocked me on my butt with how well the author set a genuinely creepy tone. There are scenes early on (especially between the 2 sisters) that were so well done, that i nearly had to stop reading because i felt like it was a bit too unnerving to take in all at once.
As i mentioned above, around the half way mark i started to get the idea that the story was going to take a turn i would have been very disappointed in. But, I was still enjoying the overall story so much that i tried to put it out of my head, and just kept going. It's worth mentioning that all of my issues with the book actually started around the time that the family started to film their reality tv show. I thought that might be an interesting aspect to the story, but it just came off as gimmicky....which might or might not have been intentional.
With the exception of one scene, the entire last 25% of the book turned into a completely ridiculous hot mess. It is almost mind boggling to me how much of a complete turn around this book took in my opinion. It's hard to get into the specifics of what happened that drove me crazy without giving away huge plot elements, so....
::MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING::
First off all....I got the impression that it was going to turn out that Marjorie faked being possessed. Which was the first thing that i wasn't happy about, because the book was so much more effective when it seemed like all the supernatural elements were true. Once the idea of her pretending started to creep into the story, it lost a lot of it's punch.
Also, it was VERY obvious that Merry had a lot of emotional and psychological problems. And it wasn't surprising in the least that she ended up being this mysterious blogger who posted her cynical observations on the authenticity of the reality show and the supposed exorcism. Unfortunately, that entire sub-plot of why Merry acts the way she does...why she seems almost childlike in her manner of speaking and the way that she interacts with the woman hired to help write her book....just ends up being one of the many loose ends that the book throws at us.
The actual ending of the book...the last 20-30 pages...is where i have my biggest problems. I'm okay with an author deciding to leave a book open ended, or up to interpretation, but this was just a case of a sloppy, poorly constructed conclusion. In fact it didn't even feel like any kind of conclusion...open ended or not. It felt like the author got to the end of a sentence and said, "You know what? I think that's a good enough place as any to end this." Are we to assume that Merry made up a lot of her story...the parts that didn't air on the reality show at least? That she in fact was the one who poisoned her family and it was just more convenient to let her poor, mentally unstable sister (or father) take the blame for it? Based on the reaction of the writer after she listened to Merry tell her "true" account of the story, i am also wondering if the writer herself wasn't a figment of Merry's imagination as well.
I am truly sick of the "unreliable narrator" trope being used these days. Very rarely, if ever have i come across a story that actually works well when this device is used and i for one hope to never find myself reading something along those lines again.
I hardly ever write reviews that are this negative, and i realize i have an unpopular opinion based on all the glowing reviews this book has received. I wish things had turned out differently. I wish this book had stayed on the course i thought it would...or would have at least found a way to resolve SOMETHING by the end of the book. I feel both cheated and angry that a book that showed such promise ended up being so cliched and so melodramatic .
Thursday, June 16, 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3 1/2-4 stars.
As with the previous Outlander books, there were aspects that I loved, and some that I didn't really care for.
I loved that the focus was on Roger a lot of the time. He is such a wonderful character and it was nice to see him shine a bit.
I loved the quiet moments between Jamie and Clare. I never get tired of their love story, and the love scenes, while fewer in number in the last couple of books, are always just the right mix of sweet and steamy.
The return of a beloved character...did my heart good. <3 br="">
I have stated this before and will probably say it again after reading the rest of the books in the series....but DG seems to take an absurd amount of pleasure in torturing her characters. And in this book, the main object of her wrath was Roger. How many horrible things can happen to one character over the course of ONE book?
Some sections...especially towards the end...seemed dragged out to the point where i nearly started skimming. The cat and mouse game involving Bonnet is taking far too long to conclude. Although i really enjoyed the bit of revenge that Bree managed to get on him this time around.
Other readers have mentioned this in other reviews, but i can't help but throw my hat in the ring as well....the constant descriptions of Bree needing to breastfeed Jemmy. Of her leaking breastmilk....of changing Jemmy's diapers. It was all too descriptive and repetitive. Just...too much. DG seemed intent on making sure the readers understood how much a wee brat baby Jemmy could be. Message. Received.
This obviously wasn't my favorite book in the series. But, even with the issues that i have with certain aspects of the story...the Outlander universe is still one of my all time favorites. 3>
Thursday, June 9, 2016
When Alexander buys the land for his new airstrip, he never imagines the home on it is still occupied. But after he lays eyes on Liliana, he decides she’s his property now.
Eighteen-year-old Liliana has been tucked away her whole life. After her grandmother dies, she’s left alone with only her romance books to keep her company. She’s been surrounded by females her whole life, but when Alexander walks in the door, she knows he’s there to save her.
He’s claiming her, no matter how untouched she is.
Will Liliana fight or let Alexander have his way? Will Alexander keep her locked away or set her free? Will there be enough steam in this book to start your own sauna? Only one way to find out!
Warning: Are we still doing these? This is Alexa Riley. You should know the drill by now. This is going to be over-the-top dirty with all the sticky bits you like. Get in here already!
Chapter 1 *Alexander*
“I just want it torn down,” I tell Matt, the agent I bought the estate from, as I exit the car. I toss my suit jacket into the back seat, then roll up my sleeves. The house¾if you can even call it that¾looks like a fucking castle. It sits twenty miles outside of Chicago, and it’s the perfect spot for my planned private landing strip for the Boeing 747 I bought last month. I like privacy and this will give me that. The fewer people I have to deal with, the happier I am. I like to go to work and back home, but sometimes travel is unavoidable.
There’s enough space here to build the landing strip and keep the house, but there’s no need for it. I’d just have to hire people for its upkeep and I’d never use it. Might as well rip the thing down. Not like I have a need for a place like this. It’s breathtaking with an old-school feel, but my condo in the city is all I need. I live alone and I’ve never met a woman who tempted me to change that.
I’m doomed to be alone and I’ve settled into that. Work is my life. The thoughts of ever having a family of my own are long forgotten, though my mother still thinks there’s hope. I can’t even count how many times she’s told me the story of when my father found her working in some small coffee shop and practically picked her up and carried her out and he’d never let her go. Which is true. He has her tucked away on a nice little island right now, enjoying retirement.
“I thought maybe you should look inside first. You bought the whole estate as is, and I’m guessing there are still a lot of personal items inside. Maybe even art.”
I glance around the property. I hadn’t even looked at a single picture before I bought it. Just found out the land size and purchased it unseen. But looking around now, I can tell the place has a history to it. A stone wall surrounds the home, which is located in the center of the property. It looks like a fortress. It’s beautiful, but more than one man would ever need.
I run my eyes along the front, counting the windows and sizing up just how big it might be on the inside. Then I catch something out of the corner of my eye. Movement.
“It’s empty?” I ask, looking back over at Matt.
“Yes. There had been some staff still servicing the property, but they were informed that yesterday was their last day,” Matt says.
“I saw it, sir,” Black, my head of security, says, coming to stand next to me.
“Let’s go find our trespasser then.”
We head for the front door, my interest now piqued. Might as well take a look around if I’m going inside. I’ve already come all this way, and I cleared my morning schedule for this little trip.
“Sir, maybe I should¾”
I cut Black off by just holding up my hand as I continue walking towards the front door. He might be my head of security, but I still do what I want, even when he advises otherwise.
“Keys,” I snap, turning a little for Matt to throw them to me. I catch them and slide the key into the lock and the door pops open with a loud creak.
Then all the air leaves my lungs at the sight before me.
Standing at the top of the stairs is a young woman. The sunlight streaming in through the open door hits, and it creates a halo of light around her. Her hair is dark as chocolate and such a contrast to her creamy white skin. And even from this distance, I can see she has the brightest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Her full, lush lips part just a little as she stares at me. My eyes travel down her body to the white nightgown that looks transparent in the light, showing off all her curves.
I feel myself harden at just the sight.
“Shit,” I hear Black say from behind me in awe.
It makes blood rush to my ears and jealousy course through my body like I’ve never felt before. It wraps around my heart, making me clench my fists.
The word pounds though my head. I’ve bought the estate and everything in it. As of yesterday it’s all mine. That makes her mine, too. I can’t stop the irrational barbaric thought from forming.
“Out!” I shout to the room, making Matt jump and Black pull his eyes from the girl and take a step back. “Out.” I growl it this time, and both turn and step out of the door. I slam it shut and click the lock back in place.
I can’t bring myself to turn around. She looked like a fucking angel. Maybe she isn’t real. She looked too perfect to be real. The thought makes the air leave my lungs again. Slowly, I turn, and this time she’s closer than before, having come down the stairs. Her head is cocked to the side like she’s studying me.
I find myself taking the ten steps to get closer to her, stopping at the bottom of the stairs. It brings us eye level with each other. She just stares at me. Her eyes seem so big and bright now, her long black lashes giving her a doe-eyed look.
Her hand comes up, reaching out and touching my face. She runs it along the stubble on my jaw, and her mouth parts a little as her tongue comes out, wetting her bottom lip. It takes everything in me not to groan at the simple action. I want to taste her plump bottom lip for myself, then push my tongue into her mouth.
“You came,” she says, her voice filled with wonder. The sound is soft and sweet.
“I came?” I ask, not understanding what she means. She just nods her head, her dark curls bouncing with the movement. I can’t stop myself from reaching out and grabbing one. She doesn’t flinch like a lot of people do around me. I’m a big guy and my size can be intimidating. The scar running from the top of my left eyebrow down to my jaw doesn’t help, but she doesn’t seem scared at all. No, she’s looking at me like I’m looking at her. I’m no angel, far from it. But I like her eyes on me.
“Like in my books. You look just like I thought,” she says. Then she throws herself at me. She wraps her arms around my neck, taking me by surprise.
Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!