Thursday, November 26, 2015

Review by Amanda! Falling by Emma Kavanagh. 3 tea cups

By: Emma Kavanagh
Genre: Psychological Thriller

A plane falls out of the sky. A woman is murdered. Four people all have something to hide.

Jim is a retired police officer, and worried father. His beloved daughter has disappeared and he knows something is wrong.

Tom has woken up to discover that his wife was on the plane and must break the news to their only son.

Cecilia had packed up and left her family. Now she has survived a tragedy, and sees no way out.

Freya is struggling to cope with the loss of her father. But as she delves into his past, she may not like what she finds.

‘Before the plane crash, after the plane crash, such a short amount of time for the world to turn on its head… ‘

Review by Amanda
3 Tea Cups

I don't know about you, but I find that I am constantly trying to cut down on my to-reads list on Goodreads. Every few weeks, I go onto my to-reads and starting from the top work my way down to see what I can remove. For the past year, Falling has been on my to-reads and to this day, I can't remember how I stumbled across it, but the above description keep me from removing it. Finally I took the plunge and reserved it from the library. 

I'm really glad that I didn't remove it from my to-reads, even though I only gave the novel 3 tea cups. I loved the way the story was intertwined, with the 4 characters, eventually becoming connected. There was a lot of mystery, especially when it came to Jim's daughter disappearance and some twists that I didn't see coming. 

The main reason why I didn't love this novel, was that I didn't feel a connection with the characters. There was a plane crash, but I felt no emotional connection to anyone who was on board. Also I didn't like Cecilia and her storyline. I found her story to be really dark and depressing and it took away from the mystery. 

I also didn't like how there was so much going on. You had the 4 individual story lines, but each story line had both past and present thoughts. At times it was hard to tell the past from the present, since it would switch without warning. 

What was I was most impressed about was the author herself. Emma Kavanagh has a PhD in psychology and spent a number of years as a police and military psychologist, training firearms officers, command staff and military personnel throughout the UK and Europe. Wow! She then became an author and according to Goodreads Falling is her first novel. I can't wait to read more from this author! 

I would recommend Falling to those readers who love mystery thrillers and who love to see a novel come together in the end. 

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Review by Amanda! Pines by Blake Crouch. 3 Tea Cups!

Pines (Wayward Pines, #1)
Pines (Wayward Pines #1)
By: Blake Crouch
Genre: Thriller/Sci-Fi

Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

Review by Amanda
3 Tea Cups

Have you ever read a novel where you thought it was going one way and then all of a sudden it does a 180? And that sudden flip wasn't a good thing. That was my overall impression of Pines. I really enjoyed the beginning, but all of a sudden it got weird. I started questioning if I had missed some chapters and that's never good. 

Pines starts off with Secret service agent Ethan Burke arriving to a tiny town called Wayward Pines. He knows he was heading to the town to find 2 missing agents, but he doesn't recall how he got there after he got in an accident. When he begins to meet the people of the town and investigating, something doesn't feel right. 

For those of you who watched the hit TV show Lost, Pines very much reminded of Lost. You had a plane crash and people were stranded on the island, however the island isn't what it appears to be. You have no idea who you can trust and people end up not being who you thought they were. 

The second half of Pines took a turn towards the Sci-fi/dystopian theme and I didn't like it at all. The actions that the characters made didn't make sense and the plot became unbelievable. There was way too much happening in the second half of the book and I got lost multiple times. 

I really liked the mystery/thriller aspect of Pines. The readers didn't know if the people of Wayward Pines could be trusted, and at times I didn't know if I could trust the narrator, Ethan. I wanted to figure out the mystery behind Wayward Pines and why the town's people were acting so strange. Unfortunately the ending wasn't what I thought it would be and I didn't feel satisfied. 

I would recommend this novel to those readers who are into Sci-fi/dystopian genre, however this may not be the read for mystery/thriller fans. Pines is the first novel of the Wayward Pines trilogy, I probably won't be continuing with the series unless I hear really good reviews for the next 2 novels. 

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review by Coll! The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls, #1) by Alys Arden. 4 Coffee Cups!

The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls, #1) 
By: Alys Arden
Genre: YA / Paranormal

Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition. 

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.

Review by Coll
My Rating: 4 Coffee Cups!

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Teenage life always seems complicated, but Adele’s life takes this complication to the next level. After returning to her storm-ravaged hometown of New Orleans she has to help her father rebuild their home, view daily a city that has been destroyed and ignored, and attend a snobby prep school instead of her old art school. Oh yeah, and she has to adapt to the fact that she possesses magical powers and also deal with some not-so-friendly paranormal visitors in New Orleans. Just another day in the life of a teenager. As she struggles to come to terms with her new powers, she meets several others who also possess strange abilities and together they need to work to protect their city and the people in it, who do not even know the grave danger they are in. 

I will just say it, I pretty much loved this book. Casquette Girls is the perfect mix of YA fantasy and paranormal, with a hint of gothic romance, in a location that is so rich in culture and history that you cannot help but find yourself sucked into the story. The book switches back and forth between present day and the early 1700s seamlessly and both times are described with such rich detail that you feel transported to the location. I have never been to New Orleans but Arden’s description of it made me feel like I have visited it numerous times and I was able to paint a perfect image in my head. At so many moments during the book I was amazed with the author’s ability to depict locations and people, and this added tremendously to my experience while reading the book.

The story Arden has created weaves together reality, mythology, and folklore to build a story that is compelling from the first page to the last. At times I was caught by elements that seemed confusing, but several chapters later they would be readdressed and explained more thoroughly so that everything came together and both the reader and the main character, Adele, share the same “a-ha” moments as everything unfolds. Throughout the story, not only did I grow to care for Adele but I developed feelings for every character in the book, whether it was love or hatred. To have character development that evokes such feelings from the reader makes a book so much more enjoyable and helps to make you feel like you are part of the story.

One thing I noticed about this book is that it reminded me of American Horror Story: Coven. While not necessarily a bad thing (because I loved Coven) I did find myself coming across many similarities and at times that did bother me a little. I am sure a lot of this is attributed to the New Orleans folklore and was unavoidable, but I often found myself drawing parallels between Casquette Girls and Coven. The only other thing that vexed me slightly is how every character who discovered they had magical powers was just so accepting of it. I feel like a little more emotion and distress would go into discovering you had magic abilities, but then this is fantasy so anything is possible.

By the end of the book, there were several things that I was still uncertain of but I am confident that these things will all be expanded upon in the rest of the series, which, by the way, I am looking quite forward to. The ending is perfectly satisfying and does not leave you with an immense cliffhanger, but it does leave you in enough wonderment that you really do look forward to the next book in the series. Overall I think Arden did an excellent job and wrote a thoroughly enjoyable and immersive book. I found myself slightly fan-girling about Casquette Girls by the end (yes, I admit that) and am missing my fictional New Orleans friends already.

“...Moving pictures and flying machines seemed like magic at one time. It's not a huge leap to believe that what seems irrational or magical now will be commonplace in the future. I believe everyone has magical powers. However, only certain people - the ones who are open to it - can tap into the true capacity of the mind and push the current brink of human thought. Some are called geniuses, some are called prophets, others are called witches.”

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