The Seventh Mother was kind of a weird book. It's one of those books that's so predictable that you start to wonder if there's going to be a red herriThe Seventh Mother was kind of a weird book. It's one of those books that's so predictable that you start to wonder if there's going to be a red herring somewhere. However, you also start to wonder if the author intended it to be that predictable and you're just waiting for the rest of the characters to catch up. I'm trying my hand at not being so cynical, so I'm going with the latter theory.
Here's the thing about The Seventh Mother: not much happens at the beginning. In fact, I was kind of awed that the author managed to keep me absolutely captivated throughout the whole novel considering that there was very little going on plot-wise through the first half of this book. I just did not want to put The Seventh Mother down. And when pesky little things like sleep and work got in the way, all I could think about was getting back to this book. Again, considering that I kept thinking "Huh, not much is happening, but damn, I just have to keep reading!", The Seventh Mother was a win, at that point.
I also think that it's lack of action sort of helps The Seventh Mother. Things seem relatively normal. And then something happens that makes it seem a little bit...off. And these unsettling things keep happening that I started to feel a little unsettled and then I started feeling a tad creeped out. And I still felt that way once I figured out what was going on. In fact, it sort of raised the tension in it a little bit.
However, certain things keep The Seventh Mother from being a 5 star book for me. For one thing, I found some parts of this book to be somewhat antiquated. For some reason, I kept thinking this book was set like in the 60's or something, just because some of the ideas were a bit old school. Even more jarring, the author would include some pop culture references that reminded me that this book was modern. It also popped me right out of the story.
Overall, I found The Seventh Mother to be a solid read. It was an extreme page turner and an atmospheric mystery that kept building tension right up until the end. Highly recommended. ...more
When it comes to The Missing Place, I'm kind of annoyed. Mainly because it's one of those books that started out great, continued being great, and theWhen it comes to The Missing Place, I'm kind of annoyed. Mainly because it's one of those books that started out great, continued being great, and then when the end rolls around, you're left highly disappointed as to the outcome. So, I have to mesh my disappointment in the last third of the novel with my enjoyment with the first 2/3rds of the novel. 3 stars seemed like a nice compromise.
The good: I loved Shay. She was just an extremely well-written character. She was strong and tough yet vulnerable. And she got shit done! While I sympathized with both of the mothers' desperation in finding their sons, Shay was the one character whom I felt kept me reading The Missing Place. I especially love how she tended to keep her shit together and how she was aware that Colleen needed to have a nervous breakdown before continuing with her search, but only allowed her to have one because they had to focus less on the fatalism and more on finding their sons. Shay just seems like someone you should have around you when you're dealing with a crisis...just to keep things in perspective.
More Good: While I did have some issues with The Missing Place and will be discussing them shortly, the one thing that I can say about The Missing Place is that it doesn't skimp on the intrigue. Regardless of my issues, I remained hooked on this book throughout its entirety. There's nothing that I love quite as much as a page-turning mystery. And this book had this in spades.
The Somewhat Meh: My main issue with The Missing Place was that while the first 2/3 of the novel were just moving at an amazing pace, the last 3rd of the novel seemed to be really jumbled. The beginning and the middle of the novel seemed like it was "search, theory, search some more, more theory" which I liked and the last part of the novel was "theory, theory, theory, implausible theory, unlikable characters involved in implausible theory, end". And I was disappointed. Mainly because I kept getting whiplash, but mostly because there really were introductions to extremely unlikable characters towards the end. Okay, so maybe they weren't so unlikable. But I really didn't care about them one way or the other. I definitely didn't want to read their point of view, so I was put off when I had to. Also, Colleen turned into a character that I somewhat liked at the beginning. Yet towards the end, I really wanted to skim her chapters due to sheer annoyance of her smothering and excusing of behaviors.
So, in the end, I found The Missing Place to be an okay read. It was a somewhat solid mystery, it was an extreme page-turner, and it had an awesome character in Shay. Everything else was somewhat disappointing. I still recommend it though, because the parts that were good were fantastic....more
And I add yet another run of the mill book to my read roster this year.
What Strange Creatures was sort of a strange (no pun intended) book for me. ItAnd I add yet another run of the mill book to my read roster this year.
What Strange Creatures was sort of a strange (no pun intended) book for me. It wasn't a bad book...and upon finishing it I realized that there wasn't anything that I particularly disliked (which is rare for me), but I didn't love any part of it either. It was just sort of...forgettable.
The only great thing that What Strange Creatures had going for it was Theresa. She was quirky, sarcastic, witty, and just an all around likable character. And her relationship with her brother Jeff was equal parts exasperating and adorable. I get why people would be annoyed being around them when they were doing on of their games, but I found it all really cute.
However, while What Strange Creatures does have a main character you can root for, the blah plot isn't really deserving of such an intriguing main character. While it had some moments that were interesting, overall, I didn't find myself the least bit absorbed in this book as a whole. And I also figured out the whodunit pretty early on. I really would've liked it if the mystery was more engrossing than it was.
So, What Strange Creatures was just okay. It has an extremely likable main character, but the plot was sort of all over the place and not really all that interesting. Definitely not befitting of its heroine....more
Here there may be spoilers, so read at your own risk...
Coming right out and saying it: the idea of multiple personalities scares the crap out of me. AHere there may be spoilers, so read at your own risk...
Coming right out and saying it: the idea of multiple personalities scares the crap out of me. Always has. I think it's because it sort of reminds me of possession...and that definitely scares the crap out of me (ever since I was traumatized watching The Exorcist when I was way too young to be watching it). So, the fact that Pretty Girl 13 deals with Dissociative Identity Disorder both terrified me and intrigued me since it doesn't seem to be a subject that's broached in young adult books. I'm happy to say that the concept did not disappoint.
Pretty Girl 13 was haunting, chilling, and an amazing novel. The different aspects of her personality were so interesting and the best part of the novel for me. I didn't really view them as all the facets of Angie's personality, though. To me they rang out as their own separate characters. Characters that you feel for, cringe for, and mourn for. I just found it pretty amazing.
However, I can't give it 5 stars. I just feel like there were certain plot points that were just brushed off. I wanted resolution to Angie's previous abuse. Even when it does pop up again, it's just swept under rug once more. I wanted a more explosive resolution to that particular storyline. I also felt like it was unrealistic that the press was kept in the dark as long as they were. There was no way that a story as big as that would have successfully be kept hidden for months. I just don't buy it.
Overall, I found Pretty Girl 13 to be pretty damn great. It was dark, compelling, intriguing, and frankly, more than a little creepy. It's one of those reads that I feel will stick with me for a long time. Highly recommended!...more
I feel that I need to start off this review by writing that the reason I didn't love Reconstructing Amelia didn't have anything to do to its comparisoI feel that I need to start off this review by writing that the reason I didn't love Reconstructing Amelia didn't have anything to do to its comparisons to Gone Girl. First off, I read an advanced reader's copy of Gone Girl (i.e. I read it BEFORE all the hype) and I rated that three stars as well. While that book was good, I don't think it's nowhere near as deserving to all of it's hype (now Flynn's previous novels which I read years ago...are deserving of it). So, those comparisons did nothing to sour my reaction of Reconstructing Amelia.
Starting off with what I thought was good in Reconstructing Amelia, I have to say that this book was a tremendous page turner. You can hate everything about this book: the plot, the characters, the grammatical errors, etc. But it's one of those books that you just HAVE to finish to see how it all plays out. This book wasn't "So GOOD I just couldn't put it down", but rather "this is sort of inconsistent but it's so intriguing that I can't put it down".
Another good thing was that I sort of felt for some of the characters. I didn't think that I did, but when I reached the epilogue, I realized that I was sort of crying. So, clearly something about Kate and Amelia's plight got to me.
Now, on to the not so good: the writing in Reconstructing Amelia bothered me. Now say what you want about Gone Girl (and the ending that made me throw the book in the wall in disgust), that book was beautifully written. Twisted never seemed so magical. In Reconstructing Amelia, the writing was off. I'm not talking about the few spelling and grammatical errors, but rather the way the book flowed. When a character was moving from a different location, there was no break to it. One paragraph Kate was at the school, in the next paragraph, she was at her home. It was written as though it was a movie and we were skipping to the next scene only there were no visuals to back it up (obviously because Reconstructing Amelia was a book and not a movie). So, it took me a couple of seconds to figure out that the location had changed because there's no mention to it until the next paragraph. That may not bother anyone else, but it grated on my last nerve.
Another thing that grated on my last nerve were Kate's idiotic moments. For someone who suspects foul play into her daughter's supposed suicide, she sure was blabbing all about it to anybody who would listen. I kept thinking that if someone did go after Amelia and that person did come after Kate, it would be because she was such an idiot.
Oh, and as intriguing as Reconstructing Amelia was, the amount of characters that were in this book that did absolutely NOTHING to advance the plot was ridiculous. It didn't take away from Reconstructing Amelia's page-turner status, but it did take me an extra moment to realize which character was which. It's usually okay if all characters are somewhat central, but again a big chunk of these characters were just filler.
So, overall, I thought Reconstructing Amelia was just okay. And since everyone seems to be comparing this to Gone Girl, I will say that I thought Gone Girl was actually better. While Gone Girl was more aggravating, it was well-written and I can see how people say it's somewhat literary. However, Reconstructing Amelia was more fluff. I agree with the reviewer who said that this book was more like a soap opera than some literary achievement. While Gone Girl was ultimately more aggravating (for me and not for thousands of others), it was more memorable than Reconstructing Amelia. So, I guess I say if you have to choose between them, pick Gone Girl. But both were okay reads....more
I’ve now officially become a mystery buff and have tons of read mysteries and tons of watched mystery movies and TV shows under my belt. Due to this,I’ve now officially become a mystery buff and have tons of read mysteries and tons of watched mystery movies and TV shows under my belt. Due to this, while I was reading The Scent of Rain and Lightning, I had assumed that I knew what was coming. Mostly because the author was dropping so many anvils that I figured it had to happen the way I assumed it would. Boy, was I wrong! And I don’t mind being wrong, especially not when it comes to mysteries…as long as the way I’m wrong is coherent. And it wasn’t.
The author didn’t give ANY clues to sort of foreshadow the actual person who committed the crime in The Scent of Rain and Lightning. It just seemed like the author pulled it out of thin air just so that no one would be able to guess it. And after she threw that in, she then tied up that plot point in a couple of paragraphs, with a neat little bow, and then expected the readers to also buy THAT!
Another thing that bothered me was the romantic subplot. I just thought that the romance between Jody and Collin was trite and contrived. But maybe that’s just because I’m sort of a cynic and don’t buy into that whole ‘love at first sight’ thing. And considering that Jody and Collin had maybe one conversation before they decided that they were in love and always had been, it’s been ONLY sight. It was annoying and unnecessary in my opinion.
So, overall, I thought The Scent of Rain and Lightning was a bit of a disappointment. While the characters and the actual plot were intriguing, the resolution of said plot was disappointing at best and manipulative at worst. I say skip this one. ...more
I remember reading The Body of Christopher Creed in high school and LOVING it because it was just so creepy. It was a well-done psychological thrillerI remember reading The Body of Christopher Creed in high school and LOVING it because it was just so creepy. It was a well-done psychological thriller. And it was my first (psychological thriller, that is), so automatically it has a soft spot in my heart. When I first heard of Following Christopher Creed, I was a bit put-off. The Body of Christopher Creed was so amazing that I feel that it didn't need a sequel. And, unfortunately, I was right. Following Christopher Creed never lives up to the brilliance that is its predecessor.
Following Christopher Creed was, most of the time, a bloated, boring book. Sure, some interesting things happened here and there, but reading most of the book was tedious. I also found the characters in The Body of Christopher Creed more developed and therefore more intriguing. While I did like Mike and RayAnn, I never got a clear reading of them, particularly when it comes to Mike. Now maybe this was the author's intention, but it made me feel very disconnected to Mike. Revisiting with the characters of the previous novel was pretty cool, but that only lasted for a few chapters.
Another thing I didn't understand was why the author built up this side-plot at the beginning with Steepleton having bad karma, yet never elaborated on it. I thought that should've been the focus Following Christopher Creed. What makes Steepleton tick? Why is it that while most towns see change, Steepleton remains the same and never evolves? She brings up these questions, but answers are never forthcoming. Normally, the lack of answers doesn't really tend to bother me, but I guess I was latching on to the Steepleton theory because it was really the only thing in Following Christopher Creed that intrigued me. I found the rest meh.
So, two stars for the ending which I really did NOT see coming (but really should have. I think I'm off my game) and for some moments of interest. But really, I found Following Christopher Creed to be an unnecessary sequel that never reaches the awesomeness that was The Body of Christopher Creed, let alone surpasses it....more
The Sinner was just a mass jumble of confusion for me. There's really no other way to put it. I tend to like mysteries as long as they're compelling aThe Sinner was just a mass jumble of confusion for me. There's really no other way to put it. I tend to like mysteries as long as they're compelling and not predictable. The Sinner was compelling, so a check for that. And it wasn't predictable. However, I can't give that one a check considering that the only reason it wasn't predictable was because it was so hard to tell what the hell was going on.
The narration in this book was all over the place. You had numerous flashbacks told in Cora's first perspective. Then you had the present tense which is was told by Cora in the third person, followed by the chief also in the third person, and the aunt in the third person. It took like five minutes to figure out whether I was in the present or the past and to figure out who the hell was narrating which part. It was way too much work for something that's supposed to be entertaining.
The other problem I had with The Sinner was that it was a bloated book. The author seriously could've done with cutting out at least a hundred pages that had nothing to do with anything. For example, I really could care less about the chief's daughter and wife...or their insignificant opinions. His side plot was so boring and extremely unnecessary. It's all fine and dandy to hear his side of the story since he's the one trying to help Cora. But what the hell does his daughter or his wife have to do with anything? They don't. That and numerous other things had me bored for a while.
Did I want to know happened in Cora's past? Yes. I was intrigued. However, I went through a point where I just really wanted to finish the book and debated on whether or not I should just put myself out of this misery and just read the last page. Again, I didn't expect the twist to be what it was, but by the time I actually got there, I was so frustrated that I really could care less how twisted it was and was just happy that I would be able to put this book down.
So, I don't recommend The Sinner. I don't know if my reaction to this is due to the author or to the author's translator, but the fact remains that this book had an intriguing premise, but the payoff wasn't enough to slog through 300 pages of twisted games (and not in the good way), confusing narration, and boring side plots....more
I totally should have loved this book. I mean, it's a mystery and I love mysteries. In fact, there's only one thing I love more than I love mysteries
I totally should have loved this book. I mean, it's a mystery and I love mysteries. In fact, there's only one thing I love more than I love mysteries and that's everything and anything to do with witches. I'm serious. This all started with my anything but brief obsession with Charmed when I was 11 years old (and Charmed was in its first season). Ever since then I have been drawn to books about witches (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) and books about the occult. I just think that it's a fascinating subject. Book of Shadows was a mystery with a paranormal aspect to it. Lots of magic, lots of witches, and lots of suspense. Plus, I've read three of Alexandra Sokoloff's books; two I really loved and one that I thought was just okay. So, this book had "ME!" written all over it. Yet, I didn't really love it like I expected to.
Book of Shadows reminded me a bit of The Unseen in that it started a bit slow. It took about an hour to get through the first twenty pages because I kept falling asleep (although that could've been because I was just really, really, tired). It got better after that and I was intrigued 200 pages and then the book started dragging a bit again. It was just a bit repetitive, especially that whole thing with Garrett and Tanith. Garrett is stumped by something. He goes to Tanith for help. She explains the situation to him. He's skeptical and doesn't believe. He concludes that she's crazy. Now this is all fine and dandy...the first time. But then Garrett keeps going to Tanith for help and then keeps concluding she's crazy when she explains the unexplainable to him. This happened like three or four times. And that led me to conclude that Garrett...yeah he's a bit of an idiot...and annoying.
Besides the slogging and the idiocy of the main character, I did like Book of Shadows overall. It's pretty obvious that Sokoloff was meticulous in her research of the occult. Again that's a subject that has always fascinated me so my favorite parts were when Tanith (who oddly enough reminded me of Paige from Charmed with the whole dark hair, dark eyes, but pale as hell complexion thing that was described of Tanith) was describing the whole thing with the demon and what the triangle meant. I love crap like that.
So overall I think that Book of Shadows was an okay read. It wasn't my favorite book from this author (The Price was), but it wasn't my least favorite either. I think that the subject was great, but the execution was a bit less than stellar.
So, we've all fantasized about killing people. Now before you go off thinking "She's nuts. I would never hurt anyone". I wouldn't either. We're only tSo, we've all fantasized about killing people. Now before you go off thinking "She's nuts. I would never hurt anyone". I wouldn't either. We're only talking about fantasizing. Now before you go off and think "I would never think about hurting someone", let me save us both the time by saying that we've all had the thought of "I'd just like to strangle that person" or "I really just want to stab that pen in her eye". Even, "God, if she doesn't put a sock in it, I'm going to do it for her." All actions which would inevitably lead to death. So, yeah, we all think about it. However, the protagonist of The Cutting Edge thinks about it a little bit way too much in very much gory detail.
The Cutting Edge just sounds like a terribly disturbing book, right? And it is. However, it's also extremely hilarious and endlessly entertaining. I guess this is because I could sort of see where Skye was coming from. Her clients were just a complete and total nightmare. You'd think that they would be cautious of being complete and total pricks considering that the person doing their hair is also wielding sharp objects, but nope, they continue being really terrible people. Due to this, Skye goes on wondering how much a person would bleed if she shoves the sharp part of the scissors in their jugular or how quickly a person would die if she shoves a blow-dryer in their mouth with it blaring on high... So, she was more than a little disturbing. But I'd be lying (or at least withholding crucial information) if I didn't say that Skye was just extremely amusing, murderous thoughts and all.
Not only is Skye dealing with annoying clients that make her harbour murderous thoughts, she also has to deal with her husband's evil spawn aka her stepdaughter and said evil spawn's mother. Add an actual serial killer who is on the loose and murdering women whom he feels wield a little too much power over men and enjoy manipulating them, and you basically have a book that's not only downright hilarious, but also immensely creepy. It makes you think twice about the people who are living next door to you, or shopping at the same grocery store you go to, or hanging out at the same coffee shop, etc., etc. However, I did have to subtract a star for the very predictable whodunit aspect of the serial killer. I figured out who it was going to be the minute that whole idea appeared and I never guess (right anyway).
Anyway, I have to say that I really loved The Cutting Edge. It was dark and creepy, yet fun and amusing, but most importantly, captivating. I also loved Skye, her parents, her dogs, and her porn-star look-alike husband (their relationship was all sorts of awesome). I also agree with one reviewer who said that the last sentence of the story was amazing. I agree; it rocked! Seriously, who would've thought that a story involving a woman who frequently has murderous fantasies would be heartwarming? I really see myself picking this back up in the near future when I need a laugh (that's right, I said it). So, The Cutting Edge is highly recommended....more
I've picked up my fair share of mysteries throughout my life. Frankly, when it comes to that genre, it doesn't take much to satisfy me. Give me a mildI've picked up my fair share of mysteries throughout my life. Frankly, when it comes to that genre, it doesn't take much to satisfy me. Give me a mildly dark, non-gory (although with this I can take or leave), whodunit and I'm happy. It doesn't need to be complicated. Just a well-written page-turner is all I ask for. And for me not to predict the whodunit before he/she actually, you know, does it (Though if I do figure it out, it must've been extremely simple because very rarely do I figure out the whodunit). For me, that's what mysteries are all about. A Drink Before the War wasn't exactly the perfect mystery, but it was still pretty damn good.
Now, the whodunit aspect of the whole mystery genre isn't really present in A Drink Before the War because in the beginning, we already have an inkling as to who exactly dunit. This book unravels what exactly they did and the consequences of those actions. The "mystery" wasn't as dark as I usually like them (think Criminal Minds dark) and wasn't what kept me reading at all. That aspect was unexpected.
Usually when I start a new mystery series, it's really the mystery that has to keep me intrigued. It's good to like and connect to the characters, but I, first and foremost, need to find the mystery intriguing. This didn't happen with A Drink Before the War. I did like (not love) the mystery, but what I loved were the characters; so much that I could ignore the lackluster mystery. Patrick (who's the narrator) was charming, smart, and funny in that self-deprecating way. It was refreshing to see a man in literature be aware of his shortcomings. Angie was pretty kick-ass in her own right especially towards the end.
Now, their romance. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not a romance fan unless it's Young-Adult (excluding Twilight), actual chick-lit, or various fanfics. I usually end up rolling my eyes at out-and-out romances and definitely if you have a well-written novel and just add romance in it so that the blurb can include romance to the list of all that's amazing about a particular book. You know the ones that have "Intrigue, horror, and romance! What more can you possibly ask for?!" I've seen many a book ruined by having a romantic subplot just for the sake of saying it's there (The Abortionist's Daughter). And in mysteries, the person just has to fall in love with their partner because there are no want-able, single people outside the bubble of their actual workplace. But color me surprised by thinking that this romance between Patrick and Angie...actually worked. I could see why these characters would be attracted to each other and that particular subplot was [gulp:] kinda, sorta, my favorite part. This book basically has me questioning where exactly did my life get off track that I'm enjoying a romance subplot where I previously never enjoyed one before. That's a bit life-affirming. Still, I'm hoping it was a one-off.
Anyway, A Drink Before the War was a pretty good mystery. Sure the mystery aspect wasn't as dark as I like them and I found it a bit lacking (hence the four star rating and not five star), the characters are ultimately what made me enjoy this as much as I did. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about these characters....more
I put off reading Pretty Little Liars for a while because I assumed it'd be like the Gossip Girl series. Now, I'm kicking myself for not picking it upI put off reading Pretty Little Liars for a while because I assumed it'd be like the Gossip Girl series. Now, I'm kicking myself for not picking it up sooner, especially since it doesn't seem as trashy, for lack of a better word, as the Gossip Girl books, though I have read and enjoyed those as well. While I could definitely see the similarities, I think Pretty Little Liars has more going for it, plotwise, than that of Gossip Girl.
Pretty Little Liars hooked me right from the beginning. The mood was set almost immediately. I've mentioned this before, but I've always said that the way to hook a reader is to keep them intrigued as to the outcome of the ending. I was intrigued throughout the whole book. I was dying to know what each girl's secret was. Dying to know about the "Jenna thing", what exactly happened to Alison, and who the hell was sending those mysterious text messages. Unfortunately, we don't get much answers in this book (hence why I took away the one star) since I tend to get annoyed at books that keep me reading with the mysteries yet doesn't resolve not one of them (which was my biggest gripe with Michael Grant's Gone, but this one was significantly shorter so not as big of a deal). But I guess the purpose is to make sure you read the Pretty Little Liars sequel.
When it comes to the four main characters directly, I was happy to notice that I liked them all. Aria wasn't annoying with the whole teacher affair and that kind of crap does tend to annoy me (especially since it's so overused), but while I didn't have a problem with her, she really was my least favorite character. I just didn't care about her problems as much as the other girls. I completely bought Emily's struggle with her identity and trying to be herself even though her parents wanted her to be more like them. Hanna was the one that I had assumed I'd dislike the most, but she was the one that displayed the most vulnerability out of all the characters and her whole thing with her feeling replaced by her father was so sad. Now, Spencer was the one I identified most with since she is an overachiever and so am I. Her issues with her parents and her sister had me visibly cringing especially when the shit hit the fan.
Pretty Little Liars was an extremely enjoyable read. There weren't any cardboard cut-out characters and the girls problems seemed very real. The book was also a real page-turner, I literally finished it in one sitting. The fact that this book was set up specifically to have more things solved in the sequel (maybe, maybe not) did grate a little, but it wasn't too bad. I have read the sneak peek of the next book and I'm hoping it really doesn't turn out like Gossip Girl with "A" actually referring to the "audience"/readers. I swear if these notes start to end with "xoxo...Gossip Girl" or something towards that effect, I'm so out.
I'm going to start off by saying that I love books. I mean all types of books (maybe except for romance, but that's a whole other topic). Every once iI'm going to start off by saying that I love books. I mean all types of books (maybe except for romance, but that's a whole other topic). Every once in a while you will read a book that will just be like nothing you ever read before. A book which you will herald as your favorite literary masterpiece. The types of books that when you tell your friends you read it, they will look at you in amazement and say "Wait, you didn't just read it, but you actually enjoyed it? You complete and utter freak!". The type of book in which you will hold onto until your dying day and when you are on your deathbed, your final words will be "Read this book, you philistine!" The Spellmans Strike Again, ladies and gentlemen....is not this book. But still it's pretty damn good.
The thing about the Spellmans is that the whole family is insane. I'm talking about the kind of insane that can be temporarily certifiable. They take getting into your family's business to a whole other level and make it into an olympic sport. I learned all this from the first installment The Spellman Files (which you totally have to read before you read this one. It's in the footnotes...) which introduced me to the wonderful and brilliant (and okay, kinda trainwreck-ish) Isabel (Izzy) Spellman (and yeah, I guess her family, too).
The Spellmans Strike Again is a mixture of a whole lot of things. It's part mystery, part romance, and mostly humor. But the reason which I've read this (and the previous installments) is because of the complete Spellman family. They're all wonderfully zany. They love each other, yes, but they also spy on each other, blackmail each other, and basically make each other's lives miserable with hilarious results.
You will absolutely love Izzy Spellman. She's a bit of a mess in the previous novels, but in this one, we see her make an active attempt to evolve and mature a little bit (but not too much, we wouldn't want her to be a completely better person would we? No. She makes us feel better about ourselves) while trying to sort out the details of her life, her investigation, and her mother's incessant meddling.
We see all of the other characters grow up and change a bit, too. Except for Rae, I don't think she'll ever change. As the Spellman saga finally ends, we get bittersweet closure. We welcome the characters new beginnings and cry over others end. Not only was I shedding tears for some storylines, but because this is the end of the Spellmans for us the readers. But it's okay, I've come to accept this (PLEASE NO!!!!) or at least come to terms with it a little better.
If you've read the previous Spellman novels, then there is no doubt that you will love this one. It's a satisfying end. If you've never read any of the Spellman novels, then I suggest you start at the beginning and work your way towards the end (unless you're like Izzy and like to start stories in the middle). Sure, The Spellmans Strike Again isn't a literary masterpiece and you won't be able to brag to your friends about this amazing new novel that they have to read which will make them seem like they were deserving of that Ivy League reputation (they're just going to have to deal with their shortcomings. It sucks, but hey, that's life), instead you'll be able to tell them about this amazing new book that will make them laugh, cry (in the words of Lorelai Gilmore "mostly because you're laughing so hard"), and just enjoy it completely. ...more
I received an ARC copy of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden as part of the First Reads program. I was excited to receive this book because it seemed lI received an ARC copy of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden as part of the First Reads program. I was excited to receive this book because it seemed like it had a great plot. Missing girls that seem to magically disappear. A town giving in to stifling paranoia. A ten year old girl determined to figure out what's going on. Amazing premise! However, the book seemed to fall a bit short and I was very underwhelmed while reading it.
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden doesn't really start off with a bang. But I can appreciate that. The author seemed to be going for more of a creepy build-up and it worked after about fifty pages in. But those initial fifty pages had me wondering whether or not I should put this down. I didn't because I really wanted to know what was going to happen, which brings me to my next point.
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden got going around page 50, yet on page 60, I already guessed who the killer was (and ended up guessing right). It was completely predictable, especially since I guessed this. I'm not the type of reader who will try to guess who the killer is in any mystery. Sure, I suspect, but half of the fun of a mystery is going through the whole ride and then being completely shocked at who committed all the events. I'm fine with this premise as long as it makes sense and isn't throwing a curveball just to throw a curveball. But if you guess who the killer is at the beginning, it kind of sucks the fun out of the mystery.
Another thing that bothered me was Pia's character. She just seemed to be all over the place. I didn't find her endearing, mostly just irritating and her friend Stefan, even moreso. They acted very irrational for ten year olds. Yes, I know that ten year olds aren't the most rational of human beings. But I don't think any ten year old would go through the lengths those kids did in trying to find out who was kidnapping little girls considering it would be life-threatening. I know I would've never done that at ten years old. Sure, I would've been curious, but I would never go out and single-handedly try to stop it. I would be thinking that my life would be at stake.
So, while, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden did end up to be a page-turner and literally kept me at the edge of my seat (particularly in the last 50 pages), I still thought it was just okay. It could've been great, but it was just too predictable. Plus, it left me with unanswered questions regarding how the kidnapper didn't kidnap one who was so close in the midst. It was just a "suspend belief" moment. It was just "meh"....more