This was the most engaging Paullina Simons book I've read in a while (her last few were DNFs from me). Having said that, it still has a slow start (JoThis was the most engaging Paullina Simons book I've read in a while (her last few were DNFs from me). Having said that, it still has a slow start (Johnny, the boy in the back blurb) is not introduced until page 200 (and I thought the back blurb detailed the inciting incident...so I kept wondering why the story was meandering so).
My fave parts about this were:
The historical aspect (when visiting tourist sites, like Treblinka ~ amazing and impacting)
The twist/reveal (some lovely hints were laid and then I was much more invested when more was revealed).
One of the characters. He was amazing and the reason I have booted this up from a 3 to a 4 ( I liked him so much I would happily reread his scenes). He is a definite stand out and a testament to how Paullina can create nuanced and lingering swoon-worthy characters that live beyond the last page of the book.
How the book spans a number of years after the trip and follows up on the characters. I loved hopping forward intervals in time and seeing where everyone was.
How, in the end, all the characters felt so real. Paullina does a great job with this (probably in all those little details that bug me at the time, making the plot go slowly by)
The second half was much more engaging but it was the ending that I couldn't put down. I liked the ending a lot but, considering how wordy Paullina was with the first half, I felt the ending was incredibly short considering how much the book spent building up to that moment.
My least fave bits were: How LONG and drawn out some sections were (so much detail, at the expense of moving the plot forward). I considered abandoning this a number of times but am glad I didn't.
How ridiculous and annoying some characters were (Hannah and Johhny).
I love travel books set in Europe but so much went disastrously wrong it was like the reading and catching the anti-travel bug, haha.
I wish I had not felt so eye-rollingly skeptical about Johnny. Was I supposed to love him? Because he was just too much, he seemed like a con artist and completely untrustworthy.
My first Aussie rural romance, haha. I actually see Johns' books all the time at the shops which inspired me to download an ecopy from my library to tMy first Aussie rural romance, haha. I actually see Johns' books all the time at the shops which inspired me to download an ecopy from my library to try out. This is not my usual genre but it was mellow and breezy (perfect for reading in between academic research) with character back-story's that provide emotional depth and lingering tragedys (just look at that male model's pensive face! Tortured soul, lol).
It reminded me a little of Kristan Higgins (but without all the over-the-top corny stuff). This was more quiet romance/drama rather than romantic comedy (okay, I actually have no idea how the romance sub-genre is classified, I'm just making stuff up, haha, but if it was a movie it would be a romantic drama). Anyway, it's the third in a series (of which I have not read the others, but it was fine stand alone) and it had a great mystery with a little sister who mysteriously disappeared years ago.
Plus great chemistry and slow-burn romance with a heap of sexy thrown in. I'm not sure I am going to follow up with this genre? But I did like this, surprisingly more than I had expected to :)...more
Sometimes you know a book is objectively very good but it is not the book for you.
This is not one of those times.
I was so bored while reading The GiSometimes you know a book is objectively very good but it is not the book for you.
This is not one of those times.
I was so bored while reading The Girl on the Train I am genuinely baffled at how most people have found this to be suspenseful and riveting. I read on, hoping for a plot twist or something that would blow my mind. I anticipated up-all-night reading and a deliciously satisfying book hangover.
Instead I got (mostly unlikable) unreliable narrators, a sprinkling of red herrings and carefully doled out information (held back by a main character having selective amnesia) and a very ordinary reveal that made me wish I had listened to my gut and abandoned this 25% in (which is when I could no longer deny I was finding things tedious and boring).
Hawkins does do a good job at setting things up and at making you glad you are living your ordinary suburban life and are not one of her heroines. I genuinely felt for Rachel and the depiction of alcoholism was painfully bleak and harrowing. as far as psychological thrillers go, my fave author remains Honey Brown.
I am obviously the outlier on this, so you should probably still give it a go (it is one of the biggest buzz books capturing people's attention so far this year). ...more
Smart and smiley and refreshing original. Loved so much about this: the premise and the twisty, brilliant and daring way everything some together. WilSmart and smiley and refreshing original. Loved so much about this: the premise and the twisty, brilliant and daring way everything some together. Williams is an outstanding author marching along to the beat of her own drum.
Ali Harris handled the logistics of Written in The Stars so amazingly. It is a 'Sliding Doors' concept where we get to see two future timelines playedAli Harris handled the logistics of Written in The Stars so amazingly. It is a 'Sliding Doors' concept where we get to see two future timelines played out: one where she marries the guy, the other where she leaves him standing at the altar (and explores the possibility of love with an old flame). It was always clear to me which timeline I was following and I loved the creativity in the way the story lines crisscrossed, not just for our MC, but also for her family and friends (whose lives unfolded differently in each timeline). It could not have been easy to map out this concept yet Harris makes it an effortless read. It was also not predictable as to how it would all end (which was a huge drive for reading on).
Having said all that ~ I personally just didn't connect to the characters and the overall writing style. I love the idea of the chick lit genre* but am ridiculously bored or fickle with it, liking the beginning and then fizzing out part way through (not specifically talking about this book here as boring).
If the premise of Written in the Star intrigues you, and you love this genre, it's definitely a book you should scout out and see what you think (the ratings on GR are high, you guys)
* I gotta say, I don't even know if I am applying the classification chick-lit correctly half the time. Is that a thing? I am so clueless here....more
Did you read that blurb? lovelove. First the cover (and title) snatched me and then the blurb had me hooked. I love finding books that I've heard nothDid you read that blurb? lovelove. First the cover (and title) snatched me and then the blurb had me hooked. I love finding books that I've heard nothing about and taking them home with me along with the promise of finding something special.
This Irish chick-lit(ish) tale has small elements of magical realism and a fun vibe that's a smidgen reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella/Meg Cabot (that's the best I can think to describe the style, with it's humour and quirky protag and her family and friends, but it's still not quite the perfect descriptor as O'Neill has her own distinct flavour going on).
Reluctantly Charmed is whimsical with a plot that is wild in it's vision and escalating drama. I loved that about it (the unharnessed charm, marching along to it's own Irish beat). The setting is charming (Dublin! and then countryside Ireland!).
I loved the off-beat vibe that felt distinctly Irish (and otherworldly to this Aussie girl here) ~ from it's rowdy pubs to it's superstitious folklore of eras gone by. Who wouldn't want to be charmed by the possibility of fairies. But not all fairies are good, or are they even real? There's an element of the unknown with foreshadowing on certain characters and there's also manic momentum as each successive letter is published, bringing with them more bedlam, uncertainty and promise.
There is a hot Irish-charm-swoon guy (which I would have welcomed more pages devoted to him, haha). He's a little elusive but brings all that sexual tension and leaves it in his wake.
My one criticism, for me as a reader, is even though the plot was always moving forward and all elements/scenes felt essential, there was just so many threads going on that it really cluttered things up towards the end and seemed to make the ending drag out a little and events take forever to finally unfold. Although, this could have been reader's anxiety ~ desperate to power through and see how the climax explodes all over the place and how the resolution would tie up (you will not guess it, guys).
I love how unexpected the whole book is and it's effortless smiley, breezy style with a wholly original premise (although some elements touched on chick-lit tropes). And that wicked ending! Woah ~ beautiful mix of surreal and real, perfect and painful, sexy and surprising. One minute I was grinning away, smashing through the pages and the next I was startled and genuinely touched...
I liked it, truly, a lot. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about getting back to reading it. And when I was reading it, often post-midnight and drowsy in bed, I was forcing my eyelids open to keep going in true book-addict-just-one-more-page style. Pumped to see what Ellie O'Neill has next and so glad to have found a new fave author <3...more
An Australian psychological thriller debut about a forensic psychiatrist working in Melbourne. Buist has had over 25 years experience in clinical psycAn Australian psychological thriller debut about a forensic psychiatrist working in Melbourne. Buist has had over 25 years experience in clinical psychiatry and this book was fascinating to read (all the patients she was seeing), their psychological disorders were layered and Buist teams their stories with some major suspense, twists, a stalker, a messed-up, sexy affair making Medea's Curse a complex and compelling read.
The one downside to this was how complex things did get -- at first it took me a while to find my groove with so many threads introduced (they all do come beautifully together).
This thriller was different to others I have read as it spends significant time in the psychiatrists office, which I completely loved. Completely recommended for anyone who is into perinatal psychiatry. cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. despite the novel being framed so well into a captivating set-up, the content rings true and I really felt for the characters and their tragedy's. Definitely haunting and I'll be back for more!
mini factoid: Buist is married to Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project. ...more
I really liked the premise of this (a flawed, villianously conflicted MC) and loved being back in the Sevenwaters world. However, this took me foreverI really liked the premise of this (a flawed, villianously conflicted MC) and loved being back in the Sevenwaters world. However, this took me forever to read. At times I just felt it dragged on and not much at all happened, then suddenly major! exciting! events would unfold and then it would fall back into a lull again. Maybe it's just me not being that great at fantasy (I can be an impatient reader at times and this book requires settling in for the long haul). Or maybe this book needed a good hundred or so pages cut out? haha. Either way, Marillier is a gifted writer and I am hopeful I'll enjoy the next book in the series a little more than this one. Really only a 2.5 stars if we're going off enjoyment......more
I love Hand's writing, she creates characters and worlds that feel real. I was drawn into this story and there's no denying that the grief and devastaI love Hand's writing, she creates characters and worlds that feel real. I was drawn into this story and there's no denying that the grief and devastation and the messy, hopeless aftermath of suicide is captured so well. Hand really focused on family relationships here (sibling love, divorced parents, mother-daughter, father-daughter, forgiveness and resentment).
I felt like I was navigating those same feelings while reading the book, and I guess that is a sign of author success? Personally, I felt so drained and exhausted upon completion. I wish there had been some reprieve or even brief moments of levity sprinkled throughout.
[Selfishly, I missed some of the swoon factor that Hand did so well with Tucker and Christian in Unearthly, although it would have been out of place in this book.]
3 stars reflects how much I enjoyed the book. As far as YA suicide books go, it is another strong addition to the genre. ...more
Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier is an Aussie YA debut set in 1750 Venice during the Carnivale. It came to me highly recommended by a real life reader buMasquerade by Kylie Fornasier is an Aussie YA debut set in 1750 Venice during the Carnivale. It came to me highly recommended by a real life reader buddy who said it was really good and different to anything else she had read. I am so glad for that rec, as a few chapters in I was not sure Masquerade was 'my kind' of book (I was not looking for a Gossip Girl-esque book set in a different era, which I had thought this might be due to the blurb). Oh, man, thankfully I set in for the long haul and ended up being completely swept into Fornasier's world and story.
I loved the characters and the way their paths criss-crossed. Fornasier clearly developed them all and their voices were unique, each thread/POV was intriguing and had depth. Here's the thing with the characters: there are 7 POVs. Wild, hey? Do not let that deter you. There are only a couple of POVs that are main, the others being granted brief timely flashes which add to the overall story-line and intrigue. There's some tension with one girl liking a boy who ends up liking a different girl, and those two girls (friends) handle their relationship so well, with no overwrought angst or drama. In fact, the novel deals with tragic and sorrowful circumstances, society/parental expectations, star-crossed lovers, first crushes, sneaky and underhanded real-stakes dares and a myriad of problems and they are all handled with finesse ~ no melodrama, just an aching honestly and an underlying tension that drives readers through the story to see where Fornasier is taking us and how things will work out (one of my favourite things about this novel is how I had no idea how things would pan out ~ loved that!).
I can't not mention the setting which comes alive in all it's glittering glory. The time period is dazzling and authentic and I felt like I was there amongst the drama and excitement of Carnivale.
The lead in to the climax all the way to the conclusion was so beautifully done. All the threads came together and nothing was predictable. In fact, the ending was so astonishingly gorgeous and captivating and haunting and unexpected that I finished the book and just lingered there (in Venice, with the characters) in my mind for sometime after. I would most definitely be up for a sequel should Fornasier want to continue to explore her characters lives.
I didn't think this would be my kind of read. I am not hugely into historical, certainly not fond of YA gossip and drama stuff, but it was completely genuine and addictive (especially once I passed the halfway mark when all the threads start colliding and I didn't want to put it down). If you're looking for a read that is sparkling and unique, beautiful and glittering, unexpected and a little bit haunting you should definitely pick up Masquerade. It's an underrated gem that is a favourite read of mine so far this year....more