Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Reviews: The Possessions, A Penny For the Hangman, and 1984

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: The Possessions
Author: Sara Flannery Murphy
Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2017
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Mystery/Supernatural/Paranormal
Recommended If You Like: unique twists on the paranormal/supernatural genre, character-driven mysteries, psychological mysteries

The Book:

Eurydice is a body, a person who willingly becomes a vessel for another's deceased loved one during regulated sessions. She works at the Elysian Society, and has thrown her whole self into her work, trying to forget herself and her past.

But when Patrick comes in for his first session, looking to contact the wife he lost in a tragic swimming accident, Eurydice finds herself unable to disconnect any longer. Swept up in Patrick's world and all he seemingly has to offer, the lines between her own self and that of his wife begin to blur.

There is also the matter of a mysterious dead body found in an abandoned house, a murder someone wants to use the Elysian Society to help solve.

No longer able to hide from the world within the memories of others, Eurydice must decide what she truly wants from life, and who she truly wants to be

What I Liked:

This is such a unique concept for a book. It's always exciting to find a book with a concept I have never read before. Flannery Murphy is an excellent writer, and her words and writing style absolutely live up to the concept she has created.

Flannery Murphy is also fantastic at pacing. I've read quite a few books lately that, while good, lose something in the pacing. This is a book that never lost my interest. Even the seemingly slower moments were tense and full of meaning, and the faster parts never felt rushed.

The mysteries within the story are really well-done, and I found myself completely caught up in them.

Anything I Didn't Like?

Honestly, I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. I couldn't put it down. I don't think it's one I would re read, so I wouldn't say it's one of my all-time favorites, but that shouldn't take away from just how good it is.


I would absolutely recommend reading this book. Flannery Murphy is a talent to watch.

Title: A Penny For the Hangman
Author: Tom Savage
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Recommended If You Like: isolated island settings, mysteries from the past, mixed-media mysteries, reading about crimes like Leopold-Loeb and Parker-Hulme

The Book:

Karen Tyler is offered the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime. Fifty years ago, two teenage boys brutally murdered their parents and housekeeper. Now, someone is willing to talk about what really happened that night, leading Karen to travel to an isolated island in search of the truth.

What I Liked:

I loved the use of mixed-media here. Savage uses journal entries, magazine articles, trial and disc transcripts, and e-mails to tell one eerie, suspenseful story. The back and forth between the immediate story and the documents creates incredible tension.

And this is definitely one suspenseful story. It's one of those that you think about when you're not reading, trying to puzzle out what is really going on. No one and nothing are what they seem, and when all is revealed, the revelation packs a real punch.

I am also in general always a fan of mysteries set on isolated islands, such as And Then There Were None (one of my top three books of all time).

Anything I Didn't Like?

I did feel this book suffered a bit from pacing. The very beginning was really intriguing, and then things got a little slow for a bit. The ending also seemed a little oddly paced, some parts rushed, some parts a little too slow.


I would definitely recommend this book. It's really clever and intriguing, and once the story grabs hold of you, it won't let go.

This is a book that is very much in the news right now, re-rising to the top of bestseller lists and library requests.  

1984 tells the story of a society where Big Brother is the beginning and the end, where everyone is always watched, and people can be erased from the record books like they were never there to begin with. Wars are constant, allies and enemies switch at the drop of a hat, and no one is allowed to remember what their world used to be like.

1984 remains relevant and resonant. It is a good read, and an important one.

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