Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Reviews: Changeling and The Abominable

This is (at least at this point, I'm hoping for more!) the final book in the Six Stories series. I have been devouring this series, to the point where I had to buy this on Kindle (which I never do-oh, tight budget) when my entire library system and interlibrary loan didn't have a copy. 

This book looks at the mysterious disappearance of a young boy in woods that may be haunted. Wesolowski plays with the reader's mind so well-is the cause supernatural? Is the cause human? And then, like the other two books, everything gets expertly and incredibly turned on its head in the last chapter. This was the first one in the series where I was able to predict any part of the ending, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment. 

This is a series many, many more people need to read. It is brilliant, surprising, clever, and has twists like you literally wouldn't believe. 

Oh, this book. I wanted to love it. I absolutely loved Simmons Drood , a book I recommend to a lot of people as a brilliant example of exceptionally well done slow build unique horror. 

But The Abominable took me forever to get through. I mean, weeks. I kept putting it down, reading a chapter, putting it down again. I kept with it because I had committed to it for a few reading challenges already, and because I had loved the other Simmons' book so much, and because once I was 300 pages in I figured I might as well just go for the last 300 pages.

The main problem for me was that I was looking for the horror and suspense I was promised on the inside flap, and instead I got essentially 500 pages about mountain climbing. And then when things finally picked up, it didn't make a lot of sense, and seemed very out of left field.

Go read Drood for sure, but I wouldn't bother with The Abominable unless you really love mountain climbing.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Hydra

This is the second book in the Six Stories series (I'm currently reading the third-when my library system and interlibrary loan system couldn't get a copy, I just went and bought it on my Kindle, which I never do, because I had to read it immediately!), and it did not disappoint.

The Six Stories series centers around a (fictional) podcast that looks at (fictional) crimes. In Hydra, the case is that of Arla Macleod, who beat her family to death with a hammer and is institutionalized for the murders. Each "episode" is with a different person who can hopefully shed light on what happened that night, and, perhaps, even more crucially, what brought about the horrific murders.

The tension is almost unbearable, the twists and turns expertly plotted, and the ending once again left me with my jaw dropped open from the brilliant reveals. Wesolowski weaves horror, mystery, and the supernatural together so well that you feel you are experiencing a real podcast about a real crime. I absolutely recommend this series, it deserves more readers!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: Six Stories

I continue to be drawn to books that integrate and center around (fictional) podcasts, especially when they are mysteries. Six Stories surrounds a podcast with a host who has kept his true identity a secret, wearing a mask when he meets with his subjects. His podcast, Six Stories, is examining the death of a teenager that was ruled accidental years ago. Six people are interviewed, and each tell their perspective and version of what happened.

This book was absolutely fascinating and flew by. I didn't know who to trust, who was telling the truth, and kept searching every "episode" for clues. The format is fantastic, and used so well. And the ending, the sixth story, left me with my jaw on the ground. Wesolowski is such a unique, talented writer, and more people need to read this book. I've already got a copy of the second book in the Six Stories series, and will be starting it today.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review: Last Woman Standing

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.

I've been reading a lot of dark books lately, maybe because it's winter and typically pretty dark and gloomy outside. Or maybe just because I tend to love psychological thrillers and suspense and they tend to be pretty dark. And Last Woman Standing is definitely one of those dark reads.

Comparisons have been made to Strangers on a Train and I can definitely see why. When Dana Diaz, a comedian trying to find her place on stage, meets Amanda Dorn after a difficult show, the two start talking about the difficulties they've faced in their lives, especially when it comes to men. When Dana finds herself drawn into a pact, she realizes the consequences are far more than she could have anticipated.

This is a fascinating and disturbing look at what it means to be a woman in a man's world, the danger and violence women can and do face anywhere at any time. Gentry dives deep into this, through the world of stand up comedy (highly unique), as well as the tech industry (highly timely). Gentry also explores the bonds (or lack thereof) between women, and the power and harm of obsession.

I did guess a large percentage of the major revelation before it happened, but this actually upped the tension for me, because I could see what was coming and as a reader could do nothing about it.

Gentry has proven with this and her debut book that she is a talented writer who knows how to write dark, tense psychological thrillers and suspense. I'm excited to see what she comes up with next.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Reviews: Sadie, and The Shining Girls

Sadie is a book with a lot of hype surrounding it, and it more than earns all that hype. Putting a spin on the true crime podcast, Sadie tells the story of the murder of a younger sister, and the lengths the older sister will go to get revenge on the murderer. Chapters alternate between Sadie's point of view and that of a podcaster, who has found much more of a story then he ever expected. 

This is not an easy read, full of very difficult topics, but it is absolutely a haunting book worth reading. I couldn't put it down, and the last sentence is still with me. 

So I first tried this book a few months ago, read a few pages, and then put it back down. I'm not sure exactly why, whether the gruesomeness and gore was too much for me, or I found the book confusing, but it just didn't seem for me.

However, I had heard so much about this book, and so when I got a copy for free for volunteering at a charity book sale, I put it on my TBR shelf. When it fit a Popsugar Reading Challenge category for this year, I picked it up again.

It's hard to even describe the story, about a serial killer who can travel through time thanks to a mysterious house, who finds girls who "shine" and then tracks them down as women and brutally murders them, but the girl who survived who is now a woman is trying to solve the case of her past. The book is very nonlinear, which makes sense with the plot, but also made it harder for me to understand the plot. 

I'm glad I did give this book another chance. I didn't love this book, but I did like it. The gruesomeness and gore were sometimes too much for me, and I'm still not sure I entirely understood everything, especially some of the end. But I did find myself staying up much later than intended to finish the book, unable to stop turning pages, so clearly the book was doing multiple things right.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: The Golden Tresses of the Dead

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.

I must start this review by fully admitting that I love this series. I get so happy every time a new one is coming out, and The Golden Tresses of the Dead did not disappoint at all.

I really appreciate how Bradley has managed to take the series in a really intriguing new direction while still holding true to the characters he has developed and their unique personalities. This mystery starts with a finger in a wedding cake, and doesn't let up from there. Flavia is such a great, unique character, and I love seeing even more of Dogger.

These are incredibly clever, fun, original mysteries that I cannot recommend highly enough. Definitely start from the first entry in the series and keep going from there!