Tag Archives: thriller

The Library at Mount Char

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Wow, just wow. This was honestly like no book I’ve ever read. At first I didn’t know if I liked it or was just confounded by it. In a roundabout way, The Library at Mount Char is a story about creation, with definite biblical tinges. The world is now in the fourth stage of creation and ruled by Father, a heartless monster of a person who is training his “children” in different catalogs of knowledge. All of these children and their father live in the Library, a kind of metaphysical limbo. Each child is in charge of their own catalog and cannot share or will face extreme punishment. The catalogs are wide and varied from mathematics to resurrection.

The story itself starts off with a bang. You’re introduced to Carolyn who is walking the street covered in blood. So many, seemingly unconnected things, happen in the beginning. It’s not until you get closer to the end that you see what the novel is about.

Carolyn is the central figure. She’s the key to unlocking this mystery. But it’s a kind of slow burn to figure out how everything ties together and how these gruesome events all serve a greater purpose.

By the end of the novel, I was devouring the pages. I couldn’t wait to see how the story unfolded and see how much Carolyn grew throughout. Even as smart as she is, Carolyn has important things to learn if she is to control her destiny in a positive way.

This novel reminded me very much of the Golden Compass trilogy. Not so much the story line but in the dealing of large and weighted topics. In the destruction of the world and the building of new beliefs.

Rating: 4.5/5

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy reading!

Don’t Stay Up Late

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I’m not sure if I’m just too old or if I held these books up on too high of a pedestal but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this novel nearly as much as I remember enjoying the Fear Street novels. The plot was unstructured and left quite a few holes. It seemed to me like there was so much build up that the final reveal was a let down. It just didn’t quite all mesh together as smoothly as I remember.

The plot centers around Lisa Brooks who has just recently moved to town with her family. Very soon after the move her father dies in a horrible car accident and Lisa is left with a bad concussion that causes her to hallucinate. She starts seeing a therapist to help her get through her father’s death. It’s the therapist that recommends that Lisa should take a job to get her out of the house and recommends the babysitting job on Fear Street.

At first everything is fine. The little boy is adorable and takes an immediate liking to Lisa. However, it’s not long after Lisa takes the job that things begin to happen culminating in some seriously chilling murders.

The explanation for the murders unravels so quickly and is so loose that it left me unimpressed. This was much more like a mash between Goosebumps and Fear Street than a pure Fear Street novel. After reading this I do want to pick up an old novel to see the difference, if there is one. All in all, I’m sad to say this wasn’t one of my favorites. Hopefully the Fear Street books just haven’t hit their old stride yet.

Rating: 3/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy Reading!

 

Luckiest Girl Alive

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Ani FaNelli is leading what she thinks is the perfect life. She has a blue blood fiance, a high powered job in NYC working at a magazine, and a killer figure. But underneath all of the facade lies something not so pretty from her past that continually gnaws at Ani. But nothing can stay buried for long, no matter how hard we try to repress them.

I have to say, this novel kind of disappointed me. I was expecting something different than what I ended up with. I found it hard to like the main character. Ani is like a high functioning sociopath. She seems to revel in the fact that she’s “damaged” and feels the need to damage those around her. I imagine the characters as grown up versions of the cast of Pretty Little Liars. They’ve grown up in the same area, the Main Line in Pennsylvania, and all care about wealth and status.

Ain does have redeeming qualities and some very horrible things happen to her that she manages to survive and even, in some instances, to thrive. She refuses to let anyone see her for who she truly is, most of all herself. She keeps a lot of things pressed down tightly. In a way this is a coming of age story. Ani does find herself at the end and finds out what she truly wants and what she doesn’t. But it’s a bit of a slog to get to that realization.

Final Rating: 3/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy reading!

NY Bestseller

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First up in the Pop Reading Challenge is a New York Times Bestseller. I’ve seen this book everywhere lately and have been dying to read it. And, according to the cover the book was an instant NY Bestseller. That novel is Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.

From the description, it’s supposed to be very much like Gone Girl but with it’s own twist. The teasers on the flap definitely drew me in. I can’t wait to find out what’s hidden in Ani’s past and how that past might jeopardize her future. I’ve been trying to avoid reading any reviews online so as to avoid spoilers. This seems like one of those books where the twist ending pulls the whole plot together.

Stay tuned for the full review of Luckiest Girl Alive. Happy reading!

The Bottom of the Pile

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a book on the bottom of my to read pile. Since I’ve been doing this challenge, my list of books to read has narrowed and narrowed. I don’t have many books from which to choose for this category anymore. Ultimately, I decided upon Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood. This book was published this year and hasn’t been on my list long. However, since I’ve started this book challenge, I’ve bumped this novel from many other categories it could have fallen into. I was going to read it for the crime novel but decided against it. Then I was going to read In a Dark, Dark Wood as an author I’ve never read before and bumped it again.

Finally I bumped the novel to this category, a perfect fit. From the back, this novel sounds like it’s going to be a nice cozy type mystery. Women get together after many years for a hen party that goes tragically awry. I can’t wait to see what twist awaits me in this mystery.

Stay tuned for the full review of In a Dark, Dark Wood. Happy reading!

The Bat

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“Then Harry was alone. As we always are.”

Harry Hole is the epitome of the modern day noir detective. He’s a Norwegian Philip Marlowe. His life revolves around his cases. His relationships can never last because he lives for his cases not for his relationships. The only lasting relationship he can ever have is with crime.

In this first installment, we see Harry as a bright eyed, bushy tailed detective on his way to Australia to help the Australian police solve the murder of a young Norwegian girl. He’s almost naive at the outset of this case. He seems so young and innocent in comparison to where I found him in The Leopard. Harry is quickly taken under the wing of a seasoned Australian police detective, Andrew, who begins to show him the ropes of the Australian police force.

As with the last Harry Hole mystery I read, this novel is surrounded in folk tales and fables. Tall tales of creation stories that weave throughout the case Harry is working. In this case, Aboriginal creation stories are told, including the bat, representing death, Bubbur the snake, and Walla the fighter. Each folk character has it’s counterpart in a character involved in the crime. And it’s up to Harry to figure out who is who, what is truth and what is fiction.

It doesn’t take long for the Harry in The Leopard to begin to emerge. The case soon drags Harry down the rabbit hole, kicking up his worst traits. It’s almost as if Harry has to succumb to the depths of his own depravity to see the depravity in others. Harry manages to get his man but each time at a greater cost. It makes me wonder what will be left of Harry Hole at the end of the series.

Rating: 4/5 You can see Nesbo is still working out the kinks of Hole’s character in this one but I love the character study from the later novel to Hole’s creation.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Translation Please

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel translated into English. I had a few different options on this one and had a hard time narrowing them down. This was one of those categories that made me realize just how many books there are in the world to read. I finally settled on the first Harry Hole mystery, Jo Nesbo’s The Bat. Funny story, I was reading the novel just for fun and not for the Book Battle until I realized that, duh, it was first written in Norwegian.

I’ve already read one Nesbo thriller for this reading challenge so I expect a lot of scares. With The Leopard, I read the prologue and had to stop reading it for about a week because I was traumatized. But I ended up really liking the gritty journey of that novel and can’t wait to see where Harry Hole started. Usually I like to read series in order but with this one I started somewhere near the middle/end. I’ve seen Harry Hole at his most down trodden it will be fascinating to see how he got there. What choices he made throughout the series that left him in down and out in Asia.

Stay tuned for the full review of The Bat. Happy reading!

Before I Go To Sleep

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From the first this novel is jarring. The first person point of view really rattled my brain for a bit. It was a bit like jumping into a lake in the middle of winter. I wasn’t a huge fan. But soon the first person narrative begins to evolve as you get to know the character. It’s a pretty ingenious move by Watson to jar the reader right into the story. Sets the stage for whats to come. And places you a bit in the character’s own mind.

The basics of the story are a woman has a rare and severe form of amnesia that causes her to lose her memory every time she goes to sleep. She can wake up one morning as a child and the next as an adult. Each morning she has to be reminded of who she is and who her husband is. There are photographs on the mirror and other various signs to keep reminding her throughout the day who and where she is. She soon finds out that she’s been seeing a therapist in secret and has been writing copiously in a journal all of the things she remembers. She finds out that she’s been remembering much more than what people have been telling her. And her memories don’t quite line up with those closest to her, namely her husband.

This book was a roller coaster ride. I loved the thriller aspect of it. The novel kept me up late into the night so I could finish it and find out how the story ended. Some parts are a bit unbelievable but I can forgive those because the basis of the story is so frightening and complex. It’s one of the scariest ideas imaginable, to lose yourself and not be able to find it again. To not be able to trust your own mind. Is what you’re seeing real or have you made it all up? Is a bit like the movie Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman where her husband and his mistress are trying to slowly drive her insane. We instantly believe the things the people closest to us tell us about who we are and what has happened to us but this novel asks the question, should we? Should we believe what are loved ones are telling us or listen to our unreliable selves?

Rating: 4/5 If you like psychological thrillers this is the book for you!

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

From Page to Screen

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a book that has been turned into a movie. This was such a broad category I wasn’t really sure what to choose. There are so many books that have been turned into movies and television shows. I finally narrowed it down to two different novels and ended up choosing Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. The book jacket said that this is a novel about a woman with a rare form of amnesia. She wakes up every morning not knowing who or where she is. One morning she could be a child and the next she could be an adult in her 20s, when her accident happened. Then she starts to regain memories and doesn’t know who to trust any longer, including her long suffering husband.

To me, this novel encapsulates one of the worst kinds of fears, the fear of losing yourself. Not knowing who you are anymore and not being able to trust your own mind. The movie adaptation stars Colin Firth, a favorite of mine, and Nicole Kidman. In great news, it’s on Netflix. I can’t wait to finish the novel, watch the movie, and then compare the two.

Stay tuned for the review of Before I Go To Sleep. Happy reading!

The Leopard Has Arrived

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The Leopard Has Arrived

For the next battle, a book recommended by a friend. For this challenge I’ve chosen Jo Nesbo’s novel The Leopard. One of my good friends from college recommended this book to me because she knows that I like mysteries and scary books. And this one looks like a doozy. I’ve never read a book by this author before but am excited to check it out. I’ve read a few Scandinavian mysteries before, most notably The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and have loved the grit and suspense in them. The pacing is so different from a lot of American mysteries and thrillers, slower and centered around psychological suspense.

I’m a big fan of reading novels that take place outside of my home state and country. It’s so interesting to read about how other cultures and people relate to each other and how their environment affects mood and pace. I can’t wait to dive right into the Norwegian winter and see what happens.

Stay tuned for the review of The Leopard! What book are you reading next?