Saturday, March 12

Book Review: The Lifted Veil

Title: The Lifted Veil

Author: George Eliot

Pages: 117

Summary: 'Why did she stand before me with the candle in her hand, with her cruel contemptuous eyes fixed on me, and the glittering serpent, like a familiar demon, on her breast?'

In this dark novella of Victorian horror, George Eliot explores clairvoyance, fate and the possibility of life after death.

The Lifted Veil
Silly Novels by Lady Novelists (Essay)

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The Lifted Veil, was a quick read, engrossing at times mainly because of the writing style - it just pulls you in and you don't want to leave the book. The story itself was interesting, although I did find it tapered off a bit in the middle and while the ending was well done, it just didn't have the same feel to it as the beginning of the book. It was still an interesting story - especially from the time period it was written and who wrote it. Compared to some of the other books I've read by the author, this one stands out - far more memorable.

The essay, Silly Novels by Lady Novelists was something I wasn't expecting but was very well written. Eliot did not think to highly about some of the women novelists in her time, she was very opinionated on the matter, which I enjoyed and found refreshing. She was definitely a head of the curve during her time. The essay is witty at times, but she is also clear with her opinions. It was a different reading experience for me. . In the end I was surprised on much I enjoyed the essay, as I'm not usually a non-fiction reader - but this one was well done and well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a quick read - different than some of her previous books and the essay was well worth reading.

What to read next: More by the author, particularly her essays. Also, as this is part of Penguins Little Black Classics set, I'd check out those books as well.

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge

Book Review: Dark Places

Title: Dark Places

Author: Gillian Flynn

Pages: EBook 341

Summary: "I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ."

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed this one, I found it didn't live up to the previous book I read by the author, Gone Girl. It still had its intense moments and was well written, but the plot and its characters didn't grab me like I expected. In the beginning, I was interested, especially by Libby, who is a train wreck and pretty messed up. But I found that, the interest wore off fairly quickly and she eventually began to be tiresome. She was the most interesting of the characters - but I just didn't connect to her or enjoy reading about her.

The plot itself was well done, the set up definitely had a good vibe to it but, it didn't pull me in as much as I thought it did. There were a few parts I found to be weak aspects of the story - the Satanic rituals and the Kill Club for example, both showed to be promising, but I found they didn't have the push I thought they would have in the story.

I did not see the twist in the ending coming and I wasn't expecting that either. That made the entire book worth reading for me. It was shocking and one of those, "wait... what?" moments. I can't go into too much more details, but the reveal at the end was surprising. Well, part of the end. One part I figured out, the other part was the shocker.

Overall it was a good ending and overall an fairly good book, it just didn't have the same punch and must read it now feel that Gone Girl had.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, while it didn't have that same pull as Gone Girl, it has some excellent writing and was still a good story - if you're a fan of dark and twisted this is a good choice.

What to read next: Gone Girl, Sharpe Objects

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Otherworld Nights

Title: Otherworld Nights

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Pages: 366

Summary: In this new collection, Armstrong brings together some of her favourite love matches, taking us on honeymoon with her werewolves, Elena and Clay; showing us how her vampires, Cassandra and Aaron, express their unique bond; revealing how Karl proposed to Hope; and how the young Australian werewolf, Reese, learned the dangers of love, among other stories. And by popular demand, included here is the fan-favourite novella, Hidden.

As an exciting conclusion, Armstrong has written a brand-new novella that takes us beyond the end of 13 to show us what happens after Savannah and Adam save the Otherworld--and realize they really do love each other. The trouble is whether they know what love really means - coupled with the little wrinkle of having to figure that out while they battle daemons. The kind from hell.

My Rating: 8/10

Lucifer's Daughter
From Russia, With Love
Vanishing Act

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed this collection a lot, it was nice jumping back in to the Woman of the Otherworld universe and having a glimpse at their lives since the final book.

As with most short story collections I liked some more than others - but I did like all of them to a certain extent, but some I enjoyed more than others. Vanishing Act was probably my least favourite of the collection. I just have never been a Savannah fan - and I found the story itself to lack the same punch the others had. I also wasn't a big fan of Lucifer's Daughter. While it had some interesting bits and followed some characters we don't see as much, it also didn't grab my attention.

Twilight was good - I enjoyed finally have more insight to the vampire Cassandra, who character wasn't someone we saw a lot of in the series. Her story was interesting and I hope we see more short stories about her in the future. I don't necessarily like the character enough to want a novel of her, but a short piece here and there is fine for me.

Chivalrous was a good story in the collection and probably one of my favourites. And I did like how it linked up with some of the other stories. Also up there with my favourites was Hidden, which stars our lovely werewolf couple. In fact I think all my favourites surrounded the Werewolf pack in some way - but those were just written so well, the stories were more fleshed out and they just kept my interest more than the others. Overall, a great addition to the Otherworld universe and well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's best to read this one after you've read the novels from the series, but this was a well done collection any fan of the series and author will be pleased.

What to read next: Otherworld Secrets - another Otherworld Short story collection

Challenges: 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, 2016 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Saturday, March 5

Book Review: The Selection

Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Pages: 327

Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I bought the series for my step-daughter, and since I wanted something to read and it was the first book in the room I saw, I gave it try. While I didn't love the book, I did get into the whole selection event. It's like the bachelor, with slightly less "drama".

It was a fun read, and I really liked the whole caste system, it was really interesting and I hope that's explored more in the other books - the author did a good job there. The characters were done well, although I didn't connect with any of them nor do I have a favourite character - or one I could say I particularly like more than the others - I still enjoyed the book.

While it's predictable - and clear who will win in the end - it was a fun read, I think the young adult crowd would enjoy it far more than me. Overall, it wasn't a bad read - I will probably finish the series at some point, but won't be rushing to it any time soon.

Would I recommend it to read: I would to young adults, while I enjoyed it, it would be high on my list for adult readers.

What to read next: The Elite, the next book in the series

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, New Author Challenge

Wednesday, March 2

Book Review: The Rescue

Title: The Rescue

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Pages: 420

Summary: When confronted by raging fires or deadly accidents, volunteer fireman Taylor McAden feels compelled to take terrifying risks to save lives. But there is one leap of faith Taylor can't bring himself to make: he can't fall in love. For all his adult years, Taylor has sought out women who need to be rescued, women he leaves as soon as their crisis is over and the relationship starts to become truly intimate. When a raging storm hits his small Southern town, single mother Denise Holton’s car skids off the road. The young mom is with her four-year-old son Kyle, a boy with severe learning disabilities and for whom she has sacrificed everything. Taylor McAden finds her unconscious and bleeding, but does not find Kyle. When Denise wakes, the chilling truth becomes clear to both of them: Kyle is gone. During the search for Kyle, the connection between Taylor and Denise takes root. Taylor doesn't know that this rescue will be different from all the others, demanding far more than raw physical courage. It will lead him to the possibility of his own rescue from a life lived without love and will require him to open doors to his past that were slammed shut by pain. This rescue will dare him to live life to the fullest by daring to love.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was another book that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I did - in fact I pretty much read this book straight through the weekend to finish it. While it's not a book that will make my top reads - it was still a sweet, enjoyable read.

I can't say that there was any one character that stood out for me. They were all pretty much on the same page, but they were fairly well written and they came together well enough, their development was fine as well and that part was well written, but there was nothing extraordinary about any character that stood out for me. The story itself was what hooked me. And while, yes the story is a little bit cliché, I still enjoyed how Taylor and Denise came together and fell in love, the little pieces here and there just made for a good read.

Overall, it was a good read - well worth reading. Something that is a little different than what I usually read but I'm glad I did.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's a sweet story - good for a quick read.

What to read next: If you like it more books by the author.

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge