Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne

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Still Waters
Emma Carlson Berne
Release Date: December 20th, 2011
by Simon Pulse

Goodreads / Purchase

Hannah can’t wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget.
But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a bit…off. They can’t find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone’s been living there, even though it’s been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.
Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

*A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review purposes*
I’ve noticed a few people compare this to The Shining. But (and yes you’ll think I’ve been living under a rock… but… it’s a very pretty rock!) I’ve never read or watched The Shining so to me this was all new and extremely creepy. I went into Still Waters expecting a really ominous plot with a not always bright protagonist – like your average horror flick, and that’s what I got. Still Waters is fun, freaky and got my adrenalin pumping.

Hannah decides to go on a romantic getaway with her boyfriend, Colin, to his old summer home in the middle of nowhere (don’t ask me!?). When they get there things take a very strange turn when Colin starts acting like he’s gone mad. This is the type of story I just eat up. I love the mystery, the suspense and simply scaring myself by imagining being in their shoes. I have mixed feelings about Hannah, though. She is a fun protagonist that I was able to connect with, but I also wanted to scream at her for some of her decisions and how she can be really oblivious. I did enjoy her relationship with Colin which is awfully cute. They’ve already been together for a year so there’s none of the drama and angst of a new love, though, there is still romance and plenty of admiration.

From the reviews I have read, it seems like we all agree on one thing – the ending could have been so much more. I had many fun, complex theories that I hoped would be close to how it ended. But the actual ending is very bland and disappointing. Some might even find it has no ‘ending’ at all; that the book is simply over.

So, after all this, why do I give it a high rating? Well, you know how expectations affect satisfaction? Since I had seen reviews beforehand, I knew what to expect. Even though I agree the ending is a downer, it doesn’t turn it into a bad book, it’s merely not as exceptional as it had the potential to be had it had a shocking twist. Personally, with the actions scenes so incredibly realistic, I couldn’t help but find this book exhilarating. In fact, I was so into it that every noise I heard at home freaked me out. I had to quit reading until daytime. The suspense had me on the edge of my seat, reading like a maniac to find out what would happen next. Being a real thriller nut, it would take more than the lack of a monumental ending to make me say that this is not an extremely fun, creepy book.

4 Hot Espressos
Want to know more about Still Waters?
Drop by for the blog tour stop on January 9th!

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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30 Responses to “Review: Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne”

  1. Amy

    Thanks for the great review Giselle. I put this book on my TBR list, but wasn’t really sure about it. I will most likely check it out eventually.

  2. Karen

    I like that they re already a couple. That is really rare these days. Is it a series?
    I’m under the rock with you – I’ve never seen The Shining either.

  3. Giselle

    Thanks ladies! It’s definitely creepy.

    @Karen: Some haven’t enjoyed it because it was too much like the Shining so since you’ve been living under a pretty rock too you’d like it 🙂 I’m not sure if she’s planning on a series I haven’t heard anything and as per Goodreads there is no series listed. But it could be possible (at least for a sequel) if she wanted to.

  4. Carina

    Okay, Giselle, you just managed to make me want to read this even more. 😀 It’s been on my to-read list for a while now, but after reading your review, I want to get a copy immediately. 😀 Thanks for sharing!


    P.s.: The summary says the main character’s name is Hannah, your review says it’s Emma (which is also the author’s name…) 😉

  5. Lauren M

    It’s nice to see a more positive review of this one! I’m glad Still Waters is exciting as it sounds. But it’s a bummer about the ending! Dang.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  6. Amber

    Really glad you enjoyed this one and that the suspense was good and intense. Too bad the ending wasn’t better though. still, I have to give this one a shot, it looks so good! Thanks for the review!

  7. Jennifer | Book Den

    The Shining is one of my favorite books of all time. I’m curious about this one since I love me some creepiness. I’m also curious if it’s like The Shining the book… or The Shining the movie. Both are awesome, but quite different from each other.

  8. BookBreather

    Oooh, I’m going to be reading this one soon. Creepy + convincing romance? YAY. Great review 🙂 And don’t worry, I haven’t seen The Shining either. I tried once with my friends, but we found it slightly comical and only got about 10 minutes in.


  9. Giselle

    You all got me curious about the Shining! Haha. I’m not sure if people compare it with the movie or the book I didn’t know they were different.

  10. Kristin Aragon

    I often find myself giving books high ratings because they captivated me in one way or another. This book does sound very interesting. I may have to give it a look. The cover is beautiful.


  11. Karen @Attack the Stacks

    I hadn’t heard of this before but I’m going to add it to my TBR pile. Thanks.

    I’m sure I won’t be the only one to say this, but you really should read The Shining. It’s one of Stephen King’s best IMO and extremely, extremely creepy.

  12. Giselle

    Thanks guys!!

    @Wendy: Actually your review and a few others lowered my expectations so I think that played a bit in how much I ended up enjoying it! 🙂

    @Karen : Yes I definitely want to read the Shining now and – I know, I’m lame – it will be my first King book! *gasp*

  13. Amber Elise

    Thanks for your review Giselle. And don’t worry, I haven’t seen The Shining either! :p

    I love thriller movies/books so this one sounds like fun, probably not the best read ever, but like you said, expectations vs. satisfaction!

  14. Natalie (Mindful Musings)

    I had to pop over and check out your review after seeing the giveaway. Like you, this sounds like a story I would eat right up as well! I admit it…I’m a bit of a horror/thriller junkie. I have heard a lot of mixed things about the ending though. I’m curious to read it and find out what happens for myself!

  15. Giselle

    Thank you ladies! If you’re like me and go into this knowing the ending is a bit abrupt, you may end up liking it as much as I did! 🙂