Genre: Mystery


Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

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Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Rooms
Lauren Oliver
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal
Publication date: September 23rd 2014
by Ecco

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Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-

I didn’t love this, but it’s a very unique – I’d even say peculiar – story with some candid personalities and buried secrets. And of course, Lauren’s writing makes the storyline so intriguing that it compels you to read even if it’s not blowing your mind. This review will be short, because the whole of this (also short) book is one haunting secret after another being unearthed into a story full of tragedy.

Brought together in this house by the death and upcoming burial of a husband and father, this story encircles the lives of half a dozen people who make up our narrators of this novel. While we learn the ins and outs of what makes these people who they are, we also learn that, ultimately, this is the ghosts’ tale. Even though this involves ghosts and a haunted house, it’s far from being a horror novel. It’s a family drama full of secrets and blame, of death and broken lives. It’s undoubtedly very well written, constructed with many layers and strings that tie everything together.

With so many POVs, though, comes along a difficulty to fully connect with these characters. I very much enjoyed both Alice and Susan – the resident ghosts; their bickering is a lot of fun, and you just know they’ve got a dark secret that’s keeping them there. For some reason, though, I kept confusing their backstories and forgetting which history belonged to which ghost. Maybe it’s my lack of attention, or maybe the voices were not distinct enough; I think it’s a little bit of both. Aside from those two, and maybe Trenton with his suicidal thoughts, I found myself getting bored with the other characters. In turn, I never grew emotionally attached to this story, which does have a lot of heartbreak and sadness meant to hit you right in the heart. As everyone’s lives are painted with a dark brush, crafting them into somber, self-loathing characters, it’s natural to want to keep at arm’s length like I did. And in doing so, I was left wanting more from it, never being completely enthralled until maybe the last 5 chapters or so when the ghosts finally face their demons.

The story that Lauren paints is not joyful and happy, it gets sadder and sadder with every thread that unravels. Until finally, you’re left with a broken heart and a disturbing thought that life, sometimes, just truly sucks. The writing itself is not the issue at all – it’s beautifully written with a poetic sort of feel – I simply did not fall into the emotional depths that this tale was obviously striving for.

“Everything comes up in the end”

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Posted by on 09/11/2014 • 20 Comments

Night Film is a book that I can say is unlike any other. And now I’m going to contradict that and say it reminded me a bit of The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Not in story or plot, but in its atmosphere and compelling nature. Night Film gives us a mystery like no other, following a horror movie director – Cordova – who has become a cult favorite and a huge enigma; his entire life is an endless puzzle. After his daughter commits suicide, Scott’s journalist nature can’t help but dig into this story. What he finds is at once fascinating and horrifying. But… what’s the real truth?

At 640 pages, this is one whopper of a book. Don’t let this intimidate you, though, it never has a chance…

Review: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Review: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Posted by on 09/05/2014 • 6 Comments

What a crazy ride. I love thrillers, and while YA thrillers can be a lot of fun and even sometimes pretty creepy, it never lives up to what an adult book can dish out. This is your hardcore serial killer novel involving a mentally unstable psycho who thinks he’s doing the world a favor.

This story is told with the help of several perspectives: from the killer himself, to the detective trying to find him; to her daughter, along with a few other key players. Beukes tackles multiple POVs with excellence. Even though each character is widely different – we go from a homeless man to teenage girls – every single one has a distinct, realistic voice that makes it easy to slip into their psyche, in addition to…

Review: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane

Review: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane

Posted by on 09/01/2014 • 11 Comments

What in the world…

This was really just a bunch of novellas about people either getting raped, beaten, or dying. POVs lasting for one chapter to never be visited again. It was weeeeird. Most stories/characters were not even related at all to the main storyline. Seriously! I don’t get it!

Let’s start at the beginning. A guy disappears, while learning a bit more about him we find out that he was convinced he could get to alternate dimensions, and we’re led to believe that that’s where he disappeared to. Everyone who knew him believes that as well, even the police question people about that as if they would actually be considering it. Okay, whatever. I can dig a sci-fi vibe in an otherwise contemporary novel. I loved Between the…

Review: Made For You by Melissa Marr

Review: Made For You by Melissa Marr

Posted by on 08/27/2014 • 14 Comments

Last year I went to my first ever book signing and was so excited to get to meet quite a few authors at the event. One of the authors was Melissa Marr and I was so curious when I saw hoe many die hard fans of hers were there. I thought to myself “I need to read a book by this lady and see what she’s all about!” I failed to do so until this past week and I am now so happy that I finally gave one of her novels a go.

Made For You is being pretty aggressively pitched as her first foray into contemporary and that it’s a gothic novel. Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I would not shelf this novel…

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Posted by on 08/22/2014 • 16 Comments

Feral was a very strange read. And I’m usually really good with strange – I love a book that brings something new and so bizarre that you’re like WTF! the whole way through – think Charm & Strange or (Don’t You) Forget About Me. Feral, though, was not this good kind of strange. It was cringe-worthy and full of absurd weirdness that just left me annoyed.

It starts with a girl – Claire – who gets attacked in a Chicago alley – apparently one of the safe alleys. Due to the anxiety she suffers from since, they decide to start fresh in a new eccentric little town. This is where she starts seeing the spirit of a murdered girl, driving Claire to solve this murder. This sounds all pretty generic…

Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Posted by on 08/21/2014 • 13 Comments

I always go into YA thrillers with a bit of trepidation. As someone who loves these types of movies and TV shows I always end up finding the teen novel versions to be a bit too convenient which leads to a lot of eyerolling. While this was definitely a unique take on the genre with it’s second person narration, it did still fall victim to the typical tropes I have come to dislike over time.

What was striking right off the bat was how the reader is thrown into the novel with the second person narration. With the word “you” constantly being used to describe our MC it really throws us into the novel and leaves us feeling as if we have woken up with no recollection of who we…

Review: Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Review: Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Posted by on 08/11/2014 • 9 Comments

This was a straaaange book! But most importantly: it’s deliciously creepy!

Brenna delights us with some more of her gothic, morbid, yet marvelously fascinating storytelling in her newest release. Fiendish is compelling from the very first chapter. After a quick introduction to Clementine, a slight glimpse of who she was prior, we experience her entrapment inside this cellar, held in place by willow roots, while a decade passes. The cryptic but riveting manner with which the passing of time is described had me enchanted. It was, in a way, full of desperation and longing, though strangely beautiful. All of this occurs within the first few chapters, laying the foundation – and the promise – of an eccentric, highly original road to come. Once Clementine is set free, however, is when…