_____________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Random Reading Thoughts

Hey, how are you today?

It's been a while since I posted anything, so I thought I might talk about the recent change in my reading habits.

For the first time in years, I don't have any ARCs or review books left on my TBR pile.

This might not sound like a big thing but for the last ten years, I've been reviewing books for several publishers. And because of that, I kept pushing review books to the top of my TBR pile.

Getting the chance to read books before they're released is an amazing opportunity and I loved doing it. The downside is that all my other books took a backseat. I mean, there's only so many hours in the day. 😵

Being a HUGE reader and a bibliophile means that I buy books all the time. A LOT OF BOOKS. From online stores, bookstores, Kindle store, Kobo store and a variety of thrift stores. And I buy them because I want to read them, but I kept running out of time.

Now, I find myself in a strange--yet freeing--place. I can finally read whatever I want, whenever I want. And I've been taking full advantage of this. I'm digging back into my Paperwhite and starting to go through my many thrift store finds. And it's GREAT!

Another unexpected thing is that I'm also more relaxed about when I read. As well as not feeling as bad about DNFing books. 

Maybe now I'll also get the chance to catch up on my fave series and finish off the ones that are complete.

BUT, don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean I won't review books for authors and publishers in the future. Of course I will. It just means that I won't be as swamped as I was before.

Happy reading! 😁📚


Thursday, 13 June 2019

MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust

Money Shot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I've had my eye on for a while, so I was really excited when it was included in the Hard Case Crime Humble Bundle.

Angel Dare is a former porn star with an attitude and a self-critical eye. She also runs her own agency, taking care of younger girls in the industry. The day one of her oldest friends asks her to make one last movie with the hottest male adult star at the moment, she reluctantly agrees.

But when she gets to the location, Angel finds herself in a bad situation. One that nearly gets her killed, and forces her to become a fugitive...

Wow. This book really kicks you where it hurts. It's raw and gritty, violent and fast. It's also full of awful untrustworthy characters with vile intentions.

Angel is not one of those. I loved her attitude! Enjoyed the hell out of spending time with her as she goes from almost-dead to determined to get revenge, before becoming a total kick-ass vigilante.

The way she presents the hardcore and often ugly world of adult entertainment is interesting. When she finds herself falling down the disgusting world of sex trafficking and slaves, things get uncomfortable. The deeper she digs while trying to find out who tried to kill her and why, the darker things get.

And that's another awesome thing I liked about this story. Angel wants revenge, and when she gets the chance she doesn't back down. She doesn't chicken out, follows through with her plan and is quite creative with her actions.

Faust's writing style was very cool. Angel's voice is clear, intriguing and provided such a riveting story that when I got to the end, I wanted there to be more.

This is a great action-packed book that at times made me feel dirty and appalled, but kept me glued all the way through. It's too bad about Malloy, I liked him because he was handy.

I really need to read the next one.


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

DOGGEM by John F Leonard

Doggem: A Tale of Toy Dogs and Dark Deeds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few months ago I read a very creepy short story written by this author, so I was looking forward to checking this one out too.

Doggem is the class toy. A stuffed dog that gets passed around the class so the teacher can assess the kids in her class, as well as the parent involvement.

When George gets to take Doggem home for the holidays, his parents don't seem to care. They're too wrapped up in the visit they're planning to Grandma's house. And when they get there, something awful looms in the woods around the cottage...

That was such a great story!

I have to admit, when I first started reading, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because the main character was wandering all over the place. But, of course he would--he's a toy!

Anyway, it didn't take long for me to get sucked into the story because Doggem's voice became virtually impossible to shake. The story he witnesses while in the care of George was quite unexpected. Wow! Didn't expect it to go there. Didn't think this toy would experience something so... dark.

Trust me, I'm not just talking about the end to George's family drama, I'm also talking about where Doggem ends up. It's almost like two endings in one story, which totally fits because the plushie is like a fly on the wall watching everything unfold.

Yep. I really enjoyed this! And it also reminded me of the time my daughter actually did this at school. A strange experiment, but one that seems to work. LOL.

This is a shortie worth reading.


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK by Joan Lindsay

Picnic at Hanging Rock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian classic I've wanted to read for ages. After watching the TV show last year and picking up three different editions of the book, I decided it was time to FINALLY read this beauty.

It's Valentine's Day, in the year 1900, when a group of girls attending the Appleyard College for Young Ladies go on an excursion to the nearby Hanging Rock. Hanging Rock is a rock formation found deep in the Victorian bush, and seems like the perfect spot to visit on this lovely summer day.

When four of the girls go for a walk and only one returns in hysterics, a teacher vanishes too. The mystery of what happened on that day becomes the only thing anyone can talk about.

And then another returns...

I'm SO glad I finally read this eerie little book.

Not only is the mystery at the core of the story super addictive and kept me glued to the pages, but the whole experience felt like walking through a surreal nightmare. Every word adds to the unsettling suspense, spreading a cloud of darkness that keeps expanding.

That's why I found the writing style perfect for this story. It's told in third-person omniscient POV, taking the reader from one character to another very quickly, as well as revealing past and present tidbits along the way. Telling the story in this way usually bugs me, but not this time. Dealing with the narrative in this way helped keep the intrigue going, as well as include the many characters featured in order to get the full scope of the story. It also made the setting and surroundings feel as strong and important as the characters.

Although the girls who disappeared were popular seniors, the actual plot revolves around what happens to everyone else--teachers, students, staff--at the boarding school they attended. It spans to include the last guy to see them that day, and how his life is affected. And even the policemen conducting the investigation.

Sarah's story is so sad. I felt bad for her because her life is affected in the worst way possible. There were so many things she didn't know, especially the people who actually cared about her and were willing to help. Instead, she gets stuck with the awful headmistress. The flower imagery surrounding this poor child was tragically beautiful.

The French teacher, Mademoiselle de Poitiers, was another character I really liked. I was totally invested in her journey and her part in everything was great.

There are so many things to love about this story, and one of my most favourite things was the gothic atmosphere that drips off every page. Not to mention how well the author captured the bush, the climate and how harsh Australia's landscape can be. I felt like I was there with the characters, every step of the way.

As for the ambiguous ending, it TOTALLY worked for me. Not just because it was a clever way to end the tale, but also because I already had my own theory and was hppy with what I read.

Oh, and after finishing the book I went back to the foreword, which was full of spoilery stuff. Plus I also found out about the original Chp 18, which explained what happened to the girls. I thought it was cool.

Either way, I enjoyed this a lot.


Sunday, 2 June 2019

THE FORGOTTEN LETTERS OF ESTHER DURRANT by Kayte Nunn

1951. Esther Durrant, a young mother, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband. Run by a pioneering psychiatrist, the hospital is at first Esther's prison but soon becomes her refuge. 

2018. Free-spirited marine scientist Rachel Parker embarks on a research posting in the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast. When a violent storm forces her to take shelter on a far-flung island, she discovers a collection of hidden love letters. Captivated by their passion and tenderness, Rachel determines to track down the intended recipient. 

Meanwhile, in London, Eve is helping her grandmother, a renowned mountaineer, write her memoirs. When she is contacted by Rachel, it sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal secrets kept buried for more than sixty years.


Last year I read and really enjoyed The Botanist's Daughter, so of course I was interested in checking out this author's latest release.

The location might confuse her, but Esther Durrant thinks she's heading out for a nice holiday with her husband. After the heartache she's been through, she's glad for the break. But soon after arriving at the isolated island, she realises something isn't right.

Rachel Parker is an Australian marine scientist who travels all over the world. She doesn't like spending too much time in one place and doesn't do attachments, so her job is perfect. When her latest assignment leads her to an island off the Cornish coast, she discovers a lot more than clams.

Eve lives in London with her grandmother and is helping to take care of her after a bad fall that puts the otherwise strong and independent elderly woman on bedrest. But she's also helping her write a book about her old mountaineering days.

When Rachel finds some letters written by Esther, they lead her to Eve... 

Well, that was a nice, well-written novel. 

Told in the alternating POV of Esther--as she suffers through a traumatic ordeal--Rachel--as she finds herself in new cold and wet surroundings--and Eve--as she focuses on helping her grandmother while struggling to find her own place in the world. Each woman's story unfolds at their own pace, but complements one another until all the seemingly unconnected pieces fall into place.

My favourite story was Esther's. She was a woman suffering through a terrible loss during a time in history when women were expected to be a certain way no matter what. Even after having the best of intentions, the man she trusted most in her life betrayed her with his secrets and lies. And inadvertently introduces Esther to a passion she wouldn't have discovered otherwise. Or the heartbreak that led her to.

While I mostly enjoyed Rachel's POV because of her independence and peculiar profession, I felt that Eve's and Richard's somewhat pulled me out of the story, and I looked forward to going back to Esther. To be honest, the excess in POVs kept me from fully immersing myself into the story as deeply as I'd hoped.

I have to admit, that while I did enjoy this book overall, I personally didn't feel the same connection and wasn't charmed in the same intoxicating way I was by The Botanist's Daughter. But that's okay, because this is an entirely different story.

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant is an interesting tale about the effect women's lives have on the generations that follow. About how their legacies echo into the future, and what happens when secrets rise to the surface. 

It also showcases the differences between modern women and the ones who came before. The ones treated like property, and the impossible, heartbreaking choices they had to make just to keep the peace.

These stories are important, and should be shared.


The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant, June 2019, ISBN 9780733639401, Hachette Australia

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants for single moms