Monday, July 16, 2018

The Liar's Girl

Title: The Liar's Girl
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Source: Kindle Ebook
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

A young woman's body has been found in the Grand Canal in Dublin.  The body is that of a female student at St. John's College.  The local Garda detectives believe it is the work of a copycat of the Canal Killer, 10 years ago, so the visit the original serial killer.  He tells them he will talk, but only to his ex-girlfriend Alison.  Alison thought she left all of this behind her when she moved to the Netherlands, but once the Garda show up on her doorstep, she knows she needs to help.  Alison and Detective Malone work together to put the pieces together to stop the current killings and possibly free an innocent man.  Alison is forced to relive her past and face the demons she has been hiding from.

I am not sure what made me pick up this novel.  It spoke to me for some reason. Once I started reading it, I could not stop.  I couldn't get enough of them.  I felt as if I had known the characters personally and wanted to wrap my arms around Alison.  It is a clever use of today's technology and the dangers associated with sites like Facebook or twitter.  It really stands out form other novels in this genre, and is a fast paced read.  If you love thrillers, you would definitely love this one as well.

The premise is appealing to me, lately I have gotten into thriller/mystery novels a lot.  While it really stands out from others, it doesn't seem to compare with some of the other novels I have read.  Catharine Ryan Howard is a phenomenal story-teller.  She knows just how to grasp her readers and hold them hostage until the very end.  She gets into her readers minds and sets up camp, but I almost feel like more could have been done.  Some aspects were almost too predictable and a few things that drew away from the enjoyment factor of this novel.  One of which being that the murderer wasn't fully fleshed out.  His motive of teach women a certain lesson didn't seem all too plausible because how would they know that that was his motive.

While the book is a page-turner and held my attention  until the very end I still was wondering on a few things, like if Alison was careful to not post on the web and kept herself secret, how did the Garda find her in the first place?  The cops seems a little inept at their jobs and were more interested in flirting with Alison (at least Malone was), they didn't contribute anything to the case other than what Alison provided them.  She was a better detective than the actual detectives.  One thing I did enjoy was that there was nothing gory or sexual.  It was a clean mystery which I highly enjoyed.

Overall it was a good novel, I enjoyed the story and felt like I was helping to piece together the puzzle.  I would recommend it if you enjoy this genre.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Traitor's Game

Title: Traitor's Game
Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Hardback: Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paws

For three years Kestra Dallisor was in exile, when she is called to return home, she is pulled right back to her fathers politics and hatred.  The role Kestra plays is not one of her choosing, she is just a pawn.  A group of rebels know how valuable Kestra is to the empire and kidnap her from her carriage.  They strike a deal with her, she find a mystical blade for them, and they will spare the lives of her protector and handmaiden.  While she agrees, Kestra is determined to not make it easy.  Soon secrets creep out of the darkness and alliances are born.  Kestra needs to decide whom she can put her trust in and whom she should fear.

I was excited about this book when I read about it last year.  It seemed to have everything I look for in a book, and the cover is very interesting and alluring.  It seemed to have a powerful female lead and strong supporting characters.  I am pleased to say the book delivered everything I could imagine it would and left me wanting more from the story.  I do look forward to reading the next book when it comes out next year.

Kestra is probably one of the strongest female leads I have read in YA this year.  She is not willing to go down easy and comes out fighting. She doesn't whimper or whine about her situation, but instead does what she can to come out on top even if it means lying to those she trusts the most.  We know she has strong fighting skills taught to her from Darrow, but we really don't get to see it...yet.  I hope there will be more action in the next book as it progresses to the next stage of the story.  Kestra has more depth to her than I have seen in a while and I am proud that Nielsen took the time to create a bold feisty, alluring heroine rather than a princess whose only concern are her dresses and status.

The Traitor's Game is a story packed full of battle scenes, murder, secrets, romance, and strength all rolled into a tale the takes readers on a roller coaster ride.  Some things I was able to predict and figure out, but other things were not what I was expecting.  While the book was fast paced and kept the reader wanting more, there were a few slower points that made me want to skip over them and read the next chapter.  I did find myself saying "one more chapter" until I looked at the clock and seen it was 2 am.

One of the most anticipated novels of 2018 and it does not disappoint.  I look forward to seeing what Nielsen has in store for readers in the next book of the series.  I would recommend it if you enjoy fantasy.  If you enjoy novels like the Throne of Glass series, then you will most likely enjoy this novel.

Check out some of these other reviews:

Word Nerd Scribbles
The Fandom

Monday, July 9, 2018

Lying In Wait

Title: Lying In Wait
Author:Liz Nugent
Genre: Thriller/suspense/mystery
Source: Hardback, goodreads win
Rating: 3 out of 5 paws

Lydia's life seemed perfect.  Doting husband, beloved son, beautiful home.  Everything a woman can ask for, except...a dirty secret hidden within the garden.  Lydia and her husband murder a young woman who intends to blackmail Andrew.  They then bury her in the backyard and act as if they know nothing.  Their son Laurence knows something is up, and months later discover their dark secrets.  Its not long before the truth comes out.  The truth always comes out one way or another.  Be careful what you try to bury away in the garden.

I wanted to like this book so much.  The cover is beautiful and I won it in a goodreads giveaway, I hardly ever win those.  The first half of the book was good and interesting, but then it trickled down and got boring.  The first line is probably the best line and it's what drew me into the book.

"My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it."

I had hoped there would be more like this, more of a backstory leading up to it.  More of an investigation, but it all just stops after a certain event.  I didn't feel the WOW factor that was I was hoping to feel.  It's not very memorable and when I was telling co-workers about the recent book I was reading, I couldn't more beyond a judge kills a girls for blackmailing him.  That's it.  I almost didn't finish it but wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt to finish what I started.  Though I admit I skipped a bunch of stuff because it felt...irrelevant and awful.

The ending was very abrupt like she just didn't feel like writing a better ending or got bored with the story as I did.  It didn't feel original or unique.  How many other books are there about a couple who end up getting blackmailed because they chose the one girl for one thing or another.  Then bury her in the backyard.  What is with burying people in the backyard in a garden??  It is full of conveniences like Karen's modeling agent being the mother of one of the detectives on the case, Laurance's girlfriend becoming a model at same agency.  Laurance and Karen falling in love etc. 

I have seen people say it was hard to put down.  I found it every easy to put down, it was hard to pick back up again.  I don't think I would be recommending this one.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Frog Prince

Title: Fairy Tale Collection: Frog Prince
Author: Jenni James
Genre: Fairy Tale
Source: Amazon, ebook
Rating: 3 out of 5 paws

Prince Nolan has spent the last few years writing letters to his betrothed.  The image he gets of the woman is less than desirable, a spoiled princess.  He decides to best determine her quality he disguises himself as a frog and spends a month with her.  He needed to see who she was outside of written letters.  Could he actually marry such a woman?  The only way to break the spell prior to the 30 days is for Blythe to kiss him in his frog state.  Will Nolan learn to look past his judgements and find the woman beneath the letter.  The true merit to Blythe.

I am kind of on the fence with this one.  It was a lot shorter than I thought, more of a novella instead of a novel.  Maybe have it included in a bigger book with two other stories.  I have not read any of the other books in the series and I am on the fence if I do.  I have her Sleeping Beauty one to read in the future.  It is a quick read and while I am familiar with the classic Frog Prince tale, I never actually read it so I don't have much to compare this to as I have with some of the other re-tellings I have read.  There were a few things that seemed a little off center like being called to tea time with a triangle, is that how royalty were called to tea?  The way the do on ranches.  While the setting is in a European castle (we aren't given an idea of a country), but the names felt more American, more modern than something that would have fit the time period.

The characters don't grow, they don't evolve much.  We see Blythe being a sweet young woman teaching children in the village when there is no schoolteacher, but she still remains quick to judgement.  He doesn't evolve at all beyond realizing what a jerk he is and self centered he is.  He remains this way, and even tells her he is still the same.  From the first moment he believed she was different than she thought simply because she said she mimicked his letters and she was pretty.

The writing was fair enough, but at times it was confusing and the sentence structure didn't seem to flow well together.  Not that it was bad, but that it could have been written differently.  I think more younger audiences would like this, younger than the young adult market.  It definitely wasn't something a woman in her 30s would turn back to time and time again.  But it does make me want to read what the original story was like.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July from the Literary Cat family.  We will be spending the day reading in downtown Pittsburgh, and enjoying the water fountain and beautiful weather.  Then the fireworks and music and enjoyment of the day.  Have a safe and happy holiday.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Silent Child

Title: Silent Child
Author: Sarah Denzil
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Source: Ebook: Amazon
Rating 5 out of 5 paws

Summer of 2006 torrential rain caused the river to flood.  School called and notified parents to come get their children before the flood got worse.  Once Emma got to the school she discovered the unbelievable.  Her son was not there, her son had slipped away from the class and no one knew where he was.  Amid the search efforts, Emma stood by and watched as her son's red coat was fished from the river. Young Aiden was declared dead, drowned in the river flood, despite no body being found.  Ten years have gone by and Emma has learned how to move past her grief, she is married again and about to give birth to a baby girl.  But then....Aiden is found wondering out of the woods.  Unable to speak, his body shows signs of abuse, and neglect.  The truth is revealed, he never drowned but was taken.  But who would take a helpless young body?  Emma does everything she can to reconnect with Aiden and encourage him to talk, but he remains at a distance.  What will it take for Emma to get Aiden to talk?  Who took her son?  Who has been lying to her all these years?

 Reading the synopsis of this book draw me into it. It sounded interesting and the cover gives it the air of being incredibly creepy and chilling.  And it was.  It is sometimes rare to find a book that completely draws you into the story without even beginning the story yet.  I couldn't wait to begin reading this one, and boy am I glad I did.  I couldn't put it down, and needed to know what happened next.  It is one of those books that I have to recommend to others and it shot right to the top of favorite books of the year so far.

It all began with a flood, in a single moment everything changed for Emma.  She didn't know how she could survive with the loss of her soon, and then her parents soon after.  In her darkest moment, she meets Jake who seems to put her back together again like she was Humpty Dumpty.  He was there when no one else was.  But is he the man he claims he is?  Rob, her ex, Aiden's father abandoned her in her time of need.  Too consumed by his own grief.  Now that Aiden is back, so is he.  And he seems to have changed, but did he really?  Emma finds herself looking at everyone around her differently, wondering who knew what happened to Aiden, a boy who was too traumatized to tell her what happened all those years ago.

There is so much in this book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, anticipating what will happened next.  Just when you think you have everything figured out, something will happen that will change everything you thought you knew.  You have a character who doesn't speak, but he says so much through his actions and reactions to certain situations. There is so much depth to this one character than he seems to overshadow some of the others.  There are a few things that didn't fully get answered like why Aiden remained silent, but then again why are kids who are traumatized silent?  I do wish we went more into the psychology of it, but still enjoyed the read and that aspect of the novel.

One aspect is rather predictable, but not in a way that you would think which is what threw me for a loop.  I didn't think the people it ended up being were possible suspects despite clues that I didn't realize were clues.  Emma had a LOT of inner dialogue which got tedious for a bit, but doesn't fully take away from the story.  I can see why the author did it this way, I would have almost liked some more from Aiden other than the one chapter we get towards the end. Like maybe something with him battle with himself at telling Emma everything as opposed to remaining quiet.

Don't be surprised when you read this book in one sitting.  I read it in two, only because I needed to go to bed despite not wanting to.  It may have been a little longer than it should have been, but that's okay.  If you can get past the length (417 pages) you would enjoy it.  Especially if you like thrillers, or suspense.  The material may seem dark, but the author tackles it in a tasteful way that isn't too difficult to read.