The Pool House by Tasmina Perry

the pool house

 

Story Outline:

Someone lied. Someone died…

This dark, twisting novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Tasmina Perry will keep you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for everyone who’s been gripped by Showtime TV’s The Affair, Adele Parks’ The Stranger In My Home and J. P. Delaney’s The Girl Before. ‘Gripping… Great pace and brilliantly written. I loved it’ Daily Mail on The House on Sunset Lake

When you’re invited to spend summer in the Hamptons with a group of new friends, you agree – who wouldn’t? But then you realise you’re taking the place of another woman, a woman who died in mysterious circumstances, just the summer before. Your housemates tell you her death was an accident. But which of them has something to hide?

 

My Review:

Book reviewed for Netgalley and Hachette Australia

The story starts the night of Alice’s death from that moment I was hooked. When reading a book I try to relate to one of the characters, I was drawn to Jem because like her I wanted to know what happened to Alice. The reader knows from the start Alice was not alone when she died. Someone was there whether they were responsible for her death or if it was just an accident and who was it are questions left hanging in the air.

I was totally enthralled in the storyline trying to figure out who had been with Alice on the night she died as the evidence came to light. As it unfolded I kept going backward and forwards from one character to the next thinking, they were the one but each time I was incorrect. In the finish, I had no idea who the person was that had gone to speak to Alice. I was surprised by who but not why when the killer was finally revealed.

I really enjoyed switching from Jem’s summer at the beach house to Alice’s time at the house. It gave an even more interesting angle from the different perspectives of both women. The story itself flows well keeping a steady pace throughout, I was kept intrigued and enthralled till the last page. I loved the authors’ ability to convey human nature at its best (Michael and Jem) and at its worst (Nat, Paul, and Joel). She was able to show that when people leave their morals at the door, let their egos take over; they are capable of doing whatever it takes to get what they want. In, a world of money and power anything or anyone can be bought for the right price. Seduction power and greed and make a dangerous combination. Only those that can see past all the glitz and glamour will see that world for what it really is. One of danger and deceit.

 

Alex by by Pierre Lemaitre (Translated by)Frank Wayne.

Alex

Story Outline:

Who really knows Alex? She is beautiful. Exciting. Is it for this that it was taken away, sequestered, given over to the unimaginable? But when the police finally discovered his prison, Alex disappeared. Alex, more intelligent than his executioner. Alex who forgives nothing, who forgets nothing, nobody.

An icy thriller that juggles the codes of murderous madness, a diabolical and unpredictable mechanics where one finds the extraordinary talent of the author of Robe de marie.

 

My Review:

Reviewed for The Reading Room (Bookstr)

When I first received this book, I was not sure if I would enjoy it so I put it off time and time again. I have read a few Crime Thrillers before and enjoyed them but they were not my thing. So imagine my surprise when this book turned out to not only be my favourite for the year. It’s one of the most cleverly written books that I have read in a long time.

Written almost in a movie script style; I am not sure if that is the intention of the author or whether it is the way the story is translated. I like quirky books so I did not mind this style of storytelling at all. The author tells us what the characters are thinking, how they are moving and how they interact with each other. There are no hidden messages, it is a case of what you read is what you get.

The story itself is one of the most clever and well thought out plots that I have read in a long time. At the start, the reader is drawn in and feels sorry for Alex and what is happening to her. As things change and the plot slowly twists and turns to reveal itself, you start feeling like the victim doesn’t deserve your sympathies. Then as you go even deeper into the characters and the plot twists a little more, you start to feel that you were right all along to feel pain for this woman. The writing flows along never missing a beat; it goes back and forth between Alex and the police officials that are trying to find her. As I mentioned above, there are multiple twists and turns that will leave you wondering what will happen next.
A totally enjoyable read, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Crime Thrillers and anyone else in between.

Twilight…on the inside.

Now that I have become one of the thousands if not millions of people to read the Twilight series I thought I would share my thoughts.

Years ago when my sister asked me to read the books I flat out refused, I told her the idea did not interest me. The idea of my brooding dark vampires was completely at odds with the whole idea of sparkling vampires. It took me a few more years and a lot of not so polite reviews on social media for me to get the courage to read them. When I mean courage, I wasn’t scared of reading them and being seen as a nerdy person who read “those” books. I mean I didn’t really think I would like them and I needed the courage to not be a book snob about them.You can imagine my surprise and shock when I come to realise that these books are not just a love story between a vampire and a teenage girl.

They go much, much deeper than that. There are so many aspects to these books and so many important life issues are addressed. You are not just reading about a teenage girl swooning over a vampire and a wolf. What unfolds is something far deeper and stranger. What you are really reading without realising it until the very end is, the story of Jacob Black. People will argue that I am wrong but really when all is said and done, Jacob Black is the central character all the rest are merely along for the ride. If you have not read the books, then I hope this intrigues you enough to delve into them.

The books are as true to life as you can get, life is messy. They prove that time and time again. Yes, they are set in a world of magic and creatures that most only believe exist in the imagination of writers and in myth. They are people dealing with real problems underneath all that. You deal with feeling like you do not belong (Bella), peer pressures and angst (Bella’s school friends). Marital break down (Bella’s parents) and the biggest of all sacrifice which nearly every character deals with. Carlisle when he explains why he turned all the members of his “family”. Edward when he leaves Bella, he is sacrificing his and her happiness to try to do what is right by them both. Was he wrong? Yes but when you love someone and you really want the best for them sometimes you do the wrong thing thinking it is the right thing.

So after having reading them and seeing for myself what they are like I  am stumped as to why people want to rubbish them. They are not classics but, they never claimed to be and the author has never said they were. The trouble today is we want books that are written a certain way, anything outside our comfort zone is seen as wrong by some. I personally do not like Jacob for his possessiveness and childish behaviour. I thought Bella’s obsession with being too old when still being a teenager was annoying but that did not stop me finding the books interesting and enjoyable to read.

The book snobs in this world complained about the books being badly written, they were not. There were some parts that could have been edited to make the writing a lot tighter but they were not badly written. As a reviewer, I have seen badly written books and these are not. When you read a scene where the writer describes the “lightening” flashed across the sky, you are dealing with bad editing. It really pains me that so many people want to hate these books just because they can.

When reading a story I try to relate to one or more of the characters to feel what they feel. I just wish that people would read that way, put themselves in the shoes of at least one character in a book and see life through their eyes. Don’t have a preconceived idea about a book (like I did to start with) but go with the flow and see where the story takes you. I was lucky enough to put aside my book snobbish side and give the books a chance. They made me angry, they made me laugh and sometimes they made me cry. The most important thing is they made me feel something.

If you have not read the series, then I ask as a person who said they never would, please give them a try. You will either hate them or like them but at least you will have made that judgment for yourself.

 

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

a shade of vampire

Story Outline:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

 

My Review:

I really enjoyed the dueling POV in this book, but I am not sure that I will read the rest of the series. It was interesting and a lot of background information was given to give the reader an idea about why “The Shade” was created for the vampires. I just did not really connect with any of the characters which is rare for me.

Would I recommend it to others? Yes, if you are a fan of vampire fiction, please check it out.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

the short second life of bree tanner

Story Outline:

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes, and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood…life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don’t draw attention to yourself, and above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn’t know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they only know as her. As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

 

My Review:

What a delightful novella to finish of my ventures into the world of Stephenie Meyer’s vampires.

Until I started reading books for review, I had never read many short stories due to the fact that the shortness of them irritated me. But, now after many years, I have come to appreciate just exactly how difficult it can be to get the whole story into a shortened form. I think I enjoyed this one even more because I already knew the fate of poor Bree before I started reading. I was intrigued to know what happened to her before she met her fate. I had hoped that the book might start just before she was turned into a vampire. There was, however, enough about her previous life to give me a glimpse of Bree and who she was before becoming a member of Victoria’s army.

It was also nice to see another side of the vampires. Not the nice polite side that we saw with the Cullen’s in the series. With theses vampires, we are dealing with the nasty darker side of their nature. Sure they sparkle but that is where the beauty in their nature ends. I also enjoyed meeting more of Stephenie’s vampire children. There is one in particular that I hope I have the chance to read about one day. Fred, he was Bree’s allie of sorts and he had a very special talent to repel others of his kind.

I am not sure if I should have read this book before reading the 4th and final book in the Twilight series as it ties in with both. Either way, it gives you a deeper insight into not just Bree but also Edward and the Volturi as well. I will not give anything away for people who have not read any of the books. However, I will say, it was quite a revelation that Bree discovered about the Volturi

Totally enjoyable, a great addition to the series and highly recommended reading

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

breaking dawn

Story Outline:

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life – first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse – seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed… forever?

 

My Review:

What can I really write about this book that has not already been written?

What I can write is that this book was for me the best book in the entire series. There were so many twists and turns in the plot that I did not see coming. It even helped me to understand Jacob Black a little better than the rest of the books had. I still did not really like him as a character, but his reasons for being like he had been, were explained so it all made in the end. It had been bugging, the reasons why he behaved the way he did but when it was revealed it was definitely a moment that was a surprise.

I am glad that I finally took the time to read them. Would I recommend these books to others? The answer is simple, Yes. The books will never be classics but they were never pretended to be. It is the book snobs of this world who hated the idea of  “sparkling vampires” that have turned many people away from finding a wonderful and sometimes heart wrenching read.

The only thing that I found disappointing was the lack of vampire history. It was touched on a few times but never really went into any real detail and me being a fan of vampire novels, I like a bit more background history.  The wolves history was described in greater detail which was very enjoyable to read it’s a shame that it was not done for the vampire side.

All in all a great series.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse

Story Outline:

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob – knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

 

My Review:

Bella has to choose between the love of two people, Jacob Black and Edward Cullen. Both have made it extremely clear about their feelings for her.  Both have made it clear to the other that they will do whatever it takes to win her heart.

If she chooses Jacob, she will have a life where she will be safe and loved with the possibility of having a family of her own. Being with a wolf has its own dangers, but those are few.

If she chooses Edward she gets to live with the one person she cannot live without, but she has to sacrifice her family, her friends, and her life.

With all that hanging over her head, she still has to deal with the impending arrival of Victoria the vampire who is set on revenge. The Cullen’s keep telling her that she will be alright and that everything will work out but Bella is not sure. Would Bella be safer with Jacob or will the Cullen’s be true to their word and make sure that no harm comes to her? Either way, her life will change forever.

The third book in the series makes the reader deal a lot of issues. Sacrifice, trust, change. None of these issues are very easy to deal with, I think that the author has handled them all in a very well. We as the reader sympathise and struggle along with Bella as she faces the toughest decisions in her life so far. Another thing this book made me feel was the want to throw it across the room and strangle the life out of Jacob Black. I have never been a fan of his from the start and this book only proved to show that he has a very immature and demanding side of his nature. My hat goes off to Stephenie Meyer, she has succeeded where no other author has in making me want to use one of my books as a missile.

One thing is for certain, these vampires might sparkle, but they are no less cunning or dangerous than their non-sparkling counterparts. I loved the built up to the confrontation with Victoria and her army of newborns. It brought another level to the story and brought new characters to life. The action scenes were descriptive and did not disappoint. It was great to see the wolves and the vampires, but their differences behind them to help Bella. Some did it for selfish reasons, whilst others just wanted to rip a few vampires apart, but it was still nice that it happened.

All in all a great read. I am looking forward to Breaking Dawn to see how it all works out.