Review: Quick

quickQuick by Steve Worland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of author / publisher

When the book first arrived, my son tore open the package and said that this must be for him. There was a racing car on the cover so it mustn’t be mummy’s. He’s 4 and can’t read yet but persisted that he will read it when he’s 5. I myself would have said that Quick isn’t my usual cup of tea though now that I’ve read all 3 of Steve Worland’s blockbuster action works, I really can’t say that anymore… especially since I’ve enjoyed them all.

As I begin reading, I really thought that my ignorance of motor racing or of anything motor would be a detriment in understanding this book. The only think I can boast of is driving manual –which hubby (God bless him for his patience!) first taught me to drive in his Peugeot 206 then let me drive his Colt RalliArt then Legnum (all turbo-charged, I think –or is that even the right term / usage?). Even knowing the sound or how it felt when turbo engages, I really do NOT feel the need for speed. Thankfully, Quick really isn’t about speed… though it provided a very exciting background to this story.

Billy Hotchkiss is an easily likeable character. I felt though that he is quite similar to Corey Purchase ([book:Velocity|15824903)) in that down to earth, easygoing type of Aussie bloke. He is a Good Samaritan –he just can’t help himself from jumping in though he would usually end up in a scrape. Sometimes though, it’s totally worth it or so it seems as each scrapes landed him on greener grass anyway. His Aussie-ness, I found, to be underscored quite heavily especially in terms of his speech with lots of Aussie terms / phrases thrown in. This was slightly annoying though at times, it can be humorous. On the other hand, I found it slightly inexplicable that his French partner barely sounded “French” at the start and it was only a bit later that French expressions were introduced into the story.

The mystery, though large scale, isn’t the main feature of this novel either. Again, it provided a great background, diamond heists which spanned the globe with a more sinister agenda behind it all, but the actions in the effort of capturing these criminals were the highlights of the story. Thankfully, Billy isn’t a bumbling amateur in the fast lane so each encounter really was high in tension and very exciting. The term “action-packed” cannot be more apt when applied to Quick. Don’t worry about not knowing motoring terms; you’ll still enjoy the humour, the explosive actions, and the fight for justice. Oh, let’s not forget that bit of romance too! Fairly sweet for this lady’s perspective

There were many sceptical moments though I think reading an action adventure blockbuster novel is just like watching an action adventure blockbuster movie… you know certain things just aren’t going to happen like that in real life but you suspend belief and enjoy the ride. It was a blast of a ride –one I’ve come to expect of Steve Worland. A perfect read for those with a need for speed or those who love their action blockbusters.

Thank you, Steve Worland & Penguin Books Australia, for copy of paperback

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Review: The Good Girl

the good girlThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback ARC courtesy of publisher

Some reviews have mentioned the similarity of this novel to Gone Girl. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly enjoyed Gone Girl (due to disliking characters and having guessed the ending mostly right) so I started reading The Good Girl with some trepidation. Thankfully, this novel is structured quite different and I found that, therefore, I enjoyed the story a lot more.

The start of this novel was a little uncertain as it is being told from a number of perspectives and at different points in time (before, during, and after abduction). I usually ignore chapter headers/titles but this time around, I have to pay attention to them to know exactly who’s speaking and at point in time. It made a very good difference as it saves a lot of confusion and after some time, you slip in & out of perspectives quite easily. In the end, it wasn’t at all a difficult read.

This story is NOT told from Mia Dennett’s perspective at all; the supposedly main protagonist of this novel. It is told from the people around her –people who care about / for her. This difference in perspectives from Gone Girl is what I found most enjoyable as I didn’t have to hear from anyone whom I found annoying. Whilst it’ll be interesting to see what’s going on in Mia’s head, this method definitely built the suspense and the mystery of the plot. It wasn’t until right at the very end, where Mia ‘spoke’ and hit the readers with a wrecking ball. It was a very satisfying ending.

Whether your love or hate Gone Girl, you’d find that you will enjoy The Good Girl. The suspense, the mystery, the characters, and the structure of the novel will drive you reading on ‘til the early hours.

Thanks, Harlequin Books Australia for copy of book

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Review: Dancing on Knives

dancing on knivesDancing on Knives by Kate Forsyth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

Dancing on Knives is rather atypical of Kate Forsyth’s books. Its contemporary setting in Australia and lack of the magical element may disappoint her fans of fantasy works. Fortunately, as a fan of Forsyth, my reading appetite is quite eclectic and I could appreciate the amazing effort she’s put into this baby. Whilst it was first birthed over 30 years ago, this novel has gone through a number of revisions (and was also previously published under different title) until the form it has achieved today.

This mystery novel is told from the perspective of twenty year old Sara, eldest daughter of the Sanchez family. It’s an interesting perspective noting her limitation / weakness however it was a lifting experience as Sara, in loving her family, slowly found her strength. The Sanchez family has weathered many troubling times and yet, there were love to be found in each other to sustain them through these hard times. With a focus on family and their secrets, this novel could easily have been a family saga (unfortunately, it’s a little short…).

What impressed me of this novel wasn’t the mystery itself but the whole aura of the novel and the number of things packed into 300 odd pages. The research itself must’ve been a colossal undertaking; mostly in reference to the Spanish culture of cookery & art. I must acknowledge my ignorance for both but I can’t help but be awed by the details that were included without being overwhelming.

The novel itself isn’t a ‘retelling’ of the tale in the strict sense as it was rather of Sara who identified herself with the fairytale mermaid her Spanish grandmother used to tell. This tragic tale combined with the stormy weather, the decrepit condition of the house, and the sinister circumstance of Augusto Sanchez’s accident gave the novel a very gothic atmosphere. Whilst the usual ‘magic’ element is missing, there are references to the supernatural which again lent force to the dark & eerie feelings of the story.

Fans of Kate Forsyth may found Dancing on Knives somewhat hard to swallow / enjoy especially for the fantasy-die-hards. I, however, loved the atmosphere, the well developed characters, and the Spanish flavour of this story. If you’re a fan of Kate Morton, I think you should give this particular work of Forsyth a chance.

Thank you, Random House Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Silver Shadows

silver shadowsSilver Shadows by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

One of the best decisions I made was to wait reading The Fiery Heart until Silver Shadows is released. With the cliffhanger’s ending to The Fiery Heart, I was soo happy to have Silver Shadows on hand to dive in to. I thought I was kinda over the #Sydrian craze as I read The Fiery Heart though the ending and Silver Shadows convinced me otherwise.

Someone I know summarised Silver Shadows quite well with only emoticons because this is what the book is all about; the emotional rolling coasters Richelle Mead took us on…

I was shocked & horrified at the things Sydney had to face

I was sad & depressed along with Adrian

I was, at the same time, hopeful & hopeless with Sydney’s situation

I was frustrated & upset AT Adrian

I was excited by the action

I was absolutely thrilled… and totally swooned then… frustrated once again!

Honestly, this must be the best book of the series so far and I really cannot wait for the final instalment! I read Silver Shadows in one day (right after I finished The Fiery Heart in the morning) and I just couldn’t put it down. As I told a good friend, if you haven’t yet picked up Silver Shadows

doitnow

 

Thank you, Penguing Books Australia, for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Drowned

drownedDrowned by Nichola Reilly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

A curious cover and an even more curious title; Drowned is a mysterious read from the very beginning. Even at the finish of the read, I felt like I have ten thousand more questions than at the start. I only just found out, after the read, that this is the first book of a series so I have definitely been enticed enough to look this up next year.

Despite all the mystery, this was a very slow read. Understandably, there was a lot of setting up to be done; the world, the characters, the social structure, etc. The information was doled out at a measured pace as the plot develops. It wasn’t boring as it was strange enough that kept me reading though at a similarly slow pace… definitely not a book that kept me awake at night.

The point which most fascinated me was Coe as the female protagonist. Described as ‘deformed and weak’, she’s an outcast of this doomed society. She’s not one of those capable kick-ass characters that you’d cheer along for but rather one who is aware of her shortcomings and seek only to stay alive even if that means submitting to some questionable circumstances. On the opposite spectrum, was Star, ‘the princess’, whom I found absolutely frustratingly shallow though this impression feels somewhat false… I don’t have an answer for this yet; hopefully book 2 will provide some answers

This is not a book I’d rave about even noting certain points of interests. If you’d like to read something somewhat different then I’d recommend picking this up. You will, however, require some patience. It’s a fairly quiet book dotted with some tense & some sweet moments.

Thank you, Harlequin Teen Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Razorhurst

razorhurstRazorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: Purchased own paperback copy

It was a last minute’s decision to attend the book launch for Razorhurst though it was such a enjoyable night listening to Justine Larbalestier talk about the inspiration behind this book and the research into the historical background of this novel. Her passion, not only for writing but also for this dark-piece of Aussie history, was easily felt and very contagious. I dived into this brilliant novel with a very high expectation.

I expected ghosts. I expected tough characters. But what I didn’t expect was the complex layering of the book. Whilst we follow 2 main characters (Kelpie and Dymphna), there were several other perspectives injected throughout the novel along with some historical background (fictional and / or real) to either characters or setting. This could easily have been a pretty mess of structure BUT I was amazed that it wasn’t at all. It was done expertly and it worked a treat –a remarkable feat!

The ending saddened me, somewhat. Honestly, I knew not to expect a neat little package tied up with a bow. In all possibility, with the mafia involved, that just wasn’t realistic still… it didn’t stop me being sad although I think, Justine Larbalestier managed to find just the right amount of mess to be realistic and yet, still gave some sense of optimism.

Razorhurst is not your typical paranormal (romantic) novel despite the ghostly encounters. It is rather a novel to be appreciated by point of structure, characters, and historical value (especially if you’re a Sydneysider). It was hard for me to really understand just how hard the life these young girls had in those days. For parents of younger audiences, I’d suggest some parental guidance / discussions. I don’t have girls of my own but if I do, this book is not to be missed as a book to read together as it has the potential of really good discussions.

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Review: Fall

fallFall by Scarlett Dawn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: ebook courtesy of author

As I reached the end of this book, I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh maniacally or blow up in a rage. In all seriousness, Ms. Dawn is absolutely devious in stringing her readers along for the ride… I cannot wait for the next instalment of Cold Mark

At first, I found it a little hard to get into but I was experiencing the onset of a cold which made me somewhat slow in understanding. The novella was actually quite fast-paced though you do have to get used to this new world with all its quirkiness and Fall has barely scratched the surface. I am looking forward to a lot more development of this fantastic alien world.

Braita literally kicks ass though due to her upbringing and all (very very innocent). I reckon this is wicked brilliance on Scarlett Dawn’s part, to bring an un-touched to a very physical world. To my horror, the climax of this confrontation has just exploded when the story ended; hence, my confused, dazed, and absolutely disgusted reaction… Fall will continue to haunt me ‘til I get can my hands on Sink.

My thanks to Scarlett Dawn for providing ebook in exchange of honest review

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