20 May 2015

Disclaimer; Renee Knight

DisclaimerDisclaimer by Renee Knight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While there are some clear comparisons to be made to Gone Girl (two voices, two unlikeable characters) publishers just need to stop making that claim. What happened twenty years ago in Spain, how that affected Catherine and Nancy (and Stephen) and what made Nancy write a book about it, one that is so clearly based on one person's account of what happened then/there are interesting questions. The bigger question is why Catherine never says anything to her husband once the book appears, and why she lets things gets to the point she does. Once again, it's a good concept ruined by the main character making dumb choices, much like The Wrong Man (Kate White) or Second Life (S.J. Watson) earlier this year.

ARC provided by publisher.

Half Wild; Sally Green

Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2)Half Wild by Sally Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not half as good as Half Bad (the author's note at the end about plotting better? uh, yes, please). The phrasing in parts is awkward, while the plot seems a little thrown together. We get lots of description, for example, of Van and Nesbitt, but it reads as very stereotypical descriptions (not all Australians say "crikey"!) rather than someone who clearly imagined what Nathan would look and act like. The jumps in tense are also a little odd, particularly the very end where it moves to the second person for some reason.

Copy provided by publisher.

In Todd We Trust; Louise Galveston

In Todd We TrustIn Todd We Trust by Louise Galveston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hadn't read the previous book, By the Grace of Todd, so it took me a little while to figure out what was going on. My question is whether the target readers will have more difficulty, or less. I did like the idea of tiny people, but then, I really loved Terry Pratchett's Nome series (and if you haven't read them, go now! this book will wait...). Todd is very human, very realistic, however some of his bullies are not quite there. The Toddlian's trek seems inspired by the Borrowers, but Daisy is a unique creation.

The Keeper of Lost Causes; Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, #1)The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another series I'd read recent volumes of, but not the start. I liked that this starts after the Big Shooting, with Carl already mentally wounded, rather than showing us his "before" life. Unlike other Scandinavian mysteries, these aren't that dark. Now to fill in the gaps between this one and where I started the series...

Baltimore Blues; Laura Lippman

Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan #1)Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So now I've read the first and the most recent Tess Monaghan. It was interesting reading how she got to where she is in Hush Hush, seeing the first appearance of Crow and how she got her start. Having said that, it's also very clear this was a first book, with the pacing a little off. Of course, there are things that she may have added here with the intention of being able to refer back to them later (guessing... no idea if that's really the case). Still, if more come my way I'll definitely read them.

Copy provided by publisher.

Oblivion; Sasha Dawn

OblivionOblivion by Sasha Dawn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've never heard of this response to trauma before: graphomania. Is it a real thing? Anyway, it seems as though Callie's response and memories are tied up with this, with the police and her therapists reading what she's produced to help solve the mystery of what happened to her father and another member of her father's church. The Church he runs is apparently fundamentalist, but we don't get a lot about daily life there beyond Callie's mother's time in the confessional and the labyrinth. More would have been better, helping us understand why he had such a hold over her mother. The time jumps were a little distracting (although I got why they were there), while the love triangle was a definite distraction.

A Really Awesome Mess; Trish Cook

A Really Awesome MessA Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sigh. I'm really trying hard to be sensitive to the fact that there are truly people with problems who need help of the kind that this school might offer. But this school? These treatments? So wrong. I'm rounding up from 1.5 because teens might like this but there were so many problems. So many.

ARC provided by publisher.

False Tongues; Kate Charles

False Tongues (A Callie Anson Mystery, #4)False Tongues by Kate Charles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kate Charles' earlier series, Book of Psalms, got me hooked on her ecclesiastic mysteries. This series is good, but for some reason doesn't quite rise to the other levels. In this outing, one of the biggest problems is that Callie is part of what feels like the B story (off on a "reunion" of her seminary class) while the real mystery is the A story. That felt like a weird choice, even if the author is trying to give us more about Marco and his world so as to blend the two in later works. I also wanted more of a sense of Cambridge than was provided.

Copy provided by publisher.

Those Girls; Chevy Stevens

Those GirlsThose Girls by Chevy Stevens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loss of points because the promised suspense didn't really come through. The three Campbell sisters' lives are difficult, then become horrific, and never quite recover; once again, some of this is due to bad choices and lack of communication. I was right there until the end, when it seems as though there's a trumped-up reason to make the final set piece happen - there was no real reason for it to have happened except to bring us back the farm and the two men who completely destroyed their lives. A more plausible reason or ending would have been better.

ARC provided by publisher.

16 May 2015

Scar Girl; Len Vlahos

Scar GirlScar Girl by Len Vlahos
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you thought the end of The Scar Boys was the end of the band, Scar Boys, well... here's an oral history of the band later, post-success and post-album release. Fans of the first book will enjoy it, but I wouldn't recommend starting here.

ARC provided by publisher.