The Cirque by Ryann Kerekes (Book Review #187)

I rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 14/08/18

My 43rd book this year)

Ari was a ballerina until she lost her place at the dance academy. By chance she passes by and auditions for a position in the circus. She thought it would help ease her feeling of being rejected and she wanted to be free from the strict dance restraints of ballet.

Knowing her parents would be disappointed, possibly angry and believing her mother would be distraught in finding out. Ari avoids telling the truth and decides to live her life with a little bit of freedom before admitting what has happened.

In the Cirque she meets all kinds of people that she has never had the opportunity to come across. Everyone here has their own talents and skills, most of them have such great friendships that they form mini families. This lifestyle is the complete opposite of Ari is used to. She finds the longer she stays here, the less she wants to face reality. Especially because Gabriel the knife thrower has seemed to capture her heart, the heart of the target girl, Ari.


I loved the idea behind this book, of escaping to the circus, to discover the unknown and to be free to discover her own desires.

Considering Ari is supposed to be 18 years old, she acts much younger and reacts so innocently at every turn of the story. Dmitri the bad guy is after every new girl and she leads him on but her character is supposed to be pure, contradicting itself.

I absolutely hated her relationship to Dmitri. I don’t understand how her relationship with Gabriel ever developed past his cold demeanour.

Most of the book was frustrating to read. The highly unnecessary “passionate” scenes were awful to read but somehow I still wanted to find out what happened to this strange couple all the way to the end.

Apologies to the author but I couldn’t give a higher rating although I was very much interested in the plot itself.

Written by Ling Lee (15/08/18).

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B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton (Book Review #186)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 11/08/18

My 42nd book this year)

Kinsey, a private detective, has been hired to locate Beverley’s sister, Elaine. She is needed to sign an important document that is required to release a sum of money. At first Kinsey believes this is a straightforward case but she soon realises she was wrong. Kinsey is beginning to suspect Elaine is in danger and has gone missing. The strange thing is, her sister no longer wants Kinsey on the case and does not want to file a missing persons report.

Kinsey cannot leave this alone and finds herself drawn in to reach a conclusion. She needs to find out what has happened to Elaine. Her findings begin to show irregularities yet she has no idea who is telling the truth. All she knows is the more she uncovers, the more her own life is in danger.


This 2nd book of the series wasn’t anywhere near as good as the 1st until past the halfway point. It was a slow start and every turn just led to more mystery which did nothing to add to the suspenseful build up towards the end.

I absolutely loved the end of this book. I had no idea there was such a creative twist to save this book from a less than 3 star rating.

I felt detached from the characters and felt disappointed through the 1st half of the book. But then the story turned and Sue Grafton brought the book alive again.

I am keen to move on to her 3rd book of this Kinsey Millhone series. I would definitely recommend this authors’ books to other readers and am still annoyed with myself for not picking up this series sooner. Great job to the author!!

Written by Ling Lee (11/08/18).

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I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (Book Review #185)

I rate this book 1.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 10/07/18

My 41st book this year)

Maddy has committed suicide leaving her daughter and husband behind to pick up the pieces. In the afterlife she is watching over them. She realises she liked her life but she has to watch as they fall apart and try to move on without her. Distraught by not knowing why she did it. They feel guilt for not appreciating her more, for not noticing the signs, for not being there for her when she needed them most and for not listening to her. Now they are left with her journal and the mystery of why.


I did not enjoy this book. At almost every chapter I just wanted to give up and pick another novel. I loved the idea behind this story. But I felt there wasn’t enough regret, sadness and loss from the afterlife nor the ones who were left behind.

There wasn’t enough drama and not enough big memories to bring tears, anger or pain to the story. I expected tears. Just thinking of this situation pulls my heart strings. But the book just didn’t deliver for me.

I can’t really say much for the characters either. I didn’t feel much compassion for them. Didn’t connect. Apologies to the author for not appreciating the efforts of your work. However the final two chapters finally made sense and made the story very slightly better.

Written by Ling Lee (10/07/18).

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The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (Book Review #184)

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 01/07/18

My 40th book this year)

Hans Alister used to be a street lord known as Cuffs. He got his name due to the metal cuffs that have been attached to his wrists since he can remember, but they seem to be magical as they keep growing as he grows and no amount of force or coaxing can damage or remove them.

Hans is also known as Hunts Alone to his fellow clan members. With his friends he gets up to all sorts of mischief. Accidentally confronting a well known wizard family member, they argue and get aggressive. When the underage wizard tries to cast a spell on their group, they manage to get hold of the magical amulet and end the drama. Only the amulet they have gotten hold of is an immensely important artefact dating back to the legends of the past. The wizards want it back and life seems to get even more dangerous for Hans, life threatening.

Hans finds himself on the run from all sorts of trouble. He fears for the safety of his sister and mother, so to protect them he escapes back to the clan camp. It is here that he finds out his whole life has been a massive lie. Everyone important to him has kept this secret since his birth and now he must face reality and try to keep the wizards and clans from war.


This book was refreshingly full of adventure and excitement. Hans with his multiple roles in life, ex street lord, son, brother, clans man and one more special role that is revealed at the end of the book..

I adored the passion in Princess Raisa’s character. Not wanting to be just a pawn, she is feisty and has many ideas of her own as to how she wants to treat her people when she will be one day Queened.

I absolutely despise the magical Bayars. Trying to control the royal family, to bring power back to the wizards and to break the peace treaty made so many years ago.

I loved the image set out for clan life. How everyone works a big family, everyone contributing in whatever way they know how. Utilising each persons skills. They have healers, blacksmiths, warriors and much more. I enjoyed the escape through the forests, the dark time in the street alleys, the confinement in the royal palace. I loved unveiling the secrets and uncovering different elements of this realm. A job well done to Cinda Williams Chima. What a great start to the “Seven Realms” series. I am very much looking forward to reading more of this series. Highly recommended read for fantasy lovers.

Written by Ling Lee (01/07/18).

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Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Book Review #183)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 24/06/18

My 39th book this year)

Daemon is of an alien race who can take the human form, with his original form being a source of light. He has become attached to a human. He will become an outcast if the agents of his kind find out. His human has begun to develop powers just like his own, but she cannot control it. Daemon is desperate to protect her from being captured for research or to be put down.

At every turn they do not know who they can trust. They bicker, they love, they are agitated, they fear, they protect… every emotion constantly courses through them as they try to fight the inevitable. They are linked, connected… maybe until the end of forever.


This book is overwhelmingly packed with raging teenage hormones. The love, the hate, the passion, the fear, the need, the want. Emotions run high throughout this book. I guess it captures the teenage years but I felt the author had gone overboard on the conflicted emotions.

I liked Daemon. The smouldering, sexy, mysterious one who tries to stay away from the one who will tear his life apart. But love, especially teenage love is just overpowering in itself. Reminding me somewhat of those teenage years, I guess I enjoyed this book towards the end. Definitely a YA series, I don’t think I will finish off the rest of this series but I’m sure teenagers will appreciate this series so much more. Great job Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Written by Ling Lee (23/06/18).

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Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly MacMillan (Book Review #182)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 19/06/18

My 38th book this year.)

This book has an alternative title: “What She Knew”.

Rachel has taken her 8 year old son to the woods to play. He has asked to run ahead to the swing area. Rachel says yes. She will regret this decision for the rest of her life. It is the last time she sees her son, Benedict Finch, before he goes missing.

Time is ticking and every hour Benedict has not been found means a higher chance of him joining the negative statistics of this situation. The hunt is on. Sometimes you realise people are not always what they seem to be. Be careful of who you trust!


I have no idea why this book has 2 titles. I also think neither of the titles were a good choice for the book. Not that it makes a difference on my rating for this book.

I hated the storyline. I can’t imagine letting my 9 year old running anywhere out of my sight. So I didn’t connect with the mother, Rachel, at any moment. I understand the need to let children grow up but for me, this age is too young to be out of sight in the woods.

After becoming a parent, this is my ultimate biggest fear. If my children were to go missing. No matter how it were to happen, I believe I would blame myself for the rest of my life, whatever the outcome may be. But to go missing in this situation, Rachel really should take some of the blame.

I didn’t engage with any of the characters. I hate how the need to throw in more potential abductors ruins the story. So many books try too hard to include edgy characters who turn out to have nothing to do with the dilemma. This author tried too hard to fit in the bad guys.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to other readers but I am willing to try another book by this author. Apologies to Gilly Macmillan for not enjoying all the efforts you have put into this novel.

Written by Ling Lee (19/06/18).

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Lost Child by DS Butler (Book Review #181)

I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 14/06/18

My 37th book this year)

Beth is looking after her niece, Jenna, at the fete. She looks away just for a short moment and Jenna is gone. Nowhere to be seen. 2 years later life has been turned upside down for everyone. Beth is still feeling guilty for Jenna’s disappearance.

One day someone anonymous sends a recent photo of Jenna to Beth. Beth is back to her home town immediately in hope to find Jenna because Beth is sure she is still alive, waiting to be found.


I’m lost for words. I rarely give such low ratings but this book had too many down points for me to ignore. I absolutely hated Beth. We are continuously told how Beth’s mind is unstable, how she keeps losing it, how she cannot control herself. But none of this came across through the emotions. None of the characters made much sense. Their only purposes were to add to the list of potential abductors.

Even as the events unfolded I just wanted the book to end so I could pick up the next book on my list. Apologies to the author but this book is on a complete different level to many others that have been published in this genre. I would definitely say it’s not worth the read. I would also say a definite no in reading other books by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (14/06/18).

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A Time to Kill by John Grisham (Book Review #180)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 08/06/18

My 36th book this year)

Jake Brigance is taking on the biggest case in Ford County. He is representing the defence for Mr Carl Lee Hailey.

Mr Hailey has committed 2 counts of murder but it is his reason for murder that might save him from a death sentence to the gas chamber. Mr Hailey’s 10 year old daughter was brutally raped, beaten and tortured by two rednecks, Cobb and Willard. Mr Hailey has taken justice into his own hands and taken the lives of these two monsters who have torn his daughter’s life apart.

Jake Brigance has the biggest challenge ahead. He has great confidence in a positive outcome for Mr Hailey. But will he be able to convince a mostly white town to stand up for this black man, Mr Hailey? A black man who has taken two white men’s lives regardless of the reason.


I had great difficulty in rating this book. I expected much less court details and much more focus on the plot itself. I absolutely hated the racism issues although in those days, that was life. The hardships of the black community finally mixing with the white, but the stigma still stands in Ford County more than some other surrounding towns.

Throughout the book I couldn’t work out how many of the issues made sense. When Jake or any other white person was found to be defending Mr Hailey, they would be harrassed, blackmailed or threatened. How many people would risk their own and their families safety? How many would do this to save the life of another being?

I almost rated lower for this book. For me, it was completely unnecessary for the extremely detailed court procedures. The plot itself was exciting yet the execution didn’t satisfy my expectations. I didn’t feel the suspense, or the hatred, nor the empathy for the characters involved.

Apologies to the author but I wont be recommending this book nor would I like to read any more by this author. However, if you enjoy law, crime and complication behind the story, you will probably enjoy John Grisham’s work.

Written by Ling Lee (08/06/18).

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La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (Book Review #179)

I rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 27/05/18

My 35th book this year)

Malcolm is a boy who is full of curiosity. He sees all the small things most people his age wouldn’t notice, he hears the gossip in his fathers inn. He loves to ask questions and to ponder anything that intrigues him.

He overhears many secrets. One secret makes an impact on his life. Lyra. The baby who’s father is Lord Asriel and who’s mother is Mrs Coulter. Lyra’s parents are on opposite sides of something huge that is happening. Malcolm finds himself entwined into the situation.

He embarks on a very dangerous mission to save Lyra from many people who are after her, but we don’t know why so many people are searching for her. All Malcom knows is he trusts Lord Asriel will be good to Lyra.

A magical book with strange events. The strangest of all is every human has a daemon, a pet like being that is linked to each human and is almost like a visible part of their soul.


I had such high hopes for this book. I was extremely excited whilst waiting for this book to be published and I couldn’t wait to find out more about the world of Dust. This book left me disappointed. Not even close to what I expected. Compared to the Dark Material trilogy, this book was amateur work. The events that unfolded were random, the magical realm just happened without reason or explanation. We didn’t learn anything about the ever so important “Dust”.

Overly dramatic. I would not recommend this book and would only encourage others to read the Dark Materials series and to skip this book entirely. Apologies to the author, but this book just didn’t have any answers.

Written by Ling Lee (27/05/18).

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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Book Review #178)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 20/05/18

My 34th book this year)

Cia is waiting to find out whether she is lucky enough to be selected for testing to enter university. The community requires intellect and skills to help improve what remains of the world and its resources. Going to university isn’t a choice. It is the best way to save and nurture the community in which each person is positioned. If you refuse to attend, there is severe punishment in wait.

All those who take the test are given a memory wipe for the entire testing period. No one knows what to expect. But Cia’s father has nightmares. He doesn’t know if they are horrible memories from the testing or if they are simply nightmares. But he tells Cia to trust no one.

The tests appear to be normal at first but punishment for wrong answers seem to quickly escalate to horrific ends. The final part of the test is the ultimate test of survival. Candidate’s must fight for their lives, fight what is out there and fight for their places at the university.


I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of the Hunger Games series. With survival being the ultimate reward.

The extreme measures in which to test people in order to filter out candidates for higher learning. To sustain and nourish the earth and nature. To utilise each persons skills and to combine their ideas for a better future. The testing is definitely a book that challenges the candidates to the brink of what they can manage. Each of their lives are at stake.

I would recommend this book and am very much looking forward to the next book of the series. Well done to the author, Joelle Charbonneau.

Written by Ling Lee (20/05/18).

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