Watching Edie by Camilla Way (Book Review #137)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 17/11/17

My 30th book this year)

Heather, the strange girl who is avoided at school but talked about behind her back. Then a new girl, Edie, comes along. Edie is stunningly beautiful and she is unaware of the rumours surrounding Heather. Such opposite girls in both appearance and character yet somehow they are becoming good friends. Edie is in with the wrong crowd, getting dragged deeper into the darker side of life, Heather is concerned and does everything she can to watch over Edie, to save her. Tragedy strikes, they lose touch, then decades later when Edie is at her lowest point in life, Heather is there, again, to save her. Heather is always there, watching, waiting, hoping and loving.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I quite enjoyed this book but would have preferred a much different ending.

I was drawn into the story and very much held in suspense at wanting to find out what happened on this tragic day all those years ago. But then there were not enough hints for the reader to make even the slightest guess as to what could have happened. I kept having to remind myself which voice was Edie and which was Heather.

I felt the cold creep through my body as events unfolded. I felt the discomfort at being watched, the fear of being followed, the paranoia at every sound in the house, then the sleepless nights as the terror of the bad times try to catch up with you.

I would have given a higher rating for a different ending as I enjoyed most of the book. I loved being able to feel what the girls felt as they grew up. I would recommend this book to other readers and would definitely like to try other books by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (18/11/17).

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (Book Review #136)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 14/11/17

My 29th book this year)

Charlie is in her early teens. She has witnessed a brutal and violent death, been through an extremely traumatic event and has had to run for her life, leaving behind the people who are most precious to her.

Now a few decades later, tragedy strikes again bringing back all the awful memories that she has mentally stored away. She needs to process the events all over again and find a way to let go of her past. She must live her life, not just survive. She owes it to her mother and sister who did everything they could to enable her escape all those years ago.

***SPOILER ALERT***

This book had an explosively dramatic beginning. All this trouble brought to their doorstep because of the girls’ father, Rusty. A lawyer who fights cases for the “low lives” and criminals of society. Rusty loses nearly everything in life, but he is still determined to play his role. Deep down he is a good man, but to everyone else in the community, he is the worst of the worst.

Most of the book was captivating and interesting. But then the twist felt unnecessary and in my opinion, spoiled the story altogether. There is no need for EVERY book to have twist upon twist to capture the reader. Sometimes less is more and this book definitely needed less complicity. I kept having to reassemble my thoughts to remember what was happening.

A very detailed book. With the violence and gory parts well described, leaving the image of “the day it happened” seared clear in my mind. All in all, I would recommend this author to other readers. I would have given a much higher rating for a less complicated end. But this opinion is mine and many others have provided much higher ratings for this particular book.

Written by Ling Lee (14/11/17).

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review #135)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 09/11/17

My 28th book this year)

Kaz is once again full of fighting spirit, out for revenge for being cheated, fighting back for what he is owed on the previous job, redeeming what he owes for paying his crew. Too many reasons to fight, even more reasons why he should just cut his losses. But Kaz is determined to get back what he is owed and to destroy the one who led him on this path. 

With his crew, he once again plans something outrageous and his crew are crazy enough to help him every step of the way. 

***SPOILER ALERT***

Once again, a well written book full of wit, deceit, thievery, revenge, violence and love. A very enjoyable 2nd book to the series. The relationship between each crew member is heartfelt with everything they have endured. So much loss, pain and violence bringing them closer than they could ever imagine. Unknowingly forming a bond, a friendship, loyalties and somewhat trust between them. They fight together and they fight to the end. 

I did get a little lost in the planning and scheming but most of the story was extreme and over the top but somehow exciting to read. I guess the unbelievable and the impossible feats drew my rating for this book down a touch. But this series is still well worth reading and recommending. 

Written by Ling Lee (09/11/17).

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Because She Loves Me by Mark Edwards (Book Review #134)

I rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 10/10/17

My 27th book this year.)

Andrew has felt like his whole life has been filled with bad luck until the beautiful Charlie walks into his life. She turns his world upside down, bringing him love and hope for a better future. 

We all know nothing is perfect, not even Charlie. Andrew starts noticing strange outbursts of jealousy, then things start going missing. Then one after another, people in his life begin to get hurt, or die from numerous reasons. So many factors point to Charlie and now Andrew is beginning to have doubts. The seemingly sweet and innocent Charlie could never commit such crimes… could she?
***SPOILER ALERT***

I think the synopsis destroyed this book for me. Before we even begin this book, we are led to expect that someone loves Andrew, but they will also start doing creepy things in the name of love. The reader is “told” with every bit of information that Charlie is the one behind all this.

I hated the twist. It ruined the book even more. It was definitely unexpected by not in a positive way. Charlie felt too good to be true, but then her bad traits began to show. They were creepy and obsessive behaviour traits. I guess I was disappointed the book had such an unexpected end that wasn’t necessary. Sometimes a straightforward story probably would have been more satisfying to read.

A terribly frustrating read. Apologies to the author but I would not recommend this book, yet I might give one of his other books a chance.

Written by Ling Lee (10/10/17).

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Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney (Book Review #133)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 05/10/17

My 26th book this year.)

Amber is in a coma, her body is still and lifeless but her mind is sometimes awake and aware of everything around her. The people coming in and out, ones she wants to see and also ones she doesn’t. She is trying to remember how she ended up this way but it’s difficult to tell the difference between reality and the consistant dream/nightmare state that she is floating in. She can knows the memories are trying to emerge but she can feel fear and pain, she knows something bad happened. She just needs to remember what. 

Right now all Amber knows is:

1. I am in a coma.

2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.

3. Sometimes I lie.
***SPOILER ALERT*** 

Thrilling story. I love not knowing what is real and what is dreamt up from her mind. It was eerie to be stuck with her in her body, aware yet unable to alert anyone she is indeed alive at least in her mind. I wonder if coma patients really have to suffer this ordeal. 

Her sister Claire is such a strangely perfect person of who she is insanely jealous of. But with her troubled mind, there are so many problems that stem from her thoughts and it is difficult to distinguish if they are truth or lies. You are always reminded by the title, anything that happens may be a lie, so you find yourself questioning each step of the book. You wait for a twist, wait for the turns and even though you expect something to happen you just cannot guess what it is and you are hit with more shocking news before you know it.

Towards the end, I felt confusion set in as Claire, Amber, Taylor, Paul, David and Edward become more disturbed, adding depth to every character as we progress in the story. 

The end was epic and it took a while to unjumble my thoughts as I had to think and rearrange everything in my own mind. Alice Feeney is amazing. All of a sudden you find out there is a book 2 and not all of the questions have been answered. I would recommend this book. I would possibly even re-read this one. 

Each character was clear in my mind and I felt the fear, felt the imprisonment and felt chilled in the middle of the night and had to wait for sunrise before I could finish off the book. 

Awesome book. Awesome author. Cannot wait for the next book for the very much needed answers.

Written by Ling Lee (06/10/17).

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Book Review #132)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 03/10/17

My 25th book this year)

Boarding school at Salten, is where Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa form their unbreakable friendship bond. Young teens exploring life, alcohol, cigarettes, sharing secrets and playing their game, the Lying Game. There are rules: the better the lie, the more points you get, only lie to ones who deserve it, never lie to each other and know when to stop lying. Notorious for their lying, you never know what you can or cannot believe when these girls speak. Breaking the rules at school, punishing those who are not in their favour. Then one day life is completely changed for them all when the school can no longer accept this behaviour.

Almost two decades laster, just three words “I need you” is all it takes for the girls to turn up for one another no matter the time, no matter the reason. Salten is the last place any of them want to be but “I need you” is their ultimate cry for help. It’s finally time to face up to their mistakes and decide if they want to lie once again or tell the truth for once, because the body has been found and they need to get their stories straight.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I very much enjoyed the idea of this book but I expected much more depth, detail and deceit considering the name of the book. 

I enjoyed most of the book until the twists and turns became quite sudden and unnecessary. For once I would have preferred the more obvious outcome for this story but the end became quite confusing and too dramatic. 

Still a worthy read. I would very much like to read another book by this author sometime. 

Written by Ling Lee (03/10/17)

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Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Book Review #131)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 21/09/17

My 24th book this year.)

The law states there is a maximum of two children per household. The population police help to enforce the rules with severe consequences if any family is caught with more than two.

Shadow children are those extra children, the third child of the family. Luke is one of them. He has never had a birthday party, never been out in society, never had a friend and has never been known to exist to anyone except his parents and two brothers. 

Life was hard before, but it only gets harder as a new housing development is built where the woods surrounding his house used to be. Now he can’t leave the house at all and can’t look through the window, can’t sit at the dinner table with the family and is essentially imprisoned in the attic in his house.

Luke begins to think about freedom. He suspects one of the the new neighbours are also hiding a shadow child. Now he needs to work out how to contact the shadow child, so he can interact with someone just like him.
***SPOILER ALERT***

I really enjoyed this first book of the Shadow Children series. The idea of the whole world’s population controlled, supposedly because of food shortage. But there are always those who oppose the government with their own ideas and theories. It makes sense because some families may not have children, therefore maybe some others can have more. Then there is the issue of potentially turning the entire population into vegetarians to reduce food being used on livestock for meat. 

Farmers are controlled as to what they produce and in what quantities, yet they must give most of it up leaving themselves with barely enough. Government keeps taking and taking more than their fair share. Some families are not happy about it. Especially those with shadow children. 

I love how being brave can be forced upon people, depending on their circumstances in life. How sometimes you have to do something terrifying in order to survive better. But life is all about survival. How to better the way you live. Shadow children remind us to appreciate what we have, as the freedom we have is such an amazing thing when compared with confinement.

Many people have otherwise critisized the faults in the book regarding food sources etc, but to read the book without deliberately looking for faults, this storyline is great. But will society ever come to this as a worldwide phenomenom?

Written by Ling Lee (22/09/17)

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A House Without Windows by Stevie Turner (Book Review #130)

I rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 20/09/17

My 23rd book this year.)

A young doctor, Beth, engaged with the rest of her life ahead of her and the perfect man to spend it with. Life was never going to be easy. Taken, imprisoned for almost a decade, she still has no hope of escape. She has a daughter, a sink, a toilet, a light bulb that is always on and the bed that she can sleep on. Beth’s daughter, Amy, has seen nothing outside of the walls of her “house without windows” but she is intelligent, she is an avid learner and Beth describes life outside to her as well as she can. Now Amy wants more, she wants to sit under a tree, look out of a window, walk outside, she wants to leave the “house” but Beth tells her not to upset her Daddy. Otherwise he will get angry. When Daddy gets angry, it’s not a happy day for anyone.
***SPOILER ALERT***

The outline of the story pulled me in. I expected a lot more detail, drama and time discovering what life was like in the house without windows. It was heart wrenching to see Amy grow up this way. Everything about life is seen through the eyes of her mother’s descriptions. The world is a beautiful thing when you stop to appreciate what you can no longer see. 

There wasn’t really any violence, torture or drama whilst Beth was confined. The two captives were cooperative and absurdly accepting of how things have been for them. 

Then the book takes a turn. When they have a chance at rebuilding and living their lives again, it seems as though almost nothing has happened and life almost resumes its’ course, 10 years later. Beth seems to have a bit of psychological difficulty but Amy is absolutely fine. 

Everything happened too perfectly, too smoothly. I expected much more distressing moments, awful situations and definitely more psychological problems. 

Then the ending felt too staged. I am usually most let down by the ending of books. This book was no different. Apologies to the author, I enjoyed the first 20-30% of the book. The rest just felt out of place and unnecessarily dragged out for the final scene. Sorry but I could not recommend this book to other readers. I am hoping my next read will be more thrilling and suspense filled.

Written by Ling Lee (20/09/17)

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review #129)

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!!!

(Finished Reading: 09/09/17

My 22nd book this year.)

Kaz Brekker, criminal mastermind, willing to take on any task, an unimaginable risk taker. Just set the right price. Starting right at the bottom of the crews rankings, bullying, scheming, thieving, fighting, whatever it takes to climb the ranks, all for revenge for the death of someone very important to him.

For an excessively large sum, he has to choose his crew wisely. Being unable to trust anyone makes this an extremely difficult task. Breaking into the most secure military grounds known to their world, retrieving someone who knows a secret that can wipe out all existence if taken into the worng hands. 

The most unlikely crew are chosen. They must learn to get on, be a team and escape with their lives to claim their hefty prize, the other option is to fail and failing means an unsightly, painful death. 
***SPOILER ALERT***

Wow. How did I not read this book sooner? It’s been a while since I last found a book worthy of the full 5 stars. This book was incredible. Wildly imaginative and creative schemes. Amazing characters who came to life and all held their own personalities and traits. Everyone has their own story to tell and my heart strings were pulled every time Kaz Brekkers past unfolded. 

Too many twists in the story to count, but somehow if you choose not to criticise, this is an ultimate read full of adventure and breath taking moments. Definitely recommend this series to other readers and I am so excited to find out what happens in book 2. Go get reading… now!!

Written by Ling Lee (10/09/17).

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (Book Review #128)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 06/09/17

My 21st book this year.)

Anne and Marco have a 6 month old daughter. The neighbours are having a dinner party and have invited them along but have asked for their daughter to not be present as they do not care much for crying children.

Marco is all excited about the party and is hit with disappointment when their baby sitter cancels on them. He persuades Anne to go with him anyway, but leave their baby, ALONE, at home. They agreed to check on her once every half hour along with taking the baby monitor with them.

When they finally call it a night, they return home, their front door is open and their baby has gone.
***SPOILER ALERT***

My head is still spinning from all the drama in this novel. Maybe the multiple ideas should have been separated into different books. 

I guess being a parent probably makes you approach the book with a different mindset. Everyone knows you don’t leave your baby unattended at that age. But both parents have deemed this acceptable. Then tragedy strikes and you don’t feel their distress as they allowed this window of opportunity for this moment to occur.

Then everything becomes a huge mess of who made the bigger mistake, who did the most wrong, who had the worst motive and who made the most wrong decisions toward this problem. 

I absolutely hated that the detective on the case was so opinionated on who the culprit was. How he had gut instincts that didn’t smoothly fit in with the story. Just random outbursts of who has done what and who else might be involved.

Every character were just characters. No one to connect with. No heart strings pulled, no one to feel sorry for, no single person to dispise until the final scene. 

There was too much over the top drama for me. It felt like the author tried too hard to be captivating. The story outline was interesting enough and I felt compelled to keep reading so I guess the book was an OK read. Apologies to the author but I wouldn’t recommend this to other readers, however I might try a different book by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (06/09/17).

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