The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware (Book Review #196)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 12/10/18

My 52nd book this year)

Hal receives a letter in regards to an inheritance under her name but she believes it was mistakenly left for her. Out of desperation due to her current financial situation and living condition, she has no choice but to try her hand at making the claim.

She arrives at the house, meets the rest of the family, gets herself entangled into the secrets of the Westaway family. Secrets unfold. Dark clues appear. Hal has no idea what she has gotten herself into and has no idea how to escape.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Although in the plot summary I didn’t mention Hal is a tarot card reader, it seems to be quite a frequently mentioned part of the story. Even upon finishing the story I can’t quite grasp why this choice of profession for the story, it did in part add to the mystery.

A disturbing secret within the family but I just about worked out the twist before I got to it. I enjoyed this novel. Other readers seem to have loved the twist but it didn’t quite work for me. I would have preferred a less dramatic end. I loved how the book drew me in and I found myself needing to continue turning the pages. I felt disappointed towards the end but the story was still worth reading.

Another well done to Ruth Ware. This is the second book of hers that I have read and have enjoyed so far. I am definitely excited to pick up another one of her books in future.

Written by Ling Lee (13/10/18).

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (Book Review #195)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 06/10/18

My 51st book this year)

Ellie is 15. Living a great life with a wonderful boyfriend. She is fully prepared to take her GCSE’s with predicted A’s all round. Then she is gone.

There are no clues, no evidence of anything sinister. As time passes with no trace of Ellie, her family gradually get on with life.

Ellie’s mother, Laurel, finds her life falling apart, she loses her husband, her children grow up and move on. Laurel is still hurting, still needs closure, still needs to remember Ellie. One day she meets a man, Floyd, she falls for him, she meets his daughter… she looks just like Ellie but she is younger and her name is Poppy.

Laurel is stunned. But people can look alike. Laurel starts hearing things, finding out snippets of information that make her question once again what really happened to Ellie. She begins to feel unease around Floyd but she cannot pinpoint what it is. She wants to live her life yet she is forever trying to find closure. What really happened to Ellie?

***SPOILER ALERT***

What a lovely find. Not your usual type of missing person book. A strange twist to the story that was quite easily predicted. Yet this didn’t spoil the way the story flowed nor did it take away from the suspense of ravelling this novel.

Floyd was almost perfect for Laurel. Almost.

Poppy was a strange girl. Maybe she accepted the outcome too easily but this was a minor issue.

There wasn’t really much “wow” factor yet I still felt the need to keep turning the pages to the end. The suspense felt was extremely subtle but suspense all the same. I really enjoyed this easy to read novel and felt Lisa Jewell did a great job. I would recommend this book to other readers and would definitely like to try another book by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (06/10/18).

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The One by John Marrs (Book Review #194)

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 02/10/18

My 50th book this year)

Match Your DNA is the world’s first scientifically proven test to 99% match you with the one person genetically meant for you.

Traditional relationships are still tired and tested, however some decide to take the plunge just before marriage to confirm whether their partner are destined for them. Some find their lives torn apart when they realise their match is someone completely unknown to them.

Most decide to act upon destiny and meet up with their Match. Such a big part of society that can tear families apart yet also bring soulmates together and to help be rid of the time wasted on being apart.

But then what happens if your Match is mentally unstable? Critically ill? The same gender as yourself? Someone abusive? A serial killer? Or even a Mis Match that isn’t supposed to happen? So many variables but so much goodness to finally find the one. Is it worth it to believe in your Match?

***SPOILER ALERT***

Totally unexpected from what I gathered from the plot. I was expecting a dystopian society full of strange reactions to finding a Match. Something along the lines of a mind numb, robotic utopian society where everything is perfect. I absolutely believe everyone has a soulmate and was extremely excited to explore this plot and its’ outcome.

It felt like five separate stories slotted together. The story about the Match of the same gender, the Match with the terminally ill, the Match who has died, the Match with the founder of the company and the Match with a serial killer.

It was immensely suspenseful to read the parts about the serial killer although this part could do with a whole novel of it’s own. It felt out of place for this book yet made it thrilling to read at the same time.

I enjoyed all the complications within each Match. I didn’t want the book to end. Maybe the story should have been longer, or separated into a series so we get more depth to each story. Maybe a series following two matched pairs at a time.

I would definitely recommend this book to other readers and would like to say a big well done to John Marrs for such a clever idea. I’m still lost in the book and am not ready to move on to the next book. Brilliant. Great find. Must read.

Written by Ling Lee (02/10/18).

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The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Book Review #193)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 30/09/18

My 49th book this year)

Thomas finds himself with his team who made it through the Maze alive. He thinks all the hard times and terrible events are over. He is about to get the shock of his life when he realises phase two is about to begin and it is a whole lot worse than the maze was.

They must survive two weeks in the Scorch (desert), travel one hundred miles to the safe haven in order to receive the cure for a deadly virus, the flare, that they have all been given. Along the way there are treacherous climate changes, infected others who have been driven crazy and are ready to kill on sight.

Thomas and his group have no idea what has happened to them nor why it is happening to them. But they know they have been chosen and now they must work out how to survive another day.

***SPOILER ALERT***

What a crazy over the top book. The plot seemed so randomly put together with as much shock factor as possible, but it didn’t feel “wow”.

So much memory loss, then random resurfacing memories. Too much mistrust, too much violence and aggression. Lacking reason behind it all yet the answers all point to the final book of the series.

I didn’t like the characters but somehow I enjoyed the book despite its’ flaws. I think I have to read the third book of the series just to find out what it was all about. I guess this counts as a well done to the author as I am recommending this series for those who enjoy their share of violence. But be well prepared for random events and the frustration of realising we still have no answers!!

Written by Ling Lee (30/09/18).

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Die Trying by Lee Child (Book Review #192)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 19/09/18

My 48th book this year)

Jack Reacher, ex-military, has managed to get himself caught up in the kidnapping of Holly Johnson. She is an FBI agent and the FBI look after their own. With great urgency and utmost importance, full of action and violence, the team rush on to locate Holly and to try to rescue her.

Jack has just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The FBI think he is one of the bad guys. His life is on the line, even though he is also putting his life at risk to save Holly.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Another action packed read full of over dramatic violence and adventure. This book started off quite exciting as we jump straight into action and the story quickly unfolds.

We soon learn Holly is more than just your average agent. It’s great before both Holly and Jack realise they are both with background training. Holly wants to protect the innocent Jack, and Jack wants to protect the captured woman, Holly.

Once the prisoners arrived at their destination the book took a massive turn putting too much focus on the new country and the new leadership plans. I very much dislike politics, law, leadership and war, so the book took the worst possible turn for me. However setting this aside, the rest of the book worked well.

Another job accomplished for Lee Child. Apologies but I think 2 books by this author is enough for me. Much too movie-like for me. I prefer the more subtle thrillers, suspense and mysteries. Highly recommended for your action loving audience (just not quite hit the spot for me).

Written by Ling Lee (19/09/18).

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Along Came A Spider by James Patterson (Book Review #191)

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 13/09/18

My 47th book this year)

An intelligent, cunning, deceiving, manipulative, psychopathic killer is on the loose. He has never even been suspected so far of his countless murders. Since the age of 12 he has been taking lives and getting away with it. Now he is ready for the big time, he wants to be known for his efforts, he “wants to be somebody”.

Two children from an exclusive school have been kidnapped. Alex Cross is a detective and psychologist on the case. As evidence is gathered, the truth appears to be more and more confusing. A potential suspect is caught but he claims to be innocent. He claims to have no recollection of how he has ended up in prison and denies the murders and kidnapping being pinned on him.

Alex Cross must discover the truth before it is too late. Even if it is too late, he still needs answers, he needs the truth.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Such a deeply disturbing book about the most psychotic killer I have come across so far. The epilogue was just enough to pull you in. The book wastes no time in diving straight into the deep end with its fast paced action.

I really enjoyed this book although at times I felt like the author had overdone it. I felt it highly unnecessary for the black male and white female relationship to be so focussed on. The whole relationship idea was completely out of place for this book.

I really enjoyed how the defence at court play with our minds. How can “Murphy” be jailed when “Soneji” committed the crimes? Such a great plot that was mostly well executed.

I would recommend this book but I feel that maybe this one book is enough. I have read the synopsis for book 2 of this series and it seems to be another version of this book i.e much more deaths, deceit, lies, manipulation and intellectual discussions to continue. Well done James Patterson on this great read, apologies but I am not enthusiastic about reading his next book.

Written by Ling Lee (13/09/18).

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The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances (Book Review #190)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 06/09/18

My 46th book this year)

Daniel and his mother, Laura, have such a wonderfully close relationship; endearing, loving, kind and happy. That is until Daniel falls for Cherry.

Laura sees through Cherry, knows her motives and makes her dislike for Cherry quite clear. Cherry is clever about it and feigns innocence which Daniel easily accepts. He believes his mother is obsessive over him, controlling and unwilling to share him with anyone else.

As the women discreetly fight over Daniel, they keep jabbing at one another and things quickly escalate. One tells an unforgivable lie. The other finds out and is set to destroy, eliminate and finally get rid of the other from Daniel’s life.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Parts of this book were great to read. Where other parts were overly dramatic and completely unbelievable. The build up to Daniel getting severely injured was great although the time frame probably needs to be adjusted. I hated how Laura tried to embrace Cherry although her son had only met her a week beforehand. I felt it was much too soon for them to be on holiday together.

I really enjoyed the divide between Cherry and Laura. I understand how many parents could possibly feel at their son being “taken” from them. Yet it is absolutely necessary for them to let go and let their children grow up and live their own lives.

I hated Cherry’s character and would have enjoyed the book more if there was more to like about her. Then there was the penny drop moment for Daniel which seemed too far fetched. This book could have been much more interesting. I wouldn’t classify this one as a thriller/suspense. An average read. Unfortunately I would not recommend this book to other readers as there are much more interesting reads out there. Apologies to the author.

Written by Ling Lee (06/09/18).

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Book Review #189)

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 30/08/18

My 45th book this year)

Madeline is taking her daughter Chloe to orientation day at school. She manages to twist her ankle, but lucky for her Jane comes to the rescue. She happens to be a fellow parent taking her son Ziggy to orientation day.

Renata, the slightly unpleasant mother of Amabella takes everything over the top. She enjoys bragging about her “gifted” child and standing at the centre of attention in the school yard.

Amabella gets hurt on orientation day, Ziggy is blamed. Now Renata wants Jane to force Ziggy to apologise, but Ziggy denies hurting Amabella. The dramas of defending your child begin on this day. Throughout the term, this situation quickly escalates as Amabella is continually being bullied with Renata assuming it was Ziggy. With parents taking sides, a petition is circulating to suspend Ziggy from school. There is no proof. None of the children have spoken up as to who has been hurting Amabella. Everything is getting out of hand as Madeline is quick to stand by Jane.

Celeste is the picture perfect woman, mother and wife. Her twins are also in the same class. All the mothers are in awe of her beauty and soft spoken nature.

Parenting is such a stressful part of life. The playground seems to bring the child out in the adults all over again, as they show off their children, defend their children and want every good thing for their precious little ones. The drama builds until Trivia night… someone ends up dead.

***SPOILER ALERT***

All the nitty gritty things that happen at a primary school as parents wait to drop off and pick up their children. The dramas that escalate when something involves their own child’s feelings being hurt. The ones who think they are a figure of authority just because they are on the school committee. This book captures all these moments perfectly. How can waiting to pick up 5 year old children be so dramatic? But it happens. Even as grown ups behave ridiculously, especially when it involves bragging about their children, showing off if they are better off than others. I loved all the characters of this book. I loved how everything unfolded. I really enjoyed comparing the characters to parents of the school that my own children attend. It’s funny how you really do have a Renata, who is centre of attention; a Celeste, who is picture perfect; Jane, who is the quiet single mother; Harper, the Renata follower.

I found this book charming to read, difficult to put down and I was highly surprised at the unexpected twist in the plot. What a wonderful book. Perfectly captured moments of life behind closed doors.

A must read! Well done Liane Moriarty! I am very much looking forward to picking up more of her books to read. “What Alice Forgot” and “The Husbands Secret” were also good books by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (31/08/18).

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (Book Review #188)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 24/08/18

My 44th book this year)

The Great Library is what this world evolves around, knowledge is power and original books are so precious they are deemed more important than life itself.

Jess Brightwell comes from a family of black market book smugglers. Their family obtain and sell on original books. It is illegal to be in possession of an original as they must ALL be sent to the Great Library archives. Jess is sent to be a spy amongst the scholars. Life has suddenly become more dangerous, full of darkness, more secrets and more life threatening than ever before as he tries to pass the “tests” to earn his place in the Great Library.

One of his fellow classmates, Thomas, invents a device that can change the way the Library operates, making it immensely easier to duplicate originals so that knowledge can be shared rather than stored. Apparently the Great Library Archivists do not want this to happen and will kill before allowing this change in society as it wants to continue withholding all the knowledge in its’ archives.

Every student has their own secrets and reasons for being here. Scholar Wolfe seems to hate his position of power and has no enthusiasm in choosing his next graduating class. Throwing students out at random, leading life threatening “tests” he seems to hate everything to do with students, but he has his own dark secret as we slowly learn he himself is a slave to the Library with his life also bound to the rules that he disagrees with.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I enjoyed this first book of the “Great Library” series. Quite difficult to write a review that justifies this authors work without making it sound boring. Knowledge is everything and the Library doesn’t actually want to share this with the rest of the world. Books are guarded by alchemy controlled robots. Anyone who threatens the Library and tries to gain access without permission are terminated immediately.

Anyone with Alchemical abilities are captured and held within the Iron Tower for the rest of their lives all for the cause of the Great Library and what it stands for.

As with all societies there are bound to be rebels who disagree with the way the rules have been set. As those who have other ideas find one another, the Library still proves to hold the ultimate power of control for now, but its’ dark secrets are leaking and more people seem to disagree with the rules that are currently in place.

What a great book to start off this series. The actual book is much better than what most people can include in a review. Well done to Rachel Caine for a wonderful read. I would definitely recommend this book to others and I am very much looking forward to picking up book 2 of this series.

Written by Ling Lee (25/08/18).

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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.

***SPOILER ALERT***

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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