Monthly Archives: January 2018

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica (Book Review #154)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 30/01/18

My 10th book this year)

Chris, the loving workaholic father who provides for his family. Zoe the teenager who has forgotten how to appreciate things in life and seems to hate everything. Heidi, the loving mother who no longer knows how to give her daughter attention without annoying her. Heidi the kind hearted woman who helps those less fortunate, those in need, the homeless. Helping everyone but setting aside the needs of her own family.

Willow appears out of nowhere with a baby in tow. Heidi notices her and feels the need to jump to her rescue once again. Inviting her into her home to take care of both her and her baby. All against her husband and daughters wishes. But it doesn’t matter because Heidi just wants to help.

Life is turned around, everyday routine now revolves around the need to help these unfortunate people. Then things get more intense in the house. Chris is wary of Willow and digs deep to find out about Willow’s past. Chris just wants life to get back to the normal routine.

***SPOILER ALERT***

The first half of the story was dull and slow going as we are eased into the characters. There was nothing to like about Zoe. Chris was not a very interesting character until much closer to the end. Heidi was the ultimate do gooder who would sacrifice her own happiness to help others.

The second part of the story really kicked off. Everything began to unfold and happen at the same time. Chris still working more than he should, Zoe still hating everything. But with Heidi and Willow, everything is a sprint to get to the end of the story. I found myself needing to finish the book yet knowing I should be sleeping by the AM hours. I would recommend this book to other readers. I enjoyed the second half all the way up to the last page. I felt sad for the end of Heidi, but I guess that’s just the way life is. Willow has endured way too much for her age, but I guess this helps remind the rest of us to appreciate being brought up in peaceful households without the violence and fear in our lives.

Written by Ling Lee (30/01/18)

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Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra (Book Review #153)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 25/01/18

My 9th book this year)

She is taken in by police and the only way she can think of to get out of this is to claim to be the missing girl from 11years ago, Rebecca Winter. Such a close lookalike she thinks she can pull this off. But now there’s a real problem. The police are taking her back home to be reunited with her family. Now she needs to make them believe she is their long lost daughter. Either that or face prison time for the offences she has already made. At least it gets her a home, a family and puts her out of harms way, if everyone believes she is Rebecca Winter.

***SPOILER ALERT***

What a difficult plot to follow through on. Let’s get the bad point over with first. I am quite certain nobody can fool family members or friends that they are someone important in their lives, no matter how much they look alike. 11 years is a long time, but going missing at 17 means there are way too many moments in life prior to going missing, to not realise if the person who has turned up is your best friend/daughter/sister/co-worker etc. With this problem set aside, I found myself captured by this books contents.

I loved the real Bec. When she was younger and carefree. I loved her relationship with Lizzie. But then being a teenager is difficult and life for Bec is stressful. It seems that Bec has a real dark secret to hide. She cannot tell anyone, so she bottles it up until it becomes too much for her to cope with.

Then the twist in the story was quite shocking. But somehow I really enjoyed turning each page as I tried to work out what happened 11 years ago to the real Bec.

I would recommend this book to others but I must clarify the reader has to overlook the biggest problem of pulling off a successful case of identity theft. Great read! Well done to Anna Snoekstra, job well done.

Written by Ling Lee (25/01/18).

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Among the Imposters by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Book Review #152)

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 23/01/18

My 8th book this year)

In a society where families can only have two children due to food resources being limited, Luke, is a third child. Also known as a hidden child or illegal child.

He was almost caught out in book 1. In this 2nd book of the Shadow Children series, Luke has been given a new identity, a chance to live like a normal child and a chance to be free from the hidden life he had led before. He has been renamed, Lee Grant.

For the 1st time in his life he is finally allowed to go to school, to meet other children, to talk to other people, but life is so overwhelming when everything was previously forbidden. Lee knows he has to find a way to survive his new life in order to accomplish his goal: to help other hidden children be free once again.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I really enjoyed this book. I got through so quickly, I turned the final page before I realised it was such a short novel. I love how the author tried to show us Lee’s fear of being caught out, yet his courage at wanting to try to save others, his bravery in taking chances, yet his cowardly attitude towards being bullied by a room mate. He is so internally conflicted.

The only downside was this book should have been filled out more. I really enjoyed discovering this school with Lee, discovering the secrets and to get a glimpse into someone else’s life who could very well be a part of our future society.

I am still excited to continue with this series and would very much like to recommend this book to other readers, especially young adults who enjoy dystopia.

Written by Ling Lee (23/01/18).

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Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni (Book Review #151)

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 22/01/18

My 7th book this year)

Tracy Crosswhite is the lead detective for an investigation that seems to be escalating and it is all about tying up exotic female dancers and letting them strangle themselves with the rope they have been tied with.

The serial killer has been named The Cowboy. Intelligent, patient, blends in with the rest of community but is losing self control as the murders keep adding up.

Tracy and her team need to find him as soon as possible but her chauvinistic more senior colleagues are making life much more difficult for her. How many bodies will appear before The Cowboy will be found and put to justice?

***SPOILER ALERT***

This second book to the Tracy Crosswhite Series has proven to be just as good as the first. Thrilling and captivating, I felt the urge to read and keep reading until the last page was turned.

Tracy was and still is a very powerful and strong character. Even under pressure and feeling fearful for her own life she still stands her ground and does not give up. She has a great trusting relationship with certain team members. Then there are a few from the older generation who believe she is in the wrong job and seems to be trying to take her down in all the wrong ways.

The killer has an impressive mind. Meticulous in the way he plans out the murders and executes each one in almost the exact same way. I love how Tracy keeps finding new information and hitting dead ends yet refuses to give up.

The only part I didn’t enjoy was the drama with Tracy in both the 1st and 2nd book. It felt like too much trauma for a single person to go through… I am assuming she will be deeply tied into book 3 as well.

I would definitely recommend this authors books to other readers. I am very much looking forward to picking up book 3 of the series. Great job Mr Dugoni!

Written by Ling Lee (22/01/18)

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Contest by Matthew Reilly (Book Review #150)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 17/01/18

My 6th book this year)

Seven contestants have been chosen from different realms, each with their own chosen warrior to represent their species. All of them have been teleported to the great library in New York, on Earth. An electrical forcefield has been set up around the perimeters to keep contestants in and everyone else out. The contest is to the death. Only one possible winner, the only one to survive through brute force, violence, stealth or intelligence, whatever it takes, the remaining survivor is the champion of this contest.

Dr Swain has been chosen to represent Earth but he has absolutely no idea what has just happened. One minute he is at home, the next he has teleported into the labyrinth and become a contender, with his young daughter still held in his arms.

He must find a way to save his daughter, save himself and be rid of all the other contestants. His only way back to safety and out of this terrifying game of death.

***SPOILER ALERT***

What a surprise of a book. I had no idea it was going to be packed with such violence, terrifying creatures, speed, shocking turns and be thrown in the deep end of all this trauma.

For those who like violence and other lifeforms, I guess this would be a 5 star read. I have never enjoyed reading about aliens but this book somehow captured my mind. I couldn’t stop reading but at the same time I felt immensely frustrated at the creature descriptions and somewhat lack of creativity. Some were based on possible mutated forms of Earth’s existing life forms which was a bit disappointing. I was hoping for more variety and maybe special abilities and weaknesses.

This book is definitely action packed and written for a high speed read. Every page has something big either about to happen or is already happening. I guess it is a more serious version of “Hunger games” yet more creative than “Battle Royale”. Lots of blood, guts and traumatic scenes. I never thought I would even remotely enjoy a book like this and somehow I have been taken in by Matthew Reilly. I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy action, violence and other life forms. I would also like to try some of this authors other books sometime in the future.

Written by Ling Lee (17/01/18).

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Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter (Book Review #149)

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 15/01/18

My 5th book this year)

Sara is Grant Countys’ paediatrician and coroner. In a quiet town where everybody knows each other and have seen one another age over time, something drastic changes the residents usual routines. Sara is in the local diner when she comes across a horrific scene in the ladies toilet. A woman has been brutally wounded and left to die.

Then another girl goes missing with links to the first woman who has been murdered. Seemingly a religious person has done these terrible deeds and looks to be after their next victim as a new body shows up.

The towns’ only female police officer, Lena, has to deal with each victim as they are all related to the sensitive subject of rape alongside extreme violence. The first victim from the diner happens to be her blind twin sister.

Lena must find the disturbed person(s) behind these attacks and crimes both for her sister and for all the other potential victims to come. With an immensely dark secret of her own, Lena must decide whether she lets her darkest memory resurface to help solve this crime, or if she is going to keep her secret buried in the past until it catches up with her in the future.

***SPOILER ALERT***

A very detailed and descriptive novel of violence, rape, kidnapping with brutal murder scenes. This author is new to me and through this eye opening way of telling her story, I was captivated in a completely different manner. I wanted to get through the book, I needed to know what was going to happen next. On the edge of my seat desperately wanting the killer to be discovered before more victims are violated.

I loved how Sara and Jeffrey’s relationship was complicated and frustrating. I loved how Lena was such a strong minded character.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the killer and the reason behind the whole story. It would have been good to have a few last moments of Lena’s life as well.

I am very much excited to read more books by Karin Slaughter and would definitely recommend this book to other readers just as I was recommended this book by a fellow crime lover.

Written by Ling Lee (16/01/18).

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The Girl Before by JP Delaney (Book Review #148)

I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 11/01/18

My 4th book this year)

Jane has just dealt with something traumatic in her life and needs to find a new home for a fresh start. She needs to move on from the event and to stop being afraid.

She finds a wonderful minimalist place that is surprisingly within her budget however there is a catch. This beautiful home comes with many extensive rules that are to be taken seriously, such as no ornaments, no colour, no personal touches, no pets, no clutter, must be kept in pristine condition at all times… The house is built in with amazingly “futuristic” ideas including the ultimate security measures with the house identifying the occupier before admitting entry, intelligent “memory” for details such as desired water temperatures, lighting based on mood adjustments…

The mastermind behind this wonderful yet strange concept of a house finds a way into Jane’s life, just like he, Edward, found a way into the previous tenants’ life, Emma. There has also been tragic stories behind the building itself. So much darkness emanating from such a pure and serene living accommodation.

The similarities between Emma and Jane begin to show, life gets more confusing, gradually more creepy, suspicious information is gathered by the girls. Is Edward as crazy as his concepts and ideas or can there really be so many coincidences in life?

***SPOILER ALERT***

The idea behind this story could have been amazing. I wanted much more depth to the house itself, much more detail as to what the house has to offer in order to demand so much from it’s tenants.

So many points of the book felt wrong. It was extremely difficult to tell Emma and Jane apart without referring to the beginning of each chapter. There were too many similarities and too many scenarios where both women made the same choices leading to the same situations.

In this case, less is more. The author tried way too hard to twist and twist again the plot. It didn’t work for me. The characters didn’t come to life. We were told how we were supposed to feel and react to each new piece of information in the story.

I can’t imagine how or why anyone would want to live with so many unreasonable rules in their “home” whether that be for a new beginning or not.

This book could have been mind blowing. Apologies to the author but I felt much disappointment as nothing felt remotely realistic to the real world.

Written by Ling Lee (11/01/18).

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The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales (Book Review #147)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 06/01/18

My 3rd book this year)

Gala is a magical creation in the form of a beautiful woman. Created by a genius sorcerer, Blaise, who wants whats best for all the people and not just for those with magical abilities.

The council do not agree with making magic available to the entire population. But Blaise has created an inhuman intelligence for this exact reason. She is pure, innocent, curious, quick minded and unable to control her mind and her powers.

Information has spread, others know about Gala. Most people want her to be destroyed. They fear her possible powers, her possible destruction to everything that exists and the possibility of duplicating her existence to create an army that no one can be prepared for.

Blaise is the only one who believes in her goodness. Who believes her existence is for the better. Now he must do everything he can to protect her. But Gala has a mind of her own and her curious nature is getting her into all sorts of trouble when her emotions make her lose control of her mind.

***SPOILER ALERT***

A magical artificial intelligence. What a creature to be mindful of. An interesting story but I don’t understand why it was necessary for Gala to be a perfect woman in terms of appearance. The lust factor was completely random and actually spoiled the book for me.

The story itself was eye opening as we discover the possibilities of the good and bad that can occur if Gala were a real existing thing. The innocence in learning, wanting to know everything, immediately, with the impatience of a young child which is essentially what she is.

This novel needs more time and detail to evolve. Everything happened too quickly and with not enough depth. I would recommend this book just because of the plot itself, however I would like to add that it felt like a draft of a story more than a finalised published edition.

Written by Ling Lee (06/01/18).

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Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (Book Review #146)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 03/01/18

My 2nd book this year)

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where Belle has been held captive in the castle with Beast and his servants, hoping for a chance to break the curse that binds them.

Belle has accepted her fate. She lives, she survives with only thoughts of her father keeping her at peace. The Beast gifts her with his luxurious library for which Belle is eternally grateful for. A good book is a way to escape real life, if only for a while. She stumbles upon Nevermore, where the book comes to life, making her dreams and wishes come true. Belle is torn between reality and the extraordinary goodness that Nevermore offers. Belle soon learns there is more depth to what meets the eye for most things in life, both in the real world and life in Nevermore.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I really enjoyed this book and for those who appreciate Disney, the Princesses and magic in life will adore this book. If anything, it was too short and the last page turned much too quick for my liking. I wanted to wander through more of life between Belle and the Beast, I wanted to roam much more of Nevermore, I wanted to stay in both reality and the magical realm. This book was enchanting and I would very much recommend it to other readers. I absolutely love fairytale retellings. This one was fantastic.

Maybe Nevermore could be written again as a book in itself. It took away a little part of the Belle and Beast world which is what I love most about the original story. I like seeing their relationship bloom. From hatred to love, such powerful and opposite emotions, yet completely possible to go from one extreme to the other over time.

The characters were perfect and it is such a wonder to see Lumiere, Plumette, Chip, Mrs Potts and Cogsworth come to life once again through the cute descriptions of Jennifer Donnelly’s words. I am very much looking forward to reading more works by this author. Excited beyond words.

Written by Ling Lee (04/01/18)

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Book Review #145)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 01/01/18

My 1st book this year)

Scout and Jem are innocent kids who live back in the day when Negroes were still slaves and White people were the superior race.

When an innocent Negroe man is convicted of rape and put on death row, Atticus, is the only man to step forward to fight his case with the heart to free him.

Atticus is Jem and Scout’s father. He tries to instil good qualities in them, to bring up his children without racial prejudice and to grow up knowing what is right and wrong.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I didn’t understand which part of the book was so amazing to make it a classic. The story was simple and unfolded discreetly but it felt like it was ultimately dragged out. I felt there was a lack of depth and detail throughout the book. Almost like a vague plot outline for a bigger story to unfold.

The book however did cover a major subject on fairness and equality for ALL people. How innocent children know that no matter what colour, a life is a life and it should be equal for all.

I don’t really know what to say about this book but I do feel that most readers must overthink this story to write such passionate reviews and to rate it so highly considering not much actually happens. We don’t even get that insight as to how families used to live in the older days.

I would not recommend this book to other readers. As of most other classics that I have tried to read, this is also one of those I feel has nothing special about it. Apologies to the author and other fans of this story and other classics. I’ve yet to understand what it is about the classic books that people are so compelled to read.

Written by Ling Lee (01/01/18)

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