Review: Remember, Remember by Anna Elliott

rememberrememberRemember, Remember by Anna Elliot

My Rating: 3.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mysteries

Date Published: April 21st, 2017

Publisher: Wilton Press

Pages: 357 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: A lovely American actress awakens in London on a cold morning in 1897 – lying face down on the concrete pavement outside the British Museum. She has no memories. She does not even know who she is, although she has a vague recollection of the name Sherlock Holmes. What she believes is that she has may have just killed someone, and that someone is definitely trying to kill her. As she searches for clues to her true identity, she will learn that she is not the only target. Unless she can defeat her evil adversaries, the people most dear to her will die.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

I’ll admit I went into this book a little bit hesitant. It’s no secret that I love retellings or novels that use classic characters in modern day literature—these are some of my favorite types of novels. However, the hesitation I experience comes from my love of the original stories and characters themselves. I’m always a stickler when it comes to keeping true to the most essential and definitive aspects, even while the author is forming his or her own unique story. And I am especially picky when it comes to my all-time favorites. This particular novel, I’m pleased to say, does a reasonably good job paying homage to the incredibly well-loved characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless tales of the great Sherlock Holmes.

In this novel, we read from the perspective of the main character, Lucy James, a young woman who wakes up on the steps of the British Museum with amnesia. Once woken up, she realizes she has lost all of her memories, including her name. All she knows is that she was hit in the head and that someone is most likely out to kill her—and that she may in fact be a killer herself. This, along with the vague recollection of the name Sherlock Holmes, is all she has to go on as she attempts to remember who she is, where she’s from, and why she is running for her life. Her enemies are ruthless and willing to take down anyone who gets in their way. Navigating dangerous circumstances and forging new alliances, Lucy takes on her adversaries and works to prevent them from carrying out their nefarious scheme.

Despite my original wariness, I ended up enjoying this story quite a bit. I found the plot to be fast-paced and easy to get wrapped up in right from page one. Though this is actually the third book in the Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mysteries series, it functions extremely well as a standalone. The overall mystery of the story is not completely unpredictable or surprising, but it still made for a very fun and action-packed read.

The portrayal of the various characters, overall, is fairly well done, but also the area from which the majority of my issues with the novel stem. The characters that were original creations of Anna Elliot were by far the strongest. Lucy is a great protagonist—she is a strong, highly intelligent, and independent heroine. The only major issue with her characterization is that there isn’t much development over the course of the story or depiction of flaws. One of the reasons a character such as Sherlock Holmes is so interesting is the mixture of his tremendous intellect and cleverness with flaws that make him human. While Lucy is a likeable character that is still easy to connect with, she seems just a bit too perfect at times.

As for Elliot’s versions of Holmes and Watson, I had somewhat mixed feelings. While her portrayal of Watson, in my opinion, is quite accurate, I felt a little bit lukewarm about her portrayal of Holmes. We don’t really get to see all that much of him, and even though there are certain times that truly reflect the classic great detective, there are some moments and plot points that I felt strayed a little too far. Though it was a little hard for me to imagine at first, I believe she did a decent job of gauging the way Holmes would treat a daughter had he had one in the original stories. However, there were times—such as his offering Lucy dating advice—that just didn’t feel authentic.

I had one odd problem with one of the character’s names. I was reading from an advanced review copy, so this is probably the cause of my confusion, but I could not figure out Lucy’s love interest’s first name. It kept jumping back and forth between John and Jack every few pages, sometimes even within the same page. Again, I assume this was caused by the uncorrected proof, and it has absolutely no bearing on my rating of the novel. However, I’m still not certain what his name actually was meant to be.

Elliot’s writing style is solid and easy to become absorbed in. She gives Lucy a strong narrative voice, which caused the plot to both flow well and pack a punch. Her world building of 1897 London is vivid and skilled, making it a very high point of the novel. She unravels the mystery at a steady pace, showing her talent for creating a storyline that hooks her readers and keeps them wanting more.

In the first part of the novel, Elliot does a great job of presenting Lucy’s slow gathering of clues pertaining to her life. The transition between the two halves of the novel—where Lucy suddenly regains her memories—is a bit rough. We are thrown rather quickly into her rapid and high-stakes lifestyle. However, this still does not hurt the plot progression overall, and though it was a little bumpy, I found myself falling into this new twist fairly easily. In general, Elliot keeps the plot as a whole straightforward enough to follow, and just unpredictable enough to create a exciting mystery.

Overall, I found this novel to be a pretty enjoyable and fast-paced read that was quite easy to become swept up in. This wound up being a very fun story, and an inventive take on some very timeless classics. While I would have liked to see a bit more development in Lucy and the various other significant characters in the novel, they were still portrayed well in general. Despite its few flaws, this is a good addition to the ever-expanding world of Sherlock Holmes novels. I am definitely planning to go back and read the first two novels of this series, and will eagerly await and further installments.

3.5 TARDISes

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Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

everyheartadoorwayEvery Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: Wayward Children

Date Published: April 5th, 2016

Publisher: Tor

Pages: 173 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children; No Solicitations, No Visitors, No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else. 

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. 

No matter the cost.

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This is a spoiler-free review.

I loved this novel even more than I thought I would. It feels like a modern fairytale, complete with a dark and gritty subplot that lingers in the background. It is a weird and unusual story—the perfect amount of weird and unusual in my opinion. It involves the types of worlds that we all grew up reading and daydreaming about, but the book centers around the aftermath of being in those places. It deals with the harsh contrast between reality and fantasy, and how difficult it can be to immerge from that perfectly constructed fantasy back into a rather unaccepting reality.

The concept for this novel drew me in immediately, as it is by far the most unique take on fantasy and alternate worlds that I have ever heard of. Reading it felt like reading a fairytale retelling—even though it’s not—and it took me back to my childhood love of fantasy worlds in literature. The atmosphere and tone is a perfectly executed mix of eerie haunting, and whimsical whit and humor. In other words, this novel was totally written for me.

In this novel, we follow a young girl named Nancy during her first days at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. It is a special school that works to help reintroduce children who have visited fantastical worlds back into the real one. Nancy has a tough time adjusting to her new life, constantly believing she will once again find the door to her beloved world—the world where she felt that she finally fit in.

It is tough at first, but she realizes that the other students share many of her feelings, the only difference dividing them being their specific experiences and worlds. However, very soon after joining the school, a gruesome mystery begins to unfold—a darkness that has never fallen over this safe shelter. There is someone right under their noses with a malicious and twisted mind, carrying out horrifying acts, and Nancy and her friends are targeted as suspects by the other students. The group will have to work together to unravel this cryptic case before things get worse.

In a way, this novel feels sort of like a broken fairytale. It feels as if it is trying to subtly portray that transition in all of our lives as we grow into young adulthood. We always remain enchanted by inventive and mystical stories, but our world view is much less sugar coated. We can’t get quite as lost in fantasy, and at first, all we want to do is run back to that period of time where we could. Yet, however bleak it seems, we do come to terms with it, and find new life in those fantastical worlds.

I really liked the characters McGuire created for her story. Nancy had a solidly depicted personality right from the start, and she slowly evolved throughout the course of the novel, which is no simple task in a story this size. All of the personalities of the side characters were very well defined as well. They each reflected the world, the home, from which they had been pulled. It was a subtle detail that truly fleshed out the plot and made the story more tangible for the mind of the reader.

There was also some great diversity in this novel. For example, the main character, Nancy, is asexual, and one of her friends is transgender. The characters all come from different backgrounds and heritages, all joined together by a common experience. This also added further dimension and complexity into the characters and their parts in the plot as a whole.

McGuire’s writing style was very easy to read and flowed incredibly well throughout the entire narrative. Her words are deceptively simple. It was amazing how she managed to pack so much depth and feeling into such a small amount of pages. She delves into some important themes, like human behavior and how society deals with people they label as outsiders.

When writing a story that has a shorter than average number of pages, it is incredibly easy for characters to come across as bland and one-dimensional, and for the narrative itself to feel quite rushed and overloaded. At no point was this the case in McGuire’s story, which is a testament to her great writing talent. The novel is a short and fast-paced read that leaves you partially satisfied, but also extremely eager to spend more time in the world that she has created.

McGuire has produced a quirky, unique, and engrossing little story that is surprisingly captivating. It will come as no surprise that I highly recommend giving this novel a try. I don’t see how I will be able to stand the wait for the sequel, even though its release date is only a few months away.

5.0 TARDISes

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Review: Bitter Roots by C.J. Carmichael

bitterrootsBitter Roots by C.J. Carmichael

My Rating: 1.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Bitter Root Mysteries

Date Published: April 25th, 2017

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Pages: 174 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing.

On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his old school friend Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder.

Bitter Roots is the first of four Bitter Root Mysteries.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

This is my first experience with C.J. Carmichael’s work, and sadly, I really did not enjoy Bitter Roots at all. You could potentially say that it left a “bitter” taste in my mouth. The synopsis sounded fantastic when I first found this novel—and it was an extremely quick read—but the plot was rather poorly executed. There was no aspect of this novel that was particularly memorable or that made me feel motivated to continue reading. Thankfully, this is a short novel, so I did manage to make it to the end, but there was really no payoff for my efforts once I got there.

First of all, I will admit that I had the wrong impression of this novel from the very start. I believed it to be a mystery/thriller novel, however I did not realize that the author is known primarily for writing romantic suspense novels until I looked it up on Goodreads. At this point, I had already agreed to read and review it, so I decided to give it a fair chance. And I did in fact go into this novel with no bias, lowered expectations, or belief that I would end up disliking it. The overall idea sounded intriguing, so I was still eager to give it a try.

This novel is a third person narrative that predominately follows the lives of three characters—Tiff, Zak, and Justin—as they navigate their experiences and relationships in the small town of Lost Trail following the murder of a young woman. Tiff, an accountant, has just made the difficult choice of moving back to her family’s ranch after her life in Seattle falls apart. Zak is the dispatcher at the local sheriff’s office who seems content with his life behind the desk, but uses his talents to inspect the murder case on his own time. Justin is a lawyer who is settling down with his wife and her daughter, though there are many unresolved issues floating around behind the scenes of this seemingly perfect marriage.

Tiff is still struggling to find closure after the deaths of her father and brother years ago, and to come to terms with her mother’s mental health, which seems to be spiraling even more out of control than it was the last time they were together. Tiff becomes involved in the search to find the killer, as the murdered young woman had been under her family’s employment, working on their Christmas tree farm.

Zak, with his inquisitive mind, cannot help but work on the case of the murdered woman, even though it is really not his place to do so. On top of this, he is rekindling a friendship with Tiff and dealing with his confusing feelings toward the new deputy at the station. And lastly, Justin’s storyline mostly focuses on his home life with his family, leaving him less involved in the crime solving area of the novel.

Sadly, the murder mystery aspect of the story took a backseat to the troubles, fractured relationships, and sometimes perverted musings of the main characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy some family drama in novels, but I hated the fact that everything overshadowed a murder and the obviously shoddy detective work surrounding the case.

The plot was exceedingly slow and repetitive as well. The main characters spent most of their time being suspicious of one person and never even considering anyone else. Tiff and Justin also met up every few chapters and basically recapped, in great detail, everything that had just been read. It felt like we were never getting anywhere, until the last three chapters when Carmichael slammed down on the accelerator and plowed into the conclusion.

Comparatively, the plot wrapped up uncannily quickly and was far too rushed.  The big twist was not very impressive—it was a surprise, but that was not enough to salvage the rest of the plot. It seemed very out of the blue, as the reader only gets to hear the most important information in these last few chapters. So while it is unexpected, it is unexpected due to lack of any information in prior points of the novel.

The characters and their personalities really fell flat for me. They were incredibly one dimensional throughout the entire narrative, and I found it hard to connect with almost all of them. I spent a lot of the novel feeling quite fed up with them and their choices. The only character I felt at all invested in was Justin. He was the most genuinely kind human being, and his relationship with his family really pulled me in.

Another positive factor of the characterization was the relationship between Tiff and Zak. Prior to even knowing there would be elements of romance to this novel (if you can even call them that), I assumed that this friendship between them would probably end up turning into something more. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they maintained a strong companionship throughout the narrative without falling for each other. This is honestly something that I personally see becoming much rarer in novels these days, so I commend Carmichael for making this choice.

One of the other positives about this novel was the writing. I didn’t have any real complaints about the style itself. I thought that Carmichael was a strong writer, and her experience and talent still shine through. This was one of the only things that pushed me to finish off the book. Her words flowed very well and this is what carried me so quickly through the narrative. Her descriptions, for the most part, were very detailed, but I wish there had been a bit more of them, and that she had gone about them differently.

There was a big downside to the descriptions, in my opinion. This was the aspect of the novel that left me feeling a bit offended. The only characters who really got any sort of detailed description were all the young and implausibly attractive ones. These people were mostly women, and everyone was “tall and slender” with unrealistically perfect appearances. This is another part of the novel that overshadowed not only the severity of the situation, but also the intelligence and capability of the females in this narrative. Overall, I was taken aback at this and quite unimpressed and annoyed.

I thought this might possibly be due to the fact that I am unaware of the common conventions of romance novels, but that is still something I’m unsure of. It doesn’t really excuse the moments of sexism and perverted thoughts that really angered me. For example, most of the men in this novel—especially Zak—were extremely focused on and judgmental of the appearances of women, and way too focused on leering at them.

Unfortunately, I would not recommend this novel or series. It was not at all what I was expecting given the promising synopsis. The story is very repetitive and lacks depth, and it is even mildly offensive at times—at least it was for me. Despite the writing itself being relatively good, there was nothing, in my opinion, redeeming about this novel, nor was there anything worth reading plot-wise. I would definitely be willing to try another one of Carmichael’s novels, but I don’t think I will be continuing on with this particular series.

1.5 TARDISes

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Review: Wolf by Kelly Oliver

wolfWolf by Kelly Oliver

My Rating: 3.5/5 TARDISes

Series: The Jessica James Mysteries Series

Date Published: June 1st, 2016

Publisher: Kaos Press

Pages: 316 pages

Source: Author

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Montana cowgirl Jessica James is sleeping on a desk in the attic of the Philosophy Department at Northwestern University and she blames her advisor, Professor Wolfgang “Wolf” Schumtzig, “Preeminent Philosopher and World Class Dick-Head.” But when he’s found dead in his office, her real education begins. The murder weapon is a campus date-rape drug, supplied by the Russian mafia—and Jessica could be the next target.

Dmitry Durchenkov is trying to live a normal life as a janitor at Northwestern after escaping Russia with part of his father’s mafia fortune—which has suddenly disappeared. Jessica and Dmitry team up to wrangle mobsters, encounter a trio of feminist avengers, and lasso frat boys in order to rope in a murderer who’s read too much Existentialism. Together, the brooding Russian and the cowgirl philosopher learn that sometimes virtue is just the flip side of vice.

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

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This is a spoiler-free review.

Wolf is pitched as being a crime novel that tackles some important issues using a good dose of intelligence, humor, and feminism—and it certainly lives up to these claims. Despite my love of the mystery genre, I was a bit unsure whether or not this particular combination of themes would really be my type of story. However, Kelly Oliver’s clever writing managed to erase all of my hesitations. Though some parts fell a bit flat or lacked believability, it turned out to be a very enjoyable read as a whole. I ended up getting completely swept up in the suspense and wit of this novel.

Throughout the duration of the narrative, we follow the lives of two characters. Jessica James, hailing from Montana, is pursuing her PhD in philosophy at Northwestern University when her advisor, Professor Wolfgang Schumtzig is found murdered in his Philosophy Department office. Dmitry Durchenkov, the university’s janitor, finds that the past he fled his homeland of Russia to escape is finally catching up with him, and at the worst possible time. Existentialism, murder, date-rape drugs supplied by members of the Russian mafia, and even the disappearance of famous works of art tie these two lives together in intriguing and unexpected ways.

Kelly Oliver takes some incredibly difficult topics and tackles them in a mature and respectful way. She carefully injects the humor into the story, giving the darker aspects of the plot the gravity that they deserve. There is never a moment where it seems as if the more serious moments are being taken too lightly. I appreciated how she focused on educating her readers about very relevant issues. On top of this, Oliver also adds quite a deal of philosophy and art history into the story, which I was very interested in. From her intelligent writing, it is easy to tell that she is well informed on all the subjects that she covers.

I’ll admit, I had a little bit of trouble getting into this novel to begin with, as the first fourth or so of the novel is much slower paced for the most part. This is primarily due to the fact that there is a lot of setup and familiarizing the reader with the characters rather than focus on action and the mystery unfolding. This is completely understandable, especially given that it is the first novel in a series, so even though it was slow going for me for a little bit, it did not by any means put me off the story.

I think that this initial sluggishness I experienced was magnified due to the fact that the narrative jumps between the two main characters. The entire novel is told in third person, but it switches back and forth between the storylines of Jessica and Dmitry every chapter or so. It takes some time to make significant progress in each storyline and for them to weave together. This causes the main body of the novel to be quite fast-paced, but sort of puts the brakes on things when it comes to the setup.

Writing a novel using this method can be fantastic for developing a feeling of suspense, but is also tricky to perfect. I found that the constant shifts sometimes caused me to feel that the narrative was becoming a bit jumbled. However, this did not detract from my reading experience too severely, particularly as I got further in. Once you get to know the characters, it is extremely easy to get caught up in their lives, and I tore through most of the novel.

Oliver juxtaposes the humor and awkwardness of Jessica’s life with the pain and fear plaguing Dmitry’s in order to create an ultimately gripping and unified plot. As a whole, she created the desired tension by leaving the reader wanting more at the end of each character’s contribution to the progression of the storyline. When it becomes fully apparent how closely these two lives are connected, the story picks up very quickly. For some reason, I was not expecting this link between them, and was pleasantly surprised with the direction that Oliver took it in.

This book is filled with a diverse and quirky cast of characters, all filled with a great amount of inner strength. I found the characterization to be an exceptionally strong point. Jessica is a great example of how to create a female protagonist. She is funny and delightfully awkward, while also being a very intelligent and independent heroine. Dmitry shows his strength in a different way, fighting to move forward from a troubled past that won’t let him go.

I think Lolita ended up being my favorite character in the novel. I love what a strong woman she is and how much she cares for and supports her friends and family. All of the primary characters are fully formed and multidimensional, each showing some amount of progress throughout the novel. No matter what their personal story holds or what struggles they are facing, each character does their part and is working hard to be the best version of themselves that they can be—someone they are proud of.

There is also a major focus on relationships between friends and the importance of family rather than on romance, which is an aspect of this novel that I found to be quite refreshing. The friendship between Jessica and Lolita—the way they look out for and support each other—is absolutely lovely and shows the strength that can be produced from that sort of companionship. Dmitry’s devotion to his family and the lengths he goes to in order to keep them safe is quite beautiful, adding both more dimension and a greater sense of urgency to his struggle.

The small amount of romance that is present, though I really wanted to like it, fell sort of flat for me. It felt a bit forced and at times confusing, so I do wish that it had either been addressed a bit more or left out completely. But this was the only area of issue in the portrayal of relationships and the theme of love. Overall, the dynamics and interactions between the various characters added more depth and meaning to the story, and was one of the strongest and most captivating aspects.

Wolf is a novel with a lot of heart and a good sense of humor, despite its fairly dark subject matter. With smart and skillful writing, vividly depicted characters, and an addictive plot, it proves to be quite a rousing read. Kelly Oliver has created a unique and memorable mystery that both educates and entertains. I am incredibly eager to continue on with this series, and look forward to seeing the ongoing adventures of Jessica James. I would definitely recommend giving this book a try.

3.5 TARDISes

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Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

thegrownupThe Grownup by Gillian Flynn

My Rating: 4.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: November 5th, 2015

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicholson

Pages: 80 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: A young woman is making a living, faking it as a cut-price psychic working at Spiritual Palms (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage – mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke. Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor, built in 1893. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home, and taking possession of the stepson. She has even found trickles of blood on the wall. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural, but she does see an opportunity to make a lot of money. However when she enters the house for the first time, and meets Miles, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time….

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This is a spoiler-free review.

For me, it is extremely challenging to write a review on any of Gillian Flynn’s work without an excessive amount of excitement and an inability to get my thoughts straight. Her stories constantly leave me in a state of shock, both at her complex, meticulously plotted story lines as well as her beautiful and skillful writing itself. This woman has an unbelievable talent for the written word and the construction of unique and multidimensional thrillers that stick in one’s mind long after turning the final page.

Throughout the course of this story, we follow the nameless protagonist, a young woman making a living as a fake psychic, as well as practicing some questionable backroom work on the side. She is a very classic Gillian Flynn female protagonist, emerging from a dark past into a gray present. Flawed yet strong, and quite talented at manipulation, she is one of those characters that will do anything in her power to get want she wants, regardless of how her actions affect others. She has a flair for the dramatic and an aptitude for inspiring trust from others.

One day, a very distraught woman named Susan arrives for psychic counseling. Believing not only that spirits have invaded her house, Carterhook Manor, but that they are also attacking her incredibly disturbed stepson, Miles, she employs our main character to cleanse the house.

Of course, our main character has no actual ability to help this family, but seeing this as a way to rake in some extra money while having to do very minimal work, she is unable to pass up the opportunity. However, she ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for. After a series of harrowing events at the house, she finds herself beginning to believe in Susan’s outlandish fears, and tries her hardest to save the family from whatever harmful forces might be at work there.

The writing, the intricate and twisted plotting, the vivid characterization, as always, are all absolutely stellar. Though this story is very much classic Gillian Flynn material, in certain ways it has a bit of a different quality to it than some of her other work. I found that it sort of felt like some of the old psychological thriller films that I enjoy watching—with a modern twist to it, of course. It is unclear for a while what direction Flynn plans on taking the story—what genre she will be focusing on—and that adds yet another layer of mystery for the reader. And when questions are answered, when that mystery fully unfolds, Flynn once again leaves us all shocked and breathless.

The ending is really the only aspect of this story that I have slightly more mixed feelings on. That is not specifically due to the fact that it is an open ending in general—I typically love a well-written open ending, provided it fits solidly into the story as a whole. It is perfectly possible to feel satisfied without knowing exactly what happened after the final pages of a novel, and to be given the chance to imagine your own conclusion or further events. In my opinion, the idea of using an open ending definitely works well and seems appropriate given the overall plot and feeling of this story. However, there is just something a bit off about the one that Flynn presents us with.

This storyline wraps up far too abruptly—it is surprising, but too rushed for my taste. I think my main issue with the ending stems from the fact that it comes across as entirely too much of a twist. It is absolutely fantastic when a book shocks you with something completely unexpected, but it has to be at least somewhat coherent in the context of the rest of the plot. The sudden revelations here seem to be a bit jammed in, come completely out of left field, and are just slightly too far-fetched. It was as if I had fallen into a completely different story in the final pages. So, while it is clear that it is intended to leave the reader in amazement and suspense—and it did completely stun me—it left me a little too unsatisfied and confused.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and it was beautiful display of why Gillian Flynn is one of my all-time favorite writers. She is a brilliant storyteller who, time and time again, completely nails the mystery and psychological thriller genres. A master at crafting complex plots and intriguing characters with dark tales, she excels at captivating her readers and holding them in an iron grip until the final word. Though I might not recommend this for a first experience with Gillian Flynn’s work, I would very highly recommend giving this a read if you have enjoyed her novels.

4.5 TARDISes

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag – Day 2

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I’m currently traveling, so this is a scheduled post. At this point, I’m uncertain what my ability to access the Internet will be like while I’m gone, so I may not be able to respond to comments right away. I’ll definitely be back with regular access to the blog next week! 🙂

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I was tagged by three lovely book bloggers—T.K. Lawrence @ Read It or Not Reviews, Emma @ The Terror of Knowing and Becca @ Shih Tzu Book Reviews—to do the 3 Days, 3 Quotes tag! If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll already know how much I adore quotes. Thank you guys so much for tagging me! Make sure you all take some time to go check out all of their blogs. 🙂 ❤

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“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then what remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

– Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

I Tag:

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek

Diana @ Voices In My Head

Ara @ The Bookish Agenda

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The Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s Book Tag

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I was tagged by Cristina from My Tiny Obsessions and Catia from The Girl Who Read Too Much to do the Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s book tag. Thank you both so much for the tag! This was created by Aimal from Bookshelves & Paperbacks.

Vanilla Caramel Fudge: pick a light, fluffy contemporary

simonvsthehomosapiensagenda thestatisticalprobabilityofloveatfirstsight

We are starting things off with a tricky one since light, fluffy contemporaries are really not at all my thing. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is probably the lightest and fluffiest of the small amount of contemporary novels that I have read in my life. It was overall adorable and hilarious, and I absolutely loved it! Two others that are not quite as light, but that I ended up really enjoying were The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith and The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder.

Mint Chocolate Cookie: a new release that you wish everybody would read

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I haven’t actually read any really new releases just yet, so I’m going to fudge this a little bit and say Winter by Marissa Meyer. Basically, I wish everybody would read (and hopefully enjoy!) the entire Lunar Chronicles series in general. I cannot gush enough about these novels!

Karamel Sutra Core: a last book in a series that you were completely satisfied with

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This may be an obvious choice, but I have to choose Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for this one. I don’t actually read series very often, and when it comes to those that I have read in the past, I have been disappointed by a lot of final books. However, this was one that I absolutely loved—in fact, it’s probably my second or third favorite novel in the series. It was a strong, epic, and satisfying conclusion to an overall fantastic series of books, and I was so pleased that the story was wrapped up so well.

Cherry Garcia: an ending that was bittersweet

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For this one, I’m going to have to go with the ending of Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander. This novel overall is incredibly bittersweet—both beautiful and painful. It is a very touching story with a positive underlying message, and the ending holds just as true to this format as the rest of the book. However, let’s just say this is also one book that makes the extremely small list of books that made me cry.

Strawberry Shortcake: a book containing your OTP of OTPs

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I’m not usually one to have OTPs, but if any couple is my OTP, it would definitely be Marko and Alana from the graphic novel series, Saga. Their relationship, though it goes through some bumps, is absolutely lovely; they are the very definition of soul mates. Their love for each other outweighs everything, despite all the hardships they face. I adore this pairing.

Milk and Cookies: two authors that if they collaborated, they would go perfectly together

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I’m definitely going to have to agree with both Cristina and Catia on this one and say Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi. To be honest, if they were book characters, they would have been my answer to the last question. They are such a wonderful pair, and are each individually very talented and imaginative writers. If they wrote a novel together, chances are high that it would be one of the most epic stories ever!

Boston Cream Pie: a book that had you turning your pages late into the night

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Oh man, so many books over the years have done this for me—take any of the Harry Potter or Narnia books for instance! If I were to choose a slightly more recent read, I would have to pick Gone Girl. I absolutely devoured this novel. I was completely engrossed from page one and it was nearly impossible to put down, which caused a number of very late night (or early morning, rather…) reading sessions!

Chocolate Therapy: a book that makes you feel better after a long day of life

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You guys know me well enough by this point to not be at all surprised with I say To Kill a Mockingbird for this answer. I’m fairly certain I’ve managed to mention this book at least once in every single tag that I’ve done—and that probably won’t be changing anytime soon! This is one of those stories that never fails to give me the warm fuzzies when I read it, due to both the deep and heartwarming story itself and the personal nostalgia factor—the many fond memories I have of this novel from over the years and its importance to me.

Coffee, Coffee, Buzzbuzzbuzz!: a book not yet released that you can’t wait to get your hands on

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This is a difficult topic to choose just one book for, since there are so many fantastic upcoming releases this year! My top most anticipated release of the year is Heartless by Marissa Meyer, but another one right up there with it would be This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. They are both authors that I discovered last year and instantly fell in love with, so I can’t wait to get my hands on any and all of their novels.

I Tag:

Kayla @ Bookedsolid1989

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Isabella @ Gryffindor Books

Richard @ The Humpo Show

Raquel @ Rakioddbooks

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