Tag Archives: mystery

Book Review: Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge

Random House
TBP Feb 25th, 2020
352 Pages

Aidan Poole logs on to his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. To his horror, he realizes that there is someone else in her flat. Aidan can only listen to the sounds of a violent struggle taking place in the bathroom—and then the sound of silence. He is desperate to find out if Zoe is okay. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police?

When Aidan’s cryptic messages finally reach them, Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team take the case—and discover the body. They soon find that no one has a bad word to say about Zoe, a big hearted young artist at the center of a curious web of waifs and strays, each relying on her for support, each hiding dark secrets and buried resentments. Has one of her so-called “friends” been driven to murder? Or does Aidan have the biggest secret of them all?- Goodreads

Creepy. . . is probably the best word I can describe this book after I was finished, which was late in the evening.

It was a good read despite the creepy vibe I got from reading it. I think what made it creepy for me is the fact that it is told from alternate viewpoints including Zoe. Reading the last days of a woman you just saw murdered and reading it from her pov, was tough to read.

The pace of the novel was great. It is a classic who done it novel and there are so many options of who can do it. But here was my issue with this book, every single person (minus the detectives) were problematic, selfish and down right horrible to Zoe and she became who she was at the end by not only the killer’s action but those she held dear to her as well.

The author left a lot of openings for who could have done it and there were twists throughout the book. However, it was very clear that the author just didn’t know what to do with those characters and their development. After everything was said and done no one (but the killer) was held accountable for their any of their actions and it was disappointing to see.

This is what caused the book to go from a 5 to a 3.

Something I would like to note is that I did not read the first book and at no point did I feel I needed to. Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team were fantastic detectives and it would have been nice to see the author add more development on them. Their own personal lives were mentioned but nothing too deep, which is fine as the focus was the case. I feel that if you are going to talk about it make sure you back up what you say so there could be a reason why it was mentioned.

Would I say this book is predictable? Some. The author, as I mentioned, adds a lot of different paths where the ending can go but you aren’t exactly surprised at the end but what does surprises you is the how. Seriously, there are a few wow moments and all I could think about is “its not the destination, its the journey.”

Overall, very good read.

3 Pickles

2020 Cover Love

If you recall from last year (hehe) I did a series throughout the year called cover love to high new releases and their beautiful covers. Its 2020 and I am still keeping that ball rolling.

 

Beyond the fact that these books look gorgeous and will look absolutely stunning on my bookshelf, they sound fantastic.

What books are you looking forward to so far this year?

Book Review: Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? by Lemony Snicket

Little, Brown and Company
Published Sept. 29, 2015
295 Pages

On all other nights, the train departs from Stain’d Station and travels to the city without stopping. But not tonight. You might ask, why is this night different from all other nights? But that’s the wrong question. Instead ask, where is this all heading? And what happens at the end of the line? The final book in Lemony Snicket’s bestselling series, All The Wrong Questions. – Goodreads

One day I decided to go through my TBR pile on Goodreads but start from the bottom up. I realized that there were a lot of books I wanted to read but between adding new books, I just didn’t get around to it.

Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights? is a prime example. I read the first three books when I first started this blog (geeze four years now) and didn’t realize I never finished it. So I am extremely happy to be able to say I have completed this series.

Everything and everybody in Stain’d-by-the-sea comes together to finally end the destruction of an evil villain. It was nice to see this because through out the series something near terrible happens to each and everyone of them, so their survival meant a lot.

But here is what I concluded and what I think Snicket is saying. Children think they know better than adults and given the opportunity will mess things up. *shrugs* that is literally the whole premise of the story. The protagonist Snicket (yes the author name the character after himself), from the beginning of the book to end is trying to solve one mystery but ends up disregarding that for another mystery.

In this process, his sister gets captured and nothing in me actually believes he cares. I say this because he does nothing to save her. Her capture is his fault and it is only mentioned twice and its usually “I wonder how my sister is doing. . . oh shinny object.”

This particular book had a lot of twists that I strongly believe a middle school child would love. Not everything is what it seems and I also think Snicket, the author, indirectly is saying to trust an adult. I say this because at the very end, there are things explained that Snicket (the character) didn’t know and it is summed up to him not asking the right questions.

I don’t exactly know I feel about the subliminal messaging in this book. But for me, they were extremely clear and red flags. Not in the sense that there is something wrong but in the sense that why those particular messages. It makes you wonder.

I loved the pace of the novel and the overall series. There wasn’t anything more I wanted; it provided enough mystery that I was content. Not only do I love the covers but I would suggestion this read to a middle school reader.

Overall,

3 Pickles for Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

4 Pickles for the All the Wrong Questions series

Book Review: Tokyo Firewall by Elizabeth Wilkerson

Contrafish Media, LLC
Published Nov. 13, 2018
343 Pages

Tokyo, the ‘90s. When Alison Crane quit her environmental law practice and followed her hotshot investment banker boyfriend to Japan, she thought they’d only grow closer. But jobless and broke, Alison sits home alone all day-—and most nights—isolated by culture shock, wobbly language skills, and her boyfriend’s ambitions. Desperate for company, she ventures onto the only avenue she has left—the brand-new digital frontier.

Inside the confusing web of cyber chat rooms, Alison is approached by a charming Japanese man, and the two regularly meet online. However, her digital safe haven soon becomes a virtual nightmare when a troll who despises foreigners taunts her with escalating threats of violence. As her predator’s attacks intensify, Alison must parlay her legal smarts and budding computer skills to stand her ground, or she’ll lose her only source of freedom. And maybe her life...- Goodreads

This book was okay. There was and still is a lot of potential for this to be great but overall it was okay.

What made the book okay was Alison really. I understand that this is the ’90s but how this girl was able to do anything on her own as an adult blew my mind. She was extremely naive, no real common sense and didn’t have any ambition to learn the culture or do her own thing. Yeah, she got a computer and joining a chat opened her world, HOWEVER, she had no back bone and it was a bit tough to read.

What I did like about this book was a deep dive into Japan’s dislike for foreign people as well as the racism Black people can’t seem to escape. It was a huge focal point in the novel and Wilkerson did a great job of using it to push the novel. Another thing I liked was the romance and the twist that I have no idea how I missed. Wilkerson sets you up for the obvious and then is like “YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT” It was actually done really well and I was surprised.

The overall novel is slow. Not a whole lot goes on and Alison does a whole lot of whining. However, I like where the author was going with this. The ’90s for Black people was something and I sure it was something more being in a different country.

The ending wasn’t the best. It could have been way stronger but I don’t regret taking the time to read this book. As mentioned earlier, its okay. It could have been better.

2 Pickles

Manga Review: For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams, Vol. 1 by Kei Sanbe

Yen Press
Jan. 29th 2019
192 Pages

As a young child, Senri Nakajou saw his family murdered before his eyes, and he’s lived for revenge ever since.

From his daily activities to his studies, everything is about attaining the power and money necessary to find the killer and make him pay-even if it means getting a little dirty himself…- Goodreads

If you have not read, Kei Sanbe’s manga Erased, you should do that now. It was fantastic and although the ending was a bit eh, it is still worth the read and buy 100%.

With that being said, because of how much I loved the first series, I started at this one. And let me tell you something, this man has a way of getting your attention in a short amount of time.

Senri had a rough childhood and this is even before he saw his family murdered. His father is abusive, his mother doesn’t do anything and the only person he has is his twin brother. The two share a very strong connection that goes much more than one twin getting hurt and the other twin feeling it.

Senri rage comes from seeing his families death but also because of his Twin. Without giving much away, he grows up bottling his anger, conning people of their money all the while going to school. When an opportunity comes to find and extract revenge on the person that ruined his life, Senri doesn’t hesitate but at the same time he doesn’t realize the mess he just put himself in.

I loved this story and I cannot wait to fully dig into it. There are several things going on at once but nothing is confusing, nothing is over complicated, nothing seems forced and everything is connected.

I was interested in the characters because their stories are building up this quiet world that is literally waiting to explode with the truth. The pace of the manga was good; actually surprisingly good. There is so much packed into these pages I thought it would move faster but it didn’t. The pace was thought out, not rushed but moved in as much real time as a book can get.

The artwork was a little bit off. Especially for a specific female character; her lips were almost as big as her face and this is something that was seen in manga in maybe the 70s or 80s. I wasn’t expecting to see it with a book by Kei because the art work in Erased was pretty good.

Overall, a must read for those that love themselves a murder mystery. However, I would recommend waiting until the second book comes out, which is in June.

5 Pickles

The Minis

Doubleday Books
Published July 11th 2017
322 Pages

The Blyton Summer Detective Club aka teen detectives haven’t seen each other in years since their last traumatizing case.

Now 3 out of the four members, with their massive baggage, come together to figure out what really happened on that case and maybe finally they can actually close it.

This book had a good foundation but wasn’t executed right. Between what seemed like a force relationship, slow plot and lack of in depth world building, this Scobby Doo knock off (sorry couldn’t think of a better phrase) was a hard read.

1 Pickle

Growing your Own Tea Garden is much more than

CompanionHouse Books
TBP: May 14th 2019

giving you steps to well grow your tea garden. There is history behind each tea, each leaf and there is a care the author gives when explaining why this is something you should know/do.

As someone who wants to rely on my own means to take care of my household as opposed to running to the store for everything, this is a great resource to have.

5 Pickles

Madam’s Books
Published Nov. 8th 2018
123 Pages

I have read the first two books of this series. To Claim a King is by far the strongest book of this series. My issue with To Tame a Rogue is it felt like there was less story and more how can I make this book dripping in sex.is The author didn’t take as much care to build a plot as she did with the sex.

1 Pickle

I am just going to start out by saying that this comic

Berger Books
Published July 30th, 2018
128 Pages

is okay. There is creativity in the aliens and how Dr. Future interacts with them.

But it is an overall situation we see in real life. People fighting for the right and enter and live within this country.

The protests, the anger, the fear all of this is portrayed within this comic and although I feel the author did well putting a spin on current politics but there was nothing really grabbing me to continue reading other than Dr. Future’s relationship with Letme.

Book Review: Under Dark Waters by Bernadette Calonego

AmazonCrossing
Published April 14, 2015
394 Pages

Driven by lingering pain and grief, historian Sonya Werner leaves her home in Switzerland to travel across the world. Officially, she’s tracking down the German author Else Seel, who had left Berlin in the 1920s to marry a Canadian trapper and homestead in the wild woods of British Columbia.

But the real reason for her trip is much more difficult to face: three years before, her husband took off to this part of the world on one of his usual mountain-climbing adventures, and never returned.

Only after the police brought her word of his death—and the mysterious circumstances in which they found him—did Sonya discover the simultaneous disappearance of her beautiful best friend, Odette, and the possibility that her husband had been lying to her all along.

Now, haunted by sorrow and jealousy, Sonya sets out on a dangerous mission to discover the truth, and to try to put back together the pieces of her broken heart.- Goodreads

This read started off really well and for about half way through the book, I was into it. But the focus seem to be more about making this a long read as opposed to making it a great read. What I mean by this is the author kept the book going by not really answering a question and being completely vague. I have no issue with this but at a certain point in the book, you get tired of questions piling up with no answers.

You also get tired of Sonya. She keeps referring to the past too often and it is lazy. For instance, she could be drinking tea and then think to herself, so and so use to drink tea with me blah blah blah. This may be a slight exaggeration but not by much. Sonya was one of those people that you love but that love is mixed with pity. The author doesn’t go too much into who Sonya was before meeting her Husband but who she is now isn’t necessarily someone that you would be excited to constantly be around.

I love the mix of a woman finding the truth about her deceased husband and also tacking historical information for a museum. The blend of then and now, history and present is perfect. But this book didn’t execute it that well. What I also loved about this book was imagery the author was able to pull in this book. I felt I was in those towns, I felt that I was one that plane, on that boat. I was impressed with this.

Beyond the fact that the book felt dragged and Sonya really couldn’t keep anything together, what bothered me was how everyone, literally everyone knew what was going on and Sonya knew that they knew but was too weak to push it. The author made her extremely fragile and in situations where she could have done more, she would always back down. I know about not wanting to deal with confrontation but not when the whole purpose is to find out the truth.

Overall, I was disappointed in this book not because it started off good but then started to drop but because it couldn’t get back up to the good it was at. I love complex reads, I love really about shady small towns, I love reading about finding the truth but this book wasn’t presented in a way for me to appreciate it.

2 Pickles