Tuesday 1 January 2019

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed--again. She's been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden's only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle's murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend--but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.


Quite promising right? That's what I thought when I saw that book on Netgalley and decided to request it. And I was quite happy to find that the promise was kept!

What about that book? Well, for those who love The butterfly effect, you'll be in for a ride! Someone is playing tricks, or god, or really bad jokes to Aiden Bishop. Every day, or more to the point, each time he wakes up, he's in someone else body and has to find a murderer. And if he doesn't succeed, he won't be able to escape the never ending loops of finding the murderer. He has only a few days (and a few hosts) to find the murderer but soon discover it's not his first rodeo. What's the hell happening? And what's the most important? To find a murderer or to stop a murder? And who's that strange guy with a strange mask and stranger way of showing up?

I found it refreshing as story, it's different from the other books, definitely not something you see oftentimes. What's good in that story is to see Aiden's struggle, first to understand his situation, when obviously, it's not his first round. Then to see him trying to do things differently and sometimes failing. Which bring the question: are we doomed to always do the same things, given the same context?

So you'll have different mysteries to solve: who's the murderer, of course, whom can we trust, who behind that cruel masquerade, does one change overtime or is domed from the beginning... So much stuff happening and you'll have all your answer in the end!

In a nutshell, an intriguing, interesting and different story that'll make time fly!

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel. Thanks Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for the book!

Saturday 2 June 2018

The Night Market by Jonathan Moore

That book description had everything to hook me: some kind of strange disease, a FBI secret, a mysterious neighbor... I thought I was in for a great ride!

Well, I didn't go as far as I tough but it was all right nevertheless. The character are well written and likable, the tension was really there and the run to find who's behind everything was great.

Only thing that bore me was that there was maybe too much stuff going around. In the end, the description doesn't give any hint of what is really happening in the book which is more about a big old technological conspiration that about a mysterious disease.

Mia is the key to all the story so the investigation about the dead guy at the beginning and all the stuff with the FBI was not necessary.

Moore mastered the character's hide and seek part with the bad guys and I was really worried about them. His writing is great and does a lot to improve the quality of the book. What misses most maybe for the story is some context that could have help me to understand why Mia is hunted and why people react as they do.

The description 

From an author who consistently gives us “suspense that never stops” (James Patterson), a near-future thriller that makes your most paranoid fantasies seem like child’s play.

It’s late Thursday night, and Inspector Ross Carver is at a crime scene in one of the city’s last luxury homes. The dead man on the floor is covered by an unknown substance that’s eating through his skin. Before Carver can identify it, six FBI agents burst in and remove him from the premises. He’s pushed into a disinfectant trailer, forced to drink a liquid that sends him into seizures, and then is shocked unconscious.

On Sunday he wakes in his bed to find his neighbor, Mia—who he’s barely ever spoken to—reading aloud to him. He can’t remember the crime scene or how he got home; he has no idea two days have passed. Mia says she saw him being carried into their building by plainclothes police officers, who told her he’d been poisoned. Carver doesn’t really know this woman and has no way of disproving her, but his gut says to keep her close.

A mind-bending, masterfully plotted thriller that will captivate fans of Blake Crouch, China Miéville, and Lauren Beukes, The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened, soon realizing he’s entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on.

In a nutshell

A good book that could have been great if the author hadn't put all different kind of theories and conspirations in one story. It's a 3/5 for me. 

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Saturday 26 May 2018

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

I like stories that happen on two levels, or rather two periods, especially when the two periods are necessary to one another to better understand the plot or that one can solve the other. That's why I chose this book on NetGalley. 

In this case, from the first pages, I also knew that there would be more to the reading, what with the bit of supernatural and it was not to displease me. So I was thrilled! 

And did I find everything I expected from this book? Yes, in part. The two eras are not necessary to each other, except to give an excuse to Fiona to investigate this famous school for girls with multiple secrets and the two stories could have been written apart. And as for the supernatural side, although it serves to create a particular mood, it's also not useful to the story or the resolution of the two stories. But, aside from this little setback, I enjoyed every page of this book! 

1950, Idlewild Hall is not really the school you want to go to. Families send their daughters there because they are turbulent or because they have experienced trauma they'd rather hide / shut up. The teachers are like kapos and a really dismal atmosphere reigns in the school. A group of four girls, with very different stories, share a room and create a united family... until one of them disappears into general indifference. 

In 2014, Fiona hasn't still recover from the murder of her sister 20 years ago on Idlewild Hall grounds and discovers that the cursed school is to be renovated. She tries to find out why and by whom. Fortunately, between her father, a famous journalist who opens all the doors and her boyfriend, a policeman, she conducts her investigation masterfully. But then Fiona discovers secrets that some people would prefer to stay hidden. 

Simone St. James immerses us in the atmosphere of those stifling little towns where everyone knows each other, where labels hinder the search of truth and where a former police chief and his good old method can reign supreme. This novel talks about the pain of losing a loved one and the silence that can sometimes govern the lives of those affected, of unspoken ones within a family, within a city and a police force that must find ways to do better. She speaks of courage, to find the truth, to confront ones demons, to survive, and the means that some people take to survive.

What's the story?

The “clever and wonderfully chilling” (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare...

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears...

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won't be silenced...

In a nutshell

A good book with well written and intelligent characters. Three stories that could have been written separately, but that allow the author to address interesting topics. It's a 4/5 for me.

Saturday 27 January 2018

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

I have not read all of Jo Nesbo's books nor in the right order. So I was a little surprised to learn that Harry Hole had left the police to be a teacher. Nevertheless, you can read books in the order you want, without disturbing the reading or understanding of story. 

In The Thirst, Harry is called, with a lot of pressure, to resume service to track down an individual whose crimes and violence reminds him of his nemesis, the one that has always escaped him. He therefore agrees to return to service, to finish this chapter of his life. 

So we find the Harry we know but in a happier style than usual. Because Harry, for once, believes in the possibility of happiness. He is much more Zen and it changes but feels good. 

About the crimes, as bloodthirsty and vampiric as possible, and the story, always as well put together, they will keep you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end. Sure, it's not for the faint hearted what with the bloody details, but it's worth it. And what's more, I really liked being led by the nose by Jo, who, in a very Whodunit style, sows the clues, let us discover some protagonists's thoughts, lends them do some actions that can not be more suspicious, making me believe regularly that I had found the culprit. Ha ah! You wish!

What's the story?

THERE’S A NEW KILLER ON THE STREETS...A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

HE’S IN YOUR HOUSE… HE’S IN YOUR ROOMUnder pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.

HE’S OUT FOR BLOODWhen another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.

In a nutshell
The Thirst... as in the thirst for violence, blood, revenge but also the thirst for tranquility and happiness. This is a good title that Jo Nesbo has found here for a good novel that's very captivating. A book for thirsty... of thrills!

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Sunday 14 January 2018

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I don't really know why but I had some really preconceived ideas about Margaret Atwood. A lot of people describe her as a feminist and I was afraid that her texts would be too much like a feminist statement (yes that old anti-feminist idea of a soured woman who spits her venom)(knowing I'm kinda feminist it's quite stupid I know). So, I was never attracted by her books... till I watched (or in fact binged-watched) the TV show based on the book and I was hooked! Thus, I stop binge-watching before the last episode, went to buy the book and read it before watching the end of the TV show (knowing that the end could be different as there were talks of another season...)

So, as usual, the book and the TV show are not quite the same but I must say that the mood and anxiogenic world are! And the book, THE book!! What a great time I had reading it! The writing is excellent, fluid, pleasant and full of surprises. With just those sentences that punch you, that surprise you and bring something unexpected or on the contrary expected but a lot faster and sharply than you thought. 

Like that: 
Every night when I go to bed I think, In the morning I will wake up in my own house and things will be back the way they were.
It hasn't happened this morning either.
I love the fact that some dialogue are sometimes in Offred's head, mixed with her considerations and thoughts but it's always very clear and coherent. You don't ask yourself "but who is she talking to?" or "is she talking to someone or thinking?" It's really mastered and it gives a different rhythm, a lot more lively that when dialogue and thoughts are separated.   
But watch out, Commander, I tell him in my head. I've got my eye on you. One false move and I'm dead.
Still, it must be hell, to be a man, like that.
It must be just fine.
It must be hell.
It must be very silent.
I put my mouth to the wooden hole. Moira? I whisper.
Is that you? She says.
Yes, I say. Relief goes through me. 
God, do I need a cigarette, says Moira. 
Me too, I say. 
I feel ridiculously happy. 
And I loved these thoughtful sentences
Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. 
Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn?

In a nutshell, I really like that book, its writing, its characters so well written, its story, dystopian and so realistic at the same time. 

I was talking about the hyper current subject of the book and a friend of mine was saying that it was not that terrible, that we, as women from western countries, can't complain, that we live in a free and modern society, that it couldn't happen to us... But what does that book talk about? About the place of women in a society ruled by men. Then, of course, we don't live in a country where we can't work, nor have a bank account... but do I need to remember that women's freedom to choose their work or to open an account dates back to 1964 in Quebec and 1965 in France? Not even, just look at what's going on in the USA (and even in Quebec and France now) with all those women who say #meetoo and you'll see that for some, the body of a woman is just an object... 

So, I won't start a feminist debate here but I just want to emphasize the importance of book like The Handmaid's Tale to make us think and become aware that all is not won and everything can be lost. 

As for the story in itself, I must say that I was a bit disappointed by the half-hearted end. There's hope but for Offred it's kinda vague. And I do love a frank ending: it ends well or not but it's just for me. If you love or you're ok with vague ending, you'll love that epilogue! 

Sunday 17 September 2017

The Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

Jonathan Caine, a true self-satisfied rich guy, is forced by some struck of bad luck to come back home and to live with his parents. At home, he meets back with the former prom queen, Jackie, who never laid an eye on him. But now, seing him so successful she accepts to date him and they fall in love. Problem is, Jackie is married and the husband is jealous (and a prick). And then something bad happens and Jonathan and Jackie fight for their freedom and happy end.

What's great in that book is following Jonathan's change from prick to good guy. At the beginning, everything is about what he can spend, what he can have, his career, his luck but then living again at home and with all that's happening he remembers what it's like to be a good guy and begins his journey to being more careful and mindful of people. And that's quite fun to read and witness.

However, even if I liked seing how Cain fight for Jackie, even if the writing was good, the story ok and the book reads quickly, the whole story was not that captivating, mainly because I never really find the characters interesting. The whole story is kind of a cliché with the former prom queen who fell from grace and the former looser who became successful enough to interest her.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson

The Never-Open Desert Diner is not quite your usual crime fiction book. We follow Ben, a private trucker, who mainly delivers on one route, the 117, which is not your usual road. Almost nobody drives through that road and only the regulars feel like it's safe to take it. Ben knows everybody on that road and we learn to know about the people living near that road along his deliveries. He knows everybody... but one woman. She plays cello, is quite beautiful, free and wild and Ben falls for her. But then strange things happen, new people take the 117 and their intentions are quite unclear.

What's good about that book has a lot to do with the atmosphere, It's strange, quite oppressive, dangerous, captivating and we're never sure what will happen. It reminds me of small town where everybody knows everybody's secrets but nobody talks about them. Except here, secrets a far more explosive! The characters are well done, they're all very different, from the two brothers who live like shut off, Walt the diner's owner or John and his cross. Each of them has a story, a background that we fully know.

So that book is not juste a plot (even if it was good : what will happen with the strange people coming, what do they want?) but a lot of characters, each one intriguing or interesting or sweet or just plainly appalling! And that road! It feels like a character by itself, what with the desert mood it gives.

In a nutshell, not a book for readers who like a solid plot but a captivating book for readers who prefer characters and an atmosphere à la Bagdad Café (or Out of Rosenheimover action.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.