#WWWWednesday: 29 January

Welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Well, finally my “just finished reading” pile is looking a little bit more lively than earlier on in the month and lookie! That’s three e-ARCs done and dusted 🥳 I’ve been whining a lot about how sick I’ve been lately but being cooped up in the hotel room meant I was able to read more than I expected to!

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman ★★★★☆
This conclusion went in a direction that I didn’t expect but it was wholly satisfying! I wish that the original characters, Citra and Rowan, got way more face-time than they did in this conclusion, but I did appreciate the new POVs that we’re introduced to. I was particularly fond of Jericho! All the pressing questions were answered and Shusterman ends it in such a way that short spin-offs can be made in the future! Check out my full review here.

(e-ARC) Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo by Stacy King, Crystal S. Chan ★★★★½
The Count of Monte Cristo is one heckuva intimidating tome but after reading this manga classic I’m very eager to pick up the original novel! King & Chan did an amazing job at condensing a complex story into a 400-page manga, while still retaining the essence of the story and presenting it in a clear and logical order. Would highly recommend reading this if you’re intimidated by the original! Check out my full review here.

(e-ARC) Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4) by Rachel Caine ★★★½
Bitter Falls was a fast-paced and action-packed story full of what we’ve come to expect from Caine in this series — there’s family drama, an intriguing mystery, lots of killing, explosions and near-death experiences, and a somewhat happy ending. This was an enjoyable continuation of the Stillhouse Lake series but after reading this, I think my time with Gwen and her familia has run its course. The continuing over-the-top drama seems just a little too unbelievable for me now. Check out my full review here.

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim ★★★★½
Why did I wait so long to read this one? I don’t know but I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed it! While it wasn’t perfect there was certainly a lot to love (imo). I didn’t think I would get so attached to Maia and Edan but I really did and I was a solid shipper! What I did want was a better understanding of the magic though. Also, I’m gutted that I didn’t double check the release date for book two because now I must suffer waiting until July?! Check out my full review here.

(e-ARC) How to Build A Heart by Maria Padian ★★★★☆
The more I let this book sink in I realise I enjoyed it more than I didn’t. Does that sound weird? Maybe. I had some issues with the MC, Izzy, and how one of the main friendships was treated and while I wasn’t 100% pleased with the resolution of that conflict I also recognise that her character experiences satisfying growth by the end. She made questionable decisions but she’s also a teenager and I know I wasn’t immune to making more than my fair share of those! I thought the cultural representation was well done and was the most enjoyable aspect of the story for me. Padian delivers a sincere and well-written coming of age story full of family, friendships, finding yourself and learning where your heart belongs. Review coming very soon!

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 29 January”

Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4) by Rachel Caine – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4)
Publish date: 21 January 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Panda Rating:

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

Bitter Falls is just as intense and action packed as the first three books in the Stillhouse Lake series. Once again we’re swept up in a high-stakes thrilling drama as Gwen and her family face harassment from a town that shuns them, harrowing messages from trolls that want to see them grievously harmed, and getting caught in the cross-fires of the latest case that Gwen has been assigned in her new job. I’ve been a big fan of this series ever since I read the first book and I’ve truly come to appreciate all the main characters (Gwen, Sam, Lanny and Connor), as well as the recurring side characters in the series (Javi, Kezia, Agent Lustig etc.)

Continue reading “Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4) by Rachel Caine – #eARC #BookReview”

ARC Review: Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine

Goodreads: Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake #3)
Publish date: 23 April 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★☆

Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What would you do if you found out that your husband and the father of your children was a serial killer who tortured and brutally murdered countless women under the same roof you lived in? Would it be impossible to believe that you had absolutely no clue that all of this was taking place? What if you were implicated as a partner to his crimes? How far would you go to keep your life together and your children safe from the thousands of people who don’t believe in your innocence? That is the reality Gwen Proctor and her two kids have to live with. After escaping his clutches and saving her family, Gwen tries to create a life of normality for her children’s sake. However, try as she might, she is unable to escape the sick internet “vigilantes” that want nothing more than to see revenge for her ex’s crimes. Then one day, she receives a call from a frightened woman asking for help, which leads Gwen and her family to a remote forest town near Wolfhunter River, that turns out to be rotten to its core. As enemies come crawling out of the darkness from all sides, the fight for their safety and their lives begins once more.

This is the third book in the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine. Just as with the first two books, I simply could not put this down and stayed up late to finish it in the wee hours of the morning. Was the creep factor high? Definitely. But not so high that I couldn’t fall asleep after reading it.

This fast paced read delivers endless high intensity scenes one after another. Caine does an awfully good job at highlighting the depravity of human beings and often times it’s a little distressing to read about the extent of cruelty we so easily inflict upon one another–especially when we believe we are acting with justice. The author goes to prove the dangers of the “pack mentality” and how easy it is for strangers, and even those who were your friends, to turn with the tide against you. In protesting against someone’s innocence, others can come to think and act just as cruelly as the murderers themselves—“an eye for an eye”, and all that.

While reading I couldn’t help but shout in anger and grind my teeth in frustration at the situations Gwen and her family are placed in. My heart ached as they continually tried to find peace in a world that wishes them nothing but ill, and even death. One of my favorite things about this series is the strength of Gwen’s character. She’s smart, fierce, and although incredibly paranoid, she proves time and again just how far she’ll go to protect her family and the people she loves. She’s truly a badass that rises up time and again, when it would be simple to take the easy way out. Her children are also strong resilient characters as a result of having to deal with a life that has been so cruel to them.

The plot of Wolfhunter River was less straightforward than the first two books, with various storylines being introduced and the connection between them only revealed in the last 20% of the book. I actually felt that it was just a little bit too much to be plausible, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. You definitely have to pay more attention to keep it all straight though! It was gratifying to have some of my theories be correct—and I had many theories as I read! Rachel Caine does a great job intertwining the various storylines into jaw-dropping reveals and delivering a satisfying final showdown.

I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a good, quick, and thrilling read! Although I definitely think reading the first two books would be better than jumping straight into this one, you can still following along, as the author incorporates the backstory quite well; but you’d be missing out on a lot, and where’s the fun in that?

Have you read any books in the Stillhouse Lake series?