ARC Review: Simon Grey And The March Of A Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski

Author: Charles Kowalski
Release Date: 1st August 2019
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Historical, Travel
SeriesSimon Grey (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 192
Publisher: Excalibur Books
Blurb:
Alone and lost in haunted Japan…

Japan, 1620: A mysterious shipwreck has left cabin boy Simon Grey stranded in an unfamiliar, dangerous land.

He hoped that a long sea voyage would provide some relief from his “gift” of seeing ghosts everywhere on land. Instead, he finds that his ability draws him into the shadowy world of yokai, the spirits and monsters that roam Japan by night. Together with the mysterious Oyuki, daughter of an English sailor-turned-samurai, Simon must earn the yokai’s trust and help, while staying one step ahead of the Shogun’s guards and an evil sorcerer determined to discover the “secret” of Simon’s powers.

As they struggle to stay alive and find a way home, Simon and Oyuki deal with friends and foes from both sides of the grave.

Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts is a gripping fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and Young Samurai.

REVIEW

★★★★

Simon Grey And The March Of A Hundred Ghosts by Charles Kowalski is a beautiful historical story set in the backdrop of Japan, laced with unlimited adventure, which proved to be an absolute entertainer.  I enjoyed reading this book because it had the perfect characterization a solid and unique concept and good writing style. It had all the elements to make it a complete and fun read.

The writing style was simple yet effective and the story flowed pretty well from the beginning to end. The pacing was even and the tension created had a great graph. The book was culturally rich and provided keen insights into Japan’s history all the time carefully managing not to get too overly informative.

Overall it was a really enjoyable book and I’d recommend it to all readers who enjoy reading adventure stories in historical settings, especially the readers who like exploring new cultrues.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

Author: Minka Kent
Release Date: 9th April 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 256
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.
Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.
As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.
To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.
Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Stillwater Girlsby Minka Kent is one of those few books that managed to grab my attention on NetGalley with a beautiful blurb and cover image when I was trying hard not to request any new titles at all. I was very excited to read this book and finally when I dove in expecting a mind-blowing thriller, I ended up marking it as another disappointing DNF read.

For some reason, I was not able to get past the first 8% of the book. Even though I really wanted to read this book, a couple of intolerable things led me to abandon this book even though when I almost made up my mind to simply skim over the pages in order to at least find out the mystery:

  1. Chapters full of fragmented sentences for exposition which led to overtreatment of a technique I otherwise love and use in my own works.
  2. Excessive foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is good, necessary even in thrillers for building suspense, but here it was too much.
  3. I felt forced by the author to feel sympathetic to the girls living alone. It felt like the girls themselves (or at least the POV one) were screaming at the readers to feel sorry for them and their conditions. As a result, I simply felt irritation and nothing more.
  4. focus on the unnecessary details and overall, the writing felt immature; it felt like the author wanted to go for Gillian Flynn’s writing style but ended up totally botching it up.

All in all, I think this book has a lot of potential in terms of the plot, or so the blurb has led me to believe but failed miserably.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and NetGalley

ARC Review: Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown

Author: L.M. Brown
Release Date: 15th March 2019
Genre: Short Story Collection, World Fiction
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 206
Publisher: Fomite
Blurb:
The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later.

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown is a beautiful collection of short stories about a small town in Ireland in the early ’80s and ’90s. I had a very good time reading this book and the thing I found most impressive about this story collection is that each and every story bore a plethora of emotions that were very real and relatable. Being from a small town myself, I enjoy books that display the lives of people in small towns, the highs and the lows of living in a close-knit and ever-watching society. So I really enjoyed this book.

All the stories were related in some way or the other and so they felt more like chapters than individual stories which was another thing that I liked as this made the overall theme more interesting. The characterization was good, the writing was good and the pacing was very good. I’d say this book would make for an excellent coffee table book.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who loves exploring new cultures and distinct works fo literature.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

description

But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

description

Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

description

AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

ARC Review: Extinction 6 by Hosein Kouros-Mehr

Author: Hosein Kouros-Mehr
Release Date: 12th December 2018
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 305
Publisher:
Blurb:
By mid-century, Arctic oil drilling accelerates global warming and triggers famine and world war. A team of scientists launches Project Titan to reverse climate change and end fossil fuel addiction. Without a radical solution, humanity faces catastrophe.Earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway. One hope remains.

Review

★★★★

Extinction 6 by Hosein Kouros-Mehr is a very well-written dystopian read that highlights one of the most serious issues that threatens the entire planet.

First off, the book was a fantastic read – it was equal parts enjoyable, interesting and thought-provoking. Once I started the book, I was easily able to flow through the pages at a very fast speed which says a lot about the smooth flow of the writing and the simple yet effective use of the language. The plot progression was good and the pacing decent.

I liked the characterization, though I wasn’t able to overly connect or relate to the protagonist. Still, I enjoyed the story enough to not have a big problem with it and overall it was a very good read.

I enjoyed the book right until the very end and want to keep exploring more titles by the author. I’d recommend this book to all dystopian and sci-fi reads and to those who take a special interest in the main subject – climate change.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon (not yet available on the ‘Zon)

ARC Review: How To Walk Away By Katherine Centre

Author: Katherine Center
Release Date: 15th May 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 320
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Blurb:
From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best—a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

Praise for How to Walk Away:

“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” —Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

“If you just read one book this year,
read How to Walk Away.” —Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love“Sympathetic and refreshing!” —Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man

“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jenny Lawson, bestselling author ofFuriously Happy

Review

★★★★+1/2

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center is a beautiful book about loss, love, courage and hope that has a lot to offer to its readers apart from an exceptional story.

I am so glad that I read this book! It is a really, really good book and has taught me a lot of things about forgiveness – which definitely doesn’t come easy, loss – which does hurt a lot, and hope – which, even though difficult to hold onto, can turn around one’s life.

This book had a delightful mixture of a well thought-out storyline, a string of not only believable and realistic but also very relatable characters, very engaging yet simple writing with an exceptional sense of humour and an excellent ending.

What I really loved about this book was that the author didn’t sugarcoat things, she put things forward the way they are in real life, but she did it so without being overdramatic. I generally shy away from reading books with illness/medical situations because most of the authors present the pain in such horrific (sometimes honest, sometimes not) details and the overall experiences, more often than not, leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. That said, if done right, these books are nothing short of magic because they have a lot of lessons and takeaways along with a good story (which, as a reader, is always the main thing for me.) For example, I loved John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, but I didn’t really like Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything.

I’d recommend this book not only to all the contemporary fiction readers but to anyone and everyone who wants to read a really, really good book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads, Netgalley and Amazon