Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her EyesBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm struggling with reviewing this novel. On the one hand, it's really good in terms of suspense and movement. On the other hand, the ending kind of killed it for me. I don't really get the whole comparison to Gone Girl ... in my opinion, Gone Girl is much better executed than this one. This one felt as if the author gave up much of the very things that could have helped her to keep the reader guessing too early. Although the overall suspense was great, there were a number of areas that could have been used more effectively. However, I think the ending just killed the entire novel for me. It just didn't connect in that way an ending should. Was is successful? Probably. But, it didn't feel solid to me. And I don't think it would be possible for anyone to figure out the ending from the content of the novel which I guess is a good thing with this type of book. And perhaps that is exactly why it didn't work for me. I'm glad that I read it but it won't be one that I'll be recommending all over the place
like I did with Gone Girl. If you're a suspense fan, you should pick this up. If you're looking for the next Gone Girl, you may be disappointed. Many are loving this one so give it a shot if it sounds appealing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Review: Always by Sarah Jio

AlwaysAlways by Sarah Jio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked the premise of this novel - I'm always a fan of stories of lost love. The premise of this one was right up my alley - a soon to be married woman encounters someone she used to love on the street ... and he's homeless. As she tries to understand how he came to be on the street, she uncovers a lot of interesting information. This is a novel of suspense as well as a romance. You learn about her past relationship as well as her current relationship and watch her as she begins to try to put all the pieces together. I found it to be sweet and it kept me interested. It's not what I'd call great literature but it was a quite nice story with interesting characters. I love how it took place in the 1990s in Seattle. Definitely a time frame that I can relate to as I came to age in the 1990s. I'm seeing a lot of mixed reviews among friends but I think I particularly related to this one given the time frame and the fact that it focuses on someone coming to terms with a previous relationship. Personally, I really enjoyed this story and these characters. I think it was pretty interesting and I enjoyed my time in the world that Sarah Jio created with this novel.

NOTE: I received this novel in e-galley format from the publisher for an honest review.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Review: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

The SleepwalkerThe Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a love/hate relationship with Chris Bohjalian. I either love his novels or I just don't get them. This one was a bit in the middle for me. I liked it but I didn't love it. I loved the concept of the novel - the description sounded fascinating. My primary issues with the novel are two-fold. One thing is the pacing of the novel overall. It felt like a slow burn ... it unfolded very quietly. Which isn't always a bad thing but it didn't work for me in this novel. In some ways, it almost felt like I was sleepwalking through the book. It felt sleepy and hazy in some way. Secondly, the big mystery wasn't such a mystery to me. I suspected 'who done it' long before it was revealed. And it wasn't a far jump to identify the perpetrator. It didn't feel as intricate as it could have been to make the reader feel something about what happened. If you have any interest in sleep disorders, this might be an interesting read for you. I think the exploration of sleep issues was one of the bright spots in this novel. If you're a big Bohjalian fan, I also think this one is worth picking up. However, if you need a ton of action and fast pacing, this might not work as well for you.

NOTE: I received a galley of this novel from the publisher for an honest review.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review: The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny

The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3)The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think that I may have enjoyed this Louise Penny novel the most of the three I've read in this series. It almost felt like this one went a little deeper than the two previous novels. I also found the actual murder mystery to be a bit more compelling with this one. I still didn't find this one to knock it out of the park BUT I do think it was very readable and makes me want to continue with the series. I keep hearing that it starts to pick up at book 4 so I'm eager to see if that's the case. I did enjoy getting to know the various characters a bit more - the character development aspect was stellar and I found myself connecting with them more than in the earlier books. I'm eager to see how things go with the next book.

Review: Break in Case of Emergency by Jessica Winter

Break in Case of EmergencyBreak in Case of Emergency by Jessica Winter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a solid read but I wouldn't call it a favorite. It's well written and there were definitely some laugh out loud moments - especially in the context of today's working world. There is a strong mix of workplace comedy/satire and family/friend complex relationships. Jessica Winter did an amazing job of portraying an unhealthy work place as well as the difficulty of infertility. I really appreciate the way she portrayed friendship and marriage in this novel. It felt very real to me. It was certainly a well-written novel but, at times, it felt a bit too show-offy in terms of language. That gave it a bit of a less realistic feeling at moments. I wish the characters, especially the supporting characters, had more dimension. In the end, I felt as if the novel tried to be too many things at one time - a workplace satire, an intense exploration of marraige and friendship, the struggle of being an artist, and more. Although I liked it, I do think it's going to be a novel that isn't going to stick in my mind for the long term.