Thursday, April 9, 2015

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy



House of EchoesA young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family?

This book began with such promise, but it ended up feeling flat. The premise was the kind that I enjoy: a secluded house in a small village, full of mystery and touches of horror. The problem is that the plot is really not all that original. 

The characters were nothing out of the ordinary, and except for Charlie, they did not come to life the way the reader needs in order to feel connected to them. There is a lot of backstory that we are missing about their lives, so we really can’t engage with them too much. The villagers are cookie-cutter side characters who attempt to bring a sense of menace to the story but don’t always succeed, mainly because they are interchangeable. They leave the reader with lots of unanswered questions.

Although there are some moments that do chill the reader the conclusion is just not satisfying. The author does a pretty good job with the pacing towards the beginning, but fumbles it at the end, so that we are rushing to the conclusion much too quickly. 

This was an entertaining book up to the last couple of chapters when everything was revealed. There are some nice moments that will keep your reading, but overall it’s not one I would pick up again.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What was your favorite book as a child?

I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes when I was nine years old and completely fell in love with Holmes. For a long, long, time this was my absolute favorite book in the world. Holmes and Watson are characters I feel I have known forever. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favorite lesson learned, or quote, from a recent book you’ve read?

I recently read Barracuda by
“I want two scars, one on each of my shoulder blades.”
He shrugged in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“Two scars,” I repeated, “for where my wings used to be, where my wings were torn away from me.”

Monday, March 16, 2015

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week… 
 THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: How often do you use your local library? Are you happy with their availability?

I don't use the library as much anymore. I used to go every Saturday to the nearest branch to my home and look for new things to read, but that was before I started receiving so many review books. Now I usually have more than enough to read at home!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Who (or what) influences your reading most?

I'm not really influenced by anything or anyone these days when it comes to reading. I tend to read whatever catches my eye. Once in a while, I'll glance through "Best of" lists to find something new to read.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

BarracudaHe asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close.

His whole life, Danny Kelly's only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he's ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny's win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he's Barracuda, he's the psycho, he's everything they want to be but don't have the guts to get there. He's going to show them all.

He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.

Should we teach our children to win, or should we teach them to live? How do we make and remake our lives? Can we atone for our past? Can we overcome shame? And what does it mean to be a good person?




This is one of the most moving and exquisite novels I’ve read in a long while. The author offers an incredibly authentic voice in his flawed protagonist, Danny Kelly, which lingers in the reader’s mind long after the last page is done. 

The writing is relentlessly poignant. It is honest in a manner that is sometimes difficult to read, but offers some gorgeous sentences that resonate with anyone who has ever strived for something and somehow lost their way. The manner in which the author told the story also adds to the many dimensions this novel has to offer. It takes the reader back and forth through time, tingeing the victories of Kelly’s early life with the knowledge the reader has of what is to come. The last couple of pages, in particular, are difficult to read, but give the novel the perfect ending.

The honesty of the writing might not for everyone. The author does not shy away from anything, which makes the novel both exciting and brutal to read. 

This is a novel that I will be recommending to everyone for a long time. With its compelling story and a protagonist that leaps off the page, this one is a must read.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Musing Mondays



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What’s your favorite genre? Why?

I love horror novels, especially Gothic horror. Give me Dracula, or The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I am a happy, happy reader.