goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Final Girls
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: horror
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 112
Date read: March, 2017

What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they've been missing their whole lives - while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But... can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father's life. She's determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb's budding company. Dr. Webb's willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther's not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other's only hope of survival.

The first stand-alone stort-story / novella I've read by Mira Grant (all the others have been in her Newsflesh universe), and it reminded me why I prefer longer novels in order to flesh out the universe more. I loved the premise of the story (revisiting problems via dreams and augmented reality), but thought the writing could have been better. The suspenseful part of the story wasn't nearly as powerful as it would have been, if you'd gotten to know the characters better, and I missed some sort of proper resolution / explanation at the end.

Still, Mira Grant always writes stories worth reading, and despite my small complaints I did enjoy the book and am as always eager to read more from her hand.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Darker Side (Smoky Barrett #3)
Author: Cody McFadyen
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 379
Date read: March 2017

A lie, a long-ago affair, a dark desire—everyone has secrets they take to the grave. No one knew that better than FBI special agent Smoky Barrett. But what secret was a very private young woman keeping that led to her very public murder? And what kind of killer was so driven and so brazenly daring that he’d take her life on a commercial airliner thirty thousand feet in midair, a killer so accomplished that he’d leave only a small souvenir behind?

I think I've been reading too many of these too close to each other. It was still really good, but a) it gets a bit repetitive. b) it becomes increasingly difficult to find something new to write about the books.

But I liked it. It was a quick read, even if a rather disturbing one. I liked the extra insight into Stormy's psyche, even if I did think there ought to have been hints in the earlier books. It seemed a bit too much like it was just invented for this one.

I still want to read more books in this series, but think I may just take a small break before the next one.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Obsession
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 464
Date read: February 2017

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton - gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret - and won't let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor's identity, before it's too late.

Nora Roberts writes ridiculously readable books, and this one was no exception. In fact, I think it may be the best book I've read by her so far. I was immediately drawn into the story, and enjoyed following Naomi through childhood, teenagedom to early adulthood. Quite often in books I'll find that one of those is decidedly more interesting than the others, but not so here.

I liked that though Naomi went through some utterly horrible things, this wasn't the kind of book where everybody was an asshole and she had to learn to manage by herself. While they can still be good, such books tend to drain me, because it gets exhausting reading about how one person goes through one horrible thing after another. In this one, Naomi went through some horrible things, to be sure, but she also had people who loved her and looked out for her. That, combined with all the awesome descriptions of the house she bought and restored almost made "The Obsession" feel like a comfort book in parts - despite the awful subject matter.

I'd guessed the twist ahead of time, but that didn't matter as it was still well executed. I loved the uncles, Mason, Xander, Kevin, Jenny, Tag, and pretty much everybody else at Point Bluff. I love reading about communities where people are actually nice to each other. Not angels, but just generally kind human beings.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Fatal Shadows (Adrien English Mysteries, #1
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 198
Date read: February, 2017

One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.

Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien's shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.

Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer's list.

I was actually surprised by how much I liked it, and kept finding excuses to read more. I can't even quite explain why, as the plot itself was fairly straight-forward, but the writing kept me interested, and I was satisfied by the ending, even if I had seen it coming ahead of time. I used to say that I don't like whodunnits, but I think it's probably safer to say that I'm very picky when it comes to that genre. I'm not a fan of Agatha Christie and that ilk, but love crime novels that read like an episode of CSI or similar. This was closer to the latter (despite the main character being a possible victim rather than a cop) and kept me nicely entertained for all 198 pages.

It's a very quick read, and nicely contained, even if it does pave the way for more books in the series.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett #2)
Author: Cody McFadyen
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 475 pages
Date read: February 2017

A sixteen-year old girl holds a gun to her head at the scene of a grisly triple homicide. She claims "The Stranger" killed her adoptive family, that he's been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her. But Special Agent Smoky Barrett does. Her team has been hand-picked from amont the nation's elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they'll have to be to deal with this case.

For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death: an "artist" who's molding Sarah into the perfect victim - and the ultimate weapon. To catch him, Smoky is going to have to put her own fragile, once-shattered life on the line. For The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too determined. And when he finally shows his face, Smoky had better be ready to face her worst fear.

Almost as good as the first book in the series! I had a few more problems with the ending than I did with the first book, but thought the plot as a whole every bit as tightly written and executed. No odd translation errors in this one either! ;)

What happened to Sarah broke my heart, which is probably why I didn't find the ending satisfying enough, but I hope to hear more about her in the next book - much like we did with Bonnie in this one.

It's a fast ride, and hard to put down. I've already gotten my hands on the next book in the series.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Chemist
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 518 pages
Date read: January, 2017

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn't even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They've killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it's her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

I'd forgotten how utterly awesome it is to disappear into a brilliant book for a weekend, and not return for air until the very last page is turned. This is the best book I've read in a very long time - let me put it this way, if "The Chemist" isn't an automatic shoe-in for the "Top 10 of 2017" list, I will have had a very amazing reading year indeed!

I was a bit hesitant at first. It had been sold to me as a crime novel, and they have to be very good for me to like them - J.K. Rowling certainly didn't manage - but "The Host" is among my favourite books, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Well! Whoever sold it as crime fiction was dead-wrong. Suspense, yes. Crime - no. Instead we got a thrilling "escape from the government" story with lots of action and humour thrown in (and yes, a love-story. Not sure Meyer knows how to write books without them, but it was believable and it WASN'T a love-triangle, so I didn't mind).

I had a very, VERY hard time putting it down for the night (stayed up much too late Saturday for "just one more chapter"), and totally disagree with the reviews calling it boring - I was hooked from the very first page.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett #1)
Author: Cody McFadyen
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 396 pages
Date read: January 2017

Once, Special Agent Smoky Barrett hunted serial killers for the FBI. She was one of the best - until a madman terrorized her family, killed her husband and daughter, and left her face scarred and her soul brutalized. Turning the tables on the killer, Smoky shot him dead - but her life was shattered forever.

Now Smoky dreams about picking up her weapon again. She dreams about placing the cold steel between her lips and pulling the trigger one last time. Because for a woman who's lost everything, what is there left to lose?

She's about to find out.

In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him - a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers' attempts to understand him. And he's issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live.

The killer videotaped his latest crime - an act of horror that left a child motherless - then sent a message addressed to Agent Smoky Barrett. The message is enough to shock Smoky back to work, back to her FBI team. And that child awakens something in Smoky she thought was gone forever.

Suddenly the stakes are raised. The game has changed. For as this deranged monster embarks on an unspeakable spree of perversion and murder, Smoky is coming alive again - and she's about to face her greatest fears as a cop, a woman, a mother... and a merciless killer's next victim.

Brilliant page-turner that made short work of the long commutes I had between Denmark and Sweden last week.

I'm very taken with crime shows like CSI, Criminal minds etc. and apparently that translates to books as well. I was instantly taken with Smoky and the rest of her team, and enjoyed reading about all the work that has to be done in order to investigate crime scenes, follow up on leads, analyse evidence etc. The crimes themselves were horrid and gruesome, but while absolutely fascinating, the book itself wasn't as scary as I'd thought it might have been... still very difficult to put down, however.

Very well written, and most of the time well translated as well, so mentally correcting the translator didn't constantly pull me out of the story - I mostly completely forgot I was reading a book in translation. There were two very obvious exceptions though, with some glaring mistakes that really ought to have been caught by the editor or proof-reader:

First the translator obviously didn't know the two meanings of "to start", meaning that "Smoky started and..." was translated with "Smoky began and..." instead of "Smoky was startled and..." - making for a rather confusing sentence until I puzzled it out.

At another point, Smoky and her best friend were described as having been each others' "ladies in waiting"... I'm pretty sure the original text said "maids [of honour]" instead.

Fairly minor issues though, and in the end didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. And for once I wasn't too disappointed by the way the unsub was finally caught... in this case, it seemed like the only way it really could end.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 320 pages
Date read: December, 2016

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

Absolutely thrilling book. I could NOT put it down and read it in just two sittings (would have been one if it hadn't been for work). Told by multiple narrators (and not all reliable ones) it had me guessing till the very end.

It would have been a solid 5 star book... but unfortunately I did NOT care for the last two pages. That was a twist I could happily have done without and which (I felt) was totally unnecessary for the book. So that knocked it down a star, but I'd still consider it one of the best thrillers I've read all year.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Deception Point
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 585
Date read: November, 2016

Rachel Sexton works for the National Reconnaissance Office as an intelligence officer. She is also the daughter of a Senator currently running for President. Her father's main offensive, and a very popular one, against the incumbent President is to attack the huge amount of NASA funding. Rachel is barely on speaking terms with her father, believing him to be totally corrupt, but is still worried she is being used by the President when he asks her to verify an amazing find by NASA, a find which will settle the arguments about NASA funding for ever.

Reluctantly agreeing to view the find Rachel is whisked off to the North Pole. What she finds once she gets there takes her breath away. However, she quickly learns that nothing is what it seems, and, with two civilian scientists, is soon fleeing for her life. Stranded on an ice berg they are rescued in the nick of time by a nuclear submarine, but once back in the US their attempts to expose the plot show them that they can trust absolutely no one...

Better than I'd expected, but of course it helps that I know nothing about the technologies described. Dan Brown likes to claim he knows everything about the things he describes in his books, but my experience so far has been that he really doesn't... artistic license is all well and good, but now when you start the book off with an authors note saying that "Everything exists exactly as described in this book" - WHEN THAT'S JUST NOT TRUE!!!

*Cough* Sorry, I got side-tracked. Like I said, I know nothing about the techs described in this book, so the inaccuracies didn't bother me, as I could just ignore them. The funny thing about Dan Brown's books (at least the ones I've read so far), is that the plot itself is seldom anything special, but his writing is so action-packed that it pulls the reader through the pages anyway. And even though I recognized his antics for what they were here, I didn't really mind, and still wanted to know what happened next!

There were a few twists and turns in this book... some I'd guessed ahead of time, others I hadn't. It seemed rather far-fetched in places, but I'd gone into it knowing that I probably shouldn't fact-check too much, and as a whole, I rather enjoyed it. Not really a book that lends itself to rereading though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 351
Date read: November, 2016

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.

You'd like to get to know Grace better.

But it's difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn't work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

This is one of those books that's almost impossible to rate. It was ridiculously well-written, and I could neither put it down, nor stop thinking about it when I finally did. I read it in two days flat.

At the same time, it was incredibly disturbing. Parts of it made me physically sick to my stomach, others I had to skim through, as I couldn't handle reading them. At one point I seriously considered just leaving it, as it made me feel so awful to read.

But I had to know what happened.

Fortunately it improved. Reading about a person being broken is never fun. Reading about a broken person learning how to fight back immensely more satisfying. I wouldn't go as far as to say I enjoyed it, and I certainly cannot recommend it in good faith, but I'm glad I stuck with it, and was happier with the ending than I'd expected to be.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Woman in Cabin 10
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 352
Date read: September, 2016

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for - and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong...

Wow! That was quite a ride... and I had no idea what to expect when I first started it, which just made it even better.

"The Woman in Cabin 10" is the kind of suspense novel I enjoy the most - where the mystery is slowly unraveled, and seemingly inexplicable events turn out to have a very good reason indeed. No leaps of logic and - more importantly - no supernatural events, no dreams and no split-personality issues!

I liked the way the story unfolded, and loved that it took part on a cruise ship, as they have always fascinated me. Most of the book takes place inside Lo's head, so we don't get to know the other characters as much as I would have liked, but because of the way the story is written, it actually works, without becoming too 'navel gazing'.

Great book. I had a very hard time putting it down. People compare it to "The Girl on the Train", but personally I think it's heaps better :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Søvnen og døden (Niels Bentzon #2) (Sleep and Death)
Author: A.J. Kazinski
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 490 pages
Date read: September, 2016

The hostage negotiator at Copenhagen Police, Niels Bentzon, should have been able to talk her out of it. Talk her out of jumping down on the train tracks. But he couldn't. But who was she? What caused her to jump? Somebody or something was after her - something that made her prefer death to life.

Soon Niels realizes that the woman wasn't a mentally ill woman, but a solo dancer at the Royal Ballet who's been missing for two days. And the autopsy reveals something else - the woman has been drowned and revived several times just before her jump.

This was a surprisingly slow read. I liked it well enough, and thought the premise fascinating (man trying to kill and revive people in order to get answers from a dead relative), but it was just too easy to put down and not pick up again.

Niels' way of working annoyed me - it always bothers me when policemen in books and movies get an idea and decide to run with it themselves, instead of following policy and wait for backup. You know it's going to get them into trouble sooner or later - trouble which could so easily have been avoided.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Before the Fall
Author: Noah Hawley
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 390 pages
Date read: August, 2016

On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs—the painter—and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members—including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot—the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

I heard about this book through a podcast and was instantly intrigued - it sounded absolutely fascinating. Fortunately I got the chance to pick it up just a few days later, and after a bit of a faulty start, I was hooked and couldn't put it down.

"Before the Fall" is the story of a plane crash. All but two passengers died.

But why did the plane crash? Was it a technical error? A human error? Or was it murder? And if so, who was the target?

The book alternates between chapters focusing on one of the survivors and how he's treated after the crash, and chapters focusing on one or more of the passengers or crew members of the flight - trying to uncover the truth about what happened.

It's definitely a character-driven book more than a plot-driven one, but it's extremely well written and had me hooked till the very last page. A great book with a very satisfying ending.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Tempus Investigations
Author: Claus Holm
Genre: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 228
Date read: August, 2016

Jim Corrigan died in 1933... but he returned to life. Now, he can't die.

Through the first season, Jim and his friends matches wits with the supernatural side of San Francisco, making both new friends - and a few enemies.

Tempus Investigations mixes the world of TV and books, making a unique kind of story - a fan fiction so elaborate it needed to create the show itself. In this book, you'll find the first four episodes, which form Season 1.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of TV crime shows (Criminal Minds, Law & Order, CSI, Bones... they're all my jam), so a fictional version sounded very intriguing! Also, I liked the idea of reading fanfiction for a show that doesn't even exist :)

Fortunately, it worked well. I really liked Jim and his friends, and though there were definitely some "episodes" I was fonder of than others, I would absolutely tune in for the second season.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Runaway Jury
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 565 pages
Date read: July, 2016

Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake begins routinely, then swerves mysteriously off course.

The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juror is convinced he's being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors' increasingly odd behavior.

Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more importantly, why?

I was a huge John Grisham fan back in the day, but it has been literally years since I read anything by him last. Recently I felt inspired to reread "The Runaway Jury" and was once again reminded of how ridiculously readable books he writes.

I did have a problem with the main premise of the book though. It may be a sign of the times, but it seems utterly ridiculous to me to sue a tobacco company for going against all warnings and smoking their stuff anyway... but perhaps that's why they have warnings in the first place.

Anyway, putting that aside, I really enjoyed the book and will probably reread more of his earlier works in the near future.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Woman He Loved Before
Author: Dorothy Koomson
Genre: Chick-lit, Suspense
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 465
Date read: June, 2016

Libby has a nice life with a gorgeous husband and a big home by the sea. But over time she is becoming more unsure if Jack has ever loved her - and if he is over the death of Eve, his first wife. When fate intervenes in their relationship, Libby decides to find out all she can about the man she hastily married and the seemingly perfect Eve. Eventually Libby stumbles across some startling truths about Eve, and is soon unearthing more and more devastating family secrets. Frightened by what she finds and the damage it could cause, Libby starts to worry that she too will end up like the first woman Jack loved.

While I absolutely adored the first book I ever read by Dorothy Koomson ("My Best Friend's Girl"), most subsequent reads have unfortunately disappointed. This one more than most, as I spent most of it deeply frustrated by Jack and Libby's complete inability to communicate! For really stupid reasons too.

The last 150 pages showed a brief improvement, and I was pretty much tied to my chair to discover what happened next during that time, but unfortunately the ending was another disappointment with - wonder of wonders - yet more failure to communicate. This time with a better reason, granted, but still.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Fellside
Author: M.R. Carey
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 496
Date read: May, 2016

Jess Moulson is convicted of murder. But it's a murder she can't remember committing.

Nothing is quite clear from the drug-fuelled night when a blaze set in her apartment killed the little boy upstairs. But when the media brands Jess a child killer, she starts to believe it herself.

Now she's on her way to Fellside, the biggest, most formidable women's prison in Europe, standing in the bleak Yorkshire moors.

But Jess won't be alone in her prison cell. Lurking in the shadows is an unexpected visitor... the ghost of the ten-year-old boy she killed. He says he needs her help - and he won't take no for an answer.

I read and loved "The Girl With All the Gifts" earlier this year, so when I discovered "Fellside" on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. And I'm very happy to have read it. While it couldn't quite live up to my expectations, I had a hard time putting it down, and could never figure out what would happen next.

The writing style is just as good as in his earlier book, although perhaps not quite as tight. I did feel some of the chapters were superfluous, and that it would have benefitted from being cut down just a bit. Mostly, it frustrated me that other than Jess, there were no real sympathetic characters - not even Alex, whom I'd expected to be supposed to like.

It started out strong, the middle fell a bit flat, and then it ended on a strong - albeit unexpected - note as well. I don't think it's a book I'm likely to reread, but that's mostly because the surprises along the way is what makes this book so fascinating the first time around.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Girl with All the Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Genre: Dystopian, Suspense
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 435 pages
Date read: March, 2016

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

DEFINITELY not your average zombie novel... And I think I need to revisit my attitude of "not liking zombie novels". Between this, "Feed" and "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" I'm constantly being proven wrong.

But like I said - this is definitely not your run-of-the-mill zombies. Melanie is a fully cognisant human being, with the capacity to focus on other things than her hunger. She feels love, fear, empathy, is insanely intelligent and makes connections to other people. And it is those connections (not to mention, the way other people respond to her) that makes this such a fascinating book. I couldn't put it down.

I'm glad "The Girl with All the Gifts" turned out to be a stand-alone novel. 20 pages before the end, I wondered how on earth they were going to wrap everything up in time, but M. Carey took a completely different track than I had expected, making for an unusual, but totally satisfactory ending.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Stalker (Joona Linna #5)
Author: Lars Kepler
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 616
Date read: January 2016

The Swedish Rikskrim receive mysterious links to YouTube movies of women filmed through their windows in various states of undress. Nothing that's taken seriously... until the women are slowly murdered one by one.

Terrifying book. I started it late one evening, and had just planned to read a couple of chapters before going to bed, but it quickly grabbed me and one of the very first chapters was a terrifying account of a home invasion/murder told from the POV of the victim. I was scared senseless, but at the same time simply couldn't put the book down as I had to know what happened next, and thus got to bed far too late that night (and still didn't feel entirely comfortable about actually going to bed in the dark... especially as my DH asked me to check whether a door was locked, which was how the home invasion started in the book...

The book took off from there, and pulled me through the same kind of suspense as is typical for all of Lars Kepler's books. It's easy to read, hard to put down and completely captivating.

Unfortunately, there were also a few things that seemed a tad too unrealistic for me and which caused me to subtract the last star. I may just be hopelessly naive, but the brutality of the murders as well as the motive seemed far-fetched, as did the vigilante-like mood of the police force after one of their own had been attacked, and the rush to not just assume that an innocent man is guilty, but to shoot first and ask questions later, as a death would be preferred over a trial. That did not sit right with me at all.

And of course there is the inevitable Small spoiler ) That happens way too often in books like this, and is one of my biggest pet peeves.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 336
Date read: September, 2015

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. "Jess and Jason", she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough.

Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar.

Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train...

I started "reading" this as an audiobook and simply could not get through it - no clue why as I liked the narrators well enough. I think it was probably just too slow-moving for me. So when I found it as an ebook I switched and finished within 2 days!

I mostly liked it. Once I got properly into it, it was very difficult to put down, and although Rachel's self-destructive behaviour really bugged me at times, it got better through the book, and obviously served a purpose.

The book had me guessing until the very end almost. I had theories, but most of them turned out to be wrong. I kept thinking that there was something that didn't ring quite true though - and it turned out I was right.

Trying to avoid spoilers here, but the end annoyed me. Paula Hawkins took the easy way out when it came to the resolution, and it's the kind of cop-out that always annoys me in suspense novels, but which unfortunately is defaulted to way too often.

So with the slow start and annoying ending in mind, this couldn't get higher than 3 stars from me.


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