The Deep by Nick Cutter

The DeepThe Deep by Nick Cutter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is creepy in a stuck in a lift with an unknown horror kind of way. Good, clean, claustrophobic, heart-wrenching terror!

One thing that bothers me about a lot of horror novels is that the characters don’t tend to have much poise and personality or appear to have had much of a life before the horror aspects of the story begin. This is not the case with this book, nor with the previous book I read by this author. Nick Cutter is a master at making you wonder if the things he writes about could really happen in some form or another, and he gives the reader well fleshed characters that can support a complex plot.

I think the thing that I like the most about this book is that the reader is never really sure if the horror they are experiencing is really happening, or if it is a byproduct of a psychotic cast of characters.

The terror in this novel is increased by the creepy atmosphere, the mysterious side characters and the flashbacks of a more ordinary kind of horror that all of us could potentially experience.

I have a new favourite horror author in Nick Cutter. Looking forward to what comes out of his twisted mind next.

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Finding Hope by Stacy Finz

Finding Hope (Nugget, #2)Finding Hope by Stacy Finz

The small mountain town of Nugget, California, is way off the beaten path. But somehow it helps the lost and lonely find a new beginning in life—and in love…

One solitary day at a time is the only way cookbook writer Emily Mathews can restart her life—and cope with consuming loss. Still, the former city girl is finding all kinds of odd inspiration and advice from Nugget’s proudly eccentric residents on everything from new recipes to opening her heart again. Especially when it comes to her rugged rancher landlord …

His no-drama new tenant is the first break Clay McCreedy has had in a long time. He’s got his hands full enough dealing with his wife’s scandalous death and his sons’ unresolved grief. Clay can’t help but be drawn to Emily’s quiet understanding and strength. When their fragile trust turns into passionate healing, he longs for much more. And when both their pasts come calling, he’s determined not to walk away…

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For being a contemporary romance, and me having read so many of them in the last year, I was pleasantly surprised that this author managed to make this book stand out from the crowd. Stacy Finz has created a warm and realistic environment for her characters to thrive in, and has a way of making them so lovable that they creep into the recesses of your heart and stay there.

I was particularly interested in the setting for this story as I only live a few miles from many of the areas the author described in the book. Her descriptions were, for the most part, accurate and made me feel a deeper appreciation for this story, knowing first hand of the places she spoke of.

The love story is complex enough to be interesting and keep you reading and doesn’t fall into the usual cliches to much. I liked that the author allowed us to see sides of the main characters that they did not show one another until a good way into the story.

Secondary characters in this story also have interesting lives and help to balance out the main love story.

This was a great afternoon read for a cold day. I recommend it to those who like love stories with a bit more depth. This book is part of a series, but can be read alone and still make perfect sense.

I liked it!

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley.

The Child’s Past Life by Cai Jun

Child's Past Life, TheChild’s Past Life, The by Cai Jun

On a rainy June night in 1995, an unknown assailant stabs to death Shen Ming, a self-made and much-envied high school teacher. This death in the school’s haunted Demon Girl Zone is the last in a chain of events that already claimed two other victims. But the police are unable to prove any connection between the murders, and the deeper they dig, the fewer answers they find. In order to avenge his own death, Shen Ming inhabits the body of the eerily precocious boy Si Wang, whose life’s quest is to solve the mystery of Shen Ming’s murder—even if it means that others will die.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Without doubt, this book has one of the most complex plots I have ever seen in a fiction novel. In the beginning, I struggled a bit to figure out where the author was going with this story, but soon found myself enthralled and unable to put this book down. When I wasn’t actively reading it, I was thinking about it.

The concept of this story is simple, a child remembering a life that he never lived in his current form, but the plot takes multiple unexpected twists and leaves the reader hungering for answers by the time they reach the halfway mark.

This author has a way with character creation and made me feel as if these characters were people I knew and cared for. The outsider-like feel of the main character when he is reborn as a different child made me long to help him figure things out and kept me involved in the story.

I think this may be my favourite book of the year. For anyone who likes novels that keep you guessing, make you feel strongly about the ending and like solving mysteries, this is a book you should definitely read.

Excellent and worth all five stars.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution

Sleepy Hollow: Children of the RevolutionSleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution by Keith R.A. DeCandido

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whilst I enjoyed the interaction between Crane and Abby just as I do in the television series, this book really didn’t do the excitement and adventure of the series justice, in my opinion. Rarely do I see a novelisation that I feel is as good as the original thing that it was based on, but I will give this credit–it wasn’t horrible as many of them are.

The story itself was interesting and for any author to be able to come into something that already exists and give it a new lease, especially one that makes sense and stays in keeping with the personality of the characters is quite impressive.

This book has the same type of humour and good-natured sarcasm as the show does, and it was easy to see the personalities of favourite characters shining in these pages. What I didn’t love, was the story itself. For a book of standard length, there just wasn’t enough excitement for me. The use of fictional as well as historical elements was interesting, but there were just times I felt this book was lagging. Had this been a TV episode that was over in an hour–maybe, but for a book–not so much.

I didn’t think it was terrible, but it wasn’t as intriguing as the show.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the blogging for books program, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Hello from the Gillespies

Hello From the GillespiesHello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth….

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways….

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is most definitely one of my favourite books of the year. I was really surprised actually, by how easily I fell into the rhythm of this book and how much I liked all of the characters. Generally, I end up liking one or two characters a lot and not feeling much for the rest of the cast, but that was not the case with this book.

When you read this novel, you instantly feel like you are part of the family. There is such a special quality to Monica McInerney’s writing. If you are a woman with a husband and children, you will no doubt find something in this book to identify with. I think we all have feelings similar to that of the main character, Angela. I was head nodding a lot whilst reading this book.

The location descriptions are beautiful and the author clearly knows what she is talking about. As this story unfolded, I began feeling terrified of reaching the end of the book. What would I do after this? I felt such a kinship with the characters that it was hard to imagine leaving them and moving on.

Family dynamics take centre stage in this novel, and the author did a beautiful job of showing the difficulties of marriage, growing up and maturing into adulthood.

I would happily recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read with a strong family theme.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne

The Christmas Ranch (Cowboys of Cold Creek, #13)The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It isn’t very often that I leave a five star review for a contemporary romance, let alone a holiday themed contemporary romance, but in this case I really felt this book deserved nothing less.

One thing I have said in the past and feel compelled to say again, is that you should never start a RaeAnne Thayne book before bed if you actually intend to get any sleep. She did it to me again (toothpicks holding the eyes open as I write this review.)

I liked this story because although some of it followed the usual romance formula, girl meets boy and there is some drama preventing them from being together–this book didn’t go exactly as I expected. Neither Hope nor Rafe responded to the big events in the book as I would have imagined and both characters remained mature throughout the story, which made me respect them.

I liked the Christmas theme in this case and didn’t feel that it overwhelmed the story. The characters seemed to fall into a natural rhythm and the story seemed to roll out without being forced. Plus I want a reindeer named Sparkle.

This is a charming story that involves a whole family, neighbours and good friends rather than just the two main characters. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a good holiday romance. Magic.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

Bad RomeoBad Romeo by Leisa Rayven
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.

Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks. –from Goodreads
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are into books that are steamy-sexy-I-can’t-believe-she-said-that, then this is the book for you. Seriously, the chemistry between the two main characters in this book is off the charts.

I am not much for new adult books, nor am I usually one for the steamy books (they are usually so predictable,) but this book was interesting and held my attention. If you don’t mind some graphic language and some super sexy love scenes, this book will likely appeal to you.

The female lead in this novel is a good heroine in her own right. She is smart and independent and brings a lot of life to these pages. I liked her from the beginning and was sorry to see her go at the end. As for the male lead, he is anything but your typical Romeo. He is not a brainless body as so many of these novels tend to feature. I think overall, this author did a really good job with these characters and I would definitely recommend this book to others.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and was provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.