Tag: fiction

Book Review: The Apartment by SL Grey

The Apartment
Author: SL Grey

Published: October 4, 2016
288 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Mark and Steph live an idyllic life with their young daughter in sunny Cape Town until one day when three men in masks violently break in. Traumatized but physically unharmed, Mark and Steph are unable to return to normal and are living in constant fear. When a friend suggests they take a restorative vacation abroad via a popular house-swapping website, it sounds like the perfect plan. They find a nice artistic couple with a charming apartment in Paris who would love to come to Cape Town. How could Mark and Steph resist the idyllic, light-strewn pictures, and the promise of a romantic getaway? But once they arrive in Paris, they quickly realize that nothing is as advertised. As their perfect holiday takes a deadly turn, the cracks in their relationship grow ever wider and dark secrets from Mark’s past begin to emerge.

Deftly alternating between two complex and compelling narrators, The Apartment is a terrifying tour de force of horror, of psychological thrills, and of chilling suspense.

Kim’s Review:

This one is definitely a Blumhouse book! Ok, more of an A24 book, but they’re similar so we’ll go with it! This was a crazy slow burn that makes you uncomfortable, little by little, until you find yourself squirming in your chair! I went into expecting one thing, but got something completely different! The missing star is for the main characters. Sorry, but their whining got really annoying really fast. Thankfully, everything else seemed to mostly drown them out. I think this book is the perfect horror story for travelers. I know it’s one of my great anxieties that I’ll book a place in a foreign city and then I get there and it’s nasty! I also loved the typical Blumhouse view of humanity. They don’t seem to shy away from the gray areas that we all live in. Overall, this was an effective slow burn horror that will scratch the itch without completely terrifying the reader! I enjoyed it. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Cult on Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein

The Cult on Fog Island
Series: Fog Island Trilogy Book 1

Author: Mariette Lindstein
Published: January 24, 2019
560 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

The deadliest trap is the one you don’t see…

When Sofia meets Franz Oswald, the handsome, charming leader of a mysterious New Age movement, she’s dazzled and intrigued. Visiting his headquarters on Fog Island, Sofia’s struck by the beautiful mansion overlooking the sea, the gardens, the sense of peace and the purposefulness of the people who live there. And she can’t ignore the attraction she feels for Franz.

So she agrees to stay, just for a while. But as summer gives way to winter, and the dense fog from which the island draws its name sets in, it becomes clear that Franz rules the island with an iron fist. No phones or computers are allowed. Contact with the mainland is severed. Electric fences surround the grounds. And Sofia begins to realize how very alone she is and that no one ever leaves Fog Island…

Kim’s Review:

One of my friends on Instagram recommended this book to me, so when I found it at Gene’s Books, I grabbed it! And y’all know I love a cult. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I was hoping for a religious cult with supernatural elements that turned it into a horror story. It wasn’t and that’s why the missing star. This was much more of a psychological thriller, turned cautionary tale.

Lindstein wanted to give an in depth look at cults from beginning to end. Here’s how people get hooked, here’s how people are content, here’s how things start to go wrong, here are the red flags, etc. I definitely enjoyed it! It was a fascinating look at the psychology of the leaders and followers. And for once, I didn’t think about my own background on every page! Absolutely a good book!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Audiobook Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Published: March 16, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  August 6-13, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Jessica’s Review:

The House in the Cerulean Sea is one that people have been talking about and one several people selected to read in June for Diverseathon.  Two of my friends whose opinions I respect (Yami and Beccie) both read it and loved it so I decided to request the audiobook from my Libby app. It took two months for me to be able to get it, and I loved it as well! 

From the book description this book did not interest me.  But I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did listen to Beccie and Yami!  We have Linus who is a stickler for the rules and he has also worked at his government job as a case worker in the same position for many years (This sounds so familiar!!! ) He is summoned by those at the top of DICOMY (The Department in Charge Of Magical Youth) who are known as Extremely Upper Management (OMG! That is such a government title!) Linus is given a new assignment: He is to spend a month at the Marsyas Island Orphanage, where there are just 6 children, but these are not just any magical children as they are ‘extra special’. One of the children is even the Anti-Christ…..

Cerulean Sea is just so much fun!  You get attached to these children right away. My favorite child is Chauncey then followed very closely by Lucy. Everything is covered in this book, it is heart warming with some mystery in it with fabulous characters. Even Linus as our main character who is just an average nobody, he grows on you as he changes throughout the novel.  This novel is about belonging, family of a different sort, and not hating or fearing what you don’t understand.

I listened to the audiobook version and highly recommend it.  Narrated by Daniel Henning and he played each child with a distinct voice.  His portrayal of Linus sounded similar to Ryan Reynolds, so I pictured a very serious Ryan Reynolds with glasses and slicked back hair as I listened.  And I loved my picturing of Ryan Reynolds as Linus!  (Hint Hint Hollywood: Give Ryan Reynolds this role when it becomes a film/series!)

This is a novel that everyone should read and love and maybe even learn something too!

A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea is highly recommended.

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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