Tag: fiction

The House of Small Shadows


Author: Adam Nevill  
Published: July 21, 2015
384 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top TV network saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and a few therapists later, things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself ― to catalogue the late M. H. Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting bloody scenes from the Great War. Catherine can’t believe her luck when Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at Red House itself, where she maintains the collection until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s “Art.” Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but Mason’s damaged visions begin to raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped therapy had finally erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge and some truths seem too terrible to be real… in The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill.

Kim’s Review:

The description and cover of this book drew me in. I’m all about some historical houses filled with all kinds of old stuff! My inner history nerd got all worked up! But unfortunately, this book was disappointing. I found Catherine to be weak and whiny. I get that people have traumatizing events in their pasts that can cause some problems later in life, but come on. I didn’t get the sense that her problems matched her past “trauma.” Her friend was taken, but she wasn’t, so . . . that doesn’t seem like as big of a problem as she’s making it. The bullying makes a little more sense, but I’ve been laughed at on the playground, I know many people who were abused by their parents and families and we’ve all come out without letting all that shut our lives down completely.

I know I’m not very sympathetic, but I just didn’t get why Catherine let her past keep her from living her life. She uses everything as an excuse for her life instead of getting over it and becoming successful. And she lost her job because she made the choice to attack a coworker, and she never seems to take responsibility for that. The story itself had so much potential, but it just never came together for me. There was no real connection between the taxidermist and the kidnapper, the puppets and the kids. I just didn’t understand all the details. There were some scary parts that had me turning all the lights in the house on, but other than that, I wasn’t really thrilled with this read. I would only recommend this book to certain people, ones who are incredibly detail oriented AND enjoy a good scare.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Eye Opener: Collection of Short Stories Volume 2

The Eye Opener: Collection of Short Stories Volume 2
Author: Indrajit Garai
Published: December 8, 2017
238 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

In this collection, meet:
Franck, who has to align his desires with his needs;
Nathan, who has to adjust to his constantly changing turf;
and, Cedric, who has to open his eyes to reconstruct himself.

Kim’s Review:

The family of the author offered me this book in exchange for an honest review. Overall, the stories were pretty good. I liked the characters and I looked forward to seeing how each story unfolded. Unfortunately, the writing threw me off. It was very choppy and there were no transition points. I’d be in Cedric’s home and then BAM! next paragraph, he’d be in jail a month later. It was very distracting.

I think if each story was divided into chapters, it would solve the problem. The characters were realistic and I empathized with them easily. I also liked how each story ended on a positive note. Garai did an excellent job of showing how messy life can get, but also how mankind is capable of some good. I would recommend this to people who like emotional stories and even those who like “thinking” stories.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Two from the Heart

Author: James Patterson
Published: April 10, 2017
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 2-11, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

Anne McWilliams has lost everything. After her marriage falls apart and a hurricane destroys her home she realizes that her life has fallen out of focus. So she takes to the road to ask long lost friends and strangers a simple question: “What’s your best story?” Can the funny, tragic, inspirational tales she hears on her journey help Anne see what she’s been missing?

Tyler Bron seemingly has it all-a successful company and more money than he knows how to spend. But he has no life. So he hires a struggling novelist to write one for him. There are no limits to the fictional world that Bron’s money can transform into a reality, and he soon becomes the protagonist of a love story beyond his wildest imagination. But will Tyler Bron be able to write the happy ending himself?

Jessica’s Review:

Two From the Heart is made up two novellas: Tell Me Your Best Story and Write Me a Life. They were both decent stories but for me something was missing. It was a quick read at just five discs for the audiobook. There is a theme explored for both novellas: How stories can shape our life in one form or another.

Tell Me Your Best Story:

Anne McWilliams is our protagonist and she has dealt with two life changing events in a very short time.  The first event was her failed marriage.  The second event is what changes her life forever. Her home and darkroom (which is her livelihood) is destroyed by a hurricane.  She is anti-technology so she loses everything with her photography. Instead of dealing with this devastating loss she decides to go on an adventure all over the country. She sees old friends and also meets new people along the way asking “What is your best story?” During this adventure she decides to turn this into a book with these people’s stories and a picture of them.  As with all road trip adventures, it becomes life changing — for the better — for Anne.

I did not like Anne dropping everything with her home. She all but forgets about it and just moves on. No clean up, nothing!  What a way to ignore your responsibilities.  I would be devastated if this happened to me, but I can’t see myself just dropping everything else and becoming carefree.  Now, I did like the premise of the book she decides to write and photograph.  In fact it would be one I would most likely buy. Everyone has a ‘best story’, what is yours?

Write Me A Life:

We meet Damian Crane, a struggling author who is approached by Tyler Bron, an extremely wealthy man, who happens to have no life.  Tyler Bron tells Damian to write him a life and whatever he writes WILL happen, with no limitations.  So begins a “create your own adventure” type story.  Both Crane and Bron wonder what they got themselves into and you wonder how the story will end.  Will Crane continue the story or will Bron be able to create his ending on his own?

I liked the premise of this novella better. Audio may not be the format for this story as the narration goes between Crane and Bron and I had difficulties keeping them straight.  Reading it in print may be clearer as to who the narrator is for each chapter. It did not help that the narrator did not distinguish the two character’s voices in any way. I had to go back several times; I was getting confused as to who each narrator was.  I lost some interest in the middle of the story.  The ending is satisfying.

Though not the best, Two from the Heart is not the worst either. If you want a quick read in between books, I would recommend it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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