The House – Simon Lelic

33794926  2 Stars

„The House“ was unfortunately a disappointing read. It is told at first in form of diaries or letters from Jack and Syd, a young couple who recently bought a house in London. I had high expectations for this book and was really looking forward reading it. But somehow I expected something else, a different story about a creepy house and maybe something with horror elements. But unfortunately none of this happened.

In the first half we read the letters or diaries Jack and Syd wrote to tell somebody what happened in the last weeks. This is not a new idea of telling a story but it is not working very well here. It is somehow a mess. It looks like they are writing to each other and read their chapters so they can respond to it. Probably the chapters were just put together so that we readers can follow it easier. But it felt strange. I did not like both of them. Jack is winy and needy and Syd is a hypocrite and very self-centered. The keep telling each other that they will be honest but they both lie to each other constantly.

The story was not bad although it has all the over-used themes a lot of thriller books have at the moment. And it was a bit of a mess. I liked it better when the letters stopped. There were the usual twists at the end which surprisingly worked well for me. But this book got me on the wrong foot. I just did not expect this kind of domestic drama and all this dysfunctional families. I expected a spooky house story. So it is probably just me that I never really warmed up to this book and its characters.

I received an ARC from NetGalleyin exchange for an honest review

Are You Sleeping – Kathleen Barber

30753570  3 Stars

„Are You Sleeping“ is a predictable psycho thriller with quite annoying main characters. Besides that, it is an easy and entertaining read.

 

Lanie and Josie are twins who estranged from each other years ago. The reason was the killing of their father. Her mother lost it after that gruesome event. She soon left and joined a cult and leaving her girls behind. Her aunt Amelia took care of them. Lanie handled this development with rebellion. She did drugs and booze. Josie wanted to be the nice girl everybody loves. But then something happened between the twins and they estranged. Josie travelled the world, never staying long at a place. Until she met Caleb. Now she has a life with him in New York. But he doesn’t know the truth about her family.

 

One day Josie learns about a podcast which is about the murder of her father. The neighbor’s son was convicted to be the killer. Lanie saw him that night shooting her Dad. But the journalist who runs the podcast says that maybe the guy was innocent. Josie goes paranoid. Then she learns about the suicide of her mother. So she returns for the first time in a century to her hometown.

 

The story is interesting and gripping. There is a family tragedy. A man was shot and one of his daughter witnesses it. His wife could not cope and went away to join a cult. She abandoned her children. Both children struggle but they get along somehow. Then this podcast happens and the mother suddenly committed suicide.  What’s this all about? What really happened?

 

I personally struggled with the main character Josie. And Lanie as well. They are both such drama queens. They make a spectacle out of themselves all the time. I know horrible things happened to them. But as a reader I think they were just annoying. All this throwing up, the ill-feeling, the not-sleeping, the drama. Josie started asking herself some questions a decade too late. There was just too much drama about the girls feeling ill and insomnia and horrible and there was too less focus of everything else and the story. That annoyed me and it affected my enjoyment of reading this book in a negative way.

This book is an easy read. Interesting story but I so disliked the main characters. Just too much drama.

The Drowning Girls – Paula Treick DeBoard

27069952  3 Stars

I am not sure if I liked this book or if I didn’t.

 

What I liked: the author did a very good job in showing who Phil managed himself into so much trouble. He makes one major misjudgment which is followed by a trail of lies. He got tangled in his lies until he finds no way to tell his side of the story any more. It is too late and to messed up. The story is told mostly by Liz but also occasionally by Phil. So we are also close to him and see how this all could happen.

 

What I did not like: the story is really predictable. As soon as I figured out where the story was leading I was almost annoyed. This again. It is no surprise that not everything in The Palms is so picture perfect when you look closer. The people who live there were all very stereotype. I just could not remember who was who. Who was which ones daughter? Or wife? I mixed them all up the whole time. Kelsey, the girl who gets obsessed with Phil, is quite cunning, maybe a little bit too much for a 15 year old girl. She is definitely troubled, but why that is so is never discussed. And Liz. She is a high school counselor. But I doubt that this is the right job for her. F.e. she gave a 14 year old girl, who came to her office for advice concerning birth control, just a leaflet. Shortly after the girl was pregnant. Well done, Liz. I also did not like a lot of things she did when she suspected Liz to be of harm to her family.

 

But the real problem is the ending. I seriously thought that there was something wrong with my ebook. I thought at least one chapter was missing. But obviously this is really the ending. The book just ends. There are still a lot of questions. I don’t have a problem with books with open endings. But this is no open ending. This is an ending in the middle of a chapter. Just a rough cut.

 

It was an easy read but I was happy when it was over. The writing is good but there is a lack of depth to the characters and the story itself. And there is this ending.

Beneath The Surface – Sibel Hodge

516pV7uAdKL 3,5 Stars

3,5 Stars

 

I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the first half very much. But as soon as the main topic began to unfold I lost interest. I don’t like kiss-and-tell-stories. And I was not aware that this book was that kind of book. I expected something else or maybe a different handling of the topic.

 

In the first half we meet Holly. We get to know her and learn about her problems.  I liked reading the book although I was a bit annoyed by everybody telling her she was paranoid and a crazy drunk. But then the story turns into an action thriller. The exposure of the criminal doings of pharmaceutical companies became more important than telling a story. The author did a great job with her research and the topic is shocking and has to be revealed. But it did not work in this book for me. I don’t know how I can explain it. But I think telling this story, revealing everything, became so important for the author that she missed to form it into a harmonic story.

 

I am sorry to say that the book did not work for me. It felt like something was missing. I liked the writing and the first half was very well composed. But then it turned into a kind of story I don’t like to read. If I had known that I would not have requested it from NetGalley. But because this is just me and my personal taste I round it up to 4 stars.

I recieved an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

They All Fall Down – Tammy Cohen

31551215  3 Stars

“They All Fall Down” promises to be a psychological thriller. But soon it turns into a domestic drama.

 

Hannah finds herself in a psychiatric clinic. The reason why she is there remains a secret to us for a while. Hannah was pregnant and something happened to the baby. It couldn’t be so bad because otherwise she would be in prison. Unfortunately the last book I read had exactly the same topic. So I figured out almost immediately what happened. But all this talking around Hannah’s problem and leaving out what she did felt quite forced.

 

Two other patients of the clinic killed themselves. Hannah somehow suspects that they were murdered. But the story is not turning into a thriller. Hannah and her problems with her marriage and her desperate wish for a baby are the main thing here. Her mother is also a main character. She turns into a kind of detective and investigates some of Hannah’s suspicions and a few things of her own.

 

For my taste the whole story was told too slow. There was almost too much in it. Mental problems, a failing marriage, the drama with the baby, murder,. I would have wished for a thriller but it was more of a domestic drama. The setting in the clinic is a great idea and there is a lot going on. But there is too much crammed into the story so that many things just fell flat. I could not feel for Hannah. I think it was a bit extreme to put her in the clinic for what she did. She is free to go but she is talked into staying by her husband and her mother. She wants to leave one minute but the next she stays because of the women who killed themselves. But this all did not work out for me. It was back and forth all the time. And I failed to see how they helped her in the clinic.

 

This was my third book from Tammy Cohen. I liked “When She Was Bad” very much. “First One Missing” was an OK-read. Unfortunately “They All Fall Down” was also only an OK-read for me. It was not a fast paced thriller and definitely no pageturner for me. There was too much so that most of the topics just got scratched on the surface. The twist at the end was a surprise. I have to give that to the author. That I just read another book about a woman desperately wishing for a baby is not Tammy Cohen’s fault. There are so many books about babies and missing children at the moment. It was just too much domestic drama for me.

Michael Robotham – The Secrets She Keeps

33584818  4,5 Stars

Robotham delivers a very intense psychological thriller. Halfway through the book I was still wondering how the story will develop. For quite a while I had no clue what was going to happen. So I was very curious and that kept me reading.

 

For my taste it was a little bit too slow. A lot of other readers say it was fast paced. I did not feel that way. For me it was a bit of a slow burner.  But it kept me curious and I want to know where the story was heading to.

 

At first I disliked Agatha very much. But the more I got to know her the more I felt for her. This book is very much character driven.  It was also interesting to look deeper intor the oh-so-perfect family of Meg. There are no dead bodies in the cellar but some unpleasant and realistic problems.

 

I am not sure if I ever read a book from Michael Robotham, although I was familiar with his name. But I enjoyed this suspense thriller very much. At first I was a bit irritated because it was so slow and I had no idea what was going on. But the further I read the more I got engaged. This is a unique and high quality thriller I can recommend strongly to everybody.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware

32054096  2 Stars

I think it is high time for me to admit that Ruth Ware will never be one of my favorite authors. This is the third book I’ve read from her. I found “In A Dark Dark Wood” and “The Woman In Cabin 10” okay-reads. But I liked “The Lying Game” even less.

The story sounds interesting, though. Four girls met at a boarding school and become friends. They are not very nice girls. They are mean and selfish and they have a game that they like to play. They tell people lies and see if they believe them. They just tell stupid stuff like f. e. that Isa is a distant relative of Oscar Wilde because she has the same surname. But this game is not really relevant for the main story. As adults they lie because they have to hide something they did. It just shows that lying is a huge part of their lives.

The book is really a slow burner. I never felt any tension nor was I hooked. Isa got a text message that Kate needs her. She storms immediately out of her house, packing a few things for her and her six months old daughter and makes the uncomfortable train ride to Salten. But on arrival Kate tells her she will tell her what’s going on when the other women are present. I felt like forever until they finally find their way to Kate’s house. But still they don’t talk properly why they left their jobs and families for Kate. This felt all so unnatural and strange. There is a similar situation later in the book. Isa gets a call from Kate that she has to talk to her immediately (and of course not on the phone) because the police will interview her. Isa rushes again with her baby daughter to Kate, leaving her husband behind which whom she just had a serious argument. But on arrival at Salten Kate just thinks it is too late in the evening to talk. So they go to bed. They talk briefly in the morning and argue but then they stop talking for days while Isa just stays at Kate’s home doing nothing except breastfeeding her daughter. And an interview with the police never happened. This felt all so strange and weird. Unfortunately there are a lot of those unlogic scenes.

The book did not work for me. I also did not like the characters. Isa has a serious problem with stopping breastfeeding her daughter. There are so many scenes where she is feeding her. It was really boring and not really important for the story. The book also reminded me of “In A Dark Dark Wood” but this time the story development is much worse and the end is not really a surprise. I am afraid I just don’t like the author’s style and her simple way of telling her stories. I think this was my last book from Ruth Ware.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review