Leave No Trace – Mindy Mejia

38355245  2 Stars

This is my second book from this author. I really enjoyed „Everything you want me to be“. That’s why I was looking forward to her new book.

 

At the beginning I also liked it very much. It has a gloomy atmosphere and the stories about people who escape civilization and simply disappear into the wild to live there fascinated me. But unfortunately, the author does not manage to build enough tension. I also had problems with the main character Maja. She is already a speech therapist at the tender age of 23 and works in a psychiatric facility. She has a problematic past and spent a few months in this facility herself. She was also hired by her own therapist. I found this constellation very unlikely to happen. That may also be because in my native country Germany someone would never get such a job so young and inexperienced and would almost immediately receive a very serious and prestigious case. Here, job training, which is related to the care of people, is extremely intensive in training and require a degree. Maja also seems very immature to me. She behaves irresponsibly and her superiors too. That put me off pretty fast.

 

The character of Lucas is a bit problematic as well. He seems intelligent and adapting to this new situation very fast. On the other hand, he tends to impulsive violence. But he gets away with it, because he’s spent most of his life alone with his dad in the wild. That bothered me a lot. He even hurt Maja a couple of times but everybody, including Maja herself, find excuses for is behaviour. He is also counterproductive. Lucas wants to go back to his father, because he is seriously ill. But he does everything to sabotage his early release. He appears to be understanding in conversation with Maja. But then he does exactly the opposite. There were a few things that bothered me. Supposedly, he knows his surroundings so well, but he is unable to explain to anyone where his father is. He seems to be sure that he finds him, but he refuses to lead someone. He is very worried about his health. That somehow did not fit together.

 

The book starts interesting and has absolutely captivated me at first. But the pace is too slow and the story becomes very unrealistic. Maja and Lucas are both unlikable characters with weird and immature behaviour. The developing love story was unnecessary and strange.

 

Overall, I’m very disappointed in the book.

 

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

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Bring Me Back – B A Paris

35857495   2 Stars
2 years ago I read „Behind Closed Doors“ by B A Paris and enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, her next book „The Breakdown“ did not convince me anymore. And now I have to admit that I liked „Bring Me Back“ just as little.

The story is just absolutely irrelevant and implausible. As noted by previous reviewers, the plot is taken from a soap opera. The characters remain extremely flat. The resolution I have guessed quite quickly. The whole book seems somehow unfinished and still in its raw state. First, the smooth writhin stopped me from DNF. But especially towards the end it goes downhill. I do not like it when the characters roll questions over questions in their heads. It’s teeming with question marks on some pages. In the end, there is no action but everything is explained in a letter. Anyway, towards the end, too much is explained rather than at the expense of action. The whole story is extremely bizarre and implausible. This book would also go through as a penny dreadful.

I am not sure if I will give the author another chance. I liked her first book, but two such bad follow-up books make me think.

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

Anything You Do Say – Gillian McAllister

34615820  2 Stars

*****Review contains spoilers*****

 

I really had a hard time reading this book. I was extremely annoyed by Joanna from the beginning. I was about stop reading. But then I was too curious how the book would go on. It finally reconciled me to the end. But I really did not like it.

Joanna is in a bar with a friend and an unpleasant stranger tries to flirt with her. On her way home she hears fast steps behind her. She suspects that it is the man from the bar, but does not turn around. She panics a bit and tries to call her husband Reuben. Unfortunately, the cell phone connection breaks off. When she thinks on a staircase that her pursuer wants to grab her, she takes the initiative and pushes him down. He falls down heavy, lying face down in a puddle. Joanna hesitates. Should she run away and just let him lie or should she call the police.

From this initial situation, the author develops two differently running storylines. In one she runs away and covers up, that she was to blame for the accident. The man dies. In addition, it turns out that he was not the guy from the bar but a 17-year-old jogger. First, she is terrified that she will be caught. She becomes paranoid and does the stupidest things headless. Later, their feelings of guilt become overpowering.

In the other version, after a few minutes‘ hesitation, she calls the police. But those few minutes of waiting were already too much for her victim. The young man lies too long with his face in the puddle and got severe health damage. Joanna is arrested and put on trial. Oddly enough, the English judiciary treats her incredibly severely. Is that really the case in England? I think in Germany the case would be treated differently. Self-defence is not at issue here.
The big problem in this book is Joanna. She is just terrible. Alien and dreamy, she walks through her life. She trusts her husband that he’ll fix everything. She is an avoider. Unpleasant bills are hidden under her mattress. She is unreliable in her work; she walks through her life without a plan. She thinks herself stupid, she says to herself constantly. She does not have a good degree from the university. That must be the unmistakable sign that she is stupid. However, she always does stupid things. She never really thinks about anything. There are different types of intelligence. Joanna is intelligent and educated, but she is totally unable to manage her life. She is a very exhausting figure. At the beginning, the author let her babbles all the time. She imagines a life story for every person she sees. She reflects on how her lawyer applies her lipstick in the morning and why she chose that colour. I found that extremely exhausting. I simply flew over vast passages of Joanna’s thoughts.

I could go on grumbling about the book for ages. Of course in the first place about Joanna. She is a terrible person, neurotic and unable to make the simplest decision. She lies to everyone. She gets entangled in both stories in her lies. Her husband Reuben is a quiet guy, who only thaws properly with her alone. He likes how awkward Joanna is. He likes it when he’s right and Joanna is glad he makes all the decisions. I found both storylines a bit awkward and unbelievable. In the Conceal chapters, Joanna invents a dead girlfriend for her brother. This dead girlfriend then suddenly pops up in the other storyline. It really existed in the brother’s past without Joanna knowing about her. That legitimizes Joanna’s lie in hindsight. And is quite unlikely.

The developments of all figures run differently in both stories. Joanna’s decision affects everyone involved. Joanna’s girlfriend, for example ends up being a successful artist in one storyline, while in the other she gives up her bohemian life and takes on a „decent“ and “adult” job.

I found the idea for the book very appealing. However, it was a bit chaotic in the implementation. I’ve rarely seen a more exhausting character than Joanna. I have no problem with unsympathetic characters, but Joanna is annoying. I could not handle her exhausting stupidity. For the first quarter, I would have awarded only one star. Since the last half was much easier to read I give it 2 Stars. However, I will not read another book by the author in the future.

The Puppet Master – Abigail Osborne

36504830  1 Star

Well, this book did not work out for me. It was just horrible.

So many raving reviews here and I just can’t understand why that is so and even less the praising of the writing. The first 3rd was an OK-read although it felt a bit like chick-lit (which I don’t like). But after the cliffhanger things went south. There was no actuall action between the characters, hardly any dialog. The author just told us what happend, how everybody was feeling. It was all just re-narration. And it was all so predicatable once you realise who is the puppet master. He is an abdominable character, no question. But all around it did not work. There was a lot of repetative and the characters keep coming up with the same thoughts again and again. It was so frustrating and boring.

I just flipped through the last half of the book. It was very predictable and the end was very meldodramatic. One of the worst books I’ve read in the last months.

The Crying Boy – Jane E. James

34738926  1 Star

Almost all of the books I got from NetGalley are due not until next year. So I thought this would be a good time to read some books I bought myself. But apparently I am better at choosing books from NetGalley than find some of my own on amazon. This book is the third or even fourth in a row of books I bought which I really disliked.

 

The blurb sounds promising and I heard about the cursed paintings many years ago. And I am always looking for a good horror book (which is hard to find). I saw all the good reviews and I happily started reading. But this book took ages to get started. I almost gave up. But somebody wrote that the story gets better after 25% into it. I can confirm that. But it doesn’t get much better. I was so annoyed by the characters. Clifton is dumb and Avril is just horrible. She is so changeable in her feelings for her husband. One minute she despises him almost, the next minute it is quite the opposite. Each conversation between them changed everything. And I really could not understand Clifton’s urge to move on and his mixes feelings for his dead child. This whole situation was just chaotic. Maybe I would have be Ok with that if at least the story would have been good. It’s not the thing with the picture. It is more how it was developed. The story was very weird, but not in a good way. Everybody is a mess and changes their opinion all the time. The story is not gripping or even frightening. Just chaotic and nothing makes sense. And it is a loooong book. I don’t know why I did not stop reading. The end annoyed me even more when stupid and stubborn Avril makes the dumbest decision ever to go back to that house*eyeroll*.

 

This was just a waste of time.

Rattle – Fiona Cummins

27968809  1 Star

Did I read the wrong book? Where do all the good reviews come from? This book was just …bad. The story is ridiculous, absolutely unrealistic. The characters are poorly developed, the dialogs are so bad and the ending is just….I have no words. I also did not like the writing style. It was so pretentious in a very forced way.

I really disliked this book I can’t understand the good reviews. To me it was just awful and I certainly will never ever again read a book from this author or follow the bone collecter in a next book. There are too many other good books out there worth my time.

I read the german edtion „Der Knochensammler“

The Devil Crept In – Ania Ahlborn

29430798   1 Star

I struggled with this book almost immediately. I thought about stop reading for the first 20% . Now I wish I had stopped. But somehow I kept reading. Then Rosie appeared and at first I was interested in her story. But that did not last long.

 

I will not go into too many details although I would probably enjoy savaging this book. I just disliked everything about it. The story is absolutely nonsense. The ending is a joke. The writing is horrible. I was absolutely unnerved by Stevie and Jude. Every character acts just randomly. The author’s babblings about running through the woods was just exhausting. I skipped a lot of pages right from the start. She explains and explains and there were just too many words.

 

This was a chaotic book with are weird story, strange characters and it was poorly written. What a waste of precious reading time. I had two other books from Ahlborn on my wishlist, but I already removed them.