Review: The Hunting Party ★★★

EVERYONE’S INVITED.
EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.Everyone’s Invited

Everyon

In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather.
The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider
The victim.
Not an accident – a murder among friends.

Blurb from Amazon
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party was another book that didn’t live up to expectations. From the blurb I was expecting an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, 9 guests, one of them has been found dead, who is the killer?

Instead this is more similar to Big Little Lies were we know somebody has been murdered but we don’t know who. There are chapters from the point of view of different guests, leading up to the murder, and the lodge staff after the murder interspersed throughout the book.

I think I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been told in a more linear fashion, with the discovery of the body (and the identity of the victim) at the start of the book, then flashing back to the start of the holiday. I personally find more enjoyment in trying to guess the identity of the killer. I don’t find that hiding the identity of the victim adds any tension to the story and it removes the opportunity to guess at the identity of the killer.

I did really like the following quote from the book. I’ve always believed that anyone is capable of murder given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

Some people, given just the right amount of pressure, taken out of their usual, comfortable environments, don’t need much encouragement at all to become monsters.

The Hunting Party

Overall I did enjoy the book, it just wasn’t what I had been expecting.

Review: The Chalk Man ★★.5

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realises that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Goodreads blurb
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The Chalk Man is another book with great reviews that missed the mark, it alternated between 1986 and 2016 but I didn’t connect with either storyline.

This book follows a pretty standard thriller plot, with events from years before finally being resolved, but didn’t bring anything new or create characters that I cared about. The events were vaguely connected, but mostly due to the fact that they took place during the same summer rather than any deeper connection.

Often the characters in thrillers are flawed or unlikeable and the author draws the reader in, making them care about the character in spite of this, but I didn’t get that in this book. I didn’t like the character any more at the end of the story than at the beginning. I also felt let down that the twists weren’t unexpected or gripping. They were the predictable ‘twists’ that you would expect with no surprises.

I think this book may have suffered due to my reading it after Twisted, as this just wasn’t up to the same standard. It was okay, but nothing mind blowing.

Review: Quality DNA ★★★.5

Quality DNA by [Martin, Beth]

I received a free copy of Quality DNA through BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

Quality DNA tells the story of a future in which a strict one child policy is enforced in the US. Both parents are sterilised following the birth of their child, and don’t have another opportunity to have a child. When cases of men fathering more than one child become more common, Irene investigates the cause of this unusual trend.

This was a really interesting idea. China has had a one child policy (and a two child policy), so as the population increases a future that restricts the number of children people can have doesn’t seem farfetched, but isn’t something that I’ve come across in other books.

It took me a while to get into this, but once I did I enjoyed it. I thought the science seemed a bit iffy in a couple of places but overall most of it was reasonable.

Although this was described as science-fiction I would probably put it as a crime/mystery. The investigation, and going undercover with the FBI wouldn’t be out of place in any TV crime drama. I enjoyed this part of the plot, while parts of it were complicated, it kept me really interested in the story as I tried to guess what was going on.

I’d recommend this book more to fans of crime mysteries than science fiction fans, but it was an interesting take on a future that I haven’t read in other books.

Reading This Week: 29 April 2019

I’m back in the UK and almost back in Scotland. My holiday was amazing, but very full on so sadly did not leave much time for reading, or any free time in general, so I only managed nine books, including two review copies. Reviews for these will be coming in the next couple of weeks.

I’m back in work this week and have my orchestra concert in two weeks so it’s already looking pretty busy for the next fortnight (in a good way).

Stardust by Neil Gaiman


The Martian by Andy Weir
For We Are Many by Dennis E Taylor













I haven’t managed to finish either of the readathons I was doing this month yet, so I’m hoping to read Stardust, The Martian and For We Are Many in the next couple of days so that I can at least be done with the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon on time. I still have five books to read for Unsolvedathon so I won’t finish that in April, but I am going to leave the remaining books near the top of my TBR.

Cover of Exile by Glynn Stewart
Cover of THe One by John Marrs
Cover of Ink












I also posted about the Avengers Readathon before my holiday, so I’ll be starting on my TBR list from this. This runs until the middle of May, and only has seven books so hopefully I’ll finish this on time.


I also need to watch Avengers Endgame (probably Thursday) and catch up on Game of Thrones (as soon as I get home) as urgent things on my to do list.

What are you reading this week? If you were doing any readathons have you managed to finish them on time?

Review: Circe ★★★

I’ve seen a lot of reviews raving about Circe and it won a Goodreads Choice Award last year, so when I needed a book about a mythical creature for a readathon, this seemed perfect. This tells the story of Circe, daughter of Helios, her witchcraft, exile, and beyond. Sadly this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

This book didn’t tell us anything new. I love mythology but this didn’t feel like a story connecting me to the characters. I didn’t feel anything towards Circe, and I didn’t feel like there was a connection between the different parts of her story. This book moved through her life without drawing me in. If I’m reading a story, rather than a book of mythology, I want the author to engage me with the characters, but this book didn’t create any new emotions.

I thought the book was fine, but nothing special.

Review: Twisted ★★★★★

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK 
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:


1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

Goodreads Blurb

There is a lot of hype around this book and it is well deserved. This book is amazing. I borrowed a copy from the library and I could not put it down. I watch The Orville on Thursday evenings with my housemate and I was annoyed that I had to stop reading. I stayed up late to finish it (always a risky decision with a cat who likes to wake me up to see if he can get breakfast earlier). My only thought when I finished was ‘holy fucking shit’. I bought my own copy on my way to work the next morning, because I had to own this so I could read it again.

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I’m not usually a fan of books that start near the end of the story, and then go back to the start of the story, but it worked wonderfully well in this book. This lets the reader make their own assumptions and conclusions, and then changes them multiple times throughout the book. Twisted is an apt title, as this book is full of twists. I hadn’t fully recovered from one before another came along. If you think you’ve figured everything out, you’re wrong.

I didn’t particularly like the characters in this book when I first started reading it, and only slightly more by the end, but I think that’s part of what made this book so good. Steve Cavanagh creates characters that are human and flawed, and that you root for regardless of your feelings towards them. 

The book describes the success of JT LeBeau’s novels being down to the fact that they’re the type of books that when the reader has finished, they immediately tell e they know ‘You need to read this book’, and Twisted creates the same reaction.

I can’t say too much about Twisted without being spoilers, but if you haven’t read it yet, you should get yourself a copy as soon as possible. This is the best book I’ve read so far this year. 

Review: We Were Liars ★★★★

Goodreads Blurb

We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
You decide.

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This isn’t the type of book I would usually read, but I really enjoyed it. I’d been considering buying if for a while, and I finally bought it, and read the entire thing in one sitting.

We Were Liars tells the story of Cady and her cousins, ‘The Liars’. They spend every summer together. Cady has suffered migraines ever since ‘the accident’ in Summer 15, but none of her family will talk about it. What are they hiding from her?

This book was a very short read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It kept me curious all the way through the book about what had happened. The writing style was unusual, and I wasn’t a huge fan, but overall I liked the tone and pacing of the book. This made me cry when I finished it, something that only a few books have done.

I can’t say too much about this book without being spoilery, but if you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend it.