DNF REVIEW: The Liar’s Chair – by Rebecca Whitney

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Title: The Liar’s Chair
Author: Rebecca Whitney
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
First published: December 15th 2014
Finished reading: March 22nd 2016
Pages: 224
DNF at 42%
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“In every room the recollection of my childhood is slight, and fireflies of memory disappear as soon as I turn my mind to them. I passed through my past, I didn’t or couldn’t savour the time, and now my history is huge and vacant, like a film I never finished watching.”

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I know I NEVER DNF a book, but I’ve made a promise to myself this year to stop reading those stories that are starting to feel like voluntary torture. It hasn’t been easy to take the final decision to DNF The Liar’s Chair, but I really couldn’t bring myself to waste any more time trying to finish this read. Do I feel guilty? Yes. But that doesn’t take away I feel releaved that I’m finally able to put a book down unfinished. I normally love a good mystery/thriller read, so I was actually looking forward to this novel by Rebecca Whitney despite the low Goodreads rating. Unfortunately, as soon as I began reading the unnatural and forced prose started to irritate me. I don’t mind an unreliable or unlikeable character if it’s done well, but Rachel Teller crossed the border to I-simply-cannot-stand-you land. Both her voice and her actions really annoyed me and I truly struggled to keep reading this story. The plot itself is unbelievable and both the characters and their development don’t feel natural. I hate being this negative in a review and I’m glad other people seem to have enjoyed The Liar’s Chair better, but sadly I don’t belong to that group.

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Rachel and her husband David seem to have the perfect life with a big house and a successful business, but not everything is as it may appear. David is desperate to control his wife, but Rachel is not exactly the woman that can be kept on a leash. She is quite skilled in hiding her secrets, but as she kills a man in a hit and run after she left her lover’s house drunk, the image of their perfect life is starting to crack. David insists they pretend nothing happened and makes all evidence of the accident disappear, but Rachel has a hard time living with the guilt of having killed someone. Her behavior becomesincreasingly self-destructive… Can Rachel confront both her past and present and find peace with herself before it’s too late?

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The general idea behind The Liar’s Chair sounds really interesting and there have been a lot of good books published using the unreliable narrator technique lately. Unfortunately I don’t think this book belongs to that group. I didn’t like the characters, Rachel’s ‘voice’ and the prose in general were really annoying and the plot is not exactly credible. I really wanted to like The Liar’s Chair, but I really couldn’t bring myself to finish it; resulting in my very first DNF read.

BOOK REVIEW: Disclaimer – by Renée Knight

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Title: Disclaimer
Author: Renée Knight
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: April 9th 2015
Finished reading: March 22nd 2015
Pages: 304
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“The act of keeping the secret a secret has almost become bigger than the secret itself.”

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As soon as I saw the cover and blurb of this novel written by Renée Knight last year, I was sold. It’s easy to say I was really looking forward to this read, and that might be part of the reason I ended up feeling disappointed after finishing Disclaimer. I can’t deny it’s a fast read and I finished it in no time at all, but that doesn’t mean I actually enjoyed it. I had a hard time connecting to the main characters and I felt the whole mystery around Catherine’s ‘secret’ was dragged out way too much. No offense, but I really don’t see why she would keep what happened to her a secret for that long, especially after finding the book… I don’t say it isn’t horrible what happened to her, but I’m sure her husband would have understood in the end. I guess the whole plot in general just didn’t seem believable at all. I felt the story was all over the place without a proper guideline, and for me the unreliable narrator technique didn’t reach its full potential. I know a lot of people seem to have enjoyed this novel, but unfortunately I wasn’t one of them…

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Catherine Ravenscroft seems to have the perfect life as a successful documentary filmmaker with a loving husband and their son. What nobody knows is that she has been hiding a terrible secret for the last twenty years… She never told anyone, especially not her husband, what happened during that 1993 vacation in Spain, but it looks like the truth might finally come out. Catherine finds a mysterious novel at her bedside, the story sounding way too similar to those memories of that terrible day at the Spanish coast. She thought the only other person who knew about her secret was dead, but it looks like the past is finally catching up with her anyway. Soon her world is starting to fall apart, and Catherine is forced to confront what really happened that day even if it destroys her.

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Even as I’m writing my summary of Disclaimer, I can’t deny this story has a lot of potential. I was really looking forward to this novel, but unfortunately I wasn’t convinced by either the characters or the chaotic plot. I understand why Catherine would find it difficult to talk about what really happened that day, but still: keeping it a secret for that long? I’m not sure that’s exactly credible. In fact, I found most of the plot on the border of unbelievable… Such a shame, because I had high hopes for this story.

WWW Wednesdays #84 – March 30th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started both my current reads yesterday evening, so there’s not much to say about them other than that I have been looking forward to read both. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley has been recommended to me numerous times, so hopefully it’s just as good as I have been told. And I have been looking forward to pick up Ice Like Fire ever since I finished the first book; I love the worldbuilding of this series!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* After quite a few disappointing reads I decided to pick up one of my guilty pleasure books: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Although I normally don’t like vampire stories, this series has turned out to be an exception. I loved the True Blood TV series and this first book is just as entertaining.
* Another book I really enjoyed was The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. It can read a bit slow at points, but I loved reading about all those amazing-sounding bookshops all over the world. It really made me wish I could open my own bookshop one day…
* I read Apple And Rain by Sarah Crossan as well. After enjoying One earlier this month I was looking forward to read more of her work, but unfortunately this one wasn’t as good. I liked the poetry bits, but the story itself was not that interesting.
* The last book I finished was Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia. I read and enjoyed the first book last year, but the sequel didn’t really manage to convince me. It’s quite a fast read and still entertaining, but the introduction of a love triangle or two and Lena acting the way she does didn’t exactly make me enjoy it as much as the first book.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have been saying I want to read Random by Tom Leveen for weeks, so I should just pick it up soon… But I might just give in and read A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab next (and the sequel A Gathering Of Shadows). If I’m not in the mood for fantasy, I have Stolen by Lucy Christopher on my list as well. I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m looking forward to finally pick it up. My new TBR jar pick is The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall.

Teaser Tuesdays #87 – March 29th: Apple And Rain

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I started reading Apple And Rain by Sarah Crossan the other day and it is turning out to be a quick read. Not as good as her other novel One though… The plot itself is a quite weak and the tone a bit childish even for a middle grade read, but the poems do mostly make up for it.

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My teaser (30%):

“Even though Dad doesn’t want me to live with Mum, he never says I should live with him. Trish wouldn’t allow it. Anyway, I’d rather live under a bridge with diseased rats than in a house with Trish –  but he could at least offer.”

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: Glass Sword – by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Glass Sword
(Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: February 9th 2016
Finished reading: March 21st 2016
Pages: 444
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“No one is born evil, just like no one is born alone. They become that way, through choice and circumstance.”

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I don’t remember if it was because I set my expectations low or if the hype wasn’t too big then, but I really enjoyed Red Queen the first time I read it last year. Before starting the sequel earlier this month, I decided to do a reread because the details were a bit fuzzy. While I still enjoyed it second time around, I did have more problems with it. The thing that bothered me most is probably Mare; her character can become really annoying after a while, especially with the whole love triangle (square?) situation going on. And unfortunately things got worse in Glass Sword. Not only becomes Mare more whiny and self-centered than ever, she also doesn’t stop craving for the guy that betrayed her in the first place. (Is that a spoiler? I promise I won’t be giving names…) On top of this, the pace of the second book is a lot slower than the first and the plot is really repetitive. The sequel is basically a repeat sequence of the following: Mare blindly trusts someone –> person betrays Mare –> Mare is in deep trouble –> somehow she manages to not get killed. Sure, the new special powers spice things up a bit, but that doesn’t take away that Glass Sword is basically one big disappointment. And I’m not even talking about the ending! I know cliffhangers are good for future sales of the third book, but in this case it only made me want to read it less.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Mare Barrow has been born Red, but somehow she has a Silver ability. She no longer belongs to the common folk, but she isn’t considered Silver either. She is something new, and that fact is frightening both Reds and Silvers alike. Her power to control lightning is a weapon the royal court wants to control, but Mare turns out to be not so easy to control. She secretly tries to find a way with the Scarlet Guard to help end the suffering of the Reds, and Mare finds out to her surprise that she isn’t the only one with special powers. They are called newbloods, and Mare is determined to find them before the enemy does and kills them all…

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I really want to like this series and the first book was quite promising, but things go downwards from there. The general idea behind Red Queen is quite interesting even though it might not be completely original, but Mare and the love triangle (or square since technically it is Mare-Cal-Maven-Kilorn) ruin this story for me. In short, Glass Sword is a mediocre sequel to a story I’m now not sure I want to continue reading… Especially since the third book doesn’t even have a name or publish date yet.

BOOK REVIEW: Ugly Love – by Colleen Hoover

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Title: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
First published: August 5th 2014
Finished reading: March 12th 2016
Pages: 337
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“Some people they grow wiser as they grow older. Unfortunately, most people just grow older.”

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After being blown away by Colleen Hoover‘s other novel November 9 last year, I have been dying to read more of her work… I asked around, and most people recommended either this one or Maybe Someday for my next read. Like with all things, one has to go first: I decided to pick up Ugly Love. I can’t describe how much I was looking forward to this read… And trust me, you’re not the only one that is surprised by this low rating. Because unlike just about everyone I know, I just couldn’t enjoy this story at all. It started out promising enough and initially I really had the feeling the prose would be just as good as in her other novel. Unfortunately, I soon started to really dislike Ugly Love. The Miles chapters are plain annoying with his endless Rachel Rachel Rachel and I don’t like the structure of those chapters that much either. It’s not normal prose, but it isn’t exactly poetry either… I can’t put my finger on it, but it didn’t manage to convince me. Also, I kind of wanted to hit Tate for acting so stupid, letting Miles treat her the way he did and ‘feeling liquid’ all the time. Seriously, at one point I was saying to myself: ‘if she is saying that she’s feeling liquid one more time, I’m throwing this book out of the window’. And that would have been painful, because I was reading it in the car while we were on the highway. As you might have guessed already: even though I had high hopes for Ugly Love, unfortunately I don’t belong to the group that loves this book. In fact, I REALLY disliked it and it has definitely confirmed me that these kind of sexy romance stories just aren’t for me.

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Tate Collins moves into her brother’s appartment temporarily until she can find a place of her own. She already knew her brother wouldn’t be there to help her move her things into his place, but what she didn’t know is that she was going to find an unconscious drunk neighbor at his doorstep… And so the first time she meets his friend and fellow airline pilot Miles Archer is definitely not a good one. Things don’t really improve later on either; it’s not that she doesn’t find him attractive, but she doesn’t see herself falling in love or even becoming friends with him. But Miles is always there, taunting her… He doesn’t seem to want to start a relationship with her either, but soon their mutual desires are becoming to hard to ignore. They think they found the perfect way to get what they both want with no strings attached, but can they play according the rules?

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I had such high hopes for Ugly Love, but unfortunately I ended up really disliking this novel. Both the characters and the Miles chapters were cause of serious frustration and took away any pleasure I could have had of reading this story. I know I’m not a romance fan and I don’t like ‘sexy stories’ in the first place, but since I LOVED November 9 I thought I would enjoy this one as well. I guess I was wrong. I won’t be giving up on Colleen Hoover though!

Poll Results: And We Have a Winner (or two)!

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Monday, I asked for your help in deciding which fantasy series I should start reading next. I actually have tons of series I should finish first before starting a new one, but it’s hard to resist temptation. 😉 Now let’s see the poll results, shall we? It was a really close call, but the winner is:

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Looks like I will be reading Daughter Of Smoke And Bone next! This series by Laini Taylor got a total of 10 votes, only one more than the series that came in second. Which one gathered 9 votes? Two books I have been looking forward to read for ages now: A Darker Shade Of Magic and A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. And yes, I will be adding these to my April TBR as well. 😀

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Below the full results of the poll…

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Thanks again to everyone who voted! ❤ I will be looking forward to start reading the two winning series in April.