Time for another round of Yvonne’s Shorties! Since I have a huge pile of backlog reviews of the books I read during my break, I will be featuring an extra book in my shorties posts until I’ve caught up. This time around a thriller I LOVED, a YA sci-fi thriller that against expectations failed to impress me and a romance sequel that I had mixed feelings about.
“He knew what she was looking for, because he had tried to find it many times in the depts of his own pupils.
She was searching for the madness.”
It’s no secret that I love a good serial killer thriller, and I’ve been wanting to read The Resident ever since I first heard about it. I mean, have you read that blurb?! Simply imagining a serial killer could be hiding in your attic, spying on you and plotting your murder… It sounds absolutely terrifying, and we don’t even have an attic in our home! But did that stop me from staring at the ceiling and imagining: ‘what if?’ Most definitely not. I was literally hooked as soon as I started reading The Resident, and cancelled all plans just so I could keep turning those pages. The premise of this story is SO simple, with a limited setting and a limited amount of characters, but I think that is actually part of its power. We only have the four terrace houses, and the main focus is on the serial killer Thomas Brogan, the elderly Elsie and the couple (Colette and Martyn); simple, but very effective as you really get to know both the killer and the couple this way. It was especially fascinating to learn more about Brogan and the conversations inside his head were brilliantly done. The way he worms his way inside the heads of the couple and drifts them apart is ingenious, and it turns out that both Colette and Martyn have more than one secret to hide. I had such a fantastic time with The Resident, and this story has definitely been one of my reading highlights so far this year.
“We’ve all got our shit to deal with, Mae. A giant space rock doesn’t change that.”
I had such a fantastic time buddy reading We Begin At The End with Nicki back in 2020, and Chris Whitaker has been on my radar ever since. A YA sci-fi thriller isn’t exactly what I usually read though, but since he wrote it and I do love his writing I decided to give The Forevers a chance anyway. The cover itself is stunning of course, but I also liked the sound of the premise with the imminent asteroid hit and how this knowledge affects the main characters. I had a lot of faith that this story was going to be a new favorite, so imagine my surprise when I ended up having mixed thoughts instead… I never thought I would say these words, but I actually felt that The Forevers wasn’t sci-fi enough after what the blurb seemed to promise? There was hardly any focus on the asteroid and the fact that the world was about to end, but instead this story is mostly character-driven and reads like a mix of a coming of age YA and literary fiction. Not at all what I expected or what I was in the mood for, so this probably affected my experience with this story negatively. That said, character-driven stories don’t seem to work all that well in general at the moment, so part of the problem is most likely me. That said, I had also quite some issues with the writing itself. There was a lot of jumping between characters without warning and the result was a rather confusing story that lacked cohesion in parts. I kept having to turn back and reread passages to figure out who was in a particular scene as some weren’t even mentioned before focusing on them… And the constant interruption with cursive passages in a different voice were quite distracting too and it took me some time to place them. The story itself is also a lot bleaker than I thought it would be, with focus on suicide, (parental) abuse, bullying and domestic violence among other things. The only light in the dark is Felix with his clumsiness and humor, but otherwise The Forevers was mostly depressing. Of course I didn’t exactly expect a happy read with the characters only having a month left to live before the asteroid hits, but I did feel there wasn’t enough balance. The pace of the story was also too slow for me, and I didn’t like how the mystery element with the questions surrounding Abi’s death/suicide was handled… All in all, sadly The Forevers and me unexpectedly didn’t get along as well as I thought we would.
Title: The Little Paris Patisserie
(Romantic Escapes #3)
Author: Julie Caplin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: September 6th 2018
Finished reading: February 23rd 2022
“Everyone probably thought she was a call girl, which was almost correct as for the next few weeks she was going to be Sebastian’s beck-and-call girl.”
I’ve been looking forward to continue the Romantic Escape series after enjoying the first two books… The mix of travel, food and romance creating a perfect recipe for a good story. That’s probably why I was a bit surprised to end up having mixed feeling about The Little Paris Patisserie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Paris setting with its many descriptions and the food descriptions were heaven. It’s definitely made me want to try my hand at some of the French pastries mentioned (especially eclairs)! The background characters were great too, and I really liked their dynamics and how they all help each other. I also loved the idea of the patisserie course and how the group wants to bring the tired patisserie back to life… BUT. While Nina is quite easy to like in general, I wasn’t a fan of how she reacted to being treated so badly by Sebastian. Or how she didn’t really stand up for herself or fight for her ideas… And I REALLY disliked Sebastian as a character. On top of this, I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle at all, a major pet peeve in the first place and I don’t think it added anything substantial to the plot either. Both Sebastian and the love triangle made me enjoy The Little Paris Patisserie a lot less than expected, but thankfully the rest of the characters and the food/Paris descriptions partly made up for that. I’m still looking forward to book four though, because Alex has real potential as a main character.