ARC REVIEW: Castle Of Water – by Dane Huckelbridge

Title: Castle Of Water
Author: Dane Huckelbridge

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 4th 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press 
Finished reading: April 16th 2017
Pages: 288

“With his box-cutter knife in one hand and waterproof flashlight in the other, Barry felt, for the first time in his life, like a man. A terrified man on the verge of  wetting his loincloth, but a man nevertheless.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Sometimes (cover)love at first sight can lead to something extraordinary. When I first saw Dane Huckelbridge‘s debut novel Castle Of Water mentioned, I couldn’t stop staring at the cover. The color combination, the abstract sunset over the sea… Just gorgeous. Of course I had no other choice but to request a copy, especially since the story itself sounded really intriguing as well. And Castle Of Water is without doubt a little masterpiece. It’s a story about how two unlikely characters end up as castaways on a deserted island together and how they manage to survive… A modern ‘Robinson Crusoe‘ twist that captured my attention from the very first page. The characters are spot on and their development is brilliantly done. It’s really interesting to see how both Barry and Sophie react to the things that happen to them on the island and I love LOVE their bantering! I like that they represent different nationalities as well as personalities and it without doubt adds an original touch to an already excellent story and plot. The writing style really stands out as well; well written, enjoyable to read and even funny at points. I also loved the incorporation of many French elements/words, which were easy to understand and didn’t slow down the pace even though my French is pretty basic. I honestly couldn’t find something I didn’t like about this novel… So as you might have already guessed, I can more than recommend Castle Of Water if you enjoy the genre. You won’t be disappointed!

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Sophie Ducel and Barry Bleecker decided to travel to French Polynesia for very different reasons… Sophie wanted to visit the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel, during her honeymoon with her new husband. Barry Bleecker decided to give up his job in Manhattan finance and chase his painting dreams instead; seeking creative inspiration in the place where his idol, Paul Gauguin, found it as well. The two didn’t know each other until they bordered the small plane sharing the same destination. And then their plane is downed in the middle of the Sout Pacific, and Sophie and Barry are the sole survivors. They find themselves stranded on a tiny island hundreds of miles from civilization… And they will have to learn to work together if they want to have any chance of survival and ever finding a way back home. Which might be more difficult than it sounds, because the two strangers couldn’t have been more different.

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While it was the beautiful cover that made me first want to pick up this novel, it was the story and writing style itself that managed to blow me away in the end. Castle Of Water is basically a modern castaway story with a twist, and I loved every single moment of it. The prose is just wonderful and combined with the well developed and loveable characters you are definitely in for a treat. An emotional rollercoaster, in the best possible way!


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WWW Wednesdays #133 – April 19th

WWW 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?

I’m currently reading three books, although I’m going to finish the ARC Among Friends: Travels In Cuba by Heather Murray first. It’s a non fiction read about Cuba I’ve started last night and I’m only a few pages into the story so far… It will be interesting comparing the experiences of the author with one of my best friends who went to Cuba back in January. I’ve also finally started reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, a story I have been wanting to pick up for ages now and decided to just pick up even though I have more ARCs pending. The last one is Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, which I’ve put temporarily on hold because I wasn’t in the mood for (high) fantasy.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first title I finished is What Doesn’t Kill You by Ed James, the third book in a detective series and one that unfortunately didn’t live up to the previous two books. It took me a while to warm up to the story, the amount of swearing crossed the line to excessive and I felt that both the ending and the whole progress of Fenchurch’ personal life was a bit rushed. Not bad, but definitely not as good as the first two.
* I then picked up The Start Of Me And You by Emery Lord on a whim, trying to put an end on the list of ‘mediocre’ reads. I really enjoyed When We Collided last year, but this one was a little too sweet and cheesy for me. Probably also because of the annoying love triangle, although I did adore Max as a character.
* Afterwards I picked up what is going to be probably my last vampire story ever: Life Sentence by Lily Luchesi. It’s the third book of the Paranormal Detectives series and I enjoyed it better than the sequel. No more annoying love triangle and again I enjoyed the many flashbacks to the past. Fast-paced, entertaining and full of supernatural creatures; if you like the genre you will probably enjoy this series!
* I then decided to read Castle Of Water by Dane Huckelbridge, which has SUCH a beautiful cover! I just love that color combination. The story itself is just as wonderful; both the character development and plot are brilliant and I loved the writing style. A very interesting read about how two unlikely characters end up on an deserted island together and how they manage to survive… A modern ‘Robin Crusoe’ twist and I loved loved the characters bantering and the many French elements!
* The last book I finished is The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger, another gorgeous cover. This one started out a bit slow and it took me some time to connect the different storylines, but as soon as the pace picked up… BAM! Instant psychological thriller. Fascinating story!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to make the most of April ARC month and try to read these four ARCs before the end of this month. First up is The Millionaire’s Wife by Shalini Boland, a title I have been looking forward to especially since I loved her other two thrillers. I also want to read The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig, Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel and The Darkest Lies by Barbara Coppertwaite, which I’ve all heard great things about.


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WWW Wednesdays #132 – April 12th

WWW 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?

I’m currently reading three books, although I’m going to finish the Netgalley ARC What Doesn’t Kill You by Ed James first. It’s the third book in a detective series and so far without doubt fast-paced and entertaining, although I feel part of the ‘spark’ of the previous two books is missing. The other two titles are ARCs as well. The first Life Sentence by Lily Luchesi, the third book in a paranormal romance series. It’s also probably the last time that I’m reading a vampire story, because this series has yet again confirmed me I seem to be allergic to those fanged creatures. Luckily this series has other creatures as well, but that doesn’t take away my feeling that these kind of books just aren’t for me and to keep reading them wouldn’t be fair to the authors. The other title I’m about to start is Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, another fantasy read and a Reading Alley ARC.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first title I finished since last week is The Color Purple by Alice Walker, a modern classic I decided to pick up for various challenges. I had high hopes for this one as I had heard a lot of things about it, but I guess this was another case of unpopular opinion for me. I struggled a lot with the writing style in the beginning; up to the point that I even considered DNFing it. The plot itself is without doubt both intriguing, shocking, in your face and full of raw emotions, but I had a hard time with Celie’s POV. Not because of the shocking/graphic elements, but because her dialogue was really hard to read with all those broken sentences, bad grammar etc. I know it’s because she is an uneducated child wife of the South and it does feel authentic, but it doesn’t take away I struggled a lot to keep reading.
* I then read Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell, the second book in the Detective Ruby Preston series. It took me some time to warm up to the main character in the first book, but I had no such problem in the sequel. I was hooked right from the start and it was one hell of a ride! Well written prose, interesting characters, twisted serial killer, possible Jack The Ripper reference, lots and lots of plot twists… What’s more to ask? I’ll definitely be waiting impatiently for the next Ruby Preston adventure.
* Afterwards I decided to pick up another pending ARC: Miranda’s Rights by Lily Luchesi. It’s also a sequel and a paranormal romance story with lots of supernatural creatures, although the main focus is on vampires. And those fanged creatures might be the main reason I liked this story less than most other readers… Although it does have a love triangle as well. It is a fast read though and fans of the genre will probably enjoy it a lot better than I did.
* The last book I finished is Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken, another sequel and part of my Beat The Backlist challenge. To be honest, I enjoyed this sequel a lot less than I thought I would. I found it overlong, almost boring and the plot a bit thin. Basically it’s about Ruby trying to find someone and messing up a lot along the way, with various people betraying her or not being what they seem to be… Not at all as good as the first book (which I really enjoyed), and Ruby started to annoy me with the whole ‘I’m dangerous/I can’t be around others/I need to be alone’ thing. The writing style is as good as ever, but it sure took me a lot longer than expected to finish this one…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are three more ARCs… All for the April ARC month. Among Friends: Travels In Cuba by Heather Murray was sent by the author and sounds like an intriguing travel read. Both Castle Of Water by Dane Huckelbridge and The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger are Netgalley ARCs and are a case of coverlove and intriguing blurb combined. I also still want to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult; I’ve been mentioning this title for way too long now and I’m picking this up as soon as I finish this months Netgalley titles!


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Friday Finds #127 – April 7th

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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