Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser-DNF at 51%-A 2/5 Star Review

Two friends separated geographically and by one friend being a new parent.  They finally find time to connect via Skype.  The conversation is awkward then interrupted by a waking child.

One friend is left waiting, the other struggling with pain to get to the now-wailing child.

One friend sees an intruder break-in but has no way of alerting the other friend.

What happens next?

 

Gripping, right?  That’s not only the premise of the story but it is also the very first chapter in summation.  I have to say: the first two chapters were very riveting!  It felt like the plot was moving quickly and I kept being surprised.  Then the resulting chapters I was either confused at the characters’ reactions or bored with the inner monologues and kept skimming.  The inner ramblings of the narrating characters ended up being the downfall for the book for me.  It showed that the characters are as awful internally as their actions have shown.  Their secrets that they kept from one another appears to have been intended to contribute towards the idea that this book is a psychological thriller.  However, in my opinion, it was just a boring novel about entitled suburban strife.  However aversive the adult characters may have been, the children were redeeming in that they were adorable and pure. 2 stars: One for Nori and One for Rosie.

Back to the inner monologues: there were many diatribes in narration, mostly justifying how horribly they are treating the other characters, that I kept finding myself skimming.  They were so lengthy at times that I was relieved when the chapter was finally over so I could put the book down for awhile.  Or I would keep putting the book down because it was a series of the worst things that could happen to a character, happening to each character, more than once.  I am not sure if the author was going with the idea that “bad things happen to good people” because these characters were not exactly great people.  Which is drilled into the readers’ head repeatedly.    Or maybe the author was trying to use catastrophic events to help build character.  But at the point that I stopped, halfway through, that still did not appear to have happened.  Instead, the characters all seem to be self-absorbed and blaming the other for one bad event or another.

There were so many bad things happening with each character that I stopped being surprised at any new element thrown in.  OF COURSE! I kept screaming at my Kindle.  OF COURSE the HR guy’s name is Toby, just like in The Office.  OF COURSE they’re going to mention that his name is like the guy in The Office.  OF COURSE Toby isn’t that great, no one in the book is.  OF COURSE there’s a shady neighbor.  OF COURSE the intruder is not who they originally thought.  OF COURSE there are money issues involved.  OF COURSE their life fell apart, everyone in this book is falling apart! You get the idea.

In conclusion: I would not recommend this book at all.  I would especially not recommend it for younger than adult audiences.  Lastly, I would not recommend this book for those who may be triggered or offended by: foul language, infidelity, intruders/break-ins, stalkers, addiction, marital strife, or arson.

Please note: an electronic ARC of this book was generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

 

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She Lies in Wait (DCI Jonah Sheens #1) by Gytha Lodge – A 2/5 Star Review

One girl has to tag along embarrassingly with her older sister on a camping trip with her sister’s friends. One night of secrets. One death that will take 30 years to solve. One Detective who knows more than he lets on.

This book was kind of hard to fly through at times. There is a fine line between detailing the setting and overloading on details as filler. However, it could also be the case that the overwhelming amount of details was due to it being the author’s debut novel. It was mostly very heavy on the interactions and operations of the office.

Furthermore, there is a subplot on a newbie detective with an abusive stalker of an ex-boyfriend that forces her to spend the night in a hotel at one point. The main issue with this is: there doesn’t seem to be a point to it. Since this is the first book in a series, perhaps the author is setting up a villain for the next book. Or could it be that the author was trying to humanize the character? There is not a resolution to this issue and it makes the plot a bit sporadic.

Another reason why I did not care for this particular book is because of the alternating narratives. Authors like Liane Moriarty (see review ) can pull off weaving multiple storylines and distinct narratives into one cohesive plot. Unfortunately, this did not happen in She Lies in Wait. Mostly because it starts off solely as alternating narrators of DCI Jonah Sheens in the present and Aurora in the past with chapter separation. Then, the narration switches between a random assortment of characters with only Hanson as a fairly common one with her confusing subplot. Furthermore, some of the other detectives are not established well so sometimes it was confusing on who the narrator was even supposed to be and pretty much muddied the plot.

The final reason why I did not care for this book is because it was almost obvious who the killer was from the early chapters. I had hoped that it couldn’t possibly be that obvious and must be a red herring but I was disappointed.

And so I can’t say that I am eager for the next book in the series. I do give props to the author as it is very hard to get your debut novel published. I would imagine it is even harder if that book is the first in a series. But, for me, this book is not one that I would recommend.

The following things were found in my reading of the book that may be offensive or trigger some readers: violence, drug use, alcohol use, drug abuse, sexual assault, sexually suggestive scenarios, foul language, murder, stalking, and psychological abuse.

Please note: an electronic ARC of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates- a 2/5 Star Review

It was a great start but quickly lost stamina for me. There were a lot of characters that I could not keep track of as well as inconsistencies with the personality of the main character, Lady Elanna Valtai. She was confused yet she was certain. She was loyal to the King that raised her like a daughter yet barely fought for her best friend. She was defiant and stubborn with everyone except the (conveniently handsome) sorcerer Jahan. I understand that she was supposed to be immature as she is a young teenager who is just now discovering that her whole life was a lie. However, her character was too erratic for me to be able to enjoy. I gave it two weeks to try to finish and I still cannot bring myself to, so I am moving on and marking it as a DNF at 31%.

Please note: an electronic copy was generously provided for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).

The Merman’s Kiss (Monsters for Mates #1) by Tamsin Ley-2/5 Star Review

Brianna’s world is over. She lost her baby and her marriage. She puts on weights and walks off a pier into the ocean wanting to end it all. What she did not plan on was entering a whole other world underwater. Merman Zantu finds her and breathes life back into her. Shortly thereafter, they fall into lust and mate. Brianna’s life starts over in a new world with a new mate because when merman mate, they mate for life.

Zantu has a hard time selecting a mate because all mermaids are greedy, manipulative, and leave mermen and their merchildren behind. Having recently witnessed this happen to his brother, he avoids mermaids even more, viewing them as predators. While treasure hunting, he comes across a human who needs rescued and breathes into her allowing her to breathe underwater. Saving her life forever changed his.

I tried to like this book but it was irritating at times. Zantu calls Brianna “my little angelfish” redundantly and the sweeping concept that all mermaids are greedy and malicious did not add to the book. Furthermore, it felt like they were having sex every five pages and then they were telling each other that they love each other after only a brief amount of time. The final redundant part for me was how Zantu kept thinking about how females cannot be trusted because they will leave you. Yet Zantu left Brianna behind on more than one occasion!

It was a novella and easy to read in one sitting. It is difficult to tell if this book was originally written with the intention of shorter length because it felt like a lot was left out. The plot holes seemed to be covered up by more sex scenes. Furthermore, there were big transformations that happened but were not explained how. It just did not feel like it flowed well, in my opinion.

I am adding the second star because there was a lot of detail regarding the marine world. Not only with what it was supposed to physically look like, but how all of the marine creatures interacted.

I would not recommend this book for those who dare bothered by explicit sex scenes, suicide attempts, infidelity, abandonment (particularly maternal abandonment), depression, violence, and coercion.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.