August 2017 Wrap Up

August was an okay reading month for me, I ended up reading 6 books in total. I felt like I was in a bit of a reading slump for August, possibly because most of the books I read were just “meh”. Anyway, hopefully, September will be an amazing month for reading!

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

★★★☆☆      my review

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

★★★☆☆    my review

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

★★★☆☆

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

★★★☆☆    my review

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

★★★☆☆   my review

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

RE-READ    ★★★★★

Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Was August a good reading month for you? How many books did you get around to reading?

The Friday 56 (3)

 

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

ARC’s

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.

Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.

There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.

Physical Books

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

It’s hard to keep close a person everyone keeps telling you is gone.

It’s been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper’s big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie’s handbag for luck – and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It’s mysteriously addressed to ‘You’ and dated July 4th – the day of Camie’s accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie’s secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.

But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie’s death – but without this card, there’s a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own secret: a memory that she can’t let anyone else find out.

Dance of the Red Death by Behtany Griffin

Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death.

In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.

Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.

eBooks

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

In the follow-up to Abbi Glines’s #1 New York Times bestseller Until Friday Night—three teens from a small southern town are stuck in a dramatic love triangle.

Willa can’t erase the bad decisions of her past that led her down the path she’s on now. But she can fight for forgiveness from her family. And she can protect herself by refusing to let anyone else get close to her.

High school quarterback and town golden boy Brady used to be the best of friends with Willa—she even had a crush on him when they were kids. But that’s all changed now: her life choices have made her a different person from the girl he used to know.

Gunner used to be friends with Willa and Brady, too. He too is larger than life and a high school football star—not to mention that his family basically owns the town of Lawton. He loves his life, and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. But Willa is the exception—and he understands the girl she’s become in a way no one else can.

As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love…even if it means losing each other forever.

After the Game by Abbi Glines

Two years ago, Riley Young fled from Lawton, Alabama. After accusing the oldest Lawton son, Rhett, of rape, everyone called her a liar and she had no option but to leave. Now she’s back, but she’s not at Lawton High finishing up her senior year. She’s at home raising the little girl that no one believed was Rhett’s.

Rhett is off at college living the life he was afraid he’d lose with Riley’s accusation, so Riley agrees to move back to Lawton so she and her parents could take care of her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But the town still hasn’t forgotten their hate for her, and she hasn’t forgotten the way they turned on her when she needed them most.

When town golden boy Brady Higgens finds Riley and her daughter, Bryony, stranded on the side of the road in a storm, he pulls over and gives them a ride. Not because he cares about Riley, of course, but because of the kid.

But after the simple car ride, he begins to question everything he thought he knew. Could Brady believe Riley and risk losing everything?

The Friday 56 (3)

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rosecityreader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, be sure to visit their blogs!

28902446.jpgWelcome Home by Eric Smith

Book Beginning: 

Carlos Herald was born to a couple of strangers in a hospital in Mexico City. Not long afterward – a feeding, a medical checkup, a nurse’s hurried coffee break – he was put in the arms of Janice and Cody Herald, two longtime Iowa residents who’s relocated to the Mexican metropolis a few months earlier, and who, for some unknown reasons, were stuck in the year 1985.

56%: 

“I don’t know how to be this person, the one they keep making me out to be. the person I’m absolutely not.”

The Friday 56 (3)

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout review

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 21, 2017
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Pages: 250
Goodreads

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen. 

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

REVIEW

If There’s No Tomorrow is a lighthearted contemporary novel that quickly becomes intense as it deals with hard-hitting topics relevant to today’s teens. A story with an adorable romance that you can devour in one sitting!

One of the aspects of this book that I loved was the characters, Lena is highly relatable being a bookworm herself, and seeing all the ACOTAR references made my heart so full! Lean is quite independent, she doesn’t rely on her mother, and she purposefully works hard so she can be where she wants in her life, when people offer to help her she usually just shrugs it off. Sebastian was just so charming, I loved the way he treated Lena and you could see that he really respected and cared for her. The interactions between Lena and Sebastian were the highlights of the novel for me.

However, I’m not sure how I feel about the “purposely trying to be vague” synopsis, making this book come across as mysterious. When we get a glimpse of Lena in hospital in the prologue, I must admit that I was intrigued and I definitely wanted to know what happened for Lena to end up in such a serious condition. But as I read on, and after the “incident” occurred, it didn’t feel as shocking or dramatic as I hoped. The accident was the climax of the novel and the story petered out from that point. The book wasn’t heavily plot based and I feel like it was lacking, I just wanted MORE from it. It’s a fairly short story and I felt as if Armentrout didn’t reach her full potential with this novel.

Overall, If There’s No Tomorrow was a quick enjoyable read with likeable characters and an adorable romance. However, as it deals with some serious issues, I wish it would’ve been more impactful than it was.

★★★

The Friday 56 (3)

 

 

A map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor review

A Map for Wrecked girls by Jessica Taylor
Published by Penguin on August 15, 2017
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Pages: 368
Goodreads

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart. 

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

REVIEW

A Map for Wrecked Girls was a quick addictive read that I devoured in three days. A dual-timeline story about love, sisters and survival, that is unlike anything that I’ve read previously.

The setting was one of the more prominent aspects of A Map for Wrecked Girls, the chapters that were focused on present time as they were stuck on a deserted island were wholly intriguing. I can’t think of any books I’ve read that revolve around a group of shipwrecked individuals, and the harsh wilderness of the island was brutal but made for some excellent suspense. The characters had to scavenge for food and water, attempt to build a make-shift shelter and on-top of all of this, the island was populated with ravenous vicious caiman lurking in the underbrush.

The novel revolves around three main characters, Henri, Alex and the protagonist Emma. However, the book truly focuses on Henri and Emma and their sisterly bond, through past and present. Emma and Henri are sisters that share an inseparable connection, Henri being the oldest is the leader of the two, always in the limelight and seeking attention, she is the ultimate wild child. She parties constantly, drinks alcohol, has sex and flirts with almost every boy she gets in contact with, and of course, Emma gets dragged along the entire way. Emma is quite the opposite of Henri, she’s more reserved, more responsible and is more for Henri than herself. Throughout the years Emma has just become Henri’s little sidekick, losing her sense of self and always relying on Henri. I didn’t enjoy seeing how dependent Emma was on Henri, especially since Henri was a terrible influence. Despite Henri’s radiant confidence, I could sense that she indeed had some underlying self-esteem issues that she glazed over with her mask of self-assuredness, and this became more apparent on the island. Henri wasn’t my favourite character, I disagreed with a lot of the things she did and she became quite obnoxious on the island, distancing herself from Emma and Alex and even refusing to help them try and escape the island and get back home. You can’t hide anything on the island, it reveals all your vulnerabilities and it ultimately changes you. Watching Emma adapt to the island, having to sharpen her survival skills, she gradually broke free of Henri’s reign. She grew magnificently into her own, developed person and began to think for herself more often. Alex, a guy Emma and Henri just met prior to them being stranded on the island, is a strong independent character, however, he, of course, also had issues of his own that he needed to seek to resolve.

During their time on the island, Emma and Alex’s relationship begins to develop into something more. I loved seeing Emma branch out and get involved in her own relationship with Alex, and how natural their connection seemed. However, I wouldn’t say I was swooning over Alex and having heart eye emojis over their relationship.

The plot wasn’t a huge factor of the novel, as it mostly followed the relationships between Emma, Henri and Alex. The plot wasn’t overly fascinating, in the chapters set in the past we saw the events leading up to the incident, a lot to do with Henri and her rash decisions and making a mess of her life. On the island, I would say I found it more interesting as I enjoyed the survival aspect and the suspense that it brought with it.

This novel definitely wasn’t a happy, fluffy story. It dealt with some serious issues including alcohol, divorce, death, drug dealing and money, sex, sexual assault and sexual relationships between students and teachers. I was actually quite surprised at the amount of relevant and significant topics within this book, and I don’t think there many novels involving sexual relationships between students and teachers.

Overall, A Map for Wrecked Girls is an enjoyable novel surrounding two sisters and a boy, their relationship and their survival on a deserted island. This book certainly wasn’t life-altering or heavily impactful, but it’s a fast-paced read that you’ll end up flying through!

★★★

The Friday 56 (3)

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rosecityreader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, be sure to visit their blogs!

A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor 

Beginning:

We sat at the edge of the ocean – my sister, Henri, and I – inches apart but not touching at all. The blue horizon was only beginning to swallow the sun and I was already shivering.
We’d been so sure someone would find us by now. Alex was the first to say help would be coming soon, but I didn’t quite believe him.

56%:

We chose a spot halfway up the beach, in a wide-open space, at the highest point we could build a signal fire without risking the flames spreading to the trees.

The Friday 56 (3)

 

 

The Circle by Dave Eggers Review

The Circle by Dave Eggers
Published by Knopf on October 8, 2013
Pages: 504
Genres: fiction, science fiction
Goodreads

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

REVIEW

I just finished reading the Circle, and oh my goodness I have such conflicted feelings about this book. It had such an incredible concept but sadly it just failed to execute. Personally, I found this book to be a massive build-up to something that did not exist, the entire time I was anticipating it to end with a bang, but I was thoroughly let down…

So I have to give it to Eggers, for his undeniably supreme concept, social media and technology being used to control society and ultimately the world. We need a book that explores the consequences of widespread social media, and I thought The Circle would be that book, but it wasn’t. This novel tackled some pressing issues but presented them in a way that wasn’t impactful or impressionable. Instead, I found The Circle to be more about the high-tech advancements that we as a society could eventually be moving toward, and some consequences of that, but I was hoping for a more dramatic take, something more along the lines of actual world domination. I wanted to watch the world fall apart at the hands of this social media empire, to watch it crumble and for society to revolt against this undefeatable supremacy.

Despite what you may think, I actually did enjoy the majority of this book, I was planning on rating it 3/5 stars until the ending that is. I found it intriguing learning about these technological advancements that could possibly become a reality someday, reducing crime rates, kidnapping, sexual assault and all other aspects of injustice. Although I found the writing to be overly lengthy and descriptive at times, there was always something that just drew me in, and new components were being introduced left right and centre. Following Mae climb the ranks of The Circle brought with it new opportunities and greater power, and I couldn’t help but want to know where Mae was heading. But you see, that ended up being this book’s downfall, the entire time I was anticipating something huge to explode out of nowhere. I could sense this epic build-up just waiting to hit me in the face and for panic to ensue. But it never came… Instead, this book ended abruptly in the span of five pages, and I kept thinking no, this can’t be the end. But alas, it was. And so the entirety of the story fell to nothing in the short span of those five pages.

So overall, The Circle was a book that had the potential to be revolutionary, but it lacked that punch, rendering it ineffective. The story was adequate until I was let down by the conclusion, I don’t think I’ll be watching this one in cinemas.

★★

The Friday 56 (3)

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

Physical Books

And I Darken by Keirsten White

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

The Friday 56 (3)

The Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you so much to Ally @ Ally Writes Things for nominating me to do this tag, be sure to check out her blog as it’s amazing!

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

How my blog started

I always wanted to start a book blog, I discovered the book community back in 2012 and I loved seeing all these people sharing their passion for reading, it really brought my love for reading back to life again. So ever since then, I’ve silently been following along with the book community, watching booktube videos, following bookstagrammers and connecting with other book lovers on Goodreads. From the beginning, I always knew that I wanted to be a part of this extraordinary community, and it wasn’t until March of this year when I started this book blog. It was the perfect timing, I was reading more books than ever, I had a lot of free time on my hands and I had just begun receiving a couple e-arcs from NetGalley. I’m so grateful for my decision in choosing to launch a book blog, it’s so much more than I imagined it ever would be. The people I get to connect with are incredible, and I really enjoy posting fresh new content on my blog every week.

 

Advice to new bloggers

  1. Blog because it’s something you enjoy. Don’t blog because you want to eventually gain a mass following or to receive free goodies. Do it because it’s genuinely something you enjoy and it’ll be 100000x better. If you keep obsessing over your follower count or trying to get free arc copies, you’ll end up disappointed and your blogging experience won’t be enjoyable, do yourself a favour 🙂
  2. Have a schedule. By no means do I mean have a strict, step by step schedule, but create some sort of routine that will help as a guideline for your blog. Because trust me, you’ll most likely keep procrastinating and that review that you were meant to post three days ago hasn’t even been halfway written. Here is my blogging schedule as an example (I don’t follow this to a T, but even just loosely basing my posts around it helps heaps):

Monday: Mailbox Monday

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: Review

Friday: Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Saturday: Review

Sunday: Tag/award

 

I Nominate:

Nadwa @ Painfully Fictional / Priyasha @ Books And Co. / Chelsea @ Spotlight on Stories / Emmie @ Tea With Mermaids / Lyndsey @ Lyndsey’s Book Blog

The Friday 56 (3)

 

 

 

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey review

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
Published 
by  Allen & Unwin on May 24th
Genres: mystery, fiction, crime
Pages: 440
Goodreads

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Books on the Rail so thank you so much to them! This in no way affects my thoughts and opinions of the book.

REVIEW

The Dark Lake is an intriguing crime novel set in the scorching heat of a small town in Australia. Complete with a deeply flawed lead female detective and secrets bursting to be unveiled, you won’t suspect the killer until it’s too late.

I wholly appreciated the setting of The Dark Lake, being from Australia myself, I could relate to the dry blistering heat of December, alongside the bushfires and countless other references to Australian culture. Although I’m not from a small town, I’ve visited aplenty and could envision the rural town of Smithson. This aspect of the novel allowed me to immerse deeper into the story and its familiar atmosphere.

The characters of the Dark Lake, although not always likeable were distinct and the further we pursued in the story, the more secrets began to unravel. Everyone appeared to be withholding something, and characters pasts were unwillingly dug up, fueling the spectacle at hand. The protagonist, Gemma Woodstock, a 28-year-old detective leading the case of Rosalind’s murder was a flawed character, but a fierce investigator. Gemma was far from perfect, with concerns revolving around her family, relationships and alcohol. And as readers, we are slowly introduced to Gemma’s past and some unthinkable mistakes on her behalf that may somehow intertwine with Rosalind’s murder. Gemma was an intriguing character, her life is practically turning to shambles, she’s very much detached from other people, except her coworker Felix, even though she may be physically present at a location or event, her mind was always just somewhere else completely. Gemma continuously appeared as if she was on the sidelines, carefully observing and analysing situations rather than joining in. However, in stark contrast to her personal life, Gemma was an incredibly determined and diligent detective. She stopped at nothing to solve the mystery of Rosalind’s murder and made large sacrifices toward the progression of the unsolved case. Understanding Rosalind’s death proved to be exceedingly difficult, Rosalind was an intricate enigma and no one could say they truly knew or even understood her. These perplexing and mystifying characters constantly ignited my curiosity, as mysteries were gradually exposed.

I haven’t read many crime/thriller novels to date, and to be honest I was anticipating more suspense and action within The Dark Lake. The book as an overall wasn’t thrilling, but there were some startling moments scattered throughout, as well as a plot twist that I wasn’t expecting and had me gasping in pure shock! I never did end up guessing the murderer, although I did have some unsuccessful predictions.

Ultimately, The Dark Lake was a solid debut crime novel with convoluted characters and moments of suspense set in the summer of an Australian small town.

★★★

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