Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: The Threshing Circle by Neil Grimmett

A young couple arrive on the Greek island of Crete and begin prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of forbidden love, betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new. 

Then they disappear.

A feisty Scottish woman and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to find and rescue them. They both have very different motives for their involvement. Their search will take them to hidden rituals, ceremonies, remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after decades of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and finally back to a place that, “Even God does not know exists”.

They will encounter characters good and evil; some modern and pragmatic, others ancient and magical.
All the time they are being stalked by the sons of man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed and insane desire for vengeance. These men are more animal than human and have been raised in the remote mountains for the sole purpose of carrying out the brutal will of their father. 

The mystery of the real, hidden Crete runs deep, and THE THRESHING CIRCLE explores some of the myths and romance while not shying away from its often violent nature. 

By the end choices will have to be made. If such actions are really possible on an island where many Cretans still believe that: “The Cycle of Blood”, can never stop flowing.

My Rating


My Review

The Threshing Circle is a very compelling mystery/thriller that will resonate with readers long after finishing that final page. Although, toward the beginning, I found it a bit hard to get into, I couldn't have enjoyed it much more once I did. I loved the different layers involved in the story. It isn't the expected liner plot in one dimension, but a story that needs to be unraveled - something that readers are sure to enjoy doing.

If there's one thing I love, it's settings that take me far away from home, and this definitely was the case in The Threshing Circle. Taking place on the island of Crete, the setting was such a wonderful influence on the novel, at times, it was like I was really there. Through breathtaking description and behavior, not only are we able to get a better sense of a different culture, but we're able to smell the saltwater of the Mediterranean sea and take in the rocky cliffs and gorgeous terrain. The presence of island life made for an interesting setting - and the strong setting in both the present and the past made for an unforgettable read.

Most of the characters were very well developed and entirely believable. I didn't always agree with Kirsty's decisions, but I found them to be in character for her, which is what really matters to me. Barba Yigoros was very enjoyable, and the banter between the two of them was both realistic and entertaining. Even the supporting characters were able to make an impact - although, with the amount of them introduced, it was sometimes hard to keep track of them.

The sense of mystery throughout the novel is fantastic - definitely enough to keep readers dedicated and desperate to know more. Grimmett does a great job of in incorporating both suspense and intrigue. I found myself trying to find answers along with Kirsty. Not to mention, the pacing only got better as the book went on. The more I read, the more I didn't want to stop. It really did get better and better throughout the experience.

I can easily recommended The Threshing Circle to fans of mystery, thriller, suspense, and even history. It truly is a well-written book that takes readers along for a ride. A great novel to pick up.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Obsessed by Jo Gibson

From master of suspense Jo Gibson comes two heart-stopping novels of romantic obsession--where the love never dies. It kills. . .
The Crush
Michael Barton is smart, sweet, gorgeous--the total package. Which is why some of the girls have decided to have a little contest. Whoever hooks up with Michael first will be the winner. There's just one problem. One of the girls has been harboring a secret crush on Michael for years. She'll do anything to be his girlfriend. She'll play the game. She'll win his heart. She'll beat the competition. . .to death.

The Crush II 
Michael Barton has experienced the dark side of love. He has survived the advances of a psychotic stalker. He has endured her deadly game of obsession. And now he is free from her web of lust and lies. But Michael has a surprise waiting for him. His secret admirer is still out there. Watching. Waiting. Plotting her next move. And if Michael thinks he can escape her this time, he's wrong. . .dead wrong.

My Rating


My Review

Obsessed had a lot of things going for it. The premise is awesome, and as a lover of thriller and suspense, really appealed to me. The idea of romantic obsession is always a winner, because it can happen to anyone, without them realizing it, and is pretty creepy to read about in novels. Gibson also has a nice description in her writing, and a voice that really keeps the pages turning. There are some interesting characters too - Michael and Carla show promise and I absolutely love Judy's character.

The biggest problem for me is that it simply wasn't believable. And I don't mean it wasn't believable in little details, or in a fantastical way. I'm normally able to accept things pretty well. But there comes a point as a reader where you want to groan come on and punch half of the characters in the face, and this point came pretty early.

It felt a little bit like Groundhog's Day, only the name of girl getting killed slightly changed. I thought the killings were great, I really did. But everything afterward was a bit of a 'WTF' reaction. First of all, people seem to move on really quickly from these deaths. I mean, I live near a relatively big city, and you hear some gruesome stories on the news, but I'd like to think that if some coworkers of mine were gruesomely murdered by a serial killer, I'd be affected. Even if I wasn't close to the person, I'd definitely be more scared and cautious.

And I get that Michael is sexy and has a great voice, but if his girlfriends are getting picked off like sitting ducks why would you completely forget all about that and still try to hook up with him, then go off by yourself when there is a killer on the loose and you now fit ALL of the descriptions? Yeah, Michael is great, but he ain't that great. Plus, he has a little too much of a Romeo complex. This boy falls in love faster than I finish books, and after the girl that he 'loved' croaks, it's barely five minutes before he's at it again with a new coworker. Half the time, I found myself rooting for the killer.

However, if that kind of thing doesn't bother you, than I would suggest giving Obsession a chance. Even if scenes felt a bit repetitive, many of them still had excellent uses of suspense. Although some of the dialogue seemed a bit forced, plenty of the characters were still enjoyable. Plus, I actually really liked the ending, so it might be worth the repetition to power through and finish - even if the novel isn't quite your cup of tea. But, Obsessed was an interesting read, regardless of it's believability, and I didn't really have any trouble finishing it. Am I going to buy multiple copies to hand out to my friends? Probably not. Would it make a pretty excellent Lifetime movie adaptation that I would watch entirely? Probably. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

An edgy fairy tale retelling of "Snow White" set in the world of Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Viv knows there's no escaping her fairy tale curse. One day her beautiful stepmother will feed her a poisoned apple or shove a poisoned comb into her scalp or hire her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Henley, to hunt her down and rip out her heart before she breaks his. In the city of Beau Rivage, no matter how much you fight it, your marchen mark is your destiny.

Yet, when Viv receives an invitation to the swank underground club where the Twelve Princesses escape to dance each night, she thinks she might have found a loophole to her date with death. There she meets Jasper, the thirteenth prince.Her prince. The prince that is destined to save her when her curse comes to call.

But constant nights of partying get old fast. The royal family is ruled with an iron fist by their patriarch, who gloats over the fact that no one can challenge him without his name. And Viv doesn't love Jasper (in fact, she kind of loathes him) and she doesn't want to be an underworld queen--it's a living death.

So when Henley finds his entry into the underworld as a champion set to solve the secret of the Twelve Dancing Princesses in order to save her, Viv takes the rules of fairy tales into her own hands. No matter her curse, no matter her fate, she can't lose the only boy who's ever had her heart.

Sarah Cross rewrites the fate of Snow White in her smart, edgy follow-up to her acclaimed Kill Me Softly.
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015
My Rating
My Review
Lately, I've been unable to get enough of fairy tale retellings, which is why I jumped at the chance to get my hands on Tear You Apart. I absolutely loved the magic and darkness involved in the story, and immediately felt grasped by the world of Beau Rivage. Fans of fantasy will immediately devour this novel, as shows the fairy tales in an entirely new light. After all, it isn't every retelling where the characters know they're in a retelling.

But Viv does. Because the "Snow White" life she's living in might be her destiny, but that doesn't make it any less of a curse. The parallels between the beloved fairy tales and this darkly intelligent YA were very enjoyable to read about. There were hardly any slow moments throughout the entire novel. The plot kept me at the edge of my seat, desperate to read more.

There were so many characters that I enjoyed reading about. Henley has a lot of interesting qualities that make him more than the usual bad boy love interest. Regina is a wonderful villain - being beautifully wicked while also receiving what might be the most empathy from me as a reader. Even Jasper has a lot of layers to him that had me wanting to know more. Although I loved Vivian's voice and her personality at times, I just couldn't bring myself to like her. For a large amount of the novel, I'd hope she'd forget both boys and decide that she's going to give up her fate to rekindle with Regina. At least being 'evil' would be a strong decision. Despite this, I really did enjoy the characterization of the novel. There were plenty of characters introduced, which made it a bit harder to care about many of the supporting characters, but really added to the world.
That being said, I was a fan of the romance in the novel. It wasn't overbearing, but still powerful. Equally impressive was the sense of friendship and family also brushed upon. Viv's relationship with her friends felt very authentic and interesting. Her relationship with Regina was probably the most intriguing, as it really isn't seen in other novels, and was brilliantly complex.

Tear You Apart is a well-written, edgy fairy tale retelling that will have readers tearing through pages. I enjoyed the reading experience and the strong emotions that come with it, and recommend that fans of YA fantasy get their hands on this one as soon as possible.