The Ones that Got Away: Unreviewed Books read in 2016 #MiniReviews

I read 8 books this year that I failed to write reviews for, which I think is pretty good going actually. So as we come to the end of the year, in the spirit of tying things up, here are some very, very short reviews for them, or at the very least reasons for my lack of review!

A Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer: I only read about 50 pages of this before giving up. It’s a closed-house murder mystery that I was really looking forward to but I just couldn’t get into to it at all. There were lots of characters and none of them were remotely pleasant!

The Enchanted ~ Rene Denfield: This was a really strange book about a man on death row. I was trying to put my thoughts together for a review but I think it took so long I forgot. I’m still not sure how I felt about it. It was written in a very interesting way…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs: I didn’t finish this book. I wanted to read it before  I saw the film, but didn’t end up seeing it anyway. I think I wasn’t in the mood for it. I’ll hopefully go back to it at some point.

The Seeing Stone ~ Kevin Crossley- Holland: This was one of those books that had been on my TBR list for years. I love Arthurian stuff so thought I would love it, but I didn’t get on with it at all. I just managed to finish it but I wasn’t in the mood to write a terrible review of it.

Glass Sword ~ Victoria Aveyard: The second book in the Red Queen series was great. I enjoyed it a lot. I have no idea why I didn’t write a review for it!

Deception ~ Naomi Chase: I have actually reviewed this but for our library newsletter that we put together at work. Maybe I’ll share it one day. Deception is an ‘Urban Fiction’ book which are popular in the prison where I work. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!

The Colour of Milk ~ Nell Leyshon: This was a simple, short-but-sweet novel about a poor farm- servant who teaches herself to read. I liked it. Not sure why I didn’t review it at the time.

Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen ~ Chris Riddell: This was a short World Book Day story. I don’t remember much about it to be honest. I gave it 3 unicorns though so I must have liked it enough.

 

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage (#DNF #review) #OutToday

allthings

Title: All Things Cease to Appear
Author: Elizabeth Brundage
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details: March 8th 2016 by Knopf
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review

Goodreads // Waterstones

bookdepo

 

Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone–for how many hours?–in her room down the hall.

He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town. And he is the immediate suspect–the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional.

While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served.

At once a classic “who-dun-it” that morphs into a “why-and-how-dun-it,” this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community.

Review

What came first…the book, or the book slump? Now there’s a question! I stopped reading this book at around the 35% mark, which I really try not to do for ARCs as I like to fulfil my end of the bargain as much as possible, but I just couldn’t. 

I’m not sure why, as it wasn’t badly written, or even overly dull, I just couldn’t muster the motivation to keep going. It may be nothing to do with the book, and everything to do with the fact that I read two really amazing books in a row and was a bit burnt out…who knows!?

All Things Cease to Appear has the makings of a really great mystery/thriller. George comes home to find his wife dead, brutally-murdered-dead, and his little girl alone and scared. George is instantly the prime suspect and his reaction to his wife’s death is quite strange, so he is always a suspect in the reader’s mind too. 

I think the main reason I couldn’t get into this book was because I didn’t like any of the characters in it. George is aloof and strange, even his parents are a bit – bland. Yes, bland is how I would describe most of the characters. 

I do think that if I was in the mood for this book it could have gone differently. I’m sure it would become clear why the characters were dubious, but I just wasn’t in the mood to get to the endgame. 

ATCTA may not have worked for me, but it might for you. I thought the lack of quotation marks for dialogue was interesting, and it actually didn’t bother me at all, I think it was just a mixture of bad timing and ambiguous characters that turned me off. 

I DNF at 35% and therefore won’t be giving it a rating.  

It’s a Love or Hate Kinda Thing: Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon

godmother
Title: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: March 3rd 2009 by Broadway Books
Genre(s): YA; Fairy Tale Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift.

Goodreads
Purchase

Turgeon’s shockingly original and magical novel advises you to be careful what you wish for, because fairy tales come true – whether they should or not. The tiny figure making its way to the book shop in Manhattan’s West Village every day looks just like another sweet little old lady. But Lilian has a secret.

Oh, where to start.

I was all set to love this book and was totally in the mood for a dark, gritty retelling of Cinderella but unfortunately that wasn’t what I got in Godmother.

Godmother is centered around Lil, a seemingly normal, lonely old lady with a penchant for cheeseburgers. Lil, lives by herself in Manhattan and works hard in a book shop downtown.

An encounter with a vivacious young girl reminds Lil of her past, bringing the world of fae back into her life and we learn that she was one of Cinderella’s fairy Godmothers.

Sigh. I don’t know whether it was just not what I was expecting, but I couldn’t get on with this book at all. I found it pretty painful to read to be honest. I couldn’t find anything new or exciting about this retelling. Turgeon even managed to make working in a beautiful bookshop sound dull, and that’s like my dream job – if only it paid more.

***Spoilers lie ahead, but they’re quite early on in the book***

I gather that the whole crux of this book was that Lil fell in love with the Prince rather than help Cinderella get to the ball, and then she spends her old age trying to set up her boss with the young girl she meets to make up for it, but honestly I was lost by then. Away with the actual fairies, if you will.

I did like that the protagonist was a pensioner, as that’s hardly ever something you see in YA, and think there was potential here but I was more interested in the betrayal of Cinderella than the present day and I felt like that was just glossed over. I didn’t care about the present day story at all.

Godmother is quite a small book, but I just couldn’t make myself finish it. I had about 50 pages left before I went away for the weekend and when I got back I knew I wouldn’t pick it up again.

From the look of Goodreads, Godmother is the Marmite of the book world so you may well enjoy it if you give it a go, don’t just take my word for it.

unicorn rating 1

I read this book as part of the TBR Pile Reading Challenge and the Once Upon A Time VIII Challenge.