Ciska's Book Chest

I am an eclectic reader with preferences for crime/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, literature and contemporary fiction. For more books and other bookish posts visit my blog at Ciska's Book Chest

Review: With all my Love, Patricia Scanlan

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

With all my Love Patricia Scanlan cover
When Briony McAllister takes a trip to visit her mother, Valerie, she uncovers a letter from her long-lost grandmother, bringing to light a nearly unforgivable act her mother has kept secret for decades. Having always believed that her grandparents didn’t want to see her, she finds that the opposite is true: her grandmother had been seeking her out all along, and it was her own mother who willfully kept them apart.
Devastated that her past has come back to haunt her, Valerie realizes that her daughter’s anger might cause their troubled family history to repeat itself in a new generation.


Patricia Scanlan was born in Dublin, where she still lives. While working as a librarian she started to write, and now has a full-time career as a bestselling author.

I felt like hitting the main characters of this book. Both Valerie and Tessa deserved it in my eye even though it would not have helped. If you cannot find a place to talk after a person you love dies it is sad. There were so many situations in the story that could have been avoided if people would have been honest with one another that it started to become a struggle to read them. As said I was ready to hit one of them. Jeff was not much of a help either in the relationship. Even without marrying her he could have done so much more to make it clear to Valerie that he loved her. Lorcan and Briony are really the people that make the story bearable. I think Lorcan was a real hero only saying something when needed though but he did not give Tessa a free reign in her behavior and he is a saint that he did not get angrier with her after losing Briony due to her actions. I got really tired with Tessa repeating her problems with her emotions due to her age and the thing she missed out on. In the end the book was a bit to long for me but I did enjoy the read. As said Lorcan and Briony make up for a lot and I do like stories where family secrets unravel.

With all my Love
Author: Patricia Scanlan
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 464
Format: eGalley
ISBN-10: 1476704511
ISBN-13: 9781476704517
Atria Books: eBook | Trade Paperback

Review: The Aftermath, Rhidian Brook

The Aftermath Rhidian Brook cover

Hamburg, 1946. Thousands wander the rubble, lost and homeless. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its broken people, Captain Lewis is stationed in a grand house on the outskirts of the city, where he will be joined by his grieving wife Rachael and only remaining son Edmund.
But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatised daughter, out onto the streets, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere, all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.Rhidian Brook (born 1964) is a novelist, screenwriter and broadcaster. He lives with his wife and two children in London.

I had seen the book in the shops under its Dutch title 'Het huis in Kreis Pinneberg' which sounded intriguing but with the large pile of books I have I did not consider in getting myself a copy. But my book group decided on reading this so there I went. I did buy myself an English version though because I was not able to get used to the pronunciation of the title and kept reading Kris Peinenberg.
This book is painful and emotional. There is loss, love, goodbye, estranged people and so much loss. Captain Lewis is a hero, being able to see beyond the guilt question. But I did feel for Rachael too who lost her child in an extremely scary situation. I guess that was the whole point in the book making you see trough all the eyes. Same for Freda and Stefan Lubert who lost so much too but where on the 'wrong' side. I think the way Rhidian Brook managed to write all of these characters, make them believable and actually making me the reader being able to understand them all is extraordinary.
The story itself is predictable and you can guess what is going to happen but that does not matter in this book filled with raw emotion.

The Aftermath
Author: Rhidian Brook
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0670921122
ISBN-13: 9780670921126
Publisher: eBook | Hardcover | AudioBook

Review: The Sweetest Hallelujah

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

The Sweetest Hallelujah, Elaine Hussey cover
Betty Jewel Hughes was once the hottest black jazz singer in Memphis. But when she finds herself pregnant and alone, she gives up her dream of being a star to raise her beautiful daughter, Billie, in Shakerag, Mississippi. Now, ten years later, in 1955, Betty Jewel is dying of cancer and looking for someone to care for Billie when she's gone. With no one she can count on, Betty Jewel does the unthinkable: she takes out a want ad seeking a loving mother for her daughter.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, recently widowed Cassie Malone is an outspoken housewife insulated by her wealth and privileged white society. Working part-time at a newspaper, she is drawn to Betty Jewel through her mysterious ad. With racial tension in the South brewing, the women forge a bond as deep as it is forbidden. But neither woman could have imagined the gifts they would find in each other, and in the sweet young girl they both love with all their hearts.


Elaine Hussey is a writer, actress and musician who likes to describe herself as “Southern to the bone.” She lives in Mississippi, where her love of blues and admiration for the unsung heroes of her state’s history served as inspiration for The Sweetest Hallelujah.

I enjoyed reading this book but it failed to leave a big emotional impression though all the ingredients where there. But there where so many situations to take in that the speed of the story did not really allow me to drown in the sadness of it all. In a way this was pleasant, I do not really like books that make me cry every other page on the other hand I did feel like I missed out on something.
This is a book about strong woman. All of them learn to survive in their own way. I for sure would not want to be a man in their life because the pictures I got from the men involved was not really nice. Only Tiny Jim could get some credit but not to much. I really loved how all the characters had their own thing that made them stand out. Queen is the person gluing all the other characters together with food, prayer and wise lessons. I really loved her and was really able to connect with her. Betty Jewel and Cassie felt the same to me, both convinced the world is supposed to be a better place. For me they where a bit too alike to see them as really separate characters. With Billy I had some trouble with her age against her behavior she did not always feel as a ten year old but mostly younger. What I did like was that while the story was developing she was changing which became more clear in her behavior towards her best friend Lucy. She already had more spunk that her best friend but at the end of the story it was clear she had been trough much more emotionally than Lucy and that made her a bit older.
I need to give Elaine Hussey a compliment for not letting the many situations she touched in her story distract her from her main story.


The Sweetest Hallelujah
Author: Elaine Hussey
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 352
Format: eGalley
ISBN-10: 0778315193
ISBN-13: 9780778315193
Harlequin MIRA: trade Paperback

Review: The Never List, Koethi Zan

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

The Never List, Koethi Zan cover
For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.
Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.
Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors—who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.


Koethi Zan was born in Opp, Alabama, the “City of Opportunity.” Koethi put herself through Birmingham-Southern College with scholarships. After this she went to Yale law school. She started working for a law firm representing mostley investment banks but did not like the corporate life very much. She made a switch to entertainment law. When she worked as the Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsil at MTV she decided it was time to fulfill a life long dream and wrote The Never List on the side. She lives with her husband and two daughters in upstate New York.

This book is a nerve-wracking psychological story which keeps you reading trough the night just because you need to know! Well honestly I did fell asleep but it gave me dreams and not very pleasant ones that is. The book takes you on a trip nobody wants to make. Into cellars where woman are held captive and are abused. As the story unfolds there are more details about what exactly happened to Sarah, Tracy, Christine, Jennifer and all the other people involved. The way the tension builds up just makes that you keep on reading and you really want everything to be ok. I had some problems connecting to Sarah but in a way I think that was not bad meaning, the hell she went trough and how she go out was so much of her personality and done so well I was glad in a way I could not connect to that. I did feel sorry for her so much that when it was mentioned that she hated the look on peoples faces when they knew who she was I felt a bit guilty. A big yes for people who love great psychological thrillers keeping in mind it is about woman and abuse which might not really be everyones topic.

The Never List
Author: Koethi Zan
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (a Penguin Group Viking imprint)
Pages: 320
Format: eGalley
ISBN-10: 0670026514 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9780670026517 (hardcover)
Pamela Dorman Books: Hardcover | AudioBook

Review: The Wednesday Daughters, Meg Waite Clayton

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review*

The Wednesday Daughters, Meg Waite Clayton cover
It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves “The Wednesday Sisters”—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows nearly nothing about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Julie and Anna Page, two other daughters of “The Wednesday Sisters,” who offer to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects. Yet what Hope finds will reveal a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.
Tucked away in a hidden drawer, Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.


Meg Waite Clayton is the bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, The Four Ms. Bradwells and The Language of Light. Her books have been published in six language and her essays and stories have aired on public radio and appeared in national news publications. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Clayton lives with her family in Palo Alto.

When I first saw this book it caught my attention due to to fact it was a book holding a story on a long gone author. I love books on books or old authors and especially when they take situations from the old books and translate how relevant these still are in the 21th century. That was well done in this book and I liked reading the quotes from Beatrix Potter's various stories as well as her diaries.
There was one big problem though I encountered with reading this book which more or less ruined the whole book for me and that was the point of view. There where two parts. The diary/notebook entries from Ally where she discusses her discoveries concerning the search for her mothers family as well as the investigation for the Beatrix Potter book. These where okay to read though the dialog she had with Beatrix Potter did disturb me a bit but this could be the result of the most frustrating thing of this book. The point of view in the NOW chapters. In the NOW chapters we are supposed to live inside Hope's head but Hope obviously has some psychic abilities because she writes whole parts from the insides of Julie and Anne Pages heads. Things both Julie and Anne Page think or do while Hope is not even near without any indication that Hope wrote down the story afterwards after receiving all the information from the other woman. This makes it difficult to connect to the people because I was never sure who's head I was in.
The story itself was the ideal story for me, family secrets, secrets between friends uncovered because the situation is just asking for it but the whole struggle with the point of view made it difficult for me to really get engaged. I know there are people out there who will not be bothered with it as much as me. If you are not sure be sure to pick up the book in a bookstore and check the third chapter because IF you can deal with the point of view thing I am sure this book is a great read!

The Wednesday Daughters
Author: Meg Waite Clayton
Publisher: Ballantine
Pages: 304
Format: eGalley
ISBN-10: 0345530284 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9780345530288 (hardcover)
Series: Wednesday #2
Ballantine: eBook | Hardcover

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: A Novel - Elizabeth L. Silver

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

Author
Elizabeth L. Silver is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the MA programme in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in the UK, and Temple University Beasley School of Law. She has worked as an ESL Instructor in Costa Rica, editorial assistant at a publishing house in New York, adjunct instructor of English composition and literature at several universities in Philadelphia, and an attorney in both Texas and California.

Review
I requested this book on Netgalley because I was intrigued by the synopsis. Imagine being sentenced to death and all of a sudden the mother of the person you presumably murdered makes an attempt to get you of death row that must be all kinds of weird. But as you will see at the bottom I am not that enthusiastic about the book after reading it and it mostly has to do with emotions.
The story is solid. While it develops you get answers to your questions, you can guess and puzzle along for motives and situations that will happen until you get the whole puzzle. Elizabeth L. Silver did a great job in keeping the last piece of the puzzle till the last page. But...I despised Noa and her attitude. I experienced the story as dark and depressing and negative. Noa does not want to be rescued never. She think she deserves all th bad she gets and even though that feeling gets explained it made me dread picking up the book. I do not like depressed people who cannot see light at the end of the tunnel. And even though getting touched in any way by a book this bad could be something good I just cannot get any positive feeling with this book. But please if you do not mind self loathing protagonists do pick up this book because the puzzle is done so well.

The Replacement Son - W.S. Culpepper

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

Author
W. S. Culpepper is a retired physician living in Austin, TX with his wife and daughter. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, he lived and worked in New Orleans, LA, the exotic, dysfunctional, much-battered, but beloved city where he was born and raised.
Dr. Culpepper has written poetry since his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar in English literature. After practicing and teaching pediatric cardiology for over twenty-five years, he decided to focus on his writing.

Review
I am not sure what pulled me to read this book. Usually there is something like a cover or a really gripping synopsis /title or the buzz surrounding a book that makes you look out for it. I experienced the cover for this book as very blue, the synopsis sounded interesting enough but not in a way that I needed to get the book immediately and as it still had to be released the buzz was not the cause either. Still I felt a need to read this book and I am so glad I did it and now I am going to make an attempt to explain though I am going to say beforehand it was a feeling why I picked up the book and it was a lot feeling why I liked the book.
Harry the main character is born a few years after the dead of his older brother. He gets the signals early on that something is wrong but they take a long time to explain to him what that vibe means. The confusion this all gives is so clear in the story it frustrated me and I felt like jumping in the book and telling him more and answering his questions. After a short introduction about the early life and Harry being confronted with the story of Buddy we jump a few years to New Orleans while Katrina is coming closer. While being trapped in his house he starts to have flashbacks to his youth and what he all did to become the replacement son in the hope that his mother would stop grieving. Both stories are strong and well developed and I did not experience the feeling I can often have with flashbacks that I prefer the one over the other. There where only three things that really disturbed me in the reading process. One is the chapter of Bertha, I found it hard to read and to follow. Second is the group of pilots that are introduced with both real name and call name only ones and after they are used mixed but I was not always sure which one was which. Third I did no really like the few "magical" situations in the book but they can easily be ignored.
It was easy to connect with Harry in both periods and hope that everything turns out alright. Despite the often hard situations in the story I did not experience the book as a difficult read. The positive attitude Harry has towards most situations in his life make them accessible and it made the dark period he had a lot darker. After reading I tried to write why I liked this book so much and if I have to name something I think it is the hope that pours out of the pages.

The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel - Katja Millay

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

 

Author

Katja Milly grew up in Florida. She moved to New York City to attend film school at NYU. She has worked as a high school film production/ screenwriting teacher before she stopped to write her first novel.

 

Review
The Sea of Tranquility is not a book that normally fits my reading habits. I have seen it filed under romance and YA and I think both are correct though there is a fair share of dark feelings in this book. Still I was pulled by the synopsis, the title and the cover. I became so curious that I wanted to try the book and I am glad I did.
For me there are two things that really made the book. One is a bit difficult to explain because it is a feeling emotion thing from my site. I loved the rhythm of the book, the writing was accessible despite the not always happy things. It was fluently in going from one situation to another even trough chapters. I usually stop reading at some point when the point of view or situation makes such a significant change that you are really in a fresh situation but this book had very few of this points resulting in me reading half way trough the night.
The second things I really liked had to do with the attitude the Katja Millay gave her characters. I often feel that sex, alcohol and drugs are subjects taken for granted. Teenagers try them out it happens deal with it. Millay chose for a different approach though because yes it was part of the story, significant at points but she showed different experiences but also possible outcomes without being lecturing about it.
The story is a slow starter. You get pushed in the action while there are a lot of questions being raised. This was the hardest part of the story because I did not understand what was going on and why certain things where happening. I cannot say to much without spoiling the beginning actually but if you experience that feeling please continue to read it will be explained soon enough. Soon you are enveloped in an emotional wave where answers raise more questions if it comes to Nastya though Josh slowly becomes more clear.
The characters are great too. There are moments you want to slap Nastya but you know there must be more behind her reasons and in a way you feel sorry which actually is an emotion she gets angry about. It made me feel at points as if I was her enemy too. Josh is a decent guy though he has his mistakes and the relationship is an easy one to cheer for. I do want to give some credit to Drew too. I felt he was a very important character in the story as being the opposite of Josh or not so much.
Extra points go to the name meanings which is a very nice detail. If you wonder why I gave this book "only" 4 stars after this raving review and not 5... because I do not think I will reread this book. It was good, it made me cry and it is for sure worth your time and all your emotions but I feel it will be less exciting a second time.

The First Rule of Swimming: A Novel

The First Rule of Swimming: A Novel - Courtney Angela Brkic AuthorCourtney Angela Brkic is the author of The First Rule of Swimming (Little, Brown, and Company, 2013), Stillness: and Other Stories (FSG, 2003) and The Stone Fields (FSG, 2004). Her work has also appeared in Zoetrope, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Harpers & Queen, the Utne Reader, TriQuarterly Review, The Alaska Review and National Geographic, among others. Brkic has been the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writer’s Award. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband and son, and teaches in the MFA program at George Mason University.ReviewI love books filled with family secrets where one generation slowly unravels those of previous generations. This book is filled with secrets like that but also with something mystical. There is a connection between people in this family that just jumps of the page building an atmosphere around you. It was not difficult to get a taste of the special way living on such a secluded island. Especially Lukes stories and the stories on Magdalena's childhood helped a lot with that. It is easy to connect to these people and see the live trough their eyes.It was also pretty clear which characters you where to like and which ones not by the way they where set up.It is a story though, where not everything is told, only those things that are important for development and setting the right atmosphere. Thus leaving me with various questions after reading. Still I would like to grab a plane and boat and spent some time there

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - AuthorBrian Selznick is the illustrator of many celebrated picture books and novels. Selznick has worked as a bookseller, a set designer, and a puppeteer. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and San Diego, California.ReviewI saw this book a few months ago and I cannot remember where anymore. I got intrigued by the color full cover and went on the look for more information on this book. I really loved the idea of the combination between graphics and story so I got myself a copy. I decided to pick it up as part of a read-a-thon I was participating in. I had the feeling that after reading two book the combination of this book would be a relieve and I can say it was.I picked up the book and was pulled into the story immediately. The whole book is used to set an atmosphere even before the story starts. After a brief introduction the book starts with a lot of images telling the situation of Hugo. The way the images build up it is clear they are part of the story and not just to support the story. I love the drawings. All of them are black and white and they look very basic but if you look careful there are many nice details in them. The build up in the story is very nicely done and I found it very emotional and vulnerable.The main character Hugo is a young boy. Alone and scared he is holding on to the last memories he has of his belove father. Though he steals things it is obvious he does not do it when not in need, except for the toys. He is obviously very smart and handy. Isabelle is a real know it all. A bossy little lady. I really like the interaction between these characters. I felt some sympathy for the toy seller too. He just tries to make money for his family. I am wondering still after finishing what happened. The explanation for his behavior was not very satisfying but maybe that is my adult eye.This whole book is beautiful and for sure worth a read! “ If you lose your purpose ... it's like you're broken. ” “Time can play all sorts of tricks on you. In the blink of an eye, babies appear in carriages, coffins disappear into the ground, wars are won and lost, and children transform, like butterflies, into adults.”

Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel

Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in return for an honest review*AuthorLauren Graham is an actress best known for her roles on the critically acclaimed series Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. She has performed on Broadway and appeared in various films. She hold a B.A. in English from Barnard College and an M.F.A. in acting from Southern Methodist University. She lives in New York and Los AngelesReviewOk I will admit.. I am a sucker for the Gilmore Girls. I guess I saw the whole series like 5 or 6 times now (not counting one season reruns) When I found out Lauren Graham was writing a book I became very curious and knew I had to read this one. And the synopsis and cover are catchy too.I picked this book up during a read-a-thon. Picking up a review book during such an event is a risk because there are some extra factors playing a role in forming your opinion. Like what hour of the read-a-thon is it, are you cranky and so on. I found that this book was actually a very good book for the dark hours when you are fighting of sleep.The main character Franny is easily loved. A young woman with insecurities (easy to relate to), a dream (we love dreams) and enough courage to at least give her dream a try. Though she was fighting her demons I like the concept that she had the courage to give herself time to follow her dream. That is very inspiring.I loved the dialogs between Jane and Franny. It was sad there where so few. I loved Dan, he can go on my top ten bookish boyfriends at any given time. James I hated from the start, I felt like pushing him right out of the book.The story itself is told from Frannie's point of view. You are living in her head and in her day planner which includes doodles (of horses and other interesting things). There are parts in the book where I found the story chaotic but that could have been caused by the lack of sleep. Still it does all make sense and it fits with the character. I experienced the story as predictable but still refreshing. Fast paced and witty. It is for sure a great book when you want to pick up something at the side of a pool or on a rainy day when you need some light in your life.

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl  - Philippa Gregory AuthorPhilippa Gregory was born in Kenya. She is a former student of Sussex University and receive a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing.Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks.ReviewThe Other Boleyn Girl is one of the most popular historical fiction books about the Boleyn ladies out there I guess. It was a book I have heard about for years already but never picked up. This time I decided I would give it a go as it fits in both my Bingo reading challenge and my big books reading challenge. After finishing The Constant Princess two months ago I was pretty sure I was going to like this book due to the writing style. Philippa Gregory is a master in setting atmosphere. I really got the feeling I was sitting in a window in the castle seeing all those people pass me. Like a little spy. With the characters I had more problems. Though getting angry and upset with characters does mean I am involved it often makes me dislike a book a bit more. First thing that disturbed me is the way Mary was set up to become lovers with the king. Second .. that uncle.. I could have killed him, would have killed him and after the way Anne took over everything and how history repeats. Though I do know this is fiction it is based on partly true stories I had a hard time to convince myself that this behavior was probably normal or accepted up to a certain level in that period. Due to that annoyance the book took me a bit longer to read than I had expected.

The Judas Reflections: Murder in Whitechapel

Murder in Whitechapel - Aiden James, Michelle Wright *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in return for an honest review*AuthorBorn in Denver Colorado, Aiden James is fascinated by Gothic history and the supernatural. Aiden currently lives with his wife and two sons in Tennessee.Michelle Wright was born in London's east-end into a family of psychic mediums, her passion for writing started young. By her early teens she had published stories in magazines and wrote scripts for school plays. In later years becoming a psychotherapist and journalist in-between practicing her psychic skills she travelled extensively. Having lived in Spain and the US she now resides in Belgium.ReviewI am not so sure what to say about this book or how to rate it. I love reading mystery and suspense books and Jack the Ripper is a great character to use building up a good story. Combined with the quite interesting idea of Judas becoming immortal to pay for his betrayal I was curious how it worked out in one story. After finishing the book I am asking myself what I read. In a way I liked reading the story. I loved the style but I did not find the story that exciting.You are living in Judas his (or Emmanuel as he is called now) thoughts. This is entertaining enough and I like the way his whole live is playing part in the story. This is done so well you can really feel along and get angry when he is angry and worry when he is worried. Still this was not enough to make the story exciting. There is not really a puzzle idea thing are just happening and going on and I never really felt excitement for him getting close to Jack or not.I liked the character of Roderick. He seems like an great fellow and I wonder who he is supposed to be in history. I was not able to guess. I am curious about other work by both writers. I loved their choice of words and the writing style was soothing and enjoyable. I will probably try the other books in the Judas series.

Misty Circus

Misty Circus - Victoria Francés, Olinda Cordukes *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in return for an honest review*AuthorVictoria Francés was born in Valencia but spent much of her infancy in Galicia.She attended the Polytechnic University of Valencia, where she studied Fine Arts at the Facultad de Bellas Artes de San Carlos. There she started working as an illustrator while also designing various book covers and other commissioned pieces.Her first illustrated book, Favole, a remembrance of Verona, Venice and Genoa, was first released on 23 April 2003. It was moderately successful, but she returned to the University to continue to study art. She made her first public appearance at the Saló del Còmic fair in Barcelona on March 8, 2004. She toured Madrid and the U.S. the following year.Soon after, Favole II and Favole III followed. Her most recent published work is called El Corazón de Arlene (Arlene's heart) in 2008. Her illustrations have also been featured on posters, calendars and jigsaw puzzles.ReviewAfter reading this book I returned to the publishers website to check the age this book was intended for. It says age 8 which surprised me because I found the book very sad and scary at points. The book is very dark and depressing but still caries out a beautiful message. There are always people who are in need of friends and accepting them not matter what you are going trough. Still the language use does fit the age category but I would advice to read it first and discuss it when you let a child read it.The story is pretty simple to follow. Sasha is a young boy when he looses both his parents, while on the run and lonely he finds himself in a circus with Josh the cat. They become friends and the circus becomes there home. After reading there are still a lot of questions and the story definitely does not feel like it is finished. I am curious what Ludovico wants with them.The graphics are very pretty. It is a specific style though and you have to like it. There is a lot of detail and they have a great atmosphere. I love how with small things Frances makes a situation clear. Like fear and sadness and loneliness. It becomes very visible in the graphics but it is not overdone.I loved Josh leChat he is cute and I wished he was living in my house.

Heading Out to Wonderful

Heading Out to Wonderful - Robert Goolrick *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in return for an honest review*AuthorRobert Goolrick was born in a small town in Virginia and attended John Hopkins University. Fired after 30 years in the advertising business, Robert Goolrick wrote his memoir, The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life. Robert Goolrick currently lives in New York City.ReviewI really looked forward to reading this book. I have seen it first back in June 2012 and have been checking it out on and off since then. There are various reasons why this book caught my eye but the most important was the combination between the title "Heading out to Wonderful" and the sentence about the guy having a suitcase full of money. To me that sounds like freedom and I was curious how the story would be going and if it would really give that freedom feeling.The first thing that came over me when I started reading the book was the language. It was beautiful and enthralling and pulled me in immediately.What I did not really feel was the impact Charlie should make according to the synopsis. He arrives in the town and though the people do show respect and seem to naturally accept him I go the feeling it was due to his hard work and friendliness more than his charisma and handsomeness.The way the love affair start I found a bit strange. It is hard to see the build up especially from the view Sylvan. I did not really get why he felt the freedom to do what he did.A different thing in the story I found difficult was the situation with the kid. Charlie friends a family with a 5 year old son. He takes the kid everywhere and Sam is a witness to a lot of things... you could say everything. He is young and does not understand everything. When Charlie asked him to lie I got angry. It is so wrong to ask a 5 year old to lie.As you can see there are some loose ends in this book but the atmosphere and use of language make up for a big part.Some quotes I liked "When you're young, and you head out to wonderful, everything is fresh and bright as a brand new penny, but before you get to wonderful you're going to have to pass through all right. And when you get to all right, stop and take a good long look, because that may be as far as you're ever going to go" “There is in this valley a beating heart. It is always and ever there. And when I am gone, it will beat for you and when you are gone, it will beat for your children and theirs, forever. Forever. Until there is no water, no air, no green in the spring or gold in the autumn, no stars in the sky or wind from the north. And when you cannot speak, it will speak for you. When you cannot see, it will be your eyes. When you cannot remember, it will be your memory. It will never forget you. And when you cannot be faithful, it will save a place for your return. This is a gift to you. It cannot be taken away. It is yours forever. It is the narrative of this world, and the scrapbook of your own small life, and, when you are gone into ash and darkness and the grave, it will tell your story.” "Children remember staying up late. Grownups think about getting up early." "It's a sad thing to watch your best friend turn into somebody you don't know anymore. Or even want to know."

The Neighbors

The Neighbors - Ania Ahlborn AuthorBorn in Ciechanów, Poland, Ania Ahlborn is also the author of the supernatural thriller Seed, and is currently working on her third novel. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Mexico, enjoys gourmet cooking, baking, drawing, traveling, movies, and exploring the darkest depths of the human (and sometimes inhuman) condition. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and two dogs.ReviewThis book unfortunately did not live up to its expectations. I was hoping for a very disturbing psychological thriller giving me the creeps but that did not really happen. I experienced it as a weak version of the Stepford wives without that really eerie feeling that story gave me. The story development was not fluent enough. Situations that could have been very disturbing where rushed and the clues given to soon. I never really felt I had to guess about motives and what would happen. After being introduced to the characters and their background story it is pretty obvious how things will develop. The character development for Andrew I really liked. It was easy to connect and see trough his eyes. Harlow was more difficult to get a hold on. I still don't understand her motives that well though the story does explain her actions and the way she thinks. I feel like both Red and Mickey could have been stronger characters and better developed. The story reads very easy though. I guess it is a good entry level thriller if you do not want to be spooked to much.