23 Jul 2018

Review - The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

Title: The Women in the Walls

Author: Amy Lukavics

Synopsis:

Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she and her best friend and cousin, Margaret, know the ancient hallways inside out. Or so they think . . .

When her beloved Aunt Penelope disappears while walking in the surrounding woods, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret, meanwhile, has been spending a LOT of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her mother's voice whispering from the walls.

Shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly and completely unravels. And then she begins hearing voices herself...

My Thoughts:

Welcome to the house in the middle of nowhere, where your dead loved ones speak to you through the walls. There's nothing creepy about it at all; they simply love you so much, they want you to join them. They suggest you could live happily ever after together behind the walls. You don't have much choice in the matter anyway they say, why wait? Not creepy at all...

The basic premise of this book is extremely disturbing. The whole haunted house trope gives me the chills in itself, but when the house and whatever power is hidden in it's structure gets into your head... well, that's even more unnerving. 

The Women in the Walls is a very atmospheric horror book. The claustrophobic feeling that the house as a setting generated in me helped me put myself in Lucy's place, helped me imagine what she was really going through. 

Most events in the book take place inside the house, the characters rarely venture outside and thanks to this seclusion a certain kind of sinister mood is created way before the nasty things start to happen.

While I was more than happy with the terrifying setting, unfortuantely I cannot say I was fully satisfied with this book. The characters were a bit shallow, they could have been designed with more care. They lacked details, they were mostly endowed with one or two characteristics... all in all they were very two dimensional. On the top of that Lucy's cousin Margret was very unlikable – at least to me –, which was a problem because all Lucy's actions in the second half of the novel were driven by the love for her cousin. The few glimpses I'd got of Margaret before she started to go bonkers didn't convince me she was the best of best friends. It was really hard to see what Lucy loved about her, at least that's how I felt.

It was also strange that the girls had lived on the estate for 17 years and they didn't discover their surroundings (at some point they found something in the forest they didn't know was there but obviously had been there since they were born...) 

I loved the pacing on the last 20-30 pages, the plot became very dense there, one horrifying thing happened after the other and I couldn't wait to know how the dark adventure would end. The ending was somewhat surprising but I absolutely liked it!

As you can see I had mixed feelings about The Women in the Walls, but it was still fun. I don't regret that I picked it up.



21 Jul 2018

Mini Reviews - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Hold Your Own

Title: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Author: Edward Albee

Synopsis:

When middle-aged Martha and her husband George are joined by the younger Nick and Honey for late-night drinks after a party, the stage is set for a night of drunken recriminations and revelations. Battle-lines are drawn as Martha and George drag their guests into their own private hell of a marriage.


My Thoughts:

I wanted to like this play so much but I had an eww feeling about it. The main couple, Martha and George live in a dangerous, abusive relationship (I'm talking about mostly verbal abuse but it is suggested in one of the scenes that George may kill Martha someday). One night after a party they invite a young couple to their home, Nick and Honey, who are basically forced to glimpse into the dark well that is George and Martha's marriage.

All the characters are drunk during the happenings and they keep playing games that reveal personal information about both couples. The games are childish, just like the choice of words often are in this drama, but both the games and the words point towards the secret that is unveiled at the end of the play. It's supposed to be a twist but if you pay attention, you can guess it way before it is brought to the surface.

I'm seeking high and low for 20th century American plays that appeal to me, unfortunately Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? didn't make it to the list.





Title: Hold Your Own

Author: Kate Tempest 

Synopsis:

Kate Tempest, winner of the Ted Hughes Prize for Brand New Ancients and widely regarded as the UK's leading spoken word poet, has produced a new poem-sequence of electrifying power. Based on the myth of the blind prophet Tiresias, Hold Your Own is a riveting tale of youth and experience, sex and love, wealth and poverty, community and alienation. Walking in the forest one morning, a young man disturbs two copulating snakes - and is punished by the goddess Hera, who turns him into a woman. This is only the beginning of his journey . . . Weaving elements of classical myth, autobiography and social commentary, Tempest uses the story of the gender-switching, clairvoyant Tiresias to create four sequences of poems: 'childhood', 'manhood', 'womanhood' and 'blind profit'. The result is a rhythmically hypnotic tour de force - and a hugely ambitious leap forward for one of the UK's most talented and compelling young writers. 

My Thoughts:

Wow, just wow. If only you could see how many poems I marked in this collection! Many of the poems were very relatable to me. I liked how ancient and modern voices and settings were mixed, how Teiresias's story was stretched as far as our day.

Kate Tempest pondered upon thoughts and theories like:
  • Life is a memory, everything happened before
  • There are different stages of us, we change all the time and who we are today is not the same person who we were 10 years ago
  • Sometimes there is no point in differentiating between man and/or woman, after all in the end we are all humans
I recommend this little poetry book to those who like gender studies and enjoy good verse.



20 Jul 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #22


Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.
 
 
Behold my new current read:
 
(The River That Flows Two Ways #1) 
by E. Thomas Joseph


Synopsis:

In 1777, Captain Isaac Pearson joined the British Army when he believed the Colonial Rebellion would be dispatched with effortless haste. Taking a few American lives was an agreeable price for the pampered aristocrat who believed his actions in the conflict would afford him honor and glory. Yet, the path Captain Pearson rode was neither honorable or glorious and the price he would pay was beyond his imaginable fortunes.

Time is the enemy of all, the hunter of the hunters whom no measures of tenacity or weaponry can defeat. Yet, in the early days of America’s war for independence Phantom Regiments, ruthless shadow units, British Redcoats, American militia and crazed me of the occult race to acquire a mysterious Iroquoian artifact which offers the capacity to defeat time. Set in New York’s Hudson Valley, the contest for time will marshal tragic desperation and horrific ends. Winter Eternal, uncovered from layers of dust, deep within the archives of America’s Untold History are the tales of the soldiers and the citizens who sell their souls to pursue the mysterious Native talisman, the Kahontsi Ehnita; the Giver of Life…A revolutionary war has begun. 
 
 
Book Beginning:
 
The northeastern wilderness had already begun its winter rest.
 
A fitting start considering what the title of the book is.
 

The Friday 56:

Emily shook her head and teasingly asked, "Are there any presents for me?"
Taken off his guard, Dedrick instantly realized he simply did not consider bringing his wife home a gift. 
 
He takes trips to the city often and on virtually every occasion he comes home with a souvenir. Awkwardly, he did his best to think on his feet, "Yes, of course, you think I wouldn't? Your present is my presence."

That is an awkward situation for sure and the guy's answer is not just a little bit arrogant... I'm not sure if I'll like this character.


What are you reading right now?

Enjoy your Friday!

18 Jul 2018

Ten Books I'd Pack for a Desert Island


Sorry, I couldn't resisit the gif...

Katherine from I Wish I Lived in a Library gave me the idea to write a post like this at last. 

I don't think any bookworm would find this question easy. I'm also sure this list changes for everyone with time. The choices depend on what period of our lives we are living when the question is asked.

I'd probably choose 5 books I've read and loved and 5 from my to-read list, just to have the excitement of discovery when all hope seems to be lost (I don't even know if I'd be able to survive on a desert island alone, haha...)


The ones I've read already:

of William Shakespeare


Is it cheating because this big volume involves all his plays? I hope not, it's one book after all.

I definitely couldn't live without Shakespeare.

I know and love many of his plays, but then again there are quite a few I haven't read yet. I believe I could gain some courage out of his words and in a way this book would help me survive the misadventure I'd find myself in.

by Harper Lee


If I'd be alone on the island, I could use an imaginable family to comfort me. The Finches would be my first choice without the shadow of a doubt.

by Madeline Miller


The Greek setting lives so vividly in my memory, I adored the descriptions of places in this beautiful novel. I think this book would help me see the positive aspects of being on a beautiful island.

by Mary Shelley


We all need a touch of gothic sometimes. I'm sure I would feel for the Creature even more, being abandoned on a desert island, being completely alone.

by Neil Gaiman


Just to have a fairy tale with me as well. Stardust is my favourite Gaiman book.


Books I haven't read yet:

by John Steinbeck



As I mentioned before I can't wait to read this novel. I enjoyed Of Mice and Men a lot and I have a thing for family sagas. I also love Steinbeck's writing style it's not dense at all, he is very easy to read.

by George R.R. Martin


Yes, I know it's not written yet. Maybe it never will be. However, the desert island situation is not real either so I'm allowed to say I'd take this book, right?

OR 
by George Eliot


Ever since I've read Daniel Deronda I want to read more from George Eliot. Her writing is extremely intelligent and she portrays the society of the time expertly.

by Andrew Motion


This book is HUGE. On the island I'd have all the time in the world to sit down and read it at last. Keats is my baby, he'll always be...

by Betty Smith


I heard wonderful things about this coming of age story. I feel like everyone has read it already and I'm missing out on something. I'd like to read this very soon so, probably I'd take it with me to the island.

That's it, Lovelies, 10 books altogether that I'd be happy to have with me if I were stranded on an island. I hope you enjoyed this post, please share with me what you'd pick in a similar siutiation!

Happy Reading!

15 Jul 2018

Weekend Wrap-up #12

The Sunday post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you have received.


We received amazing news this week: my boyfriend David got a job!! That means me and him can move in together very soon. We are currently looking for a place to rent and once we find something, we are good to start our life together for real this time.

In the past week I finished reading Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca, see the link to my review below! At the moment I'm reading The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics, I'm hoping to finish this atmospheric horror novel by tomorrow. I'm also in the middle of Uneasy Lies the Head by Jane Plaidy, which is the first instalment in her Tudor Saga.


Recent posts on the blog:



Saturday: Review Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves physical or virtual during the week.

Physical Book: 


 Title: The Underground Railroad

Author: Colson Whitehead

Goodreads

This book has won so many awards it's crazy. This is another title that I found because of the tv show Timeless (I've stopped counting how many awesome books it has introduced me to so far). The Underground Railroad is an actual railroad in this story, that runs beneath the ground. Amazing idea! If the execution is good too, this novel will probably blow my mind.







ARCs:

Title: The Colonel and the Bee

Author: Patrick Canning


Patrick Canning was kind enough to send me a copy of his novel, The Colonel and the Bee. The story is set in Victorian times and it follows an odd pair: an explorer and an acrobat. They go on a journey together in a hot air balloon and all the while they are chasing a criminal who is seeking a precious figurine called The Blue Star Sphinx.

I love books in which the characters go on a great adventure. I'm very curious about this one.





Title: Aaru (The Aaru Cycle Book #1)

Author: David Meredith


Another book that I received straight from its author. It's a dystopian sci-fi novel in which people's mind get uploaded to a computer after they die. It's kind of like a cyber paradise, except there are dark corners in this futuristic Eden. 

I'm sure this novel deals with numerous questions that are extremely relevant in this computerized world we live in...





 
Please leave  link to your weekend post below so I can go and visit your blog. 

Happy Sunday!

14 Jul 2018

Review - Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca

Title: Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Author: Brad Ricca

Synopsis:

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female U.S. District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into modern slavery.

One of Grace's greatest accomplishments was solving the Cruger case after following a trail of corruption that lead from New York to Italy. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls. But the victory came with a price when she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire NYPD.

In the literary tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, Brad Ricca's Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. This story is about a woman whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s greatest sleuth. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book – and its haunting twist ending – is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely.


My Thoughts:

I first heard about Mary Grace Quackenbos aka Grace Humsiton in the tv show Timeless. Since the episode called Mrs. Sherlock Holmes was one of my favourites in season two, after I joined the Timeless inspired book club (Lucy Preston Literary Society) on Goodreads it was no question that Brad Ricca's Mrs Sherlock Holmes would be my first read within the community.

Grace Humiston was the first female U.S. district attorney. He worked as a lawyer and detective in the beginning of the 20th century. She became famous for finding the body of a young woman – Ruth Cruger who had disappeared one chilly winter morning in mysterious circumstances. In truth there is so much more to the story of Grace than the Ruth Cruger case. Brad Ricca guides the reader through her most important cases in his book, keeping the reader at the edge of their seat with his captivating narrative.

While I think the detailed recount of Mrs Humiston's career was extremely fascinating, Mr. Ricca also managed to capture Grace's personality on the pages; he depicted the woman behind the detective persona. She came across as a kind-hearted individual, who didn't only care for the thrill of the chase; the people behind each story and their right to be judged justly was just as important to her. She was always determined and confident in her abilities, she was a strong woman through and through.

The New York of her time was vibrant and colourful, and I could imagine being there myself as I read this book. Its people were still learning how to accept the idea of their city being a giant melting pot and tensions were running high sometimes. I enjoyed the chapter where cases involving the 'little people' were described; Grace helped the poor by giving legal advice, sometimes completely for free.

She fought for immigrant rights and she stood against white slavery. She took on many cases that involved missing girls. She was also against death penalty and she saved a couple of innocent people from the electric chair. The Charles Stielow case was perhaps my favourite of those stories. The chapter 'The Giant and the Chair' was by far the best in the book, I couldn't put my kindle down until I got to the end of it. It was so gripping, I found myself caring for the outcome as much as Grace and her associates did.

As a Hungarian girl I felt really proud that Grace's right-hand man was also Hungarian. Grace and Julius J. Kron were partners for life when it came to fighting crime. If anyone, Kron was her Watson. It was great to get glimpses at how they operated, they were a dynamic duo. After a while they must have been able to read each other's thoughts, they worked so much together.

Brad Ricca's writing is quality. It flows really well and somehow he's able to make you forget that a lot of information is being dumped on you along the way; I was able to absorb all the info and enjoy the stories while I learned about the work of an fascinating historical figure.

I cannot recommend Mrs Sherlock Holmes highly enough. If you like reading about women pioneers as much as I do, this book will be a treat for you.




13 Jul 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #21


Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.


This week the spotlight is on:

 (Tudor Saga #1)
 by Jean Plaidy


Synopsis:

In the aftermath of the bloody Wars of the Roses, Henry Tudor has seized the English crown, finally uniting the warring Houses of York and Lancaster through his marriage to Elizabeth of York. But whilst Henry VII rules wisely and justly, he is haunted by Elizabeth's missing brothers; the infamous two Princes, their fate in the Tower forever a shrouded secret. Then tragedy strikes at the heart of Henry's family, and it is against his own son that the widowed king must fight for a bride and his throne...



 Book Beginning:

 There was great consternation in the Palace of Winchester on that misty September day in the year 1486, for the Queen – who was not due to give birth to her child for another month – had started her pains.

Premature children more often died than not in those times, the Queen and everyone around must have been pretty worried during this birth.


 The Friday 56:

Elizabeth felt reckless now, which was rare with her. But she believed Henry Tudor was no fighter and there were many in the country who resented him; they had accepted him because they wanted an end to the war, but no one could say that his claim to the throne was very strong.



Let me know what you're reading on this fine Friday.

Happy Reading!

11 Jul 2018

TBB Asks: Summer Vacation Edition


The Blended Blog's Q&A for July features a lovely summer topic. 

Since I'll go on vacation this month with my boyfriend I couldn't find a better time to answer a few questions about my holiday habits.


 Will you go on a summer vacation this year?

Yes, I'm going to London with my boyfriend at the end of July. I'll show him my favourite places in the city, we'll visit the London Dungeon and we will attend the London Film & Comic Con as well.

Do nothing but relax or a pack it all in vacation?

If I go somewhere new, I like to make the most of my time; visit all the local sights, eat all kinds of delicious foods, be active, be on the move. I'm definitely the 'pack it all in' type of person.

(Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy a nice lazy day at the beach occasionally.)

 https://media1.giphy.com/media/10EvNx4uY6pODK/giphy.gif 

What month do you like to vacation?

I usually pick a summer month. I haven't gone on vacation many times in the past few years, but before that we always went during summer with my family. September and May are also good choices as vacation months if one wants to avoid the crowds on the beaches or in the more popular cities. I went to Rome last September with my mom and lil brother. The weather was still warm but there weren't as many tourists as in summer. It was a very pleasant trip.


Cruise: Yes or No?

I've never been on a cruise, but yes, I'd like to try that form of vacation one day.

Favourite vacation tradition

I don't really have vacation traditions... I guess I don't go on enough holidays to establish a tradition, haha. (No, it's not funny, it's sad now that I think about it...)


Most memorable vacation?

Probably Croatia, the first time I travelled abroad when I was 13. I had the biggest crush on a waiter in a restaurant on the island of Brač.

Pack light or Pack it all?

Pack it all! Even with a fully packed suitcase I'm always afraid I'll leave something home...

Hotel, Condo or House?

I usually go for hostels, hotels or motels. I'm a person who opts for a modest accommodation and spends more on food and gifts (I don't spend much time inside anyway, why pay heaps of money for a room I only sleep in?)

Favourite things to eat on vacation.

I always aim to try at least one local speciality. Other than that I usually eat food I know I won't be disappointed in: gyros, hamburgers, sandwiches and the likes.

Warm or Cold Destinations?

It depends on my mood. I've visited more cold destinations than warm ones so far. However, in the future I'm planning to visit more countries in the south (Greece, Spain etc...). I just need to make sure to take a lot of sunscreen with me because my skin is very delicate unfortunately, and I'm in general not very tolerant when it comes to extreme heat.


Are you going on vacation this year? Where? Tell me all about your plans!

 

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