Tuesday, January 16, 2018

White Bodies ~ Jane Robins (earc) review [@alfresca @TouchstoneBooks]

White Bodies
September 19, 2017
297 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

This chilling psychological suspense novel--think Strangers on a Train for the modern age--explores the dark side of love and the unbreakable ties that bind two sisters together.

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda's unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix's domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix's uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister's arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies--or was he murdered?

A page-turning work of suspense that announces a stunning new voice in fiction, White Bodies will change the way you think about obsession, love, and the violence we inflict on one another--and ourselves.

Have you ever read a book where you really, really wished the characters were real and not just fictional? Well, White Bodies is not that book. And these characters are certainly not those characters. Callie and Tilda and the others are more the characters you are really glad are fictional and not someone you might encounter in life. (Though, there are people very much like them . . .)

Callie's fascination with or fixation on her prettier, more popular, more everything twin sister Tilda manifests in some really, really strange ways. Like really strange.

The author does a great job making you unsure of just how out there Callie really is. Yes, she does odd things, but how much of her interpretations or observations or decisions can really be trusted? How many of them are right because of who she is and how she feels about her sister? How many might be right in spite of it?

Even, later in the novel, as I had a better grasp on who Callie was and how she was viewing the world, some of her decisions and statements really did not make sense. (Even for her character.) Things she said or wanted/planned to do were such obviously horrible, wrong choices if she truly believed her sister was being abused. 

The relationship between Callie and Tilda (and their mother, friends and a boyfriend) was weird, creepy, unsettling and, often, confusing. Yet, it did make for a compelling story. Even when I was beyond irritated with Callie, I had to keep reading to find out what happened, to find out the truth - and not just one character's version of i.

The last parts of the book were really well done. Things are more twisted and startling than you expect and it's hard to know what the characters will do - or have done. I liked the inclusion/mentions of Strangers on a Train, Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel and Hitchcock. Callie's character did not always work for me but this is a very compelling, twisty read with dark, weird, disturbing relationships that all keep you guessing until the end.

digital review copy received thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley

Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Trailer Friday [@Sayantani16 ‏@Scholastic]

Here is the trailer for The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1), the first book in a middle grade fantasy series by Sayantani DasGupta:

about The Serpent's Secret:


(But she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish later that day and a rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories—like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess—and a wealth of secrets about her origin they've kept hidden.

To complicate matters, two crushworthy Indian princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’re here to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and slay demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld (who may or may not want to kill her) and the rakkhosh queen (who definitely does) in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…

Scholastic // February 18, 2018 // 368 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday [@harperteen @epicreads @amyplumohlala]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:


For most people, nightmares always come to an end. But for Cata, Ant, and the others, there may be no escape from theirs. After an experimental treatment meant to cure their insomnia went horribly wrong, the teens were dragged into a shared dreamworld where their most terrifying fears became reality.

The six of them have no way of waking up. And they’re beginning to realize that if they die here, they might actually die in the real world. One of the dreamers is already gone, and anyone could be next. The only thing they know for certain is that they have to work together to survive. But as they learn the truth about one another’s pasts, they soon discover they are trapped with something far worse than their nightmares….

published August 07th by HarperTeen

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Dreamfall was a weird, surprising, and exciting read. The ending of that first book really, really, really left me wanting to know what was going to happen next!

It isn't a big, complex why, I just very much want to konw what happens to Cata and the others, how this experiment is working (or not working more precisely) and if they can survive their nightmares/the experiment/whatever they're facing now.

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Chalk Man ~ CJ Tudor (earc) review [@CrownPublishing @cjtudor]

The Chalk Man
Crown Publishing Group
January 09, 2018
280 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he's put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank--until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

According to the author's biography on Goodreads, C.J. Tudor's The Chalk Man, "was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday.: That has to be the best and most unexpected way for this story to have begun.

The Chalk Man is creepy and unnerving and mysterious and startling, an all-together great read. That the 1986 portions of the novel revolve around a twelve-year-old boy, his group of friends and their lives is fantastic. Not only does the author do a fantastic job really inhabiting the time and the characters, but the boys, their age, the year, and everything happening to them make them the perfect ones for what happens - and what they do.

The current parts of the story, set in 2016, are surprising for their own reasons. Readers know some of the outcome before really knowing what it was that led to it. It causes you to second guess characters and their actions - and really increases the tension and need to know what all happened. Most surprising of all, though, is probably where and how Eddie and his friends are, thirty years later. It is not what I would have expected if presented with only the 1986 story, but it all ends up making sense.

The writing was superb, as well. Not only were things revealed at just the right time, in just the right way, but little clues were slipped in, often going unnoticed and there were more than a few false leads, too. The actual writing, the phrasing, the metaphors, emotions, etc was really, really good.

There were more twists, turns, curves and speed bumps on the path to the end of this book than I anticipated. Everyone had their secrets - from their family, from their friends, from the town, even from themselves. The Chalk Man really illustrates just how weird, twisted, hypocritical, confused, misguided or downright dangerous seemingly nice, normal, upstanding people can be beneath what they let everyone see.

This story keeps readers guessing and continues to startle - and, often, shock - with its revelations. Some are things you want to have found out while others you may wish not to know. As one fo the characters says,"Sometimes . . . it's better not to know all the answers."

Well that and, "Secrets are like arseholes. We all have them. It's just that some are dirtier than others."

I hope there will be much more from author C.J. Tudor in the future.

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley
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