Book Review: The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley

the-loneyI received this eARC thanks to Netgalley and the publisher and author, providing an honest and unbiased review of this book.

Where do I start with this book… There is this place, a truly strange, somewhat near deserted place, between Wyre and the Lune, that is known only by what the few locals who remain there call it. That place is called The Loney. Every Easter, Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest, would take a pilgrimage here for its mystical Shrine, along with the unnamed boy narrator and his suggested mentally ill and mute brother Andrew, known better as Hanny, in order to help heal Andrew thanks to God. However, this year is different. Father Wilfred is dead, declared accidental, but is there more to the story? So now there is a new priest to take his place, Father Bernard, who has his own ways, but are people willing and ready to accept him and his new ways or do they prefer things how they were?

In all honesty, I’m really in two minds when it comes to this book and about whether I enjoyed it or not. It took me a while to get into the story and when I say a while, I mean at least a third of the way through. If I hadn’t been reading this book for Netgalley at the time, then I don’t think I would have finished reading it, that’s how long it took me to get into this book. It started off with a slow pace and for me it wasn’t until they actually got to the coast or The Lonely, where it started to actually pick up the pace. But that’s when I got into the book and it hooked me. I wanted to find out more and therefore needed to keep reading on! I had questions and wanted answered, or I just simply wanted to read another chapter and another chapter because I didn’t want to stop.

I will admit that I didn’t realise how much this book was going to be centred and based on religion and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get into the storyline, as it was a bit off putting. It was interesting to read a book that did focus so fully on religion in this way, but it did come a bit unexpected. This cover grabbed my attention instantly and has to be one of my favourite covers I’ve seen in a while. I love it, and I knew it was meant to be a horror book, so I barely read the description before requesting to read this book on Netgalley. Maybe that’s my mistake, but descriptions can sometimes give away too much information and then spoil the entire book. Like trailers with movies.

One thing I loved about this book was how it was told. The beginning of the book starts off with the unnamed protagonist narrator beginning his story to us, the readers, at his current age, trying to get his point of view of past events across, before it’s too late. The book then goes back to when he was younger and he then begins that part of his story to us. We get to see everything from his eyes and how he saw and remembers it all, which shamefully took me a while to realise what was happening. Throughout the whole book, we never get to know his name! This does annoy me, but yet I also think that it’s fitting for his character, as he never really gets any of the attention in this book. The character who shows him the most attention is Father Bernard, who subsequently gives him his own little nickname, which is the only name we hear him called throughout the entire book, and that’s Tonto.

I personally believe that there are some very strong characters, with great development behind them, illustrated in this book. Even though I couldn’t connect to several of the characters because of their strong religious beliefs and how much it defined them, how they were presented in the book was strong. There were others I loved. I loved the relationship between the brothers ‘Hanny’ and the main protagonist ‘Tonto’ and how only siblings are and how they have their own special relationship. They are able to communicate in way that no one is able to in the whole entire book. In fact, ‘Tonto’ is maybe to only person who is able to properly communicate with Hanny. Their relationship kind of reminds me of George and Lennie’s relationship in “Of Mice and Men”.

I don’t think that I would class this book as a horror book, as it didn’t frighten or scare me, especially compared to more thrilling and terrifying books. It just wasn’t creepy enough. But maybe that aspect was lost on me as I wasn’t fully engaged enough to be afraid of what I was reading. There are elements of supernatural, I think, mixed in with religion, but it’s hard to identify which is meant to be which.

When it came to the ending, it definitely left me wanting more. In my eyes, it had been building up to this big ending, or big reveal, and it just left me completely unsatisfied, with questions left unanswered. I’d even been expecting some plot twist at the end for some reason, which didn’t occur. For a book that was 367 pages and wasted pages on unnecessary parts, it could have used that time to spend it answering those questions and building towards a better ending.

So when it comes to my recommendation of this book, I will say that it all depends on what your personal preferences are. This book does have some high reviews, so I may be in the minority that didn’t appreciate it to its fullest. I did enjoy it, but was left dissatisfied and it did take me a while to get into it. If you don’t like overly religious books, then maybe pick a different book. I’m only giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my favourite either, just maybe the wrong book for me.

3-stars

Book Review: Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

baby-doll-hollie-overtonI would like to thank NetGalley, the author and publisher for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

OMG!! From the very first page this book had me hooked! Told from different characters perspectives, we discover how Lily, who was kidnapped at aged 16, was beaten, raped, “trained” and manipulated over the course off 8 years, even mothering a child from the man who took her and did all of these terrible things to her. The story starts eight years later, when her taker, her former beloved English teacher Rick, has too much on his plate or becomes too cocky and too greedy, forgets to put the deadlock back on the door. Lily thinks that she’s just imagined this, or that it’s another test that she will get punished for, but then seeing her daughter curled up sleeping, she risks yet another punishment, for her daughters safety and checks the door. Discovering it’s not a test and he’s finally made a mistake after eight years, Lily wraps her daughter Sky up warm and starts running to safety before Rick remembers his mistake. And that’s where the book gets really, really good….

This book is hands down my one of my favourite books that I have read lately and it came out of nowhere! I found this book so captivating right from page one and every page just managed to grab me, pull me in and keep me hooked. It was written amazingly, with characters that I cared so much about, each and everyone. With a villain that I simply hated. A normal, every day man to people’s faces, but behind closed doors, sadistic and PURE EVIL!! When you have a book with so many characters, who each have their own problems, and to care and understand each of them and their problems, it’s, in my opinion, really good writing. There were chapters written from the perspective of individual characters, which was brilliant and something that I love as a reader in certain books because I get to see inside each of their minds in a deeper way, and I creepily loved being able to see inside the mind of Rick. Seeing why he did what he did, in a way that he could never explain to anyone, in a way that he truly believed was right and acceptable.

I would have loved, to have seen just one chapter, maybe at the end of the book, to have had one chapter from the point of view of Sky, Lilys daughter, just to see what she had thought of it all and how she had felt after going though it all and come through everything. It would have added something extra, especially coming from a child’s perspective of it all. Even more considering Sky had been born not knowing anything different, to then discover a new way of living after “leaving” the cabin, thanks to her mum, Lily. It would have made it interesting to have included one chapter at the end to see how Sky had interpreted it all and see it from her point of view. But I understand not having that and I loved how it did end. In fact, when a certain part happened, without giving away spoilers, I was in utter shock!!! I was reading this book and genuinely gasped out loud out with shock, being surprised towards the end, telling everyone around me to be quiet because I had to find out what was about to happen next!! Not caring what people said or how they were looking at me, I just needed to know.

Trying to put myself in Lilys place is a scary thought, which is why I think I got so engrossed in this book. It took something that could really happen, and has been known to happen, and brought it to life. It’s not ghosts or vampires or anything pretend scary, and it didn’t even have a vicious villain, not really. It had a well liked, or really loved man in the society that nobody knew what he was like, really like, deep down, not even his own wife. That’s the scary part! It could be reality. That’s the truth of this story! That you don’t know what people are really like, not really, no matter how well you think you do. Your next door neighbour. Your friends. Your husband. Your cool english teacher who offers you a lift home. It’s realistic and scary.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough!! This book will stay with me for a while and have talked about and recommend this book to so many people. I will definitely be checking out Hollie Overton and keeping my eye out for more of her books coming out.

5-stars

Book Review: The Girl On A Train – Paula Hawkins

the-girl-on-the-trainI have recently read this book, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t own this little title for a while now. I bought this book when it become the big phenomenon that The Girl On a Train had become, with the intention of reading it straight away to discover what the big fuss was about, but as usual, I got a little distracted, probably by a different book. But now with the release of the movie onto DVD (well in my country) it really got me excited for this book again, so of course I had to read it. Now how to explain this book without giving away too many spoilers, because I personal hate it when that happens, so I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone else.

This book is told between three women’s perspective; Rachel, Anna and Megan. Rachel rides the train everyday, or every weekday, with every other commuter who is going back and fore to work and back. She loves the train. She knows everything about it. Every stop, every signal. Every house it passes, the people in those houses. At least the lives she makes up for those people in her head. She always sees her favourite couple, Jess and Jason, although that’s not their real names of course. She fantasies about their perfect relationship. That is until one day she sees “Jess” kissing someone who isn’t “Jason” and she get’s angry. But, Rachel has a secrets also. One of those secrets is that Rachel is an alcoholic who sometimes blacks out. And when she blackouts this time, “Jess” a.k.a Megan is missing, and Rachel has woken up at home in bed hurt and covered in blood, with no idea what’s happened.

I will start off by saying that I was really disappointed and massively let down with this book. I don’t even think it has anything to do with the anticipation and build up of waiting to read it and then finally doing so after so much time, that it just let it all down. I just personally think that it wasn’t as good as what it could have been. There was definitely story there with the potential for it be great, but the way it was written and executed, I think was poorly managed. The way that it was setup and organized, Morning  and Evening, was a good idea when it came to Rachels’ character because of the train and how she spent majority of her days on the train, but I don’t think this needed to be carried on indefinitely. Those two are not the only times of the day.

I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters, and when you think that you are starting to, they say or do something that just pushed you further away from them. I don’t know if this was done intentionally or not, but this even included Rachel and Megan. Then you have Anna, who I think I disliked the most out of them all. Even when it came to the other character’s, such as Tom and Scott. I will admit that I did guess the ending. It wasn’t to difficult to work it out as it was all PLAINLY laid out in front of you. I actually said to myself very early on that it couldn’t be that simple or easy, but yepp.

I think why I’m so frustrated when it comes to this book, is because the story is there for it to have been so great. The whole idea of it and the story is, without a doubt my favourite part, but you have to forgive, or rather I have to forgive some major parts to accept that, such as the writing. For a book to have had such a massive hype that this book has had, I honestly did expect it to be better than what I read.

I wouldn’t recommend this book, purely on the fact of how disappointed I was when I finished it, plus the fact that I would NOT re-read this book again. But if you are going to read this book, please go into it not expecting great things, at least that way, it may turn out a little better than expected.

2-stars