29 June 2015

Review: The Uninvited by Cat Winters


The Uninvited by Cat Winters
Expected Publication: 11 August 2015 by William Morrow
Pages: 368 
Genre/s: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher for review
Find it online: Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.


My Thoughts

There are three very specific reasons why I wanted to read The Uninvited:

1) I fell in love with Cat Winters’ writing when I read In the Shadow of Blackbirds

2) It’s historical fiction which I adore.

3) It’s set during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.

The very first thing I realised when I started reading, is that The Uninvited is in fact an adult novel – not a Young Adult novel, with the main character, Ivy, being in her mid-twenties.  But to me that’s neither here nor there, plus I was curious to see how Winters transitioned to adult novels, this being her first.  The next thing I realised is that I was instantly comfortable reading The Uninvited – it had the same lyrical, ethereal style that I had enjoyed so much when reading In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

As a main character, Ivy is far more complicated than she first appears – she’s isolated from the outside world, and yet incredibly loyal to her mother, almost assuming a motherly role herself with everyone she meets during the course of the novel.  However, she’s quite headstrong and determined, and throws herself into everything with all of her heart, including a new and unlikely relationship.

The Uninvited is also far more focused on Ivy, and the historical fiction elements than the paranormal elements that the synopsis eludes to – and that’s probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed The Uninvited so much – the ghosts that Ivy sees are there in key moments throughout the plot, but they aren’t as prominent as I had expected. 


There is a lot more I want to say about The Uninvited, but as the synopsis doesn’t really go into much detail about some of the aspects that I really liked, I’m a bit hesitant to ruin the surprise for anyone else that reads it, but it is a book that I highly recommend to readers of historical fiction – the writing is beautiful, I lost myself in this book constantly, and THINGS happen that I really hadn’t anticipated.  Unexpected, captivating and a wonderful mixture of things that I love, The Uninvited definitely lived up to my lofty expectations.

24 June 2015

Review: Day Four by Sarah Lotz

Day Four (The Three #2) by Sarah Lotz

Published: 21 May 2015 by Hodder

Pages: 340

Genre/s: Horror

Source: Own library

Find it: Goodreads ~ Amazon

Contains absolutely no spoilers for The Three!

Synopsis

Four planes. Three survivors. One message. It seemed like the end of the world... but it wasn't. This, however, just might be.

The extraordinary, unforgettable sequel to THE THREE - perfect for fans of The Shining Girls, The Passage and Lost.

Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.

That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There's a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer... and maybe something worse.


My Thoughts

I really enjoyed Lotz’s The Three when I read it last year – the gradual, more subtle creepiness was an interesting departure from my normal slasher style horror reads, and I was impressed with the way that a seemingly straightforward plot had several unexpected twists and turns. Day Four is a loosely connected sequel, and I’d even be hesitant to call it a companion novel as the connections are so subtle that one could probably read and enjoy Day Four without having read The Three.

Day Four is set on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico, which as a person who hates boats with a burning passion, is probably one of the creepiest possible settings, especially when communication with the outside world is cut off and the passengers are left to fend for themselves.

Told through multiple alternating perspectives, shit starts to get real on the Beautiful Dreamer pretty quickly – as soon as the passengers realise that something sinister is happening it turns into a mixture of every man for themselves with only a few characters resisting the urge to join the chaos – even when things start to get rather dark and creepy. However, I found it quite difficult to care about the characters, as just when I started to get to know them and see the story through their eyes, the perspective shifts were a little jolting and in the end I struggled to remember all of the different points of view – I would have probably enjoyed the book much more if there has been less perspectives, and less characters with similar storylines.

Although the setting itself is enough to give you nightmares, another problem that I had with Day Four is that the elements that are supposed to be creepy and disturbing instead came across as rather cheesy and not completely thought through. There’s also a lack of resolution around some of the more supernatural aspects that although unusual in their execution, left me feeling rather lost.

If you enjoy horror with a supernatural twist in a unique setting, and particularly if you enjoyed The Three, I can certainly recommend Day Four, there were just a few elements that didn’t really work for me, but overall it was a book that I found myself picking up without hesistation.

07 June 2015

The Sunday Post #6

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer sharing news and new books for the past and coming weeks.

Sooooo it's been a month since my last Sunday Post.  It's not that I haven't accumulated any new books, but I've just not had the motivation to post them!


For Review
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
A 52-Hertz Whale by Natalie Tilghman and Bill Sommers
Either the Beginning or the End of the World by Terry Farish

Purchased
Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Have an awesome week guys!

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