Review: The Missing Hours

First of all, I’d like to apologize for not posting in so long. Between work and some family health problems, I had 4 books but couldn’t find the time or the heart to write their reviews. Here’s hoping that things will get better from now on.

Thank you for your patience.

the missing hours

Title: The Missing Hours | Author: Emma Kavanagh | Publication year: 2016

Genre: thriller, mystery | Rating: 5 stars

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Summary (from GoodReads):

A woman disappears

One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.

A woman returns

Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.

What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’

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Review:
5 shiny stars.

This book is a fine example how you can create unique, compelling characters and a breathtaking edge of your seat story, do something different and not get lost in it.

I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anything but there are some points and aspects I want to highlight.

First of all, this book is mostly told in the first person with multiple narrators. I confess I found it a bit overwhelming at first but as the narrative progressed it didn’t stand in the way or bothered me at all because every character, every voice is unique. And every point of view – past or present – adds a little piece to the puzzle.

The story is, like I mentioned, present in the present with chapters focusing on past events. They all serve their purpose, they add to the story, be it by helping understand the characters, be it to understand the world they live in and their mindset.

This book was impossible to put down. I had the urge to know what’s going on, to find the next piece, to figure out things. It is brilliant and it is a fresh take on the detective novel genre.

I highly recommend to anyone who loves a good thriller.

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I’d like to thank NetGalley, Random House UK and Cornerstone, and author Emma Cavanagh for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.

I can’t wait to read more of Emma Cavanagh’s work. This introduction to her was fantastic.

Review: Blacklands

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Title: Blacklands (Exmoor Triloby #1)

Author: Belinda Bauer

Rating: 5 stars

I thought about giving it 4, maybe 4 and half stars but this book deserves a 5 star rating.

The writing in this book is beautiful. It’s impossible not to understand and feel Steven’s pain. It’s heartbreaking to realize he’s doing such extraordinary thing – find the body of his murdered uncle – to fix his little broken family. All he wants is to be normal and happy. It’s so simple and so poignant.

On the other side of the equation is Arnold Avery, the serial killer who murdered Steven’s uncle Billy Peters when he was a kid. Arnold is very honest about who he is, he doesn’t try to justify himself or believes he has a right to do what he does.

This book is a mix of character study and mystery, it is engaging, breathtaking and heartbreaking. It was hard to put it down – I only did because I was falling asleep but picked it up right after getting up.

This is a fast, fantastic reading. It deals tragedy and how it affects the lives of the survivors in the long term. I can’t recommend it enough.

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Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

 

Review: Sao Bernardo

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Title: Sao BernardoSao Bernardo

Author: Graciliano Ramos

Rating: 5 stars

 

I have an interesting story/relationship with this book. The first time I was supposed to read it, I was in 9th grade and I had to read it for the finals. It took me too long to get the book which left me with little time to read it. As a result, I read until the middle, then skipped to the last few pages. I got a grade good enough to pass the class, but that was it.

I found the book interesting, though, so much that I decided to read it on my own. To this day, it’s still one of the most fascinating and interesting novels I’ve ever read. The book is not long, but the characters are intense and rich. The atmosphere, scenarios and the culture are vivid and involves you so much it’s easy to picture in your mind, even if it describes a world completely different from the one you live in.

Paulo Honorio is as arid as the land he lives in and where he built his life. Madalena is like the world he tries and fails to understand. This is a story of love, misunderstandings, pain and regret, a story where characters and land are sometimes so much alike it’s hard to separate one from the other.

I cannot recommend it enough.

It was originally published in Portuguese, but I believe it was translated to many other languages.

If you want to experience the richness of Brazilian literature, this is a good place to start.

Review: When You Reach Me

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Title: When You Reach Me

Author: Rebecca Stead

Rating: 5 stars

I joined the ranks of people who fell in love with this book.

Found it on a list of books on Pinterest, read a few reviews and decided to give it a try. Ended reading all in less than 8 hours, with pauses.

I guess I can consider myself lucky, every single book aimed at middle graders and up I’ve read recently have been great and deserved a 5 star rating.

When You Reach Me is sweet, fun, touching, engaging and with a great mystery in the form or little notes from some time traveler.

We see the main character, a young girl named Miranda, learning and maturing, making mistakes, living an adventure, finding new friends, expanding her horizon. We see Miranda growing up and it’s a nice thing to witness.

Even though its public is obviously preteen, I found it highly enjoyable.

This is a great read, no matter your age.

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This review was also posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: Diary of Anna the Girl Witch – Book 1

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Title: Diary of Anna the Girl Witch – Book 1: Foundling Witch

Author: Max Candee

Rating: 5 stars

 

This is how a book for kids should be like, exciting, interesting, warm and thoughtful.
The lessons about friendship, loyalty, the difference between good and evil, and that actions have consequences are old but are always welcomed when done right – which is what happens here.

The characters are fun and interesting. Both kids and adult characters teach that appearances can be deceiving, and like we’ve heard a million times, we should not judge a book by its cover.

The art is also beautiful, and the drawing reminded me of the books from my childhood.

This is a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. You just have to open your heart and dare to dream.

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I’d like to thank NetGalley, Helvetic House and author Max Candee for providing me with a copy of Diary of Anna the Girl Witch: Book 1: Foundling Witch in exchange for an honest review.

 

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This review was also posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Game review: Child of Light

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Title: Child of Light

Writer: Jeffrey Yohalem

Game developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Rating: 5 stars

 

I love video games, but I’m not really good at them, and I don’t know much about them.

Nevertheless, I played this, fell in love with it and actually finished it (wishing there’s be more).

This is a big company game that looks and feels artisinal. I have no doubt everybody involved in it put their hearts in it. The concept is great, the visual is stunning, like a fairy tale coming to life in a moving painting.

It is in almost every platform available, and it’s not that expensive. There’s adventure, puzzles, battles, lovely characters living an adventure in an enchanted land. I believe this is a game that can be experienced by the whole family.

 

Review: The Westing Game

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Title: The Westing Game

Author: Ellen Raskin

Rating: 5 stars

From GoodReads:

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

This young adult mystery novel was one of the most fun experiences I’ve read reading.

This is a whodunnit with a twist, a puzzle within a puzzle.

The Westing Game was such a fun fast read I finished it in one day. With only 204 pages, it is the perfect companion for a lazy cold weekend.

One of the most wonderful things is that it’s such a feel good book! I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a feel good whodunnit mystery before.

Now run! Go read it! It’ll be fast, fun and it’ll put a smile on your face.

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This review was also posted on GoodReads. Link Here.

Review: The Princess Bride

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Movie: The Princess Bride

Year: 1987

Rating: 5 stars

I guess my only question to myself is ‘why did I take so long to watch this?‘ I mean it! For years I’ve heard and read quotes and references to this movie but was apprehensive about it. I guess it was the same apprehension I used to have with Neil Gaiman‘s books.  Everybody who shared the same taste in books and movies with me loved it, what if I watched and didn’t enjoy it like others did? It’s silly, I know, but I was scared of being disappointed. Also, I’m not a huge fan of romance.

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My favorite character, Inigo Montoya.
Well, now I can now say that my fear was unfounded. I loved The Princess Bride the same way I’ve loved every Neil Gaiman’s book I’ve read so far. I’m completely taken by the story, the characters and the brilliant and the light tongue-in-cheek humor is superb. Rob Reiner‘s directional style is delicious as usual. The exaggerated and absurd side of the movie reminds me of Monty Python – and that’s a huge compliment.

If you never saw it, don’t wait any longer. And remember:

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Review: The Great Forgetting

I felt like today was a good day to post this one.

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Image source: GoodReads
Title: The Great Forgetting

Author: James Renner

Rating: 5 star

Some books are special. They make you look at the world around you in a different way. They fill your heart and your mind with ‘what ifs‘. They make you think of possibilities.

This is one of these books.

I recently read James Renner’s first fiction novel, The Man from Primrose Lane and fell in love with his style. Then I learned he was releasing a new book soon and couldn’t wait to read it. I bought The Great Forgetting the morning it was released, and started reading immediately. Unfortunately, it was a busy week and I couldn’t read much during it, but as soon as Saturday arrived, I put all my focus on it. I knew it would be a great ride, I just didn’t anticipate it being so intense – way more intense than The Man From Primrose Lane.

I got attached to one of the main characters, Cole. He grew on me to a point that I was really caring about his future and well being.

Highlight to read spoiler. .[Cole is the main reason this book made me heartbroken. I wish he had a chance to a happy ending, and his demisse broke me. Renner telling me on Twitter that writing Cole’s death made him cry made me feel a little bit better, but just a little. It means I’m not the only one who felt for the kid.] End of spoiler.

There are great characters in this book – it’s not a one person adventure. Nils, for example, brings a bit of much needed comic relief. The Captain is one of the brightest spots. I’m a little ambivalent to Sam. Jake is the appointed hero, the official main character so to speak, but to me, the real star, the real hero, is Cole.

There’s not a real, defined villain in this story. There are mentions of bad guys, sure, and even brief appearances of a few, but what you have is mainly misguided beings. Beings wanting the same thing, but going at it differently because of their own experiences and approaches to life and society.

This book is rich in so many aspects. It is something that needs to be read, needs to be experienced. I highly recommend it.

Congratulations, James Renner on this brilliant work.

Footnote: If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, you should definitely check this out, even thought it’s not one per se, you’ll find many elements that you will enjoy.

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Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.

Review: The Man From Primrose Lane

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Title: The Man From Primrose Lane

Author: James Renner

Rating: 5 stars

This was one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in 2015, and the one that really helped rekindle my love for books.

It was inventive, fast paced, breathtaking and engaging. It played like a movie in my head, and I think it would make a great – maybe not movie but definitely miniseries. Well, it’s actually being made into a movie, and I’m actually excited about this.

It’s hard to talk about The Man From Primrose Lane without getting into details, it’s such a fascinating cross between sci-fi, mystery, whodunnit, dystopian and nonfiction, I fear I’d be spoiling the reader’s experience by mentioning things here. Trust me, this is a book that needs to be experienced. The twists and turns – especially the huge one – will stay with you a long time after you finish the book.

Highlight to read spoiler.[I figured the child abductor was the person responsible for the school photos as soon as it was mentioned how the two photographs looked almost the same, including the background. It didn’t anything from my reading experience, though. I was actually glad it was the FBI guy who figured it out, showing he was not incompetent, he just didn’t have all the pieces.]End of spoiler.

 The Man From Primrose Lane is actually one of the rare books I know I’ll be reading again in the future. And to think it’s Jeremy Renner‘s first novel? That’s insane!

All in all, it was a great read, that I finished in one weekend. I hope it gets translated to Portuguese, so I can recommend it to my friends who don’t speak English.

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This review was also posted on GoodReads. Link here.