Book Review: The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros

Book: The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros – published by Diversion Publishing, netgalley kindle edition, 254 pages.

Synopsis: Anything you can imagine. Everything you crave. For the members of The Raven Room, it’s every fantasy fulfilled. But for some, that desire is a matter of life and death.

Drawn by a need he cannot control, Julian ventures to The Raven Room, a secret and exclusive sex club in the underbelly of Chicago. It goes beyond sex. It goes beyond kink. The Raven Room is the only place where Julian finds release from the dangerous urges that threaten to destroy the successful life he’s worked so hard to build.

When the police link the Raven Room to the death of a young woman, it threatens to expose a number of powerful people— people who would kill to stay anonymous…

Meredith’s body can’t get enough of Julian. He has opened her sexual horizons to tempting new possibilities. But out of bed she’s an aspiring journalist, and The Raven Room is the story she’s been looking for. By writing an exposé on the club and its elite clientele, she plans to launch her career.

As Meredith embarks on a sexual journey into the forbidden world that Julian inhabits, questions emerge, and dark appetites threaten to swallow her whole. How much can she trust the man who has laid bare her erotic nature and how much will she sacrifice in order to protect him?

Let’s judge a book by it’s cover: I really love this cover art. It’s sexy and mysterious and it seems to promote exactly what the book is setting itself up to be.

My thoughts: Hmmm. What to say about this book. First of all, this book should come with trigger warnings for a few things namely rape and physical/emotional abuse. Secondly, I really did not like this book. The Raven Room is book one in a series (I assume a trilogy?), but I don’t think I’ll be reading any of the following books. I hazard a guess that fans of 50 Shades of Grey would enjoy this, but I personally can’t get into a book with an asshole of a main (male) character who is praised as something special throughout the entire story.

Rating: 1/10

Would be a good read for: Fans of books involving a lot of BDSM.

Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Book: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – published by Pan Australia, paperback edition, 432 pages.

Synopsis: Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. She’s newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.

There’s just one problem. All of that was ten years ago…

Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she’s a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her.

This is her life but not as she knows it. Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade? Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

Let’s judge a book by it’s cover: This cover is pretty boring, to be honest. But then again I rarely focus on the cover of a Liane Moriarty book, because I know the story inside is going to be amazing, regardless of the crappy cover art.

My thoughts: Although this was not my favourite Liane Moriarty book (from what I’ve read of her so far), I still really enjoyed it. I love the way Liane Moriarty writes about Australian life, I find it so authentic and believable. Her characters are always so richly developed, and Alice remains a vivid character in my memory weeks after I finished reading the book. Somehow what could be the terrifying story of a woman who suffers from crippling amnesia is turned into a humorous and charming tale of suburban Australian life. What I love about Liane Moriarty’s books is how all of the (seemingly innocent) side-stories come into play and factor into the main story in surprising ways. There are always a few twists and turns along the way, and it always makes for an enjoyable read.

Rating: 8/10

Would be a good read for: Anyone looking for a humorous contemporary read set in suburban Australia.

Book Review: The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

Book: The Killing Lessons by Saul Black – published by Orion Publishing Co, paperback edition, 416 pages.

Synopsis: When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything.

For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.

For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of corpses – women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them – has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens. But the slaughter at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan…

There was a survivor, Rowena’s ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more terrifying than what she’s running from.

Let’s judge a book by it’s cover: This cover is very much to my personal taste. I love how simple it is, and it also does a good job of portraying the generally bleak feel of the book.

My thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book up, but I was hooked at the first chapter. I was also extremely disturbed after the first chapter, so be warned. This book is not for the faint hearted or the squeamish, it was extremely dark but also thrilling in the way it was carried out. I really love books that give you an insight into the mind of the ‘bad guy’, and in this case it was into the mind of a terrifying-in-his-realness serial killer. This was not a short book, but I managed to power through it in just a couple of days. One of the best thrillers I’ve ever read and well worth picking up.

Rating: 9/10

Would be a good read for: Those in the mood for a real heart-pounder of a thriller.

Book Review: The Good Girls by Sara Shepard

Book: The Good Girls by Sara Shepard – published by Hot Key Books, paperback edition, 288 pages.

Synopsis: They’re good girls… but no one’s perfect…

Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Parker and Caitlin are five senior high-school girls who seem to have it all. Top grades, beautiful looks, music scholarships, sports captaincies…even the boys of their dreams. But there’s just one small flaw in their apparently perfect facade. They’re wanted for a murder they didn’t commit. Sure, they talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, but they didn’t go through with it. It’s just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned …right?

Except Nolan wasn’t the only one they fantasised about hurting in film class that day. And now someone seems to have found their list, and is carrying out their very particular revenges in their name.

Who is really behind these killings? Who can they truly trust? And who will be the next to die?

Let’s judge a book by it’s cover: I love this book cover, it was one of the things that sucked me into reading the book. I think it’s bright and fun, and it makes me want one of those old-school waffle ice cream cones. Yum.

My thoughts: This book was a bit of fun, and exactly what I was in the mood for when I picked it up. I initially decided to read it up because I saw that it was written by the author of the Pretty Little Liars series. I’ve never read any of the books in that series but had always been interested in them, so when this book became available at the library I snatched it up quick smart. It’s a cute little high school murder mystery with a couple of interesting twists and turns on the way. The cast of characters is fairly varied and all of them are well developed enough for me to enjoy the change of character perspective in each chapter. I also liked the fact that although this was the first book in a series it could also work as a standalone book and I don’t feel compelled to read the next book in order to feel like the story is complete.

Rating: 5/10

Would be a good read for: Fans of the Pretty Little Liars series, or anyone interested in a fun little poolside read with a murderous twist.

Book Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Book: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas – published by Simon & Schuster, kindle edition, 337 pages.

Synopsis: It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I.

Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire.

But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…? Chloe is the only one with the answers.

As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces.

Let’s judge a book by it’s cover: I find this cover really appealing, and although it doesn’t really relate to the story in any way (except maybe for the fire element? although this looks more like a firework to me), I still like looking at it. It has an element of excitement to it.

My thoughts: I’d had this book on my radar ever since I read Dangerous Girls, as I’d really enjoyed it and was interested to read something else by Abigail Haas. Unfortunately, Dangerous Boys pales in comparison to Dangerous Girls, at least in my mind. I really enjoyed the cast of characters in Dangerous Girls, so when the characters in this book fell flat, it left me disappointed and it was hard for me to connect with the story in any real way. Feeling like that, it was difficult to get interested in the mystery element of the story.

Rating: 3/10

Would be a good read for: Those in the mood for a quick read and those who don’t rely on a lot of character development for their enjoyment of a book.