February 2020 Wrap Up

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Well, I certainly bit off more then I could chew this month. I read so much more than I usually do in a month & got a bit behind in my reviews. So, I decided to change my book reviews up a bit where I will do mini reviews of the books I’m knocking out from my to-read list as a monthly wrap-up & full reviews of an ARC (advanced reading copy) or new release.

Insomnia by Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Lifelong Derry resident Ralph Roberts has been suffering from horrible insomnia ever since his wife passed. Every night he falls asleep only to wake up earlier & earlier as the days progress. Eventually, Ralph starts seeing some really weird shit around the town that at first he attributes to hallucinations from lack of sleep. From colorful stringy things streaming off the top of people’s heads, auras & strange little bald men running around town, Ralph is convinced he is slowly going crazy. But when his lady friend Lois confides she’s seeing some weird things around town too, Ralph realizes there is more to his hallucinations then just insomnia.

Insomnia is a brick of a book. While not as epic as IT or The Stand, it’s a true King novel…long. And a bit too long I think, there are definitely some really slow parts. But just as you’re about to add it to your “did not finish” list, it picks right back up again. However, I do not recommend this to a new King reader. As it takes place in Derry, home of IT & there are several tie-ins to The Dark Tower series, I recommend Insomnia for the seasoned King reader. This was my second read through, however, this time I’ve read it in chronological order of release & after reading The Gunslinger. It makes so much more sense now & is no longer the weird & trippy King book I didn’t like. Amazon | Goodreads

Anathema by Megg Jensen

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Anathema is the story of a slave girl, Raychel, who has lived in isolation from the outside world for as long as she can remember. She lives in a room of her master’s home with 30 other female slaves, including her best friend, Ivy. The female slaves are forever branded to their master on their fifteenth birthday during a ceremony when their master’s symbol is burned into the back of their necks. Anathema begins on the morning to Raychel’s fifteenth birthday, when Raychel awakens to find Ivy missing, and a mysterious token left on her pillow. The tokens that have been left behind every time a slave girl has been kidnapped from her master’s home. As the story escalates from a missing slave to a fantastical world filled with magic & prophets, it is also a story about desperation & a fight for freedom.

I really, really wanted to like this book. The story itself was pretty good, but I thought it was so incredibly rushed. The Kindle version is only 206 pages. This was a story that deserved to be more fleshed out & the characters given more development. I wanted so much more from this story than what I got. I wasn’t expecting George RR Martin level of detail, but I felt like there was so much missing. In all fairness, if you’re looking for fast fantasy read, this will be right up your alley. Amazon | Goodreads

The Sound of Rain by Gregg Olsen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I came across The Sound of Rain when I discovered all the free Prime e-books on my Kindle Fire. As I can “rent” 10 books at a time, and I’ve had a few sitting there TBR for about 2 years now, I decided it’s time to work my way through this list. And this book was a trip. I started it one night before bed, & quickly finished it up the next evening.

The main character, Nicole Foster, is a disgraced former homicide detective. From the very beginning, we are brought into her story at her rock bottom. Nicole has a crippling gambling addiction that has left her jobless, homeless & begging her sister for help. As she wanders the streets, she revisits the case that started her spiral out of control, the murder of three-year-old Kelsey Chase. A faulty investigation of the murder that led to Nicole & her partner being fired from the police force left so many unanswered questions that Nicole obsesses over. When Nicole has a chance encounter with Kelsey’s grieving father, she sees a path to redemption.

The book was a wild ride. At times, Nicole is a victim of circumstance & you feel bad for her. At others, you question her choices & can’t stand her. I could not put this book down & had to know what the hell was going to happen next. *Semi-Spoiler Alert* The ending was insane & not quite believable, but it was a crazy story from beginning to end. Amazon | Goodreads

When I Was You by Minka Kent

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I discovered When I Was You when I signed up for Amazon’s First Reads program for Prime members (highly recommend & is seperate from the Prime Reading library.) I was immediately hooked after I read the synopsis. This was another incredibly fast & intense read.

Brienne Dougray is a recluse, barely leaving the house after surviving a brutal assault. Brienne suffers from debilitating migraines & memory loss since she was attacked & heavily relies on the handsome doctor renting a room in her home to cope. As Brienne continues along a path of recovery, her world is turned upside down when she receives a letter in the mail regarding the new apartment leased in her name. Confused, Brienne begins a bit of an investigation where she discovers another woman has completely taken over her identity, from her hair & clothes to impersonating her on social media. Brienne is forced to step out of her comfort zone to try to reclaim her life.

While it was a bit predictable at times, the story was fast paced & had enough twists & turns that kept you guessing if your predictions were right. They usually were, but it was well-written & executed well enough that it’s worth the read. Honestly, I read enough mystery/thrillers that it really isn’t hard to figure out most of them, but as long as the journey along the way keeps me entertained, I forgive predictable moments & minor plot holes. Amazon | Goodreads

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