22 May 2017

A Darkness Absolute // A Brilliant Sequel From An Author Who Always Delivers

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Published: 28th February 2017
Source: Gift
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
My Rating:
The follow-up to #1 NYT bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s acclaimed City of the Lost, Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that...before another victim goes missing.

Casey Duncan returns in another heart-racing thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.
You know how I posted some reviews which had been lurking in my drafts for six months the other day? Well, now I’ve got one which I have been intending to write ever since I finished the book. I read City of the Lost last year and loved it. And I told you about how I loved it in my Borrowed Books post and I fully intended to review the sequel too…. and then somehow didn’t. I decided to remedy this because I want to review my favourite books on here and this was a favourite (also, seeing Kaja reading the first book reminded me I still haven’t reviewed this… bad Becky). I will be relying on my memory on this and my Goodreads review but I think I can remember all the salient details.

First of all, I absolutely loved this book. I was a little hesitant going in but once I got into the flow of the book I loved it. There was little doubt about that, though. Kelley Armstrong may be an author I first read last year but she has become a firm favourite of mine and her books always deliver.

It was great to return to the town of Rockton and see how Casey has managed to integrate herself within the community now she has stayed. A lot of things happened in the first book and given that it’s an off the grid town relying upon the mysterious council to provide for their needs nd a place where the community must fill all the holes in labour needs meant it was interesting seeing how they managed to cope after the reveal of the first book. I really liked seeing how Casey was being accepted in town. It was great reading about it all and just seeing this community and how they work, especially as this time they were looking at both the past and the present. I loved glimpses on how the town came about and about what happens when folks leave. All of it just worked for me.

I also loved that Casey and Eric's relationship is as strong as ever despite both of them not having had long-term relationships before. It was interesting seeing them navigate the unknown together. They were initially influenced by others and the expectations that others have for relationships but it was great that when there were moments that in other books would have forced them apart and created conflict they instead spoke about stuff. Like actually used their words. You do not know how often I shout that at a book, it’s insane. I loved that they were both able to speak to one another about things. Their relationship will not be plain sailing but I enjoyed reading about it.

The reason the book didn't get 5 stars from me may be petty but it was simply the mystery of this book wasn't as strong as the first. It felt like Casey's path to find out who was to blame was very convoluted and I noticed that fact. It wasn't enough to bring my enjoyment down but that did niggle at me. I get it was difficult for them to investigate with the weather being against them and trying to not create doubts within a community which lean towards volatility but I feel like it was a not seeing the forest for the trees kind of situation. Basically, they went all round the Wrekin and it was unnecessary.

The mystery may not have been as strong this time around but I continue to want to see more from the Casey Duncan series. I still have many questions about Rockton and the people there and I also wanted to know more about this mysterious council and the hostiles. There is plenty more to explore and I for one cannot wait.

Anyone else let reviews linger in their drafts for far too long? And had anyone else read and loved this series so far? Any similar recs because I feel like Armstrong is in a genre of her own at times and that makes her original but girl needs some good recs now and again.



21 May 2017

Sunday Summary // 21.05.2017

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I am writing this after recovering from a hangover. I was out Friday night and I danced the night away to a Robbie Williams cover band. It was a fun night but I was feeling it the next morning. I’m writing this far later than I normally would so please don’t judge me for any mistakes.

I forgot to take photos of my present for the woman leaving at work (my bad) but I had a blue theme for her leaving as we were blue to see her go. And she had a Ferrero Rocher chocolate bouquet. I was very impressed with my gift buying this time around. It’s not easy finding stuff for folks. It does mean we are now drowning in work as she left Friday but that’s okay. We will (hopefully) manage to catch up. One woman, who has recently gone on maternity leave, brought in her new baby as well so she could see the woman who was leaving as she had been so excited to see the new baby. He is two weeks old and is so tiny and cute and she looked so good considering it was only two weeks since she had him. They were both well and they came into to say goodbye so it was really nice to see everyone together.

This week has been a very slow blogging week. I am behind on comments and blog reading and blog writing so I apologise if you’ve noticed a slight absence. I plan to spend Sunday doing some catch up so you might see a lot of me popping up.

What I’ve Been Reading

Captive Prince8 Prince's Gambit9 Kings RisingBlacktie Optional3136651623650493
I had a binge read over the weekend of the Captive Prince trilogy. It was an amazing read, so very addictive and I loved it. I recognise that there are some flaws and I have a few things to say about the ending but as a whole I loved it. I finished my buddy read of Dark Days Pact, what was that ending guys? Like, really? And then I’ve had some romance reading with the insanely fun Black Tie Optional which had a fake relationship and I loved it. I then followed up with another fake relationship book in the form of Isn’t She Lovely.

New To Me

Queen of BloodDumplin'Good GirlEverseaTaken by the CowboyStealing Mr RightSugar Daddy
Yeah… I’ve got no excuse. I bought a lot of books. I can’t think of a reason I just saw a lot of books I wanted to read. I’m excited to read them, though. Or, reread as the case may be for Sugar Daddy.
GodblindHouse of Secrets
I’ve gotten two new books on Netgalley as well. I am so excited for both they sound so interesting. I was a bit rash requesting Godblind but it does sound good. And there’s a new Sarra Manning book! I need to read that ASAP!

So, I had a fun week with as little drama as I could and now I will spend the day in my pyjamas blogging/reading/binge-watching Kimmy Schmidt. How has your week been? Anyone read any good books lately?

19 May 2017

Deja Vu // The Rephaim Series–Paula Weston

Deja Vu
As some of you may remember, I was struggling to find a way to feature books I have loved and reread. Especially those books I’ve already reviewed here on the blog. Even if it was a few years ago. You all said I could review again if I wanted to and that’s great. Glad to be reminded we are a non-judgmental bunch of folks in the book blogging community. I thought about re-reviewing but that’s not really what I want. I’ve done that. I don’t want to repeat myself, that’s boring (although, I do it a lot). So, instead, I am trying to create a new feature. A feature where I get a sense of deja vu about books I’ve reread.

Now, you will need to bear with me with these posts and I am still not completely certain how I will implement it. I don’t have a set format and I totally don’t know where the post will take me as I write it. You’ll have to give me hints and tips at the end.
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Original Review: Here posted 10th September 2015

My Rating: (it hasn’t changed)


How Do My Opinions Hold Up After A Year And A Half?

i just want to rub my face on his face
I will begin this with my original thoughts and what I agree with. After a slightly cringe-worthy reread (you read through and edit for a reason, some of those sentences don’t make sense!) I have to say I really do agree with my original review. I may have only really focused on the first book as too many comments on the other three really risk spoilers but I still strongly agree. The best comment I made was that Hush Hush and Fallen should have tried to be more like the Rephaim books and less like Twilight because it’s extremely accurate and also it made me smile.

I agree with all of my comments, really. It’s strange to see my thoughts repeated when it’s been so long since I originally wrote them. It’s like when you see someone else write a review on a book you loved and you feel like hugging the screen because they have fully encapsulated your thoughts to a tee. It’s like that, only less coherent.

Has Anything Changed?

Whitney
One thing I did notice is that my focus seemed to change between my first read and my reread. In my original review I was flailing over the friendship between Gaby and Maggie. I even call their friendship one of the highlights of the series. Whilst I did love their close friendship it was never my focus during my reread. In fact, I hadn’t really give it a thought. Instead, it was all about the romance and Gaby and Rafa (Rafa, who is probably my only book boyfriend ever) and they were what I was flailing about in my reread. Reading my original thoughts I don’t disagree that I loved the friendship aspect of the series. I loved the friendship between Maggie and Gaby. It’s the central part of a lot of the books. Gaby makes decisions based on making sure she keeps Maggie safe and Maggie totally doesn’t freak out at Gaby being this totally awesome fighting machine. Or about demons. Girl has staying power. True friend!

I do find it strange that my focus differs between my readings, though, and I think it’s very much to do with the type of reader I am from now and then. Whilst romance has always been a thing I’ve enjoyed it’s only within the past year or two I’ve fully embraced romance everywhere because I am a hardcore card-carrying romance reader. I mean, I like to think me embracing romance began when I started this blog but I think I was still hesitant. Instead, I focused on friendships and story and all of that and yes those things were brilliant in the book but damn that romance! I do love a slow burn romance which spans on entire series.

Basically, looking back at my original review I agree 100% with those thoughts. I am even shocked to remember that the first time I read the series I binge read and almost fell into a reading slump and the same can be said the second time around. It seems, whilst many things change when it comes to our reading tastes and bookish trends, many things also stay the same. In this case, The Rephaim series by Paula Weston is still an absolute favourite of mine and will be for a long time to come, I think. It had romance and friendship and an action-packed plot and I simply cannot recommend it enough.

Have you read this series? What did you think? And isn’t it strange you focus on different things when reading as time passes? It is certainly true when it comes to different genres but I never noticed during a reread before.