The Whisper Man by Alex North | Book Review

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In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Date Published: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Celadon Books

Date Read: October 6, 2019

No. of Pages: 355

Setting: Featherbank, Horsforth United Kingdom

Genre: Mystery Thriller

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Dark, sinister and unsettling.

I went ahead reading The Whisper Man without knowing anything about it other than it is about a serial killer dubbed as The Whisper Man, in fact that is an enough reason for me to start it. And so I did, and oh boy, I wasn’t prepared for it. It gave me the creeps, and by creeps I mean all my nerves have gone haywire, my heart was beating so fast, hell I held my breath in more than one occasion. If you’re a big fan of true crime documentaries, this one might be for you. It had all the formula of a good thriller book — constantly keeps you at the edge of your seat, your nerves are tingling from the anticipation, you have occasional goosebumps and your mind is just blown how coherent everything was.

Upon finishing The Whisper Man, I was in awe by how much dedication was put into it. Everything was interconnected and made perfect sense. I don’t know if this is a good trait about me or not but I always tend to look for loose ends in a book — you know those things that hardly make sense, those things that are unnecessary and the book could definitely do away with. With The Whisper Man I hardly found loose ends, if there was any. The events made sense and interweaving with each other. A polished book – and you best believe those are hard to come by these days.

The Whisper Man is this very elaborate and intricate story filled with creepiness and heart-thumping scenes. One you could not possibly put down. It will suck you in and before you know it you’re reading until 3am eager to know who this Whisper Man is. The eerie vibe to it only added to the goodness of the book. It will capture your attention and hold it longer than you expected. This book deserves to be made into a movie, yes it is that good. An impressive debut! Alex North is an author you should definitely watch out for. This book has this inexplicable pull that you couldn’t easily get out of. They said it is a different experience listening to audiobook, I would love to try that in the future! 

The varied narration also added texture to this book. I always look forward to Jake’s part of narration, that’s where most of the creepy and eerie stuff comes in. You can’t help but be attached to the characters specially Jake’s. Jake’s misunderstood behaviour, his imaginary friend, his silence were very essential and played an enormous part in making this book much more creepy and much more inviting. I also love that it is about father and son relationships, may it be in the normal or the most twisted sense. Gahhh this book is just superbly made. I am not a wide thriller reader, but this one is just exceptional. I don’t know what else to tell you to convince you. I don’t want to go into details about this book, but just take my word for it and read it! You won’t be disappointed I promise!

 

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“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.”
― Alex North, The Whisper Man

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THE WHISPER MAN by ALEX NORTH is an August @bookofthemonth selection! ••• Synopsis: . In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town. After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank. But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night. Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man. And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window… ••• 🦋 Read with the lights on, that’s what they said. Oooh I can feel this is such a great book!! Would squeeze this one this month!!! Which books did you get from @bookofthemonth? 🦋 #bookofthemonth #botm #botmbookbassador #TheWhisperMan #AlexNorth

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang |Book Review

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Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

Date Published: May 07, 2019

Date Read: May 08, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Setting: San Francisco, California

No. of Pages: 320

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book of The Month | Amazon |

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Now I am conflicted which book I love more – The Kiss Quotient or The Bride Test. Both books are sexy, sweet with a dash of some family dynamic. A perfect mix if you ask me. I breezed through this one, ad now one thing is for certain, Helen Hoang has done it again. She is now a favorite! This isn’t much of shocker, I was completely smitten by The Kiss Quotient so loving The Bride Test isn’t a challenge at all, I mean what’s not to love.

Asian Representation

Much like The Kiss QuotientThe Bride Test gives us a glimpse of Vietnamese culture and way of life. We get to see its stark difference from the western culture. How family ties are important and necessary part of their lives. As an Asian myself, I appreciate this a whole lot. Asians are becoming represented more and more into books and movies. Our cultures are highlighted and presented through own voices. Hahah and you have to give it to Khai’s mom to find him a bride. Haha! Ah Asian moms!

I loved Esme’s character. She was as real as it could get. Emotional and vulnerable but resilient. She knows how to hold herself up. I love that she was willing to better herself and not for shallow reasons. I love how this book centers on family and the sacrifices one is willing to make for them.

Khai on the other hand is a character who is easy to love. You get to understand why he is the way he is. I specifically loved the back story, I thought it was well thought-out and very fitting to the story making everything coherent and solid.

Autism Spectrum

Another own voices book. Now I can tell books that discusses autism spectrum has now become something I look forward to. I wanted to understand it better and learn so much from it. It is amazing how the author was able to write such amazing characters whilst also pouring herself into them. What I loved about this book, is its ability to present the autism spectrum in such a way that is easily understandable, giving the readers somewhat a taste of what it is like. Presented in a romance context The Bride Test truly isn’t something we encounter in romance books on a daily basis. You can really tell Helen Hoang really knows her craft and her power to convey it into words.

Sweet, Cute and oh so Sexy!

This book is brimming with cuteness and sweetness. If you’re looking for a feel good, fast and mushy read, then you’ve come to the right place. This is a perfect romcom! Make it a movie, I demand it! I love how the chemistry between Esme and Khai wasn’t forced or rushed. While I already expected it to be a little steamy, taking from its predecessor The Kiss Quotient, I was still surprised to be honest. I seem to forgot how Helen Hoang writes such romantic scenes, with enough sensuality and innocence at the same time.

I am glad this book did not suffer the proverbial second book syndrome. I am glad that it is as good as the first if not better. I really loved how it ended, it was just sweet and ahhhhh my gooey heart! Now I cannot wait for Quan’s story and all his tattooed glory! Hahah! And can I just say, I really love Michael and Stella’s cameos! I was sooo living for it! Made me miss them so much that probably a reread of The Kiss Quotient will happen in the near future. This book easily became one of my fave reads this year! Thank you Helen Hoang for yet another masterpiece!

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“You don’t have the flu, this is how your heart breaks. It’s like you hurt too much for your brain to process, and then your body shuts down too.”

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Circe by Madeline Miller | Book Review

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In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Publisher: Lee Bourdreux

Date of Publication: April 10, 2018

Date Read: April 21, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Number of Pages: 400 pages

Source: Book Of the Month (April Selection) Get your copy here.

 

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YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH GREEK MYTHOLOGY HARDER THAN EVER!

As much as I want to prolong the reading experience and the sheer delight that goes with it, I couldn’t. I have come to the inevitable end – and what an epic book this was. Circe rekindled my love for Greek mythology. It has been a long time since I last encountered Greek Mythology stories, reading Circe was the fire that ignited what seemed to be a dormant love I have for it. Now all I crave is to read anything Greek Mythology. I have not read Song of Achilles also by Madeline Miller, I was told it was fine to read Circe even without reading Song of Achilles – and I think I managed well. There are bits and pieces about what happened to Achilles, but it is already a known fact to anyone who is familiar with Greek Mythology, so it’s still all good. Circe easily became a favorite book of 2018.

Now let’s go to the story. Circe is a greek god I knew next to nothing about, reading it was a mixture of excitement and of curiosity. Circe is made of layers and layers of beautiful stories, which can be a bit overwhelming yes, but everything was encapsulated in such a flawless manner. You will get a lot of backgrounds for every character mentioned and their relation to the book in its entirety. This made the book even more appealing. We are taken into this trip down the history of Greek gods, what they are, what they are capable of doing, their roles and weaknesses. Reading Circe is getting more out of a 400 page book, it was so condensed, you have to give your undivided attention to fully appreciate everything. And once you already immersed yourself in it, you’ll notice how everything becomes a distant sound, how you entirely space out completely oblivious of the world around you. That’s one thing a good book could give you, and Circe gave so much more than that.

Circe was an interesting character, a character presented in raw light, a character that was believable. She was nothing but typical. Circe was a league entirely her own. She didn’t give herself the credit that is due her, yet she continues to do commendable things one after another. She was the kind of character you’ll root for, banking on her belief and the goodness of her heart. There are countless of times that her character was put to test, yet without fail she came out of each struggle more resilient and wiser. How she dealt with each circumstance truly made her character stand out. There was this sense of redemption with each time she triumphs even over small stuff, proving everyone wrong. Her character was not liked by almost everyone, for shallowest of reasons or by merely the way she looked, but these things didn’t faze her, if for anything she used all this to fuel her, to keep her going, to claim what is rightfully hers and to defend herself with the power she was blessed with. The story spanned from her early childhood up to hundreds and hundreds of years. Through all this, her character developed so much. You start to be attached to her and the stories transpiring with each milestone. You will learn how she never backed down on anything, how she will firmly stand on what she believed in.

Circe was a character driven type of novel, something I don’t usually lean towards but with this book I made an exception. It was well researched and very well-executed. There was hardly a dull moment in the book. I breezed through it like it was the only thing I am supposed to do. I stopped participating in life for a moment and just completely immersed myself in the story. At first I had inhibitions in reading Circe, you see I have not read The Song of Achilles. In my mind I have this expectation that I would have a hard time easing my way into the story, I feared that it would be difficult to read, but I am amazed by how much the author made the book so easily digestible and not intimidating at all, all things considered I guess that’s what drew me in the most. Most of the time, I shy away from historical fiction genre, fearing that it wouldn’t be able to hold my attention just like other genres I am comfortable reading, but Circe proved me wrong. It was easy to read yet you wouldn’t miss how beautifully written it was – only a few books can do that, and Circe managed to do it really well. And oh, I loved how it ended! I highly recommend!

 

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“I had no right to claim him, I know it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another  soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
― Madeline MillerCirce

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❝I had no right to claim him, I know it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.❞ – Madeline Miller, Circe . ••• Just finished reading Circe! As much as I want to prolong the experience and the delight of reading it, I’ve come to the inevitable end – and what a great book! It rekindled my love for greek mythology! Now I crave to read everything greek myth! Pretty sure I will be reading Song of Achilles sooner rather than later. Circe was such a great narrator, I love her weaknesses and imperfections, and love her more because she always came out of it stronger and wiser. No one messes with Circe! Ahhhh new favorite book and new favorite author. I am one happy nerd! 😁 5/5⭐️ ••• Are you planning to read it? Please do!! You will not regret it!🧡 Circe is @bookofthemonth Selection this April! You can still get it!!! ••• #Circe #MadelineMiller #bookofthemonth #botmbookbassador #botm

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Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan | Book Review

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Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.

Publisher: Soho Press

Publication Date: March 06, 2018

Setting: Akakawa, Japan

Genre: Mystery, Fiction

Date Read: April 10, 2018

No. of Pages: 323 Pages

Format: Hard Cover

Source: Book of The Month

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It’s the “if you love (insert book here) you will definitely enjoy this” that pushed me into reading this book. A good motivation, really, since I am struggling to finish a book these past few months. And would just look at that gorgeous cover!

The book opened with Keiko Ishida’s murder, our protagonist’s older sister. Now Ren Ishida needs to go to a small town in Japan – Akakawa to learn what happened to his sister that fateful night. A promising premise, if you ask me, but unfortunately the book wasn’t able to sustain the thrill it promised.

Comparison to a Haruki Murakami novel

I was told that if I love Haruki Murakami’s books, then I would definitely enjoy this one. To be compared to a Murakami novel is a big shoes to fill, it sets a high expectation and either it would exceed the expectation or fall behind it. The case here is the latter. While it is true that the book is somehow reminiscent to that of a Murakami novel, there are however striking differences. Both have that subtle, silent, calm quality to it – qualities that would put you at a certain mood and qualities that if you don’t pay too much attention would be lost in you. However Rainbirds felt like it wanted to tell different side stories but the connection or coherence of it all did not meld well, it was a bit forced, to say the least.

Japan in the 90s

I love that the book was set in Japan in the 90s, it added to the mystery of the whole book. It may have been one of its strong suit. The way the author described certain places transports its readers and made them feel as if they were there too. I don’t know if it’s just me or books set in Japan has this melancholic feel to it that I can not pinpoint exactly, all I know is it adds beauty to the book.

 

Great premise, mediocre execution

The premise of the book is what would capture its audience. With an unsolved murder opening the book, it is but natural to draw readers in. The never-ending quest to know who did it will always be something readers crave, I myself included. However I find the execution of the whole novel a bit mediocre, again blame this on the expectation set too high. The loose ends were not as polished as I hoped it to be. The bridge linking the events and the domino effect it tried to provide were not solid enough to make the book more put-together. There were moments when I hardly see the relevance of one event to another. The few chapters toward the end felt a little bit rushed. It felt like everything is crammed up inside a suitcase, all wrinkly and in disarray. Maybe if the book was a little longer, it could have tied all the loose ends better. There were awkward parts as well, for an instance this particular scene warrants a certain reaction, but the characters in it did something cringe-y or something unconventional in the normal course of things – this happened a lot, and was a major turn off for me.

Characters and their likability

Ren Ishida – our main character is just your average guy – young, good looking and intelligent. Easy to like right? However as the story progresses, the book showed a side of  Ren that isn’t likeable. What is it with Ren and all these women? This is something the book can definitely do away with, it did not add anything to the story, if for anything it was a little annoying. Ren isn’t a spectacular character, he was plain and a little boring to be completely honest, his character could have been portrayed well, there are so many things the author could have done to make the main character cut above the rest, but no, it had to be this boring guy who for inexplicable reasons seems to draw the attention of too many women. Then we have Seven Stars or Rio who was portrayed as a rebellious teenager with issues of her own. Another character with great potential that the author failed to maximize. Her connection to the whole story is yet another forced one. Keiko Ishida, was the only one consistent in this story, this is through the recollection of her brother Ren, her character is what I expected it to be, the only character I liked to be completely honest. Other characters such as Ren’s neighbor, Izumi the building manager,  Mr. and Mrs. Katou, Pigtails, Mrs. Katsuragi, Honda, Anzu, Jin, and all others are characters that was supposed to contribute to the story but all fell short and I keep missing their relevance to it all. Again, great characters that the author wasn’t able to fully utilize.

On the fence

I don’t hate the book, but I don’t love it either. And it is such a sad situation where I can’t actually categorize it. Was it a bad book? No it was not, it had great potential just not executed well. Despite the issues I had with this book, I definitely would want to see the author grow and watch out what she will be able to come up with her next books.

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Sadness alone can’t harm anyone. It’s what you do when you’re sad that can hurt you and those around you.
– Clarissa Goenawan

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❝Sadness alone can’t harm anyone. It’s what you do when you’re sad that can hurt you and those around you.❞ – Clarissa Goenawan ••• Finished Rainbirds last night…and it wasn’t what I had expected. I was told if I love Haruki Murakami then I would love this one – that set a big expectation. To be compared to a Murakami novel is quite a big shoes to fill, and it’s either you exceed the expectation or fall behind it. The case here is the latter. I don’t hate the book but I don’t love it either. I am on the fence with this one. There are yes a few resemblance, but it is also quite different, if that even makes sense. I’d stop with the comparison, and focus on the story. It opens with Keiko Ishida’s murder, our protagonist’s sister. It held a lot of promise by this premise alone, but towards the end it just didn’t sustain the thrill of finding out what really happened. It feels like the book wants to tell so many different stories but the connection to it all seemed a bit forced? And the revelation of what really happened and all the secrets surrounding it was a little lackluster. But I do love that it is set in Japan in the 90s, the description of the place is enough to satisfy the reader’s curiosity, it just provides what the story needed. . Rating: 3/5⭐️ . Despite the issues I had with this book, I definitely would want to see the author grow and see what she will be able to come up with her next books. . ••• Full review now posted on my blog! Link in bio 💕🧡 . . . . #Rainbirds #clarissagoenawan #BookOfTheMonth #botm #mybookmark #renishida

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