Friday, November 21, 2014

ARC Review: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Goodreads summary:

Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.

My review:

The main reason I was interested in this book (besides the gorgeously gothic cover) was that it's supposed to be perfect for Downton Abbey fans.  I wouldn't quite call that an accurate description.  Instead, I think it is more like The Princess Diaries, as author Amy Plum said in her blurb.  Unfortunately, this book was good but not great.  It felt like it was littered with cliches.

First off, the main character was very much a Mary-Sue.  Everything about Imogen seemed cliched, from her awkwardly cute personality to her naive and cheerful attitude.  As for the love interest, I found him to be incredibly bland.  He was a handsome, wealthy heir who acted distant and rude.  And Imogen still liked him.  So the romance made me feel very irritated.  Sure, they were good friends as children, but they had no connection as teenagers and so I didn't feel their chemistry.  Oh well, at least it wasn't insta-love.

The plot and the setting were the main reasons I liked this book.  The story did take a while to actually start because there were so many flashbacks to Imogen's childhood, but I didn't mind it.  The flashbacks held my attention and were crucial to the storyline.  The plot certainly had a good deal of suspense, always leaving you to wonder who Imogen can trust.  Although I didn't figure everything out, I did guess some of the reveals.  The big twist at the end was decent, but I have to say it was ultimately a little unbelievable.  But the setting was done pretty well.  There wasn't an overabundance of description, but it was just enough to make me feel like I was in England!

In the end, this book was a fast and decent read, but not particularly memorable.  I disliked the main character and the romance, but the plot was good enough to make me keep reading.  I wouldn't recommend buying Suspicion right away - maybe get a Kindle sample to see if you're really interested or wait till your library gets it.

* I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  3 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Top 3 Books of October 2014

October was a crazy month for me.  But after this next week, things will be slowing down for me.  And I will definitely have a couple reviews up this month - I have a couple books from Netgalley that need to be reviewed. :) So here are the books I read in October:

- Panic by Lauren Oliver
- Of Neptune by Anna Banks
- Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
- Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
- The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
- Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel
- The Jewel by Amy Ewing
- Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My top three favorites:

1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  I only picked this book up because of the hype, but I am SO glad that I did.  It's easily one of my favorite books that I've read lately.  The prose was beautiful; I reread so many lines that were so perfect, I was at a loss for words.  And the suspense!  Wow.  When I read the twist at the end, I just sat there in shock and had to rethink the whole story.  This is one of those books that you'll immediately want to reread.

2. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.  I did not have high expectations for this book, since I didn't really care for the author's previous book Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.  But wow, did I love this one!  It's everything that a great contemporary novel should be.  I loved the main character's growth throughout the story, and the introspective writing style.  Such a lovely read.

3. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan.  I feel like I've been waiting for this book forever, and I'm happy to say that it was amazing!  There's a proper ending for each of the characters we love so much, and thankfully not too much heartbreak.  The only thing I disliked was that I wanted the points of view for Percy or Annabeth, but oh well.  Still a fantastic conclusion!

What books have you enjoyed lately?

~ Kaitlyn