I got the idea of doing mini reviews from my blogging friend, Annie (The Misstery). There are books that I usually struggle to review for various reasons. One of the reasons is because I didn’t like the book. Usually, if I totally don’t like a book, I skip the blog review. Other times, I find books that I liked but didn’t love. Finally, there are books that I don’t have much to say about. Therefore, I will be doing mini-reviews instead of not reviewing the books that fall into the above three categories.
Book 1: Not for me…
Reported Missing by Sarah Wyer
About the book
Four months ago, Rebecca Pendle’s husband disappeared. So did 14-year-old Kayleigh Jackson.Just a coincidence? Rebecca wants to believe so… But as the police start to draw parallels between Chris and Kayleigh, it’s getting harder for her to trust his innocence.
Faced with an angry town that believes Chris has abducted the teenager, Rebecca tries to discover the truth. But what she finds shocks her more than she ever thought. How well does she really know the man she loves?
I was interested in reading this book because of the premise. I was intrigued by the idea of the missing girl and the man who disappeared on the same day. I was curious to know whether this was just a coincidence or did Chris really take the girl.
This book wasn’t for me because of the pacing. The story starts out slow and ends up staying that way to the last page. It mainly focuses on Rebecca’s life after Chris went missing. At first, it shows her despair although after a while, she decides to investigate and find out what happened to Chris. I thought the investigation would help move things along but it didn’t. The only reason why I kept reading the book to the last page was because I was curious about what happened to Chris and Kayleigh.
I think this book will appeal to readers who enjoy slow paced, character-driven mysteries. However, check out other reviews especially on goodreads before deciding whether or not to read this book.
Book 2: The bad triumphed over the good…
Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews
About the book
Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids. There is just one problem: she s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.
She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents car drives right through her.
She was right. Her parents are alive but she s not.
I love the cover of this one and I think the premise was unique and brilliant. Those are the two reasons why I decided to read this book. I enjoyed the first chapters especially when Echo didn’t know she was a ghost. I kept wondering how she will find out and the aftermath of that discovery. The first chapters were poignant. My heart broke for her as she came to terms with the fact that she was dead.
Another thing that I enjoyed was the ghost haunting. I thought that was creepy and fascinating. I was spooked and since then, I keep wondering if there are spirits hanging around us. Perhaps, there is one right now standing over my shoulder as I write this review…spooky! I liked the ghost adventures especially when they tackled bullies and the bad guys.
However, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. I thought there would be some mystery around who killed Echo but I found the reveal to be quite underwhelming. For once, I wished my guess was right since I had someone else in mind. I don’t think that Echo was likeable and I don’t like love triangles even if they involve the living and the dead. Another issue that I had with the story was a plot-line about the mistress at Echo’s institution. I still don’t know what was going on with that angle. In the end, I liked the premise and parts of the books but didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would.
Book Three: A woman of few words…
After twenty years of riding the rails, Alphonse has earned a reputation for being a kindhearted soul always ready to help. When he helps the Sadlers, a young couple seeking a better life in small-town 1950s Indiana, he doesn’t intend to stay. But stay he does, keeping a close eye on the Sadlers and their two young sons–and an even closer eye on the town’s new priest, Father Brennon. On the surface, Brennon seems perfect for the job–but Alphonse crossed paths with him years earlier in the railyard jungle, and he knows better. Brennon doesn’t recognize Alphonse, but Alphonse has never forgotten Brennon . . . or his crimes. So when Brennon assigns the Sadlers’ son, Francis, who is now thirteen, the thankless task of cleaning and maintaining the church’s bell tower–work that often continues into the night–Alphonse immediately grows suspicious. Soon, he discovers that his worst fears have come to pass, and he races to find a way to protect Francis and reveal the truth to the Sadler family.
I do enjoy a good historical fiction and was really intrigued by this story-line. The 1950s Indiana setting is what convinced me that I need to get the book. This is a sad and memorable book. It tackles heavy themes of child abuse in the church. We have all seen the media reports about priests getting convicted for child abuse. It has happened even here in Kenya. This is what this book is about. Alphonse suspects that Francis is being abused by Father Brennon and he decides to do something about it. However, people don’t really take him seriously.
There are many heartbreaking moments in this book and some sections were tough to read. My heart broke for Francis as he started showing signs of a changed personality. I could feel his struggles with what he was going through and his inability to tell. His family’s reaction at Alphonse’s revelations was also quite heartbreaking.
I did like the small town setting and most of the characters in this story although of course, not all. I really liked Alphonse as a character and his protectiveness of the Sadler’s family. As I have already mentioned, this book does deal with very heavy themes that may be a trigger for some readers so it may not be for everyone. However, if you like historical fiction then you may want to check out Alphonse by Carl Sever.
Have you read any of these three books?