The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

the lonely hearts hotel

Book Description

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes after years of searching and desperate poverty the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true.

My Review of The Lonely Hearts Hotel

The Lonely Hearts Hotel has an unusual writing style, it’s almost like a fairy tale style of explaining what is happening. Little things are described in great detail like the food that they’re eating, or a girl that has so many holes in her stockings “they looked like oil paint on water”. 

It’s a magical, almost childlike style but at first I felt disconnected from the characters and their emotions. It did take me a bit of effort to keep going but after the first few chapters I got used to it, and I ended up really enjoying it.

It’s a very adult book though, it starts with Rose and Pierrot as children in an orphanage where they suffer physical and sexual abuse. It’s set during the great depression and a lot of the book is about the things people have to do to survive poverty. There’s a lot of sex in it and heroin addiction plays a large part in the book. 

The fairy tale style story telling sometimes felt to me like it was at odds with the darkness in the book. It did stop it from being too depressing and brought a much needed lightness to the story, but at the same time it softened the impact of the abuse and maybe glossed over it a bit.

But the magical style brings the city of Montreal to life, I could almost feel the cold and the poverty, I could see the girls on the streets and picture them in their outfits they were described so well. The story is full of nightclubs, theatres, clowns, make believe and show girls and it sucked me in to it’s world. 

I cared about the characters, and the end of the book was hard for me to read because it’s hopeful but so bittersweet. I got that sad feeling I get when I really love a book and I feel like I’ve lost friends when it ends. It’s not one I would want to read if I was already feeling sad!

I received a free copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Heather O'Neill
Fiction
February 7th 2017
400

 

Slipping by Lauren Beukes

Slipping review

Description of Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing

In her edgy, satiric debut collection, award-winning South African journalist and author Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls, Moxyland) never holds back. Nothing is simple and everything is perilous when humans are involved: corruption, greed, and even love (of a sort).

A permanent corporate branding gives a young woman enhanced physical abilities and a nearly-constant high.
Recruits lifted out of poverty find a far worse fate collecting biohazardous plants on an inhospitable world.
The only adult survivor of the apocalypse decides he will be the savior of teenagers; the teenagers are not amused.

From Johannesburg to outer space, these previously uncollected tales are a compelling, dark, and slippery ride.

My Review of Slipping by Lauren Beukes

Review of Slipping by Lauren BeukesSlipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading this collection of short stories Lauren Beukes is now firmly on my favourite authors list. Clever and very relevant, the stories are a mix of sci-fi, weirdness, and commentary on modern life.

None of the stories here are very long so it’s easy to dip in and out of. Though saying that, normally I find myself having to stop between stories in short story collections but with this book I couldn’t do that, I had to start the next straight away. I think that was partly because they are short and I knew I wouldn’t have to stop reading half way through one (I hate having to do that), and partly because these stories are just that good I didn’t want to stop reading.

There weren’t any stories that I disliked, but my favourites were:

Slipping – about a contestant in a futuristic Paralympics event where the athletes can have exosuits, implants controlling their hormones, remote controlled bodies, or they can even remove their organs to make them run better.

Confirm/Ignore – a look into the mind of someone that creates fake online personas by copying other people’s photos and quotes.

The Green – pure sci/fi! Workers on a remote planet searching for plants or chemicals the company they work for can make money with.

Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs – a lolita punk pilots a Japanese fighter robot and battles monsters to save Tokyo.

Dial Tone – a story that’s about loneliness really.

Ghost Girl – a teenage girl haunting a university student.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing
Lauren Beukes
Sci-Fi
November 29th 2016
288

Final Girls by Riley Sager

final girls book review

Description

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls.

Now, Quincy is doing well.  She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, and remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

My Review

Final GirlsFinal Girls by Riley Sager
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Horror films come to life in The Final Girls. Three different women are left as the only survivors of random massacres in a sorority house, a cabin in the wood, and an isolated hotel.

Fast paced and gripping, and full of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Just as I thought I had it figured out Sager threw another twist in there! I thought I knew about three different times, but no, I was wrong.

The characters were well thought out and developed, although I didn’t like Quincy much. At first she’s bland and melodramatic, but she does improve as the book goes on. Samantha was a much better character.

There were a couple of points where I couldn’t understand why the characters acted the way they did, and it was surprisingly neatly wrapped up at the end. They’re minor issues with it though and they didn’t stop me enjoying it.

Nothing was obvious and I didn’t guess the final twists before the end. This is a great debut from Sage, and I really enjoyed reading it!

I received a free copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Final Girls
Riley Sager
Thriller
June 29th 2017
368

Gilded Cage by Vic James

gilded cage by vic james

Book Description

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule—and commoners are doomed to serve.
 
NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.

Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.

But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
 
Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price?
 
A boy dreams of revolution.
 
Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
 
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

My Review

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well written, but there were a lot of characters and viewpoints to keep track of. Some of them were complex and well written, like Luke and Gavan, but others felt flat.

Amy especially was very two dimensional. There wasn’t much time spent in her viewpoint and there just wasn’t enough to see her personality. There was supposedly a romance starting between her and Jenner but there weren’t any signs of this building up in the (minimal) interactions between them. Amy swoons over him a bit, he shows no interest at all.

Luke was the main focus of this book though, and he is a more interesting character. We see how he develops from being a carefree teenager to starting to understand the injustice in the world and the imbalance between the skilled and the non-skilled.

The story itself doesn’t offer much that is groundbreaking or original, and it is a bit predictable, but it did keep me interested. The world building was well done with a lot of history that is drip fed to us – no big information dumps! The magic of the skilled, or the Equals as they are known, is not discussed much even amongst themselves so little is explained as to how it works. I feel like this will be explored more in the next couple of books.

There are a lot of dark moments in this, like the way the non-skilled are treated as inhuman when they’re doing their slave days, and the story of the man that became the Dog. These help to add depth and realism to the world and stop it from being childish, even though the politics are very basic.

I’m not desperate for the sequel, but I probably will read it when it’s released, I’d like to see where the story is going.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Gilded Cage
Dark Gifts
Vic James
Young Adult Fantasy
January 26 2017