The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Having done a major in psychology, I’m always interested in social psych and child development. The premise of this novel involves both; the main character underwent experimentation as a child and now, as an adult, he plans on conducting a social experiment. This was enough to make me curious and so, I happily accepted this ARC. Here is my review:

When his girlfriend ended their relationship, Thomas Rosanoff’s life went downhill. A gifted med school student, he has spent his entire life trying to escape his father’s legacy. His father, an esteemed psychiatrist used Tommy as a test subject; Thomas lived his entire young life in a box, watched by researchers behind 2-way glass. But now, Thomas is the researcher, and his subjects are 3 homeless men who all claim to be Jesus. But no 3 people can be the messiah. Thomas is determined to “cure” the 3 men of their delusions and thus, save his career – and potentially his love life. But when Thomas’s father steps in, events spin out of control, and Thomas is forced to confront the craziness of his own mind.

I really wanted to like this book, and there were times when I did enjoy the story. But overall, this one just didn’t do it for me. The premise was definitely intriguing and I really liked the way the author introduced Thomas as this cocky, confident, and slightly eccentric student. It was fun to read about his escapades and his conquests. Did I think the plan to get his girlfriend back was crazy? Absolutely! But I was willing to go through with reading about it. I liked the 3 homeless men and the way they made Thomas reevaluate his notions about the world. In fact, they made ME reevaluate my own beliefs. When Thomas’s father stepped into the picture, the story went towards the dark side. I didn’t actually mind this transition as it created this really awesome downward spiral. All of the above aspects I mentioned are positive. However, there were quite a few things I didn’t like. There were quite a few parts in the story that dragged the pace and I found it really hard to push myself past these points; I wanted to get to the good stuff and these parts just seemed like fillers. There was a random murder aspect thrown into the story that really didn’t add anything; instead of heightening my reading experience, it served to dampen it. I also thought that Thomas’s childhood could have had more focus than it did in the novel; I would be really eager for a glimpse into it and then I would only get a tidbit and feel disappointed. While the plot and character development was intriguing, the pacing was slow, there were too many fillers, and some plot aspects really should have been omitted. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2.5/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

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The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

Thank you to Penguin Random House and First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The premise for this novel seemed so interesting, and I thought it would be the perfect read when flying off to my vacation destination. It was portrayed as a thriller … and we all know how much I love my thrillers!

In the year 2037, 7 people are chosen to participate in a 48-hr competition on the tiny island of Isola. Their prize: a top-secret intelligence position with the totalitarian Union of Friendship. Anna Francis didn’t really want to be a part of this. But as a workaholic bureaucrat with a 9-year-old daughter to care for, she didn’t really have a choice. Plus the Union President knows her secret … and if that was ever discovered, it would destroy her. However, Anna isn’t really a candidate for the position; in fact, she is the test. Her assignment is to stage her own death and then observe how the other 6 candidates behave from her hiding place. Everything is set in place… but then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins ….

This is one of those times where the premise is better than the actual story. I thought I was getting into something that would be intensely thrilling and packed with action. Instead, this book was slow paced, with tons of little anecdotes on Anna’s life before this competition. The author switched between different points in time and different characters. While this was interesting and appreciated, it made it super easy to guess what happened and what was going to happen in terms of the competition. That was a bit of a let-down because I was hoping it would be something of a mystery or a twist … and there wasn’t one. The novel may be set in 2037 but there really wasn’t too much that made it different than 2017, so that was a bit useless in my opinion. Overall, this novel just let me down. I was expecting a thriller but instead, I got an okay novel about a competition where I had already guessed the main points of the story.

Happy reading ~