The Cellar

The Cellar

25779048 “The Cellar” by Minette Walters

Synopsis: From the internationally bestselling, award-winning crime writer Minette Walters, The Cellar is a harrowing, compulsively readable novel about a family of African immigrants, the Songolis, and the dark secret they keep hidden in the depths of their seemingly respectable British home.
On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s young son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Muna’s fortunes change for the better. Until then, her bedroom was a dank windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. Over the years, she had grown used to being abused by the Songoli family—to being their slave.
Now that Scotland Yard has swarmed the Songoli house to investigate the disappearance of the son, Muna is given a real bedroom, real clothing, and treated, at least nominally, as a daughter. But her world remains confined. She is not allowed to go outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that’s what the Songolis believe. Before long it becomes clear that young Muna is far cleverer—and her plans more terrifying—than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine.

*******

3 out of 5 stars

(Warning: Triggering for Child Abuse)

This novella had such promise but ultimately failed to deliver on what started out as a great premise.

This is the store of Muna, a child slave who lives in the Songoli household. Stolen from an orphanage when she was 8, she has lived with them and been systematically abused by them for six years. Muna is kept in the cellar where she draws comfort from the house as she hears it speaking to her.

A ray of hope appears to her when the youngest son goes missing and the family is investigated by the police. Suddenly she is called “daughter” and given proper clothes and a room of her own so the family can explain her existence. But Muna is much smarter and more calculating than the family knows and begins to take her revenge.

Reading about Muna’s complete disassociation from humanity was chilling. Her abuse has turned her into a complete sociopath. The story line did have some issues though.

Muna learns to speak English by listening through the door to the tutoring given to the Songoli sons. That is believable. Somehow she also learns to read and write later in the story which is not believable as it happens so suddenly and without any warning – she just does all of a sudden.

And the ending. We build the entire story to this ending which is a huge letdown. It just … ends. It feels like it’s in the middle of a sentence when it ends and I honestly thought it did.

I gave the story 3 stars, but feel it really deserves 2 and 1/2.

Love the cover though as the cellar features prominently throughout the book.

 

Risk it All

Risk it All

25358726 “Risk it All” by Megan Derr

Synopsis: Kipling doesn’t regret murdering his Alpha. Anything is better than continuing to live as a roughskin, subjected to brutal pit fights and abuse day after day. But constantly running for his life, always looking over his shoulder, and having nowhere to call home isn’t much better.
When he finds an abandoned cabin in the mountains, it seems the ideal place to hide until his pack gives up the search. All he needs is supplies, and a quick trip into town should take care of that. Instead of supplies, however, he encounters Tori, who seems like everything Kipling has ever wanted—and far too good to be true.
And if Tori’s not a trap then he, and his beautiful dragons, are just one more obstacle to be taken down by Kipling’s pack.
Warning: This story contains polyamory and twins (M/M/M/M)

*******

4 out of 5 stars

I didn’t realize until after reading that this is the seventh book in the Dance With the Devil series. It definitely stands alone as a novella and was a fun, quick read.

The story: Kipling is a werewolf and has just killed his Alpha, the leader of his pack. He is on the run for his life. If he gets caught, he will be killed with no questions asked. He finds an abandoned shack on the edge of town where he thinks he might be safe for a little while, and it’s in that small town that he meets Tori.

The characters: Kipling is a roughskin, a fighter in the werewolf’s fighting pits, and a champion fighter. He has been fighting for over ten years, since he was fifteen. He learned quickly that it was fight or die.The Alphas abuse the fighters, taking what they want and sending them back in to fight again and again.

Tori is cultured, wealthy, and charismatic – everything that Kipling is not. He’s open and kind and Kipling has no reason to trust him other than what his instincts tell him. Tori reads as an Alpha, but calls himself an Owner. He is the owner of twin Dragons, rare shapeshifters who love and belong to him.

The Dragon twins were a nice change of pace in the shapeshifter world. They retained most of their “otherness” even when in human form.

What I liked: I loved the pace of this story. It’s a very quick read and there is quite a bit that happens in this novella.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked to know more about all the character’s backgrounds – what made Kipling kill his Alpha? Why was he in the pits at fifteen? Where was his family? And Tori – how did he come about owning his dragons? The dragon twins themselves were so fun to read about – I’d love to know more about them!

So, what I am saying is that a full length book about these four would be great!

ARC Provided by NetGalley