Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

Title: The Bargaining
Author: Carly Anne West
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Simon Pulse (February 17, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy/Thriller
My Rating: 3 Stars


Book Description:
The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future….






I picked up this book because of the woods theme. For whatever reason, creepy dark forests that have a mind and story and life all of their own, just appeal to me.

I love the dark rich atmosphere, the creepiness and of course the mystery behind them. Who wasn't afraid to go into the woods alone at night? Who hasn't heard a good ghost story over a campfire and been too afraid to fall asleep at night?

There is just something I love about them and after combining the cover with the synopsis it was just a no brainer for me to pick this up and dive in.

I have to be brutally honest, this book wasn't quite what I was expecting. The first few chapters move a little slow and are a bit confusing. You have this great suspenseful epilogue and then...something else entirely when we flash to the present time. I hate to say it but, it moved rather slow and while I loved Penny's wit and sarcasm, I didn't quite love her.  But that might be in part to the fact that I wasn't sure what was going on with her. Her past and relationship with Rae was revealed slowly over the course of the book and I am not so sure that was a good idea. I think it might have been more insightful to have had it all out in the openearly on, since we already have the other mystery of the woods going on.

Which, speaking of, the woods! I loved the woods. So creepy and every bit as strange and bizarre as I was hoping they would be but again, the exact mystery behind the disappearance and reappearances of the kids was sometimes confusing and a little disjointed. I know it is suppose to be a mystery, and it was, a good one in the end, a crazy one in fact, but I think a little more could have been done to help reveal it and explain it. Not a whole lot is said and shown until way over the half way mark and even then, the ending still left me scratching my head wondering exactly what was going on. I mean, I know what happened but why? Why were the woods the way they were? What about the mural and the connection between it and the Dodson's? Why is none of this explained in the end?

Don't get me wrong, I liked this read. It was as twisted and strange as I was hoping it would be and it was even downright creepy (although not scary) at times but it wasn't everything I was hoping it would be. It left too much undone, unsaid, and unexplained for me to truly have loved it. 

I think if the ending could have been a little bit more, this would have moved up from three stars to four but with the ending left as it was, I have to rate this a little slower because of it and it makes me sad because this truly could have been a four star read.




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

62 comments:

  1. Well that's a bummer. At least you were still able to enjoy it. I love dark creepy woods.

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    1. I really do too. It is such a perfect setting.

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  2. you're right, so many things to do with a woods story. But sorry that in the end even if it's good, it wasn't what you were hoping for... thanks for the review!

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  3. I haven't read many books with woods them, but I have a feeling I will enjoy this them :) lovely review

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  4. I love a dark, creepy read, but I need a good ending to be satisfied.

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  5. I love Carly's books, and I'm really looking forward to readiong this one. I think after reading Killing the Woods, I for one, do like a woods theme book now. Great review! :)

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  6. Woods are definitely a perfect setting for any kind of creepy story - they're fun to explore in the daytime, but at night they take on a whole different atmosphere! Glad that aspect of the story worked well even if the beginning was a bit jumbled and confusing. Thanks for your thoughts on this one Ali!

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    1. That is very true! I always love camping until night time. :P

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  7. I think this is one of the longest reviews that I've ever seen on your blog! Every reviewer needs to break out into a rant on occasion.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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  8. I love the sound of the woods and mysterious old house for the setting, but the mystery needs to feel complete for me if a standalone like this. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and it sounds like the writing was off to a good start. Thanks Ali!

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    1. I do wish the ending would have been a bit better.

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  9. I like the sound of the woods, but other than that I don't think this book would be for me. I would be a bit bored with the slow pace and the inability to connect with the characters wouldn't help either. And is it like an open ending then? I would not like that either!
    Lovely review, Ali!

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    1. Open ending can be okay when done well.

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  10. I think I'd be frustrated with the lack of answers so I'll skip this one. Sorry it didn't wow you.

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    1. That's okay, it happens. Thanks Candace, Happy Friday!

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  11. I love a story with dark creepy woods and a mystery. Sounds like this could have been better with some character work and a stronger ending. Still curious about it, great review!

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    1. You never know, you may love this. :)

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  12. I am all about the creepy woods but the slow pace and the lack of connection with the MC as well as the frustrating ending put me off. I think I will pass on this one, too bad.

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  13. This books does very atmospheric, but I think the problem I will have is her being a loner. I'd imagine the narrative to be dry. This book is not really in my horizon, so I'm kinda glad.

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    1. I definitely think you would struggle with this one Joy.

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  14. Great review, and I have to admit it hard for me to rate them higher is there are things undone, and if it moves slow. I don't even read them if they move slow. It does sound quite interesting though, and the cover is fantastic. Hope you had a wonderful Holiday season. I am only a month late in wishing it right ?!..

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    1. It did have a great atmosphere, I will give it that!

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  15. I do like a good mystery and creepy books are starting to really grow on me. Sorry this one left you a bit confused and let down in the end though.

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    1. I do love a good creepy read. I just wish this would have been a bit more on the creepy end.

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  16. Sounds creepy and fascinating! Sorry it had a disappointing ending. I don't know if I'd want to go through that.

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    1. It is really hard when that happens.

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  17. Into the woods! I love creepy forests too!

    You know endings do change books sometimes. I'd push thru a book like a chore then the ending totally sweeps me off my feet and I'm suddenly giving it 4 stars. Sometimes its the reverse like this, it just sucks that its a standalone so there's no redemption or sort of a do over.

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    1. I know! At least if there was another I would have rated it higher knowing there would be more.

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  18. Too bad it was slow, since I love that it was creepy!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I really loved the creepier side of it as well. :)

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  19. The woods aspect sounds wonderful. Was it just an unreliable narration or the character herself Ali?

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  20. Hats off to honesty! I love honest people :) Especially in books because they are the one I rely to on my to-be-reading-next books. Yeah, it looks like this book kinda lacked in clarity. Fantastic review! :)

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  21. Great review Kindlemom, sorry it wasn't what you expected. But you had my goosebumps rising just from reading it. LOL

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  22. This was the same problem that I had with Carly Anne West's previous book, The Murmurings. Great concept, okay plot, but the characters gave me a headache for the simple fact that I just couldn't "get" and connect with them. I felt so detached, which is bad because as much as I like a plot-driven book, I need to be emotionally involved with the characters too, otherwise, no dice :/

    Faye at The Social Potaot

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    1. You said it perfectly Faye and it is so true for me as well.

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  23. I hate when expectations and reality don't quite line up. I don't think I'd enjoy a slower pace, here, but if I go into this I'll definitely keep in mind to lower my expectations. Maybe then I'd enjoy this more? Great review, dear! :)

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  24. I agree with Lola, it's nice to see an honest review. So many reviewers just sugar coat everything. The book still sounds good though.

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    1. There were parts that were good, just sadly the ending ruined a lot of it for me.

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  25. I have to agree, the forest theme is also the thing that catch my attention to this book. It was just sad that you didn't get what you were expecting from this book, I hate that feeling :(

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    1. Thanks! The setting was really great!

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  26. I haven't seen this one yet but I really appreciate your thoughts. I think it I might pass on this one right now.

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  27. I like forest settings too and the atmosphere sounds great. I almost always love sarcastic characters. I'm sorry you didn't like her more. Sometimes the author holds back too much to try to get you to keep reading. I have to get some answers or it's just frustrating.

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    1. That just might be what happened in this on. ;)

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  28. It's a shame this one didn't completely work out. The woods would creep me out and add to the atmosphere for me. I find woods really creepy anyway, I don't know why haha.

    I hate books that leave so much unanswered at the end. That's not going to work well for me, so I'll definitely be skipping this one.

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    1. It is hard when that happens and disappointing.

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  29. I love books that have dark and creepy stuff going with it, and this sounds pretty good. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you though. Guess I'll be skipping this. Great review! :)

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

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  30. It always makes me sad when books end badly. An ending is so crucial in making a book good, whether it is in a series or not. Thanks for the review :)

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  31. I think I'll pass on this one . . . creepy woods with creepy intentions . . . *shudders* I'm a BIG chicken. Sorry it wasn't quite as good as you were hoping it would be, but at least the woods were in fact creepy ;) Thanks for the heads-up!

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    1. This wasn't too creepy though because I am usually a chicken too and I was fine with it. :)

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