Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Into the Water - Paula Hawkins



Description

In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool . . .


Review

After The Girl on the Train I couldn't wait for this book, hoping it would be just as good. I know a lot of people who did not get on with The Girl on the Train, which I just couldn't understand. So, I began to read the latest book from Paula Hawkins "Into the Water" and I hated it!

I had my review in my head already - if you didn't like Girl on the Train then you definitely won't like this. At least TGOTT was set in amongst every day life. Whereas this began with what felt like The Crucible - references to others who had drowned in the pool decades ago across the centuries. People hearing voices and some being drawn to the pool - to drown.

I began to wonder whether I should just call it a day - too many characters each with their own chapters - a difficult time recognising who was narrating unless I referred back to the chapter heading - was it worth my time?

Then in part two of the book it turned into a regular detective novel. Why I wondered had there been a need for all the superstition about the pool and suchlike. It was at the end of the day a modern whodunnit. The characters began to be fleshed out and some secrets were outed - I was beginning to understand what was happening.

By the final part of the book I really wanted to know how this book was going to end. How did other happenings in the book fit into Nel drowning.  I got to a few pages before the end and all was made clear - a great ending. However - that was not the ending, characters began to have their own chapter again telling their tale. Wow! it was like a cannonball rushing at you - the real ending........

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars although when I began it was more like 3 out of 5! I marvel at how Paula Hawkins came up with this web of a novel. I ended up revisiting parts of the novel to read what I now realised were glaring clues to the initiated.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Girlfriend - Michelle Frances



Description

She loves your son. She wants your life. How far would you go to protect your son?
Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but hasn’t led Laura’s golden life. And she wants it.
When tragedy strikes, a decision is made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever . . .
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller – the story of a mother, a son, his girlfriend and an unforgivable lie.

Review

I had heard the hype about this book, something that normally makes me avoid a book, but I was intrigued, so decided to read it for myself and I am so glad I did.

It was so refreshing to read a book - just read it, and not try to second guess what was really happening as I usually do. The style of writing and the pace of the book meant that I had no time to try and think ahead, it just drew me in and I was totally absorbed in the tale.

I loved the ordinariness of the book. Day to day life, normal events, someone working in Tesco, but of course with twists. I kept changing camps whilst reading the book. Was I on the side of the mother Laura, or Cherry the girlfriend. Different view points meant you never really felt on either side the whole time. I devoured this book over two days - I really couldn't wait to pick it up again and just get lost in the pages.

If I have one tiny gripe it was at the beginning of the book when a character talked about his pants. Now being British that means underwear, but I think it was the American meaning of trousers that was being referred to. I see now that the author has lived in the USA - I did wonder if she was American. It was the only slip in an otherwise perfect novel.

I loved the ending - my heart was in my mouth. I don't do spoilers so I can't say anymore than that. A sign of a good book for me is when you are still thinking about it. I had a thought pop in my head that maybe I was on a different side than the one I was on at the end of the book. And so it goes on...........

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to more from this author.

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Thousandth Floor - Katherine McGee



Description

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

goodbye, things - fumio sasaki



Description


'There's happiness in having less. If you are anything like how I used to be - miserable, constantly comparing yourself with others, or just believing your life sucks - I think you should try saying goodbye to some of your things'
Fumio Sasaki is a writer in his thirties who lives in a tiny studio in Tokyo with three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and not much else. A few years ago, he realised that owning so much stuff was weighing him down - so he started to get rid of it.
In this hit Japanese bestseller, Sasaki explores the philosophy behind minimalism and offers a set of straightforward rules - discard it if you haven't used it in a year; be a borrower; find your uniform; keep photos of the things you love - that can help all of us lead simpler, happier, more fulfilled lives.

Review

This is the third de-cluttering book I have read and reviewed. But this one is also by a Japanese author as was The Life-changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Where this differes from Marie Kondo is that Marie was from an early age a declutterer, whereas Fumio becomes a minimalist after being a hoarder. This is why I decided to read the book as I thought maybe it would be more realistic to achieve.

Whilst the book has lots of good advice and indeed references the Kondo method several times what Fumio has achieved is so far away from what I think is a practical life. He has so few possessions, instead thinking of shops as his personal stores, so that if ever he needs something, he buys it, there is no need to store it. In fact one item he has given away twice now and has decided if he buys it a third time he will keep it.

I liked the way the chapters were set out in the book. One chapter is "Why did we accumulate so much in the first place?" and another "55 tips to hepp you say goodbye to your things". One of his methods is to photograph possessions so that you will always have a memory of them, you do not need the physical item. 

I have after reading this book I decluttered yet again - but this time more ruthlessly. I have far less items on display - meaning also less dusting. Fumio also says that your brain is working harder when it has more items to look at and process - it's true I do feel lighter now there are fewer things around.

I'm giving this book five out of five stars. Although a lot of it was not relevant to me, if you want to become a minimalist - then this is the book for you.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tattletale - Sarah J Naughton



Description

Friday, 1 September 2017

Here and Gone - Haylen Beck



Friday, 25 August 2017

The Dream Keeper's Daughter - Emily Colin



Description
A woman discovers an impossible connection that transcends time and place in this stirring, unforgettable novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Thief.
"A splendid mix of time travel, romantic yearning, and moving on after grief."--Publishers Weekly
Isabel Griffin has done her best to move on since her boyfriend, Max Adair, vanished without a trace eight years ago, leaving her heartbroken--and pregnant. Eerily enough, this isn't the first time someone Isabel loves has gone missing. When she was sixteen, her mother disappeared, and her father became obsessed with finding his long-lost wife--at the expense of parenting Isabel.
Determined not to repeat her father's mistakes, Isabel works hard to become a respected archaeologist and a loving mother to her daughter, Finn, a little girl with very unusual abilities. But while Isabel is on a dig in Barbados, she receives a disturbing phone call. The hauntingly familiar voice on the other end speaks just four words--"Isabel. Keep her safe."--before they're disconnected.
Isabel tries to convince herself that the caller can't possibly be Max. But what if it is, and Finn is in danger? As one mysterious event after another occurs, she can't shake the feeling that, despite what everyone else believes, Finn's father is alive--and he's desperately trying to reach her.
Review
If you've read my review before you will know I love time travel. I have read most of the books out there and so when I came across this one for review I was immediately attracted to it. 
As a premise I think the writer has hit on a twist that I haven't come across in time travel novels before, but it took too long to get to it. Once I did get to the part that contained the time travel I read it with relish. I loved every moment of it, the writer transported me back in time and I was fearful for what would become of Max Adair. How would someone from the present day fit in and act in a strange land.
Meanwhile the "Dreamkeeper's daughter" aspect came into play. Was Finn really communicating with her Grandmother and Father or are they just dreams? This aspect of the book and the character of Finn was tauntingly enticing but it never really got fully explored to its full potential.
Once the time travel aspect of the novel came to an end I was surprised that the book carried on for about another 100 pages. Again this was a different take on a storyline - what happens after people who have time travelled come back to the present day? How are things going to pan out for them?
Although I loved the time travel aspect of this book there were too many words to get to it and too many after it when I just wanted to know how it ended. I feel the story could have been told a little more concisely for my liking. 
I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for a copy of this book for review.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

31 Days of Wonder - Tom Winter



Description

Monday, 7 August 2017

Little Gray Dress - Aimee Brown

Little Gray Dress by [Brown, Aimee]

I'm really pleased to be a part of the blog tour today for Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown. You can see a trailer for the book on Youtube.

Description

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan's wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid's dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she's wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon's bar, things get more complicated. He's gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn't need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi's adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?


Review

I'm going to say right off that I loved this book so much. For a debut author this book is just fantastic and I can't wait to read more by Aimee.

So- why did I love it so much. Well it is very funny and yet the characters have such depth that I ended up caring so much about them. So much so that I did actually shed a little tear at one point. Not something I usually do over this genre.

Aimee's writing is so easy to read, the words just flow off the page and it just feels like a bubbly friend telling you the latest tale.

The book leads us through the current day of Emi preparing to attend her brothers wedding. Slowly we begin to learn that there is going be a guest there that she would rather not see. It's Jack her ex-fiance and through flashbacks we learn why he became her ex. 

I was a little horrified by the actions of Jack and was routing for the new guy Liam to be the love interest. But slowly facts from the past unfold and maybe everything is not the way it seems on the surface. 

If you loved the film Bridesmaids then you will probably love this book too. Finally The Little Gray dress - well it makes appearances throughout the book!

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. Waiting for the next book Aimee.


Friday, 28 July 2017

Watching you - Arne Dahl



Description

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Lying Game - Ruth Ware



Description

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Wrong Number - Carys Jones



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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty



Description
From the author of Truly Madly Guilty and The Husband's Secret comes a novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
Jane hasn't lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives - and their own secrets. But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies. It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .
Review
I've read a few of Liane Moriarty's books now and loved them, and this was no exception. Written in a slightly different style than her other books. It flips back and forth but also there are inserted into the story the viewpoint of witnesses perception of what they think happened on "the trivia night". This really adds to the tension of what on earth did happen that night.
The book counts down from six months before the night up until the night itself and then the present day. Through this time we get to know each of the characters and find out more than their so called friends do about them and their lives.
Liane paints such a realistic picture of the small community and how the parents all interact at the school. I found the Blonde bombs parents as they are nicknamed hilarious and I am sure true to life. The small minded busy bodies who begin with other parents to make life very uncomfortable for one of the parents after a playground incident - but did it really happen the way it seems to have done?
Although you know from the outset that there has been a murder I kept wondering who it was that was dead, and I never worked it out. A few twists some nice, some not so nice and it was a pleasant change not to have been able to see them coming.
I'm giving this book four out of five stars. Only because I felt it was a little long for my taste.
My thanks go to Netgalley for a free copy of the book to review.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Snow Kimono - Mark Henshaw

24485962

Description

On the same day that retired police inspector Auguste Jovert receives a letter from a woman claiming to be his daughter, he returns to his Paris apartment to find a stranger waiting for him.

That stranger is a Japanese professor called Tadashi Omura. What's brought him to Jovert's doorstep is not clear, but then he begins to tell his story - a story of a fractured friendship, lost lovers, orphaned children, and a body left bleeding in the snow.

As Jovert pieces together the puzzle of Omura's life, he can't help but draw parallels with his own; for he too has lead a life that's been extraordinary and dangerous - and based upon a lie.


Review

Having recently been to Japan I have begun to be attracted to books associated with Japan. This book was recommended in an article, not realising it had won an award, I would otherwise have been wary as those books are often too "literary" for my tastes.

Overall I found this book very confusing - I decided to just go with it and read on not really understanding how sections of the book linked together. The story weaves back and forth across time and held my interest briefly with some of the narrative, but there was always the nagging doubt in my mind of how it related to the present day. There is also the "other wordly" side to the book for which you must suspend disbelief.

When I finished the book I read the beginning again and this gave me some semblance of closure on the book.

I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method - Sara Alm



Description

Monday, 19 June 2017

Believe Me - Eddie Izzard



Description

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Crosstalk - Connie Willis



Description

Friday, 26 May 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman



Description

Monday, 22 May 2017

When She Was Bad - Tammy Cohen



Description

YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.
BUT WHAT CAN'T YOU SEE?
Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years - they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ....
Now, there's something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?

Review

I began reading this book and all was as described in the jacket blurb. An office where a new boss arrives and everyone has to be on their toes. Then the book skipped to a character called Anne - a child psychologist who seemed to be in America. Whereas the office was in the UK. 

I read on and then it happened again! This seemingly unrelated story that Anne was telling - it was like another book had got mixed up with the one I was reading. I checked the blurb again - definitely no mention of what was turning into a bit of a horror story. 

Then we were back in the office again and all the humdrum office life that you will have witnessed if you ever worked in one. Even a team building away weekend.

Suddenly the book began to gather some pace about two thirds of the way through and I realised that these two unrelated stories were in fact going to collide, in a big way. The whodunnit aspect kicked in and I began to try and second guess the answer to no avail.

Ultimately this was a clever if confusing book at times. If you've ever worked in an office you will certainly identify with that part of the book - although hopefully your team building never ended quite like the one in the book.

I'm giving this book four out of five stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy to review.