Book Review – Educated by Tara Westover

Book Review – Educated by Tara WestoverEducated by Tara Westover
Published by HarperCollins on February 20, 2018
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Women, General
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

A little change of pace here…I read this book a week ago but I’ve struggled to find time to write a review and I want to do it justice. I have wanted to read this book for quite some time. I feel quite strongly about biographies and memoirs and I tend to read and review them with a different lens. I acknowledge that the story is personal, it actually happened and should be respected.

Educated is a memoir about the author, Tara’s, childhood, continuing into her adulthood. Tara’s upbringing was challenging, she grew up in an environment whereby her parents had extreme beliefs about healthcare, education and the government. Tara, her parents and siblings are mormons, but Tara makes it clear from the outset that the book is not about mormonism.

As always, I’ve done my research, I watched some interviews with Tara on You Tube and she stresses that mormonism was not responsible for the views of her parents and the events that occurred for her and her siblings. There are plenty of practising mormons who still attend school and access healthcare. Rather, her father’s declining mental health heavily influenced his actions and paranoia about the world.

Tara’s situation is extraordinary, she entered university education at the age of 17, despite having no formal education previously. Tara’s family members suffered injuries and illness as a result of her father’s belief about medical treatment. Due to Tara’s lack of exposure and awareness of how other families and children live, the home life she experienced was normal. The beliefs were not questioned by her, until much later.

The book is such an intriguing read. It reminded me of The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It is about more than just Tara’s formal education, it is primarily about her home life, family, relationships and struggles. Tara’s home life was sometimes abusive and often neglectful. Tara and her siblings were often in very dangerous situations as a result of her father’s actions. I know a lot of people have feelings of anger towards Tara’s parents after reading her book. Tara does not mirror these feelings towards her parents and her siblings. Tara still expresses gratitude for some aspects of her upbringing, which is so admirable.

I had mixed feelings towards Tara’s father whilst reading the book. At times I was shocked, other times angry, but there were times when his responses made me giggle a little. Tara is successful in portraying her father honestly, without degrading him. Tara also acknowledges at the end of the book that she and some of her siblings have different accounts in relation to several events in the book.

You’ll enjoy this book if you love memoirs, or stories where people have overcome hardship in their lives. Tara is certainly admirable and her accomplishments speak for themselves.

five-stars

About Tara Westover

Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for a decade. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.

The gift that keeps on giving

I’ve talked about it before, very recently, that it is such an honour to be sent books to review and I really appreciate it when authors ask me to review a book, even it’s not really my preferred genre.

Even more lovely, is receiving the physical copy of a book in the mail, all the way from the US. I’ve also said that I enjoy reading books on my kindle rather than physical books, but there is something about reading the physical copy of a book when it is gifted to you. This is the first actual book I have been sent and it is rather exciting.

I’m looking forward to reading Craig M Dial’s Bully Brother. Memoires and biographies is another of my favourite genres (aside from thrillers). At the moment I’m reading Educated by Tara Westover, which is also a memoir. So I might need a break from the genre before reading Bully Brother. It’s also such a personal experience and I think when an author is sharing that much of themselves, I need to give it my full attention. To be honest, Educated is almost taking it out of me emotionally. I’ll be reading a thriller next. Not sure which one yet…that will be a suprise.

Books really are a gift. When you recommend them, lend them buy them or borrow them. I think that’s what I love most about books and reading. The ideas and stories can be shared and through the sharing comes enjoyment. I enjoy the book and I want everyone else to read it and know what I know. It’s like a shared secret. Except I have the opportunity to share that secret with you. 😉

Book Review – Facing the beast by Jackie Bluu

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you to the author for the opportunity.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review – Facing the beast by Jackie BluuFacing The Beast by Jackie Bluu
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Brave doesn’t even begin to describe this book…

This world is filled with powerful, amazing, extraordinary women and Jackie Bluu is one of them. Facing the Beast is a very short book, but it will stay with you for a long time after reading it. It may take you a while just to get beyond one page. The thoughts and feelings depicted are so raw, real and heartbreaking. The topic of this book is very close to my heart and is about the victim’s perspective of child sexual abuse.

The content is not for everyone. There are some graphic descriptions and language, however, the feelings, experiences and drawings give incredible insight into someone’s mind and the impact of sexual abuse. I felt angry whilst reading it, but not half as angry as the person experiencing this type of trauma.

The anger is evident:

He smirked through it all, and denied it all…

through his thirty – two coffee stained teeth and his putrid cigarette-rotted breath.

The fear is real:

Press the panic button!

Assemble all signs of joy and stuff ’em in a bag!

stop, drop and roll into a hiding place!



The grief lingers:

See, loneliness is all I know-

loneliness is my familiar friend-

and loneliness is my comfort zone.

Facing the beast is an incredibly important collection of thoughts and feelings. The author was not aware of what I do for a living when she sent me her book. I am so grateful for it and I want all of my colleagues to read it because we do important work with children and can hopefully have an influence over their experience and make the world a slightly better place.

Facing the Beast is not just important for those in the caring/welfare professions to read though, it is for the public. Individuals in the wider community need to know the trauma. Perhaps they won’t understand it, it might be hard to read – but – if it makes us cringe and hurt and feel bad…how did it make the child feel who was living it???

Read Facing the Beast and you might just begin to understand…

Synopis

Facing the Beast is a story of the mind depicting grief, mental illness, and the effects of child sexual abuse. 

How does the mind continue to unravel after enduring years of abuse as a child? How does one try to cope with that leftover trauma along with added unresolved grief? Written in a snarky collection of thirty poems, some of which are simple illustrations, readers have a chance to get inside the author’s head and witness a damaged woman’s struggle to overcome these tragic experiences.

This chapbook brings forth difficult and uncomfortable subjects to the table, with just the right hint of sarcasm and dark humor.

five-stars

About Jackie Bluu

Jackie Bluu is a book publicist by day and a writer by night. She manages FishFood, a literary and arts magazine, on weekends, helping emerging writers share their work on a weekly basis.
Facing the Beast is Jackie’s first publication. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her fiancé, her dog, Paulie and goldfish, Fishy.

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine Steadman

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine SteadmanSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, Women
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Fan – tas – tic.!!!

On my list of favourites and I have already been blabbing about it and recommending it to others. So they might find this post boring.

I want to start off by saying, what a talented woman. Not only a great actress, but clearly an amazing author also. This is Catherine’s debut novel and I had heard about it a long time before reading. I actually wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. Catherine captured my attention straight away and I wasn’t disappointed by the events that followed.

Something in the water is part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club ( I thought it was just Oprah who had one of those?) Word on the grapevine is that Something in the Water is going to be made into a film, produced by Reece and I am front and centre at that movie. You know how excited I get about books being adapted to the screen. I’m not going to lie, I did imagine Reece as the protagonist, Erin, whilst reading. This book would make an amazing movie.

The book was also nominated in the Goodread’s Choice Awards in the best mystery and thriller category. I would have definitely voted for this one had I read it before voting ended.

There may have been a brief moment in time at the start of the book where I was impatient and I wanted things to move along a little faster, but that was just me being greedy, because I was spoiled when the action began. It just didn’t stop and any feelings I had about a slow pace were quickly forgotten.

There were also possibly some eye – rolling, sickening, romantic sections, whereby I had to strategically swallow my puke whilst reading on the train. Again, all is forgiven here, because the plot is by no means just a mushy, love fest. It is thrillaaaahhhhh personified.

The Best Bits

  • The story is from Erin’s perspective – I loved hearing just from Erin, I admired her as quite a strong woman and an enjoyable character to follow
  • Heart racing plot – what a page turner after the discovery in the water! It really does change things for the couple and the pace of the book
  • There were step by step instructions on how to use a Glock 22 – for those innocent types, this is a gun. I was smiling ear to ear when reading this…hey, no judgement, a girl has to know these things
  • The juxtaposition of Erin’s world making a documentary about criminals and her own world about to drastically change and mirror that of her subjects – thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book, some great characters introduced here too

In summary:

You need to read this one. You.just. do. If you don’t, you will be watching the movie, loving it and then I’ll be screaming “I told you so” from the rooftops. Which is something I quite enjoy doing by the way….

I’m prepared to cop it if you don’t like it too. I will stick my neck comfortably on the line with this one. It’s my fave of 2019 so far (and once again, I’m late to the party on this one – don’t be like me…)

Synopsis

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?   Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .   Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?   Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .   Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?   Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

five-stars

About Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She is known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Tutankhamun, starring alongside Sam Neill, as well as shows including Breathless, The Inbetweeners, The Tudors, and Fresh Meat.

In 2017 Catherine will feature in political thriller Fearless and new BBC comedy Bucket. She also has appeared on stage in the West End including Oppenheimer for the RSC, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award.

Book Review – I’m thinking of ending things by Iain Reid

I'm thinking of ending things by Iain Reid
Published by Simon & Schuster on 14/06/2016
Genres: horror, Psychological, Suspense, Thriller
Format: eBook
three-half-stars

Wow. What. A. Ride.

Short. Sweet. Weird. Wonderful.

I’m not sure what I think. Im not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think.

he he he he he. If you’ve read this one you’ll know what I’m getting at here..

This book is quick and easy to read. I recommend you read it. You might absolutely hate it and that’s ok. The book has extremely mixed reviews and I can see why. I couldn’t even describe to my friends what the book was about. I had a feeling I knew where it was going, I’m not disappointed by the ending. I’m not sure why it is comparable to We Need to talk about Kevin – in my mind it is not. It stands alone in it’s craziness.

Almost everything is revealed at the end. It might take some googling…(admittedly, I did this) but I’m interested in people’s interpretations. The book will leave you thinking. I quite like this. I also like the book the more I think about it.

“The Girlfriend” character annoyed me a little bit. I mean, she carried on a bit. There were moments where I wanted her to shut up. She’s thinking of ending things and he…well, you’ll see…

Maybe the end was written right from the beginning.

Jake was strange from the beginning, but a little more likeable – oddly.

Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.

Who will love this:

If you enjoy weird, dark, unexplainable things…you will love it. Similarly, if you aren’t concerned about evvveerrrything being obvious or explainable, you will also like it. Especially if you enjoy quick reads (this was a bonus for me). There is no way around it, the book is weird. If that’s your thang, read it.

You gonna hate it:

You will not like this book if you dislike anything indie, that leaves you questioning things. You will likely want to google it to gain a little insight, if this bothers you, it’s a pass. You will be thinking WTF early on – again, this a normal response to the situation, but if it bothers you…thank you, next.


It’s coming to Netflixxxxxxxxxx. You know how excited I am about this. I’m very interested to see how this is going to be adapted to the screen. So. I think you should read it. You might love it, you’re probably gonna hate it but I think you need to read it to see what all the fuss is about. Just remember I sent you. I’ll cop to it. It is only 241 pages of your life…

I also want to read Iain Reid’s Foe now… sucker for punishment.

I just want to add that I wrote this review in the bathtub (don’t get dirty thoughts now) – I got a bath shelf and it is ahhhhhmazing. :o)

I also have not forgotten that I promised you a self – improvement January. Don’t worry – it’s coming…after a few more dark books. Ok, it might be more of a February thing.

Synopsis

You will be scared. But you won’t know why…

I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It’s always there. Always.

Jake and I have a real connection, a rare and intense attachment. What has it been…a month? I’m very attracted to him. Even though he isn’t striking, not really. I’m going to meet his parents for the first time, at the same time as I’m thinking of ending things.

Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

I’m thinking of ending things.

Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of José Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, this tense and atmospheric novel will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

three-half-stars

About Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction. His internationally bestselling debut novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, has been published in more than twenty countries. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing a film based on the novel, which Reid will co-produce. His second novel, Foe, was an instant bestseller and feature film rights have been acquired by Anonymous Content, with Reid set to executive produce. Follow him on Twitter @Reid_Iain.

Book Review – Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Book Review – Nineteen Minutes by Jodi PicoultNineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Published by Atria Books on March 5, 2007
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, General
Pages: 440
Format: eBook
Goodreads

five-stars




Old School

I know, I know… this book was published in 2007 and I’m only reading it now. I’m slow to the party on this one. I wish I had read it sooner. I’m a converted Jodi fan.

I had read another of Jodie’s books (The Pact) and I loved it and several friends recommended Nineteen Minutes as another great read.

The book was a change of pace for me. It’s not a thriller in the traditional sense, more of a drama, but has moments leaving you on the edge of your seat. I had trouble putting it down.

A school shooting is a horrible reality in the US and has been for a long time. The details of the school shooting were heartbreaking. Jodi does a fantastic job of describing the events leading up to and the post impact of the shooting. There are many players in the telling of the story. From the police investigator, to the lawyer (hello again Mr McAfee from The Pact), to the parent of the shooter and of the victim. Jodi accurately reflects the thoughts and feelings of the characters and yourself as the reader.

From the investigator:

He had no fucking idea how to process a nightmare this massive…

From the mother of the shooter:

no one seemed to have the right words of comfort for someone whose son had just killed ten people.

The overall feeling and questions you ask yourself when reading:

Did every teenager have the capacity to fall on one side or the other of that tightrope, and could you identify a single moment that tipped the balance?

As well as the courtroom drama that plays out, the book focuses on relationships. In particular the relationship between mother and daughter and the associated struggles. Also worth mentioning is the exploration of relationships between friends and the cruelness of young people.

I loved the book and a friend advised me it reminded them of the book We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I loved that book too, but they are different. There are many more perspectives in Nineteen Minutes and I don’t think it is as dark as We Need to Talk about Kevin, although the same feeling of heartbreak and senselessness is there – as it is with all the shootings that occur on a daily basis. I’m grateful  I live in Australia, where thankfully, since the Port Arthur massacre, shootings are not commonplace in my country.

Read this and be prepared to be moved.

Synopsis

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five….In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.


Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens — until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town’s residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever.

Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

five-stars

About Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the #1 bestselling author of twenty-five novels including My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, The Storyteller, Leaving Time, the acclaimed #1 bestseller, Small Great Things, which explored the issues of power, privilege and race, and has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Picoult’s most recent novel, A SPARK OF LIGHT., published on October 2, 2018, was her tenth consecutive instant #1 New York Times bestseller, and was praised as “Picoult at her fearless best” by the Washington Post.

My love/hate Relationship with Audiobooks

Audiobooks. Love em or Hate em?

I will admit. I have dabbled in the thrill of audiobooks via the Audible App. At times I love it. Other times I realise I’ve missed several pages of a chapter when I accidentally tune out whilst listening.

I have listened to several audio books that stick out to me:

  •  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena  **FYI – I  LOVED this book**
  • I See You by Claire McIntosh  – did not love ↓

and some others, which I can’t recall right now.

The pros…

Audiobooks are convenient, in our age of multitasking you can have your hands free to do anything whilst listening. Audiobooks are entertaining, sometimes the accents and tone of voice can really catch your attention. The Wife Between Us audiobook is kinda cool because it switches from adults to a child’s voice (adult doing a child’s voice) and it worked quite well. Audiobooks are also great for giving your eyes a rest, so if you look at a computer screen all day you might want a break from reading  and they are fabulous for that.

The cons…

Maybe it’s just me…but at times I get distracted very easily whilst listening. Usually, it’s because I’m multitasking (ugh) whilst listening and walking, cleaning or getting ready for work at the same time and I miss key moments. I find this really frustrating because I never really know if it’s just that I’m not into the book or the story or that I haven’t paid close enough attention. So the multitasking pro above,  can also be a con depending on how you listen. Audiobooks also aren’t great if you are someone who processes information mostly visually (which is me). Think about your own learning, do you prefer to read information and look at graphs, models and scribble notes as you read? You might be a visual learner vs someone who learns by listening to lectures or discussions.

What am I listening to?

I’m currently listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This audiobook was free with a new subscription to Scribd (more info about Scribd once I’ve used it more). Given the genre is self-help, this could be why I’m having some difficulty focusing. I don’t think I’m taking in all the information and advice while just listening. I’m taking lots of notes whilst listening (almost to the extent of writing the book again) which brings me back to my point of needing to see things in writing in order to process information. I like the messages in the book so far ( I don’t think it really needs profanity to sell it, but let’s be honest, that’s likely why it is so popular). There will be a full review when I’ve finished it. I want to love audiobooks more, but I really do have a love/hate relationship  with them.

Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts or feelings about audiobooks? Do you listen? What are you doing whilst listening? Any tips or suggestions for great audiobooks? Comment below and let me know!

Friday Night Delights

It’s Friday night here in Australia (believe me when I say I have international readers) and my grand plan was rest and relaxation.

What better way to relax than a bathtub, surrounded by candles, a glass of red wine and my kindle?

Rhetorical question. We all know the answer to the above.

It was actual bliss though. Nothing but the sound of a clock ticking in the other room. No phone, no other distraction. My favorite way to read. It was lovely to disconnect from everything for a few hours.

It prompted thoughts about social media, media in general and technology in general. It’s difficult to escape. It stresses me out (I don’t watch the news and some people think this is weird), I just need to disassociate from everything sometimes and then I come back feeling recharged. I do wonder if there are more people who feel the way I do.

Is retreating a reward for you too and if so, what does this tell us about ourselves, the world and everything around us?

I’m also well aware of the irony that I am using technology to communicate my thoughts right now and will most definitely share it on social media.

I was in the tub longer than I thought and had those delightful skin wrinkles. They don’t bother me at all because I know I’ve completely disappeared in my own little bliss world. I really do love my bathtub more than many many things. I have considered that I may be part mermaid.

Of course I did the face mask, face treatment, body scrub, foot scrub … can I get any kind of other scrub because I want to be buried in it. Yes, I know how to do this pampering stuff properly.

I know what you are really interested in, this is a book blog after all…

I was reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. If anyone has read this (and I’m sure many, many of you have – I’m tremendously late to the party on this one, forgive me) – you will know that it’s not exactly gentle, light reading. The topic matter is a tad distressing. Of course I like it, but it’s not usually something one would read to relax.

Regardless, I am very relaxed and there will of course be a full review of Nineteen Minutes. All I can say at this stage is that I’m enjoying it but it’s not easy to read. It’s challenging, upsetting and frankly, such a courageous topic to write about. School shootings. I’m very glad it was written – I say this before I’ve finished reading but I appreciate everything Jodi has done with it so far (40% read on my kindle). It makes me angry about guns in the US and lack of gun laws in the US – but I will silence myself on this for now. Watch out for my review – it may contain profanity, not about the book, but the topic that we all wish wasn’t a topic or a reality.

On that note, I leave you. Take some time to relax, look after yourself and think thoughts.

Book Review – The Orchid Girls – Lesley Sanderson

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you to the author for the opportunity.

The Orchid Girls Published by Bookouture on November 13, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, General, Crime, Psychological, Suspense
Pages: 425
Format: ARC, eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Secrets from the past make for an exciting read…

The Orchid Girls is the author, Lesley Sanderson’s first book. I was drawn to the title of the book and when I read the blurb, I was sold. I enjoy novels about women and I liked the idea of a secret in the past coming back to haunt the characters.

Molly as an adult is troubled, an alcoholic, in a complicated relationship. Molly presents as being tortured and feels immense guilt about her past.

We liked being the Orchid Girls until I went and spoilt it all.

Grace is almost exactly the opposite. She is successful, in a seemingly loving relationship, despite having a really rough childhood. Grace is happy to leave the leave the past in the past.

The past has no room in my life. It has to stay where it belongs.

What did I love?

I really liked how the book was written. We hear from Molly, Grace and Charlotte in the present and get to read past newspaper articles and diary entries to fill in the missing pieces of their past.

The book isn’t particularly scary, or thrilling, but I was caught up in the story and I wanted to know what happened. I empathised with both Molly and Grace at different times throughout the book. When I have a connection with characters like that it makes me want to keep on reading.

I thought I had all the twists and turns figured out, but I didn’t until much later in the book. I love this because it means that the author has appropriately challenged my ideas about how I see the characters and the events. I’m pretty switched on to the route of thrillers these days and it is tricky to fool me now. I know the recipe.

Ummm it has to be said…and it won’t ruin the outcome of the story for you, but I think Grace’s husband Richard is a DICK. I made note of this in my reading notes. He was a character that I really hated (and I’m sure this was intentional by Lesley) and I specifically wrote DICK next to his name. Ha ha ha ha.

The wrap up

Overall this was a great read and I would recommend to any readers who enjoy reading books about women. Strong women, weak women and loving women. It ignited my teenage female gossip side too!

I’d definitely like to read more from Lesley Sanderson  – I think she is an author to watch!

Synopsis

They called them the Orchid Girls. Grace. Molly. Charlotte.

One of them is in love. One of them is a liar. One of them is dead.

On a jagged Dorset cliff, wind whipping their hair, waves crashing on the rocks below, three friends became two when Charlotte’s body was pulled out of the sea.

Fifteen years later Grace and Molly are worlds apart. Grace has a glittering career and a loving husband. Molly is a lonely, unemployed alcoholic. Grace has everything to lose. Molly has nothing.

They have moved on from the tragic accident that shadowed their childhood. But somewhere lies a photograph waiting to be unearthed – waiting to reveal a secret one of the Orchid Girls is desperate to keep hidden…

Book Review – The Affair – Sheryl Browne

Book Review – The Affair – Sheryl BrowneThe Affair by Sheryl Browne
Published by Bookouture on August 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Suspense
Pages: 383
Format: eBook
Goodreads

four-half-stars

Ok, this was not what I expected, although I wasn’t disappointed. 

The Affair started with a bang and it really didn’t slow down or stop, which made for a very quick, gripping read.

Each chapter spoke from a different character’s perspective, which was interesting and could have been why it felt so fast paced. I haven’t seen this before….usually it’s one or two characters, but I really liked that we heard from most of the characters in the book. I will say that didn’t feel particularly attached to any of the characters and perhaps because we heard snippets from all of them my attachment to any one of them was minimal.

My initial feelings about the characters, their motivations and drivers, were correct. The book wasn’t overly twisty or turny (professional literary speak right there)  in my view…but perhaps this is because I guessed several of the outcomes. Again, this is not a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

I’ll be honest, I was expecting more affair and less thriller, but the book is so much more a thriller and very much focused on family. It was a surprise. I liked the relationship between Justin and Alicia very much because despite any difficult situations and misunderstandings – they really loved each other.

He was always attentive in that way, making sure she was safe.

The theme of safety crops up throughout the book and the importance of family is emphasised. Justin is a very admirable character in this respect.

The events occur so quickly in this book that I think it would be hard not to enjoy for most readers.

Synopsis

The moment she opened her eyes, she knew everything had changed. The stale taste of alcohol; her uneasy stomach. She looked at her husband sleeping peacefully, and knew she would never tell anyone what happened last night.

You will think you know what happened to Alicia that night.

You will see a desperate wife, lying to her husband.

You will watch a charming lover, trying to win her back.

You will judge her, just like everyone else.

You will assume you know what happens next. But everything you think you know about the past, the relationships, what drives Alicia and her husband to lie… is wrong.

About Sheryl Browne

I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I have several books published, along with two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies where I completed my MA in Creative Writing, finally. It took me some while. Please see above. Undertaking my MA was something I’d put off due to life commitments, as we sometimes have to. When I managed to make the time, I had to summon up a huge amount of courage to walk through those university doors. What if I failed? Where was my confidence? Well, the road to publication being paved with rejection letters, as it sometimes is, my confidence wasn’t much in evidence. The MA course didn’t offer any magical solutions to my writing dilemmas but it did expand my knowledge and confirm my belief that, no matter how bumpy the road, I needed to continue to write. To quote the title of one of the university anthologies, “I am a writer, therefore I am”. I wouldn’t know how to be any other way. I’ve also recently completed a forensics course which I undertook as necessary fuel for my thriller writing. I’m relieved to say I passed that with flying colours and found it totally inspiring, which brings me to a question I’m often asked: What gives you inspiration for your books?

The short answer is people, and the whole gamut of emotion that comes with them. I’ve always been fascinated by what shapes people and whatever genre I write in I like to strip away the layers and, hopefully, share with readers a little of what lies beneath the surface. A writer’s mind thrives on exploration. Every scenario, every place, every face tells a story. I see people as not all good or all bad, more opposite sides of the same spectrum with some crossover in between. I can’t resist exploring what might push someone over the line. I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.

About Sheryl Browne

I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I have several books published, along with two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies where I completed my MA in Creative Writing, finally. It took me some while. Please see above. Undertaking my MA was something I’d put off due to life commitments, as we sometimes have to. When I managed to make the time, I had to summon up a huge amount of courage to walk through those university doors. What if I failed? Where was my confidence? Well, the road to publication being paved with rejection letters, as it sometimes is, my confidence wasn’t much in evidence. The MA course didn’t offer any magical solutions to my writing dilemmas but it did expand my knowledge and confirm my belief that, no matter how bumpy the road, I needed to continue to write. To quote the title of one of the university anthologies, “I am a writer, therefore I am”. I wouldn’t know how to be any other way. I’ve also recently completed a forensics course which I undertook as necessary fuel for my thriller writing. I’m relieved to say I passed that with flying colours and found it totally inspiring, which brings me to a question I’m often asked: What gives you inspiration for your books?

The short answer is people, and the whole gamut of emotion that comes with them. I’ve always been fascinated by what shapes people and whatever genre I write in I like to strip away the layers and, hopefully, share with readers a little of what lies beneath the surface. A writer’s mind thrives on exploration. Every scenario, every place, every face tells a story. I see people as not all good or all bad, more opposite sides of the same spectrum with some crossover in between. I can’t resist exploring what might push someone over the line. I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.