Book Review – The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

Book Review – The Bus on Thursday by Shirley BarrettThe Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
on September 18, 2018
Genres: Fiction, horror, Literary, Thrillers, Supernatural
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

Welcome to a wild ride from Shirley Barrett.

Australian Author – check

Australian setting – check

Humour – check

Creepy weird AF story – check

I got this ripper from my Street Library and I don’t regret it. The protagonist, Eleanor, tells it like it is, with all the Aussie slang and references (as well as swear words) she can muster.

Written in a blog/diary entry form, it made for an easy read that was entertaining and kooky. It might be written a little too casually for some, but I enjoyed it and felt it was refreshing to read something a little more relaxed.

I mean, it is written by one of the directors of the tv show Offspring (Australian soap) and I certainly see some similarities in that Eleanor has an internal dialouge that isn’t unlike Nina’s in Offspring. Offspring is one of my favourite tv shows…so it all makes sense.

This book might not translate very well for international readers, due to Aussie terms and references. If you can get past that and the curse words you will enjoy the humour and weirdo storyline.

I don’t think I can say that Eleanor is a particularly likeable character, but she is relatable…well…sort of, if you can see yourself making passes at your elderly doctor or discussing exorcising demons at the local church. Eleanor finds herself in some interesting situations when she gets a new teaching job in a small town – most of which are funny, strange or confusing.

There were times when I didn’t know where the story was going or if it was in fact going anywhere, but I had gotten so far in that I didn’t mind the commitment and I had invested myself to reading Eleanor’s story. Perhaps I liked her more than I’m happy to admit.

The new town is full of crazy characters and whilst Eleanor might seem like one of the ‘normal’ ones, she herself has some questionable behaviours. Actually, she fits right in.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any more quirky in this story, there is what I like to call an “Evil Dead” moment. I’ll say no more, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll likely put two and two together. I’ll just say, I enjoyed it.

If you love the weird and wonderful, interesting characters and a touch of the supernatural you will enjoy this book – just don’t expect to be given all the answers and don’t take it too seriously.

Synopsis

Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in this wickedly funny, dark novel about one woman’s post-cancer retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting her

It wasn’t just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett’s life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.

One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. The next thing she knew, her breast was being dissected and removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was suddenly deluged with cupcakes, judgy support groups, and her mum knitting sweaters.

Luckily, Eleanor discovers Talbingo, a remote little town looking for a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker up and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not just the communion-wine-guzzling friar prone to mad rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no cell or Internet service, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door and who is knocking on it late at night.

Riotously funny, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a wickedly weird, wild ride for fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, and Stephen King.

four-stars

About Shirley Barrett

Shirley Barrett is a screenwriter, film director and novelist.

She has written and directed three feature films, including Love Serenade, which won the Camera D’Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996. She has also directed television drama, including Love My Way, Offspring and A Place to Call Home. Known for her ability to elicit strong, truthful and detailed performances in both comedy and drama, her work is also striking visually.

Shirley has written two novels: Rush Oh! (2014) and The Bus on Thursday (2018).

Book Review – Life Will Be The Death of Me by Chelsea Handler

Book Review – Life Will Be The Death of Me by Chelsea HandlerLife Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 9, 2019
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Family & Relationships, Political Science, Civics & Citizenship
Pages: 256
Goodreads
four-stars

I love her. I love her. I love her.

Chelsea Handler is my girl crush. Woman crush….whatever. I found Chelsea on You Tube, many years ago interviewing someone famous and I found her so hilarious, witty and accomplished. She oozes a confidence I admire and wish I had. I’ve followed her since I discovered her, through her Netflix specials, numerous books and I also stalk her on Twitter (told you, girl crush).

I have read all of Chelsea’s books. Some I found more hilarious than others, but all of them had me laughing out loud at some point.

Life will be the death of me is different. There were still some laugh out loud moments, but the overall tone is much more sombre. Chelsea is incredibly vulnerable in this memoir. It was a side I hadn’t seen (except when she was being interviewed by Ellen, who mentioned the death of her mother and she started crying). I did expect lots of laughs from this book, but there was a vast journey into grief and loss and how that has manifested into Chelsea’s life now.

As always, there were some side stories which were less emotional. I loved reading about Chelsea’s many dogs over the years (yet another reason to love Chelsea). One story in particular I found extremely hilarious was her dog getting high on a plane and running amok.

Nothing ever surprises me with Chelsea. Usually. In this book she is completely open about the work she has done with her psychologist, her flaws, her downfalls and it makes me love her more. Was this book my favourite of hers? No. Am I still a massive fan and respect her for writing about many losses and her therapy experience? Yes.

I think if you are a fan of Chelsea you will still enjoy this book. Just be aware that it’s a little more emotional and deep than her other books.

Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The funny, sad, super-honest, all-true story of Chelsea Handler’s year of self-discovery—featuring a nerdily brilliant psychiatrist, a shaman, four Chow Chows, some well-placed security cameras, various family members (living and departed), friends, assistants, and a lot of edibles

A SKIMM READS PICK • “This will be one of your favorite books of all time.”—Amy Schumer

In a haze of vape smoke on a rare windy night in L.A. in the fall of 2016, Chelsea Handler daydreams about what life will be like with a woman in the White House. And then Donald Trump happens. In a torpor of despair, she decides that she’s had enough of the privileged bubble she’s lived in—a bubble within a bubble—and that it’s time to make some changes, both in her personal life and in the world at large.

At home, she embarks on a year of self-sufficiency—learning how to work the remote, how to pick up dog shit, where to find the toaster. She meets her match in an earnest, brainy psychiatrist and enters into therapy, prepared to do the heavy lifting required to look within and make sense of a childhood marked by love and loss and to figure out why people are afraid of her. She becomes politically active—finding her voice as an advocate for change, having difficult conversations, and energizing her base. In the process, she develops a healthy fixation on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, through unflinching self-reflection and psychological excavation, unearths some glittering truths that light up the road ahead. 

Thrillingly honest, insightful, and deeply, darkly funny, Chelsea Handler’s memoir keeps readers laughing, even as it inspires us to look within and ask ourselves what really matters in our own lives.

Advance praise for Life Will Be the Death of Me

“You thought you knew Chelsea Handler—and she thought she knew herself—but in her new book, she discovers that true progress lies in the direction we haven’t been.”—Gloria Steinem 

“I always wondered what it would be like to watch Chelsea Handler in session with her therapist. Now I know.”—Ellen DeGeneres

“I love this book not just because it made me laugh or because I learned that I feel the same way about certain people in politics as Chelsea does. I love this book because I feel like I finally really got to know Chelsea Handler after all these years. Thank you for sharing, Chelsea!”—Tiffany Haddish

four-stars

About Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler is an accomplished stand-up comic and actress, as well as the bestselling author of My Horizontal Life. She is the star of her own late-night show on E!, Chelsea Lately; was one of the stars of Girls Behaving Badly; has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman; and has starred in her own half-hour Comedy Central special. Chelsea makes regular appearances in comedy clubs across America and lives in Los Angeles.

Book Review – Bully Brother by Craig M Dial

I received this book for free from the author, Craig M Dial, 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.

Book Review – Bully Brother by Craig M DialBully Brother Published by Independently Published on May 24, 2018
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Family Life
Pages: 258
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
three-stars

I had been meaning to read Bully Brother for quite a while. The author sent me a copy a long time ago. I misplaced it and he was kind enough to send me another copy. I’m glad he did.

I always make this disclaimer, but as with any memoir or personal story, I’m particularly sensitive to the fact that this is someone’s life and story – who am I to say what I think of that? I always feel terribly responsible and cautious when reviewing.

For me as a reader, Bully Brother was like exploring an era. I really like the fact that Craig asks readers to play the music mentioned throughout the book whilst reading to evoke that sense of being in the 60’s and 70’s. I thought it was a great concept and really gave me an idea of the mood and tone. The 60’s and 70’s being slightly before my time, I think this helped set the scene. I loved the music (most was familiar to me) and found myself waiting for the next mention of a song whilst I was reading.

I found the descriptions about Craig’s childhood and his relationship with his siblings familiar. Despite the fact that I grew up in the 80’s. Some of his stories were funny, some were a little worrying. The bullying by Craig’s brother David, was not as extreme as I expected it to be, but, I am used to reading things a little darker and more disturbing (so maybe it’s me and my dark mind?) and, once again, who am I to comment on someone’s experience? I’m sure it was horrible for Craig at the time.

I will say that the book was an easy read, but, I often wondered where it was going. I was waiting for the inevitable tragedy, but I found this was very close to the end of the book. I think I would have liked a hint of it at the beginning.

If you enjoy reading memoire you will enjoy this book. Particularly if you are interested in the 60’s and 70’s and family types of genres.

three-stars

About Craig M Dial

Craig grew up in Marin County in the late 1960’s and 1970’s where he experienced the hippie love culture from a child perspective. He is married and now lives near Sacramento, CA.

Book Review – After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Book Review – After Anna by Lisa ScottolineAfter Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Domestic
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-stars

Another new author to me, but certainly not a new author – Lisa Scottoline has been writing thrillers (among other things) for years. I’m both disappointed and excited all at once. Disappointed because I didn’t read any of her books sooner and excited because it means I now have another wonderful author’s work to read!

I’m noticing that a lot of female authors appear to be quite skilled with the thriller genre…hardly surprising, us ladies do know how to be appropriately terrified. I once read somewhere that women are the biggest viewers of true crime on TV. It is certainly true of myself – I love true and fictional crime, in every format! podcasts, TV and books. The article I read pointed to several factors (from memory) that because women are typically less aggressive than men – true crime lets them explore a darker fantasy and women are more empathic, so they relate more to the victims of the crime also.

I do have to be honest here, I actually downloaded After Anna by accident! I was looking for a book called After Anna, but by a different author, Alex Lake. I still really want to read that book by the way, but when I began reading Lisa Scottoline’s After Anna, I became pretty engrossed straight away.

The book began in the courtroom and you already know…someone is on trial for murder, but there are so many more juicy details to come. I actually really enjoy books that have a bit of courtroom drama. Mostly because I hate lawyers and I love to hate them. I read all of their sentences with an annoying demeaning voice in my head.

The subject of the title, Anna, is the estranged daughter of Maggie. Anna returns to Maggie’s life and everything is roses…until it’s not. Some of the plot is a little predictable, but I was still very intrigued and curious about all the events Before and After Anna. Each chapter is either set in the recent past or the present, which I also enjoy. I don’t want to know everything straight away or I’ll stop reading.

I moved through this book quite quickly, partly because I was intrigued and partly because I think the book is pretty fast paced. There wasn’t a moment I was bored and waiting for more.

I think people who enjoy thrillers will like this book, it was a little predictable, but still an enjoyable read if you like family type thrillers.

I know my blog has been a little quiet of late but rest assured I’m still reading and have lots of great books on my TBR list – I need to do a new blog post for my TBR’s because the list is getting big and I don’t want to forget any I am especially excited about (or skip any golden missed opportunities with books I’m less excited about). I’ll be bringing you some different genres to spice things up a bit too!

Synopsis

Nobody cuts deeper than family…

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna.

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.

Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

Riveting and disquieting, After Anna is a groundbreaking domestic thriller, as well as a novel of emotional justice and legal intrigue. And New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline will keep readers on their toes until the final shocking page.


four-stars

About Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is a #1 Bestselling Author, The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 32 novels, including her latest work, Someone Knows, which is coming April 9, 2019.

She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. These stories, along with many other never-before-published stories, have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of humorous memoirs including their most recent, I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, and earlier books, I Need A Lifeguard Everywhere But The Pool; I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places; Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?; Have a Nice Guilt Trip; Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim; Best Friends, Occasional Enemies; My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space; and Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, which has been optioned for TV.

Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as president of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, “Justice and Fiction” at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. Lisa is a regular and much-sought-after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Book Review – The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

Book Review – The Cry by Helen FitzgeraldThe Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
Published by Faber & Faber on August 27, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Psychological, Thrillers, General, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

I absolutely devoured The Cry whilst on holiday. The Cry was recommended to me by a friend (thanks Lisa!) and from the moment I started it I was hooked.

The book is set in Victoria, Australia, so the names of towns were familiar and this helped me get into the story. The storyline was incredibly gripping, perhaps because it involves a baby and some big mistakes. Heartstrings are on the line straight away. There were times I was holding my breath, shaking my head and wanting to yell “no, don’t do that”. This isn’t a common occurrence for me, maybe while watching tv, but not when reading. I was invested straight away.

I really liked the protagonist, Joanna. There were moments where she might have become a bit tiresome, but this wasn’t the case. I felt like I was with her throughout the events and I wasn’t bored or frustrated with her. Sometimes characters can be whiney, boring or repetitive, Joanna was not and I empathised with her.

Like all fantastic stories right now, The Cry has been made into a television series. I haven’t seen it yet (slack I know! I’ m off my game) usually I would watch it before writing a book review to compare the two, but the book doesn’t really need anything to support it. I will eventually watch the show but the book is fantastic and I strongly recommend it for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers or crime genres.

I was also very excited to see that this is not Helen’s first time at the rodeo – far from it – she has written several thrillers which I am now very excited to read. I love finding new authors, but it makes my TBR list very long!

Synopsis

NOW A MAJOR NEW BBC ONE DRAMAThe Cry was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. 

When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world. 

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. 

Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?

Perfect for fans of Julia Crouch, Sophie Hannah and Laura Lippman, The Cry was widely acclaimed as one of the best psychological thrillers of the year. There’s a gripping moral dilemma at its heart and characters who will keep you guessing on every page.

five-stars

About Helen Fitzgerald

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and ten other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011), The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and Viral (Out Feb 2016). Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.

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, Craig M Dial, 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.