Book Review – Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Book Review – Jane Doe by Victoria Helen StoneJane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2018
Genres: Fiction, Psychological, Thrillers, Suspense, Women
Pages: 258
Goodreads
five-stars

Jane Doe is the most exciting thriller I have read in a long time.

Why is it exciting you ask?

Several reasons:

  1. The protagonist is a female sociopath, yet strangely likeable…
  2. The plot had me on the edge of my seat
  3. I found some of it humorous
  4. It was a very quick read (probably because it was a clear 5 stars to me)
  5. I think it would be an AMAZING tv show or movie
  6. I want more from Jane! (another book pleasssssee)

I have been telling EVERYONE to read this book and it is my favourite thriller I have read this year and it has been sitting in my TBR list since it was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards (where it first came to my attention). I’m going to continue to shout it from the rooftops. I think the point of difference here is the strong female protagonist who isn’t a victim and is ultimately in a position of power and control (wohoo – go girl!).

I actually love Jane so much, even though she is mostly void of feelings and empathy. I want to know more about her. Jane is like a female version of Dexter. I haven’t read the Dexter books but I’m a big fan of the tv show.

Jane is funny. I read this book on the train and I had many giggles to myself.

…and if I have sex with him now, I’ll be trash.Women have to worry about that kind of bullshit when they’re dating and plotting a crime…

It is also very interesting to me that the author used to write romance novels. I am very glad Victoria is now writing thrillers and even more excited to learn that she has a new book out called False Step. Victoria is an author I really, really want to read more from.

Tiny word of warning, if sex scenes make you blush, it might not be for you. They are not terribly graphic but there are a few of them (I quite enjoyed them) but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

So, it’s a standing ovation from me on this one.

Synopsis

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes–meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

five-stars

About Victoria Helen Stone

Victoria Helen Stone, formerly writing as USA Today bestselling novelist Victoria Dahl, was born and raised in the flattest parts of the Midwest. Now that she’s escaped the plains of her youth, she writes dark suspense from an upstairs office high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. She enjoys summer trail hikes with her family almost as much as she enjoys staying inside during the winter. Since leaving the lighter side of fiction, she has written the critically acclaimed, bestselling novels Evelyn, After; Half Past; Jane Doe; and her latest Amazon Charts bestseller, False Step.

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane MoriartyNine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Published by Flatiron Books on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Women, Family Life, General, Thrillers, Domestic
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-stars

I finished this one last week, but because I have a case of the cold/flu germy germs, I haven’t been able to focus on reading and/or writing till now. I read a few reviews about this book before reading – even though I was already convinced I’d find it interesting when I had a read of the blurb.

The reviews weren’t great. A few of them were indicating that ‘nothing happens’ and there is ‘no story’. I don’t think this is the case. A fair bit happens, but obviously the focus is on building up the characters and the story to the peak point.

Yes, it’s a little slow moving… which I actually think a lot of Laine’s books are to be honest. What Laine does very well is her characterisation and these characters certainly had personality. I think this book would actually be great as a movie adaptation. As usual, there is the underlying humour in Liane’s writing (which I love) and the characters were very varied, which made for an interesting read. Of course, there is more to everyone than meets the eye and you get to go deeper with each one.

This is not a thriller, it’s more of a drama and if you like a slower pace and a lot of different characters you will enjoy it. I also enjoyed that it was set in a wellness centre and all of the preconceptions about the centre were amusing and as I expected.

Not as good as Big Little Lies, but interesting…

It could have gone to darker places and I would have welcomed this, but, it was still entertaining.

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“If three characters were good in Big Little Lies, nine are even better in Nine Perfect Strangers.” —Lisa Scottoline, The New York Times Book Review

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

four-stars

About Liane Moriarty

Liane’s most recent novel Truly Madly Guilty was published in 2016 and also debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, together with their respective production companies, have once again partnered to option the film and TV rights.
Liane’s youngest sister Nicola Moriarty has also written three wonderful, gripping novels, Free-Falling, Paper Chains and The Fifth Letter.
Liane is now a full-time author. She has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages.
She lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter. When she’s not writing she can be found reading, demanding coffee, clutching her forehead and occasionally falling to her knees on the soccer field sidelines (the grief, the joy, the drama!) demanding chocolate, skiing like she’s thirty years younger than she is, recovering from skiing injuries, doing the school run, walking around the block to avoid writer’s block, talking to old friends about getting old, listening to her children explain the wonders of MineCraft, watching TV series far too late into the night and reading, which has already been mentioned, but deserves a second mention.

Book Review – Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Book Review – Sister by Rosamund LuptonSister by Rosamund Lupton
Published by Crown/Archetype on June 7, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Psychological
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
four-stars

I really enjoyed Sister by Rosamund Lupton. I read this in paperback format (and realised I had become far too comfortable with my kindle and that I had missed reading physical books), mostly at home in bed and in the bath.

I was lucky enough to find this book in my street library and I really feel the need to either take it back or pass it on to a friend to share it, so it can be enjoyed by others. One of the most important things about reading for me is the joy of sharing the story. Whether it is just shared by talking about it, blogging a review, recommending it to a friend or lending it to someone – it’s such a great gift to give I think. I’m going to give Sister to my friend Lisa I think (hopefully she hasn’t already read it!).

I don’t know about this being a particularly “on the edge of your seat” thriller. I did get into the story and was engrossed in it pretty quickly, but I think it was the relationships I liked the most. One of my favourite aspects of the book was not the suspense, but the relationship between the sisters, Tess and Beatrice. I loved that throughout the book when Beatrice was telling the story about Tess’s disappearance and murder, she was telling it to Tess, talking to Tess as she would normally. I also loved how she would recount moments between them, emails, conversations and shared jokes. It’s what sisters do and I could relate to the moments shared between them.

Both Tess and Beatrice were likeable characters and I think this also helps. It was clear they were very different – like chalk and cheese – but I really like both of their personalities and traits. Of course, Beatrice’s relentless hunt for her sister’s killer was fantastic and made me want to keep reading to know the outcome.

I’d love to read more of Rosamund’s books (she has three more and another coming out in August) so definitely another author I need to be on the lookout for. If you are fairly new to the thriller genre, I think this would be a good book for you – it isn’t really the scary kind of thriller and I don’t think there is anything particularly shocking or different about the story – but it’s a great read, great characters and is well written.

Synopsis

When her mom calls to tell her that Tess, her younger sister, is missing, Bee returns home to London on the first flight. She expects to find Tess and give her the usual lecture, the bossy big sister scolding her flighty baby sister for taking off without letting anyone know her plans. Tess has always been a free spirit, an artist who takes risks, while conservative Bee couldn’t be more different. Bee is used to watching out for her wayward sibling and is fiercely protective of Tess (and has always been a little stern about her antics). But then Tess is found dead, apparently by her own hand.

Bee is certain that Tess didn’t commit suicide. Their family and the police accept the sad reality, but Bee feels sure that Tess has been murdered.  Single-minded in her search for a killer, Bee moves into Tess’s apartment and throws herself headlong into her sister’s life–and all its secrets. 

Though her family and the police see a grieving sister in denial, unwilling to accept the facts, Bee uncovers the affair Tess was having with a married man and the pregnancy that resulted, and her difficultly with a stalker who may have crossed the line when Tess refused his advances. Tess was also participating in an experimental medical trial that might have gone very wrong.  As a determined Bee gives her statement to the lead investigator, her story reveals a predator who got away with murder–and an obsession that may cost Bee her own life.

A thrilling story of fierce love between siblings, Sister is a suspenseful and accomplished debut with a stunning twist.

four-stars

About Rosamund Lupton

Rosamund Lupton is the author of four novels.

Rosamund Lupton graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. After reviewing books for the Literary Reviews and being invited to join the Royal Court Theatre, she won a television play competition and subsequently worked as a screen writer. Her debut novel Sister, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and a bestseller in Europe. Sister has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies. It was the fastest-selling debut of 2010 by a British author, a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime and was winner of the Richard and Judy Best Debut Novel of 2011 Award and the Strand Magazine Critics First Novel Award. Film rights of Sister are currently under option.

Lupton’s critically acclaimed second novel Afterwards also went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller lists and was the No. 2 Sunday Times fiction bestseller of 2011, with UK sales alone of more than 200,000 copies.

The Quality of Silence her third novel was a Sunday Times best seller and a Richard & Judy bookclub pick

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 – 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 – 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 – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Book Review – Sharp Objects by Gillian FlynnSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Published by Crown/Archetype on September 26, 2006
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General
Pages: 272
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Sometimes you just need to read the book after watching the tv show

Again, I’m drastically late to the party, but I don’t care. Who cares when you read a book as long as you enjoy it right? Enjoy it I did.

Yes, every living person has read Gone Girl. I’m going to put myself on the line here and say I enjoyed Sharp objects EVEN more. Sharp Objects was where Gillian Flynn started and she did goooooood. It’s now a HBO tv show starring Amy Adams and a bunch of other great actors (it’s on Foxtel for those of you in Australia) and I really enjoyed the show – it led me to the book.

What I loved about the book:

  1. It’s set in South – in a fictional town called Wind Gap and the scene was set for me – with words like “pitcher” and phrases like “pull taffy” and  “catch a greased pig”- ok, so that might have been an out of town character making fun of the town, but still I could almost hear the southern drawl
  2. Verrrrrrry similar to the tv show, but the ending has a lot more juicy detail, so if you’ve seen the show I think you’ll enjoy the book
  3. Easy, quick read with lots of scandal mixed in
  4. Interesting characters

I think there was more of a focus on Camille’s past in the tv show though and I also hated her mother, Adora much more whilst watching the show. Amma, Camille’s younger, overly sexualized, devious sister did not disappoint. I think she might be my favourite character. From the mouth of 13 year old Amma:

What if you hurt because it feels so good? Like you have a tingling, like someone left a switch on in your body. And nothing can turn the switch off except hurting?…

The book is a bit of a whodunit, but there is more to it than that, there are also dark pasts, temptations and complex relationships.  If you enjoy dark family type thrillers I think you’ll enjoy this book. You should also watch the show, I thought it was fantastic.  I’m hoping there is a Season 2 of Sharp Objects, which may or may not lead to a second book (fingers crossed). Hey – Margaret Atwood announced she is writing a follow up to the Handmaid’s Tale on Twitter, so it happens ok.. (BTW  – I’m super excited about that).

 

Synopsis

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

four-half-stars

About Gillian Flynn

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. The book is now an HBO® limited series starring Amy Adams.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released.

Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. Universal has optioned the rights to The Grownup.

Flynn’s work has been published in forty-one languages. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Brett Nolan, their children, and a giant black cat named Roy. In theory she is working on her next novel. In reality she is possibly playing Ms. Pac-Man in her basement lair.

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.

Book Review – The Orchid Girls – Lesley Sanderson

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.

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…