Thank you to the publishers for a review copy of this book.
I found this a difficult book to rate. I liked the story but felt that it didn't go anywherThank you to the publishers for a review copy of this book.
I found this a difficult book to rate. I liked the story but felt that it didn't go anywhere. I think it deserves more a 3.5 than a 3 but I can't half star rate. That's not a criticism, but from the blurb I was wrongly expecting that this might be more of a mystery rather than a meander through a few people's lives, so in that respect I was a little "hmm, now what?" about the story.
The premise of the book was interesting - a woman is about to leave to go to Italy when she sees in the paper that three people have been found dead at a house in Primrose Hill, London. She doesn't know those people personally but she knows of them.
The three people living in the house are introduced to us - Joseph likes riding buses all day long, Anetta has dementia and craves the love of a woman she's lost touch with, and Rita has lost her beauty but she is still dating and on the search for husband number 6. We are also introduced to Rita, Marie and Marie's Italian mother, Flavia. The connection between them is Marie's father and his business dealings, and it is Marie who is leaving for Italy.
The book has sexual references, which is not unexpected given that the business dealings are related to a high class brothel. We hear the life stories of each of the different women and it is an interesting contrast between Flavia and the ladies of the brothel. We see the characters of Anetta and Rita have aged and they no longer ply their trade from the house, but instead live their courtesy of Marie's father. Marie becomes aware of her father's business dealings and realises just how rich he is, despite her and her mother scrapping a living to get by. (view spoiler)[It's not entirely clear whether Marie is aware who Joseph is, and that he is her step brother, and the son of Rita, the favoured lady of the brothel. I thought it was good that this was left unsaid. (hide spoiler)]
Overall I enjoyed the story and the little vignettes about each character, but I found the ending a little sudden, and slightly implausible. I will read other works by the author as I thought she writes in an engaging manner.
Wow - What a powerful little book! This is a short read about Chris, the friend of Auggie, the key character from the book Wonder. I've not yet read WWow - What a powerful little book! This is a short read about Chris, the friend of Auggie, the key character from the book Wonder. I've not yet read Wonder (but I took it out from the library today) so I didn't know any of the back story, the characters, how the writer writes etc. I went into this read blind, despite it being part of a fairly famous series of books.
The audience, I presume, is YA or older pre-teen children but this book appealed to me as an adult. A lot of YA I find very hard to read but this was written in a really fun, accessible style, and I could imagine the character speaking. It covers some quite interesting topics including what friendships mean and how they can be tested, divorce and families, and hospitals and operations ( and I was pleased to see, from a personal perspective, it covered crano-facial surgery).
I received this book courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review, and I'm really glad I asked for it. Like I said, Wonder is next on my reading list. ...more
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this novella.
This is the story of a love triangle involving a near 40 year old AustrThank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this novella.
This is the story of a love triangle involving a near 40 year old Australian English teacher, a young 20 year old Indonesian taxi driver, and a young Indonesian woman who is interested in the taxi driver. The love affair takes place at the English teacher's home after she employs the taxi driver to ferry her around. She is wealthy by Indonesian standards and pays to help set up a small business and for holidays. The young Indonesian woman follows the taxi driver around, despite her parents wishing she wanted other young men, and when the love affair between the English teacher and her younger lover is noticed by the young woman she seeks to bring it to an end.
I didn't especially like the characters but thought the setting was interesting and well portrayed, and the novella was well written. ...more
I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review.
I saw this book listed on Netgalley and I wanted to read it. DescI received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review.
I saw this book listed on Netgalley and I wanted to read it. Described as a thriller about a hit and run and the resolution of the crime, it sounded interesting. As a parent of pre-school children the story of the hit and run really grabbed my imagination. The thought of my child being hit when walking back from school actually upset me. The hit and run involved the death of a child and this aspect of the story is based on the experiences of the author, who worked in the police before becoming an author. And you can tell she is an experienced officer because the portrayals of crime scenes, police procedure and court scenes seem very real. I'm not a massive reader of police procedure novels so in this respect it was less appealing to me. For regular readers of police procedure, then I'm sure this will be very appealing in its realism.
This book grew on me. Like I said it was initially interesting reading about the hit and run, and characters fleeing from the scene. It then, for me, slowed down a little whilst the Detectives were introduced. But at 44% (on my Kindle ARC) then wham, the story really picked up and it got very plot twisty!
The book was well written. I particularly liked the portrayal of Jenna / Jennifer and found Ian's story and voice very creepy and quite menacing and controlling. This book covers adult themes, particularly domestic violence, and whilst not gratuitous, there are frank and honest descriptions (again, not doubt based on the author's experiences) and this should be considered if this is something you don't wish to read about.
This is a work of fiction and intended as a drama / thriller and indeed it was. The ending particularly creeped me out! I could see a sequel from it!
I wish the author every luck in writing her next book. This is a great debut novel and I would read books by her in the future, and recommend this book to friends.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this advanced read.
To be honest I wasn't in love with this book. Initially I found the story interesting buThanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this advanced read.
To be honest I wasn't in love with this book. Initially I found the story interesting but my interest waned about half-way through. I thought the ending a little unbelievable.
This is the tale of a deserted island, survival, and the lies we tell ourselves and others. The story starts with Lillian and her mother-in-law visiting Fiji on a trip her mother-in-law won. They have a nice relaxing week before they take a small plane to another island. Disaster strikes, the plane is downed and they must survive.
The story is told with shifts in time from the present day, to back to the events, and from the perspectives of Lillian & Dave (another survivor, and other main character). This changing of perspectives reminded me a little of Gone Girl, especially the media interviews, but I definitely preferred Gone Girl.
I realise this is the author's début book and whilst I think it a good story, I could tell this was the work of a less experienced author. Whilst I've rated it 2 star on Goodreads, the more accurate rating would be 2.5 stars. ...more
I was given this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
We are vegetarian so I'm always on the look out for interesting recipes so when I sI was given this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
We are vegetarian so I'm always on the look out for interesting recipes so when I saw that I might be able to review this book I was really happy.
Overall I thought this was a good book, with some half decent recipes. It makes creative use of vegetarian foods (beans, pulses, cheeses, eggs, veg, fruit, nuts & seeds) in order to make some interesting recipes. At the beginning of the book suitable ingredients are listed and there is also an explanation of what vegetarian food sources might taste for example, most meaty. This could be useful for someone trying to reduce their meat intake, or someone transitioning to vegetarianism. Some recipes are also suitable for vegans and it is stated above the recipe.
A couple of the ideas I've already tried in different guises - for example courgette fritters, veg frittatas, and, crispy tofu - so it'll be nice to see how a slightly different take on them works. The recipes appear straightforward, with some having a photo to show you what the meal might look like. Serving suggestions are also included to help the reader create a fuller meal.
The copy I was sent is aimed at an American market (I'm British) so some ingredients I needed to check. Likewise there is also a section listing metric equivalents which would be helpful for converting recipes....more
Really enjoyed this 50s murder mystery thriller. I'd read The Stepford Wives and watched Rosemary Baby and this was next on my list and didn't disappoReally enjoyed this 50s murder mystery thriller. I'd read The Stepford Wives and watched Rosemary Baby and this was next on my list and didn't disappoint. Quite a plot was weaved around and I kinda predicted the ending by the last couple of chapters but it didn't spoil the enjoyment....more
I'd read the blurb and reviews for this book and was really pleased when Netgalley and the published selected me to review it. And I am glad I have reI'd read the blurb and reviews for this book and was really pleased when Netgalley and the published selected me to review it. And I am glad I have read it. This review is my own opinion of the book and I have not been paid to review it.
Where to begin? Well this is on the face of it a story of an American woman, Anna, living as an ex-pat in Switzerland. She's married to a Swiss man called Bruno and has 3 children, Victor, Charles, and Polly-Jean. At one level this is an explanation of life in Switzerland and the behaviours of the Swiss, from the eyes of an ex-pat. I've visited and the descriptions of the country and the towns is very accurate. I don't necessarily know a lot about Swiss demeanour or language but I am aware they speak a different dialect of German - Swiss German - which can be difficult to understand. Anna struggles - she takes German lessons to try and fit in better and recounts very visits to grocers and attempts to speak the language, but doesn't feel accepted.
She is generally unhappy with her lot in life. And her husband and his mother, Ursuala, have noticed and she's told to get psychoanalysis. I understand this was an important aspect of the novel but it didn't quite mesh with me and I skim read the dream analysis bit, especially after half-way through the novel. She's not necessarily that happy in her marriage either, and frequently leaves her children with the MIL whilst she ponders her life.
We are also told of ex-pat parties and get a glimpse of a different life. Anna and Bruno are particularly likeable characters and each appear to exist in their own bubbles, especially where these parties are concerned. In her German lessons she actually finds she is capable of speaking German and also finds friendship in the form of Mary, another ex-pat, but who is happier with being in Switzerland and the family life she has there. In the class is also Archie, a Scot. Knowing looks are exchanged between Anna and Archie and an affair quickly ensues.
We find that this isn't the first affair for Anna, and maybe this is partly the reason for her unhappiness? It's not necessarily clear. We, the reader, are left to decide, and decide, I suppose, if we think this is appropriate behaviour.
One thing after another happens and when tragedy strikes Anna's world unravels. The end of the book is rather abrupt and we are left to decide what happens next. I enjoyed this read, it's very well written, but I think there are unanswered questions.
I gave up on this at about 10% in and could get into it. I decided to return to it as I know a few people who really liked, and I'm glad I did. It's aI gave up on this at about 10% in and could get into it. I decided to return to it as I know a few people who really liked, and I'm glad I did. It's a well written, really interesting reflection on what it means to be "different" from the norm - in this case the difference is on racial grounds, but it could be gender, disability, religion etc. Such a shame people don't embrace difference a bit more. A sad story in many ways. ...more
I'm sure that my 9 year old self would have enjoyed this school based story. New girl is perfect it appears but is she really? Has she been up to miscI'm sure that my 9 year old self would have enjoyed this school based story. New girl is perfect it appears but is she really? Has she been up to mischief? Generally the story jelled well but occasionally the adult choice of language/words just didn't match with the narrator's young voice....more