Friday, 25 September 2015

Review of "How I Lost You"

If you were going to pick up just one thriller in 2015, this is definitely the one I would recommend. I absolutely whizzed through it, and ended up puzzling through my opinions on Susan's guilt whilst I was in the shower, at work, basically any time that I couldn't be scouring the book for new information. I'm not going to lie, I love a good ol' bit of conspiracy theorising. So, when this book combined that with some mystery, speculation and a whole tonne of grief, I was enthralled. Imagine being told that you murdered your 12 week old baby, but not being able to remember anything about that day; never knowing whether you did this or not, never knowing whether you are indeed insane, or not. 

Susan Webster, now Emma Clarke, has been released back into the "normal" world after four years in a mental institution after she killed her only child. Having moving to a new town, and set herself up with a new identity, Emma is horrified to receive post at her new home addressed to her old name. Who knows she's moved here? Is she in danger? Things take a turn for the worse when she opens it up, revealing a photograph of a four year old boy, and on the back is written the name she can't bear to see: Dylan. Is her son alive, or is this all some kind of cruel prank?

Desperate to get to the bottom of things, Emma calls on the aid of her best friend Cassie and journalist Nick Whiteley. But as they search deeper into the past, someone gets more and more determined to terrify them away. Multiple break ins, and evidence of stalking puts Emma entirely on edge, especially when it appears that Dylan wasn't the only person murdered, and her (ex)husband may have the answers ...

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review of "The Dead Wife's Handbook"

I'm pretty sure we've always indulged ourselves a little, imagining how people would react to our deaths, but what if that fantasy became your reality? Rachel had everything she ever wanted, until it was all stripped away from her in an instant when she suffers a sudden death from an undiagnosed heart condition. What she suffers next however, is worse than a death she had ever imagined. The book is split up into the seven stages of grief, and as such you follow Rachel through her journey into the afterlife. Everybody questions death at some point, considers whether there is a life after death at all, right? I found this to *excuse my French*, be a little bit of a mindfuck: just imagine if those that you loved could watch you grieve for them, suffering just as you do for the lost relationship. Would you do things differently?

Rachel and Max have the kind of marriage everybody dreams about, and it's only strengthened by the birth of their daughter Ellie. However, when Rach suffers a premature death, Max and seven year old Ellie are left to pick up the pieces, and re-organise the chaos that their life and feelings have descended into. 

However, they aren't quite as alone as they think. Rachel is granted visionary access to some elements of their lives, but has no control over when or how often this will be. From seeing her parents for the first time since she died, to witnessing Max and Ellie's emotional celebration of the first anniversary at the cemetery, this access seems both a blessing and a curse. But what if Max and Ellie's wounds start to heal and they commence rebuilding their lives?

Have you read it? What did you think?
Steph x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Review of "The Moon and More"

Sarah Dessen was pretty much my heroine in the chic lit world during my teenage years, and definitely introduced me to the idea that romance and chic lit for teens isn't all trash. So, when I was looking for a new read last week I figured: why don't I go back and see if her writing's as fab as I remember? And it definitely was. Say goodbye to simple plot lines, and the belief that teen fiction about relationships should either be all or nothing on the physical front, here we have a book that effortlessly blends complex characters with beautiful settings and rigorous plot twists. 

It's Emaline's last summer in her tiny town on the coast before she heads out to college. She imagines everything will change when she leaves, but what if it all comes before she expects? Her and Luke have been dating for what feels like forever, but as things get rocky and NY city boy Theo turns up, a break up may be on the cards far sooner than she ever thought. Plus, living and working with her two step-sisters and mother seems a bit unbearable at times, but when Emaline's invisible father turns up in town with her ten year old half-brother in tow, the notion of 'family' gets complicated too. Will this summer of change make her long to escape the tiny town she lives in? Or cling to it more than ever?

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x

Monday, 7 September 2015

Review of "The Goldfinch"

I've finished the summer (weep) off with another thriller in this season of reading thrillers that I advanced upon, This was probably, unfortunately, my least favourite of the ones I've read, perhaps because the others were so much of exactly what I was looking for. However, that isn't to say that it wasn't worth reading at all! The Goldfinch was definitely one of those books that made you think: both about your own character and the state of our capitalist world.

What would keeping a life-ruining secret for decades do to you? In an interesting take on the psychological impact of deception, Theodore Decker's life is turned upside down the day his mother dies. Thirteen-year-old Theo and his mother take a trip to the Met but at the wrong time: a bomb goes off, rupturing both the gallery and the young boy's life. Handed a priceless painting by a dying man, Theo escapes the building in the confusion of the explosion only to live in fear of what keeping this painting may do to him. Suddenly left alone, the remainder of Theo's adolescence is spent moving from place to place, ending up in a whirlwind of addiction, crime and deceit. 

But, what happens if everything isn't as Theo thought it was? Who really has the painting and what will the ultimate consequences of taking it be?

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x