Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Review of 'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins

I think we're getting to a stage with this book where it's harder to find someone who hasn't read The Girl on the Train than who has. It was heralded as THE thriller to read in 2015, so I had high expectations. Naturally these were so high that I was a little disappointed in the end - I was told to expect to be scared and honestly thought the train would have more of an impact, but ANYWHO, it was a good book!

Rachel still takes the train to work every morning, despite not needing to. As she heads into London one particular street catches her eye, and the signalling problems on the line often mean that she ends up opposite Blenheim road. She loves to imagine Jess and Jason, a perfectly happy couple, staying their in marital bliss as she often sees them out, content on their porch sipping on a glass of wine. 

But suddenly Jess goes missing, and Rachel finds out that the couple are in fact called Megan and Scott Hipwell. Perhaps it's because she got so attached to the couple she saw everyday, perhaps it's because she's searching for meaning in her life, or perhaps it's because her ex-husband and his new Mrs live only 7 doors down, but whatever the reason Rachel feels a need within her to help find Megan. 

However, there's one issue: Megan's an alcoholic. She knows she was on Blenheim road the night that Megan went missing, but what she did there she has no idea. The police won't accept anything she says as being true when her memories start to get triggered and return because of her alcoholism. Megan feels as though she therefore only has one choice: go to Scott directly and tell him what she saw that day on the train and what she thinks happened on the Saturday night his life got turned upside down. What Rachel doesn't anticipate is just how much she gets caught up in this mystery, and how it will impact her entire life.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Review of 'The Girl With No Past' by Kathryn Croft

I've mentioned before that thrillers were became my favourite genre in the second half of 2015, and this seems to have seeped in to 2016 more than a little bit! This creepy novel got me thinking about all the mistakes I've made in life, and whether I should be held accountable, just like the protagonist of The Girl With No Past is. This isn't a spoiler in case you were concerned, you know this from the offset! It made me wonder whether people can forgive and forget, and whether perpetrators are aware of just how negative an impact they can have on someone's entire existence if they aren't punished in the long term.

All Leah wants is to be normal, but with a past like hers that feels as though it's off the cards. Moving away from her old town and old life have helped her feel a little distanced from what happened, but Leah knows that any happiness she feels with her one friend or at her job at the library is undeserved because of her past. Ever threatened by the fear of what might happen if people find out what she did, Leah eventually joins a dating site and hopes that the memories of her and Adam don't come on too strong. Finally Julian comes along and Leah's found someone she's actually willing to put a limb out for and meet, but what will happen when her past starts creeping up on her? And who is making it happen?

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Review of "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell

I remember when this book came out, news about it was all over Twitter. But, I'd never heard of the author (whoops) and was still living under a contemporary literary rock because I was so bogged down with all the books I was having to read for my literature degree. Now that I'm free, when this popped up on my suggested Kindle reads I figured I had to give it a go. So, what's all the hype about? Well, in terms of structure, consider it the book version of the film 'Inception' - there are layers and layers of narrative that you have to work though to understand precisely what is going on. And it took me pretty much forever to work out what a bone clock is.

The basic premise is this: there are a handful of people out there in the world who don't formally 'die' when death meets them, rather they go through a process of a variance of reincarnation, re-emrging as a child who has just died. They are often moral beings, and are locked in a war with a group called the Atemporals, who are giving the gift of remaining the same age, but to do so have to suck the life out of young children. The key to this war? A simple woman by the name of Holly Sykes.

Was that enough to tickle your fancy? I absolutely loved this book and totally got lost in it. Let me know what you think if you've read it!

Steph x

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Review of 'A Brief History of Seven Killings'

This was probably the most politically-charged novel I've read since leaving university, and I totally didn't know what I was in for when I first picked the book up. Set in Jamaica, this multi-narrative text allows readers an insight into life in the slums, and is extremely graphic at times - so if you don't want to hear about a character offering to "be buttfucked raw by Satan and his ten big-dicked demons" and the suchlike this probably isn't one for you.

As part of my English Lit course I've read books from authors all over the world, however this is the first novel that I've read by a Jamaican author talking about issues central to Jamaica itself. This intrigued me - I love learning new things about different cultures and being given somewhat of an expose, even if it is woven in with fiction. Part written in dialect, and part written in normative English, A Brief History of Seven Killings had me hooked as it showed the lives of younger gangsters, older ones, white Americans living in Jamaica and women. My one peeve? The fact that it's another multi-narrative text. This seems to have become a bit of a prerequisite for award winning novelists at the moment, and I just want to read one that doesn't have this layer of narrative, argh!

Have you read it? What did you think? 

Steph x