Book Review: The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

A man disappears on his honeymoon from hell and it seems like everyone’s got a motive, including his new wife…

To understand Jemma and her new husband we have to go back seven years to when Jemma was dating another man and looked to be heading towards another life.

Honeymoon is the first book I’ve read by Tina Seskis and I would describe it as a ‘light murder’ story although some of the twists are bone chillingly dark it’s enough to entertain and not have you think too hard at the end.

Good Points:

  • Short chapters
  • A solid and comprehensive timeline even though it did switch from past/present
  • Moments I would have never of guessed
  • A whole list of suspects
  • Complex female character
  • Beautiful, well-written luxury setting that makes everything feel a little more suffocating

Bad Points:

  • Split into three parts with an unexpected perspective change in the third act felt quite jarring, I would have either enjoyed multi-perspectives all the way through or not at all
  • Shocking twists are juxtaposed with chapters of wondering about
  • No real payoff for any of the characters

 

All in all Honeymoon is a beach read with bite but I wouldn’t go into it expecting Gone Girl…

Book Review: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

Laura’s life is seemingly perfect, fantastic job, a great marriage and fantastic relationship with her son.

Cherry is dead set on getting what she wants, her new job as a trainee real estate agent in a glamorous area of London is just a stepping stone to the life she’s determined to get.

Their lives intersect when Daniel, Laura’s son starts a relationship with Cherry that gets heavy quickly. Laura sees a girl from outside their world getting her claws into her son and Cherry sees an overprotective mother refusing to cut the apron springs.
The Good-

-The characters in this book are amazing, you find yourself emphasizing with some quite frankly horrific situations

-Give me complex and terrible female protagonists and I am sold

-The plot twisted and turned to places that I didn’t see coming

-The writing was so sharp that cocktail parties had the same intensity as a fight scene

-The switch between characters supplied us with a whole different perspective on events as we begin to see who these women are.

The Bad-
-A lot of this book is about class divisions and London is the perfect setting to explore this dynamic. However there was something decidedly snobbish about the way Cherry’s mother was written and it wasn’t just through Cherry’s eyes, Cherry’s mother felt lacking compared to the richly drawn characters in Kensington.
-There were moments my interest lagged throughout the book
-I wasn’t a fan of the ending, it felt rushed compared to the bubbling intensity of the rest of the book

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After being in a reading slump for a couple of weeks, I managed to finish The Girlfriend in three days as the sharp and clean writing kept my attention on a ridiculously long train journey. If you’re a fan of Gone Girl and similar you should definitely pick this up…

Book Review: The Roanoke Girls

-Spoilers for the first 2 chapters of the book-

In a way all the signs were there, we joined Lane returning to a small Kansas town to find her cousin Allegra who has disappeared. We know that she had some sort of tumultuous summer living with her grandparents ten years ago.

It all starts off simply enough, Lane is facing her past after running away but we don’t know exactly why until Lane asks her grandfather if he’s still ‘fucking her.’

The Roanoke Girls starts with a sparse family tree and a quote from Lolita so it’s not like it was hidden but the incest but this did genuinely shock me and the casual attitude the book and the characters treated this issue did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I was expecting some sort of sordid family secret but the banality factor of it irked me a bit.

By revealing the Roanoke family secret so quickly was an interesting decision, as we shift between ‘now’ and ‘then’ we know more than the poor innocent Lane who’s come to live with her family after the death of her mother. Tension builds with the family secret being unpeeled layers as the book goes on.

Along with the family tensions we see the before and after of teenage relationships with Cooper and Tommy and how they are both ‘now’ and ‘then.’

In a way The Roanoke Girls is a coming of age novel and a story about when you don’t quite grow up.

At 240 pages The Roanoke Girls gripped me from the beginning to the end but after the initial reveal it didn’t shock me. If you’re interested in family dramas and stories about very damaged women then this is definitely the book for you…

 

Book Review: Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

Saturday Requiem (Frieda Klein, #6)Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overview:
Psychotherapist Frieda Klein is sent to assess mass-murderess Hannah Docherty as part of a wider case to ensure the case hasn’t been botched. She finds herself becoming connected to the case and realises it’s not as straight forward as everyone seems.

Personal:
I accidentally picked up Saturday Requiem by accident at my local bookstore without realising that I’d come in six books into the Frieda Klein series. But this book kept me informed and engaged right up until the last page and made me want to pick up the next book in the series.

The Good
-Super easy to get into, even without reading the first six book in the series I was caught up with current character arcs
-The characters felt realistic as we got into the little intricacies of the Docherty case
-Frieda is the perfect main character for a case like this, I’m not usually into detective novels so I really enjoyed her outsiders perspective and her personality
-Really interesting separate arc away from the Docherty case as well
-I read this book probably in three sittings

The Bad
– A lot of characters with similar personality type and situations (e.g. neighbours and relations) are introduced at the same time so sometimes I lost track of them.
-The same characters introduced in this book were completely dropped with no comment on what happened to them
-More than a few WTF moments

Overall:
I’d definitely recommend this book for someone who enjoys the mystery genre but I don’t think this series would be interesting for anyone who is a casual fan.

View all my reviews

Mean Girls novel coming soon

Mean Girls is getting a literary makeover, nearly thirteen years since it’s release Mean Girls has enjoyed a cult-like status among high school movies. The extremely quotable exploration of high school made stars out of Rachel Mcadams and Amanda Seyfried and even spawned a musical.

The book based on the screenplay is set to be released this September and you can head over to EW to give it a full read at the sneak peek but here’s a quick look at the first chapter…

I’d never set foot in an American high school. I had no idea what to expect.

Then again, I’d survived the African wilderness. The savannah. The jungle. The mosquitoes. The mating season.

I mean, high school couldn’t be much worse than that, could it?

Although the book will follow the same story as the film but each chapter will tell the story from different perspective e.g. Regina George + Damien

So what do you think is this the continuation of Mean Girls we deserve? Or do you want that sequel Lohan has been campaigning for?

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spoilers –

Fun read- Desperately needs a new back cover

A YA murder mystery set in Victorian London sounds like a dream come true for a girl like me. As Stalking Jack the Ripper has a little bit of everything, forensic science, romance, family issues and historical tidbits.

Audrey Rose is a high society woman secretly undertaking a forensic pathology apprenticeship with her Uncle’s guidance. Her father still overly protective after the untimely death of her mother and a brother meandering from one study to another.

I had so much fun reading this novel and blew through it pretty easily, Audrey Rose was a great character, a girl torn between tradition and her own passion for science. She doesn’t look down on other girls for their pursuits and seems to find the good in everyone, sometimes stories like this can be a little manic, pixie dream girl.

There’s so many awesome moments whether it’s at a tea party or dissecting a body I find myself completely enamoured with the story. And although I’m not an expert in the Jack the Ripper murder it hit all the marks I know about the case including the letters.

And Thomas Cresswell, her partner in crime (so to speak) is the perfect romantic partner for our modern day audiences. Sarcastic with a Sherlockian edge he’s exactly whom you want to meet down a dark alley way. All the character so to speak are super fun and for a time everyone is a suspect.

Only the who-dunnit portion of the book is dampened due to the ‘girl who loved the ripper’ line of the back cover. There are a couple of moments you think it might be Thomas all lines of inquiry are trained on her father. For a second you think that the ‘loved the ripper’ line is a different type of love until you realize it’s probably not him and thus there’s only one person left.

If it wasn’t for this I might not have guessed the killer so early so please I implore you, on the next print just delete that one bit.

View all my reviews

Roald Dahl Day: The top 5 movie adaptations

Born a hundred years ago today (September 13th 1916) Roald Dahl has enchanted children and grown-ups alike with his stories since before the start of World War 2. His ability to create fantastical tales that don’t talk down to children made sure he found fans around the world.

His stories have been a source of happiness to us all and an inspiration for some of the best movie adaptations the world has ever known…

5. The Witches (1990) 

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When young Luke Eveshim visits a seaside resort with his Grandmother after he’s orphaned, Luke discovers a witch convention and realises he must do anything to stop them. Even if he has been turned into a mouse.

Anjelica Huston’s iconic role as the Grand High Witch, set off a chain of fantastically gothic roles for the actress and gave children nightmares for years with the skin-peeling scenes. One of the few movie adaptations to be made while Dahl was still alive, he almost withdrew his name from production before he received an apology from the director.

4. Fantastic Mr.Fox (2009)

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Mr.Fox breaks a promise to his wife and raids the human-owned farms of Boggis, Bunce and Bean. An all out war breaks out between the humans and the animals force them underground Mr.Fox uses his natural sly instincts to win.

The cool af Wes Anderson adaptation features a star-studded of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray voicing the characters and amazingly cool puppets this is one of the best 21st century adaptations

3. Matilda (1996)

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Matilda is a quiet little girl who happens to be a genius with magic powers. She uses her wits, good heart and intelligence to take on her bullying headmistress. Roald Dahl’s wife served as producer on the film and there were plenty of nods too the writer throughout the film.

The Matilda movie probably has the most changes from the book but it still captures the feeling of this little girl managing to save herself and the people around with kindness and the power of books.

2. James and the Giant Peach (1996)

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James is an orphan living with his two evil aunts manages to befriend humanoid bug creatures and they travel together to New York, in yup you guessed it a giant fucking peach. The animation for this film is so unique and so in keeping with the illustrations of the book.

The film took twelve years to make and Dahl originally was unsure how they were going to do it but James and the Giant Peach strikes the right mix between childhood and reality.

1. Willy Wonka + the Chocolate Factory (1971)

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Could it be anything else? Gene Wilder’s iconic turn as the enigmatic factory owner will remain a classic for many years to come. Even though Dahl originally wanted Spike Milligan for the role, Mel Brooks was sure it was going to Wilder. The terrifying trip through the chocolate factory shows Charlie Bucket and the other children meet a fantastical world where everything isn’t quite what it seems

What’s your favourite Dahl book or movie?