Book Review: The Couple Next Door

A child is kidnapped and everything is not what it seems…Anne and Marco go to the next door neighbours for a party only when they return their daughter is gone. Everyone is a suspect and people aren’t what they appear to be. The Couple Next Door is a tense domestic thriller that you’ll rip through.

Good Points:

  • Everyone is explored as a suspect in the disappearance of Cora (the baby) motives are unravelled and explored
  • Fast paced and tight, this is a story that will suck you in
  • I loved the ending, I’m a big fan of things not being tied up into a happily ever after
  • Secrets are everywhere, primarily secres that feel like part of the real world, even if they are rich people problems,

Bad points:

  • The writing style wasn’t for me, it felt a little too reported
  • There are certain aspects that should have been explored further to give more credence to the ending
  • I would preferred more from my villans

This book would be definitely something I’d recommend for anyone looking for a smart and slick thriller that would carry you from the airport and a plane ride.

 

Book Review: The Girl Before

Overview: The lives of two deeply complicated women run parrell through their move into a state of the art house in London. Emma and her boyfriend are needing a new start after a break-in changed everything and Jane is still reeling after a personal tragedy. Each woman believes that the stringent rules applied to living at One Folgate Street will fix their lives.

First impressions: This three hundred page domestic thriller follows each woman’s unfolding life in London. The style is short and snappy and makes for an easy read, with some eye-roll moments you need to go into this book looking to be entertained in a trashy sort of way and not delve too far into the characterisation that you’ll be golden

Good points:

  • Really strong start
  • The chapters are really short so it’s an easy read
  • The updated haunted house is a really interesting concept
  • The mirroring storylines between Jane and Emma become more compelling as they start to repeat

Bad points:

  • Jane’s story is told without speech marks, a style choice that I didn’t care for
  • Characterisation becomes more absurd over time
  • There’s a lot of disappointment towards the end

 

Book Review: ‘One of Us Is Lying’ Karen M. McManus

7/10: Come for the murder stay for the drama in this YA standalone that’ll have you racing to the finish.

A brain, a jock, a criminal, a princess and an omniscient narrator walk into detention only four of them walk out alive.

Simon, the creator of Bayview High’s premiere gossip app ‘About That’ had a list of enemies and a stack of secrets waiting to be published but the killer had to be in the room forcing these four completely different kids together to proving their innocence.

This twisted take on The Breakfast Club drags the tired stereotypes of the 80s into the modern day subverting our expectations of what we get from these characters.

One of Us Is Lying, is an insanely quick read that grips you from the start till the end but I wouldn’t say it’s strength or captivationness (that’s not a word I know) comes from finding out who the killer is or from Simon himself.

Instead One of Is Lying is a damn good high school drama, the change of narration between Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper show the intensity of the high school experience under the microscope of murder. True colours strip away the visage of their respective lives and in the end, it’s possible the truth could actually set you free.

I’d call this a summer read for ages 15-20, it’s unpretentious and easy to follow with a nostalgic high school feeling, One of is Lying reminds me of the finality feeling of your teen years.

 

 

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: The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer

The Beautiful DeadThe Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overview-
‘He might kill her and she just might let him…”
Eve Singer’s career is based on death, as a crime reporter she’s always following the freshest body bag but her reporting attracts the attention of a ‘super-fan’ with macabre showcases he’s dying for Singer to show the world.

Personal-
This was my first Belinda Bauer book and I wasn’t particularly aware of her before this but I was pleasantly surprised by a strong multi-faceted main character and an unexpected take on the mystery genre and the switches in perspective kept my attention for the most part.

The Good-

-Gorgeously easy read that I completely flew through
-The events of the book felt grounded in reality whether it was unscrupulous journalism or a London underground platform it all felt like it could really be happening
– The deaths were so shocking and tense
-The addition of Singer’s dad and his struggle with Alzheimer’s was a really nice addition
-A really gripping look into the mind of a murderer all the way
-Some of the twists and turned had me gasping in shock

The Bad-
-The addition of Creed confused me a little bit (maybe I skipped over a little bit) but she felt like something that could have turned into something a bit different
-The ending switched around very quickly
-I would have loved to see more from the killer’s point of view

And finally…
If you’re looking for a traditional murder mystery then this might not be your sort of book I’d say a lot of the conflict is played out in between the ‘exhibitions’ as Eve grapples with her own ethics, family and work dynamics.

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Book Review: Get Your Shit Together by Sarah Knight

Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide)Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do by Sarah Knight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overview-
A self-help book for people that hate self-help books, get your shit together is a funny, realistic and at sometimes sad look at the ways you can move your life forward with a direct approach that helps you understand yourself and why you don’t have your shit together right now and practical ways you can get there.

Personal-
The UK version of Knight’s books have the prettiest covers so sometimes you walk past it not realising profanity in the title. But then you do and I had to buy it. I don’t have my shit together and for 10.99 price tag felt like a reasonable price to work out how to get it together.

The Good-

-Sarah Knight is a fucking funny woman who isn’t preaching enlightenment or promising you the world
-Get Your Shit Together offers practical advice in a direct and clear way for everything from health to wealth
-A couple of the points such as the power of negative thinking I’ve already incorporated into my life
-Knight’s personal anecdotal evidence of her own methods are genuinely inspiring
-The last half of the book was super helpful

The Bad-
-This book will probably appeal the most to American/UK women of middle-class backgrounds with enough disposable income to hire a professional as is often cited in the book
-Maybe because this was my first self-help book I didn’t feel like I related to some of the metaphors e.g. chipmunks

If you’re looking to get your shit together this is a great place to start/

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Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The lowdown:

Lo Blacklock finds herself covering the maiden voyage of a super yacht surrounded by the rich and famous as well as people from her past a brief encounter with her neighbour has her diving into the lives of her fellow passengers and her own psyche as she tries to find out what happened to the woman in Cabin 10.

Fans of:

And then there were none, Girl on a train, Nocturnal Animals or just anything high octane and atmospheric.

Personal:

I’ve been stuck in a reading slump for the past couple of weeks and have stopped and started many books, this one I manage to read in a single sitting. And it managed to keep be enthralled while goofing off at work and on the train home.

The good:

Ruth Ware’s writing style is so easy to get stuck into and you get into the head of a very complicated woman who you might not be able to trust.

The setting a boat in the middle of the Nordic sea is perfect for this type of crime story, as it becomes increasingly catastrophic going on through the book

The tiny cast of characters all feel vivid and full of their own rich backstories and each could have a motive

The cuttings of social media posts, newspapers and emails heightened the sense of danger as the book became more and more isolated.

*spoilers*

The bad:

The ending was…weird… to say the least, I’m not talking about the elaborate reason behind the girl in Cabin 10, but Lo’s ability to piece everything together in a matter of moments as the woman is revealed.

I was expecting more of confrontation with Richard about his reasons behind it, instead we saw it all through Carrie’s perspective and he felt more ominous than if there was an actual confrontation.

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Book Review: London Belongs to Me

London Belongs to MeLondon Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall:

Although not the most original rom-com, London Belongs to Me is an easy and enjoyable read for your average Anglophile fangirl, on a rainy afternoon.

The Good:

It’s literally such a sweet book, things are easy and the problems are easily resolved it’s such a quick fun read and I can’t overtly hate it.

The descriptions of London and Manchester were very authentic to me, this comes as someone from Manchester who has lived in London and it brought a smile to my face at how seamlessly the backdrops felt.

The story takes place over the course of a year so the whole story feels earned

The Bad:

Sometimes it’s so sweet it was boarding on corny

For a book about a fangirl most of the references felt kind of tacked on

The main character starts a play about the intricacies of women, Olivia is such a one-dimensional villain that I was kind of disappointed that she was still a bitch at the end.

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