Hello friends. Today is the 7th anniversary of Show Us Your Books. Congratulations to Steph and Jana!
I read twice as many books in September as in August for a total of 8. And here they are.
Rose Madder by Stephen King. After years of being beaten by her husband, a single drop of blood is what finally awakens Rosie Daniels to the fact that, eventually, he I’d going to kill her. And so she flees – taking his credit card.
Alone in a strange city, Rosie begins to build a new life: she meets Bill Steiner and she finds an odd junk shop painting, ‘Rose Madder’, which strangely seems to want her as much as she wants it. But it’s hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder. Rose-maddened and on the rampage, Norman is a corrupt cop with a dog’s instinct for tracking people. And he’s getting close. Rosie can feel just how close he’s getting. This book is extremely violent and gory, even for Stephen King’s standards. There is also a fairly graphic description of a miscarriage a few pages in so be warned about that. It is well written as always though and the characters are well fleshed out. I loved Rosie and was rooting for her all the way through. Norman Daniels is absolutely vile and honestly terrifying. This would have worked fine as a straight thriller – I’m not sure the supernatural element was entirely necessary, although it was kind of interesting. 3.5 stars.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. When Nora decides she doesn’t want to live any more she ends up at the Midnight Library – a place filled with an infinite number of books, each containing a different version of her life – one that might have been if she had made a different decision somewhere along the way. But are any of them truly better than the one she had? This is my favourite of the Matt Haig books I’ve read so far. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t LOVE it like everyone else seems to. It did make me think – although at times it seemed like it was trying almost too hard to drive the message home – and the ending made me cry, so there’s that. 3.5 stars.
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth. Seventeen-year-old Saoirse has sworn off relationships. She doesn’t believe in love or happy endings. Then she meets beautiful, fun-loving Ruby, who doesn’t care about any of that. Because Ruby has a loophole in mind: a summer of all the best cliché movie montage dates, with a definite ending come autumn – no broken hearts, no messy breakup. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love… for real. This is very cute. I love Saoirse – she’s sarcastic and prickly and so relatable. She’s been through – and is still going through – so much and my heart ached for her. Apart from Saoirse my favourite character was actually Oliver, the love interest’s cousin. I felt kind of sorry for him from the beginning when he was all alone at his own party and I enjoyed the banter between him and Saoirse. Ruby is almost too nice and good and forgiving, but the relationship is cute and things didn’t end as predictably as I expected so that was nice. 4 stars.
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards. Lucy Jarrett is at a crossroads in her life, still haunted by her father’s unresolved death a decade earlier. After her mother has a minor accident, Lucy returns to her hometown in Upstate New York, The Lake of Dreams, and, late one night, she cracks the lock of a window seat and discovers a collection of objects. They appear to be idle curiosities, but soon Lucy realizes that she has stumbled across a dark secret from her family’s past, one that will radically change her – and the future of her family – forever. I enjoyed parts of this book but I felt like the author tried to include too many issues/aspects. I was intrigued by Rose’s story (the mystery from the past) and wanted to know what happened to her, but Lucy’s family dynamics (everyone failing to get over her father’s death for so many years, mysterious rivalry/tension with her uncle) plus a side story of environmental/land-use issues also somehow tying back to Lucy’s family all seemed a bit much. Also Lucy is kind of annoying. I practically cheered when her mum accused her of acting like a teenager and not wanting her mother to be happy because she really was! She also seemed to think rules and morals didn’t apply to her – just because you can pick locks doesn’t mean you should constantly break into places in a whim! I didn’t hate the book though, although it may sound like it. It’s perfectly fine, but nothing particularly special. 2.5 stars.
Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan. After their nan accidentally burns the family home down, twin brothers Patrick and Dominick move with their parents and baby sister to a small cottage by the sea. The family has spent many a happy summer there but never a winter – and against a backdrop of howling storms and wild seas, the twins find themselves haunted by a mysterious boy. This is is a creepy little book involving a haunting/possession set against the backdrop of 70s Ireland with a few forays back to 1914. A ghost story that also deals with themes of grief and loss, mental illness (Alzheimer’s) and family. The pacing was a bit slow in the middle but I liked the writing (and the Irish slang) and enjoyed it overall. 4 stars.
Watching You by Michael Robotham (Joe O’Loughlin #7). Marnie Logan often feels like she’s being watched. Nothing she can quite put her finger on – a whisper of breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye – and now her life is frozen. Her husband Daniel has been missing for over a year. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin. Joe is concerned by Marnie’s reluctance to talk about the past, but then she discovers a book packed with pictures, interviews with friends, former teachers, old flames and workmates Daniel had been preparing for Marnie’s birthday. It was supposed to be a celebration of her life. But it’s not the story anyone was expecting. This was a re-read but I didn’t remember too much. I thought I remembered what had happened to Marnie’s husband but I must have been confusing it with a different book because what I thought isn’t what happened. There are a lot of twists and turns and a few aspects felt a bit too far-fetched – yes, it’s fiction and suspension of belief is necessary, but there are limits. I hadn’t realised this was part of a series but honestly it didn’t matter. Joe was such a peripheral character that I didn’t even care that I didn’t know his whole story. He wasn’t even mentioned until well into the book. Marnie was the focus anyway. 3.5 stars.
Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (Brown sisters #3). Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong – so she’s given up trying. When yet another of Eve’s ventures goes wrong her parents finally issue an ultimatum. It’s time for Eve to grow up! Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she accidentally hits him with her car. With a broken arm and understaffed B&B Jacob has no choice but to hire Eve. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen – and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore – and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior. Another adorable book to end this trilogy. It did feel like it was repeating the first book slightly with the two characters who didn’t like each other to start with, except this time the love interest was the prickly one while in the first book it’s was Chloe who was uptight. At least in Dani’s book the two knew each other/were friends first. I did still really enjoy this book though – I loved both Eve and Jacob – Eve definitely seems like the nicest of the three sisters. A satisfying end to the trilogy. 4 stars.
Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans (Who Let the Gods Out #1). Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threa. Then a shooting star crashes to earth, right through the roof of his barn, and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too? This book is lots of fun and I can see how it would appeal to certain children but personally I found that all the jokes and references to pop culture and modern technology got to be a bit much eventually. The parts with Elliott’s mum and scenes in school were excellently written but once the gods came on the scene it all got a bit too silly for my liking. 3 stars.
So, that’s it for this month. Out of 8 books sadly only one was by a BAME/BIPOC author.
I typed this on my phone while in bed recovering from an operation so please forgive the lack of links to the books and any autocorrect fails.
Check out the link up for more book reviews!