Friday, October 18, 2019

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

I almost didn't read this. My rule is to stay away from books and movies that have the potential to break my heart, and this book makes no secret of the fact that it's going to rip your heart out of your chest and shatter it into tiny shards.

I'm glad I read it.

That it's loosely based on the author's own experience almost undid me.

I'm glad I read it.

You will be, too.

How to Be Perfect by Holly Wainwright

It would be a mistake to dismiss "How to be perfect" as chick lit for moms. I mean, yeah, it is that, sure, but it's so, so much more.

This book makes you think about all the ways our way of life, advertising and society encourage us to part with money: face creams, yoga clothes, food supplements, "miracle" ingredients, perfect houses, perfect furniture, health retreats... and daycare for our children so that we can go back to work in order to afford it all.

This book gives you permission to parent your way: hippy, natural, bottle and formula, electronics, whatever works best, or whatever works least badly.

This books shows you that life is far from perfect, and that it's still ok, even when your teenage daughter is naked online.

(BTW, it's a sequel, but I read it as a stand-alone.)

Thursday, September 05, 2019

The Marsh King's Daughter

Title: The March King's Daughter
Author: Karen Dionne
Genre: Thriller (moderate)
Atmosphere: The setting and mood are somewhat like "The Great Alone"
Uplifting: Yes
Themes: family love, nature, sustainability

This book will make you wonder about many issues. Is it possible to love the baby of your kidnapper? How much does the father need to screw up before you stop being on his side? Children are resilient - why do we lose that as we grow up? How minimalist can you go when you live in a cabin cut off from civilisation?

Beautifully written. You'll be glad you've read it.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Eleanor & Park

"Eleanor and Park" is a Rainbow Rowell YA novel. Except there is nothing YA or angst-y about the problems the protagonists grapple with.

Dysfunctional families? Check.
Functional families? You bet.
Body image issues, bullies, even gender ambiguity - it's all there.

A beautiful read that ends way too soon.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

"Need to Know" by Karen Cleveland is a domestic suspense novel mixed with a spy story. It's a page-turner with a likeable heroine, though personally I would have preferred her stronger and smarter.

Vivian Miller. High-powered CIA analyst, happily married to a man she adores, mother of four beautiful children. Until the moment she makes a shocking discovery that makes her question everything she believes.
She thought she knew her husband inside and out. But now she wonders if it was all a lie. How far will she go to learn the truth?  And does she really . . . 

Their Little Secret (Tom Thorne Novels Book 16)

"Their Little Secret" is Mark Billingham's 16th Tom Thorne Novel. What I like about this series is the character development: the Tom we meet in "Sleepyhead" is not the same Tom as the one in "Good as Dead", and he's different (consistently so) from the one in "Their Little Secret". Nicola Tanner is also evolving, healing in one sense but still broken in another. All good.

The plot features interesting characters (a suburban mum with a secret, a conman), and the book ends before this reader got to know them well enough for her liking. Still, it's the usual Billingham page-turner. And Tom's a treat, as always.

Run Away - review

"Run Away" by Harlan Coben is your perfect suburban thriller / domestic suspense novel. Family in trouble - check. Modern dilemma - check. Readers asking themselves what they would do and thanking their lucky stars it's only hypothetical - check, check, check.

Written in the classic Coben style, with a cameo appearance from a regular character (sadly, not Win this time).

From the blurb:
You've lost your daughter.

She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she's not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs. 

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.Age Range:Adult.