Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver #AudioBookReview

Psychopaths Anonymous

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Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home and a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict – a functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man….

Psychopaths Anonymous is a scathing, violent and darkly funny audiobook about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide.

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This is my second novel by this author and I bought the audiobook with my last Audible credit. I thought I started off on the wrong foot with the first one but now I’m having to admit that this author is probably not a match for me.

First of all, I have come to realize that I prefer books with a clear and predictable structure, a question at the start of a novel waiting for an answer, a heads up on what mystery needs to be solved. I however got into this novel without anything to hold on to except the 12 steps of AA. But where will it lead after reaching step 12, what is the purpose of the story? After a good part of the story, when it dawned on me what ticked Maeve’s boxes, I was questioning if she would get caught as a serial killer, who the next victim would be, and if she would kill her sexual partner in the end, but her overall thoughts didn’t really interest me as much as wanted them to.

Lots of people are fascinated by psychopaths and how their brain works, as am I, and I probably read and watched a few too many romanticized versions where you can find some redeeming qualities in the characters because there was nothing sympathetic about Maeve. I’m definitely not ‘A Friend of Maeve’ in any way. She’s this know-it-all alcoholic psychopath who joins several group meetings (including AA with the intent to steal some ideas for her own group meeting of Psychopaths Anonymous) because she loves other people’s misery and it obviously feeds her feelings of superiority. I didn’t like Maeve at all, but it might be more worrisome if I did.

Psychopaths Anonymous is not for the faint of heart. Even I found it quite crude when Maeve describes one of her murders in gruesome detail, I must be turning soft now I’m a year older. There is a big dose of violence, alcohol and sex within these pages but I’m somewhat surprised myself that what probably bothered me most were her opinions on God and faith. It was a recurring theme and it didn’t sit well with me how she ridiculed people who find support and solace in their belief. Each to their own of course, and I’m an atheist as well but it felt quite harsh and repetitive.

I looked up the traits of a psychopath and she’s a 100% perfect fit so the author did a great job. I won’t spoil where this story is going to go and if she’s able to keep on hiding body parts in her freezer from Seth, the one person she doesn’t grow tired of. I don’t know what the chances are in real life of this ending happening as it was in this novel, but as far as fictional worlds go, I have to say I’m feeling ok with the way the author ended things for Maeve. I don’t regret sticking to it till the end because I simply had to know how it was going to be wrapped up but in all honesty I probably won’t give it a third shot.

I bought an copy of this audiobook. This is my honest opinion.

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The Cactus by Sarah Haywood #BookReview

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People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green. Family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand – but Susan makes perfect sense to herself. Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a steady job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.

Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. And things can only get worse … at least in Susan’s eyes.

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A warning, there’s an unpopular opinion ahead so if you only want to read positive reviews you might want to skip this one.

I picked this novel because I read it’s similar in style to Eleonar Oliphant is Completely Fine (loved it!) and Meredith, Alone (waiting for my copy) and I also heard they’re adapting the novel into a Netflix series with Reese Witherspoon.

Well what can I say, those are hours I can’t get back. I wanted to read this novel as fast as I could, not because I loved it but because I wanted to get to the end of it. I couldn’t get on with Susan at all. I did want to find out if see was capable of loving someone and making friends but I didn’t hold out much hope to be honest. See Susan comments on everything and everyone ALL of the time, she’s spiteful and self-centered, jealous of her brother who received more attention and love from their mother than she had. There are a few people who try to engage with Susan, his brother’s friend Rob, her cousins, her upstairs neighbour Kate who’s a single mum and just looking for a friend but Susan’t not very interested in anyone. This changes thanks to their continued efforts towards the end but it’s quite a slow process. No the one thing that she invests herself in is finding a way to make her brother Edward move out of their mother’s house. It’s her mission and she’ll take it to court if she has to.

Believe it or not but Susan did manage to find a guy (Richard) to hook up with, on her terms of course and finds herself pregnant. She doesn’t want to lose her independence so she shuts the door on him too (in a text no less) after 12 years of Wednesday evenings spent in each other’s company. Why she wanted to keep the child is beyond me and I already felt for this unborn child. She’s not excited at all about the pregnancy and it doesn’t really occupy her thoughts, she doesn’t think about baby names, she isn’t into nesting, so I wanted to see how this would go. I’m happy the novel didn’t take me so far to see how she would exactly raise this child, and how she would cope with the noise and the mess. She did babysit once rather reluctantly when her neighbour had to rush to the hospital but I can’t say the scene warmed my heart and made me feel optimistic about her motherhood.

Towards the end she mellows a little bit and is slightly more open to other people which was of course what I wanted to see but the damage was done, she couldn’t atone enough for all the negativity I had to live through. The plotline involving her trying to get her brother out suddenly gets a spin to it with a twist that makes perfect sense and I hadn’t seen coming. The ending turns out quite positive for everyone involved but I can’t shake the negative atmosphere all through the novel. I thought she was cruel and unfair so many times and I rooted for Edward to win actually most of all. You’ll have to read this novel if you want to know the outcome of the disputed will!

I bought an ecopy of this novel and this is my honest opinion.

House of Correction by Nicci French #BookReview

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She’s a murderer.

Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees – why else would his dead body be found in her shed?
So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial.

Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn’t fit in then, and she doesn’t fit in now.

That day is such a blur, she can’t remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important… She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder.

And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself.
So she must fight. Against the odds.

For her life.

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I read one of this author couple’s novels years ago but I didn’t find the main character of the series Frieda very likeable so the urge to pick up another novel (I have 3 more on my tbr list) was not so high until I came across House of Correction. The novel piqued my interest and with a little nudge from blog friend Sabina I bumped this one up to the top of my list.

House of Correction is a courtroom thriller that is quite different from the norm. We all know that I don’t do different very well, I can’t help it. I’m still thinking about what I just read – and I still haven’t processed everything – mainly because there’s a serious lack of investigation and even more than that it’s how the proceedings in the courtroom went. It’s actually hilarious if you can see the humour in it.

House of Correction describes everything you basically shouldn’t do if you’re on trial. The main character Tabitha doesn’t know how anything works at court and for that I can’t blame her but there were other instances where she is so daft that I cringed several times at the things she did. Seriously, when you have to ‘question’ witnesses in the stand, HOW MANY TIMES does she need to be told that you have to ask a question? I haven’t counted it but if you ask me it was several times too many.

Tabitha is not the brightest star in the sky, to say the least. She flies off the handle at several occasions, she forgets to call the Judge My Lady and calls her Madam, she calls the lawyer for the prosecution ‘the other guy’ in front of the judge, she intervenes rudely when witnesses are being questioned by the prosecution and it’s not her time to comment at all. Basically, she got on my nerves so hard and I think even I would have a better shot at it than she did. It also didn’t help that she can’t recall the events on the day of the murder at all, we were off on a bad start already because I have a low tolerance for memory loss like this.

As for the investigation, I had to wait 200 pages to know a little more about the murder itself but it was kept very vague. I still don’t know how many times the victim was stabbed, it isn’t even mentioned. A lot of questions were not even asked.

Throughout the novel – via Tabitha’s conversations in prison with her visitors – it does become clear that the victim was not an angel himself so there are several people who could have a motive but they weren’t anywhere near the murder scene, as CCTV shows. It’s a mystery and with Tabitha’s particular manner of conduct I was holding my heart that she would be convicted. She repeats it so many times that she’s innocent that it’s actually this half pity, half you got it coming, that was making me turn the pages and I was dying to know how she could possibly escape prison. I’m not going to say how it ends, but similar to the rest of the novel, I wasn’t expecting it to go like this. The ending was ok but didn’t make up for the rest and I simply couldn’t overcome the grievings I had.

Readers might find it refreshing that a main character arrested for murder is not some tough person who has her act together and has a positive attitude. This novel dons all those clichés. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was ready for this as I take what happens in courtrooms seriously and I didn’t feel she was very serious. I see that there are 60% of 5-star ratings though so I happily admit that this opinion’s entirely on me.

I received a copy of this novel in my Capital Crime thriller book club box. This is my honest opinion.

The High Moments by Sarah-Ella Ozbek #BookReview

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Scarlett makes mistakes – over and over again.
She’s not perfect, she has a tricky relationship with her mother and is desperate for people to like her.

She repeatedly goes back to the people that hurt her, no matter how badly.
She moves to London with no plan (of course), but manages to land a job at a modelling agency. Finally, she’s getting her life on track, but the fashion industry is a murkier place than she had imagined.

She changes herself to please others.
Just as she starts to find her place, Scarlett’s life begins to spiral. But at least people know her, she is starting to become someone. And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?

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I find myself in a mood recently where I like to alter dark thrillers with uplifting fun novels and this bright colourful cover made me think I was holding just that. I can’t say I was exactly right with my assumption.

So I’m afraid to say I’m not a fan. I don’t really like reading novels where people throw themselves into destruction for no good reason and this one had such a negative vibe with nothing to act as a counterweight. You can forgive some people for not seeing clearly or for making mistakes because they just don’t get that some people are bad news but I wanted to slap, shake and yell at Scarlett, the main protagonist, so many times. I know she’s young but surely everyone knows that drugs are bad news and you don’t just jump in that ugly puddle? And do you just trust any guy you meet right away?

The High Moments offers an insider’s look into the world of high fashion and particularly the modelling of haute couture. It is clear where the author found the inspiration but whereas The Devil Wears Prada was focused on poor-girl Andrea Sachs who learns new skills fast and is climbing the upward hill, The High Moments shows you the other side, pretty much how you should not do it. The story is a downward spiral of mistakes, all because Scarlett Willems is so desperate to be liked. At the start of the novel I was rooting for her to go to London and to make it, and it was looking good because she did get an opportunity to be someone but then she just follows around the wrong kind of people. Ugh I know when you are young you don’t always see who you have in front of you but still it was painful to watch and I was sure that Scarlett knew that it was all fake and there were no real friendships to find there. All the clichés you think you know about the fashion industry, the sex, drugs and rock & roll (but especially the first two) are very much true. I used to think it was only the models who did this but it turns out that it includes everyone, even the models’ agents snort the night away. Scarlett is only too happy to join the club.

She’s also very hung up on this bad boy kind of type but from the first time I met him I didn’t hold much hope that he would be a good guy underneath it all, even though it is an often used plot devise in romance novels. But then this is not a romance novel, obviously :-).

I kept on reading mostly because I wanted to see Scarlett take a turn and free herself of the bad influences. I wanted to see the girl she was in the first pages of the novel. She was in so deep that I did wonder how she was going to pull this off. The ending is somewhat satisfying but by that time all my sympathy for her was drained down so much that my heart didn’t really jump up and down like it should have when she was forced to see what she was doing to herself.

The novel isn’t perfect, the characters could have been developed more and Scarlett’s naivety isn’t particularly charming. But if you like to set your teeth into a gritty, unflinching novel about what happens behind the curtains of a modelling agency though, this will leave you wide-eyed.

Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here though and that is that you have to be your own self and not let others decide who you are.

I received a free proof copy of this novel from the publisher and BATC. This is still my honest opinion.

 

The Furies by Katie Lowe #BookReview

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In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.

While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

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If I don’t hit it off with a novel right away – if I’m not feeling ‘it’ – it’ll be difficult to turn that feeling around and, unfortunately, that’s what happened when I started reading The Furies. The fact is that for some reason I didn’t take in some of the narrative in certain paragraphs and I had to go back and reread parts of the story. I believe the reason for this could be because of the lyrical and descriptive writing style and the plot didn’t really capture my attention after the – I must admit – wonderful first chapter.

I loved the rich history of the school and how the author broached the Greek mythology in the story but the characters fell flat for me and weren’t all that interesting. The plotline involves four girls (Violet, Robin, Alex and Grace) but in reality there are only two stealing the show which are Robin and ‘Vivi’. These girls have quite a toxic relationship where one is being manipulated by the other and I should maybe have felt for Violet but she didn’t really say or do anything to make me care for her very much.

There was even one disturbing scene where she was involved (I might say it merits a trigger warning) and it didn’t sit well with me at all, not her behaviour at the time but I was appalled by her reaction afterwards as well. Let’s just say that her way to deal with a situation was taking revenge with some witchcraft where she should have acted rationally. I do love young adult and have enjoyed many novels in this genre before but I feel this one must be for younger readers. I know I was looking too hard into their actions and struggling with the decision-making in the novel so much I wasn’t able to really enjoy it like I should have. The Furies contains storylines of peer pressure, revenge and assault so it does touch on some interesting and not so easy topics but the girls are naïve and the surface was only scratched for me, I was not able to feel the emotions that such tough subjects could provoke.

The Furies reminded me of tv shows as Pretty Little Liars and The Craft, and it does show some similarities so if you really enjoy voodoo-doll and animal sacrifice rituals then you’ll find the storyline to your liking. I think this might work better for me as a tv show.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

The Last by Hanna Jameson #BookReview

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BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead.
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.

Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn’t ignored his wife Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer…

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn’t want to be found?

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This is definitely a case of it’s not you, it’s me. Honestly, I’m probably not the best reader for this type of novel.. I didn’t even see any episode of The Walking Dead so safe to say that my interest in learning how to survive after a world apocalypse was rather small to start with. I really thought I was getting a locked-in murder mystery which was the reason I was excited to read The Last but that isn’t really what this book is about. The so-called investigation is actually near to non-existent and between all the other stuff that’s happening it’s only mentioned now and again until an amazing new revelation at the very end of the novel shines a light on who it might be.

What it actually is about is the survival of 20 individuals after they become isolated from the rest of the world. They’re a diverse bunch of people, coming from different countries, with different ages, families and single people too, everyone is pretty much represented. Existential questions like death, God etc were examined which was interesting and I thought it would be fascinating to see how people would react to the news they were probably the last people on earth. Sadly though, that extra fresh touch that I thought I would find here wasn’t really there, it all felt kind of predictable… some people are cowards and most of them are selfish, threatening and turning on each other, what else is new?

It wasn’t all that imaginative for me but I can’t really tell you what would be satisfying. I think I would have preferred it more if the novel had more of a The Last Man on Earth feel to it. Every society, and definitely a new one like this is of course prone to conflict and a difference of opinion. But even then and with the remote setting as an extra incentive I didn’t feel as much intensity as I wanted to.

I just want to finish by saying that I sincerely hope the world doesn’t come to an end because it doesn’t look good if you survive ;-). If you don’t believe me, you should read the novel :-).

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green #BookReview

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‘It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.’

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

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I was very excited to read my first John Green novel and I thought I was going to love it since I really like YA mystery and the mental health issue also sounded quite interesting but I’m afraid I didn’t fall in love with the plot nor the characters.

A lot of it is probably due to never having felt a real connection with Aza, the person this whole novel is actually about. She’s not a very remarkable character except for what makes her different: she suffers from obsessive thinking. I think it’s great that this condition is brought under our attention but it was quite hard to understand and often sympathise with Aza. I did make some progress towards the end of the novel in regards to knowing how she is as a person and what the consequences are for her but it still wasn’t easy to grasp. I know novels are sometimes too rosy-colored and they often make problems go away or mental illnesses resolve themselves and I don’t like that but I would have preferred to see some progression, something to be really happy about for Aza. The only people evolving are her friends and the reader and she seemed to remain at a standstill. Maybe that’s the whole point of the novel too but even so, she could have showed perhaps a bit more how to deal with it properly and how to live her life happily instead of only highlighting the problems. This way it was definitely not a good news show.

Unfortunately the mystery part of the missing billionnaire was also only a small section of the novel. It really wasn’t what the novel was about and wasn’t followed through. I believe it was just a way to get in touch with Davis as there wasn’t happening much with the plotline. As for Davis himself, I quite often felt sorry for him and his little brother. The spiralling thoughts Aza is having also impact her personal life and relationships and the poor guy is of course caught in the middle when he tries to connect with her.

Turtles All The Way Down was sometimes a YA story and sometimes almost lyrically philosophical. There are plenty of wonderful one-liners that really spoke to me and make you want to get into a highlighting mode. Green uses metaphores aplently and one of Davis’ qualities is quoting poets and using their quotes to refer to his own life. I liked it but it was all a bit much sometimes.

It was disturbing to hear Aza’s spiralling thoughts and seeing that she can’t break those thoughts, telling her what to do if she doesn’t want to be killed by bacteria. C. diff. is her her greatest torment and she goes very far in her thought process.

I wouldn’t read this novel again but in the end it created more awareness for me and I’m sure everyone who reads it and I’m grateful for that.

I won a paperback copy of this novel in a blogger’s giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

The Map of Us by Jules Preston #BookReview

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One of the most original and charming books you will ever read, this is a must read for all those who love Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things

A story of love, line graphs and lost directions

Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.

Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father’s multi-million pound business, and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.

When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world.

Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. 10.37am, April 22nd.
Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter…

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I wish I could have liked The Map Of Us more but I’m afraid we weren’t the best match. There was perhaps 76% probability that we would hit it off but that means there was a 34% chance of the opposite. It’s something Tilly would say; she must have rubbed off on me after all :-).

I have to admit I was excited to read this novel mostly because of the reference to that other novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, but I couldn’t find the same connection or recognition in Matilda – or Tilly as she’s called by 3 people – that I found in Eleanor.

The novel was told in alternating voices in short snappy chapters of only a few pages, or even just half a page at times, so it was easy enough to digest, but on the the other hand the big cast of quirky characters that changed so quickly made it difficult to get invested in them and remember them sometimes as well.

The author also introduced also a few different literary styles that some will undoubtedly find original but I found it halted the flow of the story somewhat. Some of them worked really well like hearing her mother’s voice through letters addressed to Tilly, and others – like the almost poetic entries of her father’s thoughts in almost three word sentences – not so much.

The thread that followed Violet North, the grandmother who starts writing stories on her blue typewriter, was the one I looked forward to returning to most of all and I really hoped she would find happiness in the end. She lives in a world of her own and created a fictuous character who roams the Great Moors and lets her have adventures when she can not. Like Violet, most of the other characters in this novel live in a world of their own: Tilly’s father’s passion is building sand sculptures (no dolphins though!), Tilly’s world seems to be built by numbers, her sister Katherine’s world is filled with the haunt for the perfect handbag (she’s got 342! bags) and her brother Matt is the world authority on the color blue. Can they break out of their limited worlds and make a connection with someone outside of their world? It’ll be quite a journey.

This novel was a bit out of my ‘rational’ comfort zone and a bit too wordery for me, making it difficult to understand why some of it was relevant to the story so I guess that’s why it didn’t really work out for me. It reminds me a little of We Were Liars by E. Lockheart, where the prose also rubbed me the wrong way. If you like originality and you’re looking for a quirky read though this might be exactly your cup of tea.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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What’s it about?

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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I didn’t know anything about the Lizzie Borden case before I started this book. Well I’ve heard reference made to the case in the past of course but didn’t know the full details (I had a movie with Christina Ricci waiting for me to watch which they gave on tv recently but I deliberately didn’t watch until after finishing this novel and it bore many similarities, even in details, apart from the stranger) so this was all new to me at the time and I can’t compare to the real details of the case or other stories, because appearantly there have been a few already.

I’ve seen this novel getting some mixed reviews and I did finish it so it was perfectly readable but I admit I struggled a bit as well to get to the end. The lyrical prose in this novel wasn’t really a style I’m used to and I never found myself enjoying it quite as much as I wanted.

The opening of this novel was great though, I was revved up from the very first pages because that’s where Lizzie Borden finds her dead father. She kind of gave me the creeps from the moment I met her because she finds her father dead and mutilated and her reactions were strange and yes, even disturbing. Her observations all through the story are an attack on all your senses. She’s very descriptive and direct in what she sees all through the story, even smells are described vividly, but there is not an emotional side to her so it was not possible for me to really connect with her. She should be a grown woman of 32 at the time of the murders but comes accross as a petulant child, not all the time but definitely more than once. Who in the world wants their sister if they’ve had a nightmare at that age?

We are told the story from four interesting points of view: Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the maid Bridget and an acquaintance to their Uncle John, Benjamin. The storyline however is never delivered in a straightforward way, there are snippets here and there and scenes and events are revisited many times, leaving me none the wiser about what really happened on that fateful day. What is evident though is the fact that the little family was far from being perfect and everyone wanted to escape their suffocating bonds in some way. The relationship between the sisters is peculiar and toxic. They dislike each other but love each other just as much. Everyone could have done it in theory but this novel is not set out to be a real hunt for the killer. The reason for the killing is never spoken of in words or explained but all that was going on in that house gives an idea what was playing and the reason why it could have happened.

I especially got a good feel for the atmosphere surrounding the events in this novel, which was this books greatest strength and I think the ending of the novel was not too surprising but rather a logical conclusion and confirmation of my thoughts, one I can can certainly live with.

Nice to know: The paperback edition of this novel has an interactive cover that you can activate by using an app called blippar. You can see the pear being eaten by insects. You can see it here : pic.twitter.com/stV3xqJ3kq

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Hitman’s Baby (Mob City book 2)

Hitman's Baby def

What’s it about?

I didn’t tell Roman we had a son. I didn’t know.

Roman

This town was going to sh*t long before I got here. Alexandria’s the kind of place that attracts the scum of the earth – people like me. It’s a real mob city. The only person doing a damn thing to turn it round was Ellie. But I barely met her before her abusive ex stole her away – and left her in a coma.

I’ll remember the night we shared until my dying day. Fate snatched her away from me once, but this time I’m not giving him a say. Ellie’s been hurt more in her life than anyone I’ve ever met. So when Victor Antonov put a hit out on her, I knew I had to stop it. I had to save her. Victor’s about to find out what happens when you threaten the woman I love.

I’m going to make him pay.

Ellie

I don’t remember what happiness feels like.

Four years with Rick saw to that. When the police locked him away, Roman showed me how to feel again, how to hope – and how a man should treat his lady. And then Rick broke out of jail. Seeing him in that dark alleyway was the last thing I remember. And I forgot. I forgot everything: love, and hope – and even Roman himself.

Now my life’s in the balance, and every gangster in Alexandria is hunting for me. There’s only one man on my side, a killer called Roman. He stirs something inside me, and every time I see him, my body aches. It’s trying to tell me something, trying to reveal a secret…

I just don’t know what.

Please note, this book contains scenes of violence (not between the hero/heroine!) A proportion of profits will be split between two national domestic violence charities.

You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon UK / Amazon US.

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars_1457015465_81_246_96_2

This is the second book in the Mob City series but can be read as a standalone.

This is the first novel I read by Holly Hart and I’m going to come out with it straight away, it wasn’t really my thing. It happens. The biggest deal breaker for me was that I missed some reality and believability. Let me start with this: if you were chased by some killers, wouldn’t your first thought be why? When finally an explanation is provided, all Ellie can say is oh well, this explains why. For being such a great investigative reporter (which she actually remembers being), she really doesn’t feel the impulse for a little digging into the matter and just lets it come over her.

There were a couple of other things that I had a strife with. One of them is Ellie’s character in fact. I felt it a bridge too far that she goes from being a punching bag for Rick to being a true heroine, not afraid to go pick a fight with the bad guys (although she should know by now that she can’t win these fights). Moreover, if there are two people in the world who would have trust issues, it should be Ellie and Roman, yet they put their blind faith into the good intentions of a stranger like it’s nothing.

Then there were some things that didn’t correlate: if someone was kidnapped in the hospital, wouldn’t the police be involved and investigate this? Why did the bad guys do a kidnapping at all if she wasn’t meant to wake up? And why does it say in the blurb that her body is trying to tell a secret and does it say first that she had a son? I felt that should have been a surprise.

Anyway, it did have some great qualities too, my favorite part of the book was definitely the beginning where I could read about Ellie’s struggle with Rick, and what I liked very much too was the fact that the cover of this book suggested maybe otherwise but I was happy there was just a smut scene or 2 which didn’t take pages on end like in some other books. Maybe I’m just used to books with a huge amount of accuracy and detail. If that’s the thing, you should hold out on this one. If you like just the whole bad boy and mobster scene setting, you might find this to your liking.

I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.