The Paperback Sale…

OK, I’ll admit I have a problem… I am completely and utterly obsessed with books!

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Being a paperback lover I couldn’t resist the thought of a paperback sale… in fact, who could?! Quite often I’ve found book sales are inundated with the same titles (unfortunately either ones I’ve loved and slightly want to cry that no one else has yet picked up the copy, or ones that I simply don’t fancy).

UNTIL THIS WEEKEND. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a book sale more. My mum had to sit me down and encourage me to put some back, and by some I mean 10 (mainly as we’ve long run out of space at home).

Tuesday’s with Morrie has been on my TBR list practically since the beginning of time. I always come across every other book Mitch Albom has written at book sales, all of which refer on their covers to the No 1 International Bestseller which is Tuesday’s with Morrie so I couldn’t be happier to pick it up finally!

Shantaram has been recommended by more friends than I’ve had roast dinners (sorry Mum). A Man Called Ove, I Let You Go, The Charming Man and Sharp Objects also all feature on my TBR so I definitely did very well there.

The rest for me were slight risks as it was far too manic at the sale to check reviews online! Gone Astray and Second Life look like my type of psychological thriller, and I also read and loved SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep, so am very excited to see how this compares. The rest of my picks were all from existing authors that I know I enjoy.

This stash should definitely keep me going for a while. I’m also aiming for 52 books in 52 weeks this year as my Goodreads Challenge, so whilst Shantaram may take over a week to get through (work dependant), I’m hoping these books will help me reach my target! If you’ve read any of the above please let me know your thoughts 🙂

The Midnight Reader xo

Review… The Breakdown – B. A. Paris

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?31450633

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

OH MY GOD. I’ve just finished reading and my heart is literally still racing. For any one that loves a thrilling read… this is one for you.

As anyone who often reads a psychological thriller does, you suspect everyone, you change your mind constantly over who you fear the most and more often that not (well usually for me anyway)… you’re wrong!

I felt this book was perfectly written. I never felt bored or that the story was drawn out and quite honestly don’t think I’ve read faster than the last 25% when it all starts to unravel.

I read B.A. Paris’s Behind Closed Doors last summer and thought it was brilliant also (not sure how that slipped through the review system), which is why when The Breakdown appeared as a suggested buy for Kindle I couldn’t resist. I’m only disappointed in myself I let it sit on my TBR shelf for so long!

I think I might take a little hiatus from thrillers though… my fragile heart can’t take it!

FIVE STARS (I wish I could give more)… a definite recommendation (along with Behind Closed Doors if you haven’t already!)

star!star!star!star!star!

The Midnight Reader xo

Review… The Truth About Julia – Anna Schaffner

28935453.jpgIn June 2014, Julia White – a beautiful and intelligent young woman – blows up a coffee shop in central London, killing twenty-four people before turning herself in to the police. Apart from publishing a potentially ironic manifesto, she refuses to explain the reasons for her actions…Clare Hardenberg, an investigative journalist, has been commissioned to write a biography of Julia but at the start of the novel she is on her way to prison herself. What has brought her to this point?

I quite spontaneously decided this year to up my Goodreads Challenge and I’m (trying) to complete 52 books in 52 weeks! According to Goodreads, I’m on track so fingers crossed I can keep this up.

In a battle to reach my 52 books, I’ve been looking out for some gripping psychological thrillers as I always find these to be the easiest (and quickest) of reads.

I believe The Truth About Julia was a kindle daily deal that I couldn’t resist. I felt with all the terrible acts going on in the World, this felt like a timely read.

Being entirely honest, I found the book didn’t flow well and that I struggled to understand who had the narrative (as this jumps back and forth with no written indication of who is speaking). I felt the book dragged for 95% and then suddenly was wrapped up in a bit of a UM WHAT ending!

I wouldn’t class this as a psychological thriller, in fact I wouldn’t say the novel was thrilling in the slightest. It covers some very interesting and sensitive topics, and this I felt it did well, I just didn’t feel it was anything special.

3 stars for an average read…

star!star!star!

The Midnight Reader xo

Review… The Gingerbread House – Kate Beaufoy

“Nestled among cherry trees in a picturesque country garden, the Gingerbread House resembles an illustration from an old-world storybook. But beware! For in the fairy-tale, that’s where the witch lives…33555490

Away from the city, with no distractions, the Gingerbread House seems like the perfect place to start work on a novel. That’s what former advertising copywriter Tess thinks when she goes there to live with Eleanor, her aged mother-in-law. But Eleanor is suffering from dementia, and caring for her proves tougher than Tess could ever have imagined: feeling increasingly isolated, her only comfort is wine o’clock and weekend visits from her husband. Meanwhile her teenage daughter Katia is helpless to intercede; in the end she can only watch as things fall apart and a tragedy even closer to home surfaces.

The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving novel: a compassionate and occasionally wickedly funny tale of a family’s agonising struggle with dementia.”

The Gingerbread House is told by Katia, a daughter unable to speak, who is forced to move with her mother to care for her elderly grandmother. I felt the book cleverly portrayed the difficulties a carer goes through dealing with someone with dementia, however it didn’t necessarily make for a thrilling read, merely quite a lot of uninteresting repetition. I certainly wouldn’t have said it was a thrilling or humerous read as it’s claimed to be.

I came away quite disappointed. Having read the few reviews online (this was only published 2 March 2017), which make it out to be marvellous, giving the book great praise and commenting that they were unable to put it down, I sadly couldn’t agree less. Don’t get me wrong, I empathised massively with the carer, but it didn’t motivate me to read on, if anything it sent me to sleep (twice). HOWEVER, (whilst wanting to remain free of spoilers) the end does nicely tie everything together, leaving the questions I raised whilst reading answered, which became a redeeming feature.

I found it quite hard to rate this book as for most of it I felt like I was finishing it for the sake of it. The ending does save it though and brings everything together nicely so I’ve settled on 3 stars although I don’t think this will be one to recommend …

star!star!star!

The Midnight Reader xo

Review… Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

“Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…

A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly?

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:BLL

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.”

Big Little Lies is a brilliantly written book that kept me engaged the whole way through. The novel is based on a murder, which is teased right from the outset on the big “Trivia Night” but despite this, and the entire book leading up to the big reveal, I was still a little surprised!

The story is told through multiple characters, in particular the three main mothers, who quickly start to feel familiar to you as you progress through the chapters. The book definitely seemed longer than most of the other novels I’ve read lately but I felt this all added to my overall impression as I never once felt bored.

The story covers some deep and dark topics, including domestic violence, murder and bullying, yet still includes moments of romance and also comedy so quite frankly this is a perfect all rounder that I’ll be recommending to friends!

I’m yet to watch the HBO mini-series so definitely think this will be moving high up on my list of things to watch!

5 Stars for a gripping read…

star!star!star!star!star!

The Midnight Reader xo

Review… The Outcast – Sadie Jones

“Sussex, 1957. Lewis is nineteen, straight out of jail, and stands alone at a railway station.2054504

He’s returned to the village where he grew up: the village where, a decade earlier, tragedy tore his family apart, leaving him to a troubled adolescence with a father he barely knew.

Now, the only person who understands him is Kit Carmichael, daughter of a bullying local businessman. Through the pain and isolation of their shared childhood comes love and loyalty – and soon they realise that to forge their own futures, they must first confront the darkest secrets of their past.”

So I picked up a second hand copy of The Outcast from a local book sale, as who could resist a book described as “riveting”, “devastatingly good” and “gripping”??

Unfortunately I couldn’t agree less with the reviewers. This book without a doubt has been the biggest struggle for me to finish. I’m quite principled with wanting to finish every book I start, and the hype given to this novel made me think I’d maybe judged the book too soon, but BOY was I right.

The Outcast covers some very taboo topics including self-harm, incest and abuse, but I really struggled to engage with the characters and felt the book overall lacked any climax or tension. I guess basically, this is not a recommendation and more of a shock that this received a Costa First Novel Prize.

If it’s any constellation, the ending does save it slightly as I felt it brought everything together, rather than leaving the reader on a cliff hanger but overall I think it would have to be 2 stars for an unfortunately average read…

star!star!

The Midnight Reader xo

Review…The One We Fell In Love With – Paige Toon

 

“Even though identical triplets Pheobe, Eliza, and Rose look exactly alike, they couldn’t be more different from one another.

Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?710qxik4odl

Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they all fell in love with…and now sisterhood and sibling rivalry just got very complicated.”

This is my first Paige Toon read and it certainly hasn’t disappointed.

The One We Fell in Love With is a very addictive read that had me completely hooked. The last 100 pages had me smiling, sobbing and then left me quite bittersweet. Quite a lot happened which was unexpected with plot twists at the perfect moments to keep you reading, which is no doubt what kept me so captive.

I love how it jumps between the sisters points of view, which as identical triplets who all fell in love with the same man, makes you truly experience how they all felt separately and what they all thought of their sisters also.

I’ve read many reviews that are quite mixed, with some saying this is her best yet and others saying it lacks her normal style so I’m definitely looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into some of her other reads to make up my own mind!

Five stars for a wonderful read…
star!star!star!star!star!

The Midnight Reader xo