Book Review – In a Dark Dark Wood

23346377Title- In a Dark Dark Wood
Author- Ruth Ware
Published-  2015
Genre- thriller, mystery
Length- 354 pages
Rating- 2.5/5
Synopsis (Amazon) – Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back.

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage – the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her.

But something goes wrong.

Very wrong.

And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.

Review – I have no idea why this “thriller” is so hyped, there is absolutely nothing thrilling about it.Read More »

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Book Review – Orphan Train

15818107Title- Orphan Train
Author- Christina Baker Kline
Published-  2014
Genre- Historical fiction, literary fiction
Length- 320 pages
Rating- 4.5/5
Synopsis (Amazon) – Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Review – I really enjoyed this book!

The main character is Vivian and her story is told both in the past, and in the present, where it intertwines with Molly’s story. For quite a bit of the book I thought there wasn’t much point to Molly, Vivian’s story could be told without her, albeit in a different way. Molly does however serve a purpose towards the end of the book! The inclusion of Molly makes this come across as a YA book, which apparently it isn’t meant to be. If it wasn’t for that I would have probably given it 5/5.Read More »

Book Review – The Breakdown

31450633Title- The Breakdown
Author- B.A. Paris
Published-  Feb 2017
Genre- Fiction, thriller, mystery, psychological
Length- 384 pages
Rating- 4.25/5
Synopsis (Goodreads) – 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…

Review – This probably isn’t quite as good as Behind Closed Doors but it is still pretty great.Read More »

Book Review – After Me Comes the Flood

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Title- After Me Comes the Flood
Author- Sarah Perry
Published-  2014
Genre- Fiction
Length- 232 pages
Rating- 1.5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads) –One hot summer’s day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind.

He shuts up the bookshop no one ever comes to and drives out of London. When his car breaks down and he becomes lost on an isolated road, he goes looking for help, and stumbles into the grounds of a grand but dilapidated house.

Its residents welcome him with open arms – but there’s more to this strange community than meets the eye. They all know him by name, they’ve prepared a room for him, and claim to have been waiting for him all along.

As nights and days pass John finds himself drawn into a baffling menagerie. There is Hester, their matriarchal, controlling host; Alex and Claire, siblings full of child-like wonder and delusions; the mercurial Eve; Elijah – a faithless former preacher haunted by the Bible; and chain-smoking Walker, wreathed in smoke and hostility. Who are these people? And what do they intend for John?

Review – The synopsis for the book sounds really interesting but the actual story sucks, in fact there isn’t really a story.Read More »

Book Review – You

25161131Title- You
Author- Caroline Kepnes
Published-  2015
Genre- Fiction, thriller, crime
Length- 432 pages
Rating- 3.5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads) – When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Review – So the point of this book is basically that unlike most stalker books that are told from the point of view of the victim, this story is told from the point of view of the stalker. It’s a nice idea.Read More »

Book Review – Good Me, Bad Me

25365530Title- Good Me, Bad Me
Author- Ali Land
Published-  August 10th 2017
Genre- Fiction, thriller, crime, YA
Length- 352 pages
Rating- 3/5
Synopsis (Goodreads) – Good Me Bad Me is dark, compelling, voice-driven psychological suspense by debut author Ali Land.

How far does the apple really fall from the tree?

Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.

Review – I received this from the publisher so thank you to them.

Technically this doesn’t seem to be classified as YA on Amazon etc as far as I can see but it definitely is. The main character is a teenager, the writing is very simplistic, lots of chat about things at school and other teen things, definite YA as far as I am concerned. I generally don’t like YA much but I like this more than most, perhaps because although the standard YA teen issues were there, they weren’t the main focus of the book.Read More »

Book Review- The Stanford Law Chronicles

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Title- The Stanford Law Chronicles, Doin’ time on the Farm
Author- Alfredo Mirande
Published-  2006
Genre- Non-fiction
Length- 352 pages
Rating- 2/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- In the midst of a long and distinguished academic career, Alfredo Mirandé left his position as professor of sociology and chair of ethnic studies at the University of California, Riverside, to attend law school at Stanford University. This book is both an extraordinary chronicle of the events in his life that led him to make this dramatic change and a comprehensive, first-person account of the law school experience, written by a person of color. Mirandé delivers a powerful and moving critique of the obstacles he encountered and of systematic attempts to strip him of his identity and culture. He also reflects on the implications of an increasing number of women and minority law school students for law and legal education.

Covering all three years at Stanford, Mirandé describes the elitism and rigid hierarchies he encountered in the classroom and his resulting alienation and frustration. He also discusses law review, the Immigration Clinic where he successfully represented his first client, and the alternative Lawyering for Social Change curriculum that became a haven in an otherwise hostile environment. Interspersed with his account of law school are autobiographical snapshots and experiences, including that of the death of his brother, Héctor, which was the catalyst for his decision to pursue his childhood dream of attending law school and becoming a lawyer. This controversial book is certain to spark lively debate.

Review- I actually gave up on this book about 40 pages from the end because I just couldn’t take the whining anymore. The first few chapters were ok, hence the 2/5 rating rather than something lower, but as the book went on it just got worse and worse until it became unbearable. Read More »

Book Review- Where She Went

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Title- Where She Went
Author- B.E. Jones
Published-  March 2017
Genre- Crime, mystery, thriller
Length- 304 pages
Rating- 2.75/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- TV journalist Melanie Black wakes up one morning next to a man she doesn’t recognise. It’s not the first time – but he ignores her even though she’s in his bed. Yet when his wife walks in with a cup of tea he greets her with a smile and to her horror, Melanie comes to realise that no one can see or her hear her – because she is dead.

But has she woken up next to her murderer? And where is her body? Why is she an invisible and uninvited guest in a house she can’t leave; is she tied to this man forever? Is Melanie being punished in some way, or being given a chance to make amends?

As she begins to piece together the last days of her life and circumstances leading up to her own death it becomes clear she has to make a choice: bring her killer to justice, or wreak her own punishment out to the man who murdered her.

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

This book has a few problems but the one that really bothered me, and is the main reason for the low rating, is the main character’s personality. She (Mel) is a bitch, an absolute bitch. She is also whiny and immature. The wife in this is clearly being abused and Mel is not only unsympathetic, but she blames her and deliberately causes her problems thus putting her in danger, as she knows her husband is a murderer. Only a psychopath does that, and that isn’t what this book is supposed to be about. I find this issue really concerning, Mel’s response to the abuse is not normal for the western world, and it makes me wonder if these are the views of the author, if she is deliberately trying to be controversial, or if she is just a bad writer? This personality issue nearly made me stop reading the book pretty early on, I have never hated a fictional character the way I hate Mel. The personality is actually also a little inconsistent. It’s pretty heavy going for the first half but then softens a little before worsening again. It’s not even as a result of any of the “events” in the book either, it’s just bad writing. The husband’s personality is a little inconsistent too but that’s less obvious.Read More »

Book Review- What They Teach You At Harvard Business School

4306637Title- What They Teach You at Harvard Business School
Author- Philip Delves Broughton
Published-  2009
Genre- Non-fiction
Length- 283 pages
Rating- 3.75/5
Synopsis (Amazon)-  When Philip Delves Broughton abandoned his career as a successful journalist and enrolled in Harvard Business School’s prestigious MBA course, he joined 900 other would-be tycoons in a cauldron of capitalism. Two years of Excel shortcuts and five hundred of HBS’s notorious business case studies lay ahead of him, but he couldn’t have told you what OCRA was, other than a vegetable, or whether discount department stores make more money than airlines.

He did, however, know that HBS’s alumni appeared to be taking over the world. The US president, the president of the World Bank, the US treasury secretary, the CEOs of General Electric, Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble – all were bringing HBS experience to the way they ran their banks, businesses and even countries. And with the prospect of economic enlightenment before him, he decided to see for himself exactly what they teach you at Harvard Business School.

Philip Delves Broughton’s hilarious and enlightening account of his experiences within Harvard Business School’s hallowed walls provides an extraordinary glimpse into a world of case study conundrums, guest lectures, Apprentice-style tasks, booze luging, burn-outs and high flyers. And with HBS alumni heading the very global governments, financial institutions and FTSE 500 companies whose reckless love of deregulation and debt got us into so much trouble, he discovers where HBS really adds value – and where it falls disturbingly short.

Review- So, this is not the type of book I would normally read and I only picked it up because my husband left it lying around, I have no desire to ever get an MBA! I did however, enjoy the book.Read More »

Book Review- The Cider House Rules

51mIqtmmJ6L._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_Title- The Cider House Rules
Author- John Irving
Published-  1986
Genre- Literary fiction, contemporary
Length- 684 pages
Rating- 5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Raised from birth in the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage.

Review- After reading and loving A Prayer for Owen Meany I was a bit scared to read more John Irving in case I didn’t like it, I didn’t want John Irving to be ruined for me! Anyway eventually I gave in and picked this up, and I loved it. Read More »