Title- In a Dark Dark Wood
Author- Ruth Ware
Genre- thriller, mystery
Length- 354 pages
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.
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 »
Title- Orphan Train
Author- Christina Baker Kline
Genre- Historical fiction, literary fiction
Length- 320 pages
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 »
Title- The Stanford Law Chronicles, Doin’ time on the Farm
Author- Alfredo Mirande
Length- 352 pages
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 »
So, I have had a better month this month and have managed 6 books, I am also nearly done with another book. I have read a good variety this month in terms of genre too. One book took me quite a while to finish but not because I wasn’t reading, it was a long book and I started reading a second one sort of by accident when I was in the middle of it.
My ratings have varied quite a lot but thankfully the lower rated ones haven’t put me off reading like they have in the past.
I have been good about reviewing too, see the links!Read More »
Title- Where She Went
Author- B.E. Jones
Published- March 2017
Genre- Crime, mystery, thriller
Length- 304 pages
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 »
Title- What They Teach You at Harvard Business School
Author- Philip Delves Broughton
Length- 283 pages
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 »
Title- The Cider House Rules
Author- John Irving
Genre- Literary fiction, contemporary
Length- 684 pages
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 »
So, I accidentally started reading two books at once. Accidentally you say? Well, sort of. My husband had left a book lying around for a few months and it looked interesting so I picked it up just to quickly look at it. It turned out it was pretty good so I carried on reading it even though I was in the middle of another book.
Before this I have actively tried to read two books at the same time just once and I gave up pretty quickly. In that case I wasn’t really enjoying the book I was in the middle of so I thought starting another one would be a nice break and allow me to go back and enjoy the first one more. In the end I gave up on the first one pretty quickly after starting the second one. So, this leads me to wonder, how do people read two books at once regularly?
The online book community shows that a lot of people read multiple books at the same time really frequently but how does it work out? If you pick up two books, any two books, the chances are you will like one more than the other, so what stops you just giving up on the one you like the least like I did? Do you try to pick two you think you will like equally? If so how do you go about that? There are a couple of Mitch Albom books I would say I like equally but then there are a couple I like less than those ones, so even with the same author it can be hard to find books of equal interest to you. Read More »
Author- Patricia McCormick
Genre- Literary fiction, YA
Length- 278 pages
Synopsis (Amazon)- Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though they are desperately poor, Lakshmi’s life is full of simple pleasures: playing hopscotch with her best friend, looking after her black-and-white speckled goat, having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when Lakshmi’s family lose all that remains of their crops in a monsoon, her stepfather says she must leave home and take a job in the city. Lakshmi undertakes the long journey to India full of hope for her new life, proud to be able to earn, daring to hope that she will make enough money to make her mother proud too. Then she learns the unthinkable truth: for 10,000 rupees she has been sold into prostitution.
Review- Only after reading this did I realise it is considered YA. At first given the subject matter I was horrified, but actually, it is written in a fairly “tame” way. Provided you have no issue reading about the subject matter, the delivery won’t be a problem. This book isn’t graphic. It is very clear that forced prostitution is going on, it couldn’t be more clear, but there isn’t really a lot of description about it. Instead, how the main character feels about it all is the focus.Read More »
Title- Little Deaths
Author- Emma Flint
Published- January 2017
Genre- Crime, literary fiction
Length- 307 pages
Synopsis (Goodreads)- It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone–a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress–wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy’s body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.
As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth’s life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth’s little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman–and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children’s lives.
Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete’s interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there’s something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance–or is there something more sinister at play?
Review – This book is, in many ways, deeply upsetting, and I don’t just mean because of the dead kids.Read More »