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 – 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 »

August Reading Wrap-Up

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 »

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- 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 »

Book Review- Sold

201114Title- Sold
Author- Patricia McCormick
Published-  2013
Genre- Literary fiction, YA
Length- 278 pages
Rating- 4/5
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 »

Book Review- Little Deaths

33911791Title- Little Deaths
Author- Emma Flint
Published-  January 2017
Genre- Crime, literary fiction
Length- 307 pages
Rating- 3.5/5
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 »

Book Review- Crazy Rich Asians

17027880Title- Crazy Rich Asians
Author- Kevin Kwan
Published-  2013
Genre- Contemporary
Length- 416 pages
Rating- 3.5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Review- This book is ok, it has some funny moments and mildly surprising moments, but it’s nothing to go nuts over.Read More »