Thursday, 13 August 2020

From The Review Pile (97)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Breaking The Silence!
I would really love to read some books by Diane Chamberlain. As readers of this blog will know, one of my favourite authors is Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain is often hailed as the nearest comparison. I've a couple of Chamberlain's books on my shelves and I would like to read more of them soon. The stories sound very captivating. Although they all sound great, Breaking the Silence sounds like the most intriguing offering to me.


Breaking The Silence by Diane Chamberlain
Paperback, 407 pages
Published 17th December 2010 by Mira 

“My husband shot himself in our bedroom. When I got home, Emma was standing at the bottom of the stairs, screaming.”

Since that awful day, Laura Brandon’s little girl hasn’t uttered a word. When a psychiatrist suggests that Emma won’t talk because she’s terrified of men, Laura is guilt-ridden. To help Emma, she needs to know what unspeakable secret lies behind her husband’s suicide.

Laura thought her family was perfect, but her quest leads her to a shocking truth. For her child’s sake, should her father’s sins be kept silent?

For fans of JODI PICOULT, this is a must read.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

The Donor

The Donor by Helen Fitzgerald
Paperback, 320 pages

Published July 2011 by Faber Faber

Shelves
adult-fiction, crime-thriller-mystery, disliked, drink-and-drugs, let-down, medical-conditions, new-adult, read, read-in-2020, realistic-fiction

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:


The Donor, Helen FitzGerald's fifth novel, is a nail-biting psychological thriller about a single dad's horrorfying dilemma. Will, who has given up everything to raise his twin daughters, has a terrible choice to make when both girls suffer kidney failure age 16.

Should he save one child? If so, which one?


Should he buy a kidney - be an organ tourist?

Should he sacrifice himself?

Or is there a fourth solution - one so terrible it has never even crossed his mind?

Perfect for fans of Julia Crouch, Sophie Hannah and Laura Lippman, The Donor is a gripping thriller about a single dad faced with organ donation as his twin daughters battle to survive. 




You should never judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, when it comes to actual books, I'm afraid to say that I'm guilty of doing so and this The Donor attracted me on both counts. The title was enough to grab me, but after reading the blurb, I knew I just had to read it straight away. It's been said that this book is perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain and Sophie Hannah, all authors that I've enjoyed in the past. The premise sounded intriguing, it had so much potential, but sadly, this book didn't live up to my expectations at all.

It usually takes me a while to decide whether I like a book or not - I feel I should give them all a fair chance. It's rare that I take such a quick dislike to a book as much I did with this one. Initially, I wasn't a fan of the mix between first and third person narration but I did adjust to it quite quickly, so it didn't pose too much of an issue after I'd read through a quarter of the book. The main reason I didn't like the majority of this book was the pure 'trashiness' of it - I'm certainly not a prude or afraid of expletives but I felt that half of the things in this book were just thrown in for the sake of it.  The whole book was littered with random sex scenes and encounters which seemed to hold no purpose whatsoever, not even adding to character relationships or development. There wasn't a chapter that didn't hold a multitude of swearing either, none of which had any real impact as it was just too frequent. Even excusing those first two issues, I had to draw the line at the derogatory language that was used for absolutely no real reason - at the point where one character offhandedly called autistic people 'windowlickers' for absolutely no reason, I had to stop myself from throwing the book across the room. It honestly felt like there was a teenager writing this book, just throwing in anything that they could to be rebellious - this may have benefitted Georgie's narration but it wasn't appropriate for third person.

With a book like this, it's especially important to connect to the characters and feel for them. We're introduced to Will, the unsuccessful parent of Kay and Georgie with a penchant for weed, alcohol and S&M with a married woman who lives nearby. He's probably the most likeable character of them all, showing equal parts of desperation and love for the twins. The  twins, both in need of a donor, are polar opposites - Kay is the 'pretty', kind twin and Georgie is the twin that appears to shows only contempt and cruelness. Georgie's character seems to have more development than Kay as she is who narrates alternating chapters. Initially, I strongly disliked her but her character does develop slightly throughout the book. The other characters include Preston, a strange but admittedly intriguing character who is tasked with searching for the mother of the twins, Cynthia, a relentless drug addict with absolutely no redeeming qualities, and her equally dislikable partner, Heath.  

Despite my issues with this book, it was a page-turner - it was very easy to read and it didn't have any long or drawn out sections - it didn't become boring, which is an extremely positive point. I got through The Donor very quickly in only a couple of sittings. The book did keep me entertained during the last half in particular. Whilst some of the occurrences in the book seemed slapstick and ridiculous, as simple entertainment, the action and the twists in the book weren't disappointing and kept me reading on, despite my issues with the writing. I believe that the bare bones of a good story are in this book, but unfortunately it's just not quite developed as it should be. Disappointing, but this was likely mostly due to my preconceptions. 


Thursday, 6 August 2020

From The Review Pile (96)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase The Green Mile!
Believe it or not, I am yet to read a Stephen King novel. As someone who loves anything to do with crime and prison-set novels, I think that The Green Mile will be the most appropriate first choice for me. I did watch the film adaptation years ago and really enjoyed it so I'm pretty sure that this will be with hit with me. I have a copy of this at the forefront of my bookshelf and I'm determined to finally  read it soon!



The Green Mile by Stephen King
Hardback, 453 pages
Published 10th September 1999 by Orion

At Cold Mountain Penitentiary, along the lonely stretch of cells known as the Green Mile, condemned killers such as 'Billy the Kid' Wharton and the possessed Eduard Delacroix await death strapped in 'Old Sparky'. But good or evil, innocent or guilty, prisoner or guard, none has ever seen the brutal likes of the new prisoner, John Coffey, sentenced to death for raping and murdering two young girls. Is Coffey a devil in human form? Or is he a far, far different kind of being?

There are more wonders in heaven and hell than anyone at Cold Mountain can imagine and one of those wonders might just have stepped in amongst them

Keep Her Quiet

Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis
Paperback, 432 pages

Expected Publication 17th September 2020 by Black Swan - eBook released today!

Shelves
 adult-fiction, arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, favourites, read, read-in-2020, realistic-fiction, really-good

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:


Jenny has just given birth to the baby she’s always wanted. She’s never been this happy.

Her husband, Leo, knows this baby girl can’t be his. He’s never felt so betrayed.

The same night, a vulnerable young woman, Hannah, wakes to find her newborn lifeless beside her. She’s crazed with grief.

When chance throws Hannah into Leo’s path, they make a plan that will have shattering consequences for all of them.

Years later, a sixteen-year-old girl reads an article in a newspaper, and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about herself. But what she learns will put everything she has ever known – and her own life – in grave danger. Because some people will go to desperate lengths to protect the secrets their lives are built on . . .





Books like this one are exactly why I read. This is a book that from the first few pages, I didn't want to put down. It's very rare for me to instantly become hooked into a book, but this one managed that with ease. Author Fanny Blake made a quote about this book - "This is grip-lit at it's best" - and I could not agree more.

Initially, I was intrigued by the premise of this book after watching the TV adaptation of another book, The Secrets She Keeps. The story had some similar ideas and after enjoying the TV show, I thought I might like reading about what sounded like a similar story. For those who were fans of that drama, you will certainly be gripped and enjoy this story - likely even more so. Whilst there were some similarities between the stories, this one was certainly original and had an even more interesting, multifaceted storyline which was more consuming. I would absolutely love to see this one adapted to TV or film one day.

It's quite hard to review this book without giving away any spoilers which I don't want to do - the book runs on tension and suspense. The entire book has substance, full of revelations and some twists and turns which genuinely made my jaw drop. There is so much that goes on in this book but it's never confusing, just exciting. The story is a real page-turner and the story is full of so many mixed emotions. The characters felt realistic and complex, particularly Leo, who was the real stand-out character in this book, in my opinion. Leo is a character unlike any other I've read about, he is so realistic and has such a complex, interesting psychology. Curtis has managed to create several realistic characters, all feeling very human, vulnerable and flawed in their own individual ways. 

After such an impressive, eventful story, I was curious as to how all of the events would be concluded. There was an epilogue to this book, which I was a little hesitant about but I am glad to say that it worked well and I was pleased with the ending of the book, most things were wrapped up - thankfully, it wasn't done idealistically, it felt realistic yet was still conclusive. I am so impressed that nothing fell short in this book - the storyline, the characters, the conclusion, everything seemed fantastically done.

Overall, as you can probably tell by my gushing review, this is a book that I will recommend to everyone. We all need something to entertain and distract us from the real world right now and this certainly does that. I can't wait to read more by Emma Curtis. An instant five stars - go and pre-order/buy this now!

Keep Her Quiet is released as an e-Book today!