Sunday, 11 June 2017

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins


Into the Water

Into the Water is the second novel by Paula Hawkins following her hugely successful debut The Girl on the Train. This new book is different in that it doesn't focus on one main character but on several who all live in the same small town.


Nel Abbott is found dead in the river but she isn't the first; it wasn't long ago that her teenage daughter's best friend also lost her life in the area known locally as 'The Drowning Pool' and there have been others. Some victims go as far back as the Witchfinder Trials and Nel was obsessed by them all, so much so that she was writing a book on the subject. Nel is thought to have jumped to her death but her estranged sister Jules, who has returned to her home town to look after her niece, doesn't believe this is the case.


Secrets and mysteries abound among the residents of the town which made the story compelling.  I've read in some other reviews that there are too many characters that made the story confusing. This almost put me off from reading it but I'm glad I did. I didn't find this to be an issue at all, each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the characters and it soon became clear to me who was who and I was gripped from the start. Definitely worth a read, just don't go into it expecting The Girl on the Train 2 as this is a different style of novel, I'm already eagerly awaiting her third.

Rating: 4 out of 5









Friday, 17 February 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays - The Doll Funeral

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.


My book beginning this week is from The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer:


My thirteenth birthday and I became a hunter for souls.

I knew the moment that Mum called me something was going to happen. I heard it in her voice. 


The Doll Funeral 



My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They're not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I'm supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.

But there are things I won't say. I won't tell them I'm going to hunt for my real parents. I don't say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.

I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he'd give me a medal for lying.

I wasn't lying. I'm a hunter for lost souls and I'm going to be with my real family. And I'm not going to let Mick stop me.



Friday, 27 January 2017

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is

Book Description

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time - and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?



My Thoughts

I've been hearing about this book for a while and there has been a lot of hype online, I was surprised at first as it took me a little while to get into. I think it was simply because I found all the characters and family members that were introduced early on confusing, once they'd all clicked with me though I was enthralled.


The family are all wonderful and Claude wanting to be Poppy is never an issue for them. It felt like it would be a great household to grow up in, a home full of love and compassion. I couldn't help but root for Poppy throughout the story, hoping that everything would work out alright for her in the end.

This is a novel with a powerful message, one with some heartbreaking moments but overall one that is warm and sometimes funny.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Thanks to Headline and Netgalley for a copy in return for an honest review.





Friday, 6 January 2017

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Swimming Lessons

Ingrid went missing from a Dorset beach twelve years ago and is presumed to have drowned. She left behind her husband Gil, who is an author with one famous novel to his name, and their daughters Nan and Flora. Flora was only ten years old when her mother disappeared and has always believed that she's alive.


Gil thinks he sees Ingrid but then has an accident causing both daughters to return to the family home to look after him, his possible sighting is put down to old age and ill health.


The story is beautifully told, both in the present day and the past. The latter in the form of letters that Ingrid wrote to her husband and left hidden in the many books inside their house by the sea. Truths, infidelities and tragedies are gradually revealed and I was gripped. This was a clever way of letting us learn about the characters and their marriage and it worked extremely well.


I enjoyed the author's first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days and Swimming Lessons is even better.



Rating: 5 out of 5



Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books (UK) for my review copy.


Publication date: 26th January 2017 



Monday, 2 January 2017

The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry

The Dry is set in the small country Australian town of Kiewarra. It hasn't rained there for two years, the severe drought leaving tensions high for the community. This has been made worse by the murders of the Hadler family, thought by local police to have been carried out by the husband/father of the victims who then committed suicide.

Policeman Aaron Falk has returned to his childhood town for the funeral of his best friend Luke. Luke's parents don't believe that he was capable of such a brutal crime and Aaron stays to look into what happened. This isn't the only mystery, years ago their friend Ellie drowned and her father has always blamed Aaron.


The two story threads and secrets from the present and past made this novel a compelling read. It grabbed my interest from the off and held it all the way through to the very end. The Dry is well written and heartbreaking in parts, if you enjoy crime fiction you won't be disappointed. 


Rating: 4 out of 5 


Publication date: 12th January 2017

Thanks to Little Brown and Netgalley for a copy in return for an honest review.