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review 2018-12-08 23:50
Red Clocks (aka wtf am I reading?)
Red Clocks: A Novel - Leni Zumas

DNFed at page 43. 

 

First, let me talk about the writing style. Nobody is given a name right off. They are known by their occupations: biographer, mender, daughter, etc. And that is how they are constantly referred to. In its efforts to be edgy and unique, it is bizarre and hard to follow. The writing goes from straight forward to flowery and almost high. The chapters are interspersed with excerpts from a book the biographer was writing about a 160 year old female explorer, and they seemed to have nothing to do with the book itself. Unless they were so deep in meaning I couldn't grasp them. 

 

The background history is that the U.S. got a whacko president that enacted the Personhood Amendment, which means a fetus (or even just the initial cluster of cells) has rights from conception. Invitro is outlawed because a fetus cannot concent to implantation. Abortionists can be charged with second degree murder, and anyone wanting one can be charged with conspiracy. There is also the "Every Child Needs Two" act, which means nobody can adopt unless they are in a marriage. Single parent adoption is illegal.

 

That sounds unique, right? (And a little scary, given the way some uber-Republicans are acting). But I take issue with the whole concept of the Personhood Amendment. If it's all about a fetus' rights, then it sort of defeats itself. A fetus cannot even concent to birth, so unless the clump of mindless cells stays just that way, it is a moot point. What if the baby didn't want to be born but was anyway? We could even go so far as to say the soul didn't want to be conceived. It's a slippery, ridiculous slope. 

 

And the illegal adoption stuff is also stupid. We have far too many children in foster care for me to ever halfway believe this would come to fruition. This book seems to want me to believe every Democrat and Independent in the country suddenly disappeared and we also gave up our constitutional rights to autonomy. 

 

This books wants so badly to be different and fancy, but it's putting lipstick on a pig. It's a hot mess. None of the characters were likeable. The writing was like a tangled Christmas light strand. It's some sort of feminist wannabe. I love feminism. I hate this book.

 

Shitty writing + very unbelievable plot = resale pile

 

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review 2018-06-21 16:13
Wade in the Water, by Tracy K. Smith
Wade in the Water - Tracy K. Smith

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith's Wade in the Water is her most recent collection and the first I've read. I think it makes an excellent introduction to her work and wouldn't be a bad place to start if you're new to contemporary poetry. She does not intimidate, nor does her language obfuscate.

 

The two middle sections engaged me most. The first mines the Civil War era past and makes use of erasure and historical and primary sources in a way that both gives the suffering of African Americans at the time specificity and voice while absolutely illuminating continued injustices in the present. The second also makes poetry out of found materials to focus on contemporary issues such as the environment and racist violence. However, the poems don't attack; they feel like they come from a place of hope.

 

A book I'm sure I'll come back to soon, after I read her other collections, of course. :)

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review 2018-05-11 17:04
After Birth, by Elisa Albert
After Birth - Elisa Albert

As we approach Mother's Day in the U.S., pop culture has lately been reassuring me that my decision to never have children is a good one.

 

Most recently, I went to see the movie Tully, in which a woman who's just had her third child struggles to sleep and care for herself until finally she relents and accepts her brother's gift of a night nanny. Life for her improves markedly, perhaps magically (for a reason).

 

Inspired by Tully, I consciously chose to read After Birth. Might as well ride this wave of mother-related trauma, I thought. The novel follows Ari, a first time mother, over the course of three months, her son just turning one. It flashes back to when she was pregnant, endured what she feels was a needless C-section, and when what is likely to be post-partum depression ensues.

 

In its bitterness, its sometimes funny rants and ambivalence about Jewish identity, After Birth felt of a piece with Albert's first novel, The Book of Dahlia, which I read last year. I admired that book for its stubbornly unforgiving protagonist, dying of brain cancer. Similarly, Ari's often caustic, volatile voice, her resentment at modern birth practices and various mothering cliques, as well as the unnecessary isolation of motherhood, was often refreshing to read. Sometimes, however, it became a bit much for me.

 

Ari wrestles with her past, doomed relationships with other women, including her mean mother, who died of cancer when she was young, former friends, roommates, lovers. In the present, she befriends and helps a new mom who was in a seminal feminist band. This relationship enables Ari to "grow up," to perhaps become less judgmental or bitter about the women in her life, and those who may become a part of her life.

 

Like everything else, motherhood in the U.S. has become commodified, both as an inextricable part of the health care industry and as a way to sell "stuff" that mothers have done without for ages. The most valuable, engaging aspect of After Birth is the insistence that, however individual birth plans and approaches to mothering may be, women are not meant to raise children on their own (whether there's a man or not); we're meant to help each other.

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review 2018-01-19 21:49
Emma in the Night (needs a flashlight)
Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

...to find her way thru this complicated mess.

 

I was tempted to lower my rating to 2 stars, but I decided I would leave it at 3. I did enjoy it...mostly. It only had 1 grammatical error. And I finished it within 3 days. So, 3 stars.

 

Now, for the negatives: poorly written. Convoluted. Couldn't follow some of the characters' trains of thought. The switching between 1st and 3rd person. And even at the end I couldn't fully tell what had really happened to some of the story. 

 

Emma was a nightmare sister. Cass became one herself, so I couldn't relate to her or feel sympathy. And she was written to be far too intelligent for a teenager. The side characters were extremes: polarizingly blind and stupid or too involved and conveniently similar to Cass. 

 

I only finished this because I genuinely wanted to know what happened to Emma, the Pratts, and Rick. The curveball at the end was ridiculous. 

 

The book wasn't all bad. It was just juvenile and not original. It was more like an average episode of SVU. 

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review 2017-06-26 03:24
The Child
The Child - Fiona Barton
ISBN: 978-1101990483
Publisher: Berkley 
Publication Date: 6/27/2017 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

Join Me June 27 Blog Tour Host

Fiona Barton returns following her award-winning debut The Widow, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with a riveting follow-up, THE CHILD — as readers catch up with journalist Kate from the first book.

From love and loss, a character-driven intense psychological suspense tale of three women. Emotional destruction — dark secrets and lies are exposed, a whodunit mystery keeping readers glued the pages to the twisty finale!

You can bury the story . . . but you can’t hide the truth.

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” — Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Kate Waters, a journalist was bored. She needed a story. She soon finds an intriguing case and she will not stop until she writes the story and solves the mystery.

Headlined “Baby’s Body Found.”

An infant’s skeleton had been unearthed on a building site in Woolwich near London. The police were investigating. No other details. She tore it out of the paper to save for later as she often does when running across a potential story.

Who is the baby and how did it die? Who would bury a baby? How could anyone kill a baby?

When checking with the authorities she found newborns were tricky when it came to DNA especially if they have been underground for years.

Kate loved a glint of something in the dark. Someone to absorb her totally. Something to sink her teeth into. Anything to get her out of the office. She is obsessed with finding out the name of this baby. She wants the story. The Building Site Baby. Who drove someone to bury a baby?

 

 



From alternating POVs, we hear from Kate and the three women: Emma Simmonds, Jude Massingham, and Angela Irving. (enjoyed the way each section is clearly defined).

Angela’s newborn daughter went missing some 28 years earlier. Every March 20 she would cry, thinking of Alice’s birthday. She had less than twenty-four hours with her. The dread would come each year before the baby’s birthday. She could not put the painful memories behind her.

Emma suffers from anxiety and depression from her past. She knows that a secret takes on a life of its own. She must protect her secret. She will keep it safe.

“I’ve always thought that’s a funny saying. Let sleeping dogs lie. Because sleeping dogs always wake up eventually, don’t they?”



Angela soon calls Kate to find out more. Could this be her daughter? She has never given up hope her daughter would one day be found.

Jude had been a single mom in the late seventies trying to forge a new career with a child to look after, but the rent was cheap. It did not matter where she lived, she was caught in her own little world. She threw Jude out of the house when she was sixteen, choosing her boyfriend Will over her daughter.

How does this current tragedy connect these three women? Secrets threaten current lives. A nameless child.

With alternating time periods (2012-2013) with flashbacks to the 70s-80s, Kate continues to dig deep to solve the mystery of the baby. She begins looking at old missing children cases from the 70’s to the mid-1990s. (Loved Kate from The Widow) and her tenacity!

 

 


Barton captivates readers with an enthralling page-turner, as addictive and intense as her debut. How well you know those closest to you?

A well-written slow-burning whodunit suspense mystery with depth, Barton once again shines, using her own career as a journalist to enhance the intensity and mystery of the Building Site Baby. Even though each of the women brings emotion to the story, the real mystery to be uncovered comes from the relationship between Emma and Jude and how this connects with Angela.

Highly recommend, both The Widow and The Child. For fans of Mary Kubica, B.A. Paris, Clare Mackintosh, and Ruth Ware. These talented ladies are TOP-Notch authors and enjoy their writing style.

Often a psychological suspense makes a big impact, even though they may not always be edge-of-your-seat fast paced action. I also enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind the novel.

A strong theme of motherhood with a twisty surprise ending. A mother who has not given up after forty-two years. Readers will be drawn into the lives of each of these women. Savor and unravel the mysterious puzzle, with many red herrings. The tension mounts and all the secrets and lies surface. Enjoy the journey.

Well-crafted, twisty, addictive, and intriguing. Can’t wait to see what comes next. . .

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

About the Author

 

My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist - senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.

But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.

 

The worm of my first book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew - or allowed themselves to know.

 

It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.

Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow was published in 36 countries and made the Sunday Times and New York Times Best Seller lists.

 

It gave me the confidence to write a second book ,The Child, in which I return to another story that had intrigued me as a journalist. It begins with the discovery of a newborn's skeleton on a building site. It only makes a paragraph in an evening newspaper but for three women it's impossible to ignore.

 

The Child will be published in June 2017 and I am embarking on my next novel. My husband and I are still living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Titch, crowing.  

 

Read More 

 

 

 

 

"The ultimate psychological thriller! Barton carefully unspools this dark, intimate tale of a terrible crime, a stifling marriage, and the lies spouses tell not just to each other, but to themselves in order to make it through. The ending totally blew me away!"  --Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author  

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/03/The-Child
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