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review 2018-06-21 08:51
A challenging but satisfying book written in a unique voice that deals in momentous and relevant themes.
Just: A heart stopping thriller, full of emotion and twists - Jenny Morton Potts

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are interested in getting your book reviewed, you can check here) and thank her and the author for providing me an ARC copy of her novel that I freely chose to review.

I had read great reviews of the author’s previous book Hiding and when I saw that her new novel was available, I knew I had to read it. I’ve been lucky with most of the books I’ve reviewed so far. I’ve read many good books in recent times. Some have been well-written and entertaining genre books (and I love a good genre book. There is something reassuring and satisfying about reading a book in a genre we like. We know what to expect, and we can be pleasantly surprised when the book pushes the boundaries of the genre or is an excellent example of it), some I would count among some of the best books I’ve read on a topic or genre, some have managed to mix different genres, sometimes even genres that seemed hardly compatible and have pulled it off beautifully, and there are some books that have surprised me, because they seemed to keep wrong-footing the readers, challenging them, and demanding their attention. They are not for easy consumption and they do not reassure. But they can be very rewarding. Just is one of these books.

This novel is told in the third person from a variety of points of view. We have women who cannot move on and let go (of past relationships, or their past and their families), and can at times seem pathetic and self-pitying, whilst at others, they will not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for those their love (at a great cost). We have men who are ridiculously devoted to women (a close friend they’ve known forever, or somebody they’ve worked with but hardly know anything about), hopelessly romantic, and willing to go to any lengths to “save” or “help” this women (who might or might not need saving).  There are friends and relatives who will keep secrets that will cost them dearly. All the characters have very distinct voices, and the reader needs to pay attention at all times, as the dialogues are dynamic, and the author rarely uses tags, so it can be a challenge to know who is talking at times, especially when new characters are introduced.

I’ve seen some comments about the book that mention that none of the characters are sympathetic. Leaving to one side personal preferences and the fact that unsympathetic or downright unlikeable characters can be protagonists as well, as long as they engage our curiosity (why are they as they are?, can we connect with them at some level, even if we don’t like what they do?), in this case it is clear that the author has carefully chosen how to tell the story, and this contributes to the way we feel.  Although the book is written in the third person (and that puts us in the role of the observer), we do see things from inside the heads of these characters, and, as we all are, they can be mean, cruel, egotistical, and truly annoying at times. Personally, I wanted to slap some of the characters sometimes, but there were some I quite liked, and by the end of the book, I definitely felt I had gained an understanding of most of them. As the book evolves we discover that we don’t know as much as we thought about all of these people, and only then do we realise how carefully constructed the novel is, and how its structure creates a whole that is much more than its parts.

The book touches upon important, controversial and difficult themes, both at a general, societal level (terrorism, emigration, wars, international aid and charities, adoption, indoctrination…) and at a more individual one (new models of family, friendship and love, letting go, romantic love, parenthood, family bonds…) and  I doubt any readers will remain indifferent to the plight of the protagonists. When I finished the book, I felt I had gained insight into subjects I had read about or seen in the news often, but the novel managed to make them feel much more personal and immediate.

There are wonderful settings (from Cambridgeshire to Libya), and scenes (beautiful and poignant) that I won’t forget. (I don’t think I’ll be able to look at shoes again the same way). The book is not evenly paced, and there are some contemplative moments, and some when we are taken from one scene to the next and left hanging on, trying to make sense of what just happened. A lot of the book deals in serious subjects but there are some light moments and plenty of humour, some witty, some dark, that bring some relief while underscoring the gravity of the issues at hand.  If some of the scenes might stretch the imagination and require suspension of disbelief (too romantic or contrived, or so I thought when I first read them), we are later obliged to re-evaluate them, we come to see them in a new light and they make sense.

I highlighted many sentences, but I thought I’d share a few:

Muduj had a weak stomach behind her strong heart.

Where once there were honey bees, now the metal drones buzz. Everything good has been replaced by manufactured evil.

Her body now was a foreign attachment to her head. Her heart was beating in her gums. Her eyes felt like transplants.

And so you don’t think it’s all very serious:

I always think it’s a worrying sign, when someone starts to read poetry.

I always recommend that prospective readers check a sample of the book to see if they feel it suits their taste, and this is especially true in this case. As I have warned, this novel treats in serious themes and is not a feel-good book (I will not discuss the ending, that I loved, but is not traditional, as it pertains such a book) for somebody looking for a light read. But if you are interested in discovering new talents and don’t mind harsh content (some sexual scenes as well) and are up for a challenge, this is a treat.

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review 2018-06-20 20:32
Review: Look for Me
Look for Me (D. D. Warren) - Lisa Gardner

Review - Look For Me

 

I received a copy from Netgalley 

 

This was something I received from one of those read it now for the first 100 members or so. Is usually like murder mysteries and police procedurals so this one caught my eye and I was lucky and quick enough to get in on the read it now. 

 

However, I didn't realise at the time it was book 9 in an on going detective series. I did flit through some of the mixed reviews on Goodreads and it looks like each book can be read as a stand alone, but of course, coming in on book 9 there's background history to the characters and things about on going relationships you're just not going to know. 

 

And frankly, the whole thing was kind of bland. The mystery itself was intriguing enough, a family is found murdered, working mom and her boyfriend, and two young children, the teenage daughter and the family dogs are missing. Is the daughter a victim for is she the suspect? And as the investigation continues the narrative is twisted so it could be either one. 

 

It's a tough case, and the family and the teen girl in question were the only characters I really felt anything for. The mom was a recovering alcoholic who lost her children and worked really hard to get them back. The oldest daughter was the one who took care of the family until CPS got involved and the kids were forced into care. The two sisters stayed together but they were separated from the youngest child, a new kind of hell to deal with. The girls went through a nightmare in the foster care group home they were assigned to. The mom pulled herself together met the legal requirements for having her kids returned to her. Life wasn't easy but it was getting better. They moved and started fresh. 

 

Then mom met a new boyfriend. A decent guy, but he lived in the area where the nightmare group home was. 

 

And now there is a tragedy. The two detectives have to piece together what happened to the family. I didn't get much feeling for either of the two detectives, everything felt - at least to me -  two dimensional, boring and wooden. The emotion came from the family drama, and some of the history of what happened to them learned through a series of essays written by the missing teenager about what family means to her. 

 

There's a second non-official investigator on the case, a woman called Flora, who seems to be some sort of victims' advocate. She survived a horrible tragedy herself (the plot of a previous book in the series) linking her with the detectives. She's struggling to cope but getting on with her life by running a support group for other victims. She was an interesting character, I am actually kind of interested in knowing more about Flora. She became a key part in solving the mystery and helping unravel the case.

 

The end was a bit eye rolling and over dramatic for my tastes . I'm not interested in going out and get all the other books in this series. I may try this author again in a different series. While the characters were a little dull, there was enough intrigue in the case itself to keep reading to know what happened. And I didn't actually guess what happened.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for the opportunity to view the title.

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text 2018-06-20 14:07
The Cypress House - 29/415 pg
The Cypress House - Michael Koryta

This is just not grabbing me. I don't know if it's the writing (I've never read Koryta before) or the story, but it's not a good sign that I'd rather watch and read about my last place Rangers playing mediocre baseball than read this book. I'll put some effort into it later today and power through to my minimum 50 pages before I decide whether or not to DNF. 

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quote 2018-06-19 21:50
“If he did,” I say, “Coop’s too much of a gentleman to make a big deal out of it.” “Gentleman?” Sam says. “He’s a cop. From my experience, they fuck like jackhammers
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review 2018-06-18 19:44
"Rozproszenie" Kimberly McCreight [OUTLIERSI #2]
Autor: Kimberly McCreight
Tytuł: Rozproszenie
Cykl: Outliersi, tom 2
 
 
Po przeczytaniu pierwszego tomu długo wyczekiwałam drugiego. Jednak pod natłokiem innych książek totalnie zapomniałam o tej serii. Dopiero kiedy natrafiłam na nią w Empiku, przypomniałam sobie o niej. Miałam duże wymagania co do kolejnej części. Oczekiwałam czegoś mocnego, równie dobrego, jednak trochę się zawiodłam. 
Po wydarzeniach w Maine życie Wylie nadal się nie układa. Jedyne, co pomaga jej przetrwać, to poznawanie swojego talentu - umiejętności czytania uczuć. Nie jest to łatwe dla kogoś, kto od zawsze ignorował własne. Jednak nie tylko ona ma problemy. Jasper ciągle obwinia się za to, co się stało z Cassie. Po otrzymaniu wiadomości od niego dziewczyna próbuje uciec. Dowiaduje się, że agenci przyszli tylko ją przesłuchać. Ojciec bohaterki odmawia rozmowy bez obecności prawnika, dzięki temu pozbywa się niemile widzianych gości. 
Nie lubię wymieniać, co mi się nie podoba, ale w tym wypadku nie mam wyjścia. W recenzji pierwszego tomu napisałam, że główna bohaterka przypadła mi do gustu, w tej części jednak totalnie zmieniam zdanie. Irytowała mnie do granic możliwości swoim zachowaniem (atakowanie ludzi bez powodu, przez co drugi raz została nafaszerowana lekami). Uwaga była poświęcona głównie jej, co mnie również denerwowało. Kurczę, przecież jest tu też Jasper, który również przeżył drastyczne wydarzenia. Za to, by nie krytykować cały czas, mogę pochwalić autorkę za postacie drugoplanowe pojawiające się w dalszych rozdziałach. Do plusów zalicza się również okładka, która nadaje tajemniczego klimatu i zachęca do czytania. Zapomniałabym o zakończeniu - zaskoczyło mnie totalnie i sprawiło, że mam tysiące pytań w głowie. Dzięki niemu mogę zapomnieć o minusach książki 
 
Podsumowując, książka jest naprawdę okay. Wciąga i potrafi zaskoczyć. Teraz pozostaje mi tylko czekać na trzeci tom. Polecam ją fanom serii oraz wszystkim tym, którzy lubią zaskakujące zakończenia. 
LostGirl
Source: ogrodksiazek.blogspot.com/2018/06/rozproszenie-kimberly-mccreight.html
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