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Search tags: what-the-actual-f-ck
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review 2018-05-10 18:42
Solid new mystery from B.A.Paris with nothing too groundbreaking, BUT resounding sense of sorrow and sadness at ending
Bring Me Back: A Novel - B.A. Paris

I love a good mystery and especially ones that are set in England (where I am from), written by British authors, and somehow they keep making their way to me for review; pretty convenient actually. I say keep them coming honestly. I'm a pretty good litmus test for whether the Brit lingo is going to work well here (plus it always wins bonus points from me).

So Bring Me Back, with its beautiful bright yellow cover, along with some standout pink font, is the the third novel from B.A. Paris, and judging from her past successes, this will catch the eye of many mystery fans for many reasons beyond the cover.
It has a very simple premise really: a couple is away on holiday, skiing in Megeve, France, and then are driving back home through France to England. They make a stop for the toilets (at a rest area) at night, and that’s when Layla goes missing, and Finn goes looking for her, and reports her as missing…she is never seen or heard from again, and in some minds, presumed dead. Finn is cleared as a suspect, but it seems that could be from some of the embellishments he told the French police.
The novel is written from Finn's perspective, at least at the beginning; we are given accounts of Before Layla, and Now/After Layla. He is now, at least in theory, years away from what happened at that rest stop, and is about to marry Layla's sister Ellen, but it seems that he is still obsessed with Layla's disappearance, as well as it being obvious he's not wholly in love with Ellen. Finn isn't the most endearing character, since he is not entirely trustworthy and too neurotic to be that type of protagonist. But as the reader, we realize he doesn’t know the full truth about what happened that night at the rest stop.
Suddenly, these tiny (Matryoska) nesting Russian dolls start appearing in Finn's life, popping up in the strangest of places, at the bar of the local pub, on the wall outside their house; these are a sign of something that Ellen and Layla shared as children, and when Finn starts getting cryptic emails from someone, it's all too much. He has too many theories. Is Layla alive?

After about halfway through the book the tone and pace change, and while I felt a few dragging parts (Finn's neurotic brain!), the mystery unfolds evenly, with a great big thunderbolt at the end. My heart really left this book feeling so very sad, for so many reasons; there was a horrific crime of of the past, a number of mistakes of recent past, and then sad stories of the present. Even if you guess towards the end what is happening, I urge that fully read through to the end because that’s where it all comes together in all its sweet sorrow.
Some of the mystery tropes may be familiar (I can't name for spoilers) but this was an engaging, if heart-wrenching at the end, read.

*Note: I received a wonderful surprise early copy of this from St. Martin’s Press. Thank you! This does not affect my views or opinions.

 

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text 2018-05-03 21:31
Just saw Avengers: Infinity War.

I feel like I just read, in one sitting, every Nicholas Sparks book ever written plus a few that have yet to be. That ending? The studio has some massive brass balls. WTF What.The.Actual.Fuck?!

 

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review 2018-04-29 07:50
Heart-wrenching book about a young Lithuanian girl during WWII; describes a forgotten chapter we should not rush to forget
Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys

I read this as one of the picks for the Litsy (Team YA) Postal Book Club I am in, and am glad it was chosen, even though I often do not choose historical fiction much these days to read. Especially when I expect it to bring me to tears (or remind me how little I know about how the Soviets and Stalin played their dastardly part in WWII).

Given that this book is several years old now, has won countless awards, and it seems as though everyone else who reads YA has already read it, I barely need to say much about the premise.

Young Lina is deported by the Soviets from Lithuania, along with her brother and mother, but her father gets separated from them to elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The book tells of their long long train ride bringing them to outer Siberia and the horrific trials that her family and other deportees go through. They are emblematic of a past that has been covered up and forgotten among war stories, probably due to so many other horrors (particularly due to Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust).

What Sepetys has written here though, is very relatable account, that I think many younger readers will be drawn to, and have been already; Lina develops a relationship with a teenage boy while deported, has the regular range of emotions you would expect from a teenager, and her love for her family, especially her missing Papa, is fierce.

And while I did not expect the full horrific descriptions I might see in an adult novel on this matter (for example, deaths, burials, etc.), there is enough here to make the reader feel angry, revolted, and incredibly heartbroken at many things that went on.

Since this novel is based on actual people and events (and Sepetys mentions the research and journeys she went on at the end), it is especially thought-provoking and meaningful. There were so very many people affected by the first and second world wars, particularly across Europe, I can hardly imagine how many individual stories like this exist. At least go and read one of them and remember what happened.

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review 2018-01-14 22:16
Nope and no no no no !
Dad's Best Friend - Candy Stone

I never realised that so many things can be so wrong in just a 24 page story... damn... wish I never knew.

 

So... the heroine gets dumped by her boyfriend whom she took for granted then we jump to several weeks later when she's going on a small vacation and her car breaks down in the mountains so the guy who comes to pick her up along with her car is an overweight stereotype of a man and of course, a rapist from whom she is saved by the man she calls uncle Jimmy who is not her uncle and she practically forces her dad's best friend to fuck her. Then the ending:

 

They never tell her dad, this never meant anything to them besides a good fuck, he marries and never tells his wife, the heroine marries and divorces and still receives regular sex visits from despite him still being fucking married. And yes, that is all said in the last couple of sentences.

(spoiler show)

 

If I would rant on everything that is wrong with this story I would write three times the length of this actual story so I'll keep it simple and short.

 

1. This book isn't romance, it's an episode of a sexual encounter that seems quite forced on the older man.

 

2. This short story makes no fucking sense! She forgot her dad's best friend in life also has a cabin near the place she wants to go on a vacation to despite the fact she spent half of her childhood there. And she gets into a car with a man who clearly insinuates he wants to have sex with her and then she is so damn surprised when he actually tries.

 

3. Jimmy, her dad's best friend and our hero in this story, is trying really hard to resist this woman because he says it isn't right and she just keeps on going, jumping into his bed and masturbating, getting outside naked and stretching before going swimming, taking his fingers and dipping them into her private parts and so on until he actually gives in and they fuck for one night.

 

4. First Jimmy keeps on saying no and resisting and running away from her then when he snaps and wants her she runs away screaming no and then she returns and seduces him again. What in the actual fuck? Why am I even reading this argh !

 

5. The ending, if the story didn't get you miserable then this ending surely will. Clustered in a few last sentences you realise they remain assholes for the entirety of their lives. Oh I am so happy having to read this, truly my life now is oh so much richer than it was an hour ago.

 

 

Conclusion !

 

Don't be a fucking asshole in life and maybe better things will happen to you.

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review 2016-07-02 04:52
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West

The tragedy of books like these is that the readers are basically the choir to which the author sings. 

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