Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman

IMG_2127.jpg

 

“At this point, I had already been topless for about three minutes, and yet it was incredible: It still appeared as though everyone was still looking at me directly in the eyes.’

 

Read this book for home truths of the female body. It is a shot of reality, consequently causing a uniting of its female readers and increased self confidence amongst the many. In a world where women are ridiculed for being natural, this book provides a true and often painful account of what it really is like to be a woman. From warts to periods to nudity.

 

The book is an accumulation of Altman’s real life experiences alongside her conversations with academics and professionals. This allows the reader to identify with the issue and then gain a greater understanding of the scientific and cultural information behind it. The conversations Altman held with plastic surgeons were the ones which I found particularly eye opening.

 

This book is well written, full of love and has buckets of humour – as well as being long overdue. This is a book for all women – no matter how perfect, we can all unite on many if not all of the topics in this book.

 

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ /out of five.

 

Thank you to Mara Altman and Rosie Margesson at Harper Collins for the opportunity to review this book.

 

IMG_2129.jpg

 

 

Advertisements

When I Find You By Emma Curtis

IMG_2080.jpg

 

Laura. 

A talented and likeable individual, who has an air of Eleanor Oliphant.

 

Rebecca.

A highly successful woman, who is seeking more from life.

 

David.

A man who appears to have everything. But does it have any meaning?

 

In this novel, we join these three who all work for or own Gunner Munro. Out of the three of them, only Laura is a non owner, and she is our main subject for this mystery. The story begins with Laura after she has just had a one night stand with someone she believes is a fellow colleague. However, the story takes a quick twist as we find out that Laura has Prosopagnosia, otherwise known as face blindness. As a consequence Laura has no idea who she has woken up next to, as none of the other factors she uses to identify people match with the person she thought she went home with last night. After this point, Laura’s personal and work life take a dramatic tumble.

 

On the whole, I very much loved reading this book. As I mentioned before, the main character Laura has an air of Eleanor Oliphant, a character which I still miss, and so I very much became invested in the characters story straight away. The story itself is a whole life story, and by this I mean that we get to see what usually happens behind the scenes in books. For example, a workplace affair, looking after elderly grandparents, etc. All these factors did feed back into the main flow of the story, however they were properly explored and not just mentioned in passing, and so enriched the story telling.

 

I would thoroughly recommend this book as a read for anyone who adored Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. The story takes a step up towards the end, but still then I could not predict how it truly ended.

 

The perpetrator remained just as unknown to Laura, as they did to the reader – right until the very last pages.

 

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ /out of five.

 

A special thank you to Emma Curtis for my copy of this delight.

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly

Pride.

Dignity.

Betrayal.

IMG_2074

 

Leon and Jane appear to have a very privileged but normal  family and work life. Jane an aspiring author who teaches writing classes part time. Leon a published author who has a series of popular novels. One day their life is turned upside down by an event which no one could have seen coming. As a result Leon is incapacitated and Jane has to pick up the reigns as well as find her way through the mystery which has now presented itself. Why would anyone want to hurt Leon? Can Jane work out the puzzle? And ultimately can you really trust anyone?

 

This book is a tale of family drama and relationships. The writing jumps straight into a catastrophic incident for the family. With the inclusion of neighbourhood and family dynamics thrown in you are immediately questioning every character. From this viewpoint the story is spot on and it definitely kept me guessing right until the end.

It very much has a realistic vibe to the story as well. Jane has to carry on with the daily grind of paying bills and keeping the kids occupied, alongside having to visit her husband in hospital and deal with the constantly changing situation regarding his recovery. For this, it is very much a story of power and strength.

For me, some parts of the story were unnecessary to the main storyline. However, the inclusion of such storylines added to the depth of the novel as a whole. By this I mean that extra factors such as dementia were addressed. To me, this is a massive positive for any novel.

 

Overall, I very much enjoyed this novel. It was an easy read, whilst still having a heavy subject focus.

 

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ out of five.

 

Special thank you to Paula Day and Becky Short at Penguin Random House for my copy.

 

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

IMG_1998

 

Dark. Dangerous. Dirty.

 

I am a massive fan of Flynn’s fiction and I have no idea how it has taken me so long to pick this book up. For me, this is the best yet!

 

Flynn deals with the unspoken in her fiction novels. The raw, primitive and often socially unacceptable females. This was a true tale of how you really do not know what is going on behind closed doors. It pushed boundaries, challenged stereotypes and educated the reader on topics which are not much spoken about in todays world. 

 

If there is a topic that society wants to brush under the carpet, you can trust Flynn to put the same topic at the centre of one of her books. 

 

I don’t want to say much about the actually story in this short review. I believe that the reader would be best suited going in blind as it were. 

 

Trust me when I say that for myself this book exceeded Gone Girl on every level.

.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/ out of five.

 

Can’t wait to check out the TV series now.

Thoughts on some books…

A brief summary of some of the books I have read so far this year!

 

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

One of the best books I have ever read. Brilliant words, astonishing story, unnerving reality.

 

Normal by Graeme Cameron

What a book! I never thought I would read a book with the tones of Hannibal Lector again – with a touch of Dexter in places also. It is definitely not for the squeamish – with its witty, very dark humoured remarks. But if that’s what you want from your fiction, this would be right up your street. I felt that the story had a very refreshing and clear focus to it, whilst keeping the reader guessing. Kept me thinking right up until the end.

 

The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

I picked this book up last summer on a visit to a local independent bookshop in Ironbridge. With the book being based in Ironbridge and the surrounding Shropshire area, and the book being of my favourite genre – mystery/murder/thriller – it was definitely a must buy.

The book revolves essentially round a small family – a father and son – who find their lives turned upside down. Alongside this, a spate of murders are committed in the local area, which over time appear to be linked to the family.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the writing style through to the essence of the story. With chapters taking turns with each characters thoughts, the reader is kept thinking about the ‘who did it?’. Some parts were a little predictable, however, for me, this only added to the believability and authenticity of the story.

Overall, I found this to be a very therapeutic and relaxing read – even though it wasn’t my quickest read, with some lulls in places – I found myself being gently lead through the story by the author. It was definitely a good weekend read choice for myself!

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of five.

 

The Fear by C.L. Taylor

Well I didn’t finish it in one day – but I did finish it within 24 hours. I really did enjoy this book. Each chapter kept me reaching for the next.

I found it to be a story of three women – each with a different background, of a different age, and each with their own voice – but they were united in their experience, their fear, their monster.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of 5.

 

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I wasn’t sure about this genre – young adult – when I first picked this book up. However, after the first appeal of the cover and reading the back I thought I’d give it a whirl.

It is very much based on a stereotypical American high school and it’s students. Fans of Riverdale this would be your bag! With a group of students who get caught up in a mysterious death, the story takes a lot of twists and turns.

The storyline did drag for me in places, but it sure did go out with a banger at the end. The book also touches upon a lot of relevant and important topics for young people, and society as a whole, today – and I massively applaud the manner in which this was done.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys American high school based dramas and stories – generally this is not my preferred genre which is reflected in my verdict.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of five.

 

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

I don’t really know where to start. This was not a book which I quickly devoured. It was a book which I wanted to savour. The characters were rich and the story was very engaging. I adored the inclusion of the Pendle Witch Trials, and for someone who had never heard about this before, I found it very interesting. But do not be fooled – the story is very authentic – not all witches and wizards!

For me it was a story of a strong woman, who refused to play by everyone else’s rules.

I will genuinely miss reading this book and I think it will stay with me for at least a few days.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/out of 5.

 

The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

A book about a serial killer with a complex history.

I must say I enjoyed this book more than The Girl In The Ice. I found the story clearer and sharper, whilst the characters remained just as superbly strong as the last book. I loved how the start dove straight into the story, as I found Girl In The Ice did linger a little before it hooked me. This has definitely got me eager to read the rest of the series.

Definitely recommend to fans of M.J. Arlidge.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of five.

 

You by Caroline Kepnes

I really don’t know how I’m going to do this book justice. During reading it I made four pages of notes which is unheard of for me!

Fresh, brutal, cold yet passionate, methodical, intelligent, raw, sinister, dirty, young, clever, twisting – all words which come to mind when I think of this book now. I very much found the main character, Joe, to be a Ted Bundy style manipulator and serial killer. He is repulsive yet approachable as a character, which is always a challenging combination for a reader. On the other hand, Beck’s character is shallow and aspires to a life more grand than the one she was given.

In many ways you could believe that each of their lives should be being lived by the other – Beck the bookseller and Joe the academic – I’m sure both would be more suited to this.

I found the story to be timeless, even with its inclusion of social media, and a true classic. Written in such an original style that the story does cling onto you. The story of a modern serial killer in New York.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of five.

 

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

I am going to start this review by talking about the end of this book – wow what a twist! This book was packed full of storylines and the way it was all woven together throughout the book was exceptionally beautiful – absolutely beautiful writing.

The main character is very much stereotypical of the genre, with a little added complexity with regards her background. The other characters at the forefront of the story are vivid, real and memorable.

Essentially the book is about a missing child case which takes a very sinister turn. I loved it!

A definite recommendation to anyone who is a fan of the mystery and thriller genre.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of five.

 

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

I had been looking forward to reading this book for such a long time and it was so worth the wait!

The book starts with a shocker of chapter – where we first encounter Joshua Kane. This character is so well developed and complex – I absolutely loved the unravelling of his history throughout the book, which forms the main story.

I must say I very much enjoyed the whole of this book – characters, storyline, writing – from start to finish. It was fast paced and kept me guessing right until the last page! This is the best legal thriller I have ever read!

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/out of five. *FAVOURITE BOOK STATUS*

 

 

Zero by Marc Elsberg

 

IMG_1903

What will the future be like?

How important is your privacy to you?

Do you agree with the progression of technology into our everyday lives?

 

Zero is a story of a journalist, Cynthia, who is a single mother to a young adult, Violet. Cynthia is ignorant of social media and technological influence. However, Violet is very much on the button. Violet, like the majority of her peers, is a member of Freeme. Freeme is a social media platform whereby you can gather data on yourself and sell it. Consequently, Freeme places a price on everyone, and this price varies upon many factors, including wealth, social status and employment. Furthermore, Freeme also encourages users to be the best version of themselves, which then increases the value of their data. As the story unfolds, Cynthia and her daughter are involved in a very serious incident. This incident then leads the two on a rather wild and incredible journey.

 

This book will make you question whether an app like Freeme can improve the world and its population. This then leads us to think – what defines the perfect human and the perfect life? Surely this depends on the individual? How can app decide all of this for us? And this is just to begin with!

 

In the end, this book is a tale of human nature and how far humans are willing to go to line their own pockets. The book seriously and logically examines the potential world which may lie ahead for us. For that it is highly eye opening.

 

Zero is an amazingly well told story, with many twists and turns. I loved that it made me think so much and constantly challenged what I currently thought.

 

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ out of five stars.

 

Thank you to Marc Elsberg and Thomas Hill for sending me this copy.

Believe Me by JP Delaney

IMG_1900

 

Your name is Claire. You are British and working in the US illegally. Your job is also pretty immoral. You then get mixed up with a charming man and a gruesome murder. Weirder things have happened – right?

 

This is the part of Claire’s tale in which we join her for the ride.

 

The ‘charming man’ is also known as Patrick Fogler. He is an academic with a special interest in Baudelaire. We are told that Baudelaire was a French poet who edged on the naughtier side of society. Claire also embraces the rather rare views of this poetry – and a bond between Claire and Patrick is born.

 

‘Even before she takes in what she sees there, her other arm is reaching up to cross herself again. But this time the hand that darts to her forehead never completed the gesture. It comes down, trembling, to stifle her scream instead.’

 

Beyond both of these characters being rather extraordinary, the situation they find themselves in is also blood pumpingly engaging. The story is written in a manner which I have not memorably come across before.

 

This is a tennis match of a book, where you constantly keep second guessing the ‘who dunnit’. Each character has a monsoon of mystery around them. Absolutely no one is immune from suspicion or persecution as it becomes apparent as the story unfolds.

 

‘It’s what you desire that defines you as a character.’

 

I found this book to be darkly romantic, edgey and dangerous. I absolutely loved it. The characters within the story are not the only ones to be fooled. As a reader, you will find yourself fooled just as much!

 

‘And the invisible camera in my head slowly pulls up and away, releasing us, our voices fading into the background chatter of a New York bar at night, as the words THE END fade up and the credits start to roll.’

 

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/ out of five.

 

Due to be published on the 26thJuly 2018.

 

Thank you to Ella at Quercus for the opportunity to read and review this book – it has been a delight!

Social media tour poster