Archive | October 11, 2011

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

The Lathams seem to have it all: health, wealth and a vibrant family life.As Mary Beth Latham contemplates a life built around home, friends and community, she has every reason to feel fulfilled and content.

Then, for one of her sons, a process of unravelling begins. Mary Beth starts to focus on him, only to find that the comfortable life she has spent years carefully constructing is shattered in a single moment.Forced to confront her own demons, Mary Beth realises how the inconsequential moments we all share – and one shameful act she has hidden from everybody – may have contributed to her fate.

I wasn’t really expecting this to be a mystery/suspense novel, but once it kicked in I think it was. Although it was more a family saga (I’ve totally stolen that from what amazon says it is).

I was really excited about this book, the premise was so good. The problem was that it took too long to get going and into the action. It’s very family based, told from the mother’s POV who has three teenage children – maybe this is why I couldn’t get into it, I’m not a mother. When stuff started happening, it was a massive surprise, I totally don’t see it coming, and it is heartbreaking, I did cry, so it moved me.

I tend to like books with a faster pace than this, so I did originally think I wouldn’t read any other Anna Quindlen novels, but because the plot was so good, I think if I find another I like the sound of I’ll give it try.

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Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan (@allison_Brennan)

In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream.

Instead of preparing for her high school graduation, Lucy Kincaid is facing a vicious execution. Lured by an online predator, she’s destined to die horribly–live on the Internet–while hundreds of heartless viewers watch and vote on the method of her slaughter. Her family’s only hope rests with Kate Donovan, an FBI agent who took on the same sadistic killer once before . . . and lost. Blamed for another girl’s gruesome murder, Kate’s been fighting to clear her name. But she agrees to join the hunt for Lucy–and reluctantly steps back into her worst nightmare.

With time running out before the bloody webcast airs, Kate teams up with forensic psychiatrist Dillon Kincaid to get inside the head of her twisted quarry, zero in on his chamber of horrors, and reach Lucy before grim history repeats itself and another innocent’s brutal death goes hideously live.

Face the fear. Speak its name. See its face.

I’d never heard of Brennan, so when my boyfriend won this romantic suspense novel I must say I was dubious. I thought I wasn’t a massive fan of ‘romantic suspense’ novels – I like romances, and I like thrillers, mixing them both seems slightly strange to me.

It was the 3rd book in a series, so that also worried me – would I be missing stuff because I missed the previous 2 books?

But, from the first chapter, I knew I was going to love it. And I did.

This book is totally griping. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. Some parts are pretty nasty – there is some rape in there – but they’re there for a good reason, so add rather than detract from the story.

The series is just different stories about the Kincaid siblings, the MCs from the other two are in this, but minor characters.

I’ll definitely be reading more Allison Brennan novels – definitely the other two in this series, and any others she’s got.

The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell (@lisajewelluk)

When she was nine years old, Melody Browne’s house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories – Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday.

Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn’t seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn’t mind, she’s better off on her own. She’s made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way.

Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints – and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she’ll ever know the truth about her past…

As you’d know if you read many of my blogs/reviews I love Lisa Jewell. In fact I’m shocked it took me so long to read this.

When I found it quite tough to get into, I was really surprised, until I realised why. Melody Browne isn’t much older than me, and yet she has a teenage son and is living in pretty poor area. I’m childless and live in an ok area. It just took me a while to connect with the character because she wasn’t like me – at all.

But, when I did, guess what? I loved it. I fell in love with Melody and was excited to be going on her journey to find out about her history with her – as well as finding herself in the present.

It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s brilliant. I’d totally, totally recommend it to anyone. I love Lisa Jewell.

Jessie ♥ NYC by @Keris Stainton Review

Jessie’s just arrived in New York, hoping to forget about her awful ex.
New Yorker Finn is in love with his best friend’s girlfriend.
They might be perfect together, but in a city of eight million people, will they find each other?

I had the honour of reading an early draft of this novel, and giving my feedback, so reading the finished product was brilliant.

I loved ‘Della Says…’ but this – this was SO much better.

I love Stainton’s voice in this novel – Jessie was me at 16 – but me if I got to go to NYC.

The thing I loved the most about this novel was the anticipation Jessie has when travelling to NYC. I’ve been a few times myself, and hope to go again in December, and I know for a fact everything Jessie felt getting closer and closer toManhattanare the same feelings I had myself, and will have again. I genuinely felt nervous and excited along with Jessie.

The relationship that progresses with Jessie and Finn is great – it’s that will they won’t they meet situation which you see in movies now and then, but I’ve not seen in a novel – and it’s done really well here. I love both Jessie and Finn, and although sometimes, knowing what was coming up made me cringe (that’s being a teenager isn’t it – cringy experiences)  I loved them all the way through, loved the development and the story.

There have been a couple of changes that I remember from the earlier version which are totally for the best.

I would totally wholehearted recommend Jessie Heart NYC. If I do get to go in December, I’ll definitely be re-reading it on the plane. IF I don’t, I know I’ll be re-reading it at some point – it’s one of those books.

Stats, Reading and Writing

I hate to admit it, but I can be a real geek sometimes. You want proof? Looky what I made last night when I realised how above my goal I was…

  

We were only on day 8, but I was a whole 1,000 words ahead (1072 to be exact). I love doing graphs and stuff, if they show how well I’m doing. That’s probably one of the things I like most about NaNoWriMo – there’s a daily graph on the website when you check in.

That’s never enough for me though is it? No, I have to have my own graph too. Yes, I am aware it’s a procrastination tool, but it also works to motivate me. Looking at how ahead of myself I am now, I’m really inspired to write more, and more, and hopefully more. Having this graph to go by, and the spreadsheet to fill in every day makes me WANT to write more. I just love it when the actual line is above the goal line.

If you missed my check in on Sunday (fine, Monday, I wrote it Sunday) you will have missed mt  mega exciting Sunday word count. I decided to do a ‘NaNo warm up day’ and give myself a 1,667 word goal for the day (I know, I’m nuts sometimes!). Not only did I reach that, I exceeded it, by 66 to get a total of 1,733. Woop! If you saw the blog, sorry I had to mention it again, I’m just so proud of myself.

Yesterday (Monday) I wasn’t feeling very motivated, but when I got home and found boyfriend wasn’t coming back for a while, I got suddenly motivated. Enough to build up another 826 words. SO proud of myself.

The thing I’m not too happy about, was to get to all those words, I had to make a couple of jumps, one along a scene a bit, and the other to an entirely different scene a couple of chapters later. That annoys me a little, because at the moment I’m trying to fill in as many gaps as possible, make it 1 document not 17. Hmmm. The thing is though, I got words out, and if I was thinking something good for another bit, then so be it. If I had have kept it in, who knows if I would have remembered it when I got there?

I’ve just realised in writing this, I’ll have nothing to check in with tomorrow. Well, I will, I’ll have today’s and tomorrow’s achievements to post. Hopefully that will be a whole lot more!

A few weeks ago I went through my read books this year. I’m doing 2 challenges – The Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge and the A to Z Reading Challenge. I’m doing ok in both (up to T for the alphabet one, and 9 out of 12 for the M&S), but what I haven’t been doing is reviews. Doh! It’s the reviews that prove I’ve been doing it. And I’m failing! Oops!

Last night I decided to change that. And wrote 3 reviews. I’ll post them also today, and link them back to both challenges.

Also last night, I decided that although I’m loving The Happiness Project, it’s not getting me anywhere with my challenges. I’ve read R (Gretchen Rubin wrote THP – I read Trans AM by Rob Ryan) and it’s really not a mystery or suspense book, whatever spin I put on it.

It’s now October – well into October.  I will be doing minimal reading in November (I can’t write 1,667 words a day, look after a house, eat, have a tiny social life AND read. Jeez, no!) so that gives me about eight weeks to read: 4 more M&S books and 7 more from T to Z for the A-Z. Of course they can overlap, T for instance will be a M&S too – I’ll try to get as many more as I can to overlap. OK, thinking of the logic, and the amount of time left, I’m going to have to overlap the rest of the M&S with the A-Z. 7 is maybe doable. I’m not sure if any more is.

I’ve now scared myself. I don’t think I’m doing to be able to finish the A-Z challenge. I might be able to. It just seems quite a lot to do, as well as writing 500 words a day in Oct & Dec and 1,667 in November. And do all the things I wrote about above. And I really want to join the gym in November. OK, I need to stop thinking about this now, I’m scaring myself!