Monday, November 30, 2020

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Nice girls can do bad things

When Ambrosia first arrives at prestigious college Wesleyan, she’s desperate to fit in. But Amb struggles to navigate the rules of this strange, elite world, filled with privileged ‘nice’ young women - until she meets the charismatic but troubled Sully, wit whom she forms and obsessive relationship. 

Intoxicated by Sully’s charm and determined to impress her, Amb finds herself drawn deep in other new best friend’s dangerous manipulations. But if she wants to play Sully at her own game, Amb has no idea just how devastating the consequences will be. 

The Girls Are All So Nice Here

I received a copy of this book from the publisher HQ and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

I devoured this book really in 2 days, I just was so invested in what happened, who was involved, and who was going to end up hurt in all of the craziness that takes place in this book. The story is set around Ambrosia who starts at a very prestigious college, and quickly realises she isn’t like the other girls there, especially Sloane, or Sully as she is known. Sully is a party girl who likes sex, drugs and dancing. But she’s a very manipulative girl, and gets girls to do her dirty work, and has boys lapping at her feet.

The book gives of a very ‘Mean Girls’ vibe, but a whole lot meaner. You can see how easily manipulated Amb is into doing the things Sully goads her into doing, things she doesn’t necessarily want to do, but the desire to be Sully’s friend is high. She ends up having a lot of sex with random strangers, ignoring friends, lagging at school and delves into alcohol and drugs.

The book flits between then and now, where Amb has received an invitation to her college reunion, and against her better judgement, she goes with her husband Adrian. But Adrian know nothing about what went on, about ‘Dorm Doom’, or Sully. 

A really good book though with some twists and turns, and things that a make you question whether you even know what happened at all.

There are trigger warnings for assault, mental health, death in this book.

Thanks again to HQ, Netgalley and as always, the author, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves

Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years.

Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’ 

Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere. 

That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Random House UK and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from his one but I don’t think it was along the lines of the what the story told! It was a nice book though, with a strong undertone of love and grief, just not in the way I thought it was going to be. 

Jim disappeared 7 years ago, and ever since, Mary has sat in the same place at Ealing train station with a sign reading ‘Come Home Jim’. I was drawn in from the start wanting to know were Jim was and why had he left? Mary is a lovely girl, she met Jim and fell in love, after only 4 days they moved in together. She left her family back in Wales and moved to London to Jims flat where they were extremely happy. 

The story goes from the present to the past, and in the present Mary is working in a supermarket during the day and for a crisis helpline through the night. She meets someone one night at the train station who also joins the crisis helpline and befriends Mary, and keeps digging for more information on Jim, but is there an ulterior motive? The other characters in the story were well written, and I really liked them. kit who works at the crisis helpline was a favourite of mine through the second half of the story.

This book had me guessing until the end and we find out wha happened and why. There are triggers of depression, alcoholism and grief in the book, which were handled very well.

Thanks again to Random House and Netgalley, and of course Abbie Greaves 


Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

‘At first glance, they’re magnificent, yet the more she looks, the more she realises how sinister the mountains appear: raw, jagged spikes. It’s not hard to imagine, she thinks, looking out; this place somehow consuming someone, swallowing them whole.’

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives and invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept. 

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned Sanatorium, makes her nervous - as does her brother Isaac. 

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realised yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in...

I received a copy of this from the publisher Random House UK and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

This book had me glued to the pages! It starts off slow in my opinion, but once I got to around 30% I was really intrigued, then by halfway I was hooked! My husband even had to ask me what was wrong as I gasped a few times!!

The book starts with a wierd and quite scary chapter, then the story changes and carries on with Elin and her boyfriend Will on their way up the mountain to the hotel Le Sommet, which used to be a Sanatorium. Creepy right. Well even creepier when Laure, the fiancé of Elins brother Isaac, goes missing. The Storm has set in, and most of the hotel guests have been evacuated when things start to develop. The staff and the remaining guests are scared, and frustrated at not knowing what exactly is happening, and with the police not being able to get to them due to the weather, it makes for bad news all round.

A creepy setting, and you get the feel of the isolation of the place with the description of not only the hotel, but the surrounding mountains, snow, and forests.

The story was quite really good towards the last half with some twists I didn’t expect, one that I did expect then retraced, then expected again, and one that had me wanting more. I’d definitely check out more of Sarahs work.

Thanks again to the author Sarah Pearse, Random House UK, and Netgalley for my advanced ebook. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are black British, both won scholarships to private school where they struggled to belong, both are now artists - he a photographer, she a dancer - trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence. 

At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in. A world that sees you only as you are respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson as written the most essential debut of recent years. 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher Penguin/Fig Tree/Viking, in return for a honest review. 

Now this book was so different to anything I’ve read before. It’s all told from a second person POV, and you never know his or her name, which I thought was a great touch. But what got me with that, was because you never know their names, you do hear one name, and that gives that person the stand out and importance they need in this book, and that name is Daniel

You’re drawing a line towards her. No, the line was there, is always there, will always be there, but you’re trying to reinforce, to strengthen.

The story hits hard. It makes you feel so many different things, and they all grab you quite deep. The story is one of love and friendship, a real closeness. Caleb has delivered this so well, that you feel it deep down, and you just know these two people just fit together. But there is a background of sadness too, and a deep rooted problem which is all too real in todays world, racism. 

It’s written so beautifully it’s hard to actually put it into words. Read it, and see what you think.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Girl A by Abigail Dean

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer.

Together with sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for  good. But first she must come To terms with her siblings - and with the childhood they shared. 

Girl A by Abigail Dean

TRIGGER WARNING abuse, neglect, captivity

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins/ Harper Fiction and Netgalley in return for an honest view.

Wow. I had this book for a few weeks before I jumped into it, and finished it in 4 sittings. It was not what I was expecting, I knew it was going to be hard to read, but it was a very deeply sad story. It ends completely different to what I expected. It moves between now, which is quite a while since their childhood, and the past.

The whole story is told from Lex’s point of view, and each chapter focuses on her speaking to or visiting one of her siblings. There is a big difference between all the siblings and how they are living their lives. They are all grown up now and have moved on, living with different families, separated from each other in different ways. But I liked getting to see where they all were, what and how they were doing. 

The past was hard at times to read, sad and dark a lot of the time. But there were times where it shows you love, and protection, which gives you hope. The end had me in tears and I thought about it for a long time after. I finished this book about 4 days ago now and it’s still in my head.

It’s out January 21st 2021 and it’s definitely one to watch!

Thank you again Abigail Dean, Harper Collins and Negalley.

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Paper Towns by John Green