10 Books of Summer 2017: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

 

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Description

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall. Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour. Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there. What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

Review

Marco and Anne have been invited next door for a dinner party (no children allowed) but, due to a family emergency, their childminder cancels at the last minute. Marco persuades Anne that they could still go taking the baby monitor with them and pop back home every half hour to check on baby Cora. And so they do. They return home together at 1.30 am the front door is a little open, they get to the babies room…. She is gone!
I was moving along well through this book until about half way or so. Even the premise of leaving your baby by two supposedly intelligent people to go out, which I find appalling, even if it is ‘just’ to go next door; but this is fiction so no judgement – yet!
As I say it started of well, it was a good story. The detective has the right idea, this is one of the few characters who I actually liked in the book, not because he was given a great deal of depth (none of the characters are) but that he was working it out. However, this book is not a detective novel or police procedural. It’s pretty easy to work out most of what has happened but the number of twists, turns and added layers of issues only lends this story to need the reader ultimately to suspend reality. That said I would have been OK with the book until the final few pages, sadly the ending really did spoil this book for me.

Rating: 3*

Information

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Corgi (20 April 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0552173142
ISBN-13: 978-0552173148

Author: http://www.sharilapena.com

 

 

 

10 Books of Summer 2017: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works.

 

 

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A Moveable Feast is a memoir by American author Ernest Hemingway about his years as a struggling young expatriate journalist and writer in Paris in the 1920s. The book describes the author’s apprenticeship as a young writer while he was married to his first wife, Hadley Richardson.

My thoughts and review

Covering the years 1921 – 1926 Hemingway shares time spent with other ex pat writers, poets, artists whilst he is establishing himself as a (great) writer. Set in Paris we can savour a little of the life of the struggling author. How he lived and worked. Who he met, who he knew. From Gertrude Stein to James Joyce to F Scott Fitzgerald and others it is fascinating.
This however is a snippet and, as he writes in the preface, ‘sufficient for the writer, many places, people, observations have been left out of this book.’ Also, he says it may be considered fiction. ‘But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.’
It is a book which lovers of Hemingway will particularly enjoy and all will appreciate.  The way he writes about this period of his life, about Paris and beyond and about the people, the famous and not famous, puts you right there.  It is a fascinating look, a peek, at Post-war Paris and into the life of a would be writer. Whether it is written to set records straight, or not, it does evoke a longing in his writing which captivates.

Rating: 3*

Biography
Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899. His father was a doctor and he was the second of six children. Their home was at Oak Park, a Chicago suburb.

In 1917, Hemingway joined the Kansas City Star as a cub reporter. The following year, he volunteered as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, where he was badly wounded but decorated for his services. He returned to America in 1919, and married in 1921. In 1922, he reported on the Greco-Turkish war before resigning from journalism to devote himself to fiction. He settled in Paris where he renewed his earlier friendships with such fellow-American expatriates as Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. Their encouragement and criticism were to play a valuable part in the formation of his style.

Hemingway’s first two published works were Three Stories and Ten Poems and In Our Time but it was the satirical novel, The Torrents of Spring, that established his name more widely. His international reputation was firmly secured by his next three books; Fiesta, Men Without Women and A Farewell to Arms.

He was passionately involved with bullfighting, big-game hunting and deep-sea fishing and his writing reflected this. He visited Spain during the Civil War and described his experiences in the bestseller, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

His direct and deceptively simple style of writing spawned generations of imitators but no equals. Recognition of his position in contemporary literature came in 1954 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, following the publication of The Old Man and the Sea. He died in 1961.

Information
Publisher: Arrow; 01 edition (2 Jun. 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0099557029
ISBN-13: 978-0099557029

10 Books of Summer: I See You by Clare MacIntosh

The twisty, gripping number one bestseller from Richard and Judy Book Club winner Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go.

 

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Description

Winner of the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club 2017

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

Review

A good follow up to I Let You Go, which I thought was excellent, I See You is the second book from Clare MacIntosh. This is an interesting story of a woman, Zoe Walker, who sees her photo in the ads of a newspaper but she had not placed it there. She then sees other photos that link up with women who have crimes committed against them. She contacts the police and gets the BTP Officer who investigated one of the crimes. Agreeing that there is a link the Officer pushes the DI investigating a murder to see this. Getting onto the MIT investigation the officer works hard to help solve the mystery which has led to crimes from pickpockets to rapists and murders. As the police get closer to the answer, so Zoe continues to look into the situation and puts herself, and her daughter, into harms way. Will the offender/s be found before it’s too late?

This is a little complex and a bit creepy. You do have to accept certain suppositions, which may or may not be easy for you, and the final twist in the book makes it creepier and is perhaps appalling, even shocking.

A good book, well written and worth a read.

Rating: 4*

Information

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sphere (20 April 2017)  https://www.littlebrown.co.uk

Language: English
ISBN-10: 0751554146
ISBN-13: 978-0751554144

Author: https://claremackintosh.com

10 Books of Summer 2017: The Breakdown by B A Paris

 

 

 

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THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

Review

Cass feels unsafe after realising that she had passed the murdered persons car, had seen but not recognised the driver, could have made more of an effort to help but had not. She feels guilty, she feels like she is being watched, she feels like she is getting ill just like her mother had.

This starts out well building some tension, you begin to feel for Cass who who seems to be not just loosing her memory and more but is worried that she is never going to get better only worse. However, the book looses it’s way and I almost stopped reading but I carried on. I’m glad I did as it does pick itself up and gives a good ending.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Information

Publishers:

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQ (9 Feb. 2017)   https://www.harpercollins.co.uk
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1848454996
ISBN-13: 978-1848454996

St Martins Press https://us.macmillan.com/smp

Author:

https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/cr-117329/b-a-paris

https://us.macmillan.com/author/baparis

https://www.amazon.co.uk/B-A-Paris/e/B0162W9E2O/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

10 Books of Summer 2017 – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millenium #1) by Stieg Larsson

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10 Summer Books of 2017 read.

Description

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family.

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history.

But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

Review

This is the first of the Millenium Series from Steig Larsson. It has well drawn characters, a good plot and keeps a reasonable pace.  I like both the main characters Michael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander even though one or two actions are rather extreme, if deserved, and Looks to be part of the ongoing series story. When first published this book was surrounded by quite a lot of hype, I think it was deserved.  I look forward to reading the two other books in the series.

Rating: 4*

Information

Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 561 pages
Publisher: MacLehose Press (1 Jan. 2010)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stieg_Larsson

The Childfinder by Rene Denfeld

OUT NOW

A haunting, richly atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.

“Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or–is it possible–you are still alive?”

 

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Description
Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?

Review

This is a gripping story of The Childfinder, Naomi, who is searching for an eight year old child, Maddison, missing for three years. The story is told by two voices – Noami and the Snow Girl. Not a style that I always enjoy but in no way did it detract from my enjoyment of this book. It is set in the brutal, yet beautiful landscape of Oregon a place that would be impossible for a five year old girl, not dressed for the weather, to survive. In her search Noami recalls her past – as much as she can – and it is one that has made her uniquely capable to perform this special role and motivates her to search, to believe she can give parents back their children – alive or dead.

There is another storyline of a missing baby which interweaves the main story which I felt enhanced the book as it further showed how Naomi dealt with people and situations.

The characters in the book are very well drawn. Naomi is a wonderful character. The voice of the Snow Child is stunning and told with great understanding and knowledge. There is great empathy in the writing of this book both story and characters.

There is heartache and joy in this story which is well told, well written and well worth reading.

Highly recommended.

Rating:  5*
Information

With thanks to HarperCollins for an uncorrected manuscript proof e-book provided via NetGalley, also thanks, for an unbiased review.

Paperback:  ISBN-10: 0062692690
Hardback:  ISBN-13: 978-006269269
Publisher: Harper; International ed. edition

Published: 5 Sept. 2017
Language: English

http://www.netgalley.com

http://www.harpercollins.com

Rene Denfeld is an author, journalist, and death penalty investigator. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and is the author of four nonfiction books. The Enchanted received the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France

http://renedenfeld.com/author/biography/

He Said/She said by Erin Kelly

‘A breathless psychological thriller from the crime author on everyone’s lips, HE SAID/SHE SAID is *the* suspense novel of 2017’

 

 

Laura and Kit are in Cornwall it’s 1999, they are there for the eclipse. On the way back to their tent after the event Laura finds a purse, follows a trail of coins and stumbles upon a man and woman – Jamie and Beth. Laura realises all is not right. Kit catches up just as Jamie walks away so Laura sends him off to follow. Laura rings the police.
Thus begins a series of events which have Laura and Kit changing their names, moving home and living in fear for the next seventeen years.

Thoughts
The story is told by Kit and Laura in alternate chapters jumping back and forth over the years, overarching sections are linked to phases of the eclipse. I found this style of writing detracted from the fluid reading of the book although I understood why it was used – partly for the shock value, partly to build tension, partly to make the book stand out – it irked. You may not be bothered by this and so the book should be even better for you.

There are so many of these psychological thrillers available to read, I have read some, with He Said/She Said Erin Kelly writes well and provides an interesting and unique tale.

Review
This is a good book telling a story of consequences when we lie, of guilt and of actions we take because of the lies and guilt and those consequences. It’s worth a read.

Rating  3*

Information

Format: Kindle Edition
Length: 401 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (20 April 2017)

https://www.hodder.co.uk/Authors/Erin+Kelly.page