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Sarah B

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I See You
I See You
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Technological Thriller, 25 July 2017
This review is from: I See You (Kindle Edition)
When Zoe Walker sees a photo of herself in a local newspaper under the classified section on the train home from work her family tell her she is just being paranoid but it opens a whole can of worms that she is keen to investigate. We follow Zoe and in alternating chapters Kelly, a police officer who was recently demoted for an incident at work. It turns out that Zoe is not the only woman who has had her photos in the paper and some of these women are now the victims of serious crime.

This book had me hooked from page one, I tore through it desperate to find out where it was going. How do you find an invisible villain who has no clear trace? How do you prosecute a villain who has not necessarily committed a crime? This is a true modern age thriller that raises questions about our current society, how easy we are to trace, how oblivious we are to the world around us and how our every day patterns and behaviours that make us feel so safe may actually be the thing that put us in harms way.

It was clear that Clare Mackintosh had worked in the police force, she had an in depth understanding of criminal investigation that helped make the book as believable as it was. I loved every moment of this book and can not wait to read more of her work.


Truly Madly Guilty
Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.19

4.0 out of 5 stars A study in relationships and guilt, 24 July 2017
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This review is from: Truly Madly Guilty (Paperback)
I picked this up as I loved 'Big Little Lies' and sure enough this was a great read.
This book follows the lives of three couples following a barbecue that they had had earlier in the year, all we know is that something terrible happened at this barbecue that affected all involved. We follow the lives of Clementine, an accomplished cellist, and her husband Sam whose marriage is crumbling at the seams following the barbecue. Erika, an old school friend of Clementine's and Oliver as they battle with their childhood demons and finally the couple Tiffany and Vid who hosted the infamous evening.

The constant allusion to the mysterious ever looming event that took place at the barbecue kept me reading all the way through. At times it felt dragged out and I could feel myself growing impatient with the constant nudging and hinting. The actual event that did take place was not what I expected it would be and in the end it didn't feel all that relevant to the story anyway. It was more of a catalyst that forced our characters to work through the problems that had been buried under the surface. This book was a good study in human relationships and I am sure it is one that I will come back to again.


The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)
The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)
by Jeanette Winterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.18

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Hogarth Shakespeare, 23 July 2017
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This is by far my favourite of the Hogarth Shakespeare I have read so far. This is Shakespeare as it is meant to be enjoyed - it starts with a would be tragedy and ends with comedy and redemption. It tells the tale of unlikely heroes and complicated villains.

I was unfamiliar with A Winter's Tale when I read this but I am now desperate to go see the play. This book tales the tale of Perdita, banished from her place of birth to New Bohemia at only a few days old due to the delusions of her father believing she is his best friend's daughter (in this we see a similar theme to Othello). Tony takes Perdota across the pond and after his exit (pursued by a bear) she is adopted by Shep and Clo who find riches with her.
The first half of the book is dedicated to the set up of this story and the second half to the big reveal. I loved every minute of this book. It was so easy to read and enjoy and felt like a true homage to the original. You could tell it was a theme close to Winterson's heart.


The Girl Before: The addictive global bestseller
The Girl Before: The addictive global bestseller
by JP Delaney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A one-time read only., 23 July 2017
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To be perfectly honest I was expecting more from this book. The premise is good, two people at two different times have had the opportunity to move into a fantastic house in a nice part of London for unbelievably cheap rent on the premise that they agree to a very strict contract banning them from things such as having books, buying any furniture, moving any furniture at all and agreeing to complete a personality assessment every few months. Both people have something they want to leave behind. When Jane moves into the house in the present day she quickly comes to realise that something sinister happened to Emma, the previous occupant, and she becomes determined to find out more about what happened meanwhile the architect of the house pursues a relationship with her that is eerily similar to the one he had with Emma.

This book is a classic whodunnit and to it's credit I did finish it in a day. However the characters and the plot itself is very unbelievable and to top it all of the four main characters are all raging sociopaths. Without giving too much away they are all so deeply flawed that I can not believe that any one with their personalities can possibly exist. I think once the ending had been given away the book lost it's interest for me and I would have very little desire to read it again but I enjoyed reading it the once.


Orphans of the Carnival
Orphans of the Carnival
by Carol Birch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A True Story - The World's Ugliest Woman, 9 July 2017
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This book was entirely different to what I was expecting. It follows the tale of Julia Pastrana, a woman with hypertrichosis who lived in the 1800s, who at the time was dubbed as 'The World's Ugliest Woman' and touted across the world as a 'freak'. I didn't realise until several chapters in that this was actually a true story. Julia was pictured as such a likable and warm character in spite of the way she was treated by others that I couldn't help but be drawn to her. The story of Rose left me confused right until her end chapters as I couldn't work out how she could possibly be connected to Julia.
At times the story did drag but the knowledge that it was based on a real woman was what kept me going. I had to know what had happened to her and it is fair to say that she led a fascinating life.


Big Little Lies: Now an HBO limited series
Big Little Lies: Now an HBO limited series
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A reverse murder mystery that is impossible to put down, 9 July 2017
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From the moment I picked up this book I was hooked. The first chapter draws us into a promising murder mystery. We know from the start that a parent trivia evening at Pirrawee school has ended in a death. What we don't know whose. We are then launched into the events that unfolded 9 months before hand leading up to the moment of the death trying to work out who is going to die and who is going to commit the murder. I was instantly drawn to the colourful array of characters and found myself drawn into the world of helicopter parenting and competitive mothers in a way that didn't feel forced. This book kept me up for hours longer than I intended as I just had to read 'that little bit more' and I didn't see the ending coming. I adored this book and can't wait to read more of her work.


The Heart Goes Last
The Heart Goes Last
by Margaret Atwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blending humour with a sense of dread, 6 July 2017
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This review is from: The Heart Goes Last (Paperback)
I am usually a huge Atwood fan and although I enjoyed this book it was very different to what I was expecting. It follows the story of a young couple desperate to find somewhere to live other than their car who take up a life in a utopian style town on the basis that they spend every other month in prison.

Naturally being a Margaret Atwood novel everything quickly spirals horribly out of hand and we are plunged into a very bizarre series of events. We follow our two many characters as they try to untangle themselves from the situation they have got into.

This book is fantastic satire and managed to blend humour with the sense of grim horror very well. It presents you with some interesting moral dilemnas. I have only given it three stars as I'm not sure how quick I would be to read it again but on the whole it's worth giving it a go.


The Monstrous Child
The Monstrous Child
by Francesca Simon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Drawn into the world of Norse mythology, 5 July 2017
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This review is from: The Monstrous Child (Paperback)
Aimed at the aged 8-12 market this book draws you into the dark side of Norse mythology. Told from the POV of Hel, daughter of Thor, half living half corpse. It is the story of how she came to be the goddess of the underworld and how she spent her time there. Fantastically written and very informative about the aspects of Norse mythology.
Hel is not necessary a likeable character which is a bold step for a children's book. She is deeply flawed and often difficult to sympathise with and yet somehow you find herself rooting for her. I think this book can keep both children and grown ups entertained and it makes for great (albeit a bit spooky and gory) bed time reading.


Our Chemical Hearts
Our Chemical Hearts
by Krystal Sutherland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic, cookie cutter YA., 1 July 2017
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This review is from: Our Chemical Hearts (Paperback)
This novel is yet another of the current formulaic YA novels available. Guy has two unconventional friends that tick box diverse groups. Girl appears in life. Is strange and mysterious but absolutely not a manic pixie dream girl. Spend two chapters emphasising that she is not smiley and friendly enough to be a MPDG so the story is ok to continue as not super generic. Tragic backstory to messed up girl that excuses all her behaviour and ignore blatant mental health problems that become crucial to the plot line at the end. Last chapter accept bittersweet sorrow of youth and grow as a person.

The annoying this is that it works. I have recently read 5 YA romance novels in the last 4 months that all have an identical plot. All you have to do is pick some catchy names, add in some kooky sexualities and ethnicities (if you can get one character to have both even better. How about a Latvian/Brazilian Demisexual person? Of course despite them being far more interesting than our heterosexual white male they can only be a secondary character)
And then pick a place where the cool people live to emphasise how uncool our guy is.

I understand that this novel tried and maybe if it wasn't yet another in a line of the formulaic novels I've read recently I would have given it a higher review but this novel has actually made me hit the wall with YA.


Children of Time: WINNER OF THE 2016 ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD
Children of Time: WINNER OF THE 2016 ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD
by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched and an Addictive Read, 24 Sept. 2016
I have just finished this book and I honestly believe I am about to suffer a book hangover, where all further books are just not good enough. This book is really enthralling, the kind that you carry around with you in the hope of a spare five minutes to read just a little more. Even for people who are not traditionally sci-fi fans I would highly recommend this.

As a biologist I enjoyed and admired the clever evolutionary world building that took place. The civilisation and development of the species was fascinating and judging from the acknowledgements in the front cover I believe the author had a lot of input from the Natural History Museum and this guidance and research into entomology is clear throughout.
There were moments where the story dragged slightly, particular in the human chapters, I could probably have quite happily read an entire book from the spider side of things alone but I think the perspective from both sides helped for the final conclusion of the book.
Truly an exceptional read and a book I'm sure I'll come back to time and time again.


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