TO HAVE AND TO HOAX, written by Martha Waters BLOG TOUR: REVIEW POST

TO HAVE AND TO HOAX, written by Martha Waters BLOG TOUR: REVIEW POST

Today I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters hosted by Headline Eternal! To Have and To Hoax is author Martha Waters’ debut historical romance novel set in regency era England.

Continue reading “TO HAVE AND TO HOAX, written by Martha Waters BLOG TOUR: REVIEW POST”

ARC Review: My Dark Vanessa, written by Kate Elizabeth Russell

ARC Review: My Dark Vanessa, written by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing My Dark Vanessa and while it has been on my list of 2020 releases to look out for, the book was too dark for me to review it in depth. This book deals with topics such as child grooming and sexual abuse so be prepared before you dive into it.

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Publication date: March 10th, 2020 
Publisher: Harper Collins/ Fourth Estate
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Adult
Buy: Book DepositoryWordery 

Synopsis:

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

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– My Thoughts –

My Dark Vanessa is one of the most uncomfortable reads I’ve had the pleasure of reading. A sentence I never thought I’d utter.

We read the book from Vanessa(the protagonist)’s perspective where she doesn’t see herself as a victim at first. The entirety of the book has scenes that made me throw the book and rush outside to try and control my emotions; to remind that while the situations are hardly fictional but the story I was reading is.

The story alternates between 2008 and 2017 and we see how Vanessa is groomed and then raped by her teacher Jacob Strane. The battle Vanessa has with the realisation that she has been abused rather than anything else is described so painfully well that it gets under your skin. You grow up reading horror stories about mythical monsters and ghosts and whatnots but the real monsters are ones right in front of us, entangled in our daily lives. Teachers like Jacob Strane and other figures you probably see on the news and some you don’t see.

The book goes on for long, too long when it wasn’t really needed. Sometimes the lines would blur and it felt as if the sex scenes were romanticized. Besides those grievances, there were similarities to Lolita and #MeToo; another piece of reality would slap you in the face when you see how the people close to Vanessa responded to her.

Overall, I don’t whether to “recommend” it. If my friends ask for a recommendation, I don’t know if I’ll blurt out My Dark Vanessa as the first answer. This novel is dark and claustrophobic starring a real-life monster that will make you want to tear said monster from limb-to-limb. For a debut novel, if I were still rating, I’d rate My Dark Vanessa a solid 4/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author 

Kate Elizabeth Russell was born and raised in eastern Maine. She holds an MFA from Indiana University and a PhD from the University of Kansas. My Dark Vanessa is her first novel.

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Thank you for reading! Do you read books that are out of your comfort zone? Will you read My Dark Vanessa? If you’ve already read it, then I’d love to know what you thought as well! 

All The Water in the World, written by Karen Raney review | blog tour

All The Water In The World, written by Karen Raney review | blog tour

All the Water in the World
by Karen Raney

All The Water in the World by Karen Raney

Publication date: January 9th, 2020 
Publisher: Two Roads
Pages: 368
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

A stunning debut novel about a teenage girl and her mother, as they grapple with first love, family secrets, and tragedy.

Maddy is sixteen. She has loyal friends, a mother with whom she’s unusually close, a father she’s never met, devoted grandparents, and a crush on a boy named Jack. Maddy also has cancer. Deeply curious, wry, and vivacious, she’s poised at the outset of adulthood, ready to untangle all the mysteries that living holds—if she survives her teens.

All the Water in the World is the story of a family doing its best when faced with the worst. Told in the alternating voices of Maddy and her mother, Eve, the narrative moves between the family’s lake house in Pennsylvania, their home in Washington, DC, and London. Hungry for experience despite living in the shadow of illness, Maddy seeks out her first romantic relationship, ponders philosophical questions, finds solace in music and art, and tracks down her father, Antonio. She continually tests the depths and limits of her closeness with her mother, while Eve has to come to terms with the daughter she only partly knows, in a world she can’t control.

Unforgettable and singularly moving, with voices that range from tender to funny, despairing to defiant, this novel is a testimony to the transformative power of love, humor, and hope.

– My Thoughts –

All The Water in the World tells the story of sixteen years old Maddie and her mother Eve. Maddie at sixteen has cancer and Eve raised her alone after her father announced that he didn’t want children. Later, Maddie decides to reach out to her father and the two of them start keeping in touch secretly. Meanwhile, there’s Eve who tries to take care of Maddie with her parents, her partner Robin, all the while ignorant from the fact that her ex-husband and her daughter are in touch.

The story is narrated from both Eve and Maddie’s perspectives, and I kept going until I reached halfway through the book. I wanted to go on and enjoy this book but I couldn’t force it.

Overall, this book didn’t prove to be an enjoyable read for me. However, if you like how the synopsis sounds then go for it, you might love it. In the blog banner you can see four other bloggers who participated in this tour, so please check out their reviews as well.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

KAREN RANEY recently gained an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths with a Distinction and was awarded the 2017 Pat Kavanagh Prize for All Water In the World when the novel was still a work-in-progress. Born in Schenectady, New York, Raney attended Oberlin College, graduated from Duke University, and worked as a nurse before moving to Londonto study art. She lives in London with her husband and daughter, and teaches at the University of East London.

Thank you for reading! Have you read All the Water in the World? or, Have you ever reviewed a book you did not finish? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

A perfectly twisty thriller from Sophie Hannah | Book Review: Perfect Little Children

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Publication date: February 4th, 2020 
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today, or ever again.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except… There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As Beth would have expected. It’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then.

They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Hilary hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.

They are no taller, no older… Why haven’t they grown?

Trigger Warnings: Miscarriage, Infant Death, Abortion, Child Abuse⁣

– My Thoughts –

Perfect Little Children is a standalone thriller/psychological suspense, also known as “Haven’t They Grown”, from the author of The New Hercule Poirot Mysteries and other mystery novels. Even though this book had an interesting premise, I found it a bit too far-fetched in some places.

Beth, our protagonist, takes a detour while dropping off her son at his football match. My confusion, my “head-scratching” starts from here. I wondered why would she suddenly park her car in front of her ex-best friends’ old house. Flora and Lewis Braid who were once close friends of Beth and her husband’s, have now moved to Florida with their three children. After dropping off her son at his match, Beth drives back to her friends’ old house and notices Flora Braid entering her home. However, that’s not THE surprise. The surprise is that Flora’s two children Thomas and Emily looked exactly like they would’ve 12 years ago.

The story gets crazier from here on and I had to constantly remind myself that this is fictional.

After Beth drives back home, she confides in her husband and daughter Zannah and both of them are dubious about the whole incident but Beth has unwavering faith in what she saw. So, she starts investigating and her daughter starts helping her too; soon, they realize that indeed something sinister is going on. Beth’s husband was also supportive of her need to uncover the secrets despite being aggravated by her obsession at times. There are several twists which with the pace demand your attention to the book; however, all the build-up gave way to a very dissatisfying ending.

What I didn’t like was every time Beth reminded Zannah to revise for her GCSEs, she was the one who quickly forgot about it. I would’ve liked to see Beth’s son solving these mysteries alongside his parents and sister too but we see very little of him. I have already mentioned how disappointed I was with the conclusion.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you loved Sophie Hannah’s previous books or if you’re looking for a mind-bending thriller with a unique premise.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

Thank you for reading! Will you add Perfect Little Children / Haven’t You Grown to your tbr? Have you read any of the author’s previous books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Book Review: Almost Just Friends, written by Jill Shalvis

Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis

Almost Just Friends(Wildstone #4) by Jill Shavis

Publication date: January 21st, 2020 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks-just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

– My Thoughts –

“Chin up, Princess, or the crown slips.” 

I can’t remember the last time I read a Jill Shalvis book. When I saw this pop up on the available eARCs on Edelweiss, I had to request it.

Almost Just Friends has multiple POVs, Piper(our mc), Camden, and Piper’s brother Gavin’s. There are two romances as well, one of which is an M/M romance that I would have loved to read more about.

Piper has raised her siblings since the day their parents died. She had to push her dreams and hopes aside to see to it that her siblings’ are fulfilled, until now. Her brother and sister are grown-up enough that Piper can finally sell the Lake House and go to university.

Then she meets Camden Reid at her birthday celebration. Although she bids goodbye to Cam soon after, a storm brings them face-to-face again! Surprisingly, both of them have a lot in common and that includes grief. Recognizing the pain in each other, they form a tentative friendship, a friendship that involves kisses everywhere.

That’s not the only surprise in store for Piper. Her sister and brother turn up announced at the lake house with secrets of their own. Will Piper be able to achieve her dreams? Can she and Cam have any future together?

Piper is my kind of woman. She is a planner and in her journal, she has all her hopes and dreams written to be checked out. When her siblings come back home, her planner doesn’t work anymore. I loved the whole family dynamics in this story. Each character has their backstories are that well fleshed out and it’s a treat to read their character growths as well. As I mentioned before, there are two romances. Cam and Piper’s can be described as “strangers at first but found out acquaintances later” kinda romance and the other romance was a “second chance” one.

I loved every bit of the story which was about overcoming grief, accepting help, being vulnerable and to let the love of others heal you. This story is also about hope and there are so many instances of it(all them are spoilers) that I couldn’t help but feel peaceful.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. This has a heroine who journals, sibling love, two romances that’ll make you emotional and blush a lot. If you want to read a beautiful story where people who were never supposed to find love does so and in turn heals others, then go to your nearest bookstore or the library and pick this one up!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.

 Look for Jill’s ALMOST JUST FRIENDS and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold. Visit http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and fun blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Thank you for reading! Have you read Almost Just Friends or any of the author’s previous books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!