The Home

Title: The Home

Author: Mats Strandberg

Genres: Horror | Thriller

Length: 3645 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Quercus Books – Jo Fletcher Books

Publishing Date: May 14th, 2020

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

Joel’s mother had a heart attack a while back and since then she has not been the same. Now her dementia makes it impossible for her to keep living on her own and he has to commit her to Pineshade, while dealing with his guilt, addiction and confrontation with former best friend.
If that wasn’t enough, his mother does not seem like herself. Everyone tells him that is normal in patients with dementia, but is that really the only reason?

Review:

It’s been a while since I read a horror novel, I missed it. And this one did not disappoint.

First of all, it was very refreshing to read a novel taking place in Sweden. I actually didn’t know that beforehand and it was a pleasant surprise.

Our main character Joel is a flawed 38-year-old man who has many regrets. Being back home, seeing his mother in that state, and having to commit her while his brother completely brushes off any responsibility is bad enough, but realizing his former best friend Nina is working in the place where he had to place his mother brings things to a whole new level of “I don’t want to deal with this shit” and you can somehow relate to his struggles to do the right thing but knowing he is ultimately too weak to do it.

I really appreciated how things like homosexuality were dropped in the narrative as only one other detail, not making a big deal out of it. I enjoyed how the author spooled a story of regrets, of “what if’s”, of forcing the characters to confront themselves, their part in what happened the past, and if they could really get beyond it. All this while a parallel supernatural story was also being weaved.

Subtlety is definitely one of my favourite things about this novel. The story took time to develop but I was always interested. And small hints were left here and there making the reader slowly more and more certain that something suspicious is definitely going on.

There were times when I wished the characters would catch up already and I think that last chapter stretched on for longer than necessary but, overall, I really enjoyed this book, I think it was well achieved and definitely recommend it!

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 16th to Apr 18th, 2020
GR Review

A Thousand Rooms

Title: A Thousand Rooms

Author: Helen Jones

Genres: Contemporary

Length: 226 pages | 3474 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Publishing Date: October 20th, 2016

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Katie is dead.
And now she needs to figure out what to do and where to go, while coming to terms with this new reality.

Review:

This is a book I picked up because I wanted to try something new.

Right from the first pages I could tell that the main character Katie had quite a dry sense of humour. She seemed objective, fierce and mostly knew how to keep her shit together. But no one expects to wake up dead. And now she needed to figure out what that meant and what she should be doing, while dealing with all the new things she can (and can no longer) do.

This premise was quite interesting but for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it. I was not relating to the character and for the most part my thoughts went from ‘Wow really, more of this? Why is she not trying something different??’ to actually wanting to quit the book altogether, particularly during the first half.

Throughout the narrative, I could not understand why Katie wouldn’t try more. I grew tired of her, and eventually I no longer wanted to know what came next.

Roughly halfway or a bit past, a new character is introduced and the book finally takes on a different approach but still, that pace… I just wanted things to move along, I did not find it interesting at all. There were parts when I tolerated it, other parts where the descriptions truly captivated me and were even beautiful and engaging, but mostly I just wanted it to be over.

The lessons for the characters are what you would expect, and yes, they do provide some food for thought. The ending was ok. But overall the book, for me, was just that, ok.
Would I pick it up again? No. I am sure other people might enjoy it, though. So it really is a matter of personal taste.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 11th to April 16th, 2020
GR Review

Home

Title: Home

Author: Amanda Berriman

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery

Length: 344 pages | 4087 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Doubleday

Publishing Date: February 8th, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Jesika lives with her mummy and her baby brother Toby in a very noisy place where several things don’t work properly.
Now her brother is very sick and Mummy mostly takes care of him. But Mummy is sick too.
Truth is, try as she might, Mummy can’t keep doing everything on her own. And sooner or later she will have to ask for help… But will she ask the right person?

Review:

Narrated from 4-year-old Jesica’s point of view, this book is such a rollercoaster.

I think the author did a great job capturing what it is like to be in the shoes of a young child, someone who looks at everything in the world with such naivity and is learning what her place is in it. It forces you to look at yourself from the eyes of the child and, although you can relate to the adult in the story, you cannot help but do some introspection.

It certainly made me think twice about the child in my life. How it is so easy for an adult to get lost in everything that needs to be done and forget that the child has needs too. Or make the mistake of sweeping something under the rug as so small and unimportant, when to the child it is quite huge and means the world. And sometimes it is something so simple like listening. Or reading a story. Or answering their many questions.

Jesika’s story is a very difficult one to read about. No family should live in the conditions that hers does, but unfortunately that is the reality for many people. And it is all Jesika knows. She did live in a different house and remembers it, but this is her reality now, and it is incredibly how she adapts and it becomes normal do her.

And that is really how children think, isn’t it? Outside very simple things, they don’t much know what is wrong or right, or bad or good, unless a grown up tells them. And if the wrong grown up tells them the wrong thing…
Like I said, a though story to ready, but Jesika’s narration brings an entirely new dimension to the bad things that happen and you cannot help but praise that brave girl in your heart.

There were few instances when the narrator’s voice broke character. The author did a really great job on this book. It moves you and it gets you thinking about such important things; not only what I mentioned above, but also the importance of listening to your children, to try and put themselves in their shoes, to know that if you get cross, that is all they are going to see, they are not going to listen to what you are saying.

If you want to read something different, something very realistic but also different because it forces you to see things from a different perspective, do pick up this book.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 30th to April 5th, 2020
GR Review