The Original Ginny Moon

Title: The Original Ginny Moon

Author: Benjamin Ludwig

Genres: Contemporary | Disability

Length: 336 pages | 3486 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Park Row

Publishing Date: May 2nd, 2017

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

Ginny loves Michael Jackson, to play basketball and she plays the flute. She is also autistic, so she views the world a bit differently and people don’t always understand her. No one seems to realise how important it is for her to get to her Baby Doll to make sure she is safe, so she will need to come up with a secret plan to do it herself.

Review:

Well, this was a lovely one. I really enjoyed meeting Ginny. This character felt so real.
Before I read this I had some idea of what autism was but I think I had only come across the most extreme cases so I did not really know it was possible to live with this condition and still make a fairly normal life, though obviously restricted.

Ginny only replies to people when there is actually a question, she does not answer if she is asked more than one at a time, she absolutely hates being interrupted, and she will take everything you tell her literally. And she has an outstanding memory.

For the most part I was engrossed in the story but I have to admit after a while the book dragged on a bit for me because Ginny’s quirks are so often repeated and it gets tiresome. Still, there is plenty of tension, with plenty of stuff happening around Ginny that she does not grasp because she is so focused on getting to her Baby Doll.

There is a sensitivity, tenderness and realness to this book that I really appreciated.
Recommended.

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 May 1st to May 4th, 2017
GR Review

The Ridge

Title: The Ridge

Author: John Rector

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery

Length: 284 pages | 3438 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publishing Date: April 25th, 2017

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

Megan was just going to talk with Rachel. But things take a terrible turn and something awful happens.
Except it didn’t. At least Megan’s husband doesn’t believe so and all evidence seems to support it.
Is Megan losing her mind? Or is something sinister happening at Willow Ridge?

Review:

In The Ridge we follow main character Megan around from what starts as a pretty ordinary scene of jealousy that morphs into something quite sinister throughout the story.

Megan doesn’t like Rachel due to her advances on her husband so she goes and talks to her. And that’s where what Rachel supposedly did stops being relevant and we begin questioning what the heck is going on in this tight community.
Megan knows what she saw but her husband’s comments about her mental health shine doubt on it. As she comes in contact with other neighbours, more questions arise, along with some clues, about what is happening.

The novel’s pace is good, as we watch Megan struggle with her relationship with her husband, hiding her secret and trying to make sense of what happened. And then there are those dreadful dreams about a little girl and a blue light that she just cannot make sense of.

This has some resemblances to the psychological thrillers out there because there is doubt about the main character’s mental stability as well as the good intentions of those around her. But that is pretty much where the resemblances stop.

The narrative is nice and fluid and though the first line bothered me due to the construction of the sentence, there was a connection to a later chapter that I enjoyed. There is no jumping back and forward in time here and that was refreshing.

As the story develops, there is a good amount of creepy factor and I thought things were getting really interesting. However, as the resolution approached, I was stuck with so many questions that I could not get complete satisfaction out of the book.

If they delete memories, how could Megan remember Julia? Why exactly was Rachel not right, as Megan put it, when she returned the first time? What happened to Mercer’s wife? If she was so important, being a founder and all, why didn’t they bring her back? Is it because the staff does not have those things implanted? Is that why they are not affected by the blue light? Or is there like a different frequency to each person? How does it work?? Why would Mercer’s wife show him the files like she was exposing an ugly truth when she was actually part of it? And why did Fiona not have a bit more stuff in her house to welcome her guests? I get why the rest of the house was empty but she could at least have some cookies and coffee, I don’t know. Not everyone likes tea. That did feel a bit like a plot device to add to the creepiness factor. Besides, Fiona was home when Megan called asking for a ride, so when exactly was she there? And why the heck does no one use cell phones??

So yes, as you can see, a lot of questions. Also, I didn’t really get some of Megan’s choices and that kind of thing usually bothers me quite a lot.

Still, I believe The Ridge is a book you need to appreciate for the ride, not necessarily the destination, as it can be quite enjoyable and an interesting approach on the Stepford Wife concept.

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 April 27th to 29th, 2017
GR Review

All the Good Things

Title: All the Good Things

Author: Clare Fisher

Genres: Contemporary

Length: 280 pages | 2985 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Viking

Publishing Date: June 15th, 2017

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Beth is in jail because she did a very bad thing. She does not believe she deserves anything good, so her counsellor Erika has her start a list of good things in her life. The results this has in Beth’s life will be tremendous.

Review:

All the Good Things is such a harrowing, special book. Granted, the whole make-a-list thing felt like a device for the reader to know about Beth’s background and you don’t get to know the bad thing until the very end but since this is all about Beth and figuring out what led her to that point it makes sense. This character and the ones she came across is one of the most well-developed I have read about.

It bothered me that she was even arrested, though she tried to explain. It must have been obvious that she was not in her right mind even if she said she was. Still, Beth’s account truly surprised me at times and made me face certain preconceptions I had.

I don’t want to say too much or I will spoil the journey of knowing Beth but do know that this book can be beautiful, heart-breaking, relateable and extremely emotional. Even though Beth does not have much education, the way she expresses herself grabs you and doesn’t let go. Some of her descriptions are so vivid. And by the time I got to the bad thing she had done… I almost cried, which is really rare for me. Also, the way the book ended was just perfect for me, and I can’t remember the last time that happened.

If you think you can handle the strong emotions, grab this book. I know I had to take a few breaks while reading. But trust me, it will be well worth 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 9th to Apr 13th, 2017
GR Review

You Don’t Know Me

Title: You Don’t Know Me

Author: Imran Mahmood

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery

Length: 400 pages | 3347 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: June 27th, 2017

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

An unnamed defendant accused of murder decides to fire his barrister just before closing speeches. He stands accused of murder and he decides to tell the entire story. There are 8 pieces of evidence against them and upon hearing them you will think he is guilty. But did he really do it? Hear his story and get to know him.

Review:

You Don’t Know Me was a curious, new experience that took me a while to get into but once I did I was hooked. The narrative style is unlike anything I have read, with so many colloquial expressions. Stuff like ‘Blood, you coming to my yard, innit?’ I don’t know, I am making it up but yeah those words were all used in the book.
I don’t know if young black people talk like that in England but after I got used to it I was entranced.

It got a bit repetitive, especially with the defendant asking to jury to have patience because there is a lot he needs to tell but that is all part of the character. He was a really well-built one. This unnamed young man obviously doesn’t have much education but he can stay stuff like She was never going to get over it, just like you never really get over a death. All that happens is that the sorrow gets older. It’s like a light that gets fader and fader. One day after years have passed maybe the sorrow is too covered in dust to see properly see what it is but it is still there. It’s just harder to see.
He has a passion for cars and has made an honest living of them. He is not involved in a gang but people around him are and he is dragged into a plot that he didn’t really choose.

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the guy because it was so obvious he loved Kira way more than he loved him. I am not sure how believable all that stuff is but that is part of the story – he is telling you his version of what happened and it is up to you to believe him or not.

Still, there was a few things I am still not sure I can buy, starting with a 10-day closing speech. I don’t have information on whether that is possible but it doesn’t seem like it, does it?

This book is thought-provoking and defies any prejudices the reader may have. It forces you not to stereotype this young man and really look at him as a person whose life is dependant on your / the jury’s opinion on him. He tells you a story and, in the end, you decide if he lives or dies.

It is a truly compelling book and I highly 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 Mar 26th to Mar 31st, 2017
GR Review

One of the Boys

Title: One of the Boys

Author: Daniel Magariel

Genres: Contemporary | Literary

Length: 176 pages | 1654 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Scribner

Publishing Date: March 14th, 2017

 

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

After a bitter divorce, a 12 year old boy and his brother go to live with their father, who they admire and fear in equal parts.
Thinking they finally escaped hell, they find that it has only taken a different shape.

Review:

One of the Boys is a harrowing tale. When you think you have read or watched pretty much all bad things that could happen to a kid, this little book goes the extra mile.

It is quite a rotten coming-of-age story. There isn’t much I can say without spoiling it, but the psychological depth of the characters is palpable and the range of emotions is disturbing.
It was so sad watching those children go from feeling bliss and pride to absolute terror and guilt.
Watching our main character grow and come to realise what was what was quite a bittersweet feeling.

I believe I was not so invested in the tale because the boy did not sound 12. Maybe also because the characters are all nameless? I don’t know. I am still mulling over why such ugly things did not move me more.

Also, the ending disappointed me very much. While I am not immune to the beauty of it, I felt it was out of place, especially since there was not a prologue to mimic. I think I would be happier with book finishing in that last chapter before the epilogue. If you’re going to leave an open ending, might as well stay true to the tone of the rest of the story.

Alas, One of the Boys is gruesome. I think I will need to take a break or read something lighter after this.

Note: This book will be published in 3 days.

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 10h to Mar 11th, 2017
GR Review

We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Title: We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Author: Dave Eggers

Narrator: Dion Graham

Genres: Contemporary | Short Story | Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 46m 36s

Source: Promotion on Amazon

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Premise:
Mae is lucky enough to get a job in a major company.
Soon she will find out that the job comes with strings attached.

Review:

This was a thought-provoking story about the impact of the media in our daily lives and how far our employers may demand us to go.

However, the main character was extremely bland.

When the agenda becomes clear, she completely loses interest, providing one or two word replies and relinquishing any sense of personality.

Some things did not seem plausible and the ending felt rushed but this is definitely a frightening glimpse of the future because it feels like it could be real.

This is free on Audible and I enjoyed the narration so I do recommend it.

Listened to on Nov 28th, 2016
GR Review

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Title: In a Dark, Dark Wood

Author: Ruth Ware

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Thriller

Length: 352 pages | 4016 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

Nora has not seen or spoken to Clare in 10 years and suddenly she receives an invitation to her hen-do.
Taken aback, she agrees to go, despite the nagging feeling that she shouldn’t. However, some secrets should stay in the past.

Review:

This book started out really nicely for me.

We get to know Nora, a writer in her mid 20s who has settled into her routine. She seemed very real.

When Nora gets Clare’s invitation to her hen-do via best friend/maid of honour Flo, she is shocked. Not only have they not spoken in a decade, something bad happened in their past that made this the least thing Nora expected.

The events that follow are suspenseful and you can tell from early on that the setting provides the right atmosphere for truly thrilling moments. The descriptions of the house and its surroundings were ominous.

The narrative is interspersed with Nora’s experiences at a different time. At first you don’t even know if it is before or after the events we are witnessing but then it becomes progressively clearer, growing to an exciting crescendo.

And that is when things went downhill for me. There was such a build-up that the revelation about Nora’s 10-year-old secret was almost disappointing. Also, some things were glazed over and the last third felt like it dragged so much. By that time I was craving resolution to what had happened and still had to go through all the main character’s extensive whodunnit. And the worst part is I had seen it coming ages ago.

Some things felt just plain ridiculous
(like seeing footprints from the garage to the main house not once but twice and no one even thinks of checking the garage for instance, or you’re sitting with a person who you are almost sure killed someone and you drink the tea they made even though it tastes tremendously bitter? And you keep taking another sip and complaining it’s bitter and another sip and another and another…?) and others seemed to have been put there for the sake of justifying the outcome ( like Nora’s amnesia lasting that long or Tom saying that Bruce had had an awful argument with James and then Bruce turns out to actually like James and it’s actually Clare he didn’t like).

So overall I truly enjoyed the characters (Nina was amazing) and the tension but the resolution definitely put me off.

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 Nov 17th to Nov 19th, 2016

GR Review