Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, Paperback, 434 pages, £8.99

From the author who provided us with the best-seller and now TV series, Big Little Lies, Moriarty has allowed readers to see the transformations of nine perfect strangers. Moriarty’s latest novel is set in a very glamorous and prestigious health resort in Australia. Tranquillum house offers its guests a 10 day transformation, however does anyone last the full 10 days?

This book is propelled forward by its fantastic characters. Each character has a relatable trait and is very easy to emphasise with. At times the pace of the novel does begin to steady as all of the characters viewpoints need to be taken into consideration. Each chapter provides a character’s viewpoint and moves the story towards another character’s point of view. This is a great tool to create in-depth characters however sometimes the pace of the novel can become a secondary element.

Throughout the novel the reader goes through a rollercoaster of emotions. We laugh, cry and feel for each character and the decisions they make in the book. Moriarty is very aware of her readership. This is emphasised more so towards the end of her novel.

Moriarty demonstrates a clear love of romance through her engagement to the reader. Similarly this also has the same impact as Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Please do not think that this is a romance novel however. Nine Perfect Strangers offers suspense and comedy throughout, so much so, that it is hard to distinguish a clear genre for this novel.

IMG_8257The biggest message from this novel would be to not judge a book by its cover. This message coincidentally also relates to my viewpoints of the novel but also to the nine perfect strangers. The more you read, the more you will realise that nothing is ever just black or white.

If you wish to buy a copy at a discount price of £6.99 you can do so here 

The Death of Mrs.Westaway

The Death of Mrs.Westaway by Ruth Ware, 400 Pages, paperback, £8.99 at Waterstones.

Get out while you still can. Ruth Ware has created a thrilling house with even darker secrets. The Death of Mrs. Westaway begins with Hal and a mysterious inheritance to someone she has never heard of. Pretending all is well, she returns to the estate and realised that this is more than she bargained for.

The pace in this novel is well thought out. It begins rather fast paced, with the introduction to Hal and her need to escape. After the first meeting with the lawyer Mr.Treswick, the novel seemed to slow a little. However this allows the reader to come to terms with what is happening and to explore the grounds and the rest of the characters with Hal. From this point on, the pace continues to build, leaving the reader with sleepless nights of reading.

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The plot itself plays to Ware’s strengths as her style cannot be unacknowledged in the plot. Ware’s writing style tends to be located in a location that holds memories and secrets that are carefully revealed one by one. The Death of Mrs.Westaway tends to be the most focused towards a mystery novel, with Hal and the reader being the detective. With this being said, this mystery brings the traditional victorian mystery into the contemporary here and now. Therefore do not expect a predictable read with this book. Whilst you are reading one part, Ware is tweaking with something else in the background.

There is some very significant influences to this novel that are very hard to ignore. The past location of Ezra and the estate itself, are strong influences of Daphne Du Maurie’s Rebecca. Throughout the novel the similarities are uncanny. However Ruth Ware makes sure that you don’t read the same novel twice. 

Furthermore superstition also plays a key part in the novel, from tarot cards to magpies that swarm the grounds. This could challenge the reader’s beliefs of what is believed and what is fact. It is this concept that is consistently returned to when trying to uncover the secrets throughout the novel. What are the facts and what is it that you want to believe?

The Death of Mrs.Westaway is a perfect choice for readers who loved Rebecca or are curious about superstition. However if you enjoy a good mystery but would wish they kept you guessing, then again, you’re looking at your next read.

If you are still not entranced by this novel then, through the words of Mrs.Warren Get out while you still can.

Although we already know what you are going to read next, don’t we?

To buy The Death of Mrs. Westaway in hardback click hereThe Death of Mrs.Westaway is available to pre order in paperback.

Rebecca By Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, 448 pages, paperback, £6.99, Waterstones.

‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

Daphne Du Maurier’s most iconic novel begins in one of the most famous houses of all. Manderley. A sudden flashback to the house brings a sense of intrigue as the reader begins to follow the future Mrs. De Winter in Monte Carlo. However it is only when  Mrs. De Winter gets to Manderley that she realises that all is not what it seems at this enchanting place.Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 11.58.04

Daphne Du Maurier demonstrates descriptive language at its finest whilst balancing the drama perfectly amongst the dialogue. After reading this novel I can see elements of modern literature that has taken certain aspects of this novel into their own. The concept of the pensive in Harry Potter is similar to Du Maurier’s interpretations of memory. Furthermore with certain characters within the novel, it is a little more of a coincidence that Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl takes a similar approach in characterisation.

Reflecting back on Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier appears to have been one of the first influential female writer’s to have written a psychological thriller. Yes, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is a close second, however I would suggest that this takes a more horrific approach as opposed to a psychological view. The closest I have seen writing as similar as this would be Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Sadly this is just a novella, however if you have enjoyed this read previously then Rebecca is the book for you.

Du Maurier’s novel has a strong focus on identification of the self. Her writing shows elements of the beauty myth to emphasise self identity, through becoming the new wife of Mr. De Winter and the new owner of Manderley. It appears as if the main character is in a world where she is being told how to be, that she must break all of these barriers in order to find herself and her courage along the way.

I would suggest this novel to everyone purely because I do not feel that this novel is solely for men, women or children. Rebecca could be casted as a coming of age novel as the main character is trying to find themselves within the world. However if you like thrillers, in particular a psychological one, then again this is a must.

If anyone has already read this please let me know your thoughts. After all, everyone’s views of Manderley are different.

You can buy Rebecca here. Best of Reading.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, Hardback, £12.99 at Waterstones.

The Girl in the Tower continues Arden’s first novel, The Bear and the Nightingale, by revealing page by page, what happens to the beloved Vasya. This novel seamlessly follows Vasya on her travels to finding her family and herself.

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In The Girl in the Tower, the reader is given an insight into Moscow and its current struggles. As if power struggles and potential war wasn’t bad enough, traceless bandits are beginning to steal daughters from quiet nearby villages. This novel also gives its readers an insight into the life of Vasya’s other family members, Sasha and Olga. With everyones viewpoints beginning to clash, conflicts begin to rise, as does your reading pace.

The Girl in the Tower remains set in medieval Russia and clearly demonstrates Russian tradition and folklore. Katherine Arden has twisted these concrete concepts with a significant relation to feminism. It is because of this that the novel seems so fresh and current, regardless of its setting.

To conclude, The Girl in the Tower is fast-paced and flows seamlessly from the first novel in the Winternight series. Feminism is embedded throughout the novel, demonstrating current views into a medieval time. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and it has left me wanting more. Closure is given however it does not stop you wanting to read the next one asap! The end of The Girl in the Tower is very fast-paced and gives the impression that the third novel will have a significant beginning.

You can pre-order the paperback here or you can order it from Amazon for the Kindle.

Need to Know

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland, Hardback, 304 pages, £12.99 at Waterstones.

Cleveland’s debut novel has been praised by various thriller novelists and for good reason. Need to Know is situated in America and tries to keep up with the lives of Viv and Matt. Oh and when I mean keep up, I mean running behind.

The novel begins extremely fast paced as the reader is thrown into the action and tries to help out Viv in her most difficult decision. Of course, Vivian’s situations may always seem difficult when working for the CIA but when she uncovers something that throws her life off balance, it is difficult not to try and help.

“you’ll miss dinner, stay up far too late, and feel tired at work tomorrow. This is that kind of book. Superb.” – Lee Child

Cleveland’s ideas are thoroughly researched and her characters are likeable and seem so real that it is difficult to just acknowledge them as characters in a book. It is for this reason as to why the reader will find them so attached to this novel.

 

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When reading Need to Know it is clear to see that Cleveland knows her readers well. She understands what we’re thinking and knows how to throw the readers off track. By the end of this novel you will be locking yourself in your room, desperate not to be disturbed whilst you finish the last few chapters.

After being an avid reader or both thriller and crime novels, Need to Know has by far been one of my favourite books to review. That hungover feeling of finishing a book never really came for this book because the closure given to the reader was just right. Her plot and narrative are so well written that the only type of questions you will have once finishing the novel are, Who is Karen Cleveland and what else has she written?

Guaranteed to keep you guessing on information you Need to Know.

Please follow the link here to purchase a copy today!

A Cold Day in Hell by Lissa Marie Redmond

A Cold Day in Hell by Lissa Marie Redmond is her first novel in a thrilling cold case series. The reader follows the life of Lauren Riley at both work and home. A Cold Day in Hell is anything but cold as it is fast-paced and will keep you at the edge of your seat. Redmond has created a refreshing new series within the thriller/crime genre.

The novel begins with Lauren Riley taking on a case by Frank Violanti – a rival defence attorney. As the reader soon realises, there is more to the case than meets the eye. The readers then delve into Lauren’s personal life when it becomes clear that both work and her personal life, begin to overlap. Redmond has created a well thought-out plot as the reader is never left bored or distracted. Sub plots are easy to acknowledge and some could be seen as a recurring sub plot throughout the series.

Twists and turns are unexpected throughout, making this novel an unpredictable read. Readers may feel that the novel has a slight similarity to the 80s film Jagged Edge as the case that Lauren takes on is big within the media and has the psychological feel of the 80s film. The innocent until proven guilty belief is glued into each page, constantly keeping the reader on their toes.

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If anyone is unsure about reading a crime or thriller novel then Redmond’s novel is a good place to start. Redmond explains throughout A Cold Day in Hell the police procedures and court hearings in enough detail for them to not be patronising. This ensures that everyone understands what is going on in each chapter of the book.

For anyone who would like to try a crime or thriller novel then you can pre-order A Cold Day in Hell here on Midnight Ink Books, or on Amazon.

The Lying Game

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, £7.99,  Amazon

The Lying Game begins with a text message, I need you. From this moment onwards the reader is propelled into Isa’s life and lies that entwine within. As the lies in The Lying Game  unfold, the truth about Isa’s friendships and relationships surface. With everyone playing the lying game, who should she trust?

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Best selling author Ruth Ware, also known for her novels In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, has yet again met the high expectations of her readers. Although I prefer In a Dark. Dark Wood (and that’s not just because I’m a northerner), The Lying Game demonstrates an element of childlike games that we can all relate to, to some extent. It is when Ruth Ware stretches and twists these concepts, that makes her novels so appealing to the 20s + market.

If you have read any of Ruth Ware’s other novels then you will enjoy The Lying Game as her style is clearly cemented in every page. If you enjoy novels such as Gone Girl, then this could be the book for you. The Lying Game is not as intense but that shouldn’t be seen as a negative.

I would suggest this novel to anyone who wants to read a thriller with elements of light heartedness. Not every thriller needs to be intense on every page and it’s for this reason that I would recommend The Lying Game as a good holiday read.

The Death of Her

The Death of Her by Debbie Howells, Macmillan.

The Death of Her brings along its readers to a crime scene where a woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. Only, the woman never died and she’s making a recovery. With the woman’s lack of memory and disjointed timelines in her thoughts, it soon becomes clear for the reader that this case isn’t as straightforward as it should be. The case is left in the hands of DI Abbie Rose and Jack Bentley to figure out who committed the attack and whether it could be linked to additional cases.

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Debbie Howells’ The Death of Her is structured through four perspectives: Charlotte, Evie, Jack and Casey. With reading about both the past and present, the readers gain insight not only to the flaws of each character, but also gains further insight to both the victim and the police force through Evie and Jack. Characterisation is at the heart of this novel, along with its uncomfortable twists and turns. The Death of Her provides so much unpredictability it can sometimes feel like walking through fog. Only towards the end of the novel can you see it getting lighter and the answer becoming clearer. The unpredictability can latch onto the reader and can even make them question what they believe to be true.

Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You, seems to have used her now country lifestyle as inspiration for the setting of The Death of Her. Her latest psychological thriller is set in Cornwall but is described as a peaceful and safe county, surrounded by Maize fields and crashing tides. The juxtaposition of safety and danger in a quiet, peaceful setting makes the perfect place for mystery, murder and menace.

Available to purchase from Thursday 24th August or pre-order The Death of Her here.

In a Dark Dark Wood

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, Paperback, Vintage, 338 pages, £7.99

Ruth Ware’s In a Dark Dark Wood could be described as a gripping thriller that feels just light enough to pop in your hand luggage as a holiday read. Ware’s thriller is set in a rural Northumberland in the middle of a forest.  Picturesque it may seem but as night approaches, darkness is clearly lurking between both forest and friends. Nora receives an invitation for her friend, Clare’s, Hen party – only she hasn’t seen her in ten years. Although spending a weekend with an old friend could sound like bliss, with something going very wrong, Nora soon learns that she has to confront why she left so long ago.

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Ruth Ware is also known for The Woman in Cabin 10 and her latest novel The Lying game. Ruth used to be a teacher of English and a press officer. Having lived in Paris and London, this novel takes us away from the city life and into rural Northumberland. As her debut thriller it is to no wonder as to why her other novels just keep giving. After reading In a Dark Dark Wood I can only imagine that her other novels will be just as gripping and just as clever as her debut – if not better.

Whilst reading In a Dark Dark Wood, her style seemed to resemble Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. The novel follows Nora’s story all the way up to a pivotal point in the novel, whilst showing the aftermath through every other chapter. This reminded me of the way Flynn would bounce between charaters within her novel. Although Ware’s novel jumps to the past and present it is done in a way that feels necessary to the exposure of the plot.

For anyone wanting to have a look at the first few pages, you can through either amazon.co.uk or Waterstones.

Happy reading!

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Sceptre Books, £7.99, 613 pages, paperback, 2014.

The Bone Clocks could be described as one of the most unique and original books I have read to date. The Bone Clocks takes its readers on a lifelong journey to show the ups and downs that life can offer. Mitchell’s novel changes perspective a few times to demonstrate how one person can impact so many other lives. Given the change of perspectives, it is evident at how much thought has gone into the creation of The Bone Clocks, as although the perspective may change, the main character does not.

Throughout the novel an undercurrent theme of science fiction can be seen through the main character’s, Holly Sykes’, potential of psychic ability. However this is no fortune telling, carrot reading or crystal ball kind of psychic. In fact this concept is brought up and discussed within the novel; providing its readers with answers throughout the Sykes’ journey.

At first I did find this book a bit difficult to read, purely because there are no chapters. Only sections and brief spaces between paragraphs give an indication as to where a good place to stop reading may occur. Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As a reader I feel as if I have travelled through Sykes’ journey with her and have gotten to know her intricately. The understanding I now have of Holly is the equivalent to the understanding of a main character from a trilogy book-set.

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If you want to be whisked away by a character’s journey, then be prepared to be whisked away by The Bone Clocks.