Book Review: Saltwater by Jessica Andrews

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What it’s about- it follows the life of Lucy who has moved to university in London from Sunderland. She struggles to fit in to the new environment, working long shifts to make ends meet. She leaves for Ireland to find who she really is.

What I thought – while it was written in a poetic way, which I liked, the story was very difficult to keep up with. There were times when it seemed to flow beautifully but then it would suddenly jump to something else, maybe a different time, which just didn’t work for me. It made it hard to know where the story was going and there were some passages that just completely confused me. I personally liked the writing style it made the passages flow and rather than being written in chapters it was written in short passages as though it was a group of poems that linked together.

Would I recommend – I feel it is a book for people with a specific taste. If you love poetry this could perfect for you as I feel it’s the sort of book you need to really read into to understand what is happening.

Book review: Daisy Jones and the Six

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What is it about? Written as an oral history it tells the story of the fictional story of Daisy Jones and the Six. It follows the band from how they formed to their reasons for splitting. It incorporates all the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of the 70s music industry.

What did I think? At first I was sceptical of the writing style of this book as it is written in a script like fashion. As I kept reading however, I loved the interview style it meant all the characters perspectives were heard and you could see how they recounted the same events differently. I also felt it made it seem so much more real. The characters were crafted beautifully and even though they all had their issues and annoying moments, I wanted them to have a happy ending. The ending in my eyes was perfect, yes it was bitter sweet but it just worked so well. It dealt well with the issues the characters faced and really pained a picture of the 1970s rock n’ roll scene.

Would I recommend? Definitely, it was a lovely story and it left me with a good sense of fulfilment.

Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What is it about? The story follows two people from very opposite worlds. Marianne is from a privileged background but has a difficult home life and is quite the outcast at school. On the other hand, Connell thrives socially at school and is very close with his mother who works for Marianne’s mother. Things change completely when they go off to university.

What did I think? I did really enjoy this story however after hearing so much about it the expectations were extremely high and it didn’t quite meet them. I found it difficult to get used to the voice used, there was a lack of punctuation which I didn’t immediately take to. I enjoyed the relationship between Connell and Marianne, it was interesting to see how they were such different people but their lives intersected so much and seemed to go together so well. It was nice to see how they grew through the book, both together and separately; Rooney deals with such subjects as eating disorders, abusive relationships and depression. The way she dealt with mental illness in them both was important especially with Connell as so often male issues in this context are ignored. As the title suggests they were just two normal people going through life, it was quite refreshing to just see them with no added gimmicks. So much of what they went through would be relatable to different people in different ways and I just really liked that about the book.

Would I recommend? yes I would. However, I recommend going into the book with an open mind. So many people hyped it up that I feel like no matter what it would never have lived up to the expectations I had. It was enjoyable but there are other books less well known that were just as good if not better.

What will I be reviewing next? Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

Book review: The Green Mile by Stephen King

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What is it about? John Coffey is a black man is in prison for the murder of two young girls. Head guard, Paul Edgecomb, recalls his time working on death row and how he met John and discovered he has an incredible secret.

What did I think? I loved this book, it was such a captivating story and really messes with your viewpoint of the men who have committed such serious crimes. King’s characters were all completely different people and the characterisations really stuck with you. You knew who you were meant to be rooting for and this wasn’t alway the guards over the prisoners. Interestingly, he portrays some of the inmates as men rather than the inhumane monsters you’d expect them to be, he makes you forget the awful things they’ve done to a point you almost feel sympathy to these men in their last moments. There were also those who were just the stereotype of what you’d expect from a murder and I really felt the comparison was a great aspect of the novel. There was also one guard, Percy, who was just an awful human being, this was an interesting choice as at times he was acting worse than some of the inmates. The fact that the story was being written by Paul when he was in an old people’s nursing home allows for the comparison, that there will always be the same types of people in the world no matter what point of life you are at. One of the aspects that stood out to me was that he would speak in great detail about seemingly random things which would later be important to the story. It made you question where things would go. As the book went on, it only got more exciting and the supernatural nature I enjoyed because everything else was just so normal. The fact that the story focused around death row and the inmates being executed through the electric chair also bring up the conversation of how ethical it was. At times Paul would question whether it made him a murderer the fact that he was behind the deaths of the men who walked the green mile.

Would I recommend? Yes, it was an amazing story. Even if you aren’t into supernatural stories you should still give this a go as the story surrounding it was really touching. It made me question things which I always love when a book does this.

What will I be reviewing next? Normal People by Salley Rooney.

Book review: A stranger on the beach by Michele Campbell

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What is the book about? forty two year-old Caroline believed her husband is having an affair and so ends up having a one night stand with a much younger man, Aiden. After this, he becomes obsessed, stalks her and becomes infatuated with her and her family. But is everything as it seems? Can we believe everything Aiden or Caroline says?

What did I think? The voice confused me so much at first, in fact I probably wouldn’t have realised that I was reading it wrong had someone not mentioned it in the book club I was reading with. It is written so that some chapters are from the point of view of Aiden while some are from Caroline’s. This means they often recount the same events but have a different outlook on what actually happens which I didn’t realise at first and was thinking I thought that happened or when was there time for that to happen. Once I understood, it was much easier to read. The novel was gripping and I really did want to keep reading to find out what had happened and who was lying. The characters were however, all unlikable so I wasn’t rooting for anyone in particular. I wanted to know what happened but I didn’t really have a preference as I often do with these types of books. I feel the main reason I read on was because I was hooked on finding out the conclusion.

Would I recommend? If you’re looking for a thriller there are many that I did prefer to this one. Personally, this one wasn’t a favourite but I got through it.

Book Review: His and Hers by Alice Feeney

What is it about? Anna Andrews finally got her dream job as a newsreader, but this is suddenly taken away from her when a colleague returns from maternity leave.  She is given the job to cover a murder case in Blackdown village; a case that her ex-husband DCI Jack Harper is investigating. Soon enough they both become suspects. ‘Someone is lying, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.’

What did I think? This is one of the best books I have read in a while, I was absolutely gripped, and I will not lie when I say I couldn’t put it down. Any time I wasn’t reading it I felt pulled to read more. Though I admit I worked it out, there were so many twists and turns that made me completely doubt my theory. I just had to know who the murderer was and why they were doing it. All the characters had stories that could link them to the murders and there was suspicion surrounding them all meaning you could never be a hundred percent sure about who the murderer really was. I especially liked the use of the murderer’s voice, though the novel flips between him and her (Jack and Anna), the reader is given some chapters from the murderer’s perspective but doesn’t tell us which character is speaking. These chapters give the murderers thoughts and they often have clues that could link to just about any of the characters adding to the frustration of not knowing who did it. I think these were a very welcome addition as not only did they break up Anna and Jack’s thoughts, giving a perspective that their chapters didn’t, they would help to create cliff-hangers throughout the novel.  The book was incredibly dark, more so than I expected, as the story goes on things are revealed about those who are being murdered paint them in an evil light. I feel the author wanted to create a sense that the killer really did have reason behind the killings, as their shocking secrets are revealed. The things they did though, effected so many people that it’s impossible to tell which of them is looking for revenge.  In having all the stories intertwine so perfectly, Feeney was able to create a story that kept me guessing even when I thought I had worked it out. I did this book as a buddy read with a group on Instagram which was exciting as I got to hear other people’s thoughts and those who had read a bit further would hint that exciting things were to come. 

Would I recommend? 100%. If you’re into detective thrillers this is definitely a book for you. It had me completely on the hook and I literally couldn’t put it down. 

What book review is coming up next? Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.