One way ticket

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”The Journey’‘ by Josephine Cox is a Lucy Baker’s journey through life. Benjamin Morris meets elderly Lucy and her daughter Mary in a graveyard, when he rushes to Lucy’s rescue after she falls. He comes to their impressive Edwardian house later to return a lost handbag. He is intrigued by the inscription on Barney Davidson’s stone that the two women frequently visit, which reads ”A man of courage. He made the greatest sacrifice of all.” Lucy welcomes the gentleman into the house when he comes to return the handbag, but is she ready to reveal to him what is behind the curious inscription? Story for story, Mary and Lucy get to know Ben, a hardworking and divorced farmer. He earns their trust and gradually learns Lucy’s life story.

Lucy’s life events are the core of the book. In her tale, she goes back to when she was a young girl, fell for a questionable character Edward Trent, got pregnant and was left ball alone in the world. Abandoned by Edward, she found refuge at Bridget’s, who run a house with ladies who ”entertain”. Lucy cleaned and cooked in return for the shelter. One day Edward came back. Lucy hoped things would get better for her, that he would now look after her and their son Jamie, but Trent dreaded the thought of being a father, pushed her when they argued and left her unconscious in a field. A local farmer Barney found her and brought her to his cottage where she stayed to recover and befriended his wife and their children. The Davidson’s family suggested that their farm would be a much better place for her and for Jamie to grow up than the Bridget’s house, and offered her a job at the farm.

Now old, wrinkled and weak Lucy clutches a letter to her chest, it is from the Davidson’s kids, from America, all grown ups now, who wrote to tell her how much they despised her and their father and that she has ruined their lives. Lucy’s heart aches for them, she has information that would clear their fathers name but she has promised him to keep it a secret, the one that explains Barney’s great sacrifice.

If you are curious and would like to know what the sacrifice was, I invite you to read the book that brings a rich story, full of events, one of those books that describe ones’ whole life. I enjoyed it and think it is worth 3 food-strawberry-300px.png food-strawberry-300px.png food-strawberry-300px.png strawberries, cherries or gooseberries.

Strawberries, cherries or gooseberries rating

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png– one of the best books I read

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png – charmed

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png – good read

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

food-strawberry-300px.png – don’t waste your time

Favourite person in the world

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”Thanks for reading and reviewing The Marriage Lie! 👰🏻💍📚💖

kimberly belle

I bought “The Marriage Lie” by Kimberly Belle for under €2 as an e-book. Iris’ marriage seems perfect, until the day when she finds out that her husband was killed in a plane crash. She refuses to believe that he is dead, as Whilliam was not supposed to be on a plane to Seattle. He was meant to be on another aircraft, one that has safely landed in a Orlando.

When she rings the hotel, where he told hear he would be staying, she finds out that not only he hasn’t been booked there but that the conference he was meant to be a part of, never took place. Despite this discovery, she keeps her hopes up, as it still doesn’t prove that he was on the tragic flight. She is a school psychologist and as a therapist she realises what other people must think, that she is in denial, that she doesn’t want to acknowledge her husband’s death. She knows what her second step is going to be to prove to everyone else that her husband’t wasn’t on the tragic flight.

When she flights to Seattle with her twin brother for a company, she is shocked to uncover that there are people who knew her husband. Whill apparently grew up there and not in Memphis as she thought. His pictures are all over the yearbooks in a school in Seattle, while nobody ever heard of him in Memphis. But there is more, people who knew him from his childhood and adolescent years, don’t put him in a good light. They refuse to talk about him, nearly spitting at the mention of his name.

The dipper she digs the more lies she uncovers and each one more horrible the the former. She is beginning to doubt that she knew her husband at all. In fact, she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. She isn’t even sure if her husband is really dead. Somebody sends her anonymous messages wanting her to go back home and leave the past behind. Somebody lives her notes in the house in her husband’s handwriting. Is someone just trying to mess with her head or is Whill really alive? If he is, where is he and why is he hiding? Why did he lie to her, to his ”favourite person in the world”?

The book kept me interested, lots of unexpected twists and turns.When you think you know how the plot is going to unravel, the author introduces another surprise and a change of direction. 3 Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px spoons, forks or frying pans granted.

Spoons, forks or frying pans rating

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – one of the best books I read

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – charmed

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – good read

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Cartoon-Spoon-300px – don’t waste your time

The World around me

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”Room” by Emma Donoghue is one of of those books that are hard to put down. ”Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.”– this is all the synopsis on the back cover says. Their world is so confined that the everyday items have much more significance for little Jack than they would have for any other child his age, it is shown by the author in a simple but ingenious way of using capital letters for the ”Lamp, Bed, Duvet” etc. Nothing much changes in their everyday routine.

What Jack doesn’t realise is that they are being held captive by Old Nick, who comes at night and rapes his mother and that she has been missing for around seven years. In fact Jack doesn’t know that the world outside the Room exists. Room is all he has ever known since his birth and Ma explained that nothing outside it is real, just like pictures on the telly they sometimes watch. Out of love and desperation, she tries to make his live as normal as possible in the surreal and horrendous situation. She hides him in the closet for the night, where he sleeps and where he is out of sight of Old Jack, who visits them at night time. She makes sure her son eats healthily and teaches him hygiene, using the sparse and basic supplies that Old Jack brings. She is growing more and more anxious, her son has turned five and she knows that the older he gets the harder it will be for her to shield him from the sick reality they have been forced into, as he will start to understand more. Furthermore Old Nick has lost his job and he might loose his house. She fears the worst, she knows that when he is forced to leave, he won’t be able to keep them, but that he won’t definitely let them go free.

She plots an escape plan but she has to tell her son first that they will be going outside, that there is a world out there. At the age of five, will Jack be able to completely change his understanding of what’s real and what’s made up, if the Room is all he knows? If so, will they escape and how? And even if they do, will she and Jack especially, be able to find themselves in the real world? Very imaginative, insightful, heartbreaking. A definite page turner, 4 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300pxkeys, locks or clouds from me.

Keys, locks or clouds rating

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – one of the best books I read

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – charmed

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – good read

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

1275417416-300px – don’t waste your time

Hidden memories

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I bought “Close to me” by Amanda Reynolds as an ebook for barely €1. The protagonist, a woman in her fifties looses a year of memories after a bad fall and a head injury.

I liked the structure of the book, fragments of events, as they were coming back to her, get repeated with more information revealed. Surprisingly I didn’t find the repetitions tedious, I thought they enriched the book as they would show the events from sometimes slightly and other times completely different perspective. I would gladly pick up the book and continue reading, which is often a good sign, though I found it slightly less compelling towards the end, I think the pace has slowed down unnecessarily.

I liked the idea of Jo feeling that something was off, even though she couldn’t remember what has happened, how she struggled between what her gut was telling her and the logical and factual thinking, not knowing which she should trust. We could see how, without having a full insight into the actual facts, we can misread a situation or even how people are capable of manipulating the reality for the purpose of making things look better for themselves or simply just for some twisted sort of fun on someone else’s expense; how unfortunately others can become “collateral damage” if people are guided by their egoistic goals and the price to pay can be high.

Jo lives in an immaculate and secluded house, she feels lonely, confused and betrayed. She doesn’t know who to trust and what to believe. She doesn’t remember what has happened to her. A lot seemed to have changed during the lost year and what is even more frustrating her family doesn’t want to talk about it. She is afraid and disgusted by her husband, a feeling she cannot explain towards a man whom she loved for over twenty years and who seems as caring as ever. She is desperate to hear from her fragile son but he is an introvert and refuses to confess what has been bothering him. What is behind the drastic change in her daughter’s look and when will she meet her boyfriend whom she is told neither she nor her husband approve of?

If you want to find out if Jo will finally remember it all, give the book a go. Overall a good read, 3 Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngwind mills, wind chimes or umbrellas.

Wind mills, wind chimes or umbrellas rating

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– one of the best books I read

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– charmed

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– good read

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Manchego-mill-01-300px.png– don’t waste your time

The destructive culture of instant gratification

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”Three Seconds to Rush” by Danielle Steward was on offer as a free e-book and I wasn’t disappointed. It started rather fast, when Tara wakes up in a hospital and is told that she overdosed on heroin and was rescued just in time by a policeman. She is also informed that her son, who is only a toddler, was found in a the parking lot of a supermarket nearby, left alone in cold temperatures. She is shocked as she insist that she doesn’t do drugs and would never have abandoned her son. The police officers and child protective services are not convinced, especially after they find out that the father of the child died of an overdose.

Tara is determined to get Wylie back but she is starting to realise it may not be that simple. Out of her despair she calls the only person she can think of who may be able to help. Her long lost childhood friend Reid is a lawyer now, and she hopes he still remembers her. It takes Tara a while to convince him to listen to her, the high hopes she had of him burning out with his reluctance to take on her case. He finally agrees but his skepticism he seems to have developed during the years as an attorney, puts her off when he insists that she should plea guilty in order to be able to hopefully see her son again after she has proven that she is fit to look after Wylie again. Reid is adamant when she tries to refer to their common memories from their childhood. He argues that she has no chance of winning the case if she pleas not guilty of the felony charges of child endangerment. Eventually he gives in though reluctantly and decides to follow with her not guilty plea, but deep down he doesn’t seem to believe her. Her chances are looking even less likely when the estranged but resourceful and wealthy parents in law step in and are up for a battle as they demand full custody of Wylie.

I have to say that before I reached the final chapters I kind of guessed the bits of the books that were meant to be kept as a mystery, but I often do, there are hardly any books that are so unpredictable that they keep the reader completely in the dark, it is more of a wonder as to which way will the book go. Nevertheless I enjoyed the read and am granting it 3 Schnecke-300px.png Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png snails, turtles or rabbits.

Snails, turtles or rabbits rating

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – one of the best books I read

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – charmed

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – good read

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Schnecke-300px.png – don’t waste your time

Tell me everything

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”Before I let you in” by Jenny Blackhurst is psychological thriller and a good one too. I paid barely 1 euro for the ebook, so I was pleasantly surprised. Gripping and fast paced with twists that are not easily foreseen. Which is basically all a good thriller should be about, isn’t it?
Karen and her two best friends Eleanor and Bea, are the main characters. They have known each other since their childhood and are still in each other lives, even now with their own families, careers etc. They share everything, that’s what they believe anyway, but Karen has a secret she has not revealed to the others. Her baby sister died when she was only little. She knows she shouldn’t blame herself, she was only four and her beloved sibling shouldn’t have been left in her care in the first place. She is a successful psychiatrist and understands guilt and grief as abstracts, but they have been eating her up ever since.
Eleanor is a mum of an adopted toddler as well as a baby she gave birth to, and is at her wits ends. She is exhausted, not sleeping enough, and in a desperate need of doing something outside her domestic responsibilities. Meanwhile Bea, not having family of her own and stuck in an uninsipring office job, feels like she is running behind her friends – Eleanor with her happy family and Karen with her high flying career. All the women seem rather vulnerable and this is only just a beginning as all their lives begin to shatter when Karen takes on a new patient, Jessica Hamilton.
Jessica tells her therapist things that seem to be directed at Karen personally. Karen starts to worry that this young and unpredictable girl may be a threat not only to her, but to her friends as well. She feels trapped as she cannot break the doctor – patient confidentiality, not without any solid proof that anyone is in danger, and the girl is smart and careful. Karen is on a mission to get the proof. She is worried she may be risking her licence, but feels that the safety of the people she is closest to is more important. Jessica seems to be holding all the cards, she knows Karen’s secret, the one from long ago and another, neither of which shared with Bea or Eleanor. Things are spiraling downhill and fast.
I enjoyed the book and the price was excellent. I am granting 3 pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpears, plums or apricots.

Pears, plums or apricots rating:

pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300px – one of the best books I read

pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300px – charmed

pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300px – good read

pera-300pxpera-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

pera-300px – don’t waste your time

The Weverly magic

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First Frost” by Sarah Addison Allen. If you liked “The Garden Spells” and the Weverleys, then you will enjoy this book, as it shows the family ten or so years later. Bay is in her teens, her mother Sydney is happily married to Henry and lives on his farm. Claire occupies the Weverleys old house with her husband Tyler and their daughter Maria, who is about the same age Bay was in the last book.

The mysterious apple three in the garden is dormant. Everyone is awaiting the first frost this late autumn as it is supposed to bring relief to the Weverly family, to finally stop the tensions that have been building up. Claire has a new flourishing business of making candy with flower extracts in them. She has so many orders that she no longer has the time to bake or cook. She refuses to acknowledge that something has been bothering her but she is definitely not herself. She is doubting her Weverley gift and she doesn’t seem happy.  A mysterious Russell Zahler aka the Great Banditi visits the town of Bascom in North Carolina and he is full of stories, one in particular adds to Clare’s insecurities. Claire’s sister Sydney hopes that she will confide in her, that she will share whatever it is that has been bugging her. Sydney herself is desperate to have another child. Bay, to her mother’s disbelief is trying to befriend young Josh Mattesson, the son of her first love who broke her heart.

Will their troubles be resolved with the first frost finally arriving and the tree in the garden in full blossom? See for yourself if you wish. There are reminders from the previous book intended for the readers who didn’t start with ”The Garden Spells” but they are kept to minimum, so if you read the previous book, you are not dragged through it again. Characters are very well drawn and likeable, each with their own eccenttricies, which keeps you turning the pages as you want to find out what happens to all of them.

Light and enjoyable read. I spend more than usual on this book, but my birthday was coming at the time and I like the author; it was still an inexpensive book, around 5 euro. I will give the sequel 4 apple-tree-300px apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple trees, tulips or rain drops. Yes, partially out of the sentiment towards ”The Garden Spells”, the characters and that unique light magic touch, but also because it was a nice story overall.

Apple trees, tulips or rain drops rating:

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxone of the best books I read

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxcharmed

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxgood read

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxdisappointed, I thought it was going to be better

apple-tree-300pxdon’t waste your time

Life choices, ambitions and secrets

 

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I read “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty a while back. It has been made into a TV series recently, I started watching the show and remembered the book.

It starts with a loud thump, so to speak. Someone has been killed at a school trivia night. The interesting and unusual thing is, that we as readers, are kept in the dark as to who has been murdered. When it comes to the suspects, it looks like it may almost be anyone and everyone from the community. There is a lot of tension and we are shown, retrospectively how it has escalated to such an extend that one person ended up dead.

Madeline Martha Mackenzie, a stay at home mum, is a constant presence in the small community, while Renata has a high flying carrier. They children go to the same class. (As soon as I became a mum I realised what a strong divide has arose between the stay at home and the working mums. I belong to the latter group but I believe we are all doing our best and hope to raise happy and healthy kids. Nevertheless I was surprised to have some strong opinions thrown in my face by some of the mums even though I didn’t ask for them and didn’t judge anyone else’s choices. Therefore I would like to take this opportunity and ask all the mums to be understanding and support one another, regardless of their personal views in this matter. Sorry for the digression.)

What makes things worse between the mums in the book is an incident that happens on the first day of school after the summer holidays. A new student, Ziggy is accused of attempting to choke Amabella, who happens to be Renata’s daughter. There are no doubts that the sweet little girl has been hurt by somebody as there are visible marks on her throat but the new kid Ziggy strongly denies the accusations and his mother Jane Chapman, who has recently befriended Madeline, has no reason not to believe him, as Ziggy has been nothing but kind and gentle so far.

Parents are now taking sides, supporting either of the two strong women, Madeline or Renata. Small doubts are entering Jane’s thoughts as she fears that maybe her beloved son has inherited violent behaviour from his father. She is new in town having escaped the last place, where she feared that the child’s father might return and hurt her.

Apart from the drama that’s out in the open all mothers have their own personal issues. Jane is trying to forget the traumatic experience she went through. Renata is feeling guilty that her job takes so much of her time. Madeline struggles to come to terms with the fact that her ex husband can be such a caring father to his new daughter Sky, whom he has with his new young and attractive wife Bonnie, while he failed to do the same for their adolescent daughter Abigail in the past. To make things more difficult for Madeline, Abigail constantly praises Bonnie. Madeline’s second husband Ed is very understanding and sensible about the situation, but even his patience starts to wear off as he is beginning to feel neglected. Celeste, the mom of two twin boys is being abused by he husband and keeps it a secret from everyone.

Another fuse bursts between Renata and Madeline when Renata gets other parents to sign a petition that closes down a school play which Madeline was in charge of. When Madeline’s friends wonder why she is so worked up about a school play, she confesses that as much as she loves being a stay at home mum it is not enough for her, that she misses work. Cleste then admits the same, says that she misses practicing law.

The book is fast paced and keeps the reader interested. I am granting it 4 simple-apple-300px simple-apple-300px simple-apple-300px simple-apple-300pxapples, plums or clouds.


Apple, plums or clouds rating:

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – one of the best books I read

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – charmed

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – good read

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

simple-apple-300px – don’t waste your time

Don’t give up hope

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In ”Find Me” by J.S. Monroe we see Rosa’s story through her diary which her boyfriend Jar gets to read in a haphazard order. After just a few months of knowing Jar, Rosa commits suicide. He however doesn’t believe that she is dead, says that it was out of character for her, yet everything we have learnt about her so far points to the contrary. He keeps seeing her in the city but his therapist insists that he is experiencing post bereavement hallucinations. Is there another explanation? Perhaps somebody wants to make it look like she was dead. Why? Her recently deceased father worked for the Foreign Office in UK. Could she possibly be a spy?

I felt detached from the main characters. It wasn’t a question of me liking or disliking them, I simply didn’t feel like I got to know them well enough, I wish more foucs was put into drawing them. Since I did’t find the main characters gripping, the book didn’t compel me to keep reading. The first part seemed too long. Yes, there were places were it was more interesting, but I felt like it needed some more editing, maybe even rewriting. The structure was ambitious but a bit confusing. I think it might heve been more believeable if it was written from a perspective of Max, the journalist whom Jar meets and questions about the article he was working on. He was investigating the high rates of suicides in prestigious Universities in UK and the large number of missing bodies of those students. If Max was the leading character, he could have then concentrated on Rosa as the lates subject of his reaserch, maybe meet with Jar to talk about her… Just an idea.

The book is divided into two parts, a new narrator is added in the second part, a malicious character. It gets more interesting when the plot starts to slowly reveal itself. Warning: it also gets darker, there are rather graphic descriptions of cruelty, torture, inhumane and unethical experiments.

Overall, I am afraid the book gets from me two Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px umbrellas, earmuffs or cuff links, as I really thought it was going to be better. The story was there, but in need of rewriting and editing, in my opinion, with more focus on the main characters and shortened for a more gripping and quicker pace. I bought the e-book for under 2 euro.

Umbrellas, earmuffs or cufflinks rating

Umbrella-Closed-300pxUmbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – one of the best books I read

Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – charmed

Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – good read

Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Umbrella-Closed-300px – don’t waste your time