Watch me by Jody Gehrman

This book is a literary feast of beautiful writing of the most intricate human emotions. I am still amazed by the beautiful phrases and descriptions. “You don’t know me – not yet – but nothing spikes my pulse. I am ice. I ooze cool, unruffled detachment.”

Sam is obsessed with Kate and he’s willing to do everything possible to make his love fantasy come alive. The plot is carefully constructed, Sam is almost an omnipresent narrator at times. He is derranged and messed up by his childhood of wanderings with his mother and the multitudes of her boyfriends. In a way his intentions are good, but they way he does everything to get to his dream is abhorrent and crazy in a really bad sense.

Kate was not my favorite character, she is highly portrayed as a puppet in the hands of Sam, until one point when she decides she can get the control and fix things. Kate is also pretty affected by her failed marriage and hence her current status. Sam’s attention comes at a time when she most needed it to be adored and to feel that she is seen as a woman again.

Many thanks to Netgalley and St Martins Press for the opportunity to read and review this arc.

 

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Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

IMG_20180116_082134_818.jpgKillman Creek is a dark and twisted thriller, a perfect sequel to Stillhouse House Lake. It is somehow extremely gripping due to the multiple POVs and the plot.

I must admit that at times I was unnerved by many of the decisions taken by the characters (the kids especially). But hey, I guess somehow the Dad Card had to be played by Melvin. Gwen was tormented even more in this book, many times I was wondering what more could happen to her.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book. I am definitely looking forward to reading a third book (crossing fingers).

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

This wonderfully unusual novel left a huge impression on me, with its deep focus on narcissism and the construct of manipulation within damaged families. The overall after-taste is a 4 star, yet with a fulfilling sense of satisfaction at the narrative level. Wendy Walker’s writing style is unmistakably special, with a beautiful complex plot construction.

I have learned so much about the psychology of narcissism from this book. Surely the author did some extensive research that shows. I deeply felt for Cass and Emma’s situations. It is unbelievable that this can happen in reality and can have dire psychological anf social consequences for generations to come, unless the persons can somehow escape the condition.

Cass is an intricate character, mirrored in a way by Abby. I loved this duo and how the author managed to play with the family history of psychological abuse, explained through narcissism and manipulation. Both characters have deep wounds, yet manage to somehow realise and save themselves from becoming their mothers.

The plot is well thought, yet becoming tiresome in the 2nd half, slightly confusing at times. The author managws to play with the reader’s anticipation, which can be annoying. The ending seems unreal, so much so that it leads to questioning the whole novel and the real motives of some characters. It is just so skillfully presented that it managed to create that wow effect few books can.

 

The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft

With a clever plot and a few strong characters this makes for a great page turner, easy to read psychological thriller. I must admit I had higher expectatins from the style though, which is why the downgrade for me.

The writing style is a mix of reporting and constant obsessive self-questioning grom the main character Bethany. For me she was the paradox between wannabe good wife vs. egocentrical liar and mistress. I did not like her at all, shallow and deceptive, full of herself yet constantly nagging and analysing her actions. She got on my nerves big time.

Psychologically interesting, the plot has huge potential. Though, in my opinion, the writing style could definitely be improved. It has been simply too “talkative”, a very tiring “chatting” style, unadorned in any way, without any literary pretense whatsoever. I assume the reason for this is to appeal more to the general public.

All in all, this is a gripping novel, full of intensity and suspense, with a twisted conclusion and a colourful bunch of characters. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this arc.

Artemis by Andy Weir

I enjoyed this book a lot and it’s safe to say Andy Weir is now on my auto-buy author list. For me this is book was entertaining un a dorky sort of way, mainly because I love th techy side of the plot, the wicked plans Jazz concocted and the bravery she showed in all stances.

I don’t doubt Jazz’ humour could annoy people, but I actually thought it fitting in a way. She is definitely not your “common” woman, but a smuggler girl leaving in a city on the moon since she was 6 year old. Her relationship with her father definitely played a major role in shaping her personality. Her choices, though stupid or just bad often times, also made her into the “fiercely naive” self taught genius she became.
The plot is brilliantly organised and so addictive! I loved the challenges and the unrealistic scenes that could very well be probable on Artemis. And why not? After all, the city itself is a dreamed up world where various laws are waved or just simplified.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly, to the dreamers of out of our world possibilities, to those who enjoy the scientifical explanations and dorky characters (I loved Svoboda by the way).

Lovability: How to Build a Business That People Love and Be Happy Doing It by Brian de Haaff

The lovability concept is one that should be applied by all companies, by all means. A complete product experience is what really makes the customer come back and at the same time develops a business based on trust and happiness for all parties involved. The book itself may seem a bit repetitive at times, nevertheless the basic concepts and framework should be considered and applied nowadays.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

A beautiful tale of love, magic and sisterhood

This book is so much about life and perceptions, judging and at the same time minding one’s own path. There is magic in the writing style, in the characters’ development throught the book, in almost every phrase and dialogue.

The Owens sisters (aunts, mothers and daughters) are wild and fun, with special powers not necessarily witches yet not your normal boring characters either. They are well portrayed and they get under your skin, in such a way that you cannot really not like them despite their quirks and strange decisions.

It is the first book I read by Alice Hoffman and I am absolutely smitten with her style. I thoroughly recommend this one to anyone who likes and needs a bit of magic in their daily lives.

“Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown is for me a book for the soul, a book that thoroughly explores the humane aspect of a society with all its quirks, good, bad, evil happenings. I am left with a longing for life and sunshine after reading this book, a sort of wake up call to how good life can be compared to Beartown, in a psychologically fulfilling way.

I absolutely loved the writing styke, this being my first book written by Fredrik Backman. If all his books are like this one, I am definitely reading them all. There is a certain melancholy of words and unsaid elements blending together to create a total. So much about love, hate and revenge in a tight community focused on hockey. Perhaps the focus is too much on the sport and club, and this is why everything else seems unimportant to the villagers. It is an extreme case, where courage means speaking up and suffering the blows from society just because the people are terrified to see the truth.

I was amazed by Maya’s strength and decisiveness throughout the 2nd half of the book. Her final actions were so smart, I bet everyone reading this books would expect a slightly different turn of events. Similarly, Amat is another example of courage and loyalty towards what is moral. Sure he is in love with Maya, but his actions reflect a deeper understanding of human relationships and consequences of other people’s stupidity. Sune and Ramona somehow seem to be the pillars of Beartown, perhaps Maya and Amat becoming their younger reflections in a way.

I am so impressed, still trying to grasp the enormity of this book, the various messages and all the symbols that build together a society. It is a must read, a slow paced comforting yet disturbing mood throughout the book, somehow soothing at the same time. Makes one realise the bearish vs woolfish aspect of things: sloth vs. decisiveness. When a society is too ingrained in its old ways and old “culture”, there is need for a “woolf” to shake the unstable construction and remind the people of their true values.

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager

This little book is a superbly illustrated one for kids, with lots of learning opportunities and lots of questions to answer. To me it seems it is about a two moms couple taking care of a little boy who clearly knows his moms’ duties, is aware of his expectations and knows he is loved and taken care of. It speaks tons about gender differences at a subtle level, through the pov of the little one who undestands his world pretty well. I warmly recommend it and considering purchasing it for my kids for when they grow up a bit more. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this arc.

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Onwards Flows the River by Caroline Windsor

A beautifully written account of friendship and love, among the life’s hardships, set in the dreamy countryside of Devon vs. the serious real life London. I had a pleasant experience with this book, which is very calming, yet poignant with details and soothing descriptions of nature and young love. It is like a pumpkin spiced latte on an autumn evening, delightful to sip on and strong enough to get one focused on the important things.

The characters are well portrayed and each and every one of them is distinctly rounded up, a well accomplished feat for a seemingly easy to read young adult novel. It seems like a ya, though it touches some serious topics as well, like family poverty, difficult childhood, unrequited love, etc. Plus the whole thing is spiced up with Anglican vs Quaker references, which I must say, I found a bit odd in the beginning. Though religion plays a major role in the characters’ development throughout the book, so one should not be harsh about it.

All in all, I enjoyed this novel and warmly recommend it as a weekend read. It requires patience and/or a calm mood and the expectation that the action is slowly unfolding, with the speed of an old mobile, yet like a sunny breeze while watching the river unfolding its currents and waves.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.