The Accident by Chris Pavone

The Accident by Chris Pavone

The Accident by Chris PavoneThe Accident 

 
Synopsis:

As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril.  The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried.

Gripping, sophisticated, layered, and impossible to put down, The Accident proves once again that Chris Pavone is a true master of suspense

 

The Accident by Chris Pavone (author of The Expats) is a fast-paced thriller that kept me intrigued and entertained throughout. 

 The novel is told from various character’s perspectives and also jumps back and forward in time, which can be a little confusing as these sections don’t seem to be labelled with dates, but I feel this adds another dimension to the story and helps flesh it out more. 

I really enjoyed reading about Isobel’s experiences as a normal person, from receiving the manuscript to trying to escape the people who seem determined to kill her, and she was a likeable and interesting character who I was ultimately rooting for, as well as ‘the author’ himself (you’ll know what I mean when you read it!) I also just generally enjoyed reading about the publishing industry, something I’m interested in anyway, and the whole idea of a novel with sensitive, explosive revelations in it being in the hands of a publisher, waiting to be unleashed on the world! 

 The novel is well written and never feels too rushed (although the ending seemed a little abrupt in my opinion, but I guess that is in keeping with the overall pace of the novel) and although it contains a lot of action, it isn’t ALL action; the characters are well developed enough for me to be interested in their background and, ultimately, their fates. 

 I really liked how there were unexpected twists and links throughout the story (I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to give too much away) and left me feeling very glad I’d read this book and hoping to read more of Chris Pavone’s novels. 

Recommended if you enjoy reading a well-written thriller which is a little different. 

 Rating: 4.5/5


Many thanks to the publisher for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review!

TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES by Denise Grover Swank

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (Rose Gardner, #1)

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Synopsis:

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

First off, there were elements of this novel I really enjoyed and others that grated on me. The storyline was quite entertaining and, although elements such as her ‘visions’ were obviously unrealistic, I do like a bit of mysterry and this novel had some of that to make up for elements wasn’t such a fan of…

Firstly, the main character Rose is a tricky one; she is painted as very sweet and innocent, having been kept on a tight leash all her life by her controlling mother, but DAMN is she naive for a 24 year old! One notable example: Joe is talking to her about drinking water after her having drunk alcohol, and he says to her “Yeah, take another drink. It will stop you from getting a headache tomorrow” and Rose replies “I’m gonna get a headache tomorrow?”. I couldn’t help but think “DUH!”- does anyone really not have any idea that drinking alcohol can give you a headache? Reaaally? You’re 24!

Even more annoying is the very over-used repetition of the exclamation “Crappy doodles”. I lost count of the times this was used throughout the book and it has been also been highlighted many times in other reviews, so I know it’s not just me getting tired of this! However, she was ultimately a likeable character that you did root for (when she wasn’t irritating me).

Rose’s neighbour and love-interest Joe is another interesting character; he seems too good to be true (also quite self-confident and bossy around Rose too which is a little annoying, I kind of wanted her to tell him to shove off sometimes) and there are aspects of his character which certainly seems suspect. I actually quite like this though as it makes you question, as Rose sometimes did, whether he is a good guy or actually a wolf in disguise.

This novel is quite fast-paced and entertaining, with a good smattering of humorous lines. Basically it’s worth a read if you’re after a light-hearted, sort-of-mystery story. It isn’t particularly amazing for me though, but it is an easy read which wis a little different, and there’s 3 sequels already out for you to get your teeth into if you so wish! I am glad I gave it a go (but I say it once, I’ll say it again- it could do with waaay less ‘Crappy Doodles’!…)

Have you read Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes? What did you think?

Rating: 3/5

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves cover

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves…

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Synopsis:

What if you grew up to realise that your father had used your childhood as an experiment?

Rosemary doesn’t talk very much, and about certain things she’s silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. And it’s been ten years since she last saw her beloved older brother Lowell.

Now at college, Rosemary starts to see that she can’t go forward without going back, back to the time when, aged five, she was sent away from home to her grandparents and returned to find Fern gone.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves coverWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler is a novel that touches upon so many themes and issues, taking the reader through a range of emotions, and doing it all so well! From childhood and social interaction to family, humanity and scientific research, this novel makes the reader question many normally accepted aspects of modern life.

The very beginning of the novel seems quite uneventful but I felt that it soon gets into its stride. I hadn’t looked at any context surrounding this novel before I read it, as the cover states that there’s a twist and I didn’t want to ruin it for myself, which I’m glad about. I won’t give much away about this book as I feel like I enjoyed it more going into it ‘blind’, so to speak. This kind of makes me wonder if my book review is therefore a little pointless, but oh well!

I did get quite into the story but it wasn’t a case of ‘I CANNOT PUT THIS NOVEL DOWN!’, I just really enjoyed reading every wonderfully written sentence. There were sad parts and funny parts but the characters felt very real and the novel’s ideas seemed almost timeless. It’s not a crazily fast paced novel but moves along at the right tempo to keep you interested. I can certainly see why this was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2014.

I would highly recommend reading this novel. From other reviews it seems you’ll either absolutely love it or you’ll feel a bit underwhelmed, but for me I thought it was a beautifully written, very deep multi-layered novel which I thoroughly enjoyed reading- just not quite 5 stars for me. Very close though!

Rating: 4/5

The A-Z book tag

**Note – apologies to all who read this before I added back in the links to reviews that somehow disappeared when I posted this tag. The books which I’ve reviewed in the past for this blog should all be linked now!**

Author you’ve read the most books from:

This is a tricky one as there’s quite a few authors that would contend for this, which I’ve read before I ever started logging books on Goodreads. If I was going purely on my ‘read’ list on Goodreads then it’s very ‘chick-lit’ orientated with the top 3 being 1. Sophie Kinsella 2. Jenny Colgan 3. Marian Keyes but in reality I think it’s probably Peter James or Susan Hill.

Best Sequel Ever:

Hmm a lot of well-written crime series have great 2nd books in my opinion but to go in a completely different direction, The Rosie Effect was as brilliant as the first, maybe even better! See my review here.

Currently Reading:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler- review to follow soon!

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Cup of Tea!

Ereader or Physical Book?

Both- I do LOVE holding an actual book, especially when it’s all nice and new, but most ARCs are in e-book format and I also often rent e-books online from the library and reading on my tablet. I enjoy reading both, e-books are very convenient to carry around especially if it’s a huge book!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Errm I can’t really think of any character in particular- maybe Luke from the Shopoholic series? He’s the only character I can think of right not that is nice, handsome, patient and RICHHH (only joking)

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

The Rosie Project was just brilliant- I wasn’t sure if it had just been over-hyped but it was great! As mentioned before, read my review of it here.

Hidden Gem Book:

Most of what I can think of that I read and really enjoyed has had a lot of attention in its own right, but The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan is probably the best ‘Hidden Gem Book’ as it’s not been published yet and was really great! Read my review here.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

The first proper book I ever read, and which got me hooked on reading (and probably accounted for my life-long love of mystery stories): The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton. I wonder if today’s kids read any Blyton anymore or whether it’s just too dated now for them? I hope they do!

Just Finished:

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey – review here.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I don’t really like cheesy romance/ erotica, unless it’s written really well!

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell at a whopping 1071 pages!

Major book hangover because of:

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes or The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris – I cried so much at both of these books!

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Only 1 unfortunately- we don’t have much room for multiple bookcases, I tend to borrow a lot of books from the library or get e-books to save space, and I give my books that I’ve read to other people or to charity once I’m done with them. If I had a massive house I’d love a library though!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The Harry Potter series; I grew up with them and re-read them all several times.

Preferred Place To Read:

At home, on the sofa, in my onesie!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey was really touching and got me thinking (review here).

Reading Regret:

That I didn’t read more classics growing up- because for the last few years I’ve been loving more contemporary fiction loads, so haven’t really read many classics at all.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

I started the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I read #1 A Discovery of Witches a while ago, and really enjoyed it, so definitely should read the next two and see how they measure up. I should probably re-read A Discovery of Witches first though as I can’t remember too much of it now (I have SUCH a bad memory)!

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

This is SO HARD, especially as I can’t remember books I’ve read a long time ago and so if they’re not on my Goodreads list I’ve probably forgotten them which is a shame. I guess if I HAVE to pick: The Secret Keeper– Kate Morton, Me Before You– JoJo Moyes, Us– David Nicholls

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Peter James- I love his writing and I got to meet him at an author evening at Jarrold’s, where I used to work in the marketing department!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Whenever the next Cormoran Strike book comes out (series by Robert Galbraith, which is J.K.Rowling writing under a pseudonym). I have no idea when it’s out though… Read my review of the first 2 books here.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Having a stack of books at home that I really want to read, and say I will read, and POST ON HERE that I WILL read, and then seeing a great book in the library and not being able to resist getting that out and reading it first instead!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson. Part of a fantastic trilogy.

Your latest book purchase:

Written in the Stars by Ali Harris- this was an impulse buy from The Works so I thought I’d give it a go!

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

I’m not a great sleeper so I tend to avoid reading right before bed-time as it keeps me too awake, so the last time I did do this it would have been Us by David Nicholls.

This book tag was first published years ago on Jamie’s brilliant blog, The Perpetual Page Turner: http://www.perpetualpageturner.com.

I don’t know many bloggers yet as I’m still relatively new to blogging, so I’ll probably leave tagging anyone but if you do this tag, please post a link in the comments below so I can read your answers, or just post your answers in there!

I’m also on Goodreads so please feel free to add me on there too! See my Goodreads profile.

Thanks!

Does ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ live up to the hype?

The Girl with all the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts


I have to say I didn’t really know what to expect when I started The Girl With All The Gifts; I’d seen how highly rated it was but had tried to avoid detailed reviews as I wanted to read it completely without any other information apart from the synopsis, to see if it lived up to the hype for me! I do really enjoy post-apocalyptic storylines in general so this appealed to me, although the back cover doesn’t give too much away which I like:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

The Girl With All The GiftsThe novel was easy to read and quite fast paced, with plenty of action as well as interesting dialogue between the main characters, who were all quite well developed in their own ways. However the author M.R. Carey does emphasise many times how amazing, caring and different the little girl Melanie is, and what a fierce, intelligent and attractive woman her teacher Miss Justineau is. This was contrasted with some characters that were evidently ‘the baddies’, and sometimes it just felt like there was too clear-cut and obvious distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ which seemed a little basic and simplified.

There were some fairly graphic, gorey scenes which I felt added to the story but of which others have said was a bit too much. At some points I felt the pace died off a little and I didn’t feel as interested but then at other points in the novel I got back into it and wanted to read more. I hadn’t expected the novel to end when it did as the ‘extras’ section (note- may not be in all versions) made the book appear to have more pages left than it actually had, so in a way the ending felt quite abrupt, but that was just the way I’d read it.

Overall I did really enjoy reading The Girl With All The Gifts as it was entertaining and not too taxing, but I’m not sure it completely lives up to all the hype in my opinion. It’s still worth a read though!

Rating: 3.5/5

The new Poirot: Sophie Hannah’s ‘The Monogram Murders’ reviewed

The Monogram Murders

Hello and Happy New Year to you all! Please bear in mind whilst reading this review that I haven’t read many original Poirot novels, and those I have I read years and years ago. So I’m not reviewing this novel based on exactly how it compares to the originals, just on how I found reading it!

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Synopsis:

‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

 

I have seen mixed reviews about the novel, with some readers saying that they were disappointed with Sophie Hannah’s effort at writing a new Poirot mystery. I, however, really enjoyed The Monogram Murders and, although there were some elements I might change, I read the book in a few sittings and felt like it was an interesting detective story.

The mystery was suitably far-fetched and I never could have guessed the solution or what really happened, which is what you want from a detective novel I suppose! I did feel the storyline was maybe a little unnecessarily complex but I still really enjoyed reading how Poirot solved the case, even if he did repeat certain phrases a million times. I really enjoy being guided through the twists and turns of a story, safe in the knowledge that the protagonist will reveal all at the end, and this fits that bill perfectly!

I’m not overly keen on some of the dialogue, especially between Catchpool and Poirot; although Poirot was always shown to be pretty pompous and self-important, I remember him having more charm and likability in Christie’s novels, whereas in The Monogram Murders he seemed extra patronising. Then again, Catchpool is an incredibly annoying character, and his personality is certainly a big minus in this book. The fact that he is supposed to be a detective confounds me– he seems to have an aversion to dead bodies and travelling to places on his own (God forbid!), whines a lot and is, overall, rather stupid! Maybe Sophie Hannah did this to further emphasise Poirot’s intelligence but he was just rather irritating throughout the case and took away from my enjoyment of the book a little.

This was an easy novel to read and I got through it quickly, despite the confusing ‘confession’ from certain character/s (don’t want to give away any spoilers). I am a big Sophie Hannah fan and love her many psychological thrillers that she writes so well. In my opinion she writes The Monogram Murders pretty well considering she is having to fill such big boots, and this novel is enjoyable to read but I feel that it doesn’t quite demonstrate Hannah’s fantastic story-telling ability which I love, or at least not as well as it could.

As a detective novel in its own right it was really enjoyable and is definitely worth a read, but beware: if you’re a die-hard Agatha Christie/Poirot fan, this can’t be fairly compared.

Rating: 3.5/5

SnazzyBooks

2015: my to-read list!

SnazzyBooks
Here’s a quick list of some of the books I’m really hoping I’ll get to read in 2015 (no long descriptions for each but I’ve linked them all to Goodreads so you can read more about them on there)!

Moving house has meant quite a few books I thought I’d be reading at the moment are still tucked away somewhere in various boxes, so hopefully I’ll get round to reading these in 2015 and many others too! Obviously there’s bound to be some great reads that come out as the year goes on so I’ll be adding those to my ‘to read’ list too!

TO READ:

    • Currently reading: The Monogram Murders Sophie Hannah: the new Hercule Poirot novel, written by Sophie Hannah! She came to Norwich to talk about the novel during the ‘Noirwich’ Crime-writing festival in 2014 and I was so gutted I couldn’t go, but I have bought it in hardback now and am currently reading it- review to follow soon!
    • The Girl With All The Gifts– M.R. Carey: A reading group book so I’ll definitely be reading this, and soon! It looks brilliant and has had some great reviews both online and according to friends too!
    • Middlesex– Jeffrey Euginides: I posted this before as a ‘to read’ but it got packed away somewhere in the move so it’s STILL on my to-read list!
    • We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesKaren Joy Fowler: Again, great reviews of this novel which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014.
    • The Shock of the Fall– Nathan Filer: described as ‘an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness’, this novel won the Costa Book of the Year 2013 accolade and the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year 2014, and I’m really looking forward to getting around to reading it.
    • A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing– Eimear McBride: This is described as the ‘story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist’. Sounds intriguing! It’s won a tonne of awards too, not that awards are everything of course! 😉
    • Burial Rites– Hannah Kent: This novel is apparently based on a true story and set in northern Iceland, 1829. It tells the story of a lady condemned to death for the brutal murder of her husband and sounds very atmospheric!
    • Green and Pleasant Land: A Fran Harman mystery – Judith Cutler: To be released in April 2015, this is a novel about a “retired police detective, Fran Harman, who discovers that someone doesn’t like her digging up the past when she re-opens a 20-year-old cold case”. This has been rated very highly on Goodreads and I do love a good crime novel, so it will be interesting to see if it lives up to expectations!
    • The Sudden Departure of the Frasers– Louise Candlish: This sounds like a really intriguing novel that caught my attention on Netgalley from the first line of the blurb: They were the life and soul of the street. So why did they disappear overnight?”
    • The Miniaturist Jesse Burton: Described as “beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth”. I was bought this for Christmas and can’t wait to start reading it!
    • We Were Liars – E. Lockhart: I thought the blurb for this novel was pretty interesting: We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE”. Sounds intriguing!
    • The Murder BagTony Parsons: My mum and a few other people recommended this as a crime novel, and apparently it’s really good and enjoyable!
    • Amber Fury – Natalie Haynes: Alex has lost her fiance and feels lost, so takes a job teaching troubled children. This has had really positive reviews so I am looking forward to hopefully getting my hands on a copy!
    • The Girl Who Just Appeared – Jonathan Harvey: About two characters, one- Holly- in the present day and another called Darren in 1980’s Liverpool. I love stories with narratives in different eras!
    • Red Rising -Pierce Brown: This is the first in a series and book bloggers have been raving about this book! I don’t usually read that many YA books, particularly sci-fi, but this sounds really interesting; check it out on Goodreads!
    • Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz: I really enjoyed Horowitz’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk, so I hope this one is just as enjoyable- it looks great.

There’s bound to be loads of other books throughout the year but this is just a selection! I’ll post updated lists throughout the year.

I am setting a new Goodreads Reading Challenge again, think I’ll make the target 65 this year. I would set it higher but I know I’ll have to really make an effort to set aside time to read what with decorating the house etc so will see how I go; hopefully I will increase it if I’ve got more time than I think!

What’s on your ‘to-read’ list for 2015- do any of the above feature, or do you have a completely different list?