Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult

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Hellllllo readers, so many many reviews of brilliant books this week; I had a bit of a slump at the start of the week but I’ve really been getting into some sublime books. Now this one is a little odd because it was on my kindle; I read it in under an hour and was a little unimpressed; I loved the premise but it was too short. I have found out that this is the first two chapters to another book by Picoult but after a lot of research I can’t quite work out which one it is (if you know please let me out of my misery.) Although a short read it does work alone if you need an hour or so out, or you’re struggling to get out of a book slump: this would be perfect!

 Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have died. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts.

 When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up a troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage – to both her reputation and her show – Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

 As I’ve mentioned a couple of time, psychic books aren’t really my thing, but this did really grab me from the first page and definitely made me think I’m going to have to read on. The book follows Serenity who is a psychic with a very popular television show where she communicates with the loved ones of those that have passed onto the other side but are very much still alive in terms of their spirit. With her spirit guides Lucinda and Desmond who guide her through the psychic world she connects people with those that they never thought they could again. Unfortunately when the wife of a soldier comes to the stage, Serenity finds she has inherited a poltergeist who will do anything to literally send her up in flames.

That’s the easy bit out the way now onto the nitty-gritty. Many of the reviews on Amazon focus on this being very short but I thought it was the perfect short story for a lunchbreak or the commute into work. Serenity is a complex character despite the ‘book’ being such a short read; she’s strong in terms of her work but her need to rely on her spirit guides means that at times she appears weak. You can tell that the television lifestyle although is her bread and butter wasn’t quite what she expected and her little rituals before a show and her fear of alcohol and drugs show she is a professional but not one that seems at ease.

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I thought the plot was intriguing and as you read one you will learn that Serenity upsets her spirit guides causing an overwhelming silence from the other side; paired with the insistence to make a good show for the world Serenity lives in (our world) it creates an interesting mix. I liked the talk of spirits and the way that it is conveyed and details are woven in and make it feel real.

In terms of wobbles the main character at times can be a little tiring, she is at times shallow and annoying if I’m honest. The story is short and I’m little irked that it wasn’t made clear that this the start of another book from Picoult. I can understand that it’s to pique and interest but to not make that obvious is a little cheeky even if it was free. The ending is also confusing which has made me want to buy the next book but it doesn’t fully disclose what has happened and doesn’t quite give the reader the feeling of the book ending or knowing quite what happens which in retrospect makes sense because it’s the start of the book. I can see why not disclosing this has created quite a few negative reviews on Amazon/Goodreads.

Overall I enjoyed this but I’m a little annoyed still this is the start of the story although I’m excited to see what happens next. If it is free on Amazon I think it’s a great way to decide whether you’ll like the whole book and it does just about work as a stand alone. Has anyone else read this book? Let me know your thoughts in le comments below.






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