I’ve been reading from the Pigeonhole App again.

This time it’s the intense You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. Abbot has been on my list to watch for a while now. I’ve read a lot of good reviews but never quite got round to it. Today I finally did. Onto the review!

Blurb

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon. A gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But then a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community weeks before an all-important competition. Everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries to hold her family together. But she finds herself drawn, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.
 
You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

My Review

You get a jist from the blurb, this is a murder mystery. BUT, it revolves around family and the anchor that is Devon. Devon is a gymnastics prodigy. Her family have given everything to make her dream come true. When a supposed hit-and-run rears it’s ugly head, rumours begin to swirl. The novel details the hows, the whys, the confusion, melted into the intense mania of elite gymnastics.

The characters are intensely written. Katie is a mother overwhelmed and terrified by her daughter who is changing in ways she can’t control. Eric, the father, is obsessed with Devon’s dream – he’ll do anything to make her success a probability. Drew, the little brother notices the smallest details. He’s often forgotten and left in Devon’s shadow. He’s written wonderfully. Finally Devon – she’s a whirlwind that keeps her feelings close to her chest. She’s described regularly as a hard, perfectly smooth nut. It’s a perfect description of a teenage girl caught up in the stressful world of elite gymnastics.

The writing is sublime. Abbot is brilliant at writing about the psychotic world of teenage girls. The pain, the hurt, the secrets. Abbot has a way of manipulating the reader so you never quite know where to point the finger. I like the fact that the secret could be given away and you would still read on. The execution of the writing is spot on. The death brings a lot of secrets to the light and Abbot perfectly understands how to manage each character as it slowly unravels.

Final Thoughts

I loved the exploration of claustrophobia, secrecy and female adolescence. The story is full of suspense, and I liked the perspective of transition between girl and woman. Watching Katie try and control her daughter, whilst trying to push away multiple characters that wear on Devon. It’s exhausting and exciting. I like the theme of greatness and sacrifice and how to two mix, and how it affects little Drew. It creates a destructive but very exciting narrative, which I loved.

Abbott also manages to capture tiny moments (with a lot of meaning) in perfect clarity. Here’s an example.

He’d never woken up, and the only sound now was his breathing, hoarse and ragged. For a second she thought she saw his lashes lift, the white of one eye looking at her, but she was wrong.

It’s a brilliant story that had me hanging onto every word. Read it.

AmazonGoodreads 

 

I don’t have a To Be Read List. It’s okay – I haven’t lost my mind.

When I started blogging I learned of the sacred ‘To Be Read List.’ Book bloggers appeared to have theirs written to the t. Or tattooed on their left leg. It might be 1000+ books but they had one. I, being new was a fraud and created a TBR. It featured a lot of popular books, highly rated and classics. It sat on a piece of paper and every so often I would add to it. I would cross books off and add them back on again. I wrote multiple posts on books that were on my TBR, books I wanted to read maybe.

But here’s the fraudulent bit. There’s no list. I mean the old list is hanging around somewhere but it’s not tangible. It’s not sat waiting on Goodreads, or listed in my email inbox. It’s been years since I’ve had one. But I’m coming clean, so here’s why I don’t believe in a TBR.

I don’t have a To Be Read List. It’s okay – I haven’t lost my mind.

It puts books on a pedestal.

I will never forget the soul that told me 1984 was their favourite ever book. And that it would be mine too as soon as I read it. I shouldn’t have believed them. But I did. Stupidly. Having a TBH made me make pedestals out of books. It’s happened multiple times and ruined tens of books. (NOTE: I did like 1984 – not my fave though.)

I’m a fickle reader.

I enter a book-shop, I see a book I like the look of, I buy it. Suddenly everything on the list is shifted back. Books originally on the list has stayed there for weeks/months/years. I can remember a few. Wolfhall is still on the list, oh, and Eleanor and Park. But I don’t like the idea that they’re suspended on a list because maybe, the next time I wander into Stones it’ll be the one I pick up.

It scared me

During my early days of blogging I did have a very long list of books to read. I would add any books that interested me or I would download them on my Kindle, maybe write them in my journal. The list grew and grew. The classics part of the list felt like a monster towering over me. I will read Frankenstein, and Anna Karina. I will attempt Tolstoy. But it became something I avidly avoided. As I added more books to it I strayed further and further.

I’m constantly changing as a reader

I think reading is seen as a constrained activity. It’s old/doesn’t change/doesn’t grow. The phrase I detest is ‘reading is boring.’ You’re just reading the wrong thing. Reading does grow – and so do we as readers. Things happen – politics, natural disasters, cures for illness and these all inspire books. It could be fiction, it could be non-fiction, either way I’m constantly changing and a TBR felt too static.

The forgotten books

There’s nothing better than entering a bookshop and seeing a book that once sat on your TBR. You walk in, spot it. Think – shit yes, I meant to get round to that. You pick it up and take it home. Devour it.

I’m sorry if I gave any of you readers a heart flutter. Do you have a TBR? Should I think about creating one again. Let me know. I’m off to read some Murakami I had forgotten about.

I don’t have a To Be Read List. It’s okay – I haven’t lost my mind.

I don’t have a To Be Read List.

I think this will be the last of the free kindle books I review for a while.

Every couple of months I choose around five and review them all, to find the next series I’ll read. Some are super fab, some lack something. Whether that be depth, character strength or writing style with this one, something about it just didn’t strike enough of a chord with me, but, for now let’s dive into Dan and Eva’s story.

Luck and Judgment Book Review

Blurb

Gail Everett must have justice from the corporation which destroyed her father’s life. No courtroom has ever found against them. But beyond the courtroom there are many kinds of justice…

Gail gives private investigators Eva Roberts and Dan Bradley a secret file supplied by her father. The PIs start to unpick the mystery – but some seriously bad people know about the file and they want it gone. As a violent gangster closes in Eva and Dan discover just how deadly this case has become…

Friends are divided. Young women are murdered on the streets. Private detectives Roberts and Bradley are snared in the dark heart of a thirty-year-old nightmare.

My Review

You get the gist from the blurb. Dan and Eva our intrepid private eyes, who along with their apprentice Mark get themselves into a sticky spot. Investigating the dirty dealings within a personal case the trial involves a number of threads. Yes, there are red-herrings, dangerous moments and car chases. It’s your stereotypical private detective trail. They get into more trouble and because they don’t waver to any red tape it makes for an exciting read.

The plot is straightforward, characters are likeable and I like the contrast between Dan and Eva. Eva is forward thinking and sensible. Dan is definitely more likely to go rogue. Their compatibility as partners in the company and in their own relationship added another dimension to the narrative. The writing is strong and punchy. The interweaving story lines are constructed well and the writing moves with speed. There is enough interest throughout and untrustworthy characters to make this an exciting read.

Final Thoughts

The reason I struggled was the use of Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP. NLP is an approach to communication and psychotherapy that I not recognized anymore due to lack of scientific proof and is quite outdated. Yes, numerous practitioners still believe certain language can be used to achieve goals and influence behavior. But resting a lot of the case, or majority on this I was underwhelmed. It just wasn’t sharp enough for me and left a lot of grey areas. I didn’t feel consumed with the story line mainly because I didn’t believe in it. With a crime/thriller book you need to believe in the case otherwise, why.

Buy this if you’re looking for a quick thriller read, but it’s not quite interesting and in-depth enough to really want to shout this book from the rooftops.

GoodreadsAmazon 

Luck and Judgment Book Review

Luck and Judgment Book Review

 

Hello March. (Which is just around the corner.)

I might have picked too many books to read in my February  and got myself stressed about reading them all. I’ve always had that problem. I used to stumble out of the library with a pile of books the length of my arm. Then I would have continually renew them online. Note to self: make attainable reading goals. This month I’ve cut it down to only three books. But they are brilliant brilliant books. Oh, and you should definitely add these to your Waterstone’s basket.

March Book Haul

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami

T loves Murakami. I’ve read 1Q84  but it put me off a little. The writing was stunning, the plot was intriguing but the ending. I thought it was left unfulfilled.  However I’ve been persuaded to try again. I’ve picked Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.

March Book Haul

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

Apparently upon asking the question should you read this book? To quote Jack Kerouac himself, “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.” I’ve not read Kerouac but I’ve heard that On The Road isn’t that great. (S O R R Y.) But, T bought this for me when we lived long distance. We had a habit of buying books with covers we liked. The idea was that when we moved in, we would have a collection of sublime books – which we do. Now, I need to read this one.

Big Sur’s humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac, a superior novelist who had strength to complete his poetic narrative, a task few scribes so afflicted have accomplished—others crack up. Here we meet San Francisco’s poets & recognize hero Dean Moriarty ten years after On the Road.

March Book Haul

The Syme Papers by Benjamin Markovits 

It was the cover of this book that really drew my attention. I’m thinking this year I want to focus my attention on more nitty-gritty books. Reviews have  commented whether the book discusses the narrowness of academic research. Or whether it reflects on scientific knowledge changes. Either way I want to learn more.

Teeming with comic detail and fierce intelligence, The Syme Papers recreates a time when to question the world and the origin of creation was the greatest project a scientist could undertake. It is a novel of genius and failure; of a man who thought he could prove the world was hollow, and in the glorious process of discover, broke his own heart.

Have read any of these tales? Let me know in the comments. Oh, and what should I add to my April haul?

I’m doing it again. Setting myself exactly 300 seconds (or 5 minutes) to write a review. Why? Because why the hell not. I wrote a review in 5 a few weeks ago and it was a lot of fun. The tip is to pick books that aren’t too long/complicated/intense. The book today is a hack book. Social media is covered in #LIFEHACKS.  From using a hair straightener for an iron or Tic Tac containers for bobby pins the internet LOVES life hacks. This was stocking present from Christmas – and it was a bladdy good one.

1000 life hacks

Blurb

Covering home, work and play, 1000 Life Hacks is a self-help book packed with little tips to make your life easier.

Entirely practical and often ingenious (did you realise a bulldog clip could replace your broken computer keyboard leg? Or that the spring from a pen could save wires from being damaged?), the book provides solutions for common issues and even those pesky little problems that have a habit of springing up at the most inconvenient times.

Whether you’re looking for DIY holders for your devices, an effective exercise regime or want to make a flight hugely more comfortable, you’ll find the answers in this illustrated book. Fashion, DIY and cleaning hacks are also provided.

1000 life hacks

My Review

Time is precious for all of us. So why not invent or learn a hack that helps you make more of it. This book of 1000 life hacks is the ultimate collection of hints and tips. Tips that will help you do things more quickly and efficiently. Whether that’s saving the pennies, living a tidier or digitally smarter life. It’s all here.

The book is sectioned into handy portions; work and technology, home and cleaning, DIY, Fashion and Food. One section I learnt the most from was the gym/exercise section. As someone actively (attempting) to get fit I will use these. Freezing water bottles on their side? Or how often to change your running shoes.

I would say that 35% of the hacks I knew. Things like microwaving pizza with a piece of bread in the micro-wave. Or that frozen grapes make brilliant ice cubes. But certain sections really were eye opening. Like cracking eggs into cookie cutters to make them cute shapes. I so want to do this.

The cleaning section is also incredibly thorough. Who knew you could do so much with bi-carb and apple cider vinegar. Living in London the limescale on the tap and the sink is icky. I now have a notebook full of hacks to take that job on.

Other favorites include

  • Using ice-cubes to remove table leg dents in cardboard
  • Attach a magnetic strip to your bathroom tiles to store nail scissors etc
  • Use food bags when dismantling furniture to separate screws. Just make sure you label them!

1000 life hacks

Final Thoughts

The book is really, really gorgeous too. The colours are bright, the images loud and descriptive it’s a very clever well put together book that I think A N Y O N E could benefit from. It’s a brilliant present/stocking filler/coffee table book. I think it’s fab.

Blah that was tough. Although I had the book open next to me and had drafted what I was going to write it needed a lot more tidying. But there you have it. My 5 minute review of the 1000 Hacks book by Dan Grabham.