Review: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

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This is the story of a young boy Will and his agoraphobic mother Diane. They live in Thunder Bay, a port city on Lake Superior. At the time of the novel, neither Will or his mother have ever left the house, and thanks to today’s technology they are able to order everything to be delivered to their house. Diane created an entire world for Will and even homeschooled him.

The book begins with young Will deciding to venture outside the house. He soon meets a boy named Marcus and realizes that outside is not as dangerous as his mother thinks. As Will becomes more fearless, his mother’s fears intensify and the inability to protect her son if she can’t leave the house is at the core of this book which deals with issues of anxiety and mental illness.

Micheal Christie did a superb job at creating these complex, real-life characters, and a wonderful and complex story that captured really well the difficult relationship between mother and son. I really enjoyed this book.

“And how dearly we depend on the lone muscle convulsing in our chests. On the two flimsy balloons that so narrowly rescue us from suffocation. On the wobbly paté in our heads that preserves our very selves. all of it so ad hoc, so absurd, so temporary.” 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

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On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

The book starts with a small plane that falls in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 11 people on board. Scott, a struggling middle-aged artist, and a four-year-old boy are the only survivors. The crux of the book is finding out the cause of the crash and events that led to the disaster.

I really enjoyed reading this book by Noah Hawley. The first couple of chapters are suspenseful and impossible to put down. There is a great message about the ridiculous power of media covering tragedies. It does slow down a bit as it alternates between the aftermath of the crash and the lives of the passengers before the accident (the fall), but overall a great summer read.

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is one of those great suspenseful books that you can read in one sitting. A fast-paced, page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the genre.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on May 31, 2016.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

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Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play. So begins The Hangman’s Daughter–the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller from German television screenwriter, Oliver Pötzsch–a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.

I should start by saying that this is not the sort of novel I’d gravitate towards, but the cover of this book had a lot to do with my decision to give this book a try and I don’t regret it a bit.

“because a rumor is like smoke. It will spread, it will seep through closed doors and latched shutters, and in the end the whole town will smell of it.”

This is the story of Jakob Kuisl, a hangman in the small town of Schongau, Bavaria. When some children are found dead, a local midwife is accused of witchcraft and arrested for the murders. Jakob and a local doctor believing in the midwife’s innocence set out to figure out the mystery. I’m not sure why the title of the book is the Hangman’s Daughter. She plays a part in the book but certainly not enough for a title. In any case, this is a very interesting historical mystery. Pötzsch really did a good job researching his family history and that period. I really enjoyed the illustrations in the book and the descriptions of the town and the people were excellent. It really transported me to that time. 

As for the mystery itself, I feel like many will be able to figure it out half-way through the book. It is still an interesting reading even though some of the torture scenes were rather graphic. Good pick for fans of historical fiction/thriller.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

 

Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

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Lauren Groff’s novel Fates and Furies is my book club’s pick for this month. It’s a book about marriage, about misconceptions of marriage and about the ultimate reality that you may never really know a partner regardless of how many years you stay together.

I’d like to start by saying what I liked about this novel. Most of the reviews out there are polarized, with some people absolutely loving it and others heavily disliking it. I feel that I’m somewhere in between. The book is marvelously written. Groff’s exquisite prose really impressed me.

“They had been married for seventeen years; she lived in the deepest room in his heart. And sometimes that meant that wife occurred to him before Mathilde, helpmeet before herself. Abstraction of her before the visceral being. But not now. When she came across the veranda, he saw Mathilde all of a sudden. The dark whip at the center of her. How, so gently, she flicked it and kept him spinning.”

The book is written from two perspectives. Lotto’s (Lancelot) point of view (the fates part of the book), and Mathilde’s side of the story (the furies part of the book). the novel has many symbols and themes throughout the narrative with Mathilde’s account of the story being the most interesting part.

Although there were beautiful parts to this novel, at times it just didn’t feel real. The characters were so unlikeable and unlikely to really exist in real life. Do people go on in life talking that way? I don’t want to give too much of it away, but there were parts in the story that I just couldn’t see how someone could have pulled that off for so many years. I still highly recommend this novel for its beautiful prose, its interesting themes of marriage, lies and betrayal.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

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It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert and Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancé again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait.

Wow! If I could give you a word of advice about this book is not to read it right before you go to bed. This is by far one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year. The narrative is extremely gripping, the storyline is compelling, intricate and full of twists and turns. The characters are a psychological mess, but all these elements somehow work together and what you end up with is an extremely graphic, right out shocking, story.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to the faint of heart, but if you like psychological thrillers with a pinch for the graphic and the macabre, you will definitely love this book.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Book Details:

Title: Swerve/Author: Vicki Pettersson/Genre: Psychological Thriller/ ISBN:9781476798578/Publisher: Gallery Books/Rating: 4-Stars/Read: August, 2015.