Here we go, the last quarterly book review of the year! It’s been great fun writing these quarterly posts and I will carry on with them in the new year. I’ve upped my star count from four to five as sometimes I like the books enough to give them three stars, but two is too little and four is too much. Hope you all have an amazing Christmas and New Year! 🙂
The Husband’s Secret by Lianne Moriarty
“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have, and maybe should have, taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has the perfect life: a perfect home, perfect children, a perfect job and a perfect husband.. until she finds a letter written by him that details a huge secret that will turn the Fitzpatrick’s lives upside down.
Lianne Moriarty writes about suburban middle-class families super well and gives them generally great story lines that are very life like. As most of Moriarty’s novels, the main characters are all very self-centred and sometimes unlikable, but they reflect what certain people are like in real life. I was very invested in finding out the connections between all the main characters and unearthing what the big secret was. I also really like the epilogue at the end of the book that listed what would have happened if the characters had chosen a different path, I thought this was a real nice touch that actually tied up some loose ends too.
This book didn’t quite live up to the standard of Big Little Lies but was still a great read that kept me invested in the drama unfolding.
Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry
“People’s brains are powerful. Extremely powerful. You’d be amazed at what they can do.”
I haven’t picked up a Lucinda Berry novel since I read The Perfect Child earlier in the year but I’m so glad I decided to try her other novels.
Twins Emily and Elizabeth are identical twins, they survived a traumatic childhood at the hands of their Mother by relying on each other. They are taken from their Mother and adopted by a couple hoping to be their saviours.. however love cant’ always heal all wounds. Elizabeth wakes up in a hospital strapped to the bed with no memory.. the last thing she remembers is finding Emily’s body dead in their bathroom. Elizabeth has to delve into her past and remember everything she’s worked so hard to forget to find out what happened to Emily.
I was hooked on this book from the first paragraph. The story was very sad and parts of the story made me feel very uncomfortable, but Elizabeth and Emily feel like real people. They have proper emotions that the author delves into, she isn’t afraid to show the nitty gritty of a mental health diagnosis. The twist at the end had me floored, I thought I had this book figured out.. then suddenly everything was turned on it’s head.
I don’t have any negatives for Phantom Limb, however the content does include mental health issues, sexual abuse and child abuse so it’s definitely not the right read for everyone. It’s an amazing book though, so if you can stomach the issues explored in the novel then please pick up a copy!
Appetite for Innocence by Lucinda Berry
“We all have our pain and our secrets. None of us get through this life unscathed.”
Appetite for Innocence follows Ella and Sarah, two girls trapped in a soundproof basement by a serial rapist named John. He stalks his victims on social media, but he’s not just searching for your average teenager.. he is searching for virgins.
This novel is a duel narrative and flashes between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’. It is extremely fast paced and never boring, I was hooked from the first sentence. Ella and Sarah made great protagonists, they are both so different from the other and have experienced their time trapped by John differently. Lucinda Berry writes about trauma and redemption so well, her characters are all so strong in different ways.
Again, I have no negatives about this title. I would love to know more about what happens to Ella, Sarah and even John but I’m glad the story ended where it did.. I’m just being nosy. The subject matter in this book is very dark though, themes of trauma, sexual abuse, rape and other types of abuse run deep throughout the book.
Lucinda Berry has done it again, the 4th book I’ve read of hers and I’m still not bored.. although I could do with a break from all the traumatic events that unfold in her novels.
Warning: Book features sensitive topics such as sexual abuse, imprisonment and rape.
Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry
“We fear what we don’t understand, so it’s easier to think of them as monsters. It makes us feel safe rather than having to think about the possibility that some people are just born that way, and it could be any of us or someone we love.”
I wasn’t going to review this book as the subject matter is very uncomfortable, but it’s a very compelling and important read that deserves to be given some limelight.
Noah is an all around suburban star-studded teenager, an award winning swimmer, the best big brother and seemingly perfect son.. however he has been holding a huge secret. He molested small children at a swim team practise and is now serving 18 months in a juvenile sexual rehabilitation centre. His mother Adrianne refuses to give up on him, tearing apart their family in the process.
To say I liked this title would be the wrong phrase to use.. it made me extremely uncomfortable as it’s such a taboo subject, however it sucked me in from the first page. The book is mostly written in the POV of Adrianne who is a very compelling character, her and Noah have such a deep bond and it’s actually heartbreaking to see how Noah’s revelation hurts her. I have to admit, I had a stereotype of a paedophile (typical older man, creepy, unkempt etc) but Noah completely smashed that stereotype, he’s well brought up, a nice person, has good friends etc. Noah despises that fact that he is attracted to much younger children, it makes him absolutely detest himself, which is a different narrative than what we see on the news about convicted sexual offenders. There’s a massive plot twist at the end which I wasn’t expecting, which makes you realise that a lot of sexual offenders are born that way, whether they like it or not. One plot point near the end of the book was so compelling and so very sad, my heart broke for both Adrianne and Noah.
Themes of abuse, sexual abuse, molestation and paedophilia run deep through this title, however the actual abuse wasn’t written down it was only alluded to.
Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane
“But I couldn’t escape them; my children had become my prison, my husband my jailer, and my life the executioner of my soul.”
I am a huge advocate for women to have the choice to have children or not, not all woman would enjoy motherhood and no-one should be forced into an unhappy existence because of societal norms. This book was so important in showing the darker sides to motherhood.
This title is told via four POV, each woman is a mother with a family and each are struggling, they are overworked, underappreciated and dealing with hardships out of their control. However, one of the women has snapped and murdered a family.. which one was it?
Pretty Ugly lies showcases the struggles woman face everyday as a mother but are often hidden behind a facade. Jo’s seemingly idyllic life is shattered when her daughter is kidnapped. Shayla has an important decision to make that will shatter her carefree lifestyle. Ellie is a devoted housewife, however betrayal cuts deep. June’s life isn’t as easy as she pretends it to be, how can can she keep up the facade?
Pamela Crane writes a raw and gripping portrayal of motherhood and marriage, she doesn’t shy away from the gritty details about life for these woman. Some points in the book were a little far fetched but it’s easy to suspend your disbelief and still enjoy the book.
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
“No one had to explain to me the power our childhoods had over us, even when we fought like hell against them.”
Set between 2005 and 2015, Lane Roanoke is sent to live with her estranged grandparents and her cousin Allegra at their family’s estate in rural Kansas after her mother’s suicide. Over the long, hot summer Lane realises what it’s really like to be a Roanoke girl.. rich, beautiful, mysterious and full of secrets. However being a Roanoke girl comes with a terrible legacy, one that makes Lane leave Kansas and never want to come back. However, over 10 years later, Allegra is missing and Lane comes back to search for her wild cousin and end the Roanoke legacy once and for all.
Very soon into the book you realise the Roanokes aren’t your average family, their disturbing secret goes back generations.. and every Roanoke girl either dies young at the estate or runs away. Engel wrote a very compelling novel about a disturbing issue that might make readers uncomfortable, but it was handled with the upmost sensitivity.
A very thought provoking novel that will stick with you after the very last page.
Warning: Book features sensitive topics.
The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
“I was brave enough to leave just a sliver of myself that can regenerate and regrow. So many girls don’t. Always, always be the girl who does.”
I wish I could forget reading a book just so I could read it all over again. I would readily campaign for this title to be introduced as reading material in all schools.. it’s such an important read.
16 year old Amelie moved down South from Sheffield with her family for her dad’s new job, she leaves behind her best friend, a boyfriend and a happy life for an unknown, small town. Although shy, Amelie soon starts fitting in to her new college.. until Reese swarms into her life. Reese is charismatic, bold, brash and charming and soon Amelie is swept off of her feet by him. But things turn nasty quickly and now Amelie is retracing her and Reese’s traumatic relationship by re-visiting every place he made her cry.
This book is heartbreaking, soul destroying but utterly important. Holly Bourne did an incredible job and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. Please do yourself a favour and buy this book, you will not be disappointed.
Warning: Book features sensitive topics such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse and rape.
Other Books Read but Not Reviewed:
- Missing Parts by Lucinda Berry
- Geek Girls Don’t Cry by Andrea Towers
- Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay
- When She Returned by Lucinda Berry
- These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung
- Paperweight by Meg Haston
- Sickened by Julie Gregory
- Forget My Name by J.S Monroe
Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge read so far: 53
Catch’ya next time!
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