[REVIEW] Small Hours by Jennifer Kitses

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While adding books onto my to-be-read shelf I stumbled upon ‘Small Hours’ by Jennifer Kitses. I was immediately intrigued by it and the theme it deals with – marriage. I find it funny how a nineteen year old me is interested in the theme of marriage but has no plans on getting married himself ever (that might change?) but there is something about these books that make me get excited and want to read them – maybe it’s the mystery of marriage (what secrets can one hold) or how a person can be with another person for so long. There’s so much to explore in the theme of marriage and this book deals with a certain aspect of it.

As the blurb says ‘..a husband and wife try to outrun long-buried secrets, sending their lives spiraling into chaos.’ and if that doesn’t sound interesting and appealing to you then I don’t know what does. This novel follows two spouses – the wife Helen and her husband Tom –  who have two daughters and live in a  town outside of New York. Helen is a graphic designer whose life seems to evolve around her work and her children and Tom is an editor at a science magazine who also has problems of his own – but there is one thing that is eating him alive and causing him problems with sleeping and concentrating on work and his family. Their marriage seems to be a normal hectic one as marriages are – with their children and work keeping them busy –  but what we learn is that there’s much more to it as it always is with any marriage. So that’s about it because I don’t want to spoil the book for you.

The books happenings are told in the span of 24 hours and deal with issues that come up with marriage. I enjoyed this book very much – while it wasn’t a perfect book filled with a lot of happenings it’s a book that slowly reveals the nature of the relationship between the spouses and their intrapersonal relationships. I have to say that people comparing it to ‘Gone Girl’ because of the marriage theme and secrets is frustrating and nowadays everything is compared to ‘Gone Girl’ but nevertheless this is a book which is still interesting. The characters were finely crafted but I found myself more interested in the story of the husband rather than the wife’s which is sort of the point of the book because he’s the one with secrets. What I’ll say is that this book won’t be for everyone because if you’re looking for a rollercoaster ride you’re not getting it (it’s more of a psychological book and definitely not a thriller). The reason why I say this is if you’re not interested in this subject matter you won’t like it. I’ve seen mixed reviews of this one and it just depends on your interests but I’ve enjoyed it and would recommend it. The most action comes at the end of the novel so i wouldn’t call the blurb as accurate because it might mislead the reader and build up different expectations. Just a heads up: you won’t get a satisfying ending if you’re looking for one because it leaves you wanting more.

That said this is a good exploration into the psyches of the spouses and buried secrets resurfacing and finding their way into a marriage.

I would like to thank Edelweiss, the publisher Grand Central Publishing and the author Jennifer Kitses for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstar

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Jennifer Kitses grew up in Philadelphia. She received an MLitt in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and has worked for Bloomberg News, Condé Nast Portfolio, and Columbia Business School. Her writing has appeared in The New York Observer and in Akashic Books’ online series, Mondays Are Murder. She lives with her family in New York.

Small Hours is her first novel.

Find her on:  Website,  Facebook,  Twitter and  Goodreads

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[REVIEW] A Natural by Ross Raisin

This is one of those books which I find hard to review. I will only share my thoughts about this book and you can read the synopsis of the book above.

The plot of the book is what interested me the most and made me want to read this book – keep in mind I’m not a football fan but an exploration of one’s sexuality in an environment where it’s a definite taboo and not talked about is what sounds very interesting. Onto my thoughts, the books premise was good but I found it to be lacking something.. the first half of the book was rather dry in my opinion and it made me skim but once you get past that point it gets more interesting and makes you want to keep reading it. The characters were fine and I found some to be annoying because there was no need for them to be in this book. It was an okay book considering it was written by a male who has no experience in this subject (except for football). I also think that the author did a good job by bringing this kind of book into the world and giving a voice to other footballers who feel this way.

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it was an OK read which anyone interested in reading it should go do it (I’d recommend reading it as an ebook because it’s cheaper).

I would like to thank the publisher (Random House UK, Vintage Publishing) and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of this book.

My rating: 

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Ross Raisin was born in 1979 in West Yorkshire. His first novel, God’s Own Country, was published in 2008 and was shortlisted for nine literary awards, including the Guardian First Book Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. In 2009 Ross Raisin was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. In 2013 he was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British writers. He lives in London.

 

[REVIEW] The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker #4MK

I came across this book quite accidentally whilst scrolling through NetGalley in search for new books. I was immediately attracted to it because of it’s creepy cover and when I read the description I was like: ‘Yess, this sounds like my thang’. I managed to get a copy of it and boy was this book something!

The ‘Four Monkey Killer’ has been terrorising Chicago for over five years with his upsetting and unusual killings. The book opens with the killer’s body being found and the police soon find out that he was about to send a final message – that there’s one last victim he took before his death. His killings consist of torturing the victim and cutting their ears, eyes and tongue which one by one he sends to the close family of the victim. If this doesn’t sound creepy and interesting.. just wait. The book follows the Detective who has been chasing this killer for quite some time now called Sam Porter and he’s trying to piece out the meaning and the intellect behind Four Monkey Killer’s murders with his goal being to find the last victim. This book has several POVs – Sam Porters, Clairs, the Killers childhood (told through diary entries) and the victims. Are you sold now? I can’t say more because I don’t want to ruin this wild ride for future readers.

This book was so interesting and creepy in such a brilliantly done way. I have to say that the book itself doesn’t have long chapters which made it a fun read and it was also fast-paced with the hearing of different voices from other characters. I loved how Barker created the 4MK because his mind is so twisted and dark that the adding of the diary entries made the reader understand the reason why he is the way he is. A good and healthy upbringing is the most important thing in shaping the future life and personality of any child– the child gets to look up to his/her parents, sees the world the way they see it and learns from them – and this book shows us how this can be a trigger for such devious behaviour at a very young age. I found the diary entries the most interesting even though the events at the end were also great and filled with plot twists. I’m sure that this thriller will be well liked and be on everyone’s shelves when it comes out this summer. Trust me guys, you won’t be disappointed.

Very dark and amazing thriller which should be read by everyone who loves this genre.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You can win a draft copy of this book – enter here.

My rating: 

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J. D. BARKER is the international best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Debut Novel. In addition, he has been asked to coauthor a prequel to Dracula by the Stoker family. Barker splits his time between Englewood, Florida, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Find him on: Website,  Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads

[REVIEW] Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

 

Describing this book is so fun because it’s just so unusual. This is a fiction book but the tricky part is that it features Delphine de Vigan (the author) as a character called by the same name, Delphine de Vigan. All the happenings in the authors life are the same (writing of ‘Nothing Holds Back the Night’ and her life and relationships) but it also features another character named L (pronounced elle=she,her). It’s a mix between reality and fiction which makes it completely unique and again unusual.

When you’re an adult, friendship is built on a kind of recognition, of complicity: a shared territory. But it seems to me that in the other person we look for something that we only possess in a minor, embryonic or frustrated form. So we tend to form links with those who have been able to develop a way of being that we incline towards but have not attained.

Delphine de Vigan has written her latest novel ‘Nothing Holds Back the Night’ and after its huge success she gets stuck writing her next one. The expectation of topping her previously published book is taking its toll on her and making her depressed and unable to approach a computer and even type anything into her Word file. Now questions of her morality come up: Why has she shared such a personal story of her family with the world? Was it all even true? Had she no shame for doing that? While pondering over these questions she meets L. a beautiful and fascinating woman at a book event she attended.  She immediately becomes drawn to her – she’s everything Delphine aspires to be. From this point on their friendship intensifies and they become very good friends – they have dinners, they share their personal stories and their work but something is wrong.. L. is now taking over her life, she starts to dress like her, reply to her emails, she even mimics her mannerisms. What originates from a healthy friendship turns into a toxicicity of great length. Does she really know L.? Was their encounter a coincidence or does L. have hidden motives?

You know, what interests me,’ I went on, ‘is understanding what we’re made of. How we manage to assimilate some events, some memories, which mix with our own saliva, spread through our flesh, while others remain like sharp stones in our shoes. How can we decipher the traces of the child on the skin of the adults we claim to have become? Who can read these invisible tattoos? What language are they written in? Who is capable of understanding the scars we think we’ve learned to hide?

This novel was something strange, something personal and I feel like this was a therapeutic thing for Delphine and she needed to write it.. I feel like she needed to write this so she can let go of her worries but then again this story is fiction and it may not represent her feelings at all. The title ‘Based on a True Story’ is brilliant and the origin of the title takes place in the book and I have to say that this book is very intelligently written. A shoutout to the translator George Miller because I loved the way he made sentences come to life. Having previously read ‘Nothing Holds Back the Night’ I appreciated this book more and I recommend you read that one before this one but it’s not necessary. I just love how she created this story resembling her life and adding fiction to it or did she add fiction to it? The French are making an adaptation of this book ‘D’après une histoire vraie’ with Eva Green as one of the leads but I have to say that making an adaptation of this book isn’t something that I’m all for because I view it as something personal to both the reader and the author.

This is a great novel from Delphine de Vigan and it is definitely worth reading because of its peculiarity and thrillery aspects.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher (Bloomsbury UK) for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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Delphine de Vigan is an award-winning French novelist. She has published several novels for adults. Her breakthrough work was the book No et moi (No and Me) that was awarded the Prix des Libraires (The Booksellers’ Prize) in France in 2008.
In 2011, she published a novel Rien ne s’oppose a la nuit (Nothing holds back the night) that is dealing with a family coping with their mother’s bipolar disorder. In her native France, the novel brought her a set of awards, including the prix du roman Fnac (the prize given by the Fnac bookstores) and the prix Renaudot des lycéens.