#BookReviews: The Carer | How It Was | Still Lives | The Water Cure

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Here are some more reviews of books that I’ve read recently:

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How It Was by Janet Ellis

I read and really enjoyed Janet Ellis’ debut novel The Butcher’s Hook so I was very keen to read her new book. It’s different to her first book but I still very much enjoyed it. It follows Marian, who is sitting in hospital next to her dying husband. She reads him old cards that she’s found and slowly falls into recollections of their lives together. The novel meanders and it can be a little hard to follow at times as you try to work out what point you are at in Marian’s life but I realised that I had to let myself just go where it was taking me and it became easier to follow the timeline then. Marion has had such heartbreak in her life, and the way she had to hide her intense grief for someone earlier in her life was stunningly written. I felt like I was right there with Marion and could feel all of her emotions. Later as she has to deal with her teenage daughter and all the complex emotions that this entails again gave me such empathy for her. She’s a flawed person but it’s impossible not to feel for her. I enjoyed this book but it’s only now that a little time has passed and I find myself still thinking about it that I can see just how good a book it is. I definitely recommend this one!

 

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Still Lives by Maria Hummell

This is a novel that I really wanted to read and yet didn’t pick up for ages after I got it. I think maybe on some level I knew I had to be in the exact right mood for it, and I’m so glad I waited because when I finally picked it up I read it in just two sittings! It follows Maggie who works for an art gallery and is working on the opening of a huge show of work by the new girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend. Kim Lord, the artist, has created a series of pictures where she has controversially painted her own image into the infamous murder scenes of women like Nicole Brown Simpson. Kim disappears on opening night and this leads to people analysing her paintings looking for a deeper message about where she might be. Maggie who already carries a lot of pain and regret becomes further melancholy and reflective about what might have happened. I adored this book – the message running through it about how murdered women are fetishised by the media is really well done and really makes you think. There is so much in this book alongside the mystery element and I really enjoyed it. I already want to read this book again so I definitely recommend it!

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The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

This novel follows three sisters who are brought up in an abusive, claustrophobic situation on an isolated island. We hear from each of them as well as their joint voice as they describe their world. It’s clearly a really difficult life but it’s never really explained where they are or why they’re there. I wasn’t sure if this was a dystopian novel or a post-apocalyptic one, or if the whole thing was a metaphor. It’s a feminist novel but it felt quite surface level to me and I was always kept at quite a distance so couldn’t connect with the characters. I have to say though that the writing is beautiful and it is this that kept me reading to the end. Overall I’m still not really sure what I think about this novel but I did enjoy the writing enough to want to read more by the author.

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The Carer by Deborah Moggach

I’m a big fan of this author’s novels so was thrilled to finally get a copy of The Carer and I’m really happy to say that I loved it. It follows two adult children – Phoebe and Robert – as they deal with their father James’ growing care needs and his relationship with his new carer Mandy. Phoebe seems to bear the brunt of organising their dad’s care and she resents how little Robert does. Robert feels very put upon in life generally and wishes the world would leave him alone so he can write his novel in peace. Mandy is jolly and fun and brings out a lighter side of James which increasingly concerns Phoebe and Robert but they can’t openly complain because this is what Mandy is there for. The family dynamics explored in this novel are so spot on for how life is that I kept smiling, or nodding my head as I recognised people in my own life in the characters at various points in the novel. This is such an engaging read that I keep thinking about ever since I finished reading. I will definitely re-read this book in the future. The Carer is a novel that I’m sure will resonate with a lot of people and I whole-heartedly recommend it!

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (6 Jul 2019)!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Purchased Books/eBooks

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott

I’ve been wanting to read this ever since it came out so I’m thrilled to finally have my own copy. I hope to get to this one soon!

Cape May by Chip Creek

This is a book where I’ve seen great reviews by bloggers and have been wondering if it was for me. I then saw it in the kindle sale this week and I snapped it up. I love the cover of this book so if I enjoy it I will buy the print copy for my book case!

A Double Life by Flynn Berry

I bought this one on a whim as it sounded like my kind of read!

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

This was another impulse buy as the cover caught my eye and when I read the blurb I decided to give this one a go!

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

I’ve now read two of Karin Slaughter’s standalone novels and I keep hearing such good things about her series so I grabbed this one in a recent sale. I’m hoping to start this soon!

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I watched and was fascinated by Making a Murderer so when I spotted this book that was published quite recently I couldn’t resist buying it. I’ve already started reading it and it’s interesting although so far doesn’t stray far from what is known from the documentary series.

 

Purchased AudioBooks (Audible UK’s 14th birthday sale has had some great books on offer!)

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

I read this book years ago and loved it, I’ve been wanting to re-read it so when I spotted it in the recent Audible sale I snapped it up. I might save this one to read later in the year.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

I’ve heard great things about this book so it’s another audio book that I couldn’t resist in the recent Audible sale.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

I bought this on a whim from the Audible sale as it’s a period of history that I know virtually nothing about and I’m intrigued to learn more.

In At The Deep End by Kate Davies

I bought this one as it sounded like it might be a fun summer book to listen to so I expect to get to this one quite soon.

 

Borrowed AudioBooks

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Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I borrowed this book from my library via the BorrowBox app and I’ve already listened to it. It’s one of those books that I think I enjoyed more for listening to it, especially as Stephen Hendry narrates the audio. I recommend it if you’re a snooker fan!

 

ARCs

Looker by Laura Sims

I’ve been so keen to read this book so when I was offered a spot on the blog tour I jumped at the chance. I’ll definitely be reading this book soon and I can’t wait!

How It Was by Janet Ellis

I loved Janet Ellis’ previous novel The Butcher’s Hook so was keen to get her new book. I was really lucky to spot this in an email that was Read Now so I immediately went to NetGalley and downloaded it. I love the cover of this book and am drawn to wanting to read it asap!

The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood

I LOVE Alex Marwood’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating a new book from her so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. I just know I’m going to love this novel!

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

I also got this from NetGalley this week. I requested it but didn’t hold out much hope as I know how popular this book is going to be so I was super excited when I got the approval email!

The Hiding Game by Louise Phillips

I requested this one on a whim when I saw it mentioned on FB, it sounds like my kind of book so I’m really happy to have a copy to read soon!

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.