Review: Looker by Laura Sims | @ljsims50 @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

The Professor lives in Brooklyn; her partner Nathan left her when she couldn’t have a baby. All she has now is her dead-end teaching job, her ramshackle apartment, and Nathan’s old moggy, Cat. Who she doesn’t even like.

The Actress lives a few doors down. She’s famous and beautiful, with auburn hair, perfect skin, a lovely smile. She’s got children – a baby, even. And a husband who seems to adore her. She leaves her windows open, even at night.

There’s no harm, the Professor thinks, in looking in through the illuminated glass at that shiny, happy family, fantasizing about them, drawing ever closer to the actress herself. Or is there?

 

My Thoughts

Looker is an incisive portrayal of a woman who becomes fixated on an actress who lives across the street from her. She sees in her everything she needs to make herself happy and she wants to be closer to that life!

I loved this book from the very beginning. I really enjoy books where we’re in the protagonist’s head for the duration of the novel. The Professor was successful at work, she was married to a man she loved and they were trying for a baby. She was on the cusp of having everything she wanted but then she miscarries and her fertility journey becomes fraught and heartbreaking. She closes herself off and then her husband leaves her. The book begins at this point but we get bits of her back story as we start to fill in the pieces to really get who this person is.

She obsesses over the actress. She watches her, she watches her home and she sometimes drifts off into fantasies about what might happen if she met her or her husband. The actress leaves unwanted things outside her house and the Professor squirrels these things away into the empty spare room of her apartment.

I began to feel that perhaps the Professor’s obsession with filling up her spare room was really her trying to fill her very empty life, and perhaps her empty uterus. She clearly has psychological problems, and really who wouldn’t after all the pain and heartbreak she has endured. The obsession with the actress is taking things to another level though and yet I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She’s clearly lonely and has fixated on the actress as she believes she has a perfect, happy life. The Professor isn’t a particularly likeable character but she’s sympathetic at the same time. I very much appreciated that Laura Sims doesn’t go down a predictable route of the bitter woman who can’t get pregnant, instead it’s an incredible exploration of what happens when everything you wanted is slowly stripped from you and you’re left with no one and nothing left to lose.

Looker is a novel that creeps up on you. I was enthralled from the start but I gradually felt more and more uneasy about how the protagonist was behaving to the point that I was completely on edge because you just know something is going to happen. You can’t work out what or when or where but you know it’s coming. I thought when I picked up this book that it was going to go a particular way and I was so glad that it didn’t, instead Laura Sims keeps you wondering and that makes it so much more unnerving than if the Professor behaved in the way you believed she would!

This isn’t a full-on fast-paced psychological thriller and yet it’s a book that’s to be devoured in one sitting. It’s a psychological study of a character and the thriller element is knowing that she may only have developed her obsessive nature because of what she’s been through, and that means she could easily be you or someone you know!

I have to mention how perfect the title of this book is. It obviously refers to the protagonist and her obsessive watching of the actress, but the more of the novel I read the most I began to get a sense that I was the looker, that I was also intruding into the professor’s life and wanting to know more and more about her. It’s an uncomfortable realisation to suddenly feel for a moment that you might just understand the obsession, the wanting and needing to know about someone else’s life!

Looker is a brilliant, incisive and disturbing psychological novel and I loved it! I couldn’t put it down, and even now I’ve finished reading I keep thinking about it. I already want to go back and read it all again. I highly recommend this one!

Many thanks to the Tinder Press for my copy of this book and to Anne of Random Things Tours for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Looker is out now in ebook and available here. It’s due to be published in paperback on 25th July and can be pre-ordered at the same link.

 

About the Author

Laura Sims Author Picture

Laura Sims is the author of four books of poetry, and LOOKER is her debut novel. She lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Looker BT Poster

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WWW Wednesdays (17 Jul 2019)!

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

This book is so good! I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel and this one is even better, it gripped me from the first chapter and I’m keen to read more asap!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m thoroughly enjoying this one. I’m trying to savour is because it but it’s hard not to keep reading when I pick it up. I recommend this one!

Gary Speed: Unspoken by John Richardson

I bought this one recently and started reading it straight away. It’s not really the book I thought it was going to be but I do want to finish it. I was hoping for more of a biography but really it’s more his friends sharing memories of him.

What I recently finished reading:

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell

I’ve had this on my TBR mountain for about a year so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox (my local library’s audio book service) I decided to download it and listen. The novel wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be but listening to it on audio kept me engaged when I might have put the ebook down.

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

I also downloaded the audio book of this on a whim from BorrowBox after seeing a recommendation in a book group on FB. I actually enjoyed this more than I was expecting and I’m glad I listened to it.

Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness by Andrea Hayes

This is another audiobook from BorrowBox and the title just caught my eye. I’ve worked really hard on finding ways of treating and coping with my severe neuropathic pain so am interested to read the stories of other people who’ve been through similar. Andrea’s story is so similar to mine in many ways so I found this book really life-affirming and recommend it.

The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, A Serial Killer and the Meaning of Murder by Claudia Rowe

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for ages but have only seen quite expensive secondhand copies that are in not great condition so I was really pleased to spot the audio book on BorrowBox. I found this an interesting book about a reporter’s obsession with a serial killer, and her exploration of her own obsession.

The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope by Jonny Benjamin

I finally got to read this book which I’ve been wanting to read since it first came out as I’d seen interviews with the author on TV.  This was a really moving book about the author’s struggle with mental illness.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

I finally read this book having had an ARC on my TBR for over a year. I’m not sure how I missed reading it before now but I’m glad to have read it. I very much enjoyed this thriller and have already reviewed it. You can find my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

I was really keen to listen to this book but I found myself disappointed with it as it just wasn’t the book it’s made out to be. It’s more about the author moving to L.A. and her obsession with Joan Didion’s work than it is about America’s obsession with young women who have been murdered.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book has been on my wish list for a while so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to request it. I now have the book on my phone so it will be my next audio book.

Looker by Laura Sims

I hoped to read this one over the last week but I could only manage audio books so had to put this one on hold. I’m still keen to read it so fingers crossed for the coming week.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

I’ve been desperate to read this book so again I’m hoping I’ll be able to read print this week so that I can get to this one.


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (10 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I just started reading this late last night but it’s such a gripping read. The opening is really different to anything I’ve read before and it just had me wanting to read more and more.

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

This is another really gripping read. I’m very intrigued about where the wife in the title might be and what could have happened to her.

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

I haven’t read much more of this over the last week as I wasn’t in much of a non-fiction mood but I’ll definitely get back to it soon.

 

What I recently finished reading:

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while now so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to download the audio and listen to it instead. I really enjoyed this one and found it really uplifting.

The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

I part-read and part-listened to this one and absolutely loved it! I love Elizabeth Haynes’ writing anyway and this book lived up to all her others that I’ve read. I found it fascinating how she blended fact with some fiction in such a brilliant way. I recommend this one!

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my full review here if you’d like to know more. I can say that I loved this book though and recommend it!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This was one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m so happy that I finally got to this. I very much enjoyed it, it was such an interesting novel that got me really invested in all of the characters. I’m now looking forward to reading The Reservoir Tapes soon.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This was another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so happy I read this. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Conversations with Friends as it just didn’t quite feel believable to me but I did like Sally Rooney’s writing so decided to try this one. I loved this book, it really reminded me of being the age of the characters and how miscommunications so easily happen in intimate relationships.

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

I’ve had this one on my TBR for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to listen to it. I did enjoy this one but I think it would have worked better if I’d actually read it. I might come back and re-read the print version of this in the future.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

I really enjoyed this novel! It didn’t have as much depth as I might have liked but I loved the premise and I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and seeing how they dealt with what was going to happen.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel (my review is here) so I was delighted to be offered a spot on the blog tour for her next book. I’m planning to read this one this coming week and I can’t wait!

Looker by Laura Sims

I’ve been so keen to read this book so now I own a copy I don’t want to wait any longer to start reading it!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is another of my 20 Books of Summer and I’m in the mood for getting lost in a longer book so I think this fits the bill. I love Penny Vincenzi’s writing so I know I’m going to love this one.

Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

I’ve been wanting to read this one for absolutely ages and I put it on my 20 Books of Summer so I didn’t forget I had it and I think the time has come to pick it up! I hope to get to this one this week too. 🙂

 


 

I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

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.