Black- Eyed Susans- by Julia Heaberlin

The first book you see in a book shop……

There is sat, number 1 on the Waterstones’ reader chart. How could I resist. I bought it with my Christmas vouchers and  let it sit on my shelf for a few weeks before I read it to let it gather even more anticipation and suspense. As I handed over the plastic, the cashier even expressed how much she wanted to read it so that just made me even more excited.

The book is so current I really don’t want to give anything of the plot away. As I’ve written many times, I never read the synopsis of a book because I don’t black eyed susanslike to be swayed or influenced in any way before I read. It’s fundamentally a murder mystery, with the protagonist being the only survivor. However with no memory of the event she is haunted by whether she made the right choices after it happened and whether her choices and guidance led to negative and possibly deadly repercussions.

I loved the front cover of the book and I love a mystery, not knowing what happens until the end adds to the suspense and (hopefully) no amount of guessing will be correct. I was so excited to read it and had heard so many many wonderful things that unfortunately I was a little disappointed, to begin with anyway. It took be a fair few pages to find where I wanted to be. I didn’t instantly feel attached or engaged which I like, especially with a quick moving thriller. I was a little confused and it took me a while to find my bearings; who was who and what was happening. I wasn’t even completely hooked until near the very end when the truth was being revealed.

Although it may not have completely met my expectations,  that’s not to say its a brilliant book. It has an excellent plot and the characters have depth and integrity and the conclusion wasn’t what I expected or imagined. For me it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations based on other reviews.

3.5/5

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The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

A book set on an Island……

This is another of those books that I’ve had to stretch to apply to the category but a large part of it does take place on an island. the book is set in Salem, and Yellow Dog Island, even though I have just discovered it is fictional. This book I the lace readerborrowed from the library, a quick choice based on the beautiful front cover. Exactly the kind of design I am drawn to. I may not have pursued if I had read the blurb, however……I don’t, and with no expectations I really enjoyed it from beginning to end.

The book is about Towner Whitney, a confused and psychologically disturbed lady who grew up on the fictional island close to Salem. Towner, born Sophya, makes a painful return to her home following the disappearance of her great aunt Eva. To begin with we are discovering what happened to her however as the book progressing it becomes more about Towner and how she became tangled in such a strange emotional mess and how the death of her twin sister affected her so fundamentally.

I was really keen on this book from the beginning. It was quick and dark and I wanted to know more straight away. I though it clever how Brunonia had introduced Towner Whitney and their family history as disturbed and quirky and especially that she wrote that Towner tells lies; that is an immediate challenge right there. Will I be able to distinguish between the truth and lies or will I be fooled? Everybody loves a challenge…in actual fact I completely forgot about this until I needed to remember.                                                                    I enjoyed the book throughout. It was written in a ‘easy to read’ way and I do like that so I can feel the characters in more depth as opposed to having to concentrate solely on the words I am reading. It was predictable and it suited the plot, some books wouldn’t get away with it but this one completely worked and it was still believable. I particularly loved the ending to this book. I was supposed to be starting dinner but I got a little bit lost and couldn’t pull myself away and quite frankly, I didn’t try to. I needed to find things out and the conclusion was excellent, everything explained. The plot and character list was vast and I’m convinced it must have taken a lot of planning. Although it did work I think that any more content or characters would have spoiled it. It was on the cusp. The main point of the book that I found  a little difficult was how the telling of story kept changing. I often had to stop and work out who was telling me this part and it chopped and changed a little too much for me. I don’t want to be confused when reading a book.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a thinker and like films such as shutter island. I’m still reflecting on it now and mulling parts over.

3.75/5