Writing

Review: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Review: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light starts at the end: the end of a hostage negotiation at the Center. It is the place where so many fetus’ existences end and now potentially the site of the end of a young girl called Wren’s life. The novel follows the experience of the people who are at The Center, the only place licensed in the state to offer abortions, when a pro-life gunman enters the building. The the highly sensitive issue of abortion is dealt with extremely well. The perspectives of the different characters were fully fleshed out and explored.

What makes this novel unlike any other is that instead of moving forward, time moves back. Victims of the gunman who once were lying dead on the ground come back to life, bad news is ungiven, the hostage negotiator’s birthday cake uneaten. This led to some heart wrenching revelations, with more and more depth about the characters coming to life with every page. The lives of characters such as Olive and Bex, who at the start of the novel are for various reasons more distant, take on a new significance. As with all of Picoult’s wonderful novels, at the end (or the beginning?) there are her signature twists and turns.

This is such a poignant read, with the author’s note at the end providing information on the reality of the situations depicted. Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton, Jodi Picoult and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this thought-provoking gem of a novel!

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Writing

Review: I Never Lie by Jody Sabral

Review: I Never Lie

This review contains some spoilers for the ending of I Never Lie, so please read with caution!

The world of a journalist trying to make her way despite personal struggle was really exciting to read about. Having in the past toyed with the idea myself of trying to become a journalist, the world of the TV studio was my favourite part of this novel. Audrey, Alex’s long suffering producer, was one of my favourite characters. I also loved hearing about Greg, her ex who she left following a miscarriage. I would have enjoyed hearing more about the lives of both Audrey and Alex, as I felt they were some of the most interesting people in I Never Lie’s London.

Sadly, while I loved the first third of this book, I found the pace started to become tiresome. The murders didn’t seem to have the urgency that I was expecting. Although Nigel, Alex’s internet date, at first seemed a suspect I veered away from that pretty quickly. I didn’t really have the sense that Alex was at risk, even though that eventually was revealed to have been a major part of the killer’s plans. The repeated reference to both Sarah and Alex’s drinking became very tiresome in the final half of the novel. While the exploration of alcoholism was an interesting tool for developing the characters, it did seem to take up a little too much room. By the end of the novel, I was a little tired of hearing so much about alcoholism rather than the crime! I did find the twist with Sarah as the killer interesting, but wish that it could have been revealed through a flashback rather than exposition — hearing about what happened in a short retelling from a character who did not actually remember those events was a shame.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy reading I Never Lie and was excited to find out who the killer was, so have given it a strong *** rating. Thank you to NetGalley, Canelo and Jody Sabral for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Writing

Review: Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe

Review: Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe

Imagine you lose your memory and the one of the few things you have left is the knowledge of where you live. You head home and arrive to find strangers living in your house. Sleeping in your bedroom, all traces of you gone. It’d be a bit strange, wouldn’t it?

That’s exactly the problem facing our mystery protagonist in Forget my Name. She’s unnamed, possessing neither past nor future, only the present. We soon take a detour from the route that I presumed the story was going down, which would have been very predictable, through a rabbit warren of twists and turns, to find the truth of “Jemma”‘s origins.

Monroe’s characters were the best part of this novel. Tony was very interesting. He starts off seeming like an innocent homeowner, willing simply to help a lost woman. It will probably be of no surprise to frequent readers of thriller novels that things weren’t exactly as they seem — both on Jemma’s side and from the perspective of those that she encounters. I loved the depth given to the stories for secondary characters, for example through the suggestion that ‘Jemma’ might be the long lost daughter of one of them. This didn’t feel forced at all.

I really enjoyed Forget my Name, especially towards the end. In the final third the action ramps up and every bit of mystery and misdirection pays off. Kudos to J.S. Monroe for a gripping read, I look forward to reading their next book.

Thank you to NetGalley, Head of Zeus and J.S. Monroe for the opportunity to read this book.

 

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Writing

Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Review: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Kagawa’s ability to create such likeable characters and believable worlds are her greatest assets. Throughout each of her book series, you will root for her characters to succeed against all odds.
 I loved Yumeko. Her kitsune nature was fascinating and the warring influence of her human and supernatural sides was amazing. Tatsumi’s coldness made him quite unlikeable for me at first. He did grow on me over the course of the book, but seeing him through Yumeko’s eyes was much more enjoyable than his own perspective.
Shadow of The Fox also boasted some great side characters. The monks who featured at the beginning of the novel were very well developed, especially considering how short their page-time was. Funny and charismatic Okame added some humour to the later part of the book, reminding me of the effect of Jackal in Blood of Eden. The villains were also great.
One thing I found a little frustrating, though, was the shift from the first chapter to the main section of the book. In the space of only a few pages I managed to get oddly attached to a young maid character. She was soon killed off, with the story shifting to Yumeko. While a resolution to that strange opening character does come later in the novel, I did find that it made for a slightly disjointed beginning.

Once I’d got past that initial uncertainty, I fell in love with this novel. The world-building was incredible and I loved the use of Japanese culture. I felt completely absorbed in the group’s journey. Towards the end all of the tension ramps up and I flew through the final pages, waiting to see what will happen next.  I’m already looking forward to the sequel!

Thank you to Netgalley, Harlequin TEEN and Julie Kagawa for the opportunity to read SHADOW OF THE FOX.
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