Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today as winter storm Xanto rains down on us here in the Midwest. I plan on getting a lot of writing done this weekend as I huddle beneath my blankey and wait out the storm. It’s supposed to be historic, and I’m praying for at least one snow day out of it.
But enough about the weather, I’m back to talk about one of my favorite things in the world. Books. I’ve just finished a couple of great ones, and I thought I’d share them with all of you.
The first one is a new to me author. I haven’t read any of her previous stories, but she has a great reputation so I thought I’d give her latest release a try. It’s a young adult story so if you have any teens looking for something to read, check her out.
The title is “Still Life with Tornado” and the cover and blurb are below.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.
Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.
My thoughts: (spoiler alert)
I didn’t get the title until I’d finished reading the story. Needless to say, it makes perfect sense. I loved the story. It’s about a family and how domestic violence affects everyone in the family. It’s told from two viewpoints and one of them is Sarah. The only person who hasn’t experienced her father’s fists. In the beginning of the story, she has lost the ability to create art. Her passion. She’s also no longer attending school and that has everyone worried. No one knows why and the story is intricately woven together as the author takes us through Sarah’s journey. We learn about her love for her brother who moved out and the incident that sent her into a spin and brought her world crashing down.
The second viewpoint is Helen, Sarah’s mother. She’s a nurse and she’s the person stitching the family back together when her husband’s rages tear it apart. She doesn’t know what caused Sarah to slump into a depression, but she’s got her own issues to deal with. She’s the one who tries to keep her husband on an even keel and avoid his punches at the same time. She’s walking a tightrope so she isn’t able to give Sarah the attention she needs, but she’s trying.
The one negative I have about this story is that I didn’t feel that the mother’s voice and Sarah’s voice were distinct enough. There were a few chapters where I was half way down the first page before I realized the narrator had switched. This pulled me from the story and created a. bit of confusion. We all know it’s a bad thing to frustrate our reader, but that’s the only negative I have. Otherwise, it’s a great read especially for teens.
The other book I read was an adult suspense written by the author of “Luckiest Girl Alive.” This second story did not disappoint Its title is “Into the Water” and the cover and blurb are below.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER
An addictive new novel of psychological suspense from the author of #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train
“Hawkins is at the forefront of a group of female authors—think Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott—who have reinvigorated the literary suspense novel by tapping a rich vein of psychological menace and social unease… there’s a certain solace to a dark escape, in the promise of submerged truths coming to light.” —Vogue
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.
This one is written with a non-linear time line so you have to pay attention otherwise it gets confusing. It’s the heartbreaking story about a single mom who’s investigating some strange deaths in her town. She’s a photographer and she has become intrigued by the mysterious deaths surrounding the river winding it’s way through the tiny burg.
Her daughter’s best friend commits suicide and her daughter, Lena, is the only one who knows why. Katie, Lena’s best friend, does this by jumping off the cliff and into the river. Months later it appears as if Lena’s mother, Lorna, has done the same thing. Lorna’s found dead in the river as well, and so the mystery begins. Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? The story pulls you in and it goes deeper and deeper into the tragedies of this small town, revealing secrets and uncovering the ugly truth. It’s a great read and Paula Hawkins has just become one of my favorite authors.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my reviews. How about you? Do you have any great books you’d recommend? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!
28 thoughts on “What I’ve been Reading”
Thanks for the reviews Lisa. Into The Water definitely sounds my kind of book. I didn’t read The Girl on the Train but I like this genre. I’ve just finished Joana Trollope’s latest: An Unsuitable Match which I thought was very good. Amongst other themes in it: being in your 60s and being bullied by your adult children!
Oh wow. That does sound like an intriguing story. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂
Have you read any of her books Lisa? She’s popular in the UK
No I haven’t, but I’m going to check her out because I love discovering new authors. 🙂
Very insightful I find her.
I’m definitely looking her up. 🙂
Hmmm. I read ‘Into the Water’ because I so enjoyed ‘The Girl on the Train’. Not a waste of time (!) but to be honest I much preferred ‘Train’. Let’s see what she’ll do next!
Yes. I can see that. “Into the Water” got a little confusing because of the time line. 🙂
I’m Portland, Oregon and went to the world’s biggest bookstore. I bought four thrillers and want to read Hawkins’ latest!
It was good! But you have to pay attention and watch that time line. 🙂
I read girl on the train. I enjoyed that even though it was out of my genre comfort zone!
I liked it too. I like her style. 🙂 If you liked “Girl on the Train.” You might also enjoy “The Luckiest Girl Alive.” Another good story!
Another one for me to put on my never ending list lol!
I know, Ritu! There are just so many good books out there!
I haven’t read either of these but you’ve made me curious so am adding them to my list. Now I just need some time to read them (and all the others waiting to be read)!
I hear you! There are so many good books out there!
Both of these sound good to me. I need one of my two (or three) book clubs to add them to our lists. I find I only pick up fiction like this if I have a forum to discuss it in. I don’t know why. There’s probably some deep psychological something happening in my brain. But, I do enjoy your reviews. I think it’s important to call out the challenges we have with the stories we read, as well as the good stuff. I hope you’re participating in Hayley’s book club. I’d love to read more of your thoughts on those books too!
Thanks for stopping by, Angela! I appreciate your comments. You always have good ones! I haven’t joined Haley’s book club but I’d like to. How do you join?
It’s the simplest ever–she just posts the books in the book club and then provides commentary and questions each month. The last one was SLADE HOUSE by David Mitchell.
Is this a facebook group? Do I need to request to join?
Nope– just watch her blog the first of each month and check out the bookclub list! Super easy!
Awesome! Thanks for the heads up! 🙂
Thanks for sharing these two reviews. They both sound intriguing. I tend to put away a book that’s hard to follow as it takes me “out of the experience.” So I’m not sure the first book would be a good choice for me even though the premise sounds very interesting.
There were a couple of times I had to stop and figure out who was talking even though the author does let you know at the beginning of the scene by listing the person’s name, but I don’t always look at that when I’m reading. 🙂
Thanks for the reviews. I must read Into the Water. Loved her first book.
It was very good! 🙂
Awww….Thanks for the shout out! You rock! 🙂