REVIEW – The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl

The Heart Keeper

Published July 16, 2019 by Berkley Books

 

 

Two mothers. Two daughters. One heart.

Alison is barely hanging on since her daughter passed away. Alison and her husband, Sindre vowed they would stay together and learn to live this new life, but it’s been extremely difficult. Now they are like polite strangers interacting only when they absolutely have to.

After Amalie drowned they donated her organs in the hopes that they could save someone else from this terrible loss. Alison’s stepson, Oliver tells her about cell memory and asks which parts of Amalie were donated. Suddenly, Alison can’t stop thinking about parts of her daughter in other people. Other people are alive because Amalie is not. 

Alison wonders if transplant organs really hold donors memories.

“Could it be that they received more than just a life-giving body part?“

Alison is able to find out where Amalie’s heart went. She knows she should stay away, but something is pulling her towards Iselin and Kaia. Alison’s lack of sleep, alcohol intake and feelings of grief and loss have her thoughts jumbled together. She desperately wants to connect with Amalie.

What starts as curiosity becomes an obsession.

Iselin didn’t hear her phone ring the day the call came. When she finally picked up her phone, she saw that she had missed four calls from the hospital. “How soon can you be here?”

Iselin’s daughter, Kaia was getting a new heart. Iselin prayed and held her breath until the doctor showed her a screen that showed Kaia’s new heart beating steadily.

Now things are looking up. Money is still tight, but Iselin has started drawing again and has even made a few sales. She hopes it will continue. They are also interviewed for a magazine describing what happened to Kaia to help raise awareness for childhood heart disease.

Iselin doesn’t realize what this article may mean for her and her daughter.

Iselin meets a wonderful woman named Alison. Alison seems a little strange but is very kind and generous.

But what does she really know about Alison? Why is Alison so interested in Iselin and Kaia?

This was a very interesting and thought-provoking read that will stay with me for a long time.

The story is told from both Alison and Iselin’s point of view. I had a bit of a hard time getting into the book at first, but I am glad that I stuck with it. After a few chapters, I was hooked. This was quite an emotional read. I thought the characters were well-developed. Their grief felt realistic. The author did a good job of showing the relationship and bonds between parent and child and what might happen if that bond is threatened.

An emotional and gripping story about motherhood, loss, grief,  guilt, and love.

I’d like to thank Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW – The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers

Published: August 27, 2019 by Berkley Books

 

What an awesome read!

Self-driving cars have recently become the norm in England. Their government has pledged that soon all of England’s roads will be a completely autonomous network and that all manual vehicles will be banned within the next ten years.

The first character/passenger we meet is twenty-six year old, Claire Arden. Claire was fascinated when her car delivered itself to her house a few weeks ago. However, the fact that it has no steering wheel or pedals and can’t be overridden makes her nervous. Claire is on route to her first destination of the day when her car suddenly turns right instead of left and the car’s console goes blank. At the next traffic light she tries to open the door, but it’s locked. Claire is terrified. When a voice says good morning Claire asks what’s going on. “The only thing you need to know at this point is that in two hours and thirty minutes from now, it is highly likely that you will be dead.”

Jude Harrison resents self-driving cars but knows there are benefits to having them. He’s composing an email when he hears, “Good morning, Jude”.  The voice says he should enjoy the morning as it will likely be his last. “In approximately two and a half hours’ time, you are going to die.”

78-year-old actress, Sophia Bradbury hasn’t been getting many job offers lately. She thinks about some of the decisions she has made to protect her career over the years. Today she isn’t feeling well. Her arthritis is bothering her and her hearing aids are acting up. Unfortunately, her day is about to get so much worse…“Good Morning, Sophia

We meet more passengers. Their routes are also recalculated, the windows turn to privacy settings, and the voice tells them that in just over two hours they will likely be dead.

Libby Dixon is NOT a passenger. Libby hates driverless cars. She knows the damage they are capable of. She walks wherever she can. If she does have to take a taxi, she makes sure it’s one with a driver. She won’t take the bus anymore since they replaced the drivers with computers. Today is Libby’s second day of a very different kind of jury duty. Libby was not happy to be selected and hates that she has to take part. Suddenly, the meeting is interrupted. They are told to turn on the news. They see that passengers traveling from different parts of the country have all been told that they may be dead by morning.

Who are these people—these passengers? Is this a case of wrong place wrong time or have these passengers been specially chosen?

Who could be doing this? What does it have to do with Libby and the others?

Suddenly they hear a voice. The voice tells them the plan…

and it is TERRIFYING!

Wow!!!!

This was a satisfyingly twisted tale that I burned through in just a couple of sittings. I was HOOKED. Of course, this is a book of fiction so not everything is going to be completely believable. But that really didn’t bother me. I was happy to be along for the ride.

I thought the story was well-paced and filled with fascinating characters. Told from multiple points of view, we learn about the characters/Passengers and their individual stories. There are also news reports, online polls, tweets, and other social media interspersed throughout the novel which added to the story.

One of the most engrossing and thought-provoking novels I’ve read lately! I honestly can’t stop thinking about it.

 

 

I’d like to thank Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

 

Music Monday – The Cars

musicmonday

Music Monday is a meme that was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song and/or video and share it on Monday.

 

I have enjoyed The Cars music for many years. I was saddened to hear that Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars passed away yesterday.  I thought I would share two of my favorite songs from the band.

 

RIP Ric Ocasek

 

 

Just What I Needed
.
I don’t mind you comin’ here
And wastin’ all my time
‘Cause when you’re standin’, oh so near
I kinda lose my mind
It’s not the perfume that you wear
It’s not the ribbons in your hair
And I don’t mind you comin’ here
And wastin’ all my time
I don’t mind you hangin’ out
And talkin’ in your sleep
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been
As long as it was deep, yeah
You always knew to wear it well and
You look so fancy I can tell
I don’t mind you hangin’ out
And talkin’ in your sleep
I guess, you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess, you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to bleed
I don’t mind you comin’ here
And wastin’ all my time, time
‘Cause when you’re standin’, oh so near
I kinda lose my mind, yeah
It’s not the perfume that you wear
It’s not the ribbons in your hair
I don’t mind you comin’ here
And wastin’ all my time
I guess, you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess, you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to bleed
I guess, you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess, you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to bleed
Yeah, yeah, so bleed me
You’re just what I needed
You’re just what I needed
You’re just what I needed
Yeah, yeah, yeah
.
Songwriters: Ric Ocasek
Just What I Needed lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
.
You Might Think
.
You might think I’m crazy
To hang around with you
Maybe you think I’m lucky
To have something to do
But I think that you’re wild
Inside me is some child
You might think I’m foolish
Or maybe it’s untrue
(You might think) you might think I’m crazy
(All I want) but all I want is you
You might think it’s hysterical
But I know when you’re weak
You think you’re in the movies
And everything’s so deep
But I think that you’re wild
When you flash that fragile smile
You might think it’s foolish
What you put me through
(You might think) you might think I’m crazy
(All I want) but all I want is you
And it was hard, so hard to take
There’s no escape without a scrape
You kept it going ’till the sun fell down
You kept it going
Well you might think I’m delirious
The way I run you down
But somewhere sometimes, when you’re curious
I’ll be back around
Oh I think that you’re wild
And so uniquely styled
You might think it’s foolish
This chancy rendezvous
(You might think) you might think I’m crazy
(All I want) but all I want is you
All I want is you
All I want is you
.
Songwriters: Ric Ocasek
Just What I Needed lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

REVIEW – Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Worst Case Scenario

Published March 16, 2019 by ORENDA BOOKS

 

“Every time Mary tried to relax in a bath, a paedophile ruined it.”

With a first line like that, I was pretty sure this was going to be one wild read.

Shocking, hilarious, moving, twisted, and gritty are some of the words that come to mind when I think of this novel.

Fifty-two year old, Mary has worked as a probation officer in Glasgow for almost thirty years. Mary is currently going through “the menopause”. She is stressed and moody, and all alone while her husband works away from home. Taking sick time is frowned upon and Mary is on notice for how many sick days she’s taken.

But now Mary has had enough. She gives her one month notice.  This way she can leave with her record intact and her head held high.

How much can go wrong in one month?

Mary is meeting her last new client who is in prison for murdering his wife. While incarcerated, Dr. Liam MacDowall wrote a book, “Cuck: Letters to My Dead Wife. The book and MacDowall will be released soon. They have a meeting to go over all of the rules and restrictions MacDowall will have to abide by once released. MacDowall’s lawyer, publisher, counselor, and twenty-six-year-old daughter, Holly attend the meeting. MacDowall plans to live with Holly after his release.

Mary met with Holly a few days earlier and the visit did not go well (but it had me in stitches). Mary doesn’t think Holly should let her father live with her “A load of shite. I’d prefer to share a house with Hannibal Lecter”.  Holly can’t believe how Mary talks to her and tells her that she’s going to make a complaint. Mary has no problem handing her a complaint form. Years ago this would have had Mary in a tizzy wondering how she could fix things.

That evening, after the meeting, Mary tries to settle in for the night…

”This might have been the day, the hour, the minute, the moment that she made the decision that ruined her life”

Mary will soon realize just how much can go wrong in one month.

I thought this was a terrific read! It was also a quick read at just over 200 pages.

The author, Helen Fitzgerald obviously has a terrific sense of humor. Mary is a character many will relate to. Her dry sense of humor and outspokenness is delightful. I often wondered, did she really just say that? Her struggle with “the menopause” is hilarious and realistic!

 “A hot flash is like an orgasm. If you’re not sure you’ve had one, you haven’t.”

Worst Case Scenario” makes no apologies. This book may not be for everyone, but in my opinion, it was a great read.

Dark, compelling, disturbing and unsettling… but oh so entertaining!

 

I’d like to thank Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.