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.

 

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.

REVIEW – The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter

Expected publication: May 21, 2019 by Graydon House

 

I have been looking forward to reading more from Kaira Rouda since reading and enjoying her previous novel, “Best Day Ever”.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie“.

Meet Jane Harris.

Jane spent the last year grieving the death of her daughter, Mary. She stayed in bed lost in her “haze of grief”.

But Jane is now ready to step back into her life and family. Jane’s therapist suggested that the family should eat together to reconnect.  So Jane is putting together a special dinner.

“I’m the perfect vision of a happy homemaker”

She waits for her husband, David to come home. He’ll be surprised. Jane says David has some surprises of his own.  Jane accidentally found out about a big one.  David’s surprise snapped her out of her haze.

Nothing had been right after Mary left them. David was never home, always busy with work. It felt like he was avoiding her.

“Your husband should love you and worship the ground you walk on. He doesn’t just now, I know, but he will again. I’m back. He’ll see.”

Jane’s other daughter, Betsy is about to graduate. Jane tries to ignore the voice in her head (it sounds a lot like her mother) that tells her Betsy is going to leave her.  But Betsy needs Jane. She would never leave her.

Jane is happy that everyone seems to be getting in line. Now that she’s back and better than ever.  She’s even been secretly working out.  On her few recent outings she’s noticed admiring glances from men. Not that that’s anything new. She’s always turned heads.

There is an upcoming memorial for her daughter, Mary. Jane’s psychologist, Dr. Rosenthal tries to prepare her for it. Jane often says what she thinks the psychologist wants to hear. She talks about the things her mother taught her. Jane’s mother loved bringing people down, Jane included. But Jane is winning…just look at her lavish life.

Jane used to have a group of friends but they’ve drifted away. She knows it’s because they were jealous. Jane used to win at everything; tennis, Bunko, etc.  And it wasn’t her fault their husbands found Jane attractive.

After the memorial, Jane suddenly starts receiving anonymous notes. The notes say that there’s more to Mary’s death than they know. Could this be true?

As graduation nears, we learn more about the Harris family. It seems like everyone is keeping secrets and/or has something to hide.

With a riveting storyline, some jaw-dropping moments, and a wicked ending, this was another hit for me.

The story is told from Jane’s point of view. Jane Harris is a character that many will love to hate (some will just hate). She is definitely one of a kind. The author’s sense of humor really comes across. This psychological suspense novel had me laughing out loud a few times.

Clever, entertaining, and delightfully insane, “The Favorite Daughter” was the perfect escape.

 

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

My Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

 

There are so many books that I am looking forward to reading this year. There are still many books I want to read from last year, and the year before that and …well you get the picture.  My TBR is out of control. I REALLY tried to trim it down but didn’t have much luck.

 

Image result for there is no such things as too many books

So here they are (in no particular order) :

(Click on the book image to read the description on Goodreads)

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Expected publication: June 25, 2019 by Sphere

42289664

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Expected publication: August 13, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

41150382

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

Expected publication: May 21, 2019 by Graydon House
41887424

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Expected publication: August 6, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
41150385

The Liar’s Child by Carla Buckley

Expected publication: March 12th 2019 by Ballantine Books
40642958

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by Park Row

Beautiful Bad

Saving Meghan: A Novel by D.J. Palmer

Expected publication: April 9, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
40122065

The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine

Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Harper
The Last Time I Saw You

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Expected publication: April 18, 2019 by Orenda
Call Me Star Girl

Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare

Published March 5, 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Call Me Evie

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Published January 8, 2019 by Gallery Books
Her One Mistake

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

Expected publication: January 24th 2019 by Raven Books
The Flower Girls

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Expected publication: July 30th, 2019 by William Morrow
36679186

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Expected publication: May 21st, 2019 by Little, Brown and Company

Necessary People

Looker by Laura Sims

Published January 8th, 2019 by Scribner
Looker

Before She Knew Him by Richard Swanson

Expected publication: March 5th, 2019 by William Morrow

Before She Knew Him

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

Expected publication: February 5th, 2019 by Touchstone

The Winter Sister

Well, I’m going to stop myself there. However, I know there are going to be many more great reads this year.

I hope that 2019 is an excellent year for everyone, filled with fantastic reads. I’d love to hear what you are most looking forward to reading and if any of these books are on your list too.

Happy New Year and HAPPY READING!!