REVIEW: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences

Published August 6, 2019 by Berkley Books

 

Soooo awesome!!!

I LOVED Kristan Higgins’s previous novel “Good Luck with That”. I was a little worried that this novel wouldn’t thrill me as much as GLWT did. I worried for nothing as right from the start; I was hooked on this story.

Emma London is a therapist who works from home counseling people online. Working from home gives Emma more time to spend with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Riley. Emma and Riley have a great relationship, but Emma has noticed changes in her daughter over the last year. She tries not to over-analyze Riley, but she still worries.

Emma is walking past an empty storefront one day and sees an advertisement in the window. There is a picture of a pink purse with the words Genevieve London Designs Coming Soon! The sign takes Emma back to her childhood. Genevieve London is her grandmother, a woman she has tried hard to forget. That evening, Emma’s landline rings. She’s surprised when she hears her grandmother’s voice.

“I’m dying, so you have to come home and do your familial duty. Bring your child.“

Emma can’t believe Genevieve has the nerve to talk about family and duty. She tries to tell herself that she doesn’t care what happens to Genevieve. She remembers how unloved and unwanted she felt as a child. She also remembers the things Genevieve said to her the last time they spoke.  Does her grandmother think that she can buy forgiveness?

“We couldn’t go. We shouldn’t go. We weren’t going to go.“

But after an incident between Riley and some girls at school, Emma wonders if a change of scenery might be good for both of them.

85-year-old, Genevieve London used to be beautiful, wealthy, and well-known but now people barely recognize her. She hates getting old. Genevieve had been a good wife and mother. Then tragedy struck. She did not fall apart (on the outside at least). She went on and became a style icon and industry leader. But she knows she made mistakes.

How will Emma cope with her feelings for her grandmother? Will Genevieve connect with the great-granddaughter she’s just met and help build a bridge to forgiveness with the granddaughter she drove away so many years ago?

This was an incredible story!!!

My emotions were all over the place as I read this novel. I was laughing out loud one minute and wiping tears away the next. At times it was gut-wrenching and raw…and I loved it!

The majority of the story is told from Emma and Genevieve’s perspective but we also hear from many other terrific characters. The interaction between characters was incredibly entertaining. There were a few different storylines but I thought they all meshed so well. I became attached to many of the characters and I didn’t want to let them go.

Kristan Higgins is phenomenal when it comes to writing about relationships. In this novel, the issues around motherhood and parenting were so relatable.

This story touches on many important issues like mental illness, grief, abandonment, suicide, forgiveness, etc.

I can’t wait for another novel from this author!

 

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.

 

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 : Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Never Have I Ever

Published July 30, 2019 by William Morrow

 

This was a FANTASTIC novel. One of my favorite reads this year.

Forty-two year old, Amy Whey has a great life. She has a wonderful family and a terrific best friend. She finally feels at home for the first time in her life.

Tuesday, May 28, 1991, was the night that Amy’s life, as well as many others, changed forever. After that night, Amy tried a variety of ways to stuff her feelings. Eventually, it was diving that saved her. Being underwater was the only place she could forget… if just for a little while. Then Amy met Davis and his daughter, Maddy. They became her family, eventually adding baby Oliver to the mix. Finding a new best friend, Charlotte only added to Amy’s happiness.

The last seven years have been amazing, but there are times she wonders if she should have told the people she loves about her past.

Amy’s life is about to become VERY complicated.

 “Is this where the book club meets?”

Book club is well underway when the doorbell rings. Amy opens the door to a pretty woman with beautiful dark hair. The woman’s name is Angelica Roux, Roux for short. She is a single mom with a teenage son and they are staying at the Airbnb next door. She thought she would come to book club to meet some new people.

Amy never thought that book club would be the place where her life would start to unravel.

Roux introduces herself and the other women immediately start trying to impress her. However, Charlotte, who is the leader of the group is far from impressed. Roux insults the book, sits in the host’s chair, and mixes drinks like she owns the place. She basically hijacks the evening.

Soon, Roux, has the women drinking shots and playing a game called, “Never have I ever”. The game starts out innocently enough, but then one of the women confesses something that hits very close to home. Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a harmless game. Roux says that Amy would win this game hands-down. She seems to be indicating that she knows something about Amy’s past. Amy has had enough and tells Roux to get out. As Roux is leaving she tells Amy that they need to get together, that they have a LOT to talk about.

Amy has no intentions seeking Roux out, but she is worried. She tells herself that it’s impossible for Roux to know about her past. Truly impossible. But when Roux comes looking for her, Amy’s instincts are proven right. Roux wants something from her and if she doesn’t get it, she’s going to make Amy pay…

How will Amy protect the precious life she’s built?

I LOVED this book!

The story is told from Amy’s point of view. Most of it takes place in the present, but we do learn about Amy’s past and what happened that fateful night.

Filled with fascinating characters, an engaging plot, and twists that I NEVER saw coming. I thought the story was well-paced with perfect timing, and I loved how it all came together in the end.

Joshilyn Jackson is a tremendous storyteller, and I found this book so hard to put down! It held my attention completely.

A thrilling story about memory, betrayal, guilt, lies, love, friendship, and revenge.

I highly recommend this incredible domestic suspense novel!!

I’d like to thank William Morrow for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.