Thursday, 3 August 2017

BOOK REVIEW | Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

| I received my copy of Are You Sleeping via Netgalley for review purposes |

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

Firstly, I seriously debated with myself whether to rate Are You Sleeping a 3 star or a 4 star read... Ultimately opting for 3 stars.

I really loved the premise of Are You Sleeping, and was hooked from the get go. When a true crime podcast starts airing that focuses on her father's murder, Josie is forced to confront some realities she'd been putting off, as well return to her hometown and family. The plot was strong, and well paced, with the inclusion of excerpts from the podcast and also social media posts running alongside the narrative.

As well as the plot being strong, character development was also. Opening up we see Josie battling the emotions that come with her history resurfacing, soon following her across country to then see a family drama unfold. Not to mention the mystery of who exactly killed Charles Buhrman.

For me it was the ending that lead this to be a three star book. With a story that grips you like this one does, you kind of expect something big at the end, and that just didn't materialise. I had guessed the ending around the half way mark of the book, and it did all conclude rather quickly, given the build up prior.

Despite this, I would recommend Are You Sleeping to others, and will continue to keep an eye out for other works by debut author, Kathleen Barber.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

WHAT I READ | June & July

Today I'm sharing the books that I've read so far this summer... Typically I compile this post monthly, however I did only complete one book in the month of June so I thought I'd group it with my wrap up of July.

Early on in June I returned to the works of Kate Morton, having my second reading experience of her writing by delving into The Lake House. Kate Morton is a relatively new to me author, but one whose books I have fallen in love with. I have shared a review of The Lake House, which you can find here.

Although I started and finished The Lake House early in June, I didn't complete another book during the month due to unsteady reading. Thankfully, I fully fell back into reading with the arrival of July.

I read a total of five books in July, including two rereads and two review titles.

After what felt like a hard reading month prior, I started July with the first of my review books that also happened to be a five star read: The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. The story features time travel and a plot driven by family drama, two elements I enjoy in a book. You can find my full thoughts on this title here.

Next I picked up The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Much like her novel The Girl of Ink & Stars, this title is aimed at a middle grade audience with the story containing a strong female protagonist and fantasy elements. Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a children's author that I'll keep my eye on, with this particular book turning out to be a five star read.

Continuing on with books containing a fantastical element, I selected A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern to reread. The story follows Sandy Shortt, a woman who has a fixation on things that go missing, as she herself goes missing and ends up in 'Here' - a place that many missing things go. The journey to get home is a challenging one, and even life altering for Sandy, but also thought provoking as a reader. Many of you know that Ahern is one of my favourite authors, and this particular book holds many magical memories for me.

Switching up genre, I completed my next read in a 24 hour time span, being thoroughly gripped with Final Girls by Riley Sager. I know in the book community this book has been getting a bit of hype upon release, but well deserved in my eyes. I'm thankful to have had a review copy of this title, as I definitely think it's one of those books that is best read with minimal knowledge prior. If you did want to read more about Final Girls, then you can find my review here.

Concluding July, I spent a week savouring my reread of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Happy reading in August!
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