Grist Mill Road

Author: Christopher J. Yates
Published: January 9, 2018
339 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 1-15, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 1 star

Book Description from Amazon:

The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.

Here is a triple helix of a story structure, a sharp-edged love triangle complete with an Atonement style revelation. Character-driven, gorgeously written and wrenching, it exposes the poisonous resentments, sexual longings, and reservoirs of violence that roil just below the orderly surface of small town life.

Jessica’s Review:

Grist Mill Road was a book that was not a good fit for me.  The premise was strong and promised to be one I would not want to put down. In actuality, it was anything but that. I will try to review as best I can without giving away spoilers.

The opening shows the true horror of a crime that occurs that involves children.  Remember this fact. Our protagonists Patch, Hannah, and Matthew are a young ‘twelve’, thirteen, and an ‘older’ fourteen years old.  The crime is barbaric and it is described from the first line that you won’t forget.

There are two time periods in Grist Mill Road: 1982 and 2008.I found the 1982 time period more thought provoking than the 2008 time period. I also found myself losing interest in the middle of the novel. What kept me reading was wanting to find out the motive of this crime.  The crime is a very heinous one and ultimately not forgivable.  Yates tried to make us feel empathetic for the guilty party based on other things done to this person, but he was not successful.  I understood the pain the person felt, but I felt no empathy. The crime is too extreme and there was nothing redeeming in this novel for me.

There are many themes including secrets and trust which becomes very important in 2008. I felt like I did not get to know Hannah well in her narrations as the main focus seemed to be her partner.  I wanted to get to know more about Hannah.

The biggest difficulty for me with Grist Mill Road was the lack of quotation marks. They are not used in the entire book. This  made it difficult to distinguish who was talking. It became distracting for me.

I wanted to like this book, but sadly this was not the case. I would like to thank the publisher Picador for my copy I was granted. I wish I could give a positive review. I would be willing to give Yates another chance and read his first novel Black Chalk.

I would like to say that I love the cover of Grist Mill Road! It is perfect for this novel. It is so simplistic, yet accomplishes what it needs.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Sweet Madness

Authors: Trisha Leaver  and Lindsay Currie
Published: August 7, 2015
226 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

Sad young woman … or cold-blooded killer?

On a steaming August day in 1892, a sweet-faced, young woman in Fall River, Massachusetts stepped from a naive girlhood into a dark legend that has lasted for more than a hundred years. On that day, Andrew Borden, a prosperous businessman, was found hacked to death in his parlor. Upstairs, police find his wife, Abbey — just as dead. Andrew’s youngest daughter, Lizzie, was charged with the murders, sending shock-waves through the nation. A jury found her not guilty, for no one saw a thing and there wasn’t a single real clue. Still, as this captivating realistic novel suggests, someone may have known the truth.

Told through the eyes of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan, who may have been Lizzie’s only true friend, Sweet Madness tells of a cruel, penny-pinching father who had plenty of enemies, an ambitious second wife, a distant older sister and Lizzie, a trusting and kind soul who grew more unstable by the day. A carefully researched account from a bystander who was once a prime suspect, Sweet Madness will give you a look into the doomed house on Second Street and a deeper understanding of one of history’s saddest and most controversial crimes.

Kim’s Review:

I really liked this book and read it in almost one sitting. It kept me engaged and anticipating what the next page would say. Bridget was a realistic and likeable voice and I think she was the perfect narrator for the story. The authors captured the offness of the Borden house and of the Bordens themselves. I thought I knew the story of Lizzie Borden before I started reading, but the authors took the mystery surrounding the murders and molded it into a twisting and believable theory. The only critique I would give is that I wish the epilogue gave a little more info on Lizzie’s trial. I had to look up what the results of the trial were, even though the info was hinted at in the book. I just felt that I needed a little bit more. Other than that, the story was awesome. I didn’t want to put the book down. You felt every moment of tension, frustration, and fear right along with Bridget, Mr. and Mrs. Borden, and Lizzie. It amazed me the difference I could feel at specific times in the book. My stomach would literally lock up at the tension. This would be a great read for anyone looking for an easy mystery, especially those who enjoy cold cases. It’s on the shorter side so it doesn’t take long to get through. I absolutely recommend this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Sunday Series Review: The Hungry Plague

This week Kim reviews M.R.Carey’s The Hungry Plague series which is better known as The Girl with all the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge. I have yet to read Boy on the Bridge but LOVED The Girl with all the Gifts. I awarded it 5 stars; In fact it made my Top 10 list in 2016. My review for it is here. I personally hope M.R. Carey continues with this series!

Books in the Series:
The Girl with all the Gifts
The Boy on the Bridge

Reviewed By: Kim

Kim’s Review: 4 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Kim’s Review:

I will admit that this book really surprised me! I listened to it on audiobook and some of it in the dark on my bike while I worked out. Yeah, you definitely shouldn’t read this book in the dark! There are some super creepy parts that had me wishing that I could pedal faster to get away from the story! And I’m not a zombie person at all! I had no idea that’s what “hungries” were until I started describing them to my husband. I told him that they were zombie like creatures who fed on human flesh and had virtually no brain function at all. “Kim, that’s what zombies are!” Oh! Ok, then! This book is my introduction to zombies!!! Yay!!!

Considering the mindlessness of the hungries, this book was a thinker. There were many philosophical predicaments that I had a great time working through along with the characters. Melanie is a character that I had no problem liking. She’s smart and perky and optimistic. From the very beginning, I expected to hate Sergeant Parks . . . but I didn’t. Believe it or not, there was something about him that I really liked and he ended up as one of my very favorite characters! And Miss Justineau was someone I thought I understood but she surprised me several times throughout the story. Honestly, the hungries were the only reason I gave this book 4 stars . . . I really don’t like zombies, they’re scary!! I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good apocalyptic thriller. I bet even teens would enjoy this book.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

There is also a movie which Jessica really enjoyed!  Yes, there are differences in the film, but M.R. Carey wrote the screenplay and kept the ending faithful to the novel.  It is recommended as well.  You can buy it on Blu-Ray here:


Kim’s Review: 4 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy. The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world. To where the monsters lived.

Kim’s Review:

I loved reading The Girl with All the Gifts, so picking up this book was a no brainer. I was able to get it from Audible and I was thrilled to find out that the same narrator was reading for both books. One thing that The Boy on the Bridge missed from the very beginning was the emotional connection to the characters. Sure, I liked Dr. Khan and hated Dr. Fornier, just like I was supposed to. I trusted Col. Carlyle and distrusted Lt. McQueen, just like I was supposed to. But it was more like I was being told, through the opinions of the other characters, whether to like or dislike a character. Thankfully, this got better as the book went along. By the time I got to the end of the book, I did feel a connection to several of the characters.

I also didn’t like how Carey almost undid the struggles and the scope of The Girl with All the Gifts in this book. It is a prequel, which is a very important thing to know. I wish I could elaborate more without giving away the story, but I can’t. So y’all will just have to read it! The second half of the book was definitely better than the first. The first was far too technical for me. There was a lot of science mixed with drama, that you would think wouldn’t exist in the face of a zombie apocalypse, and it dragged very slowly. However, the second half redeemed the book! All the emotions and philosophy and ethics were crammed in and I loved it! And I was in TEARS at the end of the book! It had such a beautiful ending! It was the perfect resolution to the “hungry saga.”

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who read The Girl with All the Gifts; I would suggest reading that before starting this book. Saying that, I would recommend the series to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic fiction. I think older teens would really enjoy this series as well.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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