Tag: mystery

First Line Friday #56

Today’s First Line Friday is a recent release and one I received from Book of the Month.  I hope to read it soon!  I will share the first two lines this week as together they pull you in and have you wanting to continue! I love this cover as it shows the essence of what this book is about.

Her husband’s almost home.  He’ll catch her this time.

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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


Anatomy of a Scandal

Author: Sarah Vaughan
To Be Published: January 23, 2018
400 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 25-December 9, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

Jessica’s Review:

It seems like we are hearing daily now of sex scandals and the issue of consent in the entertainment and political arenas.  Anatomy of a Scandal deals with this issue as well in the political field in Britain. It is told through multiple points of view: James, Sophie, and Kate. Scandal also moves between past and present.  It is clearly shown who the narrator is and when, so it prevents reader confusion.

It is a character driven novel and we find out how the past affects who people become.  It was intriguing to read how one event can shape a whole person’s life.  It is a slow moving novel but I found myself interested in the court case.  You wonder throughout the novel if James is guilty or not. We do get the answer to this question.

I felt for Sophie throughout the novel as she tries to decide what she is going to do: Support her husband or not?   She wonders did he do this or not? I liked Kate a lot. She is a very tough barrister that I would like to see more of.  She did have to grow on me but she became my favorite character.

Though slow moving, the plot twists keep you going. I had difficultly reading it because it was almost too glacial for me, but then we would get a twist and it would keep me wanting to read it. I absolutely loved the end!  I wanted more when I was finished. The ending was very satisfying for me.

Anatomy of a Scandal is recommended. Special thanks to Atria Books and Emily Bestler Books for sending me a print arc copy!

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK