A Place to Read

The New Girlfriend, Sheryl Browne

I saw this book on sale and decided to grab a copy on Audible. The New Girlfriend by Sheryl Browne is a great thriller and real page turner.

Cover for The New Girlfriend Audio book from Sheryl Brown. Image shows a yellow background with text and two petals, one whole and the other torn in half.
By: Sheryl Browne
Narrated by: Katie Villa
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 03-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture

The Blurb

Your secrets. Her lies. 

Cassie stares at the woman on her doorstep in disbelief. Just months after losing her only son, Josh, here stands a stranger claiming to be Josh’s girlfriend. But it’s not only the woman Cassie is shocked by, it’s the baby nestled in Kim’s arms. Cassie’s grandchild. 

I know what you did. 

As Cassie tries to do what’s best for baby Samuel, she starts to receive threatening messages from someone from her past – someone Cassie has been hiding from for a long time. Cassie is frightened that her biggest secret is about to be revealed and she will lose everything, including her precious grandson. 

You took everything from me. Now you need to pay. 

As the messages get more sinister, Cassie realizes the person behind them knows every detail about her life and she fears that she is being watched. Could Kim be the link between Cassie and the mysterious messenger? And is she in danger now that she has welcomed this woman and her baby into her home? 

My Review of The New Girlfriend

The story starts with a death, which is quite normal for a thriller. But, then it become quite slow and gentle and for a while you forget it’s a thriller. The story plods along and you get to know the characters and start building your suspicions.

Some might say it’s a slow start, but I actually enjoyed the story telling and getting to know the backgrounds of the characters. There were some clues dotted along, some easy to figure out, some not so.

Towards the end the story takes a sinister turn…at last..but again, it’s not as dark as you would normally expect. We get a good amount of tension as it builds up. There’s a a little bit of horror and touch of surprise. None of it is overwhelming, but still you want to keep reading (or listening) and find out what is going to happen next.

I really enjoyed the ending but I can’t give you any spoilers.

As an audio book I loved the narrator Katie Villa. Being from the Midlands myself I could relate to her accents and she did them well, bringing each character to life. I’ve known people who speak just like Cassie and Kimberly, completely different, despite living in the same town.

I really enjoyed this book, and it’s one more to add to my 20 books for Christmas Challenge.

The links in my post are affiliate which means if you click through and buy I may earn some money at no extra cost to you, so thank you in advance. I did buy this book myself and I’ve not been asked for a review, I always vow to be honest in my opinions.

The book is also available on Amazon in paperback for £8.99 and Kindle for just £1.99.

Have you read any of Sheryl Browne’s books?

20 books for Christmas reading challenge badge from Tea and Cake for the Soul. featuring text on a white background with Christmas present and green leaves and red berries.
A Place to Read

The Book of Two Ways, Jodie Picoult a review

This month I used my Audible credit on The Book of Two Ways by Jodie Picoult. I am an affiliate of Audible so my post will contain links that could earn me a little money if you click through and use them, but will not cost you any more. Thank you for your support.

The book of Two Ways book cover for Audible.
By: Jodi Picoult
Narrated by: Patti Murin
Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 20-10-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Dawn thinks she knows everything there is to know about dying. As a death doula, she helps her clients fix what is left undone so they can peacefully make the final transition. But when her plane plummets from the sky and she thinks she is experiencing the last moments of her life, she is shocked to find that she isn’t thinking of her husband or teenage daughter – but of a road she strayed from 15 years earlier, when she turned her

back on her PhD studies.  Against all odds, Dawn survives, and the airline gives her a free ticket to wherever she needs to get to. In alternating chapters, we see possible choices: land – returning to her husband, a quantum physicist who studies the possibilities of parallel universes, she is faced with a test to her marriage and a daughter who is struggling with self-image issues. And water: returning to her studies and the archaeological site she worked on 15 years earlier, where the man she abandoned is about to make the discovery of a lifetime.  

But time may not be as straightforward as we think. As Dawn explores her possible futures, she is finding out what a well-lived life means, what we leave behind of ourselves when we leave the earth, and who she might have been…. 

My Review of The Book of Two Ways

This was an impulse buy, I was totally taken in by the blurb. How intriguing to follow two different paths to see what would have happened. A Little bit like the movie ‘Sliding Doors‘ I thought. I was wrong. Jodie Picoult is a lot more detailed than romantic comedy.

I’ll admit, although the beginning of the book was a great grab, I did find some parts a little more difficult to digest. I had gone in with totally the wrong expectations, thinking it was a light hearted read. But some of the details were a little too intense for that. Jodie Picoult certainly did a lot of research, quantum physics, hieroglyphics and Egyptology are just a few things she delves into. I did actually find it all fascinating and it certainly made me think. Definitely not so much a light hearted read which I was expecting.

The main character was likeable enough, as were the other main characters, and their personalities were examined in about the right detail. It always helps when you can connect to the characters of a book. They all had their own ways and reasons for being there in the book.

The story line was confusing but how can you not write something that goes in two completely different ways without a little confusion. If I’d a hard copy of the book I may have spent time flicking back just to make sure I’d got the thread of the story correct. (I must admit, the plane crash caused a little confusion.)

I liked how Jodie Picoult studied completely different personalities and threaded them together. I liked how she investigated how our dreams might differ so much from our real life and how pursuing our dreams can cause such conflict in our lives.

I liked how she set up the characters for the way the story developed. From her daughter who felt something was wrong with her from the beginning, to her husband not being the most stable rock she believed him to be, to the ‘other man’ who she had always loved being a bit of a surprise. Then there was her client that she was preparing for death. Combining the thought process of someone dying with those of who have so much living to do made for a very satisfying read.

There were a few twists and turns, but this was not a mystery book. There was just the right amount of romance and heartbreak but this is not a romance. The book was incredibly detailed though and it did get a little ‘boring’ at times. Some details could have been omitted.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. There were times I wanted to give up but I’m glad I persevered because it gave me plenty of food for thought at the end.

I listened to the book on Audible and the narrator made me cringe with her English accent. But if you consider that the English character was actually a Marquis then it is possible he would speak like this.

If I had a copy of the book I think there are lots of parts I would re-read a few times because they are well worth absorbing.

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon here which is my affiliate link.

I’m joining in with Jo’s 20 Books for Christmas Challenge over on Tea and Cake for the Soul.

20 books for Christmas Reading Challenge

The books I’ve read so far. (I’ve some catching up to do)

A Place to Read, Reading

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty, a review

I was browsing Audible, waiting for my next credit, when I saw this book available for just £1.99 as a daily offer. I bought it on a whim, it sounded intriguing, and listening to the clip I was happy it was something I could get in to. Platform Seven is the first book I’ve read by Louise Doughty although I know she’s more famous for her novel, Apple Tree Yard, which was made into a television series.

front cover of Platform seven by Louise Doughty, a dark background with a metal bench under a lighted cover.
By: Louise Doughty
Narrated by: Olivia Dowd
Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 22-08-19
Language: English
Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Platform Seven at 4am: Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone.

As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get. What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge. 

Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in 18 months – surely they’re connected?

No one is more desperate to understand what connects them than Lisa Evans herself. After all, she was the first of the two to die. 

My Thoughts on Platform Seven

I’m a bit divided by this book. Louise Doughty is no doubt an excellent writer. She has amazing attention to detail and you are taken in by all of her characters. But maybe that’s the problem. Do we really need to know so much about ALL of the characters? It makes for a very long read (listen) but it all comes together in the end with poignant messages.

The book is also divided into several parts. We start with Lisa as a dead person, then she’s alive and we get her back story leading up to her death. It’s a harrowing tale and a subject that Louise Doughty handles very sensitively and with style. It’s a different look at domestic violence, and it certainly gives you food for thought.

Lisa finds out too late that she is indeed a victim, but Louise goes into detail of all the little things that make up the abuse which people do not normally think about.

When we get back to Lisa’s afterlife she is trying to find out what happened to her, but she is also trying to find out what has happened to everyone else, which is what makes the book a little more tedious. The main part of the story could have cut the book in half and still been a good story. Maybe the other little stories where not needed, but Louise Doughty was determined to get her messages across. In the end we are all responsible for our fate, but we should also look out for each other.

Some may find Louise Doughty’s attention to detail also a little tedious. There is also a fair bit of repetition. Is it to make sure you don’t forget the little things, is she trying to incorporate a more deeper meaning to her story?

So just like the book is divided into it’s many parts, I’m also divided on my opinion of it. Yes, I enjoyed it, the story, its sadness and even the messages. But would I have enjoyed it just as much if she’d just stuck to the main story and made it into a gripping thriller without the frills? I just can’t decide which I would have liked better. However, I believe it has the potential to become as big as Apple Tree Yard.

Today’s prompt for Blogtober is ‘Never Ever.’ I really hope that none of my readers never ever have to endure the stories written about in this book. Sadly, that’s not the case for me, which may be another reason I found this a difficult read.

20 books for christmas reading challenge
book worms monthly badge, a pile of books.

This post contains affiliate links which may earn me some money if you click through and buy something but will not cost you anything extra. Thank you for your support

A Place to Read

20 Books for Christmas Reading Challenge

This year I’ve decided to join Jo over on Tea and Cake for the Soul in her 20 Books for Christmas Challenge.

20 books for Christmas Reading Challenge

My Reading List

I doubt very much I’ll make it to 20 books, I generally get through 3 or 4 a month depending on how big they are. So I’ve picked some long ones I want to get through, along with some nice quick easy reads.

First up is a book I’m already reading. I’ve not read it before despite it being a classic, so I was interested to see what it was like. ]

1984 by George Orwell.

Then I’m going to dig into another Dystopian Future book

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxely

I think by this time I’ll be feeling totally depressed so I’m going to uplift my spirits and belief in human nature with my next book on the list.

Humankind, a Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Black History Month

I’m also trying to incorporate some Black History books into my reading and October is Black History month so no better time. I’m already working my way through Maya Angelou’s biography and I’ve read the first book I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and I will work my way through the others too complete them all.

I did want to touch on some British Black History too though so I’ve added to my list;

Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race, Renni Eddo Lodge

Black and British by David Olusoga

The Rest of my TBR Pile

There are a couple of books on my shelf which I’ve been eager to read but desperately distracted so I’m putting them on my list to be read by Christmas.

The Book of Dust and The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

I’m thinking that by this time I’ll be heading into Late November so it will be time to bring out the Christmas books.

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Christmas at the Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

A Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Both The Hogfather and A Christmas Mystery were once Christmas traditions for me but I’ve not read either for years (Although I’ve watched the Hogfather on TV.)

That’s 10 books. I may be able to add a few more as I go along, but these are my challenge for now.

Are you going to be joining in with the 20 Books for Christmas challenge?

You can read some of my previous book reviews here: A Place To Read