Book Review

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex MichaelidesThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 5th February 2019
Publisher: Orion
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him...

I read this book as a buddy read with Amy and Steffi, and we all ended up powering through it in record time (and completely ignoring any deadlines we’d set ourselves), so I think that says a lot about what The Silent Patient is like.

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Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson & Ellen HaganWatch Us Rise by Ellen Hagan, Renée Watson
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 21st February 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission. Sick of the way that young women are treated even at their 'progressive' New York City high school, they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. One problem - no one shows up. That hardly stops them. They start posting everything from videos of Chelsea performing her poetry to Jasmine's response to being reduced to a racist and sexist stereotype in the school's theatre department. And soon, they've gone viral, creating a platform they never could've predicted.

With such positive support, the Women's Rights Club is also targeted by trolls. But Jasmine and Chelsea won't let their voices - or those of the other young women in their city - be silenced. They'll risk everything to be heard and effect change ... but at what cost?
 

Watch Us Rise had a lot of promise as a feminist YA story, but unfortunately it fell pretty flat for me. I was unable to connect with any of the characters, mostly because they were either lacking substance or completely irritating.

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The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonaldThe Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 5th February 2019
Publisher: HQ Digital
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

I’ve not read Big Little Lies, so the comparisons didn’t really mean much to me. I have to say, though, that if Big Little Lies is similar to The Night Olivia Fell, then I don’t really understand the hype. Continue reading

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha NganGirls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th November 2018
Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.

But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.


In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after--the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. But Lei isn't content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable--she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

I wanted to love this one as much as everyone else does, I really did, but it ended up really disappointing me for various reasons. Trigger warnings for rape and assault. Representation wise, there’s a f/f romance and the main character is gay.

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The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max BrodskyThe Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 29th January 2019
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people.

But the gods have stopped listening and Omat's family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left.

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world...or save it.

I received The Wolf in the Whale from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

I heard about The Wolf in the Whale from Jes when she gushed about it on her Booktube channel, and I thought I should give it a go. It’s set in the wilderness of what will eventually become Canada. The main character is part of an isolated tribe that is dying out, and one day strangers arrive and mess stuff up.

The parts I most enjoyed about this book were the writing style and the setting. It was incredibly atmospheric, and the author drew me in with her prose. I loved the incorporation of three different mythologies – Norse, Inuit, and Christian. It all wove together seamlessly.

I’ve realised that I need to read more books about the pre-colonised Americas, because there is so much that I know little about. I’ve read quite enough Roman and Greek history books, I think.

I loved that the main character identifies as both a boy and a girl. That was a really nice inclusion, and it worked really well with the story. Their struggle to accept themselves was tough to read in the beginning, but it all came together really well in the end.

While I did really enjoy this story, I have to say that I didn’t enjoy the way that rape and assault were handled in this book. There was a lot of talk of rape, and I felt that at times the detail it went into was unnecessary. I’m not usually that put off by it, but I think the fact that it came up over and over again and I felt like I was being beaten around the head with it.

I also really didn’t enjoy the relationship in this book. The main character saw the love interest rapes multiple women in a sort of vision sequence, and yet they still fell for him?? After seeing all of that?? After being raped herself?? Nah. It didn’t fly with me.

Overall, The Wolf in the Whale is an intriguing and atmospheric read. I would go into it cautiously due to the things I mention above, but if you think you can handle it then it’s definitely worth picking up.