My review: The Chosen Seven, by Gill D. Anderson

About the book:

FARZAD ABED is an unhinged Iranian immigrant living in Australia. His sociopathic tendencies coupled with his political views make him a very dangerous man indeed. Farzad wants the world to sit up and take notice of him and randomly selects six bystanders to hold hostage at a city restaurant.

JACOB BROWN is a fitness fanatic who finds himself at the centre of a bizarre situation when he arrives at his favourite restaurant to pick up a takeaway for dinner.

JAGRITI GOSHAL is a young unassuming Indian waitress working at Alessandro’s Cucina.

REGINA TERRY is a fearless Afro-American woman in Australia on a business visa who unexpectedly finds herself embroiled in a crazy siege with a madman.

LEVI HAINES and BILL WALKER are colleagues having a business dinner at the restaurant. Bill is Levi’s sleazy boss with unethical intentions and Levi is dining with him against her will.

PAUL TOWNSEND is a local electrician who happens to drop off a quote at Alessandro’s Cucina at the same time Farzad descends on the restaurant to begin taking hostages.

Follow the roller coaster ride of emotions as these strangers find themselves embroiled in a terrifying siege orchestrated by a madman. The authorities scramble to put together a definitive plan of action to contain the situation quickly. But not everyone will come out alive …

My review:

I would like to thank Gill for the opportunity to read her second book and provide an honest review. I am always keen to support local authors.

Having interest in terroristic acts/hostage situations and how they are resolved, I was looking forward to reading this particular book.

It’s set in Adelaide, where I live, which makes it especially interesting. Adelaide is a state capital with a reasonable population and at the same time it is a small place where ‘everyone knows everyone’, and if you don’t know someone, you definitely know them through someone else. This phenomenon was demonstrated really well in the book and made me giggle a few times.

I was a little bit disappointed that book didn’t focus enough on a hostage drama, police and special force discussions and thoughts. I was hoping it would get a little bit more into psychological drama. Instead, it was mostly about prior histories of the hostages and their relatives that had nothing to do with the main storyline. I am not a big fan of ‘describing’ or ‘profiling’ characters instead of ‘telling the stories’ that give you an idea of who the character is as a person.

The characters were very different from each other but a little bit stereotyped. I didn’t feel any particular connection to any of them.

Probably the biggest message I got from reading the book is that this situation can happen anywhere, even in a smallishplace like Adelaide. The ending made me think about how events like this affect every involved person’s life and that it’s always good to pause and think if you are going the right way and if you are making the right decisions in life because anything can happen anytime…

My review: Media Queen, by Michelle Prak

About the book:

Jordyn Fairweather has worked hard to reach the top of the magazine world, but now she’s in trouble.

Younger media stars are scrambling to steal her crown, and companies are collapsing around her in the face of a new threat – the internet.

She’s come a long way from small town Beddo, where she obsessed over teen glossies until pushing her way into an internship with Sixteen magazine. But if Jordyn’s empire is going to survive, she needs to move fast and keep reinventing herself.

Spanning the late 90s and 2000s, Media Queen is a compulsive read with an outrageous main character. It comes with the essential ingredient that Jordyn demands of all her stories: juice!

Book No 2 in the #HollyAnna series – following Goodbye Newsroom – Media Queen can also be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

My review:

Forget Devil wears Prada. Meet Devil works in Media! – Media Queen

This fast-paced and twisty novel gives a fascinating insider’s look into the world of Australian media and how it progressed from print to online. The uniqueness of this book is that the main character isn’t perfect and traditional ‘good girl’ like it always happens to be in the novels and which is, to be honest, extremely annoying. It’s refreshing to see a protagonist like that. She has lots of negative traits but at the same time possesses admiring qualities like high motivation, desire to win, hawk eye for new trends, good business gut feeling. She is pure professional inspiration for many working in media or near it. Jordyn has a drive that stimulates competition and progress. People like her are very inspiring. She does lack some people’s skills but when she knows what she needs from them – she understands people really well.

I really enjoyed Michelle’s book, it was fast paced and had some twists that kept me glued to the pages. Fascinating flight of Jordyn’s career was quite inspirational and her hunger for fresh ideas was contagious. You can hate Jordyn, you can admire her, you can judge her, you can relate to her, you can despise her actions, you can do many other things but one is true 100% – she can’t make you feel indifference.

It is quite light reading, so if you are looking for something like that, it’s definitely recommended.

It’s not just a chick flick book, it’s like the Cosmo in a novel – there is everything – flirt, love, family, friendships, career, big city life, social media and more.

My review: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

About the book:

There is a voice of longing inside every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this?

Four years ago, Glennon Doyle, author, activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three—was speaking at a conference when a woman entered the room. Glennon looked at her and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. Soon she realized that they came to her from within.

Glennon was finally hearing her own voice—the voice that had been silenced by decades of cultural conditioning, numbing addictions, and institutional allegiances. She vowed to never again abandon herself. She decided to build a life of her own—one based on her individual desire, intuition, and imagination. She would reclaim her true, untamed self.

My review:

This book became some sort of revelation to me that some of the things I feel and think have their explanation and supported by Glennon and many others. As I am trying to learn how to be a good mother but most importantly to learn how to make my daughter happy in this world, I found some answers in the Untamed.

Coming from a very ‘traditional’, sexist society I now realise what always didn’t quite work for me all those years while I was growing up. ‘Taming’ girls and boys is so strong in our world culture and goes back in the past so far that now we face generations of unhappy people or people that are not quite sure what is wrong and what stops them from being themselves, from being human and not just culturally programmed citizens.

Some parts didn’t quite relate to me but it is alright as it is Glennon’s experience and life. I got many good ideas and thoughts out of this book that help me to sharpen my intention to stop contributing into our children’s unhappiness. My daughter is so untamed, bold, confident and knows what she wants. And she is not even two years old. I want her to keep these qualities as she is growing up.

Some parts of the book became quotes that I want to print out and frame as everyday reminders. Reminders to myself to stay myself, to listen to myself more and be confident in who I am.

I would recommend this book to everyone who keeps wondering and discovering things in life and how to approach and live your life.

My review: What lies between us, by John Marrs

About the book:

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way–even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

My review:

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Once again John delivered an absolutely chilling and full of suspense novel about crazy, crazy, crazy people and their relationship. I try not to give away any spoilers.

This book kept me attached to my Kindle during all train rides to work, made me think about its characters and made me stay up at night, just to finish the last chapters to find out the truth.

From the start of the book I felt sympathy towards one of the characters, felt so sorry for her and completely understood her behaviour and what was happening with her. But…(of course there should be but)….John demonstrated that not everything is as it seems. Nobody’s perfect and often people’s destructive actions directed by good intentions.

I liked absolutely everything about this book. The pace, the language, all the twists, characters that were realistic and natural. It was John Marrs at his best.

One of the best topics of the novel for me was parent – child relationship, and in particular, between mother and daughter. The questions like how to protect your little girl from all the dangers of the world, how to teach her what is right and what is wrong, how to make her listen and how to try not to strangle her with your motherly love, limiting her freedom. It was absolutely horrifying to read about things that were happening in the book, but at the same time made me think about the reality of raising a teenager which I will experience in 10-13 years.

I would recommend this novel to all readers of thrillers and suspense, twist lovers and John’s fans.