My review: The Passengers, by John Marrs

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About the book:

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

My review:

Another hit from one of my favourite authors. John Marrs never disappoints. I literally couldn’t put this book down. It just took me hostage and held me tight to the end. The number of twists and turns was purely mind-blowing. John Marrs takes us on an entertaining, chilling, fast-track and driver-less ride where technology betrays humans.

The plot and idea are super fresh and relevant. Driverless cars are not a new concept but the potential consequences of this were never explored in such way. After I finished the book, I came across driverless bus that was going through trial in one of the areas of the city. To be honest, I felt unease and it reminded me John’s book. I am sure it will take years or possibly decades for this to happen on a road and in suburbia, but the potential risks should be taken into account.

This book isn’t just about risks of new technologies; it’s about opportunities and potential actions that need to be considered to avoid any malice.

The characters are so different which makes the book a very exciting read. You start asking yourself a question from the book, “Who lives, who dies?”.

Without any spoilers, this book is fantastic and can’t recommend it enough. Loved it!

My review: The Train Guy, by Michelle Prak

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About the book:

How do you introduce yourself to a stranger?

Charli is obsessed with The Train Guy.

She sees him every weekday waiting for the 8.05am from Roselea Station. She’s convinced he’s the man for her, but Charli is too terrified to say hello.

Her world is upside down since Eddie left her in humiliating circumstances. Now Charli is advertising for tenants to share her inner-city cottage, and her friends are pushing her to apply for a promotion at the cute hotel where she works. And don’t even mention what happened with the Prime Minister.

Everything would be perfect if she could just meet The Train Guy. He’s chivalrous. He’s handsome. He’s perfect. Isn’t he?

Charli has read enough spy stories to know that she could find out more about The Train Guy – by following him.

Part rom-com, part chase, The Train Guy is a page-turning joy to read.

My review:

Michelle’s second book is a real page-turner. Usually page-turners belong to thriller or suspense genre. For a rom-com it is rare which makes this book really special. I must say I quite enjoyed the plot and the main characters. I was also surprised to see a mention of the project I work for J (if I got it right). In general, this book is a light but inspiring read.

Charli is quite likable girl that anyone can relate to. I was excited to follow her thoughts, dreams and her story. Her sweet and fun character makes her an ideal bestie everyone is dreaming to have.

Several times I laughed out loud as the book reminded me myself and my fellow commuters on the train. Okay, I also have The Train Guy! I haven’t seen him since the end of the year, he must’ve broken his leg… I hope he is okay. Probably, I won’t follow Charli’s steps to try to engage with him, though.

It was fascinating to follow Charli’s story – from a single, sad, shy girl to a confident manager who knows what she wants in her professional and personal life and who wants to enjoy life to the fullest. I liked how Michelle perfectly described the development of Charli’s character. So many of us (female readers) see ourselves in Charli.

This book is perfect for a light holiday read, but also for the train ride to work.

 

My review: Small great things, by Jodi Picoult

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About the book:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My review:

Oh my! Jodi Picoult did it again! I must say that at some point I just stopped reading Jodi’s books as they started to blur a bit in my head. But then I decided to give this book a go as I’ve heard it is something very special.

And it was for me! This is a powerful book, very bold in expressing the words out loud instead of thinking them. It is probably the best book about everyday racism written by a white author. I am Caucasian, too, but this book did it for me too. Passive racism has so much in common with discrimination of any sort. It is very relatable to many people who feel out of place, who feel it is harder for them to achieve things just because who they are.

Jodi is never afraid to raise difficult topics, but this book is completely different level. I was under so much impression – I couldn’t stop thinking about it, couldn’t get to write a review, couldn’t start another book.

There were a few moment that couldn’t work for me, for example, trying to understand and accept a point of views of a white supremacist. It was really hard for me to relate to his and his wife’s feelings. At the same time it made me think about people with these views. What brought them to think this way and why.

This book makes you think, compare things and have more insights into people’s lives. The research done by the author is incredible which has a great reflection in the book.

I just leave this quote here that really resonated with me throughout the book and after:

“What if the puzzle of the world was a shape you didn’t fit into? And the only way to survive was to mutilate yourself, carve away your corners, sand yourself down, modify yourself to fit? How come we haven’t been able to change the puzzle instead?”

My score is 5* out of 5*.

My review: The Surrogate, by Louise Jensen

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About the book:

‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

My review:

This was the first book by Louise Jensen that I read and I absolutely enjoyed it! I loved everything about it – the twisty plot, amazing representation of emotions of a woman who so desperately wants to be a mother, the ending – everything.

The interesting thing about this book is that you don’t necessarily like or relate to the main characters but you just would love to know what will happen with them. Can’t put the book down even for a night or work, it’s totally captivating.

I really enjoyed the suspense and connection to the past tragedy that was unwrapping slowly.

The author’s writing style is beautiful, very smooth and compelling. There is nothing to change.

I’d recommend this book to all fans of psychological thrillers.

My score is 5* out of 5*.

My review: The old you, by Louise Voss

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About the book:

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface… and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

My review:

I have finished this book a while ago, but only now got time to write about it.

Everything about this book is excellent! Beautiful language, captivating thrilling plot, interesting characters, plenty of twists and turns.

I absolutely loved it! For a while I haven’t read a plot that even slightly doesn’t remind me anything I’ve read and seen before.

Lynn’s character is likeable, even despite lack of self-respect and little naivety but it makes it even more real. I absolutely enjoyed all the twists in the book and couldn’t put it down until I finished.

It’s one of those books that kept me reading at nights, because I coudn’t stop.

It is the first solo book by Louise Voss which I have read and she has jumped onto my list of must-read authors straight away. I quite enjoyed their collaboration with another favourite Mark Edwards, so I was keen to give Louise’s books my full attention. I am so glad I started with ‘The old you’!

Without giving away anything, this book is a massive page-turner and great a psychological thriller that you will truly enjoy.

My score is 5* out of 5*.