Book Review: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

This was a book that I picked up from the ‘Book Club’ section of my library. I’ve always liked the books I’ve picked up from there. The books normally have layers, and lots of elements to them, so if I am in a hurry, I just grab the first one that catches my eye. Thankfully, this one caught my eye.

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From the Blurb

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Cathy was once a carefree, the happy woman, who falls in love with Lee. The man who can’t do any wrong, the perfect boyfriend. Not just in her eyes, but also in her friends’ eyes. He is just the perfect man, loving, caring, and he even wants to get married. Her girlfriends, who long for a relationship like that, can’t understand why Cathy isn’t jumping with joy. Little do they know that for her, he is slowly turning into a very different, very scary person. Cathy’s life is not what she she signed up for, and she has no way of getting out. She is trapped. The way Lee’s character changes, was absolutely scary to read. It is so easily possible. You feel for Cathy, you feel her helplessness, her desperation. The way the story builds up, is very well done as well. We know a little, but not everything, but enough to keep us going, and wanting more.

Cathy, as the woman she is now, is again, beautifully portrayed. Her fears, her OCD, her constantly being on the edge, it just shows how a violent relationship can change a person, scar a person. The heights to which people can go, right from stalking to physically causing harm. Cathy is slowly getting help to overcome her fears, all thanks to her new neighbour Stuart and for the first time since her traumatic experience, she feels hope. Hope that she might lead a normal life, that she might not need to look over her shoulder all the time, when everything changes.

One of the saddest revelations was finding out what Lee did for a living. Although I have to say, I did have a slight inkling about that. But it just made things so much more disturbing.

This was a book that I couldn’t stop reading. Thankfully I was reading on a Saturday night, so I could read until late in the night, and believe me, it took a while before I went to sleep. I went downstairs to check my locks more than once. Every noise had me starting. The book had that much of an effect on me. I loved the way it ended. It was just brilliant, with right amount of everything. I wish I could say more but.. Well, just read it! You won’t regret it (if you like this sort of books, that is).

A book I would highly recommend. It could even be a cautionary tale. An immensely powerful book, powerful writing, strong, strong plot, beautifully thought out and very well-defined characters. But if you tend to get easily affected by books, I would say, be cautious, this might not be the book for you. It is a strong book, in the sense, that it could be unsettling. But for me, it was a 5/5 read. This is the first book that I have read of this author, but I’m sure this wouldn’t be my last.

About the Author

Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University.

She currently works as a police intelligence analyst and lives in Kent with her husband and son.

Friday Finds (30 Jan)

Friday Finds are hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading.

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FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS! 

Here are my Friday Finds
1. 

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2.

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Can’t wait to start reading them! Sometimes, I pick up books that interest me slightly less, to prolong the excitement of reading a book I am truly excited about. A little bit like leaving the food you like the most, till the very end. Anybody else do that or is it just me?

Teaser Tuesdays 3

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

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• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here’s my teaser

Indu did not like everything changing around her. It was like being on a merry-go-round from which you couldn’t get off. First, Achan had left her and Mani and gone off to jail; this was bad enough. Why did he have to do things that other children’s fathers did not do? And now Devi was acting strangely too – going to meetings in that mad Karthi teacher’s house and threatening to walk in processions, holding the Congress flag. What if she was also arrested by the police? Indu’s household was shrinking in front of her and she did not know how to stop it happening.

– From Shards of Sunlight by Anand Nair. Set in pre-Independence India, it is a coming of age tale of Indu. It follows Indu’s life as she negotiates the hard, traditional world of her extended family. Although Indu’s father is considered a local hero within her community, the harassment she faces from the police only makes her life harder. To make things worse, Indu and Mani soon find that they are vulnerable to predators from both within and without their family.

Musing Mondays 3

Musing Mondays are hosted by Miz B.

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Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m currently reading Shards of Sunlight by Anand Nair.
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Shards of Sunlight is a coming-of-age novel that follows Indu’s life as she negotiates the hard, traditional world of her extended family. Although Indu’s father is considered a local hero within her community, the harassment she faces from the police only makes her life harder. To make things worse, Indu and Mani soon find that they are vulnerable to predators from both within and without their family.

I’ve just started reading it, so I can’t tell you much about the book yet.

Do share your Monday Musings with me.

Book Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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Jodi Picoult has always been one of my favourite authors. I love the way she handles subjects. She has a wonderful style of keeping you in the dark until the very end. Even if you do get an inkling of where the story is going, she manages to pack such a punch, that I find her books irresistible.

Two mini e-books (When There’s Smoke and Larger than Life) were available on Amazon as a prologue to this book. I read When There’s Smoke a while back. I had Larger than life downloaded for ages before I started reading it in December. After reading that book, I couldn’t resist buying Leaving Time and reading it right away.

For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague.

Jenna Metcalf is single-minded in her focus. Having poured over her mother’s journals, she knew with conviction that she would have never abandoned her little girl without a backward glance. She needs to know what happened. She feels that her mother, Alice’s missing status was never investigated properly. Her grandmother, with whom she now lives, never even reported that her daughter was missing. The one person who could tell her, her father, is in a mental institution. He does not even recognize his own daughter. So for him to explain what happened to her mother was a tall order. Her grandmother refused to talk to her about her mother. Jenna finally decides to take matters into her own hands and lands up in Serenity’s living room. Serenity is a psychic, who has lost her gift. She was a celebrity psychic who specialized in missing people, until things went terribly wrong for her. Serenity and Jenna are joined by Virgil Stanhope, the investigator who was part of the original investigation after which Alice went missing.

Do they find Alice? Does Jenna get what she was after? You will have to read to find out.

Interwoven with the story are elephants and their ways of handling grief which was what Alice, Jenna’s mum, as an researcher was studying. I have to say, that was beautifully interwoven with the story. Picoult never fails to impress me with the sheer amount of research she does for her books. This one was no exception. The way she weaves two concepts so beautifully, is just amazing. This book has her typical style of multiple narratives, Jenna’s, Serenity’s, Virgil and excerpts from Alice’s journal. It makes for a fascinating read. Slowly story evolves, each narrative bringing together pieces of the mystery, sometimes making things even more confusing, and kept me turning pages, non-stop.

I know that a lot of you don’t enjoy Picoult’s writing. I, on the other hand, adore her style. I love what she picks up as subjects and the way she handles them. I’ve heard people say that her books are ‘formulaic’, but I find them anything but. Her books are un-put-downable for me. They make me question things, they bring out aspects I might have missed otherwise and even with characters I don’t like, she makes me see all sides of the story. That, for me, is testament to the author’s skill.

In this case, the story grips you, and the ending, while totally unexpected (for me) and unusual, was very, very good. Suddenly it all just falls together. While I really liked the ending, I have a feeling that a lot of people might not, especially with some of the concepts that Picoult has explored. But then, I like books like this, those that stretch boundaries, that pick up topics that are unusual, to say the least.

It is a 4.5/5 book for me. If you have read it, do tell me what you thought of it? I particularly want to know because this is a book based on such a different premise.

About the Author
Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

This book is available on Amazon(UK).

Teaser Tuesday 2

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here’s this week’s teaser –
‘Oh, I know. I’m sorry, I’ll try and speak up a bit. It’s always a terrible connection from here, even if I’m phoning someone locally. It’s because I am up in the main bedroom and the reception is very bad. My son thinks it may be because of all the big trees around us; we did cut them right back one year, but I can’t remember if it made any difference. Plus we get interference from the computers in the next building; we’ve been meaning to get it looked at, but that’s by the by. Right, yes. I said, I have murdered my husband.’
– page 2 of What Have I Done by Amanda Prowse.

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Musing Mondays – 2

Musing Mondays are hosted by Miz B.

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Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

Up next I think I’ll read.

Boko Haram by Mike Smith

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Or may be, it will be

Housewitch by Katie Schickel

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It all depends on how I feel after I finish the book I am on at the moment. So tell me, what do you have lined up to read?

Book Review: Pause to Rewind by Aimee Alexander

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Jenny Dempsey has exchanged life in the fast lane for freelance journalism and being a mum. She doesn’t look back. Why would she? A broken engagement to her fiancé Dave. A falling-out with her parents. And a night in a hotel room best forgotten. Life is simple now. Jenny’s little boy, Charlie, is starting school, beginning to build a life independent from her. She needs to get her own back.

Life, though, has other plans. When Charlie is diagnosed with leukaemia, Jenny is forced to confront her past and all that she has turned from. But she will do anything for Charlie.

The blurb had me hooked. I came across this book when I was trying out Kindle Unlimited. It was quite annoying that most of the books available on Kindle Unlimited were just not appealing to me. This one, however, sounded interesting, that of course, meant nothing. Many a time an interesting sounding book has ended up being boring, or just not strong enough to keep my interest. So I approached this book with trepidation.

I needn’t have worried. This was a book that I enjoyed immensely. Narrated jn first person by Jenny, she takes us through the emotional roller coaster that she is on. The life that she had carefully made for herself and her little boy had just been upturned, and she is now being forced to face up to the past that she had been running away from, the past that looked like it would come back to haunt her. As a mother, whose first priority is her son, Jenny is left with very little choice. A story that had me reading with tears running down my cheeks. The end was predictable but I still found it interesting.

A book I would wholeheartedly recommend. It’s a book I would go for, armed with a box of tissues. A 4.5/5 read for me.

About The Author
Aimee Alexander is the pen name of bestselling Irish author, Denise Deegan. Denise writes contemporary teenage fiction under her own name. As Aimee Alexander, she writes contemporary adult fiction that focuses, largely, on family and relationships.

This book is available on Amazon(UK).

Teaser Tuesday 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here’s my teaser,

It didn’t take long before I had Wildlife Guy’s number programmed into my speed dial. Not only did I have snakes and groundhogs to deal with, I lived in the county with the highest number of rabies cases in the state. – p 139 of When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search of What Really Matters -And how She Found it Caring For Mama Jo by Jo Maeder

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Musing Mondays – 1

Musing Mondays are hosted by Miz B.

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Musing Mondays asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
• What are you currently reading? What do you think you’ll read next? What did you recently finish reading?

I’m just going to talk about reading. It is funny how much my reading pattern has changed in just over a couple of years. There was a time when I refused to touch an e-reader. Husband was the first in our family to cross over to the dark side. But then for him, gadgets win over books anytime. He bought the Kindle as a gadget. He kept trying to entice me to try it. For the longest of time, I refused to even consider it. Blasphemy! How could he even think that a cold device could replace a lovely, warm, inviting book. Even better if it is a well-thumbed copy, like an old book of my grandfather’s that I still have. The smell, the feel, everything.. of a book, how could an e-reader ever replace books. It was unthinkable.

Did you notice the past tense? Well, that’s because all that has since changed. I still love reading a proper book, but somewhere along the line, I slowly started picking up e-books. I think it started first when I took husband’s kindle on a holiday. It felt like a sort of freedom. I didn’t have to carry loads of books! What a brilliant idea! And I could read it everywhere, I loved the e-ink, it almost felt like paper, and I could read it everywhere. I read it on a hot, sunny beach, and that was where, I think I finally fell for the Kindle. Then on, I stopped being completely anti-Kindle. It started to make more sense. It still wasn’t half as interesting as a proper book, but it had other advantages.

Slowly, over the last two years, I have started reading more and more on the Kindle. It is so very convenient. I can carry it everywhere, I can get review copies so much easier on it. Books are cheaper on the Kindle (I know, I am cheap!), and given our nomadic lifestyle, sometimes, transporting boxes of books are the biggest expense.

From a one Kindle family, we are now a three Kindle family. Daughter has just started reading on the Kindle too. And I have got a new one for Christmas!

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Isn’t she gorgeous!!