[709]: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

A scopophobia inducing thriller that will take you on a journey full of twists and turns by way of the London underground.


I See You
by Clare Mackintosh

 I don’t have much experience in public transportation. I know for a fact that bussing in my city is an adventure in itself. I’ve heard some horror stories.  After reading this book, I’m kinda glad that I don’t have any to share. I’ve only used a train system twice: whenever we’re in San Diego and when I went to New York. I wasn’t courageous enough to take them at night, though.

The New York subway system is a whole other beast altogether. There, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, it always feels like either the walls are going to cave in on you, or a rat is going to drag you to its nest. But that’s nothing compared to the menace hiding in the dark corners of the London underground, apparently. The feeling that you’re being watched is worst than you could ever imagine. This book, in comparison, will make you forget the normalcy of taking the public transport. It will have you looking over your shoulder, unsettled and a little anxious. But you’ll never know who’s hunting you until it’s all too late.

I See You started ordinarily enough. Zoe Walker was looking forward to spending a quiet night after a hard day’s work. Somewhere in her house was a bottle of wine with her name on it. So when her train stalled during her commute, she hardly paid any attention. She picked up a paper in an attempt to pass the time while they sort out what was happening on the tracks. As she was browsing through, an advert of a woman looking for romance caught her attention. Upon closer inspection, she realizes that she’s staring at her own face. Coincidence, right? Her family thought so, too. But things went from odd fortuity to scary reality in an instant when the women on the ads started dying.

Clare Mackintosh builds a layered story in a slow crescendo which makes the race to the end even that much more exciting. The readers stumble through the mystery blindly – effectively. She made a case for each red herrings, giving the readers the confidence with the suspects they had in mind. May it be Zoe’s boyfriend/partner, her ex-husband who was very much still in love with her, and the boss whom may or may not still be carrying a torch for her.

This smart thriller erases any doubts (if there were ever any) of the one-hit-wonder assumptions left on the trail of her debut novel, I Let You Go. It is easy to see that she’s found her niche so easily in the age of Gone Girl/The Girl on the Train wannabes. I haven’t read I Let You Go, but if I See You is any indication of the kind novels we can expect from this author, I say she’ll be a household name in this genre in no time.

Top Ten Tuesday [18]: Flash Reads

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is about the books that I’ve read in a flash. These are books that are incredibly short but not necessarily serials.

We Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

52 pages. Read in March 2015

 Feminism explained in a clear, concise manner. If you’ve ever struggled to explain what it is,  Adichie’s TEDx speech is a must-read. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own definition. But this tiny little book is the bible I adhere to.

 

 

Morphine
by Mikhail Bulgakov

64 pages. Read in December 2013

It literally took me half an hour to read this book. It’s about a doctor’s tragic love affair with depression and morphine. This is Bulgakov in his rawest, I thought. I remember reading it at a time when I was desperately clawing my way out of the deepest pits of a reading slump. It did the trick!

 

 

Ronit & Jamil
by Pamela L. Laskin

Audio, 1 hr and 29 min. Read in March 2017

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book so when it came out, I got it right away. I’m not gonna lie, I thought there was a mistake when I saw the length. I didn’t realize this book was written in verse, which is no big, except it felt incomplete and it didn’t really live up to my expectations.

 

 

You Will Not Have My Hate
by Antoine Leiris

99 pages. Read in February 2017

I don’t think anyone would soon forget the horrors of the terrorist attacks in Bataclan, Paris. When men opened fire at a concert, killing 90 people in the theater alone. One of them was Antoine’s wife. She left a husband and their son barely two years old. Three days later, he wrote this letter to her murderers. This book is sad and hopeful in equal measure.

 

 

This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
by David Foster Wallace

138 pages. Read in March 2017

There’s never been a book more powerful than this one. David Foster Wallace’s one and only commencement speech is an eye-opener about life, compassion and how we’re programmed to think.

 

 

The Housekeeper and the Professor
by Yōko Ogawa

180 pages, Read in March 2014

If you’ve ever found Mathematics romantic, this book is written with you in mind. Admittedly, I picked up this book because of the underlying allusion to a romance in the title. Boy, was I disappointed! Still, this book was amazing. It made me appreciate Math in a whole another spectrum.

 

 

Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump
by Aaron James

144 pages. Read in June 2016

Fuck this guy. Seriously. Fuck him. <– Real thoughts about this book and its subject. I think I’ve already made my position known about President Shit for Brains. Anyway, Aaron James philosophies on how America got here.

 

 

The Strange Library
by Haruki Murakami

96 pages. Read in 2015

Wildly imaginative. Totally crazy and absolutely out of my range as far as fiction goes. Sadly, this was my baptism of fire in the world of Murakami. And we didn’t get on well. He pulls his readers in fantastic realms that only his brilliant mind could conceive. Unfortunately, I missed the bus on this one. Still, a nice intro, if I may so myself.

 

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

178 pages. Read in 2013

Speaking of brilliantly weird books, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is another one that went over my head. A book so odd that to this day, I couldn’t describe exactly what it was about. One thing I’ve deduced from reviews of his work is that they have the overwhelming characteristics of a fairy tale anointed by the Grimm Brothers themselves.

 

 

Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nahesi Coates

154 pages. Read in 2016

I read this in December when it seems like I was angry every fucking day. Oddly enough, I felt a sense of unburdening after finishing this book for the second time literally hours after I read it the first time. I took stock of where I am and how it bad it could still be. And I hate that my perspective in life was suddenly a little better at the expense of another’s.

On the Night Table [46]: What I’m Reading


This week’s reading pile.

I stopped doing these posts regularly because sometimes, I have a tough time keeping to the schedule. But since I’ve already started these books, I’m somewhat confident that I’ll be able to finish at least two from this pile.

Lucky Boy by Shanti Sekaran is about two women’s journey that converges on an unexpected path. Nothing about this book is easy, especially if you’re a mother. It’s about their heartbreaks and how they find the endogenous will to live after the experience. It’s also very timely because one of the characters is an undocumented immigrant who lived to tell the tale of her harrowing journey. I’ve had a few starts and stops already, to tell you the truth.

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin is a Middle-Grade novel about an orphan who saves a little puppy that will change his life.  It has the uncanny ability to make you feel complacent only to pull the rug under you when you least expect it. I’m loving this book but I might be heading to Heartbreak City.

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie is the final book in the Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy. Admittedly, I’ve not read the first two books. I was told it wouldn’t matter and that I’d be able to follow along. I haven’t started it, to be honest. So we’ll see how it goes.

The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wagelus is another Middle Grade about a sentient gorilla who will investigate a murder for which her chief is accused. It’s interesting so far but I’m out of my element. I’m not giving up just yet.

R  E  A  D    T  H  I  S    W  E  E  K

  

Blood Vow was good. But still much of the same fare. At The Edge of the Universe was weird. First Frost was awesome and I can’t wait to read the first book, Garden Spells. Scythe was also fantastic – I can’t believe I waited so long to read it!

L  I  F  E    L  A  T  E  L  Y

  • I haven’t seen Beauty & the Beast.
  • I recently saw Lauren Kate’s Fallen movie. It was surprisingly decent.
  • I re-read Written in Red.
  • I re-arranged my TBR bookshelves in my bedroom. Here’s what it looks like:

That was my week. How was yours?

[708]: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon

The Bastard Billionaire
by Jessica Lemmon


I’ll be the first one to tell you that I can never say no to the billionaire trope. And I’m not even sorry. I’ve seen this series around but I never paid much attention to it until I heard it call my name when I was browsing on NG a couple of weeks ago.

So glad I requested it.

The Bastard Billionaire is book 3 of Jessica Lemmon’s Billionaire Bad Boys series. I haven’t read the first two but rest assured it’s on my agenda this month.

In this book, we’ll meet Eli Crane, a former Marine who retired from service after losing a leg from an assignment that also took the lives of a couple of his close friends. The loss of his appendage and the grief of losing his friends lent to the closed-off, surly, and lonely disposition this bad boy presents to his family and to the world in general. He refuses any help from anyone let alone from a personal assistant. That’s why he goes through them like he goes through his underwear. Well, Isabella Sawyer has had enough. She’s run out of PAs to send. Come hell or high water, she’ll make him accept his responsibilities in the family business. And she won’t be discouraged no matter how badly he treats her. It looks like Eli Crane finally meets his match!

 Easy-peasy read and exactly how I enjoy my romance. Little to zero drama but heady with humor, of camaraderie, and a meddling family. You have a stubborn heroine and an equally stubborn hero that butt-heads every chance they get. A chemistry that’s off the charts and a banter oozing with sexual tension – the perfect recipe, if I may so myself.

Eli can be cantankerous but he’s never mean (which I like). I enjoyed seeing Isabella forcing him out of his gloomy shell of guilt. He carries a couple of them since he blames himself for the death of his friends. He’s also very resistant to the idea of accepting his position in the family business so Isabella had her work cut out for her. Good thing she’s the perfect person for the job.

Eli Crane needed someone like Isabella: beautiful, smart, stubborn, and ambitious. She didn’t coddle him outside of her responsibilities as a PA. She’s had enough of men trying to run her life so she knew how to handle someone like Crane. She’s a force of nature who didn’t wilt under pressure. They’re a match made in heaven. Overall, I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series. And I’m so thankful to have been introduced to Jessica Lemmon’s books.

[707]: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Mildly enjoyable; helplessly forgettable.


Seven Days of You
by Cecilia Vinesse

Sophia is no stranger to uprooting her life and moving to another country. Her family has done it at least twice in her short lifetime. She’s an American in Japan who’s spent summers in France with her father and his new family.

This move, however, will be different. This time, New Jersey will be their home base for good.

She didn’t anticipate a week of sharing the same continent with Jamie Foster-Collins, however. If she has any choice, leaving Japan without seeing Jamie’s shadow will be a welcomed blessing. But Jamie seemed determined to fix whatever went wrong two years ago. Once upon a time, he was a part of their small crew along with David, the flirty Australian ambassador’s son, and Mika, her best friend. They were friends who lost touch after his move to North Carolina. Conflating the issue was a painful episode that rendered their friendship close to obsolete. So hearing about his return a week before she leaves did not sit well with Sophia. And if she’s being honest, the hurt that cuts deep goes way beyond some angry words accidentally sent by a text message, and deeper still than the words she threw on his face.

She’s got a week to say her goodbyes to the life she’s known, the people in her life, and the country that she’s only ever known as home.

Sophia’s emotions over everything was all over the place. Notably, her feelings towards the two boys who occupied her mind for most of her post-pubescent life. Worry not, you love triangle allergy sufferers. She’ll only waffle for a second or two. After that, you’re golden. I do feel for the girl, though. The adjustment that looms ahead for her as she will try to acclimate to another life will be tough. And the truth bombs that come her way in a span of 7 days can’t be her idea of a good time. So yeah, she was in a tailspin. I suppose I don’t blame her for having her moment of insanity. She’ll grow up a lot. She’ll realize the truth about her hero-worship for the father that decided he needed a new family. She’ll try to repair the crevasse that was slowly widening between her and her sister. And most importantly, she’ll face the reality that Jamie meant more to her than just a boy in her past she’d rather soon forget.

Regardless, this was a cute, fast read. Nothing earth-shattering or life-changing. It was just a story about a girl leaving her life to start over again in her home country. There will be reminiscing; there will be crying. There will be drama and plenty of karaoke. There will be parent-less kids who will rule the night and kids who will drink way too much. In a span of 7 days, Sophia sheds all the half-truths about her family, accept some real truths about Jamie, and tries to look forward to a life in another continent even if she knows how difficult it will be.

 

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 200


Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner | Love And First Sight by Josh Sundquist | The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop


Hey, all!

How have you all been? Thank you for visiting the blog last week. Truly appreciative of your visits and comments. 🙂 I went to the bookstore on Saturday with my husband for the purpose of picking up these four books. Even though I’ve been good, I knew ahead of time that I was going to break my buying ban for these. I’ve read and loved Etched in Bone (because I couldn’t resist downloading the audiobook). I’m so sad it’s over. Though, I feel like it would’ve been better if The Others defeated the HFL movement in this finale instead of in the fourth book. It would’ve been a better series-ender, in my opinion. Regardless, this series is still one of the best things I’ve followed over the years. So sad to see it end. *sobs*

I can’t wait to read the rest as they’ve all been on my wishlist this year. I’m especially pumped for The Inexplicable Logic of My Life.

FEED MY READER

 

Ronit & Jamil was an Audible purchase. It was very short (1.29 hours) and the story felt incomplete. Disappointing. I requested Hello, Sunshine from Net Galley. Captive was free on Amazon.

READ THIS WEEK

  

  

The Girl Before was a fantastic mystery/thriller. Ronit & Jamil was too short. Close Enough to Touch was so good. Etched in Bone was good, too. This is Water was an eye-opener. By Your Side was meh.

That’s it for me last week. How was yours?

[706]: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Smarter than your average Romance.


Pretty Face
by Lucy Parker

Lucy Parker’s writing reminds me of the old days. More particularly, of the Mills & Boon era. Now, don’t scoff. I’ve been reading romance novels all my life. Mills & Boon started me off on this path. The romantic writers of those days are distinctly foreign compared to some of their contemporary colleagues. They were posh, very British and elegant. In so many ways, Ms. Parker brought back all those feelings.

Pretty Face was delightfully refreshing. Especially at a time when Romance is heavily saturated with cheesy gourds, oversexed fiends, and miscommunication drama.

 At its core, this is the story about every woman who’s ever had to fight for their place to get recognition. Not for their looks, nor for their curves but for their talent and hard work. Lily Lamprey’s role as a bombshell in British television has gained her the notoriety for being a sex symbol. No one takes her seriously let alone a director whose severe work ethic puts the fear in the eyes of every single actor that ever worked for him. So it’s not a surprise that Lily suffers no illusions to getting the part for his new stage production.

Luc Savage’s name fits him to a T. His reputation as a workhorse proceeds him. He hasn’t got the time for distractions. His fledgling production and the renovation of the legendary West End theater take all his time and energy. And Lily Lamprey is a distraction with a capital D. Try as he might, the woman got under his skin like a stubborn sliver.

By all accounts, this story is not all that ingenious. We’ve all read this story before in one form or another. But no one could ever resist the push and pull dynamics of two characters whose attraction for each other is off the charts.  Coupled that with smart dialogues infused with humor, and a story line that’s distinctly British, I say, it’s hard not to rate this book any lower than 5 stars. This is an amazing read. If you’ve ever felt burnt out with the romance novels that you’ve been reading lately, Pretty Face is just the cure for your malady.

Waiting on Wednesday [12]: March Releases

Traitor to the Throne
by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands, #2
Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Loved Rebel of the Sands. Looking forward to this one! Worried about the love triangle implied but still excited to see whether this crew managed to stage their own rebellion.

 
 

Etched in Bone
by Anne Bishop

The Others, #5
Release Date: March 7th, 2017

We’ve been teased to within an inch of our lives. The previous 4 books kept us in suspense in all the ways that matter. But I’m chomping at the bit to see Meg and Simon advance their relationship further.

 
 

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Release Date: March 7th, 2018

To this day, Aristotle and Dante remain one of the most unforgettable couples in my books. It seems I’ve been praying for so long for Mr Sáenz to write another book. I can honestly say, I’m truly grateful for Benjamin’s ability to write. What an honour it is to read them.

 
 

Goodbye Days
by Jeff Zentner

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

The Serpent King was one of those surprise hits. It was so unassuming. The moment I took it for granted was the moment it sucker-punched me in the gut. So yeah, I’m going to make sure to expect the worst (and the best) from this novel. I can’t wait!

 
 

Saga, Volume 7
by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples

Release Date: March 28, 2017

I’m so excited for this. I always feel the need to read the previous instalment before jumping into the latest release. Due to the shortness of the volumes, I tend to forget. As far as I can remember, Alana and Hazel were reunited but Marko is still missing. And based on the reviews, it looks it’s a painful instalment by far. Gah!

 

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti

Release Date: March 28th, 2017

From Goodreads: “This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.” This book explores the relationship between a father and daughter by confronting a dangerous past that had them on the run. DYING. Dying for this book.

[705]: The Burning World by Isaac Marion

An Unrecognizable sequel that sheds all the heart-warming fluff of its predecessor.


The Burning World
by Isaac Marion

Question: Did you read Warm Bodies? If so, do you remember how it ends? How about the movie? Did you see it? Yes? No?

Well, let me spoil it all for you with this little scenario: most of the zombies slowly gained back a semblance of their humanity. Gone are the instincts to devour human flesh, replaced by a pause that gives them a chance to hold back the monster that hungers for the living. So much so that they’re able to cohabit with the humans inside the wall. The last scene had Julie and R watching as the walls were blown to bits. The sun is setting; they were holding hands…fade to black. Really hopeful shit, right? Makes you think that a peaceful coexistence between zombies and humans are entirely possible.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble but The Burning World did not start right where Warm Bodies left off. At least, the atmosphere was not the same. If you’re expecting much of the same lighthearted and somewhat funny shtick of the undead in this novel, you’ll be disappointed. Because these zombies are just a sad caricature of the rabid monsters we’ve come to fear and love. They’re stuck in between the beast that craves for warm flesh, and the humans inside of them clamoring to be born again. It was dark, nostalgic, and terrible in the sense that they’ll break your heart (R’s zombie wife and kids. *Sobs*) It was depressing, and it made me wish they were the terrifying stuff of nightmares we’ve all read about our lives. Because then I won’t feel so heartbroken.

This is a changed world; one that you won’t recognize from the first book. There’s a new villain in town whose primary goal is to convert the changing zombies into an army of drones possessing some robot-like consciousness. The last vestige of humanity left are being hunted and “phased out”. And this includes the tiny population inside the wall. They especially want R and Julie for their ability to speak to the evolving zombies. In short, this sequel had become the action-packed, pulse-pounding, scary-as-shit thriller that Warm Bodies never were. I’d even go as far as to say, it echoes the atmospheric dread of Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Yeah. I can’t believe it either. But reading The Burning World brought out the exact feelings when I binge-read Cronin’s vampire series last year.

By the by, R slowly gains his memory as a human – and from what he can remember, he was not a good person at all. He is miles remove from the sweet zombie we’ve come to know. We also see Julie in a different light. Driven by her sense of familial loyalty, she becomes a completely different person. She’s angry, compulsive, and even a little selfish. She’ll make you mad. She’ll make you cry but eventually, she’ll gain your sympathy albeit, tentatively.

We’re introduced to new characters and new plot lines that converge with the old ones. There are far more nuances explored; surprising and thrilling revelations. If I were to keep it simple, I say Warm Bodies was stripped of everything that was cute to show its true form. It had me on edge at all times because at the back of my mind, I keep waiting for the “awaken” zombies to revert back to their monstrosity – most especially R. Over all, The Burning World opens the series to a whole new set of possibilities. And with that ending, I say Marion has a lot more dark days in store for his ardent readers.

On the Night Table [45]: March TBR


Hello.

Every month, I always try to make it a point to tackle review copies first before anything else. March is no different. Aside from Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, the books on my pile are for review that’s been sitting on my shelf for a time now.

Nostalgia by MG Vassanji won the Governor General’s award for literature here in Canada. It’s about a man who is suffering from Leaked Memory Syndrome. It’s when memories of his past lives come seeping out from the deep confines of his brain. It has such an interesting premise, but I must admit that it’s intimidating me a little bit.

I’ve decided to re-read Moon Called by Patricia Briggs in an effort to get this series off my TBR. I own the first 6 books and since this series has been widely loved by practically everyone I know, I thought it was high time.

I’m a huge fan of suspense/mysteries, so The Girl Before is right up my alley. Looking forward to reading this one.

I’m more than halfway done with I See You and enjoying it so far. I had assumed that this book will not be out until April, for some reason so I’m a little late in posting my review.

READ LAST WEEK

Seven Days of You was cute. Oryx And Crake was insane. Act Like It was pretty good but not as good as Pretty Face.

So this has been my week. I’ve been relatively absent from the blog for no other reason than tiredness and laziness. I’ve written a few posts to get me through the week, though so I’ll try to be on schedule this time.

Have a great week, everyone!