Review

‘All Our Wrong Todays’ by Elan Mastai #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

todays

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When Tom loses the love of his life, time travel seems like the only answer. . . what could possibly go wrong?

Elan Mastai’s breakthrough novel brings a whole new dimension to a classic love story.

So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have.

That means nothing to you, obviously, because you live here, in the crappy world we do have.

But it never should’ve turned out like this. And it’s all my fault – well, me and to a lesser extent my father.

And, yeah, I guess a little bit Penelope.

In both worlds, she’s the love of my life. But only a single version of her can exist.

I have one impossible chance to fix history’s greatest mistake and save this broken world.

Tom lives in a different 2016. A better 2016 than the one we had (which, to be honest, isn’t that difficult), made possible by a never-ending source of clean energy discovered in the 1950s. Tom’s world is peaceful, carefree, perfect. But his life isn’t. His father, a brilliant scientist, is distant and disinterested. Tom feels like a failure.

It’s quite a complicated plot, but suffice it to say, Tom messes with his father’s time machine, changes the course of history and ends up in our, rather crappy, 2016.

The concepts behind time travel give me a headache. I just can’t get my head around the whole idea. And neither can Tom, really. But he has to sort things out to save all those people he accidentally got rid of. Of course, it isn’t that simple. There’s his new family to consider, who are much nicer that the old one. And there’s the new Penelope too.

Tom is a great main character. Aware of his short-comings, he’s an honest narrator. The reader really feels his panic about what he’s done, the dawning reality of where he is and what his new life means. The journal style works very well and does help the reader to identify closely with Tom. The other characters are, on the whole, also well-drawn and three-dimensional and the author allows their flaws to show. The novel explores his complex relationships, and at the heart of this is a love story.

There are a few places where things are a little repetitive and long-winded, but they are few and far between. And I did feel that new Penelope was rather too perfect. But aside from these minor points, the novel was clever, well-written and very readable despite its complexity.

I still don’t really understand time travel though.

5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy.

‘Everything but the Truth’ by Gillian McAllister #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

truth

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Do you ever check your partner’s phone? 
Should you? 
Are you prepared for the consequences?

Everything but the Truth is Gillian McAllister’s stunning breakthrough thriller about deceit, betrayal and one woman’s compulsive need to uncover the truth

It all started with the email.

Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him.

But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?

This is such a compelling debut novel. Rachel has a secret hidden in her past; something she doesn’t want to share with new boyfriend Jack. But Jack seems to be hiding something too, and Rachel can’t help but begin to snoop around. It begins with a checking an email, then her compulsion to find out exactly what he’s hiding grows stronger – she begins to dig deeper and deeper, and what she finds has the potential to destroy their relationship, even though they are expecting a baby together.

But was what Jack did so terrible? And can she justify poking around in his past?

Just who exactly is in the wrong here?

I absolutely loved a lot of things about this novel. I liked Rachel a lot, and really sympathised with her, but I also felt really sorry for Jack, even while I felt so frustrated too – I just wanted them both to be honest. But this reaction just proves the skill of the author – you can completely see why they get themselves into this mess, and how hard it is to get out of it.

The secret in Rachel’s past is revealed very gradually, and I did feel emotional reading about it. The dilemma she finds herself in is so well-written – I kept having conversations with people, trying to find out what they would do in her shoes. That’s surely the sign of an excellent book.

I do have a couple of little grumbles. There are a few inconsistencies – more a problem with the editing though than the writing. This would normally be enough to knock a star off my rating, but I liked this book so much that I can’t. This is a really, really good read.

5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for providing a review copy.

 

‘Behind Her Eyes’ by Sarah Pinborough #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

 

Don’t Trust This Book

Don’t Trust These People

Don’t Trust Yourself

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

‘Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession’ Harlan Coben

Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele

Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

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This was the first book I read in 2017 and it got the reading year off to a fabulous start!

Through the eyes of both Louise, struggling and unhappy single mum, and glamorous and seemingly together and accomplished Adele, the author draws you into a story where you soon realise that you don’t know who to believe or who to trust. But this is much more than a mysterious, dark love triangle – there’s a massive twist that I guarantee you really won’t see coming.

Aside from the very, very clever twist, the writing itself is excellent. The characters are well-developed, believable and Louise is relatable and really likeable. The dialogue is convincing and the situations and settings are authentic however strange the story becomes.

A remarkable book, enjoyable and compelling – do read it!

5 stars

 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a review copy.

‘The Other Side’ by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

other-side

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Decision time. Left or right? Mr X, or Mr Y?
Imagine being able to find out what would happen if you’d chosen the other path…
Would you make the same decision?
…and, if you could, would you go back and change all the mistakes you’ve ever made
in the name of love?
“The Other Side” tells of four lives, all very different.Glamorous Katya is certain she can “have it all”, but forgets that some people have
long memories…
Cathy is trapped in a tedious marriage with the in-laws from hell – but why did the
rock-chick marry Mr Pipe and Slippers?
Alexa fears that a ‘friend’ is trying to steal away her perfect life – everyone dismisses
her fears as paranoia…
…while Sandie struggles with a drink problem and life spiralling downwards – but
which came first, the drink or the problem?

Four very different stories – but they are all connected.

“The Other Side” travels backwards through time to unravel the decisions of the past
and their influence on the present lives of everyone concerned – for better or for worse…

The consequences of the choices made in life and the paths taken make for a gripping and entertaining read. The structure of this novel is very clever – we begin at the end, discovering the consequences of those choices, and are then taken gradually back through time to find out what the situations and circumstances were that made those choices happen. It’s an unusual idea and in other hands could be confusing and complicated to read, but Terry Tyler is too skillful a story teller for that to happen.

The characterisation here is brilliantly done. The women are believable and, while you do find yourself sometimes wanting to shake them, their motives become clear as the story unfolds and there are plenty of moments when you think to yourself – ‘Ah, so that’s why she did that’. Their actions and reactions are authentic and you’re left wondering just how much our destiny is in our hands or under our control.

As always with Terry Tyler’s books, the sense of time and place is spot on, with little details adding authenticity. The depictions of Cathy’s Saturday nights spent with her in-laws watching TV and waiting for the lottery were brilliant – I wanted to scream at her for putting up with it and the small mindedness of her husband’s family and their narrow views on life were so recognisable. This is something this author is particularly good at – she can really portray ordinary people and the ordinary, mundane aspects of life and manages to make it entertaining.

There are some very clever twists that are genuinely surprising and the ending works really well.

A clever, classy read.

5 stars