The Other Sister

⇒RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Family ties get really messy in this psych thriller/mystery that will leave you guessing until the very last chapter. ⇐

**Many thanks to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

by Sarah Zettel

SmellRating3

(3.4 stars – Goodreads rating)

Publish Date: August 28, 2018, by Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Psychological Thriller / Mystery

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 380 pages (Hardcover)

#TheOtherSister  #NetGalley

The Other SisterShe had to be a good girl. Good girls didn’t hate anybody. Not their sisters or their mothers. And most especially not their fathers.

Trying to summarize this book sans spoilers is very difficult, so I’ll just include the official blurb:

Two sisters. One murder plan.

Geraldine Monroe is the bad sister. Reckless and troubled, she ran away shortly after the mysterious death of their mother twenty years ago.

Marie, on the other hand, has always been the good sister. She is the obedient daughter and a loving mother to her son.

Bound by blood and a need to right the past, Geraldine and Marie set a deadly plan in motion. When old secrets and new fears clash, everyone is pushed to the breaking point . . . and the sisters will learn that they can’t trust anyone, not even each other.

It’s worth noting how many times it turns out that the good sister is not as helpless as she looks. Or as good.

The story includes:

  • Multiple timelines
  • Two POVs (Marie & Geraldine, sisters)
  • Unreliable narrators (yes, both of them)
  • Unlikable characters – How many? Mostly all of them. Not kidding
  • Pervasive mysteries (yes, more than one) throughout that only become clear(ish) at the end
  • Numerous triggers for some including emotional abuse, drug abuse, rape, alcoholism

Blood’s thicker, isn’t it? Even when it’s spilled on the stairs and on the snow.

This book did not click all my boxes. As a fan of thrillers / mysteries, I usually am all for the sociopathic character who wreaks havoc throughout a town or family. And The Other Sister had that; however, there is also all kinds of other “crazy” going on in this story.

There are no likable characters. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The father is controlling and terrible in all ways. The men around him are subservient tattletales. And the women around him – including our MCs – are weak and emotionally and/or mentally unhinged. And everyone – EVERYONE – lies, even to themselves! Who is there to cheer for?

I didn’t relate to anyone in this book. The “victims” only became so due to their own acquiescence. Even Geraldine, who is characterized as “The Rebel”, only rebels in fits and starts and never enough to purposefully effect true change – even though we are led to believe that that is the sisters’ plan. 

The MCs’ parents are both despicable in their own ways, and though I do feel pity for some of the other family members and friends for getting caught up in this sick, twisted web, pity does not equal likability.

I cannot, no matter how hard I’ve tried, make Outside understand what it is to be us.

Also, I felt like I was never invited into the story. I was an outsider the whole time – not knowing any of the secrets, truths, or motives until the very end. And even then I wasn’t sure of the “truth” I had been told. Feeling separated from both the characters and the story is not a winning combination. I toyed with a two-star rating, but I don’t want to discourage others who don’t mind stories that develop that way.

So… a reluctant 3 stars for a book that I really wanted to like much more than that rating reflects.

»»Listen to an excerpt (courtesy of SoundCloud): Click Here

Today is Release Day (Aug 28, 2018). Get it here: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound


About the Author

Sarah ZettelSarah Zettel

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Sarah Zettel is the critically acclaimed author of more than twenty novels, spanning the full range of genre fiction. Her debut novel, Reclamation, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. She has written eighteen novels and multiple short stories over the past seventeen years in addition to practicing tai chi, learning to fiddle, marrying a rocket scientist and raising a rapidly growing son.

(Bio adapted from Goodreads)


 

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Not Her Daughter

⇒What would make you do the unthinkable? Sarah Walker finds out in this gripping thriller that will suck you into an emotional whirlwind!⇐

**Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

by Rea Frey

SmellRating4.5

(4.17 stars – Goodreads rating)

Publish Date: August 21, 2018, by St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Thriller

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 352 pages (Paperback)

#NotHerDaughter  #NetGalley

Not Her Daughter: A NovelI had a choice to make, a bluff to call, and a girl to protect. I had no idea what to do next.

I don’t know if you believe in astrology at all. Usually, I only give it the faintest corner of my attention. But, as a designated Libra (October 13th), I found my scales woefully unbalanced and wobbling all over the place as I read this book about a kidnapper, a mother, and the grey-eyed girl that comes between them.

As a mother myself, I automatically know which side of that battle I’m supporting, right? Not necessarily. And that’s only one reason why this book had me on the edge of my seat and at the border of my morals with every chapter.

That’s what I’m going with: my intention to keep her safe. In spite of the facts, in spite of what I’ve done. Because it feels right. Being with Emma feels right.

Here’s the gist: Sarah Walker is really minding her own business, waiting for a flight, when she witnesses something that she hasn’t been able to shake: a mother being physically and verbally abusive to her young daughter. Sarah, young and successful, but childless and just recently single again, can’t seem to forget about the beautiful grey-eyed girl with the red dress and red hairbow that seemed to desperately need someone’s help. Days later, when their paths randomly cross again, Sarah knows what she has to do, but that one decision will change everything about her life forever.

Amy Townsend is tired. She has two kids, a job, and a husband who is more like a milquetoast roommate. She’s overweight, overloaded, and just over all of it. Sure she loses her temper sometimes, what tired mother with the strain of kids and career doesn’t? Sure she lashes out at life – and her obnoxious daughter – sometimes. Does that make her a bad parent? There’s just something about Emma that just pulls the anger out of her. It’s like she’s asking for it. So Amy gives it to her.

Emma just wants to play and have fun. Hey, she’s five!

Emma was the chaos, and now, in her absence, there was even more. She was like a tiny wrecking ball, knocking down everything in her path just to see how much damage she could get away with.

Not Her Daughter had me in my emotions from the very first chapter. I am constantly concerned with where my daughter is and making sure she’s safe and happy. So, it was hard for me to (1) initially connect with what Sarah wanted to do, and (2) feel any sympathy whatsoever for Emma’s parents and their collective lack of care for their daughter. While reading, I battled with questions like: As a reader how am I supposed to feel about Sarah’s intentions? What about as a parent? Or as a moral, ethical human being? And once you read this book, you may find that, like me, those questions came with three totally different answers.

As the book progressed, I found myself flip-flopping over whether or not Sarah was a hero or a villain. I settled on Antihero. There’s no way in the world her actions could be justified, and yet…

Just for the record, I never sided with Amy, Emma’s mom. She’s a nasty piece of work and I wanted to smack her with a jelly roll every time she spoke. Mean old bat.

Written in multiple POVs, across four different timelines (“before”, “during”, “after”, and “now” – all in relation to the kidnapping), and in both first and third person, Not Her Daughter could have been quite confusing if not for Frey’s careful and patient story and character development. There’s a lot of jumping around from past to near past to present to an even more present present, but trust me, you’ll get it. It flows.

I initially liked the same characters that I ended up criticizing later, and vice versa. There are no guarantees in this book, and that makes for great storytelling. If I had any reservations, it would be that a couple of strings were left hanging for me: What happens with the relationship between Sarah and her mom? In this day and age, where was any mention of video surveillance of Sarah and Emma as they shopped or stopped for gas or ate in restaurants? Isn’t that how many kidnappers get caught? And another string that I can’t really mention because it would be a spoiler, but it left me with some questions.

4.5 well-earned stars for this wonderful read that left me battling both my ethics and my morals and still coming up with question marks. What would I have done? Would I have been as brave? As stupid? I love the books that make you question life choices this way!


About the Author

IMG_2050 copy.jpgREA FREY

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Rea Frey is the author of four nonfiction books. Her debut novel, NOT HER DAUGHTER, will be released by St. Martin’s Press August 21, 2018.

When she’s not exercising, mothering, adulting, wifing, eating, or writing about herself in the third person, you can find her hard at work on her next book and ghostwriting for other people.

(Bio taken from Goodreads)



 

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Our Kind of Cruelty

by Araminta Hall
SmellRating4
(3.52 stars – Goodreads rating)

Published May 8, 2018, by Macmillan Audio

Genre: Fiction / Thriller

Format: Audiobook 🎧

Page Count: n/a (Hardcover, 288 pgs)


Our Kind of CrueltyI crave you

Relationships are hard. Yes, that’s a cliché and an understatement (especially when it comes to this particular relationship), but it would make a great tagline for this story of one couple’s complex connection.

Mike and Verity had a passion-filled romance. Then they broke up. Hey, it happens. Seriously, it happens thousands of times a day, every day, in every corner of the globe. But it’s how individuals handle breakups that makes all the difference in the world. Our Kind of Cruelty is the story of Mike’s romance with Verity, his obsession with her and their game, The Crave, and everything that happens after one fateful night he spends away from her.

We have to keep a tight hold of each other to stop the other from floating away.

OK, confession time… What was your worst breakup experience? Was it sad? Intense? Terrifying? Most people do have at least one very memorable breakup in their past. in hindsight, would you have handled it differently? Probably, or maybe not? This book made me really analyze all the breakups I’ve ever had. And that one creepy stalker situation that eventually worked itself out. Actually, I thought about my stalker situation (which wasn’t violent or physically threatening, but was definitely creepy) a lot while listening to this book. And I’ll tell you why…

Mike loves Verity. He adores her. He is obsessed with her. Over and over again he states that he needs her to help him to make decisions on this or that, or that he needs her to show him how he should respond in certain social situations. Mike believes that Verity is his true-North compass. He also believes that she is incomplete without him. That she won’t be able to function successfully in the world without him. Even when she does move on after the breakup and eventually gets married to someone else, Mike knows it isn’t real and that V is just baiting him to make their own romance stronger.

That’s a strong obsession. Delusion? Yes, you could use that word too. What separates love from obsession? Where is the line between connection and delusion? My stalker thought he knew me better than anyone else. He could tell me my favorite flower, color, car, and football team. He knew verbatim things I’d said 10 years prior. He knew about all my friends and members of my family. But we never even dated. He called it love. I called it something else entirely.

…sometimes two people need each other so much it is worth sacrificing others to make sure they end up together.

Araminta Hill has written a compelling, yet creepy, romance (eek! I hesitate to even type that!) that shows us that perception is key. The book is intelligent, sharp, and suspenseful. Written from Mike’s perspective, we are forced to see his side and feel his feelings – even though we’re screaming in our heads, “No! You’re getting it all wrong! How can you think that way?” Mike’s character is unreliable and delusional, yet he’s pitiable because of his rough background. But the things we learn about Mike – from his own account – are still unsettling and point to an undercurrent of violence that even he has never managed to understand or erase.

Our Kind of Cruelty definitely leaves you guessing at the end. Is Mike believable? Has Verity been in on it the entire time? Or is she just another unwilling victim in Mike’s fantasy romance? Hill leaves it up to you to decide. 

As for my take on it, I have decided that perceptions like Mike’s are how we end up with enough stories to fill up the ID channel 24/7. Entertaining, yet infinitely eerie.


About the Author

Araminta HallGoodreads

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Araminta Hall began her career in journalism as a staff writer on teen magazine Bliss, becoming Health and Beauty editor of New Woman. On her way, she wrote regular features for the Mirror’s Saturday supplement and ghost-wrote the super-model Caprice’s column.

(Bio from Goodreads)


 

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Warm Transfer

by Laura Holtz

SmellRating3
(4.33 stars – Goodreads rating)

To Be Published May 29, 2018, by Gatekeeper Press

Genre: Fiction / Women’s Lit

Format: Kindle Edition

Warm Transfer: A NovelThe problems in their marriage stemmed from something subtler, a toxicity that she couldn’t name. It was insidious and devastating, but it was also elusive and Tamsen struggled to put a label on it.

A few of my pet peeves: slow drivers, repeating myself, the improper use of “your” vs. “you’re”, and waiting on hold on the phone. Arrggghhhh! My blood pressure went up just by typing that! “On hold” means that time is wasting. “On hold” means that what you want isn’t happening yet. And “on hold” means that someone else is in charge of your time and is making decisions for you.

Tamsen Peel is on hold. She ended her career in order to marry and raise her children. She delayed any further commitments to work once her son was diagnosed with Doose Syndrome. And she buried her personal aspirations under duties to her family, her social clubs, and her controlling husband’s high-class clients. That is until Victor’s abusive tendencies toward her became more than she could bear.

Warm Transfer is one woman’s journey back to herself through queues of indecision, guilt, self-reproach, and something just a little darker niggling at her memories. Themes present are finding internal courage, combatting emotional and verbal abuse, and realizing self-worth in order to make positive life changes.

Tamsen has tried to take control of her situation more than once and only ended up getting disconnected – from her support systems, her financial backup, and her young children. She decides that what she needs is a warm transfer – someone to stay on the line with her until her transfer is made successfully. But ultimately it will be up to her to make the right connections.

Laura Holtz has written a story that could be played out in any social circle – not just in the high society of Chicago. It’s an encouragement to single mothers, divorcees, and women from all walks of life who are wondering, “What happens next?” The book is a fairly predictable slow-burn that had an overall theme to which I could relate and appreciate, and it was worth the read.

Ten percent of proceeds from this book will go to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Many thanks to NetGalley, Gatekeeper Press, and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.


About the Author

Laura Holtz

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Laura graduated from Northwestern University back when applications were submitted in hard copy and Allison Hall was still a single-sex dorm. She spent her junior year studying in London where she developed an appreciation for Charles Dickens and clotted cream. She took a mid-career break from her job in sales promotion to accept a graduate teaching fellowship and earn a master’s degree in Special Education. When the head of the creative department at her former agency went on maternity leave, however, Laura could not refuse the offer to step into her dream job. She remained in the corporate world until she had children.

(Bio courtesy of Amazon)


 

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

by Gail Honeyman
Rating: 
(4.35 stars – Goodreads rating)

Published May 9, 2017, by Viking – Pamela Dorman Books

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary Adult

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 327 pages


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely FineI do exist, don’t I? It often feels as if I’m not here, that I’m a figment of my own imagination.

In horror movies, there is that one part (that may happen over and over again) where the mood changes. The scene gets darker, the music is more ominous. Maybe even all the action is just a touch slower. As viewers, we know that this is the moment when something is about to happen. The bad guy is coming.

That’s what it was like for me while I was reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Because, of course, she isn’t. And there are bad, bad things lurking around her that definitely deserve a dark setting and ominous music.

But on the surface, Eleanor is making her awkward way through the world: sticking to her routine, correcting everyone’s grammar, and drinking copious amounts of vodka. It’s the normal life of an introvert for her – and, after all, who’s to say what “normal” is anyway?

If I’m ever unsure as to the correct course of action, I’ll think, ‘What would a ferret do?’ or, ‘How would a salamander respond to this situation?’ Invariably, I find the right answer.

I actually saw some of myself in Eleanor. While I’m (thankfully) nowhere near as awkward in public as she is, we do share some of the same introverted tendencies:  being committed to a routine that varies very little from day to day (or at least from week to week), and often having limited contact with other people for long stretches of time. Even in this modern age of technology and all the world’s advancements, there is still a lot of alone-ness going around.

Honeyman sets up Eleanor at times to be a pitiable character, highlighting her loneliness and her painfully cumbersome social interactions. But at other times, we see her as a complicated success story. No, really. She’s a survivor that really shouldn’t even be as well off as she is. And so you can forgive all of her idiosyncrasies because there’s so much depth to her as a person.

…I’d probably want to pluck out my own eyes, to stop looking, to stop seeing all the time. The things I’ve seen cannot be unseen. The things I’ve done cannot be undone.

So now, back to my horror movie analogy – you know by now that I’m not the spoiler type, so I’ll just say that Eleanor is an introvert and part of the story is her learning to function differently in society. She’s figuring it out basically alone. How to shop for clothes, how to get her hair styled, how to interact at a party, how to dance! But Eleanor has a boogyman, and sometimes the darkness creeps in. In the midst of several distinct triumphs, there are setbacks that threaten to destroy all the progress she’s made. Her secrets overwhelm her and are too scary to face.

But no one had ever shown me the right way to live a life, and although I’d tried my best over the years, I simply didn’t know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.

Gail Honeyman writes a captivating contemporary tale about an unusual woman who is battling some tough demons. It is subtly suspenseful and Eleanor is entirely frustrating while simultaneously being entirely loveable. Reading this book was like watching a baby deer take its first wobbly steps into a wild world – awkward and fantastic.


About the Author

Gail HoneymanGoodreads

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Gail Honeyman wrote her debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, while working a full-time job, and it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress. She has also been awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award 2014, was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines, and was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She lives in Glasgow.

(Bio courtesy of Goodreads)

The Crooked Staircase (Jane Hawk #3)

by Dean Koontz
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

(4.0 stars – Goodreads rating)

Published May 8, 2018, by Bantam Books

Genre: Fiction / Thriller / Suspense

Format: Kindle Edition

Page Count: 512

#TheCrookedStaircase  #NetGalley

The Crooked Staircase: A Jane Hawk NovelJane stood in the dark, and the dark stood in her, the latter being the darkness of both her past actions and letal potential.

OK, be honest, did Dean Koontz have a clandestine meeting with George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones) before he wrote The Crooked Staircase? Because he definitely broke readers’ hearts and left a bitter taste in my mouth with this book.

In this 3rd book in the Jane Hawk series, former FBI agent Jane is bent on climbing the Who’s Who ladder within the Arcadian Society to exact some revenge for the death of husband and the ruination of her career and peace. With her son safe in hiding, Jane makes major moves to settle some scores and get closer to cutting off the proverbial head of the beast.

There is no honor anymore. No integrity. Treachery is everywhere. Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and ruinous disorders!

In this series, Koontz capitalizes on our fear of losing control of our true identities and succumbing to another’s whims and agendas. He is a master storyteller, and he conveys as much of the story by what he leaves out as he does by what he includes. And although this installment is action-packed, fairly little ground was gained.

The bad guys are truly brutal. The protagonist is still amazingly resourceful, but she seems to be stretched a little thin. Plus, readers may start to cringe now every time she asks any of her friends for help of any kind. The body count rises in heartbreaking ways right along with the level of intensity. Lovers of fast-paced action will especially appreciate the final two sections of this novel.

I think to myself, I play to myself, and nobody knows what I say to myself.

I’m a Koontz fan, but I had to take off a few stars because of my extreme distaste for the brutal violence (triggers include rape, torture, and child abuse) and for the all-too-convenient way the bad guys were able to track down every single one of their targets regardless of the paltry clues they had to go on. Even in today’s high-tech society, I found that incredibly inconceivable. And finally for the abrupt ending that felt less like a cliffhanger and instead like the book was just unfinished.

Fans of this series will rush on to read Book 4, “The Forbidden Door”, and hopefully, they will be rewarded with an ending (if it ends) that is completely satisfying.

**Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and Bantam Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.


About the Author

Credit EngstromWebsite

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Acknowledged as “America’s most popular suspense novelist” (Rolling Stone) and as one of today’s most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the names Leigh Nichols, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Owen West, Deanna Dwyer and Aaron Wolfe.

Dean, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

(Bio courtesy of Goodreads)


 

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The Child Finder

by Rene Denfeld
Rating: 
(4.04 stars – Goodreads rating)

Published September 5th, 2017 by Harper

Genre: Fiction – Mystery/Thriller

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 274


TCF
Have you ever been lost? ❞ ❝Oh yes, she answered… Once upon a time, before I can remember.

Naomi is an investigator who has found over 30 missing and/or abducted children and she is working on locating two more. At the same time, she is also piecing together the missing parts of her own mysterious discovery in the frozen woods of Oregon.

What I Liked: 
– The underlying mystery. This was a deceptively simple story, but the “creep” factor was boosted up to triple digits. The atmosphere of the book is about as potentially terrifying as the antagonist ultimately turns out to be.
– Naomi. The main character wasn’t anything cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill, or typical. At times, you wonder if you can even trust her. But you want to stick in there with her. You want to see her succeed – not just in her job – but in her life. Plus, you get the sense that the answers to her personal mystery are locked up inside her and you want to stay around to witness when it all unfolds.
– The supporting characters. Denfeld does a great job of placing a full cast of eccentric people around our main character, and she makes us care about all of them. Q: How is that possible in a book that is less than 300 pages? A: Skilled writing.

This is something I know: no matter how far you have run, no matter how long you have been lost, it is never too late to be found.

What I Didn’t Like 
– I didn’t like the uncomfortable feeling that I felt as “Snow Girl” told her story. No spoilers, it’s just that portions were very hard to read even though much of it was left to the imagination. And, apparently, my imagination went to some very dark places. I was sickened, angry, and distraught. BUT that’s exactly how I was supposed to feel. So, yeah, I didn’t like that feeling; however, it was necessary and Denfeld did an amazing job at conveying the disturbing mood present during those parts of the book.

What I Wanted More Of: 
– I wasn’t ready for the story to end. I, like one of the characters in the book, wanted to know what happens to everyone after the mystery is solved. I want that story too. Could this possibly become the first book in a series for Denfeld? Well… she’s very enigmatic about her writing plans so we may not know that until a release date is announced. Denfeld does have a new book scheduled for release on or around October 15, 2018 called The Strawberry Palace, but that one is categorized as a romance, so it’s probably not the sequel I’m hoping for. However, I sure would love to spend more time with Naomi and her friends.

**Triggers for sensitive readers include allusions to sexual abuse and violence against children. However, Denfeld is very sensitive to these subjects and doesn’t exploit them just for the sake of a good story.

In the years since, she had discovered the sacrament of life did not demand memory. Like a leaf that drank from the morning dew, you didn’t question the morning sunrise or the sweet taste on your mouth. You just drank.


Get it here: Amazon ; Kindle ; Barnes and Noble

My Absolute Darling

by Gabriel Tallent
Rating: 
(3.76 stars – Goodreads rating)

Published August 29th 2017 by Riverhead Books

Genre: Literary Fiction

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 417


My Absolute Darling
❝He comes within ten yards of her, spreads his arms wide, his presence here a terrible trespass,
and she loves this about him, sits looking at him, the wind whipping his long hair around his big,
handsome face, him broad-shouldered and enormous as ever.❞

Turtle Alveston lives with her father in a remote little house where everything is functional but is really in a rather broken down state of disrepair. Everything is. Nothing is quite as normal as it should be, but who can judge what normal is supposed to look like for a girl like Turtle?

There is a challenge in these pages. Turtle’s story is an open invitation to know something you aren’t supposed to know and to learn it in a way that makes you feel contemptible. If you accept the challenge, you have to put aside a part of yourself; enough to understand that some things happen that you’re aware of and you still can’t change.

That’s the feeling this book left me with. I felt sick with that feeling and that knowledge. After reading it, I don’t feel satisfied with a resolution. I only feel that maybe the darkness in Turtle’s life was lifted a little to gray.

… you are hard on me, but you are good for me, too, and I need that hardness in you. I need you to be hard on me, because I am no good for myself, and you make me do what I want to do but cannot do for myself; but still, but still – you are sometimes not careful…

**Sensitive readers should be warned that there are many specific triggers in this book that make it unpalatable. The author does not shy away from describing instances of sexual abuse and sadistic violence. In fact, those instances are written in a way that almost physically made me nauseated because of the careful and almost poetic prose.

This book was beautifully written. This style of writing is what some readers yearn for with every new title they pick up. Tallent’s descriptive technique had me reading and re-reading certain lines out loud just to hear them come off my tongue. He made it so easy to hear the cadence of the characters’ voices, see their environment, feel their chapped or sunburnt skin, and hear the world immediately around them. It was almost like listening to an audiobook while reading the page.

If this is what has made this book so popular – its masterfully constructed prose – then it is well-deserved. As for content, it is a rough read. There are no unicorns and rainbows to endear it to its readers. In that, it resembles its main character – beautiful, with no good right to be so.

No, she thinks. No, it cannot be that in the end of it all, I am like you. That cannot be. Those parts of you I turn from, I will turn from forever and I will not at the end of it find that I am like you.


Get it here: Amazon ; Kindle ; Barnes and Noble ; Half-Price Books