Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Next Time You See Me – Holly Goddard Jones

Mystery 5*'s
Mystery
5*’s

First of all I need to say I struggled on how to classify this book. Although the blurb tells us that Emily finds a body in the woods and Ronnie Eastman is missing, this is not a typical crime novel, so I have decided to put it in a category of mystery, but it is really so much more….

Holly Goddard Jones has written a character driven novel which centres on the disappearance of Ronnie Eastman. The search for Ronnie is what propels this story forward but the writing is what captured my attention right from the beginning.

The book starts with Emily, a slightly overweight, friendless thirteen year old girl sat in a classroom doing an English exercise. The writing immediately transported me to that classroom where the, oh so cool and attractive Christopher Shelton, was intent on needling the teacher, poor Emily taking the brunt of his annoyance when Susanna Mitchell reacted. Here we meet the first of countless links to the missing woman, because Mrs Mitchell is the younger sister of the good-time girl Ronnie who hasn’t been in contact for a couple of weeks! After school lonely Emily takes off into the woods where she broods over her day….

“Christopher’s presence at her side was so real to her that she registered embarrassment at the visibility of her exertion, and she couldn’t help calling up the look on his face when he had stopped by her desk that day at school: the disgust, so evident in the curl of his lip, and the spat word, creep, said as though he were ridding his mouth of a foul taste.”

The whole book involves characters who are connected in some way to Ronnie in the small town of Roma. There is an underlying longing in all those we meet for change; from the aging factory worker Wyatt, the school girl Emily, the arrogant smart Christopher, Susanna whose husband Dale takes her for granted and the policeman Tony and at the centre is the ‘party girl’ Ronnie who has a reputation amongst her fellow inhabitants of this classic small town.

The pages are full of domestic details, the petty annoyances of a stale marriage, the casual spoiling of a niece all add a richness to the characters, all of whom are so vivid I felt as if I knew them.

“Of course, Abby, who so loved long hair, was also the child who’d said, ‘Aunt Ronnie’s a princess,’ the time Ronnie came over in her trashiest club-crawling wear and dark purple eye shadow, hair sprayed to the rafters. Susanna laughed at the memory, then swallowed against the tears. How she wanted her sister right now.”

This is a book to savour, to get to know the people and understand their motivations and  to be amazed by the perceptive writing rather than a conventional crime novel and I loved it all the more for this.

I received my copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for my unbiased opinion on this fantastic book.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (March 19)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Skeletons by Jane Fallon

Skeletons

Blurb

Jen has discovered a secret.
It’s not hers to share, but is it hers to keep?
If she tells her husband Jason, he might get over the shock but will he forgive her for telling the truth? She might drive a wedge through their marriage.
If she tells someone else in Jason’s family – the family she’s come to love more than her own – she’d not only tear them apart but could also find herself on the outside: she’s never really been one of them, after all.
But if she keeps this dirty little secret to herself, how long can she pretend nothing is wrong? How long can she live a lie?
Jen knows the truth – but is she ready for the consequences? Amazon

I have just finished The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones, I really enjoyed this one and my review will be posted very soon!

The Next Time You See Me

To read the blurb and a teaser look at my Tuesday Post

Next I plan to read the police procedural Sorrow Bound by the former crime reporter, David Mark.

Sorrow Bound

Blurb

Philippa Longman will do anything for her family.
Roisin McAvoy will do anything for her friends.
DS Aector McAvoy will do anything for his wife.
Yet each has an unknown enemy – one that will do anything to destroy them. Amazon

What are you reading and is it good?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (March 18)

Teasing Tuesday CB
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!

This week my teaser is from a psychological suspense novel The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goodard Jones

The Next Time You See Me

Blurb

Thirteen-year-old Emily Houchens doesn’t have many friends. She finds more comfort playing make-believe in the woods near her house in Roma, Kentucky, than with her classmates, who find her strange and awkward. When she happens upon a dead body hidden in the woods one day, she decides not to tell anyone about her discovery—a choice that begins to haunt her.
Susanna Mitchell has always been a good girl, the dutiful daughter and wife. While her older sister Ronnie trolled bars for men and often drove home at sunrise, Susanna kept a neat house, a respectable job, a young daughter. But when Ronnie goes missing, and Susanna realizes that she’s the only person in Roma who truly cares about her sister’s fate, she starts to question her quiet life and its value.
The Next Time You See Me is the story of how one woman’s disappearance exposes the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents, who are all connected, sometimes in unexpected ways. Emily; Susannah; Tony, a failed baseball star-turned-detective, aspiring to be the county’s first black sheriff; and Wyatt, a fifty-five-year-old factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves. Goodreads

My Teaser
Christopher’s presence at her side was so real to her that she registered embarrassment at the visibility of her exertion, and she couldn’t help calling up the look on his face when he had stopped by her desk that day at school: the disgust, so evident in the curl of his lip, and the spat word, creep, said as though he were ridding his mouth of a foul taste.

Then she fell, turning her ankle as she went and throwing up her left arm in time to shield her face from a jutting branch.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (March 17)

musingmondays51

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following 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!

My Musing this week is What Makes a Good Read?

Over the weekend I started reading The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones and the moment I opened the first page it was clear that this was a book I’d love. That got me thinking, what it is about certain books where you know from the start that you are in for a good read?

This book had none of the obvious hooks for me. It wasn’t the location. I love books set in London as a place I have fond memories from both childhood as well as an adult; this book is set in a small town in America. London

I didn’t immediately identify with the first character, Emily, a young bullied schoolgirl. Although never in with the cool kids I got through school unscathed with nothing more than the general teasing that happens to everyone, and yet something called to me. Was it the first scene sat in a classroom? The young Emily in awe of the poised and amusing Christopher, certainly something that I can relate too, but that surely isn’t enough to warm so immediately to a story?

The genre is spot on, I love a good mystery, but as I read a lot of them although often grabbed by a startling sentence as in Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent, I don’t usually immediately think ‘this is going to be special’

You can read my reviews by clicking on the book covers below

Unravelling Oliver

I’m afraid I still can’t articulate how I knew that this was one of those special books although the style of writing is insightful without being wordy.

There are writers whose books I am always sure I will enjoy, I have spoken before about the feeling of being wrapped in a duvet of familiarity when reading Barbara Vine.

Lisa Jewell always writes a rattling good tale which engages me from the first page, quite an accomplishment as she writes about varied subjects.

… and the list goes on of writers who I go to for a guaranteed good read. However, when I consider the number of books I must have read, it is far rarer for a new author to grab me quite the way Holly Goddard Jones has. Are there components to a book that make you fall in love with it or are you like me and sometimes a book just gels and it is love at first page?