Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Mother, Mother – Koren Zailckas

Psychological Fiction 3's
Psychological Fiction

Society has high expectations of mothers so is it any wonder that some women expect their offspring to advertise how good they are at it?

The story of Josephine, is told through the eyes of her two youngest children, Violet and William. Rose, the first-born has left home a year earlier having packed up her belongings and moved away with a boyfriend. The family is understandably confused, after all Rose was the perfect daughter.

The reader only has to start William’s first entry in the book to realise the relationship he has with his mother probably isn’t the healthiest for a twelve-year-old boy, but William has autism and suffers with seizures which means that his mother has decided it is best if he is home-schooled.

Violet on the other hand is a rebel, unwilling to behave the way her mother wants and one evening events come to a head, William is hurt and Violet is removed from the house for everyone’s safety.

The plot is interesting and I enjoyed reading the different viewpoints of the two siblings; it is well-known that especially in dysfunctional families two children remember events in very different ways but the author didn’t really exploit this although the fact that all three children had reacted in different ways to get their mother’s approval was endlessly underlined in case the reader missed the point.

For me the underlying problem with this book is I felt removed from the action, I didn’t particularly empathise with either Violet or William which meant that I was left with a feeling of unease but nothing stronger. Koren Zailckas raises the stakes with Josephine’s behaviour which in turn builds the tension towards the conclusion and although the ending rang true it meant that the book finishes on quite a depressing note. If I had connected with this book more I can see that it might have been like Herman Koch’s the Dinner in which despite being shocking lingered, but Mother, Mother just didn’t quite hit the right note for me.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (January 15)

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 Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

Adobe Photoshop PDF


Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. She has everything she wants; all she has to do is keep it that way. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison.
Resentful of her sister’s newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in the psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother Will shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Recently diagnosed with Aspergers and epilepsy, he’s separated from the other kids around town and is homeschooled to ensure his safety. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of the bottle—an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family’s impeccable façade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed. Goodreads

I have just finished The Corpse Garden by Colin Wilson

Click on the cover to read my review

The Corpse Garden

Next on my list to read is The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing


Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found, and the case has long gone cold. Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. While Jim fell apart, Patty was consumed by the unsolved case. She abandoned her journalism career and her marriage to spend every waking hour searching and plotting. She keeps contact with Tom, Dani’s childhood sweetheart, who has become a detective intent on solving murders like Dani’s. When he finds a lead that seems ironclad, he brings Patty in on it. After years of dead ends, her obsession is rekindled, and she will do anything for revenge, even become a killer herself-dragging her whole family into the nightmare once again, as lies and secrets are uncovered..Goodreads

This sounds amazing and my hopes are high for a really good read!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Tuesday Teaser (January 14)

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!

My Teaser this week is from Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

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Meet the Hurst Family.
Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others?
Meet her brother Will Hurst – the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take?
Meet oldest sister Rose – the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again.Amazon

“I feel like you’re asking me to choose between my children,” Josephine told the mystery caller. “I love my daughter more than words can express but I’m terrified of her. She critically injured my son. Uh-huh. Yes I’m afraid for our lives.”

Told from the viewpoints of Violet and Will I’ve not read very much of this book but so far so good…..

Posted in Uncategorized, Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 3)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

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!

On Monday I went to the cinema. Now I’m sure many of you do this quite regularly but it is a rare occasion for me, mainly because I’m not a big film lover and so I’m not good at sitting still for over 2 hours to watch one! However back in November I saw an advert for Saving Mr Banks and knew that this was one film I wanted to see! My companion of choice agreed to join me despite not knowing that Mary Poppins was a book!! I quickly filled him in that it wasn’t just one book but a whole series and the film was about the author P.L. Travers. Sadly, I live on an island with one cinema and when I checked the schedules it wasn’t showing here. Christmas preparations took over and whilst not forgotten the film was put to the back of my mind and then on Monday said companion got an email saying it was showing for that night only, oh the excitement!! So off we set in the wind and the rain, bought our drinks and popcorn and I sat down to a great film (and yes it made me cry!)

Saving Mr Banks

Now this is a tale of how my book collection is so large because I then wanted to re-read the original book (really I want to re-read the whole series but I do have some self-control) but decided that I wanted one with the illustrations in as I remember it from childhood. These were not books that I ever owned but I remember borrowing them from multiple libraries over the years. As the kindle version doesn’t have the illustrations Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers is winging its way to my bookshelf.

Mary Poppins

It doesn’t stop there because I now want to know more about the author so also ended up buying Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers by Valerie Lawson

Mary Poppins She Wrote

In addition to this new passion for all things Mary Poppins I came across a review for The Shuttle which was written by one of my favourite authors from childhood, Frances Hodgson Burnett, who wrote The Secret Garden and A Little Princess which I re-read countless times. As this was free on Amazon I just had to have it!

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The Shuttle was first published exactly a hundred years ago and was begun in 1900 but frequently abandoned while its author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, wrote several other books (including, most famously, The Making of a Marchioness). It is about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of
American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class. Amazon

From Amazon Vine I have a copy of Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas which is due to be published on 16 January 2014
by HarperCollins
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Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others?
Meet her brother Will Hurst – the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take?
Meet oldest sister Rose – the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again.
And then meet their mother – Josephine. Perhaps it will then all start to make sense.
An electrifying debut novel about a mother’s love gone too far Amazon

And my favourite publishing house, Random House UK, have given me a copy of The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P. D. Viner which was published in September 2013.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing


Something very bad happened to Dani Lancing.
Twenty years later, her father is still trying to get her to talk.
Her best-friend has become a detective, the last hope of all the lost girls.
And her mother is about to become a killer… Netgalley

Doesn’t that sound like an amazing read? I am looking forward to getting stuck into my latest haul as well as deciding which of all the best books of 2013 lists I really want. Did I mention that my resolution for 2014 is to get a new bookshelf? (it is the only option!)

What books have you found that have made their way to your TBR’s?