This week I’ve been stuck in bed or on the sofa nursing a knackered ankle, so I’ve been catching up on my netgalley requests. Thanks to the authors and netgalley for the review copies of these books!
I’m afraid I’m lacking in photos for this week due to the aforementioned knackered foot, but I’m hoping you’ll forgive me.
Here’s what I’ve been reading:
If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton
If You Could See Me Now is Keris Stainton’s first adult novel, but it reads like she’s an expert in the genre. I deliberately didn’t read too much about this one before picking it up, because I wanted to be surprised. From the line “Apparently, I’m fucking invisible”, I was hooked. What’s not to love about a story of an invisible woman?
I loved that the story was about Izzy being physically invisible whilst dealing with being metaphorically invisible to those around her. She doesn’t stand out. Her boyfriend, Max, barely notices her and she is always in the background at work. Then one day she becomes literally invisible, and through this, she learns to stand up for herself and make herself seen. She discovers what she wants from a relationship, what she wants from her job and what she wants from her life. I became so invested in Izzy’s development and future that at one point, I shouted out loud and scared my dog. Keris also makes some really great and important commentary on gender, feminist issues and the male gaze. If You Could See Me Now strikes a great balance between serious issues and a laugh-out-loud story that keeps you wanting more. Keris is a wonderful writer. You should definitely get hold of this book: it’s only 99p to pre-order on Kindle just now.
Dare to Fall by Estelle Maskame
Dare to Fall is the story of MacKenzie and Jaden: their tragedies, their families and their friends and their relationship. Kenzie has separated herself from Jaden (her boyfriend) and Danielle (her best friend) after the death of their parents because she doesn’t know how to treat them. The story picks up a year after this tragedy, and Kenzie is still avoiding them. It’s hard to understand this at first: Kenzie seems selfish and I found myself shouting “it’s not about you” at various points. Later, we come to learn that there is more to it than this, that Kenzie is dealing with her own grief, or rather, struggling to acknowledge her own grief. Grief is a big theme of this book: everyone in the book is grieving differently and the author writes about it all beautifully. Jaden and Kenzie meet by chance when Kenzie is trying to buy cheap alcohol for her mum, and this sparks an attempt to rebuild their relationship which becomes a huge focus of the book. Along the way, Kenzie learns to deal with her own grief and that of those around her. Everyone is forced to face up to their actions and it makes for a really interesting story with some jaw dropping moments. The twist at the end that made me sick to my stomach, but also made me feel silly for not guessing sooner. I just wish we knew how that particular story-line concluded because I needed some closure there. I would definitely recommend Dare to Fall to others, but be prepared for it to play with your emotions.
All Things New by Lauren Miller
All Things New is the story of Jessa, who manages to cover up her anxiety until one night when she ends up in a tragic accident. What follows is Jessa trying to rebuild her life and control over anxiety. This one gets a mixed review from me: some parts I really loved and others I couldn’t get on with at all. At times the psychology around anxiety bordered on sounding like a text book, and the dialogue at these moments felt stilted and unrealistic. My other main complaint is the angel story-line which I just couldn’t get on with at all: I expected and hoped for something more realistic and sinister to wrap up that thread. I felt like, particularly towards the end, a lot of the plot-lines were wrapped up quickly and not resolved satisfactorily: I wanted to know more. For the most part though, it was a great story and well written. I loved the idea of Jessa losing her mind’s eye after her accident and that she saw other people’s wounds on their faces (this is one of the lines I wish had been explored more). The novel has a strong opening and the descriptions of Jessa’s life with anxiety are outstanding. I loved the way that anxiety was represented in the novel, and how this was amplified by being a first-person narrative. I loved the friendship between Jessa and Hannah, and her relationship with Martin and how these formed and developed as the story went on. I would have liked more detail of Hannah’s struggle, as this was a fascinating and important side story and I felt that Jessa’s own story overshadowed it a lot. I really struggled with the ending to the novel; I just didn’t find it believable enough, and that let the ending down for me. Overall though, this is an interesting read and I would recommend it for anyone looking to get an insight into living with anxiety.
A Change is Gonna Come
I’m almost finished with this collection and it is awesome! Looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you next week.
That’s it from me! How was your week? What have you been reading?