Friday 29 April 2022

BLOOD SUGAR by Sascha Rothchild

She's accused of four murders. She's only guilty of three...

When Ruby was a child growing up in Miami, she saw a boy from her school struggling against the ocean waves while his parents were preoccupied. Instead of helping him, Ruby dove under the water and held his ankle down until he drowned. She waited to feel guilty for it, but she never did.

And, as Ruby will argue in her senior thesis while studying psychology at Yale, guilt is sort of like eating ice cream while on a diet - if you're already feeling bad, why not eat the whole carton? And so, the bodies start to stack up.

Twenty-five years later, Ruby's in an interrogation room under suspicion of murder, being shown four photographs. Each is a person she once knew, now deceased. The line-up includes her husband Jason. She is responsible for three of the four deaths... but it might be the crime that she didn't commit that will finally ensnare her.   

This is a book that caught my eye as soon as I read the blurb. And it did NOT disappoint.

Ruby is a therapist in Miami Beach, but is now sitting inside an interrogation room with a detective and four photographs. She's been accused of killing her husband, Paul. And although Ruby is no stranger to murder, this is one she didn't actually commit... 

Wow. Just wow. This was such a brilliant story! 

When I started reading this, I found the first chapter quite shocking and a little disorienting. I mean, why would a kid do that? BUT, after reading the next chapter and the one after that, it soon became very apparent why that happened. It was still shocking, but now I HAD to find out more about Ruby's life and why she found herself inside a police station at the age of thirty.

The writing style is addictive. The way everything unfolds while she sits inside the stuffy (and freezing) room as each photo sends her mind back to the past, was very well executed. Every single flashback Ruby remembers and shares with the reader is important in some way. No detail is too small to fit seamlessly into the heart of this gritty account by a woman trying to survive in her own way, and by her own rules.

Ruby is one of those murky characters who on the surface appears to be somewhat unhinged, even psychotic. Yet, the more I got to know her, the more I realised how intelligent she really was and how she was able to justify everything about herself and everyone around her.

The way she narrates her truth is so commanding, that I couldn't look away. Even when I knew something really awful was waiting ahead, I pushed on because nothing mattered more than delving deeper into this woman's complicated life. 

Also, I really liked Mr. Cat and Kangaroo. The fact she loved animals was something I didn't expect but truly appreciated. As well as the portrayal of sisterly and platonic love.

Blood Sugar is a riveting and disturbing book because it doesn't shy away from the raw reality of life, people, and their personal motivations. Good or bad, everything is seen under the garish light of reality without its many daily filters. Plus, it does a great job at exposing the innermost unfiltered thoughts that race through everyone's minds more often than they would care to admit. Every single moment of this story is fascinating, and even though Ruby did commit some awful things, I often found myself really liking her. This woman believed in her convictions and actually did what she thought was right. 

I enjoyed the hell out of this deeply psychological study into the human psyche. 

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

Blood Sugar, April 2022, ISBN 9781398705616, Trapeze

Wednesday 27 April 2022

ANATOMY: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz


Edinburgh, 1817.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who's just trying to survive in a city where it's too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist's Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham's lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books - she'll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she's made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares - until Hazel. 

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society. 

Firstly, this cover is absolutely beautiful. It's such a simple piece of art that captures the heart of the plot. So, thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

Hazel Sinnett isn't as interested in getting married as she is in becoming a surgeon. But it's 1817 and ladies are expected to behave a certain way, while being excluded from many things. Jack Currer is a resurrection man and stagehand, just another person trying to survive in Edinburgh's Old Town. When the two meet, they realise they might be able to help each other in a lot of ways...

Well, that was amazing! A seriously awesome book that I found hard to put down.

I got sucked into this gloomy tale as soon as I started reading. The city of Edinburgh at the beginning of the 19th century is a cesspool of filth, entertainment, and scientific breakthroughs. It's a place that isn't pretty, even for the wealthy because there's a plague sweeping through the city.

This most fascinating story captured all of that misery and desperation in such a vivid way that I felt like I was temporarily transported there.

Actually, all of the imagery is described in the same detailed way. Starting from the grave digging, all the way to the many surgical procedures handled in the interesting narrative, as well as the social expectations, and the anatomy Hazel is so obsessed with.

Hazel is the main narrator, but we also catch a glimpse of Jack's POV. I really liked both Hazel and Jack. Hazel is such a strong-willed young woman with an interest others consider morbid and reserved only for the male species. And she does everything she can in order to learn the trade, even if it's bound to backfire because the odds are against her. Jack is just as strong. He works two hard, physical jobs to stay afloat in the decaying city he calls home. Their time together was captivating. Their connection serves as the backbone to the events that help uncover the horrible mystery they find themselves in the middle of when Hazel starts helping the poor.

Anatomy: A Love Story turned out to be a very dark and entertaining novel peppered with the frustration of how women were treated/disrespected through history, even when they had ambitions to be more than wife and mother, but still weren't considered important family members. There's a serious Frankenstein vibe throughout that I found intriguing, and a sense of wonder that spills from every page. Plus, I'm always a sucker for strange happenings in the middle of the night inside a cemetery. Especially in such a bleak setting, during an awful and unsteady time.

It's also a heartwarming love story between two young people who should never have even crossed paths, let alone found each other.

I absolutely loved this! ❤️

Anatomy: A Love Story, January 2022, ISBN 9780349433356, Piatkus

Friday 22 April 2022

SAGA, Issue #56 & 57 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples


Saga #56Saga #56 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although we 're introduced to a bunch of new characters and return to others, this kinda felt like a filler issue. I also did NOT like that shitty ending.

That pirate spaceship is super fucking cool, though. And the art in this series is still amazing, unique and so damn creative.


Saga #57Saga #57 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ah! That's more like it!

This issue takes us back and reveals a very important thing that Alana did, which will directly impact her interaction with these pirates. She accepts a job, has to leave the kids for a while, and in the meantime, the Will (aka, the asshole) has some shitty plans that are going to cause some serious problems for Alana and Hazel.

Wish there was more Lying Cat, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit!

Thursday 21 April 2022

SAGA, Issue #55 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples


Saga #55Saga #55 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saga is one of my favourite comic book series, and after the heartbreaking Issue 54, I was devastated. 😭

And now: it's back!

Three years have passed and things are still pretty shitty in this world. But Hazel is a bit older, and a lot snarkier. She's also quite brazen, rebellious and cheeky. Yeah, she's definitely inherited a thing or two from her parents.

After the awful tragedy they suffered, Alana is trying to keep their small family going, and has resorted to some unsavoury ways of doing so...

The gang is back with quite a few new faces, and I'm hooked. The artwork is still awesome. The story is still outrageous, and doesn't shy away from violence, sex and the totally unexpected.

Looking forward to reading more!

Wednesday 13 April 2022



Gwendy's Magic Feather (The Button Box, #2)Gwendy's Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just realised that I read the first Gwendy book in 2017. Yikes! 😳 I can't believe it's been that long, but between the many books I have all over the place and my own writing, I always manage to forget I have heaps that I really want to read. 😣

Gwendy is all grown up and is a Congresswoman in DC. She's trying to change the world, and the last thing she expects is to come across the button box again. Especially since she's heading back to Castle Rock for the Christmas holidays...

This book hooked me in as soon as I started reading. I wanted to follow Gwendy on her new adventure and ended up reading the first 55 pages yesterday in one sitting, then read the rest today because I couldn't stop.

After finding out Stephen King didn't actually write this, I wasn't sure what to expect. But it didn't matter because Richard Chizmar is a great writer, and this turned out to be a fascinating installment. Not just because of the temptation Gwendy faces when the box mysteriously reappears, but because there's an awful mystery in Castle Rock that she gets caught up in. And Gwendy's parents provided another layer of unexpected emotion.

Plus, I really enjoyed reading about the twists and turns Gwendy's life takes right until the very end. I loved that ending!

The illustrations were lovely, too.

Thursday 7 April 2022

YOU LOVE ME by Caroline Kepnes


You Love MeYou Love Me by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying that Joe Goldberg is a delusional piece of crap, who casually blames the women he gets with (and anyone who orbits them) for his shitty luck. Like, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a fucking psycho who's attracted to unavailable women. 😐

The problem is, that I can't stop reading his books. Even though I hate him from start to finish. Even though I'm totally judging him all the way through. And, even though I cringe at pretty much every arrogant thought that enters his mind—and there are MANY.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's talk about the latest installment in this series.

This time, Joe ends up on an island in the Pacific Northwest, working as a volunteer because he's found his next target. Mary Kay is a librarian, his boss, and the new woman to obsess over. She's efficient, kind, and gets Joe hot under his cashmere sweaters. But the harder he tries to hook her in, the less he seems to achieve. So it doesn't take him long to resort to stalking. Ugh.

Yep. Joe once again convinces himself that this new woman is the one for him. And to make sure that happens, he slips back into his manipulative and stalkerish ways. While excusing every bad deed because after all, he's just a nice guy who is searching for love and wants to rescue the bored mother.

Mary Kay doesn't know what she's getting herself into by catching his attention, and then by offering friendship. With a few other perks. But she's no angel and her friends and family aren't perfect, either.

Something that I really like about these books is that although Joe is a shit person, he always manages to expose just how shitty other people are too. There are some really despicable characters in this book. Some actually rival Joe, because sociopaths are sure to attract others just like them.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: don't get involved with Joe, because he destroys everything and everyone he crosses paths with. Then lands on his feet.

Another awesome installment!
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