Reading a pretty hyped up book has its own disadvantages, mainly the pressure to like it because everyone else did. But did Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens pass the test for me? Let’s get on to the book review shall we?
The book begins when six year old Kya watches her mother leave their shack and her five children with her drunk, violent and often absent father. Soon one by one her siblings also flee, as does her father eventually, leaving her behind to fend for herself.
She attends the school for a day, forced by the authorities and tempted by the meal, but realizes she would be hungry rather than be laughed at. When Kya learns to accept her loneliness, two boys enter her life.
One of them teaches her to read and discover more about the marsh life and another shows what her life could be if she were a “normal” girl. And to make things worse, both of them abandon her at some point, just like her family.
Fast forward to 1969, when they recover a local athlete, Chase Andrews’ body near the marsh. Without much evidence, they arrest Kya when the villagers come to know Chase and Kya were closer to each other than they all thought.
Why was Kya arrested and who murdered Chase? What happens to Kya forms the rest of the story in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
In this historical fiction, there are two timelines – one following six year old Kya’s life from 1952 and the other follows Chase’s murder investigation in 1969. There are vast differences in the writing styles, almost like they were written by two authors.
But I think that worked, because for me they felt like they were different genres (a coming of age romance and a murder/legal thriller). And I am sure fans of both the genres would have something for them.
It is apparent that Delia Owens knows the marshland very well. And her writing ensures the reader gets transported to the wetlands themselves. Once I suspended the skepticism about a kid living all alone, I really liked Kya and her will to survive everything that life throws her way.
I loved how Where the Crawdads Sing spoke of several themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism. And yet made it all about hope and love.
The romance part was a tiny bit melodramatic. But when you are 20 something everyone is allowed to be heart broken and decide to “never love anyone ever again”. There were quite a number of red herring and I was at a point convinced someone particular was the murderer. But surprisingly they were not!
What worked for me
Where the Crawdads Sing works mainly for Owen’s writing and her ability to grasp the reader’s attention – be it the romance or the court room drama!
Kya herself is an unique character and she will be cherished as one of the strong female literary characters in my mind.
Despite talking about so many serious themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism, it is hope and positivity that I ended up feeling.
What may have been better
The first part contains a lot of descriptive writing, so if you are not into those type of books be warned.
Also a warning people who are not into alternative timelines.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of those books that survived the hype and came through for me. I liked the author’s writing style and her character building. Catch Where the Crawdads Sing before the movie comes out!
Reading and learning new things about the publishing world has been a great interest of mine, as it should be for all book nerds, for a while now. And it might not come out as a surprise that I love a thriller and the good ol’ chase. How would it be if these were combined in a single book? Presenting the Camino Island from none other than the king of legal drama, John Grisham and it takes place in the literary world (yay!). Lets get on with it, shall we?
Book Name: Camino Island
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Fiction – Thriller;
Characters: Mercer Mann, Bruce Cable, Denny, Jerry, Mark, Trey, Ahmed, Elaine Shelby
Setting: Florida, The USA
A five member gang pulls a heist at the Princeton’s Firestone library and takes off with the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original manuscripts. The FBI successfully nabs two of the five men and the others rush into hiding with their loot.
When they hear the manuscripts are about to turn up at the Camino Island, an (imaginary) island near Florida (I looked up) they send in Mercer Mann as an undercover agent to spy on their prime suspect Bruce Cable. Mercer is a currently unemployed teacher and a struggling writer/novelist who had a grandmother on the island, while Bruce is a bookstore owner and a patron for several authors who regularly visit Camino Island as a publicity hop.
Mercer also gets to Bruce’s colorful life with his literary friends and his wife, and tries to find inspiration for her work. Was Bruce really the bad one? Did they recover the manuscripts and how? You should read Camino Island to find out.
While it has been a few years since I read Grisham’s books, I have loved his legal thrillers and have been a true Grisham fan. And that is one of the main reasons I picked this book up when I saw it on the Amazon’s top sellers. But Camino Island seemed nothing like those high tension dramas, even with the awesome literary characters.
Bruce is the ultimate bad boy dream come true. He has amazing friends, loads of money, and a wife whom he is in an open relationship with. Who am I kidding? Let us get real – Who cares about those stuff? He owns a bookstore and reads a LOT and has so many author friends. Seriously he is the dream. Oh did I say that he is the bad guy (or is he?) and dabbles occasionally with the illegal, black market and literally a book thief. Woohoo!
Mercer was an aspiring writer who has not submitted her manuscript to her publisher in the past three years and is recently laid off from her teaching position. With million dollars at stake, she is pushed to playing amateur sleuth.
Camino Island has some interesting characters but what fails for me is that it turned out from a thriller to a romance novel midway. How am I supposed to take that from John Grisham himself? I have come to expect too much out of him to read a ‘good girl falls for the bad boy‘ from him.
The heist itself kinda fell short for me (and it comes up in the first few chapters) but it didn’t deter me from hoping Grisham’s writing will salvage it. But after the part where Mercer comes in and ‘falls for Bruce’ it didn’t even sound like Grisham anymore. I was sorely disappointed in the plot and the writing part.
The saving grace was that I was reading about the literary world, independent writers, and retail booksellers, though the excitement ran thin soon. I have learnt my lessons about having high expectations. I am going to go back to reading some of Grisham’s good ones from the yesteryears.
If you can dive into it without any huge expectations based on John Grisham’s older legal thrillers, you might enjoy Camino Island as a quick read at the beach or for your book club.
You know what makes a winter night cozier? Hot chocolate? Yeah, that too but more so a romance. It has been years since I read a Nora Robert but I remember seeing Come Sundown on the Amazon top seller list I decided to give it a go.
I have read Nora’s books earlier and I knew what I was in for with Come Sundown. I knew I was going to have a solid plot, well-drawn characters, and that happy ending. Did she give me what expected? You will have to read the review to know more.
The story begins with Alice Bodine’s abduction in 1991 and moves ahead to introducing us to the present day Bodine resort run by Bodine Longbow. The upscale Bodine resort along with the Bodine ranch, run by her brothers Chase and Rory, offers the ranch experience to its guests.
Bodine has no time to think about her love life and her whole life revolves around her family and running her resort. All that changes when Callen Skinner, her childhood crush, and her brother’s best friend comes back to the town and starts working at the ranch. The couple has always liked each other, but they decide they want to keep it casual. How far would they go before they realize they are destined for each other?
What could have been just a mere romance (gasp, did I say mere?), turns into a thriller when bodies of two women associated with the Bodine family turn up. As if that was not enough to rise a havoc, Aunt Alice returns to her family but severely abused and traumatized. Is there any connection between the murders and Alice’s return? Or is it Cal’s return that we have to worry about? You will have to read Come Sundown to know more.
Heavily marketed as a romantic suspense, Come Sundown could have easily been a thriller. The romance part didn’t work well for me (more on that later) but the mystery and thriller part held the book tight. It might come as no surprise that thriller is not a new genre for Nora, as she has been writing thriller under her alter ego J.D. Robb for a long while now.
Nora’s books have always had a great emphasis on the familial bonding and subplots make them worthwhile. Come Sundown is no different. Rory and Chase’s romantic lives play a great distraction from the leads’ story. Which brings me on to Bo – Cal love which was tepid at the best. Apart from the physical attraction they have been harboring since their teenagers, I never found anything clicking between them. No passionate love that is usually promised by the genre. It is supposed to be a romance, dammit.
The most interesting character in the book was Alice Bodine. Hers was the only one that had a development. I have always loved reading about psychos; and social outcasts. Well, her suffering through rape and physical abuse caught me right into the story.
Nora’s writing is exceptionally good and I have come to expect nothing less from her. All you Nora Roberts’ fan you will love Come Sundown. If you are new to Nora’s writing, it will take a bit of your time to get into the setting and just sit through the introduction to every character in the story. If you can get through it, you will not regret this 400+ page romantic suspense, or as I call it a thriller.;
My name is not uncommon in my part of the world and quite often I meet new people who share my name. What would you do if you stumble across a letter written to another person with your name? Would not that pique your curiosity? Would you consider that a coincidence or a divine interference? Follow Tina’s story in The Letter to find what she does when she faces such a situation.
Book Name: The Letter
Author: Kathryn Hughes
Genre: Fiction – Romance;
Characters: Tina and Rick Craig. William Lane, Billy Stirling and Chrissie Skinner
Setting: Manchester, The United Kingdom
The story begins with a young girl asking her grandmom about how she met her husband.
In the 1970s Tina Craig suffers through her abusive marriage with Rick, her violent and negligent husband. She has already once tried to get away from him but ended up being pregnant when he raped her. Against all the good judgments of her friends, she continues to stay with him.
Tina works at a charity shop where she comes across a letter in one of the coats that were given away. She realizes the letter was never unposted and the curiosity gets the better of her. She opens the letter the written by Billy to his girlfriend Chrissie in the 1940s.
Billy and Chrissie are young, star-crossed lovers from the pre-WW-II era. He writes a letter to Chrissie apologizing for his behaviour when she tells him that she was pregnant earlier that day and asks her to marry him. Tina’s heart flutters when she reads Billy’s letter and wonders what had happened to them and why the letter was never posted.
Intrigued by the coincidence that she got a letter written to another Christina, her full name, from an earlier period, Tina sets on a mission to find out the story behind the letter. She meets William who has set out from the USA, to find out his biological parents. How and where does their story unite? Did Tina get away from Rick? Read The Letter to know more.
The story alternates between the voices of Tina, Billy, and Chrissie quite smoothly. The writing is set in a heartwarming tone with a tinge of poignancy – the kind that would leave you feeling mushy even after you finish reading it. I found The Letter on the Amazon top charts a while ago.
I loved the first part of The Letter involving Tina and her abusive husband Rick, as I always do. But the parts that followed let me down badly, maybe it is due to the plot’s credibility itself, you know too many coincidences and the predictability of the so-called twists.
The Letter is a story of two women and men they chose to love, separated by three decades, connected by the power of written words. If you were a Nicholas Spark lover, you might love The Letter.
Have you read The Letter? If so, what do you think of the book? would you want to read it? Share your thoughts. As always I love talking about books with you in the comments.
I don’t like people telling me to do something that I was already gonna do anyway. I am sure this one would irk everyone. Most of the time, the reinforcement is well meant, but it seldom works in the intended direction. Do you remember the joke about keeping a secret? Warn them not to tell anyone and you will have people hearing about very soon. Newlyweds Alice and Jake face such a conundrum. Read the review of Amazon’s bestselling psychological thriller The Marriage Pact to know more.
Characters: Alice and Jake, Vivian, Declan and Diane, Orla Scott, Finnegan, JoAnne and Neil Charles
Everything seems perfect for the newly-wedded Alice and Jake. The perfect couple receives the almost perfect gift from an acquaintance. An invite to join an exclusive and secret club called the Pact. The goal of the pact seems very simple: to keep their marriage intact, with few simple rules and a little help from their like minded ‘friends.’
Jake and Alice accept that they both want their marriage to last and accept to be a part of the Pact. When they are presented with a manual with bylaws for their ‘happy marriage,’ the couple take it in a stride. Some of the rules ask them to pick the spouse’s call whatever may be the circumstances, gift each other every month, get away on holiday once in every three months, etc. This practical prescription works very well for both of them very well for a while, and then life happens.
Alice’s firm requires her to put in long hours, and she faces the consequences of neglecting her marriage and the bylaws of the Pact. The ‘punishments’ make them reconsider their allegiance to the Pact, only to realize that ‘no one ever leaves the Pact.’ They work hard to follow the rules, which does help their marriage but the pressure to follow the rules gets overwhelming. How far would you go to keep up your commitment? Give up your marriage? Or the Pact? Grab The Marriage Pact from here, right away.
First off, the premise is entirely new and made so much sense – what could go wrong when you have friends to fall back on to keep your marriage on track? Well, we Indians do know how that works. The family replaces friends in case of our arranged marriages. So yeah, I kept drawing parallels until I read the part about the bylaws. Oh, families are much better – at least they don’t punish. But the comparison stopped right there; the story moved in a fresh direction that I hadn’t expected at all (Yes, I don’t read the blurb before I picked the book). For once I was not predicting all the twists, that came out of nowhere.
The fast paced writing is well appreciated, making The Marriage Pact last in the top 20 of the Amazon bestseller charts for more than ten weeks now. The book with 400 pages could have been cut shorter, but the racy narration mostly made up for it. The statistics from Jake’s work (he is a therapist *eye roll*) could have been avoided, all it did for me was to wonder why he was not doing a better job with his marriage.
At about 3/4ths of the book, I couldn’t wait for the book to end because I felt the story went off the rails and there were too many things making it a mumble jumble. It somehow turned from a psychological thriller to a sci-fi action to self-help(?) in about 100 pages.
There are a few questions left unanswered, and the ending left me wanting for more and better. But of course, either of the ending that was possible would have left me asking more. There were times that I wanted to push the manual against their faces to make them read it. Yes, they had signed off the documents without reading the terms and conditions, and one of them was a lawyer, for God’s sake. If you overlook these flaws and take the plot as such without questioning its credibility, you might enjoy this psychological thriller better.