Sunday, July 31, 2022

The events in the novel go back and forth between 1994 and 2019 in the small town of Wakarusa, Indiana. In the 1994 chapters, the events and aftermath of the disappearance and murder of 6-year-old January Jacobs are described. In 2019, reporter Margot Davies returns to town to look after her uncle Luke, who is in the early stages of dementia. When Margot was a child, January was her best friend. Now working as a reporter, Margot has never gotten over the death of her friend. When another young girl goes missing in a nearby community, Margot is eager to connect the event to the still-unsolved murder of January. Her boss at the newspaper, however, has grown tired of Margot's obsession with the Jacobs case and fires her. Margot is dismayed to lose her job, but secretly thrilled, since she can now work on investigating the two cases without worrying about deadlines. Young January is obviously based on Jon-Benet Ramsey, as her provocative dance costumes quickly draw the condemnation of the media. Like Jon-Benet, January also has a brother her parents quickly come under suspicion. The family appears on a well-known true crime show after January's death, and every gesture and word are scrutinized (well, almost, the boy makes some questionable remarks that apparently are never followed up). In going back to 1994 and reading what January's mother Krissy was going through at the time, several possible explanations for events that follow are suggested. I enjoyed trying to guess what had happened to January, but I found the writing style exhausting. The author, for some reason, loves a comma, and every page has long and rambling sentences, separated by commas, that seem to go on forever, when surely a few better formed sentences, instead of all the commas, which, to be honest, are extremely annoying, would have helped the story move along faster, and therefore would have been much more enjoyable to the reader, who has to go back and re-read many of these sentences, since by the time you reach the merciful end of one, you have long since forgotten what was happening way back at the start. There are several ambiguous things that happen to major characters that are up to the reader to interpret. I also didn't understand what the author meant when she said the original name of the town, Salem, "invoked the killing of innocent girls." I'm not sure which Salem she's referring to, since the Salem Witch Trials all involved adults (girls were the perpetrators of those atrocities, not the victims).

I received a copy of All Good People Here from NetGalley

Saturday, July 23, 2022


Audrey Lavery has always had a bit of an unsettled life. Her actress mother has been successful on the stage, but not so much when it comes to long-term relationships. Due to her mother's constant need for new male attention, Audrey has spent her childhood adjusting to a parade of step-fathers. This lack of stability seems to have influenced Audrey's life as an adult, as she has been unable to form a steady relationship, finish her studies, or find a permanent job.  

While living with her best friend Clara and their flatmate Paul, Audrey meets Josh during one of their many parties. He barely registers with her (as she spends most of the party kissing another man), but Josh is smitten. When they keep running into each other, eventually they start a relationship.  

All of this is revealed in flashbacks since at the very beginning of the book, Audrey stumbles out of a church where her wedding to Josh has been interrupted. Through flashbacks, Audrey's past is revealed, including her one-day whirlwind relationship with Fred, which she has never gotten over. Audrey and Fred had a "meet cute" at an instant photo booth at Baker Street tube station and went out for coffee. They had an instant attraction and exchanged numbers.  Fred's number became smudged and he never called Audrey, so she had no way of finding out why he didn't turn up for their planned date the following day.  All these years later, Audrey is still pining after "the one that got away." Which is why she's stunned when Josh's sister Miranda turns up at their wedding with Fred as her date.  

The timeline jumps back and forth between "One Day Before I Do" and various times throughout Audrey's life. I was getting definite "Shopaholic" vibes toward the end with some of the more outlandish situations Audrey landed herself in! I really enjoyed the London setting and trying to figure out who Audrey would end up with. The only problem I had was with Audrey herself -- she was a total mess! At one point Josh's wise Granny Parker asks Audrey what she's brining to the relationship, and I had been asking myself that for the entire book. Closing in on 30, Audrey has no real job, no skills, no plan for the future, and seems helpless in nearly all situations (when Josh asks her to do something to help plan the wedding, she turns it over to her mother). Still, if you can get over wanting to slap some sense into Audrey, the story is quite engaging (even including the unexpected Epilogue!).

I received a digital ARC of Before I Do from Shelf Awareness

Wednesday, July 13, 2022


Grace Bernard has had a fairly rough life, even before she ended up in prison.  Her young French mother, who came to London to be a model, gets pregnant during a whirlwind affair.  It turns out the man is already married and wants nothing to do with Grace or her mother.  Very proud, Grace's mother is forced to work very hard to support her daughter and dies young.  Grace is taken in by a friend of her mother's (and eventually by her best friend Jimmy's family) but she grows up seething with anger that her father has rejected her.  Although the family that takes her in is very nice to her, she always feels like a guest in the home.  

Grace has always known her father is the extremely wealthy Simon Artemis, owner of the Sassy Girl fashion empire.  Grace decides to learn all she can about her father by getting a job in the business.  She eventually works her way up in the company in an effort to figure out how to get close to her father and his family.  Her plan is to kill the Artemis family one by one, leaving her father until last so she can let him know who she is and that she is responsible for the deaths.  Oh, and once they are all dead she can claim the Artemis fortune as the only surviving member of the family.

The book begins with Grace deciding to write her memoirs from prison.  She is currently incarcerated for murder, but not for anyone she actually killed.  She readily admits that she *has* killed quite a few people, just not the one she's in jail for.  She's hired a high-powered attorney to appeal her conviction, so in the meantime, to stave off boredom and avoid interacting with her perky, annoying cellmate Kelly, she decides to secretly write down how she put her plan into action.

Grace is an interesting character, full of snark and totally focused on her family annihilation plan.  That being said, from the start I was puzzled as to why she would put evidence of her crimes in writing IN A PRISON CELL that could be searched by her cellmate or guards at any time.  I did enjoy the story, if I could suspend that disbelief in a totally out-of-character premise.  There is a twist at the end with someone who shows up out of the blue, but overall, the story was quite enjoyable and I did, oddly, root for Grace to get her revenge on the (mostly) totally immoral and selfish Artemis clan.

About Me

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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