Book Review: Bad Blood

Title: Bad Blood

Author: John Carreyrou

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2018

 

I heard a lot about this book and I kept seeing it on Instagram so I purchased myself a copy.  I honestly thought this was a thriller written about a woman who duped millions, made millions, and had no bit of remorse; I had no idea this is a TRUE STORY.

This is THE story of Theranos, the failed blood test company founded by Elizabeth Holmes.  John Carreyrou is a writer for The Wall Street Journal and happened to have this story land on his lap through some whistle blowers.  We learn about Theranos from start to eventual finish through the words of former and current Theranos employees and those closest to them.  My blood was boiling by the time I was done with chapter 1.

The investigative reporting that was done is remarkable.  No stone was left unturned and every bit of information was verified before it was written.  The fact that Carreyrou is what helped stopped this monster is mind blowing.  This story is written like a thriller and is one that will hold your interest.

With each chapter I grew angrier and angrier.  I would yell at the books during points in time.  How someone could so easily dupe the public on SERIOUS, LIFE CHANGING blood tests blows my mind.  Holmes was warned time and time again that her invention was not quite working and was given options to better improve it; those employees were fired.  If you did not do what she said or liked, you were gone.

This case is still on going.  I made sure to wait until the end before I looked up what is happening now.  I can honestly say I hope this woman burns for what she has done and wanted to do.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think what would have happened if whistle blowers did not step up to the plate.  How she treats people in general is just disgusting.  Ugh.  I am mad again all over just THINKING about this book!

5 stars.  This is a solid 5 star read.  You can tell years went into this book and into all the investigating that Carreyrou did.  I feel so, so, so sorry for the friends and families of those that worked at Theranos and those that ever took their blood test.  I saw red the whole time I read this book.  If you have read it, we need to talk.  I still need to get some angst out about this one!!  Tune in next week for my review of Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie.

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Book Review: Believe Me

Title: Believe Me

Author: JP Delaney

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2018

 

Costco.  Costco always sucks you in and lets you leave with things you didn’t really need.  For me that was another book, Believe Me.

We meet our protagonist Claire, a struggling actor who has made her way to America from Great Britian.  She is here in not the greatest of legal terms, so her work is fairly limited.  To make ends meet she ends up taking a job with a firm of divorce lawyers and she goes out and acts as an interested woman to see if the husbands will cheat.  Let’s make it clear, she never acts beyond meeting them in a public place.

Everything is going ok for Claire until the woman of her last decoy attempt is murdered in her hotel room.  Claire immediately becomes a suspect.  After several grueling hours she is set free and ends up working with the police to try and frame her husband.  She goes through psychological testing and training to catch who Dr. Latham, a forensic psychologist, calls a serial killer.  We go through the months of Claire of getting close to a possible killer, trying to draw out a confession, if at all.

I felt this book was written from the get go with the ending in mind. It felt rushed and the ending was quick in climatic action and then just ended. The book kept my interest but the writing in the middle of the book fell flat to me. Granted, I did not see the ending coming, it did surprise me, however, it felt very far fetched and just happened. Again, it felt like the twist ending was planned before the beginning and middle of the book.

The book is also written in a screenplay-type format too. It was a little weird at first but I guess since Claire is an actress, it fits the bill.

I am giving Believe Me a 3-star rating. This was also a re-release, it was originally published in 2002 with the title The Decoy by Tony Strong. If someone lends you this book go ahead and read it, you’ll be entertained. If you have something else on your to be read list, read that first. Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I felt this book had a lot of hype around it that I just didn’t see. At least I managed to be surprised with the ending! Tune in next week for my review of Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.

Book Review: The Wedding Guest

Title: The Wedding Guest

Author: Jonathan Kellerman

Format: Netgalley Advancer Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Wedding Guest before it is released on February 5, 2019 in exchange for my honest review!

I really want to like this book, however, it became like a chore for me to read.  I think I read 2 other books during the time I was reading this one.  I would like to say that I did not care for the writing style of Kellerman, that is just my personal preference.  I did not enjoy frequent use of short sentences (or parataxis if I may use a big word).  It kept throwing off my pace of reading and I found it to be distracting.  If you don’t mind it, pick up this book!

The book seemed to drag on…and on.  This is number 34 in Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series.  Did I think I missed much by not reading the first 33?  No.  You are able to piece together who the characters are even with (what I found to be) a lack of background on them.  The most important part is that the characters involved in the murders (yes, more than one) are clearly described and grow throughout the story.

I felt it was a lackluster ending.  To be dragged along for so long it ended pretty nonchalantly.  I actually had to re-read one of the last chapters to understand what happened to the murderer.  Maybe it was my lack of focus and that I missed it at first.  Like I said, I was not that into this book.  If you are a fan of Kellerman I am sure you will enjoy this book.  It just was not my cup of tea.

I am going to give this book 3 stars.  If you come across it, don’t stop what you have in line for your TBR list, continue on and get to this when you do.  It does have key character development and keeps you guessing on whodunit until the last quarter of the book when we know (or assume we know) who did it and that drags on until we know for sure, he was the culprit.  To each their own!  If you pick this book up let me know how you enjoyed it!  Tune in next week for my review of Believe Me by JP Delaney!

Book Review: The Lies We Told

Title: The Lies We Told

Author: Camilla Way

Format: Netgalley Advancer Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2018

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Lies We Told in exchange for my honest review.  If you have ever wanted to read a true, honest, and textbook definition psychological thriller, this is the book for you.

The first line in this book talks about a decapitated head.  Don’t worry, it’s only a bird’s head, but still, a decapitated head on the pillow next to a sleeping mother.  If you like stories about psychopaths, pick this one up.

The story is told from 2 perspectives; Clara, a woman whose boyfriend just disappears one night, and Beth, the mother of a psychopath.  I know what you are thinking, how on Earth could these two stories be related?  I did at first.  I thought this must be some crazy story where we get two stories for the price of one and then slowly they start to intertwine until they are so mashed together they are one.  We get some background on both Clara’s boyfriend and Beth’s daughter, especially her childhood, where everything starts to make sense and puzzle pieces start to come together.

As the story goes on there are so many sick twists and turns, it is unreal.  Just when you think you have the story figured out, boom, there goes another twist.  Any other details other than what I have already told would ruin this book for you, so just go read it!

If you have read Baby Teeth, I feel like this is Hannah all grown up, in fact, the psychopath child’s name in this book in Hannah (that added a little more of a creep factor for me).   This was such a deep, dark read.  It really makes you wonder what exactly is going on in the author’s head.  I finished it in 2 days, it is definitely a quick read, and more so because you need to see what happens next.

I am giving The Lies We Told a 4 star rating.  You know I personally am a huge fan of solid endings and I felt this one kind of left us hanging a little.  We know where Clara ends up, at least for the time being.  Beth has told us all about Hannah and has left it open a little, maybe there will be a sequel?  If there is, put me on the pre-order list today, I am dying to see what else this psychopath could do.  Tune in next week for my review of Bad Blood by John Carreyrou!

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Book Review: The Suspect

Title: The Suspect

Author: Fiona Barton

Format: Netgalley Advance Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

 

The Suspect officially is released on Tuesday, January 22nd, so go ahead and place your pre-order for this thriller now!  Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review!

This is a story about Kate Waters, a newspaper journalist, who comes across the story of 2 local girls missing on a trip in Thailand.  The parents are worried wrecks and are trying everything they can to reach the girls.  They agree to talk to Kate and she starts to write about them in the paper and then the day no one was looking forward to comes.  The girls are found.  They’re dead.

This suddenly becomes the hot story and Kate is on her way to Thailand to investigate.  She has created a bond with the parents and she is the only one they like talking to.  Kate has been a journalist for years and has all kinds of connections and is doing all she can to help these parents find closure, while writing the best story she can.  They find out the girls died in a fire that the Thai officials deemed an accident.  Things seem off and Kate starts to investigate more only to be hit with a shock herself.

Kate has a few skeletons of her own in her closet.  One of those skeletons is that her son has been living in Thailand himself for the past 2 years after he dropped out of college.  The police say there was a witness to the fire and he is being treated at the hospital.  Kate rushes over to try and talk to the witness but arrives too late, he has already left.  The nurse eventually breaks down and tells Kate the name of the patient.  It’s her son.

Kate now has a rocky relationship with the families when they discover her own son was at the scene of the crime and has vanished.  Kate is dismissed from the story and goes on her own investigation to see what her son, if anything, had to do with the fire and possible murder of these 2 girls.

Kate is an absolute detective when it comes to her investigating.  The newspaper wants her to rest and take time off to wrap her head around what is happening, however, she needs to find her son.  While she is no longer writing stories about the girls, she is in investigation mode full force, using her journalist ties to get to the bottom of the mystery.

This was a solid 4-star read for me.  I found the book to go a little slow in the middle, but I was interested enough to keep reading.  The story line is well planned out and keeps your interest.  I had to know where her son was and why he was hiding.  I enjoyed the story being told from the girls, as well as the journalist.  It paints a picture at how they ended up dead.  I did not expect the ending to turn out the way it did, I was blind sighted.  Tune in next week for review of The Lies We Told by Camilla Way.

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Book Review: The Elephant In The Room

Title: The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America

Author: Tommy Tomlinson

Format: Netgalley Ebook Advance Copy

Published: 2019

 

I came across this on Netgalley one day and immediately became interested.  Once I started this book I could not put it down.

I have struggled with my weight all my life.  I am nowhere near the size of Tomlinson, however, I am no size 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc (just what size I won’t disclose now, come on guys).  The words he spoke in this story hit so, so close to home that they brought tears to my eyes.

This story was uniquely told.  He takes us on a year-long journey where he decides it is time to lose weight.  At the beginning of each chapter he tells us a story about his life and how he became the weight he is today.  At the end of each chapter we are introduced to the month and what he has been doing to try and lose weight.  He keeps us up to date with a total calculation on how much weight he’s lost or gained in the month and his current weight total.

If you have never struggled with your weight, congratulations.  It is to you I highly recommend you read this book to gain some insight on what it is like and the struggle that those face when trying to lose weight.  It sucks.  I am so happy that Tomlinson points out how diets essentially set you up for failure (read to see why his opinion is this) and cause you to gain weight back.  I appreciate the way he is losing weight and applaud him.

I loved the journey of his life as a journalist and found myself rooting for him.  You cannot help but root for him and if you can’t then you are just a monster.  I would love to grab a beer with Tomlinson and just talk life, that is the kind of story teller he is.  He is real, down to earth, and does not try to get you to feel bad for him at all; no, just for one to understand, that is all.

I am going on a limb and giving this book 5 stars.  The fact that he could move me to tears when he described what it was like to try and lose weight and all that goes on around us, yes sir, preach.  He gets it and expresses it in such a way that is astounding.  He is my voice and I am damn proud to say that.  Pick this book up whether you are skinny or fat and trust me, you will enjoy it.  Tune in next week for my review of The Suspect by Fiona Barton.

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Book Review: The Au Pair

Title: The Au Pair

Author: Emma Rous

Format: Netgalley Advance Readers’ Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read The Au Pair before its release on January 8, 2019 in exchange for an honest, impartial review.

Wow.  What a crazy, wild ride I just went on.  There was so much going on in the last part of the book I am still in shock.  Currently I am suffering from a book hangover, I’m sad this book is over and I just cannot pick myself up and move on just yet.

The premise of the story is about a wealthy family who lives in their grandmother’s home; The Summerbourne House.  This family is about to uncover a web of secrets that they aren’t sure they can handle.  When the “Summerborn Summerbourne” twins were born, there was a lot of mystery surrounding it.  To top it all off the mother killed herself on the day her twins were born.  Only picture from the day of their birth can be found and the mother is only holding one child; which one and why was only one in the photo?

Before any questions can be answered, the family is faced with another tragedy as their father suddenly and unexpectedly passes (albeit 25 years later).  Seraphine, one of the twins, takes it upon herself to find answers about the day of her birth by seeking out the only person who could have them, the au pair who was there that day taking care of her older brother.

I did not see how this story was being played out.  We have an older brother and a set of twins and the author does a fantastic job at weaving the stories of the children in and out.  One cannot possibly guess what is going to happen with them until the very end of the book.  I could hardly put this book down.  So.  Much.  Happens.  At.  The.  End.

I usually am a fast reader but at the end of this book I had to slow down to keep up with what was happening.  It all comes to the surface at once.  You have to brace yourself, take deep breaths, and prepare yourself for what Seraphine will finally uncover.  Have no fear when it comes to the end, The Au Pair treats us with a fitting ending and an even more appropriate epilogue.  YES!

This is a must read, 5 star book.  It flips from the au pair telling her story in 1992 to Seraphine telling her story in the present day.  The puzzle starts to be put together, but, there are still key pieces missing until the very end which always makes for a great psychological read.  This definitely keeps you guessing and your brain will explode when the truth comes to light at the end of the book.  Wow.  I am just elated that we found out what really happened on the day the twins were born and what came of the truth being set free 25 years later.  Don’t miss out on this read!  Tune in next week when I review an advance copy of The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America by Tommy Tomlinson!

 

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