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: 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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Book Review: The Christmas Wish

Title: The Christmas Wish

Author: Tilly Tennant

Format: Kindle

Published: 2018

 

DROP EVERYTHING!  STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!  Go and read this book now!  *Disclaimer: not for people who hate heartwarming, funny, feel good holiday romance novels.  This has become my FAVORITE holiday read ever; to the point where I may even re-read this!  (I know that’s a shock, I NEVER re-read my books!)

The story starts out with Esme who decides to break it off for good with her boyfriend and goes to her grandmother’s house for some solace.  She has neglected her friends and family while she was dating her tool of a boyfriend and has an estranged relationship with her parents.  Her grandmother is the only person she knows that will take her in with no questions asked.

They bond and her grandmother is hell bent on her repairing her relationship with her parents.  Shortly before Christmas, she passes away.  Esme discovers her grandmother bought a paid for a trip to Lapland, a place in Iceland she has always wanted to go but her husband would never take her.  As Esme goes through her grandmother’s belongings she discovers tickets to Lapland that her grandfather had bought but passed away before he could take his wife.  Esme is torn at what to do with the trip and, as any down and out woman does, goes back to her tool of a boyfriend.

She tries to convince her boyfriend to go on the trip with her but all he wants her to do is to get the money back for it and spend it on something else.  Esme decides to be bold, sneaks out of the house while her boyfriend is at work, and does what her grandmother would have wanted her to do; she goes on the trip by herself.

She meets up with 3 other solo travelers; Zach, Hortense, and Brian.  Hortense and Brian end up hooking up and that leaves Zach and Esme, as friends.  Esme starts to grow fond of Zach but he is keeping his guard up high and she cannot figure out why.  Don’t even get me started on his mood swings, they’re intense.  As she takes this trip, she starts to realize there is more to life than she will ever see with her boyfriend and she needs to start living her life.

I cannot say anything else without giving key parts of the book away so, go read it!  The detail in this book around Lapland just painted a vivid picture in my mind.  I know how a very high desire to visit Lapland in person and one day visit these places Tennant describes in this book.  The attention to detail is unreal and really makes this book stand out.  I truly felt like I was everywhere described in this book.

This is a 5-star book.  Yes, 5 stars!  I wanted to be in Lapland.  I was rooting so hard for all of the characters in this book.  They all faced some difficult things in their lives and all were able to see past those times.  This made my heart smile, and my face, and even made me tear up a little and laugh out loud.  The penmanship Tennant has is just stellar and remarkable.  This truly goes beyond your typical holiday novel and is a genuine, solid read.  Does it involve romance?  Yes, but, this book offers so much more than that!  Tune in next week for advance copy review of An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

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Book Review: Restoring Christmas

Title: Restoring Christmas

Author: Kate Kasch

Format: Kindle through Voracious Readers Only

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Voracious Readers Only for letting me get my hands on this lovely holiday read!  I enjoyed every single minute of this book and I’m looking at you Hallmark to turn this in to a movie next year!  Fair warning right now, if you don’t like the typical Hallmark Christmas movies then pass over this review because you won’t like this book.  If you’re a sucker for a predictable holiday romance, this book is for you.

The story starts out innocent enough, we meet two sisters, Gretchen, an aspiring photographer who works at a bar, and Adrienne, a workaholic at Morgan Lynch.  They both have not spoken to each other and years and when they both receive a red letter at their door steps, they realize they have to.

Their parents died 4 years ago, right before Christmas, in a car accident.  The tragedy did not sit well with the girls and Adrienne took off, leaving her world behind as she knew it.  She moved to New York City and began a new life.  Gretchen also moved to New York City, trying to make a life for herself, always hoping to make it big.  They both never let the house go and as it turns out, never paid taxes on the house in a year and it was going to be sold unless they came up with $25,000 by the end of the year.

They go back to their hometown in Connecticut and see the disarray the house has become.  They get the idea to decorate their home back up for the holidays and try to win the grand prize of $25,000 and keep the house.  Being back in their hometown, Adrienne re-encounters her ex-boyfriend, whom she just up and left without saying goodbye to 4 years ago.  He ends up coming to her rescue with a friend to help them get the house back into tip top shape.

The girls start to get help from the community and realize what an impact their parents had.  They feel guilty for ever parting ways and start to mend their relationship.  We also get to see a relationship bloom with Gretchen and Adrienne’s ex-boyfriend’s best friend.  Will sparks fly between Adrienne and her ex?  Mind you, she has a current boyfriend.

Without ruining too much (and again, this book IS predictable) I was a little disappointed in the end.  I was rooting for Adrienne and I did not feel I got enough out of it for her.  Gretchen hit the jackpot, which, good for her, she’s struggled for a few years, but, ugh, I was just hoping for more for Adrienne!

This is a 4-star book from me, provided again, you love the super cheesy holiday books.  It is a heartwarming story to see 2 estranged sisters come back together for a good ause.  Their parents would be so proud.  If you’re looking for a feel good story with a touch of romance, this book is for you, read it now!  Tune in next week for yet another holiday book review of The Christmas Wish by Tilly Tennant.

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