Winter Reading List ❄️

Putzel (4)

I didn’t do so badly with my Autumn Reading List, crossing off all but one of the books I’d planned to read.

I’ve been reviewing them where I can on the #onewomanbookclub tag (which you can access via the menu up there at the top, if you wish). And now it’s Winter and that means I’m even less inclined to leave the confines of my cosy, messy flat unless I absolutely have to – perfect reading conditions.

Here are the books I’m planning to devour over the next few months. You might notice a theme:

Little Deaths

I’m a few chapters in and this already has me hooked. I bought this because I thought it was the next book by The Girls author Emma Cline. It’s not, and I’m an idiot but it was a happy accident as this is written beautifully and has a sheen of mystique to it that I so far love.

Oh, the synopsis? Ruth Malone is an attractive single mother of two kids who go missing one day in 1965. When the police make a horrifying discovery, all eyes point to the woman in charge of their care – and her provocative appearance and ‘questionable” lifestyle do not go in her favour.

Because of course they don’t.

The Devotion of Suspect X

This book had me at ‘The Japanese Stieg Larsson’ tbh. Which is one of the taglines printed on the cover. I didn’t even look deeply into what it was about, just clicked buy and here we are.

For those interested this is Amazon’s synopsis, in a nutshell:

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

It’s well rated and it’s been compared to one of my favourite authors so I doubt I’ll be disappointed. I’m a massive fan of Asian cinema (mainly Korean) so I’m expecting to be blown away. No pressure, Mr Higashino.

Final Girls

I’m cheating a little bit by including this on the list as I’ve just finished it. I thought it was worth a mention anyway. I’m intrigued always by the concept of the Final Girl and this takes that a little bit further by offering us three real life versions.

When the original FG, Lisa seemingly kills herself, it’s up to her fellow club members to find out what the fudge happened, and why. Given that our main FG, Quincy Carpenter has a massive hole in her own memories of that night at Pine Cottage… she might already have more than her fair share to contend with.

I think I’m going to review this in a couple of days so you can find out if I like it or not. Spoiler alert – it was okay.

Alex

This was passed on to me by my lovely friend Alice and I can’t wait to get stuck in. She handed me a pile of horrid sounding thrillers which is both amazing and a little disconcerting. The comfort I get from reading/watching horror/thrillers is hard to explain and sometimes feels like my dirty little secret so when someone else just gets it, it is amazing but odd.

Amazon’s synopsis:

Alex Prévost – kidnapped, beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage – is in no position to bargain. Her abductor’s only desire is to watch her die.

Doesn’t sound like a walk in the park now, does it?

Six Four

Another Japanese crime thriller that is meant to be unique and fantastic. I couldn’t be more in. Again, I haven’t really done too much digging about this one but I am expecting to be impressed.

Amazon’s synopsis:

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

The Roanoke Girls

Sometimes, when I see a book has been recommended by the Richard and Judy Book Club it makes me want to avoid it. But this looks too good to pass up. Another book about family secrets and mysterious girls – delicious.

Amazon’s synopsis:

The girls of the Roanoke family – beautiful, rich, mysterious – seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them that’s never spoken.

Ooooooooooooooh!

Under the Skin

Last but not least, a book I’ve been intending to pick up for a long time, even before I saw the deeply weird film versionWhat Page Are You On mentioned it in their episode about book to film adaptations and I took from that that this is far more accessible than the Scarlett Johansson starring movie (which I loved but found very hard going).

I’m not a massive sci-fi nerd really (besides Star Wars) but I think the earthly setting and seductiveness of main character Isserley will keep me gripped. Here’s hoping.

What are you guys reading? Let me know!

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Book) Review

The-Girl-in-the-Spiders-WebI promised a review of this book, as I’d got so excited on social media about the return of two of my all-time favourite literary characters and a few people echoed my euphoria. So here it is.

I’m going to keep things deliberately vague for two reasons: firstly, so as not to spoil the suspense, of which there is a lot. It’s a book about the underbelly of the Internet, Russian Mafia and Artificial Intelligence FFS, so it’s not giving anything away to say that the plot is steeped in intrigue. Secondly, it’s a little over my head if I’m honest. I’m average when it comes to the technical side of things, but there’s a lot of geek speak. However, I don’t think this will stop you following or enjoying it.

As you may, or may not know, the author of the original Millennium Trilogy (which I bang on about all the time), Steig Larsson passed away in 2004. With him went his sheer brilliance and also the fate of his super characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomvist. Partners in crime, or more importantly, justice.

It was depressing, once the final book had been finished and the last film viewed, to think that that was it. Our heroes’ stories fully told, never to evolve beyond The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which was published posthumously in 2007. Whether Larsson ever had plans to give us more, I have no idea. (Actually, he did but those ideas have nothing to do with this story which is a bone of contention with Larsson’s long-term girlfriend, Eva Gabrielsson).

But then came The Girl in the Spider’s Web and author David Lagercrantz; and, just like that, Lisbeth is back – the most exciting news of all time?

I suppose the question on most people’s lips is, is it any good? Well you’ll have to read on to see what I think!

My Review: 

Blomvist is having issues at work. Sadly these aren’t just a bit of can’t-be-arsedness at the end of a day like the rest of us. The big bosses at Millennium are planning a shake-up in content and this might serious compromise Blomvist’s hard-hitting style.

He’s seriously pissed but just before he throws in the towel forever, a mysterious encounter piques his journalistic interest again. Has this got anything to do with the involvement of an aloof, yet brilliant hacker that may, or may not be his old friend, Salander?

The pair haven’t been keeping in touch, not even the odd postcard but Blomvist agrees to get involved in the curious case of Professor Balder, a scientist seriously concerned for his life, following the theft of some super valuable research.

Balder wants to tell Blomvist his story but things don’t go to plan and lots of drama ensues. The scientist, you see, isn’t just worried about his own life. He’s also fearful for the safety of his young son, August who is autistic.

Balder has been an absent father for too long, so he’s quit his job in the Silicon Valley, Cali. and headed back to Sweden to take responsibility for once. But can he get through to August? And what is this intriguing new skill of August’s? What does it all mean?! (All these questions!)

Meanwhile, Salander is stirring up shit on Darknet and pissing off a lot of people with her skillz. Blomvist optimistically reaches out to his old crime-solving partner but will she take the bait?

I really can’t tell you anymore. What I can say is that you’ll be back in touch with a lot of your old favourite characters; from Plague, the enormous hacker and Erika Berger editor-in-chief at Millennium and on-off lover of Blomvist to Holger Palmgren, Lisbeth’s former guardian and slightly bumbling Chief Inspector Jan Bublanski.

You’ll meet some new ones too, some of whom are terrible but brilliant villains. Gotta always love the villains.

My Thoughts:

This book, of course, has garnered a mixed bag of reviews. Some people just ain’t down for a Larsson substitute and I can totally understand that. However, I’m glad another author has been given the opportunity to bring my favourite character back to life.

I’d rather have some Salander than none at all and I feel like he understands her. She remains the same bad ass; driven and talented, hard as nails but also vulnerable with a moral compass that never ever wavers.

This time around we meet Camilla, Lisbeth’s sister and learn more about their fractious relationship growing up. We gain more insight into the tragic life of the girls and their mother, Agneta. I could never tire of Salander’s origin story or her further adventures, so all I can say is GIVE ME MORE.

There were points I was genuinely moved (one of Blomvist’s beloved colleagues sacrifices himself for the greater good and it’s heartbreaking).

I also had a real soft spot for August and his mother. Savant syndrome is a fascinating topic, one I knew nothing about. By the end of the book you’ll be desperate to see what becomes of the boy and his extraordinary gift.

And I hope, like me, that you’ll enjoy yourself along the way. Because life is so much better withThe-Girl-in-the-Spiders-Web-promo Salander in it.

My rating: 4/5 – not bad. The Millennium Trilogy gets 500/5 but this ain’t bad at all.

Book details: