Book Review: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What is it about?  Blood Orange is a psychological thriller with three main plot lines. The book focuses around Alison who has just been given her first murder case to defend. The main plotline from the murder case is that Madeline has admitted to killing her husband, but it is not all as it seems. The other two focus around Alison’s private life. She seems to have a happy family with her husband and a young daughter who she often doesn’t have as much time as she’d like because of her work. Also, because she is having an affair with a work college, Patrick. Leading a secret life seems to be working for her, until she begins getting texts from an anonymous number. 

What did I think? I had seen this book all over bookstagram and so I thought id give it a go. However, I felt it didn’t live up to reviews on the cover of it being so compelling people couldn’t put it down. The main character Alison was very difficult to like.  Yes, there were times I felt a lot of sympathy for her, but there were also times I felt she let the reader down. I honestly wanted her to be able to change and realise what she really wanted was a happy family with her husband and daughter, but she couldn’t seem to resist Patrick. I suppose this worked well for the story line concerning the texts and the reader’s want to find out what was going on in that respect. As a thriller, I found that there were excerpts that lived up to this, but this would be about 5 pages at a time before going back to following Alison’s repetitive, mundane life. This could be seen as a good thing as it excites the reader as we want to get back to the drama, but I personally would have liked to see a bit more of a focus on some of the more exciting aspects of the story. Bits would come back that I had forgotten about meaning I didn’t feel that want to read on a find out where that led. I found the most exciting part of the story was the murder trial because it was clear Madeline was not telling the whole story and each time she met Alison, she gave her a little bit more information. I will say the end of the book really redeemed it for me, it was not what I expected, and I found the last 100 pages really picked up the pace. It was an interesting ending in the fact that it was clever in the way it all came together but I felt that most of the characters were unlikable that I found I didn’t have that desire to see what happened to them in the end. The characters I rooted for the most were Madeline and Matilda (Alison’s daughter) as I felt there was something going on with Madeline that she wasn’t the person she made herself out to be. And of course, I just wanted Matilda to be happy when there was so much going on with all the adults in her life. Even though the ending was the most exciting bit of the book, I didn’t finish the book with a sense of fulfilment from reading it. 

Would I recommend? It wouldn’t be a go to recommendation if I’m honest. It didn’t really live up to the expectations I had of it. However, if you are willing to get through some of the duller bits in order to get to the drama this book could work for you.  I have also heard from people who love it, do I very much think it’s a book with mixed reviews. Trigger Warnings – The book does contain domestic abuse (includes physical, emotional and sexual) and reference to brutal murder. 

What will I review next? His & Hers by Alice Feeney


Book Review: ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is a series of letters written by Eva to her husband Franklin about their son Kevin. She writes about her visits to see Kevin in prison after he murdered fellow students, a teacher and a cafeteria worker in the gym of their school. The reader is given an insight into Eva’s mind with the story of Kevin’s upbringing and the time leading up to this event being told through her eyes.

My thoughts: I’ll warn you this is not the book for you if you are looking for a quick read. It took me a lot longer than a book of its length would normally take and it was a difficult book to get into. I decided to persevere as I had heard many good reviews and I am glad I did because it turned out to be a very interesting and thought-inducing read. Normally, when I read a book I feel disinclined to carry on reading when I find the characters to be unlikable and Eva is definitely that however the story made me want to read on. Having Eva presented this way as selfish and pessimistic works for the story, it creates questions for the reader as to the effects this had upon Kevin and makes us question whether her accounts of Kevin’s actions and the intentions behind them are bias because of her outlook. Kevin is an interesting character too, there is a sense of frustration that we are never able to see inside his head except what he has told Eva which wills the reader to continue reading in hopes that their questions will be answered. I was also impressed by the twist towards the end it was not something that I had personally guessed which I always find pleasing in a book as it gives a sudden change to the tone of the novel. The book itself is very well written, using articulate and intricate language. I would have to read another of Shriver’s books to see whether this is her writing style or whether this was the voice she chose to give to Eva. The voice does work well; Eva herself is a travel writer and very passionate about it so it would make sense for her writing style to be this way. Not only this but she is an arrogant character and so such a tone makes it seem like she is intending to show off how educated she is. The only downside to this is that it made it difficult to understand at times and so slowed down the reading of the book but then again allowing yourself more time to read this book will allow for you to really think. After speaking to my own mum about this book, I realised being a mother would definitely mean you have a different perceptive on this book as you would be able to more understand the difficulties a mother goes through with her children. Perhaps I would read it again if I ever had children of my own and see how my views towards it change. The book itself opens up much discussion as you are left with unanswered questions that force you to come to your own conclusions.

Would I recommend? Overall, I feel it is an important book to read as it gives a new perspective on life and allows the reader to contend with the ideas of nature vs nurture. I would definitely recommend this book as it different to anything I have read before and I see it sticking with me for a long time to come. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because it was very difficult to get into at first!

Up next… Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

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Relaxing with a book

Personally, I find reading to be the perfect hobby. You get so much out of it; it helps you expand your vocabulary, allows you to learn and takes you to another world. Of course, there are so many different genres to chose from and though I do have favourites I try to read a wide variety. The main reason I added a book section to this blog is to help readers find books they want to read and I felt it would motivate me to keep reading. I find that I’ll go through phases where I won’t pick up a book but once I do I become once again emerged in the world of fiction. That’s not to say I don’t ever read non-fiction but I find myself less inclined read it and more drawn to historical fiction (typical history student) and crime and mystery novels; so you’ll be seeing a lot of those. Now that I’ve been spending more time at home I’ve found myself to be reading a lot more and I can spend hours turning the pages of a great book. I’ve even joined an online book club! Lockdown is the perfect time to get suck into reading, think about all those book you’ve been wanting to read thinking ‘if only I had time’ well, now’s the perfect opportunity. Submerging yourself in something that’s thought provoking or takes you to an imagined place will also allow you to keep your brain working now that university has broken up for summer and allows for a productive break from work. There’s never been a better time to snuggle up with a nice cup of tea and a novel, especially before bed when if I wasn’t reading I’d be on my phone or laptop which is not the best for a good night sleep. So, why not ask your friend for a great book recommendation?

I am currently reading ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver, so look out for a review on that very soon! If you have any book recommendations or want to see me review a particular book let me know in the comments or reach out to be through social media. There’s nothing like a good book recommendation.