Review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

the perfect motherThe Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Published: May 1st 2018 by Harper
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

my review

I picked this book up hoping it would cure my reading slump. I wanted to read a gripping thriller because it’s been difficult for books to capture my attention lately. While I’m glad I read this, I do think it wasn’t what I was looking for.

On Amazon, The Perfect Mother is actually described as a gripping thriller. I disagree with this. It is closer to a mystery novel mixed with contemporary fiction.

This is the story of the May Mothers, a group of women who all gave birth in the month of May. They are a sort of ‘mommy group’ and meet up every week to share experiences, have someone to talk to, etc. On the Fourth of July, they decide to have a night to themselves and go to a bar. That’s when Midas disappears. We follow a few of the May Mothers as they learn how to adapt their lives to a newborn as well as deal with the disappearance of Midas.

I have to admit that I was interested in the mystery aspect of this novel. I wanted to know what happened to Midas, and I didn’t entirely guess the ending. Which is a good thing, for a mystery/thriller! My main ‘issue’ with this book is that the mystery is not the main aspect of this novel. At the end of the book, I felt like I still didn’t know much about the people surrounding Midas or the investigation of his disappearance. I couldn’t tell you anything aside from a few basic facts about Winnie (Midas’ mom), the dad or their family. I don’t know what the police investigated or how. To me, that’s an important part of a missing person’s case! Discovering who the people around them are, their lives and secrets.

This is more a tale of motherhood than it is a mystery or thriller. The majority of this book focuses on the women trying to adjust to their changed lives. They feel like everyone else seems like the perfect mother, while they’re struggling in secret. Maybe they don’t want to go back to work or they want their husband to help them out with their baby (duh!!) or they don’t know what to do when their baby doesn’t stop crying.

I like the message, don’t get me wrong. I hate that we are always judging mothers for how they raise their children. Unless your parenting is putting your child in danger or you’re abusing them, your parenting is none of my business. Who cares whether you breastfeed or not? There’s no such thing as the perfect mother, and this book really highlighted that.

Although that is a great message to spread, and we should really all stop judging others, that’s not what I was expecting when I picked up this book. I wanted to read a thriller and be captivated by the mystery. And I wasn’t.

I decided to give this three stars. The writing was good, and the message of the May Mothers and their lives wonderful. But as a thriller this was just okay. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very memorable either.

3 3-star mini reviews | Snakewood, The Girl on the Train & Secrets of the Lighthouse

snakewoodSnakewood by Adrian Selby
Published: 15.03.2016 by Orbit
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Mercenaries who gave no quarter, they shook the pillars of the world through cunning, chemical brews, and cold steel. 

Whoever met their price won. 

Now, their glory days are behind them. Scattered to the wind and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated. 

One by one. 

A groundbreaking debut fantasy of betrayal, mystery, and bloody revenge.

review

I bought this book when I was on a trip to Dublin for 2 reasons. One, it’s a fantasy novel with a gorgeous cover. Two, it was so cheap for a new paperback (€4.99). Then I was even more curious to start it because of all the mixed reviews it has received. So I added it to my #spookathon TBR.

I am so torn right now. Here’s why.

I really liked the premise of the book. Kailen’s Twenty used to be the best mercenary crew. 15 years later, they are scattered all over the world and not all of them have kept up their physique. Someone’s killing them one by one, but why? And who? Did they succeed? This all makes for a wonderfully intriguing plot. I also enjoyed the way it was written. This book is sort of a collection of the story? We get a preface from Goran, the son of Galen (one of the Twenty) saying that he collected and wrote this story for his father, and the Twenty. So he collected different letters, eyewitness accounts and so on, to tell this story of the Twenty. That way you still got to read from different POVs, but they were all written differently. Some were letters to each other, other accounts of conversations, etc. And I really liked some of the characters. I especially loved Gant and Shale. I kind of hated Galathia and Kigan. 

But I had one problem with this book: the pacing. I usually don’t really mind a slow-paced book. But I feel like a slow-paced book should be character driven. When a plot-based book, such as this one, feels slow I constantly feel like nothing is happening. That’s why it took me 10 days to read a 400 page book. Would I recommend it? I don’t know. Maybe see if you can borrow it from the library or something, if you’re hesitant. I do think the story was interesting. It was just so slow. 

This mini review turned out to be much longer than I intended it to be…


the-girl-on-the-trainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published: 13.01.2015 by Riverhead Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: EVERY DAY THE SAME. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

review

I got this one from the library because a) I’d heard such great things about this mystery novel and b) the movie is now out in theaters -and I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. 

I have to admit I’m kind of disappointed in this one. I expected it to be much better, but especially much more engaging. I think the hype just got to me, and my expectations just weren’t met. 

I think the mystery aspect of this book was intriguing! That’s its primary saving grace. I didn’t guess the twist at the end, nor how it was resolved. So the author definitely had the ability of surprising me with her crime and mystery. And I think the author writes morally-grey characters really well. 

But I didn’t really like the other aspects of the book. I felt like I was at a distance the entire time, and wasn’t attached to any of the characters. That made it hard for me to actually care about the crime at all.

I was often frustrated with Rachel too, and at times even disgusted. I often thought the way she intruded in others’ lives, and how that made her feel special, was just wrong. Like she was intruding on someone’s grief because she felt like she knew them, even though she didn’t.

I will go and see the movie, because I think the story may turn out to work better in that format. 


secrets-of-the-lighthouseSecrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore
Published: 01.01.2013 by Simon & Schuster

Genre: Fiction, Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Set in Ireland on the wild coast of Connemara, this hauntingly romantic novel tells the story of a young woman who goes in search of her family’s past and ends up discovering her future. Ellen Trawton is running away from it all. She hates her job, she doesn’t love the aristocratic man to whom she is engaged, and her relationship with her controlling mother is becoming increasingly strained. So Ellen leaves London, fleeing to the one place she knows her mother won’t find her, her aunt’s cottage in Connemara. Cutting all her ties with chic London society, Ellen gives in to Ireland’s charm and warmth, thinking her future may lie where so much of her past has been hidden. Her imagination is soon captured by the compelling ruins of a lighthouse where, five years earlier, a young mother died in a fire. The ghost of the young wife, Caitlin, haunts the nearby castle, mourning the future she can never have there. Unable to move on, she watches her husband and children, hoping they might see her and feel her love once more. But she doesn’t anticipate her husband falling in love again. Can she prevent it? Or can she let go and find a way to freedom and happiness?

review

This is another book I got from the library. I’ve been on a library-kick lately! I’m actually using the library to lend out books in genres I wouldn’t usually pick up. If I don’t end up liking them then, I won’t have wasted money. 

This sounded like an interesting and atmospheric read about a young woman trying to find her place in life, and the romance she finds along the way. That’s not how I would describe it though.

My favorite part of this book is the setting, by far. I really wanted to take a plane and taxi and go to Connemara myself. She made it sound like the most atmospheric and wonderful place on Earth. I loved Ellen’s life at her aunt’s place, feeding the animals, taking walks by the sea, getting lost in the scenery of Ireland. I wish I could do that myself. I also liked the family aspect of the book. This book is so centered around Ellen discovering the family she has in Ireland, and where she fits in. Family is such an important part of my life, and I was glad to see Ellen get to know hers. 

But I was disappointed with the romance, and the “finding herself” aspects of the book. As for the romance, Ellen and Connor (is that his name?) don’t actually meet until page 100+. And their romance goes from attraction to slowly more, which I did find adorable. Bu I don’t like how Ellen treated a different man in her life at all. She also wanted to be a writer, but didn’t manage to do anything to pursue her passion at all. I’m not saying she should’ve written a novel in 2 weeks. But she didn’t seem to have any inclinations either…

Review: The Royal We | An Adult (And Often Depressing) Fairy Tale

the royal weThe Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Published: 07.04.2015 by Grand Central Publishing 
Genre: Fiction, Adult 
Rating: 3/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

SynopsisAmerican Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face. Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become. Which is how she gets into trouble.

review

I picked this book up for several reasons. First, it was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee in 2015 in the fiction category. You may (or may not, that’s okay) know that I’m participating in the Goodreads Awards Challenge, in which I try to read more of the nominees/winners. Second, it’s supposed to be a fairy tale for adults. The royal romance we’ve all dreamed of when we were little. Okay, maybe not all but you know what I mean. I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed with this one. 

PLOT

So the story starts when Bex goes to Oxford for a year during her student exchange. She’s always loved art and drawing, and the historical buildings of Oxford call to her. Her roommate is good friends with Nick (better known as Prince Nicholas), so she gets adopted into their friend group. Then it spans over years, showing the relationship between Bex and Nick, but also the ties with all the friends. 

The part I loved most of the book was Bex’s time at Oxford University. Unfortunately, that part wasn’t all that long. I loved her carefree student life, wanting to get to know herself without the presence of her twin sister, creating friendships and a romantic relationship. I really enjoyed the friendship she created with Nick,  because it seemed like an honest and open friendship. I love those best friends to more relationships.

However, I was less than impressed with the rest of the story line. First of all, I could hardly keep up with how much time had passed. At one point, I thought it had been months but apparently it was 4 years. 4 years! It takes these random jumps, and I couldn’t follow at all. 

Second, literally 50-75% of this story is SO DEPRESSING. I know it’s supposed to be an adult fairy tale, and thus include more realistic problems. But if you have THIS many big problems in your relationship, maybe you shouldn’t be together? I’m not saying a couple can’t have some problems. But these ones are just so major. I’ll talk about it later though. 

I also wasn’t that into the ending of the story, because I felt like it was quite an open one. I invested all this time into this book, the least you could do is tell me what happens on the big day with the whole nation watching! 

So yeah, I liked the beginning of this book far more than the middle and ending. I wasn’t completely immersed in it, probably because the pacing didn’t really agree with me. To be honest, I feel like this book is far too long. It’s about 450 pages… 

CHARACTERS

Let’s start with Bex, shall we? At first, I really loved her. She was interesting, fun and kind. She loved her twin sister, but wanted to take some time for herself. She was down to earth, and real. She spent time watching a guilty-pleasure TV show in her PJs eating her favorite unhealthy snack. Let’s be real, that’s me.  So the Bex at uni, I really admired and adored. I had a lot of fun reading from her perspective.

I also really enjoyed the friendship she built up with Nick. They truly became friends first, spending time together. They both got addicted to the same TV show, so they watched it together as soon as they could, just relaxing. This part of the romance I really enjoyed reading about. 

However, I did NOT like Bex as she got older. In my opinion, she completely lost herself to Nick. I couldn’t recognize the fun, headstrong girl who didn’t take shit from anyone anymore. Instead, she became the girl who moved somewhere and took a job she didn’t want so she could be close to a guy. She became the girl who was hidden under a blanket in a car so no one would see her with him. She became the girl who never went outside with her boyfriend, because he was afraid she’d be seen. She became the girl who compromised all of her ideals and beliefs. She became someone who did as she was told, always. Who judged other people for the things she wishes she could do. I just hated who she had become. Take a look at yourself girl, this is not you. Would you even recognize yourself?

The same thing goes for Nick. I liked his character at university. As he got older, he became a mini version of the father he disliked so much. He always snapped at Bex. Always hid her. Never actually talked about something. This is not a relationship, people! I also think that he often acted like an asshole. I’m sorry, but the wedding-birthday scene? Hell no.

I feel like all the problems in this book could have easily been solved if these people ever actually talked to each other. Do you feel unhappy with your relationship? Say something! People aren’t mind readers. This is my most hated trope in romance. That the characters don’t communicate which creates a big problem they have to overcome. 

There are many interesting side characters, though many of them are also assholes. My feelings on a lot of people changed throughout the book though, so it’s impressive of the authors to be able to create these characters that change so profoundly over the years.


Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I wasn’t a fan of the pacing, or the second part of the book. To be honest, I think that if someone treats you like this, you should walk away. I did give it 3 stars because I loved the first part of the book.