Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick

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source: free review copy courtesy of FSB Associates
title: Dark Blossom
author: Neel Mullick
genre: fiction
published: Rupa Publications (December 21, 2018)
pages: 214
first line: When Sam had called to schedule a session for the first time, his anger had been palpable.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5
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blurb:
What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat, yet rowing in opposite directions—one clinging to the past, and the other unable to move beyond it?

Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son’s thirteenth birthday to find his world cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially thinking he can cope on his own, Sam finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist. What he doesn’t know is that Cynthia herself is trying to recover from a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband. In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia’s daughter, who harbors a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

Taut with tension and intensity, Dark Blossom explores what lies beneath the surface of the lives of apparently “normal” people.

my thoughts:
Dark Blossom is a story that is full of secrets and centers on a therapist named Cynthia, her daughter Lily and her newest patient Sam. Sam has recently suffered a tremendous loss. His wife and teenage son were killed in a car crash and Sam is still seeking the truth about the cause of the accident.

The story is told through Cynthia’s eyes and we see that she struggles with her own personal issues just like everyone else. She is a single mom struggling to connect with her daughter Lily. As the story unfolds Cynthia finds out the truth about the accident that took Sam’s family from him and she also finds out some truths about her daughter Lily. It all culminates to plot twist at the end that I did not see coming.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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source: purchased
title: Gone Girl
author: Gillian Flynn  / Twitter
genre: crime thriller/mystery/suspense
pages: 422
published: June 2012
first line: When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

My Thoughts:
Oh Gillian Flynn, how you love to mess with people’s emotions while reading.
Gone Girl is my third Gillian Flynn book and I am eagerly awaiting for her to pen another novel. This author easily became an instant favorite after I read Sharp Objects then Dark Places. I went into this one pretty much blindly, I have not seen the film version and I did not know much about the story-line except that the wife went missing.

While I enjoyed reading Gone Girl overall I did have one qualm. The slow pace from the beginning to the middle of the novel. I kept wanting something to happen. Once the latter half of the book picked up I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The story is narrated in alternating chapters by married couple Nick and Amy. We get Nick’s side of the story then we get Amy’s diary entries and her side of the story.

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn was amazing

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title: Dark Places
author: Gillian Flynn
pages: 349
genre: crime thriller/mystery/suspense
published: 2009
first line:  I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.
rated: 5 out of 5!
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Blurb:
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben.

Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

my thoughts:
Sometimes you finish reading a book and you just don’t know what to do with yourself. That was how I felt after reading Dark Places.

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First of all, I breezed through the 349 pages in about one week which is alot of reading for me because I tend to take about two weeks to finish a book. Between work and everything else, there are days I can’t read a single page but Dark Places had me hooked. This is the kind of book that invades your sleep. I was up late the one Friday night reading “just one more chapter” before I finished it up Saturday morning over coffee and toast.
I dove into this one right after I finished Sharp Objects which was amazing as well.

Look at these first lines…

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp it.”

-p. 1, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

And then the story takes right off and twists and turns and doesn’t stop until the very end. I was left speechless and breathless during much of it. I thought about it long after I turned the final page.

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The Pisces by Melissa Broder

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source: free ARC via Amazon Vine
title: The Pisces
author: Melissa Broder (twitter)
published: May 1st 2018 by Hogarth Press
pages: 272
genre: fiction
first line: I was no longer lonely but I was.
rated:
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection.

Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

my thoughts: I honestly don’t know where to begin.
The Pisces by Melissa Broder was one of the most intriguing and shockingly brazen books I have ever read.
I feel as though I have found a hidden gem. I found this one on AmazonVine and the cover and blurb intrigued me. This is one of those books that begs to be discussed, I’ve been thinking about it long after turning the final page.

There are elements of erotica, magical realism, mental illness and women’s issues woven into the plot. Author Melissa Broder is a poet and columnist and she does not hold back, her writing is straightforward, shocking and poetic all at once. This is a story about love and loss and addiction. And sex with a mer-man. Is he real? Is he an illusion? Who knows. I still don’t know. I think he is a metaphor for addiction. Only Lucy ever sees him, only she knows he exists. I was shocked while reading. Often. And then I also felt creeped out and then also sad. I laughed out loud at times as well.

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The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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source: purchased
title: The Silver Linings Playbook
author: Matthew Quick {Twitter}
pages: 289
published: 2012
genre: fiction
first line:  I don’t have to look up now to know mom is making another surprise visit.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending―the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

David O. Russell’s adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook features Bradley Cooper (People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) in the role of Pat, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”-quoted from amazon.com

my thoughts:
Matthew Quick tugged at my heartstrings with The Silver Linings Playbook. We get the story through the eyes of thirty-something Patrick Peoples who as the story begins is finally going home after a few years stay in a mental hospital. Pat’s mom fought hard to get him out and as part of his release agreement he has to continue seeing a therapist and continue taking medications. When Pat gets home to New Jersey you see the dysfunction in his family. His father, his brother and himself are all die-hard Eagles fans. Football is a constant in Pat’s life and it is one of the few things that makes him happy and feel normal again. It is also the main thing that allows bonding time with him and his Dad.

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