A Stranger in the House, a review

Well this was… fine?? I’d hoped for a lot more

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I don’t know if I’m just going off thrillers? Maybe? Or maybe off a specific type of thriller? But this was just so…meh. We have a woman who isn’t who she seems, a husband who is confused, and a neighbour who’s a little too close for comfort.

I was just… not that interested. I kept reading this, rather than DNFing it, as I was interested enough to want to know how the story ended. But it wasn’t even worth it in the end for me. Everything was so predictable and boring. It felt like the end was supposed to be a surprise twist but it fell completely flat.

This concept had the possibility of really paying off and creating a great story and for me it just… didn’t.

On CAWPILE I rated this book:

Characters: 6

Atmosphere: 7

Writing: 6

Plot: 5

Intrigue: 8 (look I’m nosey)

Logic: 7

Enjoyment: 5

Which gives me an overall rating of 6.29 which is a lowwww 3 star. And even that feels generous. Possibly because I’ve had more time to think on this book and I’m definitely not hyped about it. If you asked me I’d probably give it a 2 stars

Highlight for trigger warnings: Murder, fertility issues, cheating, ableist language, abuse, rape by coercion, cheating recounted, domestic abuse recounted, amnesia (central theme), addiction discussed, (faked) suicide recounted, alcohol consumption, drug abuse discussed, infertility themes, blood depiction, dead body, physical injuries, hospitalisation, death of an ex-husband, murder (not on page), gun violence (not on page), car accident, disappearance of a spouse, stalking, home invasion

There are a LOT of them… and yet this was a tame book (for someone who doesn’t require trigger warnings, I’m sure I wouldn’t feel that way if any of these applied to me) Have you read this? Or any of Lapena’s other books? Do they get better? Let me know!!

Knife Edge, a review

The Noughts & Crosses series is one from my childhood that I’ve decided to reread. I read book one late last year, and finally continued on with Knife Edge this year.


This one didn’t break my heart quite as much as book one, which was a nice break! But don’t get me wrong it’s still not an easy read.

This series is in a world where white people are inferior, and in book one we follow Sephy and Callum, a Black girl and a white boy, who despite the world being against them are in love. That book tore my little heart right out of my chest. I was expecting the same from book two.

This book didn’t go quite so far, but I still very much… enjoyed(?) it. Is that the right word?? You know what I mean.

In this book we switch to a new perspective, right from the beginning, as well as continuing with a perspective we’d been following throughout book one. This new perspective offered a lot of insight into the harsh reality of life and how circumstances can drive people to commit certain acts. Whilst I don’t like this character, I really appreciate all of the development that Blackman does of them and how this adds so many layers. It really makes you realise the humanity in all of the acts they carry out. Even if you don’t agree with them.

I have pretty strong feelings about these books. I’ve heard people say they aren’t for kids. I’ve heard people say they’re unrealistically violent. But they are for children (older kids mind you, trigger warnings are rife in these) and the aren’t unrealistically violent. This is supposed to be a reversal of racism towards Black people and it really highlights this for a mainly white British population with the whites treated as inferior. It shows what their friends and colleagues are going through and I think Blackman should be commended not only for how well she portrays this, but also with how well her books have stood the test of time. Although I’m sure she would’ve rather had them seem radically out of date. And so would I.

For my CAWPILE rating for this book I gave:

Characters: 8

Atmosphere: 10

Writing: 9

Plot: 8

Intrigue: 9

Logic: 10

Enjoyment: 8

Which gives me an overall 8.86 rating which is a nice solid 4 star rating. I’m surprised that it didn’t get 5 stars but CAWPILE is a really tough system!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: violence, suicide, self-harm, depression, sexual references, racism, domestic abuse, hate crimes, mention of rape, abuse, infantile death suggested

These books are fantastic. They’ll rip your heart out of your chest and shove it down your throat, whilst you have tears pouring down your face and a million thoughts whirring through your head. They. Are. Amazing. Please do pick them up if you haven’t already. And if you have, tell me what you think about them in the comments!!

Undertaking Southern America in the 70s

Having watch the Ask A Mortician YouTube channel for a number of years now, coming across The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield had me intrigued. A memoir about growing up in a funeral home in the south of the US, that’s an area I’m not familiar with and so I decided to pick the book up.

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We follow Kate all throughout her childhood, starting from around the age of 6 and progressing up into her later teenage years and her desire to escape from this small town and the gossip that was prevalent within it. I don’t know if it was intentional but this town was written exactly to the stereotype that I’ve always been shown about the southern US. It was filled with gossip-mongers, the status-quo was never to be breached and there were so SO many blatant racists. And as always those who were raised by the Black nannies/maids etc are confused about why everyone is being racist. I’m never quite sure how to read these, as it feels a little self-congratulatory but at the same time if that’s how they experienced their life who am I to judge? It’s a little complicated. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

We do get some really interesting insights into how the funeral business did run and how the common burial practices of the US came to be, adding to the knowledge I had already gained.

If you’re interested in the southern US in the 70s and in funeral homes/undertaking etc then this is the book for you. It’ll show you a lot about the cultural mindset of the time as well as informing you how funeral homes were run. If this isn’t your interest, however, I wouldn’t recommend picking this up. It’s not the most universal of reads.