Book Review: Heartstream – Tom Pollock

“I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.

Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.”

Oof, this book! This book. If that blurb doesn’t grab you I don’t know what will. I could not put this book down, I stayed up way too late because I needed to know what was going to happen, I needed to know answers!

Initially I did find it hard to connect with Amy, I found her a little bratty and couldn’t gel with her – this did change throughout the novel as I got to know the character. Cat, on the other hand, I instantly connected to and wanted to know more about her and her life – overall I did prefer Cat as a character.

It took me a long while to understand what the connection between Amy and Cat and it drove me a little crazy, then when it dawned on me I definitely gasped out loud and continued racing through. This also broke me out of a slump I was having and made me interested in thrillers again.

While I did work out a few elements before they happened that was towards the end and I still had some shock moments. Pollock can clearly write a thriller that feels new and I can’t remember the last time I read one of those.

I found it really interesting how the plot centers around technology and emotion. We don’t know where technology and streaming is going to go and while this is a terrifying possibility it’s also fascinating because I think people would subscribe to this and use it in the real world. That said the positives and negatives are both there, which adds a great sense of balance.

I gave this 4 stars, a really strong book and that ending…THAT ENDING. I definitely need to know more and while I doubt there will be a follow up, I would read it within a second – I need to know what happens after! A strong thriller that I would definitely recommend for someone looking for something a little different with a technology twist.

What I Read In October 2019!

So it might be a little late but I had a fantastic reading month in October with a lot of 4 and 5 star reads! I’m not going to spend too long rambling, instead, let’s get to the books.

So, P.S I Love You was one of my favourite books and up there with my favourite films too so I preordered the follow up as soon as I found out about it. When it came I was so nervous to read it – would it live up to the story I loved? It did Postscript is beautiful and I fell right back into Hollie’s world. A 5 star read for me.

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies was also a preordered book after I loved Scarlett Curtis’s Feminists Don’t Wear Pink. This a collection of essays about mental health from some people you’ll know such as Matt Haid, Emilia Clarke, Adam Kay and Scarlett herself. It was a brilliant collection and while it is quite hard hitting it’s an important read. A 4.5 star read.

For my book club read we picked up Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield and I really enjoyed it. It’s a little different in the way it’s told and has mystery elements, ghostly elements and more. It was a great read that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise – a fantastic advertisement for book clubs everywhere! A solid 4 star read.

The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson was one I picked up for myself about a girl who is rescued from a cult and what life is like for her once she leaves the only place she knows. I read this so quickly and I only wish it was longer! Another 4 star read.

I’ve watched a little Queer Eye and loved Jonathan so after seeing interviews of him promoting his book I decided to purchase the audiobook of Over The Top and it was perfect. This is fantastically funny but also deeply heartfelt and I learned so much through listening. A 5 star read and I’ve been recommending it to everyone!

I also listened to Freedom by Jaycee Dugard about her experiences after she was released from her horrific ordeal being kidnapped and forced to live with her captor and give birth to her daughters – fathered by him. An emotional 4 star book.

Next up two more non-fiction reads. I listened to MP Jess Phillips’ newest book Truth To Power and it was absolutely brilliant and just what I needed when we’re heading towards a General Election. A 5 star read for troubling times.

I also picked up Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas from the wonderful Adam Kay author of This Is Going To Hurt. This is a short read but an incredibly important one. It made me appreciate the NHS even more because of the pressure that they face, even more so in the winter. A must read that I’ve persuaded book club to pick up – 5 stars!

Heartstream is the thriller I didn’t know I needed. Tom Pollock is an excellent storyteller and I tweeted him almost immediately after finishing asking for more! I gave this 4.5 stars.

And last but definitely not least was Dear Girls by Ali Wong. I think Ali is hilarious and I loved both of her Netflix specials so when I heard she was writing a book I was down! Again, I listened to the audiobook for this one and I’m glad I did. This is all about Ali’s life and the lessons she wants to teach her daughters (although it is definitely for a mature audience) there was also a really sweet addition by her husband at the end. This was a 4.5 star read for me.

What did you read in October? Let me know in the comments below. 👇

My September 2019 Book Haul!

Hello, hello, hello

After YALC back in July you might have thought my book buying/acquisition might have slowed down, you would be wrong. With the combination of my birthday and new releases I picked up a LOT of books in September and I wanted to share them with you all. Get ready it’s going to be a long one.

First up are books I won in a Twitter giveaway that arrived at the beginning on the month. The lovely Sara Barnard gave away all of the books she has written, they’re all signed an dedicated too which is super sweet. So I now have Goodbye Perfect, Fierce Fragile Hearts, Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind of Thunder. These are all based around friendship which is super exciting and a few I’ve had on my list for a while.

I was also sent Sara’s collaborative book Floored along with other great YA authors. Next up are two buy one get one free buys, Heartstream a YA thriller that I bought alongside this months book club read Once Upon a River I’m not sure what to say about this one it’s kind of an adult mystery?

I also had my copy of The Only Plane In The Sky – The Oral History of 9/11 delivered, this book is full of accounts of 9/11 and I think it’s an important and interesting way to preserve what happened and the changes that the event caused.

I received 4 books for my birthday. The first up A Large Expanse of Sea from my parents which I’ve been meaning to pick up forever. I also received 2 books from my friend Charissa (along with a doughnut because, goals) The Confessions of Frannie Langton an adult mystery and Two Can Keep A Secret which I needed to read after McManus’s debut. I also received Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, I’ve heard great things about this online so I’m excited!

Ok, I’ll fess up I made two drunken purchases – I actually snuck off from a night out to buy books (maximum nerd points), which were It Never Rains and Life of the Party I just picked these up after reading the blurb, I have no idea if they’re going to be good but I’m hoping so.

My preorder of The Deathless Girls, a novel I’ve been keeping an eye out for about the brides of Dracula, perfect for Autumn. My next few books are from a trip to Foyles with my birthday money, because what else was I going to spend it on? I knew nothing about The Liar’s Daughter it’s about the aftermath of a young woman who grew up in a cult. I find these super interesting.

Can we take a second to appreciate the stunning cover of Ziggy, Stardust & Me a LGBTQ YA novel set in the 70s. I also finally picked up With The Fire On High which I’ve heard nothing but good things about. Also, Monday’s Not Coming is another I’ve heard a lot of good things about on BookTube. I was also given a copy of Archie 1941 for my birthday and I love it – I can’t wait to see others in this series.

P.S, I Love you is one of my favourite books so of course I ordered the sequel Postscript and I am so excited to see what Holly is up to now. I also love the film but for very different reasons. I also received a Waterstones gift card and picked up the graphic novel of Speak which has stunning artwork, even though I haven’t read the original book. I also bought City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab because she’s amazing.

And now I need to find a home for all of them, the floorboards definitely hate me right now!

Have you read any of these? What would you recommend? Let me know below.