Mystery

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

tangerine

Just over 6 years ago, I went with three of my girlfriends to Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains.

Morocco with its vibrant colours, air full of spices and snow-covered mountains is deeply ingrained in my memory.

We met local women that produced tapestries of striking colours, speckles of brightness in their modest living conditions.

Here’s my attempt at making a tapestry. I was hopeless, but it was a lot of fun! 😊

I loved wondering around the markets whilst smelling cinnamon, cardamom and other spices.

Morocco viciously attacked my senses of smell and vision and Tangerine brought some of those memories back.

Before we start, here’s what GoodReads say about this book:

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country. 

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.


Tangerine is set in the 50’s predominantly in Moroccan Tangier and is narrated from two perspectives:

  • Alice – a fragile protagonist, who is full of anxiety and is slowly losing her mind.
  • Lucy – a manipulative character skilled at playing shrewd mind games.

Those voices are different: Alice’s is frail; Lucy’s is angry and calculating.

“She was put together nicely, with the intention of others not noticing. There was nothing about her that clamored for attention, nothing that demanded to be seen, and yet, everything was done exactly in anticipation of such notice.” 

Mangan‘s writing is impressive. It can be slow at times but I didn’t mind. Via her words, I was transported back to Morocco, saw all those dazzling colours again and even smelled some of those spices (nothing to do with my obsession with cinnamon tea, promise!). 🙂

Tangerine is a psychological thriller and I had to pause sometimes to fully digest what I just read. The relationship between Alice and Lucy is highly toxic and reading about it was unsettling. There are many mind games involved and I was engaged till the end.

There were a few plot holes that Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie pointed out in her blog here. They are craftily hidden and I did not see them before I read Tangerine, only afterwards. I do agree with all of them. The last one irritated me probably the most.

Side note: I don’t know how to hide spoilers yet and Norrie’s review inspired me to pick this book so there you go. 🙂

Despite of that, I recommend this book. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and can be disturbing at times.

Have you read this book or planning on reading it? Let me know in the comments below. 😊🙏

Many thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Verdict: Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple  (4/5)

Monthly Wrap Up

March Wrap Up

I’m still processing the fact that we are in April. How did that happen? 😀

March went by so quickly. I worked longer hours, went outside with my dog more often and didn’t feel like reading a lot.

I also went to the Czech Republic to see my family and then escaped it all whilst visiting a mountain cottage with my boyfriend in Snowdonia, Wales.

This was our morning view:

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No internet, no central heating, nothing luxurious… just a simple retreat in nature that recharged me after long working weeks. I learned that I love the board game Scrabble. And that Google is overrated… 😉

My critical self wanted to immediately start apologising that I ‘only’ read four books in March and that I haven’t been writing that much or commenting on other blogs recently.

Then I reminded myself why I started this blog and why I want to write this blog.

You see, one of my core values is Creativity.

It’s this wonderfully playful need to make something that keeps me content and brings me a lot of joy.

All those creative souls out there know that creativity is a process and sometimes, doesn’t happen on a whim.

On certain days, I can stare at my blank screen screaming as words just don’t want to come out. Then there are days when I could write for hours.

March was the month of the ‘I don’t feel it’ and ‘even if I feel like it, I can’t write about it’ themes. And that’s OK. 😊

I reflected a lot, connected with a lot of people face to face, day dreamed for hours as I didn’t want to read.. I’m sure you are getting the picture… 😉

I am desperately itching to write and read again. And I am so happy you are here with me. 😊

After a lengthy intro, let’s have a look at March reads, shall we:

  • The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, 3 stars

Slightly disturbing crime debut set in Irish Galway. I read it during St. Patrick’s day and it was a fairly fast paced and enjoyable read.

My full review can be found here.

  • Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman, 4 stars

Another crime read. This one was about head games, revenge and explored how we can forgive.

My review can be found here.

  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, 4 stars

March was the month when I discovered Liane Moriarty. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of amnesia / time travel whilst reading What Alice Forgot. Thanks Norrie for introducing me to this wonderful writer! 🙂

My review can be also found here.

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, 5 stars

Yep, definitely the book of March. Wholly cow, I loved this book. I am still organising my scattered thoughts but its full review will be coming up shortly.

It’s a book about friendship but is also very heavy on shame. My favourite psychological topic. Please stay tuned for this one. 🙂


So that’s March in a nutshell.

Now over to you my friends.

What was your favourite March book?

Psychological Thriller

Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman

sticksstonesWithin a week, I have read two brilliant debut novels featuring violence and abuse.

I’m not going to lie, I need a break. If anyone can recommend me something light-hearted please, I am all ears. Thanks!

Without further ado, let’s have a look at Sticks and Stones.

Firstly, I would like to consult GoodReads for their quick summary of Sticks and Stones:

How far would you go for revenge on your ex?

Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable. Something that puts her in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?

Sticks and Stones is a deliciously twisting psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.

Sticks and Stones starts with Philip’s funeral.

Amongst those paying their respects are Imogen, Philip’s estranged wife, Naomi, his girlfriend and Ruby, his ex-wife.

The plot is about how Philip happened to end up in a funeral casket. We know who died but we don’t know how and why.

Sticks and Stones is narrated by Imogen with occasional flashbacks from other two women. The beginning is on a slow side, but the story starts picking up around mid-way. I became extremely involved then and literally could not put this book down.

The gripping tension is skilfully sustained throughout certain parts of the story, and the outcome can go either way. I almost wish I didn’t know who was at the funeral! 🙂 Knowing about it though did not prevent me from enjoying the entire story!

What I loved about this book are those three female characters and the unlikely friendship they form.

They all endured some form of an abuse and could find a common ground whilst sharing their stories. Because of that, they can start letting go of their pasts and heal.

Then there is Philip’s character. A broken man full of anger, who is still living in some sort of an emotional childhood. A narcissistic master manipulator preying on those women, who don’t have anyone to turn towards to in times of distress.

I also saw in this book an anti-revenge message.

In all honesty, I am sick of books about revenge. Many books glorify revenge, yet they omit to deliver the after-revenge story. Revenge may certainly bring a temporary feeling of satisfaction but in the long run, it never heals the underlying problem. I’m not saying that justice cannot be served, all I’m saying is that forgiving someone is for our own sake to start the healing process, not for theirs to make them feel better. They even don’t have to know that we have forgiven them…

We can see how revenge starts destroying one character in the book. On the other hand, another character starts exploring forgiveness and starts healing.

“It’s the easiest thing in the world to hold a grudge, but it takes a strong person to forgive.”

I hope you will enjoy Sticks and Stones as much as I did. It’s a wonderful psychological thriller and I will be on a lookout out for Jo Jakeman’s next book.

Possible triggers: domestic / partner abuse and abuse in general.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Jo Jakeman, and the publisher, Random House UK, Vintage Publishing.

Verdict: Hot Beverage on Apple  Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple  (4/5)