Book Review: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Title: Gray MountainGray Mountain

Author: John Grisham

ISBN: 9780385537148

Published:  October 2014, Doubleday

My Rating: 3/5


The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that I did find this book tough going at times. Its quite long and there are a few parts that were a bit long winded and dull. I don’t think it helped that I found the main character Samantha a little bit boring and difficult to relate to. She’s a big city lawyer who has never seen the inside of a court room until she is put on furlough and told to take up an unpaid internship in Brady, Virginia. Once there she discovers that poor people need lawyers too and just how evil coal mining companys can be. I was shocked! Note: This may be sarcasm 😉

Gray Mountain just didn’t seem to be as fast paced as John Grisham’s other court room novels which I have really enjoyed in the past such as The Firm or The Pelican Brief but I appreciated the fact that it highlighted the some of the serious issues that have come about due to coal mining.

Readers who enjoy legal thrillers or reading about environmental issues will enjoy this book.

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Book Review: Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

Title: Dying For Christmas dyingforchristmas

Author: Tammy Cohen

ISBN: 9781784160173

Published: November, Transworld Publishers, Random House UK

My Rating: 4/5


I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

My Thoughts:

Dying For Christmas is another Christmas themed book that I read as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge but this is definitely not your typical Christmas themed book.

Jessica has been kidnapped and help captive by a handsome psychopath for the 12 days of Christmas. She is a fascinating character, a little bit ‘weird’ but completely relate able.

Domenic Lacey is one of the creepiest ‘bad guys’ that I have ever come across. He is handsome, charming and well off on the outside and a complete psychopath on the inside. Once he begins to reveal details about his childhood you almost start to feel a bit sorry for him.

The book is also narrated from the perspective of Kim, the policewoman who is investigating Jessica’s disappearance. Kim has problems of her own. She feels that she is being forced to choose between her career and her family but she thinks that she should be able to have both.

Dying For Christmas was fascinating to read, full of plot twists and really interesting characters. I had to read this in one sitting since I needed to find out what happened in the end! I recommend Dying For Christmas for anyone who enjoys the thriller/mystery genres or anybody looking for a Christmas themed book with a difference.

Editing to add that the author Tammy Cohen is absolutely lovely. Add this one to your to read list!

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Book Review: I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom

Title: I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) marrygeorgeclooney

Author: Tracy Bloom

ISBN: 9791784160173

Published: October 2014, Cornerstone Random House UK

My Rating: 3/5


I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A brand new very funny Christmas novel, from the bestselling author of No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday and Single Woman Seeks Revenge.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only answer is to marry George Clooney.

For Michelle, that time is now.

Slogging her guts out in a chicken factory whilst single-handedly bringing up a teenager who hates her is far from the life that 36-year-old Michelle had planned.

But marrying the most eligible man on the planet by Christmas could change all that, couldn’t it?

Sometimes your only option is to dream the impossible – because you never know where it might take you…

My Thoughts:

I read this book as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge at Goodreads which involves reading as many Christmas/New Year themed books during the month of December. I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) certainly fits the requirements, although its not too Christmassy.

Michelle has set herself the task of marrying George Clooney (by Christmas) in an attempt to win over her troublesome teenage daughter and enlists the help of her friends Gina and Dazza to engineer a meeting with George. There were plenty of laughs throughout the book and the plot was a bit far fetched at times but it worked well as a whole. I liked the central message that it is necessary to dream big and work hard to achieve your goals.

I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) also explored quite a few serious issues, such as the relationship between Michelle and her daughter Josie and the long term effects of losing a loved one. Michelle and her family are still struggling with the death of her sister Jane 16 years later.

This book was a fun, quick and enjoyable book which I was easily able to read in one sitting. I can’t reveal whether Michelle did manage to marry George Clooney in the end but he is unfortunately off the market ladies, so perhaps she did.