Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Posted On 19 December 2022

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My Five Word TL:DR Review: Disturbingly dark, haunting and compelling

Just Like Home Final for Peter

So Just Like Home isn’t my first Gailey read nor will it be my last.  In some respects, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure that I liked this and yet I was glued to the pages and can’t deny that the author has come up with a compelling read.

I’m not going to discuss the plot other than to say this is about a woman, called back to her childhood home where her mother is dying.  This is a strange house.  Once home to a serial killer unspeakable crimes have taken place behind it’s closed doors and if it’s possible for a house to absorb the evil, to become a haunting itself then I’d say this particular home has turned into something creepy, not to mention, the house itself has become something of a macabre museum.

The main character is Vera and her story is told in alternating timelines.  We flip backwards and forwards to a much younger version and observe the strained relationship Vera has with her mother whilst enjoying a close bond with her father.  The later storyline is about Vera’s reluctant return home at the request of her mother.  The other main character is a young man, an artist, who seems to have wangled himself into the affections of Vera’s mother and is undertaking a project that involves an art installation using bits and pieces of house memorabilia.

I’m not going to elaborate too much more as I don’t really want to give anything away  but I would say that this does make for a disturbing read and there are numerous elements that compel you to keep reading.  I found myself fascinated by Vera, I couldn’t make my mind up if she was a reliable narrator or not, she came across at times as scared to be in the house but at the same time as her secrets are slowly revealed I found that impossible to believe.  To be truthful I actually didn’t like any of the characters here and this is something that undoubtedly makes me struggle to like a book.  I mean, on the one hand, you’re not really supposed to like these characters, they’re hard and unforgiving, but on the other hand I wanted somebody here to redeem themselves a little.  If I manage to put those particular feelings to one side I can confess that I was hooked, I wasn’t maybe pleasantly hooked, but I simply couldn’t stop reading.  The thirst for clarity pushed me onwards. I was fascinated by Vera’s childhood and desperate to know what really happened all those years ago.

So, although I wouldn’t say that I particularly enjoyed this book, it’s dark, a bit dismal, a little slow to start and is populated with characters that are impossible to like, it is undoubtedly a hypnotic read with startlingly eloquent prose and a shocking ending that brings a touch of the supernatural. If you like your horror to come with a touch of weird then give this one a try.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3 of 5 stars


Can’t Wait Wednesday : Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Posted On 16 March 2022

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Comments Dropped 11 responses


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey.  I’m loving this author at the moment.  Here’s the cover and description:

Just Like Home Final for Peter

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

Expected publication : July 2022

Friday Face Off : Made for each other


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:

Tough Travel Tropes : Made for each other

Firstly, apologies for not blog hopping.  I don’t know why I’m so far behind this week but I am aiming to catch up with everyone later today.  Anyway, today’s theme, I actually had lots of ideas for this one but I’ve gone for a book that I really enjoyed and that, feels perfect for this week’s theme if you take it literally.  The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey is a futuristic book that looks at genetic cloning and the lengths that some people will go to to get things right!  Here are the covers:


4th Genre – Gadgets and airships – a book that is ’steampunk
11th The most recent book you’ve read that has covers to compare
18th – Somewhere over the rainbow – a very colourful book cover
25th – A book of few words – a one word title
1st Spring forward – compare the covers for two books you’re excited about
8th – Fresh and Green – a cover that is predominantly green
15th Genre – a book or series that is urban fantasy
22nd – Tough Travel Tropes – unknown magical ability
29th – Long/pointed ears
May the Month of Wyrd and Wonder
6th All about the women – kickass moms, daughters, grans, etc
13th A favourite book to film
20th Sunny and bright  – a cover that is predominantly yellow
27th Books with ‘You’ in the title
3rd  Under the Sea – anything you like
10th Sparkling like the sea – a cover that is turquoise
17th So pretty – exactly what it says
24th Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role
1st Genre – epic – any book that fits into the genre
8th Hazy and hot – a cover that is predominantly orange
15th Tough Travel Tropes – Snarky sidekick
22nd Off the TBR
29th Gigantic – monsters, giants, buildings,insects – anything at all
5th Tough Travel Tropes – out for summer – school or academic setting
12th Dark/sky/navy  – a cover that is blue
19th Scantily Dressed
26th Tough Travel Tropes – Vacation time – the quest
September RIP
2nd Fallen leaves – covers that are brown
9th Armour/Protection
16th Rage against the machine – anything, cogs, clockwork, AI
23rd Tough Travel Tropes – Coming of Age
30th Genre – horror
October – Horror/Dark
7th Guess who’s back?  – Vampires – popular again?
14th Witches vs warlocks
21st Tough Travel Tropes – Good vs evil
28th  Covers that are black
November – Scifi Month
4th Red skies at night – Covers that are red
11th Tough Travel Tropes – The gang
18th Genre – Swords and Sorcery
25th Genre – And they all lived happily ever after – fairy tales retold
2nd Tough Travel Tropes – Assassins
9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or serie

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Posted On 18 February 2021

Filed under Book Reviews
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Comments Dropped 30 responses

My Five Word TL:DR Review : A Tardis of a Book!

The echoYes, this book, much like a Tardis (if such a thing existed) is an  absolute wonder.  Take roughly 250 pages and convert them into a fascinating and compelling, character driven story that is chillingly calculated, full of surprises and incredibly thought provoking.  I simply don’t know how Gailey, did it.  There aren’t enough pages here to fit in this amount of story the maths just doesn’t add up.  So, yes, think Tardis and prepare to be surprised because once you open the cover to this number, you’re in for a real treat and plenty to explore.

I will keep my summary of the plot to the minimum.  Evelyn is an ambitious woman, incredibly intelligent and successful in the scientific field of cloning.  Her marriage to Nathan has lost some of it’s sparkle, the long nights and constant work eventually taking their toll and Nathan has ‘sort of’ moved on.  By which I mean, he’s stolen his wife’s research to create himself the perfect wife.  And, it’s not like he doesn’t love Eveyln, he does, enough to make his new wife a perfect replica just without a few bits and pieces here and there that he found irritating – like her work taking precedence over him for example.  His new wife will not be confrontational, she will be the perfect homemaker and she won’t baulk at the idea of starting a family the way Evelyn did.  Things are going to be just swell.  Except maybe they won’t.  

Now, to be fair to other readers I’m not going to elaborate further on the plot because I really do think that would spoil the fun.  This is an easy read.  Quite simple in many respects.  A small cast of characters, a small world view because we pretty much stay within the confines of the the characters’ homes or workplace and some fairly thinly drawn science in a world set in a very close future to our own  And, when I say ‘thinly drawn science’ I sincerely mean this as the deepest compliment because I don’t want to be overwhelmed about discussions regarding the whys and wherefores, I just want enough to help me form a picture and move on.

So, in no particular order (because I’m going to let my mind ramble at will) the following elements are what really worked for me.

Firstly, I really enjoyed that the story is told by Evelyn.  I like the way she narrates and includes little pieces of childhood memories to help draw a clearer picture of who she really is.  To be fair, she’s probably not the most lovable person in some respects.  She’s very motivated and hasn’t taken the time over the years to foster other relationships.  Basically, she has few relatives and fewer friends  Nathan is the only person she has allowed in and so when the two split she has no one else to share her new found success with. But, and you will discover through the childhood memories that she shares, Evelyn has learnt to disguise her feelings, no crying, no apologising, no hysterics here.  Instead, she is calm and calculated and perfectly in control.

Martine is not just ‘the other woman’ she’s a perfect copy of Evelyn and she needs help.  You could be forgiven for thinking that Evelyn would be disinclined to help Martine in her hour of need, but, Evelyn’s research would be compromised if the sordid details of Nathan’s betrayal were discovered and so instead, Evelyn and Martine work together to find a solution.  Martine is a wonderful creation and one of the many levels of deceptiveness within the story.  She’s innocent, almost like a small child in terms of her naivety and experience.  Created to be a docile ‘yes’ version of the original wife she should have no real agency or control and yet she reacts to events in ways that are unexpected and in fact puzzling in that they simply shouldn’t be possible.  She raises a whole new world of questions and theories for Evelyn that warrant further investigation. 

I think the pacing is excellent and I loved the way the opening chapters led me completely in the wrong direction.  This is so much more than a book about failed relationships and extra marital affairs or divorce  It’s about identity, it takes a look at how far a person might go in the pursuit of perfection and whether this might lead them to behave horrendously.  It recognises that we are changing all the time, that we’re not the same person today that we were yesterday but at the same time it calls into question how much freedom of choice we really have, are we slowly becoming like our parents, their personalities becoming more obvious little by little.  Can we, with the implementation of science truly make changes to a person’s character or will their real nature eventually break free.  And, should we even be trying to make such advances?  Is cloning ethical – and will it all boil down to the pursuit of perfection?  

Basically, this book made me think so many things.  Was Evelyn innocent in all this?  Certainly reading about some of the practices that took place within the laboratory give me considerable pause for thought on that count.  Nathan – well, the true extent of his moral decline eventually becomes shockingly apparent but I couldn’t help thinking that they’d both made hard choices – admittedly for different reasons and also, certainly for Evelyn, in the name of science – but still, very tough calls that maybe should never have been made.  

Then there’s all the quirky little extras thrown in that you either pick up on or not – they don’t affect the story so much but I just like them even though I’m sure to have missed plenty along the way.  Like Evelyn the first wife and the prototype of Nathan’s machinations – named for Eve??  And, I can’t really give away more but even Nathan’s name plays into later twists in the most ironic way. 

I also loved the ending – and this might be me really reading too much into things but were Evelyn and Martine turning into strange versions of Evelyn’s parents?

In terms of criticisms.  To be honest, I don’t really have anything except that in terms of the science and the plot you have to suspend your disbelief, a little bit.  Don’t try to scrutinise things too minutely, just go with the flow and enjoy the intrigue.

Overall I found this a chilling tale.  It’s a very entertaining read on the one hand, and on the other, it’s a story with a message.  Once you set foot on the long and winding road of the morally dubious you may set into motion a series of events that become darker and darker with each successive step.  Long story short, be careful what you wish for because no matter how good the science may look, nature always finds a way.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars



Wondrous Words and Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Past is Red by Catherynne M Valente

Every Wednesday I take part in Can’t Wait Wednesday, I’m also hoping to take part in a new meme being hosted by Elza Reads called Wondrous Words Wednesday.  I’ll be combining these into the same posts as they’re both short and sweet.

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente:


Catherynne M. Valente, the bestselling and award-winning creator of Space Opera and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland returns with The Past is Red, the enchanting, dark, funny, angry story of a girl who made two terrible mistakes: she told the truth and she dared to love the world.

The future is blue. Endless blue…except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.

Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she’s the only one who knows it. She’s the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it’s full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time.

But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.

Expected Publication July 2021


This meme was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion Blog and has now been adopted by Elza Reads.

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.

No rules just enjoy and for further info check out Elza Reads.

My word this week is :



  • a discolored, bluish appearance caused by a bruise, pooling of blood due to congestion of blood vessels, strangulation, etc.:When the dead person is lying on their back, lividity will form on the buttocks, back, or backs of the legs.
  • a grayish or ashen appearance of the face; pallor:The traditional ghost image usually involves a certain paleness of the face—a corpselike lividity.
  • furious anger:When the generator they’d ordered arrived late and then failed to work, her lividity knew no bounds.
  • a reddish appearance of the face, as from strong emotion or embarrassment:I was on the shore with my parents, watching the sky flush scarlet with a hue like lividity rising to an angry face.

This is from my most recent read and the meaning used in this instance is the first given meaning above.  I tend to think of this word more in terms of anger for some reason – the word Livid:

Livid (adj.)

Early 15c., “of a bluish-leaden color,” from Old French livide (13c.) and directly from Latin lividus “of a bluish color, black-and-blue,” figuratively “envious, spiteful, malicious,” from livere “be bluish,” earlier *slivere, from PIE *sliwo-, suffixed form of root *sleiə- “bluish” (source also of Old Church Slavonic and Russian sliva “plum;” Lithuanian slyvas “plum;” Old Irish li, Welsh lliw “color, splendor,” Old English sla “sloe”).

As mentioned above I picked this up from my most recent read which is a book which completely hooked me with it’s strange cold horror like feel :

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey (my review to follow shortly):

The echo

That’s it for this week.  If you’re taking part in both of these or either please don’t forget to link up.