Review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

36388243__SY475_Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Published on June 5th, 2018 by Ballantine

Buy this book at: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Synopsis: If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

Rating: 3 star

Review: I know I rated this book as a three star, but I am conflicted and feel like it’s more of a 3.5 stars. It certainly isn’t a four star book, but it was a bit better than the “okay” that a three star rating implies.

This book was fun. It was a good ride and an interesting story told by a flawed narrator. I love a good flawed narrator. I struggled a lot with this book for about a hundred pages though. The first chapter was irritating to me. It was told in the 1st person and after the fact. Basically the first chapter was “Here’s how things ended up, now I’ll tell you how I got there.” I don’t like this for several reasons.

First, it tells me at minimum one individual who lives to see the end of the book to a certainty. By using a first person narration then I know the narrator is going to see the end of the book. I really don’t like that. It means that for the remainder of the book I can’t become concerned when that character is in danger. It’ll be fine, they have to narrate the rest of the story. This is supposed to be a thriller book about a couple that ends up in a potentially deadly chain of events, but I know that your narrator will be just fine so it lacks an edge to the story.

Second, if I already know how the story ends then why should I care overly much about the journey? Unless the journey is really something amazing, it doesn’t matter too much right?

So those two factors made it hard to me to get invested in the book early on. I didn’t really care about the characters, because I knew how it ended up. And I didn’t really care about the story because I knew how it ended. But then somewhere about a hundred pages in I found myself swept up in the adventure. The next thing you know I’ve read 140 pages in one sitting. It got really fun. The narrator was much more interesting in the back half and the adventure was great.

There were several layers of story that seemed unconnected in the first half that all wove together in the back half. I didn’t know which part interconnected and which didn’t. Some things I guessed, partly because of the first chapter. Other things I didn’t guess.

Overall, this book was a lot of fun and a great use of my weekend but it had some flaws.

Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti

Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti

Published by 48Fourteen on April 1st, 2012

Synopsis and cover image from the Goodreads book page

Buy this ebook at: B&N / Amazon


Ten large ships race toward Earth, broadcasting in every language: “Brothers and sisters, we come in peace and in need. We have found our way home.” The fear of a coming invasion begins the worldwide riots of 3062.

Yet, not all Earthlings fear attack. The newcomers, long lost descendants of Earth, speak of a paradise ninety-four light years away. Kipos is a land of plenty where there has never been hunger, murder, or war. However, they need more healthy young immigrants for the colony to thrive.

Many accept their offer to be tested. After assessment, Abby Boyd Lei is among the chosen. She leaves the protection of her family with dreams of higher education, a good job, and a kind-hearted spouse.

Will Kipos be everything she imagined? Abby is about to discover the cost of utopia.

Rating (out of 5):

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest, thoughtful review.  No other compensation or promise of a positive review was given.

Review: Don’t let a three star rating fool you, I enjoyed this book a lot.  The story was good, the characters were solid, the structuring was all good.  Unfortunately, the book had some issues that I couldn’t quite get past and this effected the overall rating that I gave it.  So let’s go through this point by point.

When I look back on the synopsis of this book in hindsight, it confuses me a little.  Yes, this book was about Abby and her journey to Kipos and a new life in this “utopia” she was presented.  The synopsis would have you believe that this was the whole of the story.  But in reality this discovery and journey was really only about 1/3 of the book.  The rest hardly touched on this at all and so the synopsis didn’t apply that much to the majority of the book.  The story I got was good, but it was far different than the story I expected.  What I got was a story of perseverance, daring, courage, and having the strength to make something better out of your circumstances.  This was a great story and I wish it was closer to what I had been pitched!

Now, the rest of this may be a bit spoiler heavy, so consider yourself warned. There was an event that takes place on Kipos that was supposed to be heavily emotional and increase my empathy for Abby.  Mostly it horrified me, but then confused me.  So basically Abby is raped in order to have her conceive a child.  Now, this is awful and horrifying.  But Abby’s reaction to this event really puzzled me.  She displayed no knowledge or understanding of her body or sex at all.  When her hymen is perforated, she thinks they are performing surgery on her.  She seems to have no idea what’s going on with her body or how sex functions.  But then later she starts having sexual fantasies about her guards and masturbating.  Um, that doesn’t really make sense to me.  Yes, I realize some girls become sexually promiscuous after a rape to take their power back, but she had never masturbated before and didn’t seem to understand sex at all so this move was confusing.  She also shows extreme naivety about her pregnancy, such as thinking that she is going to be raising this baby and allowed to be a mother to it.  Also, she doesn’t seem to have any ambivalence about the baby which is very common for babies conceived through rape.
Alright, enough about that, let’s move on to the next part.  I really loved Abby’s interaction with the crew of the Revelation.  I loved that she found her place and discovered something that she really enjoyed doing.  The characters were excellent and their interactions made me really interested to see what would happen.  The only thing that bothered me about this whole section was Abby.  She never thought to talk to anyone about anything before she came to a conclusion about their behavior and instead just decided that her conclusion was right and acted accordingly.  This alienated her from her companions and served to alienate me from them as well.

My last tiny little gripes, I promise.  Some of the more scientific aspects of this book confused the hell out of me.  I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, but 2 relative weeks, 3 relative months, tachyon engine this, it just made my eyes cross.  The only way I knew how much time had passed is by looking at the dates at the beginning of the chapters.  Otherwise, I was clueless.  Also the ending of the book was rather anti-climactic.  The author built up some amazing tension in the plot for many chapters, and then when we got to that moment it was just…..over.  There was minimal drama and it was resolved within a few pages.  That was a bit disappointing.  But the ending after that was excellent and well planned out.  Abby may not have found her utopia on Kipos, but she did find it by the end of the book.  Overall I enjoyed this book a lot but there were a handful of things that prevented me from truly loving it as much as I could have.  But it is a fun read and I would encourage anyone who’s a fan of the sci-fi genre to read it, and new fans to the genre should give it a try.