Cover Image: Something in the Water

Something in the Water

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Member Reviews

A thrilling page-turner as Catherine Steadman builds the suspense and intrigue with twists and turns that leave you guessing and wanting to read more.
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UMM OKAY. This book was so much better than I expected. I was initially drawn in when I discovered that Erin and Mark were going to the Four Seasons in Bora Bora – exactly where my husband and I spent half of our honeymoon two years ago. I miss it every day. What’s funny is that for me, the “something in the water” that freaked me out were the fish – I used to have a huuuuuge phobia. Seriously, I wouldn’t even snorkel. And when I did, I refused to look down for fear of seeing any fish. I did overcome that fear on the second resort we went to during this trip when we did an intro to scuba session, which I LOVED. I seriously want to become scuba certified.

ANYWAY. I loved this story. I started reading thanks to Netgalley because I had not heard of it before. Then I told some friends about it and found out it’s on Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for that month. So I had a handful of people to discuss with. I loved it. I didn’t see any of it coming – it was a slow burn while the story built up but when it picked up it didn’t let you go. I didn’t see any of the twists coming. It was amazing. Go read it. Go.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for an honest review.
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I truly enjoyed this book! I loved the settings and the characters. I loved how the story was set up even though it felt like it took a while for something to happen. It was a great mystery/suspense novel. Once things started to pick up, I could not put the book down. It seems like most everything was wrapped up and questions answered, but there was one thing that didn't seem finished to me concerning Mark. Honestly, though, I kept hearing about this book so I had slightly higher expectations than I normally would and it definitely met them.
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of Something in The Water by Catherine Steadman. I did enjoy this book, but I also listened to the audio and enjoyed it more. A young couple Erin and Mark leave for their honeymoon to Bora Bora. While there they discover something in the water that changes their lives. The booked grabbed me from page one, but became predictable as it progressed. Still it held my interest.
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Loved the premise of this engaging and easy to read domestic thriller. Though I saw the ending coming, it didn't diminish the fun of the book. Thanks so much to the publisher for providing an ARC through NetGalley
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Full review to be found at 

Powerhouse Reese Witherspoon jumped on the bookclub bandwagon a while ago and started her own. It’s an online thing run by her media company Hello Sunshine, and each month it features a new book that can be discussed virtually over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter … social media outlets, basically.  Quite a few books that I’ve already read and enjoyed have been on her list, and I’ve been introduced to some new ones that I’d never heard of before. I haven’t officially joined or anything, but as a Bookstagrammer and a book blogger, I follow along just so that I’m educated on what the new “IT book” is.

I say “It Book” because … well, I may be egregiously naive but it is still so bizarre to me just how much influence celebrities have on their followers. I read Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year In Havana months before it showed up on Reese’s bookclub radar and couldn’t stop raving about it to everyone I could talk to. It was an okay seller, but I could never find it in bookstores. But once Reese gave her seal of approval, it was splashed everywhere and instantly hopped its way onto the bestseller’s list. Not that I’m knocking Reese’s power to do good (because I think she’s awesome) it’s just … wow. Her opinion carries a lot of weight with readers. And you know what they say, right? With great power comes great responsibility.

I’m a NetGalley member and was sent Something in the Water for a read and review, via the publisher. A few months after I read it, the book ended up on Reese’s bookclub as her pick of the month and readers started going crazy over it.

I truly could not understand it. This book … well, it wasn’t that good. It was one of those stories that has a huge and gripping push of intrigue at the beginning but then fizzles out quickly, leaving it a book that’s hard to finish. It makes me wonder what pushes certain bookclubs to choose certain books – especially the prominent and celebrity book clubs. Is it as authentic a choice as readers deserve? Is it organically driven, or is it all about who knows who? Does Reese Witherspoon even read these books? Or does she read the synopsis her assistant wrote up for her, show up to the photoshoot and after a fair amount of styling, just poses beautifully for the photo with the book in her hand?

I guess we’ll never know. So, on to the review.

To the outside world, Erin and Mark have it all.

She’s a successful entrepreneurial filmmaker – one intent upon showcasing real life issues and doing it in a thought-provoking and intense fashion. He’s an investment banker, blindingly handsome each morning as he sets off for the office in a sharply cut suit. As the beautiful matched-set board a plane and head off for a honeymoon staged in the shamelessly romantic huts of Bora Bora, they both are etched deeply with that telltale newleywed glow.

But if someone scratched their flawless facade ever so slightly and saw right beneath the surface, they’d see the tarnish hiding there. The once-in-a-lifetime (and obscenely expensive, albeit prestigious) honeymoon was one set to be much longer … but the fact that Mark found himself suddenly without employment forced him to convince Erin to cut the trip nearly in half. Their dream wedding, the one they’d been planning for months down to the last gratuitous detail? Well, it was nipped and tucked within an inch of its monetary life, all so they could continue to pay the mortgage on their flat in the affluent part of the city. The lack of funds is putting a strain on the relationship – one that has them both wound as tightly as a taut rubber band –  but Erin is determined to keep a smile on her face and push on. This is, after all, what she wanted.

In an effort to keep her new husband happy and full of cheer, a scuba diving expedition is planned. Mark loves to be beneath the water, blotting out the sun and allowing himself to become consumed by the endless depths of the sea. But beneath that turquoise water that shines so much like the stone it’s named for, there is something lurking that is ugly and laced with evil. It’s something that Mark is inadvertently drawn to, and something Erin will never be able to forget … no matter the lengths she will subsequently go to.

Should they tell anyone what they found? It’s not the first question the pair asks, but it is one that lingers in the background. As their minds travel to all sorts of sordid places, Erin and Mark fight the urge to turn on one another. The bag could be the answer to all of their impending problems, and no one knows they have it … right? Except nothing is ever that easy. If something proves too good to be true then chances are, it is.

Where Mark is strategic, Erin is forceful. The two find themselves at odds at how to protect themselves and how to handle the prickly situation they have found themselves in. Both also discover that perhaps they don’t know the other as well as they first thought they did, and Erin must make decisions she never thought she’d ever have to make … all because of something in the water.

Something in the Water is the debut novel from Catherine Steadman, an actress best known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in the critically acclaimed series Downton Abbey. The book is a New York Times bestseller and is currently being developed into a feature film. It has also been featured in Reese’s Book Club, partnered with Hello Sunshine.

It always makes me take pause when a book is showcased and blown sky high with publicity and hailed as something really special … and then I read it and just don’t get it. Is all the buzz and publicity authentic? Is this truly how readers feel about a particular novel, or is it just hype? And hey, why don’t I feel the same way? Initial reviews for the book were on the high end and almost unbelievably stellar, while more recent reviews have gone down in star level and acclaim.

Something in the Water has been described and hailed as a “truly clever psychological thriller” but … I just didn’t get that. The writing was amateurish at best. It was choppy to an almost cringe-worthy degree. The voice needed better clarity and the plot needed better editing. It felt inauthentic and silly, you know – like an actress thought so much of herself that she figured she could sit in front of a computer for a few hours and bang out a smash hit novel.

I found myself rushing to get through it because it just began to fall so terribly apart about halfway through. I had an overwhelming feeling that the author came and went in waves of genuinely caring about what she was writing and then not giving an absolute damn. I could almost sense the pauses in the author’s focus. The believability aspect went downhill faster than a fart in church as Erin’s actions became more and more erratic. I get it, she’s a sociopath but … can we make it just a little more believable, please? I just don’t get why this book was so popular. Is it because a celebrity wrote it? Is it because another celebrity vouched for it?

The first chapter was great, as a lot of them are in novels. I mean, the first sentence truly sucked me in. I was ready. I was intrigued. I was feeling all of those deliciously giddy feelings that I get when I sit down with a new thriller. I was ready to be scared, ready to begin winding my way through a thick plot and ready to find out what exactly was in that water! But as page after page was turned, I became more and more disappointed and I lost all sense of investment. It was all a little too contrived, and felt like 100 other bad books I’ve read before.

Sadly, I have to give this novel a mere 2 out of 5 stars. I know I’m somewhat in the minority here … at least according to Goodreads and the blogs, but still. This book is not worth wasting your time on if you are a real thriller connoisseur. Sometimes the writing should just be left to the real writers.
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Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this book. The descriptions are wonderful, and the twists will keep you reading.
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I was really looking forward to this book, it seemed right up my alley, but I couldn't even finish it!  I was so disappointed.  I'm not sure why it was so hyped up - the protagonist was unrelatable, unsympathetic and just straight up irritating!  I usually can't stand to not finish a novel but I put this one away and haven't thought twice about it, except to be bummed at how much I disliked it.
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Stunning thriller.  Will be perfect for a book club read/recommendation.  Will also be used in upcoming display, assuming we have a copy that isn't checked out!
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I enjoyed this book so much that I decided to get it on audible and listen as well.  I highly recommend both!.  I can't wait to see what Catherine comes up with next.  Excellent.
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This story was so well developed from the beginning! I enjoyed each page and kept guessing who might be involved in the mystery. The pace was perfect and no wasted words...just adding to the story! Unfortunately, like so many authors, all the energy was spent on the “getting to the ending” and the ending left me another couple of weeks could have been spent “developing” a good ending. I was disappointed after such a good read!
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Ballantine Books and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Something in the Water.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Erin is a documentary filmmaker with a compelling story to tell, while her fiance Mark is an investment banker with a bright future.  Although the road to their marriage is not without its challenges, they face even bigger issues after they find something in the water during their honeymoon.  Will a split second decision end up dooming the couple to failure?

The pacing and the plot were good at times, but I spent much of the book shaking my head over certain aspects of the story.  Wholly unrealistic and implausible, Something in the Water is not unique enough or thrilling enough to be compelling.  With unsympathetic characters who make rash decisions that are just not logical and true to life, the novel was nothing more than an average read.  For these reasons, I would be hesitant to recommend Something in the Water to other readers.
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I had a lot of hopes for this one after seeing that Reese Witherspoon picked it for her book club, but, sadly, I was pretty disappointed.

Erin and Mark find the titular “something in the water” on their honeymoon in Bora Bora. From there, a series of stupid decisions followed by even stupider decisions sends their lives careening out of control.

None of this was a surprise to me. The discovery doesn’t happen until about halfway through the book, and by then Erin had shown herself to be almost completely incapable of even the tiniest bit of common sense. As an example, one of the big points of the first half of the book is that Mark loses his job in finance. It’s been made pretty clear to the reader at this point that Erin’s career as a documentary filmmaker, while emotionally rewarding and important, isn’t very financially rewarding; they mainly depend on Mark’s salary to pay for their 1.5 million pound home, and the rest of their lifestyle. But when he loses his job, she carries on spending money and living their lives the same as before. He tells her that he’s adjusted their honeymoon to save some money and she pouts about it until he ends up yelling at her to try to make her understand that they have no money coming in.

And, to be clear, he “adjusted” their honeymoon by taking their 3-week trip to Bora Bora and making it 2 weeks. They were still flying first class, still staying in a luxury five-star resort, still taking all of the smaller trips and jaunts and scuba outings they had booked. Just 2 weeks instead of 3. Even this, Erin had to rationalize to herself to make it ok. Seriously. She was so upset that Mark would even consider changing their plans for this once in a lifetime trip. She was also upset that he had done it without talking to her, but she was mainly upset about the loss of part of her vacation.

I was also really annoyed by how long it took Erin to figure out what was going on. I realize that I have the advantage of knowing that I’m involved in a mystery and that I shouldn’t trust anyone, and I realize that I had the advantage of that opening chapter which was the end of the story, before the rest of the book was told in retrospect, but still. There were so many things that were so obvious and so clearly telegraphed that she just completely missed or decided to rationalize away that it became frustrating to listen to.

There were also a few other threads that really didn’t connect to the main story. They were wrapped up, but I don’t know what they had to do with anything. The author had a tendency to go on for pages and pages giving the most minute details for tasks and procedures that didn’t matter. I listened for at least 10 minutes to her watching YouTube videos of how to take apart, reassemble, and shoot a Glock, for example. A Glock that she never used or needed. The very first scene is Erin burying a body, and we hear the dimensions of the hole, the square footage of the soil removed and how much that soil weighs. Again – information that might be interesting on the surface, but went on for so long and was ultimately irrelevant.

I was hoping for a good, creepy mystery, but didn’t get it. Every move was clearly set up, there were no surprises, and we never got resolution to some of the bigger questions. I can’t recommend this one.
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From the beginning I was eerily hooked...I wasn't sure though I would like to know how to dig a grave. The first chapter however sounded more promising, the story of an picture perfect honeymoon for Erin and Mark in Bora Bora after a priced down wedding since Mark had recently lost his job as an investment banker. Erin is a documentary film writer and she is the narrator of this story. Her character is hard to like although written brilliantly. Both Mark and Erin have secrets they keep, dark and sinister as they struggle to find out why - something in the water is about to change their whole lives. Who can you trust is a recurring theme that keeps the pages turning even though some of Erin's surmising and digression seemed to slow down the pace at times. The plot was good, although I found some of the events unbelievable feats. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep one wanting to know the end and that- was definitely a shocker. Overall, I will say this book was one I liked, and there are definite 'on the edge of your seat' moments that keep the mystery going.
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Oh my, how do I review this? Well, I’ll keep it short, simple and to the point. This has been on my NetGalley shelf forever and by now I think most of the world has heard of this book, especially once it became one of Reese Witherspoon’s picks. The premise of the novel sounded excited with Erin and Mark on their honeymoon in Bora Bora, discovering “something,” and then dealing with the aftermath. Unfortunately, my excitement ended at the cover and blurb.

First of all, let me say bravo to Catherine Steadman for writing and publishing her first novel! That in itself is to be celebrated. 

Something in the Water started out a bit slow for me, then picked up, then slowed again. I wanted to be engaged and invested in this story but honestly, it was a struggle. I’ve thought it over for a few days before writings this review and I think the main reason I just couldn’t get into this was the protagonist, Erin. I don’t have to love a character to love a book and I am one that always appreciates good writing and characterization whether it makes me love them or hate them. But with Erin, it was a physical, mental, and emotional possibility for me to like her, respect her, or be interested in her. She is a documentary filmmaker in the book, yet I constantly wondered how the woman could even function in the world because she was so incredibly stupid. I hate something negative like that but honestly, her actions and dialogue was some of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. And I have read a lot of books. 

If not for the issue with the protagonist, I would have enjoyed this book much more. I wish the writing itself would have flowed more smoothly and I would have liked more suspense. But, I love the major themes within the novel regarding our choices and decisions and all the ways they impact our lives and those around us. Who hasn’t made a decision at some point and when they didn’t like the outcome, wondered what could have been? Of course, all we can do is learn from those mistakes, but all of the events based on Erin and/or Mark’s choices in the novel are what really kept me reading on.  

This one has a ton of reviews and they are very mixed ranging from 1-5 stars, so I suggest reading this one and deciding for yourself. Although this one wasn’t a big hit with me, I think Catherine Steadman shows promise and I’m curious to see what she brings us next.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because it held my attention and I wanted to see what would happen.  The first chapter intrigues the reader from the start. Both husband and wife are unlikable and I could tell instantly that everything wasn't as it appeared to on the surface. I found it pretty dumb that the wife ends up with an incarcerated old guy hit man as her guardian angel and helper.
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Erin and Mark are a newlywed couple enjoying their honeymoon after a rough patch when Mark loses his job. When they stumble on a bag of money, diamonds, and a crashed plane of potential criminals, they decide to keep the money...despite the risk it poses to their lives. Things start to heat up as strange things start to happen, like the murder of a couple at the honeymoon resort they had been at.. Adding to the momentum is Erin's documentary interviews with convicted criminals, one of which is a mafia boss.

The prose style was polished and good, and the pacing was slow but steady. The twist was somewhat predictable, but as a heavy thriller reader, it's hard to slip one by me. It felt a little contrived near the end, but not in a way that ruined the experience for me. The unique elements included Erin's documentary progress and the how-to for a novice couple running off with stolen money. Watching how Erin and Mark cover their tracks was especially interesting to follow. 

Overall, it was a good book with a fresh plot idea that mingled enough character development and suspense to keep me engaged until the end.
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A newlywed couple on their honeymoon in Bora Bora discover a bag filled with valuable items which could solve all of their financial problems--but could also involve them in a whole new set of problems. Fun premise and an engaging writing voice, but I had a hard time buying into the idiotic actions of the main character--plus there were many holes in the plot.
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A simple island vacation becomes something much more sinister when a mysterious package is discovered. Steadman writes a great suspenseful novel with plenty of twists and turns.
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Erin is dumb.  She is dumb through the whole book and I just can't get over how many risks she took and then there is her husband who just isn't fitting right into the whole book.  Mark and Erin are planning a wedding for months and Mark loses his job.  Erin is a documentary film maker and she is going to be interviewing 3 inmates.  Each one of the inmates goes from bad to worse to worse.   Erin goes along with what ever Mark wants and they do get married and they do go on a 2 week honeymoon to Bora Bora.  During this trip they stumble upon something that they know they shouldn't do/keep but they do anyways.  Erin then becomes paranoid and even more reckless.  Everything for the most part is all wrapped up at the end, nothing of any major importance is left out.  The book was extremely slow and dragged out a lot of the pages.  

Received this book as an ARC for my honest review.
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