#BookReview – The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds (@amandareynoldsj @Wildfirebks)

WHAT HAPPENED TO JULIA BLAKE?

She was young and beautiful, married to a famous author. They were celebrating their anniversary at their stunning country estate. So why did Julia Blake walk out of her perfect life, apparently leaving no trace?

Seren, a junior reporter for the local paper, can’t believe her luck when she lands an exclusive with Julia’s husband, Max. But as Seren spends more time at the couple’s remote mansion, probing ever deeper into the case, dark questions await.

What was Julia really like, behind closed doors? Was her marriage to this brooding, secretive man as perfect as it seemed? And did she really mean to disappear that night – or was she murdered?

Published March 2019 (E-Book) / July 2019 (Paperback) by Wildfire Books (UK)  

~ Review ~ 

Having really enjoyed Amanda Reynold’s previous books, Close To Me and Lying To You, I couldn’t wait to get started on her latest release, The Hidden Wife. As always, I found myself engrossed in this author’s incredibly compelling writing almost immediately and I was pleasantly surprised by the different feel and mood of this book.

In her previous two books, Amanda Reynolds has used the unreliable narrator to great effect. The Hidden Wife switches things up though, and this time we are firmly on Seren’s side as she attempts to untangle the mystery of famous author, Max Blake’s beautiful and much younger wife while interviewing him for her local newspaper.

There are three main characters in this book – Seren, a somewhat naive and eager to please junior reporter driven by her own tragic loss, Max – a brooding, charming but weirdly creepy and manipulative author (kind of reminiscent of Edward Monkford in J.P Delaney’s The Girl Before in many ways). And Brooke House, Max’s sprawling and remote mansion which was so atmospheric and eerie, lending a gothic hint which I absolutely loved.

I flew through this book, but that doesn’t surprise me – it’s what I’ve come to expect from Amanda’s novels. She really knows how to hook the reader, throwing twists and turns skillfully to keep you on the edge of your seat. I adored the uncertainty cast over missing Julia – had she disappeared of her own accord, or was something more sinister really at play? Mixed with such a well depicted setting which sent chills down my spine, The Hidden Wife has all the ingredients of a fantastic psychological thriller and I loved every second of it.

(I read an advance e-copy courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

 

 

#BlogTour #BookReview – Dead Man’s Daughter by Roz Watkins

She was racing towards the gorge. The place the locals knew as ‘Dead Girl’s Drop’….

DI Meg Dalton is thrown headlong into her latest case when she finds a 10-year-old girl running barefoot through the woods in a blood-soaked nightdress. In the house nearby, the girl’s father has been brutally stabbed to death.

At first Meg suspects a robbery gone tragically wrong, but something doesn’t add up. Why does the girl have no memory of what happened to her? And why has her behaviour changed so dramatically since her recent heart transplant?

The case takes a chilling turn when evidence points to the girl’s involvement in her own father’s murder. As unsettling family secrets emerge, Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth, before the killer strikes again…. 

Published April 4th 2019 by HQ Stories 

 ~ Review ~ 

Last year I was invited to take part in the blog tour for Roz Watkins debut book, The Devil’s Dice which I absolutely loved. The atmospheric setting, hints at myth and the seemingly unexplainable, coupled with a fantastic female lead, ticked all my boxes. So I was thrilled to take part again in Roz’s second blog tour for Dead Man’s Daughter.

Carrying on with intuitive, spontaneous and at times reckless DI Meg Dalton, Dead Man’s Daughter absolutely blew me away. This is intricate, complex, fascinating, thought provoking, original and utterly gripping reading and I could not tear myself away.

Once again, the atmospheric setting of the Peak District and local myth and history intermingle with a very modern case. This time, the fascinating subject of cellular memory in transplant organs is tackled. I remember watching a program years ago about transplant recipients who believe they have taken on personality traits from the donor of their new organ. It’s such an interesting subject, and Roz Watkins has woven it into her story with great plausibility and skill.

There are so many layers to this book, it’s impossible to go into them all without spoiling it for other readers. But the worth and value of a human life and ethics, both medical and personal, are at its core. While this book is fast paced and suspenseful, I found it incredibly thought provoking too. I couldn’t have predicted in a million years where this book was going to go and was fascinated throughout by this highly original story.

DI Meg Dalton remains a favourite character – I love her impulsiveness and spontaneity, which admittedly lands her in trouble occasionally.  Her personal circumstances are a great influence on her actions, meaning she’s not always perfect but incredibly relatable. While the first book in the series does cover a lot of her back story, Dead Man’s Daughter can absolutely be read as a stand alone.

Roz Watkins hasn’t just done it again with Dead Man’s Daughter – she’s done even better and cemented her place as a must read author for crime fans everywhere. However, I think this book will appeal to a wider audience, who may not read a lot of crime but enjoy a complex, thought provoking and fascinating story.

( I read an advance readers copy courtesy of the publisher)

Dead Man's Daughter blog tour

#BlogTour #BookReview – The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher ( @Bookouture @KerryFSwayne )

A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Of all the emotions single mother Kate Jones feels as she walks into her brand new house on Parkview Road, hope is the most unexpected. She has changed her name and her daughter’s, and moved across the country to escape the single mistake that destroyed their lives.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the street starting afresh. Warm, whirlwind Gisela with her busy life and confident children, and sharp, composed Sally, with her spontaneous marriage and high-flying career, are the first new friends Kate has allowed herself in years. While she can’t help but envy their seemingly perfect lives, their friendship might help her leave her guilt behind.

Until one day, everything changes. Kate is called to the scene of a devastating car accident, the consequences of which will test everything the women thought they knew about each other, and themselves.

Can Kate stop her own secrets from unravelling, or was her hope for a new life in vain?

From the bestselling author of The Silent Wife, The Woman I Was Before is a book about the things we hide from those closest to us – and the terrible consequences that keeping those secrets can have. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain. 

Published 22nd March 2019 by Bookoutre 

~ Review ~

I seem to be making a habit of reading new to me authors recently and so far not one has been a disappointment. In fact I loved this book so much, Kerry Fisher has gone straight onto my must read authors list.

The Woman I Was Before tells the story of three different women, who all move into a new housing developement around the same time. Kate is a single mother to teen Daisy, and running from her past. Sally has an extremely successful career , but feels something is missing in her marriage. Gisele seems to have the perfect life – a happy marriage, two teenagers with promising futures and enough money to fund her taste for luxurious shopping – but behind the perfect family image she portrays on social media things are unraveling.

What I absolutely loved about the this book was that despite the three women all being very different, from each other and myself, I found them so utterly relatable.  This is a very honest depiction of family life from three different view points, referencing the image we portray on social media and the truth behind that image. I know I’m not alone to have felt jealousy and inadequacy when looking at posts on facebook – and I’m guilty myself of presenting the one photo where everyone is smiling between the arguments and general drudgery of daily life. Who hasn’t? Kerry Fisher expertly uses this obsession we have with perfection and self doubt created by social media to tell the story of these women.

Each has a secret they’re hiding, and all were fascinating, relevant and believable. I was drawn to Kate the most, whose secret remains a mystery for most of the book. I desperately wanted to know what she was running from, what she had done that was so bad. Her story is the most heartbreaking, yet hopeful and inspiring and I loved seeing how she developed throughout the book.

I also really enjoyed the fact that the woman where all a similar age to myself (between late thirties and early forties) meaning that their problems, feelings and insecurities where ones I also recognised. Again, the author captured this perfectly and by the end of the book I felt these characters where people I knew, could be living on my own street – even seeing myself once or twice.

There’s some heavy themes in this book, which Kerry Fisher deals with sensitively, but there’s also dashes of wit and humour at times which I really enjoyed. I had absolutely no expectations when I went into this book, but after spending a few hours in the company of her characters, I know I’ll be looking out for more from this author in the future. Written with empathy, warmth and searing honesty, The Woman I Read Before is a fantastic book which will make you cry and smile in equal measures. Perfect.

I read an advance ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley

TWIWB BT

#BlogTour #BookReview – Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . . 

Published March 7th 2019 by Faber & Faber (UK)

This is the first book by Peter Swanson I’ve read, and so had no idea what to expect. I did however really like the sound of it. I’m so glad I did though and it most certainly won’t be the last.

Before She Knew Him tells the story of Hen, an artist with a history of mental health problems manifesting in over imagination, suspicion and obsession. When she and husband Lloyd move into a quiet suburb it’s a new start and a chance to put a difficult episode behind them. But when their new next door neighbours, Mira and Matthew, invite them to dinner and Hen spots an item she believes links Matthew to a violent murder, it looks like Hen may be spiralling into ill health again. With her history, no-one is prepared to believe her. Is Hen loosing her grip on reality or is she really living next door to a serial killer?

I absolutely loved the style of writing in this book … it’s very distinct, with chapters alternating between Hen and Matthew. The tone struck an incredibly sinister atmosphere and had me turning pages furiously as it was so engaging and compulsive.

I loved the sense of conflict Peter Swanson creates in the character of Hen. There’s a vulnerability and honesty that has the reader completely on her side, yet all the while there’s an uncertainty whether she is right or is indeed gripped by a psychotic episode. Matthew is a masterclass in cold, clever and creepy. My skin actually crawled at some points.

This is a dark and disturbing story, exploring the impact of domestic violence, sexual abuse and childhood abuse on an individuals mental health and personality. It is shocking in it’s believability – I could almost feel sorry at times where I most certainly shouldn’t have. As thrilling as this book is, it also gives the reader lots to think about.

The book ends with a great twist I really didn’t see coming – and as a seasoned psychological thriller reader I’m not often this taken in by a twist. Though it left me feeling as if I should have spotted it – it’s clever and completely believable. I raced through this book, I loved the creepy, sinister atmosphere and the conflict and uncertainty  it provoked. An excellent read, and an author I’ll be making sure I read a lot more of in the future.

I read a free copy of this book courtesy of the Publisher  

before she knew him bt

#BookReview – Absolutely Smashing It by Kathryn Wallace

“SAM! AVA! Get downstairs, NOW. Have you done your TEETH? HAIR? SHOES? Come on, come on, come on, we’re going to be bastarding late again. No, I haven’t seen Lego Optimus Prime, and nor do I give a shit about his whereabouts. Sam, will you stop winding your sister up and take this model of the Shard that I painstakingly sat up and created for you last night so that I wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. I mean, so that you wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. No, it doesn’t smell of ‘dirty wine’. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Look, Sam, I haven’t got time to argue. Just hold your nose and get in the car, okay? AVA! TEETH! HAIR! SHOES!”

Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face.

But Becky is very persuasive and before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. Not only that, but Gemma has to manage her attraction to her daughter’s teacher, Tom, who has swapped his life in the City for teaching thirty six to seven year olds spelling, grammar, basic fractions – and why it’s not ok to call your classmate a stinky poo-bum…

It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough. 

Published 7 March 2019 by Sphere (UK) 

~ Review ~ 

I’ve read some emotional and heartbreaking books recently, loving every single word of them, but definitely ready for something a bit lighter. So Absolutely Smashing It was a timely read for me, being one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time.

I’m well known for loving a good old sob, and to be honest, it doesn’t take much to make me cry. But laughing is another matter – maybe I’m just waaaay too serious, but it’s rare for a book that promises to have me laughing out loud to actually achieve that. But Kathryn Wallace’s debut did just that within the first few pages. Warm, witty and genuinely comedic (while being scarily true!), her depictions of the chaos in the life of working single mum, Gemma’s, less than perfect life were at once funny and scarily recognisable!

I connected with this lovable, scatty character immediately, having been a single parent to two myself for a good few years. The book begins with Gemma preparing for back to school after the summer holidays, having left everything until the last minute. YES! this is me, despite my best intentions, somehow six weeks rush by in the blink of an eye. Last year we had the great school skirt disaster, where there was literally nothing that would be in anyway decent left ANYWHERE. I was also giggling in recognition at a sleepless night spent constructing the model set as homework while a forgetful child slept peacefully.

i also loved the relationship between Gemma and Becky, which devolpes when Becky moves in next door. Where Gemma is struggling to balance work and raise a family, Becky is finding life as a stay at home mum and wife difficult and is desperate to get back to work. The two characters bounce of each other, and despite the humour, the author manages to capture the challenges and pressures of raising children and being a mother whether you work or stay home, or whether you’re a single or married.

Kathryn Wallace has created some very endearing characters, and I defy anyone not to fall in love with Gemma’s crazy and unique daughter Ava or wish for a Mr Jones as their own child’s teacher. Absolutely Smashing It is a fun, thoroughly enjoyable book, effortless to read and perfect for those times when you just want sheer entertainment and a book to make you laugh out loud.  I absolutely LOVED it.

(I read an advance proof copy courtesy of the publisher)

 

#BookReview – The Flight Of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

What has happened to Cornelia Blackwood?
She has a loving marriage. But she has no friends.
Everyone knows her name. But no one will speak to her now.
Cornelia Blackwood has unravelled once before. Can she stop it from happening again?
 
From a supremely talented storyteller, The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is a powerful novel of motherhood, loss and loneliness and how we can make damaging choices when pushed to our emotional edge. A paperback bestseller with her debut novel, The Things We Never Said, and nominated for an RNA Award in 2014, Susan Elliot Wright has written a truly important novel that explores the dark depths of psychosis with honesty and sensitivity. 

Published February 2019 by Simon and Schuster UK 

~ Review ~ 

Sometimes you just know, after only a couple of sentences, that you are reading something special that’s going to stay with you a long time. The Flight Of Cornelia Blackwood was one such book, and by the end of the first page I was in love with Susan Elliot Wright’s writing and emotionally entangled in the life of it’s lead character, Leah (Cornelia)

It begins with a scene of a broken woman, shunned by neighbours and her local community and struggling with obvious physical health complaints and hints at a deeper psychological trauma. It then shifts to a few years previous where Leah’s life is very different – she’s young, in love and about to embark on creating the family she and her soulmate husband so desire. I was immediately drawn in – what had happened to Leah to make her the person she was now and what had she done to ostracise herself from the people around her?  As chapters switch from Then and Now, we learn the tragic story of Leah’s recent past while watching her car crash present lead to unavoidable catastrophe.

This is a dark tale, and Leah is a tragic character whose story is truely heartbreaking. Yet the compassion and empathy she is written with is so acute, that the reader is with her every step of the way, sympathising and understanding her, crying for her and hoping for her. Even when her choices are bad and clearly doomed, I got it. Leah really did get right under my skin.

Postpartum psychosis is a topic that isn’t really talked about. I’ve had two children myself, yet can’t remember ever hearing about it during anti or pre-natal care. In The Flight Of Cornelia Blackwood, the author tackles the subject with sensitivity and care, while drawing attention to a little discussed condition that could effect any woman who gives birth. The same level of care and dignity is afforded to Leah’s tragic losses and grief.  This is an incredibly emotional and moving book, I defy anyone not to be moved to tears.

Yet there are some outstandingly beautiful and uplifting moments in this book – in Leah’s early days with her husband, in her love for a small child she befriends. it’s pure and tender and written so eloquently, I could feel Leah’s joy at those moments. This is a book that will make you feel many, many emotions. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and once I’d finished it stayed in my mind for days after. It is, without doubt, up there among one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years and I’ll be reading more from this author very soon. I can’t recommend this book enough.

I read an early proof copy courtesy of the publisher.

 

#BookReview – A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty ( Harper McClain Series, Book 2)

A murder that shocks a city…
Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead.

A case full of secrets and lies…
Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder.

An investigation that could prove deadly…
As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed one woman. Will he kill another? 

Published: E-Book – 4 March 2019 / Paperback – 4 April 2019 by Harper Collins UK 

~ Review ~ 

Hurrah, Harper McClain is back! Last year I read and raved about The Echo Killing, the first book in the feisty crime reporter’s series (you can read that review right HERE) and I was very excited to catch up with her again. Boy, I was NOT disappointed.

Harper McClain is a crime journalist for her local Savannah rag, investigating and exposing murderers and villains in the name of public interest. This time, the city is shocked when a pretty law student is shot. With her boyfriend appearing as the obvious culprit, surely this is an open and shut case? But he claims he’s innocent, and the victim’s father believes him. With the police keen to shut the case down, convinced they have their man, it’s down to Harper to investigate and search out the truth.

Once again, Christi Daugherty had me gripped from the very first page and I sped through this book in a couple of huge, breathless sittings. This is super fast paced reading, with one more chapter quickly leading to half a book and a complete inability to look away. There’s action, twists, suspicion and doubt which, along with the heat of the Savannah setting and yes, a bit of will they/won’t they love interest in the form of dashing Detective Luke Walker, makes for an tense and exciting edge-of-your-seat ride.

I particularly loved how this book flowed on so easily from the first in the series, despite it being a year since I’d read it. It felt like I was just picking up where I’d left off and straight away I was familiar and comfy with it. While it probably could be read as a standalone, I think you’d probably benefit most if you read The Echo Killing, in particular for a lot of background on Harper (who has an intriguing backstory).  She’s a fascinating character, firmly cemented now as a personal favourite. I love her strength, sense of justice, empathy and feisty-ness, splashed with a raw vulnerability which makes her both likable and relatable. I want her as a pal!

A Beautiful Corpse is a compelling, unputdownable read, which manages to maintain the  high standard set in the first book more than matching my high expectations. This is a series which mixes a sublime blend of brilliant characterization and pitch perfect pacing – I really can’t recommend it enough. With the book ending on a bit of a cliff hanger, I’m now waiting eagerly for the next in the series and hoping it isn’t long before once again I’m engrossed in Harper McClain’s world.

(I read an advance EBook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

#BookReview – The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

A fast-paced and action packed psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming. The Night Olivia Fell is the most gripping suspense mystery you’ll read this year.

IT’S EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.

Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.

But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT IF THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AN ACCIDENT?

Published by HQ Stories (UK) February 2019 

~ Review ~

I started reading The Night Olivia Fell with high expectations. I’d read some fantastic reviews and the plot sounded right up my street. For anyone who follows my reviews, you may notice I’m a very emotional reader – I like a book that’s going to make me grin like a Cheshire cat or cry big fat ugly tears. This book seemed like it was made for me.

So maybe it was those high expectations that got in the way when I first started reading this book. It took me a while to get into, feeling a bit slow paced and not altogether gripping me. I think the main issue was that I just didn’t gel with main character, Abi, whose daughter Olivia is on life support waiting to give birth. She’s prickly, aggressive, and in the flashbacks to life before the accident, controlling and oppressive towards teen Olivia.

However, as I read on I started  to relate to her. Abi and I have a lot in common, and as a single parent I remember that feeling of wanting to prove your child can have every opportunity a child with two parents can have. As we learn more of her backstory, I could empathise and understand her, and her overwhelming fear of loosing those she loves.  And I really enjoyed watching her character develop, as she overcame her demons of both past and present.

The mystery of what happened to Olivia is tightly woven and while there’s clear suspects marked out, it really could have been any of them right up until the reveal. This is a complex mystery, wrapped up in secrets and lies, some designed to protect and others to destroy. At it’s heart is a young girl, Olivia, who tragically seems to be manipulated from all sides, yet remains a thoughtful, caring and optimistic young woman. Whereas I initially found Abi difficult, I loved hearing Olivia’s story in the flashback chapters leading up to that fateful night.

The final third of this book was excellent. I read it with held breath, tears streaming down my face so heavily I couldn’t see the page. All the emotion I missed at the begin is there in those final heartbreaking pages with some incredibly tender and moving writing searing my heart. I was glad I’d stuck with this book, it was well worth it in the end and I think this is a story that will stay with me for quite sometime, as well as serving as a reminder to appreciate my own teen daughter. This is a story that will  slowly creep under your skin and rip your heart out before putting it back together again.

(I read an advance ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

Book Review – The Dead Ex by Jane Corry (@Janecorryauthor @PenguinUKbooks #TheDeadEx #BookReview )

One man’s disappearance throws four women’s lives into chaos–and not all will survive. . .

Vicki works as an aromatherapist, healing her clients out of her home studio with her special blends of essential oils. She’s just finishing a session when the police arrive on her doorstep–her ex-husband David has gone missing. Vicki insists she last saw him years ago when they divorced, but the police clearly don’t believe her. And her memory’s hardly reliable–what if she didhave something to do with it?

Meanwhile, Scarlet and her mother Zelda are down on their luck, and at eight years old, Scarlet’s not old enough to know that the “game” her mother forces her to play is really just a twisted name for dealing drugs. Soon, Zelda is caught, and Scarlet is forced into years of foster care–an experience that will shape the rest of her life . . .

David’s new wife, Tanya, is the one who reported him missing, but what really happened on the night of David’s disappearance? And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself? The answer lies in the connection among these four women–and the one person they can’t escape. 

Published June 28th 2018 by Penguin UK  

~ Review ~

I absolutely loved Jane Corry’s previous novel, Blood Sisters (reviewed here) and was so looking forward to reading her 2018 release, The Dead Ex. But then life got in the way, reading unfortunately got pushed aside as I seemed to roll from one drama of my own to another and I didn’t get around to it. Well, aren’t I kicking myself now after finally picking it up this week? Once again, I was completely sucked in and held captive by Jane’s twisty, compulsive writing as I devoured this addictive book in a couple of days.

The Dead Ex begins with alternating chapters told from the perspective of Vicki, a reclusive, seemingly timid aromatherapist who definitely has something to hide in the present, and Scarlett, ten years previously, an eight year old child who’s caught up in her chaotic mother’s criminal activities. Both narrators where fascinating and gripping, but what really intrigued me was trying to work out just what connected the two of them together. There is absolutely no way I could have guessed, and loved the turn the book took!

There’s a LOT of theme’s running through this book – child neglect and family loyalty, Female relationships and bonds, a need for a sense of belonging, ambition, power, loss of identity…it goes on. Vicki is a fascinating character with so many layers that even by the end I’m not sure I’d seen them all. Jane Corry writes each aspect of her so convincingly, I completely believed in her. I also absolutely loved the references to aromatherapy oils and uses, which I find fascinating and felt really complimented the book.

I flew through this book, despite reading it over a couple of busy days, grabbing any moment I could to read a bit more. With fascinating and complex characters and a plot that left me second guessing at every turn, this is compulsive reading at it’s best. An absolute page turner that manages to surprise and shock over and over again.

(I read proof copy courtesy of the publishers and Netgally)

 

Mini Catch Up Reviews

Over the last few weeks my reading kind of went right out the window. A load of personal stuff got right in the way and to be honest, my life became eat, sleep, work and sort the daughter out. That’s all I could manage! Things are back on track and looking positive now. I did squeeze a few books in though – unfortunately I’m a review now or never kind of blogger so I thought a round up of mini “what I’ve been reading” reviews would be a good idea.

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst  

the foster childWhen child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger… 

Published November 16th 2017 by Headline 

 

WOW I was absolutely gripped to this book! I’ve really enjoyed Jenny’s previous books, but this is her best yet.  Creepy, twisty and unnerving – this is the only book I’ve read in one sitting for a while. I just couldn’t put it down!

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Warm Bodies by Jane Robins White Bodies

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless façade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies—or was he murdered? 

Published 28th December 2017 by HQ 

Sisters have been huge in psychological thrillers this year, White Bodies takes it further with disturbingly unhinged twin sisters, Tilda and Callie. Man, was this twisted at times! I LOVED it, although it wasn’t as fast paced as I expected, the complexity of the relationship between these twins was gripping.

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The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan 

the doll houseYou never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…? 

Published September 14th 2017 by HQ Digital 

I remember reading a book about a creepy doll’s house as a child, and instantly becoming uneasy of the huge Sindy house looming in the corner of my bedroom. That memory has lasted. and to this day, the idea of Doll Houses make me shudder a little. So, i really loved the idea behind Phoebe Morgan’s chilling debut. Yes, this was full of twists and turns and impending unease, but what I really liked was how well drawn the character’s were, with complexities, hopes and flaws that made them and their actions completely believable. And the ending was jawdroppingly good!

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris  behind closed doors

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie? 

Published February 2016 by Mira 

Late to the B.A Paris party, I’m not going to lie. I was a bit disappointed in this one. I can see why it was so popular – the writing is compelling, it’s very, very readable and can be swallowed in one or two gulps. However, I had problems with some of the characters and how believable they were. I thought Grace acted pretty stupidly and felt frustrated by her, her husband was a bit pantomime villain and I felt uncomfortable at some of the portrayal of Millie, who has down syndrome. I’m still looking forward to reading more by this author, as I think they’re writing style really suits my taste – I just wasn’t a big fan of this plot.

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The Child by Fiona Barton 

32054078the child‘An engrossing, irresistible story about the coming to light of a long-buried secret.

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.  

Published July 2017 by Transworld 

Oh. My. God. This was GOOD. Switching narrative between four women to reveal the secret of a baby found buried after decades, this was not only taught and chilling, but emotionally fraught and involving as well. Throughout the book, I felt I got to know all the women – though I particularly liked Kate, a seasoned but ethical journalist. The first to pick up on the story, I liked how involved she became with the other women in this book, driving the narrative forward and allowing us to get to know them with empathy and sincerity. I kind of worked out the plot twist pages before it was revealed, but even then it came as a punch to the stomach and took my breath away. The Child isn’t just a thriller with a shocking secret, it’s about the long lasting effects of trauma on a person and their relationships. I thought it was fantastic.

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So there you go, some mini thought’s on recent books I’ve read. Apologies for the lack of posts recently – but you can be assured that normal service will now resume!