Friday, 20 April 2018

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

The Perfect GirlfriendThe Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She's even become a flight
attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she'll make sure no one stops her from
getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it's worth all the pain...



I enjoyed this one immensely. The Perfect Girlfriend is a mixed up psychological thriller where the main protagonist Elizabeth/Lily/Juliette is quite bonkers bordering bunny boiler yet is quite simply ingenious as a main character.

So many events in her early life become intertwined and form the catalyst that unleashes the obsessive qualities in her that lead to manipulative and breathtakingly surreal life that she invents for herself and those caught up in her vision of her perfect life.

In many respects it reminded me of the film, Catch Me If You Can where the main character takes on several 'lives' and identities. Juliette is obsessive, manipulative, scary and somewhat likeable, she is driven to get what she wants and her tenacity is admirable. In the beginning I really felt for poor Nate, the object of her obsession but once you understand a little more and the story unfolds I found I felt quite sorry for Juliette and could see how she had managed to justify her actions in her own mind. She is completely fixated on having Nate and once she has made this decision, for her, there is no turning back, she will go to any lengths to get him.

It's interesting that the author decided to make the main character have two names s Elizabeth (Lily) aka Juliette seems to need to separate her life into distinctive halves and her personality mimics this perfectly. She was perfectly relatable to those she interacted with either when she was using them to get what she wanted or when she was justifying to herself her actions which made it all the more plausible. Who hasn't been wronged at sometime and fantasised about an alternative outcome, albeit we don't actually try to do something about it as she did

She was meticulous in her planning and because of the 'woman scorned' aspect of this book part of me wanted her to succeed even though she was a terrifyingly unpredictable stalker.

An addictive page turner it took very little time to consume this clever book and the somewhat open ended finish could, I hope, lead to another follow up book. Five stars from me and fingers crossed for a sequel.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Girl who got revenge by Marnie Riches



The Girl Who Got Revenge, Marnie Riches
‘Fast-paced, enthralling and heartrending; I couldn’t put it down’ C. L. TAYLOR

Revenge is a dish best served deadly…

A twelve-year-old girl is found dead at the Amsterdam port. An old man dies mysteriously in a doctors’ waiting room. Two seemingly unconnected cases, but Inspector Van den Bergen doesn’t think so…

Criminologist George McKenzie is called in to help crack the case before it’s too late. But the truth is far more deadly than anyone can imagine… Can George get justice for the dead before she ends up six-feet under too?

A heart-racing thriller packed with secrets, lies and the ultimate revenge, perfect for fans of Steig Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

The fifth gripping thriller in the Georgina McKenzie series.


Extract:


Brechtus Bruin was not aware that the kitchen clock ticking away on the wall was counting down the last few minutes of his ninety-five years. His movements had slowed of late, and now his complexion was noticeably wan and waxy. Perhaps he was finally feeling the poison in his bones that rainy morning. He must surely have been wondering that his shaking, liver-spotted hands wouldn’t obey his still-sharp brain, telling him to pour the coffee.

‘Here, Brechtus. Let me help you. Please.’

His guest had been sitting at a worn Formica table in that homely place, waiting. He had been drinking in the familiar scene of the cramped kitchen with its sticky, terracotta-painted walls. Savouring the stale scent of cakes that had been baked decades ago by Brechtus’s long-dead wife. Now, he stood to take the kettle from the old man.

‘You sit down. I’ve got this. Honestly.’ ‘I don’t like people fussing,’ Brechtus said, wiping the sweat from his poorly shaven upper lip.

‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve not been feeling myself. You know?’ His breath came short. His Adam’s apple lurched up and down inside his haggard old neck. ‘Not just my bad back. More than that. I feel …’ He pursed his deeply pruned lips together and frowned. ‘Wrong. Horrible, in fact.’

Brechtus Bruin fixed his guest with the dulled irises of a dead man walking. There was fear and confusion in those bloodshot eyes; eyes that had seen almost a century of life. Even at his grand age, it was clear that he didn’t want to go. But any minute now, one of the greatest heroes of Amsterdam’s WWII resistance would be nothing more than an obituary in de Volkskrant.

Slipping a little extra Demerol and OxyContin into the old man’s coffee cup, he hoped that the taste wouldn’t be bitter enough to put him off one final swig.

‘There you go, Brechtus,’ he said, setting the mug down on the table. ‘Drink it while it’s hot. Maybe you’re just coming down with something. There’s an awful lot of bugs going round at the moment.’

The coffee sloshed around as the old man raised the mug to his mouth with an unsteady hand. His thin arms barely looked capable of holding even this meagre weight.

Go on, drink it, the guest thought. Let’s finish this.





Friday, 13 April 2018

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it's casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years... and panic sets in.

They quickly decide to create little surprises for each other, to keep their relationship fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me - anything from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to photo shoots - mishaps arise with disastrous and comical results.

Gradually, the surprises turn to shocking discoveries. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all...


I love Sophie Kinsella/Madeline Wickham chic lits and was eager to read this latest book. I must confess that although usually easy to get into her novels this one seemed to lack something and never really got going until chapter 5. I stuck with it and it did get better.

The premise was a bit silly to start with: after a check up they are told they are both so healthy they will likely live to be over 100. Freaked out as how to keep their marriage fresh, they decide to constantly surprise each other. Predictably these surprises don't always work out as intended and our hapless couple Sylvie and Dan blunder through disasters along the way.

Some humorous and some silly situations arise but I have to say not my favourite Kinsella book. I think mainly the problem was that I couldn't connect with the couple, Sylvie was moany and self obsessed and Dan seemed a little dim and boring. Can only give this 3 stars - it was disappointing.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Text by Claire Douglas

The TextThe Text by Claire Douglas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A single text changed her life. Did it end his?

Emily Latimer is furious. Her boss Andrew is being so unreasonable, as always. She fires off a text to her boyfriend, only in her haste she sends it to her whole office group.

In it she says Andrew's being difficult about letting her have time off work. That she is angry. That she hopes he dies. The next day her face burns in the office. No one believes her when she says it was a typo, she meant to say does. She hopes he does.

It's a nightmare. But it gets worse - Andrew doesn't turn up for work. And then the police come knocking. Because Andrew Burton has been murdered . . .


A nice quick short story, it has been years since I have read a book by Claire Douglas, so kind of forgotten what to expect.

This is currently free on Amazon and well worth a read if you have a spare hour or so, it is short but a lot is packed into it.

Emily wants to go away with her friends but her boss Andrew isn't keen on her having the time off, this sparks anger with Emily and she sends a text to her boyfriend to complain about him. Thing is she isn't concentrating and she ends up sending it to her Whatsapp group which includes the majority of her work colleagues. The following day Andrew doesn't turn up for work and it turns out he is dead.

Although this is short there are a few twists and turns in it, which make you continue reading. Overall this was an enjoyable short read.

Friday, 6 April 2018

The Dead Ex - Jane Corry

The Dead ExThe Dead Ex by Jane Corry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

HE CHEATED.
HE LIED.
HE DIED.

Vicki's husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he's missing, her first thought is 'good riddance'. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.

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?



I have Corry's other books sitting on my shelf to be read, but just not got round to them. This I was lucky enough to have a copy from Netgalley (thank you to the publisher) so I thought over this awful Easter bank holiday (weather wise) to give it a go.

This is quite a chunky book, over 400 pages but I managed to read it in a couple of sittings. I must admit, there are many characters in this book and for quite a long way into it, I could't see how they were all linked or what the point was. After about 75% of the way though, they started to intertwine.

I thought the beginning of the book was really interesting, I really enjoyed following Scarlet's story and the reason she had been separated from her mum. There are many twists and turns though - out the book and it took me a long time to cotton on to perhaps what the main twist was.

Viki is David's ex and the story features around them, Vicki lives in Cornwall and is an aromatherapist, David works in London and has been a deceitful man, who has never seemed to have learnt his lesson.

I found this was a quick and easy read, even though it was very chunky, it was easily finished in a couple of days. At parts, I was not sure if I wanted to continue, mainly because I was getting confused with all the characters and how they were linking but I am glad I persevered.

Overall I am glad I stuck this one out, I thoroughly enjoyed it towards the end and after reading this I am certainly going to pick up Corry's other two previous books on my shelf. If you are looking for a good read this summer I recommend this, it will have you guessing until right near the end.

I would like to thank Netgalley again for sending this in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

I remember you blog tour



When her child is lost, she ll do anything to find him...
Heike Lerner has a charmed life. A stay-at-home mother married to a prominent psychiatrist, it s a far cry from the damaged child she used to be. But her world is shaken when her four-year-old son befriends a little girl at a nearby lake, who vanishes under the water. And when Heike dives in after her, there s no sign of a body.
Desperate to discover what happened to the child, Heike seeks out Leo Dolan, a television writer exploring the paranormal , but finds herself caught between her controlling husband and the intense Dolan . Then her son disappears, and Heike's husband was the last to see him alive ..


Extract:

They set out in the afternoon heat, on foot, Heike carrying a pack across her shoulders. For this and that, she said. The pack clanked in a gentle way as she walked, the sound of glass jars knocking against each other in the cradle of the fabric. Maybe a few peaches are in there, she told Daniel. Maybe something else, too.

Daniel had strapped on a lifejacket and rain boots, although she’d explained to him that they couldn’t take the canoe the whole way. First they had to walk in the shade awhile.

— You’d get a sunburn at this time of day. Besides, don’t you want to see some rabbits?

The launch was farther downstream. She pried the rubber boots, heat-damp, off his bare feet and made him wear sandals. Daniel played with the straps of the lifejacket, pulling them tighter over his T-shirt. His swim trunks had blue stripes.

The earth at the edge of the woods had begun to look sandy again, granular. A whole day without rain. Heike picked up her own trail through the trees, boot prints still marking out a path where the ground was shaded from sun, but she wore sandals now, too, and short sleeves, the halter of her own swimsuit teasing at the back of her neck, and they stopped to peer down holes cut into the ground, tunnels hidden under brambles or tree roots. Daniel right down on his hands and knees, Heike behind, holding him by the shoulders.

— What do you call rabbit babies?

— Kits, I think, Heike said. No. Kittens?

— What about bunnies?

— Bunnies is maybe a cute word.

— But not real?

— Not scientific.

— It’s kits, Daniel said, nodding. Then, wiggling out of her grasp and lurching forward: Maybe we could catch one!

— It might not be bunnies in that hole.

— Kits!

— Kits, okay, she repeated. But maybe it’s not. Rabbits or mice. It could be badgers. Or a rat! Heike gave his shoulders a squeeze, and Daniel jumped. So we don’t try to catch things, she said.

Daniel considered this. From above them came the solitary, persistent knock of a woodpecker. He looked up, suddenly distracted from what he might find under the path.

— I’m hungry a little bit.

— Wait till we get to the raft. Then you can have a peach and put your feet in the water, yeah?

— Okay. How about in the canoe?

— To eat in the canoe, or put your feet in the water?

— To eat.

— Okay, Daniel said.

At the launch, Heike threw her pack into the boat, then hauled him up into her arms and swung him over the side.

— Now let’s see if I can make this thing go, she said. She tapped at the gunwale with her paddle.

Daniel unzipped the pack and pulled out two peaches and weighed them back and forth in his hands before placing one back where it came from.

— That one is for you because it’s a Mommy peach, he said, letting her peach roll back into the open pack. This one is mine because it’s a Superman peach.

Heike didn’t question this. She paddled out of the shallows and down to where the stream met the lake, and then followed the shoreline, stroking smoothly but switching sides a little more often, she thought, than you should really need to. The canoe waggled its way along like a duck on land. It was a longer trip than she remembered, and Heike pulled her hat down against the sun. Her brow line was all wet. They moved along through a channel set within the lake, the shore maybe thirty feet to the east of them and a little island clouding the view to the west.

Daniel pointed.

— Who lives here?

— No one does, Heike said. The water is for everyone. Anyone can come.

It was hot, and she searched ahead for a break in the tall grass at the shore. Could they have passed the entrance to the pond without noticing?

— But someone used to live here, Daniel said.

— How do you know that?

— Because you said there’s a house. And the raft. Someone built the raft for kids to jump off. So there was kids, Daniel said. This satisfied him, and he took a bite of peach.

A new stream opened out into the lake, and Heike manoeuvred the canoe around the bend and dipped the paddle deeper to propel it up against the current. She hadn’t crossed any water between the pond and home on her hike through the forest, so surely this had to be right. A little way upstream, the channel widened out into a pool, lax and clogged with river plants, and the current stilled. Daniel leaned against the edge of the canoe, trailing one hand in the water. It was a brief moment of shade, and she let them drift, pulling the paddle up and resting it across the boat and closing her eyes.

— I have a friend, Daniel said. He’s a tadpole. I have a tadpole friend. He’s on me, Mami. See? He’s just little and nice.

Heike peered at him with one eye to make sure he wasn’t leaning too far over the water. From behind her came the quick, repeating splish of the swallows, beaks and wingtips nicking the water’s plain surface again and again. Daniel thumbed at something on the back of his hand.

— Mami?

She shut her eyes again. His voice rose higher:

— It won’t get off ! Mami! My tadpole won’t get off !

Heike jumped forward, upsetting the paddle and grabbing it with one hand just before it slipped off into the water.

— Here, give me your hand. Give, now, she said. Daniel.

She pinched the leech with her thumb and forefinger, tugging it sharply to the left and up, then flicked it back into the water. A little droplet of blood sprang up on Daniel’s hand.

— Put your hand in the water, she said.

— No! What if it gets on me again?

— You have to wash your hand. Heike grabbed his wrist and crawled forward on her knees, careful to keep a hand on her paddle, then swished his hand in the wet two or three times before letting go.

— Now, she said. You see? All done.

Daniel took his hand back and glowered at her.

— Oh, you don’t have to be so sulky, Heike said. You put your hand in his home! Maybe he was trying to be friends.

Daniel touched the sore place on his hand, and the little dot of blood thinned and widened.

— He wasn’t a tadpole friend, he said. Then, putting the trauma behind him: Will we go in the house?

— No, Liebchen. It’s not our house. No one lives there anymore.

She took the paddle in both hands and steered out toward where she could see that the stream opened up wide again. The sun felt all new. Heike squinted into it. There was a younger bank of reeds ahead, the green tips barely breaking the water’s surface, and hidden just beyond that, she saw the raft.

— I found it, Daniel said.



Monday, 26 March 2018

Cut Off: Quick Reads by Mark Billingham

Cut Off: Quick ReadsCut Off: Quick Reads by Mark Billingham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's the moment we all fear: losing our phone, leaving us cut off from family and friends. But, for Louise, losing hers in a local café takes her somewhere much darker.

After many hours of panic, Louise is relieved when someone gets in touch offering to return the phone. From then on she is impatient to get back to normal life.

But when they meet on the beach, Louise realises you should be careful what you wish for...

The premise of this story really got me, I thought this was going to be right up my street. We all live in a digital age now and so when you lose your phone it does feel you have lost a part of you. I couldn't wait to get into this little thriller.

Unfortunately I thought it was a bit of a let down, it began really strong and I was interested in everything that was going on. I just felt it took a wrong turn, the 'woman' we don't know and have no idea what her intentions are or why. The ending was a massive disappointment, it was if you were just 'cut off' as the book suggests.

I know this is only a short story, however I have read many short stories, which have had the characters develop well and the plot has been good. Unfortunately it was almost like Billingham thought, oh I need to end this now and just stopped writing to wrap things up.

This was the first time I have read a book by this author and unfortunately I would not pick up another on the strength of this.

It was O.K and passed an hour or so but not brilliant.