Monday, 14 May 2018

Guilt






Your sister. Her secret. The betrayal.

There is no bond greater than blood . . .

When the body of a woman is found stabbed to death, the blame falls to her twin sister. But who killed who? And which one is now the woman behind bars?

Zara and Miranda have always supported each other. But then Zara meets Seb, and everything changes. Handsome, charismatic and dangerous, Seb threatens to tear the sisters’ lives apart – but is he really the one to blame? Or are deeper resentments simmering beneath the surface that the sisters must face up to?

As the sisters’ relationship is stretched to the brink, a traumatic incident in Seb’s past begins to rear its head and soon all three are locked in a psychological battle that will leave someone dead. The question is, who?

Claustrophobic and compelling, Amanda Robson is back in a knock-out thriller perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Paula Hawkins

Extract:

Miranda has been in bed all weekend. I’ve been into her room a few times to check up on her and find out how she is feeling. All she says is that she’s tired, that she wants to catch up on her sleep.



It is so unlike Miranda to be tired. She usually has so much energy. In the last ten years, as far as I know, she hasn’t had a day off work. Over the weekend while she has been incapacitated, Sebastian and I have been all over town. Saturday night supper at Luigi’s. Sunday lunch at Arnolfini; afterwards wandering about holding hands, admiring the artwork. But all our activities haven’t assuaged my worry. So on Sunday evening, getting ready for bed, I know Sebastian and I need to discuss this.



‘What’s the matter with her? This isn’t like her. Do you think she’s really ill? Do you think she’s all right?’ I ask as I struggle to pull off my skin-tight jeans.



His face solidifies. ‘I was waiting for her to tell you herself,’ he says. ‘She’s low. She’s in big trouble at work.’



His words cut into me like electricity. Miranda Cunningham. Big trouble at work. Miranda has always taken her career so seriously.



My jeans are finally on the floor. I sit on the edge of the bed in my top and knickers, looking across at him, wide-eyed.



‘But she loves her job. What’s happened?’ I stutter.

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

The BelovedsThe Beloveds by Maureen Lindley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An exploration of domestic derangement in the tradition of Daphne Du Maurier s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
An exploration of domestic derangement, in the tradition of Daphne Du Maurier s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
Oh, to be a Beloved one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved but her younger sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She s the one with the golden curls, sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty s, the one whose husband should have been Betty s. And then, to everyone s surprise, Gloria inherits the family home a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens that was never meant to be hers. 

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behaviour aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there s a length to which an envious sister won t go.




Written in the first person from the central character who is our narrator Betty, The Beloveds is a dark sinister story of obsession and sibling jealousy out of control.

When Betty's mother dies she naturally expects to receive the family home, Pipits, as she is the eldest daughter and it is the way of things. She was never her mothers favourite, that honour went to her younger sister Gloria. So when the house is left to Gloria Betty is furious and vows somehow to get what is rightfully hers.

Bettys' jealousy started from the time Gloria was born. Gloria was such a good baby and developed into a charming child who everyone was attracted to. She had a pretty face and such a sweet character that everyone fell in love with. Betty sees has one of the 'beloveds' - those who manage to get everything in life they want and luck is always on their side.

Against Gloria Betty feels plain and never good enough. Every situation Betty sees as a criticism and so through the years she builds such resentment that she becomes to hate Gloria. Matters were made worse when Betty bought home her boyfriend Henry and once he meets Gloria she looses him to her and they marry. Another thing that gets added to Bettys list against her sister.
Gloria even manages to steal Bettys best friend Alice from her.Betty does marry and although Bert is much older than her it is a convenient arrangement on both their parts.

Betty has always loved Pipits and believes the house talks to her and is willing her to take it off Gloria and Henry and she makes it her mission to do just that at any cost.

This is a dark tale and at times a little voyeuristic because the reader becomes Betty and we spy along with her on those on her list that she wants to destroy. Betty is a psychopath where reasoning and acceptable behaviour don't exist, where she can plausibly justify her actions. She's not a likeable character but there's something that draws the reader in about her, possibly the need to know how far she will go to get what she wants.

Cleverly written with enough suspense to keep you reading and I give this one 4 stars.

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

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Fear by C.L. Taylor

The FearThe Fear by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…
When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.
Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.
But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…


A psychological thriller, The Fear is about a teenager who is groomed by her teacher and is abducted where they flee to France. Many years later Lou discovers that Mike the teacher who groomed her is involved with another teenager Chloe Meadows. Lou is determined that history doesn't repeat itself with Chloe and makes it her mission to expose him and to finally have the chance to confront him for the damage he has done to her.

Mike is far cleverer than Lou anticipates and it soon becomes clear that she is in danger when he discovers she is behind a campaign to prevent him from preying on Chloe.

This has some clever twists and will keep the reader guessing until the end. Very relateable characters and plenty of suspense with mystery and murders along the way. It was a gripping and sometimes disturbing read but immensely enjoyable. Has to have 5 stars for this one.

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

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.