Friday, 21 December 2018

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Let You GoNever Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She thought she'd escaped him forever. But will he ever let her go?

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash fled into the night with her young daughter, leaving an abusive relationship behind. Her ex-husband ended up in jail and Lindsey started a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older, wiser and believes she has cut all ties with the past. But when Andrew is released from prison, strange things start happening. Lindsey's new boyfriend is threatened, her home invaded and her daughter followed.

Her ex-husband denies all knowledge, but Lindsey is convinced he's responsible. Because, after all, who else could it be...?

Nice little psychological thriller with plenty of red herrings and twists along the way. Although I did guess the ending it was not so obvious until late in the book which is always nice.

Plenty of suspense, pacey with engaging characters, alternating between the past, present and flashbacks over a period of 10 years we learn of Lindsay's suffering at the hands of her possessive and manipulative husband Andrew and her determination to get herself and her daughter Sophie as far away from him as possible. When he has served a prison sentence for killing a woman in her car in a road accident when he tries to chase Lindsay and Sophie he returns back into their lives once again. Lindsay, terrified of what he might do to her and her daughter confide in a couple of people but Lindsays paranoia lead her to suspect only one person for things that start happening in her life, Andrew. She needs to look a little closer to home.

As I said, I did guess the ending but not until Chevy Stevens was ready to let me, a great roller coaster of a ride, lovely atmospheric writing and good strong characters held this together until the end. Would definitely read another of this authors books - this was my first. Absolutely worth 4 stars, a cracking read - buy it for Christmas!

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

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante

Half Moon BayHalf Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Jane O’Malley loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Devastated, she makes a stab at a new life and moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. As the months go by she is able to cobble together some possibility of peace. Then children begin to disappear, and soon Jane sees her own pain reflected in all the parents in the town. She wonders if she will be able to live through the aching loss, the fear once again surrounding her, but as the disappearances continue, fingers of suspicion all begin to point at her.

Oh dear, where do I start on this one. So boring, confusing, unengaging writing style and by the time I'd reached pg 25 I had to stop before I became brain dead. Awful writing style didn't carry this one forward and confusing convoluted storyline of being inside Jane's mind was just a push too far for me. I never give a totally bad review but this was so awful that I couldn't bring myself to go beyond pg 25. Maybe it gets better, maybe it doesn't but I really couldn't have cared less what happened to the main character and although loosing a child must be one of the worst nightmares you can go through I just couldn't engage in this novel. Littered with staccato bursts of rhetoric with no real outcome or cohesion, the pace was painfully slow. Its a pity because so much could have been done with the concept but I felt it was just an exercise in self pity - as I said perhaps it gets better as you go along but I doubted it as I skim read forwards and it seemed if anything to get more convoluted and messy. So sorry to have to give it only 1 star.

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

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Friends Like These by Sarah Alderson

There's no such thing as a perfect life. Only a perfect lie. We all know someone like Becca. She has the job everyone wants, a designer wardrobe, a hot-shot lawyer boyfriend, holidays to exotic locations. And she flaunts her perfect life all over social media. It drove her colleague Lizzie mad, but she couldn't stop looking.

 They were never really friends - and yet Lizzie knew everything about her. Or did she? When chance, and a terrible mistake, pulls Lizzie back into Becca's orbit years after they lost touch, she'll realise that you can't always believe what you see online... and that finding out the truth might be the worst thing you can do.


Transcript of 999 call Sunday, 10 December, 11.23 p.m.

 Female Caller: She’s got a knife. Please hurry. 

Operator: The police are on their way. Can you get out of the house? 

Female Caller: No. Operator: Is there somewhere you can hide, somewhere with a door that locks?

 Female Caller: I’m in the bathroom . . . Downstairs. Please hurry. I can hear her coming. 

Operator: Stay on the line with me. [0:31:44 – unclear – indistinct crying] 

Female Caller: [whispered] I think she’s outside the door . . . I can hear her. Oh god, please, hurry up. 

Operator: The police will be there any minute. Stay on the line with me. Can you tell me what’s happening? Who is it that’s got the knife? [0:44:16 – unclear – series of bangs – followed by a crash]

 Female Caller: No! Operator: Hello? Are you there? 

[0:53:33 – screams] 

Female Caller: No! Get off me . . . She’s going to kill me! [1:05:33 – unclear – sounds of a struggle] 

Operator: Hello? Are you there? Hello? 

Female Caller: Hello? 

Operator: Are you OK? What happened? The police are pulling up outside now.

 Female Caller: She’s dead. I think she might be dead. Oh god. Oh god . . . please . . . oh my god. She’s not moving. There’s blood. A lot of blood.

 Operator: Is she breathing? 

Female Caller: I don’t know. [2:04:16 – whimpering – panting] 

Operator: Can you check for a pulse? Female Caller: I . . . oh god . . . I don’t know. Please can you send an ambulance? 

Operator: It’s on its way. You need to stay calm. Can you do that for me? 

Female Caller: Yes. Yes, I think so . . . Oh my god. Operator: What’s your name? Can you give me your name? 

Female Caller: She came at me . . . with a knife. She just came out of nowhere. I think she’s dead . . . I think I’ve killed her

Partial transcript of police interview with Miss Elizabeth Crawley, subsequent to filing of Missing Persons Report PC Kandiah – Sunday, 10 December

 Have you ever had one of those Facebook friends – more of an acquaintance really, like a colleague or an old school friend – who you accept a friendship request from and then wish to god you bloody hadn’t? We all have, right? You don’t want to unfriend them just in case they realise, even though they’ve got like seven hundred friends so the chances are they’d never know. But if you’re honest, you’re also a little bit intrigued by their life and sometimes, maybe after a couple of glasses of wine, when you’re tired of trawling through Netfl ix to fi nd something to watch, you fi nd yourself randomly Facebook-stalking them. Admit it, you’ve done it.

 Next thing you know, you’re falling down a rabbit hole and feeling like a bit of a voyeur. It’s funny, isn’t it? The whole time you’re scouring their feed, you’re waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and shout Ha! Caught you! Even though you haven’t done anything wrong. I mean, they wouldn’t put it all out there unless they wanted you to read it. 
You want an example of Becca’s social media posts? OK. She was one of those people who hashtagged every post with something like #gratitude or #blessed or #yolo. Oh, and also, #bestboyfriendever. That was her favourite. You know the kind of person I’m talking about.

 You’re smiling. You know someone just like it. She was forever posting selfies of herself at the gym, you know the kind, complaining about having eaten too many pies and needing to work off the extra pounds, while at the same time showing off her abs. Or posting a thousand photos of herself on holiday in Ibiza – and every shot was taken from a lounger, framing the setting sun through her thigh gap. Or she’d take pictures of herself with a full face of make-up, hair blow-dried, and hashtag it #wokeuplikethis because yeah, sure you did, don’t we all? I know I do. Not.

 Listen, I swear, you can ask anyone, almost every other post was about her boyfriend, James. About how amazing he was, how he’d arranged yet another romantic getaway to New York or the Cotswolds or Paris, how he was hashtag best boyfriend ever. Or she’d take a picture of him asleep, head under the pillows, stick a black and white filter on it and tag it #hotboyfriend and #luckiestgirlalive.

 I guess, for want of another word, it came across as smug. I can see you laughing. You totally get it. And let’s face it, there’s something kind of suspicious about someone who’s always posting gushing updates about their other half. Think about it. All those celebrities who make huge public declarations of love, they all end up divorcing three weeks later. 

A couple of people at work unfriended her, or at least unfollowed her because they found her so annoying. Not me though. Were we jealous of her? No. Honestly. I can tell you don’t believe me but it’s true. I mean she was pretty, yes, sure, but we weren’t jealous. I think some people were a bit put out that she’d got the job of assistant to the CEO. There were others who’d been there longer and who thought they deserved it more, but that’s just how this industry is. And, besides, I work in the finance department, so it didn’t bother me in the same way as it did those who were trying to make the jump from assistants to agents. If you met her by the water cooler and tried to make polite conversation, she’d just look at you like you were a lesser being and then walk off, like you weren’t worthy of her time or something. She was only really friendly to people she thought could help her get where she wanted to be. Where was that? At the top of the ladder, of course. She was . . . ambitious. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about that. I’m all for women climbing the ladder and shattering the glass ceiling. It’s past time, isn’t it? What’s that quote? There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women? Something like that. Well, I agree. And the rest of us women in the office, we stuck together, we had each other’s backs – you have to in this industry – you have no idea . . . but Becca, she definitely didn’t get the memo on that one. 

God, I sound like a bitch. And I’m not. I really am not. I hate talking ill of people. Especially people who are . . . Look, I don’t want to make it sound like I hated her. I didn’t hate her. I didn’t know her. I don’t know her. That’s my point. 

Oh wait, I remembered something else. For Claire’s birthday a few years ago Flora made her a chocolate cake. She put it in the fridge at work. Well, when the time came to bring it out someone had helped themselves to a massive slice. I mean, these things happen at work all the time. People are always nicking bread or helping themselves to your cream cheese, even if you stick a Post-it note on it. I know some people who spit in their food and warn people that that’s what they’ve done to ward them off. Like holy water with vampires. 

But this . . . this felt deliberate. Whoever it was hadn’t used a knife and cut a slice of cake. They’d gouged it with what looked like their hands. A huge chunk of cake. It was completely ruined. Who does that? We had no idea. But as I’m comforting Flora in the kitchen, in walks Becca with a plate covered in chocolate crumbs. She saw us, froze, and then she just smiled and stuck her plate in the sink. We knew. She knew we knew. But what are you going to do? Of course, we didn’t confront her about it. She would only have denied it. It was things like that. She lied a lot too. God, I feel awful, and I don’t even know if this is helpful in any way. Is it? Shouldn’t you be out there, looking for her or something? How is this helping find her? You want a picture of her, I get that, but I’m not the best person. I haven’t seen her in years. And I never really knew her to begin with. That’s my point. I keep telling you. No one knew her. Not the real her. 

How did she lie? OK. Here’s an example: she’d always namedrop famous people she knew. Or that she said she knew. She told people she once dated Prince Harry after meeting him at Boujis, that nightclub in Kensington. Oh, and that her father invented LED lights. Ridiculous things. Unbelievable things. I mean . . . come on, if you’re going to lie, at least make the lies believable. It’s almost like she was playing a game, like she wanted us to call her out on it. But no one ever did.

 Even some of the guys found her too much. A little too . . . into herself, I guess you could say. She was always really well dressed, that’s another thing. She had great taste but she’d wear clothes to the office that were more suitable for a night out. Always really high heels too. Manolo Blahniks and Louboutin. We used to wonder how she got the money because she wasn’t earning much more than us and we were all pretty broke. We were shopping at ASOS and she was turning up to work in Stella McCartney and Chlo√©. She told people her family were dead – her parents and her siblings had all burned to death in a fi re – god knows if that’s even true – and that she’d inherited a lot of money. An LED light fortune. 

But now we know the truth. Everything she told us about herself was a lie. 

So if you ask me why I think she’s gone missing, I’d have to tell you that I don’t know.

 I’m just giving you some background about who she was. Is.

I have already reviewed this book, look back for the review. 

Friday, 7 December 2018

Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

Some Kind of WonderfulSome Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Happiness can be found where you least expect it . . .

When the love of your life says you're not The One, what next?

After celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks Lizzy and Ian are about to get engaged.

Instead, a romantic escape to Dubai leaves Lizzy with no ring, no fiancé and no future.

Lizzy is heartbroken - but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she's been missing while playing Ian's 'better half'.

But how much has Ian changed her, and who is she without him?

Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before - and, in the meantime, have a little fun . . .

This was my first book I have read by Giovanna Fletcher. I didn't know really what to expect, I was hoping for a good chick lit novel.

In this story we follow Lizzie, she has been with her boyfriend for many years and is desperate to get married, when she gets whisked away on a romantic break to Dubai, she is sure that finally he is going to pop the question. The trip is almost over and so far no sign of a romantic proposal, after one final night she returns home without a boyfriend and her whole life is about to change.

She begins to gradually rebuild herself, this is a chance for a fresh start and although hard Lizzie has decided she needs to move on with her life and try and make the best of it.

I really liked the beginning part of the story and thought it was everything I was looking for, however I must admit I started to get a little lost and bored towards the middle, it felt like it wasn't going anywhere. I was a bit disappointed as it had such promise but I was unable to enjoy it again as much as I had initially.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a ScandalAnatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes

A timely and topical thriller uncovering a high profile case of an MP in Westminster accused of rape. Told from multi viewpoints and from past college days to present day and the trial of the accused MP James Whitehouse. The college days tell of the privileged wealthy students whose appetite for excess in all things leaves an impression wherever they go, not least in the their privileged boys club the Libertines spend hedonistic nights drinking and taking drugs then trashing the club believing they only have to flash their cash to keep everyone happy and cover any indiscretions. Bonds are formed in the days at Oxford and James Whitehouse forms a lasting partnership with Tom Southern who later becomes PM. We are transported 30 years later and both young men working in Westminster have each others' backs. When James is accused by his parliamentary researcher Olivia Lytton of rape Tom has to distance himself but still supports him when James says he is innocent. Olivia appoints Kate Woodcroft QC who specialises in prosecuting sexual crimes and we later learn she has a connection to the accused. James is married to Sophie who at first is convinced her husband, although used to having his own way, would not have committed this crime but as time goes on she begins to doubt him.

Plenty of twists and turns in this well paced novel and lots of high court room drama with a nice little twist at the end. Good enjoyable read that gets a 4 stars from me.

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

Monday, 3 December 2018

Friends Like These by Sarah Alderson

Friends Like TheseFriends Like These by Sarah Alderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lizzie hasn't thought much about Becca since the accident.

She remembers the blood though. She can see how you wouldn't be the same again after something like that. No one was surprised when Becca didn't come back to work.

And Lizzie's different these days too. She used to be the one in the shadows, stalking Becca's perfect life online, but a lot has changed since then.

So when Becca's ex shows up on Tinder, Lizzie swipes right. Why not? Doesn't she deserve a chance at happiness as well?

Becca will have moved on. There's no way she'd even remember Lizzie, no way she could know anything about her life - is there?

She's about to find out that with a friend like Becca, she doesn't need enemies...

Cleverly written psychological thriller with such tight characters it is not possible to separate them as suspects to unravel this compulsive novel until the end.

Written from two peoples' perspective we are taken on a journey of intrigue and deception. Just when I thought I knew what was going on and who was the perpetrator up came another curve ball that made me question everything I thought I knew from the plot. Revenge, jealousy and a twisting madness all make for an addictive and compelling novel.

Unfortunately I didn't like many of the characters (with the exception of Flora) but despite this I did want to know how it all panned out which kept me going to the end. A good read and worth 4 stars.

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