One Click by Andrea Mara

oneclick

Length: 354 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.

Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.

She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.

Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.

The Review: You’ll remember that I gushed about the amazing The Other Side of The Wall  (seriously, read the book! Review here) from the creator of the brilliant Office Mum blog (here) . In fact I’m pretty sure that it was my most recommended read that year. I loved the creepiness of it and the ending that was a lesson in how to grip! And here we have it again, a book that I really enjoyed with a twist I didn’t see or perhaps I did but I discounted it and had moved on by the time the explosive ending had come about. But sorry, as usual, I’m running on.

We begin with imagery that is impeccable, and puts us right there enjoying the holiday with Lauren and her daughters. Our lead, Lauren, is on a beach and sees a woman that is the definition of relaxed and it makes her think back to how she spent her time before the daily grind became a grind. So she starts a hashtag and shares the photo.

I love that it was her teenage daughter that called her out on it and Lauren trying to backtrack and justify something she warns her children about. It was hilarious that I jumped straight into their holiday, enjoying the vividness of all of it and then, as I often do with thrillers, suddenly remembered (and noted on my Kindle) ‘crap, this is going to get bad.’

There was so much I loved from the start-the ease of the interaction with the lead and her daughters, the background to her work as a single parent psychologist, and soon all was muddied by tweets by an unknown wanting to know who the girl in the photo was. Saying that I have to admit as much as I enjoyed the first half for the everyday, when I got to the jumps and the scares I realised I could have done with just a few more, and a teeny tiny bit less about the morality of use of social media, although that is supposed to be the talking point of the book so I’m probably in the minority on this.

Speaking of the thriller aspect to the book, it’s funny that I decide what way I want a book to go and so I was very excited when we came across the girl a second time, as suddenly, as I’d prayed for (YES!), we’ve got her pov too!

There’s a series of unpalatables in the book, giving us some choices as to who the person who is now openly stalking Lauren, not only online but in real life too, and I was all over the place trying to figure out our culprit. We were led around and about every garden path and I savoured it, adoring the unease created (at one stage there’s a home alone scenario that had my eyes wide and my heart actually thumping as I was reading at one o clock in the morning in the silence of our own home!) and gobbled up the latter part of the book, in particular a conclusion that was right up my street. Beyond enjoyable, and a book that has (if she hadn’t been already as I do know her from IWI) most definitely cemented Ms. Mara as an author I will continue to read and shout about.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

 

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Stacking The Shelves

staackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, where you share the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks, audio and paperback books, including books you’ve bought, borrowed or received an ARC of.

So given #ChickLitMay I’ve gone a bit chick lit nutty this week, and am looking forward to all of them (there’s one outlier;))!

singlewoman

To start with Tracy Bloom because, to be honest, she’s romantic comedy/ chick lit royalty in my book at this stage! Can’t WAIT to read!!

What they say: What do you do when you find your love-life in ruins? Get revenge on every man who ever broke your heart of course….

Suzie Miller, a disillusioned agony aunt, can’t believe she’s been dumped from a great height yet again (this time by text, straight after they’ve had sex… twice!). So she decides the time is right to make every one of her exes feel the pain she felt when they carelessly cast her aside.

Her methods are unusual but humiliation on a grand scale is no less than they deserve.

Euphoric that she’s finally stood up for herself she starts suggesting outrageous ways for her readers to deal with their relationship nightmares too. Suddenly everyone wants Suzie’s advice. Finally content with being single and enjoying her blossoming career it seems as though happiness is within her grasp. That is until a man gets in the way.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge is a romantic comedy with a kick: a kick up the backside to any man who believes he got away with treating a woman badly and to any woman who doesn’t fight back.

 

ottercombe bay

If I was ever to visit anywhere it’d be Devon. It seems to be the setting of so many gorgeous descriptive chick lit books! Looking forward to this!

What they say: Escape to the Devon coast, with Part One of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

 

thecottageathope

I ‘met’ Hannah Ellis some time ago now when I got a review copy for her first book, and have stayed in contact and continued to read her warm, feel good rom coms since!

What they say: Lizzie Beaumont has it all: a great career, a wealthy fiancé, and the wedding of her dreams just months away. But when her fiancé puts work before her again, she sets off for a week in the picturesque town of Hope Cove. She’s hoping for time away from the chaos to find herself.

Instead, she finds Max.

When the gorgeous guy next door asks her for decorating help, Lizzie finds herself all too eager to please. The week she expected to drag suddenly flies by, and before she knows it, she has to return to her other life. The life with the impending marriage and the fiancé she loves.

Or does she?

One week with Max has left her questioning her life choices. Is her fiancé the man of her dreams, or just the man who asked? Now Lizzie must decide what her life will be. Will she go for the safe and predictable route, or take a chance on a man she hardly knows? No matter what she does, someone’s heart is going to break. She just doesn’t want it to be hers.

 

thewindmill

Have heard so many good things about this!

What they say: As Rosie Barnes serves glasses of tangy lemonade and ice-cold prosecco at her summer garden party, she couldn’t be happier. The Windmill Café, with its peppermint green sails is a roaring success and has given Rosie a chance to escape the heartbreak of her busy life in London.

But then disaster strikes when popstar Suki Richards is taken unexpectedly ill at the party. Now all eyes are on Rosie…have her famous raspberry cupcakes poisoned her most high-profile guest? Or is someone else trying to damage Suki’s chance of stardom?

If Rosie wants to save her picture-perfect life, and the reputation of her beloved Windmill Café, she’s going to have to get to the bottom of the mystery…and fast!

 

sunshine at the

(whispers) I’ve never ACTUALLY read a Debbie Johnson book, despite having a number on my Kindle (shuffles away shiftily … )

What they say: Come to the Comfort Food Café this spring for sunshine, smiles and plenty of truly scrumptious lemon drizzle cake.

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

‘Summer wouldn’t be Summer without Debbie Johnson!’ Jenny Oliver

My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home.

For Willow, the ramshackle café overlooking the beach, together with its warm-hearted community, offers friendship as a daily special and always has a hearty welcome on the
menu. But when a handsome stranger blows in on a warm
spring breeze, Willow soon realises that her quiet country
life will be changed forever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and make yourself
at home at the Comfort Food Café.

 

appleby

 

This next one is one of those books I’ve been hearing about forever! It was originally published as a four-part serial but this is the full thing.

What they say: Sometimes the life you want isn’t the one you need…

Freya has skirted through life, drifting from place to place and job to job. Always restless, it seems she’s finally found a place to settle down (with a sexy boyfriend to match) in a small and cosy town. But she still finds herself thinking of the rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm. They’re only dreams though… there’s a life right here ready to be lived.

But a phone call rocks the new life she has built. Tragedy has threatened Appleby Farm and Freya makes the choice to return home, leaving her lovely boyfriend and safe job behind. But maybe the grass at Appleby Farm will be a shade greener this time…

Now, ever-restless Freya must finally make a choice about what she’d like her life to be. With two lives, two men and two futures to choose from… who does she really want to be?

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane.

 

plotting

I’ll admit I actually thought this one was a book on plotting but then the actual plot got me and so I bought anyway!

What they say: A Novel for New Beginnings….. set in the Derbyshire Peak District

“Women reach fifty and think they’re on the verge of liberation and excitement, and their broken-down men just want to stay home and fart. Or in my case, go and live in a cabin in the Rockies and fart.”

Sally Howe plans to spend her husband-free year trying her hand at becoming a wildly successful author. But she’s beset by distractions – the first being a queue of local lotharios, led by young Billy Bathgate, the village postmaster with a tartan trouser habit and an obsession with drain rods. Then her delightfully empty nest fills up again – her younger son boomerangs home with a new-found vegan-activist agenda, and her DIY-crazy brother comes to stay.

Warm, wise and funny, Plotting for Beginners offers a wry evaluation of long-haul marriages, plus a lesson on how to hit the menopause running and seize your freedom when the family has gone.

And the outlier- very excited to have this land into my Kindle- One Click by the brilliant Andrea Mara …

oneclick

What they say: When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.

Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.

She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.

Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.

The Other Side Of The Wall by Andrea Mara

theothersideofthewall

 Length: 402 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal buy link for Amazon

What they say:

When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.

Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.

The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.

Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.

Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not – there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.

The Review: I was very lucky to have read an earlier form of this book, as I’m blessed to share online space with Andrea Mara (a freelance journalist whose blog is the brilliant officemum.ie) in the Imagine Write Inspire writing group (come on, I had to!) , led by the most lovely Carmel Harrington, and was blown away that this was a debut. Enough about that, however. This book starts as every thriller should, in the middle of the night, with our lead character woken with a jump. After some time she looks out to see that there’s a child’s body floating in the pond next door, only, on further investigation, there isn’t. And so begins Sylvia’s story, where a series of happenings are making her wonder if there’s something going on with the new people next door, or whether it’s all in her mind.

We have multiple point of views here, as well as following Sylvia on her daily passage as a working mum. The author of this book has, as this is her forte, presented us with various mothers, there’s Sylvia, but there’s also Kate, who is a stay at home mum. I loved the lighter relief of their everyday routines, and the issues that arose with partners, relatives and work but was quickly reeled into the plights of various characters. I felt you were immersed time and time again in the everyday before a new build up started-something beginning to niggle at you before suddenly you were presented with a shock.

I was gripped by the back stories of the various characters (there’s a lot of jumping in terms of timelines, but I enjoyed the way it was done) and in particular that of Kate and her brother, Miller, which was the story that took over my mind both times (I couldn’t review until I had read it in its current form) I put the book down. I’ve probably told you before that my brother has AS and so every time I read about a character who is a little different it takes hold. The treatment of Miller really got to me and I started to feel that whatever we might learn he had done was justified (I know, I know!).

The storytelling was perfection, the descriptions excellent, and I’m always a sucker for multiple point of views and the fact that there were multiple mysteries to be solved too meant this suited me down to the ground. This book isn’t gory but there is the possibility of a few grimaces along the way, the idea of what one character does to another human being being a tough one to stomach. I will say that there was in particular one loose end that I would have enjoyed being tied up a little neater but it niggled at me at the time and then was quickly replaced with memories of other things that had happened. All in all a very atmospheric, memorable thriller (not listed as this on Amazon, is under sagas, literary and fiction?!) that rose to an excellent climax and is beyond beyond (done purposely!!) recommended.

Rating: 5/5