Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

HerNameWasRose

Length: 353 pages

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

What they say:

Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

The Review: This was most definitely one of the most talked about and lauded books in Ireland this year. Every Facebook group I was on was raving about it, so many bloggers had read it, and it was all over Twitter so it was high up on my ‘to read’ list. While I must say I would definitely read the author’s work again, I have to say it wasn’t the standout I had hoped it would be, maybe it couldn’t have lived up to everyone’s praise of it, but, sorry, I digress.

So to start off with, what a premise! Emily is filled with guilt when she tells a young lady with a child in a buggy to go out in front of her one day. The lady is poised and perfect in Emily’s eyes, and when she is killed by a car, Emily is devastated, and begins to try to get to know everything about the woman. Emily is a weak character personality wise from the off, and was great in making the book that little bit more headachy, you know when you’re so engrossed in the lead that you kind of move along in a haze following every last action? I really enjoyed this aspect of the book and could actually see how she justified moving into Rose’s life.

Saying that there were some moments that made it head into absurd territory, and these were a pity. As well as this, me being pernickety as I am, I had some editing issues, the repetition of words being one, and also the method of writing to avoid use of pronouns by just cutting them out. I’m by no means a grammar expert, in fact the opposite, and I’m all for short punchy sentences, and actually not usually a fan of reviews that act as an editorial critique (sorry!), but this happened so many times I found myself subbing in words, which is not something you want to do when reading.

Saying that I never moved to put it down and did want to see what happened to Emily and enjoyed both settings and descriptions. So I suppose I’m putting myself on the fence here.

Rating: Unfortunately a 3/5

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The Warning by Kathryn Croft

Kathryn Croft

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

What they say:My little boy’s room was empty, his bed neatly made. Alarm bells should have rung immediately. Then the knock on the door came. All I remember is a thick fog wrapping itself tightly around me. This couldn’t be happening to us.

Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.

Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email:

You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.

Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help?
And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?

The Review: When people ask for recs for psychological thrillers, quoting that they liked ‘Gone Girl’ or the like, I always turn their heads towards Kathryn Croft (pretty much all of them are on this blog if you want to do a quick search-apologies internet is not good enough today to reference them all!). To me her books are excellent examples of edge of your seat stuff, with leads you’re gunning for, and a race to a finish that generally surprises.

So we join a number of characters, most notably Zoe, who has been trundling through the days with her husband, Jake, and son. I warmed to each of the characters straight away, really feeling for them as they tried not to let the death of the character of the house ruin them. Added to the tragic circumstances of Ethan’s death were two things: first that they didn’t know he was out of the house that night,  and second, that his friend drowned too. Enter his friend’s mother, a woman who’s living with a secret but who is first and foremost, the mother of the teenager killed that night at the river. I felt for her throughout, wanting her to find some sort of life in an  existence where she had to put up with a despicable husband who she no longer loved, and who very obviously had no warmth for her.

So the two come face to face again when Zoe begins to get messages telling her that her son’s death was no accident. At the start we are trying to figure out if these messages are meant as a help or if they serve as warnings to her and her family, and we soon find out! This book is about the hunt to find out what happened that night, why it happened and who was involved and it most definitely kept me reading.

I had a fair few niggles, which was disappointing, the end of so many chapters were cliffhangers and there were so many characters’ viewpoints that it took away the shock factor after a while as you had to be put back to the surprise after a few chapters of different people talking. I’m afraid I did a lot of page flipping to remember who the smaller (and sometimes very important) characters were (yes this is ironic the post after another post where I said I am always ready for books with multiple povs!). Saying that I never wanted to put the book down and looked forward to finding out who the menacing character who told their own story was and I was lead up down and back around the garden path a number of times and couldn’t leave it down. Do make sure to check out all of her books though, you honestly will not be disappointed (I recommend starting with The Girl With No Past- review here and moving on from there!). Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

 

If He Wakes by Zoe Lea

ifhewakes

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

What they say: You can always trust your best friend… can’t you?

When Rachel discovers a Twitter message arranging a romantic liaison she assumes her husband is having an affair, and follows him. What she witnesses is so much worse: a hit and run using his car.

Meanwhile, Rachel’s friend and business partner Suzie is increasingly worried about her fiancé, who’s not been in touch for days. When Suzie learns of huge debts racked up in her name she fears he has run out on her, but then the threatening calls start and she thinks something terrible has happened.

Rachel and Suzie are both about to learn shocking things about the men they love, worse than they could ever imagine… Can their friendship survive?

The Review: First off yay to the fact that the blurb actually tells you what happens! We open with Rachel who has just seen her husband knocking someone down with his car AND DRIVING OFF! Actually probably more to the forefront is-what a premise! It’s one thing if you find out your husband has done something illegal on purpose, murder, an attack … but here is something that is an accident but it’s his reaction, his reflex to the accident which is key. How can the person you adore be a person who’s gut instinct isn’t to get out, help and admit culpability?

What follows,the realisation that he had reported his car missing and so it may not have actually be him threw you, as it did or protagonist, who finds everything unravelling as we wonder whether it was her husband and what he’s going to do to keep her quiet (where my mind went). This goes on as she tries to continue her business and cope with the everyday, including two children, (one of whom, I found unlikable even to the end of the book)  At the same time her partner Suzie finds out her own life is falling apart. Suzie’s story was equally gripping and I enjoyed both tales.

I won’t tell you too much because this book needs to be read as is, with no hints as to the suffocating truth, which is tough and one I couldn’t have predicted. I do feel obliged to tell you is that I read this at a time I was down, disillusioned and by no means in the mood to read or blog so the fact that this not only kept my attention but also made me want to read on and see what happened and then share is some testament. Very much recommended. Thanks so much to Canelo and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating : 4.5/5

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

themarraige

What they say:

THE NEW RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB THRILLER AND SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER.

THE PERFECT HEART-STOPPING THRILLER . . .

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes your first big mistake.

How far are you willing to go for the perfect relationship?

Newlyweds Jake and Alice are offered a mysterious wedding gift – membership of a club which promises its couples will never divorce.

Signing The Pact seems the start to a perfect marriage.

Until one of them breaks the rules.

The marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Because The Pact is for life.

And its members will do anything to make sure no one leaves . . .

The Review: So this is the story of Jake and Alice, who invite Liam Finnegan and his wife, on a whim, to their wedding, and get a wedding present that they hadn’t bargained for, membership to an exclusive club built to allow members to reach a higher state of marriage, to avoid the pitfalls that all other marriages are destined to fall into. They, of course, accept, not realising that it’s not just a fun little club that tells you to remember to buy your spouse a gift regularly and to keep those marital relations going in the bedroom, but actually something more akin to a cult, where infringements can be deadly.

I’ll admit I started this book three times. The first time was my own fault, I was trying to read too many books at the same time and was starting to skim as opposed to taking in what was going on. The second it just didn’t take me and so, some months later, I tried again (I cannot stand dnfing!) and suddenly I was drawn in. This time I found myself invested in Alice and Jake’s story as they found out exactly what happens when you don’t follow the rules.

This book can be tough at times (in particular I balked when a straight jacket was pulled out), and I found Jake hard to take at times as you realised he was obsessed with his wife and wasn’t always against the way the Pact worked as he felt it was her showing her love (and duty?) to him to comply. He is a therapist and I adored the psychological aspect and ponderings in the book. I found it very enjoyable bar for Jake sometimes and to be hand also I  worried about what was going to happen and what lines might be crossed (there were some, it might be tough for some). Forgive me as this is an odd review but basically for people who like their psychology to head into science fiction/ culty territory, I think this may be for you. Thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest (if somewhat wandering and odd;)) review.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Friend by Teresa Driscoll

thefriend

Length: 293 pages

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

What they say:

The chilling new psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of I Am Watching You.

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

 

The review: Following my  gush about I am Watching You , I quickly turned to this ‘The Friend,’ which was again being lauded all over the place. Unfortunately it didn’t make the same impression, although I most definitely will look out the author again. This is the story of Sophie, who has moved to Tedbury with her husband and her son. Sophie has befriended Emma and her son and Emma’s son are close in age. We meet Sophie on a train, inconsolable after hearing that the two boys are in hospital, with one in a very serious condition, except they can’t tell Sophie which is hers and which is Emma’s. From the start I was excited and thrilled. We were brought back to how Sophie and Emma met and walked through their friendship, with some mysteries appearing that made us see that maybe Emma wasn’t the trustworthy friend Sophie thought she was. While I enjoyed the narration of the story, I’m afraid  the I found the ‘aha’ moments to be slightly over dramatic and not quite as worthy of mistrust as the reader was told to believe. There were a few parts where I thought we were being led to something and then not enough materialised. All in all it was enjoyable but didn’t quite live up to either the description or the previous book. Saying that as I said before I would look out the author’s next offering. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the book in return for an honest review

Rating: Unfortunatley a 3/5

#Blogtour Her Last Lie by Amanda Brittany

herlastlie

Length: 303 pages

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

What they say:

Six years ago Isla was the only victim to walk free from Carl Jeffery’s vicious murder spree. Now, Isla vows to live her life to the fullest and from the outside it appears perfect.

Determined to finish her book Isla plans her final trip to Sweden, but after returning from Canada and meeting a man she never thought she would, her life begins to derail.

Suddenly Isla is plagued by memories of the man who tried to murder her, and the threat that he could be back causes her to question everything, and everyone around her.

This debut psychological thriller will have you closing down social media accounts, looking over your shoulder, and hooked until the very last line.

Perfect for fans of Sweet Little Lies, Friend Request and Louise Jensen.

 The Review: Ahhh. That’s the sound when you finish a very satisfying, rewarding thriller that had you on tenterhooks fairly early on and kept you there until the end. I really really enjoyed this. It’s the story of Isla, a travel writer who barely escaped with her life after the attempt on her life by serial killer Carl Jeffrey. From early on in the book there was goings on, with Isla wondering if the person who seems to be stalking her is in fact the Carl Jeffrey, who was imprisoned for three life sentences.

We had a number of suspects from the get go, although what you’re suspecting them of you’re not quite sure, as you also have to take into account that she’s been through a lot and is in a fragile state of mind. This is a book that takes you in and holds you, although it is not of the headachy variety, there’s always enough people about and everyday happenings/ drama to keep you looking about, plus the descriptions of places and her surroundings contained some gems that actually made me want to head off to Sweden! The relationships and friendships were done well and I had some people I seriously hearted. Also serious kudos on the tension and notching up of suspects.

The book moves between the past and the present, the past showing around about the time of the attack. You obviously never know how tough a book is until you’ve everything has come to a head and I was a little nervous as to what had happened all those years ago but I was able to handle it (phew!) Actually this did lead me to a slight issue I had with the book, and that was all that was unsaid, I can’t really say more but I always rather being able to tick suspects and happenings off as being case closed. I loved the ending both in the change in point of view (adored this point of view) and the race to the finish, the pick up in pacing being a definite high point for me and then the realisation of who was involved.

This is a book that’s for those who like the likes of Kathryn Croft or Louise Jensen (above you’ll see others liken the book to Louise Jensen, Sweet Little Lies and Friend Request but I still have to get to the last two books-I know, I know!) , and I’ve just seen that the royalties of downloads of this book go to Cancer Research so really, just go get!

I have to say that one of the quotes says that Amanda Brittany  is an exciting new voice and I’ll totally agree, I will definitely be looking out for her new releases. Thanks so much to HQ digital for allowing me to be part of this blog tour and for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

Check out the rest of the blog tour

Her Last Lie Blog_Tour[2]

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite

herlast

Length: 382 pages

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

What they say: Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?

A gripping psychological thriller that will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will be hooked.

The Review: You’ll remember I had a good auld gush at The Darkest Lies by this author before (see review here), very much in shock at her amazing imagery, brilliant story-telling, chilling action and (stay with me) readable chick lit type everyday scenarios (I know, it just doesn’t fit in there, and yet it’s true!)

Well, not much has changed since! If you remember I was a blubbering mess at the end of the last book, with shock and spine tingles adjoining, and, after clocking a few of the reviews on this particular book, decided I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read. It turned out that this book did not make me cry like the last and so I could have read straight off, but I do know a number of other bloggers had said they did cry in it, and I can see why, I was just too taken with the action, so just letting you know!

So this book has two timelines, the run up to Christmas and Christmas day itself. We know that on Christmas day something has happened and are reeled in with the actions of the police, led by Chief Inspector Paul Ogundele (an excellent character, and one I wouldn’t mind being revisited!) as they storm a too quiet suburban family home.

We are shot backward and forward between the lead up, which tells the story of the Thomas family, a family that has a lot of issues (I have never ever come across a family where there were so many thoughts of death!), the perfect mother who has secrets, the teen daughter, Ruby, whose angst is more than that, she is dealing with some pretty tough issues, and the father, Ben, who is ‘The Man,’ a businessman who has gotten to where he is with layers of lies.

I loved the everyday storytelling, and actually at times wished that it was chick lit, and that something horrible wasn’t happening. This book is of course a whodunnit, but actually, the concern throughout is more for the build up as each of the characters get pushed and pushed, and it’s more of a who’s going to crack first! It’s a tough read in places, and horrible, especially when you see that the youngest, Amber, is counting down to the big day, the day when Santa arrives. You are following the timelines so closely, with each visit to Christmas day catching you unawares, that when I got to Christmas day I almost held my breath, such was the expectation. And everything I could have imagined was delivered in one heck of an explosive event. The characters were excellent, and I can’t tell you who my special mention is for, but lets just say my opinion of said person changed, although they were still a bit messed up when it came down to it! I loved this book, and it will, without doubt, be in my best ofs of 2017, my only issues is the same I had with the last-I’d love to have seen some of the aftermath (it was that good!) I fell like this isn’t enough of a gush but it’s all I can give you so I’ll finish up with a ‘go get’ and hope that you do! Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

They All Fall Down by Cat Hogan

theyallfalldown

Length: 322 pages

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

What they say: Ring-a-ring o’ rosie . . .
… Someone wants to play.
… Who’s not playing the game?
… Now Someone must pay.

Jen Harper likes to play it safe. She is settling into life on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village with her little boy, Danny. Life by the sea – just how she wanted it.

When she meets Andy, she feels the time has come to put her baggage and the scars of the past behind her. Then she is introduced to Scott, Andy’s best friend, and is stung by his obvious disdain for her. Why is Scott so protective of his best friend? What is the dark secret that threatens all of them?

In her attempt to find answers, Jen must confront her demons and push her relationships to their limits. By digging up the past, she puts Danny and herself in danger. Will she succeed in uncovering the truth before they all fall down?

Raw and energetic, They All Fall Down is a fast-paced and addictive novel exploring the depths of flawed human nature, the thin line between love and obsession and the destructive nature of addiction.

The Review: Having met the lovely Cat Hogan a number of times before, I was very excited to get to this, which so many top author’s have lauded and recommended.

As you can see above the book is set in a fishing village and, actually before I go on I have to highly commend the author for an astoundingly vivid and stark setting, that had me daydreaming of the majesty of waves lashing against rocks. This was further punctuated on reading of Cat Hogan’s fabulous bio, which showed her love and affinity for the sea. From the start of the book I was happy out, with a read that at times turns away from the thriller genre I’d put it in, leaning more towards an irishy fiction one instead.  I’m not always a fan of books that are so irish in terms of the nuances and language (yes I do know where I’m from), and for a while struggled to connect with the villagers (some of them were very unlikable) but then the thriller part, the meeting of the baddie of the story, via one heck of a backstory, soon put time to that.

Jen moves into a new house with her gorgeous son Danny, who I adored. A prerequisite is that they move in with Andy, a friend of her Aunty Pat, who is recently deceased. Andy is a lovely character but unfortunately brings some baggage with him in the form of his extremely jealous best friend Scott, a rich playboy who thinks the world owes him something. Here we get some insight into an evil that is about, as he uses wealth and power to destroy all around him and I couldn’t wait to see where it all went. The climax was excellent and I was very excited to see that there was actually a sequel There was a Crooked Man (which is now on my Kindle!) All in all a book I really enjoyed.

Rating: 4/5

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

silentlies

Length:   321 pages

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

What they say: Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students vanished. 

Five years later, just when Mia is beginning to heal, stranger Alison walks into her life, saying her husband didn’t kill himself. 

Fragile, slight Alison leads Mia on a path into Zach’s past, and Mia begins to think she never really knew her own husband. As the secrets revealed get darker, Alison becomes harder to read, and Mia starts to wonder – why is Alison so keen to help?

And then a piece of the puzzle appears in an impossible place, and Mia has to ask, is she losing her mind, or should she be afraid for her life?

The Review:  We start five years ago, with Mia at the funeral of her husband Zach. The graveyard is empty, except for a small number of people there who tell Mia (and us of course) that her husband is a monster. We don’t know why, or what he’s done, and we are off. The start totally sucked me in and I was thrilled to be back to a Kathryn Croft book, an author who has never disappointed me, and who at this stage has to be my favourite thriller writer of all time.

Fast forward five years, and Mia is settled with her partner, Will (although we are told they live quite separate lives) and Mia is still on edge, having endured years of abuse at the hands of an unforgiving public, who won’t forget what Zach did. Mia has her own counselling business, which ingeniously leads us to a character, Alison, who seems to have answers to Zach’s demise. As always I loved the way the everyday was done so well, in particular Mia’s time with her daughter and Will brightened things up, but with dark undercurrants always trickling through.

Of course we are constantly wondering what Zach has done and to give us our answers are sent back in time to the beginning of the end for him as he tries to help a girl named Josie. I was rooting for Zach the whole time and wondered how things could turn so bad for him. The story jumps between both timelines, looking at Josie’s story, someone who has been led to believe she will never make anything of herself but is out to defy all the odds, that of Alison, and of course Mia. I loved that the way the timelines were interspersed, it made you suddenly be distracted from an explosion about to happen and then, boom! You were hit with it. Saying that there were some occasions the time spent in the past moved a little slow for me, but not enough to budge my opinion on the book in any way!

The characters were likable where they needed to be (a special mention to Josie’s lovely little brother Kieran, who I adored!) and unlikable when that was required of them too (a lot of boo, hisses for the REALLY unlikable ones!). Josie, who was on the run from something, gave us some real nervy moments, and then when some of the stories started intertwining I was ridiculously excited! Ms. Croft has got to be the queen at trying to make you guess who to trust and here was no exception, with an exceptionally intricate web of mistrust and paranoia! To the very end of this book I had no idea whodunnit, and then the ending … well, all I can say is that I would ADORE to have read on, I really really wanted the aftermath in full glorious technicolour! An excellent mix of great characters, unsettling goings on amidst normal settings, and twisty events that always had me sitting up straight in my seat. Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Note: You may want to check out my other reviews of Ms. Croft’s excellent books: The Girl With No Past here , While You Were Sleeping here and The Girl You Lost here (all very much recommended!)