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

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Our House by Louise Candlish

ourhouse

Length: 449 pages

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

What they say: FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house? 

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

The Review: Okay, first, read the blurb. Now. What in the actual frig? Do premises for books get better than this? Surely not! This is the story of Fi Lawson, who, yes, returns home after a few days away to find that there is somebody else LIVING IN HER HOUSE. It’s her house, yes, but someone else now owns it. They’ve moved their stuff in already and are ready to start their lives.

I settled into this book sooo quickly. I was indignant for Fi-who ARE these people and why are they here and what? They’ve decorated? What? Yes, I sound nuts but this was my thought process as I ranted with Fi, then went through all the possible scenarios-they’ve made a mistake with the house, they’re fake. I tried them all. I then nearly wept with poor Fi as what had really happened came to light.

Fi’s a character that you feel sorry for, she’s kind of  likeable, which sounds funny, but it’s true. Anytime you think her entitled, she reminds you of some of the stuff she’s gone through and sets you straight, which I loved. Her story is told through a pod cast and you also get to hear the opinions of the people listening.

Bram’s story didn’t always hold my attention, which was a pity, it was  just because I think at times there was a bit too much of the nitty gritty of how everything was done, but other than that I liked that you could empathise with him, even though you knew what he’d done. The fact that at the same time you were hearing Fi’s pov was brilliantly done, with both stories making  you wonder what’s going to happen until an ending you reach an ending that made me go ‘whoah!’ Out loud. Actually as an aside I think this would be amazing on audio, if done well, of course, and am actually considering it for pressies for people!

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster UK and Netgalley for this book inreturn for an honest review

Rating: 4.5/5

The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

thebirthday

Length: 417 pages

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

What they say:

USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Lied and Sister Sister

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises
the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting.
One of them is hiding a secret.
And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.
A party to die for.
Who will survive?

 

The Review: I had seen this book EVERYWHERE in bloggersville (a lovely place to visit!), and everyone there was gushing away and yet, I kept leaving it to the side. For whatever reason, I kept skipping over it. How much was I missing out?! (It’s okay, you don’t have to answer this question, the answer is loads!)

This is the story of a group of friends who aren’t really friends anymore, something has happened to separate them from Joanne, whose birthday it is. When they receive an invitation to her birthday, they’re a bit wary about going, but go anyway and it’s only when they get there that they realise it’s not exactly a spa weekend that they’re going on! With their phones taken to add to the adventure, we soon realise that someone has something planned for them, but with twists and turns that suddenly turn you from obvious culprits and lead you all over the place, including back to the obvious! This book never let up. When I realised that not only were they in a secluded location with no access to transport or communication, but also they had an expanse of wilderness to traverse, I was fully in! Excellent settings, brilliant characters that bounced off each other, creepy game playing … I loved this book! Thanks so much to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

#CoverReveal Watching You by Lynda Renham

And now for my second reveal of the day! I’m always quick to jump for a Lynda Renham book- from chick lit to thrillers, you’re always guaranteed a book you’ll be sucked straight into (see here for all my Lynda Renham reviews and guest posts)! This, Watching You, will be available to pre-order from Friday and is out April 5th!

What they say:

Ewan Galbreith is out of prison.

Libby Owen is scared.

Fifteen years ago she saw him shoot her aunt and uncle with their own shotgun.

Now, he’s coming for her.

watching

About the author

thumbnail_pKTCLgh8_400x400LyndaRenham

Lynda’s books on Amazon

Lynda’s website

Lynda on Facebook

Lynda on Twitter   (@Lyndarenham)

watching you post2

#BlogTour #Review Behind a Closed Door by Adele O’Neill

Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Behind A Closed Door by Adele O Neill!

behindacloseddoor

Length: 454 pages

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ocWAgk

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EMCq7n

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HvfxD1

iBooks: https://apple.co/2EZ1Cqs

What they say: What if everything in your life was a lie? An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty,

betrayal and revenge. Perfect for the fans of Louise Jenson.

DUBLIN – For the past two years Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply

buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling

to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is

herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?

When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to

investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that

stretch far and wide.

The Review: If you move in the same circles as me in terms of book blogs, Twitter and Amazon you’ll probably remember Brothers and Sisters , Adele O Neill’s first book which horrendously I still haven’t got to (I’m onto fixing that!). When I saw that her second book was up for request, saw it was with Aria and then found out there was a blog tour open, I jumped and most definitely wasn’t disappointed.

This is the story of Heather Martin, whose husband, Detective Mike Martin (I loved that he was a detective!) has terrorised her throughout their marriage. Mike is a baddy through and through, one of the bad apples on the force, who wants complete control over his wife and regularly uses brute force to get it. At the same time we see her relationship with her father Detective Inspector Edward Clarke, who is in a care home with Alzheimers. My heart (and my stomach) turned and twisted as I watched a one sided relationship, praying that her dad would respond in some way and see what his daughter was going through. I adored Heather’s dad so much.

The issue of domestic violence is at the heart of the book as we follow a dual timeline to see Heather in the past and then meet Jill Ryan in the present. Jill has been having nightmares and people are wondering if her boyfriend, Ben, is at fault. I loved meeting Jill and getting to know her whilst simultaneously watching Detectives Louise Kennedy and Tony Kelly try to solve Heather’s case (I’d definitely be up for meeting them again, I loved their relationship and Kelly’s wise approach to everything). The book really got me thinking as there’s a lot of times you think ‘this would all be cleared up if you just tell people the truth’ in it, and that was true, and it made you think of the character as being a little weak (and it did get tome a little that everyone constantly told her she was so strong), but then you hated yourself for thinking that as you considered what the character is dealing with.

The story was told in alternating third and first person, obviously as I said within two timelines, and I loved the dash to the end to see where they’d collide although personally I wouldn’t put this as an extremely fast paced read. The emotional side to this book took my breath away, and I loved the author’s voice and the way we got every characters take on things as they happened and so the book beyond flew for me.

The description above says this is perfect for fans of Louise Jensen, and while I see the comparison, I would say that this is more for fans of fiction that want to dip their toe into crime and thrillers as opposed to fans of thrillers, you know, the people who say they’d love to start reading a different genre. This book is perfect for them. Very much recommended. Thanks so much to Aria for this book in return for an honest review and for allowing me to be part of the blog tour.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

adeleoneill

Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her

home town in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes

overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival

committee.

 Twitter: @Adelesbooks

Facebook: AdeleONeillBooks

Follow Aria (and do, because they are great!)

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

And now, how about you follow the blog tour?

behindablogtour

#BlogTour #TheAbandoned by Sharon Thompson

Thanks so so much to Sarah from Bloodhound Books and Sharon Thompson herself for allowing me to be part of the book tour for The Abandoned, which is out now and, at time of posting, only £0.99 on Kindle!

9781912175901

What they say: Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.

 

In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.

 

What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?

 

Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.


The Review: I can’t even tell you how long I’ve waited to see Sharon Thompson appear on this blog! Sharon, a member of Carmel Harrington’s ‘Imagine Write Inspire’ Writing group, has to be one of the most inspirational, hard working people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing in the writing world. Her work has always been of the standout variety, with characters that are bold and brazen with flaws, quirks and imperfections and yet morals and beauty and an incredible story to tell. And there is always, always a nice layer of dark humour to grab you too! And so here we stand with Peggy Bowden. From the second I met Peggy I was hooked. She is strong with sass and backchat ever present, but with a multitude of worries and fears. The thing is she tries to hide anything that could be seen as a weakness from her girls, the women who work for her in a brothel in number thirty four in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, in the 1950’s. (The most special mention for the innocent Molly, who stole my heart and made my stomach ball up with nerves on more than one occasion.)
 This is the story of Peggy’s journey as she tries to get out of said house and her life as she knows it. We are shown where Peggy came from, via beautiful scenes of her mother, who farmed and tended lands and then thrown into the harsh reality of how hard it was for women of the time and how men were seen as saviours for all women. This was a running theme, which Peggy battled sometimes successfully, sometimes not as we learned and saw some of the things Peggy did to make money, always justifying her actions, even when she doubted her motives.
This is a gritty, rise to power, revolutionary type of book, that shows what men do to keep their strongholds and how women do what they can purely to keep alive. It is filled with sorrow, angst, hope, love and a wealth of characters, some that disgust you, some who make you cheer, some that give you hope and others that disappoint when you least expect it. It’s gritty, dark, vivid and sometimes very very brutal (see blurb for her job descriptions, throw in some violence and you’re halfway there), but always gripping, with dark laughs in there to keep your head above water. I have to admit I was terrified that this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, as to me it sounded more like historical fiction, but to be honest I’m not sure that this can be put into any category (I’ve seen it described as a thriller but personally I wouldn’t put it there), it seems different to anything in the charts out there at the moment, and is very much a standout. Ridiculously highly recommended!
Rating: 5/5
Author Profile: 

XPpijWaR
Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman websiteSharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.

Connect with her online

Website    
twitter   @sharontwriter        

 

Now, How about you check out the rest of the blog tour?

BLOG TOUR

#bookreview Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

justbetweenus

Length: 374 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal buy link for the PAPERBACK of this book (I read the arc on Kindle)

What they say:  Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

The Review: You’ll know already that I’m a big fan of books with many characters (obviously only when done well, when they’re too confusing they send my head into a spin!), and thrillers that are page turners, but without too much violence in them and so this book was very much made for me. This is the story of a group of friends who know each other very well, but not as well as they’d thought. Like all groups there are some that get on better than others, some who secretly irritate the others, but they all meet up under the guise and go through the motions, a few glasses of wine, or a coffee and some banter.

Each  of the characters lead very different lives which makes for great reading, there’s differences in personalities, attitudes to work and then there’s of course you see too whether a positive or negative attitude prevails (and experience the boom when they collide!) I knew each of the characters within minutes and loved learning of the secrets they were keeping.

As you can see there is a bruise spotted on Heather’s wrist and the group begins to realise that they don’t know anything about the seemingly perfect marriage between her and her plastic surgeon husband, Viktor.  What happens next comes from the point of views of each of the women, as they muddle through with the largest secret they’ve ever had bearing down on them. The veering off of each of the characters into starting to look out for themselves, and turning against others is brilliantly done, with surprises popping up all over the place to throw you off course and have seeds of doubt coming into play as they realise that they may not be the only one who knows of the life changing night in question.

I really enjoyed this book and read it over two days, devouring it. Although the ending wasn’t totally for me, I found the settings and characters excellent and the surprises constant which was exactly what I needed to pull me out of a reading slump. I don’t think  it will set lovers of fast paced thrillers on fire, but for me, it was a gem and  I’ll definitely be looking out this author again. Thanks to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

About the Author

rebeccadrake

Rebecca Drake is the author of the novels Don’t Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story “Loaded,” which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. A graduate of Penn State University and former journalist, she is currently an instructor in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. program. Rebecca lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.

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