Book Review – Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Book Review – Sister by Rosamund LuptonSister by Rosamund Lupton
Published by Crown/Archetype on June 7, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Psychological
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
four-stars

I really enjoyed Sister by Rosamund Lupton. I read this in paperback format (and realised I had become far too comfortable with my kindle and that I had missed reading physical books), mostly at home in bed and in the bath.

I was lucky enough to find this book in my street library and I really feel the need to either take it back or pass it on to a friend to share it, so it can be enjoyed by others. One of the most important things about reading for me is the joy of sharing the story. Whether it is just shared by talking about it, blogging a review, recommending it to a friend or lending it to someone – it’s such a great gift to give I think. I’m going to give Sister to my friend Lisa I think (hopefully she hasn’t already read it!).

I don’t know about this being a particularly “on the edge of your seat” thriller. I did get into the story and was engrossed in it pretty quickly, but I think it was the relationships I liked the most. One of my favourite aspects of the book was not the suspense, but the relationship between the sisters, Tess and Beatrice. I loved that throughout the book when Beatrice was telling the story about Tess’s disappearance and murder, she was telling it to Tess, talking to Tess as she would normally. I also loved how she would recount moments between them, emails, conversations and shared jokes. It’s what sisters do and I could relate to the moments shared between them.

Both Tess and Beatrice were likeable characters and I think this also helps. It was clear they were very different – like chalk and cheese – but I really like both of their personalities and traits. Of course, Beatrice’s relentless hunt for her sister’s killer was fantastic and made me want to keep reading to know the outcome.

I’d love to read more of Rosamund’s books (she has three more and another coming out in August) so definitely another author I need to be on the lookout for. If you are fairly new to the thriller genre, I think this would be a good book for you – it isn’t really the scary kind of thriller and I don’t think there is anything particularly shocking or different about the story – but it’s a great read, great characters and is well written.

Synopsis

When her mom calls to tell her that Tess, her younger sister, is missing, Bee returns home to London on the first flight. She expects to find Tess and give her the usual lecture, the bossy big sister scolding her flighty baby sister for taking off without letting anyone know her plans. Tess has always been a free spirit, an artist who takes risks, while conservative Bee couldn’t be more different. Bee is used to watching out for her wayward sibling and is fiercely protective of Tess (and has always been a little stern about her antics). But then Tess is found dead, apparently by her own hand.

Bee is certain that Tess didn’t commit suicide. Their family and the police accept the sad reality, but Bee feels sure that Tess has been murdered.  Single-minded in her search for a killer, Bee moves into Tess’s apartment and throws herself headlong into her sister’s life–and all its secrets. 

Though her family and the police see a grieving sister in denial, unwilling to accept the facts, Bee uncovers the affair Tess was having with a married man and the pregnancy that resulted, and her difficultly with a stalker who may have crossed the line when Tess refused his advances. Tess was also participating in an experimental medical trial that might have gone very wrong.  As a determined Bee gives her statement to the lead investigator, her story reveals a predator who got away with murder–and an obsession that may cost Bee her own life.

A thrilling story of fierce love between siblings, Sister is a suspenseful and accomplished debut with a stunning twist.

four-stars

About Rosamund Lupton

Rosamund Lupton is the author of four novels.

Rosamund Lupton graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. After reviewing books for the Literary Reviews and being invited to join the Royal Court Theatre, she won a television play competition and subsequently worked as a screen writer. Her debut novel Sister, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and a bestseller in Europe. Sister has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies. It was the fastest-selling debut of 2010 by a British author, a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime and was winner of the Richard and Judy Best Debut Novel of 2011 Award and the Strand Magazine Critics First Novel Award. Film rights of Sister are currently under option.

Lupton’s critically acclaimed second novel Afterwards also went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller lists and was the No. 2 Sunday Times fiction bestseller of 2011, with UK sales alone of more than 200,000 copies.

The Quality of Silence her third novel was a Sunday Times best seller and a Richard & Judy bookclub pick

Book Review – The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

Book Review – The Bus on Thursday by Shirley BarrettThe Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
on September 18, 2018
Genres: Fiction, horror, Literary, Thrillers, Supernatural
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

Welcome to a wild ride from Shirley Barrett.

Australian Author – check

Australian setting – check

Humour – check

Creepy weird AF story – check

I got this ripper from my Street Library and I don’t regret it. The protagonist, Eleanor, tells it like it is, with all the Aussie slang and references (as well as swear words) she can muster.

Written in a blog/diary entry form, it made for an easy read that was entertaining and kooky. It might be written a little too casually for some, but I enjoyed it and felt it was refreshing to read something a little more relaxed.

I mean, it is written by one of the directors of the tv show Offspring (Australian soap) and I certainly see some similarities in that Eleanor has an internal dialouge that isn’t unlike Nina’s in Offspring. Offspring is one of my favourite tv shows…so it all makes sense.

This book might not translate very well for international readers, due to Aussie terms and references. If you can get past that and the curse words you will enjoy the humour and weirdo storyline.

I don’t think I can say that Eleanor is a particularly likeable character, but she is relatable…well…sort of, if you can see yourself making passes at your elderly doctor or discussing exorcising demons at the local church. Eleanor finds herself in some interesting situations when she gets a new teaching job in a small town – most of which are funny, strange or confusing.

There were times when I didn’t know where the story was going or if it was in fact going anywhere, but I had gotten so far in that I didn’t mind the commitment and I had invested myself to reading Eleanor’s story. Perhaps I liked her more than I’m happy to admit.

The new town is full of crazy characters and whilst Eleanor might seem like one of the ‘normal’ ones, she herself has some questionable behaviours. Actually, she fits right in.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any more quirky in this story, there is what I like to call an “Evil Dead” moment. I’ll say no more, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll likely put two and two together. I’ll just say, I enjoyed it.

If you love the weird and wonderful, interesting characters and a touch of the supernatural you will enjoy this book – just don’t expect to be given all the answers and don’t take it too seriously.

Synopsis

Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in this wickedly funny, dark novel about one woman’s post-cancer retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting her

It wasn’t just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett’s life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.

One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. The next thing she knew, her breast was being dissected and removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was suddenly deluged with cupcakes, judgy support groups, and her mum knitting sweaters.

Luckily, Eleanor discovers Talbingo, a remote little town looking for a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker up and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not just the communion-wine-guzzling friar prone to mad rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no cell or Internet service, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door and who is knocking on it late at night.

Riotously funny, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a wickedly weird, wild ride for fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, and Stephen King.

four-stars

About Shirley Barrett

Shirley Barrett is a screenwriter, film director and novelist.

She has written and directed three feature films, including Love Serenade, which won the Camera D’Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996. She has also directed television drama, including Love My Way, Offspring and A Place to Call Home. Known for her ability to elicit strong, truthful and detailed performances in both comedy and drama, her work is also striking visually.

Shirley has written two novels: Rush Oh! (2014) and The Bus on Thursday (2018).

Book Review – After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Book Review – After Anna by Lisa ScottolineAfter Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Domestic
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-stars

Another new author to me, but certainly not a new author – Lisa Scottoline has been writing thrillers (among other things) for years. I’m both disappointed and excited all at once. Disappointed because I didn’t read any of her books sooner and excited because it means I now have another wonderful author’s work to read!

I’m noticing that a lot of female authors appear to be quite skilled with the thriller genre…hardly surprising, us ladies do know how to be appropriately terrified. I once read somewhere that women are the biggest viewers of true crime on TV. It is certainly true of myself – I love true and fictional crime, in every format! podcasts, TV and books. The article I read pointed to several factors (from memory) that because women are typically less aggressive than men – true crime lets them explore a darker fantasy and women are more empathic, so they relate more to the victims of the crime also.

I do have to be honest here, I actually downloaded After Anna by accident! I was looking for a book called After Anna, but by a different author, Alex Lake. I still really want to read that book by the way, but when I began reading Lisa Scottoline’s After Anna, I became pretty engrossed straight away.

The book began in the courtroom and you already know…someone is on trial for murder, but there are so many more juicy details to come. I actually really enjoy books that have a bit of courtroom drama. Mostly because I hate lawyers and I love to hate them. I read all of their sentences with an annoying demeaning voice in my head.

The subject of the title, Anna, is the estranged daughter of Maggie. Anna returns to Maggie’s life and everything is roses…until it’s not. Some of the plot is a little predictable, but I was still very intrigued and curious about all the events Before and After Anna. Each chapter is either set in the recent past or the present, which I also enjoy. I don’t want to know everything straight away or I’ll stop reading.

I moved through this book quite quickly, partly because I was intrigued and partly because I think the book is pretty fast paced. There wasn’t a moment I was bored and waiting for more.

I think people who enjoy thrillers will like this book, it was a little predictable, but still an enjoyable read if you like family type thrillers.

I know my blog has been a little quiet of late but rest assured I’m still reading and have lots of great books on my TBR list – I need to do a new blog post for my TBR’s because the list is getting big and I don’t want to forget any I am especially excited about (or skip any golden missed opportunities with books I’m less excited about). I’ll be bringing you some different genres to spice things up a bit too!

Synopsis

Nobody cuts deeper than family…

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna.

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.

Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

Riveting and disquieting, After Anna is a groundbreaking domestic thriller, as well as a novel of emotional justice and legal intrigue. And New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline will keep readers on their toes until the final shocking page.


four-stars

About Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is a #1 Bestselling Author, The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 32 novels, including her latest work, Someone Knows, which is coming April 9, 2019.

She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. These stories, along with many other never-before-published stories, have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of humorous memoirs including their most recent, I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, and earlier books, I Need A Lifeguard Everywhere But The Pool; I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places; Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?; Have a Nice Guilt Trip; Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim; Best Friends, Occasional Enemies; My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space; and Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, which has been optioned for TV.

Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as president of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, “Justice and Fiction” at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. Lisa is a regular and much-sought-after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Book Review – The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

Book Review – The Cry by Helen FitzgeraldThe Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
Published by Faber & Faber on August 27, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Psychological, Thrillers, General, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

I absolutely devoured The Cry whilst on holiday. The Cry was recommended to me by a friend (thanks Lisa!) and from the moment I started it I was hooked.

The book is set in Victoria, Australia, so the names of towns were familiar and this helped me get into the story. The storyline was incredibly gripping, perhaps because it involves a baby and some big mistakes. Heartstrings are on the line straight away. There were times I was holding my breath, shaking my head and wanting to yell “no, don’t do that”. This isn’t a common occurrence for me, maybe while watching tv, but not when reading. I was invested straight away.

I really liked the protagonist, Joanna. There were moments where she might have become a bit tiresome, but this wasn’t the case. I felt like I was with her throughout the events and I wasn’t bored or frustrated with her. Sometimes characters can be whiney, boring or repetitive, Joanna was not and I empathised with her.

Like all fantastic stories right now, The Cry has been made into a television series. I haven’t seen it yet (slack I know! I’ m off my game) usually I would watch it before writing a book review to compare the two, but the book doesn’t really need anything to support it. I will eventually watch the show but the book is fantastic and I strongly recommend it for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers or crime genres.

I was also very excited to see that this is not Helen’s first time at the rodeo – far from it – she has written several thrillers which I am now very excited to read. I love finding new authors, but it makes my TBR list very long!

Synopsis

NOW A MAJOR NEW BBC ONE DRAMAThe Cry was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. 

When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world. 

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. 

Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?

Perfect for fans of Julia Crouch, Sophie Hannah and Laura Lippman, The Cry was widely acclaimed as one of the best psychological thrillers of the year. There’s a gripping moral dilemma at its heart and characters who will keep you guessing on every page.

five-stars

About Helen Fitzgerald

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and ten other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011), The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and Viral (Out Feb 2016). Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine Steadman

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine SteadmanSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, Women
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Fan – tas – tic.!!!

On my list of favourites and I have already been blabbing about it and recommending it to others. So they might find this post boring.

I want to start off by saying, what a talented woman. Not only a great actress, but clearly an amazing author also. This is Catherine’s debut novel and I had heard about it a long time before reading. I actually wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. Catherine captured my attention straight away and I wasn’t disappointed by the events that followed.

Something in the water is part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club ( I thought it was just Oprah who had one of those?) Word on the grapevine is that Something in the Water is going to be made into a film, produced by Reece and I am front and centre at that movie. You know how excited I get about books being adapted to the screen. I’m not going to lie, I did imagine Reece as the protagonist, Erin, whilst reading. This book would make an amazing movie.

The book was also nominated in the Goodread’s Choice Awards in the best mystery and thriller category. I would have definitely voted for this one had I read it before voting ended.

There may have been a brief moment in time at the start of the book where I was impatient and I wanted things to move along a little faster, but that was just me being greedy, because I was spoiled when the action began. It just didn’t stop and any feelings I had about a slow pace were quickly forgotten.

There were also possibly some eye – rolling, sickening, romantic sections, whereby I had to strategically swallow my puke whilst reading on the train. Again, all is forgiven here, because the plot is by no means just a mushy, love fest. It is thrillaaaahhhhh personified.

The Best Bits

  • The story is from Erin’s perspective – I loved hearing just from Erin, I admired her as quite a strong woman and an enjoyable character to follow
  • Heart racing plot – what a page turner after the discovery in the water! It really does change things for the couple and the pace of the book
  • There were step by step instructions on how to use a Glock 22 – for those innocent types, this is a gun. I was smiling ear to ear when reading this…hey, no judgement, a girl has to know these things
  • The juxtaposition of Erin’s world making a documentary about criminals and her own world about to drastically change and mirror that of her subjects – thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book, some great characters introduced here too

In summary:

You need to read this one. You.just. do. If you don’t, you will be watching the movie, loving it and then I’ll be screaming “I told you so” from the rooftops. Which is something I quite enjoy doing by the way….

I’m prepared to cop it if you don’t like it too. I will stick my neck comfortably on the line with this one. It’s my fave of 2019 so far (and once again, I’m late to the party on this one – don’t be like me…)

Synopsis

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?   Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .   Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?   Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .   Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?   Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

five-stars

About Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She is known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Tutankhamun, starring alongside Sam Neill, as well as shows including Breathless, The Inbetweeners, The Tudors, and Fresh Meat.

In 2017 Catherine will feature in political thriller Fearless and new BBC comedy Bucket. She also has appeared on stage in the West End including Oppenheimer for the RSC, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award.

Book Review – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Book Review – Sharp Objects by Gillian FlynnSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Published by Crown/Archetype on September 26, 2006
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General
Pages: 272
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Sometimes you just need to read the book after watching the tv show

Again, I’m drastically late to the party, but I don’t care. Who cares when you read a book as long as you enjoy it right? Enjoy it I did.

Yes, every living person has read Gone Girl. I’m going to put myself on the line here and say I enjoyed Sharp objects EVEN more. Sharp Objects was where Gillian Flynn started and she did goooooood. It’s now a HBO tv show starring Amy Adams and a bunch of other great actors (it’s on Foxtel for those of you in Australia) and I really enjoyed the show – it led me to the book.

What I loved about the book:

  1. It’s set in South – in a fictional town called Wind Gap and the scene was set for me – with words like “pitcher” and phrases like “pull taffy” and  “catch a greased pig”- ok, so that might have been an out of town character making fun of the town, but still I could almost hear the southern drawl
  2. Verrrrrrry similar to the tv show, but the ending has a lot more juicy detail, so if you’ve seen the show I think you’ll enjoy the book
  3. Easy, quick read with lots of scandal mixed in
  4. Interesting characters

I think there was more of a focus on Camille’s past in the tv show though and I also hated her mother, Adora much more whilst watching the show. Amma, Camille’s younger, overly sexualized, devious sister did not disappoint. I think she might be my favourite character. From the mouth of 13 year old Amma:

What if you hurt because it feels so good? Like you have a tingling, like someone left a switch on in your body. And nothing can turn the switch off except hurting?…

The book is a bit of a whodunit, but there is more to it than that, there are also dark pasts, temptations and complex relationships.  If you enjoy dark family type thrillers I think you’ll enjoy this book. You should also watch the show, I thought it was fantastic.  I’m hoping there is a Season 2 of Sharp Objects, which may or may not lead to a second book (fingers crossed). Hey – Margaret Atwood announced she is writing a follow up to the Handmaid’s Tale on Twitter, so it happens ok.. (BTW  – I’m super excited about that).

 

Synopsis

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

four-half-stars

About Gillian Flynn

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. The book is now an HBO® limited series starring Amy Adams.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released.

Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. Universal has optioned the rights to The Grownup.

Flynn’s work has been published in forty-one languages. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Brett Nolan, their children, and a giant black cat named Roy. In theory she is working on her next novel. In reality she is possibly playing Ms. Pac-Man in her basement lair.

Book Review – The Orchid Girls – Lesley Sanderson

I received this book for free from the author, Craig M Dial, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you to the author for the opportunity.

The Orchid Girls Published by Bookouture on November 13, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, General, Crime, Psychological, Suspense
Pages: 425
Format: ARC, eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Secrets from the past make for an exciting read…

The Orchid Girls is the author, Lesley Sanderson’s first book. I was drawn to the title of the book and when I read the blurb, I was sold. I enjoy novels about women and I liked the idea of a secret in the past coming back to haunt the characters.

Molly as an adult is troubled, an alcoholic, in a complicated relationship. Molly presents as being tortured and feels immense guilt about her past.

We liked being the Orchid Girls until I went and spoilt it all.

Grace is almost exactly the opposite. She is successful, in a seemingly loving relationship, despite having a really rough childhood. Grace is happy to leave the leave the past in the past.

The past has no room in my life. It has to stay where it belongs.

What did I love?

I really liked how the book was written. We hear from Molly, Grace and Charlotte in the present and get to read past newspaper articles and diary entries to fill in the missing pieces of their past.

The book isn’t particularly scary, or thrilling, but I was caught up in the story and I wanted to know what happened. I empathised with both Molly and Grace at different times throughout the book. When I have a connection with characters like that it makes me want to keep on reading.

I thought I had all the twists and turns figured out, but I didn’t until much later in the book. I love this because it means that the author has appropriately challenged my ideas about how I see the characters and the events. I’m pretty switched on to the route of thrillers these days and it is tricky to fool me now. I know the recipe.

Ummm it has to be said…and it won’t ruin the outcome of the story for you, but I think Grace’s husband Richard is a DICK. I made note of this in my reading notes. He was a character that I really hated (and I’m sure this was intentional by Lesley) and I specifically wrote DICK next to his name. Ha ha ha ha.

The wrap up

Overall this was a great read and I would recommend to any readers who enjoy reading books about women. Strong women, weak women and loving women. It ignited my teenage female gossip side too!

I’d definitely like to read more from Lesley Sanderson  – I think she is an author to watch!

Synopsis

They called them the Orchid Girls. Grace. Molly. Charlotte.

One of them is in love. One of them is a liar. One of them is dead.

On a jagged Dorset cliff, wind whipping their hair, waves crashing on the rocks below, three friends became two when Charlotte’s body was pulled out of the sea.

Fifteen years later Grace and Molly are worlds apart. Grace has a glittering career and a loving husband. Molly is a lonely, unemployed alcoholic. Grace has everything to lose. Molly has nothing.

They have moved on from the tragic accident that shadowed their childhood. But somewhere lies a photograph waiting to be unearthed – waiting to reveal a secret one of the Orchid Girls is desperate to keep hidden…

Book Review – The Affair – Sheryl Browne

Book Review – The Affair – Sheryl BrowneThe Affair by Sheryl Browne
Published by Bookouture on August 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Suspense
Pages: 383
Format: eBook
Goodreads

four-half-stars

Ok, this was not what I expected, although I wasn’t disappointed. 

The Affair started with a bang and it really didn’t slow down or stop, which made for a very quick, gripping read.

Each chapter spoke from a different character’s perspective, which was interesting and could have been why it felt so fast paced. I haven’t seen this before….usually it’s one or two characters, but I really liked that we heard from most of the characters in the book. I will say that didn’t feel particularly attached to any of the characters and perhaps because we heard snippets from all of them my attachment to any one of them was minimal.

My initial feelings about the characters, their motivations and drivers, were correct. The book wasn’t overly twisty or turny (professional literary speak right there)  in my view…but perhaps this is because I guessed several of the outcomes. Again, this is not a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

I’ll be honest, I was expecting more affair and less thriller, but the book is so much more a thriller and very much focused on family. It was a surprise. I liked the relationship between Justin and Alicia very much because despite any difficult situations and misunderstandings – they really loved each other.

He was always attentive in that way, making sure she was safe.

The theme of safety crops up throughout the book and the importance of family is emphasised. Justin is a very admirable character in this respect.

The events occur so quickly in this book that I think it would be hard not to enjoy for most readers.

Synopsis

The moment she opened her eyes, she knew everything had changed. The stale taste of alcohol; her uneasy stomach. She looked at her husband sleeping peacefully, and knew she would never tell anyone what happened last night.

You will think you know what happened to Alicia that night.

You will see a desperate wife, lying to her husband.

You will watch a charming lover, trying to win her back.

You will judge her, just like everyone else.

You will assume you know what happens next. But everything you think you know about the past, the relationships, what drives Alicia and her husband to lie… is wrong.

About Sheryl Browne

I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I have several books published, along with two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies where I completed my MA in Creative Writing, finally. It took me some while. Please see above. Undertaking my MA was something I’d put off due to life commitments, as we sometimes have to. When I managed to make the time, I had to summon up a huge amount of courage to walk through those university doors. What if I failed? Where was my confidence? Well, the road to publication being paved with rejection letters, as it sometimes is, my confidence wasn’t much in evidence. The MA course didn’t offer any magical solutions to my writing dilemmas but it did expand my knowledge and confirm my belief that, no matter how bumpy the road, I needed to continue to write. To quote the title of one of the university anthologies, “I am a writer, therefore I am”. I wouldn’t know how to be any other way. I’ve also recently completed a forensics course which I undertook as necessary fuel for my thriller writing. I’m relieved to say I passed that with flying colours and found it totally inspiring, which brings me to a question I’m often asked: What gives you inspiration for your books?

The short answer is people, and the whole gamut of emotion that comes with them. I’ve always been fascinated by what shapes people and whatever genre I write in I like to strip away the layers and, hopefully, share with readers a little of what lies beneath the surface. A writer’s mind thrives on exploration. Every scenario, every place, every face tells a story. I see people as not all good or all bad, more opposite sides of the same spectrum with some crossover in between. I can’t resist exploring what might push someone over the line. I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.

About Sheryl Browne

I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I have several books published, along with two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies where I completed my MA in Creative Writing, finally. It took me some while. Please see above. Undertaking my MA was something I’d put off due to life commitments, as we sometimes have to. When I managed to make the time, I had to summon up a huge amount of courage to walk through those university doors. What if I failed? Where was my confidence? Well, the road to publication being paved with rejection letters, as it sometimes is, my confidence wasn’t much in evidence. The MA course didn’t offer any magical solutions to my writing dilemmas but it did expand my knowledge and confirm my belief that, no matter how bumpy the road, I needed to continue to write. To quote the title of one of the university anthologies, “I am a writer, therefore I am”. I wouldn’t know how to be any other way. I’ve also recently completed a forensics course which I undertook as necessary fuel for my thriller writing. I’m relieved to say I passed that with flying colours and found it totally inspiring, which brings me to a question I’m often asked: What gives you inspiration for your books?

The short answer is people, and the whole gamut of emotion that comes with them. I’ve always been fascinated by what shapes people and whatever genre I write in I like to strip away the layers and, hopefully, share with readers a little of what lies beneath the surface. A writer’s mind thrives on exploration. Every scenario, every place, every face tells a story. I see people as not all good or all bad, more opposite sides of the same spectrum with some crossover in between. I can’t resist exploring what might push someone over the line. I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.

Book Review – The Other Wife – Michael Robotham

Book Review – The Other Wife – Michael RobothamThe Other Wife by Michael Robotham
on June 26, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, General, Psychological, Crime, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Goodreads

two-half-stars
There comes a time when a not so glowing review is required.

I’m still reading The Affair by Sheryl Browne (almost finished), but I thought I needed to go back to another book I read recently.

It absolutely PAINS me to say it. I did not love The Other wife by Michael Robotham. In fact, I struggled through it.

I was so excited to read his new book. I had read The Secrets She Keeps and thought it was fantastic. It was exciting to have stumbled upon a new author and an Australian one at that. I could not believe I hadn’t read his books previously.

The reason I did not love The Other Wife could be because I hadn’t read the other books based around the protagonist Joe O’Loughlin. So perhaps it’s unfair for me to comment without “getting to know” Joe. I’ll admit it, I’m a Joe amateur!

Also, it could be that I enjoyed Michael’s writing from a female perspective. I hope there are more books to come similar to The Secrets She Keeps.

So what didn’t I love?

I didn’t feel a connection with Joe and as above, this might be because I haven’t read any of the other Joe books.

Nothing surprised or shocked me here. I was waiting for something to happen. There just wasn’t enough of a good thing. I wasn’t intrigued by the fact that Joe’s father had an affair…there was much more to it than that, but this is what I wanted to be excited about.

I almost gave up. There were times when I just wanted to put my kindle down and start something new. That is never a good sign. I kept on going because I thought the ending might be the saving grace and all my worries would be put to rest. The ending did not excite me either.

We are a little spoilt by the twists and turns present in a lot of thrillers lately. So I don’t mind when there aren’t as many twists (and in fact there were a few in this book) but they didn’t surprise me or keep me on the edge of my seat.

Should I keep reading Michael’s books?

The Secrets She keeps can not be just a fluke or a one off. Please let me know in the comments if you have read any of Michael’s other books and can recommend where to start. Do I need to read the other Joe books before I pass further judgement??

Now, I need to state that my reviews are my own thoughts and opinions and I might get some hate from all the Robotham lovers, that is ok. All I ask is that they convince me. Recommend me a book of his that I will love and I’ll review that one too.

Synopsis

Childhood sweethearts William and Mary have been married for sixty years. William is a celebrated surgeon, Mary a devoted wife. Both have a strong sense of right and wrong.

This is what their son, Joe O’Loughlin, has always believed. But when Joe is summoned to the hospital with news that his father has been brutally attacked, his world is turned upside down. Who is the strange woman crying at William’s bedside, covered in his blood – a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer?

Against the advice of the police, Joe launches his own investigation. As he learns more, he discovers sides to his father he never knew – and is forcibly reminded that the truth comes at a price.

About Michael Robotham

Gold Dagger winning and Edgar short-listed author Michael Robotham was born in Australia in November 1960 and grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.

For the next fourteen years he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.

In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.

About Michael Robotham

Gold Dagger winning and Edgar short-listed author Michael Robotham was born in Australia in November 1960 and grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.

For the next fourteen years he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.

In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.

Book Review – Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Book Review – Baby Teeth by Zoje StageBaby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 17, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Family Life
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

 

In the spirit of Halloween, it does not get any creepier than a child with evil intentions…

Baby Teeth is author Zoje Stage’s debut novel and I enjoyed it immensely.

The book focuses on the voices of mother, Suzette and daughter ,Hanna.  I loved reading from both perspectives. I felt so much empathy for Suzette throughout the book and the anguish she continually faces in every day dealings with Hanna. Suzette torments herself in relation to Hanna’s behaviour.

She could believe that something hurt inside Hanna, something the girl couldn’t name. Something Suzette had inadvertently planted.

This is a book that stands on its own, without needing those twists and turns to which we have all become accustomed. It was gripping and dark. I know some would describe this book as absolutely monstrous. For me this was not the case.  However,  I am a renowned macabre specialist . I suspect for people who are a little more delicate, this would be a hard subject matter. The idea of a child with a killer instinct is hard to stomach.

Hanna is gruesome and merciless when it comes to her mother.

Sometimes mummy was an octopus with a sharp blade in each hand. It seemed fair to Hanna that when mummy bruised her heart, or made her feel all icky crumbly inside, that she should be able to hurt her back.

Overall, this is a great read if you are a fan of the genre and think you can bear the thought of a child with a very disturbed mind. I loved it.

Synopsis

Afflicted with a chronic debilitating condition, Suzette Jensen knew having children would wreak havoc on her already fragile body. Nevertheless, she brought Hanna into the world, pleased and proud to start a family with her husband Alex. Estranged from her own mother, Suzette is determined to raise her beautiful daughter with the love, care, and support she was denied.

But Hanna proves to be a difficult child. Now seven-years-old, she has yet to utter a word, despite being able to read and write. Defiant and anti-social, she refuses to behave in kindergarten classes, forcing Suzette to homeschool her. Resentful of her mother’s rules and attentions, Hanna lashes out in anger, becoming more aggressive every day. The only time Hanna is truly happy is when she’s with her father. To Alex, she’s wilful and precocious but otherwise the perfect little girl, doing what she’s told.

Suzette knows her clever and manipulative daughter doesn’t love her. She can see the hatred and jealousy in her eyes. And as Hanna’s subtle acts of cruelty threaten to tear her and Alex apart, Suzette fears her very life may be in grave danger.

About Zoje Stage

Zoje Stage is a former filmmaker with a penchant for the dark and suspenseful. Her debut novel BABY TEETH, released by St. Martin's Press in July 2018, was a USA Today bestseller. It was published in the UK by Transworld, under the title BAD APPLE. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.

About Zoje Stage

Zoje Stage is a former filmmaker with a penchant for the dark and suspenseful. Her debut novel BABY TEETH, released by St. Martin’s Press in July 2018, was a USA Today bestseller. It was published in the UK by Transworld, under the title BAD APPLE. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.