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review 2018-10-06 00:47
Review: The Wife's Secret by Kerry Wilkinson
The Wife's Secret - Kerry Wilkinson

Published by: Bookouture (10th October 2018)

 

ISBN: 978-1786817075

 

Source: Netgalley 

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis: 

Charley Willis was thirteen years old when her parents were killed in their family home and she was found hiding in a cupboard upstairs. 

Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It should be the happiest day of their lives, a chance for Charley to put her past behind her, but just hours after the ceremony, she is missing.

No one saw her leave. No one knows where she is.

One thing is for certain…Seth is about to discover he doesn’t really know the woman he just married. And his nightmare is only just beginning. 

 

Review:

Oh WOW! I've not read one of Kerry's books for a while and how I've missed them! This deftly woven tale of intrigue caught my attention from the get go and completely ensnared me. I wasn't prepared for what was to unfold as the dramatic plot shared its darkest secrets, told from the perspectives of both Charley's husband Seth, in the present day, and Charley herself, via flashbacks. 

 

With more twists and turns than your average rollercoaster, The Wife's Secret will have you reading way past your bedtime and questioning every disappearance you will ever hear about again. It's full of suspense, familial tension and the author's brilliant attention to detail make this truly outstanding. 

 

 

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review 2018-09-29 02:00
Review: The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliot
The Wife Before Me - Laura Elliot

Published by: Bookouture (22nd August 2018)

 

ISBN: 978-1786816153

 

Source: Netgalley 

 

Rating: 3*

 

Synopsis:

One evening as the sun is setting, Amelia Madison’s car slides into the sea off Mason’s Pier. Her body is never found.

Two years later, Elena Langdon meets Nicholas Madison. She is grieving the loss of her mother, he is grieving for his wife. Together they can help each other.

Now Elena is living with Nicholas. But Elena doesn’t really know him. She doesn’t know what he is capable of.

And she doesn’t know what really happened to Amelia.

Until the day she discovers the torn page of a letter and the words she reads chill her to the bone.

Elena must find the person who wrote these letters if she is to save herself.

 

Review:

When I haven't enjoyed a book as much as averages review scores tend to suggest, I do something that's rather out of character for me, and read those other reviews prior to writing my own, in case I've completely missed the point, or fallen asleep at a crucial moment and awoken later having omitted to read some vital shred of the plot that ties the whole book together. 

 

The Wife Before Me has some rave reviews, but I felt so disappointed with it. Some aspects of it I thought were well done, such as the domestic violence. As a survivor and also someone who has worked in DV, I found it to be realistic. However, I found it confusing at times and it was difficult to work out who was narrating. The ending was the biggest disappointment of all, it seemed so illogical. I read the last sentence and, I kid you not, actually said out loud "What?! Is that it?!" I found it contrived and it also felt rushed. 

 

Thanks to Bookouture for the ARC via Netgalley. This is my unbiased opinion. 

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review 2018-09-15 22:30
Review on Lies by T.M. Logan
Lies: The Gripping Psychological Thriller That Will Take Your Breath Away - T.M. Logan

Title: Lies

Author: T.M. Logan

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Synopsis:

What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child—then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? Now you are in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything you treasure.

It’s the evening drive home from work on a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But today, Joe sees his wife meet another man—an encounter that will rip two families apart. Raising the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us?

Joe will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the deception unravels, so does his life. A life played out without any rules. And a cunning opponent who’s always one step ahead.

Review:

T.M. Logan! Wow, how have I not learned of you sooner? This book was all sorts of crazy and nail-biting, edge of your seat thrilling. I definitely did not find the ending coming. I caught myself dreaming of this book at times and would wake up in the middle of the night to read until my eyes would burn.

You have Joe Lynch and his wife Mel, or Melissa, they seem like a happy go lucky family. The wife is the main bread winner and Joe is a teacher in a prestigious school where image is everything. Outside looking in you wouldn't think you're looking at a murderer and a heavy coverup of some sort. Mel is having a torrid love affair but with who? What will Joe do when he finds out? How will this effect the lover and the lover's family? Are things really as they seem? Can the love Joe felt for Mel be salvaged, and how will this effect the relationship for their son?

I ask you these questions because I really don't want to give too much away, this is a MUST read!

Rating: * * * * */* * * * * 5 out of 5 stars!

Disclaimer: I received an early reader copy for my reading pleasure and was asked for an honest rating. Thank you St. Martins Press and T.M. Logan for allowing me this opportunity!

Happy reading y'all and have a great week!

~Steph

Source: bookreviewsbysteph.blog/2018/09/10/book-review-lies-by-t-m-logan
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review 2018-08-25 01:41
Life, Death, Love and Trust...
Enduring Love - Ian McEwan

This is the fourth book by Ian McEwan that I’ve reviewed and is the furthest back in his catalogue (1997). Still, the latest read has reaffirmed my belief that McEwan is extraordinarily gifted and a colossus among contemporary British writers. In particular, he has a knack for unpacking a short period, even a moment, in such exquisitely interesting detail that for the reader it can be like savouring a fine wine, with all the complex flavours and tannins schmoozing the palate.


It is not only the description of the situation (beguiling enough), or the intricate meshing of fascinating characters drawn together around a “pinprick on the time map”, but the delicate craftsmanship of the storytelling, the wondrous use of language and turns of phrase, which at times appear almost poetic.


“A beginning is an artifice, and what recommends one over another is how much sense it makes of what follows.” Certainly, in ‘Enduring Love’ the start-point was crucial, an immediate, dramatic incident involving an out-of-control hot air balloon and the individuals arbitrarily drawn together in the aftermath. Indeed, rather like completing a jigsaw, having first assembled the fragments of this centrepiece, the author carefully positions the subsequent pieces, until finally the reader can stand back and view the whole picture. And what a delightful puzzle it was.


Part psychological thriller, the tension was masterfully managed and yet at times the moving descriptions of loss (an attendant theme) were poignant and the realization of life’s susceptibility to the vagaries of random events gave the book a philosophical undertone.


Key couple, Joe and Clarissa, are intelligent but different and their relationship built up over seven years is tested in the present, along with the foundations laid in the past. Can the bond linking them together survive the strain placed on each partner and the doubts buffeting their belief and trust in each other?


“Now it came out in a torrent, a post-mortem, a re-living, a de-briefing, the rehearsal of grief, and the exorcism of terror.”


The third character in an unusual love triangle is Jed Parry. Compulsive and unpredictably obsessive, he is also a victim of circumstance, but with an unnerving capacity to wreak emotional havoc, including with the reader!


Again this book is quite short, but don’t let that fool you, the journey is intense and breathless and my overall impression was of a nugget of a novel, which will nestle comfortably on my shelf of favourites. A cleverly titled, thoroughly absorbing read.

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review 2018-07-21 14:39
An unsettling page turner recommended to lovers of first-person narratives.
The Party - Lisa Hall

Thanks to NetGalley and to HQ for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This is an unsettling novel. It starts with a woman, Rachel, who wakes up after a New Year’s Eve party not remembering what has happened and feeling quite vulnerable, and as she tries to get her bearings and find out what went on, while keeping face (as she’s in one of her neighbours’ houses and feels more than a little embarrassed), she comes to realise that something horrible has taken place. The author’s use of first-person narration immerses the readers in Rachel’s mind and makes us share in her fear, confusion, and contradictory feelings. There is physical evidence that something has happened to her, but she cannot recall what, or who might have done the deed.

The story moves between the immediate aftermath of the story, in chronological order, and interspersed chapters that share the events prior to the party, always from the protagonist’s point of view, but they don’t reach into the faraway past and only takes us a few months back, giving us some background that helps us understand why the people closest to Rachel (especially her husband, Gareth) react as they do to the events.

In the present time, somebody starts playing with the protagonist, in a game of cat-and-mouse (which sometimes takes on gaslighting characteristics) and manages to make her doubt herself and everybody around her, from mere acquaintances to those closest and dearest to her.  The first-person point of view works well at making readers feel the claustrophobia, paranoia, anxiety, and sheer terror of not knowing who to trust and seeing your whole life crumble around you.

The book, which fits into the domestic noir category, uses well some of the tropes of the genre, including the protagonist who feels trapped and not taken seriously by the police and therefore has to do her own investigating. There are also plenty of red herrings and a number of credible suspects that make us keep turning the pages to see what will happen next, although readers of thrillers will probably guess who the culprit is (I did).

On the negative side, personally, I did not feel a connection to the characters, particularly Rachel. I empathised with her circumstances, and with the terrible crime she has survived, but I did not feel there is enough information provided about her to create a credible individual. One of the other characters at some point talks about her belief that she is a strong woman, and I wondered what that was based on, as we are only given snippets of her current life and her recent past, and nothing that makes her come alive (What does she like? What did she do before she got married? Does she have any passions, apart from her relationships? She has a friend but other than calling her for support, there is no indication of what that friendship is based on). She does things that are morally questionable, but that was not my issue (I have long defended unlikable main characters, but I still need to feel that they are real, somehow). I wondered if this was intentional, trying to make sure that everybody would be able to identify with Rachel and her plight, rather than making her too distinctive and individual, but, for me at least, the opposite is the truth, and we know enough about her to make her different from us, but not perhaps to make us feel as if we know who she is. This would not bother me so much in a standard plot-driven thriller, but when the book depends so closely on the protagonist’s voice and on her sense of identity, it didn’t gel for me. There were also some things that I thought readers who are not fond of first-person narratives might find annoying (like the character looking at herself in the mirror as a way of providing us a description, something that is frown upon in general writing advice, and a leaning towards telling rather than showing in the bulk of the writing).

The novel moves at a good pace, it creates doubt and hesitation in the readers’ minds, and it has a good sense of timing. And the ending will probably satisfy most fans of the genre. It also touches on an important and, sadly, topical subject, although it does not cover new ground. It brought to my mind C.L.Taylor’s The Fear and I noticed the author, Lisa Hall, had reviewed that novel. I have not read the author’s previous books, but I am curious to see how this compares to her other novels.

A page-turner I recommend to lovers of domestic noir, particularly those who enjoy claustrophobic and unsettling first-person narratives.

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