He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

Thoughts:

I have really enjoyed Erin Kelly’s books in the past, so when Beth badgered me to read this one, it didn’t take me long to decide to bump it up my TBR. I had seen so much buzz around it in the blogosphere that I was somewhat nervous to read it. That hype monster gets books all too often.

He Said/She Said is about a couple Laura and Kit. Kit is an eclipse chaser and travels around the world to be present at each eclipse event, if the weather permits it. Laura starts to become more interested in Kit’s hobby and begins to travel with him. It is at a special eclipse festival in 1999, that Laura and Kit witness a terrible event. Laura sees more than Kit, but Kit sees enough for it to haunt them years later in their lives. The story alternates between Laura and Kit, both in the present time and events in the past. In the present, the couple have changed their names and have no presence on social media. Laura is suffering from anxiety following the awful situation and the aftermath. Slowly, the truth about what happened in 1999 is revealed…

It’s so hard to review thrillers when you don’t want to give too much away for those that haven’t read it. I loved the fact that the truth was slowly drip fed to the reader. I was desperate to know what had happened to Kit and Laura to make them so fearful of being found. I thought Erin Kelly used the slow reveal sublimely. It certainly kept me turning the pages.

I, in no way, predicted the ending. It was one that actually made my eyes widen! If you’re looking for a decent thriller that’ll keep you guessing, then try He Said/She Said. 

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

A simply excellent thriller!

Her Husband’s Lover

Her Husband's Lover

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start. Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died. 

Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though. 

But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

Thoughts:

Pre-blogging days, Julia Crouch was one of my favourite psychological thriller authors. With Her Husband’s Lover, Julia cements herself as a favourite of mine in the genre. I was absolutely gripped by this story and couldn’t put it down. It’s so gritty! Just what I love in a psychological thriller.

Louisa Williams has had a pretty horrendous past and she’s desperate for a fresh start. Louisa’s husband is dead. He died in a car crash. Sam was chasing Louisa and their two children when the crash occurred. Louisa always thought that Sam would never hurt her, but he betrayed her with a woman named Sophie. Sophie is determined to take what Louisa has left. She wants the life she should have had if Sam had lived.

This really was an amazingly crafted psychological thriller. Julia Crouch has such a way of creating such terrible characters. I don’t mean badly written. I mean shockingly awful people that are easy to dislike. I love those sort of characters. I actually said out loud ‘Oooh, she’s a messed up woman!’ I had to remind myself that it wasn’t real! So sucked into the story.

The two female characters Louisa and Sophie are incredibly well written. I can’t say that I liked any of them, but I loved to read from their points of view. Their interactions with each other were intense and their relationship was completely toxic as you might expect. I don’t often like a dual point of view that goes from past to present but Julia Crouch creates such a great narrative in this story.

I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It’s a fairly long read but it doesn’t take long to get through it because there’s twists and turns all the time. I didn’t know who to trust. Some scenes made me incredibly uncomfortable. There’s plenty of shocking moments and nothing is first what it seems.

The reason why Julia stands out in this heavily populated genre for me is her writing style. Julia Crouch doesn’t shy away from gritty, raw and quite disturbing stories. This is certainly all of those things and much more besides.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

If you love unreliable characters then this is the thriller for you!

Gone Without A Trace

Gone Without a Trace

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

No one ever disappears completely…

You leave for work one morning.

Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.
His belongings have disappeared.
He hasn’t been at work for weeks.
It’s as if he never existed.

But that’s not possible, is it?

And there is worse still to come.

Because just as you are searching for him
someone is also watching you.

Thoughts:

I remember Beth being really gripped by this book when she visited a few months back. She immediately told me that I needed to read it. So being the good bookworm sister that I am ( 😉 ) I bumped it up my to be read list. It didn’t take me long to devour at all.

Gone Without A Trace centres around Hannah. We first meet Hannah when she is on her way back from a successful business trip. Hannah is extremely happy because she thinks she’s going to be promoted very soon. As she arrives home, her life is turned upside down. Her long-term boyfriend Matt has moved everything of his out of the house. His number is no longer in her phone, photos have gone and emails have been removed. There is no trace of Matt around the house. Hannah is confused as everything seemed okay in their relationship. Hannah is determined to find Matt… Then text messages start coming in and strange things happen in her house. We’re left wondering whether Hannah is losing her mind or whether something darker is going on.

I was immediately gripped by this story. I wasn’t sure whether to trust Hannah at first. She’s not the most likeable character. Her behaviour becomes obsessive and she begins to suffer in her every day life which becomes very frustrating for the reader. There were points where I wanted her to pull herself together and there were moments that I felt sorry for her. A lot of the relationships in Hannah’s life were difficult. I was particularly intrigued by her love-hate relationship with her friend Katie. It came across as very toxic.

The story seems to plod along at the start with Hannah attempting to find Matt. It really started to pick up pace when the strange things started happening. There is a bit of a twist which I wasn’t expecting! I loved that I didn’t expect it. I know it has divided some readers, but I thought it was an interesting take on the story. I don’t want to spoil it for any readers, so I’ll stop talking about it now!

Overall, I thought this was a really interesting, well paced read. It’s not flawless, but it’s enjoyable and an incredibly easy to read book.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A decent psychological thriller. Worth picking up!

Indigo Donut

Indigo Donut

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hatchette!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Orangeboy

Synopsis:

A story of longing, belonging and trust. Two very different young people discover who loves them, and who they can love back.

Bailey is 17, mixed race, lives with his mum and dad in Hackney and spends all his time playing guitar or tending to his luscious ginger afro. Indigo is 17 and new to London, having grown up in the care system after being found by her mum’s dead body as a toddler. All Indigo wants is to know who she really is. When Bailey and Indigo meet at sixth form, sparks fly. But when Bailey becomes the target of a homeless man who seems to know more about Indigo than is normal, Bailey is forced to make a choice he should never have to make.

A story about falling in love and everyone’s need to belong.

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved Patrice Lawrence’s debut novel Orangeboy, so when I had the opportunity to read Indigo Donut I jumped at the chance. I also bought myself a copy, because I knew it was going to be an amazing read. It really was! I think Patrice Lawrence has just become one of my auto-buy authors. Her writing is exceptional. Indigo Donut is everything I look for in a story. Gripping, many layers, complex and most importantly for me, it has great heart.

Indigo Donut is about a girl named Indigo who is in foster care. She is fed up of everyone thinking they know everything about her, due to being in the press after being found by her mum’s dead body when she was a toddler. It was said that Indigo’s father killed the mother. Her father was imprisoned. Some of the girls at Indigo’s new school pick up on Indigo’s background and use it to torment her. (These girls actually enraged me whilst I was reading!) But then Bailey’s story line began to pick up! ❤ Bailey is known for his ginger Afro and his ‘cool’ dad who happens to be a social worker. Bailey can’t put up with the bullying and sticks up for Indigo. From that day on, Indigo and Bailey grow closer. Indigo’s early life is a mystery and Bailey is intrigued, especially after a run in with a homeless man that seems to be stalking them…

I thought Indigo Donut was an absolutely stunning piece of fiction. It really explored family and identity. I grew to love both Indigo and Bailey throughout and loved following their stories and their relationship. I adored Indigo’s foster mother. Patrice Lawrence really has a way of making you fall for her characters and root for them.

Patrice Lawrence’s writing is simply beautiful. There was a wonderful analogy about a donut.

‘She was like one of those donuts from the cheap shelves in supermarkets. Everything seemed all right until you bit into the middle and there was just nothing.’  – Indigo Donut

This quotation really spoke to me and completely sums up why I enjoy Patrice Lawrence’s writing. I could absolutely imagine how Indigo felt about herself.

‘Though when she was with Bailey last night, it was like there’d be something else inside her, something sweet and good. Not filling the space all the way up, but enough. You think there’s nothing there and then the first splodge of jam hits your tongue. You just want to smile.’- Indigo Donut

❤ I just adore Patrice’s writing. In just a few sentences, she totally captured Indigo’s feelings and my heart. I can’t help but rave about this book. It totally exceeded my expectations. More please!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

‘Donut’ miss this book!

Damage

Damage

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously read by the same author:

Synopsis:

Outwardly confident, skater girl Gabi cannot move past a traumatic incident – and turns to self harm to take away the pain.

Thoughts:

I absolutely adore Eve Ainsworth’s work because she writes about hard-hitting subjects. I was excited to get my hands on it. With Damage Eve explores the main protagonist’s slide into self-harm.

Gabi, the main protagonist, is suffering from grief after the loss of her grandfather. Gabi’s home life is a bit of a mess. Her parents own a pub and don’t seem to have much time for her. Her relationship with her mother is strained. Gabi begins to self-harm as a release from the pain that she’s feeling inside. Cutting herself gives Gabi short relief from her struggles. Gabi knows she shouldn’t be hurting herself, but can’t help it.

I thought this book was fascinating because as a reader, we got to see Gabi’s slide into self-harm. It didn’t start with self-harm, we saw the spiral. It certainly made me understand why Gabi felt like there was no way out. As a reader, we don’t have to work out Gabi’s reasons, it is made clear.

This book is intriguing to read because it’s not just Gabi that’s ‘damaged’.  Almost every single character is flawed in some way. They all have their own issues and whilst not all of them are explored or resolved, it makes every character inherently human.

I don’t think this is the best book on characters that self-harm, but it is still a decent read and it doesn’t take long to read at all! It’s worth picking it up.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A decent read with some very realistic characters!

Talking About ‘Miss You’ with Bibliobeth

Miss You

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .

Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can’t get it out of her head, even though she’s in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever – but not in the way she expects.

Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be.

For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.

Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there’s no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

CHRISSI: Did you judge this book by its cover? I can imagine it’s one you wouldn’t pick up if you saw it in the shop!

BETH: Do you think just because you’re my sister you know me? Haha, of course you’re right, I have to be honest. This cover would immediately make me scrunch up my face in the way that you know so well and I wouldn’t necessarily pick it up because of that. I’m not the biggest romance fan in the world and it has to be told in just the right sort of way to touch this cold, cold heart. No cheesiness here please! But, as you know, I have been completely wrong about covers in the past… Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a classic example!

BETH: How do you think that this book compares with others in the genre?

CHRISSI: Interesting question! As you know, I have read quite a lot of this genre, so I feel like I’m well informed to answer this question. I think it fits nicely into the genre, but it’s not necessarily a book that I think stands out. Don’t get me wrong, it was easy to read and I enjoyed it, but it’s not one that will stay with me for a long time.

CHRISSI: Both Tess and Gus experience bereavement in this novel. Discuss how the different characters deal with this situation.

BETH: Both Tess and Gus have lost someone important in their lives. With Tess, it is her mother who died of cancer and with Gus it is his older brother who died in a horrific skiing accident on holiday. They both deal with their loss in very different ways and I think a lot of that is bound up with how close they were with their respective loved one. With Tess, it’s her mother so of course she feels the loss keenly but has to get on with things as she has a younger sister, Hope to bring up and look after. This completely ruins any plans she had for university but she is incredibly strong as a character and just gets through it. Gus on the other hand, feels constantly guilty for the loss of his brother, Ross. He feels he is in some way to blame for the accident as he “let” Ross go off on his own down a dangerous slope. Coupled with this is the fact that Ross has constantly bullied and belittled him throughout their lives prior to the accident so they didn’t have the best or most loving relationship which he also feels some residual guilt for.

BETH: Which character’s point of view did you enjoy reading about the most?

CHRISSI: My answer would have to be Tess. I really enjoyed reading about her story. I think the main reason for this is the relationship Tess has with her younger sister. I called Asperger’s before it mentioned it in the story. I have children with both low functioning autism and high functioning autism (Asperger’s) in my class and I could recognise the traits immediately. I loved how, even though Tess struggled with not following her dreams, she was there for her sister. I was rooting for Tess from the start and hoping she found some happiness for herself.

CHRISSI: Discuss how Kate Eberlen structured this novel.

BETH: I really enjoyed the structure of this novel. It’s told in dual perspectives so one chapter is Tess’ point of view and the next is from Gus. It also starts in the late nineties when they are both eighteen years old and ends in the present day. I really enjoyed this as I am a similar age to the characters and enjoyed the nostalgic feel that the author brought when talking about certain things in the nineties that I remember very clearly! I also loved how we got hints of the “tall man,” or “tall woman,” aka Gus/Tess when they almost met so many times during the narrative.

BETH: Do you believe that some things are just meant to be or is everything just chance?

CHRISSI: That’s a hard one for me to answer. I’d like to think that things happen for a reason, but then sometimes awful things happen and I can’t justify that with ‘things happen for a reason.’ So to answer, I think I believe in coincidences. But who knows? Ooh, look at you with such a tricksy question!

CHRISSI: Did your initial impressions of this book change by the ending?

BETH: I’m afraid it did and I’m sad to say, not in a good way 😞. I did love that what I expected to happen did happen which pleased me for the characters sake but unfortunately, it did feel slightly cheesy by the end and they were way too quick to say the “three magic words,” which made me believe in them and their relationship a little less. Apart from that though, I was really enjoying their story up to that point!

BETH: Would you read another novel by this author?

CHRISSI: I think I would. I did enjoy reading it and it didn’t take me long to read at all.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Yes! 3.5 stars

CHRISSI: Yes! 3.5 stars

 

The Graces (The Graces #1)

The Graces (The Graces, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

Thoughts:

I had heard so much about this book including hearing Laure Eve reading from it at a Faber event. Goodness knows why I’ve only just got around to it. It immediately gripped me and I finished it within a day!

It centres around three siblings (The Graces) who are incredibly intriguing to the rest of their peers and their town. Every single person wants to be seen with them. However, people are scared of them. There’s a rumour going around that they are a family of witches. River, our main protagonist, is really intrigued by The Graces. She’s determined to find out everything about them and become part of their gang, no matter what it takes…

I was immediately intrigued by this book. I found River to be an utterly fascinating character. I didn’t know what she was going to do next! I began to develop some mixed feelings about River, and I’m still not entirely sure what I make of her. I felt for her in the beginning and then she turned a little bit obsessive. I’m intrigued to see how River’s story continues… I liked getting to know The Graces through River’s eyes. They had their secrets and River got close enough to know more about them. The Graces were so interesting. I liked them more as the story progressed.

The Graces is about obsession. It’s got a slice of magic and witchcraft and even a little bit of romance. It’s not a flawless read and I found it a little slow at points, but I was still intrigued to see what was going to happen next. I’d definitely pick up the sequel too!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful page-turner. Super intriguing and well worth a read!