The Hours Before Dawn

The Hours Before Dawn

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Louise would give anything – anything – for a good night’s sleep. Forget the girls running errant in the garden and bothering the neighbours. Forget her husband who seems oblivious to it all. If the baby would just stop crying, everything would be fine.

Or would it? What if Louise’s growing fears about the family’s new lodger, who seems to share all of her husband’s interests, are real? What could she do, and would anyone even believe her? Maybe, if she could get just get some rest, she’d be able to think straight.

In a new edition of this lost classic, The Hours Before Dawn proves – scarily – as relevant to readers today as it was when Celia Fremlin first wrote it in the 1950s. 

Thoughts:

I was immediately intrigued by this book because it was billed as the original psychological thriller. If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of thrillers. This book was originally published in the 1950s. I was interested to see how it translated now.

The Hours Before Dawn tells the story of Louise who has recently had a baby boy who just won’t stop crying. She has two girls and a husband to keep as well. Louise’s life appears to be falling apart and her husband is pretty oblivious to everything around him. He is annoyed about the baby crying all the time and puts pressure on Louise to sort it all out.  Others around Louise believe she is spiralling into madness. But is it madness or something else? Louise’s new lodger is not quite what she seems. Louise is suspicious that something is happening with the lodger, but not many believe Louise…

I really liked how the author didn’t seem to throw us any clues. It could have been Louise going mad or the lodger getting up to something. It was hard to believe in a character, they are both quite unreliable and I loved that element of the story. Celia Fremlin was clearly a talented author. She writes such great characters and doesn’t easily give away what’s happening. I found it to be a creepy read and interesting look into 1950s life.

I think part of my problem with the story is that it hasn’t aged as well as it could have done. Sure, if you read it in the mindset that it was the 1950s then you can imagine that Louise was a perfect character to represent a stay at home mum/wife. I think women now are much more likely to fight against that type of life.

I think you’d enjoy this book if you like to read a high quality, mysterious, creepy read.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I’m glad I read this book! Celia Fremlin was clearly a talented writer!

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Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

The Girls

Synopsis:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.  And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW 
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?

Thoughts:

I’m a massive fan of this genre, which you’ll know if you’ve been around my blog for a while. My sister Beth and I recently read Lisa Jewell’s The Girls and really enjoyed it so I was intrigued to read this one. Especially after Beth raved about it. I found Then She Was Gone to be such a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down and easily could have read it in one sitting if I had the time!

It follows the story of Laurel whose fifteen-year-old daughter disappeared one day. Laurel and the rest of her children were so close to Ellie and her loss affects the whole family. Ten long years later, Laurel finds out that there’s updates on the case. Unfortunately for the family, Ellie’s remains have been found. With some closure, Laurel begins to move forward. She meets a man called Floyd who brings back some joy into her life. Laurel is introduced to his girls and is struck by the similarities between his daughter Poppy and her Ellie. The truth about what happened around the time Ellie was missing comes to light. Laurel isn’t sure whether she should be trusting Floyd but she’s desperate to find out what happened.

As I mentioned, I have read so many thrillers. So many are a bit samey, but I was impressed with Then She Was Gone. It kept me turning the pages. Although I had guessed what had happened to Ellie, I was still compelled to keep reading. Desperate to see if I was right. I also didn’t know exactly how the thing I thought (sorry, no spoilers!) had happened. Therefore guessing the twist didn’t affect my enjoyment. 

I loved the narrative! It’s broken up into different parts, thinking about then and present day times. As a reader, you get to read from the main character’s point of view and I love that. I felt like it gave a really well rounded look at the story.

Lisa Jewell’s writing is exceptional. I am seriously considering checking out the other books that she’s written as I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read so far. I love getting into the minds of her ‘bad’ characters. It’s fascinating!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of the thriller/mystery genre!

Blog Tour- The House by Simon Lelic

The House

How did I get it?:
I received it from Penguin Random House for the blog tour!

Synopsis:

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them…

Thoughts:

I was incredibly intrigued by the publicity around this book. I was sent a postcard and key in the post. I had to visit the website and ‘unlock’ my advanced reading copy. I was immediately gripped by this and was so intrigued by the book.

I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about this book. I was so excited to pick it up to start to read it as it sounded like something I’d really enjoy. I’m a massive fan of all things thriller. The House doesn’t follow your average thriller narration which is something that I really respected and bought into. It seemed more like a mystery in places.

The House centres around Jack and Sydney who are hopeful that they’ll get a house in London. They have been saving for a while and looking for their dream home. One day, they attend an Open Day of a house that ticks all of their boxes. The owner has gone to Australia to be with someone he met online. The owner has left the house completely furnished. Jack and Sydney put in an offer not expecting to get the house. Totally unexpectedly, Jack and Sydney get the house. Jack feels uncomfortable about the house and his feelings don’t change, especially when he finds stuff in the attic…

Jack and Sydney tell their story in the form of journal entries. The narration is different because it’s clear that the couple are writing for the purpose of showing someone. I really enjoyed the narration in The House. I loved how we got to see the story from each point of view and I particularly enjoyed the moments when they spoke to each other within their entry. Using this narration, meant the story unfolded slowly. It was clear that something had happened and for quite some time the reader doesn’t know. I think this definitely helped to keep my interest. Through this medium, the reader learns about many events both past and present. We learn that Sydney had an awful childhood and that she has lost her sister (I don’t want to say too much about this as it will spoil the reading experience!) Sydney befriends a little girl called Evie who reminds her of herself when she was younger. They go through very similar experiences and Sydney is determined to help Evie before it’s too late.

I was creeped out by this book at many points, it’s in no way a scary book, but there are some very unsettling things that happen. I hate (but really love) when I don’t know who to trust and that was totally the case with this book.

This book has really dark themes. There’s strong language, drug use and some quite explicit content. It’s about how something in the past can impact on your present day life. I was gripped at the start and the unique narration kept me turning the pages. The writing is good and the pace is quick. It’s certainly an easy book to read. I did guess who was responsible for some of the incidents in the book which was a shame, but I didn’t necessarily see the ending coming!

Would I recommend it?
Yes! 3.5 stars!

Click on the blog tour poster for clearer details!

Trust Me (Social Media Murders #3)

Trust Me (Social Media Murders, #3)

How did I get it?:
I received it from the publisher, Avon. Many thanks to them!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Follow Me
Watch Me

Synopsis:

What do you do if you witness a murder…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific murder streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who her killer is.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but tensions in the police force are running high and time is ticking. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

Thoughts:

This is the third book in the Social Media Murders series, and I swear the books are getting better and better. Whilst I enjoyed Follow Me, I thought Watch Me was even better and Trust Me certainly lived up to my expectations.

It centres around Kate, Nasreen and Freddie. Kate was watching live videos on the internet and saw someone being sexually assaulted and then stabbed. Pretty gruesome, right? Kate immediately phones the police and they’re not sure she’s telling the truth. There were no reports from anyone else and the account seems to have disappeared after the assault. Nasreen and Freddie feel like they have enough to go on to investigate Kate’s claims. Freddie believes Kate from the start and after a while Nasreen comes around. They’re determined to find out what has happened to the girl and see if there’s a link with another girl that’s gone missing.

I thought this book was really gripping. I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, but I was eagerly turning the pages. I thought it was incredibly well paced. I have really enjoyed getting to know Nasreen and Freddie better throughout the series. I definitely think both characters have got more likeable over time.

I’m glad to say that I didn’t predict what was going to happen. I love that in books! I like to be kept guessing and for me Trust Me did exactly that.

I don’t know if it was the author’s intention to make readers more wary of social media, but I really am more wary after reading this series. I always teach the children in my class (primary school) about internet safety, but I’d never thought about how dangerous it is for adults out there too.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A creepy crime read which can be enjoyed as a standalone!

Watch Me (Social Media Murders #2)

Watch Me (Social Media Murders, #2)

How did I get it?:
Received from the publisher, Avon- Many thanks to them!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Follow Me

Synopsis:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

Thoughts:

As you would’ve seen on Monday, I found the first book in the series to be a slow starter. This one is completely different. I was immediately gripped by the story. It’s not often that I find a second book in the series to be stronger than its predecessor, but I totally felt like this was the case with Watch Me. 

Watch Me centres around Nasreen and Freddie once more. Yet again, it highlights the dangers of the internet and how you never really know who is behind the messages. This book uses Snapchat as the media behind the crime. Chloe is dead and has sent a suicide note via the app. Another girl has been abducted and several people (including the police) have been sent a Snap to tell them they have 24 hours to save the girl’s life. The girl in question is the sister of DCI Burgone. Here starts a very intriguing read as the book spans the 24 hour period and the chase to save the girl’s life. Nasreen and Freddie put away the Hashtag Murderer (see previous book) and they’re surprised to see that there’s a link between that case and the current case. They can’t see how there can be a link between them, as he’s in prison with no internet…but if it isn’t him, then who is it?

I loved that this book included Snapchat and Instagram. Like I said in my review of the first book in this series, it makes these crime books utterly modern.Watch Me doesn’t cover light subjects. There’s revenge porn and exploitation of young teens. However, its subject matter makes it an incredibly intriguing, intense page-turner.  I found it incredibly hard to put down!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Look out for the third book in this series, Trust Me, coming tomorrow!

A fabulous follow up to Follow Me, this book can be enjoyed as a standalone, but makes much more sense if you read its predecessor!

Follow Me (Social Media Murders #1)

Follow Me (Social Media Murders, #1)

How did I get it?:
I received it from the publishers, Avon. Many thanks to them!

Synopsis:

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM. . .

Thoughts:

I was approached to read this book by the publisher, Avon. They kindly sent me the whole series, in time for the third book coming out. I binge read this series within a week. At first, I wasn’t sure that I was going to enjoy it, but after a slow start to Follow Me, I was soon gripped and desperate to know what happened next.

Follow Me centres around Nasreen and Freddie, two childhood friends. Freddie is a struggling journalist and Nasreen works with the police. Freddie is super internet savvy and finds herself employed by the police as a social media consultant. They have a tough job to try and track down a murderer who is dropping clues on Twitter.

You have to suspend your disbelief at the story line, as I don’t think it’s very likely that the police would employ a civilian or not have someone that wasn’t particularly internet savvy on their team. If you can suspend your disbelief the story really is intriguing. It’s so much fun to read, but creepy at the same time. This book is a really modern crime read. I found the use of social media particularly cleverly done. I loved the use of social media which is so prevalent today. I loved the characters in this book so I was happy to read that they featured in the series.

I don’t think all of the characters are likeable, but that’s what makes a story interesting for me. I don’t always love all of the characters and I think that’s true to life. You certainly don’t like everyone you come across. I’m glad I had the next book ready to read as I was eager to find out what Freddie and Nasreen would do next.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Watch out for the next book in the series Watch Me, coming up on my blog on Wednesday!

A very modern crime read. Slow to start, but worth it!

The Love That Split The World

The Love That Split the World

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Thoughts:

I remember being so excited about this book when it first came out and then I started to see a lot of mixed reviews. I tried not to read any as I like to give a book a fair chance. However, seeing a few mixed reviews put me off reading this book. I’m glad I decided to pick it up though as I thought it was a really decent read and I’m intrigued to see what Emily Henry writes in the future. I thought this was a great debut!

The Love That Split The World centres around Natalie. Natalie, we find out is adopted by a loving family. During the summer after graduating from high school, Natalie begins to have some very strange experiences. She is visited by ‘Grandmother’ who she believes is God and who her parents believe is a hallucination. Grandmother tells Natalie that she only has a few months to save ‘him’ and then disappears without a trace. Natalie doesn’t know who ‘he’ is. Admist that confusion, Natalie experiences some more strange goings on. Buildings change, the environment around her changes and buildings disappear. Then, there’s Beau, someone that she’s never come across in her life, even though she lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Natalie spends some time with Beau and really gets to know him over the summer. She also spends time trying to unravel the mystery that’s going on in her life alongside some help from a psychologist.

It’s really hard to describe this book because it’s so many things. It’s romance, it’s time-travel, it’s mystery and magical realism. I found the writing to be utterly beautiful and compelling. It didn’t take me long to read at all. Yet, a few days after finishing this book I’m starting to see its flaws when I think about it. I think the major flaw that prevented me from rating this book any higher was the instalove. The relationship was cute, sure, but it happened so quickly.

Instalove aside, I really enjoyed reading this book. Much more than I had anticipated. It won’t be for everyone. It’s not perfect, but in my opinion, it’s a good reading experience and a very promising debut!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A very unique debut! I thoroughly enjoyed it.