The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Orion Publishing

Synopsis:

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Thoughts:

Ahhh this book. I had seen it absolutely everywhere and I held off until February to read it, as I had an ARC. The struggle to wait for it. The struggle. I can confidently say that I’m so pleased I waited. It was an amazing read. I’m absolutely blown away that this is a debut novel. It was incredible. I really should stop gushing now and get into my review.

This has a really exciting premise. It’s about a woman named Alicia Berenson who is accused of murdering her husband. The trouble is, since the crime, Alicia hasn’t spoken. For six years she’s been living in a mental health unit called The Grove. The Grove is for very dangerous people with serious mental health issues. Readers then meet Theo Faber, who has had a tough childhood. He’s now a psychotherapist. He’s intrigued by Alicia and wants to be the one to ‘cure’ her and getting her to speak again. He wants to help solve the mystery as to why she murdered her husband.

This is one of those reviews where I’m going to be terribly vague because I don’t want to ruin the story. I will say that it’s an incredibly well written story. It’s so compulsive. I desperately wanted to find out what was going on. I absolutely loved the inclusion of Alicia’s diary. Argh. I want to say so much but I can’t because of spoilers. It is a bit of a slow burner, which I don’t usually enjoy, but this one had me from the very beginning.

I have to admit that I didn’t see the twist coming. I know many people will do, but for me I was quite shocked which is why I had to give it a 5 star rating. I think this will be an excellent book club read. It truly deserves all of the praise it’s getting.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A truly excellent 2019 debut. Alex Michaelides is truly one to watch!

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I’ll Find You

I'll Find You

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bonnier Zaffre

Synopsis:

Emily Jacobs, a nurse, is in hospital for a minor operation. When she wakes in the night, woozy with anaesthetic, she sees the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate the woman in the bed next to her. In the morning, she is told that she must have had a nightmare. The bed has been empty all along . . .

When Emily returns to work she discovers a bracelet that she believes belonged to the missing woman. Soon, she becomes convinced that her colleagues at the hospital are hiding a terrible secret.
What if she’s wrong? What if her own troubled past has affected her more than she knows?

But what if she’s right?

What else could they be capable of?

Thoughts:

I had heard mixed reviews about this book, so I was somewhat hesitant to start it. However, I try as much as I can not to let reviews sway me. I went into this book with an open mind. I did find it enjoyable and it didn’t take me long to read at all, but I can see why some reviewers have had some trouble with it.

The premise of this book is really exciting.  Emily’s sister, Zoe, went missing from a hospital 12 months ago. Emily has been signed off work as a nurse after suffering with her mental health. Emily is about to return to work after deciding that she needs distraction. However, Emily discovers a lump in her breast and needs to get it removed. After surgery, Emily comes around to a young girl being revived by several members of staff. When someone notices Emily, they inject her, sending her into a deep sleep. In the morning, staff deny any knowledge of anyone ever being in the room with Emily. Emily won’t let it lie though and is determined to prove she was telling the truth, no matter what…

I was really intrigued by the plot line but I’m sad to say that it became a little unbelievable in places. It didn’t seem like real life. I’m not saying that stories should be similar to real life, but in thrillers, I do tend to like some sense of reality within the pages. A good thriller creeps you out because you know it could happen.

There are some really interesting characters in this story and there was certainly enough to hold my attention. It was clear that the writer has good medical knowledge, being a nurse herself. I just wish it had been more believable.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! (just!)

 

Despite my reservations about this book, I think many would enjoy it, so I would recommend it!

Apple Of My Eye

Apple of My Eye

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Avon Books UK

Synopsis:

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for six months pregnant Dr Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

Thoughts:

This book is going to be ever so tricky to review, because it’s one where you don’t want to reveal too much about it before someone reads it. It’s definitely one to go into without knowing a lot about the plot. Trust me, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in this story before long. It’s fantastic.

Apple Of My Eye centres around Eliana who is seven months pregnant. Eliana is still suffering from horrendous sickness and she’s terrified that she’s not going to bond with her baby. She’s married to Martin and believes they have a happy marriage, until she starts receiving anonymous letters telling her that Martin is cheating on her. Eliana is close to her mother Angela. Angela is determined to protect her daughter no matter what. We also hear from a character Louise. We don’t really ever find out much about Louise but soon the story starts to come together. Eliana has to take maternity leave when an incident at the hospice she works at occurs. Life is become very intense for Eli…

That’s all I can really say without revealing what happens in this story. I really don’t want to ruin it for any potential reader. What I will say is, if you like your thrillers to be incredibly dark and twisted, then this might be one for you. I couldn’t believe how twisted some of it was. I have to admit, that I did guess a part of the twist, but I didn’t guess it too soon and it in no way affected my enjoyment as a whole. Apple Of My Eye is superbly written and so worth reading.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An incredibly tense read. I couldn’t put it down!

Talking About ‘The Woman In The Window’ with Bibliobeth!

The Woman in the Window

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it!

Synopsis:

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

CHRISSI: What was your initial impression of Anna? Did it change as the book went on?

BETH: I’m not sure what I thought of her to be honest. It’s perfectly obvious she was an unreliable narrator as I’ll get to in the next question but as a reader, I’m always prepared to give a character a chance and get to know more about them before I make a judgement. I felt terribly sorry for her because it was obvious she had severe mental health problems with her agoraphobia and because I knew this was a psychological thriller I knew that nothing she would witness from her window was going to be good!

BETH: Why did you think Anna was so obsessed with observing her neighbours? How did it make her feel more connected to the outside world?

CHRISSI: I truly think Anna was bored with her life. Observing her neighbours felt like she had something to do, what with being stuck in the house all day and night. I think observing her neighbours made her feel connected to the world because she almost ‘lived’ through them. She got to experience their every day routine and that became her routine too. Observing her neighbours gave her a sense of normality.

CHRISSI: There have a been a number of thrillers/suspense stories with an unreliable narrator suffering from a drinking problem. Why do you think the authors make that choice? How does drinking impact the story they’re telling?

BETH: Initially, this book very much reminded me of Girl On The Train i.e. mature female protagonist with a drinking problem witnesses something horrific. In this way, I think that it’s a narrative I’ve read about before so the author has to do something special to make it a bit different. Obviously, drinking can impair your judgement especially if you’re drinking to the extent that our female lead is AND mixing it with strong medication so things you see can be mis-interpreted. In this novel, we’re not even sure if what Anna sees actually happened as the drugs she is taking do have the potential to cause hallucinations….did it happen or didn’t it?

BETH: If this book were to become a film how do you think it would translate? Would you watch it?

CHRISSI: Hmm…I think it could potentially be a good film especially if an extremely talented actress was cast as Anna. I think the agoraphobia gives it an edge that many thrillers don’t have and it would be interesting to see them tackle mental health. I’m not sure if I’d watch it though. For me, it was a little repetitive in points, but they could take some of the repetitiveness out. I haven’t watched The Girl On The Train which is a similar book. I think for me to watch an adaptation, I have to totally believe in the cast.

CHRISSI: Do you think this book has enough about it to stand out in its genre?

BETH: Personally, I think it does. As I mentioned, this trope has been done before so you have to do something different and I think with the addition of the agoraphobia, it made things slightly twistier as you knew whatever Anna did see would be more difficult for her to deal with as she wasn’t able to leave the house and raise the alarm. It was a fascinating read and I think the author did a good job in describing how debilitating and frightening this condition can be for its sufferers.

BETH: What did you think of the ending? Were you satisfied or did you want more?

CHRISSI: I was interested in the story throughout but I found it to be a little bit predictable in points. Personally, I think it was a very cinematic ending. I wasn’t overly sold by the ending, but it certainly was full of drama. It is here that I could see the book being turned into a movie. They could do a lot with it.

CHRISSI: Did the story grip you throughout or did you feel your interest go at any point?

BETH: Generally, I did find it a compelling read and one that I would recommend however, I did kind of guess what was going on towards the end which was slightly disappointing. There was a moment where I was surprised (but I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet!) but as for what Anna saw out of her window – I saw it coming. I’ve done this a lot recently with thrillers I’ve read so perhaps I’m just getting better at predicting things or I’ve read too many thrillers recently?! Who can say? It didn’t affect my enjoyment though, I still thought it was a great read.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would definitely read more from this author. I thought it was a very accomplished debut and I liked the fact that the author tackled mental health.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Yes! 3.5 stars

The Foster Child

The Foster Child: 'a sleep-with-the-lights-on thriller'

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger.

Thoughts:

I had heard such amazing things about this book from my fellow blogging friends that I knew it was one that I needed to check out as soon as I could. I’m so pleased that I made time for it because it was utterly gripping yet so disturbing at the same time. What a thriller!

The Foster Child centres around Imogen who worked as a psychologist until an event made her change her job. She now works for the local authority and takes on Ellie’s case. Ellie is an orphan living in foster care after a fire killed her parents and her brother. In a strange turn of events (and perhaps making this book not for everyone?) terrible things start to happen when Ellie gets angry with someone. Very soon, the town wonders if there’s something more to Ellie than first meets the eye. Is it coincidence or are there some darker forces involved?

The story includes so much bullying and discrimination. There were some moments of bullying that really affected me. It was awful. I felt sorry for Ellie, but at the same time wondered if she was a character I should be sorry for. I’ll let you make up your own mind if you’ve read this book or aim to read it.

One thing that always makes me tear through a book at record speed is short, snappy chapters. The Foster Child definitely has this. It’s intense and often has twists along the way. I was eagerly trying to work out what the truth really was.

This book is definitely creepy and left me feeling very uncomfortable at many points in the story. I am definitely left wanting to read more from Jenny Blackhurst!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An eerie read!

Friend Request

Friend Request

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all. 

Thoughts:

I had heard really good things about this book, so was looking forward to checking it out. I put it on my Winter TBR and made it my mission to get to it. I really enjoyed this thriller and thought it was a great debut. I would definitely put this author on my radar to read more from in the future.

Friend Request centres around Louise who is a divorced mother. She lives with her son and has her own business. Everything seems to be going okay in her life until she gets a friend request from an old school friend Maria. The only trouble is…Maria has been dead for many years. The story flips between the past and the present. It becomes quite the mystery when the friend request comes at the same time as a school reunion. Louise is ashamed of her past, of when she used to do things to fit in with the popular kids and keep her friendship with Queen Bee Sophie. Those things included the bullying of Maria.

I really enjoy books that incorporate social media. It’s so current and so now. It also can be incredibly toxic and fascinating to read about. I’m just pleased Facebook and Twitter weren’t overly popularly when I was at school. It’s scary how much I have to teach about the dangers of social media in primary school now, because children are getting onto social media earlier than they should be. Terrifying.

I loved this plot because it’s something that so many people can relate to. I’m pretty sure many of us have done things that we regret when we were school age. Even if it’s not as intense as Louise and her friends. There are many interesting relationships to delve into. The pace of this story is quite fast. There are some plot twists along the way that definitely keep you interested. I didn’t really enjoy the ending which was a shame and that’s the reason I haven’t rated this book 4 stars.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A gripping read and a very promising debut novel from Laura Marshall!

Mine

Mine

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

This is not your baby.

You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, dying to see your child.

But when you are shown the infant, you just know . . .

This baby is not yours.

No one believes you.

They say you’re delusional, confused, dangerous.

But you’re a doctor . . .

Do you trust yourself?

Because you know only one thing – You must find your baby.

Thoughts:

I had heard many good things about Mine so I was super excited to check it out. I’m trying to get through books on my kindle as I just keep buying them and not getting around to reading them. #bookwormstruggles I thought that Mine was an incredibly easy to read book. I was eager to find out what was going to happen right from the start. Goodness knows that cover gives an amazing tag line!

The story centres around Sasha who wakes up in hospital after a caesarean. Sasha doesn’t remember much about the birth but she knows she is desperate to see her baby. Sasha and her husband were so desperate to have a baby so she wants to savour every minute with her newborn. However, when she gets to the hospital nursery, she is convinced that the baby she is shown is not hers. No-one listens to Sasha- even her husband is sure that she’s wrong. Sasha is determined to convince them that a mistake has been made…but how will she get everyone to believe her?

Mine really did have me gripped from the start. It has an interesting pace that is somewhat ramped up at the start and at the end, with the middle moving much more slowly. It’s a highly emotional story which some might find hard to read if you’ve suffered from mental health or fertility issues. I really didn’t know who to believe. I went through stages of thinking that Sasha was a really unreliable narrator and then I changed my mind again. It really was a rollercoaster that made you question whether Sasha was mentally stable or not.

I really enjoyed the time frame of this story. It goes over a week and flips between the past and the present. I don’t always enjoy that narrative, but Susi Fox certainly wrote the narrative well. It was interesting to find out that Susi Fox is a medical professional, I felt like the medical scenes were very realistic. It was clear that Susi was well informed.

The characters in Mine are fantastic. I really felt for Sasha. I immediately wanted everything to be sorted out for her- whether she was right or not. I found Sasha’s husband, Mark, to be a little frustrating. I wanted him to be there more for his wife. However, I did feel some sympathy for him when I read about this past as the reader does find out about some of his family history.

I was really impressed with this debut novel and the only thing that prevented me from giving it four stars, was that I particularly enjoy a consistently paced plot and I didn’t feel like this was. It’s a tiny complaint though. Overall, I thought it was a very promising, well informed, well written debut novel.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A solid debut from Susi Fox. I think that this book would be a great book club read!