Call Me Star Girl

Call Me Star Girl

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Tonight is the night for secrets…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

Thoughts:

I have to admit that this is the first time that I’ve read Louise Beech’s work, even though I have heard a lot about her books. And boy, what a great first experience it was for me. I was absolutely gripped by this story and it barely took me long to read at all.

The story centres around Stella McKeever, a radio personality at a local radio station. Stella has a lot of secrets. For her final show, she wants to talk about secrets. Hers include… a boyfriend that likes to play games, a mother who abandoned her and has now returned… a mystery around a star-shaped stopper on a perfume bottle and her father who she recently found out his true identity. Will she spill any of her secrets? Stella is more intrigued by the mysterious man calling the radio station. There’s been a vicious murder of a pregnant woman called Victoria and this man knows who killed Victoria and he said he has the proof…

Wow, is all I can really say! What a plot. This book is so dark and devastating at the same time. I really didn’t expect one of the twists and it broke my heart. I can’t say anymore than that because I really don’t want to ruin the wonder that is this story!

If Louise Beech’s characters are always this well developed, I seriously need to check out more of her back catalogue. I loved getting to know these complex characters with all of their secrets. Louise’s writing is so easy to devour and get stuck into. This book was the perfect start to my holiday. It was intense, dark and a deeply disturbing thriller!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I was gripped by this story! It has some awesome twists and turns along the way. A wonderful thriller!

The Missing Wife

The Missing Wife

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

Synopsis:

You think you know those closest to you. You are wrong…

A sleep-deprived new mother approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing Louisa wants to do is celebrate.

But when her friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Louisa’s Facebook friends, Louisa is faced with a room full of people she hasn’t spoken to in years – including someone she never expected to see again: her ex-boyfriend, Oliver Dunmore.
 
When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers the night differently. Someone knows what happened to Melissa, and Louisa is determined to find them. But the truth could be closer, and the deception more devastating, than she’d ever imagined…

Thoughts:

I hadn’t read anything by Sam Carrington before so I was intrigued to see what this book would be like. If you’re not new to my blog, you’ll know that I read a lot of thrillers, especially psychological ones. Sometimes I find the to be a little samey and predictable. Whilst I did pick up on where the story was going, I did still thoroughly enjoy this reading experience!

The Missing Wife centres around Louisa who is having massive problems sleeping after having a new baby. She’s starting to forget things and her mind is generally a bit of a mess. She’s definitely not in the right place for the surprise 40th birthday that her husband and her best friend have planned. She doesn’t really keep in touch with her old friends and finds herself being confronted with them at her party (including her ex boyfriend Oliver!) Their relationship ended badly several years ago and she hasn’t heard from him since. Yet things are set to get worse, Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing. Louisa was incredibly drunk at her party and doesn’t remember anything about Melissa’s whereabouts. When Oliver arrives at her door asking for her help, she feels she has to help him… especially as he keeps alluding that she owes him a favour…

This book is interesting because of Louisa’s mental state. She’s remembering things slowly and her mind is incredibly muddled. You’re never sure, as a reader, whether Louisa is a character that’s stable enough to get on board and believe in. There are moments in the story where I doubted her. She’s certainly a fascinating character. Louisa and Oliver’s shared past is intriguing. I was eager to find out more about their history. There’s not many characters that you can trust in this story and I personally LOVE that.

I don’t want to say too much and ruin the story. Just know there’s plenty to get stuck into.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book kept me gripped throughout. I could have easily read it in one sitting!

I Looked Away

I Looked Away

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anyone else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband’s affair. But he swears it’s over now, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she’s got.

Then one day, while she’s looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And just for a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. What happens next will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder…

Thoughts:

As you can see, I’ve read a few of Jane Corry’s books. I always enjoy reading her books. They always grip me and keep me wanting more and this book was no exception. It was so easy to get stuck into. It’s one of those books that you don’t want to say too much about before people read it otherwise it will ruin the surprise of the story.

I Looked Away follows Ellie from being a young girl until she’s a grandmother. It bounces about in time and whilst this can sometimes confuse me, Jane Corry tackled it with ease. As a reader, I felt very sorry for Ellie. She goes through so much throughout her life. She’s definitely not has the best of luck. After some events in her life, her grandson Josh is her sole focus. However, when Ellie looks away one afternoon, things spiral out of control and bring events from the past right back to the present day.

Jane Corry takes the reader on such a journey. It really is an emotional read that keeps you turning the pages. Jane Corry covers many issues within the story and does it so well without you feeling like she’s trying to push everything into the plot. The characters are fantastically developed and easy to invest in. The dual timeline is fascinating and I love how it weaves together.

If you like a thriller with some twists and turns along the way, then this book is for you!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Loved getting stuck into this gripping story!

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Apple Of My Eye

Synopsis:

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten? 

Thoughts:

I absolutely adored Apple Of My Eye, so I was intrigued to read Forget Me Not by Claire Allan. I thought this was another incredible read. Claire Allan is certainly becoming one of my favourite authors in the thriller genre. I highly recommend checking out her books if you haven’t done so already.

Forget Me Not opens with Elizabeth O’Loughlin walking her dog. She comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific attack. Clare’s dying, but manages to whisper some words to Elizabeth. Elizabeth soon realises that there could be more victims and she needs to do something about it.

I liked how the story was told from two different points of view. I think this works particularly well in a thriller. It gives you a break from one perspective but at the same time, if done well, it cleverly intertwines the story and this is what happened with Forget Me Not. Claire Allan is a master at building tension. Right from the start, I couldn’t stop turn the pages. It’s so fast paced that it’s hard to put it down.

This is definitely one of those books where you don’t want to know too much about it. It would completely ruin the story. It’s a book full of twists and turns. Some I did see coming, but some I admit, did surprise me. I really do need to check out Claire’s debut!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Another excellent read from Claire Allan!

Dead Girls

Dead Girls

How did I get it?:
It was a gift from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Golden Boy

Synopsis:

When her best friend Billie is found murdered, eleven-year-old Thera – fearless and forthright – considers it her duty to find the killer.

Aided by a Ouija board, Billie’s ghost, and the spirits of four other dead girls, she’s determined to succeed. The trouble with Thera, though, is that she doesn’t always know when to stop – and sometimes there’s a fine line between doing the right thing and doing something very, very bad indeed.

Thoughts:

Golden Boy is a phenomenal albeit quite challenging read so when I heard about the premise of Dead Girls, I knew it would contain some heavy going content. Dead Girls definitely has some heavy content. As a warning for those that might be sensitive to some of the subject matter- there’s paedophilia, murder and sexual content within the story. It’s one that’s not particularly ‘easy’ to read, but it’s compelling.

Dead Girls centres around a young girl named Thera whose best friend Billie has been murdered. She is determined to find her friend’s killer, no matter what it takes. With the help of Billie’s ghost and four other dead girls, she goes on the search for Billie’s killer. However, Thera doesn’t always know how far is too far. Will she put herself in danger to find justice for her friend?

I loved it being set in 1999. I could totally relate to many of the things that Thera was talking about! It was so nostalgic, which I absolutely loved. Dead Girls is written from Thera’s point of view. Thera is 11 and I think Abigail Tarttelin got Thera’s voice spot on. It’s clear that Abigail is a fantastic writer because it’s no easy task to write from an 11 year old’s point of view and not make you want to tear your hair out with frustration! Reading Thera’s thoughts was tiring at times (but in a good way, it was totally realistic). I wanted to jump into the story and stop her from making silly mistakes. I wanted to protect her. I honestly cringed at some of the things she did, but I think it was believable.

The ending of this book is incredible. It’s one you don’t want to know much about because it would totally ruin the story. I certainly didn’t see it coming.

This book might not be an easy read, but I found it to be incredibly gripping, thought-provoking, emotional and intense. Just be aware of the tough subject matter before you go into reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Although I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Golden Boy, it was still a highly addictive, well written read!

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley #3)

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked. 

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

Thoughts:

Crime thrillers aren’t usually my sort of thing but Cara Hunter is an author that I make an exception for. I really like her writing style. I find it engaging and exciting to read. It’s often quite twisty too and I love a good twist. No Way Out is the third book in the DI Adam Fawley series. It is an excellent addition. Whilst I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book at first, I’m glad I stuck with it, because it’s certainly worth the read.

No Way Out starts with a house fire in Oxford. It has completely destroyed the family’s home. 2 children have been pulled from the house. The youngest has died but the eldest is in a critical condition in hospital. The strange thing is, the mother and father are missing. The detective team start to piece together what happened. They search for the mother and father- eager to find some resolution.

Although it took me a while to familiarise myself all of the names, the detective team are incredibly strong and bring a lot to the case. I think they were really well developed and I loved reading about these quite complex characters. The death of the youngest child was always distressing to read about. There were some very harrowing discoveries along the way which added to the overall tension of the story. I loved how alongside the investigation, we learnt more about the character’s lives. Fawley will always remain a favourite for me. I find him to be a very likeable, interesting character.

As I mentioned, I’m not always a fan of crime thrillers and it takes a decent one to interest me. Cara’s style engages me because she uses a range of narratives to tell the story. I like the social media element and love reading the interview transcriptions. It keeps it modern and very realistic to me. This series is certainly worth a read!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful addition to the series. These characters are just fabulous.

Talking About ‘The Last Thing She Told Me’ with Bibliobeth!

The Last Thing She Told Me

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Even the deepest buried secrets can find their way to the surface…

Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?

CHRISSI: Did you ever feel like this book was too far-fetched?

BETH: This might not be the same answer for everyone who reads it but unfortunately for me at points, I found it difficult to connect with. Not necessarily unbelievable but there were points when I thought the way certain characters reacted to circumstances weren’t how I imagined they would in a real-life situation. However, I don’t have any personal experience similar enough to what some of the women suffer through in this book so who can say for certain how someone would/should react? I have plenty of experience with grief and it certainly does crazy things to a person, emotionally and psychologically speaking. Also, the part with the fairy bone and Maisie being allowed to keep it for a night according to the police – I really don’t think that would actually happen.

BETH: What did you think of the relationship between the women, primarily Nicola and her mother Irene? Did you find any similarities between Nicola’s relationship to her oldest daughter, Ruby?

CHRISSI: I felt like the relationships between women in this story were quite fractured. Nicola and Irene definitely had a difficult time within this story, mainly down to what had happened to Irene in the past. Nicola may not have realised this. I feel like Nicola tried to be more open and honest with her own daughter although she hid a major secret from her. There were so many secrets in this story that affected all of the female relationships.

CHRISSI: What purpose did William’s letters to Betty serve throughout the book?

BETH: I thought they served as a nice little addition to the narrative. I really enjoy the inclusion of letters in a novel, it gives such a fascinating insight into a character’s life and personality but the danger with them is that if you’re only hearing from one person’s point of view, it gives only one side of the story. With the different threads going on throughout this book, I couldn’t help but be slightly suspicious of William’s character and motives and it was interesting to read how it all panned out in the end.

BETH: Did you predict what would happen at any point in this novel?

CHRISSI: I don’t think so. I had some ideas along the way but nothing that was particularly solid. I think it could have gone in any direction really… it was that sort of book!

CHRISSI: Without spoilers. why do you think Nicola finally acknowledges what happened to her at age 20?

BETH: I think Nicola goes through so much inner turmoil as she relives her own personal experiences through that of her mother and grandmother. It reminds her how different life was for women just a generation or two ago and how little power or control they seemed to have over their own destiny. As a result, it makes her think again about how times have changed. She now has the perfect opportunity to break her silence and speak out whilst arriving at the realisation that telling her family the truth is better than hiding terrible secrets.

BETH: Why do you think Betty mentioned the babies to Nicola before she died?

CHRISSI: In my opinion, Betty wanted her family to be able to move on. If she told Nicola then the secrets would be out in the open. I think it somewhat took a weight off Betty’s mind and she could die knowing that she had done the right thing.

CHRISSI: What significance do the fairy statues have throughout the story?

BETH: I love the addition of the fairy statues (and I’m sure you did too, I know you have a fondness for fairies!). However, they do represent something a lot darker and more saddening than you would normally associate them with. I believe they represent childhood, innocence and how these things can be permanently altered through traumatic experiences.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would. I haven’t read this author before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy her writing was to read.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Yes!

CHRISSI: Yes!