No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

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

Synopsis:

What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house? 

This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home.The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her. 

What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly? 

In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.

Thoughts:

The first thing that drew me to this book was the synopsis. I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers and this one sounded right up my street. I wasn’t prepared for how dark it was going to be. A word of warning, if you are triggered at all by any sort of violence/graphic content, then this book may not be for you. I found it to be quite disturbing in places but it just added to the intensity of the story for me.

No Place Like Home centres around Polly Cooke who has just got her new home. Finally she has a home that she can call her own. One night when she’s on her way back from work, Polly notices a shadow in the window upstairs. Someone is in her house! She’s not sure whether to go in and confront them or tell the police. I can’t say too much more without giving away spoilers and I really think this book is made for reading without knowing too much about it.

I can’t even discuss the characters without giving too much away. Just know that they are all very interesting. I kept thinking I had picked a side to be on, but my mind changed constantly. No Place Like Home has lots of twists and turns along the way. The story can seem a little disjointed but as you read it begins to unravel and you begin to understand what on earth is going on.

I think this book is well worth reading, especially if you’re into intense page-turners!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This is an incredibly dark thriller with some intense, disturbing content within its pages.

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The Silent Sister

The Silent Sister

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

Synopsis:

‘You don’t deserve a sister…’

When Lizzy Beresford discovers a threatening letter addressed to her, the words on the old, tattered paper chill her to the bone. But who sent it? Living in pretty cottage in a quiet country village, Lizzy’s never made any enemies in her life…

Except her sister.

Lizzy hasn’t spoken to Emma in years. Not since the argument which tore their relationship apart. Would her sister really want to cause her harm after all this time?

As Lizzy receives more disturbing messages, she begins to doubt those closest to her – her boyfriend, her best friend, her neighbours.

Because the mystery sender seems to know everything about her. And after a series of malicious incidents, it’s clear they won’t stop until they’ve destroyed her life.

Lizzy knows she must confront her sister. But can she trust her? And will she realise the shocking truth, before it’s too late?

Thoughts:

I hadn’t read anything by Shalini Boland before, so I was excited to get stuck into this book. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know how much I love psychological thrillers and this one sounded very promising.

It’s about a woman named Lizzy who finds herself with a stalker. She doesn’t know who it could be and goes through all of the possible options. The notes get creepier and the acts against her become worse. As there has been bad blood between Lizzy and her sister, her thoughts immediately go to her. Lizzy doesn’t know who to suspect and as the disturbing notes continue, she knows she has to turn to the police before it’s too late.

It’s hard to say too much about this book without ruining it, so I’ll try to keep it brief!

I thought this was a great read. It certainly kept me turning the pages. I was reading it during a train journey and it certainly helped pass the time. I couldn’t put it down. I think the reason why I didn’t rate this book any higher was that I wish it was a bit more intense. I want my skin to crawl when I’m reading a psychological thriller. I’m not sure what that says about me. There were also some moments that I found quite questionable and a little far fetched.

However, this shouldn’t sway you from picking up this book. It kept me interested and guessing throughout.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars.

A very decent psychological thriller!

The Escape

The Escape

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment
The Accident
The Lie
The Missing

Synopsis:

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

Thoughts:

I’ve come to realise that C.L Taylor’s books are dramatic and can sometimes a little unbelievable but do you know something? I’m totally okay with that. This is the fifth book I’ve read by C.L Taylor and I can confirm that I’m quite a fan of her writing!

The Escape centres around who has been suffering from agoraphobia for many years. However, Jo has learn strategies to cope with her agoraphobia. She’s able to work as long as she keeps to the rules she has set for herself. Unfortunately, one day Jo loosens the rules by giving a lift to a woman she doesn’t know. The woman’s name is Paula and she gives Jo very little chance to refuse. She has one of Elise’s mittens and gives her a very unsettling warning about looking after her daughter. It turns out that Paula knows her, her husband and her daughter. Jo’s worries heighten as you can imagine and this begins the tension. Jo ends up going to Ireland to lie low, but the trouble just follows her…

Jo isn’t the easiest character to like. I don’t know what it was about her really, but I was desperate for her to have a little more fight in her. However, I still found myself wanting things to turn out well for her. I found her husband a little infuriating too, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. There’s something about this author’s writing that I find totally compelling.

C.L Taylor sure has a way of keeping you turning the pages. Her characters are well fleshed out and totally believable, even if sometimes the situations may seem a little exaggerated- it still seems like these could be real people!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I may not have thought much of these characters, but the story kept me turning the pages!

The Accident

The Accident

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment

Synopsis:

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s …

Thoughts:

I have heard so much about C.L Taylor’s adult fiction that I made it my mission to get to some of her backlist. This especially became the case when I read The Treatment, the author’s YA release. I loved that book so thought it was time to get to The Accident. I’m pleased I did because I found it to be a completely addictive read. I think I’ve found another thriller author that I adore.

It centres around Charlotte and her family. Charlotte is in a coma after being hit by a bus. Her mother, Sue,  believes it may have been deliberate after reading Charlotte’s diary and finding ‘keeping this secret is killing me.’ Sue is desperate to find out what Charlotte’s secret is. Through Sue’s exploration we find more about Charlotte’s life. We also find out about Sue’s past which is much darker than you first anticipate.

I loved the narration because it had flashbacks to what had happened to Sue in the 1990s when she was with James. A very dangerous partner. As a reader, we learn about Sue’s past and begin to understand her reasons behind her decisions she makes when trying to uncover Charlotte’s secret. I loved reading the diary entries. They were intense and hard to read at points, but still so intriguing to begin to piece the story together. I found Sue to be such an unreliable narrator. She suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which makes you question her every move as a reader. She wasn’t afraid to directly accuse people of being involved with Charlotte’s accident. I loved that her relationship with her husband wasn’t perfect. It was incredibly authentic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this story. I was constantly turning the pages to try to figure out what had happened to Charlotte. A very decent psychological thriller!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful debut psychological thriller. Its narration really kept me guessing!

The Good Twin

The Good Twin

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Thomas and Mercer

Synopsis:

Mallory Holcolm is an unfulfilled waitress and aspiring artist living in a Queens boardinghouse when she learns something astonishing about her past: she has an identical twin sister named Charly she never knew existed.

Charly is a Princeton graduate, a respected gallery owner, and an heiress married to her handsome college sweetheart, Ben. Charly got everything she ever wanted. Everything Mallory wanted, too. And now it might be easier than Mallory ever imagined. Because Ben has reasons of his own for wanting to help her.

It begins with his startling proposal. All Mallory has to do is say yes.

But as their devious plan falls into place, piece by piece, Mallory learns more about her sister and herself than she ever meant to—a discovery that comes with an unexpected twist. A chilling deception is about to become a dangerous double cross. And it’s going to change the rules of Ben and Mallory’s game to the very end.

Thoughts:

Sometimes I find thrillers really hard to review. This is because you want to give the reader enough to want to read it but you don’t want to spoil the book at the same time. This is totally the way I feel with The Good Twin. I found the book to be incredibly gripping. I flew through it! Whilst I did predict some of the story, I still found it to be a highly enjoyable read.

The Good Twin centres around twins who were separated at birth. Both led a very different life. Mallory grew up with not lot of money. Charly grew up with everything she ever wanted. Charly’s husband, Ben, comes across Mallory one day who is absolutely identical to Charly. Ben has a dark plan that he needs Mallory to help him out with.

As I mentioned, this book is a real page-turner. I quickly managed to read it, desperate to find out whether Ben’s plan was going to work. I did guess what had happened, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

The only reason why I haven’t rated this book a 4 star read is because I felt like the characters weren’t as developed as I like them to be. I think Ben was probably the character I thought was the best developed. He was portrayed to be an awful villain and that’s exactly what he was. The twins themselves, weren’t the most likeable. I found some of their decisions to be a little unrealistic, but if you can get past that (which I did) the story itself is still utterly enjoyable.

I did thoroughly enjoy this book and I think that thriller fans would do so as well. There’s enough going on to keep you invested with the story. The lies and deception are simply awful but wonderfully gripping at the same time. I would definitely read more from this author in the future.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Not the most believable book, but gripping nevertheless!

White Lies

White Lies

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Daughter

Synopsis:

Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human. 

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she’s gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex’s world apart – threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too. 

Soon Alex finds she’s capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control… 

Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed Lucy Dawson’s The Daughter so when I read about White Lies, I immediately wanted to read it. Luckily for me, the lovely people over at Bookouture approved my request to read it. This book immediately grabbed my attention. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t had to go out I would have devoured it quicker than the 24 hours it took me to read it!

It centres around Alex who is a GP who loves her job. She’s respected within her practice and by those that work with her. Alex knows the ethics behind relationships with patients, having had experience in the past with her now husband. On a girly holiday with her friends, Alex sleeps with a young man. She never expected him to turn up in her office. He says she knows who he was. She says she’s never seen him before or has no recollection of seeing him before. After all, she sees so many patients a day. The story turns into a he said, she said, with many points of view and parts of the story. I really couldn’t put it down!

It’s so hard to review a book like this without giving too much away. It’s one of those that you want to discover as the story reveals itself. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped around so much with who was telling the truth. I really didn’t know who to believe. I wanted to believe Alex, but then Jonathan, the young man in question, made me think again. Also Alex’s previous history didn’t really help her case. I loved the uncertainty of the story though, I really did. It kept me desperately turning the pages!

I thought I had got to the truth, but I hadn’t. It took the last few pages for me to work it out which I loved. I really enjoyed the fast paced style and how nothing was straight forward. It read like a testimonial which was very interesting. There were twists along the way and a whole lot of doubt. I love that in this type of read. This is a book that will stay with me for a while!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I love it when you can’t work out characters! A fabulous read!

Talking About ‘The Marriage Pact’ with Bibliobeth!

The Marriage Pact: For fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

CHRISSI: Did you have any preconceptions about this book before starting it?

BETH: A few, yes I did indeed. First of all, it’s on the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club list for 2018 and I normally trust the novels they pick as being compelling reads so I was looking forward to it on that count. Secondly, I’ve heard a lot of good things about this novel from bloggers I admire and whose opinions I trust. As a result, I went into it with slightly raised expectations, expecting a fantastic, memorable read. Now I have such mixed feelings I don’t know where to start!

BETH: Did you believe in Jake and Alice’s relationship? Do you think their marriage will last beyond the novel?

CHRISSI: I did actually. You could tell as a reader that they really did love each other. There were moments when I felt like Jake felt more deeply for Alice than vice versa, but in the main part I did believe in them. Alice did have moments of vulnerability which made me realise how she felt. I thought they both wanted the best out of their marriage. Whether joining The Pact was a way to go about it, I don’t know. As for whether it would last beyond the novel? I’m not sure. They went through so much together and perhaps they’d take the best bits out of The Pact to improve on in the future?

CHRISSI: What do you think motivates people to join cults such as The Pact? What motivates Jake and Alice in particular?

BETH: I have no idea! Personally, I would never be tempted to join a group like this especially when we find out further along the novel what they are really like. Jake and Alice however, although they clearly love each other dearly are motivated to join The Pact as it is advertised to them as simply a way of making sure they have a happy marriage and are unlikely to ever get divorced. They are sold completely on this idea and perhaps Alice feels a bit vulnerable, really wanting her marriage to work. Of course, it all seems completely above board and just a lovely thing to be a participant of, as well as making new friends so they don’t hesitate in signing up.

BETH: What were the best/worst parts of this novel for you?

CHRISSI: Ooh what a tricky question. As I mentioned to you when we were reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to rate it. That’s mainly because some of it I thought was bloody brilliant and other parts made my skin crawl. What I liked about this book was that it certainly kept me turning the pages. I’m not so sure it was always in the right way that I wanted to continue. Mainly I was like ‘WTF am I reading?’ but perhaps that was the author’s intention? It certainly got me thinking and reading. I didn’t want to put it down. The worst parts were when really disgusting things happened to a person and Jake enjoyed (?) it!

CHRISSI: Did you ever feel like this book was too much?

BETH: And so it begins…In a word, yes. At times, I really felt like I had to suspend my disbelief in what was going on to Jake and Alice and this normally wouldn’t bother me in a novel. I love a bit of fantasy, a bit of uncertainty and a thrilling plot that just takes you along for the ride and in some ways, this is exactly what I got. However, at some points I’m afraid to say my eyebrows remained perfectly raised and I just thought erm….really?! I think there’s only so far you can go with pushing the boundaries of what people will believe and if you step over that line, there is a real chance you’re going to lose that reader. Unfortunately by the last third of the book, this was definitely the case with me. Then there were those scenes…… where Alice is chained and being taken away and Jake gets turned on. Then another woman is naked in a jail cell and looks a bit unkempt and has obviously been treated violently, AND HE GETS TURNED ON. I mean, really? Did she have to go all Fifty Shades on us? Quite unnecessary and frankly, a bit warped and creepy. It is a shame because I did really enjoy parts of this novel, it was just these other parts that foxed me a little bit and lowered an otherwise “brilliant” rating.

BETH: Did you find this book thrilling or suspenseful at all?

CHRISSI: For me, thrilling? No. I didn’t think it was a particularly thrilling read because as I mentioned, some parts really didn’t work for me and made me feel uncomfortable in a way that made me want to stop reading. Suspenseful? Totally. I was intrigued and wanted to know what was going to happen next. I really was captivated…just not always in a positive way.

CHRISSI: Are there any rules of The Pact that you think could strengthen a marriage? Are the principles behind the extreme methods sound, or not?

BETH: Apologies for the above rant. I had a few issues! Yes, I think some of the rules were quite good for strengthening a marriage. Things like making sure you go on holiday with each other often to get away from it all. buying a gift no matter how silly every month I think is nice and obviously, prioritising each others feelings and wants and not letting work get in the way to much. However, the extreme methods that The Pact goes to when enforcing these principles are in no way sound and are very frightening. I couldn’t believe that Jake and Alice put up with what they did for so long!

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Tricky one. I really think it depends on the subject matter. She can clearly write but I’m not sure the content is my sort of thing!

Would we recommend it?

BETH: Yes!

CHRISSI: A tentative yes!