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!

Little Darlings

Little Darlings

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

Synopsis:

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

Thoughts:

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard much about Little Darlings. I do think it’s one that’s going to be everywhere soon though and deservedly so! Even though it took me longer to read than I wanted it to (super busy teacher here!) if I had the time, I could’ve devoured it easily in one sitting. It’s gripping, creepy and so, so easy to read.

It centres around Lauren Tranter who has recently had twins. She’s understandably exhausted but she’s not going mad. Everyone around her thinks that she is, because they believe she imagined a woman trying to exchange her twins for…creatures. Lauren is certain that the woman was there and won’t let it go. After a month or so, Lauren’s babies (Morgan and Riley) disappear from Lauren’s side as she falls asleep. After a while, the babies are returned to Lauren, but although they may look like Morgan and Riley… Lauren is insistent that they certainly aren’t. She is determined to get her real children back, no matter what it takes.

This book is so incredibly well written. It’s astounding to me that this is a debut. It’s so creepy. I was seriously freaked out every single time changelings were mentioned. Honestly, there are some moments in the story that sent a shiver down my spine. I would’ve loved to have filmed my reaction to reading this book as I’m pretty sure I made some very expressive faces. I imagine I looked like this at many points:

The characters in this story are phenomenal. Lauren was a wonderful unreliable narrator. Did she really see what she did? Was she mentally ill? Her husband seemed super shady. I just didn’t trust anyone. It was really interesting to read the police procedural element to this story. Harper was a fantastic addition to the story and I felt like she really pushed the story on.

Being a fan of the fairy tale, I adored the dark nature of this story. Changelings are terrifying. I was so impressed with this debut.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A cracking debut novel! I’m so impressed and look forward to more from Melanie Golding!

Two Can Keep A Secret

Two Can Keep a Secret

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
One Of Us Is Lying

Synopsis:

Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.

Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.

Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.

And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

Thoughts:

I wasn’t blown away by the author’s debut novel, but I knew I wanted to read this book. It sounded really gripping. I’m certainly glad I didn’t give up on this author as I really enjoyed Two Can Keep A Secret. 

The story follows twins Ellery and Ezra (totally got Pretty Little Liars vibes with this name and the title…) as they go to love with their grandmother in Echo Ridge as their mother is in rehabs, Echo Ridge is completely new to them. It’s a town full of secrets. Homecoming Queens go missing including Ellery and Ezra’s aunt Sarah. Years later, it happens again and the threats are rife. Ellery and Ezra are determined to find out what’s going on, with the help of some new friends.

It’s told from two main perspectives, Ellery and Malcolm. I don’t always love a dual narrative, but I feel like this one worked and it made you have a deeper insight into the story. Malcolm is the brother of one of the Homecoming Queen’s boyfriend. They suspected Malcolm’s brother of murder and Malcolm is immediately regarded with suspicion when the threats begin once more. I really liked Malcolm’s character. I felt like the author made you want to reach into the story and help him. He certainly has a rough ride throughout.

I was so intrigued by this story, eager to find out what was going to happen. It’s not the most complex mystery, but it’s decent all the same and kept me turning the pages and that’s what it’s all about!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A creepy mystery well worth exploring!