Tag Archives: Psychological thriller

The Old You by Louise Voss #BookReview #MustReads @LouiseVoss1 @OrendaBooks

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Old You by Louise Voss, part psychological and part domestic noir, this book was so different to anything I’ve read lately. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description 

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir

A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller

Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

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Most of the books I read are psychological thrillers, and just lately I have been struggling to find one that stands out in this genre and then along came a rare jewel The Old You by Louise Voss, what a fabulous, twisted read this turned out to be. At first I thought The Old You was going to be a heartbreaking portrayal of a couple living in the shadows of dementia, but as the old saying goes “never judge a book by its cover”, yes this terrible and heartbreaking disease does have a part to play, but there are so many elements that make this such an extraordinary and exciting book to read. 

The driving force behind The Old You lies in the secrets and tension between Lyn and Ed, a couple whose marriage is in crisis, on the surface conflict seems to arise from Ed’s early-onset dementia, and the problems that it brings, but like any good psychological thriller the author slowly reveals a tangled and very deceitful web. I found my emotions constantly shifting,  to begin with I was sympathetic to the couples plight, this was followed by empathy, and ending in outrage. Due to Ed’s conditions you can’t but help question his part in the story, an ingenious ploy on the author’s part. I worked with people with dementia for many years, so feel I’m able to say the author’s portrayal of someone with dementia was very authentic, she captured their emotions, behaviour and thoughts perfectly. 

A niggling unease settled over me which only grew stronger as Louise Voss describes the couples relationship and the changes that begin to occur through Ed’s diagnoses. Just as I thought the book was taking one direction Louise Voss threw a magnificent spanner in the works and the plot took a very sinister and disturbing turn. Superbly executed I literally sat their in stunned silence, as the author revealed twist after devious twist. Part domestic noir Louise Voss has proven it’s possible to write a unique story which still manages to maintain both the suspense and tension of a psychological thriller. The Old You will most definitely be on my top reads of 2018, it’s original, compelling with shocks galore, definitely my kind of book. Highly recommended. 

Yes I will giving The Old You the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (28 Feb. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The book review café’s book of the month **May 2018**

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Can you believe we’re nearly half way through the year? No me neither. As it’s the first of June it’s time to choose my book books of the month I really should rename this feature. I read so many fabulous books in May it’s impossible to choose just ONE book yet again so I’m sharing my THREE books of the month, good job “it’s my blog my rules” 😂 so without further ado here are the books I found to be outstanding reads this month in no particular order………

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson

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Children going missing are a well used topic for crime fiction,  so what’s so special about this one I can hear you ask? OMFG where shall I begin, I literally loved this crime thriller, the characters, the plot, the writing, the pacing, every element of this book was on spot on. I’m not going to beat about the bush Don’t Make A Sound will definitely be on my top reads of 2018, it’s compelling, gripping and one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year. You can read my full review here…Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson #BookReview #MustReads @Author_Dave @BonnierZaffre

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

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I must admit I picked up Cross Her Heart with trepidation, I absolutely loved Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, you know the one I mean, it’s the one you probably saw all over social media with the #WTFhash tag. This one comes with the tag Don’t Trust Her Books, and never a truer word was written! I thought I pretty much had this book all worked by the first half, but then wham bam the author very deviously pulled the rug out from under me, not once but on several occasions. Brilliantly twisted, unsettling yet compelling this is a must read for fans of psychological thrillers. Full review can be found here……Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough @SarahPinborough @HarperCollinsUK #MustReads #Don’tTrustHerBooks,

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons

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Oh my giddy aunt Angela Marsons never fails to amaze me after reading every book in the series I have always said “it’s the best one yet” and guess what Dying Truth is definitely “the best one yet” . Here’s an author who has an incredible knack of making each book read like a “first” with heart thumping, exciting story lines that get under your skin, which stay with you long after you reach the last thrilling page. One word I never expect to use in a crime thriller read is “emotional” but Angela Marsons latest read broke me, I ended up a sobbing wreck not a pretty sight let me tell you!  Full review here……Dying Truth by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #MustReads

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Books I’m hoping to read this month

This month I’m hoping to read some of my own personal TBR pile as well as a couple of ARC’s

 

 

And finally I’ve decided to include a poll I would love to know which of my three books of the month you would have choosen as your book of the month?

#TheLiesWeTold by Camilla Way #BookReview @CamilliaLWay @HarperCollinsUK #MustReads

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Today I’m reviewing another of my most anticipated reads of 2018, The Lies We Told by Camilla Way. Did  it live up to Watching Edie? Read on for my thoughts

Book description 

Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A SON

Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A LIFE BUILT ON LIES

As Clara digs into the past, she realises that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it’s too late?

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What a deliciously twisted psychological thriller The Lies We Told turned out to be. I raved about Watching Edie when I read it, but this one is even better. The author draws the reader in with a spine chilling opening and from that moment on I read on in horrified fascination. I was so engrossed in this twisted tale before I knew it I was half way through the book. Told in two halves The Lies We Told begins with the disappearance of Luke, the big question is why? As girlfriend Clara digs into his past looking for answers, she  find things that maybe best staying hidden. Then you have Beth troubled by the behaviour of her young daughter Hannah, how or what connect the two? 

I do love a troubled character in a psychological thriller and they don’t come much more troubled than Hannah, psychopath alert! she’s one twisted and complex character. The thing I found chilling was Hannah’s mum Beth sharing childhood memories of a very troubled and disturbed child. As the reader you see the warning signs, hells bells even Beth can see them, as I read these chapters I felt an overwhelming sense of foreboding that made my stomach churn. The rest of the characters are a mixed bunch and most of them are pretty unlikeable for various reasons which I’m not going to go into as I would be entering spoiler territory. Needless to say they all bring something To The Lies We Told and although I never liked them I was fascinated by their story. 

The thing I loved about The Lies We Told is the way the author seemingly presents the reader with two different stories, each intriguing in their own right, but then when you least expect it Camilla Way brings both stories together in the most shocking way. My mind went into over drive as I tried to work out how the two connected, but like any good author Camilla Way plays her cards close to her chest, never giving to much away, at times I found this made the tension unbearable and I did have one of those “shall I take a quick peek at the ending?” moments to put me out my misery. I’m so glad I didn’t as the surprises and twists lurking in this well told story were definitely worth the wait.  Compelling and addictive I would highly recommend The Lies We Told if you are looking for a very twisted psychological thriller.

Print Length: 336 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (3 May 2018)

Buying links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077CZ2NLT/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1  🇬🇧

https://www.amazon.com/Lies-We-Told-Camilla-Way/dp/1101989521 🇺🇸

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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough @SarahPinborough @HarperCollinsUK #MustReads #Don’tTrustHerBooks,

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Behind Her Eyes was one of my top reads of 2017, I also gave it my gold star award which I only give to books I’ve found to be an outstanding read. So as you can imagine I was really looking forward to reading Cross Her Heart the latest offering from Sarah Pinborough, did it live up to her previous book? Read on for my review, but firstly the book description  

Book description 

SOMEONE IS LIVING A LIE… BUT WHO?

Is it Lisa?

Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?

When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions… 

Is it Marilyn?

Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house—she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever. And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.

6964FDB0-E0FD-4BD0-AC03-BC0E4DF97731I must admit I picked up Cross Her Heart with trepidation, I absolutely loved Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, you know the one I mean, it’s the one you probably saw all over social media with the #WTF hash tag. This one comes with the tag Don’t Trust Her Books, and never a truer word was written! I thought I pretty much had this book all worked by the first half, but then wham bam the author very deviously pulled the rug out from under me, not once but on several occasions. Brilliantly twisted, unsettling yet compelling this is a must read for fans of psychological thrillers. 

Told in three parts the first third moves along at a slow paced, but don’t let this put you off as the author uses this time to introduce the three main characters Lisa  a neurotic mum, who is haunted by a tragic past, Lisa’s sixteen-year-old Daughter Ava and Marilyn, Lisa’s  best friend who appears to have the perfect life. Sarah Pinborough also uses this time to set the scene, and it’s this part of the book, that makes the second and third part so disturbing. As the reader reaches the second part of the book the pace kicks off and I must admit I had more than a few “OMG moments” which were superbly executed by the author. 

Cross Her Heart is as much about the characters as it is about the plot, Lisa appears to be another over protective mother, Ava likes nothing better than spending hours on social media, and then you have Marilyn who appears to have it all, but nothing appears as it first seems the characters are complex with so many hidden issues, secrets and half truths and when Ava does a brave thing none of the characters are aware of the ramifications of one kindly deed. I loved the three main characters they were so well depicted, I couldn’t help but become emotionally involved in their plight. 

Cross Her Heart turned about to be both a shocking and harrowing read, it was nigh on impossible to second guess where this book was heading. As psychological thrillers go this is one of the best ones I’ve read this year, and I’ve read plenty believe you me. Cross Your Heart will mess with your head and lead you a merry dance but it’s so worth it. One last thought I loved Behind Her Eyes, but if anything I loved this one more, in parts it’s credible, heartbreaking and very disturbing this book will definitely be one I’m adding to my top reads of 2018. Highly, highly recommend.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving Cross Her Heart the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (17 May 2018)

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The Retreat by Mark Edwards #BookReview #MustReads @mredwards

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Today I’m sharing my review for The Retreat published by Thomas & Mercer on the 10th May 2018. Fans of Mark Edwards are in for a real treat, before you read my review here’s the book description…….

Book description 

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. 

But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.

8ECAEFD2-0923-4546-A2E8-C5A2349B4D11When I think of a retreat it conjures up images of somewhere quiet , an oasis where you can rest and reflect or write, somewhere you feel safe, well that was until I picked up The Retreat by Mark Edwards, who turns an idyllic setting into something far more sinister. Steeped in atmosphere and disturbingly creepy The Retreat is a reminder of why I’m such a fan of Mark Edwards writing.  Lucas, a horror novelist, arrives at the retreat hoping to write his next book, but within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of strange events, are the events linked to Lily a missing child? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

It’s great that the author doesn’t conform to a specific genre, with elements of the supernatural, horror and psychological running through its veins you are never quite sure where the author is heading with an unpredictable plot. Mark Edwards maintain the overwhelming sense of suspense and unease throughout. The tale is shrouded in local folklore, and spooky ghost stories, the author does a fabulous job in evoking the horror, the fear and trepidation around such tales.  

Told in the present peppered with chapters told from the missing child Lily’s POV you get a feel for Lily, her fears that are grounded in the folklore tales, her worries about her family, it was these chapters that I found the most intriguing and also the most creepy. These chapters were the ones that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, made me jump at every noise, and kept me reading long into the night (with the lights on of course!)

Steeped in atmosphere with a backdrop of creepy settings, and an array of characters who as the reader you can’t help but mistrust,  Mark Edwards has written another outstanding book. I never thought the author could top The Magpies one of my favourite books ever, well until now but The Retreat is definitely his best book yet, it’s unpredictable, engaging with one of the most deliciously satisfying endings I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommend. 

Print Length: 335 pages

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (10 May 2018)

Pre-order links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retreat-Mark-Edwards-ebook/dp/B074W8K55L

https://www.amazon.com/Retreat-Mark-Edwards-ebook/dp/B074W8K55L

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A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan #MiniReview @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks

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Book description 

Are you afraid? 

You should be. 

The husband: in over his head with no way of knowing the truth.

The mistress: blinded by love, betrayed by her family…

The neighbour: will stop at nothing to protect the life he has fought to create.

The wife: a woman bent on revenge, but how far is she willing to go…?

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A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan is a short story but don’t think for one minute that this means it lacks plot detail or character development. This is a hell of a short story that packs a very devious punch. If you haven’t read a book by this author yet here is a good place to start, as you get a feel for the authors writing. One thing I love about Jack Jordan’s writing is his ability to come up with a plot that’s refreshingly original in content and brilliantly plotted.  

Told from four POV the wife, mistress, husband and neighbour each as a part to play in a story of lies, betrayal and secrets. Many psychological thrillers use these well used themed but the author has made them his own, by creating a throughly gripping story. As this is a short story I was surprised by how well the characters were developed, take Amber the wife for instance she’s cold, manipulative, but so intriguing, someone you definitely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of! When I read a short story I sometimes find it difficult to drum up any enthusiasm for the characters, but that wasn’t  the case with A Woman Scorned, In fact I would like to see a full length book featuring Amber.

Jack Jordan wastes no time in getting to the heart of the story and using the four POV was a genius ploy, as the reader you not only get a sense of each character but the shift in characters POV also heighten the tension as the story unfolds. As psychological thrillers go I was really impressed with how much the author packed into 123 pages, there’s suspense, bucketfuls of tension with a compelling and twisted tale that made me gasp out loud a couple of times. Reading this short story had made me really excited for the authors new full length novel Before Her Eyes which is published in August 2018. 

Pre-order:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 123 pages

Publisher: Corvus (3 May 2018)

 

A Murder Of Magpies by Mark Edwards #MiniReview @mredwards

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Today I’m finally sharing my review For A Murder Of Magpies, a short sequel to The Magpies which is still one of my favourite books ever. Read on for the book description and my thoughts…….

Book description

The terrifying sequel to the #1 bestseller The Magpies.

Five years ago Jamie Knight lost everything: his home, his wife and their unborn child. But at least the woman responsible, ‘Dark Angel’ Lucy Newton, was in prison, and slowly Jamie was able to rebuild his life.

But now Lucy has been freed on appeal, and before long Jamie receives a message from a desperate stranger. Lucy is up to her old tricks—ruining lives for fun.

Jamie agrees to help. But once again, he has no idea what he is getting himself into…

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The Magpies was the first book I read by Mark Edwards way back in 2013 and it’s one that often springs to mind as at the time it was one of the best psychological thrillers I had read in a long time, and it’s still one of my favourite books today. So of course I had to read the sequel A Murder Of Magpies, I should point out it’s a short story and not a full length novel, but don’t let that put you off the author manages to pack a lot into this extremely terrifying sequel, and remember the old adage “good things come in small packages” well in the case of this book it’s very true.

Lucy aka ‘Dark Ange’ has been released from Prison and Jamie, despite moving half way across the world to start a new life is drawn back into her web, when he receives a desperate message from a stranger. As this is a short story Mark Edwards wastes no time in hurling the reader into Jamie’s world, from the start his hatred for his old adversary Lucy is palatable. As for Lucy she’s a psychopath without a doubt, she’s a character you would definitely not want as a neighbour, she’s calculating, manipulative and downright chilling but at the same time you can’t help being fascinated by her.

Shrouded in malice A Murder Of Magpies manages to pack a punch, it’s packed to the brim with tension, something that I find can sometimes be lacking in a short read. After reading both books there’s a lot to be said for living in a detached house, Neighbours can be your best friends or your worse enemy.  I really enjoyed this sequel and meeting up with Jamie and Lucy again, but I only wish it had been a full length novel, so if you just happen to stumble across this review Mr Edwards “more Magpies please”.

Buying links:Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 93 pages

Publisher: Amazon Publishing (27 Feb. 2018)