Tag Archives: Psychological thriller

#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 Lisa 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)

Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry #BookReview @lucindaberry22

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What an emotional roller coaster Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry turned out to be. Although this book deals with a very difficult subject it’s a thought provoking read that I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a book that features moral dilemmas.

Book description

Meet Noah—an A-honor roll student, award-winning swimmer, and small-town star destined for greatness. There weren’t any signs that something was wrong until the day he confesses to molesting little girls during swim team practice. He’s sentenced to eighteen months in a juvenile sexual rehabilitation center.

His mother, Adrianne, refuses to turn her back on him despite his horrific crimes, but her husband won’t allow Noah back into their home. In a series of shocking and shattering revelations, Adrianne is forced to make the hardest decision of her life. Just how far will she go to protect her son?

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What a heart rending read Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry turned out to be. Reading the book description I thought it would make for an uncomfortable read, but I was surprised by just how emotionally drained I felt after reaching the last page. I found this book to be an incredibly thought provoking read despite the fact the author explores an issue that’s considered taboo by many, and for that reason I think some may find it a difficult  book to read. The book focuses on a family in crisis, fragmented through the actions of Noah who molests two little girls during swim team practice, although his crimes are alluded too, the author spares the reader the horrific details.

Don’t think for one minute this is just a story about a teenage sexual offender, this book has hidden depth which looks at the aftermath of Noah’s crimes and the consequences that leave a once close family broken beyond repair. It also explores Noah’s actions and what drove him to commit such awful crimes.  Saving Noah challenges everything you think you know about teenage sexual offenders, it will make you question your own beliefs, it’s a book that you will remember long after you’ve reached the last page of this emotionally charged novel. The story is told mostly from the POV of Adrianne, a mother whose unwavering love for her son shines through. I felt so much empathy for her, I found her anger, fear and despair all emotions I could relate to.

This surprising thing about saving Noah was Noah himself, Lucinda Berry has done a remarkable job in creating a character who gains the readers sympathy. Due to the nature of his crimes you would think that’s an impossible task but the author depicts Noah in a sympathetic way that forces the reader to question their own beliefs around a taboo subject, it’s definitely a book that gave me food for thought. Noah’s story will touch the hearts of many readers I’m sure, despite the difficult subject the author has tackled it with a great deal of sympathy and understanding. I know I’m going to continue to think about this book and Noah, in  my opinion this is a testament to the authors skills writer in providing the reader with such a complex character. Finding Noah is haunting, emotional and made for a thought provoking read, it would make the perfect book club read as there is so much to discuss and debate. Highly recommended.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

 

 

#BlogBlitz The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne #Bookreview @SherylBrowne @Bookouture

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the #BookBlitz tour for The BabySitter by Sheryl Browne, published by Bookouture on the 8th March so you can get a copy of this highly compelling psychological thriller today. Before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite……..

Book description

You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?

Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?

As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.

But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …

Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?

IMG_3605The Babysitter seems such an innocent title for a book but don’t be fooled, this is definitely not a “Mary Poppins a spoonful of sugar type read” but never the less what a highly compelling read this turned out to be. A word of warning If you were thinking of hiring a babysitter anytime soon you may want to think again after reading The Babysitter or at least make sure they come with impeccable credentials as long as your arm! Jade miraculously arrives into the life’s of Melissa and her husband Mark, they decide to welcome Jade into their home and give her a live in babysitter job to their two children. As Jade quickly ingratiates herself into their lives, the family begin to fall apart in the most spectacular fashion.

The Babysitter does touch on some subjects that some might find difficult to deal with loss and mental health issues around bereavement in particularly, although it never feels gratuitous, and in fact is pivotal to the plot. I do so love a character for one reason or another who can evoke strong emotions in me, and Jade certainly managed that! Highly unlikeable I find myself inwardly screaming at Mark and Melissa to “get her out” of their home and their life’s . A master manipulator with a face of an angel you just know Jade is going to cause havoc and heartbreak for the Cain family. Although you don’t have to be a genius to work out who Jade is pretty much from the off the “how and the why” Behind her motives are slowly revealed to the reader, as the tension mounts and Jades manipulative behaviour escalates the sense of foreboding sent shivers down my spine. I did have one small niggle considering Mark was a policeman I would have thought he would have done some background checks on Jade, but I’m splitting hairs here! and this is a fictional read after all.

Although The Babysitter isn’t highly original plot wise Sheryl Browne has made the story her own with her own unique style of writing. It was interesting to see how a perfectly normal family could be torn apart by one persons manipulative behaviour, and even more scary is the fact it felt perfectly credible. As the reader is privy to Jade’s manipulation and the effects it has on the poor suffering Cain family, you can only watch in horror from the sidelines as the relationship between Mark and Melissa fractures in the most horrifying fashion. Sheryl Browne has written a tense psychological thriller with a chilling antagonist taking central stage, The Babysitter turned out to be a highly addictive read and one I would highly recommend.

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Book links:        Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (8 Mar. 2018)

About the author

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Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction. SheryI’s latest psychological thriller THE BABYSITTER – the first of a three-book deal – comes to you from fabulous BOOKOUTURE. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Choc Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.

Please do find out more about Sheryl at www.sherylbrowne.com

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