The Lying Game – Ruth Ware

The text message is just three words: I need you.

Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her now.

Something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three best friends she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten. Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, after what they did.

At school the girls used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. But for some, did the boundary between fact and fantasy become too blurred?

And how much can you really trust your friends?

I was invited by Penguin Random House to join their Vintage Crime Reviewer Club, which came at just the right time. I have been struggling with reading, continuously in a book slump and not managing to finish the last five I have attempted, which for me, is quite alarming.

With the request to form part of this exciting new venture I got to choose which book took my fancy and found myself gravitating towards The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, I felt it would be a good easy read with a gripping storyline to draw me in and keep me hooked.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Lying Game, what I loved the most was the location of the story, the history around that location, the young lives of a group of close friends and the memories of a sizzling summer that changed the lives of all concerned thereafter.

Ware carefully wraps both the timelines together expertly, the presentation of memories from time gone by and the here and now as secrets are told and reality unfolds with history close on their heels is so delicately woven together dropping breadcrumbs one by one expecting the reader to follow the trail and join the dots.

Strong characters and a twisty plotline that keeps you on your toes.

such an interesting read with an edge of raw emotion running throughout. The tales of a life before and a life in the present and how time and age defines who we are. Feeling captivated from the start this was one of those fevered reads that has you reeling just from the emotion alone.  An excellent read and one I would most certainly recommend.

 

Daisy In Chains – Sharon Bolton

Famous killers have fan clubs.

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club?

Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win.

Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . .

Would you?

This book, for me, was just something else. It was dark and twisted yet beautiful, emotive and addictive.

Feeling hypnotised from start to finish, Bolton held me under her spell of dark twisted addictive wanton. I just couldn’t wait for the next chapter, the next ‘incident’ or letter. The need for a new instalment.

A story full of complications, guarded emotions and deceit, even though it was written as a thriller it felt almost fanciful and delicate as segment by segment the reader is drip fed further information.

Bolton has a way of writing that captures the darker side of beauty, showing the reader how beautiful our demons can be, talented creative writing right there.

The characters were the story, bringing the words in the book to life, sharing hidden secrets, individual quirky ways which often left the reader wondering  and all those very important minute tiny details. A story capturing a complex pool of characters at their very best, working in harmony with and against each other, and that magnetic draw creating intensive relationships and highly charged emotions tumbling through the chapters.

Beautifully written, delicately put together with an electrifying undercurrent and explosive finale that, I never saw coming at all. 

Highly recommended and I will certainly be reading more of Bolton’s very well crafted work. An author I am glad I have finally found.

 

Emma In The Night – Wendy Walker

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night five years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Emma In The Night is a tormented read with harrowing realities and emotional draw, yet breathtakingly beautiful and delicately spun yarn by silken yarn

Never doubting that Walker had written another stunning read. I was not to be disappointed as I read her latest novel word to word, sentence to sentence and chapter to chapter. Walker writes with a beautiful presence, her characters fully formed in complexity displaying an exceptional strength of imagery.

This is a story of love, loss and revenge with a side of tension and a competitive streak thrown in the mix. A wholesome novel with a satisfying conclusion.

Not every writer can hold my attention, presenting script that feels flat and bland, without the delicacy of emotive scribblings and musings from within. Walker, for me, writes with everything I need from a novel, with an understanding of each character and a depth so deep they too walk from the page and for those few days become part of the daily life and routine. Maybe I just crave a more articulate verse than most? but I praise the writing style that evokes emotion and feeling grabbing my attention and most importantly holding it firmly in place.

Walkers words lift from the page in silken strands that wrap intricately around the all consumed reader.

Whilst the characters seem to all be fighting for attention within the story, Dr Winter was the character for me, she was the strength and the soul of the story becoming the saviour who helps bring this tragic tale to a close. Her side of the story slides under skin wrapping its way around the reader, tightening the binds until the anticipation is too intense, only to fall away to an amazing conclusion and outstanding finale.

I thoroughly adored her debut novel All Is Not Forgotten. I find myself living within her books, absorbed deep in the centre, too enthralled to put them down. This, is everything I need from a book.

PsychoAnalysis – V R Stone

A serial killer who wants to quit. A detective struggling to keep his personal life out of a murder hunt. And a celebrity psychiatrist facing an incredible challenge. Three damaged individuals, linked by their traumatic histories. They’ve chosen very different paths. Now those paths are about to cross.

Sarah Silver is a hedge fund manager – from Monday to Friday she makes a killing in the markets. At weekends, though, she hunts men, not profits. Martin White used to be a brilliant detective. But his family, judgement and self-control are deserting him. And Karl Gross has sold millions of books on serial killers. However he’s a controversial figure in the medical community.

Can Martin keep it together and catch a killer who commits almost perfect crimes? Is Karl capable of unravelling Sarah’s psyche and putting an end to the killing? Or will she disappear when she realises that the hunter has become the hunted?

PsychoAnalysis is a psychological crime thriller that explores the grey area between good and evil. Why would a woman kill for fun? Can she be understood? Can she be stopped?

What I loved most about this book was the original plot.

Quite different and very gripping.

The characters were very well-developed Sarah especially with her history and back story being thorough and in-depth

The whole book pulsed along the rhythm with my speeding heart rate as I witnessed the push and pull of the cat and mouse chase

intertwining of the constant near misses, close calls and red herrings. Loved watching the story unfold slowly monitoring the missing jigsaw pieces slotting into place and with the conclusion drawing near wondering what the bloody hell was going to happen.

The fact that the author is male gave the story more definition especially writing from different points of view and alternative angles both male and female.

Sarah is an especially interesting character with an unusual history which feels realistic and works really well.

Even though she was sinister and yes, terrifying she was a great character who kept the story fuelled and alive.

Martin was nothing more than a naive stupid fool throwing everything away as he retreated into his protective self disillusioned bubble yet I liked him. Again a colourful character with hidden depth, multi layered with substance. His gut instinct was of interest but his head was way up his arse with his heart not far behind which made him the fool…or did it?

A collection of great people living double lives, spilt down the middle. Lots going on, which is concluded well leaving no end lose and very riveting stuff.

A thriller with a difference in my opinion. A book that you think about often and plays on your mind.

Very much looking forward to a second book.

He Said / She Said – Erin Kelly

Who do you believe?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark…

 

This book did not have the ending I needed.

It lulled me into a false sense of security ensnaring my gullible nature into believing this could be the perfect story with the much awaited ending but no, it was far more blunt than that.

The book was cleverly written, surprisingly pulling you along whilst hiding its cunning side with the darker side of each eclipse.

I adored those young kids. Fresh faced and heading into the world. Loved up. High on each other and giddy with excitement. They grew up so fast and life became very serious indeed. Things do not always go to plan and are rarely plain sailing.

You won’t believe what you read. You will question the motive, hunt the answers and dissolve in bitter tears at the truth.

Beautifully executed taking the reader on a fantastic roller coaster journey without the limitations.

I recommend this book with caution you don’t get too attached, people are not what they seem.

 

Eveyln After – Victoria Helen Stone

Evelyn Tester is sleepwalking through her suburban life—until a late-night phone call startles her awake. Her husband, a prestigious psychiatrist, has been in an accident. And he isn’t alone.

Suddenly Evelyn’s world isn’t as tidy as she thought. And in the midst of it all is Juliette, not only her husband’s secret lover but also his patient. If news of the affair were to get out, it would ruin more than just Evelyn’s marriage. Although it’s a bitter pill for Evelyn to swallow, protecting her family means staying silent—even if, as she begins to discover, the night of the accident has consequences far more dangerous than the unmasking of an affair.

But the more Evelyn learns about Juliette’s picture-perfect life—complete with a handsome, unsuspecting husband—the more she yearns for revenge…and satisfaction. Her growing obsession fuels her rage, burning away her complacency. What will be left of her after it flames out?

I REALLY enjoyed this book. I loved the journey Stone took the reader on, full of intrigue, betrayal and passion.

I found myself completely enthralled and drawn into the story.

The prose, the writing and storyline were magnificent, how we heard a before and after point of view really strengthen the story and kept the reader engaged. I was constantly rooting for Evelyn, even when she was in the wrong. I cheer on Evelyn even in her wrong doings which throughout all she had been reborn and found a newer more confident version of herself loving and appreciating her womanly drive once again, albeit from the wrong situation but regardless she is on fire and thriving. It is so easy to become lost and insignificant as the years drift by.

My favourite character was most certainly Evelyn but I must say I adored Noah.

The connection between the two is delicious and the antics they got up to even more so, I wanted a happy ending, I desperately wanted them to be. Noah is the man Gary can never be and would never even try to be. Evelyn deserved Noah and they both deserved happiness.

What I found the most interesting aspect is that the control her husband held was crippling yet Evelyn had no idea how much so until her world was shattered by his betrayal. Her journey begins with the night when she is jolted from sleep to come to the rescue and from there how he lies to cover his tracks. Evelyn has a lot to discover.

I also very much appreciated the artistic aspect of the story, giving it an extra depth and providing a further connection.

Evelyn After for me was a brilliant story, and originally presented with an air of suspense where the reader has no idea how things will end up. It discusses long-standing relationships, marriage, aging insecurities and the relationships with children. It leaves bare that not everyone is as happy as they portray to be to the outside world.

 

* * BLOG ANNIVERSARY * *

12 Months ago today was the day my Book Reviewing Blog, Addiction of Books, was born. Today is the first birthday and to celebrate I have collaborated with the author of my most successful blog post to bring you a smashing bookish gift.

Before all of that though I have a few thank you’s to say.

My first thank you goes to ALL OF YOU

thank you for taking those precious minutes out to read my reviews and better still asking for my recommendations and buying books based on what I have said about them.

Thank you to the handful of you amazing authors

who take the time out to connect and appreciate my works. My favourite line being that ‘she really gets it’ and I do, I understand novels on lots of different levels and hope that this comes across in my reviews. It takes time to write a review, to absorb the finished story in full, analyse it and capture all aspects of this eloquently in writing to present back to the person who spent the time writing the book, that very precious thing they created, waiting on your words hoping that at least some aspect of it worked well. Better still when you can tell the author your review has sold a handful of books for them, which does happen, encouraging them to continue and supporting them wholeheartedly.

Feedback for a reviewer is as important to them as a review is to an author and so very satisfying when you make someone happy after writing your review. I do not write bad reviews, If the book isn’t for me I will try to find an aspect of it that worked and praise that instead, as readers we are all individual and enjoy different books and writing styles. What doesn’t work for me may be another reviewers favourite read and to write a poor review feels selfish, to write is a very hard journey and labour intensive full of rejection without explanation and frustrated tears, I try to remember that when I am reviewing a book and look at thing objectively and being open-minded.

I want to thank those publishers who welcome my reviews and send me books to review

those who are appreciative and grateful for the reviews I prepare. I enjoy catching up and hope our relationships grow from strength to strength.

In the past year I have learnt that

  • Not every book is my kind of read,
  • That sometimes a recommendation that I never thought I would enjoy becomes my favourite classic.
  • We are all unique and individual and not everyone likes the same genres (which is not a bad thing)
  • That sometimes the hype destroys the story
  • I never read a review of a book until I have written mind and often go into reading blind not knowing what the book is about, which is easy to do when reading on kindle.
  • It is ok to refuse to review and say no.
  • All books need reviewing, not just the new releases, older books need some loving too.
  • I really enjoy reading a book at the same time as others, I enjoy the book related discussions.
  • It’s always better to review a book within 24 hours after completion, although I do make notes as I go along.
  • I love engaging with the author during the reading of their book, twitter is amazing for that reason.

The stats alone over the past year have been incredible.

When I started out I never anticipated that my reviews but be so popular, in a whole twelve months my blog has been viewed a staggering 10,531 times. The most popular post receiving 897 alone!

* * Which brings me to my GIVEAWAY * *

This year saw me reading the hilarious autobiography of Simon Wan. I am not a fan of autobiographies and tend to avoid non-fiction yet the cover for this pulled me right in.

One of the best decisions I have ever made especially after being the very first person to review his book.

Simon has been so delighted with the exposure he has sent me a signed copy of his book to giveaway to one lucky person. This is not a book you want to miss.

Happy first birthday to the blog that gently and sensually broke my review virginity. The blog was very gracious and made me feel special. Being my debut book I was nervous, I had no idea how it would go. Would I be any good? Would I reach the end of my chapters too soon and have to just lay there wondering what I could have done to be a better read. Luckily the words that followed were kind, honest and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Here’s to another great year of words, reading and tinkering in the fantastic. Lots of love, Simon Wan. X

* To enter into the giveaway click here *