#quickbookreview MRS MARCH by Virginia Feito @4thEstateBooks @netgalley

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SYNOPSIS

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

MY THOUGHTS

What a dark, unsettling yet totally engaging read. I found myself unable to put this book down.

Written in the third person, (you don’t know her first name until the very end), but reads in a way you feel totally inside her head, Mrs March tells the story of it’s character and her spiral towards a breakdown. Convince her husband’s new book’s main character, a sex worker, is based on her, we read as her daily interactions become smaller and smaller as she ‘imagines’ (or does she?) that people are talking about her.

Crippled by status, appearances and an already deep need to appear just so, her life and mental state start to fall apart. Along side this are her suspicions of her husband and his possible cheating, flash backs to her younger self and her ‘relationship’ with her young son all make for a read that is a mix of an intermit look at a women’s mental health, phycological thriller, and an engaging mystery. Sprinkled with dark humour, an utterly unreliable main character and an ambiguous time setting, I found it a totally absorbing read.

THE DARE BY LESLEY KARA #bookreview #TheDare @penguinrandomhouse @alisonbarrow @LesleyKara

Published March 4th by Bantam Press

Available in Hardback

Signed Independent Bookshop edition available from Blackwell’s and other retailers

Affiliated link: https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

SYNOPSIS

As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Lizzie suffers from epilepsy, but over the last two years her medication is working well and she has had no major seizures. She is seriously thinking of taking that step and going to University. Still grieving over the death of her best friend Alice, 12 years ago, in a tragic accident, things haven’t always been this good, however with a recent move to a new house with her boyfriend Ross, a GP, things are looking good.

They have decided on having a housewarming party, and although Lizzie is a little nervous, few of her friends will be there, well none actually, she is still determined to enjoy it. However…….. there is a guest that’s about to turn everything up side down for Lizzie and drag her back to her childhood. Is she ready to re live her past and deal with events she can’t even remember properly?

This is another well written, character rich, thriller from author Lesley Kara. I’ve enjoyed both her previous two books, The Rumour and Who Did You Tell? and I couldn’t wait to read this third and new novel.

A small number of characters allowed the story to really concentrate on each of them, giving the reader a really good sense of their personalities. I enjoy that about Lesley’s books, she really brings her main character to life, making me warm to them instantly. Lesley also carefully and thoughtfully deals with the main character’s epilepsy and uses it well within the story line.

Scattered with red herrings, and a big twist, I found this a fast paced, psychological thriller. Told in two different time lines the story builds as we are given the pieces which allow us to work out what really happened 12 years ago and why. The tension build up in the later part of the book was brilliant!

Many thanks to Alison Barrow of Transworld Books for my super hardback copy. The Dare is out today!

#BOOKREVIEW THE CAPTIVE BY DEBORAH O’CONNOR

The Captive published Jan 7th by Zaffre Books

SYNOPSIS

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

MY THOUGHTS

The Captive is the second of this author’s books I have read, having previously enjoyed A Dangerous Kind. Here’s a link to my review The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor .

Set in London in the near future, our main character Hannah is grieving the loss of her husband John. John, who was a police officer, was murdered some months before, while returning home from the pub. Overwhelming evidence has meant 28 year old Jem has been found guilty and given a 25 year sentence for murder. However, it is not a prison he will be sent to but a cage, the size of a parking space, which has been constructed inside Hannah’s kitchen. The Government have replaced the old system of overcrowded, expensive and ineffective prisons with the Domestic Prison Service, a system based around restorative justice, where a convicted criminal is housed in the home of the person or person’s family they have committed a crime against, with the view that by seeing these poeple everyday and seeing their pain and the consequences of their actions, they will be less likely to reoffend.

However, this system also has a major effect on the ‘host’, having literally been assigned the same sentence as the criminal and having to face this person on a daily basis, cooking meals for them and organising their time around the Domestic Liasion Officer visits, has many not pressing charges in the first place.

Hannah is already having second thoughts before Jem is moved in and has applied for an excemption. But on those first few days/weeks of Jem’s arrival he has explained the events of the night of John’s death and Hannah is now sure that the wrong person has been charged and sets out on an investigation of her own.

With side characters of friend Aisling and John’s partner Rupert and old boss Mickey the reader soon learns of worrying events that were occurring in the lead up to John’s death.

I found this an engaging read with great characters that are both vivid and realistic. I soon warmed to Hannah as her personality comes through from the very beginning. I loved the fact that she was a baker of cakes which in turn meant that she had to spend a considerable part of her day in the kitchen and therefore unable to avoid Jem. It was a great way to watch the host and the caged getting to know each other. I also enjoyed reading the story of Jem which added another thread to the mystery neatly twisting it into the story of John’s. I found the idea of the new prison system a clever and original idea. The thought of having the person who has committed a crime against you, caged and in your home for years, sounds horrendous and this was brilliantly portrayed by the mention of the lady living up the road in a tent. I did however think it sounded more of a cost cutting decision rather than an improvement to encourage reoffending (am I surprised?) as so many would therefore not press charges to avoid becoming a host that many people must be running around free to reoffend. However I found I could easily put this thought to one side as the pace and build up of suspense was very well written and kept me interested throughout. I also thought the use of Hannah’s job, the lady next door and Jem’s past gave the book a very real feel and kept it believable and grounded.

Many thanks to Clare Kelly of Zaffre Books for my proof copy.

Book Review for THE HEATWAVE by Kate Riordan

the heatwave kate riordon

SYNOPSIS

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was troubled. Elodie is dead.

Sylvie hasn’t been back to her crumbling French family home in years. Not since the death of her eldest daughter Elodie.

Every corner of the old house feels haunted by memories of her – memories she has tried to forget.

But as temperatures rise, and forest fires rage through the French countryside, a long-buried family secret is about to come to light.

Because there’s something Sylvie’s been hiding about what really happened to Elodie that summer.

And it could change everything.

MY THOUGHTS

Oh how I loved this book!

It had all the ingredients I like in a novel. A tense psychological thriller, a buried past, sun, heat and the South Of France.  What a great book to loose yourself in at the moment.

I was whisked off to the building heat and tensions of a heatwave gripping The South of France as we follow Sylvie, as she heads back to France, to her old family home after receiving a letter to say there has been some damage to the empty property after a small fire.  Born and raised in France, Sylvie has been living in London for over 10 years, seemingly leaving home after traumatic events.  Needing to take her daughter with her she reluctantly heads off with a view to sort things out and finally put the house on the market, where it can be sold and finally gotten rid of once and for all.

As we enter the house and dust off its cobwebs so too do we learn, via flashbacks, of the mysteries that surround Sylvie’s first daughter Elodie, a brilliantly created character. The fear, pain and love that Sylvie experienced back then is wonderfully written along with the day to day happenings, some compellingly mysterious, that take place as we stay at La Reverie.  Evocative and captivating, tiny details in the narrative superbly evoke time and place with wonderful characters and the gradual build of tension throughout the book.

We slowly learn of the story that surrounds Elodie and read the reactions of both family and locals as the truths begin to surface.  Like the summer fires that surround the village, enclosing in on the house, so does the past and bringing with it it’s present danger.

Wonderful smaller characters add even more to the novel, bringing with then their own perspectives and past actions.

I don’t want to give any more of the story line away and spoil it for another reader but I was utterly absorbed in this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  A sultry thriller that also had a wonderful dose of the french sun and way of life.  This has definitely gone into my top five reads of the year so far.  Loved it!!!

Available from BookShop.org https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1882/9781405922623

Amazon EBook https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heatwave-southern-gripping-psychological-suspense-ebook/dp/B08111P5CS/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3HEX5TP2I81CO&dchild=1&keywords=the+heatwave+kate+riordan&qid=1604425610&s=books&sprefix=the+heatwave%2Cstripbooks%2C173&sr=1-1

Book Review for THE MURDER GAME by Rachel Abbott

 

FINAL Murder Game BT Poster

 

Today I am thrilled to take part in the blog tour for Rachel Abbott’s new book The Murder Game.  Second in the Stephanie King series. A what a corker it was!

Thanks to the publishers Headline Books for my proof copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my invite and spot on the tour.

 

SYNOPSIS

A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’ wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?

 

MY THOUGHTS

 

What a great read this was!  Set in the most amazing sounding location of Polskirrin, a beautiful large house set in glorious gardens by it’s own private beach, in a remote part of Cornwall, you couldn’t get a better location for a mystery!

The book opens with a group of friends travelling down to Polskirrin, the home of one of the wealthier of the friends, for his wedding weekend.  Idyllic it sounds, but a tragic incident occurs right before the celebrations are about to start.

Skip a year and a lot has changed.  When each of the original guests receives an invitation to celebrate the couples first wedding anniversary, they are somewhat bemused. All except one…..Lucas, the owner of Polskirrin, for he has devised a little game for them all to play……….

This was an brilliantly written, great paced mystery that hooked me in right from the start.  The brilliant location full of a group of friends that seem to hold a lot of secrets.  Not always a particular friendly bunch there is a lot of rivalry, weird devotion, and a sense that everyone knows something about the other.  All of this adding to the mounting tension within the story.  It uses the character of Jemma, a wife of one of the friends, and therefore not known to them, or them to her, from childhood making it a clever way to look in on the group from an outsiders perspective.

It tells the story mainly in the present, looking back on the wedding weekend and what happened. But then in walks Stephanie, with yet another mystery to throw into the mix.  Making this a wonderfully complex and twisting read, full of mystery, that is so absorbing I raced through this book.  I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book, getting to know the characters, ‘watching’ how they all acted amongst each other, and  reading the fabulous build up to the story, as every aspect of it comes together. Highly recommended reading!

This is the second in the Stephanie King Series but can easily be read as a standalone. Released on April 16th by Wildfire it’s available to buy now!

 

rachel-abbott

About The Author

Rachel Abbott began her career as an independent author in 2011, with Only the Innocent, which became a No.1 bestseller on Kindle, topping the chart for four weeks. Since then, she has published eight further psychological thrillers and sold over 3 million copies. She is one of the top-selling authors of all time in the UK Kindle store, and her novels have been translated into 21 languages.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction.

#TheMurderGame Twitter: @RachelAbbott Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer