Review: Behind the Lie by Amanda James @akjames61 @HQDigitalUK

 

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Behind the Lie by Amanda James

 

My Review:

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from Behind the Lie. I haven’t read any of Amanda James’ books before and most of her books seem to be romance books, which is not a genre that I read. This book, however, is not a romance!

Holly has had a troubled past but she’s happily married to the man that saved her and she’s pregnant with twins she’s excited about her future. But when her obstetrician husband tells her that one twin is small and may not survive her seemingly perfect life starts to come apart at the seams.

I have to say that Behind The Lie is fairly predictable, something that I normally hate in a book, but for some reason, this book pulled me in and even though I was sure that I knew where the book was going from very early on, I still really enjoyed reading it and wanted to find out what was going to happen.

I grew to like Holly, and I was definitely rooting for her by the end. Perhaps, as a mother of twins, I felt a stronger connection with the book and character than others, but I do think that Behind the Lie is a good, solid, psychological thriller that many will enjoy reading. I also loved the description of Holly’s beach house in Cornwall, it made me want to escape London!

Overall, Behind The Lie is a solid psychological thriller, the storyline is interesting and engaging and it is well written, I hope that Amanda James writes more psychological thrillers in the future.

Thank you to the author and publishers, HQDigital, for a copy of Behind The Lie via Netgalley.

Blurb:

Who can you trust, when you can’t trust yourself?

Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.

Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

About the Author:

amandajames

Amanda James (aka Mandy) was born in Sheffield and now lives in Bristol with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, singing, and spending lots of time with her grandson. She also admits to spending far too much time chatting on Twitter and Facebook! Amanda recently left her teaching role to follow her ambition to live her life doing what she most enjoys—writing.

 

Review: Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil.

 

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Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil.

 

My 4* review:

I have to say that I was very intrigued by the blurb of this book. The idea that your six year old son goes missing, assumed drowned, but then returns from the dead ten years later only a few miles from home, his body telling a horrific story of what he had been through during the last ten years, but his voice appears to have gone, he does not utter a single word, he cannot tell you where he has been or who had taken him.

Emma is the mother of Aiden, the boy who went missing, during the last ten years she has been to hell and back. Her life fell apart but she managed to put herself back together with the help of Jake, her new husband and father to the baby that is growing in her belly. While Emma is overjoyed that Aiden has been found and is back home she is wracked with guilt and suspicion, as Aiden was found so close to home she suspects almost everyone she knows in the small village that she lives in, did they take Aiden?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Silent Child, it’s a great book and will no doubt keep you guessing right to the end. I did feel that the book lost its way a bit in the middle, there was a good chunk where the book pretty much went round in circles, but once it got going again the book did not disappoint.

I read a lot of books, it is easy for me to finish a book and move on to the next one, but this book has stayed with me. I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about Emma, but mainly about Aiden, somehow he got under my skin and a little bit of him has stayed there. He feels very real somehow.

Thank you to TBC for a copy of Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil.

Blurb:

In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered.

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…

… until Aiden returns.

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?

It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

This dark and disturbing psychological novel will appeal to fans of The Widow and The Butterfly Garden.

 

Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

 

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The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

 

Ok, so I have to admit that in order to read this book as soon as I possibly could I became something of a stalker. Regular readers of If only I could read faster will know that I loved Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris’ debut book that was my book of the year 2016. So when I knew that her second book was available to reviewers I wanted it, badly. I don’t normally bother and if I want to read a book and can’t easily get it to review then I pre-order it and wait like everyone else, but I just couldn’t wait to read this book! Thankfully the author herself came to my rescue when she heard how much I loved her first book. So thank you B.A. Paris for helping me get a copy of your book!

My 4.5* review:

The Breakdown had a lot to live up to, I absolutely loved the author’s debut novel Behind Closed Doors, and was desperate to read this book. I was worried that I would be disappointed, as so often happens when you have really high expectations, but whenever I heard from anyone who had read it it was all positive so I was excited to read it.

Cass sees a car stopped on the side of a remote road during a huge storm, she pulls over but worried for her own safety she doesn’t get out of her car and as the driver of the other car doesn’t get out or signal to Cass she decides to drive home and call someone from there. On arriving home Cass gets distracted and never makes that phone call.

When the next morning news spreads of a murder on the very same road Cass is flooded with guilt when she learns that it was the driver of the car that she saw that had been killed. Cass decides to keep it a secret, scared that she will be judged by others for not helping the driver.

With the murder so close to Cass’ isolated home it is not surprising that she feels jumpy but as time goes on Cass is sure that she is being watched and becomes convinced that the killer saw her on that fateful night and is going to come after her.

At the same time Cass starts to find her memory going, her mother had early onset dementia and it appears that the same is happening to Cass. She does her best to hide it but her husband can’t help but get frustrated at her and gradually Cass comes to accept that she is heading the same route as her mother.

The combination of her memory loss and the guilt that she feels over not helping the murdered woman causes Cass to crumble and without the support of her husband and best friend she knows that things would be even worse.

But is everything as it seems?

This book is totally different to the author’s debut which is definitely a good thing, it is an enjoyable and easy to read book, that keeps you guessing and wanting to know what will happen. I felt that the ending was rushed which was a real shame but it gets a solid 4.5*’s from me. I loved how the story took you in and you were never quite sure about what was going on. Now I have to wait for the authors next book!

Blurb:

THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

The Breakdown is out on 9th February 2017 and is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book review: The Mountain in my Shoe by Louise Beech.

 

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The Mountain in my Shoe by Louise Beech.

My 5* review:

I’ve heard a lot about Louise Beech, I have even met her at a book event when she was talking about this book when it was released. Her book, How To Be Brave, has been on my tbr pile for quite some time, but never quite made it to the top. I was determined to read one of her books and so, a little unsure about what to expect, I started to read The Mountain in my Shoe.

What I found was a truly wonderful story, it was a real treat. A book like this does not come along very often.

Bernadette is the main storyteller, she is a character who is stuck in a loveless marriage and is truly isolated from the world around her. We find her desperately searching for a book, what book it is we are not yet sure, but it is missing. Then her husband, who arrives home regular as clockwork at 6pm doesn’t come home and while Bernadette is waiting for him the phone rings and she is told that Conor is also missing.

Conor takes priority and Bernadette calls a taxi to take her to find him, the taxi driver clearly knows her and her routine well and is concerned by her out of character behaviour. The relationship between the two is unexpected and often made me smile.

We soon find out that Bernadette has not been sitting at home waiting for her husband as he thinks she is, instead she has volunteered to befriend a child in care and from that she met Conor, a little boy who she has grown to love in the five years that she has known him. The story of Conor is told by Bernadette, Conor and his foster carer Anne, but also by Conor’s lifebook, a book created by those involved with Conor and his care while he is a looked after child and it is this lifebook that is missing.

The unusual way of telling Conor’s story works incredibly well, different voices give different things to the story and gradually the sad story of Conor’s childhood, from why he was removed from his mother to his various foster families becomes known to the reader. It is beautifully revealed and I think that the reader can’t help but fall in love with little Conor, he is a truly wonderful character and so real that I am sure that he must exist somewhere.

The majority of the book takes place over the evening that Conor, the book and Bernadette’s husband all went missing. The reader pieces the story together as the book goes along, and while some of it was pretty obvious, I loved just about every moment of reading this book.

Apart from one rather large medical mistake, this book is pretty much faultless, Louise Beech is a fabulous storyteller with a real talent. I will definitely be reading How to be Brave soon.

The Mountain in my Shoe by Louise Beech is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love

 

 

 

Book Review: The Gift by Louise Jensen.

 

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The Gift by Louise Jensen.

 

My 4* review:

Jenna was happily living her life, she was a vet nurse and in a happy relationship with Sam. But all that changed in a flash when Jenna got sick, so sick that her heart was giving up and she needed to have a heart transplant. Having been happy and healthy, life is suddenly very different for Jenna, she’s reliant on medication that has difficult side effects, the strain of her illness caused her parents to separate and for Jenna to break up with Sam, believing that he was better off without her.

Jenna also wants to know more about her donor, whose heart now beats in her chest? Frustrated with the boundaries that rule any official contact between the recipient and the donors family Jenna hires a private investigator and contacts the donors family herself. At first she feels positive about this, she just wants to know more about Callie, the donor, and there can’t be too much wrong with that?

But gradually Jenna starts to loose her grip on reality, she is having dreams and flashbacks that she is sure are Callie’s memories. Is Callie trying to tell her something? Jenna researches this and comes across cellular memory a theory that supports Jenna’s belief that she is experiencing Callie’s memories. Everyone Jenna tries to tell about this thinks that she is simply experiencing the side effects of her medicine but she remains convinced that Callie is trying to tell her something, especially when she learns that there are some questions around how Callie died.

I found the premise of The Gift really interesting, I firmly support organ donation and both myself and my children are on the register for this, and the idea that the recipient changes because of the donor’s organ is fascinating.

I have to admit that when I was reading The Gift I couldn’t help but think that it would not be a good book for someone who is waiting for an organ to read, and I did wonder whether it would put people off donating. However, I have read that the author has been contacted by people who say that after reading The Gift they have joined the register which is blooming fantastic.

As the book progresses Jenna really loses her grip on reality, she thinks that she is being followed, she is obsessed with Callie and her fiance Nathan and she can think of little else. An attempt at returning to work doesn’t go well and Jenna is gradually pushing everyone around her away.

Things come to a head in a gripping finale and I have little doubt that by the end of the book Jenna wishes that she had respected the boundaries when contacting Callie’s family. It is definitely a case of all not being as it seems.

The Gift is a great read, it is gripping and keeps the reader guessing. Definitely a good choice for any fan of the psychological thriller genre. Louise Jensen skillfully weaves a tale that keeps the reader engaged and wondering.

I received a copy of The Gift from the publishers, Bookouture, via Netgalley but was under no obligation to review the book. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The perfect daughter is dead. And a secret is eating her family alive…

Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …

Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.

Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist from the author of the Number One bestseller The Sister

The Gift is out now and available to buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Review: Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes.

 

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Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes.

 

My 4* review:

One of my all time favourite books is Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, it is an incredibly written psychological thriller. It was the first book that I had read by Elizabeth Haynes and set the bar very high. While I’ve enjoyed subsequent books by the author, none have come anywhere near to emulating her first book.

Never Alone tells the story of Sarah, a widow who lives alone in an isolated farmhouse in Yorkshire. An old flame comes back into her life after years of no contact, he rents a small cottage on Sarah’s land, but it is quickly clear that Aiden has secrets. When things start happening that spook Sarah the reader isn’t sure whether Aiden is responsible, or perhaps it is Will, a young man who has recently returned to the area. Or is Sarah just imagining things?

When Sarah’s best friend disappears and no one can find her things get complicated when heavy snow falls. The book becomes a tense read at this point, with the reader unsure who to trust, I really don’t want to give too much away as I’ll only ruin it for you but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

While Never Alone doesn’t match Into the Darkest Corner it is still a very good psychological thriller and one that I enjoyed reading very much. I’d definitely recommend it to all fans of this genre.

The book really builds the tension and I loved the characters of Sarah’s two dogs, each of them had their own characteristics and became part of the story (and if you’re a dog lover, the tension).

Overall Never Alone is a solid read with great characters and plenty of tension. Enjoy!

Never Alone is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

Elizabeth Haynes’ new psychological thriller is a brilliantly suspenseful and shocking story in which nothing is at it seems, but everything is at stake.

Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire and for the first time, after the death of her husband some years ago and her children, Louis and Kitty, leaving for university, she’s living alone. But she doesn’t consider herself lonely. She has two dogs, a wide network of friends and the support of her best friend, Sophie.

When an old acquaintance, Aiden Beck, needs somewhere to stay for a while, Sarah’s cottage seems ideal; and renewing her relationship with Aiden gives her a reason to smile again. It’s supposed to be temporary, but not everyone is comfortable with the arrangement: her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer, an old friend of her son’s, seems to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah at every opportunity. Even Sophie has grown remote and distant.

After Sophie disappears, it’s clear she hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah’s safety than anyone else. As the weather closes in, events take a dramatic turn and Kitty too goes missing. Suddenly Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of who she can still trust.

But she isn’t facing this alone; she has Aiden, and Aiden offers the protection that Sarah needs. Doesn’t he?

 

Review & Giveaway: The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne.

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I’m very excited to review the debut novel, The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne on If Only I Could Read Faster today. But that isn’t all, there’s a fab giveaway of a paperback copy of the book and a limited edition notebook! Enter below 🙂

My 4* review:

You never know what to expect when you read a new author, especially when it is an author’s debut book. Many authors improve with the more books that they write, some brilliant authors have written pretty average debut novels but have clearly learnt and improved as they’ve gone along.

So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Abigail Osborne and her psychological thriller. I’d heard good things about it, and thankfully all those positive reviews were right.

Billie is a loner, she lives alone, and she avoids all contact with others. She has no friends, no mobile phone and frankly, no quality of life. She is clearly haunted by something from her past. Enter Adam. He seems determined to break through Billie’s walls, but does he have an ulterior motive?

The book is split into three parts, firstly when Billie and Adam meet, then their childhoods and finally the present. The story is skillfully told, Osborne gives the reader just enough at various stages while keeping enough back to ensure that the reader is gripped and guessing. If this is the debut novel of Abigail Osborn then she is definitely an author to watch.

Having said that I do feel that the writing was at times quite simplistic and there are some grammatical errors. But neither of these things change the fact that The Puppet Master is a very enjoyable, cleverly woven novel. The author should be proud.

**The reader should be aware that The Puppet Master contains issues of childhood sexual abuse and that this could be very triggering for some readers. Please be careful if you think that you may be affected by reading about this subject.**

I was given a copy of The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne but this has in no way affected my review.

Blurb:

Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

The Puppet Master is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US in paperback and ebook.

Giveaway:

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Please click on the link below to enter. Good luck!!

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