Sometimes I Lie, Alice Feeney

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this new thriller down. Set to be the most talked about book in 2017, it’s perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Widow.

This novel captured my attention on NetGalley because of the short but hugely mysterious and enticing blurb.

When the reader begins the novel, it becomes quickly apparent that the novel is broken down into three narratives, from different points in time. These are clearly signposted and I really appreciated this as it didn’t hinder the flow of the story at all – which is something I’ve definitely experienced in the past.

I really couldn’t decide if I warmed to Amber, the chief protagonist, or not and I still remain unsure even now that I’ve finished the novel! Sometimes when I thought I had, all of a sudden, it seemed the author threw in a curve ball which immediately changed my mind about her! I actually felt, to some extent, that all of the characters were similar in nature to this. It was hard to establish who was someone that the reader was supposed to side with / warm too – you really do not know who to trust at all which I thought was very clever!

The plot is full of twists and turns, often I had to take a few moments to get my head around these, but they were on the whole very clever and mostly unexpected which was really refreshing.

I really felt Amber’s frustration / agitation about one of the main situations in which she finds herself. These parts, among others, felt really authentic and I was really sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to shout out loud to help her out!!

I was unable to guess the main twists and turns of the novel. The author drops subtle hints throughout but you begin to question whether these are in fact real or instead complete red herrings! This keeps the reader really intrigued to read on and find out what is actually going on.

I don’t want to write in too much more detail because I feel like I might let some of the important details slip which would spoil the read for future readers! But I would recommend this novel to anyone who usually enjoys fast paced psychological thrillers with lots of unexpected plot changes. Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and publisher for providing me with an early reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Silence Between Breaths, Cath

Passengers boarding the 10:35 train from Manchester, Piccadilly to London, Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.

Holly has just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it has been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. On board customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack . . . 

So I requested this from NetGalley (HUGE apologies for the delay.. 😦 ) because of the blurb as seen above. It sounded intensely brilliant and also pretty relevant with so much talk to terrorism in the news every day.

When the reader first begins the novel, they are almost bombarded with characters. There is a large amount of scene setting to be done as a train carriage is a busy and bustling setting for a plot. As such, the novel is immediately saturated with protagonists and I found there was a lot of flicking back and forth to remind myself of each character. Having said that, they are a thoroughly well developed set of characters and there were several that I really warmed to / remembered without any prompting – some more than others of course as in any novel!

After the reader has become familiarised with the characters, it becomes unputdownable. It is as if you are on that train with them all! As the novel progresses, it feels more and more horribly realistic, as if it is something that could happen to yourself on any train journey you take. The details are so minute but mirror reality so accurately it becomes so real in the reader’s mind.

Some parts of the novel are quite difficult to read. It is a profoundly sad story and parts are quite harrowing / uncomfortable to face as the reader. But that is a huge credit to the author for producing something that feels so real as a piece of fiction.

I really loved the addition of Kulsoom’s perspective of the goings-on. I found this to be a really interesting, unique and previously unexplored point of view – definitely something I haven’t really thought about before.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a gripping read full of authentic and real protagonists. It is an extremely moving but wonderful journey to go on with them all.

Thank you very much to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me an early copy for review. And again huge apologies for the delay in reading and posting this review.

The Girl Who Lied, Sue Fortin

Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret—one Erin has kept for over a decade—and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies.

Erin wants nothing to do with Roisin. She has a new life in London and no intention of going back home. Yet when her father is mysteriously and critically injured, Erin has no choice but to return and face Roisin—and her past. Erin knows if the secret of what she gave up got out, the consequences could be devastating.

When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out…?

I read this novel on a 9 hour flight back from my brother’s wedding in November and found that it kept me thoroughly entertained for the entire journey!

The novel is very easy to read and I really cared about what was happening. Even now, after reading several other books in between, I am able to recall the plot and the characters fairly clearly which is quite rare for me as often when you’ve read a number of books they can become quite hazy and begin to blur into one!

The plot revolves around family life and the damage / destruction that secrets can bring about… I don’t know if I’d necessarily class it as a thriller but I enjoyed it all the same.

There were a couple of bits of the novel that I found to be overly / unnecessarily cheesy such as the stereotypical characters involved in the romance part of the novel. But at the same time these did also feel quite familiar and comforting.

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a novel to read while on holiday. It is very intriguing but it is also very easy to read which means that you don’t need to use too much brain power!

Local Girl Missing, Claire Douglas

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one there hiding truths.

This was a novel chosen by one of the ladies at the local book group I attend every month.

I hadn’t actually read a novel by Claire Douglas before although I have seen quite a lot about her debut novel The Sisters on Twitter and in magazines etc. so I was keen to give Local Girl Missing a read!

The novel is engaging and thoroughly mysterious. Both the plot and it’s characters felt rigorously developed. The twist of the novel was quite unexpected and I was hooked from start to finish.

I did question the authenticity of the novel and how plausible / convincing certain parts of the plot were but in the end this is a piece of fiction and this only slight doubt in my mind did not affect my overall enjoyment of the story. I would recommend this to anyone who likes an easy to read, gripping thriller novel.

Try Not To Breathe, Holly Seddon

Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen years old, Amy disappeared walking home from school one day and was found in a coma three days later. Her attacker was never identified and her angelic face was plastered across every paper and nightly news segment.

Fifteen years later, Amy lies in the hospital, surrounded by 90’s Britpop posters, forgotten by the world until reporter Alex Dale stumbles across her while researching a routine story on vegetative patients.

Remembering Amy’s story like it was yesterday, she feels compelled to solve the long-cold case.

The only problem is, Alex is just as lost as Amy—her alcoholism has cost her everything including her marriage and her professional reputation.

In the hopes that finding Amy’s attacker will be her own salvation as well, Alex embarks on a dangerous investigation, suspecting someone close to Amy.

I actually managed to read this novel as one that I had bought for myself as part of a book  haul last year (rather than one I’d been asked to review for a publisher or by an author). It sounds like a strange thing to add to the start of this review but it was really pleasant to read a book of my choosing for a change!

I read this novel when I was on holiday in November 2016 and managed to complete it in just a couple of sittings before passing it round the rest of my family who were away with me and strongly urging anyone who would listen to read it!

The story is told with the characters Alex and Amy at the centre. I must say I wasn’t particularly fond of Alex for the majority of the novel… However, towards the end I had slightly warmed to her and was even left feeling like I would enjoy another novel featuring this protagonist!!

I really liked the way in which the author managed to interweave Amy’s story into the current day plot and I felt so sorry for her character and was just left praying she would somehow wake up!!

The main twist of the novel really threw me! This rarely happens as when you become a frequent reader of crime / thriller fiction, you often are able to predict what is going to happen as lots of this fiction does feel quite familiar. This was not the case at all with this novel which was a really nice surprise for me!

I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys an intense crime fiction novel which is thoroughly readable! I’ve just seen today that Holly has a new novel coming out in July this year – I will be first in line for this!

The Bone Field, Simon Kernick

When the bones of a 21-year old woman who went missing without trace in Thailand in 1990, are discovered in the grounds of an old Catholic school in Buckinghamshire, an enduring mystery takes on a whole new twist. Her boyfriend at the time, and the man who reported her missing, Henry Forbes, now a middle-aged university lecturer, comes forward with his lawyer and tells DI Ray Mason of the Met’s Homicide Command that he knows what happened to Kitty, and who killed her.

So begins a hunt for the truth that will focus on a ruthless crime gang, a rich, dysfunctional family with a terrible past, and a highly ambitious man so cruel and ruthless that he must be brought down at any cost…

In true Simon Kernick novel fashion, I sat down to start the first few pages of his brand new novel, The Bone Field, and ended up hooked and completely unable to put it down!

The novel features a fantastic set of protagonists and I feel like we all need to take a moment to celebrate the start of a series…!

I have to add that I feel slightly biased towards this particular novel as my late father’s name features as a character (I know, how amazing!) after I won a charity auction for a named character. Simon Kernick was one of my father’s all time favourite authors and when I spotted the auction it felt only right to bid for the prize using some of the money he had left to me, something I’m really proud of and that just feels amazing that he lives on in the pages of such a great thriller.

Having said that, Simon Kernick’s writing style throughout this novel is just brilliant – as always. The Bone Field’s gritty plot is packed full of action, heart poundingly epic and frequently feels terrifyingly real! I was gripped from the start to the finish of the novel and now cannot wait for the next instalment of the series! Bring on January 2018!!

I See You, Clare Mackintosh

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I read Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel I Let You Go back when it was released during 2015 and it was without a shadow of a doubt one of my absolute favourite novels of 2015! (See my original review of this novel here: )

So when I saw that Clare was releasing her second novel, I See You, last summer I was super excited to say the least!

Obviously there is a significant gap between the time of the novel’s release and me posting this review. This is in no way a reflection of the novel at all – the time gap just relates to a major reading block I have suffered from over the last 6-8 months for which I can only apologise!

ANYWAY, Clare Mackintosh’s second novel is beyond brilliant! It features a highly enticing storyline from page 1 and the mystery continues as the plot unravels. I genuinely could not work out what was going to happen and, as a result, was unable to put the book down. The fear of the unknown kept the pages turning quickly and the author successfully left me on the edge of my seat at the end of every chapter.

I must admit I wasn’t particularly fond of the main protagonist, Zoe Walker, but by the end of the novel I did really feel for her and I shared in her anxiety / paranoia as these became more prominent.

This is a wonderfully written novel and I find that Clare writes in such a familiar and comforting way. Her style means that the story flows so consistently and beautifully and there wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t desperate to find out what was goign to happen!

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone and I now cannot wait for another release by Clare Mackintosh (fingers crossed that there isn’t too long to wait now!).

My Husband’s Wife, Jane Corry

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‘Till death us do part…’

I really loved the mysterious blurb of this novel when I saw it on NetGalley and the novel really followed suit with it’s mysterious goings on!

The narrative of the novel spans over quite a time period, as well as being a novel of two halves, and is portrayed from different characters’ perspectives. Often this can be quite unclear / confusing for a reader but I really enjoyed this element of the novel and everything seemed crystal clear and straight forward to follow. I felt on this occasion this really added an extra depth to the plot and to the characters. The start of the novel did feel a little slow but once it got going I was really keen to get to know the characters more as well as to discover what was going to happen!

I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout and towards the end I really couldn’t put it down! I would definitely recommend this debut novel from Jane Corry and I definitely look forward more in the future hopefully!



The Whistler, John Grisham *Sampler*

The most corrupt judge in US history. A young investigator with a secret informant. The electrifying new thriller. 

Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida’s one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That’s until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.

Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime. Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation. At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead. Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings. She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels.

No one has a clue what she’s been doing – until now.

Under Florida law, those who help the state recover illegally acquired assets stand to gain a large percentage of them. Myers and his whistle blower friend could make millions.

But first they need Lacy to start an investigation. Is she ready to pit herself against the most corrupt judge in American history, a judge whose associates think nothing of murder?

This review is based upon a four chapter sampler of the upcoming novel from John Grisham, The Whistler. 

I was absolutely ecstatic when I received an email about reviewing a sample of this new novel having been a Grisham fan for years and years. While growing up, John Grisham is one of the few authors who begun my real love and passion for all novels legal / crime / political / thriller in genre! My dad and I would routinely read his novels and discuss between us what we thought so I have not only thoroughly enjoyed a large number of his novels but they hold really fond memories for me too.

The Whistler begins and everything is very mysterious and closed. The character Myers is very secretive and in many ways bore resemblance to a Jack Reacher type character in the way that he seemed to be completely off the grid!

As the initial chapters progress the reader gets the inevitable feeling that something big is going to be revealed but the details remain murky in these early chapters. The story begins to unravel and layer by layer things become more complex (but so brilliant)!

In just four chapters, the novel is already packed full of what I believe is imperative content when reading a Grisham novel – corruption, murder, law, mystery, strong and diverse protagonists, lots of fine details, justice procedures and so much more!

Grisham has well and truly reeled me in as he always seems to do! The frustration this time is that I can’t keep on reading for the moment and have to wait a few weeks to be able to continue on the journey with the already well established characters of Lacy, Myers and Hugo. As ever, Grisham’s storytelling skills are top notch and leave the reader consistently desperate to turn the pages as fast as possible. I can safely say it’s going to be a long few weeks until the full length novel is released…! Add it to your wish lists everyone, this isn’t one to miss out on!