The Silent Wife – Kerry Fisher

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5*

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. Then one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

Can a review consist of just some incoherent gibberish to show how much you’ve loved a book? How about a Kermit flail? No? Because quite frankly, I’m not at all sure how I’m supposed to put into words the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on following this story of a dysfunctional and slightly cuckoo family.

It’s all incredibly relatable. Who hasn’t had to play happy families when sticking a fork in your eye sounds way more fun? Who hasn’t maybe worn a mask when visitors arrive ten seconds after you’ve had an argument with your other half because it’s none of their business? But then imagine having to wear that mask day in, day out. Live your life pretending so you don’t rock the boat. I don’t know about you but I would go crazy!

Thank goodness I had the house to myself as I was engrossed from the very first page and wouldn’t have been too thrilled with interruptions. It’s a testament to Kerry Fisher’s writing. The way she draws you in with characters that are so realistic, you expect them to jump off the page any second. I couldn’t help getting emotionally invested. Getting utterly lost in the family dynamics, willing some characters on, wanting them to succeed or for some, hoping they’d get their comeuppance. Again, a good thing I was alone as I often muttered some choice words or used rude Italian gestures and that sort of thing just invites strange looks from whomever is sitting next to you.

This story has a lot to offer. Family secrets, skeletons in the closet, complicated relationships with stepchildren and a mother-in-law we wouldn’t wish on anyone. But also unlikely friendships and finding your inner strength. The strength to make changes, to stay true to yourself, to find your way through a strange, new world that feels more like an obstacle course.

There’s also humour. Maggie and Beryl had me laughing out loud a number of times. Especially Beryl who has a fabulous no-nonsense attitude and no filter whatsoever.

Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny, always gripping and with a satisfying ending! I loved it!

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK  –  Goodreads

One Little Mistake – Emma Curtis

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4*

Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there’s only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you’re careless with those you love, you don’t deserve to keep them . . .

One Little Mistake is a psychological suspense novel. Vicki and Amber have been best friends for a long time. One day, Vicki makes a mistake. Of course she confides in Amber. Who wouldn’t? However, from that point on, things snowball and before you know it, Vicki is caught in a web of lies and deceit, not knowing who to trust anymore.

Now, if you ask me, this isn’t just about one little mistake. There’s a whole bunch of mistakes and I often muttered “stupid”, half expecting the inanimate object in my hand to agree with me. This is probably a great story for a book club or a discussion group as it’s seriously thought-provoking. I have been asking myself what I would have done but the truth is you really don’t know unless you’re in that person’s shoes. I finished this book yesterday and it’s been on my mind ever since, to the point of distraction. As evidenced by the fact I found my grocery list in the dishwasher and my keys in the fridge. Don’t even ask.

The chapters have different points of view and also flashbacks for one of the characters that tell a sad tale of childhood. That sort of thing always confuses me as I end up feeling sorry for a character I don’t even like. The story flows effortlessly and has a lovely pace to it. Vicki and Amber are both wonderfully complex. Nobody is perfect which makes things all the more realistic and believable. Speaking of characters, I absolutely adored Emily and Polly. They are both so very different but likeable in their own special way.

I really enjoyed this one, despite considering dumping my friends and moving away to live like a hermit, and I look forward to seeing what Emma Curtis comes up with next.

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK  –  Goodreads

The Optician’s Wife – Betsy Reavley

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4*

Can you ever really know someone?

When Deborah, an unpopular seventeen-year-old, meets the charming and handsome Larry, he sweeps her off her feet. The trouble is Larry has a secret.

Then a series of grisly murders cast a shadow over everything.

You know how you walk into a room and can feel the tension in the air? Realizing that one false move or word will end up with somethingsomething hitting the fan?

That’s what this book is. There is this constant current of tension bubbling away under the surface and you just know something is coming. You may not know what it will be, but you do know it won’t be anything good.

Seventeen year old Deborah hasn’t had an easy life so far. Her mother died five years ago and since then Deborah has been taking care of the household, her alcoholic father and her younger sister. She has no friends and often feels invisible. But then she meets the charming Larry and her life changes in an instant.

That’s all I’m going to say. I feel the less you know when you start reading, the better. Nothing is at it seems and it’s up to you to decide if Deborah is a reliable narrator or not. There were times when I felt sorry for her. There were times my head hurt from rolling my eyes so much at her naïveté. Mostly I didn’t like her. Or Larry. Or quite frankly, any of the characters. Still, somehow that didn’t stop me from wanting to know what happened to them. All in all, a compelling read.

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK  – Goodreads

The Sixth Window – Rachel Abbott

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5*

After eighteen months of grieving for her husband Bernie, killed in a horrific hit and run accident, Natalie Gray has found love with her husband’s best friend – Ed Cooper – and has moved herself and fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, into his home. But Natalie begins to suspect Ed has a dark side – and even darker intentions.

Naturally, as a mother, Natalie will do whatever it takes to protect her daughter but will she put her in more danger? And then there’s also the tragic death of a young girl. Suicide? Or something more sinister?

And of course there’s DCI Douglas, who I’m sure has his own fanclub by now. But I also really enjoyed Becky and Keith. It’s always a bonus when you find characters you can relate to. That’s also true for Natalie and Scarlett who have a complicated mother/daughter relationship which isn’t helped by the fact that both are keeping secrets so as not to hurt one another.

I’ve been reading this series since the start and have come to believe Rachel Abbott can do no wrong in my eyes and this latest book proved that once again. She’s like a master puppeteer, pulling your strings, leading you through a sticky web of lies and deceit and in this case, horrible events that are sadly all too realistic in the dark corners of life. Expertly woven sticky web though, with various threads coming together in the end. Gritty and unpredictable, nothing is what it seems and the best one in the series yet. 5* rating all the way!

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK  –  Goodreads

The Mermaids Singing – Val McDermid

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3.5*

YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME…
This was the summer he discovered what he wanted—at a gruesome museum of criminology far off the beaten track of more timid tourists. Visions of torture inspired his fantasies like a muse. It would prove so terribly fulfilling.

This was my first introduction to Val McDermid. I’d seen the name mentioned a few times and thought it was about time I acquainted myself with her books.

I’m not a squeamish person. I can happily (odd choice of word) read about murders and gore and blood and whatnot. Except when it involves animals. But the torture and the murders in this book made me very uncomfortable. I had to stop reading a few times. None of it is gratuitous but I did feel like maybe some of it was a bit over the top. I have a great imagination, I didn’t need all the horrible details.

I did enjoy the combination between the detectives and the profiler. However, those chapters never really took away the icky feeling in my mouth. Still, I am glad I persevered until the end as I couldn’t figure out who the killer was.

3.5*. Might need to go find something light and fluffy now.

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK

A Room Full of Killers – Michael Wood

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5*

Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…

I am a huge fan of the DCI Matilda Darke series and this third installment is an absolute corker! Dare I say, the best one yet!

Matilda’s new case leads her to Starling House, a home for some of the country’s deadliest teenagers who are too young to be sent to prison. When someone is murdered, it’s up to Matilda and her team to figure out if the killer is one of the teenage boys or someone from the staff. Can any of them be trusted?

While Matilda gets distracted by various other things (a case from the past, grieving over her husband’s death and the belief someone at Starling House may actually be innocent), her colleague Rory is intent on finding out what makes children killers in the first place. Will Matilda’s distractions put her team in danger?

This is one dark and gruesome read. The prologue alone seems to come straight from some horribe horror movie and the backstories of the boys at Starling House make for some uncomfortable reading. Food for thought, for sure. And maybe also a nightmare or two.

Needless to say I was gripped from page one. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. My smug self thought she had it all figured out and was proven wrong. So wrong.

If you like a great crime procedural, this one is definitely for you. Although I would recommend you read the previous two in the series first. You won’t regret it. 5*

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK

Ragdoll – Daniel Cole

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5*

One body, six victims. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. It certainly grabbed mine.

A body is discovered. Not just any body. It’s comprised off six different victims, stitched together to make one macabre find. A “ragdoll”, name courtesy of the media.

Detective William Falkes, Wolf, has only recently been reinstated to the London Met. He and his former partner Emily Baxter are now in charge of finding a very clever killer. A killer who isn’t done yet as he is taunting them with a hitlist containing a further six names.

Not only do the detectives need to find out who the body parts belong to, they also need to find a way to protect the remaining six potential victims and it’s a race against time with the whole world watching.

I loved this book from the very first page! Not just the crime aspect, but the characters drew me in from the start. They’re not perfect. They have baggage and flaws and a secret or two, which only makes things more believable and realistic.

It’s at times quite dark but it also has humorous parts. All in all, it’s a thrilling ride and I had no idea where it was going. Brilliant and a well deserved 5 star rating. I can’t wait for the next one in this series.

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK

My Sweet Revenge – Jane Fallon

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4*

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

I needed something a bit different after reading numerous crime and psychological thrillers and this looked perfect.

Paula finds out her actor husband is having an affair with a co-star. Her plan is to make her husband fall in love with her again so she can break his heart.

What follows is a bunch of twists. I really couldn’t see where this story would end up. Fun (may have chuckled out loud a few times), entertaining, light and, I felt, a satisfying ending. Just what I needed. 4*

Amazon US  –  Amazon UK

Perfect Remains – Helen Fields

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5*

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

This is the first book in a new crime series and it sets the tone perfectly!

Take one DI, who left his job at Interpol in France under a cloud. Place him in rainy Edinburgh. Then add one of the most disturbed killers you’ve ever encountered and you get a chilling, gripping, sometimes gruesome but totally addictive page-turner!

It’s the stuff of nightmares and possibly not for the faint hearted but so brilliant.

I can’t wait for the next installment in this series, which is due out in June 2017.

Amazon US  – Amazon UK

Welcome

I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember with a gap of a few years when adult life got in the way. But it wasn’t until I joined goodreads that my love for reading returned in full force. It’s really due to joining that site and following like-minded people that the urge to start this blog became too hard to ignore.

Don’t get me wrong. I like goodreads to keep track of books and watch my TBR explode. But somehow I feel being part of the bookblogging community is just that little something extra. So far I’ve been mostly active by sharing other bloggers’ excellent reviews via twitter but part of me wants to be more involved than that so here I am.

My name is Dee and I’m a bookaholic.

ps : I’m still fiddling around with the furniture so mind where you go.