My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing | @MichaelJBooks

Author : Samantha Downing
Title : My Lovely Wife
Pages : 377
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : March 26, 2019 (ebook)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Every marriage has secrets. Everyone has flaws. Your wife isn’t perfect – you know that – but then again nor are you.

But now a serial killer is on the loose in your small town, preying on young women. Fear is driving your well-behaved young daughter off the rails, and you find yourself in bed late at night, looking at the woman who lies asleep beside you.

Because you thought you knew the worst about her. The truth is you know nothing at all.

| MY THOUGHTS |

It is not easy to stand out from the crowd in the domestic thriller genre but Samantha Downing manages it with flying colours. My Lovely Wife is incredibly refreshing and also insanely hard to review without giving anything away so this will be relatively short.

Simon and his wife Millicent seem to be living the average suburban life. They both have jobs, two children and while money may be a little tight sometimes, they seem perfectly happy. But as we all know by now, things are never truly what they seem. And then the body of a young woman is found in an abandoned hotel. For one teeny-tiny nanosecond, I thought I knew exactly what was going on but I was proven wrong quickly and not at all prepared for the devious plot that was coming my way.

There’s quite a lot going on in this story. Not only is there a serial killer on the loose but there’s also the impact this has on children, the relentless media and, through it all, is the the most dysfunctional marriage ever. All these things combined make this an addictive read that I just couldn’t put down. I realised early on there was no way I’d figure out where this was heading or how it would end.

Dark, disturbing and hugely compelling The Lovely Wife took me completely by surprise. There are plenty of twists to keep you hooked until the final page. This is one of those books you definitely should not start reading if you’re short of time. What a fantastic debut by Samantha Downing and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

My Lovely Wife is available in ebook format now!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #PrettyUglyLies

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join! Author Pamela Crane visits the blog today and in true self-quiz style wonders :  what kind of psycho are you?

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Author : Pamela Crane
Title : Pretty Ugly Lies
Pages : 250
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : July 18, 2018

aboutthebook

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Self-Quiz: What Kind of Psycho Are You?
By Pamela Crane, USA Today best-selling thriller author

I love self-quizzes, don’t you? They used to be in every women’s magazine, and now you can find them all over Facebook. Well, here’s a new quiz for you.

How often have you asked yourself this question: What kind of psycho am I? If it’s been more than once, you may have bigger problems than I can help with.

I’m not referring to a Norman Bates kind of psycho. I’m talking about what kinds of struggles would cause you to freak out, to snap, to go psycho-chick. Maybe it’s the nitpicking husband who is impossible to please. Maybe it’s the piles of dirty laundry and sink full of dishes that never gets clean. Maybe it’s an endless barrage of fighting and whining from the kids. Maybe it’s your boss demanding too much. Maybe it’s your neighbor’s dog barking night and day. Maybe it’s financial strain that leaves your bank account empty…along with your food cupboard. Maybe it’s your newborn keeping you up all night with colicky cries, refusing to eat.

We all have triggers that bring out the “psycho” in us. I certainly do. When my autistic son goes into one of his meltdowns and the kids scream for no reason whatsoever, I start to lose my cool. Add to that a work deadline that keeps me up until two in the morning and a dog that makes a grunting noise beside my bed all night long, keeping me awake up until the kids come running into my bedroom the next morning demanding breakfast, watch out—because I’m about to snap.

Now that I’ve told you mine, what are yours?

My latest domestic thriller, PRETTY UGLY LIES, introduces four women loosely based on friends in my own life. They each have struggles…and one of these ladies is going to snap big-time. (Hint: yup, one of them gets murdery, so read the book to find out who!) They’re all great gals, but equally flawed in their own ways. Let’s meet the cast of the story and see what brings the psycho out in these everyday women…

Meet Jo, a mom whose life is perfect, husband gorgeous and successful, kids bright and obedient. She’s a gal who spends her days baking cookies and cuddling her kids at night after reading bedtime stories…and she actually enjoys every second of it. But when disaster strikes and she loses her child at the park one day, everything that made her strong crumbles. She’s unable to cope, and all sense of who she is shatters like broken glass. She can’t seem to recover from her upside-down world, and in the end, she turns on her family, her friends, herself. When everything goes exactly as planned, Jo is Wonder Woman. But when things spiral out of her control, she loses hope and can’t pull it together. Is this you?

Next we have Ellie, who has always struggled with motherhood. While she’s smart and capable, she gave up a thriving career to dote on the needs of her family as a stay-at-home mom—and gets little thanks in return. Her kids sense her lack of self-respect and prey on that, and her husband has long ago lost interest in her. While she’s brilliant and talented, she has lost who she is over the years. If only her kids would listen to her and her husband let her pursue her passion, she’d be happy. But as it is, she’s drowning in her misery and can’t seem to catch her breath. Can you relate to Ellie?

Shayla is more common that you might expect, a woman whose struggle with bipolar disorder has been buried for years. She’s energetic, fun, carefree…maybe a little too carefree. She’s got a great home life, but she bores easily and needs a dose of adrenaline to keep her happy—especially when she’s off her meds. That’s when straying outside her marriage starts to appeal…until her affair partner turns out crazier than she is. Now’s she’s in a pickle and her family turns against her. It’s the perfect recipe for sending her fragile mental state into a breakdown. Have you ever felt like Shayla?

June is a lot like me. Four kids, a special needs child among them, and some days feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s an empath and cares deeply for others, sometimes to her own disadvantage. But the daily needs become too much as she’s juggling work, a neglectful hubby (not based on my own amazingly awesome husband), a handful of kids, and too much background noise. A simple solution would be to ask for help, but she’s too prideful to lean on others, even when they offer. June’s doing too much and doesn’t see the toll it’s taking on her. If she keeps running in circles like this, she’s bound to lose her way…and her mind. Do you feel June’s pain?

Four different women, four different paths, four different triggers. Each has strengths, but each also has weaknesses. The thing is, it’s okay to not always wear the cape. We can’t always be superhuman. Sometimes we are simply just human. And with being a human comes moments where we lose our mind a little, lose ourselves even. But the key is to pick ourselves up at the end of each day and figure out our way through the hard parts of life, along the rocky terrain until we find clear prairies.

Social norms demand us to be smiley-faced emojis and comical memes. We’re supposed to be always agreeable, likeable, perfect. But that’s not reality, is it? I remember as a child when my mother would be yelling at us kids over something we’d done. We were always getting into something we shouldn’t, or fighting about stupid stuff—but I was never the instigator, I assure you (if my sister is reading this, I retract this statement). In the middle of Mom’s eardrum-bursting discipline, the phone would ring and she’d answer it with an ever-so-sweet “hello” so that the person on the other line had no idea she had nearly torn her vocal cords a moment earlier. In those moments Mom tucked an ugly reality in the corner while her public presence demonstrated nothing but a calm, happy mirage. (Mom, I totally get this now that I have kids!)

As PRETTY UGLY LIES uses a murder to reveal, life is full of lies, secrets, airing dirty laundry, betrayal, skeletons, pain, loss, frustration… Reality is enough to drive anyone mad. And that’s okay. You’re not alone, I’m not alone. “One day at a time,” Mom always told me. Sometimes one moment at a time is necessary.

So enjoy this self-quiz while you answer the question: What kind of psycho are you? Are you Jo, Ellie, Shayla, or June? And then give yourself a pat on the back for facing who you are without cringing. Hugs from one psycho to another!

[Reality is indeed enough to drive anyone crazy. Thank goodness for books! Thank you so much for stopping by, Pamela! Really enjoyed reading your post!]

abouttheauthor

Pamela Crane is a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him) and she writes on the edge. Writing murder mysteries is her escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and she bases her characters on real people, so be warned! She is a USA Today best-selling author of several award-winning thrillers, which you can find on her website at www.pamelacrane.com.

Author links : Facebook

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The Family at No. 13 by S.D. Monaghan @bookouture #blogblitz

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Family At No. 13 by S.D. Monaghan! Read on for my review, right after the all-important bookish information. My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture!

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Author : S.D. Monaghan
Title : The Family at No. 13
Pages : 310
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 27, 2018

aboutthebook

The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets…

Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

mythoughts

When Connor moves house, he finds himself living next door to the family at number 13.  Soon, he will regret this rash decision and find himself caught up in a sticky web of family secrets. Because his neighbours may look like they have it all but behind closed doors things are very different. Somehow, Connor finds himself right in the middle of something he wishes he’d never been a part of.

The first part of the story admittedly left me a little confused along the way. There seemed to be a lot of sort of cryptic information being thrown my way that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. But there is something immensely compelling about the author’s writing that urged me to keep on reading. Luckily for me, it all did begin to make sense at some point. I’d like to assume that was the author’s intention and not that I’m just slow on the uptake. 😉

This isn’t your typical psychological thriller. In fact, I rather struggle with calling it that at all. Suspenseful, yes. Maybe more drama than thriller? I don’t know. It’s quite deep and incredibly character driven. As such, the pace is rather on the slow side. Sure, there are some twists but they feel like natural events and aren’t intended to dazzle you. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you.

For the most part, we find ourselves digging deep into the complicated dynamics of Mary’s family at number 13. Something amongst the many skeletons in the cupboards causes a major event which the book starts off with, but the who or the why remains a mystery. (Looks like I’m doing the cryptic thing myself now. Sorry.) One I was utterly unable to figure out at all and almost made my jaw hit the floor when it was finally revealed. There are a ton of heartbreaking secrets and certain characters’ attitudes have affected people over the years and the resentment runs deep. The past can have a huge effect on someone and if not dealt with properly, will always come back to haunt you.

Pretty much all the characters are unlikeable, flawed and damaged. I found myself unable to connect to any of them. However, once you get to know them better, it’s obvious why they act the way they do. Minor exception : Finn. Obviously a troubled seventeen year old with some issues but also someone who has no filter whatsoever and made me chuckle with his often immensely inappropriate remarks.

Normally, I prefer stories to be faster paced and with a bit more “oomph” to them. Nevertheless, this is a cleverly written and gripping plot and I enjoyed figuring out the pieces of this damaged family puzzle.

The Family At No. 13 is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

S. D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin before travelling extensively in Asia, Europe and America. After teaching English in Thailand for two years, he moved back to Ireland and gained an honours degree in psychology.

While living in Canada for four years, he studied screenwriting in Toronto. S. D. Monaghan completed the Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin with the editorial guidance of the Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and Orange Prize nominee, Deirdre Madden. On the strength of his work there, he was chosen to represent both the university and the Oscar Wilde Writers’ Centre to read excerpts at the Dublin Publishers Festival and on Dublin Culture Night.

He lives in Dublin with his wife, where he is currently working on his new novel. He is represented by Zoe Ross at United Agents.

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