Review: Good Me Bad Me

October 31, 2017 in Book Reviews, Crime, Psychological Thriller

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Good Me Bad MeGood Me Bad Me by Ali Land
Published by Michael Joseph on 12th January 2017
Genres: Psychological, Crime
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

How far does the apple really fall from the tree?

Milly's mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother's trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother's daughter.

Good Me Bad Me is one of those books that I’ve been seeing all over social media with the general consensus being that readers found it hard to put it down – they were so right!

15-year-old Milly’s mother is a serial killer, and the only person who knows is Milly. It’s Milly who finally tells the police, Milly who is the sole witness and the only person who can see her mother brought to justice.

Milly isn’t her real name though. She’s been given a new identity to help to protect her from the huge media attention and contempt of the public. Only a handful of people know her history – his foster parents and her new headteacher.

She has been put in the care of Mike, a psychologist, and his family as she prepares for the upcoming trial. But Mike’s own teenage daughter, Phoebe, is less than pleased by Milly’s presence, even without knowing her history. Phoebe makes life even harder for Milly as she tries to forge a new life in a new city, a new school, a new family away from her mother’s abusive control.

This book is so hard to put down Told from Milly’s perspective we see a teenage girl trying to fit into a new life, a new school and make new friends. That in itself is a journey, a challenge for any teenager. But then we have the impact of Milly’s history, her battles not to miss the woman who has controlled her life, the woman who has murdered innocent children. We see Milly’s internal battle as she fears she is just like her mother and her preparation for trial, facing that woman again and doing all she can for her mother’s victims.

The writing style in this novel is very interesting and clever, Land adopts a style which seems to reflect the nature of Milly’s mind and further the reader’s experience.

There are so many issues packed into this book, I can in no way do them justice here – strained parental relationships, jealousy, self-harm, drug use, sexual abuse, bullying, all entwined within the story of one 15-year-old.

This is a truly gripping psychological thriller which, though it can be hard to read at times, and is maybe therefore not for everyone, is one that I can’t stop thinking about.


Blog Tour & Review: Dark Water

September 29, 2016 in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Psychological Thriller

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour & Review: Dark WaterDark Water by Sara Bailey
Published by Nightingale Editions on 3rd October 2016
Genres: Psychological
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Still haunted by the disappearance of her blood-sister, Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident - Helena must carefully navigate the island that made her, and the old faces that still ask: what really happened that night by the wrecks?





I’m so excited to be a stop on the Dark Water blog tour today! I’ve had the pleasure of reading this novel and it’s a beauty! As I write this the wind is battering the windows and the rain is almost horizontal and I can’t help but feel this is the perfect atmosphere in which to sit down and read Dark Water.



At her father’s behest Helena returns to Orkney to visit. She hasn’t been back there for ten years, not since Anastasia. But her father’s had a heart attack; he needs her. So she leaves her luxurious London life for her childhood home of Orkney.

Upon her return she finally has to face her past, see all those folk she hasn’t spoken to for ten years, and deal with her stepmother, Kate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As an islander myself I could relate to much of the story – identifying someone with an umbrella as clearly not an islander made me chuckle. It’s a story shrouded in mystery, a slow, meandering tale that, I think, reflects island life.

Most of the story is told through Helena and we traverse time from the present day back to her teenage years. This is how we uncover the story of Helena’s life: the tale of her teenage years, friends, boyfriends, and her return to the island. We see her meeting those faces from the past, one of whom is Dylan, her teenage boyfriend. There are occasional passages written as Dylan, as well as other sections from the point of view of Helena’s stepmother, Kate. Personally, I really enjoyed this narrative style. Bailey absolutely captures and conveys the life of an island teenager -the dramas, the inability to keep anything secret, and that question about the future – to leave the island for college / university or stay with everyone you know and love.

Likewise, Bailey captures that feeling of visiting home when you’ve been away for a while. I had to laugh when Helena saw kids that she felt she knew, turning out to be children of her childhood peers. This is so true; it happens to me all the time!

As for the writing itself, it’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Bailey’s writing beautifully sets the island scene. Her writing is very readable and totally immersive.

If you’re looking for a fast paced novel, then this isn’t one for you. If however you want a story full of emotion, of teenage angst, the challenges of adulthood, of tragedy, heartache, parental relationships, loss and friendship then I definitely recommend this stunning debut novel. I’ve never been to Orkney but I felt I could see it through Bailey’s writing.

All in all, this a great novel to curl up with on an autumnal evening. It’ll draw you in from the outset and you won’t be able to put it down.


Review: The Vanishing Year

September 26, 2016 in Book Reviews, Psychological Thriller, Thriller

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Vanishing YearThe Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
Published by Titan on 27th September 2016
Genres: thriller
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan's social elite. She is on the board of one of the city's most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe's life was in danger. Back then Zoe wasn't Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she - whoever she is - vanishes completely.

Zoe Whittaker lives a privileged life. She shares a New York penthouse apartment with her husband Henry, who lavishes her with gifts and treats. Her life hasn’t always been like this though. Back when Zoe was someone else she was broke, alone and fearing for her life.

It’s five years on though and she’s made a new life for herself. However, when an attempt is made on her life, she starts to wonder if her past has finally caught up with her.

I found The Vanishing Year to be extremely readable. It’s a book that kept me thinking, constantly trying to unpick the mystery. While I did guess part of the story, I certainly didn’t preempt it all.

I enjoyed Moretti’s storytelling, her attention to detail, her ability to make you question each of her characters, and to throw in twists that will likely blindside you.

It’s a quick, consuming read that will keep you engrossed right up until the final page.

That’s it… I’m telling you no more! I refuse to say anything that could spoil this book for you.

Be sure to pop back tomorrow when Kate Moretti will be visiting Strupag as part of her blog tour!



Review: Lie With Me

July 28, 2016 in Book Reviews, Psychological Thriller

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Lie With MeLie With Me by Sabine Durrant
Published by Mulholland on 28th July 2016
Genres: Psychological
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Paul Morris is running out of money, friends and second chances. His literary success of his early 20s is now a distant memory and his new relationship might be his last hope of happiness.

Alice is not like any of the women he's pursued in the past: wealthy, lonely, driven and with links to the heady days of his youth. When Alice invites Paul to her holiday home in Greece with friends and family, he decides to do whatever it takes to make the romance stick.

But the summer is not the idyll he had planned: members of the party seem far from happy about Paul's presence and soon the pool becomes a tableau of tension and unspoken grudges.

To further aggravate the situation, ten years ago, a thirteen-year-old girl went missing on the island, and now a fresh sighting and another attack unsettle the long hot days. It soon becomes apparent that Paul may not be the only person with an agenda... and his dreams of a life worth living may yet turn into a nightmare he cannot escape.

Upon reading the synopsis for this book, I was intrigued. I love a good psychological thriller and the incorporation of a Greek island setting made me pick this up for a summer read. I think it’s pretty perfect as that – an easy to read book that will capture and retain your interest from the outset.

It’s a fairly slow moving novel, which is absolutely fine if that’s what you are in the mood for. The pace certainly picks up towards the end though. As ever, I want to avoid spoilers at all costs, so I won’t dwell on the content of this book for long.

Paul Morris is our narrator. He is reflecting upon what has happened to him, wondering where it all started and simultaneously allowing us to uncover his story. I actually really enjoyed this style of storytelling.

Durrant is clever with Paul’s character. We are never entirely sure of his motives; can we believe what he is telling us? Paul’s womanising nature, his eyeing up of young girls, his conquests and flirtations made him a very difficult character for me to like. I’ve no doubt that this is intentional by Durrant. She balances this side of his character by showing us his vulnerabilities and emotions. Honestly, at times I was repulsed by this man and at others I wanted to give him a hug.

I enjoyed Durrant’s writing. Her descriptions made me feel like I was in that dreary London weather or holidaying on that Greek isle.

Did this novel surprise me? Yes, it did. I think with a novel of this nature you are always trying to solve the mystery as it were, before it’s revealed to you. I had theories, quite a few in fact, but I was wrong!

All-in-all, this is an absorbing, unnerving read. It isn’t action packed but you will become caught up in the story. I hesitate to use that term ‘beach-read’ but I do think this would make a good holiday read. It’s engrossing, well written and easy to read.


Review: All Is Not Forgotten

July 15, 2016 in Book Reviews, Psychological Thriller

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: All Is Not ForgottenAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Published by Mira on 14th July 2016
Genres: Psychological, thriller
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher

You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime. Jenny's wounds have healed. An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it's not working out. Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can't stop touching. And she's getting worse. Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial. It may be that the only way to uncover what's wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack. And that could destroy as much as it heals

A teenage girl is brutally raped when she attends a house party. She is found in the woods by the house and taken to hospital. It’s here that the decision is made to give her a treatment that will result in her having no memory of the assault.

Almost a year on, the girl is struggling with life. She has no memory of the rape, but her body itself remembers. Furthermore, her attacker has never been found, a fact that her father in particular struggles with.

So the girl, Jenna, begins seeing a psychologist who offers to help her uncover the memories that the treatment has hidden from her.

Our narrator throughout is the psychologist, Alan. Not only does he treat Jenna and her parents, but also an ex Navy SEAL who is trying to uncover his own traumatic memories that were “removed” by the same treatment.

Using the psychologist as the narrator is a brilliant idea. We see his interactions with all of the characters, his feelings towards them and consequently we uncover the story.

Walker definitely sucked me in with Alan. He makes for an interesting narrator. I guess at first his status as a doctor made me trust him and his storytelling, but I slowly realised his role as an “unreliable narrator”. I started the novel liking him well enough, but soon his pompous, self-defined intellectual superiority over others emerged and grated on me. Walker cleverly takes us through a range of emotions with Alan. By the end I truly didn’t know how I felt about him.

It might seem obvious, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t highlight that this is a novel about a rape. It’s graphic and uncomfortable to read at times, and so this isn’t going to be a book for everyone.

I found myself unable to put this book down. Alan’s unreliable narrating style kept me reading. I was fascinated by his relationship with not only his patients, but the other characters in this novel.

The whole concept around a drug / treatment that removes the memories of a trauma was something I found very interesting. The associated physical and psychological impacts, as told through the story, were fascinating. I think it’s important to say too that any technical aspects in this novel were well explained – at least as far as I’m concerned. I’m no doctor!

Basically, I couldn’t stop reading this book. I was drawn in from the outside and I just needed to find out more. The nature of the subject matter lent itself to narration by a psychologist, something that I personally think worked very well. All in all, I think this is book that will stay with me for quite some time.