Book review: You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

Friday, April 16, 2021 Permalink

I’m generally a quick reader but You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes, the latest in the series featuring the charming psychopath Joe Goldberg, took me a long time (ie. several sittings) to read.

I’m not sure if I wasn’t sufficiently engaged, or if it’s because her style of writing requires significant focus and I can’t skim as I’m wont to do.

Despite that I enjoyed this book, certainly more than the second in the series, Hidden Bodies which I found to be rather inconsistent – in terms of its plot and pacing.

three-half-stars

Book review: Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Friday, April 9, 2021 Permalink

One of the biggest problems with a book getting rave reviews or media attention is that readers’ expectations are heightened. That was certainly the case for me going into Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone. In fact there’s a glowing quote by Stephen King on the front cover and I’ve seen him praise it elsewhere.

Of course one of his novellas, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, features prominently in this book, but I don’t think he’d be that easily cajoled.

three-half-stars

Book review: Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

Sunday, March 28, 2021 Permalink

Every Vow You Break is the fifth book I’ve read by US author Peter Swanson and ever since his debut, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, he’s offered readers something a little different. A little off-centre.

His latest is no different. In fact he’s written it in a way that the introduction misleads readers completely. I wasn’t quite sure who I should be trusting or believing. In some ways, he offers us an anti-hero who ends up being a bad guy. Like Clark Kent becoming The Joker. Or something.

three-half-stars

Book review: Other People’s Houses by by Kelli Hawkins

Saturday, March 6, 2021 Permalink

Other People’s Houses by by Kelli Hawkins is an intriguing and bittersweet tale of loss, grief and obsession. It could be akin to breakdown porn as readers get a front-row seat to the disintegration of someone’s mental health. However Hawkins handles lead character Kate with respect and sensitivity. This book is being compared to Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train and I suspect it’s due to the similarities between Kate and TGOTT’s Rachel. Not only are both heavy drinkers, but they indulge in risky and obsessive behaviour… even though they know better. Both authors however, treat their leads sympathetically.

four-stars

Book review: The Dare by Lesley Kara

Thursday, February 25, 2021 Permalink

I haven’t read Lesley Kara’s well-received 2018 release, The Rumour but I did enjoy Who Did You Tell, published in early 2020. Now I’ve read her latest book it’s obvious she’s drawn to themes reflecting hidden pasts and long-buried secrets.

The Dare is a twisty read that lures readers into a false sense of complacency before throwing our trust back in our faces. It has us questioning how well we (actually) know some of the lead characters.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor

Thursday, February 18, 2021 Permalink

They were a few weeks apart but it bodes well for 2021 that I read two books that I’m rating an easy 4.5 stars – a very rare honour in my world. The first was Linwood Barclay’s new release Find You First and the second, The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor.

This is the third book I’ve read by Tudor but I don’t think it’d appeared in any new release catalogues that I recall so I sent a query after seeing her talk about the book on Twitter. I’d missed her 2020 release, The Other People, but heard great things about it. And thank god I chased for a copy because I freakin’ loved this book. There’s a fabulous twist early and they really don’t stop coming.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Paris Affair by Pip Drysdale

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 Permalink

I read Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl when it was released in 2018 and her subsequent novel of suspense The Strangers We Know the following year. Both feature flawed but engaging narrators and relationships-gone-bad, with themes around trust and disappointment.

The Paris Affair initially had me comparing it to Netflix’s Emily in Paris, given there’s a slightly similar feel to the early pages with a confident and ambitious Harper heading off to Paris to work for an English-language French publication. When we meet her she’s keen to wow the world but struggling to find her feet professionally.

Here however, we’ve got the added bonus of a murder. So, Emily in Paris meets The Girl on the Train. Perhaps.

four-stars

Book review: Girl A by Abigail Dean

Friday, January 15, 2021 Permalink

There’s been a bit of buzz around Girl A by Abigail Dean. That can be both a good and bad thing. I read it earlier than planned as I was excited about it, but at the same time I probably had heightened expectations as a result.

For much of this book I wasn’t sure if I was reading about a cult, or about kidnapped children. Dean keeps it pretty vague for a while and readers are on edge, recognising that we don’t have the full story. Waiting for more.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Therapist by BA Paris

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 Permalink

The Therapist is the third book I’ve read by BA Paris and both others, Bring Me Back and The Dilemma, were edge-of-your-seat reads.

Our main narrator for The Therapist is Alice who’s recently moved with her partner into a new enclave in London, called The Circle. It sounds a bit Steptoe Wife-like but it isn’t. The couples living there are all quite different albeit slightly insular in the gated community.

three-half-stars