The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan – Guest Post

Today it is my pleasure to feature a guest post from Phoebe Morgan where she is talking about her favourite characters. I am reading her new novel The Girl Next Door via the pigeonhole app, where you read the novel as a series. I am enjoying the book a lot, and if it allowed me to read quicker I would do. I will tell you about the book first.

About The Book

One little lie just became deadly…

Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.

So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.

Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…

Guest Post

My Top 5 Characters in Psych Thrillers

I work as an editor in my day job so I have read a LOT of psychological thrillers – I’m lucky to read for a living! This is a tough question as there are so many great characters but my top five would have to be…

  1. Paul in Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant – I absolutely LOVED this book, it’s a wonderfully sinister, creepy read and the main character, Paul, really got under my skin. I think Sabine Durrant is one of the most talented writers around, and highly recommend this one in particular. A lot of the books I read feature female protagonists so it was refreshing to have a male voice in this one.
  • Cordelia Russell in Skin Deep by Liz Nugent – Liz Nugent is another fantastic writer and someone I’ll drop everything for. I don’t pre-order that many books (though you should, it really helps authors!) but I do pre-order all of Liz Nugent’s. Cordelia is an amazingly dislikeable character, but she is mesmerising at the same time – and the entire book is based around the message that beauty only goes skin deep. It’s a fascinating portrayal of a very disturbed mind.
  • This is a bit unfair because I helped edit this book, but Wendy in The Fear by C.L. Taylor is a brilliant character. I can’t give too much away but there was a moment when reading Cally’s book when she really gave me the creeps, and it’s stuck in my mind ever since. Cally is the master of creating great female characters.
  • Kate, the barrister in Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan, is another very three dimensional character and there’s a very good twist in the novel that makes you realise nothing is quite what it seems in Kate’s life. The author has clearly done her research as the world of criminal law and the depictions of London are wonderful, and Kate herself carries the narrative flawlessly.
  • Bram Lawson in Our House by Louise Candlish – gosh, this really is a clever book! After reading it I went back and read all of Louise’s backlist whilst on holiday in France, but start with this one as it truly is magnificent. Bram is a man who has made a terrible mistake and got himself into a dangerous mess, but his characters is so deceptive that it’s quite hard to feel sorry for him. His voice really pulls you in and the final few pages made me gasp! Well worth reading. 

The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant – Blog Tour Review.

About the Book

Even the good have to die.
A beloved teacher is murdered and left in a ditch beside a country lane. His wife is found beaten and gagged in their suburban home.

Even the best schools have secrets.
New detective Pippa Adams learns that the teacher ran a homework club for vulnerable pupils. But what did he really teach them?

Even the perfect family has something to hide.
When Pippa scratches the surface of the school community, she meets families who’ve learned a shattering lesson. And finally uncovers the good teacher’s darkest secrets…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The start of the novel is quite tense, a woman handcuffed to a chair and then a body found by a pensioner walking his dog. It doesn’t take long for the two cases to be linked.

Pippa ‘Agatha’ Adams is a new member of the local CID. She has to prove her worth and accepts her nickname with good grace. She has her dreams about how her career and working relationships will be. But the reality isn’t like her dreams. It is harder to be accepted than she imagined and she has to put up with public dressing downs and being on the receiving end of jokes and the occasional insult. There is a strong hint of trauma in her past which influenced her decision to join the police but no real detail.

I liked Pippa and her team. The rivalries, the jokes and the loyalties were all convincing. The author showed that the loyalties had to be earned, the existing team weren’t prepared to give Pippa an easy ride, she had to prove that she was worthy. There was a character, the head teacher who I loathed with a passion. I really hope that he wasn’t a true portrayal of anybody within the education system.

I expected the teacher to be not as good as the title suggests but I was completely wrong about the reasons why. I was also wrong about who the culprit was. It does all work though, I was just duped. It would be great to see this novel become a series, I would love to see Pippa succeed in her job and build on her standing in the team.

The Things We Need To Say by Rachel Burton – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the way things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Things we Need To Say is a lovely but sometimes extremely sad novel. I won’t go into the subject matter, it is one that the reader will appreciate more if they learn like I did, the events what happen throughout their marriage.
But I will say, that the title of this book couldn’t be anything else. If things were spoken about everything could have been different. Not only for Fran and Will but many of the other characters in the novel. Whilst most of the novel does concern Fran and Will and you do hear both sides of their story, the minor characters are also very important in the novel.
I always admire an author who can make the lesser characters feel so important and in this book it is shown that others have bad times as well. That grief isn’t something that just one person goes through, and Fran is shown to want to help others through yoga.
I enjoyed seeing trust and friendships develop, seeing how strangers could open up to each other in the right circumstances. And how by doing so, it showed that there was no wrong way to cope with loss.
Yoga is an activity I know nothing about. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know any of the positions or terminology, it was enough that I could see the benefit that it had. If anybody who reads it is familiar, they will probably see this much more.
A second book by Rachel Burton that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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The Start Of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…
Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…
Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!
Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
The Start of Something Wonderful is a lovely novel that shows it is never too late to follow a dream. When Emily’s boyfriend breaks up with her it makes her realise that the job she had wasn’t what she wanted, despite giving her an often glamorous lifestyle. She decides to train to become an actress and this novel shows how hard but how rewarding her journey was.
At first she struggled, taking acting jobs that could be humiliating but were also well-paying. And she also had to do jobs that would supplement her income. It is from one of these jobs that she finds somebody that she starts to have feelings for.
I found parts of the novel to be very amusing, especially her accounts of working in rep, a scene that involves a bicycle and her memories of the not as glam as you think life as an air stewardess.
I wanted her to find love again, and to be happy. Not to feel that she was letting people down and to give herself a break. And I wanted her dream to become a reality. I wasn’t sure if I felt happy or sad at the end. I’m sure there will be others who feel the same.
A heart warming novel for a miserable January day.

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Lay Me To Rest by E. A. Clark – Blog Blitz Review.

Lay Me to Rest

About the Book

Some secrets never stay buried for long…
Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.
She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…
Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby.

My Review

I would like to thanks the publisher for the copy received.

I’ve always enjoyed paranormal fiction, sometimes I’m disappointed but I’m happy to say that Lay Me To Rest was one that worked for me and I am thrilled that it looks like there will be at least one more book.
Annie has gone to Wales for a few weeks holiday. The farm cottage she is to stay in was recommended by a friend of her sister. Newly widowed and pregnant with her first child she is looking forward to spending a few days on her own before her sister arrives. But straight away she senses a threat. And it is not one from the living. Whilst some of the occurences seem almost poltergeist they are not the only strange things to happen. The spirits are not just in the cottage, they follow her and seem to want to her help. Even though she has never believed in ghosts she knows that there is something wrong and tries to work out what has happened in the past and how she can be left alone. As well as the paranormal activity there is also a disappearance and Annie’s attempts to rebuild her life.
I liked Annie, she was finding it difficult to deal with decisions she had made in the past and was struggling to move on after the death of her husband. I could only admire her will, coping with what was happening in the cottage and knowing that she had to be strong for her unborn child. Many of the other characters were also likeable and just how I imagine them to be in a rural setting.
I was a little confused when the events in Wales were resolved earlier than expected, but life continued to be unusual for Annie when she was back home. This part of the storyline was if anything more sinister than earlier in the book and left me in anticipation for what was to come.
Strong characters, plenty of ghosts and a cracking storyline, I can’t wait to read more.

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