Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.

Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.

Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.

But just how far will she go to get it? 

You’ll be riveted by the new psychological suspense from Nikki Smith – a gripping gut-punch of a novel . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Look What You Made Me Do is an excellent second novel by this author, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading both this and the earlier book All In Her Head. And like that book, the synopsis doesn’t fully reflect the full storyline. This is how they should be, far too often too much detail is given and I really enjoyed finding the snippets that weren’t revealed.

Whilst most of the focus in the novel is on the two sisters it wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t expect to have so much sympathy for Caroline and to feel the same fear that she felt when she was near her husband Rob. The abuse shown wasn’t through assault alone, here there was slyness and control. Even over something as simple as a jar of coffee. But I felt that she was planning something and I wasn’t convinced it involved inheritance. I found her story difficult to read but very compelling. 

Jo’s life was completely different but she also had issues. She’d had problems with eating disorders in her past, a very strange relationship with her mother which I had misunderstood for much of the novel and a husband who she felt disconnected from. I wished that both sisters could be there for each other but they had never been close. 

It’s a fascinating novel that shows you never know what goes on behind closed doors. 

All In Her Head by Nikki Smith- Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Her life is a pack of lies. But what if she is the liar?

Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work.

She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why.

Then the mention of one name brings a whole lifetime of memories rushing back in. 

Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. All In Her Head is a book that left me reeling. The first part was as I expected, with two different narrators, Ali and Jack, a married couple who for some reason are apart. I suspected conflict of some kind, possibly one afraid of the other. But as I read more, and the reasons why they were living apart became clearer I realised very quickly that what I was reading was completely different, and this novel was a lot more than what I was expecting.

As the story progressed it switched narrator at crucial moments and I needed to carry on reading to find out what happened next. This happened with both characters and it was done brilliantly. Often it doesn’t work well or feel natural but it is a long time since I have felt so tense when reading. I felt fear, frustration and sadness and I can’t even say why. This is a novel which you need to read knowing as little as possible about it. 

An absolutely wonderful novel to read during lockdown, I raced through it.

My Top Ten Books of 2019

The time has come again to face an impossible task of narrowing the 117 books I have read into a top ten list. As always it was difficult to do but I have managed and I will list them in no particular order. Apart from my favourite book of the year which I will reveal at the end. You can see my review for each book by clicking on the title.

Expectation by Anna Hope.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman.

The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Red Snow by Will Dean

From The City, From The Plough by Alexander Baron

On My Life by Angela Clarke

The Taking Of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman

My Book of 2019

Turbulent Wake by Paul. E Hardisty

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago. 

When she shot her husband in the head five times. 

Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word. 

It’s time to find out why.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had been trying to read this book for months and finally got the chance a few weeks ago. I can honestly say it was well worth the wait, and I now want to read it again. Just to see how well I was duped! The outcome of the original and well written book was one that I definitely didn’t see coming.

The novel consists of a diary written by Alicia, accounts of the consultations between her and her therapist Theo, insight into Theo’s private life and the politics in the increasingly dubious Grove establishment where Alicia spends her life. It was one of those novels where I struggled to work out how I felt about the characters. Everybody who came into contact with Alicia seemed to dislike her, but from her diary I struggled to see why. The more I read, the more inclined I was to disregard their opinions.

Theo was an enigma. Obviously deeply affected by his childhood and facing problems in his marriage I felt I only saw the real character when he opened up to Ruth. In his interactions with his work colleagues and the other patients he seemed cold, aloof and demanding. None of the staff at The Grove seemed like they really cared about their patients. All of them seemed more interested in their own standing or making sure that procedures were being adhered to by the centre manager. It was slightly unsettling at times how uncaring it seemed.

The ending was a complete shock and was very clever. Out of everything I expected to read it wasn’t this. Even better that it all worked and made sense. It will make an excellent movie.

What She Saw Last Night by M. J. Cross – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A secret that could kill her.

A truth no one believes…

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night. 

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl. 

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book have read by Mason Cross and it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the events take place in the UK. Even though some of the novel is city based it made a nice change to read a novel that showed somewhere different. Much of this novel takes place in a more remote setting, one that without the danger that Jenny found herself in, sounded amazing.

When Jenny travelled North it was to deal with the sale of her family home and find some personal space after her marriage broke down. She booked the sleeper train, hoping to find it more relaxing but the events that occured made it far from peaceful. Despite assurances form the local police that she mistaken about what she witnessed she refuses to accept that she was wrong and starts her own investigation into what happened. But she is unprepared for the danger she places herself in.

I liked Jenny a lot, her refusal to back down and her bravery in dealing with the increasing danger she found herself in almost immediately. And, especially when faced with Klenmore, one of the scariest bad guys I have ever met in fiction.

At times it felt like classic train noir. An emotionally exhausted traveller, a harassed young woman with a little girl, a feeling that the lone male traveller is sinister. One ends up dead, two never there. An old fashioned journey, no wifi, intermittent phone signal, little comfort in a poky room. It could have sounded like an unattractive journey but I found it fascinating, a blast from the past and despite the events it made me interested in doing a journey like this.

A great standalone introduction to Mason Cross, I have another of his books to read soon.