Little Liar by Lisa Ballantyne

Little Liar Lisa BallantyneNick Dean loves his family.  He has gorgeous wife and two beautiful young children.  Life couldn’t be better – until it couldn’t get any worse.  An acting coach who specialises in working with teenagers, one of his students has accused him of abuse.  And everyone believes her, even – eventually – his wife.  Nick swears he’s innocent but it seems that, despite there being no evidence, he is considered guilty until proved innocent.

Angela, Nick’s accuser, loves her family too, they just don’t make her happy.  Her parents are divorced and she is struggling to cope with the break up.  She’s eating too much and unhappy with how she looks.  Kids at school pick on her and she reacts by striking out.  The police look at her and see a vulnerable child very much at risk of being abused.  She is believed immediately, as she should be, but then – after her first statement – refused to say more.

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

when the lights go outWhen Jessie wakes up to find her mom has died she isn’t surprised (they have spent the last few days in a hospital room and her mom has cancer), she is – however – devastated that she didn’t get to spend her mom’s last few moments with her.

She isn’t sure she can sleep again, and she doesn’t.  Instead, she spends the next ten days becoming increasingly frantic as she tries to unpick her mom’s last words to her and understand why, when she tries to go through her mom’s paperwork, she can’t find any evidence she has ever existing.

The more tired she becomes, the more difficult it is for her to work out what is real and what isn’t, meaning it’s the same for you as a reader.  It’s all very confusing, and not – I’m afraid – always in a good way, as least not for me.

I am sad to say that this is the first Mary Kubica book I haven’t absolutely loved. First up, there is story which is told through Jessie’s eyes and those of her mom. I really enjoyed her mom’s chapters, which I found intriguing and held great promise. Jessie’s frantic nature grated on me a fair bit and I struggled to make sense of it. Then, about halfway through, I figured it out and hoped that I wasn’t right because it made the ending seem like such a cop out.

I really wanted more, a tale with the type of twist I have come to expect from Kubica and characters I found compelling. And I did get that, I guess, just only half the time. It’s a shame and I have a feeling I might be in the majority here but this book just wasn’t for me. Sorry!

About the book…

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 23rd August, 2018

Genre: psychological thriller

Rating: 3 out of 5

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

Do Not Disturb Claire Douglas.jpgKirsty and Adrian need a break. He’s been suffering from severe depression and their whole family have been suffering as a result, walking on eggshells and watching him like a hawk.

Leaving London and starting a B&B might not be everyone’s idea of a break, but it’s theirs – a long held dream they can’t resist when a house comes on the market in a small Welsh town. So, with the help of Kirsty’s mother, they move in and welcome their first guests.

Any hope of a successful first few weeks are shattered however when Kirsty’s cousin and niece arrive, fleeing an abusive husband, and then her cousin (Selena) ends up dead. There’s no spoiler here as it happens in the first few pages. What happens next though is one of those stories it’s hard to describe without giving anything away.

Cleaning Up The TBR #5

Back in November last year, I did my first “Cleaning Up the TBR” post, something I first saw over on Fictionophile, who had seen it on Lost in a Story, and thought it was a really good idea. I know I’m not the only one who thought the same as I was seeing it everywhere so I am glad to jump on the bandwagon. Hopefully no one will mind 🙂

The idea is you take your Goodreads TBR list, sort by ascending date added, and look at the oldest five to ten items on your list. If you haven’t read them by now, are you likely to? Why or why not? If you want to keep them, make the case. This is my fifth visit to the list so far, with the last one in May. Here’s what’s next on the list…

Her Watchful Eye by Julie Corbin

her watchful eye julie corbinI don’t like CCTV cameras at the best of times – they always make me feel more versus less wary when I’m out.  Having read Her Watchful Eye, I’m now even more convinced I would get rid of them all if I had a chance.  Mainly because Ruby – one of the main characters in Julie Corbin’s new book – uses them to spy on her a young woman rather when she should be using them to prevent crime.

I get why she does it and I sort of don’t blame her.  But at the same time it’s pretty creepy.  It’s how Hannah (the young woman being spied on) feels when she finds out, though her reaction is not quite what you might expect. 

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

cross her heart sarah pinboroughWhen Lisa finds a children’s stuffed toy outside her house, she knows something is wrong.  Very wrong.  Only one person could have left it, and they aren’t supposed to know where she is.  Panic rises – and builds even more when things that mean nothing to anyone but her keep happening.

It’s no wonder she is paranoid.  And no wonder she is driving her daughter – 16 year old Ava – crazy with her constant need to know where she is and what she is doing.  It’s also no wonder that Ava rebels, doing almost the opposite of what her mum asks her to do.

With this type of set-up, you know things aren’t going to go well for either Lisa or Ava.  The question is how is it all going to go pear-shaped and why.  Does it have something to do with Lisa’s secrets, or the ones her best friend Marilyn is hiding? Whose past is about to rear its ugly head?

The Fear by C. L . Taylor

The Fear

When Lou’s father dies, and after a bad break-up with her boyfriend, she decides to up sticks, leaving London and returning to her childhood home, one she hasn’t been back to for 18 years.

Given what happened when she was last there, it’s possibly not the smartest idea, but she feels she needs to to confront her demons and start living her life again.

The what happened is she ran away with her teacher, a much older man.  Or at least that’s the cliff notes version.  As The Fear unfolds, so does Lou’s story, which is much more frightening than it first appears and explains a lot about why she is who she is.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Let me Lie

Let Me Lie is another book by Clare Mackintosh that is hard to describe because one wrong word and you let out a plot twist – and possibly spoil the book for anyone who hasn’t read it.

It starts with Anna, home with her eight year old daughter Ella and mourning the loss of her mother a year earlier and her father seven months before that.  Both committed suicide, jumping off the cliffs at Beachy Head.

Or, at least the police and coroner say they committed suicide; Anna isn’t so sure and, when a card telling her to think again turns up on her doorstep, she becomes convinced her parents were murdered. Now, to persuade the police.

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

Bring me backFinn’s life seems pretty perfect.  He has money, a house in the country and a beautiful and caring fiancé.  Things probably couldn’t get much better, especially when you think that ten years previously he had been suspected of murdering his then-girlfriend, Layla, while they on vacation.

No body was found though and the evidence there was, was circumstantial.  Slowly, he rebuilt his life till he found himself where he was now – happy, or as happy as he thinks he can be, and waiting to get married.

Then he comes home to find his fiancé, Ellen, in a strange mood.  She’s found a small Russian doll on the wall outside their house.  A doll that looks remarkably like the one she always thought her sister, Layla, stole from her when they were children.  Yes, the same Layla that Finn was dating.  Do you get the feeling that things might be about to get complicated?

Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan

Everything liesWhen Sophia gets a late-night call from her mom asking her to come home, she does what she always does – puts it down to her mom’s usual erratic behaviour. Putting her mom off, she tells her she’s had too much to drink and will drive over the next day, which she duly does only to find her mom (Nina) dead and her dad seriously injured, with knife wounds to the stomach.

While her dad lies in a coma, unable to tell them what happened, the police rule Nina’s death a suicide – something Sophia can’t get her head around and can’t bring herself to believe.  Her mom may have been many things, but suicidal is not one of them.

Things become even more confusing – and interesting – when a letter arrives from a publisher, confirming they will be publishing Nina’s book and asking when they’ll be sent the final chapters.  Nina, Sophia discovers, has been writing her memoir and it’s much more interesting than anyone could have imagined.  The question Sophia needs to answer though is was it interesting enough to kill Nina for?