Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney #BookReview

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Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

Alice Feeney outsmarted me once again. It’s clever, very clever indeed how the author twisted the story in Rock Paper Scissors.

Amelia and Adam are having some marriage problems and the weekend away at Blackwater Chapel – the most remote place you can imagine – is their last hope to salvage their marriage. From the beginning I was wondering if either of them really wanted to though if the thoughts they’re having about each other in the car ride to their destination were anything to go by. Even before they set foot at their retreat I learned that Amelia lied to her husband claiming he forgot to pack his phone so I wondered what else she would lie about with just as much ease?

While following the couple around in this strange, creepy place and witnessing how their marriage is barely holding up, it did make me wonder how they reached this lowpoint. Inspired by Adam’s manuscript Rock Paper Scissors where a man writes letters to his wife, even after her death, Adam’s wife decides to do the same for each year of their marriage. I think I enjoyed these letters most of all in this novel – they are titled with the traditional wedding gift for that year and a not so commonly known ‘Word of the Year’ so I took away quite a few things from this book – because the letters were a means to let me have a peek into their marriage and all the trials and tribulations that they faced. Adam’s focus on writing a screenplay for the famous author Henry Winter made him forget to spend time with his wife and she in return struggled with the fact that they didn’t have children yet… Even though I was suspicious of Amelia’s intentions towards her husband during their stay, the letters indicated she was sincere and someone to root for.

But then another voice enters into the story, someone who’s watching that couple and I had no idea who it was or if this person meant to do them harm (before they harmed each other really). The author gives the story a big spin from there and this mysterious person was tied into the story in unexpected ways. Henry Winter, the author Adam had put on a pedestal plays a bigger part in all of this too but I’ll let you discover the rest of his personal story.

I have enjoyed all of Feeney’s novel and she has written another winner for me with a great twist that even I didn’t see coming. Clever, very clever indeed.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas #BookReview

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When Saffron Cutler and boyfriend Tom move into 9 Skelton Place, they didn’t expect to find this.

Two bodies, buried under the patio over thirty years ago.

When the police launch a murder investigation, they ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner – Saffy’s grandmother, Rose, whose Alzheimer’s clouds her memory.

But it is clear she remembers something . . .

What happened thirty years ago?
What part did her grandmother play?
And is Saffy now in danger? . . .

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I’m so sorry I didn’t pick this one up sooner, what a great read!

The Couple at No.9 tells an intriguing story of three generations of women of the same family, Saffy (24 years old), Lorna (her mother and grandmother to be at 41) and Rose (Saffy’s grandmother, aged 78). When Rose settled into a retirement home Saffy and her partner Tom (and Rose’s little doggie Snowy) moved into the little cottage she owned in Beggar’s Nook. And what’s in a name, it’s as if it is meant to be, at Skelton Place they actually find 2 skeletons in the back garden. Who are they and who killed them? It’s clear that they’ve been there for a while so did anything happen in the ’80s when Rose was living there?

They try asking Rose about it but her answers are making no sense at all. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the things she shared. She’s talking about Sheila and Jean and a Victor… but who are these people? Even with the alternating chapters in the past recounting the days of Rose and a 2 year old Lorna there are no such characters involved in their lives. The only thing I did feel strongly was that Rose was very protective of her daughter and that she had run away from someone. When she meets this woman called Daphne she feels a kinship and she can’t help it, she lets her in her life. Does that mean the start of their undoing? 

I had no idea who the two bodies were, my super sleuthing skills were failing me terribly, Claire Douglas is just so good at not giving anything away before the right moment comes. I can’t say anything else then that you don’t know anything when reading this novel and I’m convinced there’s no fortune teller who will be able to predict the truth of the matter at heart. This is not a simple whodunnit but there’s a whole history about these women’s past peeled back as layers of an onion. So many questions were raised and so many of these answers gave the story an unexpected twist.  

Claire Douglas is an auto-buy author for me and she doesn’t have to fear that will change in the future. I have enjoyed every single book that I have read of hers so far and with The Couple at No.9 she delivered a smart, sharp and compelling novel once again.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is as always my honest opinion.

Of dog walkers and yoga retreats: Sleeping Dogs Lie by Samantha Downing | The Getaway by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen #AudioBookReviews

AudioBookReviews

I chose two short novellas (around 2 hours of listening time each) because I love reading books written by these authors and I wanted to see if their audiobooks would be equally brilliant.

SleepingDogsLie

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Shelby works as a dog walker in northern California, and she’s just finished up her bi-weekly trip to the park with a husky named Pluto. When she brings him back to his house, she finds his owner – Todd Burke, a well-known local businessman and founder of an organic supplements company – lying on the bathroom floor, dead. A detective arrives on the scene. As she interviews Shelby, the body is inspected by a medical examiner, and more cops search Todd’s home, it becomes clear that the victim’s life was less picture-perfect than his clean-cut persona might lead you to believe.

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If you love animals you’ll enjoy listening to this audiobook. I normally give novellas a miss but I fell for the mention of the author and the dog in Sleeping Dogs Lie. The author managed to create an entertaining mystery about the murder of a husky’s owner. Pluto seemed like a goofy and affectionate dog, especially with his interest in neighbouring little doggie Daisy. I didn’t expect the dog and his dog walker to be so front and center of the story but I loved that it revolves around them. Pluto’s owners had joined custody, his neighbour wanted him to leave his dog alone and threatened to kill Pluto…  So who killed Todd? Detective Grady tries to make sense of it all. There are a few suspects but I totally didn’t expect this outcome. Great twist and motive!

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TheGetaway

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Prepare yourself for a transformative experience. Sometimes, life’s setbacks contain hidden gifts. Here at Lakewood, you’ll find the space to unwrap them.

A weekend at the Lakewood Retreat is exactly what Chloe Powell needs. Freshly unemployed after her boss loses a reelection campaign, the former press secretary desperately wants a break from the bustle of Washington, DC. A flier posted at her yoga studio leads her to the getaway, which looks amazing: Organic meals, celebrity testimonials, and a serene private property within driving distance of the city.

It’s so perfect, in fact, that Chloe’s barely bothered by the intensely personal questions she’s asked in her application, or the unnerving social experiments her enigmatic host, Sebastian, imposes on her once she arrives at his remote cabin. But when a mysterious new guest shows up, Chloe can no longer suppress her rising panic: This place is not at all what it seems.

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star three and a half

Another duo that knows how to deliver unexpected twists. Unfortunately, for some reason and especially knowing what this author duo is capable of, I expected more from it. It started off really good, I was hooked at the start and alarm bells went off as soon as Chloé arrived at the retreat. There was that unsettling feeling where you can’t put your finger on what is wrong exactly hanging in the air and possible scenarios were trying to take form in my head. When another guest finally arrives it became clear what was going on but I didn’t feel as excited with this twist as I should have been. The tension was ramped up in the end and I did cheer Chloé along. This was ok but you’re not missing out if you haven’t listened to this.

I downloaded these audiobooks from Audible for free, as part of my membership. Do let me know what your thoughts were if you have listened to these audiobooks in the past!

He Started It by Samantha Downing #BookReview

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No one knows you better than your family. They know your hopes and dreams. And your darkest secrets.

This is a story about three siblings. It’s about a secret they’ve all kept since they were children. It’s a story about lying. A story about murder. A story where only one can win…

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Thank you to my blog friend Jonetta for making me pick up one of Samantha Downing’s novels! Well the year has certainly ended on a high note with this novel! He Started It is a novel about a road trip. Scratch that, it’s a novel about a power trip, both in the present and past storyline.

After their grandpa died Beth, along with her siblings Eddie and Portia stand to inherit his estate, car and liquid funds. All they have to do to receive their inheritance is go on a road trip. Well not just any road trip but THE road trip, following the exact same route as the only other road trip they went on when they were children and their grandpa took them on to give their parents time alone to sort their differences.

He Started It is filled to the brim with secrets and lies, the characters are generally untrustworthy and greedy. Her older brother Eddie is a charming asshole, her younger sister Portia stole from her even when she was 6 years old so she might be up to her old tricks in the present. As for Beth herself, she doesn’t call herself a good person, she makes it clear from the start that she’s not hero, and she really isn’t a good person either but in the end I did still feel for her! Mission accomplished you amazing author!

This was literally the road trip from hell, it all starts going haywire fairly soon when they feel they are being followed by another car, but who and why? Are they even being followed or is it also a lie, Beth doesn’t know for sure. Strange things do start to happen when they’re not looking, things go missing, but is it an outsider or an insider… you just don’t know! On top of that the author drops plenty of twists and turns in the past roadtrip as well with great shock value. It only added to the suspense and it had me question every few pages what went wrong on that first roadtrip and what secret they’re not talking about.

This was unlike any other roadtrip I ever read about and I loved every second of this crazy trip. Maybe I would have liked it more if Beth was the one good person but in this family, how could she? I had no idea how this would end and this novel managed to surprise me right up to when I read the very last lines.

I can’t believe it’s only the first novel I read by Samantha Downing, but it will certainly not be my last! If you enjoy unpredictable stories, then you really need to add this one to your list!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel via Amazon. This is my honest opinion.

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier #BookReview

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Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.

Permanently.

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I loved reading Jar of Hearts, the first title by this author that I read back in 2018. Little Secrets was published in 2020 and I recently found out that Jennifer Hillier has a new novel on the way in 2022 called Things We Do In The Dark which sounds pretty amazing so I wanted to get up to speed before this new title arrives. This is mainly why I decided to read this as my next book pick.

I really enjoyed Little Secrets even if it has a very different feel and style compared to Jar of Hearts. After I finished reading it I can attest she’s still this brilliant writer who very well knows what she’s doing, luring everyone in like she did in Little Secrets and then captivating you with the small cast, only to circle back in the end to show how it all fits together.

Even if I was expecting something a little differently, with perhaps more high tension throughout the story, it did pull me in right away with the brutal abduction of Marin and Derek’s little boy Sebastian in the first pages. The adrenaline dies down quite abruptly then though with Marin attending a group counseling session where the author seemed to want to have the reader hear from missing children’s parents how they feel and struggle. The focus of the story shifts further towards Derek’s affair. The whole mystery and search for Sebastian seemed to be put on the backburner suddenly and isn’t talked about much anymore which felt a little strange as I expected it to be the main focus of the novel and what I really wanted to find out about, but soon enough I did get caught up in Marin’s knowledge about the affair of Derek and Kenzie Li and especially in what she was going to do about it. There was a moment that I felt I had read Marin’s resort of action before in another novel this year, but I was happy to find out that it only became more surprising and exciting from hereon. The author also gives Kenzie Li a voice in the story which I appreciated because she has her own story to tell and while I sometimes hated her, my sympathy for her grew as well at other times.

Hillier delivered a great psychological thriller with lots of drama and emotions. With not many pages left in the novel I suspected how it would all finally unravel but the anticipation was very high. Was Marin going to find her son and the person who took him? The author kept me well in suspense! I’m definitely putting her next novel on my wishlist!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley #BookReview @TrapezeBooks @rmorganbentley

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One fatal crash. Two colliding worlds. Three wrecked lives.

School teacher Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to work.

A day like any other…

Except for one man who, in a final despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car, turning the teacher’s world upside down in a single horrifying instant…

Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, he develops a friendship with Alice, the dead man’s wife, and her 7-year-old son Max.

But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could he go too far in trying to make amends?

How would you cope, knowing you’d caused someone’s death?

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

The Wreckage is a solid psychological thriller and a brilliant debut novel. In fact, The Wreckage didn’t feel like a debut novel at all and I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. Well actually I do know a little, see when I have read an author already I know in advance how much I’ll probably like it but with a new author the fear of the unknown sometimes works against me. I’m happy to confirm that it worked out really really well this time.

The writing was addictive and very easy to read. The novel opens with a horrific event for Ben when someone jumps in front of his car. It was raining so he certainly wasn’t driving fast and yet it happened in a few seconds. He feels very guilty and he visits the comatose man in the hospital where he meets his wife Alice and their son Max. It all feels genuinely nice and Ben is just concerned but then it starts to feel somewhat stalkerish. There are limits in wanting to make amends right? Well Ben didn’t seem to get the memo! I started to feel quite uncomfortable about the whole situation (which I mean in the bestest of ways) although Ben never actually does anything wrong. So he remembered Max’ birthday and he wants to buy him presents and he happens to be in the shop at the same time and find Max wandering around. He’s concerned that Alice doesn’t take care of him like she should then, it’s a normal reaction, right? Right? Hmm I don’t know but I wanted him far away from Alice and Max, yet he seems unstoppable to want to help them, to want to be in their lives.

The author includes a whopper of a twist in the final part of the novel. I did not expect this at all so I had to mull it over in my own head how believable it felt and if this made a difference and could make me change my opinion of Ben. The idea is indeed a little out there, yet I still embraced it because it worked so well in the story and honestly, I read this book about two weeks ago and it still plays on my mind now so the fact that it dumbfounded me is exactly why it is one of those memorable plotlines that will last in my mind for all eternity. I loved that the author misled me and did it so perfectly. I honestly also do love it when an author can make you see someone in another light all of a sudden. This happened here slightly but it’s not as if Ben suddenly turned into my favorite character either as too much water had passed under the bridge already. In the end I felt there were no winners at all. 

I love novels about obsession and the lengths people would go for the love of their lives. I thought I knew where this story was going too but I was wrong, which I loved! I can’t wait to read another of his novels and see what else he has in store.

The Wreckage is perfect for fans of His&Hers by Alice Feeney, or The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton.

I received a free (and signed!) paperback copy from the author as a winner of a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

📱The Strangers We Know 📱by Pip Drysdale #BookReview

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When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken – after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends laughingly swiped through the men on offer. But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t let it go. Because she took that photo. On their honeymoon.

Suddenly other signs of betrayal start to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position – she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act.

But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are …

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The Strangers We Know turns out to be one of the most surprising novels this year. It starts off with a friend flicking through profiles on tinder in Charlie’s presence and it only takes a split second for Charlie to recognize her husband. What then you might think? Well, like any sane woman losing her mind probably, confirmation and confrontation are high up on Charlie’s agenda but from thereon the story only takes on very twisty developments

‘Who the hell did I marry?’ is a question Charlie Carter asks herself in the middle of the novel and I was also completely caught up in Charlie’s search for answers. What was Oliver playing at? Before she even has a chance to find out all the answers something happens that upped the mystery tenfold. 

I really liked Charlie, even with this lousy situation she’s in she made me smile, her reactions were precious, they were sometimes funny, sometimes logical or fierce but they always felt completely natural. I also loved how she would sometimes address the reader directly. We were on the in, her confidente, her friend.. this technique made me feel very close to her. She’s not some naïve woman, she’s a strong woman and a smart sleuth, and she gained a whole lot of knowledge from the movies (like us, right) and I loved all the small references she made of how it would go in a movie. I didn’t always agree with Charlie’s actions but she’s only human too, right, and without some stupid mistakes we’d never get such a page-turning book.

I had no idea how this story was going to play out, there were a lot of questions and no idea where to go to find the answers so I had no idea exactly how or who the bad guy/woman was. All I can say is that this novel is not at all a cliché story, it is refreshing and intriguing and quite unpredictable (and hearing this from me you know you can count on it being true!). When you finish reading and see where the story started and where it ended and what the motivation of it all turned out to be (it was definitely more than her husband simply looking for a booty call), well I can only admire the clever mind and resourcefulness of the author for incorporating such a deep-running backstory as this one in a seemingly everyday domestic scene of a man caught cheating red-handed.

I didn’t have Pip Drysdale on my radar before so this novel (this is her second book following debut novel The Sunday Girl) is the first one I read and she has definitely left me wanting to read more. I really love her style and her plot design and I’m very interested in finding out what else she has in store.

I received a free paperback copy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster for review. This is still my honest opinion.

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood #BookReview

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Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…

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star three and a half

The Perfect Life is told in a Now and Then narrative and the author keeps up the suspense as the difference in Vanessa Adams’s life is shockingly big between both narratives. Her life in the current state is rather depressing with her staying at her sister’s house, no sign of Connor anywhere near or of doing anything useful throughout the day, and it gets even worse when she’s brought in for questioning for murder after she was found out visiting a house for sale under a different name. The house in question was that of a renowned children books author and she always adored his books so from that very first moment it seemed rather odd to kill your favorite author ;-). Then there are flashback moments where we see Vanessa at her happiest when she falls madly in love with Connor and is thriving in her job. The contrast couldn’t have been bigger so this left a lot of questions to be answered.

The perfect life… who’s life are they talking about in this novel? This is an excellent question for bookclubs. Is it Nessa and Connor’s, her sister Georgie, the life Nessa envions to have if she were living in the houses she visits, someone else? Does anyone really have a perfect life? Nessa and Connor’s life certainly looks perfect at first but looks can be deceiving and relationships can change. As a result of things not going perfect she’s a bit weird and visits all sorts of dreamhouses she can’t afford, adopting new personas every time, with a completely new background story for each new name. Maybe it’s just me but I find my escape in reading a good book but apparently Nessa had other ideas ;-). I had a feeling how one plotline was going to go but I still couldn’t see the murder fitting in. Is Nessa really losing her marbles, her actions are not really ‘normal’ after all? Is Connor the one who tried to set her up? Nuala Ellwood is a great writer whose forte lies both in her writing of psychological aspects in a story and in creating super-surprising twists and she does that again in The Perfect Life. I felt first mad, then furious and at one point so ultimately enraged when bad things happened to Nessa and they culminated in one moment of utter betrayal and ugly deception. While she isn’t a character I felt closely connected to, I wouldn’t wish this for anyone and I was happy knowing that she would rise above it and it would all be fine in the end.

It is up for debate if the supernova of a twist in the end is really believable this time as it really came out of nowhere. I don’t really know how to judge the ending. I agree that it was indeed a bit farfetched but also an original angle and it just goes to show that nobody’s life is perfect and everyone can pretend to be someone they are not.

I have read all four books of this author now and I enjoyed all of them, this one certainly isn’t bad at all and very close to four stars, but I have to admit I liked the plotlines in the other novels a little better and before you ask (because I know you will) The House on the Lake, her previous novel, is personally my favorite one.

You can read my other reviews here: My Sister’s BonesDay of the AccidentThe House on the Lake

I received a free copy of this novel via Netgalley from the publisher. This is still my honest opinion.

The Secretary by Renée Knight #BookReview

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She knows all your secrets. But will she keep them?

Look around you. Who holds the most power in the room? Is it the one who speaks loudest, who looks the part, who has the most money, who commands the most respect?

Or perhaps it’s someone like Christine Butcher: a meek, overlooked figure, who silently bears witness as information is shared and secrets are whispered. Someone who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers together knowledge of the people she’s there to serve – the ones who don’t notice her, the ones who consider themselves to be important.

There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like Christine Butcher is pushed to her limit, she might just become the most dangerous person in the room . . .

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The Secretary had terrible characters but it was so fun to read. Christine and I share the same profession and almost the same amount of years at the job so of course I wanted to read this novel and take a peek behind the curtains of another corporate environment (the offices of one of the biggest supermarket brands in the UK). Christine Butcher is like the perfect secretary. She’s discreet, meticulous, organised… and that’s where our similarities stop because Christine really takes her skills to the limit. It’s unbelievable how devoted she is to her boss Mina Appleton. She knows Mina’s every mood and aims to please Mina however she can. It goes way beyond helping her only at work. Christine is utterly blind to her bosses manipulations, but I must admit I never felt deeply sorry for Christine exactly because of the fact that she was so obsessed with her boss. I’m sure people in the highest echelons would praise her and would want someone exactly like her, but normal people know that her priorities were really askew. She was truly a very fascinating character to read about and I felt like I really knew who she was.  

The story was told through Christine’s eyes and even if she tells the story as if everyhing is fine and normal, there was a constant sinister and ominous feeling present. Would she wake up and stand up for herself? What would be her breaking point? What was she going to do with all the knowledge she had on Mina? Oh I felt gleeful in advance because I seriously don’t think I could hate Mina more. I was waiting patiently for Christine to see that her boss is like all bosses; someone who takes as much advantage as she can but IS certainly NOT your friend. 

I was excited about the story development and I gobbled up every word, phrase and chapter with a racing speed. Christine did not let me down at all and I loved how it ended, so grandiose and clever. Christine is both a good person and a bad person and I loved how hard she made me work to decide which side dominates most. I don’t know if it’s permitted but I still love her in the end.  

I haven’t read this author’s debut novel Disclaimer but after reading this novel I need to have it so I’m definitely putting it on my Christmas list! 

I found a battered copy of this book in a Little Free Library. This is my honest opinion.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware #BookReview @vintagebooks

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Four friends. One promise. But someone isn’t telling the truth. The twisting new mystery from bestselling phenomenon Ruth Ware.

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you. Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight…

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This was the first novel I read by Ruth Ware and in case you missed it on Instagram, I brought a copy of this novel back with me from my holiday in Turkey last year where I swapped it with one of mine (I can’t remember which one) at the hotel. Whatever it was I’m pretty sure it wasn’t nearly as good as this novel though! I chose The Lying Game because I heard only positive echos about the author and her books and also the mere mention of ‘lying’ made me want to be in on whatever secret was being kept. Oh and what a secret it was. Even when you undoubtedly think you’re the only one in the know, you’ll soon find out that you knew just as much as the person sitting next to you.

I liked the present narrative, where Isa, Kate, Thea and Fatima – once 15-year old best friends – are brought back together as adults because something from their past is causing a stir, something is going to come out and it is clear that the bond they had is still in place because they all come running at a moment’s notice after years with barely or no contact at all. What is it that binds them and nobody talks about? Are they going to get their stories straight, are they going to lie some more? 

I loved the other chapters in which Isa revisits her past possibly even more. There was such friendship and loyalty in the chapters and it was very enjoyable to follow them and see the story unfold. The author fed me an idea about what happened through some of the conversations in the present but I couldn’t entertain the idea that what was in my mind could be true. Present and past just didn’t seem compatible and I had no explanation for it at all, it was impossible to see beforehand how and why things would take a bad turn and I just had to sit tight and let all unfold in its own time.

Oh the truth, that horrible, wonderful truth. It startled and surprised me after all. I’d be lying if I said it was anything but amazing. The author really came through in the end and delivered quite a grand apotheosis after such careful world building. It was a slow-burn towards the truth but that last quarter of the book was impossible to put down.

I’m definitely a satisfied and happy reader and I can see why so many others love this author so much. I’m totally joining the club. This novel isn’t going anywhere anymore but is going to have a prominent place in my library!

I received a free copy of this novel from another (unknown) reader. This is my honest opinion.