Book Review: What Goes Around by Julie Corbin

Ellen has been deeply affected after her separation from her husband. The trauma has resulted in an OCD which is increasing at an alarming rate. She knows she needs to take some action to reclaim her life back. She also needs to do something before her children realise how bad her situation is.

Leila is the woman who is leading Ellen’s old life. Living with her husband and in her old house. The house that Ellen painstakingly decorated, arranged and rearranged to make it perfect for her family. The house where Ellen had hoped for her granddaughter to make happy childhood memories.

In a freak coincidence, Ellen is given a list of therapists to consult for her OCD and one of them is Leila. Ellen decides to go to Leila. She has revenge on her mind. Leila’s office is her husband’s old study and Ellen will get an opportunity to get inside the house that was once hers.

The story is narrated from both the women’s point of view. A psychological thriller, it makes for a gripping read. Some of the choices made are shocking and worrying but that is what a sick, troubled mind does, I suppose. It had me worried for Ellen, with some of her choices. Was she going too far in her quest for revenge. What exactly was going on with Leila? What is there in her past that has her running away?

The story unfolds in a way that was completely unexpected and shocking, for me. As a psychological thriller, it worked really well. It was a book that was difficult to put down, one that had me involved completely in the lives of the protagonists. The way it ended particularly, was very effective, in my opinion.

A 4/5 read.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy of this book.

About the Author

Julie Corbin was born and brought up in Scotland. She studied at Edinburgh University and worked for over twenty years as a nurse in various specialities including neurosurgery and school nursing. She began writing seriously when her three sons were teenagers. She lives in Sussex, England.

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Book Review: The Trespasser by Tana French

I don’t think I’ve read Tana French before. This book was picked purely because it sounded interesting.

Antoinette Conway is leading an investigation that looks like a regular domestic killing along with her partner Steve Moran. A young woman has been found with her head bashed in. The house is in immaculate condition and the table is set for two.

This looks like an easy case but before they know it, however it soon evolves into a complex web of mystery. Lots of elements of the unknown, lots of possible suspects. At every point Antoinette faces other challenges like being the outsider in her own department. There are folk there who are just waiting for her to fail. Antoinette’s feisty, in the face behaviour doesn’t quite help. 

A really well plotted story, with lots of detail. I could almost feel the setting, be it the crime scene or the roads they traipsed while investigating the murder. The characters were all well etched. Detective Conway, for all her aggression, tends to appeal with her down to earth nature and attitude to things. You cheer her on, you want her to emerge the winner. 

I really enjoyed the way the story moves. It had me hooked almost as soon as I started reading and had me hooked till the very end. This is supposed to be part of a series but having read only this one, it was still easy enough for me to figure out the background. It did make me want to go and get hold of the other books in the series.

This author is one I’m definitely going to  be on the lookout for.

About the Author

Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theater, film and voice-over.

Book Review: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

Diane and Brian are a very much in love couple. We first meet Diane as a new mother fretting about leaving her baby with the nanny for the first time.

As with most new mums, it is a harrowing time for her. Even more so for her, when we learn that Diane was always apprehensive about having children. Her family’s past had made her and her sister decide against having kids of their own. 

However, she gets pregnant and Brian is over the moon. The timing isn’t right; she has just been promoted, Brian’s job involves traveling but he is determined to make it work despite Diane’s reservations.

Diane goes into labour when Brian is out of the country and gives birth to little Grace. Diane is now the most devoted mother possible. Her life revolves around Grace. However, we know something is not quite right when Brian who was so excited about the baby has been out of the country for so long and Diane seems to find it so difficult to get hold of him. 

The reader is given an inkling to the fact that something is not quite right. But the final twist comes as a bit of a shock. A psychological thriller where the author does a great job of maintaining the momentum and, wrapping up with a powerful, emotional ending. A book which had me guessing and guessing wrong. I love it when that happens. 

An unputdownable book, one that had me hooked from word go till the very end. A well thought out plot, rendered beautifully. I’m going to.look out for this author. I believe this was the first book of hers that I have read. This was picked up purely on the basis of the description. 

A 4/5 read.

About the Author
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author – Steena is the author of the heart wrenching Finding Emma series.

The Word Game was included in the Top 20 Novels to be Written by Women in 2015 by Good Housekeeping.

Her latest novel – The Word Game won the 2015 USA Books Award for Best Fiction and her novel, The Memory Child was a finalist in the same category. 

Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a Bachelors degree in Theology.

In 2012 she received the Indie Excellence Award. Holmes was inspired to write Finding Emma after experiencing a brief moment of horror when she’d thought her youngest daughter was missing. 

Book Review: All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

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Caitlin and Patrick are on the verge of separation. Parents of two, talkative Nancy and whacky Joel, they are trying to come to terms with their situation while trying to do the right things for the children.

Patrick had to move to Newcastle from their home in Bristol and they need a neutral place for the kids to meet Patrick during the weekends when Patrick is meant to have them. The only solution he can think of, is his sister Eva.

Eva, recently widowed from her movie-star husband, Mickey, is still coming to terms with her bereavement. She has recently been informed of her husband’s last wishes of publishing his diaries. Suddenly Eva is thrust into her brother’s problems while dealing with the stuff her life has been throwing at her. Eva finds herself entrusted with her niece and nephew and to her surprise finds herself enjoying herself tremendously. Being with the children also brought to surface, yearnings to be a mother herself, something she had suppressed as Mickey’s wife. As she reads Mickey’s diaries, she sees a side of their marriage that she had no idea about. Grappling with the revelations, Eva now has to understand where she needs to take her life.

Meanwhile, little Nancy seems to have issues of her own. From a child who couldn’t stop talking, she has turned into a child who refuses to talk. Caitlin is worried about what could have changed her little girl so drastically. All she wants is for her daughter to be back to normal. At the same time, Caitlin is enjoying her new found freedom. Life with Patrick was so measured and controlled that she has been feeling free, like she never felt before. But can she truly enjoy it all when her little girl seems so traumatised. With everything that is going on, Caitlin, Patrick and Eva have a lot on their plate. Where does life take them?

This was a book that I absolutely loved. A book with a fairly simple story-line, but  beautifully rendered. Each character was developed beautifully, warts and all. We could see each character, Eva, Patrick and Caitlin with their flaws and their positives. I love it when books do that, paint beautifully multi-faceted characters. A story of love, and family. Relationships of all sorts, between siblings, parent and child relationships.Loved the way it ended as well. All very real and very satisfying to read. A book I will be very happy to recommend.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy of this book.

About the Author

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria, worked for a while in publishing in London, and now lives in Herefordshire with her boyfriend and their terrier, near the Welsh border. She has written seven novels set in the fictional Midlands town of Longhampton, which looks a bit like Hereford, although the inhabitants tend to sound rather more Northern than that.

 

Book  Review: The Sugar Planter’s Daughter by Sharon Maas

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It is 1912. In British Guyana,Winnie Cox is getting married to the love of her life, George Quint. What should have been the happiest day of her life is marred by the drift between her and her sister Joanna. The book picks up from where ‘The Secret Life of Winnie Cox left off.

Joanna doesn’t approve of George or of her sister’s decision. Joanna or Yoyo and Winnie are daughters of an affluent sugar planter while George is a poor black postman. Yoyo cannot believe that her sister has decided to take this path.

Growing up in the lap of luxury, the sisters had been shielded from the reality of life outside their circles, however as they grow up, both sisters take completely divergent paths in life. Winnie chooses a life of poverty but full of happiness while Yoyo chooses to run the sugar plantation in her father’s footsteps.

Winnie blossoms with the happiness in her life, despite living in poverty in the slums of Guyana. She makes do with what she has, and even makes the most of what ever little they have. From a pampered white girl, she turns into an entrepreneurial young woman. Winnie and George have a content life. Yoyo on the other hand, has all the luxuries in the world but no real happiness. Her marriage is a sham, her sister continues to be her mother’s favourite, and to make things worse, her marriage of convenience is a joke. Her husband seems to impregnate every woman in the land, has not been able to give her an heir for the plantation. Torn by her angst, she turns bitter and extremely unhappy. Her focus turns to stealing her sister’s happiness. She goes on a rampage that is guaranteed to break hearts, destroy families and change things forever between the sisters.

The heart-wrenching story of the two sisters, the story of love, loss and betrayal. The book evokes strong imagery of British Guyana. I love the way the author weaves the tale, she gets us entwined in the tale with her words. My heart bled for Winnie, hoped that realisation dawns on Yoyo, hoped that she aborts her mission to destruction.. Characters that you get drawn to, characters that you feel for, real characters. A book I would recommend without a doubt. A wonderful read. I can’t wait to read the next installment in Winnie’s story. I have to admit, I would be more than happy if the author could find a way of getting rid of Yoyo.

A 5/5 read.

Thank you Netgalley and Bookouture for the review copy of this book.

About the Author
Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951, and spent many childhood hours either curled up behind a novel or writing her own adventure stories. Sometimes she had adventures of her own, and found fifteen minutes of Guyanese fame for salvaging an old horse-drawn coach from a funeral parlor, fixing it up, painting it bright blue, and tearing around Georgetown with all her teenage friends. The coach ended up in a ditch, but thankfully neither teens nor horse were injured. Boarding school in England tamed her somewhat; but after a few years as a reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown she plunged off to discover South America by the seat of her pants.

Book Review: While you were sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Tara wakes up one morning, hungover and beside a man who isn’t her husband. She finds herself in bed with her neighbour.  Things get even worse when she realises that he is dead. Or rather that the man has a been brutally murdered. Worst of all, she has no memory of the night. At all. She has no recollection how she ended up in bed with him. 

Tara is a mother of two living in a nice suburb of London. Tara and her husband had been resolving issues in their marriage, her teenage daughter is going through a difficult, angry phase. This could make things even worse. Tara now has to figure out what exactly happened that night. She knows she couldn’t have killed him, but that makes things even more dangerous. Out there is a killer who knows her. Who knows she was there when the murder was committed. What should she do? What could she do? Who can she trust with this horrific secret.

As things unfold, more and more lies seem to come to the fore. Lots of people seem to have a lot to hide. Who is telling the truth. As a reader, it gets more and more intriguing.

The story is fast paced and the suspense well maintained. Having said that there were bits and pieces that didn’t quite sit right with me. Some elements that didn’t make sense. Maybe I analyse a bit too much, so some of the enjoyment of the book was lost to me. I didn’t like any of the characters much. None of them felt relatable. They all did things that made me want to shake them them 

A 3.5/5 book for me. I like the way the suspense is maintained but the holes in the story and the characters themselves, detracted from the book, for me. However, still an interesting read. I like the author’s style and for that reason will still pick up a book of her’s. 

About the Author


Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of The Girl With No Past, which spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon chart. Her first two novels, Behind Closed Doors and The Stranger Within, reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

Her fourth novel, The Girl You Lost, will be published on 5th February 2016, and is now available for preorder on Amazon. 

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and has a publishing deal with Bookouture. 

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult has been one of my favourite authors. I know that a lot of my friends don’t like her writing as much, but for me, there is something about her writing that works. The topics she picks up and the way she handles it, all work for me.

Ruth Jefferson is a single mother to her teenage son, Edison. Her husband died in Afghanistan and she has worked hard all her life, as a labour and delivery nurse to ensure a better life for her son. She has always refused to succumb to racial stereotypes and has always believed that her colour will never come in the way of her success professionally.

One day, at work, while conducting a regular check up of a newborn, she is met with an irate father and the next thing she knows is that she is taken off the case. The notes for the child has a ‘request’ that no African-American is allowed to take care of the child. The parents are White supremacists. While Ruth accepts the direction her manager gives her, she is later put into a position where is feels bound by her manager’s orders while knowing that her nurses’ duty directs her in another direction.

Unfortunately the baby dies, and Ruth’s professional conduct is in question. She now has to prove in court that she didn’t do anything wrong, that she was not responsible for the death of the baby. Everything Ruth held dear and took for granted is shaken. People she thought were her friends, her employers who she always assumed would take care of.. Her beliefs shaken. It takes a toll on her and even more importantly her son.

Ruth’s case is fought by Kennedy, the public defender assigned to her case. For Kennedy, this case is an eye opener of the sort she had never expected. She is forced to see the inherent inequality that exists everywhere in society, and had been invisible to her all these years. It just took a trip to the mall with Ruth for Kennedy to come face to face with the discrimination and inequality that existed within society.

The narrative is from three perspectives, Ruth, Kennedy and Turk, the father of the child.  Each person’s story adds a dimension, there are no black and whites. As the story progresses, it shows how the experience has changed all the protagonists. Not just the main protagonists. It was heart=breaking to read how Edison was impacted by all of this. Taught all his life by his mother that his colour is just incidental, Edison is now questioning it. He starts to wonder if his cousins are better off living the stereotypical lives expected of them, rather than be the straight A student that he is. What is the point of living a sham of a life, when at the end of it, everything seems to boil down to the colour of your skin.

This was a beautiful book. Like all of Picoult’s books, one that made me think, made me cry and made me a more aware, and hopefully a better person for having read it. It reinforces how easy it is for people with privileges to not even realise that the society is rife with inequalities. It is books like these that will actually make people think, make people introspect. It might not be a colour based inequality, but all societies by nature tend to be inequal and unjust.

A 5/5 book for me. One that I would recommend to everyone. I think this will stay with me for a while, and will be one of my favourite Picoult books.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy of this book.

About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.