Blood Sisters by Jane Corry #BookReview 

About this book…

THREE LITTLE GIRLS SET OFF TO SCHOOL ONE SUNNY MORNING.

WITHIN AN HOUR, ONE OF THEM IS DEAD.

Two women. Two versions of the truth.

Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May.

And only another life will do…

My review…

Having read and enjoyed My Husbands Wife by Jane Corry I was really looking forward to Blood Sisters and I have to start by saying that I think this is the better novel of the two. Her latest book is packed full of twists, turns and red herrings galore and I became a dizzy mess whilst reading it, trusting everyone and no one! Jane Corry seems to have a talent for creating unreliable narrators who aren’t always very likeable and she puts that expertise to good use here in Blood Sisters.

It did take me a while to get into the rhythm of the narrative to begin with as it is pretty much a slow burner for the first half while we get to meet Alison and Kitty in their respective lives. Alison is an artist and teacher who goes to work in an open prison supervising art classes for the inmates, an unusual decision for someone who is obviously so traumatised by a past event that she doesn’t like to think, let alone talk, about it. Because of her introverted personality I found her very hard to relate to in the first half of the book. Once we found out more about her past and what happened leading up to “that day” I felt I understood her better although I still struggled slightly as she always seemed to be holding something of herself back. Kitty, on the other hand is an open book to us from the minute we meet her as we can hear every explosive thought in her head. Unfortunately though, no one else is able to hear her musings as she has lost the power to communicate verbally since the incident that caused her disability. The scenes in the care home were, at times, harrowing to read about but also incredibly heartbreaking as we could feel those powerful frustrations stemming from Kitty as she tries to grab hold of her flyaway memories and express herself to all those around her. I loved her internal voice and found myself wanting her to remain completely unaware of past events as those memories were obviously going to be very distressing for her if her reactions to certain people and situations were anything to go by!

There was a gasp out loud moment for me part the way through when I finally figured out where the plot was heading after much theorising. And after the slowly built up storyline at the start, the second half was much more of an unputdownable quest for answers until all the threads started to come together. I love it when a book surprises me and this one, with its tightly woven plot and unreliable narrators, maintained a high level of interest throughout as I waited for the next shocking plot twist. Towards the end some of those twists felt a little contrived and rather convenient but on the whole I found the ending totally gripping as it wasn’t entirely what I had been expecting! 

This one is going to be on everyone’s holiday reading list and it thoroughly deserves its spot on all those sunloungers this summer. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Annie Hollands for my review copy of Blood Sisters: The next addictive thriller from the bestselling author of My Husband’s Wife which is published by Penguin on 29th June 2017

Meet the author…

Jane Corry

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has written regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph Weekend section, the Mail on Sunday and Woman. She has spent time working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men – an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her début thriller. ‘I love twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end! My husband says I’m a nightmare to watch dramas with as I love to work out who did it before the final revelation!’

You can find Jane on Twitter at @JaneCorryAuthor and on Facebook at JaneCorryAuthor.

Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world, including The Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy. Until her recent move to Devon, she was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University. She is also an associate member of the Royal Literary Fund.

Many of Jane’s ideas come during her morning dog-jog along the beach followed by a dip in her wetsuit. (She’s an all-year-round swimmer provided the sea isn’t dangerous.) Jane also loves tennis, walking, reading, yoga, the ‘Quiet’ train carriage (a great ‘office’ for writing) and her family. She’s still coming to terms with being an empty-nester but makes up for it with lots of long-distance nagging! Jane’s second husband was a bachelor family friend who is also Godfather to her children. He makes her laugh every day although they can’t agree on how to load the dishwasher!

My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon #MySweetRevenge @SarahHarwood_

About this book…

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students.
She gave up her dreams so he could make it.
Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors.
And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing.
And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers.
It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet.
Isn’t it?

My review…

I have been a fan of Jane Fallon for a while now, since Getting Rid of Matthew, but I have to say that fan or no fan you are going to love this book. I actually think her writing just gets better with each new book that she releases! Once I picked this up for a few minutes peace and quiet with a cuppa, the minutes (and then the hours!) just flew past in a happy, blissful haze!

What I love about Jane’s books is that she takes horrendous personal situations and makes her characters deal with them in a way that we would all love to but are too scared to try! Yes, Paula goes over the top in her quest to make her husband fall back in love with her so she can dump HIM but she’s living out the fantasy for many women! We all know that revenge is a dish best served cold but here it’s also served with a HUGE helping of calories too. And it was a joy to watch Paula lose not only pounds but the weight of the expectations on her from those around her. I was cheering her on every tough and sweaty step of the way! Here is a heroine I would have been quite happy to follow for much longer than the book went on for.

I would definitely recommend picking this book up to compliment your coffee and cake. Just be careful though as, if that quiet moment is in Costa, you’re likely to have a few laugh out loud moments which may result in cake/coffee splutterings. Not cool!

A huge thank you to Sarah Harwood for my advanced copy of My Sweet Revenge which I have chosen to read and review.

My Sweet Revenge will be published by Penguin Michael Joseph on 12th January and is available to purchase from Amazon UK here.

Meet The Author…

Jane Fallon is the multi-award-winning television producer behind shows such as This Life, Teachersand 20 Things to Do Before You’re 30. Her previous books include Getting Rid of Matthew, Got You Back, Foursome,The Ugly Sister, Skeletons and Strictly Between Us.

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent #BlogTour @lizzienugent @PenguinUKBooks

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I’m over the moon to be on the blog tour today for Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent to celebrate publication of the paperback on Boxing Day 2016. It’s also a chance to congratulate Liz on her book being chosen as a title for The Richard and Judy Book Club Spring 2017 list!

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

About this book…

‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …

This is a dark, twisty and utterly gripping domestic noir that you won’t be able to put down from the author hailed as Ireland’s answer to Gillian Flynn.

My review…

I was really looking forward to reading this as I just loved Unravelling Oliver (so much so that I bid on a signed copy in a charity auction recently!) So I settled down in bed after waking early (noisy birds don’t seem to realise the difference between weekdays and weekends!) and I lay and read…..and didn’t stop until I had finished! I was so caught up in this horrifically dysfunctional family that the pages practically turned themselves in apprehension!

This isn’t a crime whodunit, although we are party to an awful murder right at the start of this book, we are aware of who has been murdered, the identity of the killer and why. This book ripples out with the after effects of the murder and how relationships between characters are changed, none for the better, as well as how they mentally deal with the knowledge they have. Two family’s are affected and neither escape the fallout.

Liz Nugent seems to have a knack for creating characters that we just love to hate and she has excelled herself here with the mother we should all be glad we didn’t get, Lydia. Honestly, this woman’s obsession with her son was so darkly disturbing that I felt physically sick that a woman could feel she “owned” her son just because she gave birth to him! Poor Lawrence never stood a chance in life with a mother like her! Lawrence was the character that extracted the most emotions from me. I felt so sorry for him but I felt at times I was watching a car crash about to happen, helplessly unable to prevent the devastation that his parents are about to wreck on his life. But Lydia just doesn’t know when to stop and when further information came to light about her past not only did it become obvious that her OWN parents also had much to answer for but that she has not received the help that she so desperately needed. And a slight nod to a very interesting twin relationship also gives us much more of an understanding of the grotesque matriarch she has become. In fact this book brought to mind a poem I read years ago with the line “They f**k you up, your mum and dad” and I think this book definitely makes us question the nature v nurture theory that I find so fascinating.

This is dark, disturbing and brilliant, I just loved it. And that ending!! It probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you enjoyed Unravelling Oliver and books like The Liars Chair by Rebecca Whitney then you will enjoy this.

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

Lying in Wait was published in ebook on 14th July 2016 and paperback on 26th December 2016 and is available to buy here at Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

liz-nugent-2-c-beta-bajgartova

Before becoming a full-time writer Liz Nugentworked in Irish film, theatre and television. In 2014 her first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was a No.1 bestseller and won the Crime Fiction prize in the 2014 Irish Book Awards. Her second novel, Lying in Wait, went straight to No 1 in the Irish bestseller charts, remained there for nearly two months and won her a second IBA. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

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My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood #BookReview

About this book…

Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

At first Kate tells herself it’s just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it.

What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it…and make it out alive?

My review…

Wow! This was so NOT what I was expecting. I think because my review copy didn’t have any blurb on it, I kind of went in blind to this one and it came across all the better for it. I’m still reeling from all the the twists that popped to the surface to this bubbling cauldron of suspense to be honest but I don’t want that feeling to end quite yet!

This noticeably has a very topical feel to it from the start as we meet journalist Kate and realise she has been a witness to the atrocities taking place in Syria. The first part of the story is split in two, with Kate coming home to Hearne Bay following her mother’s death and this is alternated with Kate being questioned by police following her arrest for an undisclosed crime. This part was left deliberately rather vague reflecting Kate’s fragile mental state. She is obviously suffering from PTSD so the reader comes to the conclusion that this may not make her a reliable narrator. She sees and hears things that aren’t there and her nightmares are graphic and realistic so what is real and what only exists in Kate’s imagination? But when I read the end of Part One…..oh my goodness, what a gasp out loud moment! And that’s when the book suddenly became totally unputdownable for me!

Kate and her sister Sally are both damaged individuals. Brought up in an abusive home where the mental abuse was worse than the physical, the girls have self medicated in totally different ways, Sally with alcohol and Kate with her destructive relationship and her dedication to her job. I need to say that the journalism side of the plot is meticulously crafted and I really felt Kate was a living breathing person who had actually seen and been through the horrific war zone in Aleppo. We see things through her eyes and my heart felt like it was being ripped out of my chest at times through the whole destructive and senseless violence there.

I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone by talking further about the plot but I just want to say that this is a book full of surprises. It’s so very cleverly written that I can guarantee most people will be shocked by the turn of events that occur here, I know I was. In fact, I’m still thinking about it now and have just gone back to read the prologue again. It gave me goosebumps the first time but that second time…..chilling!

Definitely one to watch out for if you’re a fan of psychological suspense, just watch out for those twists and be prepared to read it in one heartpounding sitting!

I received my review copy of My Sister’s Bones from the publisher.

My Sister’s BonesEdit is published by Penguin in ebook on 1st November 2016 and in paperback 9th February 2017

About the author…

Nuala Ellwood moved to London in her twenties to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter, but ended up writing novels instead. She comes from a family of journalists, and they inspired her to write a novel about a war reporter suffering from psychological trauma. My Sister’s Bones is her debut thriller.