Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey / Blog Tour

Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey

 

40099420Publisher: Viking

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

In the award-winning Elizabeth is Missing debut novelist Emma Healey explored grandmother Maud’s attempt to solve a 70-year-old mystery as she succumbed to dementia.

Now, in her dazzling follow-up Whistle in the Dark, we meet Jen, mother to 15-year-old Lana – who has just been found after going missing for four desperate days. Lana can’t talk about the missing days. As her daughter’s life falls apart, Jen turns detective to discover what happened . . .

How do you rescue someone who has already been found?

Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.
With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?

my-review

Jen Maddox is on holiday with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, when Lana goes missing. Four days later she’s found. It seems that nothing really bad has happened – she’s exhausted but there are no signs of violence. However, Lana insists she has no memory of whatever has happened and refuses to talk about it any more. Lana, together with her mother Jen, returns home to London. Jen tries to resume the normal family life but it turns out that it’s easier said than done – she simply needs to understand what has happened, why Lana went missing, what is happening with her younger daughter. She and her husband Hugh are loving parents of Lana and her older sister, they are a normal family, so why does she feel that she let her daughter down as a mother?

What I loved in this book so much was the relationship between Jen and Hugh. And also their characters, even with Jen’s paranoia and her desire to please Lana in every aspect of their lives – but I think this is the way mothers work, no matter what’s happening. Hugh being the laid – back one was perfectly complementing Jen’s parenting ways. They were so great around each other, there was the lovely easiness between them and it was crystal clear that they are the perfect couple.

I was incredibly grateful for the character of Meg, Jen and Hugh’s eldest daughter. She’s pregnant with her first child and she lives on her own but her occasional visits to her family home were the best moments probably. She was down – to – earth and she’s seen things how they were, and I think I simply needed it in the paranoid world of Jen’s and Lana’s depression and moods. Meg seemed to be the only one who was able to see through Lana, to deliver some home truths, to tell her sister some sharper words, and I think Lana deserved it, because, to be absolutely honest, I was not so convinced about her and this whole depression. I don’t know. I couldn’t put my finger on Lana. But we must appreciate the fact that Lana, mostly seen through her mum’s eyes, WAS an interesting, complex and complicated character, clever and with a sense of humour.
Under the mystery of Lana’s disappearance, I think that the main issue of this book was, in fact, Jen’s insecurity to fail as a mother. She was desperate to do everything as best as she could, to be accepted by her younger daughter, and respected as well, and as much as it made me feel angry towards Lana, with the way she has treated her mother, the way she behaved, I could understand Jen’s needs.

This novel was a real slow – burner, so be prepared. There is not much happening action – wise, but as it is a very character – driven book you’re going to receive brilliant, fleshed – out, relatable characters. Also the way Emma Healey writes about parenting, about all the emotional upheavals, challenges and emotions is very realistic and it rings the bell, as so many of her observations and insights are genuine and true. It was not the easiest read, it was too slow and too often it felt repetitive, recycling the same idea over and over again to be honest, but one that will for sure make you think. I also wasn’t sure how to feel about the end but, in retrospection, I think it was probably the only realistic, possible one. It’s not a twist that is going to change your life and make you go all wow, but it is suitable and I liked that Jen has got her closure – she really deserved it! So altogether, “Whistle in the Dark” is a brilliantly observed, humorous and poignant book about parenting, a brilliant mix of fear, family life and dynamics, insecurity. It’s Intriguing and clever, a real read with difference.

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

 

cover145117-mediumPublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 394

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 19.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

Rating: three-stars

 

“The Hunting Party” – and what a phenomenal title this is! – introduces us to a group of thirty – something close friends from Oxford University, who, after their degrees, stayed in touch and made it a tradition to spend time together. This time they gather over the New Year period at a secluded lodge in Scottish Highlands. On New Year’s Day though, the manager of the estate and the gamekeeper discover that one of the guests is missing and is then found dead. It quickly becomes clear that it was not an accident, that a murder has been committed. The place is closed off the world because of the snowstorms, the police can’t arrive and there is a killer among the guests – what’s going to happen now? Are they save?

I’ve been keeping seeing “The Hunting Party” everywhere, guys, everywhere, and well, yes, this whole hype made me desperate to read this book. Add to this the brilliant, chilling premise and I thought, yes, it’s going to be THIS read. Yes, I’m rather careful with books being advertised in such a way because I am always scared that they’re not going to live up to my expectations, as I think that you can expect something really amazing from them but as lately I’ve been rather lucky and so I started to read this book without any trepidation.
And I kept reading, kept reading and reading, finished the book and thought, and? Is this it? Where is the wow? Sadly, it didn’t take me by surprise. Sadly, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I’m going to. There were all the signals it could be a brilliant read. The setting for example, could you imagine a better setting for a psychological thriller than this remote and desolate exclusive hunting lodge, snowed in, next to a loch somewhere deep in Scottish Highlands? Brilliant, no? Also the way it was written, starting with the information that one of the guest has been found murdered, and then going back and forth over the few days revealing all the facts, interactions and dynamics between the characters should make it tense and on the edge, don’t you think? But then came the characters, and as this story was very character – driven they were the make or break of the book. For me, unfortunately, the break. In the end I simply couldn’t care less who’s been murdered and why because all of them somehow deserved this fate and they simply wasn’t worth saving. We have Emma, a relative newbie to the group and hence desperate to prove that she deserves to be their friend, to fit in, Mark’s girlfriend, and who has organized the trip this time. Mark turns out to be a little on the aggressive side – not that he’s aggressive towards Emma but there is this dark side to him. Miranda is the most beautiful, the most attention seeking, the most popular among the group, though she’s also probably the most spoiled and unpleasant but together with Julian, the good looking and successful one they seem to make the perfect power couple. Samira and Giles are married and arrive with their 6 – months – old daughter Priya, though you can’t tell more about them, to be honest, except that they seem to not coping too well with being newly parents. Nick has been in a long – term relationship with Bo, who has a history of being a drug – addict. And the only single among them, the power London lawyer Katie, who’s hiding a secret and has been Miranda’s best friend since schooldays, but recently they don’t see each other too often. There is also the addiction of the other guest at the lodge, two Icelanders, and of course we have Heather, the manager, with her own dramas and traumas, and Doug, the gamekeeper, an ex – marine, suffering from PTSD. Interesting group, no? Well, not so. And between the partying, hunting, drinking and drugs it quickly becomes clear that perhaps they aren’t as close – knit as we were supposed to think, and more and more secrets and lies come to light. Until the day when one of the guest is found dead. Murdered.

I am very, very sad that this story didn’t deliver for me. The pace of the book was slowed down by the very detailed descriptions of the lodge, the place, the food and clothes which – of course very vivid and almost poetically written – didn’t add much to the main plot. Also, maybe because of the writing style, I found it a little disengaging and cold. Whilst I absolutely loved the setting and the brilliantly captured, chilling atmosphere it was still too little to save the book for me, to make me emotionally involved. This dual timeline was also brilliantly written by the author, she didn’t give too much and yet tried to whet my appetite to find out what has happened, and it would work if it weren’t for this group of those petty characters. However, “The Hunting Party” was brilliantly observant. The author explores the dynamics of friendship, digs deep into them, revealing what’s really hidden under the surface – all the murky, dark secrets and lies. Lucy Folley has an incredible talent to capture all the details and nuances and the chilling atmosphere full of uncertainty and insecurity. So if you’re into reading about dysfunctional group of characters, into some mystery and psychological games this is a book for you.

 

Something to Tell you by Lucy Diamond

Something to Tell You by Lucy Diamond

 

42181331Publisher: Macmillan

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 30.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

When Frankie stumbles upon an unopened letter from her late mother, she’s delighted to have one last message from her . . . until she reads the contents and discovers the truth about her birth. Brimming with questions, she travels to York to seek further answers from the Mortimer family, but her appearance sends shockwaves through them all.

Meanwhile, Robyn Mortimer has problems of her own. Her husband John has become distant, and a chance remark from a friend leads Robyn to wonder exactly what he’s not been saying. Dare she find out more?

As for Bunny, she fell head over heels in love with Dave Mortimer when she first arrived in town, but now it seems her past is catching up with her. She can’t help wondering if he’ll still feel the same way about her if he discovers who she really is – and what she did.

As secrets tumble out and loyalties are tested, the Mortimers have to face up to some difficult decisions. With love, betrayal and dramatic revelations in the mix, this is one summer they’ll never forget.

 

Rating: four-stars

 

“Something to Tell You” introduces us to Frankie, who, after her mother’s death, stumbles upon an unopened letter addressed to her. The message in this letter is, however, not what she was expecting – it’s letting her know who her biological father is. She discovers she’s the result of an affair her mother had with a married man, Harry Mortimer. Frankie decides to go to York to get to know him. Unknowingly, she gate – crashes his and his wife’s wedding anniversary party. Harry Mortimer had no idea about Frankie’s existence but, after spotting her among the crowds, he immediately knows she’s his daughter. However, Harry’s wife Jeanie is not as unforgiving and relaxed about the fact that he has another daughter – because it turns out that Frankie has half – siblings as well, three brothers and one sister. What she didn’t expect is that her appearance will open Pandora’s box full of secrets, dramas and upheavals. Will the family stay together? Can they accept Frankie?

I liked that actually all of the characters had got the same chance to present their own story, as the narration switched between them. Yes, I thought it’s going to be more Frankie’s story but I really enjoyed how it included all the other characters as well. There were a large number of characters, to be honest, and not only the female ones but also all the male ones belonging to them, but I quickly worked out who is who and why. On the whole I didn’t have a problem with any of the characters, I liked all of them, except for Jeannie Mortimer. The way she was described at the beginning of the book when she’s spotted Frankie, how possessive she was and how angry, well, it simply put me away. I understand where she was coming from, her sudden insecurity – well, who wouldn’t feel insecure, right – but the way she behaved simply wasn’t adequate and I didn’t gel with her till the end of the book.
As usual in Lucy Diamond’s book, the characters’ lives are far from being perfect. All the ladies in this novel have fights on their hands, and troubles to overcome. Robyn’s marriage turned out to be full of lies, Bunny had a huge secret that she was so ashamed of, Robyn’s mother Alison spent her whole days only watching TV, Frankie’s life has taken a very unexpected turn and she was afraid everything she loves will be taken away from her, and Jeanie, well, Jeanie, she simply liked to complicate her own life. The only one who seemed to land a perfect life was Paula – I really liked her attitude towards life. It is great that all of them are so different, this makes the reading even more hooking and interesting. What makes the book so special is the fact that all those problems are down – to – earth and realistic.

You could say that it is a slow – burner, as there is a huge build – up to the many events taking place in this story, but to be honest it didn’t bother me, as I enjoyed reading about the characters’ lives. However, in comparison, I think that the end came too suddenly, too quickly. Yes, everything is of course wonderfully wrapped up and tied up but I’d love some of the issues to be done a little more deeply. Also, with so many subplots I think it’s natural that some of them fell a little flat compared to the others but then the things pick up again and it was a great rollercoaster of feelings, emotions and surprises.

It was a light, warm book about different family relationships and dynamics. Lucy Diamond isn’t shy of writing about secrets, lies, dramas and conflicts but she also does it in a very heartfelt, lovely way, and she can perfectly mix lightness with some more serious issues, and she doesn’t focus on the negative, upsetting things but on the optimistic side which makes the book so lovely complex and not predictable. Add to this relatable characters, effortless writing style and you have your pick for those long, wintry evenings. Truly recommended!

 

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

 

cover150410-mediumPublisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 11th January 2019

Series: Love Heart Lane #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Love Heart Lane…

When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away! As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

Rating: three-stars

Felicity Simons returns home to the Scottish Highlands after 8 years. Her departure was, in retrospect, very sudden and she burned a few bridges, to be honest. So it’s not a wonder that her return, that was prompted by her beloved grandma’s death, is not very welcome, especially by the one person that she cares about – and it’s the person she’s broken his heart. Felicity has a lot of fences to mend, especially with her friends, who couldn’t understand why she didn’t stay in touch with them. Being back, Felicity quickly realises that her hearts belong again to Heartcross. But will she be given a second chance?

There is a lot happening in Love Heart Lane for such a small place but I adored this village. The setting was beautifully idyllic but also dangerous, and so different. I’ve been reading the book at the same time when here, not far from where I live, there were incredibly heavy snowfalls, and the catastrophe alarm has already been introduced, so it was easy to imagine how Love Heart Lane looked like.

There is a whole cats of characters in the novel, and they are all lovely, warm and welcoming, probably sometimes too lovely, the small conflicts and misunderstandings weren’t too twisty. But the author for sure knows how to bring them all to life, and she brilliantly described how easily they all pulled together at the time of crisis. And I really liked the gang, the way their friendship survived, the way how they were around each other.

It was an absolutely lovely, nice read guys, that started in such a brilliant way. I thought, yes, I’m really into something great. And it was still an absolutely lovely, nice read until we reached the moment with the bridge. As of this moment I couldn’t stand Felicity. I know she was the main character but I had a feeling that every second word is either Felicity or Flick. Felicity this, Flick that. And of course Felicity was everywhere and she was able to do anything, starting with helping by the labour, through being chosen unanimously as a spokesperson for the village, finding Esme (of course!!!), finding herself in all the crucial moments in the right places and organizing everything smoothly and hassle – free. Well, I think I could take it but not the way she was crowding Fergus and his family – because it felt like this. I was wondering, hell, woman, who has given you the right to act like this? To decide over Fergus’s will? To impose yourself? To not give him a choice? Those things simply annoyed me, spoiled the book for me and made me not to really care about the characters and what’s going to happen. It was also impossible not to spot what was in the heart of the book: community, because it was also mentioned on every second page. I love books where the community feeling is so brilliantly overwhelming, where people support each other, but I also like to deduce it by myself, I don’t need to have it all the time mentioned. But yes, I liked how close knit the villagers were and how the pub and the tea shop were the places to be, to meet and to enjoy the company.

So really, if it weren’t for Felicity, I think I would totally adore this book. Shame. However, I am in minority here, guys, as all the other reviewers are RAVING about this book, so no matter what please do not feel put out by me and simply read this novel. It’s light – hearted and fast – paced and if you’re like this kind of read it’ll give you the warm fuzzies. The narrative flows and it’s very easy to read. And the cover is simply gorgeous! It deserves a standing ovation.

 

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup / Blog Tour

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

 

40232719Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 512

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A NAIL-BITINGLY THRILLING CRIME NOVEL FROM THE SCRIPT WRITER BEHIND THE KILLING

Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.

That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.

When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.

Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

Rating: five-stars

“The Chestnut Man” introduces us to Naia Thulin and Mark Hess, two detectives in Homicide’s Murder Squad, trying to solve the mystery of Laura Kjaer’s murder. It doesn’t look like it is a beginning to a series, and that it will eventually lead to a disappearance of Rosa Hartung’s, Minister of Social Affairs, young daughter. The girl’s killer has been caught, but as Thulin and Hess start to dig deeper, his testimony simply doesn’t make sense. And moreover, in the place of Laura Kjaer’s murder they find a figure made of chestnuts with an evidence linking it to Rosa’s daughter Kristine. As further murders occur, with a similar pattern and more chestnut men with Kristine’s fingerprints on them, the race against time begins – are Thulin and Hess going to solve the case on time?

So, there was the best opening ever in this book. I was actually afraid that I’m not going to be able to read it, judging on the opening, on the awful, gory details but I just couldn’t stop reading. There was something in this book that kept me glued to the pages, and even though I’m a little softie when it comes to crime scenes, and if the children are involved, all the descriptions didn’t dishearten me.

Almost every chapter – and there were 130 of them, bear with me! – introduced us to a new character. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but there were tons of characters in this book and it was simply impossible to keep track on all of them, and I quickly decided that I’m not even going to try, even though I couldn’t be sure who’s important and who’s not. However, the few main characters are the most important, although all of them, even the background ones, are really well developed and fleshed out. You can’t help but be wary with all of them, as you don’t know whom you can trust. And I really felt involved in the characters’ lives. Naia Thulin feels unchallenged at her job (that is, until the chestnut man case arrives!) and wants to transfer to NC3 (National Cyber Crime Centre). She’s a single mother to Le. Mark Hess is a bit of enigma but there was much more to him than met the eye. He’s been pushed out of Europol because of some issues and finds himself back again in Denmark, on the case with Thulin – though it’s obvious he doesn’t want to be there (that is, until they find the connection to Kristine’s case and he starts to put two and two together). But their partnership was really sparkling and they were completing each other. Their characters develop throughout the story.

Yes, of course, one could say this book was full of clichés. We have here your usual detectives couple: the clever young girl who, despite her lack of experience, is your top girl, single mother and with great ambitions. The laid – back detective with unresolved issues, discredited, with a tragic past, forced to leave Europol, scruffy and harsh but with a heart made of gold. They make a lot of mistakes and also decisions they really shouldn’t make by themselves, the killer is always one step ahead of them, the colleagues are more interested in their own careers and vendettas etc, etc . But it didn’t bother me and it didn’t take away from the story. I was totally drawn to it, I’ve breathed and lived it and I told anyone that was in my vicinity and wanted something from me to simply go away because this book is so good.

Now, guys, I’ve guessed the culprit. I can tell you exactly what page it was that gave me the tip that made me feel so sure but I’m not going, oh no. However, it didn’t make me feel smug or whatever, no, it made me race through the pages even faster as I desperately wanted to know why – what was the reason, how deep did it sit in their soul, what turned them into a killing monster.

It was an addictive and captivating Scandi – Noir, brutal psychological thriller, very realistic and very sharp and very complex. It was dark and bleak and grimy and so incredibly absorbing. It was a chilling, disturbing and gripping debut novel, full of tension and suspense and the feeling that something is going to happen, that it’s not enough, that something is lurking around the corner – the atmosphere was really well captured. Haunting and truly unforgettable. The writing style was so chilling and so down to earth, yet it simply sucks you in. The author has an ability to write gruesome scenes that will make you feel unsettled. The last part of the book felt much more faster as the first two – thirds, a lot happened then and there and maybe in comparison it should be a little slower. But altogether, “The Chestnut Man” was an exciting and fast – paced book, and the short chapters made it even more pacy, and they were full of twists and turns and cliffhangers that make you hold your breath and lead to a satisfying conclusion. I personally absolutely loved it – highly recommended!

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Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon / Blog Tour

Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon

 

41946727Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

**The million copy bestselling author of Faking Friends and My Sweet Revenge is back – pre-order now!**

Holly and Roz spend most of their days together. They like the same jokes, loathe the same people and tell each other everything.

So when single mum Holly gets a shot at her dream job after putting everything on hold to raise her daughter, she assumes her friend will be dying to pop the champagne with her.

But is she just imagining things, or is Roz not quite as happy for her as she should be?

As Holly starts to take a closer look at Roz’s life outside their friendship, she begins to discover a few things that don’t add up. Who is the woman who claims to be her ally?

Perhaps it was a mistake to tell Roz all her secrets.

Because it takes two to forge a friendship.

But it only takes one to wage a war . . .

Rating: five-stars

 

Holly has always prioritised her little family so when, after years, she gets her dream job on a popular TV soap she’s over the moon, and also determined to pass the probation period, to prove that she’s really the right person in the right place. But quickly it turns out that not everyone in the office agree with her promotion, as a not a very subtle campaign full of sabotage and accidents takes place. Holly is in shock and taken aback – who is behind this all? She tries to unveil who the person is, but in the meantime she must be prepared for a life full of twists and turns, sometimes better than in the soap opera she’s working on.

The characters were absolutely brilliant. Not only Holly, but also the side characters that were so well developed and fleshed out. Jane Fallon is perfect when it comes to capturing people’s characters, their personalities and mentalities, and she’s a real queen of revenge novels, guys. The characters always feel realistic, they are engaging and genuine, and the way she writes about friendship dynamics is absolutely brilliant, as she isn’t shy of stirring things up and complicating them. She’s a great and sharp observer of everyday interactions and she can brilliantly transfer them onto the pages of her novels. Holly was so human, with all her insecurities, and the need to prove herself that she’s got the promotion rightly and so she puts herself under a lot of pressure. I can only guess how weird and difficult it must have been for her, suddenly managing people that she used to work with and who are now to report to her but I think she really did her best, even though it couldn’t have been an easy task, especially with all the back – stabbing and the uncertainty of what’s going to happen yet. I really loved to see her growing in confidence, it was the best thing to see. It was also refreshing to see Holly as a single woman, not looking after a romance or a man that she could relay on – she didn’t need it, she had her best friend Dee, and I loved their interactions and how far would Dee go to help Holly.
But I also think we shouldn’t demonize the other character, the one that sabotaged Holly. Of course our sympathy is on Holly’s side, there is no other option, but I think we should also stop for a moment and think what was it that made her act like this, to put people so down. And this also what I so love in Jane Fallon’s novels, the diversity, the way she is able to portray different types of friendship! There is the perfect mix of characters that we love and we love to hate.

This book follows the Jane Fallon’s proven formula and guys, it turns out I could read the books like that over and over again, it doesn’t grow old or boring for me. Though, in my opinion, this novel is not as bitchy and as sharp as the previous books. It’s not a criticism, oh no, it’s just my simple opinion, I am used to much more trouble, fret and paperchase. Also, in the previous books we were not directly told who is the frenemy and here we actually know from the very beginning who’s sabotaging Holly, the question is now – why. But – just as with Ms Fallon’s previous books I was so close to put this book down because I simply couldn’t take the tension! This is why I don’t watch films – because I can’t stand sitting here and not being able to do anything, and it is the same with “Tell Me a Secret”. You’ve no idea how much I wanted to punish the character in question, and I’m usually really a very peaceful person, so that’s saying something, that my blood was boiling and I so wanted her to happen to slip up eventually. Sure, there were things that were perhaps happening too convenient, and right people in the right places so that the plot could flow seamlessly towards the happy end, but honestly, it didn’t bother me.

I do love a Jane Fallon novel, that’s not a secret, and “Tell Me a Secret” was a light – hearted, entertaining novel, full of intrigue and hidden depth. There is the safe and proved Fallon’s trademark that explores the themes of friendship, rivalry, betrayal, jealousy and deception, and it’s sometimes so refreshing to read a book without a romance in it. It explores toxic friendships in such an eye – opening way, with all its ups and downs. It was, just like all the other Fallon’s books, a fast – paced and addictive read that made my heart go faster and me to clench my fists. It was a complex, thought – provoking and clever read, very well developed and written in this brilliant, sharp writing style. Even though it’s pretty sure who the “bad one” is, there are moments that I started to doubt myself, and started to suspect everybody, that I was wondering perhaps they are all involved? The author knows how to complicate the things, how to pool wool over our eyes. Highly recommended!

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Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

 

34109621Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 1st January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 315

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 07.03.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…

The hilarious new heartbreaker from Mhairi McFarlane!

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…

Rating: four-stars

 

Georgina is working in probably the worst Italian restaurant in Sheffield, has a narcissistic boyfriend, a patronising family that doesn’t understand her life choices, a housemate from hell, and then she’s not only unfairly sacked from her job but also finds her boyfriend in a very unambiguous situation with his PA. And this is when she’s thought things couldn’t get possibly any worse… But at last luck seems to be on her side when she gets an unexpected job offer at a newly refurbished pub, run by the brilliant Dev. However, then she meets Dev’s brother, and business partner, Lucas – her first ever love. She immediately recognizes him, but he doesn’t remember her. Or maybe he doesn’t WANT to remember her?

I think Georgina, as a main character, may trigger mixed feelings but I liked her. She was funny and sharp and relatable and her life was so full of problems: she loved being a waitress, even if she was working at the worst place possible so when she’s fired, in front of the full restaurant, she’s truly shocked. She feels comfortable with her boyfriend but then she discovers something and even though she’s so right about her decision he doesn’t want to let her go. Her flatmate seems to hate her, leaving her passive – aggressive notes and her step – father also seems to hate her, and for sure he doesn’t appreciate her, and so on, and so on. So really, to be honest, nothing comes easy to her. But I loved the fact that she never gave up, that she tried to process her dramas and, despite all of the troubles, she’s happy with her life. – even though she sometimes felt like a failure, sometimes didn’t know what to do with herself and her life. The continuous reminders of her being thirty and that perhaps it’s really time to slow down and do something useful (ie. get married and start to produce children) also didn’t help. But she was strong, she had great friends and she never gave up, and this is why I liked her so much. Of course, there is still some self – doubt but on the whole she was more or less happy with this what she had and she felt comfortable in her own skin.

The romance aspect was, in fact, the background story – it was Georgina’s tale, and I loved it that way, though, I must admit, Lucas was absolutely, totally delicious. Yes, let’s swoon a little about Lucas. Sigh. I simply adored him, even with him blowing hot and cold. The younger Lucas, the one that was Georgina’s boyfriend, came across as absolutely brilliant, responsible and honest teenager while the older one seemed much more moodier but there is a reason to this, oh yes, there is. But let’s put the moods aside, guys, he was simply perfect. And had a dog Keith – what more would you need, right?
Those were actually the characters that made the book so outstanding, I think. They were all so brilliantly developed and full of personality and even if they were absolutely unlikeable – yes, I’m looking at you, Geoffrey, you little toad – you had to appreciate how much work went into all of them, how realistic they all felt. They were strong, not too meh, complex and complicated, just like they should be.

The family dynamics in the story were so well captured! My heart broken at Georgina’s attempts to hide the truth from her mother and sister and, as it turned out, they wanted to do the same. Also, at the fact that she still couldn’t process her dad’s death, at the guilty feeling she was still having – she really had a heart in the right place. The descriptions of the dysfunctional family from Georgina’s childhood were so realistic and plausible, as well as the family from her present days – the meetings at her sister’s were hilarious, especially when we think about the grandmother Nana Hogg, and also full of hurt, pain and bad feelings.

Sure, there were also some things that felt undone or ended abruptly, or too conventionally, like with the short drama with the diary, I’d love a little more depth and development in the Georgina and Lucas’s relationship but they were only small bumps on the otherwise smooth journey but on the whole the book was written in a very easy to read, flowing style that I enjoyed very much. The plot was relatively simple but Mhairi McFarlane’s take on it simply brilliant. There were moments that it felt predictable, the will they/won’t they were there but it was written in such a refreshing, engaging way that it truly didn’t bother me. The events felt so natural, the pace was just spot on, the romance was well developed and I literally raced through this book. The humour there was just my kind of humour, I loved Georgina’s sharp tongue and her one – liners and the banter was witty and warm. It was a perfect mix of laugh, tears, heartbreak and hope. There was much more to this book that you could initially think. It’s about not allowing others to put you down, about raising above, about getting over your old demons. A hilarious novel with an unexpected depth to it, story about second chances, coming to terms with your past and growing to value yourself. There are some very strong messages in this book, wrapped up amongst the laughs so if you’re looking for a light, heart – warming story that will make you think as well, don’t hesitate and treat yourself to “Don’t You Forget About Me” – highly recommended!