Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Good Me Bad Me – Ali Land

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Well this is definitely a book with a different premise to anything I’ve read before. Annie’s mother is a serial killer and after the last killing she decides to go to the police and tell all. To protect her Annie is given a new name, Millie Barnes and sent to live with foster parents Mike and Saskia and their own teenaged daughter Phoebe.
This is a book that drags you into the action straight away with much of Milie’s narrative addressed to her mother, the reader is given an insight into what may have happened before she arrived at her foster home, but for the most part nothing specific is actually expressed.

As well as being a foster father of many years, Mike is also a psychologist who works with Millie as she prepares for her mother’s trial as a key witness. Odd as it may seem the foster family have their own problems which are revealed to us through Millie’s eyes.

Millie has clearly been damaged by her upbringing, she has problems forming bonds, struggles to react appropriately and is essentially living a lie. Maybe a necessary one but beyond Mike and Saskia and her new headmistress, no-one knows the truth about why she is being fostered and her absences for preparation are papered over with more acceptable excuses. As I was reading this book, the idea that a young fifteen year old who has taken the huge step of revealing the horror that occurred behind closed doors is then left with limited people who understand something of what she’s going through, and what she’s preparing for. And then there is the fact that this is her mother, that bond is still there, not completely severed.

This was a masterful piece of writing and although Millie’s narrative felt a little disjointed at times as it reflected her disordered thoughts for me, that just added to the sense of horror which fortunately is solely down to the writing rather than graphic images of what happened which are mostly referred to but not expressly discussed. Ali Land does a fantastic job of adding the tension by interspersing memories with an every day life which is quite frankly anything but normal.

With the main protagonist being the daughter of a serial killer the theme is that of nature over nurture rears its head in the most twisted way – what happens if a child has both sides of the coin loaded against her – can Millie by having reported her mother escape the pattern that her early life has set in place – after all we can all imagine what her future holds if she isn’t able to pull free.

The characters are a mixed bunch although the cast is relatively small, which suited the style of book and of course Millie’s background. With Millie obviously and understandably disturbed, Saskia seemed off-the wall and Phoebe a nasty cow. Mike was kind but he appeared to be Millie’s entire support system and there were some indications that he wasn’t looking after her for entirely altruistic reasons. Plus how can a man working in mental health not see that his wife is in bad need of help?

I can’t say I enjoyed this book, because that is entirely the wrong word. I was unsettled by what I was reading, I was unnerved by many of the characters and I read the entire book with a never-ending feeling of dread – was it a good read? Yes, not only was it an inspired premise, this book also captured the way teenagers behave, understandably given her background working as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse she has created a true to life replicas in her younger characters. So in conclusion this book is set firmly on the pile of books I’m glad I’ve read, and in all honesty I don’t think I’ll be able to forget Millie’s sad tale for some time to come.

I’d like to thank the publishers Michael Joseph for my copy of Good Me, Bad Me which will be published next week. This review is my unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 12 January 2017
Publisher: Michael Joseph
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 21)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I have just started reading What Remains of Me by A L Gaylin, a story of a woman who when she was a teenage girl in 1980 was jailed for killing a Hollywood director. Now released she is chief suspect when her father-in-law is shot.

what-remains-of-me

See yesterday’s post for an excerpt and the synopsisyesterday’s post

I have finished (my signed copy) of A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone, which is a powerful read.

a-suitable-lie

Blurb

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match… And she loves his son, too. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.
A brave, deeply moving psychological thriller which marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s top crime writers. Amazon

Next up I’m hoping to get to Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land which will be published on 12 January 2017 by Penguin UK

good-me-bad-me

Blurb

‘NEW N A M E . NEW F A M I LY. S H I N Y. NEW. ME .
Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…
Translated into over 20 languages, Good Me Bad Me is a tour de force. In its narrator, Milly Barnes, we have a voice to be reckoned with, and in its author, Ali Land, an extraordinary new talent. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave your links, answers or any other random comments about books in the box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (November 7)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well the wind and rain has started here so all the more excuse to tuck myself up and enjoy some good books.

This Week on the Blog

My week started with a five star review of My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood which reflected my pleasant surprise at how the author’s decision to feature the main protagonist as a war reporter was used in such an intelligent way. This book was just full of surprises.

Tuesday had me featuring the opening paragraph from While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft, her latest psychological thriller where we meet a married woman who wakes up naked in bed next to her neighbour, only to realise he’s been murdered. I’ve finished this read now, and my review will follow shortly.

My weekly This Week in Books post indicted that my next read would be Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult which I’m currently immersed in.

Another review on Thursday, this time for Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan which featured the world of vloggers amongst many other things, in this exciting, high action thriller.

On Friday I reviewed For All Our Sins by T.M.E. Walsh, the first in a series featuring DCI Claire Winters. There was a lot to enjoy in this debut and enough to ensure that the next book has made it to the wishlist…

Which brings me neatly to my re-visit of the TBR Book Tag in which I first counted and confronted my TBR on 6 November 2015 – see how my TBR fared over the year here.

This Time Last Year

I read one of the books that made it to my Top Ten list for 2015 – The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett which absolutely wowed me. On the surface this is a book with a truly shocking opening and a woman who inherits a house and doesn’t understand why. On a deeper level the reader is challenged to question whether right and wrong is as black and white as we would like it to be.  See my review here

The Hidden Legacy Cover Reveal

Ellen has received a life-changing inheritance. If only she knew who had left it to her . . .

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

Recently divorced and with two young children, Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she’s far from convinced the journey will be worthwhile.

But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.

Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . . Amazon


Stacking the Shelves

As anyone who read yesterday’s post will know, I need to seriously cut down on the number of books I acquire so be warned, this may be the last bumper post for a while…

From NetGalley I have been lucky enough to receive a copy of Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, I just can’t resist the early hype for this psychological thriller which will be published on 12 January 2017.

good-me-bad-me

Blurb

‘NEW N A M E . NEW F A M I LY. S H I N Y. NEW. ME .
‘ Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.
Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

I saw a wonderful review for The House of Birds by Morgan McCarthy on The Quiet Knitter’s Blog and was delighted to be approved a copy too. The House of Birds was published on 3 November 2016.

house-of-birds

Blurb

Oliver has spent years trying to convince himself that he’s suited to a life of money making in the city, and that he doesn’t miss a childhood spent in pursuit of mystery, when he cycled around the cobbled lanes of Oxford, exploring its most intriguing corners.
When his girlfriend Kate inherits a derelict house – and a fierce family feud – she’s determined to strip it, sell it and move on. For Oliver though, the house has an allure, and amongst the shelves of discarded, leather bound and gilded volumes, he discovers one that conceals a hidden diary from the 1920s.
So begins a quest: to discover the identity of the author, Sophia Louis. It is a portrait of war and marriage, isolation and longing and a story that will shape the future of the abandoned house – and of Oliver – forever. NetGalley

My pre-ordered copy of fellow blogger, Margot Kinberg’s book Past Tense dutifully arrived on my kindle on publication day 1 November 2016. If you haven’t visited Margot, I can’t recommend her blog highly enough, here is her publication day post

past-tense

Blurb

A long-buried set of remains…a decades-old mystery

Past and present meet on the quiet campus of Tilton University when construction workers unearth a set of unidentified bones.
For former police detective-turned-professor Joel Williams, it’s a typical Final Exams week – until a set of bones is discovered on a construction site…

When the remains are linked to a missing person case from 1974, Williams and the Tilton, Pennsylvania police go back to the past. And they uncover some truths that have been kept hidden for a long time.

How much do people really need to know?

It’s 1974, and twenty-year-old Bryan Roades is swept up in the excitement of the decade. He’s a reporter for the Tilton University newspaper, The Real Story, and is determined to have a career as an investigative journalist, just like his idols, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. He plans to start with an exposé article about life on the campus of Tilton University. But does everything need to be exposed? And what are the consequences for people whose lives could be turned upside down if their stories are printed? As it turns out, Bryan’s ambition carries a very high price. And someone is determined not to let the truth out. Amazon

I have also been lucky enough to receive a proof copy of A Life Between Us by Louise Walters which came with a lovely handwritten note from this author who delighted me with her earlier novel Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase. A Life Between Us will be published on 28 March 2017.

a-life-between-us

Blurb

Tina’s sister Meg died in a childhood accident, but for almost forty years Tina has secretly blamed herself for her twin’s death. During a visit to her Uncle Edward and his sister Lucia, who both harbour dark secrets of their own, Tina makes a discovery that forces her to question her memories of the day Meg died.

As Tina finds the courage to face the past, she unravels the mysteries of her estranged parents, her beautiful Aunt Simone, the fading, compassionate Uncle Edward, and above all, the cold, bitter Aunt Lucia, whose spectral presence casts a long shadow over them all.

The second novel from the author of MRS SINCLAIR’S SUITCASE is a gripping tale of a family’s disintegration and eventual redemption. Goodreads

I also was posted a copy of A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys, again with a lovely message which made my day. A Dangerous Crossing will be published in April 2017.

dangerous-crossing

Blurb

It was a first class deception that would change her life forever
1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.
But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.
By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have read 3 books, discarded two part-read books that I’m not going to pick up again, and managed to gain 5 and so my TBR is standing at 181 books!

95 physical books
68 e-books
18 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?