Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

While You Were Sleeping – Kathryn Croft

Psychological Fiction 4*s
Psychological Fiction
4*s

One of my chief pleasures in reading a ‘grip-lit’ novel is imagining what I would do in the same scenario posed, however the author had me stumped with this one, my imagination simply doesn’t allow me to believe that I would wake up in bed with the murdered body of a neighbour. That said, even though I wasn’t able to play the ‘what would I do?’ game, this book certainly had me reverting to the whodunit game with no problem at all!

Tara Logan wakes up next to her neighbour who has been stabbed, she remembered visiting the night before, her intent being to see his wife, she also remembered drinking some wine, but after that nothing. How she happened to be in the marital bed, naked, but fortunately with no blood on her she can’t imagine. She makes a choice, and runs home pretending that whatever it was that happened, never had.

Luckily for Tara, she is alone in the house, her husband away on a work trip, her daughter staying with a friend and her son is with his grandparents. This rare empty house was so that Tara could submit a work of art for a national prize but she can’t paint she’s too busy worrying what Lee’s wife will say when she returns from her hen-do and hoping that no-one saw her sprinting across the close to the safety of her own home – but wait, it might not be safe, after all, if she didn’t murder Lee someone else definitely knows she was at the scene.

Of course before too long Lee’s body is found and the police begin their investigation and Tara has to stay one step ahead. She no longer just has to lie to her husband, her children and by omission to her parents and her sister, she has to come up with a plausible account of her evening, one that didn’t involve downing a bottle of red wine or two with Lee while his wife was out of town.

To be a successful read in this genre, by necessity most of the characters need flaws, and not little bitty ones either, you need to be far too gullible, or obviously have a loose association with the truth or better still have some form of guilty secret that surfaces at inappropriate moments. While You Were Sleeping is no different, if I were living on this close, particularly with the organisers of the local neighbourhood watch, I might struggle, but Kathryn Croft keeps them all just the right side of outright nuts to keep the number of suspects pegged at practically every character whilst allowing the story to have one foot in a twisted sort of reality. To this end we have the busybodies, the media frenzy, some sibling rivalry, some stalking and some adultery – enough to keep even the most ardent issue junkie sated.

So in brief, I loved this book, the story is certainly compelling and I was invested in every aspect; I wanted to know not only who killed Lee, but why, how when and how on earth did they expect to get away with it? This is a book to set aside time for, because although you want to ask the major questions, you probably don’t want to dwell too much on some of the other aspects of the book, particularly those surrounding the police investigation. But that’s a minor quibble and as a fiction reader as long as the plot rattles along and doesn’t introduce outright implausible happenings, I’m prepared to enjoy the ride, and what a ride this book was.

I’d like to thank the publishers Bookouture for providing me with a copy of While You Were Sleeping. This review is my thank you to them, and of course the author Kathryn Croft

First Published UK: 16 November 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 324
Genre: Psychological Thriller – Grip Lit
Amazon UK
Amazon US

This is the third book I’ve read by this author

Kathryn Croft – Books I’ve Reviewed

The Girl With No Past
The Girl You Lost

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 2)

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’ve just started reading While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft which is one of those psychological thrillers that promises to make compelling reading.

while-you-were-sleeping

You can read an excerpt and the synopsis in yesterday’s post

I have just finished Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel which is a collection of five novellas examining the lives of those touched by manipulators extraordinaire!

manipulated-lives

Blurb

Five stories – Five Lives. Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance? Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. In this collection of short novellas you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Next, there is Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself and finally Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth. Amazon

Next up is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It’s a while since I’ve read anything by this author and the subject matter of this one has me greatly intrigued.

Small Great Things

Blurb

When a new-born baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.
It is about opening your eyes. Amazon

So that’s my week sorted – What are you reading this week? Do share your links and thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 1)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opening paragraph comes from While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft, an author who wowed me with The Girl With No Past

while-you-were-sleeping

Blurb

You wake up to find the man beside you is dead.
He is not your husband. This is not your bed.
What do you do?

Tara Logan lives a quiet life with her husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her peace is shattered when she wakes in her neighbour Lee’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them.
And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee, Tara stays silent, fearing the truth will rip her family apart.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara soon realises that someone in her life knows what really happened to Lee. She must get to the truth before they do.

Tara made a mistake … but will one night cost her everything? NetGalley

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PROLOGUE

I open my eyes and know immediately something is wrong. Nothing is familiar. The dark blinds, shutting out al but a tiny sliver of sunlight, are not mine, and neither is the black silk sheet covering my body, nor the too-soft pillow beneath my head.
This is not my bedroom.

PART 1
CHAPTER ONE
24 HOURS EARLIER

I lie in bed and watch Noah pack. He is methodical and precise, ticking off items on the ‘To Pack’ list he created days ago on his phone. Everything is placed neatly inside his immaculate suitcase, every inch of space utilised to its full potential. I smile to myself. This is Noah all over. The complete contrast to me.

This extract is taken from an uncorrected proof copy

I like the symmetry between the lying in bed 24 hours previous to what we know from the synopsis is a shocking opener.

What do you think? Have you read it? Would you like to? Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Girl You Lost – Kathryn Croft

Psychological Thriller 2*s
Psychological Thriller
2*s

The synopsis to this book is captivating, after all having your six month old baby snatched is horrific but how does a mother react when eighteen years later a young woman turns up claiming to be that daughter?

Simone Porter is a successful journalist, married to Matt, a doctor, their lives would be enviable if it weren’t for the fact that their daughter was still missing, eighteen years later following her abduction in a local park. Despite a massive police operation, no trace of Helena but then a girl called Grace turns up telling Simone she’s her missing daughter and the couple dare to hope that she really is.

Unfortunately I didn’t really believe in this story which meant that I read it with far more critical eyes than it is designed for. This is a real problem for psychological thrillers, especially now the stakes have been set so high. Lots of readers really enjoyed this book, and I can see that if you’ve bought into the storyline then it will make for an action-packed read but, and here’s the clincher, if like me, you stop early on and think that you simply don’t believe that anyone would make the decisions that Simone made, then as the story unfolds because it is built on a shaky premise, everyone’s actions are viewed from the same angle.

In the end because of the stance taken early on I had a problem with most aspects of this book. I didn’t believe any of the characters, which isn’t the same as disliking them, they simply did not behave in a credible way. The plot unfolds with twists and turns which were either so far-fetched they were ridiculous or were sign-posted from far away. This wasn’t helped that I’d guessed a big part of the ending fairly early on and in this instance it ruined any of the surprises that were to come. Maybe this is because I’ve overdosed lately on the genre and need to give it a break.

All in all this was a disappointing read as I loved the author’s previous book The Girl With No Past, and having read other reviews of this book, I am definitely in the minority in my opinions. This is a psychological thriller with some seriously nasty characters and the book quickly takes quite a disturbing turn. There are excerpts from an unknown man which literally made my flesh crawl – be warned if you are of a sensitive nature despite the seemingly domestic nature of the premise, this delves into the psyche of some seriously depraved people.

I’d like to thank the publishers Book Outure for allowing me to read a copy of this book before the publication date of today, 5 February 2016.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 3)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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

Well due to visitors over the last week there has been little reading done so please forgive the overlap.

At the moment I’m reading The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft , a psychological thriller.

The Girl You Lost

Please see yesterday’s post for the synopsis and excerpts from this book

I have just finished The Ex by Alafair Burke, a gripping attorney led thriller.

The Ex

Blurb

In this breakout standalone thriller in the tradition of Gillian Flynn, William Landay and Paula Hawkins, a lawyer agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been accused of murder-but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.
Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene since the shooting of his wife by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman who eerily but thrillingly echoes his past. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a “Missed Moment” item online and days later, a woman responds…
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she gets the phone call informing her that her former fiancée, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him – and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, and the hurt she caused him, but as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him? NetGalley

Next I plan on reading Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris a debut thriller!

Behind Closed Doors

Blurb

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie. Amazon

So that’s my choices for this week. What do you all have to read at the moment? Do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 2)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

To start February off in the best way I am featuring a psychological thriller; The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft which is going to be published on 5 February 2016.

The Girl You Lost

Blurb

Eighteen years ago your baby daughter was snatched. Today, she came back.
A sinister and darkly compelling psychological thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Girl With No Past.
Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them.
Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her?
When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her daughter and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts.
Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory.
Simone lost her baby. Will she lose her life trying to find her? NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PROLOGUE

It had been easy to get him alone. He’d played right into her hands and all she’d had o do was flash a smile at him. Laugh at his jokes. Pretend to be interested in his words.

One

Eighteen Years Ago

I stare at y baby as I hold her in my arms and can’t believe we’ve produced something so beautiful. She may have arrived years to early but I wouldn’t change a thing. I only hope Matt feels the same. He seems out of his comfort zone, but then so am I. Sometimes I watch him holding her nervously, as if she is china that will break in his hand, but the smile on his face speaks louder than any of his doubts. They have all gone now, vanquished by our beautiful Helena.

Please note these excerpts come from a proof copy

So what do you think? Do you want to know more?

If you have an opening to share, please leave your link in the comments box below.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Girl With No Past – Kathryn Croft

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

Leah lives on her own, surrounded by books, with a job in a library and no social life it is clear to the reader from page one that she is troubled by her past, but why is a mystery. Longing to make a connection with someone she begins lurking on a dating website where she meets moderator Julian and she starts to feel braver and for a while she believes she can leave the past behind her but everything changes on the fourteenth anniversary of the event she is running from when she receives an anniversary card. It is obvious someone isn’t going to let her forget.

I hadn’t heard of Kathryn Croft before I started reading this book, although I’ve since discovered this is in fact the third psychological thriller novel that she’s written, and the web of intrigue that she has invented for Leah certainly had me convinced. Right from the beginning of the book I could visualise Leah sat in her dismal flat, could picture her losing herself amongst the pages Of Mice and Men, her solitary dinners and then her lifeline to a more normal world, mere fingertips away on her laptop. As she begins to bond with Maria at the library I was urging her on, sure that whatever had happened couldn’t really justify a life half lived.

As well as seeing how Leah is living her life now, we also meet her as she starts secondary school, a new teacher, new friends, first Imogen and then Corey and then as they reach year ten, a new boy joins the school, Adam and Leah loses her fears that she will never be interested in boys. School life is notoriously hard to recreate in novels possibly because we look back with adult eyes, but Kathryn Croft pulls it off these sections convincingly so that these occasional chapters detailing Leah’s teenage years not only add substance to the novel, they also transported me back to my school days.

One of the problems with books that are marketed as ‘for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train’ is that it invites readers to make the comparison, and usually the book comes up wanting. This book is nothing like those two except that it is in the same genre, although unlike many with this tag-line, it is utterly gripping, well-written and engaging. By opening with a description of a car crash, it is likely that something awful will happen and with the structure of short chapters I was eager to find out what! With Leah understandable scared by the events that unfold in the present with the background of her past, the tension levels merely switched between taut and tauter until finally as taut as an elastic band that is going to ping you in the face at any moment. I don’t usually talk about endings but again, due to the weakness or sheer unbelievable elements that litter this genre, this one is convincing and I’m proud to say that for once I did have my suspicions, will you?

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to read a copy of this book, in return for my review and to wish Kathryn Croft every success with this excellent read. The Girl With No Past was published on 15 October 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (October 7)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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

This week I am currently reading The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

The Girl With No Past

Please see yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book which is due to be published on 15 October 2015.

I have recently finished reading Nowhere Child by Rachel Abbott, the sequel to Stranger Child giving loyal readers an explanation of what happened to Tasha after the end of the book.

Nowhere Child

Blurb

Eight months ago Tasha Joseph ran away, and her stepmother, Emma, has been searching for her ever since. She is desperate to give Tasha the home and security she deserves. The problem is, Emma isn’t the only one looking for Tasha. The police are keen to find her too. She could be a vital witness in a criminal trial, and DCI Tom Douglas has a team constantly on the lookout for her. But Tasha remains hidden, and nobody appears to have seen her. Suddenly, the stakes are raised. Somebody is offering money – a lot of money – for information about Tasha’s whereabouts. Tom and Emma know they have never been closer to finding the young girl. But they also recognise that she has never been closer to danger. Can they find her first?

Next I am planning to read Thursday’s Child by Nicci French, the fourth in this duo’s wonderful series featuring clinical psychotherapist Frieda Klein.

Thursday's Child

Blurb

Two crimes, generations apart . . .
Twenty years ago teenager Frieda Klein was brutally attacked in her own home. No one believed her – not the police, not her mother, not her friends. She left town, trained as a psychologist and never went back.
Now an old classmate has shown up. She wants help with her daughter, who claims to have been attacked at home. An attack eerily similar to the one on Frieda. No one else believes the girl’s story.
Now – with a school reunion in the offing – Frieda returns to the darkness she fled. To the small town which refused to help her and which hides a terrible secret. Because someone at the reunion knows what happened.And they’ll stop at nothing to prevent Frieda discovering the truth . . .Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 6)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

The Girl With No Past

Blurb

Twenty years running from your past. Today it catches up.
Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly. NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PROLOGUE

Everything is silent and for a second I think I must be dead. But then I hear a deafening screech and I don’t know who or where it’s come from I only know that I haven’t made the noise because somehow I am okay. I want to turn my head to check what’s left of the wreckage, but I can’t move because pain is shooting through my neck, warm blood trickling down my face.

ONE

Walking home that evening, something felt wrong. It was nothing I could identify, because everything appeared normal. I was just one of many people heading home from work or heading somewhere at least. It was bitterly cold and I’d left my scarf hanging over my banister that morning, but the chill was nothing of the ordinary. It was to be expected in November.

Please note that this excerpt is taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more? Or perhaps you’ve already read this book?

Posted in Uncategorized

Stacking The Shelves (August 29)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

I have a modest list to share with my fellow bookworms this week:

Firstly from NetGalley I have a copy of The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft, the latest name to be signed to Bookouture, a publisher whose crime fiction hasn’t let me down yet.
The Girl With No Past

Blurb

Twenty years running from your past. Today it catches up.
Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly

I also have a copy of Boxes by Pascal Garnier which I chose after reading a review by fellow blogger Guy Savage of His Futile Preoccupations of another book by this author, The Islanders and put him on my to-read list.

Boxes

Blurb

He was the sole survivor of the natural disaster that at one time or another strikes us all, known as ‘moving house’.
Brice and Emma had bought their new home in the countryside together. And then Emma disappeared. Now, as he awaits her return, Brice busies himself with DIY and walks around the village.
He gradually comes to know his new neighbours including Blanche, an enigmatic woman in white, who has lived on her own in the big house by the graveyard since the death of her father, to whom Brice bears a curious resemblance… NetGalley

From Amazon Vine I have another psychological thriller, also unsurprisingly and annoyingly with the tag line Gone Girl Meets The Girl on the Train, called Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt

Little Girl Gone

Blurb

A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?
When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory.
Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible… Amazon

Lastly I purchased a book based upon a recommendation to one of my trusted book advisors, Margot Kinsberg of Confessions of a Mystery Novelist who featured What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn in one of her informative blog posts; Pushing The Town Away

What Was Lost

Blurb

The 1980s: Ten-year-old Kate Meaney – with her ‘Top Secret’ notebook and Mickey her toy monkey – is busy being a junior detective. She observes goings-on and follows ‘suspects’ at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping centre and in her street, where she is friends with the newsagent’s son, Adrian. But when this curious, independent-spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.
Then, in 2004, Lisa is working as a deputy manager at Your Music, a cut-price record store. Every day, under the watchful eye of the CCTV, she tears her hair out at the behaviour of her customers and colleagues. But when she meets security guard Kurt, she becomes entranced by the little girl he keeps glimpsing on the centre’s CCTV. As their after-hours friendship intensifies, they investigate how these sightings might be connected to the unsettling history of Green Oaks. Amazon

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below