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

When She Was Bad – Tammy Cohen

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller

I have long been a fan of Tammy Cohen’s writing, laced with humour as it always is makes a refreshing change from the reminders of how miserable everyone is in many a psychological thriller. This book is no different and even better it is set in an office, somewhere a good proportion of us spend our days and the author’s sharp eye (and pen) hasn’t missed a single detail to twist into something quite sinister.

‘I thought it would be good today to go round the table and for each of us to say one thing you think could improve the performance of this department.’
What was this, circle time?

The problem is that Gill the Manager of the department where Paula, Ewan, Amira, Sarah & Chloe work at Mark Hamilton Recruitment, has been ‘let go’ and a new boss Rachel Masters has been employed in her place to turn things around. It’s clear right from the start that she means business.

‘I just wanted to welcome you…’
‘Is it normal for the entire staff to take a two-hour lunch break?’
Rachel didn’t look up and Paula was conscious of her smile shrivelling on her lips.
‘No. We were just…’
‘Can you call everyone together, please? I’d like to have a few words.’
‘Of course. Out on the main floor?’
Finally Rachel glanced up at Paula from eyes of the palest blue offset by spiky black lashes. Paula felt her cheeks burning.
‘Well, unless we sit on each other’s laps, we’re hardly about to squeeze seven people in here, are we?’

Unless you have been incredibly lucky in your working life, some of the scenes set in the office will be only too familiar as Rachel Master’s plan to divide and conquer are put into force with relative ease.

But, this isn’t simply a story about office life, there is another, darker, strand to the tale set in America where Dr Anne Cater (book bloggers will probably recognise this name as a member of our community) is looking back at a distressing case early in her career as a psychologist. The narration by Anne is chilling because the subject is that of two young children and a different kind of office politics in the world of US academia.

With the narration in the recruitment agency being given by the different members of the team, in the hands of a lesser author the characters could easily have merged into one, but Tammy Cohen cleverly keeps them distinct and as in any team there are definite winners and losers, with Rachel’s appearance easily breaking the superficial bonds that previously existed between them all. Suddenly there is an ‘I’ in team! So it only takes a team bonding weekend for the cracks to widen into a chasm, and prove what I’ve always known, in that these sessions should be avoided like the plague! With everyone suspicious of each others motives the action ramps up to a whole different level, and the purpose of the two separate strands we are being told is revealed.

I raced through the book, the short chapters urging me on to read just a little bit more, to find out exactly when the tension that had been built was going to snap, all the while I was entertained by characters that were instantly recognisable and discovering the truths that those of us who work in offices deny.  I loved this book, the setting was inspired, the two stories fascinating and the characters well-defined and entirely believable – Tammy Cohen has done it again!

But that wasn’t all my disappointment that the book was done was turned around when I got to the end and read the acknowledgements and saw this – thank you Tammy!!

IMG_0697 (3)

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Random House UK who allowed me to read a proof copy of When She Was Bad; this review is my unbiased thank you to them and to Tammy Cohen who kept me hooked to each and every word. When She Was Bad will be published on 21 April 2016.

If you haven’t read any of Tammy Cohen’s previous books (she used to write as Tamar Cohen) here is a list – I am making a mental note to read The War of the Wives, without further delay – but I unreservedly vouch for each and every one of the rest in this list!

The Mistress’s Revenge
The War of the Wives
Someone Else’s Wedding
The Broken
Dying for Christmas
First One Missing


Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 13)

This Week In Books

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

At the moment I am reading The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh, the author of both Falling and Hidden, both of which I awarded five stars, can she make it a hat-trick? You’ll have to wait for my review to find out!

The Missing Hours

A woman disappears
One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.
A woman returns
Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.
What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder? NetGalley

The Missing Hours will be published by Random House UK on 21 April 2016.

I have just finished When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

When She Was Bad

To read the synopsis and a short excerpt please see yesterday’s post

Next up is one of my kindle purchases, this time something a little different; The Closet of Savage Memories by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

The Closet of Savage Memories


Lillis takes a summer job working at a lodge in a small lochside village in the Scottish Highlands. Leaving home is a way to escape her sorrow and despair following the death of her boyfriend and a testy relationship with her mother, Verity.
In Scotland she encounters love and excitement but when a series of unexpected events turn her new found life on its head, she is forced to make a life-changing decision, one that will stay with her for her whole life.
The Closet of Savage Mementos is drawn directly from the author’s own experiences and explores heartbreak, loss, motherhood and adoption in a gripping narrative and the same expressive, emotive and exciting prose we have come to expect of Nuala Ní Chonchúir. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share your thoughts in the comments below

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 12)

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 chosen book for this week is When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen, an author who hasn’t let me down yet, so I can’t wait to read this one, especially as it is set around office life!

When She Was Bad


Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….
Now, there’s something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder? NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


Imagine we could see the damage inside ourselves. Imagine it showed through us like contraband in an airport scanner. What would it be like, to walk around the city with it all on view – al the crushed dreams and the broken hearts? What would it be like to see the people our lives made us The people we are, under our skin.
I thought about that when I saw you on the news just now. I recognised you right away. ‘Such an ordinary person,’ those people said. ‘I can’t believe someone like that could do something so terrible.’

Please note that this excerpt comes from a proof copy

When She Was Bad will be published on 21 April 2016 by Random House UK.

Do you want to know more? – do you want to know what the ‘ordinary person’ has done? – I know I do! Please leave your thoughts and/or links in the comment box below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (January 23)

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.

Well I’ve had a run on NetGalley approvals this week all of which I’m hugely pleased about!

The Ex by Alafair Burke was one book I wished for as it wasn’t available to request, and the NG fairy granted my wish!

The Ex


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

The Ex will be published on 4 February 2016

March sees the publication of two authors who are on my ‘must-read’ list. Firstly Claire McGowan’s fourth in the Paula McGuire series, A Savage Hunger

A Savage Hunger


Victim: Female. Twenty-two years of age.
Reason for investigation: Missing person.
ID: Alice Morgan. Student. Last seen at a remote religious shrine in Ballyterrin.
Alice Morgan’s disappearance raises immediate questions for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. Alice, the daughter of a life peer in the Home Office, has vanished along with a holy relic – the bones of a saint – and the only trace is the bloodstains on the altar.
With no body to confirm death, the pressure in this high-profile case is all-consuming, and Paula knows that she will have to put her own life, including her imminent marriage, on hold, if they are to find the truth.
A connection to a decades-old murder immediately indicates that all may not be as it seems; as the summer heat rises and tempers fray, can Alice be found or will they learn that those that are hungry for vengeance may be the most savage of all? NetGalley

… and Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf, writer of the brilliant Little Mercies.

Missing Pieces


Everyone has secrets…
Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the town where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalised in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.
Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realises that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the rabbit hole of Jack’s past, but the farther she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a hard reality she may not be prepared for. NetGalley

Finally I also have a copy of Tammy Cohen’s When She Was Bad which will be published on 21 April 2016. There hasn’t been one of this author’s books that I haven’t massively enjoyed so was super thrilled to receive a copy of this one which is looking at working lives – could this be the start of a new type of noir – graft noir perhaps?

When She Was Bad


Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….
Now, there’s something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?

PicMonkey Collage TBR

Since my last count I have read 4 books, and gained 4 so I’m running fast to stand still with a total of 174 books!
85 physical books
73 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?