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I have always loved books ever since I learnt to read. The sort of person who would look at an instruction manual if there were nothing else available. Not that that has happened too often - I have tottering piles of books not to mention e books. I will read almost anything as l long as it holds my interest. Besides books. I love music, photography, cryptic crosswords and playing Fitz 1 & 2 games.
Best Friends Forever - Margot Hunt

Three and a half star rating.
A chance meeting throws the serious, plodding Alice with rich, enigmatic Kat and they are soon best of friends or are they? This book kept me gripped from start to finish, but the ending was a huge disappointment and had expected something better after that build up. The women weren't exactly nice and neither were their husbands - huge streaks of selfishness running through all four of them. What lively Kat actually saw in mundane Alice is a mystery in itself! An easy read, great for holidays.

Save Me: The Most Gritty and Gripping Crime Thriller You'll Read This Year - Mandasue Heller

Have to hand it to Ellie - she certainly knows how to pick'em! She is naive beyond belief and needs a good talking to as she is extremely irritating, letting everyone walk all over her, a proper little "yes" girl. A character such as Gareth wouldn't have been in the position he was when Ellie and he first met and I felt that was really contrived, as was the complete change in another character from totally selfish to caring in just a couple of pages. It was hard to like anyone at all in this book! I found the first half a bit slow and all just a bit predictable, but did love some of the dialogue. Not as gritty or gripping as the gang land books, but still readable.

The Good Samaritan - John Marrs

Have just fallen off this rollercoaster of a book, totally breathless and with no fingernails left!! What an experience it’s been. The lovely, kind Laura is a popular volunteer at a phone centre for troubled people, but she has a bit of an agenda. Then there’s Ryan who wants answers, so it’s like Bonfire Night when these two meet. So much evil contained in these pages, foolhardy and mean, plain nasty and idiotic. Let’s hope that real centres do a few more checks before they let people loose on the phones. I didn’t want to pick this book up but I couldn’t bear to put it down, enthralling, gripping and shocking from start to finish - more John please!!

Her Best Friend - Sarah Wray

Teenagers, Sylvie and Victoria are best friends until tragedy strikes and Victoria is murdered. No one is ever charged with the crime. Twenty years later Sylvie is back in her hometown to sort out her mother’s affairs after her death - it isn’t a happy homecoming. A very slow burner with characters it’s hard to find a connection with. Sylvie is wishy washy now as she was twenty years ago when she was 15, always a follower, never the leader. There are descriptions of mundane activities, one or two surprises, enough to keep on reading. A great sounding book which didn’t quite hit the spot for me this time.

Faking Friends - Jane Fallon

Two “best” friends, Amy and Melissa, (although you wouldn’t think so after reading this!) vying with each other, taking revenge, tit for tat. Amy back from her acting job in the States for a surprise visit is the one who gets the surprise when she discovers that someone has moved in with her fiancé. All hell is let loose when the culprit is revealed. Loved it even though wouldn’t have thought that at their age they wouldn’t have been so childish - a bit more sophistication is needed I think! True colours were definitely shown by these childhood friends and they weren’t very pleasant. Two viewpoints and flashes back in time tell this tale which was riveting and comical in turns. I would love to see a return bout! This is a perfect book to put in your suitcase, ready for the beach or pool.

The Perfect Neighbors: A gripping psychological thriller with an ending you won’t see coming - Rachel Sargeant

Helen joins her husband Gary in Germany where he’s a teacher at an international school, but things are not what she expected. There’s a strange atmosphere in the street where they live and a very overbearing neighbour, the wife of the headmaster, and also the local busybody. After a promising start, it did meander a bit, so wasn’t quite the thriller it could have been. I found the characters a bit bizarre with no likeable traits, especially the ones living in the street who “sucked’ up to Louisa. Loved the cover which was very enticing but wouldn’t want to live anywhere near neighbours like these!

I Am Watching You - Teresa O'Driscoll

Don't eavesdrop and then you won't find yourself in Ella's situation! She's on a train, en route to London, and watches and listens to 2 teenage girls being chatted up by a couple of older men - what should she do? She's then horrified the next day to discover that one of those girls has been reported missing, then someone starts sending her messages. Told from several points of view, all of whom had something to hide. I wasn't much interested in the floristry sections nor those about one of the characters wife and baby, so skimmed them. Ella seemed to be on a huge guilt trip for someone who was a complete stranger to the girls which did get a bit tiresome! However the book was easy to read, enjoyable and kept me intrigued, and involved in the story.

Little Secrets - Anna Snoekstra

Three and a half star rating.
A small run down Australian town with an arsonist running loose and someone leaving dolls on the doorsteps where young girls live. Remind me never to visit, let alone live there as it seems to have far more than it’s fair share of weirdos and selfish, nasty people - so many in such a small place! Safe to say it’s very much on the creepy side. This story took quite a while to get going, so much so I almost gave up on it, but am glad I did persevere, to see that at least some of the characters got what they deserved. Very descriptive and you could almost feel the stickiness, the heat and paranoia coming through the pages.

Her Last Secret: A gripping psychological thriller - Barbara Copperthwaite

A family of four living in a large house in a smart part of London, all very happy with not a care in the world or at least this is how it looks to outsiders. Delve under the surface for a bit though to find murkier goings on. Told from multiple points of view, with a complex chain of events. Can sympathise with the situations if not with the characters themselves who weren’t too likeable on the whole. Gripping because it starts at the end and I was intrigued to discover how and why everything happened. I liked the cover, style of writing but thought it could’ve been just a bit shorter, especially some of Dom’s chapters. First book I’ve read by this author and I will definitely read more from her.

Wicked River - Jenny Milchman

Three and a half star rating.
If you must have a trek and/or canoe trip in the wilderness then make sure you don’t get lost and that you know your companion very well which is something Natalie and Doug should have done. Definitely a honeymoon to remember! Natalie was such a doormat and was as irritating as a gnat as she lets everyone else make all the decisions and as for Mia, well the story would have been so much better without her sections & after the first one or two I just quickly skimmed them. I did like the descriptions of the Adirondacks and the feeling of menace as this pair stumbled from one crisis to the next - maybe they should have gone to Hawaii!

Best Day Ever - Kaira Rouda

Paul and Mia, an apparently happily married couple, going to spend the weekend at their lakeside house. Leaving their 2 sons at home, they’re going to have The Best Day Ever, aren’t they?? That was the plan! Wow, this is just fab, didn’t know whether to laugh or cover my eyes as events unfolded. Paul is absolutely amazed by himself, whether at home or at work, he knows best and loses no time in asserting his superiority, if anyone dares to say otherwise. If he were chocolate then he’d eat himself. Well I loved every minute of this “day” and hope Kaira will bring him back in another book!

The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Nellie meets Richard who is everything she wants and the feeling is mutual - so far so good! At first I wasn’t really sure about this book, it was slow, nothing much was happening and frankly I was bored but then suddenly found myself gripped with each new reveal, wondering what would happen next and by who. Definitely a slow burner with plenty of surprises which are engrossing once you’ve reached Part 2. It could’ve been a quarter shorter to be more punchy. It’s also difficult to review this novel without giving too much away and spoiling it for others!!

The Good Sister: A twisty, dark psychological thriller that will have you gripped - Jess Ryder

Josie is happily living with her boyfriend until her eccentric father dies mysteriously and then her life begins to unravel alarmingly by what she discovers. Her "perfect" father wasn't so perfect after all. Well this was a page turner and a half and I kept reading it long after I should have turned the light off! Josie was naive though and a bit of a ditherer, the sort of character you want to shout at and shake. Loved the ending too - what a twist. A great cover too - enticing and I would definitely pick it up for a closer look. A book which definitely lives up to its description.

The Romford Pelé: It's Only Ray Parlour's Autobiography - Ray Parlour

Three and a half star rating.
A must for any football fan, especially Arsenal supporters. Not a huge star, but a vital part of the team nonetheless. Interesting, funny and entertaining, hearing what it’s like to be a footballer in a major team - the highs and lows, the japes, the camaraderie. I enjoyed this biography, getting a peek into a different world and being reminded of the great players from those days.

Silent Lies: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist - Kathryn Croft

Five years after Mia’s husband Zach kills himself and one of his students, Josie disappears without trace, someone turns up to tell Mia something completely different. Told from both Josie and Mia’s perspectives. The reader is led through an emotional rollercoaster - who is telling the truth about that night 5 years ago and why has Alison turned up? What does she want? What does she know? So forget the TV and grab this book for sheer escapism and prepare to be mesmerised by the deviousness of some of the characters! Do hope there will be a follow up.

Cold Blood: A gripping serial killer thriller that will take your breath away (Detective Erika Foster Book 5) - Robert Bryndza

Three and a half star rating.
Murder, violence and stroppy police which means it’s another thrilling ride with DCI Erika Foster! The villains are just as evil and Foster is still a bolshy maverick, doing things her way, but just for once it would be nice if she had a little bit of happiness in her life - the poor woman is permanently miserable! Also I prefer not knowing who the villain/s are until the end as it makes it a more exciting story that way. Loved the Dartmoor setting for part of the book - nice to escape from good old London sometimes. Looking forward to the next adventure, with hopefully a happier heroine!