2018 Watchlist: If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch 


About the book:

HOW DO YOU SOLVE YOUR OWN MURDER? Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen. But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger. As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go. 

My thoughts:

I know I said I’m taking a break, and I am. But I couldn’t wait to get my thoughts out on If I Die Before I Wake. 

IIDBIW is billed as a psychological mystery, and it is, but it is so much more too. 

When we meet Alex, he’s lying in a hospital bed, with all those around him believing he’s in a coma. Yet he can still hear, and feel, and think for himself. He just can’t move. He is trapped in his own body. 

We see everything from Alex’s perspective, and along with him, we learn that his climbing accident may have been something more sinister. As his visitors come and go, we all learn a little bit more about them all and how they fit into Alex’s life before the fall.

If I Die Before I Wake is a very clever novel. I loved the fact that the main character was male, as it’s not the usual thing in the psychological thriller genre lately. The narrative is brilliantly told, and with each new piece of information gleaned, the tension rises.

I found myself unable to put the book down. So much so that I read almost all of it in one day. Today, in fact. The characterisation is excellent. We learn a little about everyone. Family members, friends, their various experiences. All of this lends itself really well to how I felt about Alex. I was rooting for him from the very beginning. Willing him to move, to talk, to do anything.

I loved how the author built tension throughout the book. More than once I had to remind myself to relax. I was getting so caught up in the story that my body was rigid! It also makes the reader feel a range of emotions for all of those involved too. 

Compulsive, engaging and thoroughly gripping, If I Die Before I Wake is most certainly a book to watch out for in 2018. I can’t wait to see where this author goes next!

Highly recommended!

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my Netgalley review copy!*

About the book:

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Published by Hot Key Books in September, you can pre-order your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

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E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.

website: www.emilylockhart.com
Liars site: www.wewereliars.com
blog: www.theboyfriendlist.com
Twitter: elockhart

My thoughts:

Genuine Fraud is garnering comparisons to The Talented Mr Ripley from any early reviews I’ve seen. Not a book I’ve had the chance to read but it definitely piqued my interest enough to want to read this one. After finishing it, I could see how, from what little I know of Ripley, the comparisons are drawn.

Genuine Fraud focuses on Jule and Imogen and their intense friendship. Seemingly polar opposites, its only a matter of time before they start to become like each other. Genuine Fraud becomes a story of reinvention and deceit the more of it you read. There are murders, fights, disappearances and plenty more going on in this book.

Genuine Fraud is a compulsive read, in that you have to keep reading to get answers to previous events, because it is told in a reversed timeline format. While it is not anything new, it is still a current and interesting read. The characters are also intriguing, chameleon-like in how they shed facets of themselves during the course of the narrative.

This book wasn’t as suspenseful a read as I had hoped, but it is still a steady read. If you’re looking for another We Were Liars, then you’ll be disappointed as this is nothing like it. I think if you’re new to the psychological thriller genre, then you will enjoy this one. If psych thrillers are your thing, you won’t find anything new with this one. That being said, it’s a solid page-turner and definitely one to watch out for.

Recommended!

 

Our Little Secret by Darren O’Sullivan 

*Many thanks to the publishers for my Netgalley review copy!*

About the book:

A deserted train station: A man waits. A woman watches.

Chris is ready to join his wife. He’s planned this moment for nearly a year. The date. The time. The train. But he hadn’t factored in Sarah.

So when Sarah walks on to the platform and sees a man swaying at the edge she assumes he’s just had too much to drink. What she doesn’t expect is to stop a suicide.

As Sarah becomes obsessed with discovering the secrets that Chris is clearly hiding, he becomes obsessed with stopping her, protecting her.

But there are some secrets that are meant to stay buried…

Our Little Secret by Darren O’Sullivan
My thoughts:

I’m a sucker for a psychological thriller so when I saw this pop up on Twitter I knew I had to request it!

The premise sounds great. A man waiting to throw himself infront of a train, what led him there? Why is that the only solution?

Our Little Secret is the debut novel by Darren O’Sullivan. It begins with a man on a train station platform. This man, Chris, is waiting for a train. Not to get on it, but to jump in front of it, so that he can be reunited with his wife. He doesn’t factor is Sarah, who happens to end up on the platform at the same time. Suddenly, everything he has planned in advance gets thrown in the air as he is unsure what to do.

What follows is a very tense psychological thriller. Chris has lost his wife, and he can’t cope without her. Sarah is struggling along in her own life too. When they are thrown together in unusual circumstances, can they find any good in their lives to share with each other?

I can’t write this review without mentioning this next bit. Within the first few pages, I had it figured out. I don’t know if that’s because I read so many of these books or there were subtleties that I picked up on which were indicators of what was to come. Whatever it was, I knew where the book was going in the first 5% of reading. BUT the author has a real talent for grabbing the reader and not letting them go until the end! Darren O’Sullivan has a great writing style, and he has created some excellent characters. The vignettes into the characters pasts are totally at odds with the current situation, which I loved, as it shows a completely different side to them.

Our Little Secret is definitely gripping. Packed with drama and with a super cast of characters, O’Sullivan is definitely one to watch in the future! If you enjoy psychological thrillers, then this should definitely be on your list!

Recommended!

 

~Blog Tour Review~ Each Little Lie by Tom Bale

Hi guys,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Each Little Lie by Tom Bale and I get to share my review with you all. First though, here is the all-important bookish information that you need to know!

About the book:

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One split second can destroy your life forever

Single mother Jen Cornish is just trying to hold things together for the sake of her seven-year-old son Charlie. Until the day when she does an impulsive good deed to help a neighbour, setting off a terrifying chain of events that quickly spirals out of control…

When she is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, Jen quickly starts to wonder if someone is playing a cruel game with her – or is she losing her mind?

Desperate to clear her name with the police, she must first untangle a chilling web of lies. But someone is watching her every move – and it isn’t just Jen who is in danger.

They’re watching her child as well.

 

About the author:

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Tom Bale decided that he wanted to be an author from the age of seven but, after another career got in the way, it wasn’t until much later that his dream was fulfilled.  After several books with Random House, Bookouture published two stunning ‘everyman’ thrillers by Tom See How They Run and All Fall Down.

My thoughts:

I am a big fan of Tom Bale’s books so I was thrilled to be able to read and review Each Little Lie as part of the blog tour.

Each Little Lie focuses on Jen, and her son Charlie. One day, Jen finds a set of keys on her neighbours lawn, and ends up setting herself on a very treacherous course. When Jjen is arrested for a crime she did not commit, it becomes a race against time to get those she loves to believe her, and to clear her name.

Tom Bale has a gift for turning the innocuous, normal and ordinary life decisions into something far more sinister than one would expect. I’ve said that before, and I stand by it, especially after reading Each Little Lie. Everyday decisions are turned into something completely different, and it goes to show that a having a good moral compass doesn’t always work in your favour. The fallout is what keeps the reader turning those pages!

Each Little Lie is a compulsive age-turner, with elemetns of a psychological thriller combined with a hefty dose of humanity. It is gripping, and more than a little scary in the sense that the author can essentially ruin a person’s life between the pages. I look forward to each new Tom Bale book, and I am never disappointed!

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

See How They Run by Tom Bale

All Fall Down by Tom Bale

Follow the blog tour:

The Child by Fiona Barton

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy!*

About the book:

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.

Click here to get your copy!

About the author:

Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in thirty-five countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, is published in June 2017. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in south-west France.

Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.

While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal cases and she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it was those just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .

My thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed The Widow by the same author, I was thrilled to be asked to read and review The Child, which is out tomorrow!

When an old housing development is being razed, the discovery of an infant skeleton sets in motion a chain of events that will touch the lives of many. As the investigation begins into the little skeleton, the reader is re-introduced to Kate Waters, a character from The Widow. An investigative journalist, Kate is naturally drawn to the mystery of the tragic discovery.

During her investigation, Kate unearths more than she bargained for. She finds a story pertaining to a newborn baby who was taken from a maternity hospital decades early and was never found. This makes old news resurface and diferent people all become entangled in the mystery.

What follows is a heartbreaking story of loss that is held tight behind lives full of secrets and lies. Kate finds way more than she had ever expected, and ends up becoming a secret-keeper. But for how long?

A chilling story, with a constant undercurrent of unease, The Child had me completely gripped from start to finish. Dare I say it, I enjoyed this even more than The Widow I think!

Highly recommended!

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

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*Many thanks to Hideaway Fall for my review copy!*

About the book:

Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Pre-order your copy from Hideaway Fall by clicking HERE.

My thoughts:

I had eagerly awaited the arrival of Broken Branches from new publishers, Hideaway Fall, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this book.

Centered around a family curse, Broken Branches is told in alternating past and present chapters. The reader meets Ian and his young family but we also meet Ian when he was a boy living with his parents and brother in the house that he now lives in years later with his family.

The family have always seemed to be unlucky, with accidents and death befalling them down through the generations. Ian sets out to prove that this curse really does exist, but at what cost?

Broken Branches has a menacing feel to it, with elements of the supernatural that lend itself well to the overall story. I found the past and present chapters to be a little confusing at times, but it made sense to the way that book was written as a whole.

I managed to read Broken Branches pretty much in one day. It is a relatively short book, at less than 300 pages, so it was easy enough to plough through it. Ultimately, although it was a page-turner, I found it to be a little flat at times. Still though, it was the kind of book that kept the intrigue up enough to keep me interested in the outcome.

Recommended!

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

*Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.

The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The choice he forces her to make is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

My thoughts:

Saw this one on Netgalley and I thought it would be an interesting break from the norm in terms of it being a medical thriller on top of everything else. That being said, I still didn’t know what to expect with this book.

Don’t Wake Up is a very fast-paced book with plenty of action. Set in a hospital environment, it follows Dr. Alex Taylor in the aftermath of a horrifying incident that has happened to her. When those around her think she’s lying, and things start happening, she finds herself in a very scary place. There is more than enough going on and then there is the added drama that Dr Alex Taylor seems to be bringing on herself.

I don’t want to say much more because I think it’s always better to let the reader see what the author is aiming to do. I quite enjoyed the book, although in parts I found it a bit far fetched. But then again, it was a fun read from start to finish. It will keep people reading and guessing for sure!

Recommended!