The Wife – To Have and to Hold (Book 1) by M.L. Roberts

the wife part1This definitely has a Dr. Foster feel to it, and if you haven’t seen that particular programme then be prepared for a paranoid and vengeful woman, and the close scrutiny of a marriage.

Marriage, relationships and friendships are at the forefront of this story. The story starts after specific events, which lead to the deterioration of her mental health and her marriage. The reader remains unaware of what those events are specifically until the author starts to reveal some of the details towards the end of this book.

It’s hard to feel a lot of empathy for Ellie. because she seems so unstable. She is jealous, paranoid and isn’t adverse to the occasional bouts of stalking. She doubts everything her husband says and does, perhaps with good reason though.

Roberts describes the charismatic husband really well. The charmer, the kind of man women want attention from, even if it is just the faintest of touches or a short moment of eye-contact. I think they thrive on the energy, the heavy feeling of lust and danger in the air. The short culmination of spiked desire, albeit only in a brief second of imagined abandonment. Michael is that type of man. The kind of man who holds the attention of the room, and enjoys every second of it. You have to be a strong woman or partner to accept this particular vice or personality trait. Why? Well, because he will only ever belong to you completely when there is only the two of you and no other person to stroke the ego of the prettiest peacock in the room.

No wonder Ellie is driven to distraction, especially after the damage her marriage has already incurred. It’s interesting to note, and yet absolutely the norm, that as a woman she is expected to forgive, forget and go back to being the happy little wife. Regardless of the pain, horror and irreparable damage to her life and well-being she has had to endure.

The author writes a good game. In book one the nails are being slowly driven into the coffin one by one, whilst the reasons for her obsessive and paranoid behaviour are revealed at a calculated pace. Some characters look guiltier than others, however there are always three sides to every story. Her side, his side and somewhere in the middle is the truth. This is a four part series and I am looking forward to reading the next book For Better, For Worse.

Buy To Have and to Hold -The Wife (Book 1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @AuthorMLRoberts @michellebetham @HarperImpulse

Order:

The Wife – Book One: To Have and to Hold

Pre-order:

The Wife – Book Two: For Better, For Worse

The Wife – Book Three: In Sickness and in Health

The Wife – Book Four: Till Death Us Do Part

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Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

did you see melodyI do appreciate a story with a few hard facts or home-truths.The only downside is that I tend to want to go on about it when an author makes a particularly valid point.

We live in an era where the majority of media outlets is no longer focused on reporting the truth or any semblance of it. Instead fiction becomes fact, fame and notoriety are more important than reporting what really happened. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of celebrity.

The 21st century has seen the rise of TV showmen and women, as opposed to the revered journalists of the 20th century. Nancy Grace is a great example of this gaudy and dangerous phenomenon, and one that is mentioned in the story.

The character of Bonnie Juno is based on the Nancy Grace types of sensationalistic journalism. The facts are twisted to suit the narrative of whomever they have picked to be the target of the day. Interviews become as twisted as twizzlers and as sticky as a fly trap.

In this scenario the guilty party is discovered and proven guilty by trial via public opinion. In the end it doesn’t matter whether there isn’t enough evidence to prove they did it, because the TV viewers have already been told they are guilty. This anything but objective opinion continues on through to the courtroom.

Cara has decided to escape reality and the uncomfortable stress at home by treating herself to a few days in a five star spa hotel in the US. The tired and upset Cara accidentally stumbles upon a man and young girl, only to find out the next day that the young girl in question has been dead for quite a few years. Did she imagine it, is someone having a laugh or is it just a case of mistaken identity? Did she see Melody?

What emerges from this one simple question is a myriad of crimes and even more unanswered questions. Guilt isn’t a clear concept in this story. Would you commit a crime to prevent another? Do you believe the court of public opinion instead of checking all the available facts? Do two wrongs make a right?

I’m sure this story will make readers wonder about the choices they would make if confronted with the same situation. Begs the question whether, in a world full of police states and dictatorships, some of us have to be strong enough to be vigilantes, because the justice systems fails victims on a regular basis.

It’s a read that gives plenty of food for thought.

Buy Did you see Melody at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @sophiehannahCB1 @Hodderbooks

Visit sophiehannah.com #ISawMelody

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

the honeymoonIf Jemma needs anything at all then it is probably some sessions with a therapist and a thorough evaluation of her mental health, because she comes off as completely crazy. Talk about unreliable narrator.

Jemma wakes up on her honeymoon to find her brand new husband gone. Instead of telling anyone she decides to wait around a bit to see if he turns up, which of course makes her look terribly suspicious. Why would anyone think a happy newly-wed would want to rid herself of her new hubby?

Let me think, perhaps because she wasn’t as happy as she pretended to be, and her mother-in-law hates her. Oh and there is the small matter of her ex-boyfriend, who just happens to be her brother-in-law too.

It is a mishmash of genres, a bit of psychological thriller, chic-lit and an ending I would put into the horror drawer. The plot and direction seemed to lack a consequent and determined captain at the helm.

It felt confused at times and the main character certainly had no clue what she wanted. At times it felt like the reader had taken up permanent residence in her head, and believe you me it isn’t a pretty sight. She was a mess, too much of one, which was detrimental to the plot.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never have guessed the ending. It is definitely a complete surprise. I can’t decide whether it was planned or just a wicked and rather random twist. Seskis has an eye for the unusual and knows how to keep readers on their toes.

Buy The Honeymoon at AmazonUk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @tinaseskis & @MichaelJBooks

Blog-Tour: Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

I am delighted to be taking part in the Blog-Tour for Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica. I am partial to a wee bit of Kubica, because she writes the kind of story that messes with your head. There is no definitive line between good or bad guy. Kubica explores the grey areas no person wants to acknowledge. The wasteland between black and white, and the darkest depths of human nature. In Every Last Lie she turns a spotlight on despair, grief and the emotional quagmire of an unexpected tragedy.

About Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and American Literature from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She lives near Chicago with her husband and two children.

Mary Kubica’s first book, The Good Girl, was one of the first psychological thrillers to the market. It has been optioned for TV by Anonymous Content, the production company behind the TV series True Detective and films Winter’s Bone, Babel and Being John Malkovich.

Follow @MaryKubica @HQStories @HarperCollinsUk

Visit Mary online at www.marykubica.com, on Facebook at MaryKubica

Buy Every Last Lie

About the book

She always trusted her husband…Until he died.

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed.

But when Maisie starts having nightmares, Clara becomes obsessed that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident.

Who wanted Nick dead? And, more importantly, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out the truth – even if it makes her question whether her entire marriage has been a lie…

Review

Kubica likes to twist the truth and stretch the lies to create the kind of read that makes you doubt and wonder whether everything is as it seems. Her characters are always balancing precariously on the boundary between good and evil. Grey areas are her forte instead of the usual black or white ones.

Clara is in the stressful and tiring months of taking care of a new baby. She has a picture perfect family, even if she is a wee bit too tired to notice at the moment. So exhausted that she doesn’t notice her husband and young daughter haven’t returned home. She is completely overwhelmed by the news of their accident and unable to process that she will never see Nick again.

Her grief is overridden by the suspicion that Nick was murdered and she is determined to prove it. The niggling doubt in her mind or rather her refusal to accept the official truth makes her seem unreliable and possibly unstable. All the doubts and disbelief are compounded by the nightmares Maisie starts having, and the things she has to say about the night of the accident.

What I liked the most about this particular Kubica story was the obsession. Clara is completely consumed by the thought that her husband was killed, as opposed to the accident just being a careless quirk of fate. She doesn’t care about the facts, the possible scenarios or plain old common sense.

It is an incredible mixture of emotional turmoil. Kubica has combined the various stages of grief with the constructed frame of a psychological thriller, and the result is an unexpected pleasure. Clara is like us, faced with the normal banality and difficulties of life. A hungry baby and a distressed young daughter, an empty bank account and the responsibility of taking care of her elderly relatives.

It could happen to any of us, which is why this read will probably resonate with a lot of readers. It combines the fears we have and perhaps even the realities we have had to endure. When a tragedy occurs it sends most people into a tailspin, some never completely recover from them. It only takes one moment of distraction or recklessness to change many lives, and I suspect that thought is the one which will remain with most readers after reading Every Last Lie.

Buy Every Last Lie at AmazonUK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Pretty Baby, Don’t You Cry and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.

Reported Missing by Sarah Wray

reported missingOne could argue that the real victim in this scenario is Rebecca. She has committed no crime other than being married to a suspect in the disappearance of a teenage girl. There is no concrete proof other than the fact that both Chris and young Kayleigh vanished on the same day. Does a simple coincidence have more sinister connotations or has Chris been leading a double-life?

The public believes Rebecca has been harbouring a deviant and they also think she supports him. The fact that she is searching for him seems to imply a sort of complicity. Her actions would be perceived as those of a caring and worried wife under other circumstances.

Rebecca starts to admit to herself, as the story progresses, that perhaps her life with Chris wasn’t so picture perfect. She has a selective memory, which is probably why she finds it hard to accept the reality of his betrayal.

As I mentioned before, I think Rebecca is the real victim. She is completely vilified by nearly everyone she encounters, especially a certain group of youngsters. Her life has disintegrated into a fog of sleeping pills and alcohol. Her husband is presumed guilty just based on circumstantial evidence and a heck of a lot of rumours.

Wray has written a cracking read, there is no doubt about that, but I believe she deserves a kudos for perhaps unintentionally calling out the media and society for pointing fingers without proof. For showing the negative aspects of social and mass media where fake news and false rumours are prevalent and reputations are destroyed in the blink of an eye, and the actual truth has become almost inconsequential to the majority of people.

Buy Reported Missing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @Sarah_Wray  

Visit sarahwraywrites.co.uk

Follow @bookouture

 

Girl Zero by A. A. Dhand

girl zeroGirl Zero is an echo of the recent Rotherham child sex ring scandal with the added complication of a family swept up in the controversy of opposing religions. It is the second novel featuring Harry Virdee, who finds himself torn in multiple directions on both a personal and professional level.

His family, devout Sikhs, are unwilling to acknowledge or accept his wife, a devout Muslim. His wife finds herself in the same position, which means the two of them and their young son have no immediate family to support them or be part of their lives.

The message society should be receiving loud and clear is the number of vulnerable children who are falling prey to gangs of pedophiles and ephebophiles without anyone noticing or as we saw in Rotherham, they would rather deny than accept the reality that this type of crime is on the rise. There are scores of children falling through the cracks in the system, and becoming easy targets for child trafficking rings. The truth is so uncomfortable that the majority would rather look the other way than be confronted with the facts.

Harry finds himself balancing precariously on the boundaries of crime and the rule of law when his latest case turns out to be the corpse of someone who is really close to him. He has to make sure his brother doesn’t break the rules he imposed on him, and juggle the hatred he receives from his family.

It’s really great to read a story with a set of characters that doesn’t fit into the usual and expected format. It makes for a more diverse and different set of problems or scenarios, which in turn allows readers to experience a little less white toasted bread with a bit of butter on it.

It’s a fast-paced thriller with a lot of action, well let’s say brutal beatdowns and characters with a serious lack of control instead.

Buy Girl Zero at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @aadhand

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

the good daughterReading this book was somewhere between watching an intense tennis game with your head whipping back and forth, and being repeatedly slapped round the head with a crowbar. It starts with violence and ends the same way.

Rusty defends the indefensible. He represents the scum of the earth, the killers, the rapists and in general any kind of criminal.

Obviously even criminals have a right to a defence, it is a part of democracy and an important part of western society. They have rights just like every other person, however a lot of people disagree with that, especially when some criminals commit the most heinous of crimes. Unfortunately you can’t kill every murderer or lock away rapists and throw away the key.

Charlotte, Samantha and Gamma become the victims of an act of vengeance when one of his clients decides to make Rusty pay. The evening ends with blood, gore and death. The girls witness the death of their mother and subsequently have to fight for survival, and one of them ends up in a shallow grave.

The story is trauma driven, and takes a close look at the legal system and the issue of morality. Someone has to defend the criminals, regardless of what the majority thinks it is part and parcel of the way democracy works. The question is whether those who defend them should have to risk life and limb to do so. Should they be vilified for simply following the rule of law.

The intensity keeps you on your toes, and the brutality may make you wince, but most of all the emotional turmoil makes this an invigorating read.

Buy The Good Daughter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @SlaughterKarin