Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon

dont closeThere are plenty of hot topics in this psychological thriller, however I think there was one in particular that resonated more with me. Possibly because in this story it is the root and cause of everything else, all the other problems to come, and perhaps also because it is so commonplace nowadays.

Divorce, separation, custody battles and enforced patchwork families. That doesn’t mean some families don’t manage amicable arrangements, however the emotional trauma still remains the same. Depending on how vicious and vindictive things get the emotional damage is unmeasurable.

For the twins, Robin and Sarah, the moment they are ripped apart is the beginning of the end. The reader meets two happy little girls in the past and then moves forward to encounter two unhappy women in the future. The paths the two of them take are completely different. Robin finds fame and enough anxiety to fill a house, whereas Sarah creates a family, but is ousted by her manipulative husband.

It is fair to say that all is not what it seems, as the layers of this story are slowly torn away like someone peeling an onion. The anger, abuse and hate ripples through the two families over the years. It leaves victims in its wake.

Seddon confronts the reader with quite a few uncomfortable truths, and yet simultaneously she spins a web of fear, deceit and mayhem around them. It is done in such cunning way that you don’t see the twist coming until it nearly smacks you in the face.

Buy Don’t Close Your Eyes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @hollyseddon and @Atlanticbooks

Read Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Blog Tour & Review: The Thirty List by Eva Woods

Let’s start this Blog Tour for The Thirty List by Eva Woods off with a bang. To follow the tour and read what my fellow bloggers are saying about The Thirty List read Blog Tour -Thirty List to follow the links to each blog on the tour.

Eva Woods (1)

About the author:
Eva Woods/Claire McGowan is a writer and a lecturer. She writes contemporary women’s fiction as Eva Woods and crime fiction as Claire McGowan. She was born in Northern Ireland and now lives in London, where she writes and teaches creative writing. According to her blog she also spends a lot of time tutting at slow people on escalators and dodging urban foxes. She likes wine, pop music, and holidays, and thinks online dating is like the worst board game ever invented.. To read more about Claire visit ink-stains.co.uk, visit her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter @inkstainsclaire.

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About The Thirty List:
Everyone has one.
That list.
The things you were supposed to do before you turn thirty.

Jobless, broke and getting a divorce, Rachel isn’t exactly living up to her own expectations. And moving into grumpy single dad Patrick’s box room is just the soggy icing on top of her dreaded thirtieth birthday cake.

Eternal list-maker Rachel has a plan – an all new set of challenges to help her get over her divorce and out into the world again – from tango dancing to sushi making to stand-up comedy.

But as Patrick helps her cross off each task, Rachel faces something even harder; learning to live – and love – without a checklist.

Review:

Welcome to the disaster called Rachel’s supposedly perfect life, well at least it used to be.From the very beginning it seems as if Rachel has made hasty decisions or at least ones made in doubt. She has built an image of a perfect relationship in her head and lives it outwardly for society. To be quite frank she needed to buck up and stop being the perpetual doormat for the people around her.

Instead she goes when she is asked to leave, she gives up house and home, because hey Dan asked her to. I mean come on, really? No spunk, no fight and no disagreement at all? Instead she has let herself be boxed into this pseudo cupboard of imaginary blame and remorse by her husband and her friends. It isn’t as if she did an entire football team in the locker room. Keep it real.

So her friends suggestion of a Bucket List is exactly the right thing to get her out of the slump she has slithered into. A list full of eccentric, exotic, daring and funny challenges or tasks to complete. Things to do before you… You get the picture and might even have one yourself, I know I do.

She embarks on her tasks with her new landlord, father of one, Patrick. They have slumps in common, and that isn’t all they have in common. Rachel quickly becomes part of the family, and as part-time nanny she also becomes close to Patrick’s son.

Being a step-parent or parent substitute is probably one of the hardest jobs in a patchwork family. Faced with the same responsibilities and yet when it comes down to the nitty gritty you are always only the stand-in for the real parent. Rachel cares for and looks after Alex, as if she were his mother, and yet in the direst of situations she is treated like a convenient servant. There is no empathy for her or her emotions. No comprehension of the bond she has built with the young boy. Even in that regard I found Patrick to be very lacking in compassion towards her.

I was slightly taken aback by the way Patrick reacted towards the end of the story. How very condescending of him to reach out to the ex and offer Rachel up on a pathetic platter. Sort of ‘can you come and pick up your second-hand goods now.’ I would have been angry if I were Rachel, I was certainly annoyed on her behalf.

The Thirty List is a tale of romance, the threading together of new families, questioning of relationships and about Rachel’s discovery of self. An amusing and also painful journey, but certainly one worth reading.

Thank you to Mills & Boon and Harlequin UK for the copy of The Thirty List.

Buy The Thirty List at Amazon UK or Goodreads for other shop links.

Beautiful Day by Kate Anthony

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What it lacks in literary prowess the author makes up for with blatant honesty and core emotions. It is very he said, she said and doesn’t flow very well.
It gives a no holds barred look at what it is really like when a family falls apart.

When it comes to the daily struggle of dealing with the breakdown of a relationship and consequently also a family. No one sees the anxiety, the fear, the distress, the feeling of helplessness and the anger the children go through in these situations. When parents separate the children tend to suffer, whether the separation is amicable or not.

When it came to the relationship between Philip and Rachel isn’t what I would call appropriate. Rachel crosses the line between being a carer and being emotionally attached far too often. His needs become a focus in a house full of patients/clients. Rachel also lets him interact with her children, enter her home and calls him my darling.

All of that speaks for a person who has a big heart and cares with instinct instead of common sense or rather with caution. She doesn’t maintain the professional distance she should between herself and the clients.

A poignant moment and one that rings true is her acknowledgement of the fact that hating her ex would make a mockery of their past together.

The best part of book was the letter. It was just so right in so many ways. Written from the very bottom of her heart and with a brutal perspective and image of the future. A reflection that most people in these kind of situations never manage to acquire.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.