Wednesday, 14 April 2021

The Dinner Guest by B.P. Walter | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

The Dinner Guest by B.P. Walter - 4/5
"Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave.
Matthew: the perfect husband.

Titus: the perfect son.

Charlie: the perfect illusion.

Rachel: the perfect stranger.

Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.

And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand."

This book is completely gripping. It opens strongly with a prologue subtitled "The day of the murder" - who doesn't want to instantly read on after seeing that?

Charlie's husband Matthew has been stabbed and Rachel calls the police, confessing to stabbing him. Did she really kill him or did Charlie or their teenage son Titus have reason to want Matthew dead too?

The chapters that follow are told from the perspectives of Charlie and Rachel and move between different timelines; before the murder and after the murder.

We discover that the chance meeting that Rachel had with Charlie and Matthew wasn't chance at all. She had planned it but why? What is her connection to this family? 

There is so much going on in this book and you are desperate to keep reading to find out the whole truth. There is a running theme of elitism and the prejudices between upper class and working class. Charlie and Matthew's family and acquaintances are high flying politicians and they live in manors in London with housekeepers whereas Rachel is from a working class background in Yorkshire.

There are so many twists and turns but none too unbelievable. I loved the development of Titus especially the way he spoke to Charlie towards the end of the book. 

The ending made me want to scream. I usually point blank hate cliffhanger endings but it really worked with this book.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane | Book Review

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Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane - 4/5
"Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since they were eighteen. Now in their 30s, the four are still as close as ever, Thursday pub quiz night is still sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed.

Maybe Eve should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed sometimes thinks about it too.

Then one night, in an instant, all their lives change forever. And, as Eve learns she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought, she also discovers she isn’t the only person keeping secrets…"

Eve, Susie, Justin and Ed have been best friends since their school years. Eve has been in love with Ed since the night before they left for university and she thought he felt the same way. When back at home for Christmas break, he introduces his new girlfriend Hester. Fast forward 16 years later and Ed and Hester get engaged at one of their regular pub quiz nights. Eve has always held a candle for him so she is devastated.

That same night, Susie is tragically killed and everything changes. We experience Eve's pain which is so beautifully written. Susie's estranged brother Finlay travels from New York, where he lives, for the funeral. Following a discussion with Finlay, Eve starts to think more deeply about her friendship with Ed and reassesses everything.

I love the depth of this book. It explores the sudden loss of a lifelong friend, a seemingly unrequited love and delves into the reason why Finlay was shut out by his family.

I did expect it to be a standard "boy will realise how much he loves girl and they will end up together" but that's not the case at all. I absolutely loved the development of Eve's character.

Friday, 9 April 2021

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton | Blog Tour Book Review #WhenTheyFindHer

[AD/Gifted - I received a proof copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton - 5/5
"Naomi always wanted to be a mother.

But three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.

Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it's her one chance to re-build her family.

But the night ends in a terrible accident.

And Naomi has no memory of what happened.

Panicking, desperate, Naomi finds herself telling a lie:

'My daughter is missing.'

Now she can never take it back..."

Oh my goodness, this book!
Psychological thrillers are my absolute favourite and sometimes I feel like because I read so many, I'll be hard to please but this one is just fantastic.

Naomi has a four year old daughter called Freya with ex-husband Aiden. Freya lives with Aiden and new wife, Naomi's childhood best friend Helen.

The story moves between present day and events in the past. As it develops we understand the reason for Naomi and Aiden's split and we realise that Naomi has an issue with sleeping tablets. Freya is staying with Naomi overnight for the first time and when Naomi wakes in the morning, she finds Freya motionless at the bottom of the stairs. Naomi is pregnant with new partner Rupert's baby and in a moment of panic, she lies. She is terrified that she will be blamed and she will lose her new baby too. The sleeping tablets knock her out and she can't remember anything. Naomi calls the police and claims Freya is missing then hides Freya's body in an old World War 2 bunker that is on her property.

This then launches a search for Freya. Naomi knows she is dead but has to keep lying to the police. There were so many times that I just wanted to shout "What are you doing?!" to Naomi. 

You are just waiting for the police to find Freya and for the truth to come out. She is building lie upon lie and becoming more frantic. You feel the Naomi's emotions the whole way throughout and I could not have anticipated that ending.


A massive thank you to Penguin Michael Joseph for having me on the blog tour. You can find the Twitter handles of the other bloggers that are taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey | Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book in order to take part in the readalong with Tandem Collective. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey - 5/5
"When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, like most girls her age, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again.

Abi's disappearance cracks open the fa├žade of the small town of Whistling Ridge, its intimate history of long-held grudges and resentment. Even within Abi's family, there are questions to be asked - of Noah, the older brother whom Abi betrayed, of Jude, the shining younger sibling who hides his battle scars, of Dolly, her mother and Samuel, her father - both in thrall to the fire and brimstone preacher who holds the entire town in his grasp. Then there is Rat, the outsider, whose presence in the town both unsettles and excites those around him.

Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark - the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones..."

Whistling Ridge, the town where no one would want to live.

This book is a masterpiece.

Emma leaves friend Abigail in the woods, near the Tall Bones, following a party. She goes missing and no one seems to know what happened to her.

Secrets start to come out in this small town. No one can be trusted. We read about Abigail's family life with father Samuel, mother Dolly and brothers Noah and Jude. It seems like a horrible life to be living. 

Whistling Ridge is wholly a Baptist community and it seems as though everyone justifies their actions by saying that God made them that way. They have no time for outsiders or people who aren't White Americans.

It isn't told in a linear format, flitting between Then and Now but everything lines up perfectly. With so many people hiding so many things, it is fascinating trying to work out what has really happened to Abi. Bailey writes brilliantly and every line captivates you. It is full of depth and totally enthralling.

The book touches on life in this Baptist community, sexual assault, domestic violence and homophobia.

This is probably one of the best debuts I've ever read.