Monday, 4 July 2022

This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: MCD x FSG Originals
Publication date: 12th October 2021

Blurb:
It was Vera’s idea to buy the Itza. The “world’s most advanced smart speaker!” didn’t interest Thiago, but Vera thought it would be a bit of fun for them amidst all the strange occurrences happening in the condo. It made things worse. The cold spots and scratching in the walls were weird enough, but peculiar packages started showing up at the house—who ordered industrial lye? Then there was the eerie music at odd hours, Thiago waking up to Itza projecting light shows in an empty room.

It was funny and strange right up until Vera was killed, and Thiago’s world became unbearable. Pundits and politicians all looking to turn his wife’s death into a symbol for their own agendas. A barrage of texts from her well-meaning friends about letting go and moving on. Waking to the sound of Itza talking softly to someone in the living room...

The only thing left to do was get far away from Chicago. Away from everything and everyone. A secluded cabin in Colorado seemed like the perfect place to hole up with his crushing grief. But soon Thiago realizes there is no escape—not from his guilt, not from his simmering rage, and not from the evil hunting him, feeding on his grief, determined to make its way into this world.

Review:
I have been waiting for a book like this. I am a massive psychological thriller reader but wanted to branch more into horror. I'd heard about This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno a lot and I was initially intrigued by the synopsis. A seemingly possessed smart home speaker? I'm in. But it is so much more.

The story is written as though it is being told by Thiago to his late wife Vera. We learn that Vera was "accidentally" killed and Thiago is retelling the story of her funeral, their life before she died and what happened following her death.

To me, it feels like two different stories but works so well. I absolutely loved the description of their relationship. Vera decides to purchase a smart home device called Itza and strange things start happening. They hear scratching in the walls, odd packages arrive that haven't been ordered. Following Vera's death, Thiago moves to Colorado, of course leaving the Itza behind, but the supernatural instances keep occurring.

This book is graphic and there are a lot of gruesome scenes. I listened to this on audio and had to go back and listen to the end twice. Damn near perfect.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry | Blog Tour Book Review

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

We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication date: 23rd June 2022

Blurb: 
Two women are staying in Willowmead House.

One of them is running.
One of them is hiding.
Both of them are lying.

Emily made one bad decision, and now her career could be over. Her family home on the Cornish coast is the only place where she feels safe. But when she arrives, there's a stranger living with her father. Emily doesn't trust the beautiful young woman, convinced that she's telling one lie after another. Soon, Emily becomes obsessed with finding out the truth...

But should some secrets stay buried forever?

Review:
I love a domestic thriller and Jane Corry writes them very well. I've always enjoyed her books and We All Have Our Secrets is no exception.

The novel is told from the points of view of Emily and Françoise. Emily is a midwife in her mid-thirties and following a mistake at work, she is suspended and decides to go back to stay with her elderly father for a while whilst she waits for an inquest.

When she arrives at Willowmead House, her childhood home, she is surprised to find Françoise, a French woman in her twenties, looking after her father. Harold Gentle had put an ad out for a carer. 

The two women have a problem with each other from the beginning. Emily thinking that Françoise is there to extort her old father for money and Françoise thinking that Emily does not appreciate all that she has. Both women and Harold himself all have secrets that they are keeping from each other. After Harold's death, there is a lot to uncover.

Corry writes twists very well and this book kept me guessing throughout. I love how fleshed out the characters are, especially Nick's son Billy and his little facts. A great read!

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A massive thank you to Viking Books for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

The Siege by John Sutherland | Blog Tour Book Review

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

The Siege by John Sutherland
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Orion
Publication date: 23rd June 2022

Blurb:
Nine hostages. Ten hours. One chance to save them all.

Lee James Connor has found his purpose in life: to follow the teachings of far-right extremist leader, Nicholas Farmer. So when his idol is jailed, he comes up with the perfect plan: take a local immigrant support group hostage until Farmer is released.

Grace Wheatley is no stranger to loneliness having weathered the passing of her husband, whilst being left to raise her son alone. The local support group is her only source of comfort. Until the day Lee James Connor walks in and threatens the existence of everything she's ever known.

Superintendent Alex Lewis may be one of the most experienced hostage negotiators on the force, but there's no such thing as a perfect record. Still haunted by his last case, can he connect with Connor - and save his nine hostages - before it's too late?

Review:
I did not want to put this book down for a second.  

It is told from the points of view of Lee James Connor - a supporter of far-right organisation Home Front which is led by Nicholas Farmer, Grace Wheatley - widow and mum to a teenage boy, Isaiah, and Superintendent Alex Lewis who is also a hostage negotiator.

The pace of this book is absolutely perfect. We learn just enough about each characters backstory before their stories tie in together.

Following Nicholas Farmer's arrest, Lee James Connor finds a church hall with 'Refugees Welcome' above the door - the perfect place to carry out his plan. Grace is in attendance alongside some regular attendees, a Syrian mother with her two sons and the reverend. Lee threatens to kill them all unless the police release Farmer. Time ticks on and Alex Connor tries to "talk him down" whilst Grace is doing the same inside.

This is such a well-written novel and it is obvious that Sutherland has both taken from his own experience but also done a lot of research as well. I didn't expect it to be as emotional as it is. We understand just how easy it is for someone who is a bit of a loner to become radicalised. 

I absolutely loved Grace's character, how big her heart is and her thoughts on hatred. A fantastic read. 


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A massive thank you to Compulsive Readers for having me on the blog tour. Information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour is in the graphic below.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Double Booked by Lily Lindon | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an ebook copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Double Booked by Lily Lindon
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 9th June 2022

Blurb: 
Gina is about to marry her boyfriend.
George is about to join a lesbian pop band.
Gina and George are the same person.
No wonder Georgina is DOUBLE BOOKED.
Georgina has a strict routine:

1) teach piano to bored children

2) schedule dates with long-term boyfriend

3) repeat until dead

Perfect.

But then, one wild night, she auditions for a famous lesbian pop band and realises:

1) she longs to play her own music

2) she wants to be just like them

3) their drummer is really hot...

Realising she might be bisexual, Georgina – and her schedule – are in chaos. Torn between the safety of her old life, and the freedom of a new one, she does what any rational person would do. She splits herself in two. After all, two lives are twice the fun... right?

Review: 
What a fantastic debut!

Double Booked centres around Georgina, a music teacher who has been with her boyfriend Douglas for seven years. She sticks to the same routine with no surprises in her life.

One night, her best friend Soph forces her to tag along to a gay club with her to see a band that Soph loves. Georgina realises that she quite likes the band's drummer Kit and thus begins a journey of self-realisation. Finally coming to terms with the fact that she is bisexual, she tries to balance her life as Georgina with her regular job and stable boyfriend with her other life as George, queer pianist for the band Phase.

I honestly loved this story so much. I felt so many emotions for all of the characters and really understood how tough it must have felt for Georgina but also Doug too. Wonderfully written and funny to boot. It shows the struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality (the focus on biphobia was well done), worrying about what others will think but wanting to be true to yourself.

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A massive thank you to Aria for having me on the blog tour. You can find the information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.