book review

The Confession

by Jo Spain 

House with a storm cloud overhead 

A Book Reviewery review of The Confession 

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We’re rating The Confession 4 mugs. 

Worth a read. 

Excerpt 

‘… Harry turned to me, completely bewildered. Then my husband stood up, his body faster than his brain, a mammal reacting to this peculiar invasion of our space. His mouth was just opening to form the first indignant question when the man swung the golf club at him …’ 

  

What is The Confession about? 

A man walks into a bar… I mean, a police station, and confesses to attacking prominent banker, Harry McNamara, in his home as his wife, Julie, looks on in horror.  

Despite attacker, JP Carney, claiming it is a random attack, Julie has heard rumours circulating about her husband, and wants to know why he was attacked; Detective Alice Moody does too. 

Is this a random incident, or is something more sinister going on?   

 

Who will like The Confession? 

Fans of Caroline Overington’s The Ones you Trust will enjoy The Confession.  

What did The Book Reviewery think? 

This was a good read, with all the tension of a Hitchcock thriller, but the characters aren’t particularly likeable, except for Alice Moody, who is not a cliché in her field.  The layers of information that come to light provide a great exposé on the lives those around us lead, and the repercussions it can have on those around us.  

The best feature was the ending, masterfully leading the characters to the climax and providing a thought-evoking twist with a lot of grey areas to consider well after the final page. 

 

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Pieces of Her Review

Pieces of her by Karin Slaughter.

woman standing in the breeze looking out at the ocean

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We’re rating Pieces of Her 3.5 mugs. 

A solid read. 

Excerpt 

‘ Andy’s head slammed into the window as she was tackled to the ground. She felt the rush of air from her mother’s mouth as the wind was knocked out of her. Andy’s vision blurred. She could hear a cracking sound. She looked up. The glass above her had started to spiderweb….’ 

 

What is Pieces of Her about? 

Pieces of Her explores the impact of old secrets when footage of Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, stabbing a man goes viral. Andrea’s quiet life in Belle Isle is upturned when her mother’s actions lead to a man tracking them down and trying to kill Laura. Soon Andrea is asking herself whether Laura wants to protect Andrea, or keep the secrets of her past hidden? 

The lines of right and wrong are blurred as Andrea learns more about who Laura was before she became Andre’s mother, but will they survive the secrets, or will Laura’s past destroy them? 

 Who will like Pieces of Her? 

Fans of Karin Slaughter have another page turner to sink into.  

What did The Book Reviewery think? 

Karin Slaughter has continued to grow as an author, with increasingly complex but relatable characters that make her books great to read. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy this book, as it slowed a lot after a fast-paced opening, but it picked up again with the reluctant protagonist, Andrea, trying to uncover who her mother really is, and why there are people trying to kill her.  

In order to return home, Andrea needs to find out why someone wants Laura dead. At its heart, Pieces of Her is a suspenseful tale about who we are and who we become, and which elements of each we choose to share with those around us.   

 

 

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Pretty Ugly Lies

by Pamela Crane

A Book Reviewery review of Pretty Ugly Lies

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We’re rating Pretty Ugly Lies 3.5 mugs.

Worth a read.

Excerpt

…’All these beautiful things I’d spent a lifetime accumulating, putting into just the right place, tending to with dust cloths and lemon-scented cleaner, suddenly it all felt so meaningless’…

 

What is Pretty Ugly Lies about?

Four women struggle with self-sacrifice for the people they love, but when JO TRUBEAU’s 3 year old daughter, Amelia, goes missing, they are prompted to reassess the things in their lives that cause them every day stress.

ELLIE is struggling with a husband who seems less invested in their marriage than she is; SHAYLA is having an affair that threatens to get ugly; JUNE is struggling to juggle four kids, a job and a husband who can’t hold down a job; and JO is torn about whether revealing an old secret will help her find her daughter.

This book asks the question What would you do for the people you love, going deeper than whether you’d lie, cheat, kill to ask, would you tell the truth, even if it meant sacrificing the life you know? How far would you go to give them the life they want. Unlike the idealised mother character, each woman secretly questions how happy they are with the lives they’ve built.

 

Who will like Pretty Ugly Lies?

Fans of domestic noir may enjoy Pretty Ugly Lies, as well as fans of women’s suspense/drama novels such as Those Other Women.

 

What did The Book Reviewery think?

A fast read, this one would be good as a slightly darker holiday read by the pool or on the beach. Pretty Ugly Lies brought up a few good questions about what you have and what it would mean to lose it. The characters were not perfect, and they were propelled to deal with their lives as they began to spiral out of control, each woman approaching their challenges in a different way.

 

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Lies

by T.M. Logan

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4 mugs – yep, we were up all night to find out what happened!

Excerpt

‘She was with someone. a man, talking in animated fashion. Something made me stop. I knew the guy she was talking to…’

What is Lies about?

Joe Lynch trusts his wife.

He is content with their family, their relationship with each other and their son, William.

Then he sees Mel’s car in traffic, heading in the wrong direction.

He decides to follow her and discovers:

  1. Mel is going to a hotel
  2. She is meeting with Ben, a friend of theirs
  3. Ben looks angry with Mel, and Joe sees them arguing

The possibilities start playing out in Joe’s mind. Why would Mel and Ben be meeting secretly at a hotel?

Joe confronts Ben at the hotel and Ben falls and hits his head during their altercation, but Joe’s son is having an asthma attack and he doesn’t stick around to make sure Ben is ok.

When he discusses it with Mel, she has a plausible reason for meeting with Ben, and Joe believes her. Except Ben is missing, and it doesn’t look good for Joe.

Then Joe gets a message and he begins questioning everything Mel has told him, because how do you trust a liar?

 

Who will like Lies?

You’ll want to keep reading to find out how Joe is going to get his life back on track as he starts unravelling. Joe is relatable as a person and as a dad who just wants the best for his son.

If you like a good moral dilemma suspense, this one is for you.

The Book Reviewery’s views

The huge twist makes you stop and take stock of what has happened so far, and just when you think you know what is happening, it hits you again as the story turns in another direction keeping the pace the whole way through to the last page.

The title kept me wondering – even at the end – what is a lie and what isn’t?

book review

It ends with her

by Brianna Labuskes

strands of red hair lying on concrete coffee mugcoffee mugcoffee mug… and a half! So that’s three mugs, and a piccolo.

It’s 3.5 mugs from the Book Reviewery. Can you hear the ceramic clinking of cheers?

Excerpt

‘It had been more than a year since the bastard had first started contacting them with his mocking Polaroids and pretty postcards of unfamiliar places they grew to know too well, and they still hadn’t gotten the drop on him.’

What is It ends with her about?

FBI agent Clarke Sinclair is in the race of her life, hunting serial killer Simon Cross before he claims his next victim. Time is running out to save the next girl, but to beat him at his own game, Clarke will have to forget the rules and trust her instincts – even if it means confronting her past. Even if it means thinking like a killer.

Told from three different POV’s, it soon becomes clear how each of these women’s lives are affected by Simon Cross – Clarke, as she tries to catch him, Bess, as his potential next victim and Adelaide, a face from Simon’s past.

Who will like ‘It ends with her’?

It ends with her is one for fans of thrillers focusing on FBI agents and psychological crime thrillers.

Our views

In its element, It ends with her is a police procedural told from the perspective of the agents trying to catch a killer, using a third person perspective to show the agents – warts and all.

The book is told in both the past and present, which reads well to give backstory and provide motive for Simon’s personality. Throughout the book, it felt like further development of the tension between Clarke and Simon would have made this a slightly more compelling read and driven the story with more urgency. Some of Clarke’s actions didn’t seem to fit her professional position and she was inherently selfish in her pursuit, which prevented her from thinking through her actions rationally and therefore doing her job with more professionalism. Overall, a good read.

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An Unwanted Guest

by Shari Lapena

Shadowy trees above give way to an overcast sky. coffee mugcoffee mugcoffee mugcoffee mug

It’s 4 mugs of brewed, caffeinated goodness from the Book Reviewery – you’ll want to keep reading An Unwanted Guest to find out what happens.

Excerpt

Finally, she slips uneasily towards sleep. As she drifts off, she thinks she hears a scream, somewhere far away.’

What is ‘An unwanted guest’ about?

Mitchell’s Inn is snowed in. No phone reception. No access to the outside world until the storm clears.

When a body is found at the bottom of the stairs – seemingly the victim of an accident – she is covered her with a sheet while the guests try to wait out the storm.

Except, the occupants soon realise that maybe it wasn’t an accident. Maybe she is the first and until the snow is cleared, they are stuck inside the hotel, unsure whether they can trust each other, wary of who might be lurking uninvited within the secluded retreat.

Who will like ‘An unwanted guest’? 

Fans of Domestic Noir will devour this.

My views

This is a layered, suspenseful thriller that leaves the best twist until just after you think you’ve figured it out, as the characters stories and possible motivations unfold. As it’s revealed why each guest is at the Mitchell’s Inn, I found myself playing sleuth, trying to find the killer before the next murder.

 

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Bring Me Back

B. A. Paris

coffee mugcoffee mugcoffee mugcoffee mugcoffee mug The book Reviewery gives 5 mugs – you’ll be up all night reading.

Excerpt

‘It must have been only a couple of minutes before I began to worry. It didn’t feel right that she hadn’t appeared yet….’

What is ‘Bring me back’ about?

Finn has moved on more than 10 years after his girlfriend, Layla, went missing, but when things get serious with his new girlfriend, he is haunted by thoughts of Layla. He finds himself questioning whether Layla really could be back to show her disapproval, or if someone else in his life is unhappy enough with the union to scare him.

Who is it for/ who will like it 

If you enjoyed B. A. Paris’s suspense novels such as Behind closed doors. Fans of Shari Lapena (The couple next door) and J. P. Delaney (The girl before, The perfect wife).

My views 

BA Paris has a knack for suspense that keeps the reader hooked and guessing what might happen next with clues strewn throughout – which is why I was up all night reading.

 

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The Killing Type

Jane Corry

grey cover with an open make-up compact

 

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Excerpt

‘I need to talk to you. It’s about Simon.’ 

 

What is ‘The killing type’ about 

This breakneck short story draws you into the lives of Danielle and Suzie, who – despite being sisters – are not close. Susie is weighed down with the responsibility of caring for their mother, while Danielle is busy with her own life. 

But when Danielle sends Susie an ominous text message she agrees to meet her at a café.  

When outgoing, dramatic Danielle reveals that she thinks her husband may be trying to kill her, Susie doesn’t believe it, thinking her sister must have misread her husband’s intentions.  

Until Danielle is involved in a car accident – her brakes failing. Danielle is convinced it wasn’t an accident at all, that Simon tampered with her brakes.  

Now Susie doesn’t know what to believe.  

Would Simon have a reason to try and kill Danielle?  

Or does Danielle have a reason to lie?    

 

Who is it for/ who will like it 

If you are a fan of short story suspense and enjoy a good twist, this story is for you.  

 

My views 

I really enjoyed this read. Not just because it was a thriller, but because of the way the story was told.

I loved the twist at the end, but to be honest, I wanted to read more! Although this is a short story, the character-based chapters keep the pace smooth and the story fluid. This would have been a good tale to tell as a novel, as I found myself wanting to learn more about the characters.  

Corry did a fantastic job setting up the ending, but my lips are sealed – too much happens to give away the surprise.

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Those other women

Nicola Moriarty

Those other women

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Which side will you chose?

The Moriarty sisters have a knack for relatable, gritty plots that pull you in from the very beginning. 

After Poppy’s husband and her best friend come clean about an affair they’ve been having – and their intention to continue their relationship – Poppy is lost, preparing to start her life again.

She meets fiery Annalise, and together they start a Facebook group for women who don’t want children. This spurs a conflict between non-mums and an online mum’s group, but one of their members is not who she is pretending to be and the conflict escalates into real life cafes and shopping centres.

The different perspectives of the two groups and the insecurities that lead to aggressively defending each group’s position is addictive, as you begin to empathise with both sides, regardless of which side you relate more to.

A great read for a book group, opening up conversation about taboo topics that this book isn’t shy about addressing.

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Our Kind of Cruelty

Araminta Hall

book cover, two silhouettes, our kind of cruelty

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EXCERPT from Our Kind of Cruelty:

‘… what that means is that sometimes two people need each other so much it is worth sacrificing others to make sure they end up together.’ 

What is Our Kind of Cruelty about?

Verity and Mike are playing a game called The Crave, where they prove to each other how much in love they are, but when Mike takes a job in another country for a couple of years, it’s not clear whether Verity has outgrown the game, or if they are locked in the ultimate crave.  

It becomes a question of how far they will go to prove their feelings for each other, and soon someone is dead. 

Who is this book for?

This book reminded me of Caroline Kepnes ‘You’ with its dark account of obsessive love. I would recommend it to anyone who likes dark, psychological thrillers from the perspective of someone other than the police and other authorities.

My Views

I liked the book, and although it seems like some things were kept vague and questionable on purpose for the sake of the story, it feels like it could have been stronger with Verity’s perspective as well as Mike’s. I gave it four mugs because the story moves along at a steady pace, leaving you wanting to find out what is going to happen.