#BookReview: The Therapist by B.A. Paris @HQstories #TheTherapist #damppebbles

“TELL ME YOUR SECRETS…

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, an exclusive gated community, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened. But no one wants to talk about it. And her neighbours are hiding something…

The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Therapist by B.A. Paris. The Therapist was published by HQ in paperback format on 22nd July 2021 and is also available in hardcover, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Therapist which has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Sian at HQ for sending me a finished copy.

I’m embarrassed to admit that this is only the second book I’ve read by B.A. Paris. The first being the stunning Behind Closed Doors which I adored. However, after reading The Therapist, I am now more determined than ever to catch up on the author’s backlist because I’ve obviously been missing out on some really cracking reads! Reading The Therapist has confirmed what I already knew. B.A. Paris is a skilled writer and should be on everyone’s ‘must read’ list.

Alice has reluctantly moved out of the cottage she’s lived in all her life to The Circle, a secure gated community in the heart of London. It was a tough decision but the desire to move in with boyfriend, Leo, was the driving force. Plus, thanks to Leo’s careful negotiations and the sale of his own house, there’s no need for Alice to sell the cottage immediately. Alice doesn’t love the house in the Circle but she’s prepared to give it a go for the sake of their relationship. That is until she makes a devastating discovery. Alice becomes obsessed with finding out the details. She feels something is amiss with the house and the original investigation. Her neighbours refuse to discuss what happened. Why are they being so secretive? What horrors is The Circle hiding…?

The Therapist is a cleverly written tale of obsession and dark secrets. It’s packed full of tension and a delicious sense of impending doom, which I lapped up. Alice is a fascinating character who evoked many emotions within me throughout the course of the book. I will say that I found her to be quite frustrating at points and it was only towards the end of the book that I found myself rooting for her. But, and I’ve said this time and time again, I don’t have to like a character to enjoy the book. I want a character to evoke some sort of emotion within me (positive OR negative) and Alice did just that. The best characters are the ones who make you feel strongly in some way about them. I felt strongly about Alice and as a result I very much appreciated the author’s skilled writing.

The plot is well paced throughout and I was always intrigued about where the author was going to take Alice’s story next. B.A. Paris is well known for her killer twists and The Therapist has a cracking ending which escalates beautifully, becoming very dark very quickly which I, of course, appreciated.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Therapist is a well-written novel, full of delicious suspense which I enjoyed. Great characters as I’ve now come to expect from this author. The house in The Circle was, in parts, almost a character in itself which made a nice change as the creepy old house is usually exactly that. Old. And gothic. But this modern, refurbished abode made for an interesting setting. All in all, an enjoyable read which I recommend.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Therapist. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Therapist by B.A. Paris was published in the UK by HQ on 22nd July 2021 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

B. A. ParisB.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back, The Dilemma and The Therapist. Having sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide, she is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her novels have been translated into 40 languages, and Film and TV rights to Behind Closed Doors have been optioned. She is currently based in the UK.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney @HQstories #RockPaperScissors #damppebbles

“Ten years of marriage.
Ten years of secrets.
An anniversary they’ll never forget.

Adam and Amelia are spending the weekend in the Scottish Highlands. The remote location is perfect for what they have planned.

But when their romantic trip takes a dark turn, they both start to wonder – can they trust the one they’re with?

Because every couple tells little white lies. Only for Adam and Amelia, the truth is far more dangerous.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining the Rock Paper Scissors blog tour and sharing my review. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney will be published on Thursday (that’s 19th August 2021) by HQ and will be available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Rock Paper Scissors but that has in no way influenced my review.

I just couldn’t resist. If you’ve read a novel by Alice Feeney before then you’ll just know. If you haven’t read anything by her yet then you’ve gotta get that sorted. Alice Feeney is an utter genius when it comes to the killer twist and every book I’ve read by this author, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. A beautiful blend of domestic drama and psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Amelia and Adam Wright are heading north to the Scottish Highlands for a romantic weekend away with their aging pup, Bob. There’s a lot riding on the weekend. Both sides have their secrets. Both sides have a hidden agenda. On arrival at their destination, a converted and isolated chapel, the place is eerily quiet. Something about the building doesn’t feel right. Before long, strange things start to happen. Tension between the couple increases, what little trust they have between them crumbles. Because the truth is out to make them pay…

Rock Paper Scissors is an eminently readable and highly absorbing book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I do love a secluded, snowy setting and the author gave me chills with her spooky isolated chapel on the banks of a loch. The characters’ desperate and rapidly increasing need to escape the chapel was marvellous and really added to the fear factor. Amelia and Adam are brilliantly written. Adam is instantly unlikable as he has a bit of a superiority complex believing himself to be cleverer of the couple. I couldn’t make my mind up about Amelia. I felt sorry for her at times for having to put up with her obnoxious and self-important husband, but my feelings towards her seemed to change quite dramatically as I progressed through the story.

The reader gets to hear from both Adam and Amelia as their situation spirals out of control. We also get a glimpse into the past in the form of private letters written to Adam every anniversary along with their gifts to each other (using the traditional markers for wedding anniversaries: paper, cotton, leather etc). Initially rosy, things start to decline as the years progress. Taking us up to the present day in all its shocking glory!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Rock Paper Scissors is a twisty, thrilling read which had me gripped from the start. Feeney has done it again and produced another very compulsive novel where she successfully pulls the wool over her reader’s eyes. And damn, she does it with such style! If you’re a fan of the psychological thriller you need to add Alice Feeney to your ‘must read’ list. You won’t regret it! Deliciously devious and a proper page-turner. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Rock Paper Scissors. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney was published in the UK by HQ on 19th August 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is being made into a TV series by Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. His & Hers is also being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown. It will be published around the world in 2021.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The House of Whispers by Anna Kent @HQstories @midaspr #TheHouseofWhispers #damppebbles

Once you let her in, she’ll never leave…
Some secrets aren’t meant to be kept…

When Grace returns to Abi’s life, years after they fell out at university, Abi can’t help but feel uneasy. Years ago, Grace’s friendship was all-consuming and exhausting.

Now happily married, Abi’s built a new life for herself and put those days behind her. And yet as Grace slips back into her life with all the lethal charm she had before, Abi finds herself falling back under her spell…

Abi’s husband, Rohan, can’t help but be concerned as his wife’s behaviour changes. As their happy home threatens to fall apart, he realises that there’s something deeply unnerving about Grace. Just what influence does this woman have over his wife, and why has she come back now?

A chilling story of guilt and obsession from Anna Kent.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining The House of Whispers blog tour and sharing my review. The House of Whispers by Anna Kent was published by HQ on 5th August 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The House of Whispers but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Becky at Midas PR for sending me a proof copy.

The House of Whispers is an exquisitely written tale which I devoured in a few short sittings. I couldn’t get enough of this book for many glorious reasons and I’m so glad I read it. Chilling, emotional and deliciously intense, I loved it!

Abi and Grace met at university several years ago and became friends. Until something happened and the friendship fractured. It’s been years since Abi last heard from Grace but now she’s returning to the UK from Australia and she wants to stay with Abi until she’s back on her feet. But their friendship always felt one-sided to Abi. Grace was controlling and self-centred, the friendship didn’t make Abi feel good about herself at all. When Rohan, Abi’s husband, leaves for New York on a temporary work placement, the prospect of having Grace around feels more appealing than not, so she moves in. Soon Rohan notices a change in Abi. The things which were once important to her, don’t seem to matter anymore. Her artwork takes over her life and everything else comes second. Rohan starts to question the hold Grace has over Abi as he watches his wife change before his very eyes. Who exactly is Grace and will life for Abi ever be the same again…

An utter joy to read. The House of Whispers hooked me in from the start and didn’t let me go until the final thrilling denouement. Poor Abi. Feeling like an outcast the moment she stepped foot on campus and then reluctantly falling in with popular and controlling Grace, led me to feel things were never really going to turn out well for her. I really warmed to Abi. The author has created a perfectly flawed but incredibly human character and I desperately wanted her to escape the clutches of her obnoxious friend.

The story is told beautifully with the slow unravelling of Abi following Grace’s arrival. I was bewitched by the author’s storytelling and completely captivated. The house adds a slightly creepy, sinister feel to proceedings – gothic in feel and tone – and done so well. Other characters in the book bring in a host of emotions which I appreciated. It’s hard to like Rohan at times. I felt he was quite smothering towards Abi, a little patronising perhaps and a little sexist in his approach. I often felt he was more in love with Abi’s art than Abi the person but he was well-written and elicited the emotions in me I think the author intended.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved The House of Whispers. It’s a creepy, chilling, intoxicating read which worked its way under my skin. I have to admit to seeing something somewhere (no clues, I don’t want you to do the same!) which made me approach this book slightly differently (I’m saying no more!) and unfortunately I was able to see one of the twists coming because of that. However, this is a beautiful, compelling novel which I savoured every second of. I loved the ending – it was a perfect way to conclude Abi and Grace’s story. In fact, I loved everything about The House of Whispers. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The House of Whispers. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The House of Whispers by Anna Kent was published in the UK by HQ on 5th August 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats
(please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Anna Kent has worked as a journalist, magazine editor and book editor as well as enjoying a stint as a radio producer. She’s written for numerous publications at home and abroad, including the Daily Telegraph, where she was a contributor for six years. Brought up in the South East, she loves to travel while maintaining a base in Gloucestershire. She’s married with two children.

#BookReview: The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn @HQstories #TheGirlsAreAllSoNiceHere #damppebbles

“Nice girls can do bad things…

When Ambrosia first arrives at prestigious college Wesleyan, she’s desperate to fit in. But Amb struggles to navigate the rules of this strange, elite world, filled with privileged ‘nice’ young women – until she meets the charismatic but troubled Sully, with whom she forms an obsessive friendship.

Intoxicated by Sully’s charm and determined to impress her, Amb finds herself drawn deep into her new best friend’s dangerous manipulations. But if she wants to play Sully at her own game, Amb has no idea just how devastating the consequences will be…

Deeply unsettling and compulsive, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a gripping exploration of the brutal lengths girls will go to, to take what they think they are owed.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. The Girls Are All So Nice Here was published in hardcover, audio and digital formats by HQ on 1st April 2021. I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Girls Are All So Nice Here which has in no way influenced my review.

I wanted to read this book because I’m struggling a little with my reading mojo at the moment and I was looking for something different to my usual fayre (of police procedurals and blood soaked horror). I was keen to shake things up a little and oh boy, this book was a perfect pick! The Girls Are All So Nice Here is an intoxicating tale of obsession and manipulation which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Ambrosia ‘Amb’ Wellington is ready to do whatever it takes to fit in at college: the exclusive Wesleyan. Her dream is to become an actor so she knows how to change her personality to fit in. She’s been doing it throughout her high school career so it’s no big deal. When she meets Sloane ‘Sully’ Sullivan, Sully’s charisma pulls Ambrosia into her web. Sully is different to everyone she knew back home and Amb can’t get enough of her magnetism. Ambrosia is desperate to stay in Sully’s orbit, she craves her approval, so transforms herself into Sully’s mirror image. But Sully is a deeply troubled young woman whose constant manipulations push Ambrosia to the limit. Reunited for the 10 year reunion, will Sully’s hold over Ambrosia still be as strong? And what exactly did happen that fateful night…?

Wow! Some of the characters in The Girls Are All So Nice Here are truly horrible people but I couldn’t help but enjoy their darkness (just a little). The author has created some devastatingly cruel and vindictive characters and I lapped it up! I found Ambrosia to be a fascinating character who despite not being solely responsible for her actions, seemed happy enough to accept her new life and just go along with everything Sully suggested. I still haven’t worked out if she’s insanely needy or if she arrived at Wesleyan with a dark streak of her own.

The story is told in the past – leading up to the devastating event which changed the lives of those living in Butts C – and the present – as Ambrosia reluctantly prepares to attend the 10 year reunion with her husband. Amb believes she’s not the same person she was in college, she doesn’t want to return to Wesleyan (she certainly doesn’t want her husband to discover her secret!) and refuses to even consider the reunion. Until an anonymous card arrives telling her she must attend as ‘they’ need to talk about what they did that night. I really enjoyed both the flashbacks and watching as Ambrosia’s present-day, perfect life began to unravel and the realisation of what really happened starts to take hold. I found everything about the book so intriguing and utterly compelling. I was desperate to find out what had happened to leave such a catastrophic mark on these young lives.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a well-written exploration of toxic, poisonous friendships and the lengths some people will go to to belong. The control Sully has over Ambrosia is very unsettling, makes for uncomfortable reading at times and I loved it! I found it interesting to see the same characters 10 years later as, despite Ambrosia’s claims, nothing had really changed. They still went to extreme lengths to cover their own backs. Brilliantly done. Utterly irresistible. Bold and fearless. Shocking, dark and full of menace. I’m still thinking about this one days after finishing it. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of The Girls Are All So Nice Here. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn was published in the UK by HQ on 1st April 2021 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn is a former model who lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their three children. She is the author of three young adult novels: Firsts, Last Girl Lied To and All Eyes On Her, under the name L.E. Flynn.

Her debut adult fiction novel, The Girls Are All So Nice Here, will be released in 2021. It has sold in eleven territories worldwide and has been optioned for TV by AMC.

#BookReview: The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan @HQstories @1stMondayCrime #TheWildGirls #damppebbles

“In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
Has it all, but chose love over her friends…

THE TEACHER
Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…

THE MOTHER
Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…

THE INTROVERT
Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

THE HUNT IS ON.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan. The Wild Girls was published on 15th April 2021 by HQ and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free copy of The Wild Girls which has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to HQ and First Monday Crime for sending me a review copy of the book.

The fabulous Phoebe Morgan will be appearing alongside a host of other brilliant authors later today – Monday, 10th May 2021 at 7.30pm – over on the FM Facebook page. More information further down this post!

Four friends torn apart by one fateful night two years ago. Their lives have taken very different paths. Grace has become a hermit, hiding away from everyone and everything. Alice is drowning in debt and if truth be told, is unhappy in her relationship. Hannah is finally a mum to Max after years of trying and lots of heartache. And Felicity has moved to New York and is living a perfect, glamorous life (no surprise there!). When an expensive looking invitation arrives for each of the women, they’re shocked to discover that Felicity is offering them an olive branch in the form of an all expenses paid long weekend in Botswana to mark her 30th birthday. After careful consideration, all three friends accept and board the 11 hour flight to a different world. But when they arrive, exhausted, at their exclusive lodgings something doesn’t feel right. There’s no sign of Felicity, there’s not another soul to be seen. They have no idea where they are and their phones aren’t working. This dream holiday could turn out to be the death of them…

What a thoroughly entertaining book The Wild Girls is. I found it to be very readable and quite the page-turner. I admit, I initially took a bit of a dislike to the main characters but that didn’t stop me from enjoying their tale. I warmed to Grace the most over the course of the book, despite the fact she’s quite naïve and timid at times. Each of the four friends has a very defined role in their group, as you would expect, and as the story progressed she came out of her shell more and more. The more I read, the more I liked her.

The Wild Girls is full to the brim of secrets. I really enjoyed the uncertainty the author packs into the story. The reader finds out early on that something went wrong between the four friends to shatter their very tight-knit friendship. It’s not until later on in the story that you find out what happened and why. It was very clever the way the author put blame in one way or another on all four characters (although the blame on one character was self imposed – I don’t think anyone else would blame her for what she did!). I also really liked the way I was never 100% certain about anything.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Wild Girls is a very readable psychological crime thriller which I can see being a huge hit. This is the second book I have read by Morgan (the first being her debut – The Doll House) and I would happily read more of this author’s work. I loved the setting which gave the story a wonderful isolated edge. It was different and a hook in itself for me. I had hoped for a slightly different ending but it wasn’t to be – it felt a smidge flat after everything that proceeded it (perhaps I missed something). Still a very entertaining, compelling read. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Wild Girls. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan was published in the UK by HQ on 15th April 2021 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

First Monday Crime
Phoebe Morgan will be joining the panel for May’s First Monday Facebook event on Monday 10th May 2021. Phoebe will be appearing alongside Tina Baker (author of Call Me Mummy), James Delargy (author of Vanished), Marion Todd (author of What They Knew) and asking the questions will be William Shaw. The event is FREE of charge and will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 10th May via the First Monday Facebook page.

Phoebe Morgan is a bestselling author and editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits commercial fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and you can follow her on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan, Instagram @phoebeannmorgan, Facebook @PhoebeMorganAuthor or find her blog about publishing and writing at http://www.phoebemorganauthor.com.

#BookReview: Q by Christina Dalcher #QBook #damppebbles

“It begins as a way to make things fairer. An education system that will benefit everyone. It’s all in the name of progress.

This is what Elena Fairchild believes. As a teacher in one of the government’s elite schools for children with high ‘Q’ scores, she witnesses the advantages first-hand.

But when Elena’s own daughter scores lower than expected, she is taken away. Elena follows her to her new home. A government institute.

What she finds there makes Elena question everything. Because this world is about perfection – and that comes at a terrible price.”

Hello and a very warm welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my first review of 2021 with you which is for Q by Christina Dalcher. Q is published by HQ in paperback format today (that’s 7th January 2021). I chose to read and review a free ARC of Q but that has in no way influenced my review.

I have mixed feelings about Q. On the one hand the writing is powerful, the story immersive and the subject matter is highly emotive. On the other, I didn’t like any of the characters apart from one (one character in particular made my blood absolutely boil to the point he nearly sent me into a screaming rage) and despite frequently wanting to return to the book, I found myself needing to take regular breaks to calm my blood pressure and just stop thinking! Q is a devastating story which could, in fact, be all too plausible. I have Vox by the same author on my TBR and I now know that it’s going to break me, but I can’t wait to read it!

A new system has been implemented in the US which grades adults and children according to their intelligence, family standing, their income (or the income of their parents) and their attendance rate, among other things. Students and staff in the ‘new and improved’ school system are subjected to monthly high ranking tests to determine their individual ‘Q Score’.  The ‘Q’ is everything and can make or break a family in many ways. But that’s not something teacher Dr Elena Fairchild needs to worry about. Her husband, Malcolm, is the Deputy Education Secretary and her two daughters – teenage Anne and 9-year-old Freddie – are successful. But Elena has always had concerns over Freddie who is struggling with the pressure and suffers regular panic attacks come test day. Having slightly smudged Freddie’s prenatal Q score, Elena is always watchful over her younger, slightly less able daughter. And then Freddie fails the monthly test and is sent from her ‘green’ tiered middle school to a ‘yellow’ state school – the lowest of the low. Completely cut-off from seeing or speaking to her daughter, Elena does the only thing that makes sense. She fails her own test and gets sent to the same isolated school in Kansas. But what if everything you thought you knew wasn’t actually true? What if you’re now part of an evil, despicable plan to change humanity forever…?

Elena is an interesting character and I wanted to like and sympathise with her situation but there were certain things about her which irritated me no end. For example, despite the dawning realisation of the situation she finds herself in, she appeared to be part of the problem, alongside a teenage Malcolm. The flashbacks to ‘then’ detail a time when Elena and Malcolm were friends at school. Bullied and harassed for being nerds, the last in line for the school canteen, missing out on social events – you know how these things go when you’re a kid. The popular kids versus the not so popular kids. So a colour card system is introduced (oh the power these teenagers have in their school!) which soon puts the popular kids at the back of the queue. I guess I felt Elena only stepped up to the mark when her own family were affected, which I think is what the author was going for. A case of everything is hunky dory providing it doesn’t affect me…. But I also think the author wants you to side with this determined female lead, see the wrong she has done, forgive past decisions and cheer her on as she battles onward. But I just couldn’t. Elena Fairchild was past redemption for me. Nothing she said or did would save her.

In Q I met quite possibly the most frustrating, despicable and controlling character I have ever met in fiction – Elena’s husband, Malcolm Fairchild. He made my blood boil. The way he treated his wife and children, particularly Freddie, made me feel deeply uncomfortable and I hated him with every ounce of my being. I don’t think a book has ever affected me the way Q has. I went from being angry to being frustrated to being sad that the book was over and sobbing quietly to myself. I don’t cry often at the end of books and to be honest, I was surprised I did at Q but I think it really got under my skin.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I found Q to be a difficult read but I became so emotionally involved with the story and, despite not liking the characters, there was an attachment of some sort there which left me feeling a little bereft once I had finished the last page. The subject matter is highly emotive and the story-telling doesn’t pull any punches which I applaud Dalcher for. I found Q to be a very compelling novel despite wanting to throw it through the window several times because it made me angry (I hope that’s what the author wants her readers to feel!). I would have liked Elena to be a little less agreeable and to have a little more sass. She felt almost ‘sheep-like’ at times and that frustrated me no end. But, that aside, this is a very readable book which will be hard to forget. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Q. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Q by Christina Dalcher was published in the UK by HQ on 7th January 2021 and is available in hardcover, audio, paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook DepositoryGoodreadsBookshop.org |

Christina Dalcher is a linguist, novelist, and flash fiction writer living in the American South. She has over 100 publishing credits in the UK, US, and Australia. Recognitions include first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award (February 2019), second prize in the 2016 Bartleby Snopes Dialogue-Only Contest, and nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions.

Her flash fiction appears in The Molotov Cocktail Prize Winners’ anthology, Whiskey Paper, Split Lip Magazine, (b)OINK, Five2One Magazine, and several others.

Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Christina’s novels, including the international best seller VOX.

Christina lives with her husband and the ghosts of several dogs and cats.

To read more about her, or see samples of her work, please visit http://www.christinadalcher.com

#BookReview: I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney @HQStories #IKnowWhoYouAre #damppebbles

I know who you are.jpg“Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from. But I know exactly who you are. I know what you’ve done. And I am watching you.

When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is – but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

I Know Who You Are will leave your heart pounding and your pulse racing. This is the most twisted thriller you’ll read all year.”

Welcome to damppebbles today and to my review of Alice Feeney’s I Know Who You Are which I read in instalments via The Pigeonhole in May.  My thanks to The Pigeonhole for the free copy which has in no way influenced my review.  I Know Who You Are was published in paperback and eBook format by HQ on 16th May 2019.

I read Alice Feeney’s debut, Sometimes I Lie in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  When this book appeared on my social media feed I knew I had to read it and I’m delighted I did.  As a small sidestep, this was my first experience of reading a book via The Pigeonhole which I enjoyed for several reasons.  The first, I was able to read two books at once which is something I NEVER do.  Having a short ‘stave’ to read each day kept me focussed and when I had finished that days section I went back to my ‘normal’ read.  Secondly, the anticipation was heightened a little as when we got a cliffhanger I HAD to wait until the next stave arrived the following day.  However, what I struggled with, and I think it’s particularly prevalent whilst reading I Know Who You Are which is bursting with red herrings, wrong turns and possible outcomes, was one of the other readers managed to guess the big twist.  If you haven’t read a book with The Pigeonhole before, you and other readers can comment on the text.  My nosiness got the better of me so I had to check each comment as and when they appeared.  One reader put their thoughts forward and after that, I couldn’t unsee what I had seen.  They were very close to being correct and this did take a lot of the oomph out of the ending for me.  Nothing really to do with the book but the experience did influence my read so I wanted to include my thoughts.  In future, I would probably not bother looking at the other comments in case someone comments with something which later turns out to be a spoiler.

I really enjoyed this book although it did feel a little far fetched at times.  Set in 2017 and the late 80s, this is Aimee Sinclair’s story.  Aimee is an emerging actress, on the brink of becoming a household name but she’s not quite there yet.  One day she returns home from filming to find her husband missing.  His keys, wallet and phone are discarded on the table – there’s no sign of a struggle – and Aimee has an ominous feeling so she calls the police.  They start to investigate but before long Aimee is their number one suspect.  Not helped by the circumstantial evidence they have collected including photos of Aimee withdrawing £10.000 from their joint account, which she has no memory of.  Aimee was diagnosed with transient global amnesia as a child which the police repeatedly throw back in her face.  But she knows now what she knew then – that diagnosis was a lie.  That’s not the only lie in Aimee’s life though, there are many others and as the police step up their investigation Aimee will need to work even harder to make sure her secrets stay buried.  But someone knows who she REALLY is…

The flashbacks to 1980s Essex are harrowing.  I found myself getting very angry with one of the characters who made my skin crawl more often than not.  A terrible, despicable person who blew from hot to cold in the blink of an eye.  I don’t want to give too much away as you need to read this book and find out for yourself so I’ll just say that Aimee ends up far away from home and my heart ached for her.  Throughout these chapters, I questioned the history of these people and what had gone before.  I just had to know!

I found it impossible to say at any given point in this book that I knew 100% what was going on and where the story was going (even with the other reader’s suggestions there were other storylines in play which completely flummoxed me and it certainly didn’t cover all of the twists – there were more to come).  Feeney is a master of the unreliable narrator.  I didn’t trust what Aimee was saying, doing or feeling at any point.  Everyone is a suspect, everyone is telling their own version of the truth and as the reader, you just don’t know who to believe.  I’ve grown to love novels like this over the years.  I don’t want the plot to be obvious, I want to doubt the opinions I form and I want a twist that knocks me sideways.  Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the twist had a little of the oomph taken out of it but it was still shocking, disturbing and totally memorable (if a little far fetched).

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes.  A very compelling read which keeps you on your toes from start to finish.  I felt dizzy with the lies, the suspicion and the red herrings and I loved it!  Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of I Know Who You Are.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney was published in the UK by HQ on 16th May 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

alice feeneyAlice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 15 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.

Alice is has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband and dog.

Sometimes I Lie, her debut thriller was published around the world in 2017.

Author Bio © https://www.alicefeeney.com/

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |