Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Promise by Teresa Driscoll

The chilling new psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of I Am Watching You.
It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.
Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.
But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol ­– before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.
Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.
But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

Beth, Sally, and Carol met as teenagers and soon became the best of friends at boarding school, until something awful happened and Carol began to sever ties with them. Now, years later, Beth and Sally are on a mission to find Carol before a secret they promised to keep is revealed. Although this book is represented as a psychological thriller I think it would be better categorized as women's fiction. There really is no heart pounding suspense or shocking twists that one would expect from a psychological thriller. It is more an exploration of the relationship between the three girls and how the past shaped their future relationships with each other and their husbands.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
I received an advance copy for review.

About the author
Teresa Driscoll - a former BBC TV news presenter- is now an international #1 bestselling author. Her debut psychological suspense I AM WATCHING YOU hit Number One on Kindle in the UK, USA and Australia and sold more than half a million copies in its first year. Her second thriller THE FRIEND was also Kindle #1 in the UK and Australia and a top #10 bestseller in the USA.
Teresa also writes women's fiction. Her debut in this genre RECIPES FOR MELISSA was auctioned at the Frankfurt book fair between seven German publishers and her second women's fiction title is LAST KISS GOODNIGHT.
During her long career as a journalist, Teresa worked for newspapers, magazines and television, including 15 years presenting the BBC TV news programme Spotlight. Covering crime for so long, she was deeply moved by the haunting impact on the relatives, the friends and the witnesses and it is those ripples she explores now in her darker fiction.
Teresa's books have been sold for translation in 15 languages. She lives in glorious Devon with her husband and two sons and blogs regularly about her "writing life" at her website -

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Curse of Sara Douroux by C.A. Wittman

The year is 1985 and Sara Douroux lives with her deeply religious, elderly parents in a rural area of Maui. Discouraged from building friendships in school, she leads a private and old-fashioned life. When the family receives an odd letter that announces the impending arrival of four mysterious young cousins, Sara’s life soon turns tumultuous. Trying to make sense of the peculiar children, she forms a tenuous friendship with an unlikely pair: Jenny, a shy newcomer to the island from California, and Sunami, a tomboyish local girl.

As the girls uncover clues about Sara’s cousins, a chilling truth begins to take shape. An insidious terror is sweeping through the small valley where they live, threatening the lives of the community. In a race to discover the truth about Sara’s relatives and the secrets of her dark past, the girls realize to their horror that time is running out.

Sara is an adopted child who is only allowed out of the house to attend school, and rarely at that. After having recovered from a mysterious illness she is still given doses of a strange medicine that her mother didn't get from a doctor. After her recovery she is somehow changed, and animals including her once beloved dog seem to hate her. When 4  children arrive to spend a month in her home, Sara is told they are her cousins even though her parents have never spoken to her about any relatives in the past. The children are unnaturally pale and are never to be fed. They burn easily in sunlight and are to subsist only on "medicine." Jenny, the daughter of one of the school teachers, forms an uneasy alliance with the school bully Sunami to try to help Sara and find out what is really going on in her house.
This YA horror was a bit longer than it needed to be and because of that the story dragged at times. Much of the dialogue was phonetically spelled  and used odd word choices to reflect that English was not the first language of several characters and this did not work in favor of the book, but the story itself was quite creative and the cousins were creepy.
3 and a half stars rounded up to 4 out of 5

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

The truth is hiding between the lies.

A page-turning psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until last page, this addictive read will be loved by fans of Shari Lapena's A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE and Liz Lawler's DON'T WAKE UP.

What would you do if you woke up and didn't know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn't recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can't even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they're keeping dark secrets - and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able trust are lying to you?

Chloe Daniels may not remember her life, or how she came to be in a car crash, but she knows one thing for sure, she is very uncomfortable in her parents home, and they are not being honest with her about anything, She is supposedly there to recover after having been in a coma, yet she is treated more like a prisoner than family. The gate is kept locked and she is forbidden to leave the house. Her Psychiatrist father claims he wants to "help" her but why does she feel so much worse after their "sessions"? And what kind of doctor would treat his own daughter at home anyway. Something is very wrong in this home. When she finds a picture of herself wearing a wedding ring she confronts her father and demands to know why he didn't tell her she was married and from there the twists and turns get steeper and more dangerous.
4 out of 5 stars,

I received an advance copy for review.
Get a copy

About the author
I was born in 1981, the youngest of five and the only girl. For a short period of time after that I might have been my mum's long awaited princess, but it became obvious that I was the kind of child who was more into mud pies and catching insects than I was pretty dresses. I loved my purple Doc Marten's, hated my floral wallpaper, and was never allowed to paint my bedroom black. No, not even the ceiling.

I went to school in Warwick, UK, and throughout my school years I loved art, music, and English, yet somehow managed to end up studying clinical science at university. Despite my graduation and subsequent employment as a physiologist in cardiology, my creative tendencies were never far away. And the one aspiration I could never let go of was that of being a writer, so on a wet new year's eve sometime around the turn of the millennium, I announced to a friend that I was going to write a book. It took another five years of note taking and day dreaming, but eventually I sat down to complete my first manuscript. It didn't get picked up, but it drove me into writing the second, and third, and so on and so forth. By early 2015 I had finished writing MY SISTER, and I was offered representation by the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV, and Film Agency. MY SISTER became my debut, and it is hotly followed by BETWEEN THE LIES in July 2018.

Now I write almost every day, starting at nine, finishing at some point in the afternoon. Sometimes people ask me where I get my idea's from, and it's a hard question to answer. Lot's of things inspire me, but if I had to sum it up in one word the answer would probably be people; the things we do, say, and the different ways in which we behave towards one another. When I’m not writing I love to read. The first book that I didn't want to end was Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and the first book that broke my heart was Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Gerald's Game by Stephen King was the spark that made me want to write in the first place. I think I was probably about nine when I read that.

I like people who don't give up on their dreams, and those who show compassion for other people. I am crazy about my cat, and fortunate that the other people in my house tolerate him. I love travelling, and am lucky enough to live close to Greece which has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. I'm currently training for the London marathon, so if you've got training tips, or ideas on how to avoid shin splints, I want to hear them. Finally, if you love Game of Thrones you can count me as a friend, but if you shared my theory regarding the Tower of Joy before you watched THAT episode, or have access to a pre-release copy of The Winds of Winter, you can count yourself part of the family.

Friday, February 1, 2019

We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It by Tom Phelan

In the tradition of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Alice Taylor’s To School Through the Fields, Tom Phelan’s We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It is a heartfelt and masterfully written memoir of growing up in Ireland in the 1940s.

Tom Phelan, who was born and raised in County Laois in the Irish midlands, spent his formative years working with his wise and demanding father as he sought to wrest a livelihood from a farm that was often wet, muddy, and back-breaking.

It was a time before rural electrification, the telephone, and indoor plumbing; a time when the main modes of travel were bicycle and animal cart; a time when small farmers struggled to survive and turkey eggs were hatched in the kitchen cupboard; a time when the Church exerted enormous control over Ireland.

We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It recounts Tom’s upbringing in an isolated, rural community from the day he was delivered by the local midwife. With tears and laughter, it speaks to the strength of the human spirit in the face of life's adversities.

A sometimes sorrowful, often humorous look at growing up in 1940's Ireland, when the kitchen was truly the heart of a home and the location of everything from bathing to turkey plucking. Tom Phelan shares with readers a look at his close knit family, dealing with bullies, and life on the farm. It is an engaging heartfelt memoir that paints a brilliant picture of simpler times.
4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review

About the author
Tom Phelan’s memoir "We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It" was awarded a star by Kirkus Reviews, indicating a book of exceptional merit. Kirkus calls the book “A tender recollection of growing up on a farm in Ireland in the 1940s….A captivating portrait of a bygone time,” noting that “In precise, vibrant prose, novelist Phelan creates a finely etched portrait.”

Newsday says We Were Rich is "an evocative memoir, with echoes of Frank McCourt."

And the book blog For the Love of Books, says “Phelan’s story is one of grace and beauty.”

Tom Phelan was born and reared on a small farm in Mountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland. He was fifty when his first novel, “In the Season of the Daisies,” was accepted for publication by the Lilliput Press in Dublin. Books Ireland's reviewer later wrote, "The most obvious question posed by a novelistic debut with as much resounding vigour as this is: Where has Mr. Phelan BEEN?"

“In the Season of the Daisies” was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series and was a finalist for the Discover award.

In addition to "In the Season of the Daisies," Phelan’s novels include "Iscariot," "Derrycloney," "The Canal Bridge," "Nailer," and "Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told." These deal with such themes as Irish soldiers in World War I, returned emigrants, the abusive Irish industrial schools and the church-state collusion that allowed them to flourish, the priesthood, and life in rural Ireland in the mid-1900s.

Tom Phelan lives in New York.