Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request by Laura  Marshall
review Sep 03, 2017  

EXTRACT: ‘Henry seems like a nice little boy. I hope you watch him carefully. It’s so easily done, isn’t it? You turn your back for a second and they’re gone.’

THE BLURB: A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston’s dead. Isn’t she? 1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything Louise’s other friends aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: Those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone with whom she’d severed ties in order to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria-or whoever is pretending to be her-is known to all.

With her mesmerizing debut, Laura Marshall offers a timely and essential story of how who we were shapes who we become, the hidden cost of our increasingly connected world, and the dangerous shape that revenge can take in our modern era.

MY VIEWS: Firstly, this is an amazing debut novel. I read it in one sitting, totally mesmerized and enthralled. Laura Marshall has taken two topics, common to most of our lives, and written a deliciously twisted psychological thriller that had my heart pounding and my nails dug into my palms.

Most of us have, at some point in our lives, been either bullied or the bully. Just as most of us have an online presence, whether it be FB, Twitter, Instagram or any one of the many other social platforms available out there. And now the two are often combined, so that bullying and stalking have become a common occurrence on social media. And although there was no social media when Louise and her friends were tormenting Maria, this is the means someone has chosen to let her and her friends know that their actions have not been forgotten, and that there will be repercussions.

And now, with the proliferation of people living out their lives in the public arena, it has become almost impossible to hide. Someone always knows where you are, what you are doing and who your loved ones are. And really, how do you know that the person you ‘friend’ is really who they say they are? ‘Anyone can be anyone on Facebook. It is easy to hide behind a faceless page on the Internet.’

Laura Marshall has done a superb job of bringing Louise’s guilt over her past behavior and her fear of the impact it could have on her adult life, to life on the page. It is exciting to see such new writing talent emerging. I look forward to another sleepless night when her next book is published. I hope you are writing frantically Laura! 4.5 very bright and shiny ☆ for a gripping debut novel.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Friend Request by Laura Marshall for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my ‘About’ page for an explanation of my ratings. This review is also published on my blog


Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night by Wendy   Walker
Emma in the Night
by Wendy Walker (Goodreads Author)

Sep 02, 2017  

Extract: ‘Abby had not forgotten the Tanner sisters. Not for one minute of one day. The facts of the investigation had lain dormant in the shadowed corners of her mind. But that was not the same as forgetting. They were with her, even after a year of being off the case. They were in her bones. In her flesh. She breathed them in and out with every breath. The missing girls. And the theory of the case that no one else would believe. ‘

THE BLURB: ‘From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.’

Following are two quotes from Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker which to me describe the problems I had with this book.

‘A story is more than the recounting of events.’ Yet this is exactly how the book is written, a simple recounting of the events.

‘Her voice was steady, as if she were explaining a term paper she’d written in school.’ Again to me, that is how the book read.

Imagine if you will, sitting down to a meal you have been looking forward to. It is your favorite meal. In front of you, it looks delicious. It smells wonderful. Yet, when you take a bite, it is bland. Occasionally you get a taste of the flavors that should be there, but overall the meal is tasteless, and you feel disappointed, cheated almost.

That sums up how I felt about Emma in the Night. It was bland. Disappointing. Flat.

I am a voracious reader. Yet it took me four days to chew my way through this book. One chapter at a time. Sometimes not even that. It was a tough read.

2.5 reluctant stars – the extra half star because the premise and promise of the plot was great. I just feel that the way it was written and delivered left a lot to be desired.

Thank you to St Martins Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Please refer to my ‘About’ page for an explanation of my ratings.

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s Reviews > The Art of Hiding

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

‘……the satnav told her it was 63.4 miles and would take her one hour thirty five minutes to reach their destination. Nina knew this was a lie; she knew that where they were headed was a million miles from where they had started, and that it might take years for them to arrive. ‘

The Art of Hiding is the first book I have read by Amanda Prowse. She is described as writing ‘stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined’ and as ‘the queen of domestic drama’.

THE BLURB: ‘What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.’

I liked the fact that this book was not predictable. At a couple of points while reading I thought ‘Oh, here we go – she’s going to walk into some high paid job for which she has no qualifications/she is going to have some other rich man fall in love with her and rescue her.’ But as it turns out, she has to struggle along, applying for absolutely anything to earn money to put food on the table for her children, and making friends in, what is for Nina, the most unlikely places.

The Art of Hiding contains several good life lessons – friendship is far more important than possessions; and we should all be equipping our children with essential life skills – lessons we should all take to heart. And let us not forget to be kind to people less fortunate than ourselves; how hard is it really to offer a helping hand?

While The Art of Hiding didn’t blow me away, it was an enjoyable read and if, in the future, I come across another book by Amanda Prowse I will probably pick it up.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Please refer to my ‘About’ page for an explanation of my ratings.


Lie to me

This is the post excerpt.


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s Reviews > Lie to Me

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison
Lie to Me
by J.T. Ellison

Aug 27, 2017  


‘The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places.’ – Ernest Hemingway. ………. and some are just broken.

Lie to Me opens with the words ‘You aren’t going to like me very much’…………….’Truly, you are going to despise me. I am the rot that lives in the floorboards of your house. I am the spider that shuttles away when you shine a light in my corner, ever watching, ever waiting. I am the shard of glass that slits the skin of your bare foot. I am all the bad things that happen to you.’

I was hooked from the first page.

Sutton and Ethan Montclair both love and hate each other. Their jealousy and rivalry is both personal and professional. On the anniversary of the death of their baby, Sutton disappears. Was Sutton Montclair responsible for her baby’s death? Or was it Ethan? Did she kill the baby, lose her mind, fake her own death, set up her husband? Or has Ethan orchestrated the whole thing to make her look mentally unstable? People have done worse. …..

I love the writing style. The chapters are short, gritty and to the point. Chapter titles (not numbers) are enticing – eg DID SHE OR DIDN’T SHE?

The pace of Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison is frantic. It doesn’t allow you to draw a breath. It twists and turns and twists again. Every time I thought I was even close to sorting it all out, Ellison would turn everything on its head. It was like trying to read a kaleidoscope; the picture kept changing, but it was never pretty.

‘I told you at the beginning you weren’t going to like me very much. You really don’t like me right now, do you? Am I a horrible person? A loathsome creature? You bet. I ‘m evil to the core. And I warned you. I warned you, and you didn’t listen. …’

And now a warning from me – don’t miss reading this book. Lie to Me must be one of, if not THE best psychological thriller of 2017.

Thank you to Harlequin (Australia) via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.