Final Girls, Riley Sager – Book Review

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but this debut thriller got a lot of hype on release, I had to give it a try, It didn’t disappoint – this is a fast-paced thriller ride with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading into the small hours.

The ‘final girls’ – a title dubbed by the media – are all sole survivors of massacres. There’s Quincy, our narrator and protagonist who survived an attack during a weekend away with friends at Pine Cottage. She’s thrown together with Sam, who took down a murderer at the hotel where she worked, and survivor of a sorority knife attach, Lisa.

Final Girls, Riley Sager

The story alternates between past and present, as we learn what happened to Quincy at Pine House, and in the present day when Lisa is found dead and she and Sam are thrown together as the last two final girls. In the present day, Quincy is doing well – she’s moved on from her past and has a successful baking blog and lives with her lawyer partner, Jeff. But when Lisa is suddenly found dead and Sam turns up on her door, the straight-edged world she’s created for herself begins to fall apart at the seams and she discovers a different side to herself and starts to wonder what really happened that fatal night at Pine Cottage. Continue reading


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Bird Box, Josh Malerman – Book Review

This was a book I picked as one of my Halloween reads this year but I was wrong to pigeonhole it as a straightforward horror – it’s a lot more than that. This bizarre, original novel is difficult to categorise or describe. It’s got horror elements; it’s creepy and tense and it had me constantly on edge, but it’s also an awesome tale of apocalyptic survival.

Bird Box

Something is happening. People are losing their minds without reason, killing anyone close to them before turning on themselves. It’s an epidemic; it’s all over the news; first in only far-flung locations but gradually it creeps closer to home and gets harder to ignore. There’s myriad theories as to the cause but eventually everyone seems to settle on the same one; it’s something they see that changes them. It’s something outside. Continue reading

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The Doll Factory, Elizabeth Macneal – Book Review

I received The Doll Factory in exchange for an honest review

This is being billed as Picador’s debut of 2019, was apparently subject to a 14-way bidding war and has been snapped up for television already. I can never resist a shiny new debut, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s an evocative, gothic Victorian thriller which starts slow before building a crescendo to fever pitch.

The Doll Factory, Elizabeth Macneal Iris lives out her life working as a seamstress in a doll shop with her sister, but she dreams of being an artist. She gets her chance when she’s approached by aspiring artist Louis Frost, who asks her to model for him and in exchange offers her painting lessons. Iris seizes the opportunity, even though it goes against her parents’ approval and risks her own social downfall. But as she’s drawn into the alluring world of art, she also meets Silas, a strange purveyor of curiosities who provides many of the artists with props for their paintings. And as Iris’s relationship with Louis develops, so does Silas’s slow-burning obsession with her. Continue reading

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We Have Always Lived In The Castle, Shirley Jackson – Book Review

This is the first I’ve read by Shirley Jackson, a classic horror which seems to have stood the test of time. It’s a strange little novel; gothic and creepy but also quiet. The plot moves slowly, and it feels like what’s most eerie is what isn’t said about the strange Blackwood family who live in the castle.

 We Have Always Lived In The Castle, Shirley Jackson

There used to be a lot of Blackwoods, living in their sprawling New England mansion on the edge of a sleepy village. But as the book opens, only three remain – 18-year-old Mary Katherine, nicknamed Merricat, her older sister Constance and their wheel-chair bound uncle Julian. The rest of the family died years earlier, in an mysterious incident over dinner. Continue reading


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Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes – Book Review

It’s rare that, when reading a book, I have to sit back and just take a moment to admire the author for what they’ve created. Flowers For Algernon is just such a truly powerful, stunning exploration of the human psyche,  of what it means to be intelligent and of the value of a person’s feelings. This book may have been published in the early 1960s, but it’s one that transcends time, and is just as relevant and readable now as it always was. It’s a truly stunning novel.


Charlie Gordon is a 32-year-old with severe learning difficulties. With an IQ of 68, he spends his days sweeping a bakery and his nights at a night school for adults struggling to learn to read and write. But he has a motivation to learn which makes him stand out, and he’s put forward for a ground-breaking new operation to accelerate his intelligence. He’s the first human ever to receive this surgery which has only ever before been performed on mice – the most successful being Algernon. Continue reading

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Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough – Book Review

So, I’m very late to the party but I finally thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and give this one a try. And it lived up to the hype. Sort of.
Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough

Comparisons to Gone Girl and Girl On The Train are inevitable; this is a taut psychological thriller centred around a seemingly perfect couple who, of course, have secrets lurking under the surface. It’s told from the alternating points of view of Louise and Adele. Adele is married to psychiatrist David, and Louise works as his secretary. Louise becomes entangled in an affair with David and a friendship with Adele, balancing a fine line between the two, and drinking plenty of wine to numb the pain of her situation. But through the alternating narratives, it soon becomes clear all is not what it seems with Adele and David’s marriage. Continue reading

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All The Hidden Truths, Claire Askew – Book Review

I received All The Hidden Truths in exchange for an honest review

There’s been a brutal shooting at a college in Edinburgh. Thirteen young women were killed before the culprit, Ryan Summers, turned the gun on himself. This novel follows Helen, the first Detective on the case, Ishbel, the mother of a victim and Moira, the mother of Ryan in the aftermath of these horrific events.


All The Hidden Truths is an intelligent, multilayered novel which tackles an intense topic with drama and sensitivity. It’s a slow burner which takes the time to truly get inside its characters’ heads whilst exploring a hotly controversial topic. In that way it reminded me a little of one of my favourite authors, Jodi Picoult. This author delves to the heart of a situation – in this case she takes a hotly topical issue most often confined to TV screens and newspapers for most of us, and she makes it real. The characters are flawed and complicated, and they allow us to see multiple points of view in the aftermath of the shooting.

There was a slight sticking point for me, in that the narrators of the story lacked diversity, and I didn’t click as well with them all as much as I’d have liked. I think the book could have hugely benefited and had more depth with a point of view from one of the school children, or at least someone of a different age or gender.

I read one description of this book which called it a “knotty crime novel”. I have to disagree. While the story is about a crime which has taken place, there’s not really a mystery as we know who committed the crime and his fate right from the start. If you go into this expecting twists and turns, you’ll probably be disappointed. But it that’s not necessarily a bad thing; is a beautiful drama.

This story doesn’t have a strong mystery element, but it is an intricate character study which examines contentious, sensitive issues, casting them in a new light. The author is bold in tackling issues of blame, and questioning what it really means to be a victim. She forces the reader to consider things in a different way, and for that this book should be appreciated.


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Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson – Book Review

I keep telling myself that these YA romance books aren’t really for me, but then occasionally one comes around that I can’t help falling for. This was one of those. It’s a light, easy and relatively stereotypical coming-of-age tale. But it was cute. And  I enjoyed it anyway.

Since You've Been Gone, Morgan Matson

Emily, the protagonist, was a brilliant character. One in that perfect paraniod-shy-angsty teenage phase that I think we can all relate to, but she’s making it work. Then her best friend, Sloane, disappears, leaving Emily with nothing but an intimidating to-do list for her summer.

Emily is a good girl. She’s always been reserved and happy for Sloane to take the lead. So she’s taken completely out of her comfort zones when her friend disappears and all she has is a list of challenges which she hopes will lead her back to her friend. Continue reading

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Our Kind Of Cruelty, Araminta Hall – Book Review

I received Our Kind Of Cruelty in exchange for an honest review

This type of anti-love-story is becoming more popular in the psychological thriller market; telling a story which the protagonist believes is true love but which the outside world and the reader can see through and recognise as a dark obsession. In Our Kind Of Cruelty, our protagonist is Mike. He has a very troubled past in and out of foster care, but things started to turn around when he met Verity.

Mike and Verity were happy together once. They’re not together now, but Mike believes it’s only a matter of time until she comes back to him. We learn the history of their passionate relationship, juxtaposed with present day. Mike is alone, living a fairly isolated life, and Verity is marrying Angus. But Mike things V’s impending nuptials are all part of a game they used to play, and he’s sure if he bides him time he’ll work out what he needs to do to win her back. Continue reading

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Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton – Book Review

I received Social Creature in exchange for an honest review

This was a strange book which made for compulsive reading, despite being about two complicated, toxic main characters. Louise is living in New York struggling to balance three jobs to make ends meet when she meets Lavinia. Lavinia is a member of the privileged high society; a flamboyant, eccentric and beautiful woman who seems to float from party to party with little further meaning to her shallow existence. When they meet, Lavinia takes the quieter, more reserved Louise under her wing and introduces her to side of New York Louise never knew existed.

Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton

A whirlwind of glamorous parties, sparkling dresses, wild nights and dancing ensues. The author paints a picture of a fairytale New York which was fun to read, but there’s an underlying darkness to the story. The developing friendship isn’t one of love and loyalty, but of two flawed individuals who each have their own agendas, using the other for their own means. Neither of them are likeable, but the world they live in and their strange, fragile relationship made for compulsive reading. Continue reading

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