The Perfect Blend [review]

The Perfect Blend - Tess Masters

Title: The Perfect Blend
Author: Tess Masters
Publisher: Ten Speed Press


[Synopsis]

Online phenomenon The Blender Girl offers up 100 recipes for healthy living with tasty, crowd-pleasing dishes to help boost nutrition.

“The Perfect Blend “functions not only as a cookbook but also as a guide for how to lead a more vibrant and healthy life. Blogging powerhouse Tess Masters lays out a dozen healthy goals for readers, capitalizing on current trends such as gaining energy, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, detoxing the body, and probiotic power. Then, using her fun, playful voice, Masters offers easy-to-follow recipes for smoothies, elixirs, snacks, salads, sides, soups, mains, and desserts that help get results fast. Including a guide to key ingredients, an extensive resources section, and optional nutritional boosters for each recipe, “The Perfect Blend” will help readers find their own perfect blend.

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[My Review]

This is a well put together and designed cookery/ lifestyle book, with great photos to accompany each recipe. The book focuses on healthy eating and healthy living, highlighting the recipes and ways of eating that can lead to this, and there’s a lot of interesting information from Tess Masters on this subject.

I enjoyed some of the more unique smoothie and soup recipes, and the protein section was great and gave me some really good ideas for less obvious sources of protein in meals. The satay skewers, mushroom and bean burgers and classic cheesecake recipes in particular look really tasty! Now I have a half-decent blender it’s nice to have some more ideas for what I can create using it! Plus, it’s great for gluten-free and vegan ideas, as well.

For those who want to learn a bit more about living a healthy lifestyle, this is definitely the book for you. There’s loads of information on why certain foods are so great for you and why others aren’t, so you can really try and understand rather than just being told to eat something.

I didn’t find a huge amount of recipes I was really dying to try, as a lot of it focuses on ways of living, as previously mentioned, but it’s a really nice book for someone trying to be a little healthier or to give to someone as a gift, as it’s really nicely put together and the photos are lovely!

[Rating: 3/5]

Many thanks to Ten Speed Press and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review.

Viki Patis [Guest Blog: My Writing Space]

weltanschauung-cover

Title: Weltanschauung
Author: Vikki Patis


Vikki Patis is a writer and blogger at The Bandwagon, where she reviews books, interviews authors, and gives her opinions on a wide variety of topics, from feminism to fibromyalgia. She’s recently published a collection of short stories, Weltanschauung, and I’m excited to welcome her to the blog today to talk about her writing space!


[My Writing Space]

vikki-patis-author-photo“Writing can be tough. Many of us don’t have the luxury of being able to write full-time – we have day jobs, families, commitments, insistent cats – and so it can be difficult to just sit down and write. But you don’t just need a physical space; you also need mental space. You need to be able to shut everything out, all the distractions, the worries, and focus on your writing. As a graduate, and a blogger, I’m used to working to deadlines, and squeezing time to write around other commitments. But I’ve found that writing fiction doesn’t always work that way. You have to be in the right zone; it can’t be forced.

When I’m writing, I usually sit on the sofa, with a fresh cup of tea and my feet up. I sit at a desk all day at work, and like to be comfortable at home. Friday evenings are usually my most productive time; I don’t have to worry about being too tired, since I can (usually!) sleep in on Saturdays. Dealing with a chronic illness can make things even harder, and there was a time when I barely wrote at all. But writing is one of my few outlets, and I cherish being able to do it.

I get some of my best ideas while going through my day – in the car on the way to work, wandering around the supermarket, even in dreams! The idea for Bane, the final short story, came from a dream, after reading Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I dreamt that the world was on fire, and I’d been contacted by the government to be a Reviewer, which meant travelling around and reviewing the safety of various structures, meeting weird creatures along the way. It was creepy, and didn’t make a lot of sense, but the seed was planted.

Music is one thing I use to get me into the zone. My partner had given me the initial idea for Zombie, the first short story in Weltanschauung, but I just couldn’t find the way to write it. After a few frustrated attempts, I’d decided to step away for a while, when “Zombie” by The Cranberries came on the radio on my commute home. It was perfect. I got home, found the song on Amazon, and the story just flowed.

As Leigh Bardugo once told me, nothing is wasted. Everything is fodder. In Bane, the main character, Rachel, works for a medical supplies company, before hell breaks loose. All the conversations I’ve had with disgruntled or demanding customers informed some of the scenes I wrote in Bane. I try to view every interaction as a lesson, as something that may end up in a story. This outlook particularly helped when I worked crappy waitressing and cleaning jobs a few years ago!

Although I do need peace, quiet, and endless cups of tea, I don’t have a set ritual when it comes to writing. Usually, an idea hits, and I rip my laptop open, and just start writing. That’s not to say that what I write is any good, but it’s a start.”


Weltanschauung is available on Kindle and in paperback now. From 16th – 18th December 2016, Weltanschauung will be available for only 99p!

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Follow Vikki on Twitter: @VikkiPatis

The Beatiful Dead [review]

The Beautiful Dead - Belinda Bauer

Title: The Beautiful Dead
Author: Belinda Bauer
Publisher: Grove Atlantic

[Synopsis]

TV crime reporter Eve Singer’s career is flagging, but that starts to change when she covers a spate of bizarre murders—each one committed in public and advertised like an art exhibition. When the killer contacts Eve about her coverage of his crimes, she is suddenly on the inside of the biggest murder investigation of the decade. But as the killer becomes increasingly obsessed with her, Eve realizes there’s a thin line between inside information and becoming an accomplice to murder—possibly her own.

A seamlessly-plotted thriller that will keep readers breathless until the very end, The Beautiful Dead cements Belinda Bauer’s reputation as a master of heart-stopping suspense.

[My Review]

I’ve never read any of Belinda Bauer’s novels before, but have heard so much about how amazing she is – at the top of her game and leading the way in the crime genre. So, I was really excited to read her newest novel, The Beautiful Dead, and see if it is a winner.

It definitely is!

This novel features a serial killer, crime reporters and murder victims, which – let’s face it – have all been done before. But somehow Belinda Bauer has managed to make this feel completely new and fresh. It stands miles apart from some of the other novels in this genre which, in contrast, seem a little overdone and tired. I am so impressed with this novel, from the first page to the last.

I love the characters, particularly (of course!) Eve. She’s such a great, strong female lead and I really enjoyed reading about her and her lovely colleague Joe. They work so well together. The fact that Eve isn’t a policewoman, but instead a crime reporter for the local news, means that she doesn’t always have to follow the rule (and she certainly doesn’t!) She can go off-piste and not worry about following procedure, and pick up on things that the police might not. I love a well-written police procedural as much as any other novel, but this difference in the ‘usual’ occupation of the main character is a welcome and fresh change.

The story itself is fast moving and really ramps up the tension, without feeling overly dramatised. I love reading about serial killers (I am a big crime fan) and this one has buckets of suspense, which makes for a great read – and plenty of grit and gore at times. It even had a good dose of humour in there too – and all this without feeling over the top and ridiculous. All in all, that’s some impressive writing!

I feel that The Beautiful Dead is a fantastic read and a great introduction to Belinda Bauer’s work – I’ll definitively be reading more by her novels in the future!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Grove Atlantic for providing a copy of this novel, on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review.

The Food of Love [review]

The Food of Love - Amanda Prowse

Title: The Food of Love
Author: Amanda Prowse
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing


I  am really happy to be an extra stop on the blog tour for this novel, which I enjoyed so much! Read on to see what I thought…

[Synopsis]

A loving mother. A perfect family. A shock wave that could shatter everything.

Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.

But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.

In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.

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[My Review]

Amanda Prowse is an author I’ve heard a lot about but somehow I’ve never actually read any novels by her – until now. I hugely enjoyed The Food of Love; it was such a brilliant, thought-provoking novel that both terrified and completely absorbed me, making me want to read on even when there were some truly difficult parts to comprehend.

Focusing on the Braithwaite family’s struggle as the youngest daughter, Lexi, is diagnosed with anorexia, we experience the ups and downs with them all, from the time ‘before’, when everything was normal – or at least as far as the parents Freya and Lockie knew – and charting the demise of Lexi as she becomes more and more ill with this terrible mental health condition. They really seem like a ‘normal’ family, and Amanda Prowse presents everything in a really realistic, exaggerated way (or as far as I can tell, anyway, as someone who isn’t particularly experienced about this condition). Obviously anorexia is a condition that can be varying degrees of severity but in Lexi’s case, as someone who is very very ill, this novel showed how horrendous this illness really is -and potentially fatal.

Amanda Prowse enables the reader to really see how this affects everyone, not just Lexi – the whole family suffers and I felt for them all so much. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it must be trying to cope with this in your family, and I hope with all my heart that I never have to. I felt frustrated with both Freya and Lockie at points, and with Lexi too, but ultimately everyone has different ways of dealing with things.

The Food of Love is written so well, with some scenes that horrified me and others where I felt the hopes of Freya, Lockie and Charlotte (their other daughter) with them.  This made it a truly powerful book which stayed with me long after I finished it – what a great read!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

Girl Unknown [review]

girl-unknown-by-karen-perry

Title: Girl Unknown
Author: Karen Perry
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph

[Synopsis]

‘I think you might be my father . . .’

When first-year student Zoë Barry walks into Professor David Connolly’s office and tentatively says these words, he is left reeling. But it is the lives of his family – particularly his wife Caroline – which are turned upside down by the arrival of this stranger.

A daughter, a sister, a friend . . . an enemy?

Though no one knows quite who Zoë is, she is soon entangled in their lives. Yet her stories don’t ring true and Caroline is determined to learn if the girl is the unlucky innocent she claims to be or someone with a far darker agenda.

A deadly cuckoo in the nest . . .Because by letting Zoë in, David and Caroline aren’t just leaving themselves vulnerable. They’re risking the most precious thing in the world – the lives of their children…

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[My Review]

I started reading Girl Unknown without knowing that much about the novel, but from pretty much the beginning I was hooked!

Zoe, a student at the university that husband and father of two David lectures at, walks into his office and tells him that he is her father, from a relationship of his a long time ago. From this point on, both David and his wife Caroline’s lives completely change – and, at least for Caroline anyway, not for the better! Zoe is not all that she seems, and she behaves very differently depending on who she is around. Her behaviour towards Caroline means that Caroline is not at all fond of Zoe, and this in turn begins to wear away at Caroline and David’s relationship as David feels like she’s being unnecessarily unwelcoming and cold towards Zoe.

You really get a sense of Caroline’s desperation, because the story is told from both David and Caroline’s perspective. This way the reader can see how and why they feel the way they do, meaning you know a lot more than either of those two characters do, who can only really understand their own points of view! However, whilst I felt really sorry for Caroline, I still empathised with David a little – in his mind he was just trying to make up for lost time with his long-lost daughter, after all. There are, though, plenty of times when David behaves like a real idiot – he should really trust and support his wife. No doubt this in itself will divide people – who should come first: your wife or (someone claiming to be) your daughter?

There are times when the novel is a little far-fetched perhaps, but it makes for great entertaining, and I liked that David DID doubt Zoe a bit at some points, when he had cause to. He wasn’t made out to be completely blind to everything, which made him a far more convincing and realistic character.

The story slowly builds as Zoe’s infiltration of the family continues, and things become more and more desperate (and twisted!). I really enjoyed reading Girl Unknown from start to finish, and found myself completely wrapped up in it, finishing reading it really quickly. It’s well written and intriguing, and I am looking forward to reading more from this duo writing as Karen Perry (I have also read and hugely enjoyed Only We Know; read my review of it here).

Definitely recommended!

[Rating: 4/5]

* Many thanks to Penguin – Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this book, on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review *

Girl Unknown will be published in the UK on 1 December 2016.

You and Me, Always [review]

You and Me, Always - Jill Mansell

Title: You and Me, Always
Author: Jill Mansell

[Synopsis]

On the morning of Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday, it’s time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum’s life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions.

Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily’s friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…

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[My Review]

You and Me, Always is a heart-warming read with elements of humour, romance and fun. Despite this being her 27th novel, I actually haven’t read many of her novels before (I need to change this!) but am aware that she’s known for writing great fiction that you can really curl up with.

Though there’s a lot of characters in this novel, they were believable and interesting, making you feel like you’re really getting to know them as you continue reading. I (of course!) particularly liked Lily, Coral and Patsy, who seemed lovely, and most of the other characters really too (though there were a few I wasn’t so keen on!)

The novel has some rather predictable moment and a few elements which I saw coming from a mile off, but there were some surprises too. There were also some humorous parts that really made me smile and other parts that were quite sad, but the novel left me with a nice warm feeling, which I think is just what you want from a book like this!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Headline for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review!

All I Ever Wanted [review]

All I Ever Wanted - Lucy Dillon

Title: All I Ever Wanted
Author: Lucy DillonLucy Dillon
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton


[Synopsis]

Nancy is four, nearly five. She talks all the time: in the car, on the way to nursery, to her extrovert older brother, to her collection of bears. But then, one February morning, everything changes. Nancy’s mum and dad split up. Her father Patrick moves away from their Bristol home to Newcastle. And Nancy stops talking.

Eva is forty-four, nearly forty-five. She didn’t expect to be the third wife of a much-loved household name, but eight years ago, she and semi-retired bad boy Michael Quinn fell in love. Eva knew marrying a much older man meant compromises, but it was the love of a lifetime for them both – until Mickey dies suddenly, leaving Eva alone with his gossipy diaries, their two pugs, and a distressing voice in the back of her mind, wondering if perhaps she’s sacrificed more than she meant to.

While Nancy’s parents negotiate their separation, the question of weekend contact is solved when Patrick volunteers his sister Eva’s house. It’s in Longhampton, an hour out of Bristol, with plenty of room for her to get to know a niece and nephew she’s barely met – even if Nancy continues to refuse to speak. Patrick is sure it’s just a phase but his soon-to-be-ex-wife is worried that something more traumatic lies at the heart of their daughter’s selective mutism.

Meanwhile, Eva begins to read through Mickey’s diaries, and with every page she’s forced to confront a view of her marriage that turns everything she believed about her late husband, her self – and her own heart – on its head. The fortnightly presence of two children in her peaceful, grown-up home – one constantly singing and performing, the other wordless and sad – initially drives Eva and the two pugs, Bumble and Bee, to exhaustion, but as spring turns into summer, a trust slowly begins to form between an anxious little girl with a heartbreaking secret, and a woman who has realised too late that what her soul yearns for is the love of a child.

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[My Review]

I haven’t read any other Lucy Dillon books before, but All I Ever Wanted really impressed me. It was everything I wanted it to be: sweet, emotional, funny, realistic and SO well written.

The characters all really struck a chord with me. I loved both Eva and Caitlin in their own ways; they’re very different but have a lot in common too, and I really liked how they felt like real people to me. The kids were lovely too – Joel seems so sweet and I really enjoyed reading about him!

It’s not what I’d call ‘action-packed’, with some points slower than others, but I really liked that about it. The story-line addresses ‘real-life’ problems and issues around relationships and family, and making everyday life work when life itself can be so hectic and stressful – or, for Eva, a bit less hectic but filled with grief at the loss of her husband. I really felt for her and I liked that the author didn’t make anyone out to be a ‘bad’ person, as such – but sometimes people just grate on each other for various reasons, and sometimes things are much better.

I’m really glad Lucy Dillon avoided making any of this novel too cheesy – there were definitely emotional and heart-warming parts to the story, and some bits were really sad, but it was all written with such skill – and the adorable pugs were an added bonus!

I am so impressed with All I Ever Wanted; it really shines and I will definitely be reading more of her novels.

[Rating: 5/5]

All I Ever Wanted is released in the UK on 1 December 2016.

Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton who provided a copy of this novel on which I decided to write an unbiased and honest review.

The House on Bellevue Gardens [review]

The House on Bellevue Gardens - Rachel Hore

Title: The House on Bellevue Gardens
Author: Rachel Hore
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

[Synopsis]

Rosa has arrived in London from Poland to look for her younger brother Mikhail. He is supposed to be staying with their English father, but when she visits the house she finds it’s locked up and there’s no sign of either of them. She urgently needs work and somewhere to live while she continues her search, but what can she do and where can she go?

Stef is running away from her boyfriend Oliver and the claustrophobic life she’s been living in his opulent flat. Frightened, friendless and far from her family, she needs somewhere to hide.

Rick is living in a limbo, a shy young man hiding from the world to write and draw and dream. How will he find fulfilment?

All three find refuge at 11 Belvue Gardens, the shabbiest house of a smart white-painted Georgian terrace in North London. Here, its owner Leonie herself once found sanctuary following a short career as a model in the sixties and a destructive marriage. Now, out of gratitude, she opens her house to others in need.

However, as she helps Stef and Rosa and Rick to find their way, Leonie finds that once again the very foundations of her own life and happiness are under threat.

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[My Review]

I really enjoyed the other novels I’ve read by Rachel Hore, and eagerly anticipated reading this one. It moves a bit away from the style of many of the other novels that I’ve read – often moving between time frames with an element of mystery linking characters in the past and present together, etc. This novel still had two time frames – current day, where the majority was set, and small parts from the 1960’s, showing Leonie’s life as a model in London.

The story was nice enough to read, with characters developing as the storywent on, but it lacked any real tension or mystery/ unexpected links between the two time frames, and the characters – although nice enough – didn’t really grab me like her other novels have done. The story is quite slow paced which I suppose does allow the reader to get to know the characters more this way – it just didn’t draw me in the way I hope it would.

I would definitely say that if you haven’t read any other books by Rachel Hore, start with either The Silent Tide or A Gathering Storm, as they’re probably my favourites and I utterly love the style and changing time-frames within those novels. Sadly The House on Vellevue Gardens just didn’t live up to my expectations – I think the bar has just been set too high by some of her other novels, to be honest! It’s a pleasant enough read, though, and has a fairly satisfying ending, so it would be fine if you want something fairly easy to read and not too demanding.

[Rating: 3/5]

Have you read any other books by Rachel Hore? If so what did you think, and which is your favourite?

Small Great Things [review]

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton


[Synopsis]

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

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[My Review]

This is a book that definitely stayed with me long after I finished reading it. In Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult poses the questions of why people end up with the beliefs they do, and whether anyone is really born ‘bad’, or whether it’s decisions they make in life – coupled with unfortunate things that happen to them and their education, family values etc – which make people believe, think and act the way they do?

First off, this story definitely doesn’t just paint people as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ – it’s not that black and white, and really unearths reasons for people having the opinions they do. This is NO WAY excuses some of their behaviour – I found it incredibly hard to read about the opinions and values of Turk and his wife (and family and friends), who are White Supremacists and object to a black midwife – Ruth, the main character in this novel – looking after their child. I really hated those characters with a passion.

And here comes the ‘but’, which I can’t really believe I’m saying, BUT Picoult manages to make us feel some empathy with these parents, losing their baby so suddenly and so young. I didn’t feel a huge amount, granted, but some sadness for them was there, if you can filter their beliefs out in their mind, even for a limited time. I did feel for what they must be going through, and I can’t even begin to imagine how horrendous a situation that must be for them. So, even though I completely disagree with their opinions, you do feel very sorry for them when you consider that they’ve actually lost a child.

Whatever you feel about the characters, you don’t feel like you’re being preached at or to, and instead gain an understanding of what all their lives were, and are, like.

The story hops between narrators – Ruth, Ruth’s Lawyer Kennedy, and Turk. The different stories aren’t always in chronological order, as sometimes when switching between them the story goes back in time to before we last left them, so we see parts of the story from a different perspective, which is really interesting. It took me a little while to get properly into the storyline, but once I did I was really absorbed.

The characters, as always with Jodi Picoult’s novels, are convincing and so well-rounded- even the characters I despised (Turk and Brit particularly – I hated to think there are people like that in the world, but unfortunately there undoubtedly are). I really liked Ruth, though felt frustrated with her sometimes as she could be SO stubborn,  and some of the things she did I really didn’t get or agree with, personally – a few points in the book felt a little out of character for the person we’d got to know in this novel, but who can say, hand on heart, that they know how they’d react in the same position? She isn’t perfect, but who really is? Her sister got on my nerves at times (well, a lot of the time) but she evidently meant well, and I really felt for Ruth’s son Edison, despite playing up at times – he seemed so lovely and I really warmed to him.

Racism is, undoubtedly, a key theme in this book, and not just centred around Turk and Brit, but with many characters, many of whom probably wouldn’t consider themselves as racist people. It also includes ideas about family and power in American society. I can’t say it’s a great book for escapism, if that’s what you’re after, because it is stark and uncomfortable at times, but it felt powerful to read and thought-provoking. I think Jodi Picoult has done a really good job in Small Great Things to not come across as too self-righteous or preachy – a mark of a great writer.

So there ends my rambling review for this book! It’s a tricky one: I can’t say I enjoyed reading every page because at times I found it shocking and difficult, but I felt that this is a book well worth reading, to make you think about those in different situations to you, and the story pulled me in more and more as I read on. This is likely to provoke strong feelings and conversations around the subjects included, which is exactly what Jodi Picoult has said she aimed for.

[Rating: 4/5]

Small Great Things is released in the UK on 22 November 2016.

Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of this novel, on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review.

While You Were Sleeping [review]

While You Were Sleeping - Kathryn Croft

Title: While You Were Sleeping
Author: Kathryn Croft
Publisher: Bookouture

[Synopsis]

You wake up to find the man beside you is dead.
He is not your husband. This is not your bed.
What do you do?

Tara Logan lives a quiet life with her husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her peace is shattered when she wakes in her neighbour Lee’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them.
And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee, Tara stays silent, fearing the truth will rip her family apart.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara soon realises that someone in her life knows what really happened to Lee. She must get to the truth before they do.

Tara made a mistake … but will one night cost her everything?

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[My Review]

While You Were Sleeping is the third book I’ve read by Kathryn Croft, and it’s just as much of a twisty page-turner as the other two. The story focuses on Tara, a mother of two who wakes up in bed next to her neighbour, Lee, and has no recollection of the night before. Things take a very big turn for the worse when she realises that Lee has been brutally murdered right next to her – but by who? Could Tara herself have done it? She’s sure she hasn’t – but what will the police think?

The characters in this novel are all really well crafted, though most of them are pretty unlikable… and you really don’t know if you can trust them! Tara herself seems a convincing character and is likeable enough (though was a bit silly in her decisions sometimes!) but I hated her daughter! You never know when she’s lying or when to feel sorry for her – and this is the same with Tara’s husband Noel, who seems nice enough but you can’t be sure he’s everything he makes out to be. In fact, most of Tara’s family have their own secrets and problems, all of which adds to the mystery and unsettling feeling of the story!

The plot moves along at a really good pace, and there’s enough dialogue between characters which stops the story being too much about the action. It really builds the relationships between characters, and we see the doubt and confusion start to creep in for Tara, so we really feel sorry for her – or should we? You don’t know exactly who to trust! Some parts of the story are a little unbelievable, and I questioned many of the character’s actions – various parts of the plot did feel a little far-fetched. Ultimately, though, this is an entertaining, gripping read and I so enjoyed racing through it!

While You Were Sleeping really keeps you guessing until the end and I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys an addictive psychological thriller!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the copy of this novel. I chose to read this novel and write a completely unbiased review.