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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn. – Opening sentence You might have heard of this book. Published in January 2015,  The Girl on the Train was an instant success. It had sold over 1 million copies by March 2015, and occupied the number one spot of the UK hardback book chart for 20 weeks (a record!). For whatever reason, I didn’t get swept up in the initial hype. I knew that the book was a sensation, but I just never got around to owning a copy. Then it got made into a movie a year later in 2016. And I still hadn’t read it. By now I was starting to hear things like “overrated” and “not worth the hype”, and I decided that I really should read it myself to what all the fuss was about. So I borrowed my Mum’s…

Don’t Kill the Dog: Sabine Durrant on (Breaking) the Rules of Writing

Lie With Me, by Sabine Durrant, was one of my favourite reads of 2016. It was so good that I lent it to my sister (NatalieReads), who lent it to my mum, who lent it to her friend… and I’m not quite sure where exactly it is right now – I think I’m going to have to buy a handful of copies just to get mine back! When a book is so good, it’s always fascinating to me to find out a bit more about the author; why they write, what inspires them, and their general thoughts about things. So, as part of the Lie With Me blog tour, here’s a short piece from Sabine Durrant talking about the ‘rules’ of writing – and why sometimes you have to break them! One of the unspoken rules of screen-writing is: don’t kill the dog. You can slash throats, blow men to…

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Catherine braces herself, but there is nothing left to come up. – Opening sentence Today I have spent a lazy Sunday in bed reading Disclaimer whilst my boyfriend, Scott, attempts to complete Mass Effect on the xbox. I picked up a copy of this last year, because of the teasing text on the cover – “Imagine if the next thriller you opened was all about you.” We begin with Catherine, 49, being sick in her bathroom. She just started reading a book called ‘The Perfect Stranger’. At first she thought it was like any other book, but then she realised it was a book about her, and a secret she has kept hidden for twenty years. Disclaimer jumps between 1993 and 2013, written in the perspective of three characters; Catherine, her husband (Robert), and an old man called Stephen. It’s very cleverly written, hinting at more to come but jumping from…

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it. – Opening sentence When I picked Lying in Wait from my bookcase earlier this afternoon, I didn’t intend to read it all in one sitting – I just couldn’t stop reading! Lying in Wait is dramatic and ensnaring straight from the off. Seriously – just look at the first sentence (above)! That pretty much sets the tone for Lydia Fitzsimons, a wealthy, upper-class housewife who lives in her father’s stately home in Ireland with her husband, Andrew, and their son, Laurence. With a secret, troubled past, Lydia is heartbroken after a series of miscarriages after the birth of her first son. Desperate, and somewhat neurotic, she enlists the help of her husband to find an alternative solution…but not everything goes to plan. Now with two secrets, Lydia must ensure that Laurence continues to grow up to be a…

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant

Thanks to BookBridgr for my copy of Lie With Me, it sat on my shelf for a while before I got around to reading it, and I now regret not picking it up a lot sooner, because WOW. What. A. TWIST! I am blown away by the cruelty of it; the cleverness of it; Sabine Durrant is an excellent storyteller. It starts with Paul Morris, an immediately unlikeable character who I hated from the very beginning. He’s exactly the type of man I can’t stand; pretentious, selfish and a serial womanizer – you know the sort. A struggling writer, Paul had an instant hit years back during collage, but has failed to produce anything on the same level of success since. In fact, Paul is so egotistical that he consistently tells his friends that he’s loving life as a lone bachelor with a best-seller in the works,  when in actual fact his last…

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

I sat up high, oak branch ‘tween my knees, and watched the tattooed man stride about in the snow. – Opening sentence I received an absolutely beautiful proof copy of The Wolf Road from HarperFiction back in April, and spent the last two months staring at it wistfully before I finally caught up with my TBR pile and got the chance to read it. I’d been seeing great reviews in my Twitter feed, so my expectations were pretty high. And wow. I mean seriously, WOW. Set in a future ravaged by a forgotten war, The Wolf Road follows the journey of Elka, a wild girl in a wild world who is on a mission to find her parents (and escape her dark past). The way is long, and fraught with difficulties and challenges. But Elka is not like other girls her age, she was raised in the forest and knows how to survive. But survival isn’t the problem.…

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

A huge thank you to Francesca Russell, who sent me a beautiful hardback copy of The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish. I waited until my recent holiday to Menorca before tucking into The Swimming Pool, and spent the majority of my time either on the beach or at the hotel swimming pool, devouring each chapter. The main character, Natalie Steele, is an instantly likeable and relatable character. A teacher, wife and mother of a teen daughter, Natalie Steele understands the hardships faced by a middle-class family living in London. Her daughter, Molly, suffers from aquaphobia – an abnormal fear of water – which is so bad that she tenses at even the mention of “lido”. Natalie, ridden with guilt from an incident that happened when Molly was a baby, suffers equally, if not more, with her daughter. Continuing with their autonomous – but not unhappy – way of life, the Steeles’…

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond

Jeffery Stone looked over the sea of despondent young faces as he gave assembly, occasionally glancing up at the steel frame of the atrium. – Opening sentence The Teacher begins with the mysterious and sinister death of the headmaster of a private boys’ school; a truly gripping opening that sets the tone for the rest of the book. A psychological crime thriller, The Teacher describes itself as “most definitely not for the faint-hearted” – an enticing statement! After reading American Psycho, I felt like nothing would be able to shock me anymore – and I started The Teacher with similar expectations. And I was right – The Teacher didn’t shock me in the sense that I was expecting.  Despite having its fair share of gruesome murders (and an appallingly sinister story), there wasn’t enough detail described to make my toes curl and stomach churn in horror or disgust. Perhaps that’s just because I’ve become desensitised to gore generally, but…

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