#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Home Before Dark’ by Riley Sager #GhostThriller #Suspense @Audible

Today I’m reviewing another audiobook I listened to on Audible with my monthly credit, Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, a ghostly, mystery thriller narrated by Cady McClain and Jon Lindstrom

Home Before Dark: A Novel by [Riley Sager]

From the blurb

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

My Review

Home Before Dark is a cleverly plotted story of various generations of secrets, lies and crimes surrounding a mysterious Victorian house and estate in the woods, Baneberry Hall. The last owners, before Maggie inherited the house, were her parents, who lived in there for exactly 3 weeks before running away in the dead of night, with 5-year-old Maggie, supposedly fleeing from ghosts.

Maggie’s father, a novelist, wrote a bestseller based on their experiences, and although their lives improved financially, their family was destroyed after that fateful moment, and even today the adult Maggie cannot get over her experiences at the house. She’s still searching for the truth, which could be stranger and more devastating than her father’s book.

The novel is narrated by Maggie and her father in two time frames, past and present, and the plot cleverly unfolds amidst secrets, legends, lies, half-lies, and a few truths, until the mystery is finally solved.

I enjoyed reading the novel, because the story was engaging, and I love stories set in atmospheric houses with spooky legends. But, although the characters were authentic and interesting, I didn’t actually like any of them, especially Maggie or her parents, except the father (but that was mostly due to Jon Lindstrom’s brilliant narration!). Despite wanting to understand them, I found it hard to sympathise with their thoughts, actions or lack of affection.

Also, a little bit of love or romance of any type would have been nice. All the relationships portrayed between married couples, friends, or family, seemed cold or damaged. There wasn’t a single drop of warmth between anyone, but I’m a hopeless romantic, so I would say that. 

Overall. it was an entertaining story which was excellently read by both narrators. And I’m certainly curious to read more of Riley Sager’s books.

Check out my other fiction book reviews here or my non-fiction, personal growth books here.

Happy reading! 

 

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Layla’ by Colleen Hoover #BookReview #ParanormalRomance #Audible

Today I’m reviewing Layla, a paranormal romance by Colleen Hoover. I bought the kindle version and the audible narration was a two-dollar option, so I added it, because I love listening to audiobooks and Brian Pallino is a great narrator. The audiobook is so good that I read it over two afternoons. I would recommend the audio version instead of the kindle version because although it was a compelling story, it’s told from the point of view of the main male character, Leeds, and at times it was a bit repetitive, so I sped it up to 1.5 (I usually listen at 1.25)    

It was published in December and is number 1 in the following categories on Amazon: 

Layla Audiobook By Colleen Hoover cover art

From the blurb

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her – until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow – another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

My Review

The blurb is slightly misleading, because it doesn’t mention any ghosts, but as it’s labelled as a ‘paranormal romance’ it’s no spoiler to say that there is more than one ghost in the story. 

There are four characters in the novel, a detective who is talking to Leeds, Willow and Layla, and three of the four are not who they appear to be, or say they are. This may sound confusing, but as the story unfolds, it’s more intriguing than confusing. The reader has to wait patiently for Leeds to tell his story, and let the mystery unfold gradually until in the last chapters, when it all comes together, very neatly.   

Basically, it’s a paranormal love triangle, which makes it unusual, and stretches the limits of credibility, so the reader has to remember that it’s classified as a paranormal romance, and willingly suspend disbelief, more than once. It’s fiction, and the reader knows it is a ghost story when they start reading, so it’s not fair to complain by saying, ‘I don’t believe in ghosts,’ if you’ve purchased a ghost story.

It’s not a traditional ghost story in the gothic, chilling sense of scary, which was probably what I was expecting. I found it more distressing than frightening. 

I think the Collen Hoover was brave to write this novel, because the situations and themes differ greatly from her previous novels, but it seems to have paid off as it has 84% of 4 and 5 star reviews and it’s number 1 on three Amazon Bestseller Lists.

Colleen is a talented writer, because she hooks the reader and doesn’t let them go until the end of the novel, and her plots are suspensefully woven to entice the reader. However, I wouldn’t say it’s her best novel. 

Verity by [Colleen Hoover]

My main problem with Layla is that I have enjoyed Colleen Hoover’s earlier novels so much more, because they were grounded in more realistic situations which I could relate to. I had some difficulties connecting with the characters in Layla, but I’m sure I’m a minority, so it’s probably me.

I’d like to tell you about her other novels which I enjoyed, such as Verity, which is a dark romantic suspense, with some chilling, not paranormal, elements. I’ve just realised I didn’t post my review, so I’ll have to get around to that.

I also enjoyed It Ends With Us, a heart-wrenching domestic drama, which I mentioned in one of my posts, as one of my favourite books of 2018. I also enjoyed Ugly Love and All Your Perfects, which are intense, contemporary romances, including complex moral issues related to love, marriage, abuse, divorce, loyalty and honesty.

It Ends with Us: A Novel by [Colleen Hoover]

I think Colleen Hoover is a talented writer, and I do recommend you check out her books. Read the blurbs and the first pages before you decide which one to pick first. 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Girl He used to Know’ and ‘On the Island’ by Tracey Garvis Graves #BookReview #Romance

Today I’m reviewing two novels by Tracey Garvis Graves, whose debut novel, On the Island (2012) spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. I read the novel earlier this year and I enjoyed it so much that I also bought her second novel, The Girl He Used To Know (2019), which I enjoyed even more! Her books are romantic, but the romantic couples have highly problematic relationships, so there’s plenty of angst, before we get to the happy ending! Which is fine by me, I quite like some authentic, controversial and thought-provoking, romantic turmoil.

On The Island by [Tracey Garvis Graves]

From the Blurb

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day.

T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn’t bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man…

****

My Review

This novel starts with a bang until they reach the island, and then it slows down, as the unlikely couple are stranded on a desert island for literally years, and in the meantime, the teenager becomes a man and they fall in love.

Their time on the island is at first traumatic. They both experience illness, hardship and emotional anguish due to the isolation and harshness of a life with no amenities at all. Their situation is challenging and it’s very well described. I felt claustrophobic on the island too! Their love helps them get through the worst, but is it real, or is it a product of their unique situation? 

The next part of the novel, back in civilisation brings even more challenges. They’ve broken too many rules and taboos and their family and society’s demands strains their relationship to breaking point, more than once.

The difficulties they face and the way in which they gradually overcome the negative forces around them, as well their own  traumas, was nerve-racking, although we’re ultimately given a believable and happy ending, no spoiler there, because it’s the way they reach their happy ending that concerns readers of romantic fiction.

The characters grow in age and evolve emotionally throughout the novel, and their love is constantly tested. It’s an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end, which I admit I love! 

****

The Girl He Used to Know: A Novel by [Tracey Garvis Graves]

From the Blurb

Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.


My Review

I loved this novel, so much. There was plenty of angst, too, but Annika was so easy to love. She reminded me of other heroines on the spectrum, such as Eleanor Oliphant, which I loved and reviewed here, another favourite which I reviewed here, The Cactus, and The wonderful,  Kiss Quotient, reviewed here.   

The Girl He Used to Know is a heartbreaking and uplifting second chance romance. Annika is an unusual, loveable heroine, who faces many challenges due to her brutal honesty and lack of social skills, which Jonathan finds it hard to cope with, in spite of his efforts. Johnathan is a worthy hero, but there are heartbreaking pitfalls to their happy ending. The story is told from both characters’ first person point of view, so we get to understand the characters as if we knew them intimately.

Especially for readers who enjoy uplifting romantic novels with plenty of angst and complex characters.

****

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Little Disasters’ and ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ by Sarah Vaughan #BookReview

Today I’m reviewing two novels by Sarah Vaughan, who read English at Oxford and worked at the Guardian as a news, health and political correspondent, until she turned to writing fiction. I’ll be reviewing her two most recent novels, Anatomy of a Scandal (2019) and Little Disasters (2020).

Anatomy of a Scandal: soon to be a major Netflix series by [Sarah Vaughan]

My Review 

Anatomy of a Scandal is a brilliant legal thriller which also deals with #Metoo issues, as well as political corruption, marriage, family drama, among other contemporary topics.

A charismatic politician is charged with the rape of his former mistress and the reader witnesses the subsequent events unfold through the eyes of his wife and the female prosecuting lawyer. Will his political friends, including the PM, save him or will this be the end of his political career?

It’s written from the point of view of several characters, one, Kate, his wife, is the only first person narrator, the other points of view are narrated by the author in third person.

It’s so well written and engaging that once I started I was drawn in and hooked from page one to the final line. The pacing is perfect, as the action is packed from beginning to end.  

However it’s not just an interesting and engaging novel, it also brings up ethical issues faced by many of the characters, particularly regarding consent in sexual relationships and the consequences of lack of consent, infidelity in marriage, and political corruption. The topics brought up, and the political context, seem relevant to contemporary politics and politicians in the UK, which made the novel even more engaging.

I highly recommend it to lovers of thought provoking legal thrillers. It’s set mainly in London, and partly in flashbacks at Oxford University. 

Anatomy of a Scandal will soon be released as a miniseries on Netflix, more information here.  I can’t wait to see it!

****

Little Disasters: the compelling and thought-provoking new novel from the author of the Sunday Times bestseller Anatomy of a Scandal by [Sarah Vaughan]

My Review

Little Disasters is a compelling family drama. Once I started reading the novel and the traumatic events narrated, I couldn’t stop. The story gradually unfolds with plenty of unexpected twists and diversions right to the last chapter.

Liz finds herself in an impossible situation when Jess brings her 10-month old baby to the ER with a skull fracture while Liz is the resident pediatrician on duty that night in the ER.

Liz’s sympathies are torn, but following the hospital protocol, social services must be involved, and that is where the rift begins between friends, and the drama begins for Jess and her family.

It’s a heartbreaking and brutally honest representation of a group of young mothers and fathers coping with full time jobs, marriage, and our increasingly complex lifestyles which sometimes lead to helplessness and desperation. It brings home eloquently the challenges of raising a family and parenting.

I listened to the audio version on Scribd which was brilliantly read by three different narrators, but I also enjoy reading through the chapters on my kindle.

Amazon US Link

Amazon UK Links

Colouring by my granddaughter, Elsa.

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Hating Game’ by Sally Thorne #Romance #BookReview @Audible

I read a lot of psychological thrillers, historical and literary fiction, and personal growth books, so I alternate with light and/or steamy romance, although romantic comedies are my favourite type of escapist fiction. I love stepping into a fairytale world where happy ever afters are guaranteed, after a tiny bit of angst and a few misunderstandings or some suspense…

Charade_movieposter.jpg (251×397) 

It’s all Cary Grant’s fault, he taught me to love romantic comedies, Audrey Hepburn is also guilty, as Charade (1963) is my favourite and if you haven’t seen it you’re in luck, because you can still watch this timeless, suspenseful, romantic comedy, which is also a thriller, set in Paris (where else?), for the first time!

But, back to today’s featured novel. I’ve recently discovered Australian author, Sally Thorne, who has written two bestselling novels so far, The Hating Game (2016) and 99% Mine (2019). I enjoyed them both. Today I’m reviewing her first novel, The Hating Game. Amazon.com link below.

The Hating Game: A Novel by [Sally Thorne]

From the Blurb

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman work together and they hate each other. They have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. The tension grows when they both apply for the same promotion.

My Review

The Hating Game is a fun office romance, in which two colleagues who hate each other intensely, mainly due to their opposing personalities and life experiences, find themselves competing for the same promotion. They both desperately want the job for personal and professional reasons. As a result, the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, and that’s when they discover that they don’t hate each other after all, but can they trust each other?

The premise doesn’t sound new or riveting, but I assure you it is a highly entertaining read. Their daily banter is entertaining, and the way their relationship gradually develops from enemies to lovers, as well as the expected resolution of the problem and happy ever after, is as believable as it is adorable.

I admit I was in the mood for a light, fun, romance and that was exactly what I got! The Hating Game is well written with engaging characters, for me that means I just kept turning the pages and hardly noticed a few hours had passed. In fact, I read it twice, once on my kindle and once on audible.

I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook version. Did I tell you I love listening to audiobooks while I’m cooking, cleaning, working out or doing my laundry? It makes chores such fun!  

leaves.jpg

By the way, Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell are going to star in the film based on novel. More information about the movie here-

So, if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, you’ll love The Hating Game! Amazon UK link below.

Colouring by my granddaughter, Elsa.

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Apartment’ by K L Slater #PsychologicalThriller #Audible

Today I’m reviewing one of my favourite genres and authors, a creepy psychological thriller set in the heart of London by K. L. Slater, The Apartment. 

The Apartment by [K. L. Slater]

From the Blurb

Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye.

Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a surprisingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

Adder House sounds too good to be true, but Freya really can’t afford to decline the opportunity and she will soon discover that Adder House has dark secrets…

Kensington Palace Image from Pixabay

My Review

The Apartment is difficult to pin down to one genre. It has mainly thriller, suspense and psychological aspects as well as gothic, ghostly and historical touches, and a hint of romance. It’s a creepy and ultimately unsettling novel which picks up speed quickly merging into a fast paced thriller.

K. L. Slater creates an atmospheric tale with engaging and unique characters, set in Kensington with its busy commercial streets, spectacular museums, famous parks, palace and secluded, affluent condominiums. I’m familiar with this well-known area of London, so it was easy and exciting to imagine Ader House and the surrounding area.

I listened to The Apartment on Audible and a huge plus to the audiobook version was listening to the author and narrator discussing the novel.

Well done! A fabulous read for readers who enjoy spine-chilling, psychological thrillers!

K. L. Slater’s latest novels, Little Whispers is on my kindle, waiting to be read (such a long list, but I’ll get there, eventually!)

Drawing by my granddaughter, Elsa, 6 years old.

 

 

 

Why Writers should read ‘The Evening and the Morning’ by Ken Follett #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Ken Follett has just released his latest novel, ‘The Evening and the Morning’, which is already in bestseller lists all over the world.

The Evening and the Morning is an epic journey which ends some time before The Pillars of the Earth begins. It is set in 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is experiencing politically turbulent times without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns. The lives of three characters; Edgar, a young boatbuilder, Ragna a Norman noblewoman and Aldred, an English monk become entwined in a fascinating tale of love and passion, as well as cruelty and ambition.

My Review

Ken Follett is one of my favourite living authors, so I downloaded his book on my kindle and my as an audio book on Audible on the 15th September, the very day it was released.

I read and listened alternately, and I can say it is as brilliantly written and carefully plotted as his previous novels in the Knightsbridge series. It also includes the compelling characters and fabulous stories which his delighted readers enjoy so much.

Ken Follett makes his stories come to life in such a way that millions of readers all over the world are suddenly finding events set in the middle ages, in pre-Norman England and Normandy, fascinating.

It’s exciting, romantic, dramatic, tragic, hopeful, and ultimately a joy to read. So, if you read or listen to one book this autumn, make sure it’s The Evening and the Morning’.

****

 Why Writers should read Ken Follett’s Novels  

It is a well known fact that anyone who wants to be a writer should read a lot, but it’s not enough to be a normal or passive reader. William Falukner summarised it in this quote:

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read!”

Writers are a special type of reader. We dissect other writers’ work and in order to learn their craft. Every book I read is a Masterclass on writing. Many hours and months of hard work have gone into producing a novel, three years, in fact, if you’re Ken Follett, so it’s worth analysing their craft with a view to improving my own writing.

I strongly urge anyone who wants to write a good novel to read Ken Follett’s novels, all of them, if you haven’t started yet, his latest novel, The Evening and the Morning, is one of my favourites, so far.

I also suggest you watch or read his interviews and advice for writers to learn from one of the contemporary masters of literature. Here’s some advice based on his own writing process 

Ken Follett official.jpg

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading about Ken Follett’s writing process.

  1. Write your outline: Plan, plot and research carefully before you start your first draft, including plot and character arcs.
  2. Style: Write clear, transparent prose.
  3. Push your characters: Continuously raise the stakes.
  4. Think about your readers, you’re writing for them. Make every scene as compelling as possible.
  5. Check pacing: Make sure there’s one turn or twist every 4-6 pages, but not more than one.  
  6. Write your first draft and get feedback from readers, such as friends, experts, an editor, agent, etc.
  7. Rewrite your novel, yes, the whole thing all over again! Incorporating any changes or suggestions you decide would improve your novel.

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading Ken Follett’s novels.

  1. Hook your readers with a jaw-dropping beginning.
  2. Set the pace, the setting, themes and introduce at least one of the main characters on page one.
  3. Write every chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and word, thinking of improving your readers’ enjoyment and understanding of the novel they’re reading.
  4. Keep the action coming. Add a twist or turn every few pages to keep readers invested in your story.
  5. Create engaging characters who are honest, passionate, and proactive.
  6. Make sure there are plenty of adversities and villains to make life hell for your main characters.
  7. Make sure your characters are resilient and resourceful enough to finally overcome all the adversities life throws at them.

Finally, here’s an extra one for encouragement, never give up, keep writing and improving your craft. Ken Follett wrote ten novels before his eleventh, The Eye of the Needle, became a bestseller.

Who is your favourite author and what has he/she taught you about writing?

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘K’ is for Lisa Kleypas @LisaKleypas ‘The Ravenels and The Wallflowers’ @Scribd #HistoricalRomance

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I love novels set in Vicrorian England and I enjoy reading romance, in between psychological thrillers and literary fiction, and I’ve found the perfect combination in Lisa Kleypas. She has written various series of historical romance, set in 19th century England, such as The Ravenel Series of four novels and The Wallflowers of five novels. In her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughter, The Ravenels meet The Wallflowers!

Lisa is ranked #10 bestselling kindle (US) author of historical romance, and the reason is she writes engaging and entertaining, well-written historical romance. On this occasion, I’ve listened to her  novels on Scribd, but they’re also available on Audible.

Lisa Kleypas

All her novels are standalones, but if you read them in order, it leads to a better reading experience, because the characters are related, either by family or friendship, so characters in previous books will appear in later titles.

I’d recommend you start with the first Ravenel book, published in 2015, which is also one of my favourites. By the way, aren’t those covers beautiful?

Cold-Hearted Rake audiobook cover art

Hello Stranger, published in 2018 is my favourite, perhaps because it was the first one I read and then I made my way back to the first three books in the series!

The female lead in Hello Stranger, Dr. Garrett Gibson, is a woman ahead of her time. She’s the only female physician in England, and is making herself respected in a man’s world. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, daring and independent. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. They are both drawn into dangerous plot against the government.

Hello Stranger audiobook cover art

Her latest novel, Devil’s Daughter, is the delightful story of a widow with two young children and a reformed rake.

Devil's Daughter audiobook cover art

Lisa Kleypas’s historical novels have all the ingredients for an exciting and entertaining journey into Victorian England. The novels are well researched and plotted, with engaging heroes and heroines. Readers will visit Victorian London, from the dark alleyways and slums, gentlemen’s and gaming clubs, to stately town houses and horse rides in Regents Park, as well as travels to country estates. There are villains, rakes and other evil characters who battle against her main characters. You can also look forward to plenty of (unstressful) suspense, in spite of expecting a happy ending, because the journey towards the grand finale is so enjoyable.

Lisa Kleypas, like Jane Austen, is well aware that in 19th century England, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” And just like Jane Austen, that’s what she writes about, except in Kleypas’ case, the novels are more about assertive women fighting for love matches and independence in a world of marriages of convenience and gender inequality.

Most of her novels are read by Mary Jane Wells, who does all the accents and genders very nicely, although, as always, I would have prefered at least two narrators, for male and female voices, but I enjoyed listening to all of them as they are.

****

Lisa Kleypas’ novels are especially for readers who want an escape from real 21st century life for a few hours, and enjoy historical romance set in Victorian England, with strong-willed female leads who overcome obstacles on their way to a happy marriage. A delightful indulgence!

Lasa Kleypas’s Audible Author Page

Lisa Kleypas’s Scribd author page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks!

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘J’ is for Jess Rider ‘The Ex Wife’ @JessRyderAuthor @Audible @Bookouture #PsychologicalThriller

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Jess Ryder author of three psychological thrillers, Lie to Me, The Good Sister, and The Ex Wife all published by Bookouture. She also writes books for children, teens and young adults as Jan Page.

Jess Ryder

I’ve listened to and enjoyed Lie to me and The Ex Wife on Audible, because, as you all know I love psychological thrillers, and I also trust Bookouture, because they publish plenty of great novels of his genre.

Lie to Me: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist by [Ryder, Jess]

Meredith’s entire world falls apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother who abandoned her, and hears her mother’s cryptic and disquieting words. Her father refuses to clarify their meaning and she embarks on a dangerous search to discover who her mother was and how she was involved in a murder which had taken place 30 years earlier.

Once you start listening to Meredith’s first person account of events told with the immediacy of the present tense, you won’t be able to stop until you find out everything about Meredith’s mother and father. I say no more, because I don’t want to spoil anyone’s experience of listening to this emotional and exciting thriller.

The Ex-Wife: A nail biting gripping psychological thriller by [Ryder, Jess]

Newly married Natasha has the perfect house, a loving husband and a beautiful little girl called Emily. Then her dream shatters when she returns home one day to find her husband and Emily gone without trace. She’ll need her husband’s ex wife’s help to find them, but is Jen her ally or her enemy?

The Ex Wife is a great novel for readers who enjoy long twisting thrillers where good and bad depends on the chapter your reading! plenty of unexpected events and relationships. Be warned, most of the characters are unlikable at some point in the novel, and likeable later on!

It’s narrated in two time frames by two characters, the wife and the ex-wife and the husband has the final say in the last chapter. It is an original take on an old theme of a love triangle involving the husband, old wife and new wife.

Both narrators, Annette Chown and Lorraine Coady have pleasant voices and the present tense, first person writing style, makes listening a vivid and exciting experience for listeners. However, I would have preferred two different narrators in the Ex Wife, because, although the chapter headings inform the reader of which of the two narrators is speaking/narrating, with the same voice, I found it confusing at times.

I’ve just discovered on Twitter that Jess Ryder has a new novel out soon! I can’t wait to read another one of her psychological thrillers!

****

Jess Ryder’s novels are especially for readers who enjoy nail-biting, well-plotted and complex psychological thrillers set in the UK.

Jess Ryder’s Audible Author Page 

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘I’ is for Laila Ibrahim ‘Paper Wife’ @Audible #HistoricalFiction #Migration

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Laila Ibrahim, author ‘Paper Wife’, a historical novel set in Southern China and California in the 1920s.

Laila Ibrahim spent much of her career as a preschool teacher, school director, and as a religious educator. That work, coupled with her education in developmental psychology and attachment theory, provided ample fodder for the stories in her novels.

Laila Ibrahim

I started reading this novel quite by chance. It was recently offered as a daily deal on Audible, I read the blurb, listened to an extract and decided to buy it, at once. I’m glad I did because reading The Paper Wife is an unforgettable experience of walking in a young, penniless young migrant girl’s shoes, as she travels across the world to another civilisation, with a new family, leaving her past behind.

The Paper Wife is an emotional story about immigration, arranged marriages, intercultural differences, the subjection and exploitation of women and children, motherhood, marriage, strife and ultimately the power of faith and goodness.

Mei Ling lives in Southern China in the 1920s. Her parents decide the best way to improve her prospects is to sell her in an arranged a marriage to a first generation Chinese-American widower who lives in California with his two-year-old son. But to enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife.

The perilous voyage is described, her incipient relationship with her new husband and son and how she befriends, Siew, a young orphan girl, her detainment on Angel Island and her arrival at San Francisco, where she’ll discover that her husband and her new life are not what she expected.

In spite of the harsh topics discussed, such as slavery, child labour, forced prostitution, corruption and other criminal activities, it was not depressing or sad, because the story is told with great empathy and understanding for Chinese culture. Mei Ling is a strong woman with a purpose in life, to do good and be happy. I loved her strength, optimism and kindness.

I enjoyed listening to the story, told in the realistic and detailed manner of traditional historical novels, immersing the reader in another time and place.

It’s told in the third person entirely from eighteen year-old Mei’s point of view.

The Paper Wife was brilliantly read by Nancy Wu, who is talented enough to read all the voices, men, women, children, American and Chinese in such a way as to bring the story to life.

****

The Paper Wife, is especially for readers who enjoy realistic and detailed, historical novels, which bring the past to life by means of traditional and emotional storytelling!

Laila Ibrahim’s Audible Author Page 

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!