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Shame On You By Amy Heydenrych

Shame On You‘Shame On You’ is the latest book by Amy Heydenrych.

Meet Holly. Social media sensation. The face of clean eating. Everyone loves her. Everyone wants to be her. Or do they? When Holly is attacked by a man she’s only just met, her life starts to spiral out of control. Was she targeted because of her online wellness empire, or is there a darker reason behind the attack? He seemed to know her – but she doesn’t know him. Or does she? What if Holly isn’t who she seems to be? What if Holly’s living a lie? But surely we all lie a bit online, don’t we . . .?

I started reading this book late one Friday night and reluctantly had to stop reading it when I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

With short and snappy chapters that leave the reader wanting more this book is one of the grippiest books of 2017.

The story is seen through the narratives of Holly Evans and her attacker Tyler on the lead up to and after her attack.

Holly is an influential and powerful character who has a huge following on instagram after proclaiming that after a healthy diet and vitamins, she was able to cure herself of cancer and stay away from the more rigorous and traditional method of chemotherapy. But one night, she meets a handsome man who attacks her slicing her face and taking away her beautiful looks and confidence. As her army of fans rally around her, Tyler is determined to bring her down for the destruction, she caused to his life.

Both characters are equally fascinating and unlikable. Holly, is so caught up in the glory of her popularity and her legion of followers, that she fails to see the error of her ways. She’s determined to keep her mistakes a secret, she thrives on likes and loves from social media.

Whilst Tyler is consumed by hatred for the woman who unknowingly ruined his life. His bitterness leaps off the pages as he goes on a one man quest to ruin her life. He hates social media and everything that it stands for and as a doctor himself, doubts that Holly was able to cure her cancer solely through a healthy diet.

Fast paced and gritty from the very first page, ‘Shame On You’ is a dark, possessive and telling read about the power of social media and how much it controls people’s lives, reminiscent of an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, this book was a thrilling read.

You can pre-order Shame on You from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from July 26 2018.

My Mother’s Secret By Sheila O’Flanagan

My Mother's Secret‘My Mother’s Secret’ is by bestselling Irish author, Sheila O’Flanagan.

When Steffie helps her two siblings organize a surprise wedding anniversary party for their parents her only worry is whether they’ll be pleased. What she doesn’t know is this is the day that her whole world will be turned upside down. Jenny wants to be able to celebrate her ruby anniversary with the man she loves, but for forty years she has kept a secret. A secret that she can’t bear to hide any longer. But is it ever the right time to hurt the people closest to you? As the entire family gather to toast the happy couple, they’re expecting a day to remember. The trouble is, it’s not going to be for the reasons they imagined.

As a fan of Sheilia’s writing, I was delighted to delve into this book and read about the drama of a surprise anniversary party that had a lot more surprises than what was expected.

Controlling and organised Roisin, the eldest of the three siblings, is determined to throw her parents the best surprise party ever with the help of her younger sister Steffie and their brother and his partner are flying over especially for the event.

But on a night which is meant to be packed with celebrations and happy memories, Jenny the girl’s mother decides to reveal a secret that she can no longer keep to herself and the once solid family is torn apart.

The story is seen through the different perspectives of the women from the family as well as Davy as he tries to pluck up the courage to propose to his girlfriend. Roisin is distraught that her party is ruined whilst Steffie is dealing with the idea that her life was all based on a lie. She’s already conscious that she’s behind in life and is trying to make her new design business a success. As she tries to deal with the new information that Jenny has told her, she finds herself running off into the night into the arms of handsome chef, Liam Kinsella, who was a childhood friend.

The story takes place over the one night and also includes past and present narratives from Jenny, who is a strong and loving mother, who wants nothing more than to be honest with her children but for years, was afraid to say a thing as she was afraid of the consequences.

A tender tale that is perfect for fans of the well loved author, Maeve Binchy, ‘My Mother’s Secret’ explores the complexities of family relationships with an injection of Irish humour and charm.

You can buy My Mother’s Secret from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Saint Anything By Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything ‘Saint Anything’ is by bestselling American author, Sarah Dessen.

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and – lately – concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac: gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

I’ve been a fan of Sarah Dessen for years, when I was younger I used to curl up with her books enjoying her warmhearted tales of young adult love and drama.

When I received a copy of ‘Saint Anything’, I was delighted to take a trip down nostalgia lane and enjoy stories of less complicated and dark lives. In this story we meet Sydney, a teenage girl, who lives in her older brother’s shadow. Ever since, he paralysed a boy in a drink driving incident, Sydney has had to live with his guilt as well as fade into the background as their mother focuses her time and attention on bringing Peyton to rights even though he is in jail for the crime.

For a quiet life, Sydney is transferred to another school, away from the prying eyes and curious looks and it’s in this new school that Sydney makes new friends with the outspoken and fun Layla. Layla takes Sydney under her wing and helps her adjust to her new life and introduces Sydney to her chaotic family and handsome older brother, Mac. A quiet and gentle soul that Sydney finds herself drawn to.

The story flows at a gentle pace we see Sydney come of her shelf and begin to live her life, after years of being a wallflower. She begins to speak up for her beliefs and begin to voice her announce, which is a joy to read.

A tender and poignant tale that tackles issues that all teenagers have to go through such as self confidence and self doubt, this book was beautifully written with a relatable tone that all young adults can relate to.

A story of first love and new beginnings, ‘Saint Anything’ is a charming and sweet story about starting over and sometimes just believing in anything is enough to get you through the day.

You can buy Saint Anything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Perfect Victim By Corrie Jackson

The Perfect Victim ‘The Perfect Victim’ is the second book in the Sophie Kent series.

Charlie and Emily Swift are the Instagram-perfect couple: gorgeous, successful and in love. But then Charlie is named as the prime suspect in a gruesome murder and Emily’s world falls apart. Desperate for answers, she turns to Charlie’s troubled best friend, London Herald journalist, Sophie Kent. Sophie knows police have the wrong man – she trusts Charlie with her life. Then Charlie flees. Sophie puts her reputation on the line to clear his name. But as she’s drawn deeper into Charlie and Emily’s unravelling marriage, she realises that there is nothing perfect about the Swifts. As she begins to question Charlie’s innocence, something happens that blows the investigation – and their friendship – apart. Now Sophie isn’t just fighting for justice, she’s fighting for her life.

I started reading this book one evening and was unable to put it down until the I reached the final page.

The story is quirkily written with an inquisitive and passionate lead character, who isn’t happy unless her life is at stake and she’s got a good news story.

Sophie Kent is a driven young journalist, who’s determined to prove her colleague and friend’s innocence when he is suspected of murdering a solicitor, Sophie believes there’s a lot more going on, than people are letting on and particularly finds Charlie’s wife, Emily a person of interest. Emily and Charlie had a whirlwind romance, the perfect couple on social media, but when new revelations come to light, the couple are seen to be far from perfect.

Sophie is quite a complex and troubled character, she puts on a hard act pushing herself to limits, but all the while she is dealing with the death of little brother Tommy. She doesn’t believe that he committed suicide and fears something a lot more sinister is at place and finds herself embroiled in a cult, whilst trying to find Charlie as well as piece Tommy’s last dying moments together. But just as Sophie gets closer to discovering the truth, her life and those around her are put into danger.

The story is fast paced with each chapter ending on a hook, making it difficult to put down. The characters are interesting and well written and with the chapters flowing between past and present tense, it really sets the scene in this quite bleak thriller.

As well as the seeing the story through Sophie’s narrative, we also see the perspective from Emily’s eyes, as her perfect life unravels before her eyes. I thought it was quite clever to add another voice to the story, adding another layer to the thriller.

This book is the second in the Sophie Kent series and although I haven’t read the first book in the series, I thought this book gave plenty of background information, so I wasn’t lost in the plot.

Packed with great characters, particularly the ballsy lead with a great plot and strong dialogue, ‘The Perfect Victim’ is a twisty tale that I genuinely enjoyed.

You can buy The Perfect Victim from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Give Me The Child By Mel McGrath

Give Me The Child‘Give Me The Child’ is the latest book by Mel McGrath.

Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child, despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate. A devastating secret. But as the events behind Ruby’s arrival emerge – her mother’s death, her connection to Cat – Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk. Do we get the children we deserve? Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. But her instincts tell her different. And as the police fight to control a sudden spate of riots raging across the capital, Cat faces a race against time of her own.

I sat reading this book one day and was unable to put it down until I reached the final page. Cleverly written with quite an unreliable narrative, this book made for gripping reading.

The story is seen solely through the eyes of child psychologist Cat Lupo, who is woken in the dead of night by the police with a little girl called Ruby claiming to be her husband’s Tom’s daughter. Shocked and hurt at the deceit and the betrayal, Cat wants nothing to do with the strange girl, but as the little girl’s mother is dead, Cat and Tom become her guardians. Already parents to Freya, who is delighted to have a new sister, they reluctantly try to move on, but there is something about Ruby that Cat can’t quite put her finger on. Having worked with troubled children and her own battles with mental illness, she identifies something in the little girl, something she doesn’t like.

From the every start of this story, the reader is kept on their toes. Cat is a mysterious character, with a background of her own, that she likes to keep hidden. She sees similarities in Ruby from herself and she tries to get close to the child, but Ruby keeps pushing her away. Strange things happen and even Freya, a happy, boisterous child seems withdrawn since the new arrival. Cat’s relationship with Tom also becomes turbulent, he also seems unstable and shows little remorse for his actions, which really makes him an unlikeable character.

The story is riddled with strong personalities, all battling demons and disorders and for me, I found this particularly interesting. In her role as a child psychologist, Cat has to deal with many troubled children and it’s how she identities with them, that I found to be quite fascinating.

The story is filled with many twists and turns that does make for shocking reading, but what’s particularly gripping, is the sense of paranoia that is apparent from the very start. As strange things start to happen in Cat’s life, she and the reader begin to doubt her sanity and it’s these doubts that are both unsettling and addictive.

With a chilling plot and an atmospheric setting, ‘Give Me The Child’, is a fast paced psychological thriller, that made for compulsive reading with a shocking ending that you will never expect!

You can buy Give Me the Child from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.