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Final Girls By Riley Sager

Final Girls‘Final Girls’ is Riley Sager’s debut novel.

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

I first became aware of ‘Final Girls’ when I spotted it on social media, it was everywhere and with Stephen King singing the book’s praises, I was curious to see if the book was worthy of all its hype.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Quincy Carpenter. A happy go lucky baker in a settled relationship but with a very dark and troubled past. Many years ago, when she was at university, Quincy was the last survivor of a massacre when all her friends were killed. Quincy then became known as one of the Final Girls. Her and two other girls were the sole survivors in massacres, but then one of the girls apparently kills herself and the other one turns up at the Quincy’s house, forcing Quincy to face up to the life and the past that she had hidden very deeply.

The story is written in two tenses, past and present as both Quincy faces up to the ghosts that changed her life dramatically and the present time, where for the second time in her life, she has become the focus of the American press.

As she tries to move forward with her life, there are constant reminders particularly when Sam, the other Final Girl wants to know very single detail of that fateful night, so much so that Quincy begins to doubt her memories of the nights’ events.

Around her, Quincy has a strong network of support from her boyfriend Jeff and Cooper, the policeman who rescued her that night and has become one of her closest friends during the tough times.

I spent an afternoon reading this book and was unable to put it down. Quincy is a great character, for everything that she has been through, she’s remarkably strong and quick-witted, but as the story progresses and she delves deeper into her memories, things are different and this makes her doubt the pattern of events.

Fast paced and with the inclusion of the past events, which sets the scene and atmosphere of the story tremendously. ‘Final Girls’ is a dark and gruesome tale. A cleverly written psychological thriller which is riddled with suspense from the first page, this book is a must read.

You can buy Final Girls from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Behind Her Back By Jane Lythell

Behind Her Back‘Behind Her Back’ is the latest book by Jane Lythell.

Liz Lyon is a television producer and busy single mum to a teenage daughter. She works at StoryWorld, the UK’s favourite morning show. As both confidante and team leader, she is the person tasked with controlling the conflicts and tantrums that flare up off-air. Having just started dating again, she’s also having to deal with a few conflicts and tantrums at home. Following a blissfully peaceful two-week holiday in Italy, Liz has returned to find a new colleague has joined the station. Lori Kerwell has been brought in to increase the show’s profitability. But Liz is not sure that’s the only thing on Lori’s agenda. As Lori builds her power base with the bosses, Liz finds herself wondering what’s really going on behind her back.

When I was initially sent a copy of ‘Behind Her Back’ I was quite excited to get stuck into the dramatic thriller set within the buzzing and frenzied location of a busy television studio. Plus, I had watched the successful BBC drama ‘The Replacement’ and thought the book would be similar, but infact they weren’t.

In this book, we meet Liz Lyon, a single mother and television producer. When she returns from her holiday, she meets a new member of staff, a quiet, determined woman called Lori who has been brought on to increase the show’s income. But it seems that the two women can’t get on, regularly at each other’s throats, Liz can’t relax when Lori is about especially when her own job is in jeopardy.

I started reading this book one day and finished it in about three sittings. The story is seen solely through Liz’s narrative, so it is quite easy reading.

Liz doesn’t have an easy life, with her daughter going through the teenage equivalent of the terrible twos and plenty of drama on the daytime sofa, her life is far from plain sailing, but when Lori starts working at the show, Liz’s life gets even complicated.

Not only, does she have to deal with the unpredictability of a new colleague, Liz has to deal with the return of a popular television presenter who is returning from maternity leave, but she is returning with demands as she wants to maintain her role as queen of the sofa.

For a quiet life, Liz tolerates these demands but for others this is seen as favouritism and causes a lot of tension within the company.

For some part of the story, I felt sympathy for Lori instead of Liz. I felt that she wasn’t properly introduced to the team and for the majority of her time in the story, she was alone. Granted, she didn’t seem to be the nicest of a person, but infact neither did Liz. I think they were both quite similar in personalities and this is how they clashed.

I enjoyed this book, there were plenty of twists and drama in Liz’s life to keep the reader engaged. The only negative that I could find in the story, is that Jane had written a previous book with Liz in it and at times, there were references to things that happened before and I didn’t feel there was a proper description to these parts.

As Jane previously worked in television, she gives a clear impression of the stress and pressure of the industry in this fast paced drama. Filled with unlikable characters and secrets, ‘Behind Her Back’ shows the dark and competitive side of daytime television.

You can buy Behind Her Back from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Lean In By Sheryl Sandberg

Lean InAs a woman who currently feels that she’s failing at life, when a friend suggested that I read ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg, I thought. ‘Sure why not!’

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business – draws on her own experience of working in some of the world’s most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.

For those not in the know, Sheryl is the Chief operating officer of Facebook and the first woman to be on the board for the company, before she joined the social media giant, she had previously worked at Google as the vice president of global online sales and operations.

In her motivational and inspirational book ‘Lean in’ which derives from Sheryl’s TED talk, Sheryl speaks frankly and honestly about working in such a male dominated industry and how with the change of attitudes and behaviours, the industry could become more gender equal but that is only if women lean in.

With her wealth of experience of working for two of the worlds technological giants, Sheryl entertains the reader with not only her wisdom but also her wit, as she regales tales of casual everyday sexism, equal pay as well as candid tales of companies that had no idea how to deal with women in the workplace.

She reflects on stories of how her life changed when she became a mother and how people reacted to her news, instead of a time of excitement, people wondered how she would cope whereas her husband was congratulated!

Sheryl also talks of her interaction with Mark Zuckerberg, which I thought the film ‘The Social Network’ painted quite a bad picture of him whereas Sheryl’s engagement’s with him were insightful and interesting and far from the controlling character that the film portrayed.

For the most part, this book inspires women to speak up for themselves and show support for their fellow sisters. As the founder of ‘Lean In’ Sheryl encourages women not to sit on the sidelines of the meetings but to engage and lean in. To prove your value and worth to the company and not to settle and addresses ways to overcome obstacles to develop our careers.

Throughout the book, Sheryl has used many examples of incidents she has experienced in the workplace for being a woman and many of them, a lot of women could emphasise with.

A frank and motivational book from start to finish, ‘Lean In’ proves that with a lot of hard work, self belief and determination that we can all achieve our in end goals in life, but if we let our gender define us, then we’re not only letting ourselves down but also our sisters.

You can buy Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Her Last Breath By Tracy Buchanan

Her Last Breath‘Her Last Breath’ is the latest book by Tracy Buchanan.

When fifteen-year-old Poppy O’Farrell goes missing a media frenzy ensues. None of this has anything to do with lifestyle blogger Estelle Forster – so why would someone send her a picture of the missing girl and a note, claiming to know Estelle’s secrets? To find out, Estelle must return to her coastal hometown and the shameful past she thought was long behind her. A dangerous game is being played, and the answers lie in the impenetrable community Estelle once called her own.

Tracy is back with another gripping story, a story that spans over many years filled with old loves and suspicious characters.

In this book, we meet Estelle Forester, a successful blogger who has just hit the big time with the release of her new recipe book, as well as that, she’s settled down in a successful relationship with Seb, a handsome and successful sportsman.

For many years, Estelle, has ran from her past, a troubled childhood moving from foster homes before finally finding solace with Autumn and her husband Max and their two children, Aiden and Alice, who’s life tragically came to a sudden end.

Just as Estelle’s career about to take off, a teenage girl suddenly disappears and Estelle is thrown back to her past not only emotionally but also physically as she returns home after disappearing many years ago.

As Estelle finally faces up to her past and addresses many old ghosts that she never properly laid to rest. But as much as Estelle wants to hide her far from perfect childhood from her fans, someone is haunting her, reminding her off the mistakes that she committed and what she needs to take responsibility for.

The story is quite fast paced and is not only seen from the perspective of Estelle, but from the person who is threatening her. Their entries in the story are quite vague but gripping, engaging the reader completely along the way, as they try to figure out the identity of the person who is making Estelle face up to her past, as well as rediscover somethings along the way.

Estelle is a lovely character, she’s quite troubled and haunted from her past and her memories are quite distorted but with the help of her foster parents, the bubbly and vivacious Autumn and flamboyant Max, they are able to help put the pieces together.

A thrilling and suspenseful story from start to finish, ‘Her Last Breath’ is an addictive story with fascinating characters and a chilling ending that will leave the reader shocked.

You can buy Her Last Breath from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Perfect Prey By Helen Fields

Perfect Prey‘Perfect Prey’ is the latest book by Helen Fields.

In the middle of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker. The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf. D.I. Ava Turner and D.I. Luc Callanach have no leads and no motive – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim. It’s only when they realise the words are being written before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.

In the second book by in DI Callanach is back with a lot more gore and drama than the debut book.

Set against the gritty background of Edinburgh, DI Callanach and his colleague DI Turner are trying to find two killers, who are committing heinous and gruesome crimes, both battling for attention and constantly one step ahead of the police.

Seen from the perspective of Callanach, the same moody and charismatic French man who is struggling to settle in but has a strong team of support around him. Unfortunately the one person that he can really rely on is DI Turner, but she’s busy with her own case as well as a new relationship. As well as Callanach’s perspective, there are also narratives from the killers as well, which give the story a clever twist. As the story progressed and more characters and potential suspects are introduced, I found myself on my edge trying to guess the killer.

The story isn’t just about an old fashioned killing, there is also the inclusion of hacking scandals as well as chat forums, where the killer and his audience were able to chat freely. Helen also touches on the subject of the dark web, an area of the internet that is deeply hidden, but once it is discovered, it’s a dark and dangerous place to get out off.

The second book in the series is a dark and chilling story that was impossible to put down. Clever and fast paced, the story progressed with many twists and turns that really holds the readers attention. With the inclusion of a handsome detective, clever and twisted serial killers, as well as some of the most gruesome murders, ‘Perfect Prey’ is a cracker of a page turner crime book that is most definitely not for the faint hearted.

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