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Simon Says Die By Erika Strauss

Simon Says Die‘Simon Says Die’ is the latest book by Erika Strauss.

For the last 10 years, Angela Thompson has been living a nightmare. While motherhood was never her goal, she has tried everything to connect with her son, Max. It was supposed to be two of them against the world until Max’s behavior grew increasingly disturbing. The missing items, lost pets, and strange drawings she could handle, but now, the murder of little Tommy Marshall has the entire town of Oregon, Ohio on edge. Beaten with a large rock and left to die in the woods, the police search frantically for a sadistic child killer. Unfortunately, all of the evidence points to Angela as she begins to doubt everything and everyone around her. She swears that she would never hurt a child, but have her troubled son and loneliness pushed her too far? Her gut tells her that Max is involved, but authorities find it hard to believe that a 10-year-old boy could pull off the perfect murder and put his mother on death row. In fact, nobody believes her! But they don’t know Max like she does. They don’t know how sick and depraved her angelic little boy can be. Unfortunately, everyone is about to find out the hard way.

To be honest, I’m glad this book was only 200 pages long because the unsettling creepiness of Max was a lot to take in.

The story is seen through the narrative of mother and son, Angela and Max. Max is strange boy who thrives on causing pain to others particularly others and when a little boy is found dead, Angela knows her son did it and planted her DNA at the scene. Even though she denies any involvement, no one believes her and she finds herself on death row.

There’s something really unsettling about creepy children and the author has created such a creepy child that I raced through the book just to finish it!

It’s sad in parts as Angela tries to warm to her only son but is unable to love him due to his behaviour, she feels like a failure. Max is a strange boy, he lacks empathy and thrives on causing pain to others and his lack of remorse is shocking at times. The dual narrative also gives an interesting insight into the story.

Dark, twisted and disturbing, ‘Simon Says Die’ is a fascinating insight into a far from normal mother/son relationship that made for incredibly uncomfortable reading.

You can buy ‘Simon Says Die’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

My Perfect Friend By Sarah Clarke

My Perfect Friend‘My Perfect Friend’ is the latest book by Sarah Clarke.

Beth has the perfect life. She has constructed it carefully over the last eighteen years. But one night she makes a choice that risks everything. When Kat sees an article about that night online, buried memories begin to surface. She and Beth were friends once. Things ended badly then, but now she has a chance to make things right. Kat introduces herself to Beth. Not as her old friend, but as a stranger. Beth has no idea Kat isn’t who she says she is. But then neither is Beth.

If you like twisty thrillers, then ‘My Perfect Friend’ is a must read. It’s packed with suspense, intrigue and dislikable characters.

After trying to save a man from death, Beth becomes a neighbourhood hero and finds herself in the spotlight and the subject of a disgruntled homeless man who’s convinced that he killed her friend. Beth’s life is in turmoil until a dog Walker called Kat comes into her life and helps her with the chaos, but unknown to her, Kat is from her past and knows all about Beth before she became the perfect mother and figure.

This story is one of best thrillers I’ve read in a while. With a combination of flawed characters and a twisty plot that made for compulsive reading. The various narratives from Beth, Kat and Mark, the homeless man who hates Beth all pull the reader in with their different narratives and perspectives so the reader is unsure of who to believe. There is also the inclusion of past moments which really help set the scene of the story and really the story and characters a lot more depth. Beth is a complex character that I initially felt sympathetic towards but as the story progressed, we see a side to her that is cold and calculated as she does all she can to maintain her perfect life facade.

Gripping from the first page, ‘The Perfect Friend’ is a cleverly weaved story, filled with engaging and tense moments that made the book impossible to put down.

You can buy ‘My Perfect Friend’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Shake It Up Beverley By Suzan Holder

Shake It Up Beverley‘Shake It Up Beverley’ is the latest book by Suzan Holder.

Beverley Wilson has always loved the Beatles but kissing a poster goodnight isn’t really an option when you’re a fifty-something mum of three. So when she decides it’s time to get back into the dating game, she turns to a dating agency for help. But the long and winding road to real love is littered with dating disasters – the pantyhose pervert being the real low point and in Bev’s opinon it’s all too much. But meeting fellow Beatles fan Scott Smith changes everything…

If you love aspirational and upbeat stories about love and new beginnings, then love me do, this book’s for you!

Beverly is a Beatles fanatic living in Paul McCartney’s childhood home, she collects memorabilia and has whole shrines dedicated to the quartet. After years of being alone, she decides to find love and after some hilarious and disastrous first dates, she meets Scott who also shares her love of music and the Beatles. Thinking that she’s found the one, she’s heartbroken when she finds out that he’s far from perfect and become a viral sensation when her broken heart is exposed.

I loved this story, it’s fun, warm and packed with nostalgia for times gone by. Beverley is a lovely character, she’s kind, wears her heart on her sleeve and can easily be fooled by people. It’s lovely when she meets Scott but it is quite sad to read that he’s a scoundrel that breaks her heart. In the short time that the book takes place, a lot happens to the Liverpudlian lass not just her heartbreak but also her own family.

I also loved the facts about the Beatles that the book is filled with, it was absolutely fascinating in parts. Other characters in the story also made for interesting reading, Julia, Beverley’s vibrant friend and Leon the handsome police man who’s always around to rescue Beverley.

Fun from the beginning and packed with charm, ‘Shake It Up Beverley’ is a wittily written coming of age story about finding love and starting over.

You can buy ‘Shake It Up Beverley’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Vicious Circle By Katherine St John

The Vicious Circle‘The Vicious Circle’ is the latest book by Katherine St. John.

On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home to an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when, mysteriously, Paul suddenly dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left to his estranged niece Sveta. Shocked and confused, Sveta travels to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, transcendent vibe, and mesmerizing de-facto leader Kali. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on false promises of an impossible utopia and a disturbing, dangerous belief system—and leader—guiding them. As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only hope for survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.

nitially when I started this book, I found it a bit slow to get into but as I delved further into it, I became quite engrossed in it.

The story is seen through the narrative of Sveta, a model who is looking forward to get married to Chase but his family are interfering which is pushing the couple are apart. She’s never felt good enough for them and always felt she was looking in. So when she finds out that her favourite uncle has died and left her his whole estate which is worth millions. Chase’s family begin to change their opinion of Sveta. But first off Sveta must go to the Mexican jungle to her uncle’s estate for his funeral and get all his affairs in order with Lucas, her first love.

This story is a fascinating one, set in the claustrophobic but equally exhilarating Mexican jungle , the author writes vivid description of the centre, the bizarre characters who are seemingly friendly and welcoming but become stranger as the story flows along. I really liked Sveta, a successful and beautiful woman who just wants to be loved, with only her mother for family, she just wants to feel part of something.

Suspenseful and packed, ‘The Vicious Circle’ is an intense thriller about just how looks can be deceptive!

You can buy ‘The Vicious Circle’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde

The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde‘The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde’ is the complete collection, first published in 1952 with exquisite illustrations by the celebrated artist Philippe Jullian, republished in a beautiful giftable edition.

For nearly 150 years, the classic fairy stories of Oscar Wilde have been cherished by readers of all ages. Rediscover all nine of the stories first published in The Happy Prince and other stories (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891) in this beautiful new edition of Duckworth’s exquisite 1952 complete collection, featuring intricate illustrations by the celebrated twentieth-century artist and aesthete Phillippe Jullian, and an afterword by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to read some of Oscar Wilde’s work so when the opportunity came to review a collection of illustrated stories, I jumped at the chance!

There’s ten stories, all mythical and wonderful in their own ways, with speaking animals, statues that want to help others and a prince determined to find the perfect red rose no matter the cost.

Throughout the book there are beautiful illustrations that really add to the magic of the stories.

Stunningly presented with stories that make for perfect bedtime reading for all ages, ‘The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde’ will make for the ideal stocking filler this Christmas.

You can buy ‘The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.