What I Read: August 2021

Lesley Kara: The Dare

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find traumatic memories and paranoia suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

The chapters flip between past and present, before the accident and after, so we learn a lot about Lizzie and Alice’s friendship and childhood. In my opinion, some of the scenarios throughout were a little bit far fetched but nonetheless it was an okay read but it didn’t wow me. It was slow to start with but the pace picked up later. Everything intertwined together nicely, the plot was intriguing but I wasn’t totally shocked or surprised by any of the twists. If you’re looking for a quick, nice and easy psychological thriller then this would be it.


adele Parks: both of you

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmum to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband Mark says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She simply went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered. Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman, Daan, vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamorous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught. DC Clements knows that people disappear all the time – far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run towards, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds, their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the DC believes they are.How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.

An intriguing concept that ultimately left me disappointed.  The storyline was unique and mentioning Covid and an imminent lockdown in March 2020 added to the tension but I found the first part of the story rather slow with a monologue that wasn’t needed in my opinion. However, it picked up from the halfway point which kept my interest until the book finished. I thought that with two women going missing under suspicious circumstances in the same week the police involvement was minimal which didn’t sit right with me at all. There weren’t many characters, the antagonist was quite obvious and there was no real surprise. And the ending…I really didn’t like the ending, it felt rushed and unfinished. What could have been a fast-paced thriller with plenty of excitement and anticipation just didn’t quite reach its full potential.


Shari Lapena: Not a happy family

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets–especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Mercer. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mercers are brutally murdered the night after an Easter Dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated. Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you’d know.

This book reminded me a little bit of the movie Knives Out. Classic Whodunit! I literally sped read through this book. It’s phenomenal. Such a page turner! Every single one of the characters is awful and unlikable….but it works so well in this book. Lapena’s characters are fascinating and very flawed and by using multiple POVs, she gives her readers a view into the lives of the Mercer clan, exposing their emotional damage, secrets, greed, and plausible motives for being the murderer. I changed my mind about the killer so many times through the book because every single one of them had the reason and capability to kill to kill Fred and Sheila.

While this is a tense suspenseful read, it is also a character study in dysfunction, sibling rivalry, deceit, and conflict within families. The suspense continues right up until the very end when the murderer is revealed with a quiet but still impactful resolution. This is one of my favourite Lapena books to date. Well-crafted, highly suspenseful, and unputdownable, this is a must-read this summer for fans of the whodunnit!


Laura jane Williams: The Lucky escape

When the day finally comes for Annie to marry Alexander, the last thing she expects is to be left standing at the altar. She was so sure he was Mr Right. Now, she has no idea how she could have got it so wrong. After a chance meeting with Patrick, an old friend who reminds her of who she used to be, Annie takes a vow of her own: she’ll say yes to every opportunity that comes her way from now on. Would a spontaneous trip with Patrick be the way to mend Annie’s heart? She’s about to find out as she embarks on her honeymoon – with a man who’s not her husband… 

After reading the blurb thought I would have a sweet, entertaining romcom experience! But… I got a little disappointed! It wasn’t a bad read, it had so many positives including side characters, honeymoon premise, the chemistry between heroine and her old friend/ new potential love interest…but there were so many things that I didn’t like as well. Like Annie’s character. I found her a little disturbing and indecisive. The book started really slowly and it was hard to get into it. I was hoping to read the honeymoon part of the story a little sooner. But it took so many chapters to reach that juicy part and it ended shortly. I wanted it to last so much longer. Also I think the story would have become more interesting by switching to Patrick’s perspective as he was such a sweet character. I may be judging this too harshly, but I’ve just read so many fantastic reads lately that my expectations are high. A good romance, but ultimately it didn’t stand out. 


colleen Hoover: verity

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died. Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognises all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

This book was disturbing in a way that is hard to put in words. Verity is pitched as a thriller and a romantic suspense book but I would say: Verity is a mind-fuck! It’s disturbing, twisted, creepy, brutal. Verity is not an easy read but it was brilliant. Amazingly well written and unputdownable, Colleen will leave you questioning everything. I don’t want to say much more, it is best to go in blind and reading this book, it has so many twists and turns it will have you thinking about this book for days after with lots of questions. This is the first book I have read from Colleen Hoover, I understand she is normally a romance writer, and this book is a psychological thriller, there is some romance but its sick and twisted… Just thought I would mention it if you don’t like romance books….. its ok, this book is not warm and fluffy.


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