I was surprised to find that Obsession was Amanda Robson’s debut novel, as it had all the feel of an experienced story-teller. When Carly asks her GP doctor Rob what other woman he likes she is surprised by his answer… their good friend Jenny. Met on an NCP course, they attended together and becoming firm friends because of their similar career paths (both Jenny & Carly are nurses) and families who have strong religion. Carly just can’t get the thought of Jenny & her husband together out of her head.
Slowly it becomes clear that Carly has an unhealthy and possibly irrational jealousy of Jenny and so plots her revenge for what she sees as Jenny taking her husband by setting her sights on Jenny’s. The twists that unfold lead the reader into a very dark world of obsession and mental illness, but the lines for me were blurred and just who had the obsession in this story.
While the obvious obsession stems from Carly as the plot progresses we are drawn into looking at Jenny and Rob also and at times it’s not clear what is true and what is part of the “obsession” of whichever character we are viewing from.
Each character has their own voice in this story so we really get to be in their head and see the story through them, which at times was disturbing, but this was a book which held me till the last page and I’ll definitely being going back for me of Amanda Robson’s work if it’s all as good as this debut
1st January 2017
One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?
It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.
Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky.
But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?
Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?
Obsession is a dark, twisting thriller about how quickly our lives can fall apart when we act on our desires.
The good thing about long summer evenings is that they give me the perfect chance to sort through my “To read pile” and find those hidden gems that have been languishing away waiting for the right moment to come to light. The Trouble With Henry and Zoe has been on my pile for some time now and I was glad to finally get a chance to let this story invade my imagination.
Henry is a dentist, but also a hairdresser – a bit of a strange career twist, but Henry is a complex character. On the one hand he is the guy that loves old movies, Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally and on the other he is the guy that jilt his long term girlfriend at the aisle by running away the night before they are due to marry.
Zoe is on the other hand settled, living with her long term partner, but then tragedy strikes leading to her having to make some new choices, it’s during this time of crisis I suppose for both characters that they meet. Though very different characters and lives they find a common ground, although the timing of their meeting may not be great as a reader you eagerly anticipate the twists and turns of their story and whether they can be bought together.
Andy Jones is probably my favourite male author of the rom-com for want of a better category for the book – he has perfected the voice of male and female character and the ability to bring their stories to live on paper. His characters surrounds you like a real family and you are truly among them in the story, egging them on, laughing (& crying) with them.
Another 5 stars from me!
The Trouble With Henry & Zoe
Simon & Schuster UK
28 July 2016
Henry and Zoe have more in common than they realise. For a start, they both have pasts they'd rather leave behind.
After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding, Henry makes a break for London. He has no friends, no job, no home, no plan.
Zoe has great friends, two jobs, a new house, and a big scary plan. After a traumatic, life-changing event, she plans to leave London and spend a year travelling. Alone.
If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, things might have worked out differently. But that s not the way life works. They meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane...
Having read an earlier book by Andy Jones I’ve had Girl 99 on my kindle a while waiting for the ideal space in my to read pile to jump in.
Girl 99 features Tom who has just broken up with his girlfriend having kissed a colleague and then admitting the indiscretion to his girlfriend by email (perhaps not the best way about things). Following the breakup in a moment of reminiscing Tom works out that he has slept with 85 women – admitting this to his best friend El a bet ensues. El agrees to give Tom £1000 if he can sleep with 100 women by a certain date. So Tom indeed sets out to accomplish the challenge.
The book is not explicit and actually features a lot on Tom’s work particularly in the creation of a skittles advert and his relationship with his dad and sister. However the challenge does lead to the introduction of some other great characters – I especially liked the bunny boiler Estate Agent! The challenge of course as the title suggest hits a stumbling block at girl 99 who Tom actually realises he really likes.
A great fun story that gives an insight into how men think and feel and showed Tom looking at how he was behaving and opening up to girl 99 in the end.
Definitely a hit with me
Lake Union Publishing
14th Februry 2017
When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.
Tom’s first mistake is sharing this information with his best friend El. His next mistake is listening when El suggests that he bring his eighty-five up to a nice, neat one hundred.
It was never going to be a good idea, not least because everything else in Tom’s life is in complete chaos. His best friend is dying of a slow and cruel disease, his teenage sister is at war with his well-meaning but dogmatic father, his elderly neighbour is having romantic problems (and makes a dreadful cup of tea), and he has to shoot four commercials with four children and a bad-tempered producer.
And then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.
I was absolutely thrilled to be able to get a copy of Paige Toon’s latest book when we attended the most recent Books In the City Spring Blogger Event. As many of our old followers will now we love Paige at Compelling Reads and always eagerly anticipate any new release.
Five Years From Now was inspired by something Paige’s own father said to her once, i.e. that in Five Years’ time you’ll look back at a situation and understand why it happened the way it did. In this book we are introduced to Nell and Van who are just young children when Nell’s father falls in love with Van’s mother. Sadly as young children a tragic event separates them but through the book we see them both grow up and reconnect every five years.
In their second meeting as they grow into teenagers we see the relationship between the two develop from friendship into something more, but as is the way with teenage love it’s strong and all-consuming and over just as quickly due to other circumstances. Throughout the book their relationship grows, is tested, pulled apart, pulled back together and there are many twists and turns and complications of life that both Nell & Van have to overcome.
I really enjoyed how the passage of time was treated in the story and moved the plot on, and it helped in showing the different relationships style and responsibilities had at different ages. I sided more with Nell, I guess because she was the more present of the couple (with Van being the other side of the world), but really rooted for the couple.
There were highs and lows for each character and I was easily drawn in to the drama – I liked the way this wasn’t a simple love story – and grew into more of an adult relationship theme! Paige Toon really does it right every time – it’s a thumbs up 5 stars from me
Five Years From Now
Simon & Schuster UK
17 May 2018
What happens if you meet the RIGHT person at the WRONG time?
Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.
Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate.
For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?
‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’
This book had been sitting on my shelf looking at me to sometime waiting to be read and finally back from maternity leave I’m making my way through that ever-growing “To Be Read” pile on my journey into work.
The Good Daughter is written by Alexander Burt author of Little Girl Lost. In this novel we met Dahlia Waller and her mother Memphis, Dahlia it transpires hasn’t had a normal childhood, she’s moved from trailer park to motel with her mother, often leaving in the middle of the night with just what they can fit in the car. Until they settle in the little town of Aurora Texas she has never been to school.
As an adult she quickly moves away but she is still living in the shadow of her childhood, only able to take low paid jobs no questions asked because she is missing the elusive “paperwork”.
When she returns to the town to question her mother she unexpectedly ends up discovering a body and this is a good foreshadowing of the rest of the novel as Dahlia makes more discoveries uncovering the secrets of her past, and learning how she was possibly the biggest crime her mum committed.
I struggled with the book to start with, but this is a slow burn and I’m glad I stayed invested as once I’d got further into the book I was gripped to the last page. There was one concept (that of Dahlia’s fits) that I’m not sure was needed in the book, it didn’t appear to move the book along, but it kind of worked as a plot device initially in triggering memory – but maybe this could have been used more.
I did enjoy how Alexander Burt manages to conjure up an oppressive feeling in the way she writes that perfectly matches the characters surroundings and feelings. I was pulled into Dahlia’s story and determined with her to get to the end and all the answers.
The Good Daughter
23rd February 2017
What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?
Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.
In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…
The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.