book review · British · psychological suspense · thriller

Book Recommendation: What She Saw

How far would you go to keep your daughter safe?

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter, Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, built a business to support them and found the perfect little cottage to call home. They hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears. It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.

But Leona never talks about why they moved to the Lake District.

She’s never told Beth anything about her father.

She says Beth should never speak to strangers. She says Beth doesn’t need friends.

She’s only trying to protect her daughter.

When Leona answers the phone one morning, her heart stops as she hears a voice from her past.

She’s given her daughter everything, but now she must tell her the truth. And once it’s out, can she keep her little girl safe?

What She Saw is a gripping psychological thriller with an incredible twist that will make your jaw drop. If you love The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl or Behind Closed Doors you’ll be consumed by this.

My Review

4.5/5 stars

Wow, this is one of those stories that takes a while to get under your skin, but when it does you won’t stop reading till it’s all over.

The story centres on Leona who lives with her daughter, Beth, and partner, Scott, in the beautiful Lake District. Theirs is a quiet life and, for some strange reason, Leona wants to keep it that way. She doesn’t like to travel too far from home and she is quite stifling when it comes to her daughter’s whereabouts too. But, hey, if that’s what floats her boat, then who am I to argue?

Well, it’s all going well, plodding along nicely when Leona sees a face from the past – Ria – in a reflection at the local shop. From that moment on, her neuroses are on high alert. But why? Who is Ria, and why is Leona so afraid of her?

The story is told in alternate viewpoints by Leona and Beth at first. Then when Leona seeks help for her panic attacks, Ria comes in to tell her story. And, here is where we have “lift off”. From this point on, the author tells us just enough to keep us wanting more.

Relationships between the characters are explored, but we soon come to learn that Leona has not been honest with Scott, and that Ria is more important to Leona’s story than we might first imagine. At two-thirds in, the connections between the characters are solidified, and the drama in that last third travels at full throttle towards an exciting and tense ending.

The author portrays with sensitivity hard-hitting topics like abusive relationships (mental & physical) as well as school bullying and the struggle of a mother-daughter disconnect during those teenage years. Combined, these issues bring a grittiness to the story, which adds to the tension and drama particularly when the truth emerges. Never being sure how a character might react always brings an extra layer of intensity to a story, and such uncertainty is in abundance here allowing for multiple twists and turns along the way.

If you enjoy fraught emotional tales, strong characterisation amid a stunning backdrop, then you can’t go far wrong with this.

Purchase link: Amazon UK

As always,

blog tour · book review · book trailer · friendship · relationships · romance · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Dinner in the Sky

The Dinner in the Sky

After a shocking confrontation with an unexpected encounter, Constance tries to piece her life back together and is on a mission to finally move on.

The thought of having her friends near is comforting as they take time out of their busy online lives and meet up at their favourite place, A Cupful of Dreams Café. Everyone seems happy enough until cracks begin to show and all is not as good as it seems. Constance tries desperately to keep positive as there’s so much to look forward to: shopping for posh frocks, dinner at The Shard and a movie premiere.

As things start to look rosy, a few odd tweets begin to pop up from nowhere. At first, they seem innocent, but as the weeks go by and premier night draws near, not only do the tweets increase but they become more obnoxious.

By the time Constance and her chums arrive on the red carpet, she’s determined to work out who the troll could be and to keep them from spoiling her evening. However as Constance soon learns, the troll wants to destroy far more than that!

Breathtaking views of London.

Posh frocks and Paparazzi

But there’s definitely trouble in the air …


Purchase Links

Amazon UK 

Amazon US 

Book Trailer

Spotify Playlist of the whole series


 

Author Bio

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and found of Books and Authors UK, a website that features author interviews, cover reveals, blog posts, features and reviews. She loves all things books, going to book events and meeting other book worms.

She has written her first series and is currently writing her first novel.

When Anne is not writing she is likely to be playing with her kids, going for walks in the park, watching Netflix or thinking up more stories.

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and held a number of IT jobs in the city.

Anne continues to write romantic comedies, women’s fiction, and has the desire to write a non-fiction book and a few children’s books.

Author Social Media Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anne_johnligali/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneJohnLigali

Author FB: https://www.facebook.com/annejohnligali/

http://www.annejohnligali.com

Anne’s Book Blog Links – Books and Authors UK

Books and Authors UK: www.booksandauthors.co.uk

Books and Authors UK Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksNAuthorsUK

Books and Authors UK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Books-and-Authors-UK-674729805905507/

 

My Review

3.5/5 stars

As the third, and longest, book in the series this is another good story with great characterisations. The relationships between the friends are all very believable. There is a strong family theme, with Constance living with her autistic son and having a very solid role model in her own mum. As a single mum, due to her son’s useless father, Constance does everything she can to make her son’s world a safe and happy place. Her love for her son comes through in bucket loads.

There are nice touches of humour throughout, and the conversations between the friendship group of authors and their other halves are so natural, you can imagine being in the group yourself.

The descriptions of characters and settings are really well done. My favourite line being “his face is dry with enough shaving bumps to grate a good piece of cheese” 🙂 If that doesn’t create an image in your mind, then you’re not trying hard enough.

While the descriptions are sublime, some scenes tend to drag with every piece of action being shown, which subsequently slows the whole story down. Another pass with a proofreader wouldn’t go amiss either as attention to detail (of which there is a lot) wavers on occasion (For instance, while the name-dropping on the red carpet with Idris Elba is hilarious, there’s also mention of the Breakfast TV hosts Pierce Morgan and Susannah York, which made me wonder whether the author had made up her own version of Piers Morgan & Susanna Reid.)

The author element of the story is interesting as a couple of them plan to publish their new books; the cover reveals are great fun, if a little unusual. Nonetheless, this is a gentle, easy story – reading all three books will give depth to the many characters – and I enjoyed reading about the eclectic mix of friends, who despite their obvious differences really do care for and support each other. A Cupful of Dreams Café sounds like a delightful place, and when the group meets up there those encounters are both funny and sad. Romance features for a few of the members, whose partners become as vital to the story as the authors themselves.

The message of hope, love and reaching for your dreams comes through loud and strong. And there’s a soundtrack too – what a great idea. Enjoy!

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As always,