Friday 12 October 2012

Book Reviews: Possessed & The Doll's House by Niki Valentine.

Product details:
Publisher: Sphere
eBook, 352 pages.
Release date:  July 25th  2012.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: Adult.
Source: Purchased.

Who do you trust when you can no longer trust your own mind?

Emma's life has always been a struggle, and now she's been accepted at a prestigious music school, she is determined to excel. But when the impossibly chic twins, confident Sophie and quieter Matilde, come crashing into her life - surrounding her with champagne and parties - they demand Emma's full attention.

Then shy Matilde commits suicide and shockingly, her identical twin Sophie flourishes. Now odd things are happening to Emma: blackouts, waking up in strange places, bizarre dreams. Something, or someone, is consuming Emma's mind. Terrified, Emma begins to doubt everything and everyone around her, especially the beautiful Sophie...

A slow-burning, atmospheric psychological thriller, Possessed by Niki Valentine asks the spine-chilling question: ‘Who do you trust when you can no longer trust your own mind?’

All of Emma’s dreams come true when she lands a scholarship at a prestigious music academy.  Music is Emma’s life, her first love. It’s all she’s ever wanted, and so she’s determined to excel. Emma knows she’ll have to work hard at the academy and she knows that she can’t afford any distractions.  At the same time, though, it’s hard to resist the lure of the college experience, especially when that comes in the form of a whirlwind social life fuelled by champagne parties.  Soon after Emma arrives at the academy she meets twins, Sophie who is forthright and outgoing, and the quieter Matilde, with whom Emma becomes fast friends.  Even though Emma doesn’t totally warm to Sophie, the twins are a pair, and so wherever Emma and Matilde go, Sophie goes too.  Right from the start, we know that something is amiss, but in a book that is deliberately ambiguous, it is difficult to put a finger on just what is unsettling us.

Possessed takes a sudden dark turn when Matilde commits suicide.  Her suicide doesn’t make sense to us, or to Emma, and just like her we are unsettled by this strange turn of events. Until now, despite the alarm bells ringing in our head, we have been charmed by the beautiful and sophisticated twins.  So when everything begins to unravel before us we are caught off guard, and so is Emma.
When Emma begins experiencing strange dreams and visions in the aftermath of Matilde’s death, she doesn’t know who to turn to.  Who can she trust when she’s having thoughts that are not her own?  Soon it seems she can’t trust her own mind anymore, and neither can she trust Sophie who has started acting increasingly strange and sinister. But when the blackouts begin and Emma starts losing hours at a time, she knows she has to solve the mystery of what is happening to her before its too late.

Billed as perfect for fans of Black Swan, Possessed is not a book for the impatient reader. Much of the book deals with Emma’s day to day academic life, while those who want answers maybe be a little unsatisfied with the conclusion of this one.  Nonetheless, I found Possessed a worthwhile read with an interesting plotline that grew increasingly menacing as the story progressed.

Product details:
Publisher: Hatchette Digital
eBook, 22 pages.
Release date: September 13th 2012.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: Adult.
Source: Purchased.

An exclusive and chilling digital short story - a prequel to Niki Valentine's brand new psychological thriller, Possessed.

Helena is an au pair in Paris, discovering the city and looking after two privileged and beautiful little girls: Sophie and Matilde.

But the longer Helena works for the family, the more the attraction between herself and the twins' father grows. Determined to keep her job, Helena fights her feelings, but the girls seem to know and become increasingly manipulative. Anxious and on edge, Helena is disturbed by the twins' doll's house, an exact replica of their family home - and everyone inside it. When the Dolls are put in strange places and odd things start to happen in the house, seemingly beyond anyone's control, Helena is petrified. And the twins watch and wait...

A terrifying and bewitching thriller that will haunt you well past the last page.

 Helena is about to find out that her wonderful new life is not all that it seems when she spends some time working as an au pair in Paris to two beautiful little girls, Sophie and Matilde Benoit.

As soon as she begins her new job, Helena senses that something is not quite right, but she puts this down to being in a new place and out of her comfort zone.  It also doesn’t help that Helena finds herself attracted to the suave and sophisticated Monsieur Benoit, although she would never but her job in jeopardy or wreck a marriage by acting on her impulses.   Instead, Helena concentrates on looking after the girls, but one day, while in the nursery, she finds herself drawn to a doll’s house. This isn’t just any doll’s house; it’s an exact replica of the family home and everyone in it, including Helena.   Soon it seems that everything that happens in the doll’s house is happening in real life too.  Is Helena just imagining it, or is there something far more sinister at play?

This prequel to Possessed is creepy and atmospheric with a shocking twist that really packs a punch.  The Doll’s House may be short, but it is certainly never sweet!

Possessed by Niki Valentine is released in paperback on October 25th 2012.  Possessed and The Doll's House are both currently available in eBook format. 


  1. I've never heard of these two books, but they sound like they would be perfect for this spooky time of year.  Black Swan completely blew my mind as do most psychological thrillers, so I'm sure Possessed would too.  If I am looking to scare myself this autumn, I will definitely check these two books out. Great review, Leanna!

  2.  Definitely good Halloween reads although I thought Possessed would be more unsettling. I'd have liked some really good scares! :)

  3. "Much of the book deals with Emma’s day to day academic life,
    while those who want answers maybe be a little unsatisfied with the conclusion
    of this one."

    Hm. I tend to be one of those readers that likes answers. Lots of them:) And I can often be an impatient reader, so I'm not sure Possessed is for me even though I love the sound of it. I like stories that have an unreliable narrator:) Thanks for the reviews Leanna!

  4. I'm a bit of an impatient reader, so I don't know if Possessed would be for me, though it does sound interesting (and quite dark and creepy). I do like the cover though!

  5.  I like answers too, but this book is definitely one where you have to draw your own conclusions! Still there's some interesting food for thought...!

  6.  Yeah, I really like the cover. It popped out at me when I was browsing Amazon one day and I had to go by it! You should check out The Doll's House for a taster. It cost me like 99p.

  7. ooh i think the book would drive me nuts with it sounding ambiguous but it really does sound creepy! i like books that seem psychological in nature like that. 


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