Monday 13 August 2018

Book Reviews: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough & Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney.

The new novel from the author of 2017’s bizarre (and brilliant!) Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough's Cross Her Heart details the secrets-and-lies filled existence of single mother Lisa, and her sixteen-year-old, increasingly independent daughter, Ava. 

It’s true that all sixteen-year-olds crave independence to some extent - it’s all part of the natural process of growing up – and most parents are happy to, if not cut completely, then at least loosen those tightly-knotted apron strings to some extent. Most parents. Not Lisa, though. Because Lisa is not most parents. Lisa has secrets - secrets she’s kept hidden for years, secrets that cause her to imagine the very worst of worst-case-scenarios whenever Ava is even five minutes late getting home after a night out with friends. For Ava, Lisa’s constant worry is too much, and so she starts keeping secrets from her mother. After all, what Lisa doesn’t know about Ava’s secret life can’t hurt her, right? 

 Lisa bears the brunt of the callous nature of youth as Ava becomes increasingly withdrawn, but at least Lisa has a friend to confide in, her only friend, in fact, a co-worker called Marilyn who, despite living a seemingly enviable life, is hiding some deep, dark secrets of her own. Of course, Marilyn is entitled to her secrets. We all have secrets. It’s just that some people, like Lisa, have secrets so big they are truly life-defining. 

 The truth about Lisa is that her whole life is a lie. Now, all the lies she’s told, all the secrets she’s kept hidden from everybody but herself, are about to come back to haunt her – and her daughter. 

 Slower in pace and less twist-filled than Behind Her Eyes, I have to say that while Cross Her Heart kept me entertained, I was a little disappointed in this one overall. Don’t get me wrong – Cross Her Heart is a good read, it’s just not a great read, and while I hate to keep comparing, I guess a great read is what I was anticipating since I loved Behind Her Eyes so much! Also, I had a major quibble with the big ‘reveal’ in this book finding it entirely implausible – and coming from someone who totally loved the truly 'out there' ending of Behind Her Eyes, that’s really saying something!

3.5 Stars -- Good read. I enjoyed it pretty much. Worth checking out. 
Published May 17th 2018 by HarperCollins. 
Received for review.


Meet Amber Reynolds. High-flying career girl. Loving wife to a successful author. Pathological liar.

To the outsider looking in, it may seem as though Amber has it all, but the truth is, Amber hates her life. Sure, she has the career - Amber is a presenter on popular a popular morning radio show - but Amber has major issues at work and is in danger of losing her job. As for Paul, her husband, it looks as though he’s something of a one-hit-wonder who has been struggling to write that ‘difficult-second-novel' for so long that it has put a serious strain on their marriage. Then, there’s Claire, Amber’s perfect younger sister, who has it all, including an adoring husband and a perfect set of toddler twins. Yet another thing that Amber doesn’t have. But that’s not even Amber’s biggest problem right now. No, Amber’s biggest problem right now is that she’s in a coma and while she can hear what is going on in the world around her, Amber can’t move, can’t speak, can’t seem to wake up no matter how hard she tries. She also can’t remember how she ended up in a coma. But she knows it wasn’t an accident, like people are saying. And she’s pretty sure her husband had something to do with it. 

 Split between three different timelines (Now - Amber in a coma, Then - The week leading up to Amber’s accident and Before - Amber’s childhood) Sometimes I Lie is an impressive conundrum of a thriller that demands the reader’s full and undivided attention. Sometimes I Lie contains multiple twists, so many, in fact, that it all sometimes feels like a twist too far. Then again, is there such a thing as a thriller that’s just too twisty? Maybe not – but if such a book exists – then it’s this. Sometimes I Lie didn’t just keep me guessing right till the end – it kept niggling at me long after I’d turned that final page! 

 Read this one if you want a thriller that will leave you with all of the questions – but maybe not all of the answers! 

 Up next from Alice Feeney: I Know Who You Are releases May 2019.

3.5 Stars -- Good read. I enjoyed it pretty much. Worth checking out. 
Published March 13th 2018 by Flatiron Books. 


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