Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Review Round-Up: A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight, Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson & The House Share by Kate Helm.

Every marriage has its secrets…

Lizzie Kitsakis is working late one night when she gets the call: her former college friend, the highly successful tech entrepreneur, Zach Grayson, has found himself in a situation he can’t pay his way out of. Currently incarcerated at Rikers on suspicion of murdering his wife, Amanda, Zach begs Lizzie to take the case. She’s the only one he trusts. Lizzie is initially reluctant to get involved. However, encouraged by her boss, she ultimately takes the case. The truth is, this high-profile, high-stakes case is a welcome distraction for Lizzie; an escape from an increasingly troubled home life with her alcoholic husband, Sam.

As Lizzie ventures to Park Slope to investigate Amanda’s charmed life and brutal murder, she meets with Amanda’s friends and also stumbles upon the dead woman’s journals. These journals detail in no uncertain terms that life as Zach Grayson’s wife was no walk in the park. Now that Lizzie thinks on it, there was always something ‘off’ about Zach, even back in college. Could it be that Zach is not so innocent, after all? And what of the scandalous partner-swapping party Zach and Amanda attended on the night Amanda died? Zach sure didn’t tell Lizzie about that! He’s a little loose with the truth, is Zach.

A smart legal thriller of secrets and lies, marriage woes and risqué soirées, A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight is a multi-layered mystery that will keep you hooked as it hurtles towards a surprising and ultimately satisfying conclusion.

Four Stars
Published May 5th 2020 by Harper
Received for review


You can’t outrun your past…

Amy Whey lives the kind of quiet suburban life that most people take for granted - but she never dared to dream of. Amy’s job as a diving instructor may make her seem thrilling and exciting among her group of friends, but in reality, all Amy wants is a quiet life with her family; her husband, stepdaughter, and adorable baby, Oliver. Like many protagonists in books of this type, Amy has a past she’d rather forget: a tragic event that upended her life and changed her world forever. But Amy has moved on with her life. She’s left her past behind. Or so she thinks.

When glamorous Angelica Roux shows up uninvited at Amy’s book club one night, Amy’s interest is piqued, though her friend Charlotte, organiser of said book club, is irked when Angelica hijacks the book discussion in favour of getting everybody rip-roaring drunk. Amy is sympathetic towards Charlotte’s plight, though she secretly thinks her friend is being a little uptight. After all, what’s the harm in a few drinks, a couple of party games, even?

Far from being a fun new friend, Amy is about to discover that Angelica is instead her very worst enemy, a living nightmare who knows all about Amy’s past, the terrible thing she did, and the lie she’s been living ever since. Angelica has come to town to ruin Amy’s life. However, Amy is not about to go down without a fight. She’s not about to give up on the life, and the love, she worked so hard to find.

A relentless game of cat and mouse, with multiple twists at every turn, Never Have I Ever is truly wild ride of a book. Guaranteed to keep you guessing!

3.5 Stars
Published September 3rd 2019 by Raven Books


If it looks too good to be true…

Following a break-up with her boyfriend, Immi Sutton has been crashing on the sofa at a friend’s place, where she’s just about outstayed her welcome. Immi needs a new place – and fast. London rentals don’t come cheap and school teacher Immi is just about out of options when she sees an advert for a room at co-living community ‘The Dye Factory.’ It sounds too good to be true: reasonable rent, free groceries, daily yoga, and even a live-in housekeeper. Immi knows there must be a catch, but she’s desperate for a place, so she goes ahead and applies for the room. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Following an interview consisting of a roof-top party and a whole lot of gin, Immi, along with fashion photographer, Dex, scores a room at The Dye Factory. Immi thinks she’s finally caught a break, until that is, her new roommates start dying…

While the concept of The House Share piqued my interest, I ultimately found the story a little monotonous when it could have been a lot of fun, with a difficult-to-like cast of characters. Take Dex: he shares the narration with Immi, but his voice is entirely one-note, and I don’t feel he added very much to the story. Immi’s character is better drawn, but she is self-serving, standoffish, and difficult to like.

All that said, if you want a mystery that keeps you guessing, then The House Share could be one for you. I never did guess the dark secrets The Dye Factory was hiding behind its glossy façade, but then I like a plot twist that’s a little more grounded in reality than this one is. However, if you’re looking for a far-fetched, slightly off-the-wall tale, with a cast of characters you’ll love to hate, then you could do worse than this!

Three Stars
Published May 14th 2020 by Zaffre
Received for review

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