You said what?

Anything you do say Book Cover Anything you do say
Gillian McAllister
medical, legal, psychological
Penguin
Jan 2018

'I could run, or I could stay and call him an ambulance. Now it is decision time . . . '

It's the end of the night. You're walking home on your own.

Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.

You're sure it's him - the man from the bar who wouldn't leave you alone.

You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.

Now What?

Call 999
Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.

OR:

Run
Stay silent. You didn't mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.

Kudos to the author for trying this style of writing.

I liked the alternative universes where different things happened according to her behaviour at the crucial moment. How long did she hesitate? Did she try to help or not? And what did say when asked? 

So truly two books in one which can be tricky to both write and read as you need to keep two plots in your head at the same time. 

And actually London doesn’t get smog any more - only heavy pollution on a still summer day unless it comes across the channel - or sometimes we Saharan sand... The last know smog was in 2016 in December and was caused by pollution, to get black feet - and I well remember getting them myself, in my hippy phase, when I walked London streets barefoot (!), you need coal or wood fires, which have been banned for a very long time. 

However, that very picky point aside, I liked this book. 



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The mythical day

Devil's Day Book Cover Devil's Day
Andrew Michael Hurley
gothic, horror
John Murray
October 19, 2017
304

The second novel from the Costa winning and bestselling author of The Loney In the wink of an eye, as quick as a flea, The Devil he jumped from me to thee. And only when the Devil had gone, Did I know that he and I'd been one . . . Every autumn, John Pentecost returns to the farm where he grew up to help gather the sheep down from the moors for the winter. Very little changes in the Endlands, but this year, his grandfather - the Gaffer - has died and John's new wife, Katherine, is accompanying him for the first time. Each year, the Gaffer would redraw the boundary lines of the village, with pen and paper, but also through the remembrance of tales and timeless communal rituals, which keep the sheep safe from the Devil. But as the farmers of the Endlands bury the Gaffer, and prepare to gather the sheep, they begin to wonder whether they've let the Devil in after all . . . ********** Praise for Andrew Michael Hurley's The Loney 'An amazing piece of fiction' Stephen King 'A masterful excursion into terror' Sunday Times 'Modern classics in this genre are rare, and instant ones even rarer; The Loney, however, looks as though it may be both' Sunday Telegraph 'Nuanced, deliberate and building insensibly from a murmur to a shriek. The Loney is an unforgettable addition to the ranks of the best British horror' Metro 'Guaranteed to give you the chills, whatever the weather . . . superb' Independent

I was not sure what to make of this book and the stories told within it.

Somehow the stories were about times too recent for such mythology.

And I was worried bout in-breeding in the village as it was such a cut-off community.

it seemed to me that the countryside described was more like Cornwall or deep Somerset than the Pennines, or even the Lake District – but maybe the Borders? Certainly the Norse raiders got there..

So whilst worrying about all these, perhaps irrelevant items, I lost the plot. Literally and failed to finish the book.

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Not so much a Break as a Hiatus

The Break Book Cover The Break
Marian Keyes
literary fiction, romantic comedy
Michael Joseph
September 7, 2017
576

The Break is the brand new funny, touching and truly fabulous novel from Marian Keyes . . . 'Myself and Hugh . . . We're taking a break.' 'A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?' If only. Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her. He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break up - yet . . . However, for Amy it's enough to send her - along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers - teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn't she? The Break isn't a story about falling in love but about staying in love. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best. 'A born storyteller' Independent on Sunday 'When it comes to writing page-turners that put a smile on your face and make you think, Keyes is in a class of her own' Daily Express

I loved this book and read it and read it and read it. So much happened and the writing style engaged me and encouraged me to just keep on reading.

I am not normally a fan of Irish family dramas, but this was different and a grand exception.

This is a very modern mixed-up family. the children from many marriages and even one not ‘belonging’ to them. All provided for in a rather ramshackle way by Clare and then with her husband helping out – but not her previous husband at all… or the parents of the ‘not theirs’ child.

I am not sure how i would have coped with all her responsibilities. flying to and fro London and Ireland. running a commission based business with 2 lovely partners but still effectively self-employed. and not earning that much after expenses – which are high in the PR world. still establishing a business name, still trying to manage her wayward clients, still trying to help her girls through school and exams and business start-ups. and then there is her father with Alzheimer’s and her mother wanting help.

I am surprised she doesn’t have a complete break-down. but maybe she does? Maybe her behaviour is a breakdown of sorts – and who can blame her?

 

 

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What is her real identity?

Genuine Fraud Book Cover Genuine Fraud
E. Lockhart
YA, Suspense
Hot Key Press
2017-09
320

From the author of the unforgettable bestseller WE WERE LIARS comes a suspenseful new psychological thriller - the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. 

But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

All we can be sure of, as we read this story, as it weaves through the times and places, is that the central character acquires and uses different identities in the way that you and I change our underwear.

She says she is young, but when did her wanderings really start? At what age?

The stories that she tells appear incompatible and they change – she admits – according to her audience.

So who is the true person? And what is her true story you are left guessing until the final chapter.

An interesting way of telling this story that initially seems confusing but once you get into your stride is quite revealing.

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When it’s really really cold!

Her Frozen Heart Book Cover Her Frozen Heart
Lulu Taylor
psychological, womens' literature
Pan
(30 Nov. 2017)

Caitlyn, there’s something I have to tell you. About Sara.

Caitlyn thinks her marriage to Patrick is a success. For one thing, he is one of the few people not to fall head over heels for her beautiful friend, Sara. Life is lived on his terms, but they are happy.

Aren’t they?

When a devastating accident turns her existence upside down, Caitlyn is forced to reassess everything she thought about her marriage, what she truly knows about Patrick, and his real feelings for her best friend. In the refuge of an old manor house, she begins to discover the truth.

In 1947, the worst winter in decades hits England, cutting off entirely the inhabitants of Kings Harcourt Manor. For Tommy Carter, widowed at the start of war, it is particularly hard: the burden of the family falls on her. She has the solace of her children, and the interesting presence of her brother’s friend, Fred. But there is also Barbara, a mysterious figure from her past who appears to want a piece of Tommy’s future as well.

Loved the way the story moved between the two women in different times, but who were, in the end, linked by the same house.

I had – sort of – known that the winter in the UK in 1947 was bad, but not quite as bad as was shown in this novel.

It must have been dreadful to experience when the UK had not yet recovered from WW2 and there were still shortages of basic foods and heating materials  – the coal had frozen in the mines and the drifts were too high for the miners to get to work or coal to be transported.

An anti-cyclone sat over Scandinavia and there were 6 weeks of snow falling – 55 days in total. The temperature dropped to -21C in Bedfordshire and this was before people had thermal underwear and outdoor clothing that was suitable for this type of weather.

Newspapers were cut to 4 pages.

There were no electric fires (the main alternative to coal in most houses) between 9-12am and 2-4pm.

And no afternoon Greyhound Racing!

Over 20,000 acres of corn was destroyed by the cold.

That said, I personally experienced the winter of 1963 as a schoolgirl in the days before 1. Tights, and 2. Trousers were permitted to be worn.

I walked to school.

3.5 miles each way.

I thought my knees would never stop chapping and warm up!

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