The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Synopsis

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.
 
Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.
 
Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.
 
You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

Review

I’ve been in quite the thriller mood recently and thought I would check this one out, as someone I met recently was in the middle of reading this and was enjoying it, so I though why not? I don’t regret it for a second.
 
The book wasn’t slow paced, intact I was surprised to learn it was only 352 pages once I had finished and looked. The writing style was different. Not in a bad way, how could it be bad if I had finished it in less than 24 hours, but there was something distinctive about it that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was a bit cooler, while the emotion was there and felt (particularly Anne’s) the writing seemed more matter of fact. As I said this wasn’t a bad thing, and it certainly left an impression on me.
 
In thrillers like this you often find yourself doubting the characters, often the lead character. With this book though, I pretty much trusted everyone, apart from maybe the neighbours. The detective obviously had their suspicions but I wasn’t such a sceptic. I especially trusted Anne, even though there was potential of her being responsible, there was something about her that made me trust that she didn’t do it.
 
I also liked Marco, he clearly adored Anne and seemed really supportive while she was suffering from post natal depression. I can also imagine how he felt with his in-laws. The rich-poor divide can be tough, especially when the rich male likes to shove their wealth and success in someone’s face as much as Anne’s stepfather did.
 
Obviously both parents are distraught and I wondered how I would sympathise with them if I were the general public, as in hindsight leaving a baby alone, however close they are was not a great idea (understatement of the century). However my heart did break for them.
 
Detective Rasbach was also a great character, while his questions were quite direct, it was clear he genuinely wanted to get to the bottom of what happened, and sometimes hard questions are needed.
 
Overall this book was as good as I’d heard, it lived up to the tenseness you expect from a thriller and constantly kept me guessing.
 
 
Published by: Transworld
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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Mini Review Collection

 
This book was really funny, it had emotion and a great story, but the humour really stood out. The main character is loveable but also annoying at times as she becomes a bit self centred during her pregnancy, as one disaster after another kept happening to her. Her ex boyfriend Ned was infuriatingly annoying. Overall it was a really cute read, and definitely one to pick up when you need a good old rom-com book in your life.
 
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mynotsoperfectlifeMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
 
This book was amazing! I always love Sophie Kinsella books, and the fact that half the book was set really close to me made it all the better. I really liked Kate’s narrative, and I also loved how annoying Demeter was to work for. I loved the scene with Demeter practicing a yoga type of exercise in the mud. It completely didn’t end up how I thought it would, I thought the ending would be much more straight forward, so the surprise made it all the more great.
 
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The_Rosie_ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
 
I listened to it on audiobook, and the narrator did a fantastic job. The book itself was as good as I had heard. I adored Don, his outlook was certainly unique, somehow he reminded me of my partner, Simon. His habits could be infuriating at times, but I know that Rosie definitely bought the best out in him, though was far from perfect, showing she also had to learn something too.
 
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wishyouwerehereWish You Were Here by Catherine Alliot
 
Oh this book. On one hand I enjoyed it, though the middle dragged a bit for me and the main character really annoyed me for a lot of the book. It seemed that she thought everything was about her. Not liking a character doesn’t usually break a book for me, but Flora did put a downer on the whole book for me. 
 
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thegirlbeforeThe Girl Before by J P Delaney
 
I got completely absorbed into this book. I read it in pretty much one day, I couldn’t put it down. It seemed dark and disturbing. The house sounded fantastic aesthetically, but I don’t think I could live by the rules. No books for starters, could I have a kindle? Both characters surprised me, my opinions on them changed several times, and I loved it.
 
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The Little Café of Second Chances by J. D. Barrett

littlecafesecondchancesSynopsis

Lucy Muir is leaving her husband. It’s complicated.
 
As joint owners and chefs at one of the best restaurants in town making a clean break is tough. But, let’s face it, a woman can only take so much cheating, recipe stealing and lack of good grace.
 
Then Lucy happens upon an old, empty terrace that was once the city’s hottest restaurant: Fortune. One minute she’s peering through grimy windows into an abandoned space, the next she’s planning a pop-up bistro.
 
When Lucy fires up Fortune’s old kitchen she discovers a little red recipe book that belonged to the former chef, the infamous Frankie Summers. As Lucy cooks her way through Frankie’s recipes, customers come flocking and slowly Lucy begins to regain her confidence. It turns out that courage, passion and just a tiny bit of magic might be the secret recipe for a better life…

Review

Simply put this book is cute. A good sounding synopsis, a beautiful story with an unexpected element to it all interwoven with delicious recipes that I’m dying to try, especially those cheese soufflés.
 
The unexpected element I mentioned above is magical and supernatural, and while a surprise it was entirely welcome. It added more to the story, more depth, more history to the restaurant and Frankie’s life. The book had funny scenes, emotional scenes and scenes where you wanted to shout at the more despicable characters in the book. It was a great read from the start and the way it was written kept my attention throughout.
 
Paula is clearly a passionate and talented chef, and quite concientious too. Which is why her signing the contract and using the last of her money to get a lease on an old, delapidated restaurant ‘Fortune’ is  out of character but she’s both excited and nervous all at the same time. However, she has some great support from her best friend and it spurs her to strive even harder to make Fortune a success. She’s a great character, and her shy nature made it easy for me to connect to.
 
Frankie is the previous owner of Fortune, and we get two stories from him. One in the present day, where, while he can have a temper, you get to know a softer side to him. The other is the past when he owned Fortune, and for a lot of it you’re not sure if you like him or not, cheating on his wife and not being there for his only son isn’t a great character reference, but towards the end of the history parts, again he seems to show a more human side that’s easier to empathise with.
 
I loved Leith. Not quite the reaction I think the author was after, but he was so awful, I enjoyed his scenes immensely as I love a good villain. Someone I can roll my eyes at, or frown in anger while screaming at them (in my head).
 
As I said in the opening of this review, the book is a cute read. It has magical charm and the a wonderful sense of romance. The cooking sounded delicious and I will make sure to try some of the recipes for sure.
 
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Published by: Piatkus
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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Does My Bump Look Big In This? by Amy Lynch

Thank you to Amy for inviting me as part of the blog tour, please check out the book once you’ve read my review!

doesmybumplookbiginthisSynopsis

Newlyweds Barry and Becky are just back from their tropical honeymoon. The tans are gorgeous, and it was five star luxury all the way. But there’s a problem. Barry’s desperate for a baby, and Becky’s not quite so keen.
 
Surrounded by pregnant friends and a mother who’s talking about the ticking of invisible biological clocks, Becky starts to feel the pressure. When a surprise pregnancy rocks the boat, Becky’s friends and family are rooting for her all the way. Will she navigate the choppy waters to motherhood? Will she survive antenatal classes? Can she avoid stretchmarks, indigestion and her dreaded boss? And most importantly of all… does her bump look big in this?

Review

Last year I read and reviewed Amy’s debut novel ‘Bride Without A Groom’ which was over dramatic, in the funniest possible way. This book follows suit, as long as you don’t take it too serious, this book can be a lot of fun.
 
Rebecca and Barry are just returning back from their luxury 5 star honeymoon in Mexico, where Rebecca is not happy about returning to the banality of every-day life. Naturally she reverts back to her usual self-absorbed self, which makes me feel sorry for anyone that knows her. I think she is even more ridiculous in this book. I wouldn’t make some of her choices, it’s nothing criminal, more immature and at times very irresponsible. She is an exaggeration of everything you might find annoying with someone. Once I realised this (in both books) I had a lot of fun reading her ridiculous antics and selfish acts.
 
Again I felt really sorry for Barry, regardless of what he did in the previous book, he clearly cares for Rebecca and strives to please her. People have said that I have Simon twisted round my little finger, but that is nothing to how Barry is, I’m surprised his hair isn’t falling out (or maybe it has?!). You can see he would make a great father, and really dotes on the idea of having a child, and it’s charming to see.
 
This book is silly in the best possible way, something to laugh at, and almost certainly a light hearted look at what not to do when having a baby. I seriously hope motherhood tames Rebecca, but something tells me that it won’t!
 
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Gratefully received from the author for review
 
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US