Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Terry reviews Behind A Twisted Smile by Faith Mortimer

Today we have a review from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry chose to read and review Behind A Twisted Smile by Faith Mortimer

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Behind a Twisted Smile by Faith Mortimer

3.5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

A psychological thriller. Keen marathon runner Moya Waterford has had a brief relationship with Martyn Cousins, and thinks she will hear no more from him when she calls it a day. This, however, is when the trouble starts, as he insinuates himself into the life of her family and manages to convince everyone that he is a really nice guy. Moya suspects differently, especially when she finds out details about his past. Alas, no-one believes her….

This is a fairly standard plot, but it’s in the telling, right? I sped through the first fifty per cent of the book on a long train journey without even noticing I had read so much of it; I found the writing style very readable, and there were no long boring bits or diversions that might have tempted me to skip read. Martyn was delightfully slimy, sister Evie and mother Belinda irritating in their naiveté; the dialogue is mostly smooth and the book starts with a good punch.

I’m in two minds about this one; one the one hand I did enjoy it, but on the other hand I felt frustrated by it because the whole premise by which the plot hangs is, I think, unfeasible. Very slight spoiler alert here; skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know anything at all about the plot. Right from the beginning Martyn gives Moya’s friends and family the impression that he dumped her and she is upset and jealous because he is now with her sister, Evie. So why doesn’t Moya make clear that it is she who finished it and she doesn’t even like him much? She’s supposed to be a strong, outspoken sort of woman but for some reason is struck dumb about this detail until much later. Next, someone from Martyn’s past travels hundreds of miles to reveal shocking details about her own experience with him, and to warn Moya that he is dangerous, but for some reason Moya does little about it, and doesn’t even seem to give it more than a cursory consideration although the pattern is clearly repeating itself. When she does finally start to reveal details, her lifelong best friend chooses to believe Martyn over her, despite all the evidence.

I liked Faith Mortimer’s writing style and would read another book by her; if you are good at suspending disbelief this might work for you (as I can see by the reviews it has for many), but for me it needed more thinking out, perhaps another draft or two to tighten up the prose, and less inclusion of unlikely occurrences in order to push the plot forward. I was expecting much more of a twist in the tale all the way through, and suspected another character’s involvement in the evil-doing; I thought I’d been really clever and guessed it at 57% but I was wrong; a really great twist at the end would have made the book so much stronger.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Babus reviews Just Two Weeks by Amanda Sington-Williams

Today’s review comes from Babus, she blogs here, http://ajoobacatsblog.wordpress.com

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Babus chose to read and review Just Two Weeks in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books

Just Two Weeks by Amanda Sington-Williams

Just Two Weeks by Amanda Sington-Williams

Review

This chilling story starts with Jo meeting a fellow tourist over breakfast at her hotel in Sri Lanka, but the terrifying events that follow escalate, leaving Jo fearful for her life and the reader unnerved at the edge of their seat.

Jo’s fear, frustration and sheer desperation is palpable throughout this psychological thriller as she doubts every relationship she has. The way her stalker keeps tabs on her and implicates herself into her life gave me chills. The suspense in this book is well-written and the premise that what happens to Jo could happen to anyone lends fear factor.

A totally gripping, but chilling read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Just Two Weeks by Amanda Sington-Williams

Just Two WeeksJust Two Weeks by Amanda Sington-Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just Two Weeks is a psychological Suspense. Jolene Carr is holidaying alone at the Green Spa Hotel in Sri Lanka. A last minute decision by partner Mark, who needed to stay home and look after his terminally ill father meant Jo took off on her own. She needed this break, she’d just been made redundant and she had an old leg injury which would benefit from the warm sun and massages in the hotel spa.

At her first breakfast she is befriended by another lone traveller, they chat and Zara invites Jo to spend the day with her at another beach. Instructed to bring her passport and money with her for safety, Jo falls foul of an easy con and is left high, dry and robbed. This is just the beginning of a set of harrowing events, where locals clam up, authorities are suspicious and Jo is left frightened, exhausted and vulnerable.

A victim of several more holiday incidents which you read about in the papers, Jo believes that she keeps seeing Zara/Raquel or whatever this con woman’s name is. Returning home Jo goes to put it all behind her until Raquel starts stalking her. With everyone around telling her she’s imagining things and jumping to the wrong conclusions, Jo’s life spirals out of control. She discovers more alias for this woman as the net closes in.

This book definitely left me having an uneasy sleep once I’d finished it late at night, but I’m not a hard core psychological suspense reader. I wanted to shout at Jo more than once at her ability to not act safely, easy for me to judge whilst sitting in the warm safety of my home.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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After being made redundant from a seemingly secure job Jolene Carr takes a two week break in the sun. On the first day she meets Raquel, another hotel guest. Little does she realise how this apparently innocent acquaintance will lead to terrible and lasting consequences. After a frightening incident she hits a conspiracy of silence from the locals and over the rest of the holiday she feels herself slipping into a vortex of fear. Back home, the nightmare continues and she realises that Raquel is stalking her. Her hippie mother and her partner Mark tell her she is imagining it all. All certainties, even about relationships, become fluid and treacherous as her past begins to unravel. If it wasn’t for Rob, her ex-lover who Jolene thinks has his own agenda, she would be left to cope on her own.
How much fear and betrayal can one person take?

Amanda Williams

Amanda Sington Williams’ first novel, The Eloquence of Desire was published by Sparkling Books in 2010 and has been translated into Turkish. She won an award for this novel in 2007 from the Royal Literary Fund. Since 2006 when she first started writing she has had many short stories published, including: Growing Pains by Bridgehouse Publishing, A Mother’s Love by Indigo Mosaic, Two Orchids by Sentinel Literary Quarterly. Unseasonable Weather by Dead Ink Press, The Woman at Number Six by Writing Raw, and many more.

Her second novel, Just Two Weeks is a psychological suspense and won the IPR Agents Pick in 2013.

website: www.amandasingtonwilliams.co.uk

blog: http://singtonwilliams.wordpress.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/SingtonWilliams

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/amandainbrighton?fref=ts

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Sington-Williams-writer/298320619836

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3526510.Amanda_Sington_Williams

 

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Stranger At Sunset by Eden Baylee

Stranger at SunsetStranger at Sunset by Eden Baylee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stranger at Sunset is a mystery, Psychological thriller set in Jamaica. It opens with a prologue and a body is thrown from a balcony with a witness to the scene.

The main body of the story then begins, the Pearsons own Sunset Villas in Jamaica and their business has suffered from Hurricane Sandy and a bad review from travel writer Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back to the resort hoping to get him to write a better review or retract the first one. Several friends come to support the Pearsons during this challenging week.

There are quite a few characters in the book to keep you busy and this allows for several red herrings in the storyline. The guests all dine together with the hosts at the villa and several of them dislike reviewer Matthew Kane, which isn’t helping plans to make his stay a pleasant one.

Kate Hampton is one of their guests, a psychologist, she finds herself analysing Mr Kane and tries hard to pacify his negative attitude towards the resort and her friends. There are lots of clues along the way for you to guess your own outcome to the story.
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.