Title: Hunting Annabelle

Author: Wendy Heard

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Harlequin

The Blurb

“Her scream echoes in my memory. I know what happened. Whether anyone believes me or not, I know.”

Sean Suh is done with killing. After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, he’s determined to stay away from temptation. But he can’t resist Annabelle—beautiful, confident, incandescent Annabelle—who alone can see past the monster to the man inside. The man he’s desperately trying to be.

Then Annabelle disappears.

Sean is sure she’s been kidnapped—he witnessed her being taken firsthand—but the police are convinced that Sean himself is at the center of this crime. And he must admit, his illness has caused him to “lose time” before. What if there’s more to what happened than he’s able to remember?

Though haunted by the fear that it might be better for Annabelle if he never finds her, Sean can’t bring himself to let go of her without a fight. To save her, he’ll have to do more than confront his own demons… He’ll have to let them loose.

A chilling, deeply suspenseful page-turner set in the 1980s, Hunting Annabelle is a stunning debut that will leave you breathless to the very end.

The Review

I do like a good psychological thriller. Mainly this is because I am so bad at solving them I am always totally surprised. I did struggle with Hunting Annabelle though. I enjoyed the story. I thought the set-up was well executed and I loved that we had an unreliable narrator in Sean. Wendy Heard did an excellent job of convincing me that I couldn’t trust him but I should.

However, for me, the ending was a little unbelievable. I loved the whole Heathers-esque relationship between Sean and Annabelle. They were both a little self destructive and I loved how Heard fleshed out the character of Sean’s mum who you felt sorry for and angry at in equal measure but I just didn’t like the ending.

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard is available now.

For more information regarding Wendy Heard (@wendydheard) please visit www.wendyheard.com/books.

For more information regarding Harlequin (@HarlequinBooks) please visit www.harlequin.com.

Title: The Confession

Author: Jessie Burton

Pages: 455 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.

Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession . . .

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The MuseThe Confession is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love a good family saga. I love family secrets and I love the journeys that characters will go on to find out the truth. That is exactly what I got in Jessie Burton’s The Confession. In this novel Rose Simmons is trying to find out the truth about her mother. Her father is reluctant to talk about it but a series of clues lead her to someone who was once her mother’s lover. This is when Rose’s deception begins.

In this novel we see a character who is desperate to know who she is and where she comes from. It is her desperation that makes us feel sorry for her even when she is making dubious life choices and also makes us yell at the book when we know what she is doing is wrong. Big fat spanking wrong.

Jessie Burton is one of those writers that you can just trust to bring you the best possible story. She has nailed it once more with The Confession. If you like family mysteries and books that take you to different time periods then you must read The Confession by Jessie Burton.

The Confession by Jessie Burton is available now.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Girl who reads on the Metro

Author: Christine Feret-Fleury

Pages: 175 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

For fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Girl Who Reads on the Métro is the French phenomenon by Christine Féret-Fleury ready to charm book-lovers everywhere . . .

When Juliette takes the métro to her loathed office job each morning, her only escape is in books – she avidly reads on her journey and imagines what her fellow commuters’ choices might say about them.

But when, one day, she decides to alight the train a few stops early and meets Soliman – the mysterious owner of the most enchanting bookshop Juliette has ever seen – she is sure her life will never be the same again . . .

For Soliman also believes in the power of books to change the course of a life – entrusting his passeurs with the task of giving each book to the person who needs it most – and he thinks Juliette is perfect for the job.

And so, leaving her old life behind, Juliette will discover the true power a book can have . . .

The Review

I really love books that have been translated into English. That probably sounds a bit weird but the books that I have read in this category over the past few years have always surprised me with their originality and quirky nature. The Girl who reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury fits seamlessly into this collection.

Whilst I know the story of Juliette will not change my life, it certainly changed my day when I read it. The one thing I take from it is that other people can articulate the love of books and the love of reading so well. Frequently I stopped reading just to pause and fully take in the line that I had just read. The writing – and indeed, the translation – was magical.

The Girl who reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury is available now.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Permanent Record

Author: Mary H K Choi

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK

The Blurb

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.

Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.

When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Leanna and Pablo turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.

The Review

Permanent Record is a sort of reverse Cinderella story between a young man, Pablo who is struggling to try and fit in to his position as adult and Leanna who is a celebrity who is confused by her desire for normality without losing the fame and fortune she has accrued.

Let’s start with Pablo: He is a college dropout, seriously in debt, can’t figure out what he wants to do but knows that he wants to make a fortune doing it. He wants to be successful but does not want to accept that success is hard work. He has a complicated relationship with his family and often screws up monumentally.

Leanna is a pop star/childhood sensation who cannot cut her hair without making global news. She longs for normality but actually doesn’t know how to be normal because her normal is so different from everyone else’s that she often acts selfishly without realising that she cannot solve her problems by throwing her wealth around.

They make an unlikely pair but as a reader you really root for them to be together. My one negative about the book isn’t really a negative about the book. That sounds a bit confusing but her me out. I am not a young adult. I enjoy YA fiction but I am a fully grown adult in my thirties and at time I didn’t quite understand the vernacular used by the characters. That is on me though. Mary H K Choi is writing for a very different age group who would know about the things that I found confusing.

Permanent Record is a really good story that has two highly flawed but likeable characters. Make sure you add it to your to be read list.

Permanent Record by Mary H K Choi is available now.

For more information regarding Mary H K Choi (@choitotheworld) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Velvet Hours

Author: Alyson Richman

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

The Blurb

From the international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Garden of Letters, comes a story—inspired by true events—of two women pursuing freedom and independence in Paris during WWII.

As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return. 

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.

The Review

Ever since I heard the story of the preserved apartment found in Paris I have been fascinated. How did this apartment go unnoticed for so long? What happened to the woman who lived there? There are so many unanswered questions that of course it makes for the perfect basis of a story. I have, before reading The Velvet Hours, read two books based on the same premise and both were very well written and enjoyable but none were as engaging as the story that Alyson Richman told.

In her story we delve more into the life of the courtesan Marthe de Florain who lived in the apartment and her story is created using a mixture of fact and fiction. We see the story from the perspective of Marthe and Solange (her granddaughter) amongst the backdrop of occupied France. It truly is captivating.

If you are a fan of historical fiction that has an intriguing true story at its heard then The Velvet Hours is the book for you.

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman is available now.

For more information regarding Alyson Richman (@alysonrichman) please visit www.alysonrichman.com.

For more information regarding Berkley Publishing Group (@BerkleyPub) please visit their Twitter page.