Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land #Review @ByAliLand @Flatironbooks

Good Mr Bad Me cover

If your mother was a serial killer, what would you do? For fifteen-year-old Milly, the choice is clear: turn her in before she kills again. With her mother safely behind bars awaiting trial, Milly has a chance for a new life. But things are hard and Milly often wonders if she is good… or will she be bad, like her mother?

GOOD ME BAD ME is a chilling psychological thriller, guaranteed to leave you wide-eyed and shivering. The story shattered any vague expectations I had about how the story would progress, and gave me something so much better than anything I could have imagined.

Milly is one of the most complex characters I’ve read recently. It’s tough enough being a teenager, but to have a serial killer for a mom, too? How does a kid even begin to know how she should feel and act around others after living with a killer? Confusion and anxiety are Milly’s constant companions, and the sense of dread she feels about testifying against her mother was echoed by my own. What would come out during the trial, if anything, that wasn’t already known? The suspense had me on the edge of my seat as those final days before the trial counted down. I won’t spoil what happens in the courtroom, but there were some seriously tense moments during Milly’s testimony.

As for the ending… holy smokes! I never saw it coming, and and it was even more explosive due to the shock of it. Brilliant… just brilliant!

It’s hard to believe this is Ali Land’s first novel. (How can that be?!) This most impressive debut showcases her obvious talent for the written word, and it’s a story I doubt I will ever be able to forget. What was particularly striking to me (aside from having written such an amazing book) was the way she chose to write Milly’s inner thoughts during times of stress. It made me think of Stephen King… the way his writing style often breaks all the ‘rules’, and yet it’s wonderfully effective in telling the story.

This is a must read for fans of psychological thrillers. Once you’ve read it, I have a feeling that—like me—you’ll be impatiently waiting for Land’s next novel!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Flatiron Books.

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Author: Ali Land

Title: Good Me Bad Me

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: September 5th, 2017 by Flatiron Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Book

Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.


About the Author

Author Ali Land
Author Ali Land

After graduating from university with a degree in Mental Health, Ali Land spent a decade working as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse in both hospitals and schools in the UK and Australia. Ali is now a full-time writer and lives in West London.

Follow Ali on Twitter: @byAliLand

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.

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#BlogTour House of Spines by Michael J. Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks

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Today is my stop on the HOUSE OF SPINES blog tour, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts about this outstanding book.

Ranald McGhie is a financially-challenged writer who comes into an unexpected windfall when he inherits his Great-Uncle Alexander’s home—Newton Hall—and everything in it, including a vast library of books. Divorced and doing his best to cope with mental health issues that coincided with the death of his parents, Ranald is both overwhelmed and grateful for the chance to make a fresh start in his new home. But the moment he arrives, he gets a strange vibe from the house, particularly when he’s near the locked door of the lift. His dreams are filled with images of a mysterious woman who calls to him from within the mirror in the lift—a mirror he can’t see within the lift itself—but he knows it there, just as he knows she is there… waiting for him.

I love the spine-tingling chills caused by a creepy Gothic novel, and Malone provides them throughout with his masterful prose. I felt as uneasy as Ranald as he slowly explores different parts of the house, particularly the older areas with its old-fashioned furnishing that look frozen in time. As much as I wanted him to hurry up and investigate more rooms, it brought a delicious shudder to think about the secrets these rooms might hold and I was reluctant to end my speculations.

Ranald’s mental illness makes him an unreliable narrator at times, though I didn’t realize this right away. When I did, it made me wonder how much of what Ranald perceived as true events actually happened… and if they did, whether or not things happened as he thought that did. I loved the uncertainty this created within the story, and was keen to find clues that might indicate the reality (or not) of the given situation. Ranald isn’t the only unreliable character in the story, either… and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Glimpses of the past provide insight into what happened with Ranald’s parents, and in time, we learn about Alexander’s motivation in leaving Newton Hall to him.  We also get to learn more about previous occupants of the house—which include Ranald’s mother and grandmother, among others—adding new layers to the mystery surrounding Newton Hall.

Other characters include the married housekeeper and gardener, Ranald’s cousins, his ex-wife and (slightly psychic) former neighbor, and select people from the nearby village. The crisp characterizations of each one was fantastic, and made an already great book that much better. I either loved them, or felt suspicious of them instantly, depending on which character it was—and I was fooled into complacency by more than one of them, thinking I had them all figured out. Nope! Not even close, regarding certain ones.

There aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe how much I loved the ending. It was absolutely NOT what I was expecting to happen at all! What a way to wrap up a book! It was pure perfection.

To put it simply, Michael J. Malone has found a brand new fan in me. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next, because HOUSE OF SPINES was an amazing read. If you haven’t read it yet, trust me when I say you should. You won’t be sorry!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Orenda Books.

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Author: Michael J. Malone

Title: House of Spines

Genre: Gothic, Psychological Thriller

Published: August 16th, 2017 by Orenda Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Book

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman …

A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…


About the Author

Michael Malone Photo
Author Michael J. Malone

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown #Review @authoraimeeb @crookedcatbooks

Little Gray Dress cover

Emi Harrison is a hot mess, trying so hard to gracefully deal with seeing her ex-fiancé, Jack, again, but everything that can go wrong, does—usually in the most humiliating way. Her twin brother Evan is marrying Jack’s sister, Hannah—and he chose Jack to be his Best Man. Emi tries to settle her nerves over seeing Jack again with several drinks too many, and the first of many pre-wedding disasters strikes.

I was supposed to be reading another book, but LITTLE GRAY DRESS had been sitting on my Kindle’s carousel, neglected, for nearly a month. So I told myself I would take a peek at the first chapter, then set it aside until I finished the other book. Sounds like a solid plan, right? All I needed was a little self-discipline to see it through.

As you’ve already guessed, things didn’t go according to plan. Once I started, I simply could NOT stop reading until my eyes rebelled and insisted on sleep. The little traitors didn’t care that I wanted to read just one more chapter. (How rude! Maybe they knew I was lying about wanting to read just “one” more?) Which reminds me… this book should come with a warning label, because it’s guaranteed to keep you reading into the wee hours of the morning. (Or until your eyes turn traitor on you the way mine did—whichever comes first.)

I picked up where I left off the next morning, eager to see how it ended, and then my Kindle turned traitor on me, too! I was on the final stretch of the story when the stupid battery decided it was the perfect time to run out of juice. The text blurred and the screen went dark right in the middle of a crucial moment. Seriously?! My charger (who is not a traitor) did its job and I was finally able to finish reading.

All kidding aside… I simply adored this book. Chaos was Emi’s close companion through much of the book, and even during embarrassing moments that made me wince in empathy for her, I couldn’t help but laugh. Poor Emi goes through a lot of cringe-worthy mishaps that are rife with humor.

The events surrounding the wedding take place in the present, but readers are also given insight into Emi and Jack’s history through flashback chapters. The flashbacks don’t happen in exact chronological order, and it works very well at filling in the blanks of their relationship about some things, while leaving you in the dark (for a while) about others.

No story is complete without a villain, and Brown provides us with one that is truly terrible. I won’t give away who it is, but I can tell you that I absolutely despised this character. Emi went through a lot at the hands of this character, and I’m pretty sure I growled every time this person appeared in the book. Kudos to the author for creating an antagonist that I won’t soon forget.

The remaining cast of characters are as delightful as the villain is despicable. I especially loved Emi’s best friend, Lily. No matter what happened, she always had Emi’s back, but she didn’t shy away from setting her straight about things, either. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend like Lily!

All in all, LITTLE GRAY DRESS is a delightful story, filled with funny situations that will having you laughing out loud, touching moments that bring a tear to your eye, and a reminder that being in love with the right person can be truly magical.

You don’t want to miss out on this one, folks. This is a book worth reading!

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Author: Aimee Brown

Title: Little Gray Dress

Genre: Chick Lit, Humor

Publication Date: August 2nd, 2017 by Crooked Cat Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Book

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?


About the Author

Author Aimee Brown
Author Aimee Brown

Aimee Brown is a writer and avid reader, often blogging her thoughts on chick lit books. Little Gray Dress is her first novel published. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing her next book, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to use far too many swear words.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and many, many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress! If you want to chat with her she’s very active on social media. Find her over at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or her author website. Continue checking her website for information on her next book release!

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond #Review @michellerichmon @randomhouse

The Marriage Pact cover

‘The Pact’, an exclusive group for married couples, has a purpose that seems harmless enough: ensuring a happy marriage that doesn’t end in divorce. This is to be achieved by following the manual, which contains a list of rules that must be followed. If the rules are broken, consequences—the severity of which depends upon the rule(s) broken—will be meted out. Jake and Alice think joining The Pact is a wonderful idea, until rules are broken and they find out how far the group is willing to go to keep its members in line.

I have a morbid fascination with books that involve cults or cult-like groups, so obviously I had to read this book. It was a given The Pact wasn’t going to be a nice group to be involved with, and trouble was bound to come in a hurry when Jake kept putting off reading the entire manual, as he was meant to do. (Dude… hello? You’re definitely going to break rules if you don’t bother to read about all of them!)

Jake and Alice both end up breaking the rules (at different times) and find out the hard way why that’s a bad thing to do… and the reader finds out just how twisted this little group can be. Some of the consequences they were subjected to were more upsetting than others, but there were a few that inspired me to shout at the book when I read about them. (Anything that gets a loud reaction out of me is well written, in my opinion; kudos to the author for making it happen!)

This was a gripping read, with an ending that I found to be very satisfying. I really enjoyed this book, and definitely recommend it!

I received an advance review copy of this book from Bantam via Netgalley.

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Author: Michelle Richmond

Title: The Marriage Pact

Genre:  Psychological Thriller

Publication Date: July 25th, 2017 by Bantam

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Book

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . . Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.


About the Author

michelle-richmond
Author Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the author of four novels, including the New York Times bestseller THE YEAR OF FOG, and two award-winning story collections. Her fifth novel, THE MARRIAGE PACT, will be published in summer of 2017, with foreign editions forthcoming in 26 languages.

Michelle’s most recent novel is the political thriller GOLDEN STATE (February, 2014)–“a riveting read” (Booklist, starred review) that imagines present-day California on the brink of secession from the United States. Her previous books are THE YEAR OF FOG (2007), NO ONE YOU KNOW (2008), DREAM OF THE BLUE ROOM (2003), and the story collections HUM (2014) and THE GIRL IN THE FALL-AWAY DRESS (2001).

Michelle grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and has made her home for many years in Northern California. Visit michellerichmond.com for updates, reading group guides, and social media links.

Author photo and bio via Amazon.