Books

Top Reads of 2018

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I read 114 books in 2018, more than doubling my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 52. This marks the best year I’ve had since I first started participating in the challenge back in 2015, and I was very pleased to do so well. I chose a lot of great books, and my rating average for the year was 4.3 stars. I read a variety of fictional genres, including historical fiction, dystopia, fantasy, and crime/psychological thrillers. My nonfiction reading focused heavily on history, current events, social issues, and memoirs. I was entertained by the stories, and I gained a great deal of knowledge on various topics, as well. 2018 was definitely a great year for reading!

But which books were the best?

Continue reading “Top Reads of 2018”

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Book Reviews

The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher #Review @kerryfswayne @bookouture

The Silent Wife cover

 

Shortly before publication day rolled around, this book—previously titled The Secrets of Second Wives— was given a makeover. While I didn’t dislike the original title and cover image, I have to agree that the changes were for the best. The new cover image is captivating; the new title succinct and just a bit mysterious.

I’ve come to expect characters who feel authentic and stay true to their roles in Fisher’s books, and she definitely delivered on that score. Whether it was the image they presented in front of others, or the true selves revealed only in their thoughts and/or private moments, there was never a moment of atypical behavior. (I’ve read many books where that was not the case, so it’s worth mentioning.)

While Maggie’s story is interesting, I have to admit Lara’s story was far more fascinating to me. The things Lara kept silent about—as well as the why and how behind her silence—were far more serious and worrisome than the things Maggie kept hidden, in my opinion. I felt far more concerned about her than I ever did about Maggie, even though I cared about her story, as well. The silence is shattered for both women in an explosive scene that shines the unflattering light of truth on those closest to them, shaking the entire family to the core and changing all their lives forever. One character in particular gets some much needed comeuppance and I loved every moment of it!

This is a great read by a great author, and I definitely recommend it!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

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Author: Kerry Fisher

Title: The Silent Wife

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: February 24th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Purchase Link

Amazon


About the Book

Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he’d done something terrible?

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

A heart-wrenching, emotionally gripping read for fans of Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain.


About the Author

Author Kerry Fisher
Author Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian, and taught English in Corsica and Spain before climbing to holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually returned to England to ‘get a proper job’, and spent two years in features at Essentials magazine. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy.

Kerry’s first novel, The School Gate Survival Guide, was published by Avon, HarperCollins in 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: ‘I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell’.

Author photo and bio courtesy of Bookouture.

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Book Reviews

The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher #Review @KerryFSwayne @bookouture

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The Island Escape is a wonderfully written story focusing on two long-time friends and how both their lives are affected when one of them finds herself going through a divorce.

Roberta is the elegant one, accustomed to a life of wealth. She is unhappily married to Scott—a successful businessman who can be very charming when he wants to be—and mother to their only child. She once dreamed of being an interior designer, but Scott wouldn’t allow her to do it. When they’re together, Roberta spends most of her time trying to gauge his moods, hoping she won’t say or do anything that brings out the bullying, controlling side of him.

Octavia is the adventurous one—or rather, she used to be. When she and Roberta were young, Octavia was all about spontaneity. Eighteen years later, she is married to practical, predictable Jonathan, who has always been more interested in work and his high expectations of their household should run, than in helping an often frazzled Octavia care for their three children. She loves him, but she can’t help but remember her time in Corsica with the equally adventurous Xavi, the young man she loved and lost. Wondering if he was still there… and if he ever thought of her.

I was familiar with Kerry Fisher’s work, having read another of her novels, After the Lie, last month. While it was the beautiful cover that first caught my eye, seeing her name at the top (before I’d even read the synopsis) was enough for me to decide I wanted to read this book. I expected a well-written, engrossing novel full of interesting characters and emotional situations, and Fisher didn’t disappoint. I was completely caught up in everything Roberta and Octavia were going through, and felt protective of them when I felt someone else in the story was treating them unfairly.

The best thing about reading is that you can ‘visit’ places you’ll never go, and ‘see’ things you’ll never actually see, if the writing is good enough. Corsica and Sardinia—places that are only names on a map to me—came alive for me through Fisher’s vivid imagery.

While I won’t give away anything that happens, I will say that I loved the ending. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was definitely satisfying!

I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy quality women’s fiction. Put this one on your TBR list now. You won’t regret it.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Kerry Fisher

Title: The Island Escape

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: June 1, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Book

Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce? Emily Giffin meets Jennifer Weiner in this summer’s must-have read.

What if there was somewhere you could disappear to?

Octavia Shelton thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow.

Instead, she’s married to safe, reliable Jonathan, and her life now consists of school pick-ups and mountains of dirty laundry. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself.

So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it gets her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and rediscover the person she used to be? Escape back to the island she visited years ago? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her?

About the Author

Kerry Fisher
Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian, and taught English in Corsica and Spain before climbing to holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually returned to England to ‘get a proper job’, and spent two years in features at Essentials magazine. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy.

Kerry’s first novel, The School Gate Survival Guide, was published by Avon, HarperCollins in 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: ‘I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell’.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

 

Book Reviews

After the Lie by Kerry Fisher #Review @KerryFSwayne @bookouture

After the Lie cover

Lydia appears to have the perfect life: a loving husband, two children, and a thriving business of her own. She’s the one who always knows what to do, and what to say. But the image of that ‘perfect life’ couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything she has,  everything she’s done is based on a lie. A lie that covers a truth so shameful, it hasn’t been spoken of for thirty years. A lie her husband and children must never find out about. A lie that she and her parents have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect from discovery.

But lies don’t stay hidden forever. And when they finally see the light of day, the lives of those affected will never be the same.

When the one person who might shine the light of truth on Lydia’s carefully constructed lie reappears in her life, she’s in a panic. Stressed and uncertain what the future holds, she becomes impatient and angry with her family, who can’t understand why she’s behaving so strangely. She turns to her mother for help, but only finds more stress and is ultimately pushed into confronting the one person she wants to avoid the most.

The pressure of having lived with a terrible secret for most of her life becomes too much for Lydia, leading her down a path of dangerous choices that puts her marriage in even greater jeopardy. As her secrets begin to come out, one by one, Lydia is forced to face her deepest fears and make choices that will not only affect her own life, but the lives of everyone involved in the tangled threads of her deception.

After the Lie was an emotional ride. There were moments that were genuinely laugh out loud funny, some that made me feel terrible dread, and others that were heartbreaking to read. There is one character I was so certain had no redeeming qualities to offer at all, and it surprised me to find myself feeling sorry for that same character near the end of the story. For just a moment, I was able to see things from their point of view, and it completely changed my opinion of that character. (I’m being deliberately vague about the character’s identity, because I don’t want to risk spoiling a moment of the story for anyone.)

This is the first book I’ve read by Kerry Fisher, but I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the future.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Kerry Fisher

Title: After the Lie

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: April 29, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Book

An addictive and gripping read about love, life and living a lie.

One little lie can make one big difference …

Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark. Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life.

But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky. She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to. But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present. When the person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart.

What is Lydia’s terrible truth? Once the secret is out, you can’t put it back …

A powerful and heartbreaking story, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jane Green.

About the Author

Kerry Fisher
Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian, and taught English in Corsica and Spain before climbing to holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually returned to England to ‘get a proper job’, and spent two years in features at Essentials magazine. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy.

Kerry’s first novel, The School Gate Survival Guide, was published by Avon, HarperCollins in 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: ‘I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell’.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.