Helen Jackson

Review: The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

The DayAnnie has a secret. But if she’s not going to tell, we won’t either. It’s a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn’t have – yet Annie isn’t broken, not quite yet. Especially now there’s someone out there who seems determined to fix her.

Kate has run away. But she’s not going to tell us why – that would defeat the point of running, wouldn’t it? It’s proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind.

Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren’t entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good . . .

A gripping and unpredictable story of two young women running from their pasts. We defy you to guess the twist . . .


Lucy Robinson’s books have always been on my TBR list, but they’ve never made it to the top. I loved the blurb on this book, so couldn’t help myself.

I loved this. I couldn’t put it down once I got into it. I was reading in lunch breaks, which I never usually take, when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. When I finished it, I couldn’t get the characters out my mind.

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Before I Die by Jenny Downham

David Fickling Books.

David Fickling Books.

Tessa has just a few months to live.

Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is sex.

Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.

Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

BEFORE I DIE is a brilliantly crafted novel, heart-breaking yet astonishingly life-affirming. It will take you to the very edge.

Sometimes a book will come along that moves me, really moves me. I’m an emotional person, so it’s (reasonably) easy to make me cry, and lots of books do, especially when the subject is around death. But to really, really move me is something different. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Timetraveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Love Verb by Jane Green, and now, Before I Die by Jenny Downham.

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Review – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects

When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes.

Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family’s mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows – a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town.

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims – a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

Anyone that’s read Gone Girl would agree it has the best twist in it – and that the characters are seriously messed up. I can’t decide if the characters in Sharp Objects are AS bad, worse or better.

It’s written first person, which I always prefer (when done well) as it means you get really into the character’s mind, and discover things at the same time as they do – and as this is a mystery it’s good. Flynn does it very well.

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Review – The Accident by C.L. Taylor

rp_Accident-196x300.jpgPublished in April by Avon, The Accident is a gripping psychological thriller about the deadly secrets your children can keep …

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?


The Accident is recommended for people who enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep (one of my top ten ever books), Gone Girl (brilliant) and Sophie Hannah (only read The Carrier – wonderful) so I knew I HAD to read this.

From the first chapter I was gripped. The whole novel is written from Charlotte’s mother’s perspective, with it beginning as she’s sat by her bedside wishing her to come round from her coma. We find out that her Continue reading

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To Catch A Creeper by Ellie Campbell

Across The Pond Press, April 2014

Across The Pond Press, April 2014

A Crouch End Confidential Mystery.

Cathy is riding high in her brand-new job at a (surprisingly bitchy) top London advertising agency working with best friend Rosa. But when Rosa’s pregnancy goes amiss and enemies sabotage her new career, she finds herself leading a chaotic double life of lies and deception, hiding a shameful secret from all, especially husband Declan who appears in the throes of a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile she’s agreed to unmask the notorious Crouch End Creeper, a burglar terrorizing their neighbourhood. Little does she know that her meddling, assisted by fellow mothers (the Wednesday Once Weeklies) and the Neighbourhood Watch, will lead their dangerous opponent to murder. And that it’s not only the tall elegant transvestite who is placing herself at risk…

I was attracted to this novel for totally the wrong reasons – it’s set in Crouch End, which is an area of London I love, and I’ve got a friend who lives there; and there’s a red-head on the cover – I’m a red-head and feel a pull towards others. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I was.

It’s a very light, easy read, exactly what I needed after a couple of ‘deep’ books I’d read just before. It was gripping though; I read it quickly, over a weekend.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is a story of loss, obsession, survival and self-invention. 

Little, Brown. Oct 2013.

Little, Brown. Oct 2013.

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

This was my ‘real life’ (as in not on NK) book club book in February. Usually one person suggests three or four novels, and the group votes their favourite. In January one of our members was raving about The Goldfinch, so we decided we’d skip the vote and just read this.

Four of us went to the meeting in March. Continue reading

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