Book Review – The Couple Next Door By Shari Lapena

This was a book I bought purely based on the blurb…

As always we begin with the Goodreads blurb…

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing. You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

****

‘How well do we ever know those around us? THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR will keep you glued to the pages in search of the answer. Even then, you’ll never guess the truth…until it’s too late’ LISA GARDNER

‘I thought the read-it-in-one-sitting thing was a cliche. Not any more’ LINWOOD BARCLAY

‘Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR lingers long after you turn the final page’ HARLAN COBEN

***The Sunday Times bestseller***

PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF ALMOST ANYTHING.

‘2016’s most talked-about new thriller’ Stylist

‘A twisty, utterly riveting tale that will send readers on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Shocking revelations kept me turning the pages like a madwoman’ TESS GERRITSEN

As you can see this book sounds amazing and has some high profile writers championing it, the blurb fascinated me, but I was dubious, generally I find very few books live up to their hype.

I am going to confess half a dozen pages in I nearly ditched the book. It was something about the style it was written in, if felt a little stilted, disjointed but I was intrigued enough to give it a little longer and I am so glad I did. The style fits the story perfectly, as the storyline unfolds you understand more why the disconnect and slight disjointedness is completely appropriate. I hate spoiling stories so I am going to be really careful here because the plot twists are a total delight, but if you just go from the blurb as I did when I decided to read it the whole idea of worrying about what could be found in your own home is something I have considered before. Okay, I amy have been joking when I have said previously that if anyone ever checks my google search history I would be in trouble but think about it, if something tragic happened what do you have on yours or what books and films do you have in your house that someone could read a different meaning into? Scary isn’t it.

I read this book in a few days, a very rare thing for me these days, so you can tell how much I enjoyed it, I whole heartedly give this book 5 out of 5 stars and say if you pick it up, and struggle in those first few pages as I did, stick at it!

Lazy Sunday #44

It has been a stressful week, my dad is in hospital, am not going to go into the whys on here just know it is one of those weeks where you feel like you are banging your head against a wall. On the plus side, I have won a couple of dresses for really good prices on eBay! You might wonder what that has to do with writing but the fact is that a lot of these author events have an evening do to go with the actual signing, many of them will be ones where I see authors I have previously met and hopefully become friends with. You see the problem here, a girl cannot possibly be seen wearing the same dress each time! Now if I had actually lost the weight I have been threatening to for the last couple of years I might be happy investing in dresses to wear then recycle a couple of years down the line but so far I haven’t, but I still want to, so instead of spending £90 a time n a new dresses I have been checking out ones on eBay and I have to say looks like a lot of others already did it. There are so many dresses bought for weddings, trips to the races, cruises and other events, worn once then selling for a fraction of the price on there so it makes sense for me to  save money and spend it on the accessories, plus after they have been worn if I lose weight I won’t feel guilty trying to alter them because if it goes wrong I am not wrecking an expensive dress. I am going to talk more about that on Tuesday so don’t miss that post.

For today let’s get to the blog sharing…

  1. The first one is something I have been thinking about this week, it is easy when everything is getting to you to doubt yourself, wallow in self-pity and basically give up, this post is about believing your fate is in your own hands https://lindaghill.com/2017/07/22/socs-setting-a-ceiling/
  2. I love the sea, I would love to go diving in various places, so I am really jealous about some of the photos in the post, however, relating back to the first blog post I shared I know there are always going to be physical limits on doing things like this because of my spinal surgery but I love in the hope of finding ways to get round that http://www.tmupchurch.com/2017/07/22/wearing-the-sea/
  3. The next post is a little about pushing your boundaries but this time for me it is about stepping out of my comfort zone. I studied art at college, I love classical art, my favourites are the Impressionists, I can understand modern art often on a conceptual level but it does not grab me and evoke emotions in me, one thing I am trying to do more is to try to see things through the eyes of others and blogs are a great way to do this  https://andytownend.com/2017/07/22/in-wetin-you-go-do/
  4. The next one is an article rather than a blog post as such, when you first start out as an Indie author it is easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the fact everyone else seems so far ahead of you in the game, remember it is a earning curve and evntually you will catch up, I have been lucky tohave a lot of good people will ing to help but sometimes you still don’t want to ask questions for fear of looking stupid but here is something that helped me finally work out one of my questions today https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/promote-your-book-better-with-universal-buy-links
  5. And I am going to change things up from now on and the final link of the day is going to be a FB page or group, usually it will be one I am actively a part of so today I am going to start with the one for my first live signing event, The Darker Side Of Fiction 2017 if your not in the group come and join us, the giveaways are piling up over there plus it will be the place to see photos and videos from the event as it happens https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/

Taht is it for this week sorry it is so late I just kept getting distracted lol

Okay so on Sunday this happened…

Tennis – Wimbledon – London, Britain – July 16, 2017, Switzerland’s Roger Federer poses with the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final against Croatia’s Marin Cilic REUTERS/Toby Melville

Well okay, it did but that was not what I really wanted to talk about, what I want to talk about was this that happened afterwards…

We now know who the new Doctor will be and it is a woman!

First let me express my disappointment, not at the choice but at the fact we know! I really had hoped that they might fly in the face of modern convention and kept it a secret until the Christmas special, they could have had closed sets, invited several front runners to the set to hang about to mislead speculation. I would love to have been able to tune in on Christmas day and be surprised by the regeneration, not had to listen to months of debate about the chosen replacement which brings us to Jodie Whittaker.

Going to be honest, other than her appearance in St Trinians I haven’t really seen her in anything, I have yet to watch Broadchurch despite the fact I have been meaning to since it first aired. I don’t think overall the gender of the Doctor will make a real impact on the series, I will be far more concerned with plots, storylines and the character development. Do I have concerns? Of course, I worry they will give her a beefcake for a companion, have him saving her constantly and her fall in love with him, though to be fair male Doctors have frequently been saved by their female companions. I would love to see a non-human in the TARDIS, yes we have just had Nardol and I hope the Doctor will collect him before leaving the spaceship but he is still shaped as a human, I have seen suggestions K9 may return but honestly, let’s have something different and shake things up completely.

We live in an age where we see all male performances of Swan Lake we see boundaries pushed in all directions, I know many are not happy to see a change from the norm in ‘their’ favourite show, and I say that in quotes because I don’t think my view of the show and theirs have anything in common, theirs is an exclusive club, mine is inclusive, theirs is restrictive, mine knows no boundaries, they would rather travel to the past, my show is heading full speed into the future.

Live Event Catch Up!!!!

Hi guys, so I decided today I would post a quick round up of the events I am signed up for over the next couple of years so far! Now I know with a few of these it might seem like they are so far away but people have to book time off work, save up and lets face it find the perfect dress for the evening do lol. Even if you cannot make it to an event then I highly recommend joining the FB groups, there are loads of cool things and giveaways going on in these groups so it is worth the time to pop in and visit them.

First before I start a couple of weeks ago I did the Thirty question challenge you can read my answers here but the wonderful #Darker author Joey Paul has taken up the gauntlet and you can read her answers to the question by clicking here.

So let’s begin and take the events in order…

The Darker Side of Fiction

Hosted by the wonderful Hourglass Events Ladies Jo & Rachel

There is a promotion running at the minute on remaining tickets…

***Summer Mayhem Competition ***

Do you want to win an Amazon Gift Card?!

This is our last offer before the Darker Side of Fiction Event on the 7th October!!
So we KNOW you love reading crime, horror, fantasy, thriller, sci-fi , paranormal and dystopian books which means you’ll want to win the £15 Amazon voucher we are giving away!!!
All you need to do is buy your Darker ticket before midnight on Tuesday 29th August and be entered into this fabulous prize draw.
You know there’s always room for a few more signed books 😈

Just click the Ticket Link
https://thedarkersideoffiction2017.eventbrite.co.uk/

You can join the FB group here and I am going to be hosting a takeover there on Wednesday evening 19th July from 9pm BST

The End of Year Indie Masquerade Party

This one is not a signing but a party to celebrate all things Indie, it is open for readers, authors and bloggers and has been organised by the amazing C.A. Bell you can find out more here in the FB group and apply for tickets, I would say if you want to come book sooner rather than later it is being held in Birmingham on 25th November 2017

Leeds Author Event 2018

Again hosted by the lovely Hourglass Events ladies on Saturday, 3 March 2018 from 10:00 to 23:30

You can get tickets and find details of the evening event here  

The FB group can be found here  I will be doing a page takeover there this Thursday 20th July at 10pm

Shenanigans West Midlands Signing 2018

Hosted by the delightful Maria Lazarou This event will be held in Telford on 14th April 2018, tickets go on sale later this month and if you would like to find out more then the place to find out more is the FB group here

The Heart Of Sheffield Signing Event 2019

Hosted by the fabulous Yvonne and Helen this is a new new signing event and the first they have hosted though it is lining up to be a fantastic event. You can find out more booking details here and keep track of things at the FB group here and there is a prize draw running until the end of this month for people buying tickets

 

There maybe one or two more things in the pipeline that I cannot talk about yet and I prmoise to go into events in a lot more detail in weeks to come.

 

Lazy Sunday #43 & Vlog Time #103 – Quick Hello!

Everything seems really hectic here at the minute, writing, kids, swag, writing, babies, you get the picture. Part of the reason it is so hectic is I just have not managed to get my head around the time management aspect of my resolutions, I try but get distracted so for the next few weeks I am back to using a timer n the hope I can get back into more of a disciplined routine. The weather here is lovely today just loaded the washing machine again and have a line of clothes already fluttering in the breeze, line dried clothes are a pleasure those in warm countries take for granted, so much fresher than those draped over radiators.

Anyway, we need to get a move on as the tennis is due to start soon and I am hoping to watch Rgerwin another Wimbledon.

  1. First up is a post by a photographer I have featured a few times, I love the photos he takes of the Irish landscape but this I love for another reason, it is the idea of the stories behind ruined buildings, what tales they could tell, even those with mundane histories can become magical places with a little imagination  https://nigelborrington.com/2017/07/14/evening-poem-by-alice-oswald/
  2. The second of today’s posts and the first of the writing themed ones comes from fellow #Darker author Hemmie, who I am looking forward to meeting in just a few weeks. Staring at the blank screen can be incredibly daunting so her advice for those just starting out is well worth making note of https://hemmiemartin.com/2017/07/12/start-small/
  3. The next post is also writing related and I put my hands up that this is something I struggled with the first time I listed a book, it is hard sometimes to work out where your work belongs, to pigeonhole yourself against your own wishes but it has to be done, and if you hope to sell books, done well.   https://susanleighnoble.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/choosing-categories-and-keywords-when-publishing-with-amazon/
  4. Finally a humorous look at the rituals we all create around ourselves, whether it is having a certain playlist on, total silence, sitting in a certain position, https://aviatrixkim.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/on-writing-you-must-perform-the-ritual/

Just four blog shares today as I have a quick vlog for you, confession time I recorded this last week and it has sat waiting to be edited but next week we will be back on track I promise

Lazy Sunday #42

As you are aware this has been a stressful couple of weeks,I am feeling tired at the minute but I also have lots to be thankful for and while I cannot control the things going on with my son I now have to find a way to keep pushing forward with my writing. In an ideal world I will push forward release lots more books and get to a point I can earn enough from writing to give up the day job, write Monday to Friday and then attend a signing event each month, that is the dream and would also allow me much more flexibility in time with my son to take him more places and try to show him more of the world.

  1. This week I needed things to make me smile and this blog always does that, this post in particular made me giggle I like the bath though not sure it would be good to soak in but I really want the piano water feature https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/06/24/just-when-you-think-you-have-seen-everything/
  2. The first blog also gets a second post this week and that is because they posted this earlier today and I love it, I could sit for hours watching the stars https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/07/02/the-new-pillars-of-creation-hubble-image-video-is-amazing/
  3. I love these designs and I hope she can forgive me for messing her about over a cover I wanted when life got in the way and that I can persuade her to work on a series of covers for me later in the year and through next year https://melchelledesigns.com/2017/06/20/new-covers-and-new-gallery/
  4. Okay I picked this post to share because one the rubber ducks are so cute, my son has a Batman one and we have several other cute duckies, but mainly because I love the paisley shark https://markbialczak.com/2017/06/27/we-cant-duck-our-walk-through-chatham-to-meet-the-sharks/
  5.  The final thing for today is a video, you have my daughter to thank for this, she showed me it when I was having a bad day and this guy is my hero now, he is hilarious. So I shall leave you watching this and catch up next week!

Lazy Sunday #40

I awoke this morning to the news that once more those who seek to change our way of life have attacked the innocent, they do not have the courage to attack those who can fight back nor do they attack those in power but instead those going about their lives in peace harming no one else, I shared a post this morning on Facebook from my wonderful friend Simon Fisher-Becker, a simple message to the terrorists, you will not win. I am not going to go into this more now because it is Sunday and we shall carry on as normal and share the love and they will not alter our lives no matter how they try.

  1. I love seeing blog posts about places I have been and this one is no exception. I went with Uni a few years ago (I was a mature student) however because I was one crutches between spinal surgeries I could not explore the grounds or the ruins but if you get the chance to visit this place you should, and also take the time to learn the background story to Bess, she was one hell of a lady https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/__trashed/
  2. As you know from my book reviews I am a lazy reviewer, I give you my basic thoughts, feelings and a score, I don’t go into real depth, partly because after studying Literature at University I know how boring a book becomes once you start over analysing it, but I do love a good review where they take the time to explore in depth without turning it into an academic paper This Doctor Who reviewer does just that and then it is we in the comments who get carried away with the petty details lol check her out https://inkashlings.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/doctor-who-the-pyramid-at-the-end-of-the-world-review/
  3. You may have heard me talk a little about this thing happening in October, you know the one where I go stand near lots of fabulous authors and hope someone bothers to come and say hello to me lol, I was worrying about what I was going to put any books I might see into but it seems the amazing organisers have it covered but even if your not coming I think you should grab yourself one anyway https://hourglassevents.wordpress.com/author/hourglassevents/
  4. I found a new blog today, let’s just say I have read this one post and am green with envy at the event she got to attend but I am sure she will prove to be as delightful as her writing then I can forgive her for making me jealous https://sophieetallis.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/making-hay-with-neil-gaiman-stephen-fry-and-chris-riddell/
  5. I have mentioned before that I have been looking into the whole imprint thing for print publishing, this is another post which explains the situation really well https://justcanthelpwriting.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/what-i-learned-about-isbns/

I am going to pop off now and read some more about medieval torture methods, I mean how else should a girl spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, have a great week see you same time, same place next week.

Looking towards the future!

Over the last couple of months while I have been suffering from lethargy in terms of posting I have been working away behind the scenes and I thought today I would take the chance to fill you in on some of what is going on in the background.

The first thing is I have signed up for a course on Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry it is a free 4 week course, just 3 hours a week. you might wonder why I would take on doing extra study when I am already snowed under and I am not gaining a qualification from it but I am looking at it as a chance to gain knowledge which may be useful going forward. We all know in this Internet age that cyber-piracy is something many authors are coming up against, work plagiarised or republished on pirate sites where they are given away for free, and while some will argue that gaining readers this way is a counterbalance to the loss of earning on that book, for others it is a loss they cannot afford. We all write the copyright notice at the front of our books but how much of it do we understand, what actual rights we have and protections are offered by it. If you are interested you can find more details here.

The other thing I have been looking into is publishing options, it was brought up on FB a couple of weeks ago that there were other options for print on demand other than KDP and Createspace, so I took a little time to look into it. The most popular way is the use Createspace however I have found a suggestion that long term it may be best to use a combination of Createspace and Ingram Sparks, you can read the article I found helpful here. The trilogy I am working on at the minute will remain on Createspace as setting up the other requires money to invest in buying ISBN numbers but I have begun the process of getting ready for this for future series. When you buy the block of numbers you register them to an imprint name and I have decided to go with Raven’s Rest Press, I have set up an email, FB and Twitter to grab the name there, I will be adding the logo to my other books and I would not be averse to perhaps collaborating with other indie authors who want to publish under the name and help promote each others work. I am not going to  go too much into things here as obviously I am still setting it all up but I will keep you up to date with my experiences. Right off to the day job now after all until the books start selling I have to fund the present as well as investing in my future.