Review: White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl

White is the Coldest Colour

Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.

Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters. Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.



I remember seeing this title a while back. The book had created quite a buzz around blogosphere. I knew I had to read it as soon as the opportunity arose.

One thing that you need to know is that this book has one of the most depraved villains. Dr. Galbraith is a twisted character with no redeeming qualities. The author gives readers a glimpse into his dark, twisted mind and his thoughts were quite scary. I found myself keenly waiting for him to meet his end or get arrested, whichever came first. At some point, I got impatient with the cops because I really wanted the case to be solved fast!

This book deals with sensitive themes of child abuse. It is not graphic but the abuse is evident so readers get to know what is going on. The story line doesn’t focus on the abuse as much as the characters and the ongoing investigation. Nevertheless, the book does start with a trigger warning. I appreciate the fact that the author decided to do this because this is definitely not going to be a book for everyone.

I thought the portrayal of the investigation was quite detailed and realistic. John Nicholls has experience working as police officer and child protection social worker and this was evident in his storytelling. The author also did a great job with the portrayal of the time period in which the story was set, 1992. One of the things that took a while to get used to was the fact that cell phones were not so common. I kept forgetting that the story is set in the early 90s and found myself getting frustrated by the characters for not using their phones and then it would hit me that most people only had landlines and phone booths back then.

Although the subject matter is quite heavy, I really liked John’s writing and how sensitive he was in portraying the theme. I also love how he created the complex, well-developed characters. The description of the time period and the setting were also well done. White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl is a compelling read.

Review: The Pact by S. E. Lynes @bookouture

The pACTYou made a promise to your sister. It could destroy your daughter.
The Daughter: 15-year-old Rosie lies in hospital fighting for her life. She’s trying to tell her mother what happened to her, and how she got there, but she can’t speak the words out loud.

The Mother: Rosie’s mother Toni has a secret. She had a traumatic childhood, and she and her sister Bridget made each other a promise thirty years ago: that they could never speak the truth about what happened to them as children, and that they would protect each other without asking for help from others, no matter what…

Rosie was Toni’s second chance to get things right: a happy, talented girl with her whole life ahead of her. Having lost her husband in a tragic accident, Toni has dedicated her life to keeping Rosie safe from harm.

But Rosie has plans that her mother doesn’t know about. She has dreams and ambitions – of love, of a career, of a life beyond the sheltered existence that her mother has created for her. But the secrets Rosie has been keeping have now put her life in danger.

The Pact: In order to save Rosie, Toni may have to break her lifelong promise to her sister… and open doors to her past she hoped would remain closed forever.


The Pact by S. E Lynes is a story about secrets, obsession and deception. Bridge and Toni are sisters harboring a deadly secret which led to a pact between the two. Rosie is Toni’s daughter. A daughter that she determined to protect at all costs.

This story is narrated by the three MCs through alternating POVs. It took a little while for me to get the flow of the book and follow the narration. The author used an interesting, unique style to tell the story. It sounds conversational, confessional such that I felt like an eavesdropper. Using this style, the narrative was rolled out gradually with tension and twists unfolding with each chapter. The author managed to shift between different timelines seamlessly hence providing back stories for all the characters. The entire time that I was reading the book, I knew that something bad had either just happened or was about to happen. However, I really couldn’t guess until the author started dropping the clues.

The Pact is wonderfully written, compelling read. It is not the kind of book filled with non-stop action and huge twists. However, it does have a clever plot that kept me guessing to the end. It also has a twist in the final pages that was unexpected and just perfect. I really liked the relationship between the sisters and the daughter/niece, Rosie. I also enjoyed how different themes such as parenthood, family, social media culture were interwoven to create such a fascinating story. What a fabulous read!

Review: The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

The Woman in the WindowAnna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times–and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.


The Woman in the Window by A. J Finn is another title that I have been seeing a lot around blogosphere. The hype got to me. I definitely had to read the book.

I don’t know whether describing this as a slow burner would be accurate. It does take time to lay the ground work. However, it’s the kind of story that creeps up on you gradually. I found myself so captivated by the book that I was thinking about it when not reading it. It occupied my mind until I turned the last page and I am still thinking about it.

This is a story about Anna, a woman who hasn’t left her house in nine months due to agoraphobia. While stuck in her house, Ann keeps herself busy by engaging in an online chat room, watching old movies and doing a bit of ‘harmless’ stalking by spying on her neighbors. All seemed harmless until new neighbors moved in next door and then Anna saw something that she wasn’t supposed to see.

This book has quite a number of great twists. I didn’t expect any of them and each one left me more hooked to the story. There were a couple of tense moments. There were instances when I felt like Anna was completely stuck with no way out of her predicament. I found myself feeling equally helpless wondering how ‘we’ would find a way out.

The ending was quite cinematic. It had the right amount of drama and tension and a befitting setting. I enjoyed everything about this book, from the writing to the story-line and narrator. I also learned a lot about agoraphobia which I didn’t know much about. I can’t wait for the movie already.

Review: Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan@hecallaghan

Everything is LiesNo-one is who you think they are

Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed.

Everyone has secrets

Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.

Especially those closest to you

The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother’s name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .

What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born?


It is hard to believe that this is Helen’s second book. I loved her debut, Dear Amy and this one definitely exceeded my expectations. It is such a brilliant read!

Everything is Lies tells the story of Sophia, a regular, young lady living a somewhat carefree life away from home. However, her life is quickly turned upside down when her parents are involved in what police believe to be a murder-suicide attempt. Soon, things get crazier as Sophia starts uncovering long, buried family secrets.

This wonderful story is narrated in two main timelines. Sophia’s narrations are set in the present and mostly focus on her discovery of her family’s secrets. There is a second timeline set in the past narrated through notebooks discovered after the murder-suicide attempt.

I am deliberately being vague because this is the kind of story that you need to discover for yourself. The less you know about the book, the better your reading experience.

I won’t say anything more about the plot apart from the fact that it is totally captivating. I was thoroughly immersed in the narrative that I completely forgot everything else around me. I liked the character development and how well the author researched different themes. I also love the fact that story kept my mind so active. I desperately wanted to figure it out so I kept guessing and changing my guesses. I was right a few times but I ended being surprised most of the time. Even when I was right, it was because the author left enough clues that practically led me to the answers. Helen’s writing is everything! It is beautiful, descriptive and captivating.  If you enjoy books about secrets, lies, manipulation and family drama then you dare not miss this one!

Definitely recommended!

Review: The Reunion by Samantha Hayes @bookouture @samhayes

The ReunionThey were all there the day your sister went missing…Who is lying? Who is next?

Then–In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom. Eleanor never came back.

Now–The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…


I was captivated by this story right from the first chapter. You know that feeling of excitement that comes when you have just started a new book but have no doubt that you will enjoy it? I had that feeling a few pages into this book and I am glad that my initial feelings about the book turned out to be spot on.

The Lucas family is having a reunion. Claire wants to get everyone back at home to help a family member going through a rough patch. The reunion also includes close friends who Claire grew up with.  One of the memories that this group shares is the dark day when Claire’s sister went missing. They were all there and now, they are back to the farm again.

I loved the narrative style that the author used. In narrating the story, there were different perspectives offered by the characters. As a reader, I felt that this heightened my understanding of the characters. It definitely made me more connected to them.

Tension in the story builds up slowly until a point reaches where the reveals start coming in one after another. I remember reading this book knowing that something bad would happen to the characters. However, I had no idea what, when or to whom exactly. And then the darkness descended. There were events that simply didn’t cross my mind before they occurred. I enjoyed how the book delivered one shock after the other. At some point, I became obsessed with the story. I couldn’t put down the book. I needed answers and so I read late into the night and for the first time, I actually found myself up  very early in the morning to finish the book before work. This book was hella captivating!

If you are looking for an immersive, suspenseful read set in picturesque setting with strong, memorable characters then you definitely need to read The Reunion by Samantha Hayes. Fans of this genre will love this one!



Review: The Lying Kind (Detective Rachel Prince #1) by Alison James

The Lying KindSix-year-old Lola Jade Harper is taken from her bedroom. Her mother is distraught. She is convinced her estranged husband, Gavin Harper, has abducted their daughter. Detective Rachel Prince is leading the investigation but is soon out of her depth as she searches for the most high-profile missing child in the country. To uncover the truth about Lola’s disappearance, Rachel must untangle the Harper family’s complicated web of secrets and lies.

As the case progresses, the body of a local woman is found. The death at first seems unrelated, until a trail of social media posts lead Rachel to a chilling discovery.

And then another little girl is taken…

With growing pressure from the public and the appearance of someone from her past she’d rather forget, will Rachel be able to solve the connection between the two missing children and the murder – before it’s too late?


The Lying Kind is the first book in the Detective Rachel Prince series by Alison James. In this story, Rachel is investigating a missing child case. Lola Jade Harper has been missing for six months. Rachel and her partner need to find the little girl despite the fact that a lot of time has already elapsed and most people assume that the child is forever gone.

This wasn’t the usual police procedural with a lot of drama/action and a fast moving pace. The author took time to portray the day to day events during the investigation. This included days when no new information or clues came up in the case. There were paperwork days and other days where the investigators chased false leads. Even stakeouts made it into the narrative. This portrayal was quite different from the usual cop thrillers though it did seem more realistic. I imagine that is the way most investigations in the real world take place.

Rachel is an interesting MC. I can’t say that I really liked her personality but I did admire her work ethic and determination to solve the case. I also liked her loyalty to her partner.  As I have mentioned, this wasn’t a fast-paced, action packed cop thriller, however it was still a good read. If you enjoy classic cop procedural then this series is definitely for you.

Throwback Thursday: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler


This weekly feature is hosted by Renee(Its Book Talk). Throwback Thursday offers a way to share some of our old favorites as well  as sharing books that we are finally getting around to reading that were published over a year ago.

About the Book

Kindered IG

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.


Kindred by Octavia E. Butler is one of those books that I can’t remember getting.  It was on my TBR for quite a while until I picked it up last week. Now, I regret having taken so long to read it. I am now more keen on finding out which other gems are on my TBR.

Dana and Kevin are in an interracial marriage in 1976. The two are both writers and they seem happy and well settled. All this changes when Dana suddenly found herself taken back to the 1800s. One minute she was at home with Kevin and the next, she was saving a drowning boy in 1800 and soon afterwards, facing the barrel of a gun before suddenly, finding herself back to 1976. The time-travel kept occurring until Dana and Kevin found out why and how she kept teleporting. However, this still did not prevent it.

I have always been curious about time travel. I remember reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King and thinking about what it would be like to be able to go back in time and change things. However, this book made me realize just how dangerous the past can be.  Dana kept teleporting to the slave period. As a black woman, she found herself struggling with living in that era. There were many harrowing scenes in the story that broke my heart.

The book has very well-crafted, memorable characters. I really liked Dana. She was a strong character and she put herself in danger a couple of times for the sake of others. I also liked her husband, Kevin, who I thought was very supportive of her. I liked how he kept trying to protect her despite the danger. Rufus is the boy who Dana kept trying to save. He was an enigma. I liked and disliked him in equal measure. It was interesting to watch him grow up from the child that Dana saved to the man that she still had to save.

The theme of slavery which is dominant in this book was quite moving and heartbreaking. I feel like I learn something new whenever I read a book about slavery. In this case, I learned more about weddings between the slaves and the differences between free blacks and slaves. I also learned about resilience and what it took for slaves to survive. I can’t imagine what their lives were really like, the horror that they endured each and every day. It must have taken a lot of strength and resilience to survive that period.

In addition, I learned more about diseases and ailments in the past. I can’t imagine how anyone survived in that era before the invention of modern medicine. Two incidents that stood out for me involved the treatment of a broken leg and ague (malaria) and then magic of brine in treating wounds and especially broken skin after whip lashes. Thank God for modern medicine though.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler is a wonderful read. It is described as science fiction because of the time travel but everything about this story was quite realistic. I think that this book is a metaphor of how easy it is to take steps back to the history that we fought so hard to leave behind. Racial conflicts and inequities still exist in this era. There are various forms of neo-slavery that show that the past isn’t really left behind, it just morphed into something acceptable in the present.  This book also allows readers to look at past events through the POV of someone living in the present.


I have a feeling that this book will stay with me for a long time.

Review:The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

TatooistThe Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.

There have been many books about the Holocaust – and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive – not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also – almost unbelievably – a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story – their story – will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.


I have read a number of books about the Holocaust and continue to learn something new with each read. In this case, I learned about tattooists. I hadn’t really thought about the numbering/marking of prisoners until I read this book. I also assumed that German soldiers would have been tasked with this. However, from this story, I learned about Lale and other prisoners who were tasked with tattooing new arrivals at the concentration camps.

Lale’s story is deeply moving and memorable. I can’t even begin to explain the horrors that he and others witnessed and experienced at Auschwitz. I admired how he was able to do so much for his fellow prisoners despite his own confinement. Lale heroism wasn’t only in saving lives; it was also in the little things that he did like being gentle when tattooing the prisoners.

This is a story of strength, survival and perseverance in one of the most horrendous times in history. The setting is tough, heart-wrenching and most of the events that take place in the book are horrifying. However, in the midst of all this, there is a story of love and humanity triumphing over adversity. This is memorable a story and I am glad that I had the opportunity to read Lale and Gita’s story

Review: Little Liar by Clare Boyd

Insta Little Liar.jpg

The perfect family… or the perfect lie?

When a child’s scream pierces the night, Mira does what any good neighbor would do: she calls the police. She wants to make sure that Rosie, the little girl next door, is safe.

Opening her front door to the police the next morning, Gemma’s picture-perfect family is forced under scrutiny of social services.

As her flawless life begins to crumble around her, Gemma must fight to defend the family she loves and protect her daughter from the terrible secret she’s been keeping.

But who has Rosie been confiding in when Gemma’s back is turned? And why has she lied to the police?

When Rosie disappears without a trace, Gemma thinks she only has herself to blame. That is, until she finds a little pink diary containing a truth even more devastating than the lie…


Little Liar by Clare Boyd started out a bit slow. Readers are introduced to the two women, Mira and Gemma. Mira lives next door to Gemma with her husband, Barry. Gemma lives with her husband, two kids and she is expecting her third born. The neighbors co-existed peacefully until Mira heard screams next door and after a series of events, she suspected that Gemma was hurting her child, Rosie. Mira did what any good neighbor would do in a similar situation and called the police.

As I mentioned, this book started out a bit slow in the first chapter. However, I was soon pulled into the narrative and got totally immersed in the lives of the two women. The story is narrated through alternating POVs between Gemma and Mira. In Mira’s narrations, readers get to take a look at her past and present. I feel like her past really helped in building her character. It certainly helped in explaining her actions.

Little Liar is definitely an entertaining read. Apart from all the tension and drama though, it made me think critically about parenthood and its challenges. I would like to have kids someday. I think kids are super cute and adorable. However, reading this story made me think about the other side of parenthood and in particular, the tantrums. I have seen kids throw tantrums in public places. The kicking, lying on the floor and wailing but I have never really thought about how parents feel in these situations. Does it get frustrating? Do parents ever feel tired and helpless in the face of tantrums no matter how much they love their kids? I have never really thought about it before.

This is the perfect domestic noir filled with secrets and lies. The author did a fantastic job in building the tension from page to page. The two characters were in a situation that felt quite tense for both of them such that as a reader, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. I was especially  drawn to Gemma’s story and kept wondering what I would have done in a similar situation. This isn’t a book about big twists and shocking reveals. It is an intense read and the final turn was definitely dark and chilling. I would have wished for a different ending but I am okay with the direction that the author decided to take the story. This was definitely a captivating read.

Review: The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke

Runaway WifeThe hedonism of London in the roaring ’20’s is a world away from Annabel Tarleton’s ordinary country existence. Until a chance meeting with the charming Richard Fortescue at a society ball changes her life forever.

Swept off her feet by the dashing Richard, and his renowned fortune, Annabel soon realises all that all that glitters isn’t gold. Her bid for freedom has come at a terrible price and she finds herself trapped inside a marriage that behind closed doors is cruel and brutal.

Annabel has no choice but to flee, and will do everything to save herself, and her unborn baby, from destitution. But the very rich and very powerful expect to get what they want – and Richard wants only one thing – Annabel…


The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke attracted my attention because of the setting and time period. I enjoy historical fiction and the theme of marriage in books. The story is set in the 1920s. Readers are introduced to Annabel, a young single woman of  what is was then known as ‘marriageable age’. Annabel’s mother is keen to have her get married soon and is specific to the fact that she needs a wealthy suitor.  Richard seems to possess this attribute and  is also described as being quite attractive. However, it soon becomes apparent that he wasn’t all that he seemed at first.

As I already mentioned, the time period really interested me. I like reading about life as it was in the past. In this book, gender inequality was a predominant theme. Sex before marriage was treated quite differently between men and women. It seemed that women had to remain chaste if they wished to get married in future but men didn’t have to meet this requirement. Women with children outside wedlock were treated as outcasts. The different portrayals of women and men were sad though eye-opening.

Apart from the gender inequities, there were also themes of marriage and in particular abuse. Annabel is a likeable character and I kept turning the pages because of her. I was curious to know whether she would get out of the abusive marriage and how she would do it especially given the kind of society she was in.

Though I do enjoy a good historical fiction, this one wasn’t for me. Romance as portrayed in the book didn’t interest me much and I ended up skimming through a few sections. Love triangles are also a pet-peeve of mine and so that didn’t help my connection to the story. However, the writing of this book is great so I think readers who don’t mind romance in their historical fiction will love The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke.