Tuesday, April 30, 2024

One of Us Knows by Alyssa Cole

Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Alyssa Cole's latest, One of Us Knows

Ken has been asleep for six years. Or so it seems. 

Diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, though still with no memory of the inciting event, Ken has been dormant for six years while her other headmates have been living life for her. But even they don't know where Ken was all that time. 

When she awakens, on a dock and dressed in a style typical of another identity, she learns she's starting a new job as caretaker at the castle on Kavanaugh Island. But a storm hits straight after her arrival--after she meets members of the island trust she is all too familiar with. 

As she and her alters all try to cope with the situation and figure out the various mysteries they're suddenly facing (where Ken went for so many years; where Della, who took over for much of that time, has gone now; and more strangely, why a castle they've never been to is the exact replica of where they live in Ken's inner mind), they must also survive the storm alongside her ex, a man she assaulted years ago, and the other trust members, in a castle that has it's own strange history on an island locals once believed was home to goblins. 

I absolutely loved this latest from Cole! It's a fantastic modern gothic read!

The POV switches between Ken and her headmates, which I thought was both interesting and handled well. (Cole does thank someone who helped with the DID details.)

Each of the others has a specific role. And part of the story is learning how Ken developed DID in the first place, something neither she or our other POV identities can remember. 

Like I said, this is definitely modern gothic. The house, the rumors of ghosts, being trapped by the storm...all of the basics are there. And Cole does it so freaking well! I read this book in one day and would have read in one sitting had day-to-day life stuff not gotten in the way!

And that's how it felt too. I just could not wait to dive back into this world and find out what secrets were hidden on Kavanaugh island, what ghosts were hiding in the castle, and how Ken and the others would handle it all!

One of Us Knows is out now in the UK and in the US

Friday, April 19, 2024

Five Bad Deeds by Caz Frear

It's Friday! And it's a cold one here. Hopefully the last of the season!

But the good news is that today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Caz Frear's latest, Five Bad Deeds

Just a few months ago, Ellen was your average housewife. Mom to three kids and desperate to get back to her career, she's also still trying to fully fit into their new life away from London. 

But now she's in prison.

It all starts with a note. Someone who things Ellen should pay. But who? And why? As Ellen thinks back, there are five things. Five things that could have been the start of her downfall. But until she figures out which one, she won't know who is behind the threat. As more notes arrive, it becomes clear this is someone who will do anything to see Ellen lose it all. 

What a juicy and enticing thriller!

When we meet Ellen, she's already been incarcerated. But we don't know why. All we know is that she hasn't seen her twin sons since she got there. 

Flash back to "the beginning." And it would seem that it's the damning note that arrives in the mail. 

Except the note is not the beginning at all. 

And that, I think, is what made this such a fun read. We meet Ellen, we feel for her as a mom struggling with her teenage daughter and twin sons, a woman whose husband is often gone, a woman starting to feel lonely in her life. 

But as Ellen's story goes on, she begins to become much more complicated! The notes and the things she's done that might be the reason for it all...

There's a little, or a lot, of Ellen in us all. Trust me. And while some might not like the reflection, I quite enjoyed the 'what if' of it all. (Even though I have a lot of anxiety and tend to overthink everything!) It's not necessarily fun to think about what you might have done in your own life. But it is quite easy to empathize with Ellen as you soon begin to question what you'd do in her shoes!

Of course the suspense behind the sender of the notes and the five deeds Ellen reflects on make this an absolute page-turner, but I think that little connection Frear draws between the reader and Ellen is what makes it a richer (sometimes uncomfortable—but in a good way) reading experience!

Five Bad Deeds is out now in the US and the UK!