This week is BOOKOUTURE WEEK on Chocolate’n’Waffles!
Why focus on one publisher? The main reason is that few Bookouture books have disappointed me and I wanted December to be a good reading month. So I took a bet on them. Okay, a safe bet, but still! Another reason is that Bookouture was the first publisher to trust me when I started blogging, and they have given me great novels, fab friendships, and lots of fun, so I wanted to give back with seven reviews in a row, as a thank you and a ‘let’s have even more fun next year’!
One rule: all books have been read this month! As always, thank you to the fantastic Bookouture team for feeding me via NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.
Happy hump day! I hope yesterday was nice to you. Now that Santa and his band are gone, it’s time for some business! I am thrilled to share my very first review of a book by this talented author!
Title: The Best Friend
Author: Shalini Boland
Date of publication: December 2018
‘I can tell we’re going to be the best of friends…’
When Louisa takes her little boy to his first playdate at a new friend’s house she doesn’t realise life is about to change for her family. Because she’s about to meet Darcy Lane.
Darcy is a woman who has everything – a dream house, a powerful husband and enviable wealth.
She’s the perfect wife.
The perfect mother.
The perfect friend.
But will Louise discover the darker side to Darcy, before it’s too late…
From the top ten bestselling author of The Secret Mother and The Child Next Door, this utterly gripping psychological thriller will have you up all night reading. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you.
If you’ve been around, the name Shalini Boland must ring a bell. If it doesn’t, what are you waiting for?
Okay, who am I to judge? I have owned one of her books for more than a year and haven’t read it yet, but today, oh today I decided I wanted something good. But how could I have known my choosing The Best Friend would be the right decision? Two reasons.
One, I trust my fellow bloggers and I have seen so many brilliant reviews from people with similar taste to mine that I felt the risks of me not liking it would be close to none.
Second, the book is published by Bookouture and I have rarely been disappointed by their novels.
Okay, one more reason: I am obsessed with toxic friendships. I know, it’s a weird thing to say, but I just love to watch how bad things can turn out. Okay, now I sound awful. But honest!!!
Okay, The Best Friend. Those words that mean a lot to us throughout life. As kids, we want friends to play with, as teens our friends mean the world or, if you were on my team, you didn’t have many and the lack of them left you scarred. In adulthood, friends are the pillar holding you together when life throws you curveballs. I find it so difficult to find real friendships as a grownup. In fact, it feels like being a kid all over again. You can’t help comparing, hoping to please, feeling relieved when you finally meet someone who seems to understand you. Well, this is merely my opinion. But this is also why I connected to the main character in The Best Friend so quickly. Louisa is a happy mother and wife, she writes a column, but you can’t say she has a long list of friends ready to party! So, when a mom from her boy’s school makes the first move, it feels like a door might open. Not that Louisa is oh-so-desperate, but I could relate to her joy and relief at getting a shot at being included in a moms’ group and getting closer to a woman who could be the on the cover of The Perfect Life magazine.
Darcy seemed keen, nice, and just the right breeze needed by Louisa. My alarm didn’t instantly go on because she was married with a kid and I thought ‘Oh, at least she won’t try and steal Louisa’s hubby’. Hahaha. Poor me. Just like Louisa, I opened the door to Darcy and a draft came in. I have no better way to describe it. A draft — or draught for my lovely British friends (I am sorry, my instinct is to write in American!) that would turn into a massive storm.
When the first signs appeared, it was too late. I was completely fascinated by Darcy, absolutely on Louisa’s side, and madly in love with Shalini Boland’s writing style. And not just because there is MY NAME IN THE BOOK! Meggy! Not Meggie, or as my aunt would write Méguie… Anyway, rambling here…
Play dates with their kids, dinners at posh restaurants, helping Louisa’s husband Jared set up his company; Darcy and her man Mike seemed too good to be true, but when you want something to work, you let things slip, don’t you? I know I did.
Reading The Best Friend is like climbing stairs. Louisa is in the middle, making her way through life, but then someone catch the carpet under her feet and she falls back down, helplessly watching her life unravel.
Now, I love my villains to be realistic, people who smile at you while grabbing yoghurt at the supermarket. I was so happy to discover Shalini Boland makes monsters the way I like them: sick, rotten inside, but with motive, with strength and a wonderfully horrendous ability to manipulate people. It gives me room to observe the damages done by life and to root for the good guys. But it doesn’t mean the good guys win! Aren’t you scared when you think of how far some people are ready to go to get what they want? What if what they want is what you have? Isn’t a frighteningly terrific thing? Okay, so I win the ‘weirdest reader’ award, but I was so hooked on the claustrophobic atmosphere the author has created that I can be forgiven. I wish you to be as hooked as I was when reading this novel! From the light to the dark, with a single character to see through the fog and the madness… Oh I want to go back already!!!!
To sum up: The Best Friend = one afternoon + two giant mugs of tea + three OMG what on earth moments + four pieces of cake – half my nails + THAT TWISTED X factor.
In case it was not clear enough; The Best Friend is remarkable! Totally shocking, brilliantly scary and perfectly chilling!!!
Books and music are my passion and I’ve always been a writer in some shape or form. Before children, I was signed to Universal Music as a singer/songwriter. But that all seems like several lifetimes ago.
Now I combine motherhood with writing fiction. I write the kinds of books I love to read – suspenseful thrillers and gripping adventures.
You can find me in the following places: