Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Review - The Dream House

Title:   The Dream House
Author:  Jess Ryder
Genre:   Kindle ARC
Publisher:   Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  338
Date of Publication:  June 21, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

It’s everything she’s ever wanted …

When I first set eyes on Westhill House with its breath-taking views of the sea I knew Jack and I could make this our forever home.

It may be falling apart with an overgrown garden, but with some tender loving care, we can repair this beautiful building and perhaps our relationship too …

But the more time I spend renovating our new house, the more time Jack is spending at work.

At least Lori is here to keep me company.

She has her own troubles yet she always listens to mine.

She’s helping to restore the house, uncovering its secrets one by one.

Like the children’s drawings under the wallpaper in the back bedroom.

The hidden papers underneath the floorboards in the turret room.

And the fact that Westhill House is a place women used to go to feel safe …

Lori seems to know a lot about Westhill House.

The question is, why?

A gripping, spine-chilling read brimming with secrets and lies. If you loved The Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us or The Woman in the Window then this dark, twisting psychological thriller from Amazon chart bestseller Jess Ryder is guaranteed to have you gripped. 

Previously titled THE GUEST.


MY THOUGHTS:

Stella bought a house based on her inheritance, and she and her boyfriend Jack are determined to turn the former Westhill House into the perfect dwelling. However, Jack is getting frustrated with the renovation. One night a woman comes banging on their door. Her name is Lori and she claims that she is escaping her abusive spouse and that she was told that this house was a safe refuge.

Stella just cannot let the bruised and battered Lori back out into the night, so she allows her to stay, at least until Lori has a place to go. Thing is, Lori stays longer, although Stella is quite wary. Even more so, Jack is not happy and works longer and longer hours to stay away from home.

Things begin to get weird and quite quickly at that. For one thing, it becomes quite unnerving to Stella that Lori seems to know a lot about the house. While Lori stays there she begins working with the handyman and strange things begin happening. One example is that underneath wallpaper are some very dark drawings that Lori unearths and shows Stella. Is Lori who she says she is? 

This story is told in dual timelines. We the reader know that at some point things will converge. It is a thrilling journey to see things progress, and we begin to wonder who is reliable in this story. Sadly, remembering what brought Lori to Stella is a bit unsettling. Lori's whole story involves the domestic abuse she tells Stella about. This was indeed difficult to read, especially as the story evolved.

With the twists and turns, and character development, it was definitely an engaging read, one that kept me turning pages right through until the end. Nope, I could not put this book down. I enjoy the writing style of Jess Ryder and look forward to reading more from him in the future.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

We authors love it when we get a fantastic five star review and hate it when we get a bad one. That’s only natural, isn’t it? Everyone enjoys praise and nobody wants months of hard sweat to be dismissed in a few damning words. These days, reader reviews are more important than ever. With the dominance of Amazon, star ratings are crucial to sales and readers often seem more interested in what other readers have to say than the retail blurb put out by the publisher. Authors can refuse to read reviews but they can’t pretend they don’t matter, because they do.

There was a time – long, long ago – when the only reviews a writer ever received were from professional journalists and they only appeared in print. I remember coming back on the coach from Wales, after the premiere of my play ‘A Solitary Confinement’ at the Taliesin Theatre, a huge bouquet of flowers stuffed awkwardly between my thighs, stopping at a service station on the M4 and nervously buying The Guardian. To be honest, it wasn’t a brilliant review and the joy I’d been feeling up to that point wilted more quickly than the flowers. In contrast, the local Swansea paper had praised the production to the skies and the audience had responded really positively. Maybe The Guardian knew best, but it didn’t seem fair that one person’s opinion should hold such sway. 

Then the era of people-power dawned. I discovered that readers were taking time out of their busy lives not only to read my books, but to comment on them. Because they wanted to connect with me and other readers, not because it was their job. I was amazed and rather touched. I was also taken aback at how spiteful a very small number of people could be, but that’s life… We authors have to be careful. Get too hung up on the bad reviews, or too high on the effusive ones and we’re in trouble.

This year, Bookouture published my first two psychological thrillers – LIE TO ME and THE GOOD SISTER. I screwed my courage to the sticking place and read many of the reviews, especially from the bloggers. There are some incredibly dedicated people around, so generous with their time, so perceptive and intelligent. I’m building up a sense of what really pulls a reader in, how they want to relate to the characters, how they love twists and satisfying endings. It’s all very helpful stuff for future books. Common themes turn up in the reviews – for example, with THE GOOD SISTER, many readers enjoyed the tricks I played with changing perspectives. That was a risk on my part and I’m thrilled to know it paid off. Now, rather than feeling vulnerable to criticism, I actually feel supported. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to review my novels this year. It’s much appreciated.


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