Sunday 16 October 2016

Guest review and competition Between You And Me - Lisa Hall

Today I'd like to welcome back my guest reviewer Sarah Mackins and what a treat she's got for you all, as not only is there a review, there's a sneak peak at Lisa Hall's next book Tell Me No Lies, an interview with the lady herself AND you could win a signed, special paperback edition copy of Between Me And You. Interested? Well here's Sarah to tell you more.

Having had the pleasure of another good book Between You and Me by Lisa Hall I wanted to do something special so I had the idea to review it just before the release of Lisa’s next book Tell Me No Lies.
Firstly though, just in case you haven’t read this one let me tell you a bit more about Between You and Me, safe in the knowledge that there are no spoilers and with the bonus of being able to enter to win a signed paperback copy of a special edition that includes a sneak preview chapter of Tell Me No Lies at the end of this post.

Amazon is vague…

“They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.”

Now I’ve finished reading it I fully understand why Amazon had to be vague, so what can I add to the above blurb…..

Apart from the fact that I can tell you that this is an absolutely stunning debut book, I have to confess I'm struggling to review it due to the fact any hint at spoilers would destroy it for any future readers so for those that are used to fuller reviews from me I apologise, but if you haven't read this it's truly vague for your own good.

If I’m honest I put off reading this for a while due to the subject matter covering domestic violence and the impact that may have on me with my own background experiences.
I’m glad I eventually put aside my worries over the subject and decided to read this book.

So the book follows Sal and Charlie and their daughter Maggie.
I love the way it switches perspectives between Sal and Charlie recounting the events of an emotional rollercoaster relationship troubled by the issue of domestic violence.
Even though the book recounts events from both Sal and Charlie's viewpoints it strangely never felt repetitive.

It will take readers through a range of emotions as you grow to hate Charlie's behaviour and become frustrated at Sal for staying (with a small child) in a violent situation.
However as a reader that has experience of a destructive relationship (emotional bullying rather than physical in my case) I feel for Sal, I can relate to the difficulty of walking away and how hard that can be. I definitely found that I emotionally connected to the breaking points and sudden eye opening situations that are needed to strengthen your resolve to break free from this sort of cycle of behaviour.

The way this book is written is nothing short of stunning, especially when you take into account that it is also a debut book.
It is well advertised as being a book that has a twist you won't see coming and it's true. I didn't imagine it at all so much so that when I got to the twist I actually back tracked a few pages re-reading thinking I'd missed something as it took a moment for the penny to drop and the lightbulb moment to's the sort of twist that makes you want to finish the book and immediately restart it to look for clues you are sure you must have missed.

This book will stay with me for a long time and I am looking forward to future books from Lisa Hall.

I am lucky enough to live in the same county as Lisa Hall and so obviously couldn’t wait to help promote this great book. Then Lisa announced online that her new book Tell Me No Lies was available to pre-order coming out on October 20th and revealing another enticing book cover.

I contacted her to see if she wouldn’t mind answering some questions so that I could combine not only a review of her debut book with a little attention towards the new book too but also a little author knowledge.
Obviously since you are here reading this blog you will have guessed that she agreed, so below are a few things about the author you might not know yet.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hall

Lisa loves words, reading and everything there is to love about books. She has dreamt of being a writer since she was a little girl – either that or a librarian – and after years of talking about it, was finally brave enough to put pen to paper (and let people actually read it). Lisa lives in a small village in Kent, surrounded by her towering TBR pile, a rather large brood of children, dogs, chickens and ponies and her long-suffering husband. She is also rather partial to eating cheese and drinking wine.
Here are a few extra questions I put to her…

Q1) I see from your posts online that you are a wife and mum (like myself) so my first thought has to be how do you find the time to write? Do you schedule slots diary fashion or just grab time as and when? What's the writing / home-life balance like?

With the first book, it was a case of squeezing a bit of writing in any time that I could - now I no longer work full-time as well so it’s a bit easier! I usually do the school run, then write until about 2pm - then its back out on the school run and family time for the rest of the evening (unless edits are back. Then they all fend for themselves!)

Q2) How did you start out in writing? What made you choose Psychological Thrillers as a genre? Did anyone in particular inspire you to write?

I didn’t really set out to write a psychological thriller, it just turned out that way. I’ve always loved writing and knew that I wanted to write a novel, but it was trying to fit it in around the family - plus I needed a decent plot idea! I do find that I am very inspired by British crime writers - I am a big fan of Angela Marsons and C. L. Taylor.

Q3) With Between You and Me where did the plot idea come from? And (obviously without giving it away) did you start with the twist idea or did that come later?

The ending was the part that came to me first, and although I didn’t really consider it a “twist” at first, that was how it came out! So, the yes, the “twist” came first and then I went back and worked out who my characters really were and how they found themselves in this situation. 

Q4) Your next book Tell Me No Lies comes out October 20th what can you tell us about the plot? does it have another of your twists?

Tell Me No Lies is another psychological thriller, but this time the storyline focuses on whether you can ever really escape your past - that’s all I can say!

Q5) In the future would you stick with Thrillers or are there other genres you would be interested in writing?

I’ve got an idea for a novel that isn’t crime that I’m hopefully going to get a chance to write a first draft of…but whether it ever gets published or not is another story!

And lastly

Q6) If you could send a message to your readers what would you say?

I would just say “THANK YOU SO MUCH” - I’ve been overwhelmed by how well Between You and Me has done, and I am so grateful to everyone that has read and enjoyed it :) 

                             *    *    *    * Competition *    *    *    *

I for one am looking forward to future books and have Tell Me No Lies on pre-order.
So for any of you that either haven’t read Between You and Me (or maybe you have but would just like a signed special edition paperback copy) here is our giveaway

Based on the title of Lisa’s two books so far we decided to get people to add entries into the comments below and Just Between You and Me tell us your lies.
These can be lies you have told and got away with or lies that have backfired and gone drastically wrong for all involved….comment below and the one that grabs us the most will win the special edition paperback signed by Lisa Hall.

I'd like to thank Sarah for her great guest post and Lisa for taking the time to answer Sarah's questions and for very kindly offering a signed copy of her book. The competition is UK only due to postal costs and closes at 7pm on Sunday 23rd October.


  1. Oh goodness, tough one ladies! Sometimes the truth is harder to say than a lie, plus it's really hard to ever feel you can trust someone if they prove themselves to tell lies. We all like to put our trust in others it's like a warm cosy security blanket. I once spent an awful day chasing someone for a simple leavers card, I really don't know why they spun a trail of lies about its location, they only had to sign it and pass it to the next person on the list, all it did was alienate them.

  2. "Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

    Recently one of my neighbours (and good friend) was having a significant birthday. It was going to be a very BIG, loud and rather spectacular party. My problem was, because of the potential noise, cars, amount of people attending she invited ALL the neighbours to minimise the complaint aspect. I have a fantastic relationship with all my neighbours except one. None of the other neighbours like the particular neighbour I'm talking about, but he is constantly abusive to me as I live alone, he's a bully. So I declined the invitation. Subsequently so did all the other neighbours. But I didn't want to stay home and be thought of as sulking or watch everyone arriving. I decided if I wasn't home that would make things easier. Oh how wrong I was. I mentioned in conversation with a mutual friend that I was thinking of going away at the time of the party. Well blow me, didn't they want to come too. Which was nice in a way, but as we are both friends with the party person, and both had declined the invite, we couldn't let her find out. What a nightmare. I hate lies and liars and there I was being one. We couldn't talk about where we were going, who with or any of the usual fun things to discuss. We couldn't take any photos or tag anyone on fb .... absolute pain in the ass. We had a fabulous weekend but no one can ever know all about it. Never again!!!

  3. Been sitting here for half an hour thinking of something to write cause I'm to honest and hate liars the only thing I can actually think of is when I say I'm only going to the pub for one and end up blindo lol

  4. I told my husband that I was at work when really I was at Harry Potter World with a friend. I got back late because of traffic and he had cooked dinner because he felt bad that I got 'made to work late'.

  5. I've been telling my eldest that the ice cream man doesn't have ice cream if he's plays his music

  6. Too many to tell and none that I would wish to divulge to you via your blog Neats! ����

  7. I NEVER tell lies - and if you believe that...

  8. Great interview, I lied to a friend the other day when I told her she was looking great even though she looked pale and rather ill, 'cause I'd heard she was feeling under the weather and hoped it might cheer her up.

  9. Michelle Driscoll22 October 2016 at 09:11

    I told my children that the hazard warning light button in the car was actually to give the car wings so we could fly over traffic jams. They obviously wanted me to use the button but I made excuses that the car had to be filled to the top with petrol or it wouldn't work. It took them years to realise it wasn't true!

  10. I once lied to a boyfriend and told him he was the "biggest", he wasn't - but it made him feel better and I got a giggle as I meant 'biggest arsehole I had ever been with' -and that was the truth!