Cover Image: The Housewarming

The Housewarming

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Member Reviews

Such a fabulous book! I started reading it and had finished it within a day. The story line is so seamless and it just flows without any abrupt breaks. The ending was so true and it hit a nerve especially during this time in our lives. Abi goes missing and all the relationships are tested to the max. Excellent book!
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The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes had me feeling very emotional as I was hoping Abi would be found. The book is a mystery that features every parent's nightmare, a missing toddler!  Also, as I read the story the depth of interactions among friends and neighbors uncovers layers of secrets and true emotions. This is not an action thriller, but more a study of how dramatically a family can be affected during a traumatic event and the fallout it leaves.
Ava is a good mother and happy to be pregnant with another baby. One morning she has her two-year-old in the stroller ready for a walk but Ava must run upstairs to get her cell phone. While she is upstairs, she is delayed in getting back to Abi. When she comes down the stairs, she sees Abi is missing from the stroller.  This begins a frantic search by Ava as she desperately calls for her little girl. Soon she calls Matt, and he comes home and contacts the police for help.
I won't post spoilers, but Matt and Ava's distress is heartbreaking. The unknown fate of their child continues to wreck their lives. Months after the day Abi went missing, a neighbor holds a huge housewarming party to reveal the modern renovations to their house. Ava listens carefully to conversations as she watches her neighbors during the party. She picks up on some comments and actions which leave her with questions. As she is leaving the party, Matt's best friend Neil tells her a secret he has kept since the day Abi went missing. This information shatters Ava and makes her more determined to find out what happened to her daughter.
Publication Date: October 23, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Ava was upstairs for 5 minutes. 
Maybe 10. 
15 minutes tops. 

Her two-year old daughter, Abi, was safely in her stroller downstairs. Since she wasn’t making a peep, she must’ve been content. Ava was glad to grab a few quiet minutes to “use the loo”, check her Facebook feed, breathe. 

When she came downstairs, the front door was open. She must’ve forgotten to close it. Abi was gone. 

A year later, wrapped up in grief, Ava’s husband, Matt, suggests they go to their neighbors housewarming party. It’ll be the first time anyone has seen the inside, which was a total gut job and very pricey. Ava will find out something she never knew about the worst day of her life one year prior, which sets off a chain of events and speculation. 

Potential reader, beware: This is not a thriller. It’s a drama (more than domestic) with mystery involved. Although the chapters from one year ago were a bit repetitive (searching high and low for Abi), the book really picked up in the present day. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t feeling blown away by what I was reading. 

Then, a couple of well-timed and surprising twists that I never expected pushed the last 20% into high gear, and I really came to care about the characters and their situations. 

3.5 stars rounded up. I’ve always enjoyed the work of S.E. Lynes (with the exception of her last novel). I also really enjoyed her note at the end, which discussed writing this during the times of COVID-19. 

Thank you to Bookouture, S.E. Lynes, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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My stomach is in knots!

When I pick up a novel by SE Lynes, I have come to expect that I am going to get great writing, fantastic characters and a compelling and thought-provoking plot. The Housewarming knocks it out of the park on all three counts.

From the first chapter when Ava is looking for her daughter, my stomach started to tighten. What mother hasn’t experienced a moment of panic when their child has wandered out of sight? Lynes writes that initial panic and its transition into bone-chilling fear with a masterly command of pace. As the novel progresses, and details are revealed, the tension doesn’t let up for a second. If I’d had the time to read it in one sitting, I wouldn’t have put it down until the last word.

Lynes’ writing is – as always – a joy to read. The way she manipulates the reader’s perception of characters and situations is extremely clever and her prose is both beautiful and accessible. 
This is a novel that will stay with you long after you have finished reading. For me, the most haunting part was that it is sometimes the things we take for granted that are most important. I’ll certainly be holding my children close tonight.
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The Housewarming is about a young mother, Ava, whose two-year old daughter, Abi, goes missing one morning. One year later, Ava and her family are barely hanging on when events start to happen which may finally lead Ava to find out what happened to her daughter that fateful day. 

This is a fast-paced, well-written, gripping and intense story that kept me turning the pages! I found the interweaving of the present and past in the chapters describing Ava’s emotions a year after Abi’s disappearance very effective and further drew me into the story. While I knew a key part of the ending before it happened, there was also a twist that I did not see coming. The characters were neither black nor white which made them very believable and fascinating. The key message of the book -  as explained by Ava - that looking after each other - family, friends and those around us - is all that any of us truly has - really resonated with me. I will definitely be reading other works by this author. Highly recommend this read!  

Thanks to @Bookouture for providing me with an arc of this book via @Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Ava & Matt are devastated when their two year old daughter, Abi, goes missing. Ava blames herself for leaving the door open and now lives a life of gut wrenching guilt from which she can see no way out. The story switches between the time of Abi’s disappearance and a year after. The book is written from the POV of Ava & Matt,  where we witness the heartbreak that haunts them both as they desperately try to move on with their lives, especially now they have a new-born son, Fred. When an invite to their neighbours housewarming party arrives, Matt is keen for them to go in an effort to ease Ava back into the world around her. After much discussion, they both go to the party where a throw away line in a conversation puts her on edge and she begins to doubt those around her and their involvement in Abi’s disappearance. 

I felt the first half of the book, leading up to the party was quite slow although it was well written and gave the reader a really good feel for how Ava & Matt were feeling. The obvious turning point was the party, hence the book title. From that point the storyline raced towards a thrilling outcome, with a few twists along the way. This is the first of this authors books I’ve read but I’ll be looking out for more in the future. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley UK for the free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Everything I have come to expect from this author - gripping, shocking, well written and unputdownable. Absolutely brilliant.
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An amazing mystery about a missing child in a house party were new evidence comes out that lets the mother now perhaps what happened was a little closer to home. I’m going to give this book 5 stars I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it.
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I don’t know how I feel about this one.

On the one hand it is very sad.  Incredibly, heartbreakingly, oh my god I’m tearing up sad.  It’s a striking portrayal of grief and guilt.

But…it was supposed to be a pulse pounding suspense thriller and…it just wasn’t.

The suspense portions of things were just clunky, the reason behind everything falls flat, and the very end just…thuds to a dull stop.

I wanted to like this more than I did.

Honestly not certain if I’d try the author again.

*ARC Provided via Net Galley
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Everyone is going to the housewarming party.
All the same people who lived on the street the day Abi vanished…

This was a good book! My first time reading a S.E. Lynes book and it did not disappoint.
The setting really grabbed me. It seemed very interesting.
The characters I enjoyed. But the story was a little predictable.
The ending was great.

But where it was a little predictable it just tool the fun right out of it.

Overall great book.
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Like a watched kettle, this book took a little while to come to the boil for me. But, once it did, my attention to domestic duties dwindled to nothing as I devoured every page. Feeling hungry, folks? Dinner might be a while…
The gut-churning horror of a young child vanishing virtually without a trace doesn't make for comfortable reading. The author deftly paints the desperation and guilt felt by mum, Ava, and her adoring husband Matt's attempts to draw her back to normality. But how can anything be normal again? 
Tragedy is like an infectious disease. People avoid you. They don't want to catch it.
There is a line fairly early on that had my antenna twitching. Ahah, I thought. Now I know where this is going. But — due to the extremely skilled storytelling, teasing information and throwing in blinders — I was only partially correct.
There are beautiful metaphors, lines of such sublime quality, and even the odd word I'd never heard of (something I've encountered in the author's previous work). 'Philtrum', the vertical groove on the surface of the upper lip, for example. And the description of Ava's growing doubts about events of that shocking day.
I feel it bodily, as I feel music; hear the wrong note in the fiendishly difficult, un-spannable chord. When struck with a fork, a glass with even a hairline crack does not chime.
There's also humour amid all the darkness. Lines that made me giggle, despite the bleak subject matter.
Chorizo sausages nestle optimistically in a cardboard tray, bursting burnt orange in their tight skins. In happier, funnier times, Matt used to call them fox bollocks.
New friendships are forged, old ones tested, and secrets and lies snake their way to the surface. The titular housewarming party serves as a catalyst, albeit a slow-burning one. Akin to the kettle, its simmering bubbles gaining momentum until the 'click' that signifies the end.
It is simply that the party has pulled the plug on the weird, stagnant pond of our lives, has drained the water from details half submerged, which lie now in the shallows, exposed.
I've missed a few of the author's earlier books, an oversight I intend to correct. For once, I'll accept the word 'unputdownable'…
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC. All views expressed are my own.
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S.E. Lynes is a an author I have been wanting to read for a long time and I am very happy for this opportunity from NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

To set the picture: Ava, a mother in present times, can't live her life since an year ago her daughter Abi, 2 years old, had vanished. No one has seen her, and Ava and her husband can't move, in any way, past that. 

Why? Because there isn't a body and no one has seen the little one that morning. What the hell happened?

This thriller was simply amazing with all you can imagine - enough suspects, enough thoughts from all the characters, guilt that goes round and round and carefully crafted characters that seem that they don't know anything even though you as a reader are sure they are aware of some information. You believe the author completely and the words guide you in this gem of thriller.

The psychological aspect of all the characters is incredibly well progressing throughout the story and it seems that the author thought about every sentence for a very long time before writing it. Every paragraph seems perfectly 'articulated' for a book and the twists!

For me as a reader every twist felt not so much as an incredible twist, but an unbelievable revelation.  In the best possible way.
Every chapter forms a picture for the readers that is even managing to change in the course of the same chapter  and the wording just does that seemingly easily. 

A family drama with a great deal of mystery and thriller and the psychological aspect gets you running through the story since you are thinking that maybe it was an accident, maybe someone took Abi, maybe she ran away and you are gasping at those last chapters when everything is revealing. And even then you are not sure what you have read and you now don't believe the author but you must because you can't handle any more twists. 

And the last idea that the author introduced to us, idea for which she gave us some glances through the story, was so hard to swallow and yet I questioned myself and my emotions and my goal and sense here on this Earth.
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Oh my goodness!  What a book!  This was quite the page turner for me.  I loved it!  I needed a quick and easy read to suck me in this weekend.
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First off I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for this ARC of Susies latest book, I’ve loved every single book of hers I’ve read. This one however was a slow starter, but around half way through it picked up and I just couldn’t put it down. I felt that Susie really captured the hurt and guilt of each individual character perfectly, making me come to tears reading it at some points. A story of love, loss and guilt, all in one.
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The Housewarming by S. E. Lynes is a dark and disturbing story of a missing child. I was wary about reading another novel about a missing child as there has been a lot of them published recently. This novel went deeper into the ramifications, thoughts, and disturbances for the parents.

This isn't a crime or thriller novel per se. The main focus is on how Ava and Matt are living or existing after their daughter, Abi's disappearance. I appreciated the exploration into the characters' psyches. Some may be waiting from the onset for twists and turns. I think if you approach the novel knowing that it isn't like this, you won't be disappointed. 

The revelations start coming nearer the end. The housewarming party turns things around. Initially, I wondered about the relevance of the title. All became clear, far beyond the literal. This is where this suspense novel really ramps it up and the horror of what happened is revealed.

I really enjoy S. E. Lynes' writing. It immerses into characters, the plot, and description. The Housewarming is no exception.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this early copy. Publication on 23rd October.
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Ava is devastated when her two year old daughter goes missing.
One year later her neighbours have a housewarming party and after a few drinks things are said that makes Ava think someone knows what happend to her daughter.
Now Ava will keep asking questions until she finds out the truth about the disappearance.
I found the story a little slow and repetitive in parts but the pace picked up half way through the book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I have read all of S.E. Lynes books as I love her ability to keep me thinking about her stories long after I've finished the book.

This was a heart breaking story of a little girl called Abi who seems to vanish without a trace from her parent's home. 

A year after her disappearance, Matt convinces Ava to attend their new neighbours housewarming party which becomes a catalyst of new thoughts for Ava and is on a mission to understand exactly what happened to her daughter

This is also a story of grief, motherhood, friends, lies, secrets and so much more.

Ultimately for me though it was about kindness and how we look after each other, whether they are our neighbours, friends or vulnerable members of society

"And if we don't look after each other, we're just hiding in castles, shooting arrows at our neighbours"
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*Thank You to Netgalley, S.E. Lynes and Bookouture for allowing me to read this Arc in exchange for an honest review*

I am new to the Author S.E. Lynes and I was not disappointed. This is a true Psychological Thriller and not for the faint hearted. A warning that some parts are very hard to get through but the ending is satisfying. 

The Housewarming is as story about the disappearance of 2yo Abi and the effects it has on each person involved. The book takes place one year after her unsolved absence as her grieving mother aches for her child and tries to find answers in every face she looks at and every word she hears. Her need for answers radiates into all her relationships including her friendships and her crumbling marriage. The reader goes through every detail with her again and again as she tries to figure out what went wrong and what secrets are being kept from her. We go on this roller coaster with her until the epic conclusion which has the reader completely shocked.

This mystery is well written and keeps the reader on their toes through the entire book, having you suspect each person you are introduced to. S.E. Lynes has created a masterpiece of psychological drama with emotion and suspense.
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This was such an entertaining read. 
The setting was great - a small town, a group of neighbors, all living in one street, and a little girl who went missing. Ava's point of view of the night where her daughter went missing was so vivid, and it felt so real, that I could really feel myself connect with her even right at the start of the book. Her growing panic and hysteria were pictured so well and the atmosphere was just incredibly well done. 
I really enjoyed all the dynamics and characters, the switch of point of view was really easy to read, and the writing style was enjoyable. I was invested in the mystery from the very start, and I couldn't put the book down because I just had to know how it would turn out. I had really high expectations for the ending because the rest of the book was so well pieced together, and it felt like the plot was so carefully constructed. I loved all the little pieces Ava noticed which fell together and formed a larger picture and seeing her suspicion slowly rise. 
I have to admit I did predict a large bit of the ending because the clues for that turn of events were quite obvious to me even in the beginning of the book. I still really enjoyed reading it though, and there was still one twist I didn't see coming. 
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I would definitely pick up more books by this author.
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Wow! This book had literally given me all the feels. My curiosity has been at its peak, the scene has been built and I've been left shocked at every twist and turn. 
This is a work of genius, definitely pulls you in as a reader and keeps you guessing. I have definitely found myself thinking about this book even when not reading it. 
Lynes has really built up the tension, I've been kept on the edge of my seat. I absolutely couldn't predict where this was going. Although, I didn't quite get the ending I had hoped for. Unfortunately the ending has a real accuracy. 
This is completely unique to anything I've read previously. I'm ashamed to admit that this is my first read by this author but I am definitely going to be reading more. 
A definite five star read.
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