Cover Image: Are You Awake?

Are You Awake?

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Member Reviews

The premise for this tense slow burn psychological thriller is almost chilling. Imagine being awake in the dead of night, sleep deprived and with insomnia that you see something...think you see something...are almost sure you DID see something that could shed some light into the disappearance of a young woman? Can you be sure of what you saw? After all, you've not slept - really slept - for two years so your mind could be playing tricks on you...couldn't it? But you are almost certain...aren't you? It was her, wasn't it? Definitely...maybe...I don't know... Maybe you just dreamt it up. But then your neighbour says he saw her too. So you can't both be wrong...can you?

Meet Mary Collins. Thirtysomething mum to toddler Audrey and baby Leo. Sleep deprived from the constant demands motherhood brings to her shining little cherubs. The children unfortunately share a room in their pokey little two bed flat on the outskirts of London, meaning when one wakes then the other does also. And life becomes a constant revolving door of meeting each childs' needs one after the other after the other after the other...all night. Meanwhile hubby Jack snores his way through slumber and oblivion as his exhausted wife sees to the children without an ounce of sleep.

One night whilst soothing the cries and demands of her children, she is looking out the window when she sees something...a face at a window, seemingly crying for help. But as quick as she saw it, it's gone again. She blinks. Was it real? Did she see it at all? Because there is clearly nothing there now. Then she looks down into the park across the street, which backs onto a row of of which she had seen the face. Or rather, thought she did. And there in the park at 4am is a man. What is he doing there at this hour? Without thinking, she deposits the children back to bed and barely stopping to grab a robe, Mary marches out the door and across the street to where the stranger is snooping.

And that is how Mary and Tim meet.

She soon learns that Tim saw the face she did at the window. So she didn't imagine it. It was real. Problem is, he is as sleep deprived as she is so who would believe them? But regardless, both are sure of what they saw. And both are convinced it is missing teenager Samantha Ellis, who vanished walking home one night after her shift at the care home where she worked. And so together they decide to investigate Samantha's disappearance.

But neither of them are prepared for the storm they unleash in the wake of their digging. Can they succeed where the police have failed? Will they find Samantha and uncover the truth before it's too late? For all of them?

ARE YOU AWAKE? is a slow burn thriller that does take a while to pick up pace but there is enough intrigue there to keep you turning the pages. While both characters' backstories provided sufficient insight into their insomnia and sleep deprivation, I did tire of Mary's two year old daughter Audrey's constant and incessant whining and complaints on just about everything. And her demands were uttered at one volume - LOUD!! Audrey was, simply put, exhausting. "MUMMY! HATE PORRIDGE! WANT COCO POPS!", "MUMMY! WANT PANCAKES!", "MUMMY GO HOME! GO HOME NOW!", "MUMMY! MORNING TIME! PLAY LEGO WITH ME!", "MUMMY! NOT SHOPS! IT'S PEPPA TIME!", "MUMMY! I WANT I WANT I WANT!!!" Every time she opened her mouth she uttered demands and was unbearably grouchy - all the time. Her demands were constant, tiring and really reaaaaallllly draining. And I'm not even her mother! I only read the words and I could hear those demands all day was exhausting. No wonder Mary didn't know whether she was coming or going...I doubt I would either. Her narrative at the start was a bit much and seemed more like a chaotic day in the life of rather than the mystery of Samantha Ellis. Tim was a little more bearable though carried a ton of shameful guilt about his time in Syria and now suffers PTSD as a result. And of course insomnia is the result of that. Hence why he was peering out of his window at 4am also.

Unfolding through the alternating narratives of Mary and Tim, there is also the odd narrative from the missing Samantha, leaving you wondering what exactly has happened to her. I did find the story dragged a little bit but that could just been the incessant droning and whining of a demanding two year old I did not take a liking to one bit. It was a little bit much but then some of Mary's flippant remarks in her narrative made me chuckle.

I really did enjoy ARE YOU AWAKE? despite Audrey's constant rants, and she thankfully blended into the background and became more of hubby's problem to deal with once he decided to be a parent instead of sleeping in when Mary more than deserved one. The suspense began to build as more questions are raised and the further Mary and Tim delved. The first half was more about Mary's chaotic life while the second half really picked up the pace and got down to the nitty gritty. Finally, they were getting somewhere. But would they uncover the truth before it's too late?

There are a few red herrings, but equally so, they are also a paramount part of the mystery. Figure that one out. I did...and it seemed I had two answers instead of one. But which one what the truth?

Overall, a good solid mystery with the chilling psychological aspect where sleep deprivation can mess with your mind - tricking you into thinking you saw something when you didn't or you didn't see anything when you did. It will have you questioning your own credibility and leave you pondering the reliability of our two narrators.

I would like to thank #ClaireMcGowan, #Netgalley and #AmazonPub for an ARC of #AreYouAwake in exchange for an honest review.

This review appears on my blog at

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Mary feels like she hasn't slept in years and Tim can't sleep after the terrible event he experienced. One night Mary goes to a park to have some time to herself and meets Tim. While they are there they both see what looks like a violent attack happening in the window of a nearby home. They become desperate to find out what happened, and after seeing news reports of a missing woman, they are convinced she was the one they saw being attacked.
The major questions of this book are: how reliable is the memory of someone who doesn't sleep? Was there really an attack or did they imagine it? Is the attacker closer to home than they know?
This was a really good book and I liked it a lot. There is a major plot twist halfway through and it will surprise you. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.

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From the very beginning of Are You Awake?, I was drawn into the lives of two primary characters, Mary and Tim, who have trouble sleeping at night and find themselves noticing odd happenings in the neighborhood. Like sleuths, they follow the clues, try to involve the police, but with no results, and eventually are in danger for their lives.

Just when we think we have it figured out, there are more twists and turns, and the drama surrounding them all intensifies.

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Thank you to Netgalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

I have always enjoyed this author's books, but this one was a miss for me. Even though I liked the main character, Mary Collins, I found it hard to follow along with the story and did not understand the characters motives at any point and the twists, were kind of far fetched. I did not understand how Mary just hooked up to solve a crime with Tim, the odd stranger she meets late at night. The storyline did not make sense most of the time. I hope her next book is much better.

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This was an okay read. While I found the premise interesting, I thought that the main characters’ personal lives and sleep issues took too much center stage instead of the main mystery. I understand that the story is told from their points of view and we need them to move things along, but unfortunately they were more in the way rather than carrying things forward. Also, I found them, perhaps because of what I mentioned just now, to be slightly annoying at times.

I still think this would appeal to many readers since the mystery was intriguing enough to finish the book.

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Are You Awake, by Claire McGowan was a fun, exciting read! While I found it slow at points, I loved the characters and ending! I will definitely keep reading books by the author and will be telling everyone to check this book out!

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Personally I like Claire McGowan and her books typically are very good so I was excited to read this and give a review. But unfortunately I did not enjoy this one as much as I thought. The concept was good, missing person and a group of neighbors who come together to try and find her. Both characters face insomnia and they both are tied to each other because of this. The both have to fight their way through their own challenges and battles but they still keep searching for the missing person. I think that it was an okay book but there were parts of it that fustrasted me and made it unrealstic. As a lawyer you would have thought Mary would have been better prepared and not jumped so much into it.

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Oh Claire McGowan , you have just brought my inner spawn to surface…

Are You Awake?

Without even realizing it, I just picked up my favorite book of the year.

What happens when people aren’t what they seem? Well, I’ll tell you, you put on your big girl panties and you handle it.

There is no secret I absolutely adore Claire McGowan. I have bookstagram to thank for the introduction. After seeing just about EVERYONE post about Are You Awake, I knew I had to make this one a priority. I pushed aside my Christmas themed books and took a dive right in.

Hey guys… can you pick my jaw off the floor for me?

What did I just read? Literary gold, that’s what.

I had plans to go line dancing tonight. I’ve had these plans for a few weeks now. My girlfriends and I had our outfits picked out, wine stocked up and our designated driver assigned.

I bailed

This book right here is going to make you cancel all your plans so be prepared !

I could not move . Picture the scene from Mean Girls “im sorry I can’t come out ::fake cough:: im sick” . Yup, that was me.

Worth It !

I read this book in one sitting . Im ashamed to admit it but I’ll own it, i didnt even shower today! I just couldn’t spare 5 minutes away from this book. I was completely consumed and nothing was going to get in my way.

5 stars

Now, excuse me while I finally take that overdue shower.

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Reading Between the Wines book review #107/135 for 2022:

Rating: 3🍷 🍷 🍷 
Book 📱 : Are You Awake?
Author: Claire McGowan 
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | General Fiction Adult
Available now!

Sipping thoughts: I reallye enjoy McGowan's writing style. This was not my favorite of hers but I enjoyed it. It was a little repetitive but I had to find out if the characters were just crazy or delirious. I did figure out one part of the twist early on. And ended up figuring out the second part before the reveal. The main characters, Tim and Mary, really bothered me with some of their reactions but it made for a good read. Can't wait for the next release. 

Cheers and thank you to @NetGalley and @AmazonPublishingUK for an advanced copy of @AreYouAwake.

#AreYouAwake #ClaireMcGowan #AmazonPublishingUK #NetGalley #advancedreadercopy #ARC #Kindle #Booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #bookstagram #nicoles_bookcellar #bookworm #bookdragon #booknerd #booklover #bookstagrammer #bookaholic #bookreview #bookreviewer #IHaveNoShelfControl #ReadingBetweenTheWines #fiction #thriller #suspense #mystery #MysteryAndThrillers #GeneralFictionAdult

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With two young children, Mary hasn’t slept in what feels like years. For his part, Tim never feels safe enough to sleep. And so one hot, exhausting night, the two strangers meet while seeking solace in a nearby park. There, they witness something horrific: a violent attack in the window of a neighbouring house.
Bonded by what they’ve seen, Tim and Mary are desperate to find answers. And when they see news reports of a missing woman who was last seen walking alone not far from them, the pair are convinced it’s her they saw being attacked—no matter what the police say.
But with her marriage under strain and the police on their tail, Mary begins to doubt her own mind…and Tim’s. And as the pair are drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, the culprit appears to be even closer to home than they thought. Have they got it all wrong, or is something even more sinister going on?

What a gripping a read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. This is my own honest voluntary review.

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I have read a few of Claire McGowan's books before and enjoyed them. Nothing has wow'ed me, but they have been OK.
This book is the same.
It didn't WOW me, but it did keep me reading, and did keep me guessing all the way through. The payoff at the end was pretty simple, considering all of the build up - but I enjoyed the reading experience nevertheless.
The plot was quite slow for a thriller, but it still kept me reading as I was so intrigued.
I think this book would have been better if it was 50 pages shorter - I think it would have solved the slow pacing issue that myself and others have mentioned in their reviews.

Overall this was an OK read - I wanted to read until the end, at no point did I want to DNF but it isn't a book that will stay with me long after reading.

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Thanks to #netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. The premise of this book drew me in, 2 neighbours who have never met, both with sleep deprivation think they have seen something suspicious in the window of a neighbouring apartment, they start meeting up and investigating the case of a local missing girl, who they are convinced they have seen in this apartment window and they need to save her. It was an engaging and entertaining read, following these 2 amateur sleuths as they tried to solve the case of the missing girl and return her to her family. It was a well paced, enjoyable read. #clairemcgowan #areyouawake? #netgalley #tea_sipping_bookworm #goodreads #litsy #thestorygraph #thriller #bookqueen #bookstagram

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I was very excited to read this as I have enjoyed previous books by this author.

The plot is a good concept, a missing girl and a couple of well meaning neighbours who by chance club together as they believe they can find her.

The characters of Mary (lawyer on maternity leave) and Tim (journalist with tragic past) are united by their insomnia. Her by lack of sleep due to her young children and him due to experiences in Syria. They muddle their way through and despite both being either charged or warned off by police continue their search.

Overall it was an okay read, but I felt that as a lawyer Mary should have been a little more savvy than to go blindly into this and Tim, while being the best character in the book, was I felt under explored in his story.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I struggled with this one, I didn’t like the characters and I found it very slow. I nearly didn’t finish it but I plowed on and managed it. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

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I loved Ms McGowan's book THE PUSH. It was edge of your seat thrills. This one was good but not great. It had some things that I love and others that just didn't do it for me.

I suffer from insomnia so did relate to the first part descriptions of how you feel with lack of sleep. It's horrible. I felt for the characters going through this.

This book was interesting. I felt so bad for Mary and Tim. They think they saw a murder but could it have been from lack of sleep. They only think they saw what happened. The twists and turns that come next are pretty good. How things play out was interesting. My problem was it dragged in places. That I could deal with though. I love when I have an author that I always know I'll love their books and thought that is what I was getting with this one. While I didn't love it I certainly didn't hate it. It held my interest enough to read and try to figure out what was going on.

I like the characters in this book. It's told from Mary and Tim's POV as you get to know each. I was a bit disappointed in the ending though. To me it seemed to just happen and then that was that. No real closure maybe. Or explanation. Something was just missing.

Thank you #NetGalley for this ARC. This was my true thoughts about this book.

3 stars

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OUTLIER ALERT…I genuinely enjoyed this for the most part. PHEW!

Mary and Tim are neighbors who’ve never met. Neither of them sleep well, and they spend their days wishing to go to bed. Mary has 2 young children who are never quiet and keep her up all night (and an unsupportive jerk of a husband to boot). Tim can’t stop thinking about something tragic that happened in his past, and it keeps him up.

One night, they both see something suspicious…what looks like a violent attack in the window of one of the neighboring homes. Mary and Tim happen to meet in the park the next night, and confirm they both saw, or thought they saw, the same thing.

Coincidentally, there is a missing 19-year old woman from their town, and they can’t help but wonder if that’s who they saw in the window of the house. The police aren’t making time for Mary and Tim, so they decide to take matters into their own hands and try to solve a crime.

Some of my favorite reviewer friends didn’t enjoy this one. I was actually dreading it after seeing their reviews. Maybe it’s because my anticipation was low, but I found this highly entertaining. That’s not to say it doesn’t have any issues.

What Didn’t Work:

Mary is supposedly a brilliant lawyer, although on maternity leave. However, she makes terrible decision after terrible decision that someone that smart would unlikely make. She’s also irresponsible in putting her children in danger at times, although she does cop to it eventually. While I enjoyed some of the OTT moments, I feel like it would’ve worked better if the book was aiming to be a darkly comedic mystery. The ending was pretty ridiculous and implausible, but that’s nothing new.

What Worked:

As I mentioned above, there are some very amusing scenes in this book, and I think it would have benefited if it just embraced the humorous aspects of what silly things the characters were doing here and there. It didn’t deter my reading, but I wonder if other readers would’ve embraced the silliness a bit more if it was straightforward in the funny department. I love reading about amateur sleuths, and it was fun to picture Mary and Tim bopping around town, trying to get information…only to find themselves in more trouble. I also found the pacing perfect. I had a hard time putting it down (until the end, when I was ready for it to wrap up), and wanted to know how it ended.

Was it perfect? No. Was I entertained? Heck yes! And that was enough for me.

3.5 stars. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Now available.

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3.5 stars

Are You Awake, by Claire McGowan, is a compelling mystery that covers a lot of territory!
The beginning chapter is sinister, and draws in the reader immediately with hints of dark doings and evil people. From there, the reader is quickly introduced to Mary, sleep-deprived mother of two small children, and Tim, a former foreign correspondent with PTSD and insomnia. However improbably, they meet and start their amateur sleuthing into the disappearance of a local woman, possibly the victim of a serial kidnapper.
There is plenty of activity in their investigation, which turns up some shady characters and some questionable actions on both their parts as local, but unqualified, residents. The story is told in alternating chapters from multiple POV, which I enjoyed, but none of the characters was particularly likeable. Unfortunately the plot’s implausible twists and Mary’s (a lawyer!) seeming lack of expertise on legal issues added to the head-scratching moments.
I’ve enjoyed McGowan’s previous novels and look forward to more of her works. I can recommend this one as a quick TV-style whodunit that will keep you guessing and reading to the end.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest review.

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A domestic thriller set in London suburbia featuring two insomniacs, one a mother of two young children, the other a traumatised journalist. They both witness supposedly suspicious behaviour in a nearby property and join forces to find a missing young woman. I did not empathise with either character, both flawed and selfish in behaviour and manner and much of the plot was unbelievable. However, an easy but slow read.

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3.5 stars rounding down here on NetGalley

I thought this one was okay. I liked the characters, and their backstories, and I loved the setting. I did see where it was going, which always bums me out a bit. I will definitely read this author again!

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I found Are You Awake? to be an ok read, It had plenty of twists and turns which should have made it a quick and thrilling read but for some reason the pace was quite slow and hard going in places. I have read and really enjoyed previous books by Claire McGowan but unfortunately this one wasn't quite as good as I was expecting.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC.

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