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Monday, 18 June 2018

#AfterHesGone @JaneIsaacAuthor


About After He's Gone

You think you know him. Until he’s dead. When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them. As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Even the dead…

My review of After He's Gone



You just know you're in for a treat when you pick up a Jane Isaac novel. I adored her Will Jackman detective series, and when I found out that she had written the first book in a new detective series featuring DC Beth Chamberlain, then I knew I just had to read it. And, oh my, it's a fantastic book featuring a female detective that grabs your attention and just won't let go.

From the very beginning I was sucked into this story. It begins with the murder of Cameron Swift outside his family home and, from that moment on, I just had to find out why he was killed and who killed him. This is when we meet Beth Chamberlain, who together with another police officer is appointed as the family's liaison officer. Although there to support the family under such tragic circumstances, she is also there to question the family, his wife, and to find out any secrets and motives for the murder.

From the moment I met Beth I liked her. Here is a young woman whose career is everything. But what I liked most about her was the fact that she was a character with so many layers. She has her professional side in which she strives for truth and justice, at any cost, but she is also a loving sister, devoted aunt, and a woman who is equally passionate about her  job and role in society. At times she is torn between her role as a DC in trying to track down a killer, and the aunt who wants to watch her niece in her swimming gala. The two worlds often clash, and for me this was both authentic and emotional reading.

After He's Gone is a compelling and emotive read. You can't help but be affected by what happens to the characters, and especially when reading about Beth. It's also a whopper of a murder mystery.  I really was kept in the dark as to who killed Cameron. I also changed my mind several times as the story progressed. It definitely kept me on my toes.

The heart of this story is embedded in family values, what it means to raise and be a family, and what it means to be a husband or wife. It also highlights the fact that we all have our secrets, but that some turn out to be deadly. This really is a hugely refreshing and enjoyable read and I can't wait to read the next instalment in the Beth Chamberlain series that's out later in the year.

With thanks to the author who kindly sent me a digital copy for review purposes.

After He's Gone is published on 18th June.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

#LostLettersOfWilliamWoolf @wordsofhelen



About The Lost Letters of William Woolf 

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names - they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simplyto 'My Great Love' his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn't met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn't know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter's letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

My review of The Lost Letters of William Woolf 



I absolutely loved reading The Lost Latters of William Woolf. This book was an absolute treat to read and I found myself slowly devouring the pages as I didn't want the story to end. In a world that is increasingly fast paced, it was such a pleasure to sit back and read this tantalisingly slow tale of love and loss from decades ago.

The novel is set in the 1980s and I loved that it was set during this period in time, when pen and paper ruled. The pages echoed with a huge sense of nostalgia. The writing flowed beautifully and I found myself swept along in the story of William Woolf as he finds himself immersed in his work at the Lost Letters Depot, while trying to juggle his home life and to keep his wife happy.

William's life is working at the Lost Letters Depot. Not only does he take his job incredibly seriously, but he is empathetic towards the situations that he find himself in, in trying to bring people together through their lost letters, birthday cards and love letters. I thought that this was such a lovely concept, that he was able to find a home for all those letters that were lost. How many times have we sent a postcard, birthday card or letter and it has failed to reach the recipient. What would happen if the letter was a declaration of your love which was then lost? How would that change the path of your life?

The author takes this idea and then completely turns it on its head. William finds himself reading letters that have been written by Winter,  a young woman who is writing letters to her future lover. She writes with the hope that one day they will meet and that they will instantly know  that they were meant to 'be'. What I loved was that William questioned if the letters were directed at him, and if Winter was meant to be his soul mate. An idea that is reinforced and made more real because io his relationship with Claire, his wife.

This is such a beautiful novel, set in the time when paper ruled the world. It's a novel about love and longing and striving for that sense of belonging. It's a novel about nostalgia, the art of communication and that at the end of the day, we all want eternal happiness. Such a special and heartwarming read.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is published by Michael Joseph on 10th July.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

#DarkPines @willrdean @ptblankbks


About Dark Pines

For fans of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects and Peter H√łeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, a brand new debut crime writer introduces a Scandi-noir Tuva Moodyson Mystery

SEE NO EVIL

Eyes missing, two bodies lie deep in the forest near a remote Swedish town.

HEAR NO EVIL

Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.

SPEAK NO EVIL

A web of secrets. And an unsolved murder from twenty years ago.

Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the final victim? She'd like to think so. But first she must face her demons and venture far into the deep, dark woods if she wants to stand any chance of getting the hell out of small-time Gavrik.

My review of Dark Pines 



Oh this book! I absolutely loved Dark Pines. This is a Scandi-noir mystery that is set in the small community of Gavrik, told through the eyes of Tuva Moodyson, a young journalist who I found to be truly captivating on the page. She is ambitious, caring, dynamic, funny and just happens to be deaf. I warmed to her instantly. What a chsracter!

Tuva works for the town's local paper. Having worked and lived in London, she finds herself moving back to Sweden to be near her mother who is terminally ill. Tuva finds herself living in a community where she doesn't feel accepted, nor belong, as she is viewed very much as an outsider in this close knit and somewhat claustrophobic town. The same things happen day in day out. Everyone knows each others busineas, but when a body is found in the woods and with the eyes removed, Tuva begins to investigate.
Not only is she on the hunt for a killer, but she also has to deal with her own demons and venture into the pine woods to interview the inhabitants.

I found this book to be an incredible page turner. Within the first few pages I found myself immersed in the woods, with the Elks running wild alongside that feeling of desolation and sheer fear. After the first few lines I knew I would just love this book, and that I was reading something very special. The book is so incredibly descriptive and once I began to read I was instantly sucked into Gavrik life, and I too felt that cloying sense of oppression and the need to get the hell out of there.

This book works so well because of Tuva. She IS this book. Yes, the other characters are intriguing, funny, and also downright weird (you'll just love the  wood carving sisters, youre in for a treat), but this book is all about Tuva. Her need to succeed, to seek justice and truth, to get that big story that will  secure her fteedom. and that she can be a good daughter. She is one hell of a journalist and throughout the book I kept forgetting that she was deaf. I was reminded when Tuva spoke about putting her hearing aids in the cleaner over night, and the beeping that they made to warn her that the battery was low. But this is not who she is, she is not a deaf woman who is a journalist, she is a journalist who just happens to be deaf, and that's what's important  And oh, some of her internal thoughts when people made ill informed and judgmental comments about how she 'coped' with her deafness nearly made me choke on my coffee. Such clever and empathetic writing.

Ultimately this is a fantastic murder mystery set in the heart of the pine forest among the gunshots during Elk hunting season. Tuva believes that the present day murder is linked to the Medusa killings over  twenty years ago, but will the police believe her? I honestly couldn't decide who the killer was, and once I thought that I had it all figured out near to the end, it was a complete shock to find out I was completely wrong.

Dark Pines is also a story about family, forming relationships and that all important mother daughter bond. I found Tuva's relationship with her mother both warming and heartbreaking, all at the same time. But in general I read how difficult it was for Tuva to form any kind of relationship, and for me this was because I believed she viewed Gavrik as a temporary stop, both in her professional and personal life.

Dark Pines is such a haunting and evocative read. I felt so sad when I finished this book. I wanted to carry on reading. I'll miss the smell of pine trees. I'll miss the taste of sugar that floats in the air. But, most of all, I'll miss Tuva.

Dark Pines is available in ebook now and will be published in paperback by Point Blank on 14 June.

Dark Pines has also been selected as one of the ten books to be featured as part of the Zoe Ball Book Club.


Monday, 11 June 2018

#SuicideClub @rachelhengqp @SceptreBooks


About Suicide Club 

They leave us no choice.

What are you doing to help yourself? What are you doing to show that you're worth the resources?

In a near-future world, medical technology has progressed far enough that immortality is now within grasp - but only to those who show themselves to be deserving of it. These people are the lifers: the exercisers, yogacisers, green juicers and early nighters.

Genetically perfect, healthy and wholesome, one hundred-year-old Lea is the poster girl for lifers, until the day she catches a glimpse of her father in the street, eighty-eight years after their last encounter. While pursuing him, Lea has a brush with death which sparks suspicions. If Lea could be so careless, is she worthy of immortality?

Suicide Club wasn't always an activist group. It began as a set of disillusioned lifers, gathering to indulge in forbidden activities: performances of live music, artery-clogging meals, irresponsible orgies. But now they have been branded terrorists and are hunted by the state.

And Lea has decided to give them a call.

My review of Suicide Club 



Suicide Club was such an emotive and thought provoking read. I sat in silence after reading the final page trying to fully absorb what had happened. This literary dystopian story makes you think about the choices you make in life, as well as making you question what life is all about. It really is a riveting read.

This really is a captivating read with two strong women of co!our  protagonists. Both of them Lifers.  Lea does supposedly have it all, but her life is far from perfect, and it begins a downwards spiral on the day she very nearly gets killed. Lea, intrigued me and I completely empathised with her and the dilemma that she faced. Circumstances lead her to form a friendship with Anja, and I liked how the novel dealt with female friendship and the issues of caring for elderly parents. These passages I found to be highly emotional, while raising many ethical and human concerns.

I loved the slow pace of this book. It made me savour every word and drew me fully into the heart of he story. It's deliberately slow, dark, and menacing and once I started to read, I could not stop. What we read about is a dark, clinical world. I was quickly sucked into this story and wanted to know everything about this future world. A world so very different from our own, yet  completely  believable.

Suicide Club raises many philosophical questions regarding mortality, morality and quality of life. The ultimate question being that of, would you want to live forever? and at what cost? The Lifers seem to have it all. They are healthy, beautiful, radiant and apparently living the perfect life. But, are they happy?

This is such a clever read and such an ambitious book in terms of the questions that it raises. Will medical intervention go too far? Where should the line be drawn? This book raises the importance that society places upon beauty, youth and perfection. Why are those who are beautiful  perceived to be more powerful and important?

Suicide Club is a thought provoking read about the pitfalls of believing that we really can have it all. It's a story about learning to love and what it really means to let go. Such a beautiful book.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Suicide Club is published by Sceptre on 10th July.


Friday, 8 June 2018

#SongsOInnocence @Anne_Coates1 @urbanebooks


About Songs of Innocence 

“Gripping and original, Anne Coates delivers the most thrilling Hannah Weybridge investigation yet” - Hugh Fraser, bestselling author of the Rina Walker thriller series

A woman's body is found in a lake. Is it a sad case of suicide or something more sinister? Hannah Weybridge, still reeling from her friend's horrific murder and the attempts on her own life, doesn't want to get involved, but reluctantly agrees to look into the matter for the family.

The past however still stalks her steps, and a hidden danger accompanies her every move.

The third in the bestselling Hannah Weybridge thriller series, Songs of Innocence provides Hannah with her toughest and deadliest assignment yet...

My review of Songs of Innocence



When you pick up an Anne Coates book you just know that you're in for a treat, and this book is no exception. Songs of Innocence is the third book in the Hannah Weybridge series and it is mighty good. I honestly could not put thus book down and read it in just over a day (which is fast for me). I really do think that you need to read the first two books in the series, so.as to gain a fuller sense of characters and past events, but it also works well as a standalone.

The novel is set in London and begins with the body of a girl being found in a city pond. At first the police believe it to be suicide, but are they right? As ever, journalist Hannah Weybridge gets drawn into events and starts to unearth the truth about this apparant suicide and the disappearance of Asian school girls. We follow Hannah as she begins her own investigation, alongside the police, as well as having to deal with her own personal problems.

I love this character so much. She is strong, she is sensitive, she is resourceful and she is a mother. I love her on so many different levels. We watch as she struggles to maintain that all important work life balance, while keeping herself safe from the consequences of past events ( you need to read the previous two books).  She is ultimately likeable as she does have flaws, but also a strong moral compass.

This book is also refreshing as it is set in the mid nineties. I loved the references to dialling up the internet. I remember this well, I could hear the ping and whirring as the internet connected, and this made me smile. I also love the fact that there are no smartphones in this book. No Google, and the fact that Hannah has to use the clippings library.

Songs of Innocence is full of wonderful characters, all of whom bring much enjoyment to reading this novel. I particularly found it interesting to read about Asian culture and arranged marriage, and found that the author tackled this subject with knowledge, empathy and compassion. There was much food for thought.

This really is a gripping thriller of a read. And, oh! that ending! I cannot wait to read the next exciting instalment and find out what Hannah gets up to next.

I purchased the Kindle edition of the book.

Songs of Innocence was published on 24 May by Urbane Publications.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

#Thirteen @SSCav @orionbooks #ThatBookThatHook



About Thirteen

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN'T ON TRIAL.

HE'S ON THE JURY...

'THIRTEEN is my favourite read of the year.' Sarah Pinborough

'Outstanding.' Lee Child

'Smart and original. This is a belter of a book.' Clare Mackintosh

****************

'To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?'

Murder wasn't the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He's done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there's someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn't the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out - he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

My review of Thirteen 




When I read 'THE SERIAL KILLER ISN'T ON TRIAL. HE'S ON THE JURY... I just HAD to read this book and I'm glad to say I was not disappointed. This is a book that most definitely lives up to its hook. I haven't read any other book by this author,but I now want to go back and read the previous books in the Eddie Flynn series. I love this character. This book is just brilliant! It's fast paced, twisty, entertaining and kkep me guessing until the very end. It's a fantastic read.

Eddie Flynn is a defence attorney with a colourful past as an ex con. The moment I met him, I liked him. He's that kind of guy. He fights for what he believes in and nothing, nor no one, will stop him. His marriage is in tatters and he takes on the role of defending Bobby Solomon, a Hollywood actor who is accused of murdering his wife and best friend. He believes that Bobby is innocent and against all the odds he fights for him.

This book features a wonderful range of characters. I loved Art Pryor, the colourful TV friendly lawyer who is fighting to prove Bobby's guilt. I couldn't help but smile at this man's antics. We then have the wise and world weary Harry Ford, the Judge who is Eddie's best friend, but who is also residing over this murder trial. The real star of the book for me though was Joshua Kane. He completely captivated me and made me question so many things. He is a terrifying, complex and compelling character who I won't easily forget.

This really is a serial killer legal thriller that I could not put down. There were so many occasions that I thought I was one step ahead, only to find that the author had pulled the rug our from under my feet. The writing is sharp, the narrative fast and with many twists and turns. I loved every minute of reading Thirteen.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital review copy.

Thirteen is available to download now as an ebook and is published in paperback on 14 June by Orion.

Monday, 4 June 2018

#CrossHerHeart @SarahPinborough @HarperCollinsUK


About Cross Her Heart 

“SOMEONE IS LIVING A LIE… BUT WHO?

Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions…

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house—she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever. And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.”

My review of Cross Her Heart 



Cross Her Heart hooked me in from the disturbing prologue. I was transfixed until the very last word. This book is a dark psychological thriller, and it is dark, much darker than Behind Her Eyes, that I absolutely loved. This book bubbles with uncertainty, malice and deep dark secrets, one of which I found truly disturbing. There were so many twists in this book and I had to keep on reading to unearth its many truths.

This emotional psychological thriller features three strong central female characters. All women have secrets and I honestly didn't know who I could trust, nor believe in. Lisa intrigued me from the moment I met her, and I immediately liked her. Perhaps because she is a mother and we are similar ages. Ava I didn't warm to instantly, but throughout the course of the book I began to understand her. As for Marilyn, she was the character who it took me the longest to get to grips with. But, all three brought their own unique stories and secrets into the mix, turning this bobo on its head multiple times.

The first part of the book I felt was deliberately slow, as it introduced us to all three women. I could feel the tension building and that creeping sense of unease. Who was Lisa running from? What had happened to her? I knew that something really bad had happened in the murky past, and I knew that something really bad was about to happen in the future and it was this that kept me hooked, frantically scrolling through the pages.

Cross Her Heart is a very clever and dark read. I did find the subject matter disturbing, so rather than this being an enjoyable read, it intrigued me with its many questions about social class, poverty and child abuse. I had to read to find out what happened to these three women and what the conclusion would be. If you like your books dark, disturbing and with clever plot twists, then this is the book for you.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital review copy.

Cross Her Heart was published by Harper Collins on 17th May.