Posted in Book Review

Time Is A Killer 4* Review – Michel Bussi

It is summer 1989, and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.

Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things – to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter. But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive.

As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible – she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter – and why?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

There are lots of intelligent components in this international thriller; The backstory in the form of a real-time teenage diary. Corsica’s way of life that is often at odds with the legal system and government that allows illegality to go unpunished and the parallels between the family in August 1989 and the family in 2016.

The characterisation is convincing and compelling, through Clotilde’s eyes they come alive both in the past and present. The twisty plot takes away as many clues as it gives and to truly understand it you must accept the Corsican culture’s uniqueness.

Compelling and detailed it’s a page-turning read but a very long story. The repetition is necessary for the story as Clotilde’s memories return but this adversely affects the pacing and reduces the impact of the revelations.

There is an overriding sadness to this story of loss and, so many lives blighted but the ending is adrenaline-fueled and suspenseful, and the balance of good and evil returns.

I received a copy of this book from the Orion Publishing Group W&N via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

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Posted in Book Review

The Two Houses 4*Review – Fran Cooper

 

‘The Two Houses sit grey and brooding beneath a pale sky.
They cling to the hillside, cowering from the wind, because always, before everything up here, there is the wind.
The Two Houses were not always two. But if it is human to build – even up here, in this blasted northern hinterland – it is human to break, too.’

After an acclaimed career in ceramics, Jay herself has cracked. Recovering from a breakdown, she and her husband Simon move to the desolate edges of the north of England, where they find and fall in love with the Two Houses: a crumbling property whose central rooms were supposedly so haunted that a previous owner had them cut out from the building entirely.

But on uprooting their city life and moving to the sheltered grey village of Hestle, Jay and Simon discover it’s not only the Two Houses that seems to be haunted by an obscure past. It becomes increasingly clear that the villagers don’t want them there at all – and when building work to make the two houses whole again starts, a discovery is made that will unearth decades-old secrets…

But who in this village has been hiding them?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

At first glance, this appears to be a ghost story. While the writing style is atmospheric, creepy and gothic, the content is more grounded. The ghosts are emotional, bad memories and entrenched secrets kept by the living rather than the dead.

Escaping to the country seems like a rest cure for Jay and Simon, reeling from Jay’s emotional breakdown when she discovers she cannot have children. A ceramic artist Jay’s work suffers until she shies away from it and everyone attached to it. Simon loves her but doesn’t necessarily understand her. His constant presence is claustrophobic for his free-spirited wife. She doesn’t want to share her emotions just to make him feel worthwhile.

So when they find a quirky, broken down property, two houses severed in their past. Jay loves it, and Simon who wants his wife to recover agrees, although he is looking for a bolt hole and she is searching for a new life.

The villagers are suspicious of the interloper’s motives and the reasons for this gradually become clear as the story progresses. It’s not just because they want to protect the secrets of the old houses, their way of life has disintegrated with the closure of the mines and farms, young people want to leave, and only the old ones and those who cannot survive elsewhere are left. They want to protect their way of life even if it’s not what it once was.

The characters are realistic, as is their behaviour when confronted with newcomers. Jay becomes obsessed with the house’s secrets to the exclusion of all else, but maybe this is part of her healing process?

The plot reveals its clues and misinformation as it progresses, the pacing is slow because of the detailed descriptions and the internal conflict of the main characters.

Mysterious and suspenseful but not written in a commercial, contemporary style, it is all about the characters and their interaction with the setting. It resonates as you read and the two houses’ story is infinitely sadder than you first imagine.

I liked it and found the ending particularly poignant. It conveys the sense of stability and people becoming as one with the land well. It is slow and maybe too detailed in places, but it does fit with a gothic writing style and is a lovely example of this.

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Bring Me Back B. A. Paris 5*Review

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The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

Amazon

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Fast-paced, totally addictive suspense fiction that draws you in from the first lie until the final terrifying twist. Written from Finn and his missing girlfriend’s point of view, you learn their past and current thoughts, without slowing down the story.

Finn is troubled he has a shady past that occasionally resurfaces with devasting results, his obsessive love of Layla his missing girlfriend makes him an obvious suspect in her disappearance but his well-placed lies and excellent legal advice leave him free to rebuild his life.  Twelve years later, Finn has moved on, but random events collide to make him believe the past hasn’t done with him yet.

Focusing on Finn, his current girlfriend, a longtime friend and ex-girlfriend, the cast of this sinister thriller is small. As the menace escalates, Finn cannot trust anyone, and this sense of isolation builds his anger to boiling point.

The gripping final chapters reveal an unexpected twist, with horrific consequences for the story’s major players. I guessed this before the end, but even then, the ultimate revelation is not quite as I envisaged. For me, part of the enjoyment is trying to foresee the outcome before the story’s end. 

The tagline #forgetsleep is true. I read this book through the night yesterday.

I received a copy of this book from HQ books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Don’t Trust Me 4*Review Joss Stirling

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When she arrives at work to discover every trace of the company she was working for has disappeared, Jessica’s life spirals into freefall.

Her romance with Michael, a celebrated criminologist, is already in trouble. He is sick of the unpredictable behaviour caused by her ADHD and is convinced she is a fantasist. When his flat is burgled, and precious belongings that remind him of his dead wife are stolen, he blames her.

Forced to prove her innocence, Jessica sets out to unravel the events of the last few months. But when she stumbles on a dead body, the lies, deceptions and betrayals that have dogged her whole life come back to haunt her.

Can anybody trust her?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A cleverly written psychological thriller, with a charismatic, if flawed protagonist who finds her life in turmoil when her boss and his business disappear without a trace when she returns from holiday.
There is a constant niggle at the back of your mind when you’re reading the early chapters of this story as to whether the unfolding events are products of Jessica’s troubled psyche. She is an unreliable protagonist, who abuses her prescription medication and has a naive attitude to sexual partners that threatens her career and self-esteem.
Despite her self-proclaimed flaws and lack of judgement, Jessica doesn’t lack insight into her problems and therefore comes across as a believable witness as the story progresses.
Almost any of the characters could be the antagonist, and this gives the story a cosy mystery ambience at times. There are conspiracy theory elements and plenty of mysteries to solve before Jessica can vindicate herself and solve the puzzle that has become her life.
The only person who truly stands by her is Drew, a delightfully, quirky character who is often shocked by Jessica’s exploits but always gives her the benefit of the doubt, emotional support that has been missing in her life to date.
The plot has plenty of twists and misinformation which keeps the reader guessing, I did work out most of the story about halfway through, but this didn’t spoil the story for me. However, I do feel that the antagonist is revealed sooner than necessary, making the ending more of an action thriller and losing some of its psychological impacts.
‘Don’t Trust Me’, is an eminently, readable thriller that will hold your interest right to the last page.
I received a copy of this book from Killer Reads via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

The Taste of Blue Light Lydia Ruffles 2* Review

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An incandescent, soul-searching story about a broken young woman’s search for a truth buried so deep it threatens to consume her, body and mind.

These are the things Lux knows:
She is an artist. 
She is lucky. 
She is broken.

These are the things she doesn’t know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red. 

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

If her dreams don’t swallow her first.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

An intense, original story but it is so dark and specific. One person’s vision of mental illness, if you don’t share this viewpoint then connecting with the main character and the plot is hard work and probably not worth the effort. The pacing is too slow.
I am not the intended age group, but I have read a lot of YA literature and usually enjoy it, so I guess it’s just this story that’s not for me.
I received a copy of this book from Hodder Children’s Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

A Deadly Trade – E.V.Seymour – 4* Review

 

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One moment of weakness can cost you everything…
Rogue assassin Josh Thane is an artist in murder. His next target is a British microbiologist suspected of creating devastating chemical weapons.
Breaking into her house, he discovers someone has beaten him to it – she’s already dead. In a moment of weakness, he saves the life of her son. A single mistake that destroys everything he’s worked for and puts him and the boy in immediate danger…
When Josh embarks on an international quest to find the real killer, he uncovers a criminal conspiracy with truly terrifying consequences. Yet it’s in his own past that the darkest truth lies hidden

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A fast-paced story with an enigmatic male anti-hero and lots of action. Vividly depicted characters. The setting is described in great detail making it easy to imagine, giving the story its authenticity. A well-written first chapter draws you in. An easy read and hard to put down. I read this in a few hours. The plot is good, but I did work out the twist about half-way through. Knowing the villain didn’t spoil the story for me as I enjoyed having my theories confirmed.

A good contemporary thriller, which combines, spy action, psychological thrills, technology, and a forbidden relationship. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series ‘Final Target’.
I received a copy of this book from Killer Reads via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Her Frozen Heart – Lulu Taylor – 4* Review

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“Caitlyn, there’s something I have to tell you. About Sara.”

Caitlyn thinks her marriage to Patrick is a success. For one thing, he is one of the few people not to fall head over heels for her beautiful friend, Sara. Life is lived on his terms, but they are happy. Aren’t they? When a devastating accident turns her existence upside down, Caitlyn is forced to reassess everything she thought about her marriage, what she truly knows about Patrick, and his real feelings for her best friend.In the refuge of an old manor house, she begins to discover the truth.

In 1947, the worst winter in decades hits England, cutting off entirely the inhabitants of Kings Harcourt Manor. For Tommy Carter, widowed at the start of war, it is particularly hard: the burden of the family falls on her. She has the solace of her children, and the interesting presence of her brother’s friend, Fred. But there is also Barbara, a mysterious figure from her past who appears to want a piece of Tommy’s future as well. 

Amazon UK 

Amazon

My Thoughts…

An interesting story set in two time periods.There are parallels between the two main female characters Tommy and Caitlyn, and the past meets the present in the middle of the book. The characters are strong and believable; both women have emotionally difficult lives despite superficial wealth.

The plots are easy to follow, but there are enough twists to hold your interest. The setting is particularly vivid in the historical chapters. The description of the snow and cold was rich in detail and realistic imagery.

The female antagonists in the story hide their deceit and obsessive behaviour behind a cloak of friendliness and vulnerability. The psychological thrills are subtle but make the plot darker than you would first imagine.

The writing showed insight into human emotions and coupled with the vivid imagery it turns an ordinary plot into something worth reading.

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Girl Before – J.P. Delaney – 5* Review

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Mystery Thriller Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Mystery Thriller My Review

The Girl Before

Two young women, one in the past and one in the present, whose lives intertwine, as the past threatens to overwhelm the present.
The suspense grips you from the first page, each woman has so many secrets and emotional damage and the clean, simple lines of 1 Folgate Street, offers a new start, the slate wiped clean and they are desperate to take the solace it offers, whatever the cost.

The girls’ past histories draw you in. The suspense intensifies as Jane discovers what happened to Emma, the woman who lived there before her and the secrets surrounding her.

The women’s characters are fascinating and tragic.

The enigmatic owner and architect of 1 Folgate Street is mysterious and menacing. Yet, sometimes it’s the familiar that presents the most danger.  

There are lots of grey areas in this story, open to the reader’s own interpretation, which keep you turning the pages and make you wonder if you really have understood, who did what. 

A story that will keep you enthralled to the end.
I received a copy of this story from Quercus Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

J.P. Delaney

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Posted in Book Review, Sampler

The Girl Before – J.P. Delaney – 5* Review- Sampler

cover101612-medium

Mystery Thriller Blurb

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Mystery Thriller Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Mystery Thriller My Review

The Girl Before

Review of Sampler:

Two young women, one in the past and one in the present, whose lives intertwine, as the past threatens to overwhelm the present.
The suspense grips you from the first page, each woman has so many secrets and emotional damage and the clean, simple lines of 1 Folgate Street, offers a new start, the slate wiped clean and they are desperate to take the solace it offers, whatever the cost.
The sampler reveals enough about the girls’ past to draw you in. The suspense intensifies as Jane discovers what happened to Emma, the woman who lived there before her and the secrets surrounding her.
The women’s characters are fascinating and tragic. The enigmatic owner and architect of 1 Folgate Street is mysterious and menacing. A story that will keep you enthralled to the end.
I received a sampler of this story from Quercus Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

J.P. Delaney

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: The Secrets of Castle Du Reve – Hannah Emery

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Historical Blurb

In the quaint, seaside town of Silenshore a legacy of secrets is about to be revealed…

Growing up in the imposing Castle du Rêve during 1940s wartime, young Evelyn longs for a life outside the castle walls. She dreams of attending glamorous parties, gracing the silver screen and being swept off her feet by a dashing, debonair beau. But innocent Evelyn is unaware that her bid for freedom from the oppressive castle will change the course of more than just her life…

In the early Sixties, sweet, intelligent Victoria meets the man of her dreams! Yet the expression of their love comes with consequences. In the shadow of the mysterious castle, is their relationship doomed from the start?

In the present day, Isobel has just learned she’s pregnant. An unexpected challenge she can only hope she’s up to. Except living in the father of her child’s family home, beneath the eyes of the castle, all is not as it seems… Soon secrets that have been hidden for decades threaten to change the lives of Isobel’s new family irrevocably.

Three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets, scandal and deceit, as the legacy of Castle du Rêve is finally discovered…

 

Historical Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Historical My Review

 

This book has three stories carefully interwoven; revealing the secrets and legacy of The CASTLE DU RÊVE. Each of the women introduced have unique, poignant and often sad lives. The Castle and the life it once represented, connects them all. What make this story intriguing are the subtle, less obvious similarities in their lives, which resonate with the reader and make the characters believable and memorable.

Evelyn’s story starts in 1939, when the castle becomes home to evacuees from London. New friendships and an unlikely discovery change the course of her life. The aftermath of WW2 and a fatalistic meeting seal Evelyn’s fate. Evelyn’s life is vivid and tragic, especially when seen through the eyes of Victoria the second woman in this saga.

Victoria’s story is particularly poignant; she is a victim of circumstance and the suffocating moral code the‘Swinging Sixties’ rebelled against. Her innocence and misplaced trust make Victoria’s the saddest story. Although a victim of circumstance her optimistic outlook remains.

Isobel is a contemporary woman and even though she succumbs to an age old condition, the way she and those around her deal with it makes her life full of hope and promise.
This is a well written women’s fiction story both contemporary and historical, with an interesting twist.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Secrets of Castle du ReveThe Secrets of Castle Du Rêve: A thrilling saga of three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets by Hannah Emery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hannah Emery

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