Forgotten by Nicole Trope

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Edna is worried about the new residents at the boarding house. She knows Mary would turn in her grave if she knew the kinds of people her son was letting in.

And then there is someone else. Someone whose heart is broken. Someone who feels she has been unfairly punished for her mistakes. Someone who wants what she can’t have.

What follows is a heart-stopping game of cat-and-mouse and a race against the clock. As the hours pass and the day heats up, all hope begins to fade.

So, just when I thought I had my book of the month sorted (Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica), another has come along that has completely wowed me and left my decision of which book to pick so up in the air. Forgotten by Nicole Trope has everything I look for in a book – characters I cared for, a plot that kept me turning pages, and an ending that left me holding my breath, praying everything would turn out o.k.

It starts with one of those decisions every parent of a young child has faced I think.  They are asleep in the car when your out running errands.  Do you leave them sleeping whilst you run into the store (you’ll only be a minute after all) or do you risk a major meltdown by waking them up and taking them in with you? We will all probably say, when asked, we’d do the latter but in the moment, that’s probably not true; there are plenty of us out there that would at least give it a thought I’m sure.

So it is with Malia, who has not one child but three under the age of five, including newborn Zach.  It’s been a hard morning when she makes her fateful decision. Her two oldest kids have been testing her last nerve, playing up because there isn’t any milk for breakfast. Zach, is fast asleep, and she wants to keep it that way.

So she leaves him the car whilst she runs into the shop to get milk, thinking she can keep her eye on her car the whole time. Only she can’t, and, when she gets back, Zach is gone and her nightmare begins. Nicole Trope does an amazing job here, creating a character I completely felt for when she was one I maybe should have had little sympathy with given what’s happened.

With a baby to find, local detectives Ali and Mike are called in to start the search. For Ali, a new mother herself, this is a difficult one and, as the story progresses, you see just how much it impacts her. You also see her determination to bring Zach home and her anxiety that she could lose her child. I loved Ali’s caring nature and her passion to support Malia and find Zach.

I got to read feel these first hand in the chapters that told what was happening from her perspective. They alternated with Malia’s but also with the person who took Zach, and Edna, an elderly woman who doesn’t trust her neighbour. And all this happens over the course of one day, meaning the tension rises with the temperature, as everyone begins to think there will only be one ending, and it won’t be a good one.

I don’t think I could have felt more involved in the search for Zach if I’d been part of the investigation.  I felt every minute of him being missing and I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if I was Malia.  This book is 400 pages long yet it felt like it was over in no time at all, so engrossed was I in the story.

From all of this, you can probably tell this will be a book I will be recommending.  I really can’t praise it enough.  Loved it!

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 28th June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 400
Genre: suspense / thriller
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

Also reviewed by Nicole Trope:

Blame

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday intro: The Binding Song by Elodie Harper

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. Diane is currently on a summer break but I have decided to carry on regardless because these are some of my favourite posts. I see others are doing the same – if you are, please leave a link to your post in the comments so that I don’t miss checking out your reads.

tuesday I also thought I would join in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share two teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

So, after a very long intro, this is what I’m reading this week…

34452770

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts…

I have to admit that the cover is what has gotten me on this.  It is so creepy.  I hope the story itself lives up to my very shallow expectations.  Here’s how it starts…

The break in the trees told him nothing.  Ryan had no idea how far he had travelled or in what direction.  He longed to sink down into the mud, rest just for a moment, but instead he scuttled across the open patch of long grass, bent double like a crab.  He tried not to think about the lorry he’d left behind, the warm seat, the friendly driver. Perhaps if he’d styed, he could have hitched  lift out of Norfolk. But it had made him nervous when his companion turned up the radio. At every ad break he started to sweat, wondering when his description was going to blare out over the news.

And here are a few teasers…

“The return to Cherry Tree Drive was almost a relief.  Janet headed straight to the shower, standing under the water at its hottest temperature, washing away as much of Harrogate as she could.  After her scare last week, she had been feeling uncharacteristically on edge, not just around me but also with her colleagues. “

and

“From the street below came a woman’s steady wailing. Steven crossed to the window again. Fiery shadows played over the group’s movements, the orange street lights illuminating their faces.”

What do you think – would you keep reading?

Emma x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

32735394“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.” 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

So I feel like I should start this review off with a disclaimer.  Not that this is a review copy (it is, and I feel very lucky to have received one), but that Mary Kubica is one of my favourite authors and, in my eyes, she doesn’t do much wrong in the way of writing great novels that keep me hooked from start to finish.   This book, then, has been one I’ve been looking forward to reading all year…and I am so, so, pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

It starts with a seemingly perfect – if tired – family; Nick, Clara, four year old Maisie and new born Felix.  They are young, happy and successful thanks to Nick’s dental practice.  When a policeman’s knock on the door shatters Clara’s world then, it’s no wonder she struggles to cope, shutting out those who love and care for her and cocooning herself away with Maisie and Felix.

Then, Maisie starts to have nightmares and everything Clara thought she knew about the accident seems to get turned on its head.  It’s not just the accident, though, it’s Nick himself.  Slowly, as she tries to pick up her life, Clara finds out that what she thought she knew about her husband wasn’t true, that there were things he was keeping from her, secrets she is only now starting to try and unpick, ones that have the potential to shatter her world again.

Slowly, through Clara’s voice in the present and Nick’s as he recounts the months up until his death, you start to get a picture of who they areas people and just what secrets are buried beneath a seemingly perfect surface.  It’s not all pretty, some of it is stupid, some of it is sad.  A lot of it seems avoidable.  As I read on, I realised that I had started to care for Clara and Nick as characters as each twist left me a little shocked, stunned or bereft.

The twists also left me wondering just what was going on.  I really had no idea if Nick was indeed the victim of foul play or, as the police insisted, just a man who drove too fast round a narrow bend.  When I finally made it to the end I felt as exhausted as Clara – it had been quite a ride.  Was it the ending I was expecting?  No.  Was it the right ending? Yes.  I have to say I finished the book completely satisfied with where I ended up. For once, even the epilogue didn’t bother me (my over pet peeve).

It all leaves me saying that I loved this book and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Enjoy!

Emma

loved-it

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication Date: 27th June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: suspense / thriller
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly update: 25th June, 2017

Weekly updateHi all and happy Sunday. I hope you have had a good week and are having a good weekend. I have to admit to having been a bit grumpy this week and I’m not quite sure why. The sun has shone (for the most part)and other than Monday I haven’t had to travel for work at all (a minor miracle for me), meaning plenty of time for my family and to do things I want to do.

Maybe it’s because I’m less than a month away from a lovely holiday and I just want to be on the plane then by the beach or only a couple of months from finishing work and starting my new ventures but nothing has set quite right and I feel like I have been very much “grumble, grumble, mutter, moan”. I suppose the fact that I am aware, though, is a good sign and I am determined to try and feel a bit more cheerier today, even if going to see The Smurfs movie might mean it will be a stretch.

Meanwhile, on the blog I managed to post every day (my new if possibly unachievable goal)…Read More »

Stacking Shelves: 24th June, 2016

STSsmallThis week, for the first time, I am joining in with Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality for Stacking Shelves, where you share the real and virtual books you have added to your shelves in the last week.

First up for me this week was The Binding Song by Elodie Harper, which came through the post and has one of the spookiest covers I think I’ve seen in a while.

34452770A chilling debut for fans of Mo Hayder and Sharon Bolton, THE BINDING SONG takes you on a trip to Halvergate Prison. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to leave…

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts…

Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Then I was lucky enough to wish for and receive the next offering from one of my favourite authors, The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain…

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In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

And finally, I picked up a free copy* of Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant, which has been on my reading list for a while…

29636224“I suppose what I am saying is, how much do we collude in our own destruction? How much of this nightmare is on me?

You can hate and rail.
You can kick out in protest.

You can do foolish and desperate things, but maybe sometimes you just have to hold up a hand and take the blame.”

Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

  • * my free copy was from iBooks but it’s also free on Amazon kindle at the moment

And that’s it for me this week.  How about you? What have you added to the shelves?

Emma x

 

Buried Secrets by Lisa Cutts

35227796To most people, Detective Inspector Milton Bowman appears to have an ideal life. But some secrets aren’t buried deep enough.

After a tragic car accident, and a shocking murder, DI Milton’s colleagues have to start digging into every aspect of his life.

Suspicion and disbelief creep into their lives as a web of deceit unfolds – the Bowman family, friends and even colleagues come under suspicion. No one is to be trusted.

Nothing is as it appears.

Buried Secrets, the second in the East Rise series, starts with a tragic accident, closely followed by a murder, one that puts the police themselves at the heart of the investigation.  Front and centre of trying to find the murderer should be DI Harry Powell; unfortunately, he’s at best a witness, at worst a suspect, so off the case.

Instead it’s down to DI Doug Philbert and DCI Barbara Venice to head up what will prove to me a much more complicated case than any of them might have thought.  Amongst the team they are leading are some familiar faces, including DC Hazel Hamilton, who is appointed Family Liaison Officer and finds herself supporting the nineteen year old son of the victim.

I suppose one of the first things I would say about Buried Secrets, and one of things I liked about it, is exactly what drew me to the first in the series, Mercy Killing – the fact that this book really shows how the police work, and how team work is at the heart of what they do.  Whilst some characters here take front and centre, it is all the officers as a unit, working together, that solve the case.  No one is a lone wolf, so often the case nowadays in books.

What it does mean though is that it took me a while to get all the characters straight in my head, who they were, what their roles were and what type of personalities they had.  I did get it, but it was probably a good 10 chapters in before everything fell into place. The good new is, once I did, there wasn’t anyone I didn’t warm to or want to find out more about.

And this is something I am hoping I will get to as the series goes on because what Lisa Cutts did here is, I thought, quite clever.  Whilst Harry was one of the main characters in the first book, and is definitely present here, it was Hazel who dominated this novel (and not in a bad way).  I liked getting to know her here and understanding what made her tick

I also liked that she had the role of family liaison, something which I know exists but don’t really know what they do.  Hats of to them I would say now because it’s a hard, emotionally  draining, job by the sounds of it.  Focusing on this aspect of the case (though not to the detriment of the investigation, there was plenty of that), gave this book a different slant, which I liked.

Other things I liked? The twists and turns, which started to come thick and fast in the second half as you were left guessing who the guilty party was, and the sub-plot involving a local drug gang (which I’m hoping might be the subject of another novel because there are some nasty characters there that might make a good story).  Plus the fact that I got to see not just the investigation but the trial.

What I didn’t like? Not a lot, if I’m honest.  The getting my head round the large cast maybe but that’s a minor complaint and may just be down to my age and terrible memory for names.  Also, for me, it was just a little too long – not much, maybe fifty pages, but there were a few scenes of Hazel’s burgeoning relationship I could maybe have done without.

And that’s it really.  Overall, I found myself liking this book a lot and recommending it for fans of police procedurals…Enjoy!

Emma x

liked-it-a-lot

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 22nd June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 432
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The oldest book on the shelf…

Book coverI wrote a few weeks ago about the books I’d owned the longest and had never read (you can read more on that here).  Today, though, I thought I would share the oldest book I own, Poets of the Nineteenth Century, which was written in 1892 (so quite a while ago).

This version was given as a gift in 1894, and there is an inscription on the inside.  It’s one of the things that made me buy the book, I just felt connected to it in a way I might not have with other used books I have picked up.  It’s also one of the reasons that, whilst I’m not so much into poetry as I once was, I can’t bring myself to give it away.Quote

You can blame my sentimentality on the fact that I bought this book when I was a young, impressionable, teen.  I was learning about the romantic poets in school and this hit a chord.  This also makes it the book I have owned the longest – it’s going on 35 years now.

I still have a photo of the day I bought it because we were on holiday and I immediately dived in and started reading it. I was going to share it here but the fashion disaster that I was just won’t let me – sorry!Reading it, I felt transported back in time.  I could have been Lucy Lampert.  Of course, I wasn’t – I could never write that neatly for a start – but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

insideAnd dream I did amongst the beautifully illustrated pages, lost in the words of Cowper, Mary Tighe, Anna Seward, Mitford, and Wordsworth as well as poets I wasn’t familiar with at all and are no longer big name draws.

It’s quite a way away from the type of books I read nowadays, with murder on every page.  Perhaps, though, there were shades of things to come when you look at my favourite poem in the book, one I can still quote today…

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Not the cheeriest of poems – some might even call it morbid, and definitely a clue to where my reading would take me.

What about you, what is the oldest book you own or the book you have owned the longest – have any of them got this beat in terms of age?  or do any give a clue as to your future reading styles?

Emma x

 

 

 

 

Black Hornet by James Sallis

14436814A sniper appears in 1960s New Orleans, a sun-baked city of Black Panthers and other separatists. Five people have been fatally shot. When the sixth victim is killed, Lew Griffin is standing beside her. He’s black and she’s white, and though they are virtual strangers, it is left to Griffin to avenge her death, or at least to try and make some sense of it. His unlikely allies include a crusading black journalist, a longtime supplier of mercenary arms and troops, and bail bondsman Frankie DeNoux.

In the Black Hornet, I met Lew Griffin again, a man who the word complex doesn’t go far enough to describe.  In his life, he has been many things – soldier, private investigator, criminal, author – and trouble always seems to come knocking.

The Black Hornet can be read as a standalone, and if you do, you will know non of these things about Griffin because this book takes us back to the beginning, before he was anything but a former soldier trying to make a life in a city that doesn’t seem to care much about any of his residents.

New Orleans in the sixties sounds dirty, and hard, and not a place I would want to be but it suits Griffin and the people he meets perfectly, and it serves as a perfect backdrop for the civil rights movement that is brewing and the way life for black men is changing, but maybe not quick enough.

The setting, and the story, suit the way James Sallis writes to a tee.  He doesn’t waste words, with short sentences, short chapters and short books (this one runs at 150 pages), yet I never feel like I am missing out on anything.  Plot lines move along quickly, we me rushing to keep up and characters appear fully formed and expecting you to know who they are and what they are about.

It took me a while the first book round to get into the style but now I have to say I look forward to it.  I know what I’ll get and I like it.  It reminds me of the way people like Humphrey Bogart talked back in the day and of gumshoe novels.  Simple is the wrong word to describe it, it’s not, but it feels like that on the surface, whilst under it a lot is said and you have plenty to chew on and think about, long after the last page.

Saying all that, I know this book won’t be for everyone.  Most characters don’t have much in the way of descriptions for example, you have to piece people together with the bits you know, which are given sparingly (so LaVerne, Griffins girlfriend starts to form when I find out about her red dress, which he finds hanging up in another mans flat).

Then there’s the fact that the main story isn’t always the main story (to not sound cryptic) because it’s really about the characters and what drives them – usually it’s sadness but with a fair bit of hope thrown in.  When I got to the end here, the who the sniper was part, I was slightly disappointed because it meant the book was over and I didn’t want it to be.  I wanted to stay in New Orleans, seedy as it was, drinking bourbon and shooting the breeze with unsavoury characters.

For me, though, this is another winner from Sallis, who is one of my favourite authors.  This was a great addition to a series with a character I find compelling and with a story I couldn’t put down.  I loved it!

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Purchased
Publisher: No Exit
Publication Date: 11th May, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 150
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Other books in the series:

The Long Legged Fly (book 1)

Moth (book 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday intro: Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. Diane is currently on a summer break but I have decided to carry on regardless because these are some of my favourite posts. I see others are doing the same – if you are, please leave a link to your post in the comments so that I don’t miss checking out your reads.

tuesday I also thought I would join in, for the first time, with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share two teasers from your current read.  I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

So, after a very long intro, this is what I’m reading this week…

32991958My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

And here’s how it starts…

I’ve always delighted in the free fall between sleep and wakefulness. Those precious few semi-conscious seconds before you open your eyes, when you catch yourself believing that your dreams might just be your reality. A moment of intense pleasure or pain, before your senses reboot and inform you who and where and what you are. For now, for just a few seconds longer, I’m enjoying the self-medicated delusion that permits me to imagine that I could be anyone I could be anywhere, I could be loved.

Not sure, here are some teasers to peak your interest…

“When I first start to fall, I forget to be afraid, too busy noticing that the hand that pushed me looked so much like my own.”

and

“The knot in the pit of my stomach tightens as she exits the room.  I hear the door click shut before someone clears their throat.”

What do you think…would you keep reading?

Emma x

Find on: Amazon UK / US / Goodreads

 

Guiltless by Viveca Sten

The tiny Swedish island of Sandhamn has always been a haven for lawyer Nora Linde. With trouble brewing in her marriage, she finds its comforts more welcome than ever, even in the depths of winter. That is, until her two young sons trip across a severed arm in the woods.

The boys’ gruesome discovery will once again connect Nora with her childhood friend Thomas Andreasson, now a local police detective. When the limb is identified as belonging to a twenty-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace months earlier, what had been a missing persons case takes on a whole new urgency.

Nora and Thomas delve deeply into the woman’s final hours, each of them wrestling not only with the case but with the private demons it awakens in them. As they do, they’ll find themselves drawn into the history of Sandhamn and the tensions that have been simmering just below the surface for more than a hundred years.

Guiltless is my third trip to Sandhamn, a small island off the Swedish coast with a population of only a couple of hundred people but – seemingly – a lot of murder.  I have to say, it sounds beautiful there, but – given the death count – I would think twice before visiting.

This time, the victim is a young girl, missing for months before Nora’s boys find her body. She is an island native (vs. the visitors that flood the island in the summer) and so her death is possibly more shocking than it might have been otherwise and the small community are rocked to it’s core.  The question is why and who?

It’s a question Nora finds herself in the middle of, not just because her sons found the body but because her best friend, Thomas, is investing the case.  Nora and Thomas make an interesting team.  They don’t investigate together as such but they do use each other to bounce ideas off, as well as supporting each other in life in general.

I like their relationship (purely platonic) and both Nora and Thomas as individuals and I think it is this that keeps bringing me back to the series.  They are genuinely nice people, the type I would want to know.  Their friendships seems natural and I can only commend Sten for how well she has created these two people.

Her plots too are pretty good.  There is a simplicity to them when you first start reading but soon the twists start coming and you don’t really know where you are.  Clever.  At the same time, a word that does pop to mind when describing her novels is gentle because you aren’t being beaten over the head with wild card detectives or omnipotent killers.  There is an old fashioned element here, a lot of who dunit and (thankfully) very little in the way of gruesome.

This style fits me perfectly more often now I find.  I don’t like lots of gore with my crime and I am tiring of detectives that go out on their own and don’t listen to anyone else on their team, usually whilst not sleeping, not eating and drinking too much.  There is none of that in Thomas, and I like it.  I also liked the book – a lot – and definitely recommend it (including for those who haven’t read the first two – it’s definitely a standalone).

Enjoy!

Emma x

liked-it-a-lot

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 23rd May, 2017 (originally published 2010)
Format: ebook
Pages: 370
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

Other books in the Sandhamn Series…

Still WatersClosed Circles