California reading

imageAnyone who spends any time on my blog will know that I am more than a little excited about my upcoming holidays, half of which will be spent in California, one of my favourite holiday destinations.  Slowly but surely, my hubbie and I are working our way around the state and, this time, I get to visit San Francisco for the first time which I am really looking forward to.

In honour of our upcoming trip, I thought it might be fun to share my five favourite books set in California…Read More »

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The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

34604719Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners—including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

I am a big fan of ghost stories, where things go bump in the night and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and that is what The Upstairs Room promises with it’s tale of a young family and their lodger who move into a house that fills all but one of the adults with dread the moment they walk in the door.  Read More »

Tuesday intro: Perfect Prey by Helen Fields

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.

tuesdayI’m also joining 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…Read More »

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

33654421Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.

Alice thinks Claire is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac. Two sisters. One truth.

Alice and Clare were separated when they were young children, Alice going with her father to America and Clare staying in the UK with her mom.  It’s a family split neither Clare nor her mother have ever really recovered from and Clare has tried more than once to find her sister to no avail.  Then, one day, a letter arrives; Clare and Alice’s father has died and Alice is finally free to come home.

Initially excited, the fact that suddenly a grown woman who might be related by blood but is basically a stranger is visiting their home, makes Clare start to feel worried.  Then Alice arrives and she starts to feel even worse.  She doesn’t feel a connection with her long-lost sister.  In fact, it’s the opposite – questioning everything Alice does and says to the point where it starts to drive a wedge between her, her mother, her husband and her daughters (who all think Alice is great).

As a reader, it was hard to know where the truth lies at first…but easy to imagine Clare is feeling put out by the attention her sister is getting.  Told through her voice, which you can imagine getting increasingly “high pitched” as she tries to get people to see her point of view, I have to say it didn’t take long to figure out what is going on – though there were some twists at the end which I hadn’t seen coming in quite the way they did.

However, despite things not necessarily being a surprise, I enjoyed this book and found myself turning the pages pretty quickly.  I thought it was well written and there were more than enough twists to keep me interested.  Clare was a likeable central character, which always helps, so I was rooting for her all the way through.  I just wish her family hadn’t been quite so clueless.

There were times when I wanted to leap through the pages and shake one or more of them because things seemed pretty obvious to me but I think the fact that I was that involved is a good thing.  And the fact that I was able to forgive these things and a couple of leaps in logic shows that, at it’s core, this was a good book, one I like a lot and would definitely recommend.

Emma x

liked-it-a-lot

Source: Library
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Publication Date: 6th January, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 364
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly update: 16th July, 2017

Weekly update

Morning all and happy Sunday.  I hope you are having a good weekend.  Ours has been busy as we prepare for our upcoming holidays.  I have been panic buying shorts and t-shirts after deciding nothing I own suits me or fits me or is just quite right for our holiday.  Then there are all those lovely travel size products that making packing easier but in reality are never enough of a two week holiday…I am not sure why I insist on buying them but I do.  The only downside of going away is my tomatoes, the first I’ve grown in years are on the verge of turning red so it’s likely my parents will reap the benefits of my green thumbs vs. me!

On other, blog related notes, it was also a good week.  I posted every day and read some brilliant books…Read More »

Stacking shelves: 15th July, 2017

STSsmallOnce again, I’m 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.

So the first few books I bought this week are probably of not much interest to anyone but me and my family – they are guide books for our holidays, which isn’t far away and I feel slightly unprepared for (I will be off trying to find enough warm weather clothes in a bit)…Read More »

Reading red lines?

spray paintEarlier this month I read a book that had scenes in it of a paedophile grooming a young girl.  They have haunted me since.  I keep flashing back to one scene in particular that made me squirm.  Even though I really enjoyed the book, there is part of me that wishes I hadn’t read it because I still don’t feel comfortable with what was written.

The other part of me though would still recommend the book – because it was well written and a good story.  Without the uncomfortable scenes it wouldn’t have been the same book (and definitely not as good).  My review mentioned that there were parts of the story that made me uncomfortable but I didn’t go further because it would have meant spoilers in the story.  I am now wondering if I should go back and be more explicit?

I know other bloggers do this and I have to say this has put me off some books, books which I think I might actually have enjoyed and I wondered what others thought about “warnings”?.  It’s a fine line I suppose, because we all have personal red lines, ones we don’t or won’t cross when reading books or watching TV.

Based on comments on some of my recent reviews, where there seems to have been a bit of a glut of books with missing children or children in danger, that seems to be a red line for a lot of parents (or at least parents of younger children).  They can too easily put themselves in the place of the central characters, imagine their own children missing.  Yet, as a parent myself, I can’t say I have that reaction.

For me, rape is a difficult one to read about.  When it’s mentioned in a blurb or review I tend to steer clear.  But then I read He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly not so long ago, where rape – and it’s aftermath – was the driver for the story and I was o.k. As with the book I read recently, He Said / She Said was well written and thought provoking as well as a great story that kept me wondering where the truth lay right till the last.

I’ve also found that I can no longer read books which portray violent or graphic scenes anymore (something I never batted an eye at a few years ago).  I used to be a big fan of the Graham Masterton Katie Maguire series, for example, but the fact that there always seemed to be at least one (and generally more) gruesome deaths – described in quite a lot of detail – meant I’ve had to stop reading them.

The problem is, how to do you know unless you read a book?  But if you do read it and your reaction to it is negative, have you done yourself any favours – especially if, like me, books stay with you for a while?  What are your thoughts – do you have reading red lines, and what are they? And would you prefer to know more or less about whether there might be something upsetting in a book?

Emma

This post is part of the 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, linking in with Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon at It Start’s at Midnight.

2017-discussion-challenge3

Note: Designed by Freepik

Blog tour and review: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Blog Tour Banner

I am not much of a one for doing blog tours – the added stress of getting a post up on a particular day has never appealed to me – and, in fact, this is my first.  But, it’s for an author who has become one of my firm favourites in the past year, ever since reading book four in her Nikki Galena series (Killer on the Fens),  so I decided to ignore my unwritten rule and take part.  I am pleased to report it was the right decision as this was a great book, possibly the best one yet.

Here’s what it’s about…

Buried on the FensA SKELETON IS UNEARTHED FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE IN THE CHURCHYARD. BUT THIS WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL BURIAL. THE VICTIM WAS MURDERED DECADES AGO.

At the same time, Detective Nikki Galena and her team are investigating the brutal slaying of local businesswoman Madeline Prospero. She was a member of an exclusive and secretive drinking club called The Briar Patch. But they’ve got no suspects and no one is telling them the truth.

Meanwhile, the buried skeleton leads them on a trail to the village of Quintin Eaudyke. This is a troubled place. In the late seventies and eighties a reign of terror and abuse was unleashed on the close-knit population.

When more women from the The Briar Patch come under threat, Nikki faces a race against time to stop the killing. Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the heart-stopping ending.

THE DETECTIVE
 DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms and her own family destroyed. She’s tough on criminals but fiercely loyal to her team.

HER PARTNER
DS Joseph Easter is the squeaky-clean new member of the team. But his nickname “Holy Joe” belies his former life as a soldier. He has a daughter and an ex-wife who wants his attention.

THE SETTING
The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote Fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.

DISCOVER YOUR NEXT FAVOURITE MYSTERY SERIES NOW

Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

As always, the book opens with Nikki getting thrown into the deep end, with two cases (one for a thirty year old murder) on at the same time and hardly any clues to get her going.  Thankfully, her team are as tenacious as she is and attack both cases with no other option but to solve them.  Before they do though, they find themselves “down the rabbit hole” with red herrings galore and enough twists and turns to make their – and my – head spin.

One of the things I loved was that as the novel progresses these seemingly unrelated stories come together and everything starts to make sense.  None of it feels forced though, which can easily happen when weaving threads together and I was a left with a “well that was obvious feeling at the end”, even though none of it had been (if that makes sense?).

Another thing I loved was the characters.  I have sung my praises of Nikki in other reviews – she is kind, caring, but also not afraid to be tough to get the job done – even if that means upsetting friends and her wider team.  She has a back story which slowly came out over the last few books I read and there wasn’t much of that here, meaning this story can easily be read as a standalone. 

What this also means is as her back story has became less front and centre, her team have had the chance to shine.  As the story is told in the third person you get to hear all their voices and thoughts, helping make them real  In the last novel (Captive on the Fens) it was Cat that really came through as her own person – and remains one here – but now we really get to known WPC Yvonne Collins, who has been on the force a long time and seems to know everyone in the area and a lot of their secrets.

Secrets are big in Buried on the Fens – their are lots of them and people seem willing to die in order to keep them.  Nothing is quite as it seems – my favourite type of book.  This all adds to the tension, which ratchets up page by page, chapter by chapter to what is a pretty good climax of a pretty good book and one I loved.  A recommended read!

Enjoy!

Emma x

About the author

Joy Ellis photo 2Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd.  Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writer’s workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie.

Other books in the series

Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS

Final facts

Source: Publisher
Publisher: Joffe
Publication Date: 11th July, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 284
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK (it’s 99p right now!) / Amazon US / Goodreads

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

Tuesday intro: The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

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.

tuesdayI’m also joining 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…Read More »