Ice Cold Heart by P J Tracy #bookreview

Ice Cold Heart

A violent murder. An ice-cold killer . . .

On a bitterly cold winter night, Kelly Ramage leaves her suburban home, telling her husband she’s going to meet a friend.

But she never comes back.

When her body is discovered, murdered in what seems to be a sex game gone horribly wrong, Detectives Gino and Magozzi take the case, expecting to find a flirtatious trail leading straight to the killer.

However, Kelly’s sinister lover has done a disturbingly good job of hiding his identity.

This isn’t his first victim.  And she won’t be the last . . .

My thoughts on the book…

The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell #bookreview

The Old Drift

On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction. The moral? To err is human.

In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives – their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes – form a symphony about what it means to be human.

How It Ends by Saskia Sarginson #bookreview

How It Ends1957: Within a year of arriving at an American airbase in Suffolk, the loving, law-abiding Delaney family is destroyed.

Did they know something they weren’t allowed to know? Did they find something they weren’t supposed to find? Only one girl has the courage to question what really went on behind closed doors . . .

Hedy’s journey to the truth leads her to read a manuscript that her talented twin brother had started months before he died, a story inspired by an experience in the forest surrounding the airbase perimeter. Only through deciding to finish what her brother started does Hedy begin to piece together what happened to her family.

But would she have continued if she’d known then what she knows now?

Sometimes, it’s safer not to finish what you’ve started…

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas #BookReview

Then she vanishesAbout the book…

Everything changed the night Flora disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

 

My thoughts on Then She Vanishes…

It’s been three years (give or take) since I read my first Claire Douglas book (The Sisters), a book I liked rather than loved. At the time, I don’t think I’d have believed anyone who told me she would go on to become one of my favourite authors, one who wrote books I find impossible to put down and happy to pass on to friends and family. Yet, here I am, so happy to have read Then She Vanishes, which I devoured over the course of a couple of days on a recent holiday.

It starts with Jess, a newspaper reporter with a past she’s trying to hide. She’s left a job at a national newspaper in London and now finds herself in Bristol writing an article on a double murder, one supposedly committed by her childhood best friend. It’s been years since they’ve spoken (another secret that needs to come out), but Jess can’t believe Heather is guilty. And it’s hard to know the truth as long as Heather is in a coma.

Sent to write a story on Heather’s family, Jess once again finds herself wrapped up in their lives, with memories of just what happened to break her friendship apart rearing their ugly head. Now she has to work out where the truth lies, without turning herself into a potential victim.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book so quickly but, here, I really couldn’t put it down. Douglas deserves huge credit here for making the end of every chapter a cliffhanger without making it feel cliched or predictable given how many of this genre of books are out there. For me, the characters helped too. I liked Jess a lot, and the little I was learning about Heather meant I had a lot of sympathy for her.

I wasn’t so keen on Heather’s husband – but what would a psychological thriller be without a dodgy man in the wings? I do love a good villain and, here, I got one. I also got an ending I didn’t see coming, something which always makes me happy.

Was there anything I didn’t like about the book? No, not really. This was a five-star read for me and I would highly recommend it.

Enjoy!

Emma x

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

 

 

 

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty #bookreview

About the book…

It’s a thin line between love and murder…

A murder that shocks a city… 
Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead.

A case full of secrets and lies…
Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder.

An investigation that could prove deadly…
As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed one woman. Will he kill another?

My thoughts on the book…

Another day, another book where someone gets murdered – will I ever be able to resist? Probably not.  This time, it’s a young law student who leaves her part-time job in a bar in downtown Savannah in a hurry, only to end up dead a few hours later.  One of the first people on the scene (outside of the police) is Harper McClain, the local paper’s crime reporter.  She’s used to seeing dead bodies, just not those of people she knows…it turns out the bar the young law student worked at was Harper’s local.

Almost immediately, police have a prime suspect, one that doesn’t quite fit with Harper’s view of the crime or the reasons the victim might have ended up dead.  Like an itch she has to scratch, she ignores the police when they tell her there’s nothing to see and keeps looking into the murder, putting herself in danger in the process.  At the same time, she’s dealing with a potential stalker, someone who may or may not want her dead.

Between the plot and sub-plot (which I think must link back to an earlier novel I haven’t read) the pace with A Beautiful Corpse doesn’t let up from the moment you pick up the book till the last few pages, making it a great read.  Unfortunately, for me, the sub-plot was a bit of a distraction because I felt I was missing something.  That aside, however, I really enjoyed the story and liked Harper as a character and definitely want to get to know her more in the future.

Enjoy!

Emma

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

Someone You Know by Olivia Isaac-Henry #bookreview

About the book…

You can trust your family, can’t you…?

Tess Piper was fourteen when her adored twin sister Edie disappeared.

She has spent the last twenty years building a life away from her fractured family, desperate to escape the shadow of the past.

Only now she needs to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in her life, because a body has been found. The police are shining a spotlight on the Piper family. And secrets are about to surface.

After all, it’s common knowledge that more often than not, these crimes are committed by someone close to the victim. Someone they trust. Someone they know…

What really happened to Edie Piper?

My thoughts on Someone You Know…

I love a good psychological thriller and Someone You Know is definitely one of those, even though – in many ways – it fits into the formula of so many books I’ve read over recent years.  Tess is a young(ish) woman who can’t move on with her life because of what happened in her past.  She drinks too much, parties too much and won’t commit to a relationship with a man she thinks she loves.  Then, the very thing she can’t get over in her past comes crashing into her future, this time in the form of her sister’s remains, found after she went missing twenty years earlier.

The news brings Tess back home, to a father who never got over her sister’s disappearance either and an aunt and uncle whose marriage seems strained to breaking.  They all seem to be hiding some, as do old school friends and boyfriends.  Unable to live without knowing the truth, Tess digs deeper and deeper.  Unfortunately, what she finds out is worse than anything she could possibly have imagined.

So, a story that so many of us have read so many times.  Here, though, the writing is so good and the story is so well written I forgot that. Instead, I got carried along and carried away with the story.  I loved every minute of it, reading it in just two sittings, and can’t wait to read another book by Issac-Henry.

Enjoy!

Emma x

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

Transformative Witchcraft by Jason Mankey #bookreview

About the book…

Witchcraft is about more than seasonal rituals and pentacle necklaces; it’s meant to be a transformative path. The rites and rituals of Witchcraft are life-changing experiences, but they are also steeped in mystery. Transformative Witchcraft delves into some of the most persistent mysteries of the Craft and provides insightful guidance for raising energy with a Cone of Power; dedications, initiations, and elevations; Drawing Down the Moon; and the Great Rite.

Direct experience with the divine and the powerful energies of magick are defining elements of Witchcraft. Filled with powerful personal stories, a fascinating history of modern Wicca and Witchcraft, striking original rituals, and a wealth of tips and techniques, this book provides the beginning or intermediate Witch with the practical and theoretical keys they need to unlock the mysteries of the Craft.

My thoughts…

I’ve always been interested in Witchcraft.  I like the spiritual aspects, which appeals much more than organised religion, and the connection it has with nature.  This book appealed to me because it gave me the opportunity to find out more about a subject I don’t know that much about and perhaps see if it’s something I would like to take further.

Written by an experienced witch, there was plenty in this book to help me understand just what might be involved and how to take my interest beyond reading books.  If I’m honest, however, it was probably a little too advanced for me.  Because I’ve already done some reading and attended some events, I was familiar with much of what was being said.  I’m just not familiar enough to know how to take this new knowledge and put it into practice.

To be fair, I was told as much in the introduction. As I’d requested a copy of the book to review, though, I felt I needed to read on.  What I got was a detailed look at some of the history of witchcraft, how covens work, and the rituals they perform.  It was fascinating, especially with the real-life accounts woven into the text (which might otherwise have been a bit dry) and for people who were further along their journey, it would probably have been really useful.

Instead, I ended up feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  This doesn’t mean this wasn’t a good book.  It was.  It was everything it promised on the tin – informative and insightful.  It just wasn’t for me because it’s also a ‘how to’ guide and I’m nowhere near that point yet.

Emma

Note: I receive a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. 

 

 

In Harm’s Way by Viveca Sten #bookreview

About the Book

The body of world-famous journalist Jeanette Thiels is discovered the day after Christmas, frozen in a snow-covered garden just steps from her hotel on Sandhamn Island. Detective Thomas Andreasson finds it highly unlikely that it was some bizarre accident. After all, the relentless war-zone correspondent was no stranger to conflict and controversy—both professional and, of late, very personal. Who would want to see her dead is another story.

Enlisting the help of attorney Nora Linde, his longtime friend on holiday, Thomas is anxious for the answers. But he and Nora don’t have to look far. The clues are leading them closer to home than they imagined. Jeanette may have made a career out of exposing corruption at the highest levels of world power, but she was also a woman with secrets of her own, and they’re coming to light on Sandhamn. For Thomas and Nora, unearthing the deeply rooted deceptions behind Jeanette’s death could now put those closest to her in harm’s way, too.

What I Thought About It…

The sixth book in this series set on the beautiful but deadly island of Sandham, starts with a chilling murder (literally and figuratively) as a journalist is found dead in a snow bank.

Initially, it’s thought she lost her way in the dark, unable to find her way back to her hotel room. An autopsy, however, reveals she was poisoned, leading to a hunt for a murderer that may or may not be on Sandham.

Having read all the books in this series, there is a rhythm to them that I enjoy but which also means there is sometimes a sense of deja vu. Getting of the island, then, was a nice change, one I enjoyed.

What didn’t change was lead Detective Thomas’ friend Nora getting involved with the case, something which is getting harder for me to accept with each book I must admit. I really like Nora as a character and I have loved watching how she’s changed as a person since the first book. BUT getting her into the stories is starting to feel forced and somewhat jarring and I’m not convinced it adds to the plot.

Nora aside, the plot was interesting and outcome not one I was expecting. I really like Thomas, who is a gentle but dogged, and his team, who I’d like to see more of. And, given this is Scandinavian crime fiction, one of my favourite genres, it feeds my fascination with the country.

It all means that,while I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it as much as I have some of the others. And, I hate to say it, but I am not sure I’ll continue onto book number seven.

Emma x

The Forbidden Place by Susanne Jansson (Book Review)

In the remote Swedish wetlands lies Mossmarken: the village on the edge of the mire where, once upon a time, people came to leave offerings to the gods.

Biologist Nathalie came in order to study the peat bogs. But she has a secret: Mossmarken was once her home, a place where terrible things happened. She has returned at last, determined to confront her childhood trauma and find out the truth.

Soon after her arrival, she finds an unconscious man out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold – just like the ancient human sacrifices. A grave is dug in the mire, which vanishes a day after. And as the police investigate, the bodies start to surface…

Is the mire calling out for sacrifices, as the superstitious locals claim? Or is it an all-too-human evil?

My Thoughts…

I love a little bit of Scandi Noir, stories that are dark, foreboding, and just a little bit bleak, all of which can be used to describe The Forbidden Place.  It starts with Nathalie returning to her childhood home, or at least close to it, determined to face her demons and – finally – move on with her life. What those demons are isn’t exactly clear, though her story slowly gets told as the book progresses.  That it has to do with the marsh she is staying next to, however, isn’t in any doubt.

To Nathalie, it seems to take on a life of her own, filling her full of dread, never more so than when she finds the body of Johannes, a young man she recently went on a date with, unconscious and close to death in the peat bog. Perhaps she wouldn’t feel so scared if this was the first time a body had been found in the marsh. But it isn’t.  Instead, over the years, more than one person has gone missing…while others who live in the area have ended up dead.

It all makes for a great premise for a book, and just up my street, which it was – at first.  Unfortunately, about halfway through, it ran out of steam because, while I liked Nathalie, she was the only real character in the book and – interesting as she was and intriguing as her secrets were – I needed a bit more variety to keep me going.  Instead, I found myself dragging, losing interest during the final third especially.  IT’s a shame really, given how strong it started, but – in the end – this wasn’t for me.

Sorry!

Emma

Source: Netgalley
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Rating: 3 out of 5
Find on: Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

Rakuten Kobo UK

 

The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran

Infinite Blacktop Sara GranWhen she comes too, in pain and with someone’s screams ringing in her ear, Claire DeWitt can’t remember where she is or how she got there.  Opening her eyes, she sees an ambulance and knows she’s on a stretcher about to be taken to hospital.  She also knows that, if she goes, she might not make it through the day alive.  So she attacks a police officer, steals a car and heads out to figure out just who was trying to kill her and why.

It’s a journey that takes her from her base in San Francisco to Las Vegas as she tracks down a man with white hair she isn’t sure exists.  Along the way she reflects on how she ended up as a private investigator, flashing back to her teenage years where she was obsessed with the Cynthia Silverton Detective series, as were her friends, who formed an unlikely trio of investigators through to how she got her private investigators license by figuring out who was dead and who wasn’t as part of a cold case.