The Chalet by Catherine Cooper #bookreview

The Chalet Catherine Cooper

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

My thoughts on The Chalet…Read More »

Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh #bookreview

Blue Ticket Sophie Mackintosh

From the Man Booker Prize longlisted author of The Water Cure – discover this chilling new novel about motherhood, free will and fate, human longing and animal instinct

‘The cool intensity and strange beauty of Blue Ticket is a wonder – be sure to read everything Sophie Mackintosh writes’ Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk

‘A gripping, sinister fable’ Margaret Atwood on The Water Cure

Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back.

But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?

Blue Ticket is a devastating enquiry into free will and the fraught space of motherhood. Bold and chilling, it pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies.

My thoughts on Blue Ticket
Read More »

Never Look Back by Mary Burton #bookreview

Never Look Back Mary Burton

After multiple women go missing, Agent Melina Shepard of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation makes the impulsive decision to go undercover as a prostitute. While working the street, she narrowly avoids becoming a serial killer’s latest victim; as much as it pains her to admit, she needs backup.

Enter lone wolf FBI agent Jerrod Ramsey. Stonewalled by a lack of leads, he and Melina investigate a scene where a little girl has been found abandoned in a crashed vehicle. They open the trunk to reveal a horror show and quickly realize they’re dealing with two serial killers with very different MOs. The whole situation brings back memories for Melina—why does this particular case feel so connected to her painful past?

Before time runs out, Melina must catch not one but two serial killers, both ready to claim another victim—and both with their sights set on her.

My thoughts on Never Look Back…

Anyone who reads my blog, will know I love crime fiction and I love a strong central female character.  I got both with Never Look Back, which made me very happy.  I liked Melina a lot.  She’s strong, feisty, and not afraid to take risks. I also liked the story, or rather stories, as there were two running side by side here.  It kept things interesting.

Unfortunately, along with a compelling piece I crime writing, I also got a love story.  Which is where it went a bit wrong for me.  I don’t do romance (though I have no problems with my characters being in relationships).  It’s my own fault, I bought the book on impulse and didn’t look at other reviews.

Saying that, it the romance wasn’t so in my face as to put me off and the story kept me happily reading along.  Would I read another in the series? I’m not sure, but I think anyone who reads this book will enjoy themselves.

Emma x

Left for Dead by Caroline Mitchell #BookReview

Left for Dead Caroline MitchellA victim on display. A detective on the rails.
Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.

This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.

As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?

My thoughts on Left for Dead…

The image of a dead body posed as a mannequin in a bridal shop is one of the creepiest and cleverest murder scenes I’ve encountered for a while. It’s stayed with me since I read Left for Dead (which was about a month ago – I’m way behind on reviews), as has the book as a whole because it’s really good.

What did I like about it? The central character Amy Winter for a start. This is the third book in a series – the others are crackers too – and she makes a great main protagonist. She’s smart, dogged, and just that little bit messed up thanks to a crappy childhood that you’ll need to read book one to find out more about.

These traits mean she won’t let go of a case till she’s solved it. They also mean she has a tendency to put herself in danger.  Which brings me to my second ‘like’, the suspense that runs through the book. It does keep you on the edge of your seat, even though you know who the killer is from the beginning. This is hard to do and I think Caroline Mitchell should be commended for doing it so well.

And that leads me quite nicely into the third main reason I enjoyed this book. The writing.  Caroline Mitchell is good. She paints a great picture and makes you believe in what is happening on the page. If the book I’d read before it hadn’t been so mediocre, I may not have realised just how good. It definitely made a sharp contrast. And it’s why – if I used a star rating – I’d definitely go for five stars. A great read and highly recommended.

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

Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine #bookreview

Bitter Falls Rachel Caine

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

My thoughts on Bitter Falls by Rachel CaineRead More »

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…Read More »

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.

 

 

 

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

 

Healthyish by Lindsay Hunt

helathyishThe full title for Healthyish is “A Cookbook with Seriously Satisfying, Truly Simple, Good-For-You (but not too Good-For-You) Recipes for Real Life”.  It’s a mouthful but it does sum up quite nicely what this recipe book is about.   It’s full of food that looks delicious, tastes delicious (from the recipes I’ve tried) and sounds delicious (from those that I haven’t).

The idea behind Healthyish is that you can eat a good, healthy, balanced diet without living on lettuce leaves and by making some simple changes.  So you swap whole grains for refined, add ingredients like olives for natural flavour, and swap processed foods for homemade alternatives (think salad dressing).Read More »

Liar Liar by M. J. Arlidge

imageDetective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…

I don’t like fire, it’s one of those things that has always scared me a little and the thought of being caught in one terrifies me.  Liar Liar, then, is probably not a book I should have been reading.  However, it was next of my list of books staring DI Helen Grace and – as I’ve loved them all so far – I couldn’t say no, afraid I might be missing out on something good.

One of the reasons I don’t like the idea of being caught in a fire is that feeling that there isn’t much you can do about it once your trapped and M J Arlidge has pretty much convinced me I’m right thinking that.  He paints quite a scary picture of just what it feels like to get caught in a fire – the panic people feel when they wake up to find their houses on fire, their bodies in some cases, and the sheer battle they face against the smoke and the heat to escape.  Like I said, the idea terrifies me, and even reading about it made me more than a little uncomfortable.

Thankfully for the people of Southampton, the arsons are being investigated by DI Helen Grace who is like a dog with a bone and the force’s best detective.  Unfortunately for them, for most of the book the arsonist is one step a head and the fires continue to burn.  That’s because they are clever, leaving no clues as to who they are or what their motive is.  Helen and her team seem to be on the loosing side for once and, as they scrambled to make sense of what was happening, as a reader I could fee the tensions rise.

I also had no clue who the guilty party might be, which was great as quite often with these books it becomes pretty clear early on and then it’s just a case of understanding the why. When the big reveal came, it was a good one and – I thought – clever to.  Not your usual suspects and no one that had been on my radar.   Then there was a final twist in the tale which, if you read my reviews regularly, you’ll know I’m not always the biggest fan of but here made perfect sense and was a fitting ending to a great story.

Beyond that there isn’t much else to say other than the things I’ve said about every book in the series so far.  I love Helen, she’s a great character and her team are coming to life more and more with each story, making me care for them too.  The book is really well written, with short, punchy, chapters that keep you turning the pages and wanting to know what happens next.  The only difference with this book to the last three is that this is perhaps more of a slow burn (pun intended) with the arsonist not being revealed until close to the end and not having much of a voice bar a few blog posts throughout the story.  This is no bad thing though and didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing anything.  I liked this book a lot and would definitely recommend.

Emma

liked-it-a-lot

Source: Library
Publisher: Penguin Crime
Publication Date: 10th September, 2015
Pages: 442
Format: paperback
Genre: crime fiction