The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell #bookreview

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.

They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby?

And where did they go?

My thoughts on The Family Upstairs

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The Minders by John Marrs #bookreview

Five strangers guard our secrets.
Only four can be trusted…

In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.

But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…

My thoughts on The Minders

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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

The Fallen Girls by Kathryn Casey #bookreview

Fallen GirlsShe didn’t notice the corn stalks shiver a few feet to her right. By the time she looked up, the man towered above her. In a single movement he wrapped one thick hand around her waist, the other he clamped over her mouth, muffling her screams.

Detective Clara Jefferies has spent years running from her childhood in Alber, Utah. But when she hears that her baby sister Delilah has disappeared, she knows that the peaceful community will be shattered, her family vulnerable, and that that she must face up to her past and go home.

Clara returns to find that her mother, Ardeth, has isolated her family by moving to the edge of town, in the shadow of the mountains. Ardeth refuses to talk to the police and won’t let Clara through the front door, believing she and her sister-wives can protect their own. But Clara knows better than anyone that her mother isn’t always capable of protecting her children.

When Clara finds out that two more girls have disappeared, all last seen around the cornfields near her family’s home, she realizes it’s not just Delilah who’s in danger. And then she gets a call that a body has been found…

Clara will have to dig deep into the town’s secrets if she’s going to find Delilah. But that will mean confronting the reason she left. And as she gets closer to Delilah, she might be putting her more at risk…

My thoughts on The Fallen Girls…Read More »

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.

Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.

When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

My thoughts on The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell…Read More »

Sleep by C L Taylor #bookreview

Sleep by C L Taylor.png

About Sleep by C. L. Taylor

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests has a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…Read More »

The Other Wife by Claire McGowan #BookReview

The Other Wife Claire McGowan

About the book…

She’s a total stranger. But she knows who you are…

Suzi did a bad thing. She’s paying for it now, pregnant, scared, and living in an isolated cottage with her jealous husband, Nick.

When Nora moves into the only house nearby, Suzi is delighted to have a friend. So much so that she’s almost tempted to tell Nora her terrible secret. But there’s more to Nora than meets the eye. It’s impossible—does she already know what Suzi did?

Meanwhile, Elle spends her days in her perfect home, fixated on keeping up appearances. But when her husband betrays her, it unravels a secret going all the way back to her childhood. She’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to him, even if that means murder. After all, she’s done it before…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.

 

 

 

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.  

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

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