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Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Fire Child Book Review

THE FIRE CHILD by S.K. TREMAYNE





THE BLURB

The chilling new psychological thriller by S. K. Tremayne, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, THE ICE TWINS.

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’

Kindle Edition400 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by HarperCollins UK




MY REVIEW


I was very lucky to receive a copy of this via NetGalley, and after enjoying The Ice Twins so much last year, I was really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one.  And once again I haven't been disappointed with another creepy thriller from the author

This story is set in Cornwall, and each chapter is a countdown to Christmas so that you know that something big is set to happen but you aren't quite sure what as you read.  

Rachel has just married David, and moved to his family home in Cornwall.  He is much older, richer and taller than her and is a widow after losing his wife, Nina, in a tragic accident in the mines near their home 18 months earlier.  David has an 8 year old son too, Jamie, and he is one of the reasons that Rachel fell in love so quickly with David as she was captivated by his son.

Rachel struggles to settle in the 18 bedroomed house as it seems to contain many ghosts of Nina who was in the process of renovating the house when she died.  Many rooms are untouched and Rachel also finds boxes of Ninas' things in the basement so can't help but look.  This is when she finds letters that Jamie wrote to his mother after her death, as the therapists he saw thought it would help him get through his grief.  His behaviour has recently deteroriated again especially towards Rachel and she is struggling to get through to him.  He has also had some chilling dreams about her which unsettle her more when they start coming true. 
 

David is away working in London a lot of the time, so isn't around much but you do pick up on the tension that time apart and the behaviour of Jamie is having on the couple, and when Rachel starts to discover certain information about the death of Nina it just pushes them further apart and adds to the intrigue of just who is telling the truth about past events.


I did find the ending a little manufactured and rushed after having the tension built up so much, but it didn't distract from a chilling read so if you enjoyed The Ice Twins then you'll be enjoying this too!




Monday, 27 June 2016

Last To Die Book Review

LAST TO DIE by ARLENE HUNT




THE BLURB

He watches. He waits. He kills ... 

When Jessie Conway survives a horrific mass high school shooting, in the aftermath she finds herself thrust into the media spotlight, drawing all kinds of attention. But some of it is the wrong kind. 

Caleb Switch, a sadistic serial killer has been watching her every move. A skilled hunter, he likes his victims to be a challenge to him. Jessie is strong, fearless, a survivor, and now…she is his ultimate prey. 

As Caleb picks off his current victims one by one, chasing, killing and butchering them with his crossbow, he’s closing in on Jessie... But will Jessie defy the odds and escape with her life? Or will she be Caleb’s final sacrifice …


Kindle Edition331 pages
Published June 24th 2016 by Bookouture


 
MY REVIEW



The striking cover immediately grabbed my attention when I first spotted this book and I am very grateful to Bookouture via NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read and review this book!

There has been a rash of gripping thrillers about so far in 2016 and there seems to be no sign of the quality of them slacking if this is anything to go by!  I hadn't read anything by Arlene Hunt before but I will be looking for more from her in the future as the way she wrote was highly polished and had me wanting more with every turn of the page - or should that be tap of the Kindle screen!

We start the story through the eyes of Jessie Conway, who is a teacher of a class of troubled children at Rockville High.  She seems very calming in her position as the kids in her class all seem to have suffered neglect or abuse in their past so look to their teacher for stability.  But their quiet is shattered one day when 2 former pupils storm the school with autuomatic weapons and begin randomly shooting.  It is only when Jessie puts her own life on the line that the shooting ends - but where Jessies' nightmare begins.

Her heroic actions are brought to life but an ever invasive press and this brings her to the attention of Caleb Switch, a killer with a sick passion of hunting his victims after he captures them.  He always seems to be looking for new ways of getting the high he seems to get from his favoured form of murder.

Jessie tries to move on with her life, but this isn't helped by one of the local reporters digging into her background to find out why she is so against talking to any of the  press.  She soon finds out and this brings the past back - a past she'd not even discussed with her husband.

This was a fascinating read from start to finish with the tension building over different revelations and the last few chapters were extremely pulsating and had me gasping for breath near the end!  A fitting end to a gripping and exciting thriller.



Sunday, 26 June 2016

20 Books of Summer Update!



BOOKS 4 AND 5!

so the challenge continues! If you've not seen my posts before, this challenge was started on Twitter by Cathy of  746 books and is to read 20 books of your choice by the end of Summer!  I was in need of a kick up the bum in getting through the ever increasing pile of paperback books in my possession, so signed up straight away!  And so far so good!

Book 4   -    Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel



THE BLURB

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. 

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. 

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. 

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it. 


MY REVIEW

Have to admit that this book wasn't on my original list of 20 Books of Summer, but I was recently shopping in Waterstones and this book caught my eye, and the lady serving on the till that day couldn't stop raving about it when I went to pay, so with that high praise I bumped it to the top of my TBR list and I am extremely glad I did!

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book as it did appear to be quite a bleak outlook - it is mainly set 20 years after the Georgia Flu has hit the world which has killed 99% of the worlds population.  Those left are numb, in shock and seek to find others to help each other carry on living in a world that they don't remember.  Everything they thought they knew about the world has disappeared.  It becomes a real back to basic way of living for those who have survived and it is fascinating to read how they all cope and even in the darkest times they find hope and ways to keep going.

There is a link between the characters featured so the story flashes backwards and forwards to before and after and we get to see the tiny threads that connect them.  Some extremely interesting characters and situations unfold before our eyes as we read and I was hooked as it was written in such a way that it appeared a scenario that could actually happen and leaves you wondering how we would all cope nowadays with things and people that we take for granted.  I will be looking out for the authors other books now too as it was my first of hers that I'd read!  Highly recommended!!

BOOK 5 - THE BOOK COLLECTOR by ALICE THOMPSON


THE BLURB

Alice Thompsons new novel is a gothic story of book collecting, mutilation and madness. Violet is obsessed with the books of fairy tales her husband acquires, but her growing delusions see her confined in an asylum. As she recovers and is released a terrifying series of events is unleashed.

MY REVIEW


I have been intrigued by this book ever since I saw it on BookTube  so I bought a copy online and as it was only a small book - 224 pages in paperback - it was a perfect read for me today sitting in the June sunshine..... yes we did actually get some!

I thought this was  a fascinatingly creepy read! Violet was a 19 year old orphan when she is swept off her feet by Lord Archie Murray, and within a year they are married and have a son Felix.  Archie has a very controlling personality and seems to be more in love with his book collection than Violet.  While she is at home all the time she starts to go through his collection of first edition books, and the mysterious book of fairytales he keeps hidden away starts to become all she can think of.  Meanwhile, her grip on reality after motherhood seems to be crumbling around her and at one stage can see creatures crawling under her sons skin which she tries to remove from him.  This behaviour sees her locked up in the local Asylum, where she meets other women who seem to be of the same mind as her that there is more to their staying there than meets the eye, and it seems to be what their husbands think best for them.

You are never really sure who is more out of touch with reality in this book as most of the characters seem to be quite fragile mentally!  While Violet is in the Asylum, Clara moves into their home to take care of Felix and this proves difficult for Violet to deal with when she is eventually let out. 

Some of the women she meets in the Asylum then go missing, so this adds more to the mystery of the book along with the fact that Violet has more disturbing dreams - are they trying to tell her something? What is the link with the fairytales?  

Quite disturbing at times but a quick and enthralling read!



Now to decide on Book  6!!







Saturday, 25 June 2016

Book Post

Always so wonderful to receive goodies in the post and this weekend has started extremely well with this stunning delivery from the wonderful people at Harper Collins Publications



I first heard about the book, The Invitation, via Twitter and it looked and sounded so wonderful that I entered a competition to win one of their fabulous boxes - and it looks even better in real life!

THE BLURB

The world’s darkest hour had made her a ghost. Only he can see the light… 

Rome, 1953: Hal and Stella meet by chance, two outcasts in a city far from home. Or perhaps it was the hand of the gods that night as the Eternal City welcomed the beautiful elite to its rooftops. It’s a bright awakening for Hal, he believes he’s found the love of his life – his Stella, his star.

To his dismay, the mysterious girl disappears as quickly as she swept in, and Hal’s life as a journalist falls back into its familiar routine. But when he’s asked by an Italian Contessa to assist on a trip of a lifetime – acting as the reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian Riviera towards Cannes film festival, the most famous movie stars and directors of the day as its cargo – Hal can’t believe his good fortune. Especially when a familiar beauty becomes passenger.

Yet not all that glitters is gold, for many secret histories lurk beneath the surface of these Bright Young Things. Stella is bound to a powerful and profoundly dangerous man, and as Hal’s obsession grows with every passing wave, they sail closer towards a tragic fate . . .


Hardcover448 pages
Expected publication: July 14th 2016 by HarperCollins UK




So excited to start reading this book really soon as it sounds like such an stunningly, epic love story full of intrigue!  Will report back soon with my thoughts!





Friday, 24 June 2016

The Last Days of Summer Book Review

THE LAST DAYS OF SUMMER by SOPHIE PEMBROKE




THE BLURB

Escape to the beautiful world of Rosewood this summer
The only feel good summer read you’ll need, The Last Days of Summer is perfect for fans of Harriet Evans, Debbie Johnson and Lucy Diamond.
Saskia has always loved Rosewood. It was her family home, her sanctuary and her memories of it are vividly alive even after two years of being absent. Never did she think she would be standing in the rose garden afraid to cross the threshold and own up to the past she had run away from.
So much about Rosewood hasn’t changed, everyone still dresses for dinner, sips cocktails on the terrace, her father cooks every delicious meal and her beloved grandfather still tells spellbinding stories. But the cold reception from her grandmother, Ellie’s complete avoidance of her and the judgmental gaze of Edward, her grandfather’s new assistant (who seems to know more than enough about her past), are all new to Kia.
All Kia needs to do is attend her grandparent’s Golden Wedding Party and make it to the train station without her secret coming out. What could possible go wrong in just one weekend?
What reviewers are saying about The Last Days of Summer


Kindle Edition228 pages
Published June 9th 2016 by Carina




MY REVIEW

I was very lucky this week to win an E-copy of this book via the publishers, Carina, on a giveaway they had on Twitter.  And once i saw the pretty cover and read the blurb I was itching to read it straight away!

The main character is Saskia, Kia, who is working on a newspaper in Perth, Scotland, miles away from her family who she hasn't been home to see for 2 years.  Whatever caused her to stay away still seems really raw to her, so when her grandfather Nathaniel rings her to invite her along to the family home of Rosewood for his Golden Wedding anniversary  party, she reluctantly agrees and seeks to put old ghosts to rest with members of her family.

They don't know she's been invited so it is quite a shock when she shows up and soon you start to understand what caused the rift 2 years ago and wonder how things will be resolved.  While she is there she spends more time with her beloved grandfather, and his assistant Edward, and he seems to know a lot more about the family than an outsider should.  And when Nathaniel tells the family why Edward is really there it causes more family arguments and rifts.

Really enjoyed the mix of genres in this book as it switches easily between many.  There are also a couple of twists and turns that add to the thrill of reading and finding out more about the secrets this family are all keeping, and how they are planning to move on with their lives. 

 Highly recommended if you are looking for a book with a little bit of everything in!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Before You Book Review

BEFORE YOU by KATHRYN FREEMAN



THE BLURB

When life in the fast lane threatens to implode …

Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt. 

New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win. 

Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.

Kindle Edition
Published June 21st 2016 by Choc Lit


my review

Was very lucky enough to receive a copy of this via the publishers Choc Lit, and NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review so thankyou to both for the opportunity!

Have to admit to having a vested interest in this book, as I am a member of the Choc Lit Tasting Panel, where I'm lucky enough to be sent manuscripts they receive and to give my thoughts on them, and I had the pleasure of reading this back in 2014 and it grabbed me straight away then so I was extremely happy to find out it was going to be published!

Melanie Hunt has been in the male dominated sport of F1 for years as a press officer so she is used to the behaviour of the drivers both on and off the track!  But when Aiden Foster joins the Delta F1 racing team she is loathe to admit she has  a little crush on him, as she is very reluctant to mix business with pleasure.

But they hit it off almost immediately as there is no pretending with Mel and she gives as good as she gets on the banter front, and Aiden seems to respect that.  And considering his reputation as a playboy and joker he seems to have met his match!

Aidens'  father used to be a F1 World Champion so he's always had that to live up to, and you get the impression that he goes along with the persona that people expect to distract from past glories.  He's happy to go along with the praise his father always received as  a driver, even if the man he knew didn't quite match that.

Mel also has her own past tragedies that refuse to leave her and these also bring her closer to Aiden, and they struggle to decide whether they should give it a try together or keep things strictly professional.

Really loved the fast paced world of F1 life, and how the distractions of real life and families got involved in the mad world of sport and this really added something different to this romance, and a mans determination to prove he is just as good as his father on the track, but a better man off it

Highly recommended if you love a sizzling sporty romance!!


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

S is for Stranger Book Review

S IS FOR STRANGER by LOUISE STONE




THE BLURB

A gripping debut psychological thriller you don’t want to miss!


‘Louise Stone is an exciting new talent to watch. S is for Stranger is full of tension and atmosphere. A hugely compelling read.’ ― Amanda Jennings, author of In Her Wake



There are two sides to every story.

But only one is true.



Sophie wished she’d paid more attention when her little daughter, Amy, caught sight of a stranger watching them. She only looked away for a second. But now Amy’s gone.



No one trusts an alcoholic. Even a sober one. The police are suspicious of Sophie’s tangled story and so is her ex-husband, Paul. Especially when new information emerges that changes everything.



But what if Sophie is telling the truth? What if her daughter really is missing? And what if that stranger at the fairground wasn’t really a stranger at all…



Perfect for readers looking for their next addictive read afterThe Girl on the Train and Behind Closed Doors.



Kindle Edition234 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Carina



MY REVIEW


I was extremely grateful to receive a copy of this via NetGalley and the publishers, Carina, in return for a fair and honest review - so thankyou!

The cover was really intriguing when I first saw it and the insides match the cover for intrigue!

Sophie is an alcoholic, so her estranged husband Paul has custody of their 8 year old daughter, Amy.  According to Sophie as we see the story from her perspective we learn that he was extremely manipulative while they were together and that had driven her to the bottle.  She gets to spend Saturdays with Amy and the more time she spends with her, the more she realises she's missing out on and dreams of starting afresh and running away with daughter to escape Paul.

On a trip to the fairground every parents worst nightmare becomes a reality for the couple as Amy disappears.  Sophie swears she saw her talking to a stranger and then she was gone.  No trace. Nobody saw anything.

The desperation to find their daughter becomes too much and Amy is tempted to hit the bottle again.  With the help of a therapist recommended by the police, she starts to unravel the hidden traumas that have littered her life in the hope that they can figure out who would want to hurt her by taking Amy.

Sophie seems to have been plagued by various tragedies throughout her life so has learnt to block them out with various methods, and as more and more are revealed through therapy her mind seems to become more muddled as she tries to put the pieces together to make sense of it.  And as the reader finds out more, you become conflicted with wondering who to believe!

I did find the ending a little hurried, after the slower pace of them trying to track down Amy, but that still didn't distract from a really gripping debut thriller and I'm looking forward to reading more Louise Stone in the future!


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday Book Review

GOODBYE RUBY TUESDAY by A.L.MICHAEL


THE BLURB


Four friends have become three. But that’s only the beginning.
Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.
A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby, who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is Book 1 in A.L. Michael’s new series, ‘The House on Camden Square’
Kindle Edition243 pages
Published April 29th 2016 by Carina




MY REVIEW


I was given the opportunity of reading and reviewing this via the author on Twitter and NetGalley so would like to say thankyou to both!

This is the first in the The House On Camden Square series, and if this first book is anything to go by then we are in for a real treat with this series of books!

A group of schoolfriends, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea meet up at the funeral of their old friend Ruby, who after leaving school became a music star but met with a tragic end.  The girls were all as thick as thieves during their time together at school, but they soon drifted apart when they moved on to college and real life got in the way.  So they were all at different stages in their lives but none of them really where they wanted to be.

Ruby had written them a letter before she died saying how much she missed them all and how she wished they'd all stayed in contact, and she hoped that she could help them all realise their dreams by leaving them a house in London so that they could open an Arts Centre, which they all dreamed of doing as they grew up.  With their different circumstances, they don't all jump at the idea to begin with but they soon think an escape from 'reality' is what they all need and want to give it a shot as Ruby believed in them so much.

It is fascinating to see how quickly the old friendships are rekindled and how they all seem to give each other strength and confidence to make changes and make things happen.  We also get flashbacks from their schooldays so we can see how they all met and how they helped each other back then too.

Lots of really funny, friendly banter amongst them all really lifted this story and even when they had to confront more painful blasts from the past you get to see how much they grow and how they deal with the trouble that they've all faced in different ways over the years.

Sharing the studio space is Killian, a loner carpenter, who also knew Ruby and knew the good and bad side of her too and that brings  another aspect to the story of seeing how fame changed her and how she treated people during that part of her life.

I loved reading this and couldn't put it down once I'd started it, so am really eager to read the second in the series, Nice Day for a White Wedding (yes i'm singing that title to myself as i type it!) and I highly recommend this new great series!!




Monday, 20 June 2016

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan Book Review

DEAR AMY by HELEN CALLAGHAN



THE BLURB

First Class Psychological Suspense From a Major New Voice in Fiction

Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters - but none like the one she's just received: Dear Amy,
I don't know where I am. I've been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I'm afraid he'll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . 

Kindle Edition348 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Penguin

MY REVIEW

Very grateful to NetGalley for the chance to read this fascinating thriller!  The cover first caught my eye and then when I first read the blurb it sounded like my kind of read, and I wasn't disappointed!!

Margot Lewis is a school teacher, and agony aunt.  She works for the local paper answering problems sent to their 'Dear Amy' page and she genuinely seems to enjoy helping people.  But she soon receives some rather disturbing letters reportedly from Bethan Avery, a young girl who had gone missing 17 years ago, feared dead by the police, asking for  help to be rescued.  

At first Margot thinks this must be some kind of hoax, but as more letters arrive containing details that weren't released to the press she is convinced there is more to them than meets the eye and she soon becomes obsessed with getting to the bottom of the mystery.  Her interest is heightened by the fact that one of her students, Katie Browne, recently has gone missing in similiar circumstances and the police seem to assume she has just run away so seem reluctant to investigate much further.

The story then takes a mixed look at life through the eyes of Margot as she becomes consumed by tracking down Bethan, and also Katie as we discover how she is being kept at a house against her will just willing someone to find her and rescue her.

The normality of life as a teacher and the darker side of the mystery mix really well in this fast paced thriller and there are also some big curve-balls that had me shocked as more and more is revealed throughout, so I was just desperate to keep reading until the end!

Highly recommend this as a gripping mystery thriller with a darker edge to it.