Dangerous to Know by Chloe Esposito

Dangerous to Know by Chloe Esposito

50518311._sy475_

Publisher: Michael Joseph, Penguin

Publishing Date: 15th October 2020

Series: Dangerous to Know #3

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 

 

Synopsis:

Once, serial killer Alvie Knightly was living the dream.

Unlimited cash.
An Italian getaway.
A hot new boyfriend . . .

How the mighty fall.

One year – and one very unfortunate incident – later, Alvie is homeless, surviving on meal deals, and counting her dwindling pennies.

It’s time for one last hit, and if anyone can pull it off – in six-inch heels – it’s Alvie.

But if she’s to succeed in her mission to avenge her ex, win back her money and secure her future, she’ll have to face her most terrifying enemy yet . . .

Her past.

Rating: five-stars

„Dangerous to Know“ follows the adventurs of Alvie, a female serial killer. Alvie had it all – money, handsome boyfriend, no worries. Until she didn’t have it any more, and it leaves her with just one more job to do. So she finds herself in London again, jobless and homeless again but with a plan turning her into Siobhan from Ireland, getting a job at The Savoy and immediately bumping into her target…
But also her past, her worst enemy, is haunting her all the time – what is going to happen with Alvie this time? How much chaos and how big the trail of destruction she’s leaving behind is going to bet his time? Because this embracing and rocking her inner killer puts her into thousand of dangerous but also hilarious situations…

I was incredibly excited to be able to be back in Alvie’s life. The book starts exactly where the last one ended and we accompany – again – our main character on her incredible and crazy journey full of champagne, cocktails, jewellery and death. So incredible and so crazy in fact that you have to roll your eyes but it is also the strongest point of this book, this „something“ that makes it so special and, like with the others, I totally and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As much as I wouldn’t advise to get on the wrong side of Alvie, I think that in „Dangerous to Know“ she slowed down a bit, she was not as free and careless as in the two previous books. She was still absolutely bonkers and if she wanted something, she got it, no matter what, but I had a feeling that there is something holding her back. Did she grow up? Was there this feeling of responsibility for her nephew hidden somewhere deep? Was it her past? As we are given the chance to learn a bit about her past, what has shaped her. I’m not sure, but something was there, something that kept Alvie back. Maybe the fact that Alvina was a softie deep, deep down, just like I predicted in my review of „Mad“??? Nevertheless, our Alvie, even if without moral code, is funny, she’s sharp and she knows what she wants, and when she wants something than there is nothing holding her back. She’s a real hot mess, a wrecking ball and whenever she appears, it ends with either death or confusion. Her inner monologues are so brilliant that I can’t put into words how brilliant they are. She’s also very accident prone and if something is going to happen than you can be sure it’s going to happen to our Alvie. She’s in some ways mad and she must have seven lives like cats, and you will be keeping your fingers crossed for her to land on her feet.

It is incredibly fast paced story, full of twists, turns and unexpected situations, book that took me by surprise all the time, a story kept me glued to the pages, as I so wanted to know what’s going to happen. Chloe Esposito’s writing style is absolutely brilliant. It’s sharp and fast – paced and she brings her characters and locations so easily to life. It’s entertaining and so very vivid. It’s full of dark humour and the scenarios she concocts are probably one of the best I have ever read. And be prepared, this book is going to take you on a real roller – coaster ride where nothing is like you suppose it to be.

The end was for me, to be completely honest, a little too nice, too well rounded for Alvie’s book. I’m not sure what I have expected but probably for it to not to be soooo nice. But – it is gripping, it is thrilling, it is sexy, filthy and full of blood, dangerous, exciting and crazy, over – stepping the boundaries and I simply loved it. It’s a story that is really quite far – fetched but that’s the point, and still a breath of fresh air and let it surprise you – I can truly recommend the series to you.

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Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

 

Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph 49095574._sy475_

Publishing Date: 6th August 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The nail-biting new novel from Sunday Times bestseller Claire Douglas

CARER/COMPANION WANTED FOR ELDERLY LADY
* YOUNG FEMALE PREFERRED * COMPETITIVE SALARY *
* ROOM AND BOARD INCLUDED *

Una Richardson’s heart is broken after the death of her mother. Seeking a place to heal, she responds to an advertisement and steps into the rich, comforting world of Elspeth McKenzie.

But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.

Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. But more disturbing is the realization that two girls had lived here before. Two girls who ended up dead.

Why won’t the McKenzies talk about them? What other secrets are locked inside this house? As the walls close in around her, Una starts to fear that she will end up just like the other girls . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

Una’s mother has recently passed away and her boyfriend betrayed her, so she feels very alone in the world. Fortunately, she still have her best friend Courtney. Looking for another direction in her life, Una applies to become a live – in carer for a 79 – year – old Elspeth Mackenzie. The money is really good and she’ll be living in a luxurious mansion. She’s really happy to get the job but quickly it turns out that Elspeth’s daughter, Kathryn, who doesn’t think Elspeth needs a carer at all, simply dislikes Una. Moreover, Una discovers that two girls that worked for Elspeth before her disappeared and they’re both dead. Coincidence? How safe is Una? After asking Courtney to help her investigate, they discover that there are many secrets hidden and lies told…

I liked how the author played with my mind. There came a moment that I stopped to believe any of the characters, really, you will start to suspect all of them, you won’t know who to trust. The plotting is done really, really well, it’s clever and it will make you think all the time, and the characters are all so different, full of secrets.

It is a story full of twists and turns and I truly liked the unexpectedness of it. Also, the author has brilliantly captured the atmosphere of unease and the tension of what’s going to happen and what can happen was palpable. The setting helped so much with creating the atmosphere of uncertainty, and the house itself was like another gloom character there, playing a huge role in the story. The writing style was really well rounded, full of the most detailed descriptions but they didn’t feel like interruption, and also I didn’t have a feeling they take me away from the main plot, which is a brilliant thing, not so easy to achieve and the pace was just spot – on, Claire Douglas really knows when to add another hint or red herring to speed up the action and when to slow it down a little. And no, I didn’t see it coming! The end took me completely by surprise. I must admit that perhaps I wasn’t SO shocked but still, I was surprised – though not really sure what to think about it.

I must admit that I didn’t feel so invested in the second part, with the different narrator – maybe it’s because I liked Una so much and then was also afraid what’s going to happen next? That I shouldn’t fall for Willow because something is going to happen? Not sure, but being totally honest, I felt much more invested in Una’s story. I liked her and I so wanted her to be happy. She was so kind and honest, there was nothing fake to her and it was so great to have such an open, easy character. Because the others were much more complex and they somehow had a darker side to them, or at least it felt like this. It was as if they had something to hide all the time, especially Elspeth and Kathryn – they were not so easy to like, blowing cold and hot, though I must admit that they developed throughout the story, or rather their stories developed, as the author gave us insight into their past which made me understand them much better and when they finally realised the mistakes they’ve been making. The background characters were colourfully diverse but all of them had their own personalities.

It was an interesting, gripping and captivating psychological thriller. Claire Douglas explored here not only a mystery, but she also delved deep into family dynamics and its complexity, adding tons of depth to the plot and making it even more thought – provoking. Interesting, captivating and like a breath of freh air, I truly recommend this book!

About Last Night… by Catherine Alliott / #tacklingmytbrpile

About Last Night … by Catherine Alliott

 

Publisher: Michael Joseph 32872657._sy475_

Publishing Date: 25th April 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adults)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The funny, enthralling and heartwarming story of a woman who gets a second chance in life – but will she have the courage to take it?

Molly has moved from London to rural Herefordshire chasing the Good Life. Swapping the tube for the saddle, she is living the country dream. Apart from it isn’t really her dream. It’s her husband David’s. And David is, well, rather dead now.

Then a distant relative of her late husband kicks the bucket, leaving a London townhouse in her possession, and Molly dares to consider chucking it all in. Quitting the Good Life and going back to her good life. But there’s a problem. A rather tall, handsome problem. In the shape of a man already living in Molly’s new house. And when a face appears from her past, Molly is more confused than ever. Will Molly’s London dream replace her muddy reality?

Do any of the men in her life really have honourable intentions? And has she said goodbye to country life too soon?

Rating: five-stars

 

Molly Faulkner has been a widow for five years already, living in a ramshackle house on a farm that actually is not a farm, with her three children: Lucy, Minna and Nico. The farm has been her husband’s David dream and because Molly owed it to him, she decided to change her life and move with him to Hertfordshire. But then he suddenly died, leaving her in the mess, constantly struggling for money, raising lambs, selling horses and lavender soap and underwear, anything that will keep the (friendly, thanks God!) bailiff away. Nevertheless, the bills start piling and Molly struggles to make ends meet, especially as all the animals are verging on elderly and are always in need for a vet, and the local vet ist he best, sure, but his bills are astronomical. Moreover, he dislikes Molly since she stood him up for a date, which was absolutely not like that because Molly simply forgot that she’s supposed to go on a date with him… But then, out of the blue and totally unexpectedly, Molly inherits not only a small fortune but also a house in London. And when she also meets Felix, the handsome art dealer, is her life finally going to change for better?

The characters were absolutely brilliant, larger than life, jumping off the pages and authentic. Molly’s family is hilarious, starting with the interfering, fortune telling in a caravan mother and the bossy, judging children. Yes, Molly’s children grated on me a little but on the other hand they were also incredibly sharp and amusing, and so I’m not going to debate over their rudeness to their mother. I think the author here has really well captured the dynamics in this family, because there comes an age when the children think they know all better and are not afraid to say so loudly while their parents simply keep their mouth shut because they are those who know better, and one day the children realise it. It was actually funny to see the role reversal, the children and Molly swapping places in looking after each other.
Molly is so well written that you can easily sympathise with her and her feelings and emotions. Her life is a chaos: after David has died only six weeks after they moved to the country, she stayed there for his sake, feeling she ows him this. The house is a mess, the animals are a mess, the children are a mess, with opinionated Lucy living in London, Minna having her heart broken all the time over and over again by the local lothario and Nico hanging around the house with his mates, drinking and smoking weed, and the bills piling up. I immediately warmed to Molly. Sometimes she was more than gullible, sometimes she was a doormat, sometimes she was overhwlmed with her children and her life, sometimes she was much too naive but on the whole she made me laugh out loud and this naivety of hers made her even more likeable.

I think this is this kind of book that you must be able to read between the lines and not take everything so literally. I absolutely enjoyed it, even though there were moments that I felt truly desperate with Molly and her decisions – really, she was making more wrong decisions that I can count but that was Molly for you. There were also moments that the book dragged a bit and the humour felt a little too forced but on the whole the book kept me entertained and laughing at the characters’ antics. I loved the humour there, it was clever, sarcastic and not so obvious.

There is so much going on in this book but the author has everything under control, and the events are flying, there is all the time something going on, yet you don’t feel overwhelmed or confused. The writing style is just my cup of tea, quick, sharp and straight to the point, with brilliant, witty dialogues. Till the end you can’t be sure how it’s going to end, to be honest. And I absolutely loved the potential romance candidates’ thread in this book. The book had plenty of laugh – out – loud moments and believe me, I’ll be checking twice what I wear before I ride a horse again. I loved the country side of the book. I myself am more of a country girl, and I really liked how well the author has captured all the ups and downs of having your own land with animals and how difficult and hard it is sometimes to look after them and what this looking after them really involves.

„About Last Night…“ is a story about second chances, regrets and overcoming them, about trust and finding what is really important in life. It’s about the importance of friendship and family. And it’s not only fun, fun, fun, there were more serious moment as well, feeling of sadness and nostalgia brilliantly mixed with the more humorous ones. It’s a great read that I highly recommend!

The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble

The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble

 

Publisher: Penguin / Michael Joseph cover187078-medium

Publishing Date: 25th June 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The Chamberlain family – Charlie and Daphne, and their children Laura, Scott and Nick – had fantastic summer holidays when they were young. But then, inevitably, the children grew up, and their own messy lives got in the way.

Since their mum died, it feels to them all as if their family just isn’t that close any more. And Charlie fears his kids have all lost their direction.

For his eightieth birthday, all Charlie wants is to bring his family together again – and by some miracle, they’ve all said yes.

It’s only ten days . . . how hard can it be?

Rating: four-stars

 

Charlie is approaching his 80th birthday. Widowed for already ten years, he still misses his wife Daphne and worries that, together with her death, the family has drifted apart. Daphne has always known what to do and what to say to help and Charlie doesn’t have this gift. In his attempt to get the whole family together, he arranges a holiday, renting a large house in Cotswolds, and invites everybody to celebrate his birthday together. We meet Laura, recently separated from her husband and with her teenage son Ethan, Nick, widowed less than a year ago and his three small children, and Scott and his new American wife Heather and her two daughters from her previous marriage. It turns out that all of them have secrets and problems, and what with them not being as close as they used to be, is this holiday a good idea?

This is my first book by Elizabeth Noble so I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest, although well, maybe I thought that it’s going to be an easy, light – hearted read. I was, however, confronted with a story with much more depth to it that I have thought, and characters facing overwhelmingly huge challenges, yet despite them being so stressed and anxious, there is still warmth and hope in the writing.

It is a character – driven story, where not much happens in the way of exploiting the plot but those are the characters that are moving it forward. I liked the fact that we actually explore one family only, a closed group of characters – there were a few of them but I had a feeling that I know them really well, thanks to the author’s wise descriptions and development and the above mentioned fact that everything happens between the same characters. However, I must admit that Daphne as a central character, even though already gone, didn’t work for me so much. I am really truly done with such characters, being put on pedestal, keeping everything together, and while maybe she was really a lovely and über – wise person, I was told about it, I didn’t have a chance to form my own opinion because it was forced upon me.

The pace is slow and relaxed, and the holiday mentioned happens only then when we were introduced to all the characters, got to know all their background and what makes them tick. The events in their lives are mostly heart – breakingly sad but they are convincingly written and they feel realistic. Their stories are well – rounded and the characters are well portrayed. I got annoyed with them, frustrated and I sympathised with them, and it is always a good sign.

“The Family Holiday” is a book filled with emotional insights and wisdom, gentle and easy to read. It’s close to life and relatable with some great moments and for sure it won’t be last by this author for me. The author can for sure write about family dynamics, capturing the more humorous moments but also those that end in tears, pointing out that families are hard work and that there are always secrets hidden and lies told but with the support of each other you can overcome even the darkest moments. The author tells things how they are, without sugar – coating them, going through the beginning and breaking of the marriage, grief, becoming children and daily troubles. The writing is lovingly engaging and descriptive but without overwhelming you. Recommended!

 

 

 

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

 

Publisher: Michael Joseph 43779862

Publishing Date: 6th February 2020

Source:  Purchased

Number of pages: 656

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Rating: five-stars

 

“Grown Ups” introduces us to the life of Casey Family, three brothers with their wives and assorted children. There is Johnny, the good – looking one, married to the powerhouse Jessie who has two children from her previous marriage to Johnny’s best friend, and now her and Johnny have three children of their own. Jessie is the one running the most successful business and taking care of the family’s get – togethers, funding all the trips and other holidays. Ed is married to Cara. Cara works at the Ardglass Hotel and she’s the one looking after all of the tricky guests. They have two children and Cara herself has a huge problem. And there is Liam, the youngest one, a famous runner once, divorced and with two little girls, who has now married for the second time – the lovely Nell, free – spirited and artistic, and who now starts to discover that maybe she doesn’t love Liam as much as she has thought?
The book opens at one of the family’s get – togethers, Johnny’s birthday, shortly after Cara’s concussion – as a result she starts to reveal all the hidden secrets and truths that are going to rock many, many lives…

After the introduction – that is truly promising – the narrative goes back six months, and slowly takes us back to the starting point, i.e. to Johnny’s birthday, where everything began, to bring us back to present – but before we arrive there, there is a long and bumpy road, full of secrets, uncomfortable truths, hilarious and poignant moments.

What Marian Keyes can do perfectly well is to create her characters. They are full of flaws, with secrets and telling lies, they are dysfunctional but they feel human, realistic and believable. They make mistakes, they follow their instincts but the things that make them tick, that drive their actions are absolutely believable – and I think this is what makes them feel so special yet so normal.
While right at the beginning I felt really overwhelmed with the number of characters, and the family tree at the beginning of the book didn’t help, moreover, it has somehow complicated everything even more, I relatively quickly came to terms with who is who and to whom they belong and what is their background story. It takes time, but it is a huge book, and I enjoyed this pace, with the author giving me the chance to really get to know each of the characters.

The author really knows how to create relatable, deep characters that have their own distinctive voices. I think it is done deliberately that truly the children are more grown – up as the adults there, putting them in the right place every now and again, showing them they need to face the reality and truth, to take responsibility. I loved the way they were forced to stop messing around and really embrace their problems, through Cara having a concussion and starting to tell things how they really are – brilliant idea, and such a breath of fresh air.

This book was an epic family saga, digging deep into the shambled relationships and lives, telling things how they really are. I really liked the depth and details of every relationship and of every character life, it may not be a thing for every single reader, but I truly appreciated and enjoyed it. The length and depth the author went to describe the individual members of the family, dig behind the harmonious facade and reveal all the tension, resentment and secrets was exceptional and worked perfectly well. The author has brilliantly balanced sadness with humour, poignant moments with wit and sarcasm, and I loved this mix. She also has this incredible talent to easily pull you into the characters’ worlds. “Grown Ups” was a book touching upon so many issues – mental health, addiction, love, hate, grief, hope, love, secrets and family dynamics. Highly recommended!

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane / Blog Tour

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

 

Publisher: Michael Joseph 44004179._sy475_

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

Rating:  four-stars

 

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope got to know each other through the New York City police academy and worked as partners later. Later, they move into neighbouring houses in the small town of Gillam and start their own families, Francis with Anna and Brian with Lena. While Gleesons have three daughters, the Stanhopes have only one son. There is only six months difference between Kate and Peter, and they immediately bond with each other, becoming true friends. A few years later however, and a tragedy occurs, changing the lives of everyone in both families and the Stanfords having to move away. Fast forward some years, Kate and Peter, now adults, are still trying to come to terms with what has happened, navigating through the years filled with pain and unfairness, nevertheless throwing themselves into what future brings. But the memories hunt them, and past becomes a millstone round their necks.

This book was for me a slow burner. It took me a long time to finally, eventually fully get into it (well, it spans over 40 years and revolves around only two families), to get what the author wanted to tell us, to cotton on what the story is about – my bad, I admit, but then the story was unputdownable, taking an unexpected twist when something really tragic happens, shaping the lives of the characters, and not necessary in a positive way. It’s a novel that will leave you mentally drained and thinking about it all the time, even after you’ve finished reading it.

Each of the characters has its own, distinctive voice and the author lets them speak. They’re full of faults, they make mistakes, they’re not always likeable but they feel real and often I felt a pang of sympathy for them, even if I haven’t supported all their choices. They were through so many trials and tribulations that it was impossible not to fell for them, especially for Kate and Peter, although – and I loved how it made me feeling – one moment you’ll be feeling like you are betraying the other side by liking the other characters.

 It was a heart – wrenching  and mentally draining family – drama, for me very character driven. The author has done a brilliant job in describing her characters, though what blew me really away was how great her understanding of human nature is and how deep and realistic she writes about characters’ interactions. This story is full to brims with feelings and emotions, even if they’re not mentioned on every single page, but they’re there, dealt with care and sensitivity. And it’s in both, the characters and the plot, that there is tons of soul – baring honesty and reality, I couldn’t imagine the characters to behave differently. The author has an incredible way with words, and is a great storyteller. The relationships that she paints are true to life, even if masterfully crafted, her observations are spot on and she doesn’t shy away from writing about burning and difficult issues.

“Ask Again, Yes” is a complex, disturbing book with the feeling of something wrong going to happen at any moment, and you simply want to keep reading, can’t leave this fictional world. It deals not only with family bonds, but addiction, mental illness and the repercussions when it’s not treated.  However, deep inside this sadness and darkness, there is light and heart and hope, and it explores life and love and everyday life in a unique way. Unique, thought – provoking and clever – recommended!

 

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Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas / Blog Tour

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

 

44293430._sy475_Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 08.08.2019)

 

Synopsis:

THE ONLY THING MORE SHOCKING THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST. . .
___________

Everything changed the night Flora Powell 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?

Rating: four-stars

 

Heather and Jess used to be best friends, growing up in a small seaside town, until their friendship fell apart after Heather’s older sister, Flora, went missing and was never found. Fast forward 18 years and Jess works in her childhood town as a reporter and it’s then when she learns that Heather is currently in hospital in a coma after trying to commit a suicide, also having been accused of murdering two people in their own home before she tried to take her own life. Jess is torn – it’s a story that can help her career but she also wants to stay loyal to her friend. Also, she can’t believe that Heather, married mother of a young boy, could have commit such crime. What has really happened? Is there more to the story than meets the eye? 

The characters in this story feel so real that I had a feeling they’re going to jump off the pages at any moment. They’re full of flaws but the fact that they’re not perfect simply makes them even more relatable and realistic. Some of them are more likeable then the others, that are really untrustworthy but all of them are vivid and real. The story is written in chapters alternating between Jess and Margot in the present, and Heather in the past and we slowly but steadily get a picture of what has happened, what has shaped the girls and, perhaps, what has happened to Flora. In the present, Jess tries to find the truth hidden behind the death of the two murdered people, but also tries to stay loyal to Margot and Heather. 

I liked the way the book was written, and how well it connected the subplots, slowly but methodically untangling the web of lies and dark secrets. I found myself changing my mind and opinions many times and couldn’t be sure where the story might go – and I really liked this unpredictability. It was a slow burner, but it couldn’t be different with this kind of book, though no worries, there was not a single moment that it felt flat. Also, it was full of tension but not tension that makes you feel chilly – instead of thinking that something’s really bad is going to happen I was rather sure that the worst has happened already and the final reveal is this what’s going to blow me away. While it didn’t happen – it didn’t blow me away – it was still a brilliant story full of secrets, twists and surprises and kept me guessing until the end.

“Then she Vanishes” was a multi – layered and complex novel but easy to read, thanks to the forthcoming but also beautiful writing style, with words flowing with ease. Atmospheric and compelling story about friendship, family bonds, forgiveness, touching upon such topics like drugs, abusing, full of emotions and intrigue that kept me glued to the pages. Recommended!

 

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A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott / Blog Tour

A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott

 

43805734Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Flora’s been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he’s been married to someone else for the past fifteen . . .

Now she’s been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.

There’s just one small snag: she’ll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.

And Flora discovers she’s not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags.

Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families with the woman who stole her husband’s heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it?

Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

If you like Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella, you’ll love this heartwarming read.

Rating: four-stars

 

Flora is a single mother, divorced for 17 years already but still crazy in love with her ex – husband Hugo, even though he’s married to his second wife for 15 years and they have twins. Nevertheless, Hugo remains a large part of her, and their son Peter, lives, taking care about his education and holidays. Now Flora is about to return to Cornwall, to Hugo’s family home, as she has been commissioned to paint a portrait of her former father – in – law. Soon it turns out that it’s more a family and friends reunion, as there are literally everybody significant to the Bellingdons’ life. But forced to confront her feelings to Hugo, Flora is going to discover some hidden family secrets.

The book introduced us at the beginning to many characters – and I really mean, many – but incredibly quickly I got to grips with them and didn’t have any problem with identifying who is who and to whom they belong in the family dynamics, so really hats off to the author for making it as uncomplicated as possible. Flora is the main one and the whole book is told from her point of view but it works. Though I must admit there were plenty of moments that I have found her frustrating, watching her living half a life and waiting for something that was impossible to happen. But altogether, she was likeable, even believable, kind and funny.

It is a relative slow burner. It felt as if the first half was this long introduction but providing us with this much needed information, dynamics, relationships for the second half that, thanks to that, felt much quicker to read. Although I must admit that it took me only one day to read this book – yes, admittedly, I had time to do nothing than read (finally!) but also it kept me glued to the pages, I simply wanted to know what’s going to happen and I was engrossed in the story. It was absorbing, and set against the lovely, vividly and colourfully described Cornish coastal setting, the writing flowing beautifully and leading to a rather satisfying conclusion.

I wouldn’t describe this book, like in the blurb, as “hilarious” romantic comedy. Yes, it was light – hearted, easily written and it had its moments, but it also touched upon some much more serious issues and the general tone was steady and maybe not deliberate but also not too light. What I missed was the promised tangled web of relationships. I was hoping for more interactions between the ex – wife, the present wife and the mother – in – law, I actually expected pulling hair out and deceiving each other. Some more interaction happened at the end of the story but, to be honest, I would love more. Also, as a horse lover I adored the scenes where the characters were riding out, the descriptions of horses and their habits but, totally frankly, the fox hunt for example went on and on, and I think, do I need to know, blow by blow, the chase, who did what and when?

Altogether, “A Cornish Summer” was a captivating, rich in details and descriptions story with an epic bunch of characters that you adore or love to hate, about old friendships, a great family saga with some twists that I didn’t see coming, with sailing, horse – riding, painting and finding love there where you’re not looking. It was full of secrets, lies, manipulation and social expectations that mixed altogether made a brilliant, perfect summer read, holiday escapism, with a great sense of place, about confronting your feelings, moving with your life. It’s perhaps not the most light – hearted romance, as the subject matter is quite serious, but everything works really well. Truly recommended!

 

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She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge / Blog Tour

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

 

40232703Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 21st March 2019

Series: DCI Jonah Sheens #1

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 10.01.20)

 

Synopsis:

Get ready for the biggest crime debut of 2019…

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal” Nicci French

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

Rating: four-stars

 

“She Lies in Wait” has a brilliant synopsis. In July 1983, six teenagers go camping in the woods, but only 5 come back. The 14 – year – old Aurora is missing – her sleeping bag is empty and cold. What has happened? Where has she gone? Who last saw her? Is she alive?
Thirty years later, remains are found in the same wood. Soon it’s confirmed that it’s Aurora Jackson. DCI Sheens and his murder squad re – open the case and start investigation. It soon becomes clear that all members of the group that went camping are hiding truth and that there was much more happening as they first told. Was one of them the killer? Or was there someone else involved?

The story is told in alternating time – lines and the events take place on 23rd July 1983 – it’s my birthday. We slowly experience what happened during the camping trip and 30 years later, with the investigation being open again after the remains of Aurora have been found, watching Jonah and his team investigating. And it was not an easy task, what with the disappearance happening so many years earlier. The past tells us what has happened on this day and introduces us more to Aurora’s character – a very compelling one.

I know that some of the bloggers say that they knew almost immediately what the mystery is but I, well, I didn’t know. Yes, that’s me, the worst and slowest logical thinker in the world, I think I wouldn’t make a great inspector. Honestly, till the very end, when the reveal came and face palmed me I didn’t know who it was – and it’s great, really, that the book kept me in darkness for so long.

I liked this book, really liked, but I wanted it to engage me more, as I’ve never felt a part of this story, and I also couldn’t connect with the characters. Actually, all the time one of the friends was mentioned I wasn’t sure who it was and to whom they belonged – especially the male characters, those two that their names began with “B”, I really didn’t know which one of them is the athlete and who’s the politician. And then a Daniel? Was he one of the “Bs”? I am really not sure what has happened here, why I had those problems, can’t explain them – it’s probably one of the things. And I also missed the tension a bit – the book was not as dark and full of surprising twists as I’d hoped it could be – on the other hand, now I’m writing this, it didn’t have to be tense and dark, so everything is okay here. But the writing was very good, the writing style is the one that immediately draws you in and makes you intrigued, it was flowing and seamless, and I was glued to the pages, so that’s a good sign, right?

The characters seemed unengaged, not interested in what has happened with Aurora, and maybe because of the relatively huge number of them we weren’t given the opportunity to really get to know them, deep, and to find their motives. It looks like each person is protecting the other, not telling truth, trying to hide things and forgetting that it’s about murder. On the other hand, DCI Sheens and his squad were interesting characters, and I really liked their work ethics. They also perfectly complemented each other.

“She Lies in Wait” was a slow burner, a methodical and well build and plotted book. It was thoroughly planned and I had a feeling that every detail in this story was very well considered and that nothing unnecessary wasn’t put into this stale. You shan’t expect many “wow” – moments in this story but on the other hand the way it was written, its slow tempo, the hard core police procedures was addictive and I simply enjoyed it very much. It is a clever, multi – layered book and I desperately wanted to uncover every single layer, heck, it doesn’t happen often guys but I wanted to have a look at the last page to see whodunit – I resisted, of course, but the more thrilling it was to discover the truth. Recommended!

 

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The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup / Blog Tour

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

 

40232719Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 10th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 512

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A NAIL-BITINGLY THRILLING CRIME NOVEL FROM THE SCRIPT WRITER BEHIND THE KILLING

Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.

That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.

When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.

Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

Rating: five-stars

“The Chestnut Man” introduces us to Naia Thulin and Mark Hess, two detectives in Homicide’s Murder Squad, trying to solve the mystery of Laura Kjaer’s murder. It doesn’t look like it is a beginning to a series, and that it will eventually lead to a disappearance of Rosa Hartung’s, Minister of Social Affairs, young daughter. The girl’s killer has been caught, but as Thulin and Hess start to dig deeper, his testimony simply doesn’t make sense. And moreover, in the place of Laura Kjaer’s murder they find a figure made of chestnuts with an evidence linking it to Rosa’s daughter Kristine. As further murders occur, with a similar pattern and more chestnut men with Kristine’s fingerprints on them, the race against time begins – are Thulin and Hess going to solve the case on time?

So, there was the best opening ever in this book. I was actually afraid that I’m not going to be able to read it, judging on the opening, on the awful, gory details but I just couldn’t stop reading. There was something in this book that kept me glued to the pages, and even though I’m a little softie when it comes to crime scenes, and if the children are involved, all the descriptions didn’t dishearten me.

Almost every chapter – and there were 130 of them, bear with me! – introduced us to a new character. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but there were tons of characters in this book and it was simply impossible to keep track on all of them, and I quickly decided that I’m not even going to try, even though I couldn’t be sure who’s important and who’s not. However, the few main characters are the most important, although all of them, even the background ones, are really well developed and fleshed out. You can’t help but be wary with all of them, as you don’t know whom you can trust. And I really felt involved in the characters’ lives. Naia Thulin feels unchallenged at her job (that is, until the chestnut man case arrives!) and wants to transfer to NC3 (National Cyber Crime Centre). She’s a single mother to Le. Mark Hess is a bit of enigma but there was much more to him than met the eye. He’s been pushed out of Europol because of some issues and finds himself back again in Denmark, on the case with Thulin – though it’s obvious he doesn’t want to be there (that is, until they find the connection to Kristine’s case and he starts to put two and two together). But their partnership was really sparkling and they were completing each other. Their characters develop throughout the story.

Yes, of course, one could say this book was full of clichés. We have here your usual detectives couple: the clever young girl who, despite her lack of experience, is your top girl, single mother and with great ambitions. The laid – back detective with unresolved issues, discredited, with a tragic past, forced to leave Europol, scruffy and harsh but with a heart made of gold. They make a lot of mistakes and also decisions they really shouldn’t make by themselves, the killer is always one step ahead of them, the colleagues are more interested in their own careers and vendettas etc, etc . But it didn’t bother me and it didn’t take away from the story. I was totally drawn to it, I’ve breathed and lived it and I told anyone that was in my vicinity and wanted something from me to simply go away because this book is so good.

Now, guys, I’ve guessed the culprit. I can tell you exactly what page it was that gave me the tip that made me feel so sure but I’m not going, oh no. However, it didn’t make me feel smug or whatever, no, it made me race through the pages even faster as I desperately wanted to know why – what was the reason, how deep did it sit in their soul, what turned them into a killing monster.

It was an addictive and captivating Scandi – Noir, brutal psychological thriller, very realistic and very sharp and very complex. It was dark and bleak and grimy and so incredibly absorbing. It was a chilling, disturbing and gripping debut novel, full of tension and suspense and the feeling that something is going to happen, that it’s not enough, that something is lurking around the corner – the atmosphere was really well captured. Haunting and truly unforgettable. The writing style was so chilling and so down to earth, yet it simply sucks you in. The author has an ability to write gruesome scenes that will make you feel unsettled. The last part of the book felt much more faster as the first two – thirds, a lot happened then and there and maybe in comparison it should be a little slower. But altogether, “The Chestnut Man” was an exciting and fast – paced book, and the short chapters made it even more pacy, and they were full of twists and turns and cliffhangers that make you hold your breath and lead to a satisfying conclusion. I personally absolutely loved it – highly recommended!

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