Saturday, 22 August 2015

Manhattan Mayhem - a collection of short stories

Best-selling suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark invites you on a tour of Manhattan's most iconic neighborhoods in this anthology of all-new stories from the Mystery Writers of America. From the Flatiron District (Lee Child) and Greenwich Village (Jeffery Deaver) to Little Italy (T. Jefferson Parker) and Chinatown (S.J. Rozan), you'll encounter crimes, mysteries, and riddles large and small. Illustrated with iconic photography of New York City and packaged in a handsome hardcover,Manhattan Mayhem is a delightful read for armchair detectives and armchair travelers alike!

Well! NYC and mysteries - was all I needed to request this book to review, topped by a picture of the Empire State Building on the cover - pity it is only a e book.

When I was a child in the 70s I read a lot of Ellery Queen stories - I loved the cleverness of them and the twists and turns. The stories in this book remind me so much of those stories - the plots are quirky and different and a joy to read.

I don't do spoilers so it is difficult to review without giving something away and also as they are short stories they are a little light on depth and character development, so not too much for a reviewer to get their teeth into. As a reader though - the stories are just the right length, just enough suspense and just enough of a twist to make you realise you aren't as clever as you thought you were!

My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book to review.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

You, Me and Other People - Fionnuala Kearney


But what happens when you open the door and they won’t stop tumbling out?

For Adam and Beth the first secret wasn’t the last, it was just the beginning.

You think you can imagine the worst thing that could happen to your family, but there are some secrets that change everything.

And then the question is, how can you piece together a future when your past is being rewritten?

To be honest I chose to review this book based on the fact that I liked the cover, shallow I know. But sometimes a cover can really make you want to read a book and this is what happened to me.

To begin with I thought this was going to be a bit of a pedestrian book with the usual husband cheats, wife finds out etc. Then I got drawn into the wonderful layers that this book has, the insightful writing which just called out to me, yes, this is what it is like, this is what happens in real life. 

But then other layers began to peel back, there was more than one story here, more than one lie. There is so much more to this book than one storyline and the characters really began to feel real to me. With the book being told from two perspectives, it also wasn't easy to hate the wrong doer as you saw it through his eyes too. 

If I had one criticism it was that I got so engrossed that when each chapter ended and another began it wasn't immediately obvious whose voice was narrating. It did alternate across the chapters, but when you are really into a book, you aren't thinking, one character just narrated so now it will be the turn of the other one. 

A great read and even a little teary eyed in places.

My thanks go to Netgalley and HarperFiction for a free e review copy of this book.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Lost and Found - Brooke Davis


Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back. 

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. 

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life. 

A lot of comparisons have been made between this book and "The one hundred year old man". I enjoyed The one hundred year old man so thought I would read this book.. 

I struggled with the book to begin with, possibly because it was an alien concept. A little girl left alone in a department store fending for herself. All the things that I thought would have happened in real life didn't- that is she wouldn't get away with it.

Once I suspended that disbelief I got on a little better with the book, but it was still a bit off the wall for my taste. There was also a lot of swearing at one point - didn't bother me as such, as it was part of the character and their make up, but could offend some people I guess.

My other point I put down just to my own stupidity. I thought the book was set in England as there were many references (mainly TV) that signposted this in my mind. So when they set off for Melbourne (and I knew it wasn't the one in Derbyshire UK), I thought "how are they going to do that without Millie's passport". Of course it is actually set in Australia!

For me the book came into its own once Millie joined forces with Karl and Agatha - then it really got going and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the antics and expressions used. There are also some lovely poignant pages where Karl recalls his wife.

So I will say as Millie would "I'm sorry for your loss" and "we are all going to die"...........

My thanks to netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for a free advance copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Broken Promise - Linwood Barclay

From the New York Times bestselling author of No Safe House comes an explosive novel about the disturbing secrets of a quiet small town.… 

After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent.

Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own—a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch.

When the baby’s real mother is found murdered, David can’t help wanting to piece together what happened—even if it means proving his own cousin’s guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla’s mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past…in blood.

I am a BIG Linwood Barclay fan and could not wait to read this his latest novel. I actually have two novels I haven't yet read, just in case he doesn't bring out any new ones and I still have those to look forward to. Plus I have his back catalogue shipped from the USA to read. So as I say I am a BIG fan. 

All the other books I have read by Linwood Barclay have been so densely populated with little nuances and ideas woven in and out of the storyline that you can't keep them all in your head. But at the end, it all comes together. 

This book didn't disappoint in most of those things, but unfortunately in my opinion, that coming together did not entirely happen in this novel. I can only assume that for the book to end with a cliff hanger this means there is going to be a sequel - and soon please, before I forget everything I just read and need to know the answers to. [I have just discovered that the sequel is called Far From True and is out in March 2016].

This is also the first book by Linwood that I have guessed what was happening - so either he wanted it to happen that way - as there are bigger things to come in the next book. Or, I have read so many of his books I can second guess him now! 

So overall I give this book 5 stars as Linwood is still the master of storytelling with a twist. Also those two books I am saving, turns out one of them is about the main character in this book - so proves it stands alone, but a pity I didn't realise that.

My thanks go to Netgalley and Penguin Group (USA) for allowing me an advance copy of this book to review.