Monday, 28 December 2015

The Girl with no Past - Kathryn Croft

Twenty years running from your past. Today it catches up.

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. 

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life. 

Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created. 

But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets? 

Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.

This book began well for me - I was intrigued about what it was that Leah had done, something that was so awful she had no life.

She begins to receive cards, emails, someone knows what she did. Still intriguing, still wondering what she'd done.

Then she begins to meet some new people, she won't let them in to her life, but one of them Julian she does let in, which began to feel very out of sorts from the character that had been painted.  The novel then became very dull and depressing. I began to wonder if this was all in Leah's mind and actually nothing bad had ever happened - was this another fight club?

Eventually the plot began to unravel and we find out what Leah did - only what did she actually do and how does that still have an effect on her life today? I must say that the author did paint a very realistic and dismal scene at this point, and it has stayed with me - an image I would rather forget. 

Another little twist to the tale and all becomes clear - at last. 

Finally there is some action - the gripping psychological byline comes into play. Again the author paints a vivid picture and I wished the rest of the book could have been more like this. 

I don't do spoilers so I've tried to give a flavour of the book without actually revealing what happens. A good read overall, I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Monday, 21 December 2015

As Good as Dead - Elizabeth Evans

Endearingly flawed and battered-around-the-edges, Charlotte has managed to fashion herself a life that balances marriage and a writing career, but now Esmé, the charming friend Charlotte betrayed at university, stands at Charlotte’s door: Surprise!

Charlotte yearns to make amends, but she’s wary. Esmé makes no mention of Charlotte’s old betrayal and the two resume their friendship, but soon enough a request from Esmé will upend Charlotte’s careful world. 

Suspenseful, witty, with spot-on evocations of university life in the late 1980s, As Good as Dead performs an exquisite psychological high-wire act, exploring loves and friendships poisoned by secrets and fears.

I settled down with this book hoping for a really intriguing read. Unfortunately my intrigue waned when the book began to weave back and forth and bring in issues from the past. I read on hoping that these would be integral to the story - which they were, but it was so drawn out that when we came back to the future I thought I had missed something. I read on and no I hadn't missed anything, seems like the central character Charlotte just really likes stringing out a story.

What I did love were the insightful moments of the friendship between Esme and Charlotte. They were written so clearly that I could imagine being there witnessing their early friendship. However, I never really got the feeling that I knew either of these girls. The "betrayal" seemed to be so out of character and made me feel even more that I just didn't get this character. 

Ultimately the betrayal and the request from Esme were soon sorted in a few pages - leaving us with an ending that seemed very limp compared to the rest of the fast pace in the book.

I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars. Great writing, just not compelling or thrilling enough for me I'm sorry to say. 
My thanks go to Negalley for a free e copy of this book for review. 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Giveaway with On My Bookshelf blog

Something a little different from me today. I've linked up with On My Bookshelf and Suze Likes Loves Finds and Dreams for their Christmas countdown of giveaways. I'm featured on the blog today and my giveaway to those that enter on the site through the Rafflecopter widget is the notebook and a card handmade by me - as shown above.
So pop over and enter to win!

Friday, 18 December 2015

She's not there - P J Parrish

They say it’s better to battle the devil you know. But what if you don’t recognize him before it’s too late?
She knows her name is Amelia, but after waking up in a hospital battered and bruised with just the clothes on her back, it’s all she knows. Unable to piece together her shattered memory, she’s haunted by a vision: menacing faces and voices implying her nightmare is far from over.
Relying only on her wits and her will to live, Amelia becomes a fugitive from a mysterious man, and a life she can’t even remember. But the past she’s fleeing has no intention of letting her go.

I've really enjoyed reading this book. The author is in fact two people but this doesn't show at all in the writing it flowed seamlessly. They have eleven crime fiction awards, so I should have known it would be good, but I didn't read any of that before I began the book.

For me the characters voices in this book were so credible, I really felt like I got to know them, especially Amelia. I was fighting Amelia's corner all the way and loved the cat and mouse game she played throughout the book, although at times unwittingly. 

I've read a couple of books now where the main character has lost their memory, but this is the first time I felt like I really cared about what was happening to the a character and needed to know what would happen in the end.

The suspense was incredible and I found myself thinking, I will just read another chapter.......

In fact a few things happened that I was not expecting to happen which is rare when you've read a lot of crime novels. I also think there will be a sequel - well I hope so because just as one mystery was solved another was laid bare.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars - a cracking good read.

My thanks go to Netgalley for supplying me with a free e copy of this book to review.

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas - Carole Matthews

Christmas is just around the corner but the women of The Chocolate Lovers' Club have more to worry about than present shopping . . . 

Lucy loves running Chocolate Heaven but she hasn't spent time with her boyfriend, Aiden, in weeks. And then her ex-fiance turns up and things become even more complicated. 

Nadia hasn't let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can't help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending?

Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana - but she's not sure that's enough to base a marriage on.

Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn't get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort?

Can friendship overcome all in . . . The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas.

This is the third book in the chocolate Lovers' series by Carole Matthews and I have read them all. Consistently a feel good read, although the girls inevitably get into scrapes, it does seem to all come good in the end. Just until you reach the end of the book, when new twists and turns are woven and you realise there are more tales to be told - in another book!

I really wanted to know what happened to the girls since I left them in the Chocolate Lovers' Diet. The book however does stand alone and there is recapping for those of you who either forgot where we left the girls or have never read the previous books.

Just when I thought Lucy was finally rid of her ex-finance once and for all, he still managed to worm his way into her life, I guess it wouldn't be Lucy without all the drama, but I really would like her just to stay with Aiden and live happily ever after, but then that wouldn't make for a very good story would it?

As well as all the chick lit and girly chocolate talk there is also in this book a look at how family units are different today and the challenges that brings. I found this side of the book very thought provoking.

I'm giving it five out of five stars and as it is number 13 in the Sunday Times best seller list, I guess a lot of other people will too.

My thanks go to Netgalley for a free ecopy of this book to review.