Genre: Contemporary

Hide & Seek by MJ Arlidge

Posted August 18, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Hide & Seek by MJ ArlidgeHide and Seek (DI Helen Grace #6) by M.J. Arlidge
Published by Penguin Books (UK) on 8th September 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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I was absolutely over the moon when I received the notification from NetGalley that I had been selected to receive an ARC of Arlidge’s latest book in the Helen Grace series. Little Boy Blue finished on a cliffhanger and this book picks up from where LBB left off.

Obviously I can’t say too much about the story as the book isn’t released until next month, but what I will say is that it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! It picks up the storyline really well, and the events which unfold once again leave the reader on the edge of their seats wanting to know what will happen next.

Thankfully, Hide & Seek wraps up the story started in LBB, but the ending will still have you racing to know what happens next.

Another fantastic book from MJ Arlidge who is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors!!

I See You by Clare Mackintosh (4/5)

Posted August 11, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

I See You by Clare Mackintosh (4/5)I See You by Clare Mackintosh
Published by Sphere on July 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Hardback
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When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation, no website: just a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . .

I thoroughly enjoyed I Let You Go when I read it earlier this year, so I was really looking forward to this new book from Clare Mackintosh. Although I tend to find 2nd books a little bit hit and miss, I have to say that this one didn’t disappoint.

It’s a great thriller that has elements to which everyone can relate. It’s especially chilling when you realise how those little things you do day-in, day-out without thinking about, but which are ingrained in your daily routine, can suddenly be used against you. It definitely made the book very relatable.

The twist at the end, while not as powerful as the twist in I Let You Go, is still great and catches you unawares. I love this about Clare’s writing and it really is very cleverly done.

Another fantastic thriller which I’d definitely recommend.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (5/5)

Posted August 8, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (5/5)A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Picador on August 13th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General
Pages: 720
Format: Paperback
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When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this book in a GoodReads giveaway. This is a book which is not always easy to read, but which is ultimately very rewarding. A friend of mine commented “I’m not yet over this book” – and that’s a very good way of summing up the experience. It stays with you for a long time and demands to be reviewed long after you’ve finished reading it.

The blurb states that it’s about 4 friends from college. In reality it’s about one – Jude St Francis – and his relationship with his 3 close friends from college and other friends. Jude is a seriously damaged young man, who has had a terrible upbringing, The story of his life is revealed through a series of flash-backs and conversations throughout the book.

The book is uncluttered by details. There’s no references to political or newsworthy events (e.g 9/11) and there’s no real placing of time on the story either. Only a sense of place (mainly Boston and New York). I liked this lack of distraction and it helped focus me on the details of the story.

My one criticism would be that sometimes it was hard to tell whose voice was being used for the chapter. The characters are predominantly male, and it was hard to pick up which “he” was being discussed sometimes. But overall this was a brilliant book and I loved it.

It’s definitely a book which I think will benefit from a second reading as well – so this will be staying with me for a little longer.

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne (5/5)

Posted August 2, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne (5/5)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8) by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Published by Little Brown UK on July 31st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 343
Format: Hardback
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Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I love the Harry Potter books, and I couldn’t wait to read this latest edition. It’s not really the 8th book in the series – it’s most definitely an offshoot of the original stories. It has a very different feel to the original stories – a more grown up, adult feel, whereas the original HP stories (especially the early ones) were more definitely geared towards children and young adults. It’s also written as a play which automatically gives it a different feel to the originals.

I can understand a lot of the criticism levelled towards this book, but I loved it. It’s been years since I read a play and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of it. If you’re an HP fan you should definitely read this, but set your expectations as to what it is (and what it’s not!) so you won’t be disappointed.

Dead Pretty by David Mark (1/5)

Posted August 1, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Dead Pretty by David Mark (1/5)Dead Pretty (DS Aector McAvoy, #5) by David Mark
Published by Mulholland on January 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
Source: BookBridgr
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Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.
One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won't let either of them go until justice can be done.
But some people have their own ideas of what justice means...
DEAD PRETTY is the stunning new novel from one of Britain's most original crime writers.

First of all I would like to thank Bookbridgr and Mulholland for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. I know there are plenty of fans of David Mark’s books, and I can see from other reviews on GoodReads that my 1* review is very much the exception, rather than the rule. Perhaps it’s because this is the 5th book in the series, but the first that I’ve read, so I found it hard to get into the characters. Who knows. Either way it wasn’t for me.

I have an issue in general with detectives in murder/mystery/psychological thrillers having silly names, and “Aector McAvoy” is no exception. Aector?!! It’s a gaelic name according to the author, but not one I’ve ever come across. On top of that one of the characters insisted on calling him “Hector” throughout the book. I thought it was a typo at first, but it was so consistent I decided it must be a “character trait” even though it was intensely annoying.

I couldn’t get on board with the writing either. Another issue I have is the overuse of metaphors in writing, and this book is absolutely peppered with them. Open practically any page and you can find some ridiculous metaphor …

“Jez Gavan and his partner have burrowed in at number 17 like ticks in a dog’s back leg” (p68)

“‘I still receive a birthday card from Doug’, says Jackson-Savannah, like a teenage girl showing off a signed photograph from her favourite boy band” (p56)

“… a billion tiny raindrops hovering like flies” (p202)

And so it goes on. There’s even one comparing someone’s eyes to blue cheese, which annoyingly I can’t find in the book as I write this review. I really should keep notes as I go of such annoying turns of phrase.

There are also lot of repeated phrases including lots of “running his/her tongue over his/her teeth”, words “greasy” with regret, and lots of inaccuracies such as “scalped underarms” (you can only scalp a scalp!) and someone who was described as “making a fist with his toes” which almost had me throwing the book across the room in frustration!

All the literary annoyances aside, I couldn’t really get on-board with the storyline either. It starts with “Aector” being unable to leave a cold case behind and telling his wife, in-depth, all about a missing girl. It then gets very confusing with so many characters coming and going, so many (seemingly unrelated) accidents, gangsters, ex-convicts and police politics, it was hard to follow at times. Even when I finally got to the conclusion it was completely underwhelming.

As I say, this is the 5th in the series and there are plenty of fans of Mark’s books. I’m afraid I am just not one of them.

We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman (3/5)

Posted July 9, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman (3/5)We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman
Published by Little A on June 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General
Pages: 268
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Andy Carter was happy. He had a solid job. He ran 5Ks for charity. He was living a nice, safe Midwestern existence. And then his wife left him for a handsome paramedic down the street.
We’re All Damaged begins after Andy has lost his job, ruined his best friend’s wedding, and moved to New York City, where he lives in a tiny apartment with an angry cat named Jeter that isn’t technically his. But before long he needs to go back to Omaha to say good-bye to his dying grandfather.
Back home, Andy is confronted with his past, which includes his ex, his ex’s new boyfriend, his right-wing talk-radio-host mother, his parents’ crumbling marriage, and his still-angry best friend.
As if these old problems weren’t enough, Andy encounters an entirely new complication: Daisy. She has fifteen tattoos, no job, and her own difficult past. But she claims she is the only person who can help Andy be happy again, if only she weren’t hiding a huge secret that will mess things up even more. Andy Carter needs a second chance at life, and Daisy—and the person Daisy pushes Andy to become—may be his last chance to set things right.

This was an entertaining read- though not one I would normally have chosen had it not been on offer via Kindle First.

The characters were interesting – although somewhat contrived. With the exception of Andy’s mother – who was downright annoying – and the bemusing “Glitter Mafia” which didn’t really add anything to the storyline (to say the least!) But overall an enjoyable book.

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Posted April 24, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Our bookgroup was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the groups to shadow this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. As part of this we were sent copies of our given book – in our case Ruby by Cynthia Bond. I have to admit this isn’t usually a book I would have read to […]

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano (4/5)

Posted April 14, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano (4/5)

I loved this book. The writing is exquisite and the characters are absolutely fascinating. Mattia and Alice are two loners, caught up in their own bubbles, who manage to find solace in each other. This book charts their lives from young children through to early adulthood, and the trials and tribulations that each stage brings. Even […]

In the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Posted April 1, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
In the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Finally I can share my thoughts on this book with you! I actually read this last month, but reviews were embargoed until today’s book release date. I enjoyed this book and would like to thank the author, Sarah, and NetGalley for giving me a copy to review in advance. I thought the writing was lovely […]