Source: NetGalley

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!!

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (3/5)

Posted July 23, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (3/5)Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books on October 11th 2016
Pages: 480
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

I received this book as part of Hodder Books’ #readwithoutprejudice promotion where the title and author was obscured, meaning I had no idea who the author was while I was reading it. I have to say when I found out it was Picoult it wasn’t hugely surprising as the storyline is great and the characters are engaging, like so many other of Picoult’s books.

The story follows the life of Ruth, a respected midwife who is faced with the ultimate test when a white supremacist couple come to her ward expecting their first baby. When things go tragically wrong, Ruth is in the firing line. But is it because of her race? Or is it because of something she did?

This is a great criminal thriller. I must admit it took me a second attempt to get into it as it didn’t grab me straight away. If it hadn’t been for the #readwithoutprejudice promotion, I’m not sure it would be a book I would pick up from the shelves. But that said, I did enjoy it and fans of Picoult are sure to devour this latest offering when it’s released.

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (3/5)

Posted July 8, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (3/5)The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Published by Hachette UK on January 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Thrillers, General, Psychological, Contemporary Women, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family's holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.
When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...
Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable 'ripped from the headlines' novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.

I must admit, this was my second attempt at reading “The Darkest Secret” after previously giving up on it. This time I persevered and I’m kind of glad I did.  It took me a while to realise the timeline was jumping between past and present events, as the present events aren’t dated, but the characters are the same, but once I’d untangled the characters and the style (jumping from emails to witness statements to storyline) I started to get into it and found it was quite gripping. Unfortunately I found the story tailing off somewhat from that point until it limped towards its “not very surprising” ending.

The characters are mostly unpleasant, self-centred, selfish and downright unlikable; so it’s hard to find something to hold on to as the story progresses. I also figured out the “twist” at the end way before it was revealed, so there wasn’t anything to really draw me in and keep me gripped to the storyline.

It was an OK read, and I may read more from Marwood, but not any time soon.

The Fire Child by SK Tremayne (2/5)

Posted July 1, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Fire Child by SK Tremayne (2/5)The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne
Published by HarperCollins on June 16th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, General, Suspense
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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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.’

I thoroughly enjoyed The Ice Twins by the same author when I read it last year. So I was excited to receive a copy of Tremayne’s second book, “The Fire Child”, through NetGalley.

This time the story is set in Cornwall, around the history behind the old disused mines that pepper the landscape. Just like in “The Ice Twins”, the setting is very atmospheric and draws the reader in.

However this is where the similarities (for me) end. The characters are, on the whole, unpleasant, unlikeable and unrelatable. The relationship between Rachel and David is unrealistic, and without any background or history, it’s hard to engage with the characters. The “disturbing predictions” made by Jamie aren’t really all that disturbing, and don’t have the chilling, psychological effect that they’re meant to have.

Overall the book feels rushed and just isn’t as cohesive as “The Ice Twins”. I’ll still look out for Tremayne’s next book, but this one was a disappointment.

In the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Posted April 1, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

In the Light of What We See by Sarah PainterIn the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter
Published by Lake Union Publishing on April 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Historical Fiction
Pages: 313
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon.co.uk | Buy on BookDepository
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Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.
Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…
Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

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 and the characters of Mina and Grace were very engaging. Of the two stories I found Grace’s to be the more interesting one. I found I was more engaged with what she was doing than with Mina. On reflection I think this is to do with the setting of the book all being in the same place – a hospital. While Grace had her work and friends, socialising and encounters with other staff and men; Mina by contrast was pretty much confined to a hospital bed. By the end I felt this setting was a little too restrictive as it greatly limited the experiences than Mina could have.

View Spoiler »

 

Overall this was a good book. The similarities between Mina and Grace were very well drawn and I have to say I enjoyed the storyline too. I’ll definitely look out for other books by this author.

Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge (5/5)

Posted March 15, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge (5/5)Little Boy Blue (Helen Grace, #5) by M.J. Arlidge
Series: ,
Published by Michael Joseph on April 26th 2016
Genres: Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon.co.uk | Buy on BookDepository
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The UK's most exciting new crime-writing talent.
The death of a young man, found cocooned in plastic, looks like it was a tragic accident -- a sex game gone wrong. But when another lifeless victim is found days later, wrapped tight, DI Helen Grace knows that she's on the hunt for a serial killer.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House and MJ Arlidge for the opportunity to read this book.

Back in November last year, I read and absolutely loved Eeny Meeny, the first book in Arlidge’s Helen Grace series. However last month when I picked up Pop Goes the Weasel, the second book in the series, I couldn’t even finish it. I was so disappointed in it when compared to the brilliant first book.

So it’s fair to say I was a bit trepidatious to read and review this novel, being unsure which way it was going to fall.

I needn’t have worried. This is a brilliant book from start to finish. The cases this time bring Grace and her team into the dark world of S&M, where someone is targeting people who work as professional dominants. However, with very little evidence to go on, the investigations are slow going and full of fits and starts, until a pattern starts to emerge.

I can’t say too much more without giving the ending away, but the twists and turns in this book are fantastic! It’s fair to say I didn’t see the ending coming, and I think everyone who’s read it is now waiting with bated breath for the 6th installment in the series!

If you like dark and twisting psychological thrillers, then this is most definitely a book you should read! The only downside to the book is I now have a stonking book hangover, and have no idea what I’m going to read next in order to shift it!

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Posted November 21, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

I have to say I have a secret love of those TV programmes that follow “survivalists” or “preppers”. The kinds of people who hoard enough cans of chickpeas to feed 20 people for 10 years in the case of an apocalyptic-style disaster. Therefore I was absolutely over the moon to receive a copy of Our […]

Hector Finds Time by François Lelord

Posted November 16, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Hector Finds Time by François Lelord

  This is a nice, quick read. Our hero, Hector, is a psychiatrist who goes on a journey to unravel the mysteries of time. Why does time go slowly for some people and quicker for others? Why do some people want to grow up quickly, while others are happy at the age they are? How […]