Claire loves to read!

I'm Claire and I'm a voracious reader. I've loved books all my life and am lucky enough to have lots of time to devote to my favourite hobby - reading!

 

My favourite genres are crime, police procedural, psychological thriller, suspense, horror, mystery and paranormal; throw in a hint of romance and it'll tick another box. The type of genres I read has been widened considerably by accepting review requests from authors and publishers, so I'm happy to give almost anything a go!

 

    bookbridgr.com   2016 NetGalley Challenge 
      Reviews Published    2015 Challenge Participant

 *NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING REVIEW APPLICATIONS*
 

Review: Last Witness by Carys Jones

LAST WITNESS - Carys Jones

Published by: Aria (May 1 2017)

 

ISBN: 9781786612498

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 3*

 

 

Synopsis:

Amanda Thorne is on a mission to avenge her husband. Restoring his honour and protecting his legacy will be dangerous, but she will not rest until all those who have hurt her loved-ones have been dealt with.

Her only option is to go undercover in the murky world of the gang kingpin McAllister. So, with her loyal companion Shane by her side, she heads back to Scotland to finish what they started.

McAllister's world is one of seedy nightclubs, drug deals and beautiful women, but he is a hard man to get close to. As Amanda gets deeper and deeper into his dangerous world, what secrets from the past will come back to haunt her, and will she be able to protect the last witness from the truth?

 

Review:

I feel at a bit of a disadvantage as I didn't get the opportunity to read Wrong Number, the prequel to this book, before I started Last Witness. If I had, I think I'd have got to learn more about Will and understood his and Amanda's relationship better; ditto Shane. I think not only would I have enjoyed Last Witness more, but I'd have potentially awarded it a better star rating!

In terms of characters, I found Amanda likeable, if not always believable. I thought some of her actions were questionable at times. especially given her feelings towards McAllister. I just don't think she would have been able to do some of the things she did, given her hatred of him. Shane seems more believable to me.

The plot is good, and I enjoyed the pace of the story. It's gripping and gritty, with quite a lot of romance running through, which gives some light relief. The whole book does feel a little rushed and is only 320 pages long.

Carys Jones has the potential to be a fantastic writer. Maybe I'll enjoy her other books more. I've added them to my TBR so I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Thanks to Aria and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

Review: Quieter Than Killing (D. I. Marnie Rome #4) by Sarah Hilary

Quieter Than Killing - Sarah Hilary

Published by: Headline (9 March 2017) 

 

ISBN: 978-1472241108

 

Source:  Publisher provided proof copy

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto the streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

Review:

Another case for Marnie typically means everything else takes a back seat until I've finished it, a few days at the most. For one reason or another, it's taken me a few weeks to finish this one. I found it quite hard to get into the story at the start, it didn't seem to 'grab' me as instantly as the first three in the series had. Then again, I was also struggling physically, so managing to read for any decent amount of time most nights was proving very difficult too. Maybe this was why I had found it such hard going?

 

I loved that we got to find out more about Marnie's and, in particular, Noah's home lives in this book. Finding out a little more each time as well as following along with a new case is brilliant. I really enjoy finding out what makes them tick as people too, and its great to see them in a setting other than work.

 

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, something I'm not sure I managed very effectively all of the time. There are a couple that it would be great to see again in another book some time, including DCS Ferguson. We also see Stephen Keele again here, he is truly vile and makes my skin crawl! Sarah has written him so well! I defy anyone to do anything but despise him!

 

A chilling, gritty case of the kind you rarely hear reported makes for hard reading. Sarah has a unique way of writing so that you feel empathy with the perpetrators too. How does she do that?! That is some talent! Once I got into my stride,I couldn't put this book down. Now, I'm impatient for #5! Thanks to Headline for the proof in return for my unbiased review.

Blog Tour for The Lost Children (D. I. Lucy Harwin #1) by Helen Phifer: My Review

The Lost Children - Helen Phifer

 

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to a gurney... 

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging wrongs. 

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose? 

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone. 
 
Published by: Bookouture (21 March 2017)
 
ISBN: 978-1786811752
 
My rating: 5*
 
My review:
There are a lot of fantastic female crime writers around at the moment, and Helen Phifer proves she is no exception with this compelling introduction to Detective Lucy Harwin, who I absolutely LOVED from the outset! With her bright red hair, no-nonsense attitude and tattoos, I get the feeling we'd get on like a house on fire! I really like the way we get glimpses of her personal life and past as well as her work life. The same goes for her sergeant, Mattie Jackson. Lucy's personality shines through, and her relationship with Mattie, is brilliantly written. Their are comical moments that are a welcome relief among the chilling terror of the case they are working on. As for Lucy and Mattie...I think they are my new favourite police twosome.
 
The case itself is horrific and told both in the present time and from the perspective of a child in the asylum in 1975. It is completely gripping and I simply couldn't put it down. There are lots of twists and turns, it felt like I was on a rollercoaster! I was utterly mesmerised by the plot and the amazing attention to detail. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and find out what is in store next for Lucy and Mattie.
 
 
Buy The Lost Children:
 
About Helen Phifer

Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingals Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

 

Catch the rest of the blog tour here:

Review: Imperfection by Ray Clark

Imperfection - Terry Ray Clark

Published by: Urbane Publications (30 March 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331247

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Imperfection is a new crime series featuring D.I. Stewart Gardener and D. S. Sean Reilly, and set in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds.

A haunting message scrawled on the dressing room wall of a theatre: the scene of a murder. It had been written using the blood from the victim, previously drained in a separate location. At the autopsy, D.I. Gardener and D.S. Reilly are shown a riddle carved into the chest of the corpse, informing them there would be more. Their efforts to find out why are continually blocked by a wall of contradiction, with little in the way of evidence to support their cause. Steered back to the scene of the crime and a disused prop room, Gardener and his trusted sergeant find another puzzle. The murderer, it seems, is playing games.

It soon becomes clear to Gardener and Reilly that to find the killer they need to solve the clues, and to do that, they must tunnel their way into the past, where the streets were paved with gold, and to a man who had terrified people before either of them had even been born...

 

Review:

Imperfection is a different kind of crime novel, as we are introduced to the killer early on; we just don't know his identity at first. From the outset, he leads Gardener and Reilly in a game of cat and mouse, leaving seemingly unsolvable clues for them at the scenes of his crimes. Although it doesn't give a specific time period in the book, it seems as though it is set in the past, as there is no reference made to googling the clues! That would have been the first thing I would have done, so I found it rather frustrating that Gardener and Reilly weren't doing so! I felt there was a Sherlock Holmes-type vibe to the story on the whole, which would also fit with being set in the past, but it's just my theory.

I really enjoyed the parts with the killer and all his different guises, but I found some parts rather slow and quite hard going. Usually it takes me a few days to read a book, but I kept losing interest, so it took me much longer to read this one. It didn't surprise me to learn that Ray Clark writes fantasy novels; I'll have to read some.

If you like lots of detail, prefer a train journey over a rollercoaster ride, and have a thing for Sherlock, I recommend Imperfection.

Special thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley in return for my unbiased review.

Blog Tour for Lie To Me by Jess Ryder: My Review

Lie to Me: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist - Jess Ryder

How can you tell the truth... if all you've ever known is a lie?

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother who abandoned her.

Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? 

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim?

To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking…

A dark, compulsive psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Louise Jensen.

 

My Review:

Lie to Me is a tale told from three different perspectives, with the narrator of each chapter named to avoid any possible confusion. As Meredith tries to uncover more about her mother Becca, following her discovery of the video tape in the present time; we also hear  from Cara, the Darkwater Pool murder victim from thirty years ago. We also hear from Christopher Jay, who was Cara's boyfriend at the time of her murder. All this information throws up threads linking the characters together and twists here and there. It was unusual to have the perspective of a murder victim, and I found it interesting getting to know her and find out more about her life and what happened leading up to her death.

 

There are more than a couple of red herrings here and there and a few twists, but among all the death and lies, Meredith's relationship with her lovely father Graeme shines through. It's a welcome relief! The appearance of the fabulous Isobel is great too. I enjoyed the second half of the book much more and it became much harder to put down. For a debut, this is a very readable novel and one I'd recommend to my fellow crime readers. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jess Ryder comes up with next!

 

Special thanks to Bookouture, Jess Ryder and Netgalley for providing an ARC in return for my unbiased review.

 

Lie To Me - Buy it here:-

UK 

Review: Tastes Like Fear (D. I. Marnie Rome #3) by Sarah Hilary

Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital, Sarah Hilary, Imogen Church

Published by: Headline (28 July 2016)

 

ISBN : 978-1472226433

 

Source: Publisher 

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

The fragile young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to return to the man who understands her and offers her warmth, comfort, a home. He gives her gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

 

He's the head of her new family.

 

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

 

Review:

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome feels like a friend I've not seen seen for a while; she's one of my favourite female detective characters and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into another case alongside her. 

 

The way the book starts is quite shocking and immediately awakens your senses. Just like Marnie and her team, you're left wondering who the girl is and what her story is, where she came from and where she has gone.  I was hooked from that first page.

 

We then see how things are in Harm's house. All is fine as long as everything is carried out according to his strictly ordered routine. I found this so darkly disturbing, it really gave me the creeps and made my skin crawl! Sarah Hilary seems to be so good at describing the environment and actions that have that effect. 

 

As Marnie's team do a bit more digging after speaking to witnesses, it seems no one is quite what they seem! The list of suspects grows, with more twists and a couple of genuine jaw dropping moments that I didn't see coming. It's scarily good!

 

Sarah's writing flawlessly flows from one chilling scene to the next, surpassing all but the very best of her contemporaries. 

 

Thanks to Headline for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

Review: Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath: A gripping serial killer thriller that will have you hooked (Detective Erika Foster Book 4) - Robert Bryndza

Published by: Bookouture (12 April 2017)

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

 

Review:

 

Erika Foster is one of my favourite fictional characters, so everything else stops when Robert Bryndza's latest novel to feature the detective hits my kindle.

 

Erika can't resist sticking her nose into the case, despite it being nothing to do with her. This doesn't endear her to her superiors, so there's an element of friction that's always underlying when she's sneaking around looking for ways to link the murders or searching for clues. 

 

This is a gripping read from the very outset; the author has a brilliant way of grabbing your complete attention, leaving you powerless to look away until you've read the very last page. The only downside is that it's over far too quickly and then it's an agonising wait until the next book in the series is released! 

 

Thanks to Robert Bryndza, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

Review: The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

The Cows: The Hottest New Release for 2017 - Dawn O'Porter

Published by: HarperCollins (6 April 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-0008126032

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.

Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.

When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all.

Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.

 

Review:

Wow! I hardly know where to start! The Cows is a funny, insightful book about female relationships that I just couldn't put down. I ended up reading it in practically one sitting, it's  such a page-turner. I adored the main characters, especially Tara and Cam. They are very well written and both characters are incredibly complex. I wasn't so keen on Stella, but I don't feel I could identify with her very well so I found it difficult to appreciate where she was coming from. The supporting characters deserve a mention too as they played their part well; the author's descriptive writing style bringing them to life right off the page.

As far as the actual story goes, it made me feel happy, sad, and confused, a whole bucketload of emotions. I gasped out loud in shock, shouted at my kindle, laughed out loud, and cringed in places. It definitely doesn't hold back! Fantastic!

I'd like to thank Dawn O'Porter, HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

Review: The Cold Hard Truth by Amanda Leigh Cowley

The Cold Hard Truth - Amanda Leigh Cowley

Self-published (27 February 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1520380247

 

ASIN: B01NAKA7FG

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Nothing could prepare Emily for what she witnessed that day. With no money to support herself and suffering from panic attacks, she reluctantly moves in with her estranged mother and half-sister overseas. But as fractured relationships start to heal and a new one threatens to blossom, she uncovers a disturbing secret. When the truth hurts this much, would you prefer not to know?

 

Review:

I'd previously read and reviewed the author's Soul Protector The Betrayal, which I'd really enjoyed, so I couldn't wait to get stuck into this. I did have a slight worry of 'what if it isn't as good as...' which only happens when I've absolutely loved an author's previous books and I'm worried that I'll be disappointed! In this case, however, I needn't have worried at all!

 

The Cold Hard Truth is an utterly compelling mystery full of engaging characters and packed to the brim with intrigue. I picked it up first thing in the morning, intending to read just a few chapters, but found myself unable to put it down; I was just finishing the last chapter as i went to bed that night! Amanda Leigh Cowley has a beautifully evocative style of writing that grabs your attention from the very outset. 

 

Full of twists and turns, including an almighty, unforseen shocker at the end, The Cold Hard Truth has all my favourite elements. I'd recommend it to readers of crime, mystery, romance, women's fiction. In fact, anyone who reads!

I'd like to thank Amanda Leigh Cowley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

Review: The Liar (#1) by Jennifer Wells

The Liar - Jennifer Wells

Published by: Aria (6 October 2016)

 

ISBN: 978-1786691071

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

It's 1935 and housewife Emma glimpses a face in a crowd – a little girl with a very unique birthmark. Transfixed by the sight of a stranger; Emma becomes convinced that the girl is her long-lost daughter taken from her at birth. There is only one problem: Emma's daughter is dead. So who is the stranger? The Liar follows Emma's journey as she tries to find out what really happened to her daughter - a journey that unearths secrets from the past and ends in obsession. . .

 

Review:

I'm so pleased I got the opportunity to meet the author and find out about this book, because if I'd seen it in a book shop I'd probably have walked straight past; it just doesn't look like the sort of book I'd usually enjoy. I'm not into historical or family saga or even romance particularly, which is where you'd find The Liar on Amazon. The back cover blurb hinted at the mystery inside and piqued my interest enough for me to buy a copy there and then. I think it would work really well if it was re-branded...I'd describe it as a psychological thriller, and a pretty damn good one at that! 

 

This is a tale told from two perspectives - Emma's and Ruby's, the little girl who resembles Emma's daughter. The author's clever use of vocabulary and writing style drew me in from the outset and made the environment come alive. I really felt as though I was there beside Emma as  tried to find out what had happened to her daughter.

 

The complex characters are well written, and the relationships sensitively conveyed. I pretty much read this in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down! Just when i thought i had figured out what was going to happen next, along came another twist. What happened at the end is truly shocking! For a first novel, this is fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough! Jennifer Wells is one to watch!

 

 

 

Review: Blood Lines (Detective Kim Stone #5) by Angela Marsons

Blood Lines: An absolutely gripping thriller that will have you hooked (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series Book 5) - Angela Marsons

Published by: Bookouture (4 November 2016)

 

ISBN: 978-1786810991

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring mother and social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…

 

Review:

As a fan of Angela Marsons' previous novels featuring Detective Kim Stone, I was eagerly awaiting this latest publication, her second to feature Kim's nemesis, the evil Dr Alex Thorne. I was expecting high drama, emotionally charged scenes and a compelling plot...

 

It took me far longer to read Blood Lines than anticipated, purely because I wasn't plagued by my usual insomnia, so I read until I fell asleep every night, until I dropped my kindle and it hit me in the face or dropped onto the floor! The plot is enticing, it grabs you from the outset and winds itself around you, nudging at you to peek at the horrors within.

 

Kim is one of my favourite police characters; although she's sarcastic and a bit ferocious on the outside it's all a bit of a front to protect that vulnerable damaged part of her that she's so desperate to keep inside. I think we can all identify with that to a certain extent. I'd like to get to know more about Kim's team members; maybe that'll come in time. One thing I found annoying, and that stopped my flow of reading, was the phonetic spelling of Stacey's accent. Whenever I got to one of those words, I stopped and (unsuccessfully) tried to work out how to pronounce the word. I'm still none the wiser! When I read a book, if I know a character is from a particular place or has a certain accent, when I imagine them speaking, they automatically have that accent. Maybe other readers find it useful but I found it more of a hindrance, to be honest.

 

Having said that, I did really enjoy this book. The end few chapters felt a little rushed, as though nothing much happened for a while and then all of a sudden there was a buzz of activity and everything happened at once. But I guess the end of a case can be like that when everything falls into place.

Special thanks to Angela Marsons, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review.

Review: Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason

Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion - Taymer Mason

Published by: The Experiment (13 January 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1615193608

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Description:

There's so much more to Caribbean cuisine than pineapples and coconuts. The real secret is in the herbs and spices: With the right sauce or seasoning blend, everyday ingredients transform into unforgettable Caribbean delights. Taymer Mason welcomes vegan home cooks to this rich tradition that combines African, French, Asian, and Indian influences with an unmistakable local flair. Covering a remarkable variety of tropical flavours and ingredients, Caribbean Vegan serves up 175 recipes--for every meal--that will spice up your diet like no other cookbook.

 

Review:

I'm always looking to try different meals and really liked the local food I tried on honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, most of the catering in the hotel was towards the American/British diet but this book has given me the opportunity to try lots more delicious Caribbean food. Most of the ingredients were quite easy to source either in a supermarket, online or in a health food store, but it does seem to be aimed more towards the U.S. market than U.K.

There are options for every meal time, which is great if you want to try something a little different. The recipes are easy to follow and the author is clearly passionate about this type of food. Having the recipes for the seasonings at the beginning is brilliant, as they can be prepared in advance, thus avoiding being held up/loss of mess in the middle of a recipe. My only criticism is that more pictures would've been useful, if only to know if what I was doing looked right! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy in return for my honest opinion.

Review: Cooking with Coconut by Ramin Ganeshram

Cooking with Coconut: 125 Recipes for Healthy Eating; Delicious Uses for Every Form: Oil, Flour, Water, Milk, Cream, Sugar, Dried & Shredded - Ramin Ganeshram

Published by: Storey Publishing (13 January 2017)

 

  • ISBN-13: 978-1612126463

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Description:

Coconut is healthy and delicious. It is also native to cuisines around the world, including Thai, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, and many Caribbean cultures. Cooking with Coconut offers a tantalising taste of this tropical superfood's culinary diversity, with 133 original recipes using coconut in all its forms. Options span the menu, from breakfast dishes like Savory Coconut Crepes to dinner and dessert dishes like Asparagus with Shallots and Shredded Coconut, Coconut Pork Kabobs, and Coconut Rum Creme Brulee. Ramin Ganeshram, an award-winning food journalist, dishes up everything home cooks and health-conscious eaters need to know to fully enjoy this delectable powerhouse!

 

Review:

I simply adore coconut and already use coconut oil, sugar, milk, flour, water and desiccated and shredded coconut in a few recipes. With this book, I now have a lot more recipes at hand so I can include this gorgeous fruit at every meal time! Okay, I may be getting a bit carried away, but I'm sure you get the picture. The recipes I've tried have been easy to follow, they aren't too difficult, nor do they have you juggling all manner of pots and pans at the same time as trying to keep track of dozens of ingredients. Coconut lovers...you need this book!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in return for my honest opinion.

Review: Blink by K. L. Slater

Blink - K. Slater

Published by: Bookouture (16 February 2017)

 

ISBN-13: 978-1786811295

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

 

Review:

We're given a lot of information about the main characters in this book, so we get to learn a fair bit about Toni and little Evie, and their life together before Evie's disappearance. I really like it when authors give more background on characters as it makes me feel I know them a bit more, like friends, maybe; or neighbours. Perhaps this is why I felt so invested in Toni - I was rooting for her from the beginning. I got exasperated alongside her and anxious about her, as well as silently (I read quite a lot of this book in a public place!) willing her do/not do certain things! All the characters here are believable and very well written.

 

As with the author's previous book, Safe With Me, the narrative switches between the present time and a point in the past. In this book, however, I think it comes across almost seamlessly; much improved since the author's debut novel. The point in the past is the time of Evie's disappearance, upon which the tension builds and builds like a pressure cooker.

 

I was so shocked by the killer twist, which I definitely didn't see coming! To say any more would give the game away, but...wow! I found this book compelling in places would recommend it to fans of psychological thrillers.

Thanks to K. L. Slater, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review. 

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington

Saving Sophie: A gripping psychological thriller with a brilliant twist - Sam Carrington

Saving Sophie is Sam Carrington's debut psychological thriller, and has been attracting a fair bit of chatter on social media, in addition to some glowing reviews. This prompted me to purchase a copy and pop along to her first ever book signing at Waterstones in Newton Abbot!

 

Published by: Avon (15 December 2016)

 

ISBN: 978-0008191818

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.

As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.

 

Review:

The events that occur after teenager Sophie arrives home are narrated in turn from the perspectives of Karen Finch, Sophie's mum; Detective Inspector Wade, lead investigator; and Sophie herself. This means there is a wonderfully rich blend of information and opinion.

From the time that Sophie was escorted home by the police officers, it was pretty clear to me that something petty serious had happened, and I was hooked. I couldn't put the book down as I was desperate to find out what had happened that night. With each chapter, more is revealed about the narrator too. The story takes shape as Sam Carrington's captivating writing style reveals secrets, as twists and turns are deftly woven in and the reader is pulled in too.

Sophie has a pretty dysfunctional relationship with her mother, but it's hardly surprising as Karen has so many issues herself. Although I initially felt empathy for Karen, after a while I became a little annoyed with her; her daughter is very likely in danger and she seems more concerned about other things! Karen's husband, Mike, doesn't score highly on the parenting scale either. In a book, I do enjoy the characters that irritate me, that really get under my skin. They are much better that the too-nice characters that are just too eager to please. Give me a bad guy, as in genuinely bad, any day! 

I really like the way the story builds with each chapter, adding in more twists, until nobody knows who to trust. Then, Sam Carrington pulls it out of the bag  -  an unforseen final twist! I gave an audible gasp! It would've been much louder and followed by 'Nooooooooooooo!' but it was 4a.m. and I didn't want to wake:

1 - the man that was snoring beside me.

2 - the dog that was asleep on my feet, snoring contentedly.

I'm happy to report that Sam Carrington is busy with her second novel, which I'll definitely be purchasing when it arrives in all good book stores.

 

Review: A Stranger's House (London& Cambridge Mysteries #2) by Clare Chase

A Stranger's House - Clare Chase

Published by:  Choc Lit (7 February 2017 - paperback)

 

ISBN: 978-1781893470

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it's soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby's faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it's a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she's curious...

But Ruby's new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated and potentially dangerous at play?

 

Review:

Clare Chase really impressed me with her first London & Cambridge Mystery, You Think You Know Me, and the author's skill at weaving together intricate levels of intrigue and romance are displayed brilliantly again here. With a solid plot and marvellous characters, A Stranger's House is a fantastic read that is hard to put down!

Ruby is the perfect mix of feisty and vulnerable, and a great amateur sleuth to boot! She's so well written, as are all the other characters, they spring to life from the pages. Village life is described in idyllic detail too, I could just imagine myself sitting in the pub garden facing the river.

Thanks to Clare Chase, Choc Lit and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review. The third book in the series, One Dark Lie, is out now. I, for one, will be grabbing a copy!