From the comfort of my sofa

I just like to read! There is no greater pleasure than a peaceful house and a good book. I will read most genres but not sure I have the imagination to really "get" some science fiction and fantasy.

Very close to reality so may not be for everyone!

The Wrong Hand - Jane Jago

This was a really difficult book to read and review.  The parallels between this and a real-life incident in the UK are too close to resist speculating how much basis there is in fact.  My predominant emotion here is sadness, sadness for the child and his family, sadness for the perpetrators and their families and sadness for everyone affected by it.
I struggled through the first half of the book, wondering whether this was just a re-hash of what had been played out in the UK news for many years and therefore was not really something I was interested in reading. However, about half way through it picked up and became much more interesting, focusing on how everyone affected moved on.  I think I would have rather had more about life after the event and certainly more about the journalist's investigations into child-murderers in history and in different cultures.
Overall, a very sad book.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me and advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Atmospheric and fast-moving

Where the Dead Walk - John   Bowen

There are times when, as a reader, I want a change from my normal diet of thrillers and, while I am not averse to a creepy ghost story, I have to admit that I do tend to stick to the big names. However, Where the Dead Walk was quite a revelation to me. A riveting and thrilling tale, atmospheric and fast-moving with some really witty writing by the author.

Highly recommended for something slightly different but still with it's basis in the "real" world. I will definitely be moving on to the author's second novel.

Hmmm ...

S is for Stranger: a gripping psychological thriller - Louise Stone
  An interesting book, I can't say I enjoyed it as I felt uncomfortable throughout but needed to read to the end to find out. I didn't like any of the characters but that is not usually an issue for me. However, I felt that I was watching a character's total disintegration and this made me uncomfortable. Having read to the end I think I understood it but I'm not really sure. Certainly intriguing, not really sure that it came off as well as it could have and I would have preferred a bit more clarit An interesting book, I can't say I enjoyed it as I felt uncomfortable throughout but needed to read to the end to find out. I didn't like any of the characters but that is not usually an issue for me. However, I felt that I was watching a character's total disintegration and this made me uncomfortable. Having read to the end I think I understood it but I'm not really sure. Certainly intriguing, not really sure that it came off as well as it could have and I would have preferred a bit more clarity in the ending (not to change the ending though!)

I am very torn between two and three stars - three stars means I liked it, and I'm not really sure that I did, but I don't want to only give two stars as I certainly was intrigued enough to need to read to the end, and quickly too! So I'm going with my gut feel, which is 3 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and Carina UK for a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

One of my favourite this year!

The Fire Child - S.K. Tremayne, HarperCollins Publishers Limited, Peter Noble, Imogen Church
  Gosh, where do I start with this book? There is so much to say that I could probably waffle on for hours and yet I am struggling to find words. I have truly loved every paragraph, sentence and probably every word of this book, it is just sublime.

I have given this five stars, because I have to give a star rating and this is the most I can give, but it has made me go back and compare every other 5-star rating I have given. I wouldn't change any of my past ratings, but this book fits into that sma
Gosh, where do I start with this book? There is so much to say that I could probably waffle on for hours and yet I am struggling to find words. I have truly loved every paragraph, sentence and probably every word of this book, it is just sublime.

I have given this five stars, because I have to give a star rating and this is the most I can give, but it has made me go back and compare every other 5-star rating I have given. I wouldn't change any of my past ratings, but this book fits into that small group of books which, for me, just blow the rating system out of the water.

This book is atmospheric, chilling, gripping, with a creeping sense of dread, part thriller, part horror and bit of everything else thrown in. The setting definitely draws comparisons with DuMaurier, the scenes played out in my mind like a black and white Hitchcock film while the language and style drew me along in a way that few other books have done.

The descriptions of the setting: the house, the countryside, the mines, the towns, the sea and the Cornish language were intense and poetic and, while there was a lot of it, added substantially to the atmosphere and the depth of the story.

The two main characters were interesting: flawed, damaged and unpredictable. The supporting characters were non- intrusive, and the Fire Child himself was just spooky!

I savoured the first 60% of the book as being, for me, a beautifully written, slowly developing piece of literature but found myself turning the pages at 2am feeling spooked, nervous and desperate to know how it would end. The creaking of my kitchen door in the wind in the quiet of the night almost made me hide the book in a drawer! My only regret is that I finished the last few chapters too quickly and actually, I just want to go back and read it all again.

I really enjoyed The Ice Twins, giving it 5 stars, but this? Well, for me, this is in a class of its own.

I cannot thank publishers Harper Collins and Netgalley enough for allowing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Interesting Concept

Dear Amy - Helen Callaghan

The concept of this book was really interesting and it looked right up my street. However, I found it somewhat unrealistic and found it difficult to sympathise with the characters. I did wonder whether it was aimed for a younger audience as I felt there was an immaturity to the characters and their responses to situations. This, however, is just my opinion and I am sure that many people will disagree with me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin UK for allowing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Heart-breaking and heart-warming!

My Name is Leon - Kit de Waal

I am little bit heart-broken and a lot impressed.
This was a heart-breaking and at the same time heart-warming tale of a mixed race boy growing up in 1980’s Britain. My heart broke for Leon losing first his mother to her various problems and his home, and then losing the brother upon whom he doted. There are some lovely characters, especially Maureen and Sylvia, whose compassion and warmth are beautiful. This could have been a bleak read but the author has provided a delightful story with witty moments to offset the absolute sadness of Leon’s situation. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

"Oh no" moments rather than "OMG" moments!

While My Eyes Were Closed - Maggie Mash, Linda L. Green, Quercus, Emma Gregory, Gareth Bennett-Ryan

I want very much to give this 3.5 stars.

An interesting book as from the outset we know what is happening with the child who has been abducted.  I didn't find it particularly gripping but rather there was an overall sadness throughout the book that made me want to read on.  There were several points where I felt an emotional shock.  "Oh no" moments rather than "OMG" moments!  Definitely a thought-provoking read and an interesting change in perception from many other books of a similar type.

Clever and original!

Daisy in Chains - Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains is clever; clever in many ways but mostly it’s a clever story, cleverly written.  There isn’t much more I can say, it’s original, creepy, scary, shocking you name it, it has it. It had me enthralled from beginning to end and every page in between.  I loved the style, I thought the characters were brilliantly drawn, and the writing was wonderful.
I loved Little Black Lies, it was one of my five-star reads of 2015 and I was looking forward to this one.  It was certainly worth waiting for, this one was even better and I am a little sad that I can’t give it more than five stars.  It’s definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2016 so five MASSIVE stars from me!  Sharon Bolton is now right up there in my favourite authors list.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

Enjoyable and a good set up for part 3

Finders Keepers: A Novel - Stephen King

I enjoyed it, not as much as I enjoyed Mr Mercedes, but more than some others.  Stephen King can largely write in any genre he choses.  I still prefer his horror to straight up crime but still this was a good read while setting the scene for the third of this trilogy.

A little odd, a little gruesome but still a little gem!

Front Seat Passenger (Noir) - Pascal Garnier

I haven't read anything by Pascal Garnier before but this had been languishing in paperback on my TBR for quite a long time before I noticed it pop up on Netgalley, so I thought why not bump it up and give it a go.

Well, what a little gem! It's quite short so easily read in a spare couple of hours, which makes a nice change and the translation is excellent as it appears to maintain the French "feel" to the book.

Full of unlikeable psychopaths, written in a tense style with short sentences and abrupt endings, this is a really enjoyable, slightly odd and somewhat gruesome read, a combination that I have discovered I really like!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me an electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

An intelligent and well-written crime thriller

Behind Dead Eyes - Howard Linskey
  I read Howard Linskey’s first book in this series, No Name Lane, when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was extremely pleased that Netgalley and Penguin UK gave me the opportunity to read Behind Dead Eyes.
Although behind Dead Eyes can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, it was great to catch up with the characters of Tom, Helen and Ian again. Each of these characters is well written and well developed and adds to the story. The story itself is excellent – fast flowing and real
I read Howard Linskey’s first book in this series, No Name Lane, when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was extremely pleased that Netgalley and Penguin UK gave me the opportunity to read Behind Dead Eyes.
Although behind Dead Eyes can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, it was great to catch up with the characters of Tom, Helen and Ian again. Each of these characters is well written and well developed and adds to the story. The story itself is excellent – fast flowing and realistic with just enough clues to keep you interested and still guessing until the reveal. I loved the first book, and this one is even better so a very easy five stars from me and now I just have to look forward to the next one. Highly recommended as an intelligent, well-written crime thriller

Intruiging and surprising - a slow burner

Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica

This is the first book I have read by Mary Kubika, although I do have The Good Girl on my shelf waiting. I found this really interesting, the writing style took me a little while to get used to and I was quite a long way through before I realised that actually not very much had happened. But, the slow burn worked really well and by the end I was really invested in the characters, intrigued by the twists and shocked at some of the events. This is certainly another author added to my "must read" lists.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

 

I smiled, I shed a tear, I sympathised, I empathised and I loved it.

After the Lie: A gripping novel about love, loss and family secrets - Kerry Fisher

Sometimes you read a book and for no particular reason you just love it. This is one of those books, except there are so many reasons to love it: the story is original, relevant and interesting, the writing is superb, the humour and wit are wonderful and the emotion is all too real. I smiled, I shed a tear, I sympathised, I empathised and I loved it.

Kerry Fisher has produced a wonderful book in which anyone with teenage children will recognise themselves!

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.

A writer at the top of her game!

When She Was Bad - Tammy Cohen

There's not a lot I can say about this book. I love Tammy Cohen's books. I think she writes some of the best characters and her plots are always so twisty that I end every chapter thinking I have it sussed, only to find that I don't.

This is another fantastic twisty, scary, unsettling and ultimately shocking book - just what I've come to expect and just as brilliant as the rest.

If you haven't read Tammy's books this is a great place to start. If you have, then you know what your are in for - a real treat!

Lovely, funny, sad and lots more

The School Gate Survival Guide - Kerry Fisher

I really enjoyed this, an easy read with enough substance to keep me hooked.  Lovely, funny, sad and lots more. I couldn't put it down

An enjoyable, if uncomfortable, read

Sleep Sister: A page-turning novel of psychological suspense - Laura Elliot

Undoubtedly the author can write a good tale around a dark subject and this one was very disturbing covering child abuse in depth (but not in graphic detail) and it did make for quite uncomfortable reading.
It is more a family saga than a thriller, in my view, covering the lives of two families and the villagers around them.  There were some points where the cast of characters was so large that I lost track a little but that didn’t deter me from the story.  In all an enjoyable if uncomfortable read.
This is the second book by Laura Elliot that I have read and I didn’t find it quite as accomplished as the last book (The Betrayal) but still definitely in the solid 4* category for me.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.