Monday, 3 May 2021

Letters from the Past by Erica James

Letters From the PastLetters From the Past by Erica James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 508

Publisher - Orion

Source - Bought from Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

With its winding high street lined with a greengrocers, post office, pub and church, Melstead St Mary is the perfect English village. Neighbours look out for neighbours, and few things trouble the serene surface of the community.

But when residents start to receive anonymous letters containing secret information about their pasts - secrets that no one else is meant to know - life in Melstead St Mary is about to change, possibly forever...

My Review

In a small village everyone looks out for each other or do they? Families are close or are they? Melstead St Mary is a tightknit community and we have a handful of main characters we visit. Evelyn is sorting a big party for her wedding anniversary, Hope is a successful children's author, Julia has married into the family and noone really gets close to her. Romily is the glue that holds the family together, she is also an author and script writer. They all have busy lives and all have something in common, they have been targeted for poison pen letters.

The book took a wee bit to settle into just because there are so many characters and we flip between them and some of their past events. I did enjoy the characters, the stories, how interwoven they are and some belters of secrets some of them had, what family doesn't.

There are some heart warming moments, some shocking themes within the book, abuse, coercion, love, relationships, doubt. When the book flips to some of the past of the characters we learn more about who they are and how strong some of them are. I do love a strong female character and went back and forth on some of them. I liked it but didn't love it, I have read this author before and will read her again, 3.5/5 for me.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons

Deadly Cry (DI Kim Stone #13)Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 373

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

You have to stop me from hurting anyone else. I don’t want to do these horrible things. Help me before I’m forced to do it again. And I will do it again because I have no choice. I’ve never had a choice.

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional murder. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

But with her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

My Review

A little girl left abandoned in a shop, hours later her mother is found dead, no signs of torture or sexual components so why would someone kill her? Soon another victim is found and Stone knows this is someone who won't stop until they stop them. Fling in a rape case Stacey is looking into and things start to get hairy, when a case is closed noone appreciates an officer digging into them.

If you have read the previous books you know your characters, Stone is one of my faves, she isn't loveable, she is rough around the edges, standoffish but she is fantastic, loyal and her relationship with her dog/team, I just love it.

The book is a good pace, as with all the predecessors, there are a fair things going in, the murders, the rape cases. Also one of the team trying to get through grief and look out for his brother who is struggling with the recent bereavement. A bit of everything and Marson's has yet to let us down, fresh, emotive and characters you can empathize with or at least invest in. 4/5 for me this time, got the next one waiting to be read!

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Sunday, 25 April 2021

A Special Place in Hell by Christopher Berry-Dee

A Special Place in Hell: The World's Most Depraved Serial KillersA Special Place in Hell: The World's Most Depraved Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 240

Publisher - Ad Lib

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Christopher Berry-Dee is the man who talks to serial killers. A world-renowned investigative criminologist, he has gained the trust of murderers across the world, entered their high security prisons, and discussed in detail their shocking crimes. The killers' pursuit of horror and violence is described through the unique audiotape and videotape interviews which Berry-Dee conducted, deep inside the bowels of some of the world's toughest prisons. Christopher Berry-Dee has collated these interviews into this astounding, disturbing book. Not only does he describe his meetings with some of the world's most evil men and women, he also reproduces, verbatim, their very words as they describe their crimes, allowing the reader a glimpse into the inner workings of the people who have committed the worst crime possible—to mercilessly take the life of another human being.

My Review

If you have read Berry-Dee before then you know what you are in for, this is his 2nd or 3rd book I have read. He refers back to his previous published works throughout so if you do enjoy it you won't need to go to FantasticFiction to get more titles. There is no denying he has had some interesting encounters and researched some of the most shocking individuals in true crime history.

This book covers a fair few killers, some of the absolute worst, across the decades. Some of the killers you will know, notorious, a few I hadn't heard of.

Not for the faint hearted, we genuinely have had some horrific killers in our world and the book doesn't shy away from some of the worse details. The author also has some commentary and opinions that some readers may find offensive. Otherwise, for true crime buffs I think you will "enjoy" the book for what it is and potentially find one or two new ones, 3/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz

The Other EmilyThe Other Emily by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Thomas & Mercer

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found.

Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens—and terror escalates.

Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.

My Review

Author David Thorne has never gotten over the love, Emily, of his life disappearing. He returns to the same place to write his novels & visit a killer who he believes knows what happened to Emily. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Maddison he can't believe his eyes, she is just like Emily. the more time he spends with her the more she seems like and reminds him of her but Emily would be ten years old and Maddison is like she was back then. What is going on? How can Maddison be so like Emily and can the serial killer Jessop give him any answers?

This book has a bit of everything in it, it is weird, there are doppelgangers, romance, relationships, chats with a serial killer.....David needs to know the truth but he is also loving Maddison being there, it is like having Emily back.

This book is a bit of a genre mash up we have fantasy mixed in with the usual suspects, some creepiness, violence and a bit of a love story. The reader goes on a journey with David desperate to find out what happened, despite having a chance of happiness - some questions just need to be answered. The serial killer is a wee bit different too from some of those we see in books, the guy is in jail, guilty but still has a bargaining chip & feeds on emotions of others. I would like to read more about him actually I would have liked to have . I think this will be a marmite book, I liked that it was different and a mesh of genres, I would have loved it to be thicker. More history on the characters, more backstory and I hope we see David in another story, 4/5 for me.

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Saturday, 17 April 2021

Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver blog tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver, just out, click HERE to order from Amazon.

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Tim Weaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 512

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Rebekah Murphy has been missing for five months. Why is no one looking for her?

Rebekah Murphy knows too much . . .

She knows she's alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail.
She knows that to get home, she must live to understand why this is happening.
She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.

What she doesn't know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn't know enough . . .

He doesn't know where to find Louise Mason.
He doesn't know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago.
He doesn't know the identity of the man last seen talking to her.

What he does know is that he retires in one week - and if he doesn't find out where Louise went, no one will . . .

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realize is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle - and it will cost them everything to finally solve it . . .

My Review

Rebekah is running, running for her life, she is hurt - she is desperate and other than that we don't really know what is going on, that is the opening chapter. We flip to the before and learn about Rebekah, her life and what takes her eventually to the Island, where she is now present day. The chapters flip between Rebekah trying to survive and then, the past as we run up to the present. Someone wants Rebekah dead, she is stranded on an Island alone and can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt her let alone kill her. Rebekah wasn't alone when she arrived so where is her brother and where is the person she is running from?

The then lets us know Rebekah's current relationship, stressors, family life, the now is her trying to survive on a deserted island, harsh elements, loneliness. There are twists, timeline jumps, little nuggets *missing pieces* of information as you delve further into the story.

There is a whole ton of mystery, different paces depending on if you are past or present & add into that we have Detective Frank Travis who is due to retire soon. Frank is looking into the disappearance of a missing artist who has a link to Rebekah's brother and is desperate to finish the case before he goes. Could Rebekah's family have had anything to do with her current predicament? I found myself flipping back and forth on theories and unwilling to put the book down because I wanted to know, just like Rebekah who, why and is she going to get out of it. 4/5 for me, this was my first time reading this author, I would read him again!

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Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

The Echo WifeThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 256

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon (as Goodreads blurb is has spoilers!)

A dark and suspenseful novel of lies, betrayal, and identity - perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

It was meant to be an evening to honour and celebrate Evelyn Caldwell's award-winning, career-making scientific research - but Evelyn has things on her mind.

Things like Nathan, her husband, who has left her for a younger, better, newer woman. A woman who is now pregnant - but shouldn't be - and is strikingly familiar. Too familiar to be a coincidence.

A woman who shouldn't exist.

The Echo Wife is a propulsive new novel from an international rising star about identity, murder, and the choices society forces women to make.

My Review

DO NOT READ THE BLURB ON GOODREADS - it has spoiler info (imo). Evelyn is a scientist, making huge strides and there is even an event in her honour. Everyone is asking where her husband is, Evelyn keeps her face on but does let it slip he is likely at home with his new fiance. So for me I thought oh my God, a book about a powerful woman who has been left by her husband for a younger model. However that is just scratching the surface, my God the book has so much more to come and it is explosive.

Evelyn is a bit of a coldfish, professionally brilliant but emotionally stilted however when you start to get into what she actually does as a job, her background, her family life you start to understand it a wee bit better. Evelyn works with cloning, she is making breakthroughs and succeeding in her field, nothing will get in her way. When something comes to light that could threaten it, Evelyn will let nothing get in her way, no matter the cost!

Oooft, so much involved in this one, science, relationships, betrayal, infidelity, ethics - oh the ethics - the things that are done in the name of research and selfish shocking behaviour. Morals are in some serious questioning and just utterly shocking at some points in the story. Really hard to go into without spoiling it (although if you read Goodreads blurb you will get the jist because - spoilers!). I just thought it was so clever, I was thinking it was going to be a relationship cheating/replacement with a younger model story but it is so so much more, would love this to be a movie! ​I read it in a day, this was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 7 April 2021

April Giveaway

Happy Easter/April.

Up for grabs is a x4 packet of Dairy Milk Caramel & x1 yellow bunny resin bookmark, as pictured.

And the chocolates

Open to all, use the Rafflecopter to enter. Good luck.

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