Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Winner by David Baldacci

The WinnerThe Winner by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 528

Publisher - Grand Central publishing

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

The Dream

She is twenty, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever.

The Killer

It's an offer she dares to refuse...until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It's a price she won't fully pay...until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

The Winner

For if LuAnn Tyler comes home, she will be pitted against the deadliest contestant of all: the chameleonlike financial mastermind who changed her life. And who can take it away at will...


My Review

LuAnn Tyler is living in a crappy trailer, her wee girl is her world, her boyfriend is a lazy cheating violent idiot. She is working a dead end job trying desperately to make ends meet. When a chance of a lifetime comes along, the offer to win the lottery and become a millionaire but she must leave the country, tell no one and never come back. How could she refuse, but when there is a murder LuAnn ends up on the wanted list. Life is good, she has everything she needs and keeps on the move with her daughter, ten years pass and LuAnn does the one thing she was told not to, she returns to America and now it isn't just the police after her.

I really enjoyed this one, pacey, morals, death, a killer who has everything at his disposal, a master of disguise and on the hunt for LuAnn. The lotttery aspect is something different, wouldn't we all love to win the lotto, what if it meant breaking the law? The concept of how was interesting and there is enough action to keep you going page after page.

I have read Baldacci before and it was fine but this one I really enjoyed, 4/5 for me this time.



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Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Sue Lawrence Blog Tour




Today is my stop on the blog tour for "The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange" by Sue Lawrence, I am the last stop and closing the tour, please check out the previous stops, we all offer different content.


About the book:




Blurb

Edinburgh, January 1732: It's Lady Grange's funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she'd shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She's been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death - her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity - or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings, or simply to `replace' a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she's removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic - to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language - somewhere she can never be found. This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband's unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace.


The book is out to buy NOW Publisher on Twitter

About the author




As well as writing popular historical thrillers, including Down to the Sea, Sue Lawrence is a leading cookery writer. After winning BBC's MasterChef in 1991, she became a regular contributor to the Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday and other leading magazines. Raised in Dundee, she now lives in Edinburgh. She has won two Guild of Food Writers Awards. You can catch the author on Twitter @SueHLawrence




This is a #LoveBooksTours run by Kelly Lacey, please check them out HERE

For my stop I have my review, enjoy

The Unreliable Death of Lady GrangeThe Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Sue Lawrence
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out as able over 1 week

Pages - 304

Publisher - Contraband

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Edinburgh, January 1732: It's Lady Grange's funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she'd shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She's been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death - her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity - or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings, or simply to `replace' a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she's removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic - to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language - somewhere she can never be found. This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband's unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace



My Review

So I hadn't heard of Lady Grange ever before let alone her disappearance, to be fair my knowledge on history is pretty sparse. I liked the sound of this one so signed up for the tour, we are headed back to the 1700s and we meet Rachel and hear how she came to be Lady Grange. She has a bit of a stain on her past, her families name rather so is delighted to catch the eye of someone so prominent. Marriage and babies come along and quickly we head to her disappearance and death.

The chapters are titled for who is speaking so easy enough to follow, Rachel is a bit of a lively character, especially for ladies of that time. Expected to behave in a certain way Rachel is very much an anomaly in her behaviour. We follow her through her early relationship with her husband to be until later when she is kidnapped and everything that follows.

The book doesn't go into any horrific details so if you fancy a book that has a genteel pace but still a flash of darkness then this is for you. Not much is known about Lady Grange, Lawrence has done her research on what she could find and made an account of what she thought may well have been Rachel's thoughts/actions during what we do know of her life. I am interested in reading more about this historical character and even the locations where the story is set. I have lived in Scotland my whole life but a bit like my history, my knowledge of places is very lax and I do like islands and remote places. The pace and feel definitely turned in the last quarter of the book and I ended up keeping the book in hand and read the last quarter in one sitting. This was my first time reading this author, I will be checking out their other works.

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Thursday, 19 March 2020

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten Blog Tour




Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Dead Wrong" by author Noelle Holten, we all have different content so please check out the other stops.


The book cover




About the author




Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.


Where can you connect with Noelle?

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/

Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/

Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

Website: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk

Bookbub Author page : https://bit.ly/2LkT4LB

For my stop I have my review, book blurb included, enjoy.

Dead Wrong (DC Maggie Jamieson #2)Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages -

Publisher - One More Chapter

Source - Review copy


Blurb from Goodreads


The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson's past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…




My Review


This is book two in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, you can absolutely get away with reading this as a standalone however the first book is pretty awesome so go read it if you haven't already. Maggie is back with her team and absolutely raging. The notorious serial killer, Bill Raven, that Maggie and squad put away a few years back is now rearing his ugly head. Behind bars for the murder of at least three women, he confessed in graphic detail what he did to them. Now, a body has been found of his first named victim and they only died very recently, with Raven in jail he couldn't be the killer. Appealing his sentence and now his mental health condition is medicated and controlled Raven wants out and is happy to "help" the police. Maggie KNOWS he is guilty but can she convince her team.

Ooft poor Maggie, so book one made no mention of this bad guy so you can absolutely start with this book, we learn of Raven and his crimes through Maggie and the team going over past history. The guy is clever, manipulative and the higher up in the force want Maggie to tread carefully because if they have convicted an innocent guy - the press are having a field day and the real bad guy needs to be caught.

The book has a fair few dimensions, mental health, friendships, sexuality, family, addictions, murder and is hugely centred around police investigation. If you like police procedural you will love this as it goes in depth but flings you extras with relationships and the personal life of Maggie, friendships, who she is as a person, her family and her wee furbaby - Scrappy the cat, who doesn't love a cat!

I couldn't see where the book was going to go, how was the story going to round, answer my questions and most importantly solve the case. Kept guessing from the first few chapters and teased along to pretty much the very end. Holten needs to be penning book three already, I need to know what is coming next for these characters, 4/5 for me this time.


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Monday, 16 March 2020

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

A Good NeighborhoodA Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 279

Publisher - Headline Review

Source - Review book

Blurb from Goodreads

In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door―an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.


My Review

Valerie Alston Holt is living in a wee neighborhood in North Carolina with her bi racial son Xavier, he has the whole world ahead of him, a scholarship, fabulous music career and he is a healthy good looking boy. Valeria is a professor and very eco friendly, when her new neighbours move in, a while affluent family, the house built for them and a lot of trees lost to accommodate it Valerie isn't best pleased. When the tree in her yard, 80 odd years old starts dying as a result of the new home Valerie decides to take on Brad Whitman, local celebrity and her new neighbour. If that isn't enough, Mrs Whitman has just been to Valerie's for book night and to make friends and her oldest daughter Juniper and Xavier have just started to notice each other, talk about bad timing!

It is a busy wee story, we hear from the three main characters, each varying chapters and getting to know and see from their perspectives. Juniper is a bit of a grumpy problem teen, mocked at school for valuing her purity and having a brain. Xavier hasn't really found anyone he is interested in and he is out of here in six short months but there is something about Juniper....

The book has a few turns and goes into some pretty shocking topics, racism, power, abuse, wealth (and a mix of abuse of power/wealth), the depravity of some humans and the shocking way some people think. How easy it is to ruin/change a life with one decision, one action and the ripple effects that has. It is one of those books you aren't too sure where it is going to go and I was shocked at the depth of how some of it went. A modern day Romeo and Juliette type story but with so much more issues and themes that left me a bit shocked to be honest. 4.5/5 for me this time, first time reading this author I will absolutely be looking into her other books!

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Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Strangers by C L Taylor

StrangersStrangers by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.


My Review

If you follow my reviews you will know this house is a big fan of Taylors writing. The opening scene captures you straight away and leads you into the book wanting to know, why, how and what happened before hand, who are these people!

Three main characters, Alice - trying to get back into dating, her husband left her, her daughter is having boyfriend trouble and Alice is dipping her toes back into the world of dating. Ursula, ooft what a car crash of a person, we know something has happened and she is struggling to get through day to day. She is her own worst enemy and being a kleptomaniac and compulsively choosing the wrong decision in almost everything isn't helping. Gareth, caring for his mother who has dementia whilst holding down a security job with its own pressures. All three couldn't be anymore different so what links them and what will bring them into each others path?

The dating stuff, ugh I could have screamed at Alice and her daughter, warning flags and just no don't do that, don't text ahhhh. I suppose that is a nod to the authors talent, creating characters and situations that make you so mad because they are so real to life, we have all seen or done some of these things! Ursula, same, warning flags, don't do it, ask this, question that but when you are desperate you tend to ignore warning flags and when things are so bad and you have limited options you can only go with what is available to you. Gareth is a different character, I felt so sorry for him, caring with someone with dementia is heartbreaking, having unresolved father issues is something many readers will empathetic with.

Each character gets chapters and titled so you know whose is who and it is easy to follow. You have no idea what is coming, where the story is leading (for any of them) and I love when books do that for you. 4.5/5 for me this time, I have read all of Taylor's books (to my knowledge) and cannot wait for the next. Out to buy from April 2nd, ebook and hardbackk, paperback will be available in September.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith

Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2)Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 345

Publisher - Abacus

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 2

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.

Full of McCall Smith’s gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, “make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”




My Review

If you haven't read book one you really need to so you get the background and introduction to all of the characters. We pick up on this one where we left off in book one. Following the tales of poor wee Bertie and his insufferable mother. Bruce, lost his job as a surveyor, is a looker/charmer and knows it, he now is turning his luck to the wine business, what could go wrong. Pat is trying to get it together but still a bit standoffish after her experience with Bruce but her old pal Domenica won't let her stand in her own way. And Matthew, still working away in the art gallery but with the good influence of Pat he is actually turning a profit and has found something he likes and is good at. We see a wee bit more of him and his relationship with his dad.

Whilst all of the characters get a crack of the whip there is no doubt wee Bertie is the bigger focus in this book. Still being dragged to therapy by his mother, a pink bedroom and those pink dungarees, she can call them any colour she likes, they are pink. Bertie is only six but advanced for his years and the poor wee mite is having some time of it.

Humour throughout and poking a wee bit of fun at Edinburgh, Smith brings to life the characters and makes you want to go page after page to see what is coming next. Friends meets the big bang theory with a few other echos of similar shows, the characters are across the age range so I think there is something for everyone. Despite Bertie being a bairn his story, certainly in this book was the one I most wanted to read more about, 3.5/5 for me, I will be buying the next in the series.

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Friday, 6 March 2020

Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach Blog Blast

Quercus is having a wee blog blast for "Rust" by Eliese Colette Goldbach. It ended tomorrow, if you haven't see or heard about this one please check it out, ebook available now on Amazon.




Rust: A Memoir of Steel and GritRust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Goldbach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 308

Publisher - Quercus

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


One woman's story of working in the backbreaking steel industry to rebuild her life—but what she uncovers in the mill is much more than molten metal and grueling working conditions. Under the mill's orange flame she finds hope for the unity of America.

Steel is the only thing that shines in the belly of the mill...

To ArcelorMittal Steel Eliese is known as #6691: Utility Worker, but this was never her dream. Fresh out of college, eager to leave behind her conservative hometown and come to terms with her Christian roots, Eliese found herself applying for a job at the local steel mill. The mill is everything she was trying to escape, but it's also her only shot at financial security in an economically devastated and forgotten part of America.

In Rust, Eliese brings the reader inside the belly of the mill and the middle American upbringing that brought her there in the first place. She takes a long and intimate look at her Rust Belt childhood and struggles to reconcile her desire to leave without turning her back on the people she's come to love. The people she sees as the unsung backbone of our nation.

Faced with the financial promise of a steelworker’s paycheck, and the very real danger of working in an environment where a steel coil could crush you at any moment or a vat of molten iron could explode because of a single drop of water, Eliese finds unexpected warmth and camaraderie among the gruff men she labors beside each day.

Appealing to readers of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, Rust is a story of the humanity Eliese discovers in the most unlikely and hellish of places, and the hope that therefore begins to grow.




My Review


i don't know why but I thought this was going to be quite heavy on emotional/angst side, it wasn't that at all. Eliese had set ideas on the steel mills growing up as well as religion and politics. As Eliese becomes an adult and things happen in her life she finds herself not only questions but 360 on quite a lot of the ideas she had growing up.

Rust takes us into the steel mills, what it is like to work in a perilous environment, where one mistake can literally be death to you or a co worker. The hazards, the problems being a woman in this environment, the difference between being a new start and becoming an established part of the team with union cover and job protection. The stories of folk who have died in the company, the very real hazards, even in the departments most sought after. Eliese takes us on the journey of her life, through this very male dominated work force, money at the top and how current politics affects the job.

Aside from this, we have to remember this is a true story memoir and we get the rest of Eliese's lie experiences. A very honest and brutal look at mental health, how it affected her day to day life, relationships, good days and bad and a sexual attack and the impact that had on her and her views.

I am not a fan of politics but it was interesting to see how Goldbach examined hers and challenged her family, over dinner as you imagine with the current political issues this is happening across the globe, in many variations.

The book does jump around a wee bit, in time, from the job and heading back to growing up, ideas formed, back to current day/work back to college and what happened there. Her mental health is discussed sporadically throughout the book. When it comes up it does go into very vivid details cataloguing some of the episodes she survived or getting through that particular day. Then we go back to the steel mill and what was happening in that recounting. I really enjoyed the steel mill stuff as it isn't something I have ever thought about or read so I found it fascinating, the jumps may be a bit distracting to some readers but once she got into her stride, be it the mental health encounters or the mill I found it pretty fascinating and didn't want to stop reading. 4/5 for me this time, I think I would like to read more on the mills and prior to this book I doubt that is a sentence I would have thought let alone said. A raw and brave look into a woman's life who has battled so much and came out fighting at the other end.

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