Sunday 29 November 2020

Hannibal by Thomas Harris

Hannibal (Hannibal Lecter, #3)Hannibal by Thomas Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 1 week

Pages - 564

Publisher - Arrow

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Years after his escape, posing as scholarly Dr. Fell, curator of a grand family's palazzo, Hannibal lives the good life in Florence, playing lovely tunes by serial killer/composer Henry VIII and killing hardly anyone himself. Clarice is unluckier: in the novel's action-film-like opening scene, she survives an FBI shootout gone wrong, and her nemesis, Paul Krendler, makes her the fall guy. Clarice is suspended, so, unfortunately, the first cop who stumbles on Hannibal is an Italian named Pazzi, who takes after his ancestors, greedy betrayers depicted in Dante's Inferno. Pazzi is on the take from a character as scary as Hannibal: Mason Verger. When Verger was a young man busted for raping children, his vast wealth saved him from jail. All he needed was psychotherapy--with Dr. Lecter. Thanks to the treatment, Verger is now on a respirator, paralyzed except for one crablike hand, watching his enormous, brutal moray eel swim figure eights and devour fish. His obsession is to feed Lecter to some other brutal pets.

My Review

Hannibal is still loose, Starling is struggling in her career after a high profile shooting and someone higher up has it out for her. Many people are after Lecter, none more so than Mason Verger one of Hannibal's only surviving victims. Verger has money and despite his disabilities at the hands of Lecter he has fury, evil and money at his disposal and will stop at nothing to make Lecter pay.

We flip between Hannibal's current situation, Verger's plotting, Starling's uphill battle with her career and the shady male colleagues who are happy to step on her. Starling wants to recapture Lecter and as per goes above and beyond to do what needs done, to her own detriment.

If you are a fan of the series you will enjoy it, I think this one is pretty gruesome and some real shady dirtbag deviant characters. Some parts I felt I needed to wash my eyeballs out after reading *shudders* - not as good as the previous two but give me a story with Hannibal Lecter and I am going to read it, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Friday 27 November 2020

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 1 week

Pages - 579

Publisher - Viking Penguin

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

My Review

I can't believe this is a debut, it is packed with so much and reads like someone who has been writing a long long time. Diana is a witch but has always repressed that side, she comes from a very powerful family but after her parents were murdered when she was a child she has ignored her magic. Now a scholar (with tenure no less) in Oxford, when she pulls up an old manuscript that everyone has been waiting for, witches, daemons and vampires she unwittingly turns her whole life upside down. What starts as a search for her work leads her into an unlikely set of relationships, love, danger and a find that could change the history for all creatures.

Who doesn't love a vampire book, a witch book and some flashes of daemons. Creatures that aren't meant to mingle, stay out of the interest of humans, ignored magic, family secrets and a house that has family ghost that are temperamental and all manners of magic.

There are sciencey bits where one of the vampires looks at genetics/dna. Witches, vampires and daemons at odds with each other and others learning to be friendly. A witch who denied her powers now having to work at undoing years of denial/repression but also another hill to climb to engage with her own power. Folk turning on their own kind for daring to "mix" with others out with their own species. It has so much going on and I thought it was grand, I have books two and three on the tbrm, hopefully not be too long until I get to them, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 24 November 2020

The Girls He Adored by Jonathan Nasaw

The Girls He AdoredThe Girls He Adored by Jonathan Nasaw
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Atria

Source - Bought years ago

Blurb from Goodreads

For ten years, the charmingly disheveled veteran FBI Special Agent E.L. Pender has been investigating the apparently random disappearances of a dozen women across the country. The only detail the cases have in common is the strawberry blond color of the victims' hair, and the presence of a mystery man with whom they were last seen.

Then, in Monterey, California, a routine traffic stop erupts into a scene of horrific violence. The local police are stunned by a disemboweled strawberry blond victim and an ingenious killer with multiple alternating personalities. Pender is convinced he has found his man, but before he can prove it, the suspect stages a cunning jailbreak and abducts his court-appointed psychiatrist, Irene Cogan.

In a house on a secluded ridge in Oregon, Irene must navigate through the minefield of her captor's various egos -- male and female, brilliant and naive, murderous and passive -- all of whom are dominated by Max, a seductive killer who views her as both his prisoner and his salvation. Irene knows that to survive she must play along with Max's game of sexual perversion. Only then will she be able to strip back the layers to discover a chilling story of a shattered young boy -- and all the girls he adored.

A sexually charged thriller of extraordinary originality and page-turning suspense, The Girls He Adored moves furiously from the inner recesses of the psyche to its final, startling climax. Jonathan Nasaw brilliantly portrays two equally intense characters -- a deviant killer and the expert who can unlock his darkest secrets -- and introduces one of the most likable sleuths in recent fiction.

My Review

I have had this on the shelves for a while and heard folk talk about it even longer. A bag guy is in jail, he is very very dangerous, on par with Lecter. court-appointed psychiatrist, Irene Cogan. is brought in to assess a prisoner witholding their identity but also presenting as multiple personality disorder (mpd)..............and stage set! FBI Special Agent E.L. Pender has been convinced for years there is a serial killer on the loose and risked much to prove it, could this guy be the one who has evaded him for years?

Guys this book is not for the faint hearted, the bad guy has multiple personalities, some cunning, some psychotic/murderous/naïve. This was a huge draw for me, I have read hundreds of crime books and mpd doesn't feature in many of them. This one was so compelling because they are all so different and getting to see how the psychiatrist assesses them and interacts with this bad guy was so good. There is a huge aspect of sexual deviancy/abuse/violence and real bottom of the barrel aspects of humanity so again NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED!

Compelling, shocking, twists, so so dark in some parts but it pulls the reader in from the very first pages, NEEDING to know where it is going to go. There are another four in the series, I have no idea where they are going to go but I am absolutely ordering book two (as we type), 4/5 for me this time. My first dance with this author, absolutely won't be my last!

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Sunday 22 November 2020

The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean

The Apparition PhaseThe Apparition Phase by Will Maclean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - William Heinemann

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

An atmospheric and stunning literary debut, reminiscent of the gothic suspense of Shirley Jackson and the ghost stories of MR James

Tim and Abi have always been different from their peers. Precociously bright, they spend their evenings in their parents’ attic discussing the macabre and unexplained, zealously rereading books on folklore, hauntings and the supernatural. In particular, they are obsessed with photographs of ghostly apparitions and the mix of terror and delight they provoke in their otherwise boring and safe childhoods.

But when Tim and Abi decide to fake a photo of a ghost to frighten an unpopular school friend, they set in motion a deadly and terrifying chain of events that neither of them could have predicted, and are forced to confront the possibility that what began as a callous prank might well have taken on a malevolent life of its own.

My Review

We open with two teenagers obsessed with ghosts and all thing macabre, so the kids decide to make a ghost photo and it has long standing consequences. Abi and Tim are pretty happy being in each others company and are pretty different and weird. The photo marks the beginning of huge changes and the story takes place over years, Tim into adulthood with spooky and eerie happenings.

For me, the story could almost be three separate ones, the kids and their upbringing, the event that changes everything for Tim, the personal and emotive journey then a heavy focus with the supernatural, haunted "house" seances. Throughout them all we have some fabulous freaky spine tingling moments. I love how so much started with a "prank" mock up photo and the message of how dangerous it can be to tangle with the unknown.

I would LOVE this to be a movie - some of the scenes echoes the old school horror/ghosts movies, creepy creepy, Vincent Price type. I would have loved a more in-depth look at the later characters that turn up, the seances, the history. It may have been my fave section of the book, give me a creepy place with anything spooky and BAM I am hooked. For a debut, with the spooky creepy parts I loved, there are emotive, personal parts to it that was ok but I wanted more of the spook. I think some people will love the other aspects of the book, who doesn't like different themes throughout a book but I would have enjoyed more of the ghostlike creepy stuff. I did enjoy this and would like to see more from this author, 3/5 for me this time.

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Friday 20 November 2020

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

What Lies Between UsWhat Lies Between Us by John Marrs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 367

Publisher - Thomas and Mercer

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

My Review

When I started this I wasn't too sure what was going on, what the relationship between the two main characters, the chills creep in pretty much from the get go. The chapters alternate between the two, Nina and Maggie. Nina sorts the meals, keeps house and Maggie is living vicariously through everything/everyone she sees through the window, of her bedroom where she is kept. What is the deal with these two, they dine together, they house together yet they seem to hate each other.

As we flip characters we learn a bit more about each lady, what their relationship is and pulled into their weird situation. As we delve deeper we start to get a bit of understanding of how they come to their current situation, flipping back to the past and some genuinely breath taking moments. You dislike or even hate one character and feel sorry for the other then BAM the author pulls the rug and you feel yourself switching and starting to understand a bit where the other is coming from.

It is a hell of a mind trip, emotive and some seriously shocking themes and choices/behaviours of the characters. More so once you start to seep into the heart of the story, I was pulled in pretty much from the get go & have found this with the previous books I have read by this author, 4.5/5 for me this time. I have more of his works on my tbrm, I need to bump them up the list. Prepare to lose your day and be rocked by some utterly shocking characters!

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Monday 16 November 2020

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Review copy & bought the hardback

Blurb from Goodreads

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to…

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

My Review

In a wee but fabulous retirement village a quartet of friends meet everything Thursday for "The Thursday Murder Club". They look at old unsolved crimes, go through them, debate, speculate and investigate. When a murder happens right on their doorstep - its practically fate for the club, isn't it? A new copper PC Donna De Freitas goes to give a chat to the elderly folks and ends up getting more than she bargained for. Involving themselves in the investigation and making pals with the cops the unlikely gang set to pulling their resources and manipulating the police to get the answers they need to try and discover "who done it?"

We get introduced to the characters, their personalities, their quirks/stereotypes/opinions and who they are and how they gel together despite their differences. The retirement village sounds a lovely wee place to end up in, especially with amateur sleuths and how sharp they are with their insights.

A murder, secrets, lies, friendship - this is an absolute wee cozy crime reads. It also has some humour laced throughout and if you like a wee crime story but not too heavy and with bigger focus on relationships and group/personality dynamics you will love this. Book one in a series, I liked this, few wee surprises and wee flashes of emotives in it, I look forward to the next one, 3.5/5 for me!

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Saturday 14 November 2020

Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

Vanish (Rizzoli & Isles, #5)Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 462

Publisher - Bantam

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A nameless, beautiful woman appears to be just another corpse in the morgue. An apparent suicide, she lies on a gurney, awaiting the dissecting scalpel of medical examiner Maura Isles. But when Maura unzips the body bag and looks down at the body, she gets the fright of her life. The corpse opens its eyes.
Very much alive, the woman is rushed to the hospital, where with shockingly cool precision, she murders a security guard and seizes hostages . . . one of them a pregnant patient, Jane Rizzoli.
Who is this violent, desperate soul, and what does she want? As the tense hours tick by, Maura joins forces with Jane s husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean, to track down the mysterious killer s identity. When federal agents suddenly appear on the scene, Maura and Gabriel realize that they are dealing with a case that goes far deeper than just an ordinary hostage crisis.
Only Jane, trapped with the armed madwoman, holds the key to the mystery. And only she can solve it if she survives the night. ."

My Review

This is book 5 in the Rizzoli & Isle's series, I have to confess to reading them out of order and this one must have slipped my attention. These books are gritty and fast paced, short chapters which I love and perfect if you are struggling reading and having your attention kept just now.

Human trafficking and the sex trade features in parts of the book and of course all the brutality that comes with that so be prepared. A body makes its way to Isle's mortuary only for her to discover it isn't actually a dead body. Chaos ensues a hostage situation/standoff and Rizzoli who is heavily pregnant is caught in the middle. Things aren't always what they seem and as the tension the situation becomes more deadly it gets some of the "players" wondering if there isn't more to all this than meets the eye.

The book splits between the situation with Isles/Rizzoli/the undead woman and that of a girl promised a better future only to be caught up in enforced prostitution. We follow the girls, what they have to endure and just trying to survive to the hostage situation and back and forth.

Tense, brutal and we see a bit more of a tender side to feisty Rizzoli despite being heavily pregnant. A fantastic series and I forgot how much I enjoy Gerritsen books, I will need to look and see if there are any others I have missed, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 9 November 2020

November giveaway

Happy Winter you guys, welcome to October. It is boltic cauld here! But the leaves are all over the ground, trees are orange/green and we have to enjoy the little things don't we.

I do enjoy the views when we get a wee walk.

I have tried sitting out the back, on the swing to read but it is hard to last longer than a few minutes, even with a blanket because it is so chilly.

So I think it is time to do a wee giveaway, this one is UK ONLY purely because Amazon (UK) won't allow me to gift outside my country. I will sort a giveaway soon, worldwide but thought I should get at least one up as we head into week two of November.

Giving thought to doing a Christmas themed comp too but having decided on anything concerete, whatever we do we will get a worldwide one sorted anyway, something to cheer us up! To enter the giveaway please fill in the Rafflecopter below, please only complete entries you have done as all winning entries are checked. Good luck all. xxx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday 8 November 2020

The Science of Stephen King by Meg Hafdahl & Kelly Florence

The Science of Stephen King: The Truth Behind Pennywise, Jack Torrance, Carrie, Cujo, and More Iconic Characters from the Master of HorrorThe Science of Stephen King: The Truth Behind Pennywise, Jack Torrance, Carrie, Cujo, and More Iconic Characters from the Master of Horror by Meg Hafdahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 4 days

Pages - 264

Publisher - Skyhorse

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Gothic media moguls Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence, authors of The Science of Monsters and The Science of Women in Horror, and co-hosts of the Horror Rewind podcast called “the best horror film podcast out there” by Film Daddy, present a guide to the Stephen King stories and characters we all know and love. Through interviews, literary and film analysis, and bone-chilling discoveries, The Science of Stephen King delves into the uniquely horrific Stephen King universe to uncover the science behind the legendary novels that have become an integral part of modern pop culture, answering such questions as:
What is the science behind time travel and parallel universes like in The Dark Tower series and 11/22/63?
How does lack of sleep affect the human body like in Insomnia?
Is it possible for horrific creatures to exist like in Nightshift?
What is the science behind curses and legends like in Dreamcatcher and Thinner?
Join Kelly and Meg as they learn if we all really do float down here!

My Review

Ha I am a complete muppet, the SCIENCE of Stephen King and I didn't tipple there would be science in it lmao. I just saw Stephen King and was immediately interested. I have loved Stephen King and horror since I stumbled across him as a kid (I know I know). So Hafdahl and Florence have created a book that looks into some of our best King stories and looked into some of the science behind the heart of some of these books.

For example, IT we all know is a killer who takes the shape of whatever the children most fear but often, whilst toying with the losers club it takes the shape of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. This section offers a wee bit on the book itself and looks into coulrophobia and the history of clowns and why something that is meant to make us smile brings fear to so many. This is what the authors have done, they break the book down into decades, 1970s to 2010s. We get a bit of history on the main man himself and then a look at (some of) the books from those years. What the story is about, each chapter is titled but if you haven't read that story you will find a spoiler or two as they examine and chat about the story, the central theme and history/science around that topic.

I won't go into every story but Cujo, they obvs talk about the story itself, then look at the history of dogs and their relationships with humans, rabies and snippets of King's personal battles along his career.

Throughout the book we also get wee snippets of facts, information, titbits scattered throughout the pages, relevant to whatever that chapter is discussing. Whilst I was expecting the book to be something very different (I thought it was going to be in depth study/facts about the books/characters) I really enjoyed it. Information and facts about King I didn't know, facts/information/science and history relevant to each of the stories selected - like really interesting stuff from periods of history that I want to read more into. We have a very morbid history in some places do us humans and I am interested to read more. 4/5 for me, first time reading these guys works, they have other books I would be interested in checking out. If you are a fan of Master King, his works and some shady history of humanity you will absolutely enjoy this book, a keeper for me!

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Wednesday 4 November 2020

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter, #1)Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time to taken to read - < 3 days

Pages - 454

Publisher - Arrow books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

My Review

The first book introducing Hannibal Lecter, I first heard of him after watching The Silence of the Lambs movie. To know there are four books and this is book one, brilliant. There is a predator, targeting families, always a mum, dad, kids and a family pet. He is methodical and he will keep going until he is stopped, he is strategic, smart and leaves no clues. The FBI calls on the help of Will Graham, an FBI profiler who has something the team doesn't, something that helps him get in the head of these specialist type bad guys. He also adds to his belt being the one who caught and only just survived Hannibal Lecter. In order to to what needs done he must face his fears, past traumas and come face to face with Lecter.

Oh I loved the movie, Will played by Edward Norton and that's how I see/hear him in this book. Harris has a way of creating the scenes and characters that grips you pretty much from the beginning and plays out vividly in your head. Gruesome, repugnant, shocking and brings to life two of the most shocking killers in crime fiction, the "Tooth Fairy" and Doctor Hannibal Lecter.

I bought the four of these books, I have read three previously but it was like coming at it as a new reader, it stays fresh and there was things I forgot, 5/5 for me!

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Sunday 1 November 2020

Ghost Virus by Graham Masterton

Ghost VirusGhost Virus by Graham Masterton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Head of Zeus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads


The girl had been staring into her mirror all morning before she picked up the small bottle of sulphuric acid and poured it over her forehead.

Samira was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. What could have brought her to this? DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel of Tooting Police suspect it's suicide. But then a meek husband kills his wife, and the headteacher of the local school throws her pupils out of a window. It's no longer a random outbreak of horrific crimes. It's a deadly virus. And it's spreading. Somehow, ordinary Londoners are being infected with an insatiable lust to murder. All of the killers were wearing second-hand clothes. Could these garments be possessed by some supernatural force?

The death count is multiplying. Now Jerry and Jamila must defeat the ghost virus, before they are all infected...

'One of the most original and frightening storytellers of our time' PETER JAMES.

My Review

The opening chapter is pretty shocking, self harm so brutal it has a police investigation looking into if someone else if responsible. It is just the beginning, folk behaving in horrific violent ways, murder, referring to a second self. Whatever it is, it is happening more often, the police are puzzled and as they start digging they can't quite believe what they are uncovering.

Supernatural, graphic, gruesome, horrific - certainly a new turn on horror with a mix of human brutality. It makes for an interesting read and I think as the story unravels folk will find it a bit marmite. I enjoyed i for what it was but didn't love it. I do enjoy the writers style and will absolutely read more of his stuff.

Perfect for a horror/October/Halloween type read, suspend reality and sink in for some seriously messed up behaviour, 3/5 for me this time.

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