Thursday, 14 October 2021

The Sanitorium by Sarah Pearse

The Sanatorium (Detective Elin Warner, #1)The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Bantam Press

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

You won’t want to leave. . . until you can’t.

Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .

My Review

A sanatorium being transformed into a fabulous remote hotel, we open with the early stages of renovation and something dark happens, fast forward five years later to present day. The hotel is up and running and detective Elin Warner is on her way there with her o/h, invited by her brother, celebrating his engagement. Her relationship with her brother Isaac is strained to say the least, she is distrustful, suspicious and when Isaac's fiancé disappears things kick up a notch.

I feel like this would have had a book before this one, Elin has PTSD from an incident, she isn't sure she is going to go back. She is indecisive about moving forward in her relationship, there is a huge issue with her brother. The story does slowly tease out some of the details but I feel we could have done with a bit more on Elin's backstory. Maybe this will be revisited if this becomes a series? I dunno I just felt Elin was a bit hard to settle to. She does come to her own a bit once everything kicks off at the hotel.

The book does manage to keep a feeling of tension throughout, there is enough to keep you interested but I felt myself drifting a bit when reading this. To be fair to the author, I feel a lot of this was about me, we have a lot going on just now and my reading mojo is a bit off.

The story has a fair bit going for it, murder, stalking, unresolved family issues/dramas, relationship issues (more than a few), isolation, police investigation, it has a whole lot going on. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it, maybe a different time I would have received it better, 3/5 for me.

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Saturday, 9 October 2021

The Housemaid by Sarah A. Denzil

The HousemaidThe Housemaid by Sarah A. Denzil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 296

Publisher - Indie

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Housemaid wanted.
Skills required: Discretion, and the willingness to go the extra mile.

It seems like the perfect job. Great wages, accommodation provided, and all located within the walls of Highwood Hall, a stunning stately home owned by the Howard family. Not many little girls dream of becoming a maid, but this is an opportunity for me to get back on my feet. And for me to revisit my past...

But I soon realise I've made a mistake. The strict housekeeper, Mrs Huxley, watches my every move, emerging from the shadows when least expected. Lord Howard's son, Alex, takes an interest in me, and as a former addict, I find myself drawn to him because I know he's bad for me.

There's a general atmosphere of unease at Highwood Hall, from the narrow tunnels laced throughout the sprawling house, to the abandoned north wing, rumoured to be haunted. It's easy to imagine the secrets hidden within these walls, like the secrets I hold close.

On my first day, I receive a mysterious package. I open up the pretty gift box to find a miniature doll version of me trapped inside a dollhouse. In this scene I'm dead, lying in a pool of red paint at the bottom of the perfectly recreated staircase. Someone sent this threatening diorama to me, but who even knows I work at the hall? And what do they want?

I know only one truth: my perfect job is turning into my perfect nightmare.

My Review

This is my second read by this author, they couldn't be more different although both have creepy eerie vibes! Applying for the housemaid position in a rich affluent area the housemaid NEEDS this job. Getting over her own troubles, addictions she encounters the terrifying Mrs Huxley for her interview. If she scores the job she gets live in, good wages and who wouldn't want to work in Highwood Hall in Yorkshire. Mrs Huxley has worked there for a billion years, she is strict, cold and runs a tight ship, she will be the least of the new housemaids worries!

A dream job or so she thought but the housemaid has her own reasons for wanting to work there and not long after she receives a package that is clearly a threat but by who, why - noone knows her. As she learns the job more and more unsettling things happen and the reader sees what it is like to be "The Housemaid". She is nameless - it highlights just how bad (at times) the help are treated, confidants one moment, used/abused/unseen at others so I think this works well to show that and how something as small as using someone's name can be so big. We walk through the story with her in first person mode, from first day nerves to getting to know the family members, the other hired help. Forming relationships, learning the routines and then it starts getting weird/creepy.

Denzil has a great way of taking a normal situation, job, environment and bringing in the creep/eek. We all have secrets, some more than others, some worse than others and each character has something, a quirk, a secret, a need. I love when a book draws you in, dislikable characters, ones you root for and a story a bit like an onion, peeling "layers" before giving up its secrets. As I said this is my second by this author, it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

The Score by Kerry Kaya

The Score: A gritty, gripping gangland thriller from Kerry Kaya for 2021The Score: A gritty, gripping gangland thriller from Kerry Kaya for 2021 by Kerry Kaya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 394

Publisher - Boldwood Books

Source - NetGalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Twenty years ago, Fletch avenged the gangland killing of his younger brother, Spencer and accepted his guilt. But his actions meant he had to leave his precious children, Austin and Kitty to fend for themselves. He thought they would be looked after...

Served his time…

Now a free man, Fletch returns to find his family in chaos, devastated by his prolonged incarceration. Kit is married to notorious gangster Rosco Taylor, while Austin seems hell bent on doing everything he can to create a turf war.

Fletch knows he has to do something to get his kids under control, but he also knows that the seeds of this disaster were planted long ago by his own reckless actions.

Now Fletch is back and it’s time to settle the score.

My Review

I have loved gangland/gangster type books for years but have never read Kaya before, until this one. I am currently struggling with my reading mojo, personal life stuff, but this managed to yank me out for a bit. Fletch done his crime (avenged his wee brother) and now he is out, he left behind his mrs and two young kids, a boy and a girl. A twenty year stretch is a long time but he left plenty to ensure his family would be set. His girl moved on and his kids grew up, Fletch has no idea what has went down in his absence and not everyone is happy Fletch is out.

Oooft if you don't like swearing, violence and shady characters (what do you expect from gangland fiction) then these type of books aren't for you. We open with a brutal torture and quickly get a feel for the characters. Kit and Austin, Fletch's grown up kids are in the life Fletch wanted them to be clear of. His best mate Stevie has kept so much from him, protected him, and now Fletch is out he is finding out just how deep in the life his "kids" are.

Family drama, drugs, murder, violence, love, lies - add a bit of spice - welcome to "The Score". There is a lot of family drama, Kit and Austin react very differently to their dad being out, there are some very shady characters and the drama keeps on coming.

I really needed something like this, just pure escapism from my life into others. Underworld, drugs, shade, like walking into a different world. Gritty, dangerous, noone is safe, everyone is out for themselves in this type of world but for some, family is everything, 4.5/5 for me. This was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, will defo be checking out her back catalogue. The Score is out the 28th of this month but you can pre-order on Amazon UK now.

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Saturday, 2 October 2021

Off Season by Jack Ketchum

Off Season (Dead River, #1)Off Season by Jack Ketchum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 308

Publisher - 47 North

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River—off season—awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall...

And before too many hours pass, five civilized, sophisticated people and one tired old country sheriff will learn just how primitive we all are beneath the surface...and that there are no limits at all to the will to survive.

My Review

Think Wrong Turn meets The Hill Have Eyes meets House of 1000 Corpses, a pinch of each and you get the vibes for Off Season. This is NOT for the faint hearted or easily offended and this version is "The Author's Uncut, Uncensored Version so if you have read the other version this has more bokey OMGness. Carla has rented a wee cabin, out the way of town on a hill next to a beach type town, off season. Her sister, lover and pals are coming up to join her, she has no idea she i being watched by savage killers, killers who murder for joy, pleasure and food!

The opening chapter gives a taster for what is coming, a women is brutalised by weans of this group and it really kicks off from there. We get to know the city folk who come to the cabin for some fun and then all hell breaks loose and it is just murder, carnage, blood drenching, stomach turning horror.

The killers are actual savages, they live in the wild, other living beings are for their use, pleasure, consumption. The descriptions are graphic, gorey and manky in some parts, again think of the three movies I mentioned and you know what you are in for. Torture, abuse (sexual and the violent), animal abuse/deaths, human torture, I think the book hits just about everything on the list.

For the other movies I wanted a police presence and or more if they were in it, this book offers a bit of that. This is only my second book by this author, again he is not for the faint hearted from what I have read. If you like your horror shocking, bloody, dodgy depraved killers ooft this is your book. I grew up on horror but even parts of this made me wince, he paints very vivid pictures, probably best not to eat whilst reading this one, 4/5 for me.

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Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Lights Out Liverpool by Maureen Lee

Lights Out LiverpoolLights Out Liverpool by Maureen Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 496

Publisher - Orion

Source - Bought (I think ABE books )

Blurb from Goodreads

The first of the Liverpool Pearl Street novels set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

As Britain stands alone against a monstrous enemy, the inhabitants of Pearl Street face hardship and heartbreak with courage and humour.

The war touches each of them in a different way: for Annie Poulson, a widow, it means never-ending worry when her twin boys are called up and sent to France; Sheila Reilly's husband, Cal, faces the terror of U-Boat attacks; Eileen Costello is liberated from a bitter, loveless marriage when her husband is sent to Egypt and she goes to work in a munitions factory - and falls in love. And Jessica Fleming, down on her luck, is forced to return to the street she'd hoped never to see again.

My Review

Book one in the Liverpool Pearl Street series, I hadn't read (nor heard) of this author before but it was a bulk buy job. I got eight books for a bargain deal and just realised none of them are the next in the series lol, typical!

Set in Pearl Street we meet the families living there, Eileen and Sheila, sisters and both married, Eileen to Frank, Sheila to Cal. Their marriages could not be more different although on the surface it all looks fine. Set pre and just kicking off, World War Two we see the community as they are, gossiping, pulling together, judging all the usual in small communities. Some of the relationships are not what they seem and no matter how bad things are, a woman, especially a catholic one, must stand by her man, right?

I really like Eileen, she is strong and quite opinionated in a time when women were thought to be seen and not heard or only just to serve their men and have babies. Eileen has a strong personality and we see this throughout her personal choices and helping out with her family and friends. A good start to a trilogy and of course I will need to buy the others to see what is coming next for our people.

A different range of characters and issues, poverty, class divisions, grief, loss, violence, war, relationships, family, societal expectations, alcoholism and how things change as the war kicks off. 3.5/5 for me this time, hopefully not too long before I buy and get to read the next one.

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Tuesday, 21 September 2021

A Mother's Secret by Kitty Neale Blog tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for A Mother's Secret by Kitty Neale. Please check out the other stops on the blog tour as we offer different content.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy. The book is available to buy NOW on AMAZON UK.

A Mother's Secret: The Battersea Tavern Series (Book 1) (Battersea Tavern 1)A Mother's Secret: The Battersea Tavern Series (Book 1) by Kitty Neale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 305

Publisher - Orion

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon

Can she put right the secrets of the past?

London, 1939. Winnie Berry has been the landlady of the Battersea Tavern for nearly twenty-five years, and the pub is like home to her - a place of tears and laughter, full of customers that feel like family. A place where she's learned to avoid the quick fists of her husband, and where she's raised her beloved son, David.

He's inherited his father's lazy streak and can't seem to hold down a job, but when war is declared Winnie is determined to keep her son safe. She's still haunted by the choice she made years ago as a desperate young woman, and she won't make the same mistake of letting her family be taken from her...

But when a young woman crosses her path, the secrets of Winnie's past threaten to turn her world upside down. There's nothing stronger than a mother's love - but can it ever have a second chance?

The first book in The Battersea Tavern series

My Review

This is my first ever Kitty Neale book, set just before world war two we meet Winnie, she runs the Battersea Tavern. Her aggressive and known to be violent husband stays behind the scenes letting Winnie do all the hard graft. She dotes on her only son, David, an attractive (and he knows it) spoilt man child who thinks nothing of using his looks and mothers good nature to skate by in life. Rachel is her dab hand barmaid who works hard, is respectable and has her own family nightmare, her sister Hilda, sober she is the sweetest and kindest, drunk she opens her mouth and embarrasses and hurts poor Rachel with her bile. We also meet sweet Jan as she starts up an innocent relationship with one of the regulars in the Tavern. As the story develops we get to meet the characters and more of their lives, belt up and prefer for an emotive ride.

Aw you guys, Winnie is a wee soul, wholesome, she has such a kind heart and always wants to do for others, her goodness is emphasized by the shady characters around her. We see the community in the build up to the war, the disbelief it will come to be and how it affects those in and around Winnie's life. A chance encounter sees Winnie have to face the past and the ripples it creates in her present day life, secrets have a habit of always coming out and it isn't just Winnie who has secrets!

This book pulls you in the pretty much the beginning! There are so many themes touched upon and Neale captures that time period and gives it an authentic voice/feel. I wanted to reach in and slap a few of the characters, honestly the best and worst sides of humanity. An emotive ride for sure, I think depending on your background and life experiences you will find some of the storylines resonate more than others yet all you can either relate to or absorb.

I am finding reading quite hard just now, reading is my go time when times are tough and yet just now my concentration is out the window. I think had this been normal times for me I would have gotten through this in one sitting. Neale creates a world of characters that lets you step outside of your own and enter theirs. Horrific sides of humanity and some of the best, a great blend for an absorbing read, 4.5/5 for me this time. As I said this is my first time reading this author, book two in this series is not out nor a date given, I will be very much watching for it. I will absolutely be checking out her other books!

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Monday, 13 September 2021

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

The End of MenThe End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Doubleday

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would life truly look like without men?

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland--a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic--and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien--a women's world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus's consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal--the loss of husbands and sons--to the political--the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.

My Review

I do like a book where we start at the beginning, the plague such as it is, we see the patient in A&E going from flu to at deaths door in under 4 hours. How the doctors review to see what they missed because patients don't deteriorate like that without warning (usually) and the doctor flagging the plague and being ignored.

I liked that you can see how easy something like this could happen and bizarre how she started this before covid kicked off yet you can relate to so much. We flip between characters, families, people dying, losing their loved ones. The governments responses, how people react/respond, it is really dark and dire in some places but also great shows of strength and I love how strong the women become. In a world where men are dropping like flies we need women to step up, quickly train and take the reins.

It took a bit to settle when the story jumped from different people and view points but it was interesting to see such far reach. Couples, the doctor, how the losses impact on relationships and individuals, the route to working on the vaccine. How scary it would be to loose so many specialised trained males and scrambling to get their replacements, women or the little surviving men, up to speed.

It gives you a lot to think about, I know for some it may be too close to the current pandemic but I think it highlights how much worse things could be and insane how there are similarities! 3.5/5 for me this time. It certainly doesn't read like a debut, it is very well rounded, I look forward to this authors next offering.

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Friday, 10 September 2021

True Story by Katie Reed Petty

True StoryTrue Story by Kate Reed Petty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 386

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Tracing the fifteen-year fallout of a toxic high school rumor, a riveting, astonishingly original debut novel about the power of stories—and who gets to tell them

2015. A gifted and reclusive ghostwriter, Alice Lovett makes a living helping other people tell their stories. But she is haunted by the one story she can't tell: the story of, as she puts it, "the things that happened while I was asleep."

1999. Nick Brothers and his lacrosse teammates return for their senior year at their wealthy Maryland high school as the reigning state champions. They're on top of the world—until two of his friends drive a passed-out girl home from of the team's "legendary" parties, and a rumor about what happened in the backseat spreads through the town like wildfire.

The boys deny the allegations, and, eventually, the town moves on. But not everyone can. Nick descends into alcoholism, and Alice builds a life in fits and starts, underestimating herself and placing her trust in the wrong people. When she finally gets the opportunity to confront the past she can't remember—but which has nevertheless shaped her life—will she take it?

An inventive and breathtaking exploration of a woman finding her voice in the wake of trauma, True Story is part psychological thriller, part fever dream, and part timely comment on sexual assault, power, and the very nature of truth. Ingeniously constructed and full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the final pages, it marks the debut of a singular and daring new voice in fiction.

My Review

Is I had to describe this book in one word I would say trippy. The book goes over multiple timelines, character narratives - first person narration, movie scripts, essays in different drafts, emails so it is quite a mixed bag. Prologue is present day (ish) then a movie (script) then 1999 when the event happened that plays such a huge part in so many lives. A young girl passed out drunk, two young guys alone with her in a car and lots of rumours of a sexual assualt, bragging and pack/popularity mentality. We then flip forward again and follow one of the friends of the boys as an adult and how his life is going.

The book touches on a lot of triggering issues, sexual abuse and the popular kicks attitudes to it, alcoholism, animlal abuse/death, self harm, control, coercion, manipulation and the long reaches that one night, one incident can have on more than one person.

It took me ages to settle into it, the changes in time, in layout, in characters however once I could work out who was who and what was going on it made more sense. Certainly a different read and it crosses genres as some passages, the movie scripts are spooky, haunting, horror but then the story itself is an abusive event and how it affected those involved. You really need to concentrate, well I did, to keep up with it. It isn't a book you can dip in and out of as so much happens in so many directions. Different, weird, tripping, thought provoking, I think it would be a very good choice for a reading/discussion group, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Thursday, 2 September 2021

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre

Quite Ugly One MorningQuite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 hours I think it was

Pages - ?

Publisher - Hachette books audio

Source - Audible

Blurb from Goodreads

Yeah, yeah, the usual. A crime. A corpse. A killer. Heard it. Except this stiff happens to be a Ponsonby, scion of a venerable Edinburgh medical clan, and the manner of his death speaks of unspeakable things. Why is the body displayed like a slice of beef? How come his hands are digitally challenged? And if it's not the corpse, what is that awful smell? A post-Thatcherite nightmare of frightening plausibility, Quite Ugly One Morning is a wickedly entertaining and vivacious thriller, full of acerbic wit, cracking dialogue, and villains both reputed and shell-suited.

My Review

Book one of Jack Parlabane, the journalist with a knack for being in the wrong place and the wrong time, or the right place for a story? This is my first ever audiobook, my o/h got this for us driving home (signal often cuts out on the radio). We have both read this book, years ago so knew we liked it and when we saw David Tennant was the narrator, win win.

If you aren't familiar with Brookmyre, especially these earlier books - they are laced with Glasweigan style humour, swearing, shade, cheek, murder and Parlabane is right in the thick of it all. There is so much banter, we laughed out loud despite knowing some of what was coming.

If you are easily offended this book is so not for you. If you don't mind the darker side of Scots banter and potty mouth, with a murder and dodgy characters you will love this. I think I want to reacquaint with the Parlabane books, I have read most but not all of them, 4.5/5 for us this time. I am not a convert to audio books as I listened to samplers of a few others and hated the narrator voices. I would absolutely read/listen to more by Tennant for sure!

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

Twisted Lies (DI Kim Stone, #14)Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 410

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Time taken to read - 6 hours I think it was

Pages - ?

Publisher - Hachette books audio

Source - Audible

Blurb from Goodreads

Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman's reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

My Review

I love the Kim Stone books, this is the fourteenth in the series and I am loving them as much now as when I started. Stone is in the thick of a murder investigation, with the team, called to a new body/site however this time she has a tagalong she would rather have papped at the office. Arriving at the scene throws them all in a spin for the horror of what has been done to the victim. Not before long another body is found, horrifically murdered - a different style from the first and the family of victim one has vanished. As the team try to investigate they find themselves obstructed and dealing with other agencies. All Stone wants to do is her job and people keep getting in her way.

We see Frost (the nightmare reporter) a good bit in this one and we see a different side to her. She gets wrapped up in a case, a guy accused of killing his mrs but he has money, publicity and Frost soon finds anyone digging into his past or unfavourable publicity runs the risk of injury/accidents.

The book flips between Frost and Stone's investigations, guys the killings are really brutal. One I was so glad I had finished my lunch before picking the book up and that doesn't happen to me often, I love horror etc so have a strong stomach but ooft, brutal. Stone for me is such a great character, despite being reserved, even cold at times, she is such a "good guy" and does the right thing even if she would rather patch it. I LOVE her relationship with her dog and the way she is with her team. A busy book, murders, team work, elements of domestic abuse, murder, graphic mutilations to bodies and as usual bits and bobs within the team. 4/5 for me this time, there is a prequel type book where it goes back before book one, I apparently bought it ages ago so need to dig it out. I really enjoy stepping into their world and seeing what is coming next for the squad!

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Friday, 27 August 2021

August's Eyes by Glenn Rolfe blog tour

Today is my turn and closing the blog tour for August Eye's by author Glen Rolfe, for my stop I have my review, enjoy.

About The Author:

Glenn Rolfe is an author from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona,and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

The book is available to buy now, click HERE for Amazon UK.

August's EyesAugust's Eyes by Glenn Rolfe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 228

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

"An intense tale reminiscent of classic works by Jack Ketchum or Stephen King" — Booklist

When dreams start bleeding into reality, a social worker is forced to face the mistakes of his past.

A serial killer has found a way to make his land of graveyards a sinister playground to be bent at his sadistic will.

The secrets behind August's eyes will bring two worlds together, and end in a cataclysm of pain and ruin.

My Review

Sometimes we have a dream that stays with us for the rest of the day, a dream that freaks you out, that gives you the heebies. Meet John, that is exactly what is happening to him, the dreams are getting more frequent and creepy. When he thinks he sees one of the boys from his dreams, in real life he really starts freaking out, is he losing it? As the dreams become more vivid and John attempts to deal with his issues and the dreams he starts to realise that sometimes you can't escape the past and actions have consequences.

Heads up guys there is a creepy pervert pedophile bad guy, he doesn't appear a whole lot but the theme is relevant to the story and we do hear from the scumbag at points. The dreamland we visit via John, as a kid, is creepy, haunting, eerie and sets up the atmospheric spooky vibes that are laced throughout the book. There are also nods to movies and songs, I love this in a book, I end up telling Alexa to play them and movies or books I tend to look up. These type of references or casual mentions tends, well for me anyway, to fire up some memories - I grew up on old school horror!

We are introduced to horror in human form then normal life/relationships for the main character as things start to slowly edge in and become freaky/dark. I love when a book builds up like that, you get to know the characters, care for them or not, then things start to unravel and descend.

Rolfe is a new author for me, I enjoyed the chilling vibes and hair raising moments that brought normal life to the supernatural. Dreams or rather nightmares have always been a good way for stories/movies to go, you are so vulnerable when you are asleep so it adds to the horror/fear. The book seems to add a dash of some many things, some crime, depravity, creepy crawlies, supernatural and crosses over to John's normal waking day, I really liked it. August's Eyes is my first dance with this author, I will be checking out his other offerings for sure, 4/5 for me this time!

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Monday, 23 August 2021

Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs

Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan, #3)Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Arrow

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A nine-year old girl dies on her way to ballet class, caught in outlaw biker crossfire. Violence is spilling on to the streets of Montreal and Dr Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for the state, has to pick up the pieces.

She knows she shouldn't let emotion get in the way of her role as scientist, but when nine-year-old Emily's body is wheeled into the morgue she cannot help but react. Tempe's nephew, Kit, is mesmerised by motorcycles. Does he understand the dangers posed by the outlaw gangs?

An exhumation uncovers the bones of another innocent, hidden in a clandestine grave close to a biker headquarters. With her boss in the hospital and her sparring partner Andrew Ryan disturbingly unavailable, Tempe begins a perilous investigation into a lawless underworld of organised crime.

My review

This book has been on my shelves for years so it was really nice to reacquaint with Tempe, Doctor Temperance Brennan, bone doctor /forensic anthropologist. A nine year old little girl is killed when rival biker gangs target each other and she is caught in the crossfire. Tempe helps the team investigate and get answers on some bones linked with one of the gangs. Along with this her young nephew has come to town and has a keen interest in motorbikes but he wouldn't get caught up with the wrong people surely. Trying to do her job, look out for her family and then her relationship with her boyfriend takes an unexpected surprise.

I love the way you sink into some books, Tempe is very thorough in her job so we learn a wee bit of something with each body she examines. The book has lots going on, her and the cop rubbing the wrong way, her family life/relationships and then the unexpected turn with the boyfriend.

Rival gangs are dangerous territory and with Tempe being on the news that adds another level of danger for her. The book is busy, paced and keeps you hooked because there is so much going on at each turn. I have a fair few of these on the tbrm and although I have been known to read out of sequence but I think the next few are in order. Looking forward to picking the next one up, 4/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 18 August 2021

The Echo Chamber by John Boyne

The Echo ChamberThe Echo Chamber by John Boyne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Transworld

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds - and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept.

The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a 'national treasure' (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen.

Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path.

My Review

Dear lord what an unsavoury bunch a lot of the characters are in this book, shady, shocking, hillarious, rude ooft so so many words where to start. Meet the Cleverley family, George father and beloved tv personality with the BBC, Beverley his wife is a novelist snob and a firm believer in staff knowing their place. They have three grown children, Nelson the eldest is a teacher and socially awkward but working through it with a therapist and uniforms. Elizabeth is a spoilt brat who cares more about social media presence than pretty much anything else. Achilles is the baby, seventeen and at school, beautiful, gift of the gab and very aware how much he can get out of his looks. The book follows each of the characters and what is happening in their lives and the impact of actions and consequences.

I cringed so so many times at scenes in this book, sometimes I laughed out loud, shook my head, gasped, got enraged. The book looks at so many themes and issues, how we as a society are tied up with social media, our phones, our public personas. The book looks at homophobia, transphobia, racism, being pc and I think by making the characters such extremes of what they are it punches it through. Even in these times people behave appallingly but often think they can get away with it because of who they are or "it is just an opinion" or hide behind a computer screen. Whilst there is a lot of humour laced throughout there are some very serious messages/lessons in the book.

I do enjoy Boyne's writing, I have read a few of his books and find even if the characters are loveable or you loathe them you can sink into their world and loose yourself for a few hours. Prepare for some entitled self involved shady cheating unlikable characters - I sometimes find books with horrid people are often then ones you end up glued to, they said WHAT?!?!?! 4/5 for me this time.

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Friday, 13 August 2021

The Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

The Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz: A totally gripping and absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 page-turner, based on a true storyThe Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz: A totally gripping and absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 page-turner, based on a true story by Ellie Midwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 2 days

Pages -

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Netgalley & bought a treebook copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Millions of people walked through Auschwitz’s gates, but she was the first woman who escaped. This powerful novel tells the inspiring true story of Mala Zimetbaum, whose heroism will never be forgotten, and whose fate altered the course of history…

Nobody leaves Auschwitz alive.

Mala, inmate 19880, understood that the moment she stepped off the cattle train into the depths of hell. As an interpreter for the SS, she uses her position to save as many lives as she can, smuggling scraps of bread to those desperate with hunger.

Edward, inmate 531, is a camp veteran and a political prisoner. Though he looks like everyone else, with a shaved head and striped uniform, he’s a fighter in the underground Resistance. And he has an escape plan.

They are locked up for no other sin than simply existing. But when they meet, the dark shadow of Auschwitz is lit by a glimmer of hope. Edward makes Mala believe in the impossible. That despite being surrounded by electric wire, machine guns topping endless watchtowers and searchlights roaming the ground, they will leave this death camp.

A promise is made––they will escape together or they will die together. What follows is one of the greatest love stories in history…

My review

This is apparently based on a true story, the first female escapee from Auschwitz and an unlikely place for two people who fall in love. The book is set in Auschwitz and we follow Edek and Mala's story, each having their own chapters and it flipping between the two.

Through Edek we see the horrors in the camp, the utter disregard for human life and some of the worst atrocities. It is very hard hitting, hard to read and very emotional. Mala has things better than most prisoners there, she works in an office for the Nazi's, has clothes, food, warm, decent sleeping quarters and yet she risks everything to try and do what she can to save those she is able to and ease suffering to the others.

Edek and Mala work together to do what they can to help the resistance, their people and of course the more they see of each other a friendship begins. These kinds of books always knock you in the feels, fiction or non fiction, as they are often well researched so have an authentic voice. I went to Ann Franks house/museum in Amsterdam and reading this brought back that experience too. Your heart hurts and you are horrified to contemplate how people could do these murderous/vile/inhuman acts. Despite this being a relatively short book (under 300 pages) it manages to cover a lot of what happened there and the book has plenty for the reader to follow up reading once you finish the book. 4/5 for me this time, prepare yourself for anger, tears, horror and an emotive rollercoaster.

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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

The Nurse by J A Corrigan

The NurseThe Nurse by J.A. Corrigan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Canelo

Source - Netgalley and bought copy

Blurb from Goodreads

When you hear her story, will you believe her?

Rose Marlowe is a hard-working nurse, a loving wife, and a merciless killer. Or so she says. Despite her confession, it is hard to believe that this beautiful, kind woman could have killed her vulnerable patient in cold blood.

Down-on-his luck author and ex-journalist, Theo Hazel, is convinced that there’s more to what happened than Rose is telling, and so decides to visit her behind bars to write her story. His first surprise comes when Rose reveals that the victim was not a stranger to her.

As time goes on, it seems that Rose is letting Theo see behind her perfect mask. With each new visit, he learns terrible new things about her heart-breaking past. With each new visit, he becomes more and more convinced that she can’t be a killer. But is he trying to free an innocent victim, or falling prey to a calculating murderer?

My Review

Rose has committed the worse offense ever, she is a nurse and has murdered her patient, she has confessed and been sentenced. She is very much resigned to her fate, declined to give out anything that would possibly help her and yet she doesn't come across as a cold killer. She has refused interviews and limits her visits, until now. Accepting to see a journalist turned author she decides to tell her story, her way, he has his own agenda, he will exploit the case and Rose for money and all it will bring. However when Theo meets Rose and starts to hear her story he can't help but be drawn in as Rose reveals her secrets that could change everything.

The book comes at you quite different from a lot of those I have read over the years, Rose admits to the crime but is quite cagey in what she reveals. We flip between Rose and Theo, Rose telling her story so taking us way back to Theo, present day, processing what he has been told and carrying out his own interviews.

The book has some very difficult themes, murder, betrayal, grief, loss and some of the shadier sides of humanity. I had no idea where the book was going nor saw it going in X directions, I love when a book pulls a punch. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE are words I said more than once. The characters are a bit random, her mother I didn't know what to make of, Rose herself comes across one way, kind, considerate, calming and yet we know she has admitted to murder in such a heinous way.

You know something is coming, just not what so I was loathe to put the book down because I wanted to know what was happening. 4/5 for me this time, I think this was my first time reading this author, won't be my last.

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

The Devil's Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

The Devil's AdvocateThe Devil's Advocate by Steve Cavanagh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Orion

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

A deadly prosecutor

They call him the King of Death Row. Randal Korn has sent more men to their deaths than any district attorney in the history of the United States.

A twisted ritualistic killing

When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is found murdered in Buckstown, Alabama, a corrupt sheriff arrests the last person to see her alive, Andy Dubois. It doesn't seem to matter to anyone that Andy is innocent.

A small town boiling with rage

Everyone in Buckstown believes Andy is guilty. He has no hope of a fair trial. And the local defense attorney assigned to represent him has disappeared.

A former con-artist

Hot shot New York lawyer Eddie Flynn travels south to fight fire with fire. He plans to destroy the prosecutors case, find the real killer and save Andy from the electric chair.

But the murders are just beginning.

Is Eddie Flynn next?

My Review

So I have read a few of the Eddie Flynn books, bought the ones I have missed and need to actually read them. I LOVE Eddie, he is a lawyer who won't represent anyone who is guilty, I imagine this may be covered, the why, in the earlier books. He has a colourful past and can be a wee bit dodgy but in a totally good way, he is a really good guy and has a moral compass, he also bends some rules as and when needed. He has been asked to come to a small town to help a guy accused of murder, the prosecutor has a record for going for the death penalty and it is never reversed. The town is shady, dodgy, racist and even the decent people aren't huge on outsiders. The prosecutor loves his record, he is powerful, rich and very influential, nothing and no-one gets between him and his goal, Eddie has met some bad people in the past but this town has folk of the likes he has never encountered before.

If I hadn't had work I would have sunk this in one sitting. I make no qualms about how much I love Flynn so I really need to find the earlier books and get them read. He is the type of guy you can't help but love, wee bit shady, heart in the right place, fighting for the good "guy" and the odds are usually placed against them.

This book gave me "A Time To Kill" vibes, racism, them vs us, murder, violence, manipulation, corruption, abuse of power, ooft heart in my mouth multiple times and beyond horrified at the behaviour of some of the humans in this book. I know it is fiction but attitudes and violence like we see in this book is all to real and fiction that evokes strong emotional responses *mic drop*.

I couldn't guess where the book was going, I gasped a fair few times and was just like there is no way out for X character, where to next? The author pulls the rug from under you a fair few times, I was totally invested in the characters and a total ragin spice at others. Definitely one of my 5/5 this year, I am re arranging my 5 bookcases soon so will be actively hunting the earlier Flynn books. Out to buy tomorrow in ebook and tree book, I can't recommend this story enough. Be warned it has some very hard hitting themes, do not start it late at night or if you have plans that day because you are drawn in and need to know what happens next! Buy link from AMAZON UK.

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Monday, 2 August 2021

Behind Closed Doors by Catherine Alliott

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by Catherine Alliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

From the outside, anyone would think that Lucy Palmer has it all: loving children, a dashing husband and a gorgeous home.

But when her marriage to Michael comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, her life is turned upside down in a flash.

As the truth of her marriage threatens to surface, Lucy seizes the opportunity to swap her house in London - and the stories it hides - for a rural escape to her parents' farmhouse in the Chilterns.

But Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she moves back to her childhood home, especially when it throws her into the path of an old flame.

Coming face-to-face with her mistakes, Lucy is forced to confront the secrets she's been keeping from herself and those she loves.

Is she ready to let someone in? Or will she leave the door to her past firmly closed . . .

My Review

Oooft Lucy has headed home to her parent's after her toxic marriage has ended. Her parent's are knocking about in the big farmhouse and it is clear they are having issues coping, albeit they are in absolute denial. Lucy has some healing to do, some truths to face and helping her very reluctant parents to face their own issues.

I have never read Alliott before, this was my first and it won't be my last that is for sure. The book is laced with some light relief and comedy inbetween some very hard hitting issues. Abuse (gaslighting), martial abuse, infidelity, threats, I found some of the situations Lucy found herself in or rather her response to them very frustrating. I think dependent upon your own life experiences and type of person you are you will have different reactions, empathy with her, angry/frustrated at what she endures and or how she responds.

Her parents are hilarious, very human with their antics and flaws, still enjoying their life whilst causing their daughters grey hair from worry and very blasé attitudes. They also like a drop or ten of booze and party accordingly whilst turning a blind eye to health issues. The book has a good mix of emotive, funny, shocking, horrific shows of human behavior, selfishness, selflessness - it is a very mixed bag. The characters are very different so I think readers will be able to related to some and get highly upset/annoyed at others. 4/5 for me this time, I will be checking out her back catalogue as I know I don't have any others on my tbrm. My thanks to Hanifa for bringing this author and book to my attention and putting another author on my almost collapsing tbrm lol.

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Sunday, 1 August 2021

Happy August 1st and Orenda book/bookmark giveaway

Looking forward to August like Luna is looking forward to nom noms in this piccy!

This coming week we are celebrating me turning 21+ (again) lol, o/h is fixing up the back garden to accomodate more people and going to see our friends. We also plan to go see our loved ones and some animals and abandoned buildings. I am on annual leave AND it is my birthday soon so lots of positives to focus on.

This month I want to do a giveaway of x1 book from the Orenda Books website. Orenda books is Karen Sullivan's baby, she has brought happiness to so many book worms. I managed to attend an Orenda Roadshow book event, fantastic evenings with access to authors, their books and you weren't even charged for the evening. She is such a lovely human and so so kind. On top of that, I have yet to find a book by them I haven't liked (I haven't yet read every book but those I have I have liked or loved).

So for this months giveaway, open worldwide, the winner can choose any one book from the list available on the Orenda book website. A runner up will get x1 of the Orenda bookmarks as in the photo. All of the Orenda books are very different so have a good look and read through the synopsis. To enter, as always, use the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 26 July 2021

The Angels by Alex Kane

The AngelsThe Angels by Alex Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 345

Publisher - Hera Books

Source - Arc & bought copy

Blurb from Goodreads

It takes a good woman to take a bad man down

Amber. As the top performer at Angel Silk gentleman’s club, she’s seen it all, been forced to do things she never wanted to do. She’s tired of this life… but can she escape it?

Lizzy. To the women at Angel Silk, she’s the strong queen bee, mother to the girls. But she’s hiding her own dark secrets - and if they come to light, her life could be destroyed.

Jade. The newest dancer at Angel Silk, she’s innocent, beautiful… and trapped. She’s in over her head – but does she have the strength to break free?

Three women, all under the control of feared gangster, Marcus. To take back their lives, they need to come together. But will he let them go – or will finding freedom mean paying the ultimate price?

A completely addictive, gripping and gritty gangland thriller that will have you hooked. If you like Martina Cole, Kimberly Chambers or Jacqui Rose, you will love this nail-biting read.

My Review

A gentleman's club, dancers and a bit extra if the money is right. Amber is one of the top in the club but Amber isn't there by choice, she is just trying to survive. Lizzy is the head of the club, owner and always there for her girls but sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us especially if we are distracted by our secrets from the past. Jade, innocent Jade just loves her boyfriend Marcus, security and investor in the club. She doesn't like the way some of the girls are with him and sees Amber as a potential threat. Jade has no idea just what Marcus is really like, what he is hiding and most importantly - what he has in store for her.

Three women, all involved with the club, each in different ways but all connected to the same fate. A path that brings them all together could be the very thing that threatens their lives or saves them.

This book has some pretty dark themes, abuse, drugs, enforced prostitution, addiction, slavery, violence, secrets, love, murder, lies, it is pretty packed. The chapters are names and we hear and see Amber, Lizzy, Jade and Marcus through their own voices as they each interact and fall deeper into the seedy world that some of them had no idea existed.

Pulled in quickly you are desperate to see where the story goes and just how evil and shady some of the characters are. 4/5 for me, I have read this author before, just bought another of hers and got another one or two to get. Absolutely recommend!

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten Blog Tour

Today is my stop and closing the blog tour for Dead Secret by Noelle Holten, for my stop I have my on spoiler review, enjoy!

About the author

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. 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 – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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About the Book

‘Enthralling from the first page to the last. Devoured in one sitting. Noelle Holten has become one of my must-read authors’ Angela Marsons, bestselling author of the Detective Kim Stone series

Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil… DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

Available to buy now in ebook and treebook format, link to AMAZON UK.

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

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages -

Publisher - One More Chapter

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…
DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

My Review

DC Maggie Jamieson and squad are back! Lucy is just about to open her doors for domestic abuse victims when she finds one literally on her doorstep. Hurt, scared, unable to communicate Lucy takes her in and calls the cops. Jamieson has a murder case on her hands, a young man found dead and a curious marking to his face. Before long another body turns up, some shocking news hits the team and things really begin to kick off.

If you haven't read the previous books I would urge you to do so as you get more of a feel for the characters and players. You could pick this up as a standalone though but you are missing out, this is book four of the series.

Murder investigation, shocks, violence, death, attacks and we get to see Maggie in a more personal light as she tries to juggle her personal life, sexuality, dating and of course the job. A busy wee book with lots going on to keep the reader hooked and on their toes. A few different storylines that whilst you may make a connection or two will for the majority keep your interest peeked and you guessing, 4/5 for me this time.

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Thursday, 22 July 2021

Critical: Stories from the front line of Intensive Care medicine by Doctor Matt Morgan

Critical: Stories from the front line of intensive care medicineCritical: Stories from the front line of intensive care medicine by Matt Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 244

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Critical is an intelligent, compelling and profoundly insightful journey into the world of intensive care medicine and the lives of people who have forever been changed by it.

Being critically ill means one or more of your vital organs have failed – this could be your lungs, your heart, your kidneys, gut or even your brain. Starting with the first recognised case in which a little girl was saved by intensive care in 1952 in Copenhagen, Matt writes brilliantly about the fascinating history, practices and technology in this newest of all the major medical specialties. Matt guides us around the ICU by guiding us around the body and the different organs, and in this way, we learn not only the stories of many of the patients he’s treated over the years, but also about the various functions different parts of the body.

He draws on his time spent with real patients, on the brink of death, and explains how he and his colleagues fight against the odds to help them live. Happily many of his cases have happy endings, but Matt also writes movingly about those cases which will always remain with him – the cases where the mysteries of the body proved too hard to solve, or diagnoses came too late or made no difference to the outcome.

My Review

True stories from doctor Matt Morgan, what it is like to work in intensive care, some of the patients stories and journeys. There are so many of these types of books out just now covering the medical profession, behind the scenes, heart breaking journeys of patients.

This book is a bit different as we get a lot of the background on the medical, how we have the service and procedures we do now. I think for some this may be a bit much but I really enjoyed it, I love reading about medical history and how far we have come along in our knowledge and techniques. I think it is a very important book, tomorrow is never guaranteed and you can never imagine the journey some folk endure both as patients and family of loved ones who experience horrific accidents or when their body fails them.

We get a walk through some of Morgan's patients, their recovery and for some of the ones who didn't make it. Emotive, shocking, educational, shocking, heartbreaking - I can't recommend these true stories/healthcare enough, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday, 19 July 2021

A deal with the Devil Part 2 by Netta Newbound and Marcus Brown

A Deal With the Devil: Discovering Chris Watts: - Part Two - The FactsA Deal With the Devil: Discovering Chris Watts: - Part Two - The Facts by Netta Newbound
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 6 weeks

Pages - 506

Publisher - Junction Publishing

Source - Bought Amazon Kindle

Blurb from Amazon

During this series we will look at the facts, the police investigation, the evidence, hear Chris Watts’ explanation and his reasoning. We will try to make some sense of what occurred during the early hours of August 13th 2018.
We will endeavour to present to you all aspects of the case, right from the initial investigation and how it unfolded, to the first and subsequent confessions all transcribed word for word (where possible) from actual video and audio footage obtained from the FBI’s Discovery Files.

We will continue where we left off.

At the end of book one, Chris Watts had finally confessed to murdering them and disposing of their bodies at an oil field.
In part two, we will focus on…
•… the grim discovery and recovery of the bodies.
•… the chilling details of the autopsies.
•… the remaining police interviews of Nichol Kessinger.
•… the Plea Deal.
•… the sentencing.
•… Chris Watts Prison Interview.

Marcus and Netta have worked together for a few years now, mainly in a publishing capacity, but in 2019 they joined forces and wrote Avaline Saddlebags—the first in a psychological fiction thriller series.

Combining their joint obsession with this case, they studied the files together, often into the small hours.

We want to stress that if you have already read the discovery files, then this series of books is probably not for you.

As seen on the new Netflix documentary - American Murder: The Family Next Door

My Review

I read book one and it covered the interviews, verbatim up to the confession and where he put the weans. The book ended abruptly so I HAD to buy book two. This book is not for the faint hearted. It includes the autopsies and is very upsetting and disturbing. The interviews with Watts and his girlfriend, as with book 1 they are verbatim. If there is an um, throat clear, every single word/action is transcribed. That is partly why it took so long to read because it is very dry, repetitive but hard going and horrific.

The conditions of the bodies is very upsetting, the weans had been in oil tanks and whilst this was known from the Netflix documentary and the forensic files they took these interviews from you don't really (well I hadn't) think about the decomposition/injuries.

The interviews are so so so so so long that I think had they actually just written the heart of them rather than translating every word, pause, throat clear yes the book would be shorter but easier to read.

What I did find interesting is they cover sentencing etc that you see in the Netflix but after he is sentenced and jailed the officers go back to talk to Watts. They actually get details of what he claims happened, what he did, his thoughts on it and some background info on his relationships. The main thing I think and the detectives touch on this is that everyone says he was such a nice guy, never any of the stories some folk say once someone does something like that. Even after it everyone is shocked because "not Chris" he was always such a nice guy, quiet etc. He also talks about what was discussed with lawyers and how they went about his plea and what prison life is like for him.

It is an interesting read as most killers don't talk openly about what they did or speculate about themselves and their actions. I also hadn't realised there was some questionable stuff with the girlfriend and the authors include a few wee sentences commenting on the interviews.

Part three is apparently theories and opinions but not those of the authors, I wonder if this is just stuff lifted from online? The two books have literally been the interviews transcribed verbatim, including every pause with just a few sentences from the authors. Book three is likely the same as the blurb actually specifies "These theories are not the opinions of the authors and in no way are they saying these events are actually true. But they are most definitely food for thought…" for £6 despite this I know I will likely end up buying it for completeness, ugh! The authors do specify if you have seen the documentary (not the Netflix I think it is forensic files) then this book is not for you but I still think you would miss stuff - I doubt the program covered every pause/throat clear. Interesting read for sure, shocking and emotive but very dry at times just because of the fact it is the interviews turned into books, 3/5. Sorry I kinda went a bit long and on and on for this one, it is a shocking, devastating and heart breaking case - you could discuss it for hours!

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