Thursday, 21 January 2021

Isabel's Skin by Peter Benson

Isabel's SkinIsabel's Skin by Peter Benson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 250

Publisher - Alma Books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

David Morris lives the quiet life of a book-valuer for a London auction house, travelling every day by omnibus to his office in the Strand. When he is asked to make a trip to rural Somerset to value the library of the recently deceased Lord Buff-Orpington, the sense of trepidation he feels as he heads into the country is confirmed the moment he reaches his destination, the dark and impoverished village of Ashbrittle. These feelings turn to dread when he meets the enigmatic Professor Richard Hunt and catches a glimpse of a screaming woman he keeps prisoner in his house.

My Review

Such a strange book and not what I was expecting at all! David works at an auction house and values books, based in London we see him head to Somerset. Valuing the books of a recently deceased Lord he knows there are likely treasures in the library. The journey there is difficult, the people he meets strange, there are rules for the house and out walking about. It is pitched as a slick gothic tale/murder mystery, I was expecting ghosts or something weird and dodgy within the house. A chance meeting flings everything to pot and David finds himself caught up in the most strangest/dangerous path that throws everything in his neat and ordered wee life into whack.

Even now I have finished the book I don't really know what to think of it, it took a completely different turn to where I thought it was going to go. It is indeed a strange tale, it has murder, mystery and I did feel a bit spooky vibes in the journey to and arrival at Lord Buff-Orpington's place. I loved the book scenes, I know I know pure geek sentence but his delight at finding old books/treasures & I just love browsing folks books let alone a collection like that!

David goes on a bit of a journey, personal growth maybe is the way to describe it, he arrives at the house as a person set in his way with a wee routine/decent job. By the time he leaves he is caught up in a whirlwind of chaos that leads to a complete change in his chain of thought & actions having ripples and effect on his life journey and who he is.

I have no idea what category I would put this book into, it is so strange and random, weird yet dare I say enjoyable, I don't really know the word. I kept wanting to read to see how it panned out, I felt for one of the characters, one I wanted to punch and the others I didn't have much of an evocative response at all. 3/5 for me this time, I have never read him before but would be interesting in trying something else of his. He certainly creates visual that stay with you, I am still picturing Isabel's skin & I think had the book been thicker I would have enjoyed it more. Interesting for sure!

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Sunday, 17 January 2021

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Invisible GirlInvisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 357

Publisher -

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.

In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

My Review

We have four main characters really, Saffyre - the troubled young girl who sees her therapist Roan. Roan (doesn't feature as much as the others) who is married to Cate, a physiotherapist and loving mom and their neighbour Owen, in his thirties living with his eccentric aunt. The story splits between the characters, who all seem to have some link to each other. Roan isn't exactly as sweetness and light and he seems, Owen is a teacher, a bit of a loaner who may be a bit more creepy than he initially seems. Saffyre, the troubled youngster, a secret from her past that drew her to therapy but what is she hiding in her present and what do any of them have to do, if anything with her disappearance.

It is a bit of a slow drip suspense, I was immediately intrigued within a few chapters, we flip between characters and you wonder what if anything they have to do with each other. Saffyre is missing, is she dead? We know this from the blurb but the story flips from present day with her being missing to Saffyre's chapters - pre disappearance and the more we hear from her the more layers are unraveled.

The book looks at different themes, how quickly we make assumptions and or judgements on a small amount of information and how that can impact on a person. Manipulation, lies, love, family, relationships, friendship, corruption, hate & that is just scratching the surface. I have read Jewell before and I will read her again. A slow burner but written so you are caught from the beginning wanting to know where it is going, what they are hiding and where is Saffyre, 4/5 for me this time! It is a standalone, perfect if you haven't read this author before, good paced, thriller, suspense, tick tick tick, absolutely recommend.

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Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Game by Luca Veste

The GameThe Game by Luca Veste
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

An edge-of-your-seat thriller that merges the twists of a psychological-mystery with the investigative layers of a procedural . . .

You receive a call, an email, a text – someone knows your secret and they want to ruin you.

If you don’t do what they say, they’ll tell everyone what you’ve been hiding.
They will come after you, destroy you, and they aren’t afraid to kill.


My Review

We open with a police interview, someone is admitting to murders and we get inside glimpse into his mind. Who is he, what is the game and what is his motive? We then flip to before and the players, the people involved in a game, what is the game, why are they playing and why are they dying? Fling into that a police investigation, a missing person, a dead body and pow we have the beginnings of the book.

This is one of those books you are pulled into but have absolutely no idea what is going on. Lots of characters, lots of action and of course the investigation of missing person, Emily Burns. DC Mark Flynn is head of the case, chatting to Emily's family, a shady uncle known to the cops, a reluctant family to give up information. Why would Emily go missing? what kind of person was she? As Mark digs he finds the case isn't as straight forward as it seems and everybody has something to hide.

Page turner because you want to know what is happening, who is the body, what happened to X, what is the game, why are they playing? So many questions, it is busy, it keeps your interest and like an onion it gives you layers! 4/5 for me this time, read Veste before will read him again, this is a standalone guys.

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Saturday, 9 January 2021

Cold Shoulder by Lynda La Plante

Cold Shoulder (Lorraine Page, #1)Cold Shoulder by Lynda La Plante
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 415

Publisher - Random House

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Lorraine Page is a down-on-her-luck ex-LAPD cop, recruited against her will to hunt for a serial killer. Cold Shoulder is the story of a young woman who has everything: a devoted husband, two beautiful daughters, and a successful career as a lieutenant with the Pasadena Homicide Squad. But when her partner is shot and dies in her arms, Lorraine's life starts to unravel. The after-hours drinking that once was social becomes her refuge, and soon she's not waiting until the end of her shift. From there it all comes undone with frightening speed: Drunk, she kills an innocent boy while on duty, is fired from the force, is abandoned by her family, and ends up living on the street as a prostitute. Cold Shoulder is the dramatic, frighteningly explicit account of Lorraine Page's fall and nightmarish recovery while caught between the danger of a serial killer on the loose and the manipulations of the old-boy police force that had ostracized her not so long before. The book reverberates with realism because it is based on a true story, one that has been meticulously researched and crafted by Lynda La Plante, a consummate expert in crime writing.

My Review

Thia has sat on my shelf for years, went on a bit of a buying splurge when I read this authors Bella Mafia and then Red Dahlia. Cold Shoulder opens with decorated officer Lorraine Page making a fatal mistake at work. Drunk and killing an innocent kid, career in tatters she hits the booze harder and loses everything including years of her life. Once she has hit rock bottom the road to recovery has to start, battling addiction/alcoholism does she not end up in the path of a serial killer. The last place Lorraine wants to find herself is with or helping the police. Past and present must be faced if she is to overcome her demons and face the challenge of helping stop a killer before they strike again.

Ooft what a busy book and some of the things Lorraine does! She is a very very unlikeable character, she goes to the very bottom of humanity with her addiction being the be all and end all. It is a gruelling journey to follow but we see glimpses of humanity and then fling in a killer, I got really pulled into this book. I forgot how much I enjoyed La Plante's writing, even when it is characters you really really don't like. You absolutely want to see where they head and what is next for them.

This is part of a trilogy, I have the other books as I bought a ton back when I found this author. It won't be long before I pick up book two and see where the story goes next. Some people may find upsetting the parts were addiction has it claws into the character, horrible choices and behaviours, dangerous situations, lack of care for herself, prostitution, endangerment and vile/selfish behaviour and attitude. Makes for very gripping reading though, 5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 6 January 2021

I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day by Milly Johnson

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every DayI Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Milly Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Source - Bought ( FYI £7 on sale Asda for Hardback yesterday)

Blurb from Goodreads

It’s nearly Christmas and it’s snowing, hard.
Six people have an unexpected stay in the tiny hamlet of Figgy Hollow.
Stuck inside a beautiful old Inn, how long will it take before the joy of Christmas seeps into their souls and offers them all a new beginning?

My Review

Six people all heading to different locations end up stranded together in a wee locked up inn, in the town of "Figgy Hollow". Three duos, Bridge and Luke - meeting up to finalise their divorce, Robin & Charlie married and very much in love despite many years passing and Jack and Mary, Mary has been in love with her boss forever whilst he sees her as a very accomplished employee.

The inn is a special wee place and in it we meet and learn more about the six, their personalities, their pasts and being locked away from the world their ability to appreciate things they may well have taken for granted.

I love Johnson stories, you end up feeling for the characters and getting drawn in, rooting for X, struggling to put the book down because you HAVE to know where it is going and what is coming next. Lovely festive read with some emotional pulls & can I just forewarn you, if you like scones make sure you have some at the ready, you WILL want to eat some :D 5/5 for me this time, I have read most of Johnson's books and I will of course be buying the rest and waiting eagerly for the next.

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Monday, 4 January 2021

When You Disappeared by John Marrs

When You DisappearedWhen You Disappeared by John Marrs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 350

Publisher - Thomas & Mercer

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing - except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn't just leave her. He wouldn't leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth - about why he left and what he's done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon's halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He's doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can't hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she'd stayed in the dark.

My Review

Split between Catherine's POV, then & Simon's. Simon disappears, feared for dead because there is no way he would walk out on Catherine and the kids, would he? Twenty Five years later Simon comes home (not a spoiler cos it is in the blurb) and we, Catherine and the reader, start to slowly find out where the heck he has been!

I can't say they are likable characters but that makes for more compelling reading a details are teased out as we go along. Simon needed a way out - everything is Catherine's fault and when he finally comes home he aims to let her know exactly why. Years apart, very different paths and dark secrets that neither are prepared for. The book covers so many themes, abuse, violence, suicide, murder, infidelity, abandonment, self discovery, relationships and personal growth to touch on just some of it! The pace is different, there is suspense, drama, shady shocking behaviour and moments you just think I can't believe X did/said that, ooft.

I hadn't realised this was his debut, I have read a few of Marr's now, each are very different and he has gone from strength to strength, 3.5/5 for me this time. At time of posting the ebook is 99p and the treebook version is £4.99, snap a bargain guys.

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