Monday 28 June 2021

Gallery of the Dead by Chris Carter

Gallery of the Dead (Robert Hunter, #9)Gallery of the Dead by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Simon and Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

‘Thirty-seven years in the force, and if I was allowed to choose just one thing to erase from my mind, what’s inside that room would be it.'

That’s what a LAPD Lieutenant tells Detectives Hunter and Garcia of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit as they arrive at one of the most shocking crime scenes they have ever attended.

In a completely unexpected turn of events, the detectives find themselves joining forces with the FBI to track down a serial killer whose hunting ground sees no borders; a psychopath who loves what he does because to him murder is much more than just killing – it’s an art form.

Welcome to 'The Gallery of the Dead'.

My Review

Book nine in the Robert Hunter series, a killer who seems to kill at random, his victimology changes, his trophies changes, the writing on the corpses change. How do you catch a killer who is sporadic in location, gender, trophies? The FBI come on board and join forces to track down one of the worst criminal masterminds they have came across.

I love these books, the FBI agent clashes with members of the LAPD team - well Garcia comes into his own I felt in this book. With the clashes with the FBI agent I thought we saw a bit more of him which I really enjoyed.

We get a bit more of Hunter's personal life and of course his mindset, thinking and reading of crime scenes, I think he is such a fascinating read and character. As always Carter doesn't pull any punches with his kills/gore so not for the faint hearted but if you have read him before you know what to expect. If you haven't, go back to the start, the books are so good you don't want to miss out. Also, how Carter closes this tale makes me want to bump the other(s) up my tbrm so I doubt it will be long before we hit up book 10, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 22 June 2021

Miller Street SW22 by Jude Hayland Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Miller Street SW22" by author Jude Hayland, a RandomThingsTour. For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

About the author

Jude Hayland started her writing career as a commercial short story writer for women’s magazines. After over 25 years of being published widely both in the UK and internationally, she graduated with an M.A. in Creative Writing and switched to full length fiction. She has now written 3 novels and is working on her fourth.

Born in London, she now lives in Winchester although also spends a lot of time at a family house in a village in North West Crete. She is the proud mother of one adult son and, in addition to writing, blogging, tutoring and reading, is attempting to learn to speak Modern Greek.

Out to by now from Amazon tree book and ebook.

Miller Street SW22Miller Street SW22 by Jude Hayland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Matador

Source - Review copy

Blurb from the back cover

Autumn 2005 and the residents of Miller Street in south west London are planning a centenary party for the following summer.

Among them, new arrivals to the street, neighbours in a large Edwardian house converted into flats. Cautious friendships develop. For three of them, however, what is shared about their past lives is limited. Guilt, regret and even blatant subterfuge lie too deep, veiling essential truths.

As the seasons pass and the day of the street party grows nearer, events begin to conspire and surprise so that ultimately the past is revealed as beguiling and more capricious than any of them could predict.

A story about the complexities of love and loss, MILLER STREET SW22 also shows the power of hope and the possibility of change and redemption.

My Review

This came along, for me, at the perfect time. I just wanted a wee break from reality and what is nicer than slipping into someone elses. Miller Street SW22 sees new residents move in and they are very different people. Frances Charter appears to be quite intrusive, organised and the driving force in grouping the neighbours and getting to know everything. Sam and Lydia, husband and wife dealing with Lydia's health condition and their new reality. Violet, the youngster and wildcard who actually helps us see the softer caring side of on the other characters. Finally there is Catherine who has moved after a bereavement and still coming to terms with life as it is with only her job to keep her focused.

The characters are very different, I really wasn't a fan of Frances to begin with, pushy, overbearing, controlling, nosey however as the book goes on we learn a bit more about her and her circumstances that led her to Miller Street. I understood her a bit better and whilst I didn't love her I did feel for her. Each of the characters have something from their past impacting on their future, feelings, regrets, loss and now they are trying to come to terms with it.

The story is about relationships, personal growth, love and a bunch of randoms brought together by their new home and the arranging of the centenary party. Hayland does a good job of creating very different characters yet still the reader can relate to them, once you get to know them. It is a genteel tale that allows the reader to step into the lives of others and escape your own for a wee while. This was my first time reading this author, I would read her again and will have a look out for her previous offerings, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 21 June 2021

It Could Happen As You by Isla Dewar

It Could Happen to YouIt Could Happen to You by Isla Dewar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages -

Publisher - Headline Review

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Rowan has always cherished an ambition to travel. She didn't just leave the small Scottish town where she grew up; she fled from it as fast as she could. Now she's become expert at metropolitan living; she could walk by a million faces and not notice any of them. And her dream is almost within her grasp.

When Rowan does start packing her bags, she has to find room for one very unexpected item. And she's headed not for exotic distant shores but back to Scotland. There, she feels at first like nothing more than a source of good gossip. But as she discovers that no one is quite who she thought they were, Rowan begins to see that home could be where she'll find what she was looking for after all...

My Review

Rowan is a wee bit socially awkward and innocent, she wanted nothing more than to get away from her wee town. Living in the city and working for a publishing she is swept up with her flat mate, Eileen, who is wild, outgoing and a total party animal. Rowan is saving her wages to travel the world and all set to go but her flat mates actions forces Rowan to take a very different turn.

The book centers around friendship, family, personal growth and a small town. Eileen is a character who you want to slap, as the story continues her behaviour becomes even more shocking, some scenes are uncomfortable. The story feels like it is split in two, naive city girl and then when she returns home - her personal growth, the impact on the small town.

This is my first time reading this author, it is very character centered, predominately Rowan and those around her. I enjoyed her homecoming, she has the fear many has when one returns, judgement, fear or not accomplishing our goals. We all know how small towns can be but this one isn't so bad. I actually enjoyed being back in the small town more, learning its secrets, getting to know the characters. I actually would enjoy this being a series and getting a book on each of the more interesting characters. The old man whose journal Rowan finds, the cinema owner - she is a wee doll and I think her life would have many many interesting life stories. Eileen! Much as I disliked her as a person and we do get a bit of her backstory, to follow her actual life in comparison to her telling's. The way Alexander McCall Smith does for the 44 Scotland street characters I think this author could do it but within the small town, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday 16 June 2021

The Caller by Chris Carter

The Caller (Robert Hunter, #8)The Caller by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 480

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

The terrifying new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of I AM DEATH.

After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring. The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward. Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins.

Karen is gagged and bound to a chair in her own living room. If Tanya disconnects from the call, if she looks away from the camera, he will come after her next, the deep, raspy, demonic voice at the other end of the line promises her.

As Hunter and Garcia investigate the threats, they are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear.

My Review

Imagine getting a video call from your loved one, restrained and captive of a psychopath. The threat is real, you have to answer two questions, just two, and your loved one will be freed. You have five seconds to answer, any failure to comply or wrong answers results in brief but brutal violence to your friend/family/partner. Can you imagine?

Hunter and Garcia are on the case, the killer leaves no traces and is brutal. What connects the victims if anything, how are they being chosen? Who will be next. Each killing is brutal, I mean really graphic in the details, none repeated ooooft not for the faint hearted.

As you know, this is book eight so if you have read the previous you know what his work is like this book doesn't differ. The chapters are short (which I love), the story has multiple threads and even though we are eight deep into the series Carter manages to keep it fresh, us on our toes and surprises along the way.

I feel we got a wee bit more of Hunter in this one too, a personal aspect as we are always so case focused and he keeps himself from interacting with others, out with work. I hope we get more of this in the books to follow, I have three more I think still to read. Hunter is one of my fave characters, he is super intelligent, faced multiple killers who are the devil incarnate and a loner by choice. We get wee nuggets of his past, him as a person as the books progress, I love it, 4.5/5 for me this time!

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Tuesday 15 June 2021

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten (Otherworld, #1)Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 436

Publisher - Orbit books

Source - Gift from fellow bookworm

Blurb from Goodreads

Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.

So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

My Review

Book one in a series, Eleanor is the only female werewolf, brought in against her will and now broke free from the pack. She just wants to have a normal life, she has a normal job and a normal partner. Slave to her nature she must change and keep secret that side of her nature but she is working it. Until the pack reaches out, she needs to come home, NOW, there is trouble. When Eleanore heads back to the life she fled to face the danger the pack is she also has to fight her inner emotions and face her past.

So I don't know if I have ever read a werewolf book or if I have it was years ago but I do enjoy the old movies. First thing this book does is lay the foundations for werewolves in the series and it differs from the stuff we follow in the movies. I was a bit unhappy, I am notorious about hating changed and think some things should stay (I had similar issues with some of the stuff in the Underworld movies with the vampires). However the author is making her stamp on her take on the werewolves and to be fair I started coming round.

Eleanor ran from more than just her pack so when she heads back we have a lot of relationship issues to face. The "father" type figure, the previous lover and the other bonds left behind in favour of the new vanilla life. There is some graphic scenes in relation to eating/catching animals, the werewolf instinct and things they do whilst in the change, infidelity and some sex scenes.

A good start for a first book, I am not rushing out to buy the rest in the series but I will read/get them as I come across them, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday 9 June 2021

Her Last Holiday by C L Taylor

Her Last HolidayHer Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon books

Source - Netgalley/bought HB copy

Blurb from Goodreads

You come to the retreat to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

The master of suspense is back. Prepare yourself for the latest heart-in-mouth rollercoaster ride from the Sunday Times bestseller.

My Review

Split between timelines, then and now and characters Fran (Jenna's sister), Jenna who never came home after going to a retreat a few years previous and Kate - wife of the guru of the retreat Tom who is being released from jail after the scandal at the last retreat. The retreat Jenna attended and never came home from. Kate is picking up the pieces, rebuilding her and Tom's life/business. Fran attends as Geraldine, desperate to find out what happened to her sister. As we flip past and present we follow Jenna's journey up until her disappearance, present is "Geraldine" struggling to get information in the new retreat under the watchful eye of Kate, ooft Kate!

These type of stories can go wrong, duo timelines, multiple narrative perspective but Taylor draws you in and envelopes the reader with each of the characters. What happened to Jenna? Will Fran get answers and finally have closure, is Tom really the bad guy?

Even the small bit characters in the retreat setting, Fran's mum, you want to know more about them, why is Fran they way she is. The chapters are short and keep you hooked, when one chapter ended I didn't want to flip either timeline or person, over and over, Taylor has a gift! I read this in almost one sitting, the end came swiftly and as with a fair few authors you are left wanting more. I have read all of Taylor's books and cannot wait for her next offering, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 6 June 2021

When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins

When I Was TenWhen I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 367

Publisher - Macmillan

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

She had lived a lie for thirteen years, and the perfect life as she had known it was about to change forever.

Everyone remembered Sara and Shannon Carter, the little blonde haired sisters. Their Dad was the local GP and they lived in the beautiful house on the hill. Their best friend, Brinley Booth, lived next door. They would do anything for each other but everything shifted on that fateful day when Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were stabbed fourteen times with a pair of scissors in what has become the most talked about double murder of the modern age.

The girls were aged ten and twelve at the time. One, nicknamed the Angel of Death, spent eight years in a children’s secure unit accused of the brutal killings. The other lived in foster care out of the limelight and prying questions. Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down one of the sisters, persuading her to speak about the events of that night for the first time.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and Brinley Booth, now a journalist, is tasked with covering the news story which brings to light fresh evidence and triggers a chain of events which will have devastating consequences.

My Review

A child running from a horrific murder then present day - we flip from Catherine, mother to Honor and wife to Edward. She is everything you want to be, attentive, caring, worried about the change in her daughter who is becoming withdrawn, moody and night terrors, Edward is also behaving differently. Brinley is a reporter, never really sinking her teeth into anything worthwhile, dreaming of being with her colleague but noone looks at her like that nor takes her seriously. When a story comes about taking us back to a horrific family murder, Brinley has her chance to be involved in a real story but can she keep her past and present apart and how much will she risk to get what she wants?

Ooft this book has loads going on, as well as jumping from characters we also head back into the past, to the family of the murders. Two sisters living in what seems a perfect home, respected parents of the community - what would drive one of them to murder?

The book teases out the story as we go along, what does Catherine have to do with it and what is the deal with her husband, he is behaving cagey. The storyline that goes back to the siblings is hard reading in parts due to the subject matter. When we are in the present I want don't want to flip to the past and when I am in the past I don't want to flip to the present. It makes for compelling reading and keeps you guessing, where is this going, what does X have to do with Y?

This is my third book for this author and found there is another I have missed, now ordered and on route. For the people who work everything out I think you will enjoy this because it will keep you on your toes. For those who enjoy suspense/thriller/shocking then this is a book for you, 4.5/5 for me, looking forward to the one I missed and whatever she is working on next!

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Tuesday 1 June 2021

The Body Lies by Jo Baker

The Body LiesThe Body Lies by Jo Baker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 288

Publisher - Knopf

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world--or in the pages of a book--when the stakes are dangerously high.

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it's meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, during class a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book--and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it's too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors.

My Review

I don't really know where to start with this one and I went back and forth on my rating multiple times. We open with the main character, woman - no name, who is sexually assaulted when pregnant. This has a huge impact on her as you could imagine, three years later she has given birth and is still suffering from the trauma. The opportunity of a teaching job, a good distance away, come up and she takes it. Her partner stays at home whilst she goes to pastures new with their son and they see each other as able. Before long trouble strikes and she finds herself in a horrible predicament with a student that risks her job and impacts even more on her mental health.

I was expecting something very different from this book which is maybe why I didn't enjoy it as much as other readers did. I didn't hate it I just didn't love it. I found myself getting very frustrated with some of her behaviours and choices, her interactions with her partner. I suppose the book maybe was going for the whole picture of impact and long lasting effects of an assault. I just found myself getting frustrated a lot and wondering where the book was going and what X had to do with Y.

Different and as I said a lot of readers have loved it, I think for me I just maybe missed what it was going for and was expecting a very different story as the blurb said dark/thrilling. It certainly has dark themes and mental health is infused throughout but I think I got confused by the blurb and thought I was going into a very different read which probably impacted my enjoyment. 3/5 for me this time, I would read this author again as she writes very well and paints vivid scenes in places but maybe I won't read the blurb before hand.

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