Sunday 29 March 2015

Bryant & May and The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler

Thanks to Sophie Christopher, Press Officer from Transworld Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.....

It is October and London is under siege, banks are been targeted with violent protests due to a banking scandal thanks to insider dealings.   A mob descends on the financial square mile a petrol bomb is thrown into a doorway where a homeless man is sleeping. Sadly, he does not survive.  What looks like a horrific accident soon proves to be the start of something more sinister as further fire related deaths occur in subsequent days.  Here we meet Arthur Bryant and his partner John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit as they are drawn in to investigate.  As the body count rises, it's a race against time to catch the killer and a game of cat and mouse ensues. There are twists and turns aplenty as suspects are investigated and links between characters are uncovered.

This is the latest novel in the Bryant and May series but can easily be enjoyed as a standalone without having read any previous installments.  I was unfamiliar with this duo but I'm glad to have discovered them through this book. This is the twelfth novel by Christopher Fowler and I will definitely read more of his work.   I really liked and enjoyed this book, however I felt that it dipped slightly in the middle but gathered pace again as I raced towards the end of it.  I really liked the characters of Bryant and May.  As I was reading it, they reminded me and I could picture in my head, Detective Inspector Jack Regan (John Thaw) and Sergeant George Carter (Dennis Waterman) from the tv series The Sweeney or D.C.I. Frank Burnside (Christopher Ellison) and DC Alfred "Tosh" Lines (Kevin Lloyd) from The Bill.  If you're a fan of Whitechapel, Sherlock Holmes, The Bill or The Sweeney then this book is for you.

This is available on Kindle and in all good bookstores.

Friday 27 March 2015

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Thanks to and Penguin I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review......

Meet Oliver Ryan, a very successful children’s book writer who is married to an equally successful woman, Alice who also happens to be the illustrator for his books.  From the outside they are the vision of a happy couple but reality is far from it.  One day, Oliver hits Alice so badly that she ends up in coma and nobody can understand that why would he do that so Oliver tells his story.  As the story moves on we're introduced to many characters along the way who have all either had dealings with Oliver or those paths he has crossed over five decades. What unfolds is a story of shame, envy, breath-taking deception and masterful manipulation.

I didn't like this book, I LOVED it.  The first chapter was challenging but compelling. Once I started reading I could not put this book down.  I really disliked Oliver from the first page throughout the book but I could feel my feelings getting softer towards the end for him but you'll have to read it to find out why.   This story demonstrates the extent to which childhood experiences and relationships with our parents impact upon the adult that we become.  Beneath the handsome charming, successful exterior is a toxic manipulative man, who destroys and damages the lives of those who are close to him.  It is so true what they say none of us knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theatre and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written short stories for children and adults. Unravelling Oliver is her first novel and I look forward to reading her next novel.

This is available on Kindle and from all good bookstores.

Monday 23 March 2015

The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth

Thanks to Bookbridgr and Headline Review I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review............

I'm the only one who knows the secrets her friends have hidden, the mistakes the police have made.
I'm the only one who can warn her she's still in danger.
I know exactly who attacked her.
He's the same man who killed me.

A man walking his dog in Ham Common Woods Richmond Park discovers the body of 30 year-old Eve Elliot who has been strangled to death. Her body had bee there for up to a week before being discovered. Eve worked as Senior Producer for a TV programme Appeal that investigated miscarriages of justice. The question is who killed Eve Elliot and why? 

Six years previous to this Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. Only a chance encounter with a dog walker saved her life. Melody's neighbor and close friend David Alden was found guilty of the crime and imprisoned, and the attack and David's betrayal of her friendship left Melody a different person, she no longer trusts anyone or her own judgement.

Soon after David is released from prison, Eve Elliot is murdered in an attack almost identical to Melody's. With the start of a new police investigation, Melody is suddenly pulled from her secluded life and back into the messy world around her. But as she learns more about Eve's murder, Melody starts to wonder if perhaps David hadn't betrayed her after all...if perhaps the killer is someone else entirely, preparing to strike again.

The story is narrated from 3 different people, Eve whom is dead, Melody who was attacked and survived the vicious attack six years ago and DI Rutter the investigating police officer on the case.

This is the second novel by Colette Mc Beth and I will definitely read more of her work. I really liked and enjoyed this book, it dipped slightly in the middle but gathered pace again as I raced towards the end of it.  It was full of twists and turns and I had in my mind 2 suspects but I was completely wrong by the end of the book.  A very clever psychological thriller which makes you ask the question, do you really know anyone at all!??

This is available on Kindle and in all good bookstores.

Saturday 21 March 2015

The Torn Up Marraige by Caroline Roberts

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Impulse I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review...........

Meet Michael & Kate who have been married for many years and have 2 young daughters, Charlotte and Emily.  They thought they had a stable and happy marraige until Kate accidentally hears a phone call that will change things forever, Michael has been having an affair.  When Kate confronts him about this, he doesn't deny it but in fact admits that he's fallen in love with this other woman and has decided that he wants to have a life with her, so he moves out of the family home.  This book deals with the aftermath of Michael leaving his wife and children and how their lives all change to adapt to this, amongst a few other things thrown into the mix.

I really liked and enjoyed this book, it is tragic and upsetting for all involved as it follows all their lives, from Kate, to the children, to Michael  and their respective families. This story had it all a little bit of humor, love, family, protectiveness to more sensitive and hard-hitting issues - I found I had shed a few tears along the way so grab this book, curl up on the couch and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too.

This is Caroline Roberts debut novel and I look forward to reading more work from her.  This is available on Kindle.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Thanks to Bookbridgr & Hodder & Stoughton, I received this in exchange for an honest review....

Meet Dara and Nicole (Nick), they are just 11 months apart in age and they used to be inseparable, but that was before the terrible accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged.  Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just messing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. She believes that she can alleviate the mountain of guilt she's carrying around if she can piece the puzzle together and get her sister back. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

The chapters bounce between time periods and points of view, so I had to read it a bit more slowly/carefully than I would normally read to make sure I didn't miss anything that Oliver meant for the reader to experience. I love the multimedia approach - it's not all just story told by the author, but also includes diary entries, blogs, emails, website posts, and text messages.   

This is the first book that I've read by Lauren Oliver and really enjoyed it, the last 150 pages I read at break neck speed, I couldn't wait to get to the end, I was rooting for Nick but was completely floored by the ending. I honestly did not see it coming.  An excellent emotional, gripping, edgy thriller full of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

This is available on Kindle and in all good bookstores.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The Secrets We Share by Emma Hanningan

Thanks to I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.....

Meet Clara Conway, an 80 year old lady who has been a very successful businesswoman, a loving wife and mother but in turn has a few secrets that she hopes can be kept that way.  Her family is falling apart, her son Max emigrated to the US years ago where his abrupt disappearance left the Conway family heartbroken and she has yet to meet her teenage granddaughter Nathalie, because Max and his mother no longer speak.  Tragedy strikes in the US and Clara unexpectedly reaches out to Nathalie where she is sent off to Ireland to spend some time with her grandmother and Aunts.  Will the secrets that have been held so deep resurface?  Is this a chance to heal old wounds and become a family again??

I didn't just like it, I really LOVED it.  It reminded me alot of the time I would spend with my Nana when I was growing up, whether it be going out together or just visiting her and how much I loved been around her.  It is a very bittersweet & heart-warming read, the story flows well throughout the book.  I really enjoyed Emma's book which I read in a couple of days, it kept me turning the pages until the very end. This story had it all a little bit of humor, love, family, protectiveness to more sensitive and hard-hitting issues - I found I had a little tear in my eye at the end along with shedding a few along the way, so grab this book, curl up on the couch and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too.  It definitely didn't disappoint.

The Secrets We Share is available to pre-order on Kindle and will be published on 9th April 2015.