Month: April 2022

Books I want to read in May

Posted April 30, 2022 by louisesr in Discussion, Features / 0 Comments

The last couple of months I’ve let book tours and NetGalley determine my reading and, while I still have those commitments, in May I want to really concentrate on books that I really want to read.

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

I’ve seen this likened to Agatha Christie, which is always always a ringing endorsement for a novel. From what I can tell it has a similar concept to quite a few other novels that have been published in the last couple of years so I’m intrigued to see how it’s handled in this one.

The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

Earlier this year I read The Memory Wood by Same Lloyd and loved it, when I was browsing through my library this week and saw this was available it was an instant download for me. Talking to the girls in my bookclub a few of us have it, I’m sure it’ll make a great buddy read.

The Vatican Secret by David Leadbetter

This has the tag line of the Da Vinci Code meets Jack Reach meets Jason Bourne, all books (and films) that I’ve loved

Cecily by Annie Garthwaite

A feminist retelling of The War of The Roses. I saw Annie mention this on Twitter and being from Lancashire (the red half of the War of the Roses) I was intrgiued.

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I’ve just joined an in-person book club full of mums from a birthing class I was in. This was the first book nominated to read. I’ve sent my mum to Waterstone’s near her as it’s one of the few branches that still as copies of the limited edition available

The Bird Cage by Eve Chase

I was so excited when Michael Joseph books got in touch to see if I’d be interested in taking part in the tour for this. I read The Glass House last year and loved it, so this was an easy yes.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

I’ve had this on my TBR for ages, I’ve heard so many amazing things about it

Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

Am I the only person who has never read anything by Fredrik Bachman? For some reason this appealed to me most of all his books

Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook

I can’t remember where I saw this, I was looking around for books by debut authors and this jumped out at me


In The Dark Book Review

Posted April 29, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

In The Dark Book ReviewIn The Dark by Loreth Anne White
on 01/12/2019
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 319
Format: eBook
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

A secluded mountain lodge. The perfect getaway. So remote no one will ever find you.

The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.

What lies do you tell?
Because we all lie.
Every one of us, and whoever claims they don’t is the biggest liar of all.

8 people stranded at a luxury resort, except the luxury resort doesn’t exist and they’ve all been brought there under false pretences.

The police, with the help of search and rescue, battling to find everyone as the weather worsens.

The story is told in two timeframes and from multiple points of view. There was so much potential for this to be a disaster and confusing. Instead it completely drew me in and shredded my nerves. Just when I felt I couldn’t take any more of the lodge storyline and sitting on the edge of my seat, the scene changed to the rescue mission and they built the tension from a different perspective, again I ended up on the edge of my seat.

Rather than just having the “who done it” aspect of this novel there was a whole “why did they do it” running through the first half of the storyline, with all of the potential victims hiding massive secrets from their past, all of which were interlinked. Once we get past the why then you’re left with the who, at various points you think that it’s obvious… and then you change your mind. By half way through I’d known for certain who the killer was 3 different times. Even approaching the end, I wasn’t entirely sure and that NEVER happens with a book.

In The Dark is available for free with Kindle Unlimited, you can sign up for a free trial here


About Loreth Anne White

Loreth Anne White is an Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and suspense. With well over 2 million books sold around the world, she is a three-time RITA finalist, an overall Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Arthur Ellis finalist, and winner of multiple industry awards.

A recovering journalist who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now calls Canada home. She resides in the Pacific Northwest, dividing time between Victoria on Vancouver Island, the ski resort of Whistler in the Coast Mountains, and a rustic lakeside cabin in the Cariboo. When she’s not writing or dreaming up plots, you will find her on the lakes, in the ocean, or on the trails with her dog where she tries—unsuccessfully—to avoid bears.


The Serial Killers Girl Mini Review

Posted April 28, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

The Serial Killers Girl Mini ReviewThe Serial Killer's Girl Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on 27/04/2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 285
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

Lexi Jakes thought she could run from her past.

But when her biological mother is found dead, strangled with a red silk scarf and holding a chess piece, Lexi knows that her worst nightmare has come true. Because the murder has all the hallmarks of her own serial killer father, renown strangler Peter Graves.

Now with her own precious daughter’s life in danger, Lexi will do anything to keep her child safe…she is her father’s daughter after all.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I thought this book showed great potential, the premise was really good but I felt it was let down by the execution. I was looking for a book that had me on the edge of my seat and I just didn’t think that this quite managed to pull it off. 

Lexi is the daughter of a serial killer. Following his arrest she was taken into care and changed her name. Now her mother has been killed in a copycat attack. 

Nobody knows who she is. But Lexi is worried, that she or her daughter might be next.

I felt that the suspense was lacking in this, there was too much story around Lexi’s relationship with her husband and not enough excitement. 


The Perfect Holiday Mini Review

Posted April 28, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

The Perfect Holiday Mini ReviewThe Perfect Holiday by T. J. Emerson
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on April 20, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 331
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

Perfect for fans of T.M. Logan's The Catch and The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas.

'This taut, elegant thriller thrums with dark menace and dread. I couldn’t look away' Kate Riordan, bestselling author of The Heatwave

Olivia and Julian are enjoying lazy days in their Spanish villa, a well deserved break from their busy lives. Especially for Julian, who after a lifetime as a carer was thrust into the public eye following the tragic murder of his first wife.

The languid heat and peace of the villa is broken only by clifftop walks, sun drenched lunches and cooling swims. Until a chance encounter with Gabriel - an attractive man, many years their junior - changes everything.

Soon their idyllic break turns into a dangerous, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse. Will any of them get out alive?

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This is a dual timeline novel, set now (which is “after”) and “before”. In the before timeline we have Julian who is caring for his wife after she’s been paralysed in a car accident. Now/After, he is on holiday with his second wife, Olivia.

I find it difficult to enjoy a book when I really don’t like the main characters, and I really didn’t like Julian, he has no redeeming features. I also wasn’t a fan of Gabriel (although that’s intentional from the authors pov, I can’t imagine anyone would like him). There was potential for Olivia to be a decent enough character but she was never allowed to reach her potential, she was almost secondary to the narrative, a part of the setting rather than an actual person.

This is another example of a domestic thriller, which I never find thrilling. I always love the idea from the synopsis and then find that they fall short.


About T. J. Emerson

Before writing fiction, she worked in theatre and community arts. As well as acting, she ran drama workshops in healthcare settings, focusing on adults with mental health issues. Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, and her feature writing has appeared in Stella magazine, Woman’s Own and The Sydney Morning Herald. Her first psychological thriller, She Chose Me, was published by Legend Press in 2018.
She has a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh and works as a literary consultant and writing tutor. She is also the Creative Director of The Bridge Awards, a philanthropic organisation that provides micro-funding for art and community projects.


No Less The Devil Book Review

Posted April 28, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

No Less The Devil Book ReviewNo Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride
Published by Bantam Press on 28/04/2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 466
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

It's been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer to catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn't the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn't have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one's ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he's back on the streets again - battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy 'They' are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he's right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy's ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn't the only monster out there? And what's going to happen when Lucy goes after them?

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

For my birthday last year my daughter bought me The Coffin Makers Garden, my first Stuart MacBride book, and I absolutely loved it. Since then I’ve started to work through his back list so when I saw he had a new novel available I was really excited. This excitement continued for the first 3/4 of the book. I absolutely love MacBride’s dry sarcastic wit. I usually listen to his books on Audio as the inclusion of the songs from the radio is pure comedy genius – it has caused me to laugh out loud while wandering the food aisle of M&S, meaning I have received a number of strange looks (especially since my earbuds are usually hidden by my hair.

Anyway, back to the book. My first disappointment was that this is an Oldcastle novel but it doesn’t follow on from the other Oldcastle books, there is no Ash Henderson and no Alice McDonald – Dr McFruitloop (one of my most favourite characters EVER).

We have a few threads going on here – crazy posh kids murdering homeless dude, the Bloodsmith murdering people, removing organs and writing in their blood, DS Lucy McVeigh being terrorised by a stalker while struggling with PTSD plus there is a recently released child killer who is convinced that someone “they” is out to get him and so he needs protection. It was sometimes difficult to keep up with all of the different threads that were going on and I did need to concentrate.

And then we hit the twist. We all know that with any good thriller there’ll be a twist, and this was no exception, I didn’t see this one coming – and I didn’t like it. I felt like the ending kind of let down the rest of the book.

It kind of reminds me of Stephen King’s The Stand, it’s a really long book and then you get to the end and go WTF just happened. I’m not happy with that. Now granted, the hand of God didn’t come down and wipe out Oldcastle but still, it would have got 4.5 or 5 stars with a stronger ending.


About Stuart MacBride

The life and times of a bearded write-ist.

Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton — which is Glasgow as far as he’s concerned — moving up to Aberdeen at the tender age of two, when fashions were questionable. Nothing much happened for years and years and years: learned to play the recorder, then forgot how when they changed from little coloured dots to proper musical notes (why the hell couldn’t they have taught us the notes in the first bloody place? I could have been performing my earth-shattering rendition of ‘Three Blind Mice’ at the Albert Hall by now!); appeared in some bizarre World War Two musical production; did my best to avoid eating haggis and generally ran about the place a lot.

Next up was an elongated spell in Westhill — a small suburb seven miles west of Aberdeen — where I embarked upon a mediocre academic career, hindered by a complete inability to spell and an attention span the length of a gnat’s doodad.

And so to UNIVERSITY, far too young, naive and stupid to be away from the family home, sharing a subterranean flat in one of the seedier bits of Edinburgh with a mad Irishman, and four other bizarre individuals. The highlight of walking to the art school in the mornings (yes: we were students, but we still did mornings) was trying not to tread in the fresh bloodstains outside our front door, and dodging the undercover CID officers trying to buy drugs. Lovely place.

But university and I did not see eye to eye, so off I went to work offshore. Like many all-male environments, working offshore was the intellectual equivalent of Animal House, only without the clever bits. Swearing, smoking, eating, more swearing, pornography, swearing, drinking endless plastic cups of tea… and did I mention the swearing? But it was more money than I’d seen in my life! There’s something about being handed a wadge of cash as you clamber off the minibus from the heliport, having spent the last two weeks offshore and the last two hours in an orange, rubber romper suit / body bag, then blowing most of it in the pubs and clubs of Aberdeen. And being young enough to get away without a hangover.

Then came a spell of working for myself as a graphic designer, which went the way of all flesh and into the heady world of studio management for a nation-wide marketing company. Then some more freelance design work, a handful of voiceovers for local radio and video production companies and a bash at being an actor (with a small ‘a’), giving it up when it became clear there was no way I was ever going to be good enough to earn a decent living.

It was about this time I fell into bad company — a blonde from Fife who conned me into marrying her — and started producing websites for a friend’s fledgling Internet company. From there it was a roller coaster ride (in that it made a lot of people feel decidedly unwell) from web designer to web manager, lead programmer, team lead and other assorted technical bollocks with three different companies, eventually ending up as a project manager for a global IT company.

But there was always the writing (well, that’s not true, the writing only started two chapters above this one). I fell victim to that most dreadful of things: peer pressure. Two friends were writing novels and I thought, ‘why not? I could do that’.

Took a few years though…