Category: Review

22 Seconds by James Patterson

Posted June 9, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

22 Seconds by James Patterson22 Seconds by James Patterson
Series: Womens Murder Club #22
Published by Penguin on 2 May 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

22 seconds... until Lindsay Boxer loses her badge—or her life.

SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer has guns on her mind.

There’s buzz of a last-ditch shipment of drugs and weapons crossing the Mexican border ahead of new restrictive gun laws. Before Lindsay can act, her top informant tips her to a case that hits disturbingly close to home.

Former cops. Professional hits. All with the same warning scrawled on their bodies:

You talk, you die.

Now it’s Lindsay’s turn to choose.

You always know what you’re going to get with a James Patterson novel. Short, punchy chapters. Characters you’ve got to know over time and lots of murders. This one also involved drug cartels and illegal gun shipments.

This is the 22nd book in the Women’s Murder Club series which was created by Patterson on the premise that women tend to collaborate far more than men, hence by working together they get the job done. In all honesty, I didn’t find this one to be much of a Murder Club, it was more the Lindsay Boxer show, with her working closely with Joe on the case. Hopefully we’ll get to see a bit more of the other ladies in the future books.

Alongside the frustration with the other characters not being prevalent in this novel, was the chapters. The majority of the chapters are focused on Lindsay, which is fine. But then you’ll get a chapter which is from the POV of one of the other characters. There is nothing to tell you that the perspective is changing. It’s only when you get a couple of paragraphs in and are getting confused as to why it’s jumping around that you realise we are looking at a different character. Just a name under the chapter number would have made it a much pleasanter reading experience.

What I particularly liked was the attention to Julie and how Lindsay and Joe had to consider the risk to their lives and the impact on Julie, ensuring that only one of them was in a high risk situation at any one time. All to often in novels the main characters have a child but if they’re not involved in that particular scene then they seem to get forgotten about. I was really impressed that Julie was present on every page, even when she wasn’t part of the scene.

four-stars
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Nine Lives Book Review

Posted June 8, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Nine Lives Book ReviewNine Lives by Peter Swanson
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on May 27, 2022
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
three-half-stars

Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke--until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list.

First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor, and they're located all over the country. So why are they all on the list, and who sent it?

FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next...

Nine strangers, seemingly unrelated. Each one of them receives a list containing their name. Most of them looks at it and promptly forget about it or ignore it, they don’t know anyone on the list apart from themselves so dismiss it. However, they soon start to turn up murdered.

Swanson has stated that he drew inspration from Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None for this book and there were definitely some heavy parralels to be found between the two. However, there is a warning to be had in imitating a master of the craft. You’re work, no matter how good, is never likely to live up to the original.

“The awful thing about loneliness, Jack thought, not for the first time, is that it isn’t always cured by other people.”

There are a lot of characters to keep on top of in this, there’s obviously the 9 people on the list, there’s also the murderer and there’s the police who are (not really) investigating. I did find it quite difficult to keep on top of who was who, I didn’t feel that I really got a chance to get to know the characters all that well.

“He’d always wondered what was worse: to feel emptiness and not know what would make it go away, or to feel emptiness and know exactly what was missing. Tonight, for whatever reason, he seemed to have the answer. He understood with evangelical clarity how fleeting our lives are, and how foolish it is to mourn those who’ve left too soon.”

three-half-stars
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Top Ten Tuesday – Books With a Unit of Time In the Title

Posted June 7, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

This just happens to coincide with my review of 22 Seconds by James Patterson. I’d like to tell you it was intentional, but I am honestly not that organised!

So my top 10 books with a unit of time in the Title

  1. 22 Seconds by James Patterson
  2. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  3. One Day by David Nicholls
  4. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
  5. My Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan
  6. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  7. In Seconds by Brenda Novak
  8. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  10. The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

I have read all of these, however, I haven’t yet reviewed them all on here. Maybe I should use this as a prompt to try and remember what I thought of them and then I can add reviews

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The Stories of my Life Book Review

Posted June 6, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Stories of my Life Book ReviewThe Stories of my Life by James Patterson
Published by Hachette UK on June 6, 2022
Genres: Autobiography
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
three-half-stars

How did a kid whose dad lived in the poorhouse become the most successful storyteller in the world?

  • On the morning he was born, he nearly died.
  • His dad grew up in the Pogey– the Newburgh, New York, poorhouse.
  • He worked at a mental hospital in Massachusetts, where he met the singer James Taylor and the poet Robert Lowell.  
  • While he toiled in advertising hell, James wrote the ad jingle line “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid.”
  • He once watched James Baldwin and Norman Mailer square off to trade punches at a party.
  • He’s only been in love twice.  Both times are amazing.
  • Dolly Parton once sang “Happy Birthday” to James over the phone.  She calls him J.J., for Jimmy James. 

How did a boy from small-town New York become the world’s most successful writer? How does he do it? He has always wanted to write the kind of novel that would be read and reread so many times that the binding breaks and the book literally falls apart. As he says, “I’m still working on that one.” 

This is a strange one for me to review. I had mixed feelings about it and I’m not entirely sure they’re the fault of James Patterson. I had expected this to be an autobiography, and in a way it is – just not in the traditional sense. This is a group of stories of various events that have happened in James Pattersons life but there is no logical groupings and they’re non linear, which is confusing. For example, we have a couple of chapters about working with Bill Clinton and the books they wrote together and then shortly after that we have them meeting for the first time on a golf course.

For the first quarter of the book I was getting very annoyed at the constant name dropping, I had it in my head that this was showing an arrogance on Pattersons part. However, as I read more of the book and got to understand Patterson more I came to realise that it wasn’t arrogance or showing off but that he is genuinely excited and surprised that he has the level of fame that he does and that he has met the people that he has.

I read an arc of this so it was unfinished and the formatting was terrible, this is something that i know will be fixed before it goes on general sale, Im also hoping that it will be more readable. it did feel like an editor still needed to do their job on it.

There is very little about writing in this, I had really hoped for more. Patterson does tell us about books and authors that he loves, and touches on his writing process but its nothing deeper than what he’s revealed in other interviews. One thing that Patterson does do very well in this book is too give credit to other people, be they people he’s worked with in advertising or people involved in the publishing process.

Ultimately, I was disappointed in this book, I much prefer Patterson’s fiction work.

three-half-stars
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Book Blogger Hop – What is your method for writing reviews

Posted June 6, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Ah writing reviews. Without them I wouldn’t remember a thing about the books that I’ve read. I don’t know whether it’s mum brain or middle age but I have got a memory like a sieve. There are so many books that I’ve read where I didn’t write the review straight away and now I just wouldn’t be able to.

So, yes, straight away. As soon as I finish a book. Before I started blogging I would have just logged into Goodreads and wrote down my immediate thoughts. Since I started blogging I have a diary with a page for each book, I write notes as I go along about things I found important and want to mention, feelings that I have as I’m reading and interesting quotes. I also use the highlight facility on my kindle and have post it notes with me for physical books.

Since I started blogging I feel that my reviews have improved, they still have a long way to go to be where I’d like them to be but I can see a difference from what they were a few months ago.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted June 4, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

As I’m away this week visiting my parents I thought it was going to be a quiet one for books.

I was wrong

There were 2 things that I didn’t take into account.

  1. Random Things having loads of amazing tours coming up
  2. Start of the month meaning that the new Kindle deals are available

So, firstly, the Random Things Tour Books I received

  • The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney
  • The Eye of the Beholder by Margie Orford
  • Deep Water by Emma Bamford
  • Listen To Me by Tess Gerritsen

The kindle bargains that I treated myself to

  • Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  • The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase
  • Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby
  • The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
  • Cracking The Menopause by Mariella Frostrup

I won What She Left Behind by Mily Freud in a competition on Twitter

I may have also got 2 more tour books to read from publishers

  • The Way Back to You by James Bailey
  • The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis

I really need to stop buying books, or figure out how to read at least 10 a week!

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Let’s Talk Bookish – Have you ever considered quitting blogging?

Posted June 3, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Oh if ever there was a question that was meant for me then this was it!! Not only did I consider quitting. I did quit. For about 8 years.

I used to run a blog called BookBliss, I had to for around 3 years and I did really enjoy posting to it but I found the whole WordPress side of things really difficult and I could never get it to do what I wanted. I got so frustrated that I hated the look of it and doing the maintenance side of blogging (such as setting up the archives, doing back ups and anything like that) was so time consuming that I just lost heart and gave up, especially when I could never get it to look “professional” (I know this is a hobby but i have standards and want my blog to look good).

Fast forward to now and I’m back. I have Nose Graze doing the hosting for me, they supply my theme, the Ultimate Book Blogger plug in and they do all the updates. I literally come in here and create posts and publish them. There is so little additional work that needs to be done as they have formatted my main posts for book reviews, the menu’s for archives are set up by them and automatically updated when I post, they have shortcodes set up for so many things that my blogging life is so easy. I can concentrate on writing posts and engaging with other blogs. I love it!

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My Name is Parvana Book Review

Posted June 2, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

My Name is Parvana Book ReviewMy Name Is Parvana by Deborah Ellis
Series: Breadwinner #4
Published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press on May 1, 2015
Genres: Childrens, Autobiography
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

The fourth book in the internationally bestselling series that includes The Breadwinner, Parvana's Journey and Mud City.

In this stunning sequel, Parvana, now fifteen, is found in a bombed-out school and held as a suspected terrorist by American troops in Afghanistan.

On a military base in Afghanistan, after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan -- and Parvana.

In this long-awaited sequel, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

As her family settles into the routine of running the school, Parvana, a bit to her surprise, finds herself restless and bored. She even thinks of running away. But when local men threaten the school and her family, she must draw on every ounce of bravery and resilience she possesses to survive the disaster that kills her mother, destroys the school, and puts her own life in jeopardy.

A riveting page-turner, Deborah Ellis's final novel in the series is at once harrowing, inspiring and thought-provoking. And, yes, in the end, Parvana is reunited with her childhood friend, Shauzia.

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

When the book starts 15 year old Parvana is already being held by American soldiers on suspicion of being a terrorist, we quickly learn that although she speaks near perfect English she is refusing to speak. Over the course of the novel we learn of the events that have led up to her being held and the reasons behind her silence.

This is the fourth book in the series and although it was strong enough to be read as a standalone, I would have liked to have had a better understanding of the relationships between Parvana, Mrs Weera and Shauzia which would have been gained from reading the earlier books in the series.

This book is aimed at the 10 year olds + age range, it’s part of the Accelerated Reading program, as are all of the other books in this series. Although not an easy book for this age range to read, it tackles some difficult subjects but is done in an easy to understand manner which I don’t think younger readers would find too difficult or traumatising.

Although aimed at children I think it’s a good read for all age ranges, I wanted to read a novel centred around the trouble in Afghanistan but I didn’t want something that would be too heavy going. This book was perfect for it.

four-stars
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May 2022 Wrap Up

Posted June 1, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

I’ve posted 16 reviews in here this month. Not all of the books I’ve read but I find reviewing books so much more difficult than reading them! If there’s any of them that you’ve missed then you can find the links to them below

I’ve managed to read a grand total of 21 books this month, equating to 8121 pages! This month has been a really good reading month, there hasn’t been any books which I DNF’d and there have been a lot of 4+ stars.

Although it’s showing as it taking an average of 7 days to finish a book, obvously I wouldn’t have managed to read 21 books if they took this long! These figures were skewed by 2 books – 22 Seconds by James Patterson and The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley both of which took me a couple of weeks to get through as I was only reading the odd chapter at a time. The majority of books were read in 1-2 days.

No surprise that I read predominantly thrillers this month, this is definitely where I naturally gravitate to, although I have been drawn to romance and literary fiction a little bit more recently.

My favourite read this month was Lesson’s In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Honestly, everyone should read this book! I’m going to be reviewing it in June, I’m not sure anything I say about it can do it justice.

How was your reading month?

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The Cherry Robbers

Posted June 1, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Cherry RobbersThe Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker
Published by Serpent's Tail on June 2, 2022
Genres: Literary
Pages: 471
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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Goodreads

The reclusive Sylvia Wren, one of the most important American artists of the past century, has been running from her past for sixty years. Born Iris Chapel, of the Chapel munitions dynasty, second youngest of six sisters, she grew up in a palatial Victorian 'Wedding Cake House' in New England, neglected by her distant father and troubled, haunted mother.

The sisters longed to escape, but the only way out was marriage. Not long after the first Chapel sister walks down the aisle, she dies of mysterious causes, a tragedy that repeats with the second sister, leaving the rest to navigate the wreckage, with heart-wrenching consequences.

“This story is jagged, could cut a deep wound. It isn’t a story I can tell with a thread and a needle, stitching in clean lines. It’s shards or nothing.”

You know when they say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”? I chose this book because I loved the cover. Didn’t actually have a clue what it was about but I thought it looked pretty. It was such a good choice, the writing and the story are both excellent.

The whole novel is told as diary entries from Sylvia Wren, an artist and recluse who barely leaves the house. She is haunted by the ghosts of her past that she has been running from most of her life. Her life when she was Iris Chapel.

“Sylvia Wren is a ghost …What a terrible thing to be a ghost while still alive.”

The Chapel firearms dynasty are an odd bunch. Their father is absent, even on their annual holiday he stays in the room working, away from his family, only making an occasional appearance to ensure that all appears to be ok with his wife and children. Their mother never wanted to marry, didn’t want to have children and yet has had 6 girls, all of whom rely on each other for company.

“Most children can’t imagine their mothers having a life before them, but for my sisters and me, it was the opposite. The wedding day was always the end of her story. We were the epilogue.”

From the start of the novel we know that Iris is the only one of the 6 sisters to survive, she has escaped her past and is living under a new name.

This is a slow burn, gothic mystery. It’s an exploration of femininity and neglect. The need to be loved and the need to escape. I was completely sucked in by the story and the writing, there are unanswered questions at the end which was frustrating but the journey to the end was amazing.

About Sarai Walker

Sarai Walker is the author of the novel THE CHERRY ROBBERS, which will be published by Harper Books on May 17, 2022. Her first novel, DIETLAND, has been published in more than a dozen countries and was adapted as a television series for AMC. She has lectured on feminism and body image internationally, and has spoken about these topics widely in the media. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and elsewhere, and she worked as a writer and editor on an updated version of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College and a PhD in English from the University of London.

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With A Mind To Kill (007) Book Review

Posted May 31, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

With A Mind To Kill (007) Book ReviewWith a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
Series: James Bond #2
Published by Penguin Random House on May 26, 2022
Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Length: 7hrs 24mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

It is M's funeral. One man is missing from the graveside: the traitor who pulled the trigger and who is now in custody, accused of M's murder - James Bond.

Behind the Iron Curtain, a group of former Smersh agents want to use the British spy in an operation that will change the balance of world power. Bond is smuggled into the lion's den - but whose orders is he following, and will he obey them when the moment of truth arrives?

In a mission where treachery is all around and one false move means death, Bond must grapple with the darkest questions about himself. But not even he knows what has happened to the man he used to be.

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

It’s a long, long time since I read a James Bond novel. Many years ago I read one of the original Bond’s written by Ian Fleming but it’s so long now that I couldn’t even tell you which it was. I have however, watched all of the films many times.

It says a lot for the writing skills of Anthony Horowitz that he has been entrusted to continue on the James Bond novels, as well as the Sherlock Holmes novels, although I believe that he has said this will be his last

At the start of this novel there is a brief update on what happened in the previous novels

In You Only Live Twice, James Bond was sent to Japan, where he tracked down Ernst Stavro Blofeld on the island of Kyushu. Following a pitched battle in Blofeld’s ‘Garden of Death’ Bond received a traumatic head injury which resulted in amnesia. He spent the next year in a Japanese fishing village. He was reported as missing in action. His obituary was published in The Times.

In The Man With The Golden Gun, the twelth and final James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming, Bond returned to London after having fallen into the hands of the KGB. He had been brainwashed and ordered to assassinate M with a cyanide pistol. The attempt failed. Bond was deprogrammed and sent to Jamaica to kill the freelance assassin ‘Pistols’ Scaramanga.

With A Mind To Kill begins 2 weeks after that mission ends.

Both You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun are referenced throughout Horowitz’s writing and Fleming’s work has obviously heavily influenced this storyline (I believe there were notes that he had for future stories which were made available to Horowitz’s previous 2 books, but not for this one).

What immediately struck me was how this novel is following on from where Fleming left off. This hasn’t moved to a modern day setting but is still set in the 1960’s when the original books were. Horowitz is (I think) the fifth author to take on the Bond novels and I found it interesting that he has chosen to pick them up in this way, staying true to what Fleming would have (presumably) done, rather than modernising them as other authors have done.

Bond still has an eye for the ladies with Russian Katya Leonova playing his ‘love interest’, as ever with Bond you are asking the question as to whether she is simply a conquest or the real deal, and whether he is capable of the feelings everyone else actually succumb to.

I found him to be less arrogant in this novel than I expected, he’s more subdued than the Bond that I am used to seeing on my screen, more level headed. He will do anything to protect his country and his colleagues, the danger to his life seems to be secondary in his thoughts.

I listened to the audiobook of With A Mind to Kill which was narrated by Rory Kinnear who has played Tanner in 4 of Daniel Craig’s Bond films and has also voiced other audiobooks of Harowitz’s work. I really think he was the perfect choice, he captures Bond expertly and was easily distinguishable between all of the characters. Reviews of Harowitz’s previous novel, A Line To Kill, have commented that Kinnear had a tendency to overact, while I’ve not yet listened to that book myself (it is sat in my Audible downloads) I can confirm that this definitely wasn’t the case here.

four-half-stars

About Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as “The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century.” (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009.

On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled the House of Silk.

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Little One Book Review

Posted May 27, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Little One Book ReviewLittle One by Sarah Denzil
Published by Independently published on 11 January 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 344
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

"Take my hand, little one."

Fran finds her standing by the swings. A little girl, Esther, no older than seven years old, by herself in the dead of night, her pretty but old-fashioned yellow dress covered in grass stains and her hair dishevelled. She says she's waiting for Father, and that strikes Fran as particularly odd.

After Esther is reunited with her family, Fran can't stop thinking about this pious child whose imaginary friend is God. Fran's instincts tell her something is very wrong. Why does Esther keep running away from home, and how did she get that bruise on her leg?

Fran's husband warns her not to get too close, but one morning, Esther and her family disappear. Where did they go? Why did they leave their furniture behind?

Fran knows in her gut that something terrible is going to happen to that child, and she can't stand by while it happens. No matter the cost.

After all, she found her. But can she save her?

Wow. That was a rollercoaster ride. I’ve got to say that from the synopsis you think this might be a missing child type thriller. It’s not. The synopsis gives nothing away as to what this book is about. And if it gave any more details then it would spoil it, I’m also not going to spoil the book for you by trying to summarise it (plus, who wants a review that regurgitates the synopsis?). With this in mind it is quite difficult to write a review without spoiling anything for those who have not yet read it.

“Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world. No, it’s the hardest job in the world, and probably the loneliest. Be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.”

The first half of the book was enjoyable but kind of plodded along, you really got to know Fran and build a relationship with her.

By the midway point I had an idea of where the story might be going and what some potential plot points could be but I was still unsure. My ideas of where the story might be going – completely wrong! Those potential plot points – nope!

You hit the midway point and this novel takes a turn and becomes an unputdownable, non-stop thrill ride. I absolutely loved the second half and cursed anybody who interrupted my reading time. It was all bam, bam, bam action and twisty, twist with plot twists. There is no way anyone hitting the half way mark would have predicted what was to come.

The final twist – SO GOOD!!! and so well written, completely believable and not just thrown in for shock value.

I will be looking up Sarah Denzil’s other books and will definitely be buying more of her work in future.

four-half-stars

About Sarah Denzil

Sarah A. Denzil is a Wall Street Journal bestselling suspense writer. She is also known as young adult author Sarah Dalton.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her partner, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather.

She is the author of international bestselling psychological thriller SILENT CHILD, which topped the bestseller lists on Amazon in the US, UK and Australia.

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Hidden Book Review

Posted May 26, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Hidden Book ReviewHidden by Emma Kavanagh
Published by Random House on November 5, 2015
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

HE'S WATCHING
A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He's unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently.

Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman - before it's too late.

SHE'S WAITING
To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety - both for her, and her young niece who's been recently admitted. She's heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?

As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman's next target will be. But he's there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks...

Emma Kavanagh, has written a very clever novel which sucks you in from the very first page. Not least because she starts the novel, just after the shooting has happened. The first chapter is told from the POV of Charlie, who is assessing the carnage around her, who she can see, who’s alive, who’s dead, who’s unlikely to make it. At this point the names mean nothing to you but then the story goes backwards 6 days and we start the process of getting to know the characters while slowly moving towards the present day.

Each chapter is told from a different point of view; Charlie the reporter, Imogen the Psychologist, Aden the police officer and The Shooter. Between them they shed light on the events that have led up to the shooting, not just the immediate 6 days prior to it, but the relationships and incidents from the past which have led everyone to this point and led to the lives of the main characters being interwoven.

At first I got a bit confused by all of the different people, not just the narrators but also their families and work colleagues who also have major roles in the storyline. However, it didn’t take me long to get comfortable with all the names, personalities and the relationships/history they had with the other characters.

About half way through I had to go back and reread the first chapter, the one describing who’s been shot and the state they’re in, by this time I had formed an attachment with certain characters and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t misremembered anything. I think it was a very brave move that Emma Kavanagh made in setting up the novel in the say she did.

There’s a lot of clues thrown in as to who the shooter is, there’s also a lot of clues to throw you off the scent. Although I figured out who it was I think it’s from reading so many crime novels and having an idea of how a crime writers mind seems to work, although she did have me alternating between a number of other characters for a time!

four-stars
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The Four Winds Book Review

Posted May 25, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Four Winds Book ReviewThe Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Published by macmillan on 2 February 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 452
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
five-stars

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

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.

Wow, just wow. This is a book that really gets you in the feels.

I have to admit, I don’t know a lot about American History, there’s a few major political events that I’ve looked up but other than that I’m pretty oblivious. I had no clue about the events leading up to the depression in the 1930’s and so I had no pre-conceived ideas as to what this would actually be about.

Holy shit, bleak doesn’t cover it. Kristin Hannah does such an amazing job of painting a picture of what it was like to live through the drought and the dust storms you can actually feel yourself struggling to breathe.

Elsa is such a wonderful, complex character, she’s not your usual leading lady. Her life is a struggle from the very beginning of the book and life doesn’t really let up on her. But she’s so easy to love, you really root for her, you want her to have the love that she deserves and the life that she deserves.

I really don’t think that anything I write in a review will do this book justice. Kristin Hannah is truly one of the best writers on the market at the moment. In The Four Winds she has taken a bleak period of time and made it accessible to the masses, something that you are desperate to read more about, with a character that you are deeply invested in. This book is historical fiction writing at it’s best.

Kristin Hannah pulls all the punches, her descriptions are so vivid you can really imagine what it was like to live with nothing. Reading this book will make you thankful for what you have, no matter how little you currently perceive that to be.

I read this shortly after reading Firefly Lane and the difference between Elsa and Cloud couldn’t be more stark. Elsa shows us just what a mum is willing to do to ensure the safety of her children and to try and get the best life for them. This is a woman who, when pushed, will give up everything that she loves, if it means a better future for her children. I’m not usually one for posting quotes from books but there is the most wonderful quote about motherhood in here

“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.”

5 stars just doesn’t seem to be enough

five-stars
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While Paris Slept Book Review

Posted May 24, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

While Paris Slept Book ReviewWhile Paris Slept by Ruth Druart
Published by Hachette UK on February 23, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
five-stars

Paris 1944
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined...

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.

Wow. This book was so much more than I expected it to be.

Set during WWII and looking back at it from 1953 later While Paris Slept is told from multiple view points. That of Jean Luc a railroad worker, Charlotte a nurse and Sarah who is Jewish. Towards the end of the story we have a few chapters narrated by Sam, Sarah’s son.

This is a book about just what you will endure for love, how it can see you through the very worst of times.

What struck me throughout this book is the heartache that everyone endures while all trying to do the right thing. There is no “bad guy” in this book, just a group of people who are trying to get through life in the very worst of times and who suffer, no matter what choices they make. Everyone admits to making mistakes but these were done with the best of intentions and it’s only with hindsight that it’s possible to see that an alternative course of action may have worked out better. Your heart goes out to every single one of the main characters as they pay for these mistakes, knowing that their actions have brought them on but knowing that the alternative would have been just as heartbreaking.

Ruth Druart tackles some seriously tough subjects throughout this book, from living in occupied France and being a ‘survival collaborator’, to surviving in Auschwitz, to doing what is best for your child – no matter how much it hurts you. She handles all of these with such sensitivity and has obviously researched extremely thoroughly.

This is a book that will break you heart repeatedly and will stay with you long after you read the last page

five-stars

About Ruth Druart

Living in Paris for the last thirty years inspired me to write, and my debut novel, While Paris Slept, came out in 2021, followed by The Last Hours in Paris, to be released in July 2022. Both books are set during the occupation of World War II, a time which intrigued me as I imagined the French having to live and work alongside the occupiers.

I love the power of story, and believe that sharing stories from different perspectives and different backgrounds can help us understand the world better. Having studied psychology at Leicester University, I have always been interested in the workings of the mind, and especially in what motivates people. I find people fascinating and love creating my own characters, each one flawed and touching in their own way.

I don’t believe in the single story, and in my books I like to present different perspectives, leaving the reader to make up their own mind as the characters face moral dilemmas and difficult choices. I hope you enjoy reading them.

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