Faithless by Karin Slaughter

Posted May 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Faithless by Karin SlaughterFaithless by Karin Slaughter
Series: Grant County #5
Published by Random House on May 16, 2022
Narrator: Francie Swift
Length: 5 hours
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 393
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
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
four-half-stars

Karin Slaughter brings back her two most fascinating and complex characters -- medical examiner Sara Linton and her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver -- in a heart-pounding tale of faith, doubt, and murder. The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods -- then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty young woman. For them, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case. For as Jeffrey and Sara move further down a trail of shocking surprises and hidden passions, neither is prepared for the most stunning discovery of all: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.

Having just read the previous book in this series and not enjoyed it as much as I was hoping to I was happy to see a return to form with this installment.

While out walking Jeffrey takes a fall over a pipe sticking out of the ground, which leads to the discovery of a dead body.

There is something that is niggling me about this series, something I’ve noticed in all of the books so far. As the Chief of Police and the Medical Examiner, Jeffrey and Sara should be investigating all of the murders that these books are centred around. What really gets me is that it’s always one of these two who discovers the murder, does nobody else in the town leave the house? Where are all the dog walkers, it’s always a dog walker that discovers a body!!!

I’ve read a few books recently which have had a similar premise, even though I didn’t actually know what they were about when I went into them (I don’t usually read the blurb on books, or read it months before I actually read the book).

I really love the Lena storyline, I like that it shows that even someone in the police force who was a strong independent woman can get caught up in a situation and struggle to get out of it. I can’t wait for the next book to see where this is going given how this one ended.

four-half-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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Book Blitz: The Irish Wanders by Shannon O’Gorman

Posted May 16, 2022 by louisesr in Excerpt, Tour / 0 Comments

The Irish Wanders
Shannon O’Gorman
(Rose Hawthorne, #2)
Publication date: March 16th 2022
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Rose Hawthorne is a celebrity author in her early seventies, who dislikes the spotlight but has a penchant for Hermes scarfs, round violet sunglasses, and old colonial hotels.

One day, she receives a strange letter asking her to visit Newgrange, Ireland and look for something that has been hidden there for a thousand years.

She asks her granddaughter to accompany her, but she hadn’t expected Samantha to continually be posting photos of their progress on her Instagram account. An encounter with an old love and an unexpected discovery leads Rose further and further into the past, and she finds must make a hard decision about her future.

Don’t miss this second book in the Rose Hawthorne series!

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

She linked her arm around his as they walked, a natural move. She was allowed to do it. It felt right. Rose was drawn towards Bill. He was like a giant magnet pulling her and she couldn’t help but move closer to him.

They walked together, drunk and happy. She didn’t engage him in conversation. She knew the flow was right. He talked and she listened.

When they got to the next pub, he bought her another pint, and they sat down to listen to a lone fiddler. She sipped the Guinness. It was dark and warm, different from any other beer.

He’d leaned over her, and then—the kiss. The kiss came as a surprise to her. His soft lips were on hers. She could smell the beer on his breath.

After the kiss, he put his forehead against hers. They sat together, joined like that for a long time, letting the music wash over them, throbbing in time with their heartbeats.

At first, the music the fiddler played was lively, his fingers deftly danced across the strings, and a few couples got up to spin around the floor. Towards the end of his set, he played exquisite notes that washed over the pub, making the dust dance, and it rose in the air like magic. The cheering and conversation quieted down for his last song. It was a slow piece that most of them recognised. The fiddler hit the final note with such poignancy that it echoed throughout the pub. When the music stopped, the whole pub went quiet.They cleared their throats and blinked back tears, and then took a few last swallows from their pints.

“Nothing like a bit of Irish music to bring out the tears,” Bill admitted wiping an eye.

“It’s something so special,” Rose agreed with a small sniff.

And all around the pub, they raised their glasses to the fiddler and his music.

As people began to leave the pub, Rose realized that it was getting late and neither of them had eaten yet.

“Shall we eat something? Maybe grab some fish and chips?” Bill said, reading her mind.

“Perfect,” she replied in a low, quiet voice.

They bought some greasy fish and chips at a nearby takeaway. It was wrapped in brown paper and covered with the Dublin news.

Then, they walked the streets until they found a bench under the stars away from the shouts, laughter and the lights. Beside the river, they were alone. They unwrapped the greasy paper and ate the cod hungrily, stuffing the vinegar smeared fries quickly into their mouths.

“Do you want the last chip?” Bill had said softly, holding it up in his greasy fingers.

Rose raised her eyebrows and smiled. “I certainly do.”

Bill placed it gently in her mouth, looking deeply into her eyes. She kissed his fingers slowly.

Then he kissed her again. She’d clung to him and let him kiss her.

They were both tired. Bill took her hand and led her up a narrow laneway not far away.


Author Bio:

Shannon is originally from Winnipeg, Canada but has had the great fortune to have traveled and lived in several countries. After graduating with a degree in English literature she focused on travelling for a few years and eventually found herself teaching English in Japan. After more than a decade in Japan, she returned to teach ESL in Canada and convinced her husband and daughter to join her. These days she lives in San Jose, California, and enjoys coaxing her dog to train for a Camino.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram


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The Truth About Unspeakable Things Book Review

Posted May 16, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Truth About Unspeakable Things Book ReviewThe Truth About Unspeakable Things by Emily A. Myers
Published by WritePublishSell on April 6, 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Instatours
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

In an emotional, thought-provoking journey filled with secrets and regret, a young woman has a second chance at love after abuse.

Emma Marshall is haunted by the trauma of her past. The night she ended her engagement to cheating fiancé, Beaux, was meant to be the night she took back control, but it was only the beginning of his true hold over her. Nine months after suffering an intimate assault by the man who pledged his life to her, Emma is doing - okay. At least, that's what everyone thinks. No one knows the unspeakable truth of what happened between her and Beaux. It's a secret Emma plans to carry to the grave, until Julian Cole moves in next door and opens Emma's mind and heart to the possibility of love after betrayal. As the reporter and music executive grow closer in the music-filled city of New Orleans, Emma must risk everything to protect her newfound happiness. As Emma embarks on a dangerous journey to bring her ex to justice, the bounds of forgiveness are tested as more unspeakable truths come to light. Will Emma overcome her trauma and have her second chance at love? Or, will her past destroy her and everyone she holds dear?

Trigger Warnings: sexual assault/ rape (depicted), self-harm (referenced), abortion (discussed)

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

I read this book for an Instagram blog tour and wanted to add a bit more detail to my review on here.

I think to say that I enjoyed this book would be incorrect, given it’s subject matter. It was incredibly well written with an engrossing storyline but it has a number of triggers which are the centre point of the plot.

When we open the novel Emma has just returned from a holiday to Greece where she had to make some major decisions around her life and her future following the discovery of her fiance in bed with another woman. She does’t get to have the talk with him about her decision though as he has arranged a surprise party for her return, pulling out all the stops. This got my back up about him from the start, what sort of narcissist knows that his fiancee is likely to leave him and so invites all of her closest family and friends round to try and prevent it from happening.

But this was just the start, Beaux is not a person that you say no to and there are some horrible repercussions for Emma in breaking off their relationship.

From this point on the next few chapters look at Emma rebuilding her life and starting a relationship with her new next door neighbour. At this point I was starting to wonder if I’d inadvertently picked up a romance novel rather than a thriller, in fact, around Chapter 10 I went back to the synopsis to see what I’d thought the book was about.

After this things take on a more thriller journey; Emma learns just what her ex is capable of and what lengths he will go to in order to protect himself.

There were a couple of places where the story jumped around a little bit and things happened a bit too conveniently, but other than that it was one hell of a ride, with twists and turns and OMG moments.

This is a book which is so very relevant to now, it has a very similar theme to another book I’ve recently read which makes me question whether this sort of thing happens more than I’m aware of or expected.

My only negative would be that the final chapter – the epilogue – is a bit of a brain dump of information. I found it really interesting but maybe it shouldn’t have been part of the story but an authors notes at the end of the novel.

four-half-stars

About Emily A. Myers

Emily A. Myers is an author of romantic suspense and mystery, thriller, and suspense. When not writing, Emily enjoys traveling, devouring the latest Netflix series, and scouring the shelves of Sephora.

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Tour: The Adoption by Jenna Kernan

Posted May 13, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 0 Comments

Tour: The Adoption by Jenna KernanThe Adoption by Jenna Kernan
Published by Bookouture on 11 May, 2022
Length: 12 hrs 16 mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 407
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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

Your little girl is all yours… isn’t she?

Dani and her husband Tate’s life together is almost perfect. But Dani is haunted by guilt for causing a terrible car accident that left her unable to have children. She can’t remember why she was driving so fast that day or where she was going. Her therapist says she should try to move on.

So when their application to adopt is accepted, Dani sobs with joy. As perfect little Willow nestles in her arms, Dani looks at Tate’s loving smile and knows he will always provide for his family, no matter what.

When Dani sees a woman staring as she pushes Willow’s stroller around the safe, gated Florida community where they live, she tells herself it’s simply an admiring passer-by. After all, Dani herself used to watch the local moms and wish she was in their shoes.

But when Dani wakes in the night to find Willow’s crib empty, their perfect life becomes a nightmare.

In her frantic distress for her daughter, Dani’s memories of the accident flash through her mind. And with a jolt she realises: everyone around her has been lying about that day.

Will Dani find out the truth before it’s too late for her baby girl?

Or will facing her own dark secrets tear them all apart?

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.

Today I’m on the Bookouture book tour for The Adoption by Jenna Kernan.

My first thought about this is that the premise is incorrect. The adoption is a very small part of the narrative. It’s not the focus of the book by a long shot. The baby itself doesn’t show up until half way through the book and even then it’s not the main part of the storyline. That being said, I did enjoy the book, just because it wasn’t what I expected doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

I felt for Dani, she’d been through a lot and it had obviously had a major effect on her, Tate was untrustworthy, I never really felt that Dani was safe with him. He pushed her too hard too fast, I wanted to give him the squint eye.

The start of the book is a lot of scene setting but the last quarter has twist after twist. One of them I was pretty certain of before it was announced, the other had all the hints there, I’d made a note of things I’d noticed that didn’t add up and it still didn’t quite trigger in my mind, a version of it was debated but I never quite managed to get my head around it. I think if the first half of the book was condensed I would have given this another star, but it was well worth the voyage through the first half to get to the more enjoyable second half.

About Jenna Kernan

Publishers Weekly bestselling author Jenna Kernan is a Silver Falchion nominee and winner of the Book Buyers’ Best award. Her new gripping crime thrillers feature a criminal psychologist, and daughter of an infamous female serial killer, facing a series of murders in Florida. Look for A Killer’s Daughter and The Hunted Girls, out now. Jenna is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Florida Mystery Writers and Novelists, Inc. A natural redhead living with her husband on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Jenna has recently increased her sunblock to SPF 50.

Jenna offers a FREE BOOK as a welcome gift to new VIP Readers. Subscribe here: http://littl.ink/GripThriller7

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20 Books of Summer

Posted May 12, 2022 by louisesr in Features, Reading Challenge / 7 Comments

20 books of summer is a challenge hosted by Cathy at 746books. This challenge is to read – and review – 20 books over the summer, between the 1st June and 1st September.

You can find her original post announcing the challenge and all the information here

I’m reasonably confident I can read 20 books, I’m not so confident I can review that many. As Cathy’s blog is all about reducing your TBR pile, I’m going to choose my 20 books from those that I already have on my TBR, namely my ever increasing NetGalley pile! Below are all of the books that I’m hoping to read/review. Wish me luck!

  1. The Lost Ones by Marnie Riches
  2. Wake by Shelley Burr
  3. The Guilty Girl by Patricia Gibney
  4. The Other Guest by Helen Cooper
  5. A Stranger on Board by Cameron Ward
  6. The Bay by Allie Reynolds
  7. Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter
  8. The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
  9. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
  10. Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen
  11. Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman
  12. The Last Hours in Paris by Ruth Druart
  13. The Cabin in The Woods by Sarah Alderson
  14. The Italian Ballerina by Kirsty Cambron
  15. The Retreat by Sarah Pearse
  16. The Lies I Told by Mary Burton
  17. Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall
  18. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
  19. One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low
  20. Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Let me know your most anticipated read of summer

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Tour – The Lost Bones by Ruhi Choudhary

Posted May 11, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Tour – The Lost Bones by Ruhi ChoudharyThe Lost Bones by Ruhi Choudhary
Series: Mackenzie Price #5
Published by Bookouture on May 9, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 332
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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

The woman’s skin was almost transparent. Her light hair darkened at the tips. Her lips were blue and slightly parted. But all Mackenzie could focus on were the eyes. Those arctic eyes that looked glassy like glistening marbles. She could see her own reflection in them staring back at her. The woman looked almost like a carefully crafted doll.

Detective Mackenzie Price knows what makes a killer tick. But when she finds the body of a young woman dumped in the trunk of her car, she knows this case is going to be the most personal and twisted yet.

Looking down at the victim, Mack recognises her instantly: Sophie Fields, the fiancée of Mack’s co-worker who vanished months before. Reeling in shock, Mack keeps one crucial piece of evidence to herself, too horrified to share it: a crumpled piece of paper bearing the words “You’re welcome, Mackenzie.”

As Mack pieces together Sophie’s last known movements, another body is found with a note. This time the victim is Courtney Montenegro, Mack’s childhood bully. As Mack looks at the note it becomes clear that the killer has an unusual MO: they want to protect her at all costs. But why?

The only evidence connecting the victims are identical pieces of material left at both crime scenes. With no other leads, Mack unearths a cold case which may lead her to the killer. Sophie had a sister who disappeared years before. Did she get too close to the truth and pay the ultimate price?

With an obsessive killer still on the loose, Mack knows that she needs to get deep inside their mind to work out who is next on the hit list. Can she get to the killer in time before someone close to her loses their life?

A completely gripping read that will have you on the edge of your seat, this addictive crime thriller is perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh.

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.

Today is my stop on the Bookouture tour for The Lost Bones by Ruhi Choudhary. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I agreed to read it before I realised that it was the 5th book in a series and I prefer to read a series in order, however, I felt that this worked well as a standalone and I didn’t think that I was missing anything within the story by not having all the background.

The book opens with Mackenzie “Mack” Price returning from a run and finding the body of her colleagues fiancee in the boot of her car, as the body count keeps increasing it becomes apparent that the murderer is choosing people with a relationship to Mack. With cryptic messages being left for her, the town turning against her and the people in power all in a secret club Mack and Nick have got their work cut out for them.

I loved Sully, the boss who needs something to do with his hands in order to think. Every scene he’s in there’s a different hobby taking place in his hands. I found this really unique – and it’s not often that there’s a unique character in books any more!

I thought I knew how it was going to end, who the bad guy was going to be. I was certain, as we approached the end – yes!! I was right! Feelings of smugness followed. I kept on reading. Two pages later.. doh! I was wrong, everything was turned on it’s head again. I love it when a book can do this to you.

I’ve already downloaded the first book in the series to start reading all of the others.

The whole series is available on Kindle Unlimited.

four-half-stars

About Ruhi Choudhary

Ruhi Choudhary discovered her passion for writing when she was seven years old and wrote her first Star Trek episode. Being a fan of the dark and twisted, she found her calling in crime thriller.

She likes to write stories that make you a little uncomfortable and characters that you struggle to make up your mind about but stay with you.

She lives in Toronto and spends her days training to be a scientist and wishing it rained more often!

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Indelible by Karin Slaughter

Posted May 9, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Indelible by Karin SlaughterIndelible by Karin Slaughter
Series: Grant County #4
Published by Random House on February 7, 2011
Narrator: Deborah Hazlett
Length: 11 hours and 34 minutes
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 445
Format: Audiobook
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-stars

When medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver take a trip away from the small town of Heartsdale, it should be a straightforward weekend at the beach. But they decide to take a detour via Jeffrey's hometown and things go violently wrong when Jeffrey's best friend Robert shoots dead an intruder who breaks into his home. Jeffrey and Sara are first on the scene and Jeffrey's keen to clear his friend's name, but for Sara things aren't so simple. And when Jeffrey appears to change the crime scene, Sara no longer knows who to trust.

Twelve years later, Sara and Jeffrey are caught up in a shockingly brutal attack which threatens to destroy both their lives. But they're not random victims. They've been targeted. And it seems the past is catching up with both of them...

I am a huge fan of Karin Slaughter, I only discovered her books last year and I’m now trying to work my way through her backlog. This book is the 4th in her Grant County series. These generally aren’t books for the faint hearted but this one was pretty tame compared to all of the previous books by Slaughter that I’ve read.

Much of the story in this book takes part in the past, and you’re actually hard pressed to call it action. It’s providing a lot of backstory around Sara and Jeffrey’s relationship. The exploits of the past are very relevant to the present storyline but I felt they were very drawn out. There isn’t a great deal of anything happening, although we do have a better understanding of the nature of Sara and Jeffrey’s relationship at the end of it and an appreciation of how they’ve got to the point that they’re currently at.

I did much prefer the present story line where the the police station is under siege by two gunmen, who are the gunmen and why are they out to kill police officers – particularly Jeffrey? The clues are in the parallel story line of the past.

Karin Slaughter has said that because this is the Sara and Jeffrey origin story that it is possible to read this book before the other three, however, I have to respectfully disagree. While the majority of the story line will work well this way however, Lena is returning to work today and I think in order for you to understand her actions and reactions to the current situation, you need to understand her back story and what she’s been through.

One area where I did struggle quite a lot is the homophobia. I know this was written 10 years ago and the story line featuring homophobia was set 12 years prior to that but there were times when I was screaming at the book for such backwards thinking. The sensible part of me is saying I know that this thinking does still exist in some places in the present day, it’s just not as prevalent as it was then and although Sara and Jeffrey were not part of the homophobia it still stuck in my throat. I think I’ve become so used to the Schitt’s Creek was of thinking whereby your sexuality is just accepted, that anything other than this is just hard to comprehend.

I’m hoping to buddy read the next book in the series, look out for reviews from myself and Charlie at Read, Watch and Drink Coffee

four-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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The Executioner by Chris Carter

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
The Executioner by Chris CarterThe Executioner by Chris Carter
Series: Robert Hunter #2
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 3, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 496
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Inside a Los Angeles church, on the altar steps, lies the blood-soaked body of a priest. Later, the forensic team discover that, on the victim's chest, the figure 3 has been scrawled in blood.

At first, Detective Robert Hunter believes that this is a ritualistic killing. But as more bodies surface, he is forced to reassess. All the victims died in the way they feared the most. Their worst nightmares have literally come true. But how could the killer have known? And what links these apparently random victims?

Hunter finds himself on the trail of an elusive and sadistic killer, someone who apparently has the power to read his victims' minds. Someone who can sense what scares his victims the most. Someone who will stop at nothing to achieve his twisted aim.

What are you most afraid of? Snakes? Spiders? Needles?

This is the second book in the Robert Hunter series by Chris Carter and I can confirm that some scenes are as stomach churning as the first book, if not more so. This is not a book (or series) for the faint-hearted. I’ve got a strong constitution but there were times when I was reading through my fingers.

The book opens with the murder of a priest and it’s not long before we have a rising body count. We get to view these murders from all sides. The story focuses on different people depending on where we are; for the most part the story focuses on Hunter but in the set up of a murder we follow the victim, then we get inside the murderers head, I loved the scenes where the victim is going about their life, doing their job and then you get to see the moment that the penny drops that something isn’t right.

Although Hunter is the star of the show we also have Garcia, his partner, following him where neither of them should be but doing everything necessary to save a life and catch a killer. While they’re trying to figure out who will die next and why they hear from Mollie, a teenage runway who is having visions of the murders. Given that these murders are so horrific that many of the police on scene are struggling to cope with them, can you imagine what it’s like for a teenager unexpectedly seeing visions of them when alone in the dark. No thank you.

No matter how mentally fit anyone is, there’s only so much savagery one can stomach. There’s only so much psychological abuse one can take before becoming detached. She’d read that somewhere, and she believed every word of it,

I love Hunter as a detective, obviously he’s flawed (aren’t they all) but he has a vast knowledge and is happy to use it without being arrogant about it. He also has a good heart, the way he worked with Molly is great, he goes against the rules because he needs to do what is right for her, not what is wanted by his superiors.

four-half-stars

About Chris Carter

Biographies can be an absolute drag, so I won’t bore anyone with a long life story.

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

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Little Princes by Conor Grennan

Posted May 5, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Little Princes by Conor GrennanLittle Princes by Conor Grennan
Published by HarperCollins UK on January 27, 2011
Genres: Autobiography
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

The riveting story of Conor Grennan’s year in Nepal reads like a cross between Into Thin Air and Three Cups of Tea. While volunteering at an orphanage, Conor discovers that the children are not orphans: they are trafficked. Despite the danger, Conor treks up dirt paths with photographs of the children, miraculously reuniting dozens of families.

Remember how in my opening week I told you that I had a blog many years ago? This is one of the posts that I have saved from there. I read this book when it first came out and I still think of it often. It’s one I never hear mention of any more but one that I whole-heartedly recommend.

This is quite possibly one of the best books I’ve read, add to this the fact that it’s a biography and five stars just doesn’t seem to do it justice. As soon as I finished it I was recommending it to family and friends.

Not only is this a really interesting and moving story but it’s really well written, Conor does a fantastic job of letting everybody’s personality show through in the way they speak. In a lot of ways this book reads more like a novel than like I biography, which I personally think makes it a lot easier to read. It also has a lot of humorous scenes interspersed with the more moving scenes. I think it’s a sign of a good writer if they can make you both laugh and cry within minutes of each other.

The work that he has done makes Conor an inspiration to many, it would have been so easy for him to have completed his initial 3 months and not looked back but the children affected him and got under his skin, as they have obviously done to a number of people as Conor makes it clear he has not worked alone in his fight to save these children.

A percentage of the proceeds from this book go to aid Conor’s work in caring for the children of Nepal and tracing their families. Once you read this you’ll understand just how important that is.

five-stars

About Conor Grennan

Conor Grennan is a citizen of the US and Ireland. He grew up in Poughkeepsie NY and Jersey City, NJ. He spent eight years at the EastWest Institute (EWI), both in Prague and the EU Office in Brussels, focusing on peace and reconciliation in the Balkans. He left EWI in 2004 to travel and volunteer in Nepal, where he ultimately started Next Generation Nepal (NGN), an organization dedicated to reconnecting trafficked children with their families.

Conor was based in Kathmandu, Nepal, until October 2007, when he returned to the US. He is still active in NGN and serves on the Board. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the NYU Stern School of Business, and currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and son.

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The Birdcage by Eve Chase

Posted May 4, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Birdcage by Eve ChaseThe Birdcage by Eve Chase
Published by Michael Joseph, Penguin UK on April 28, 2022
Genres: Historical, Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
five-stars

Some secrets need to be set free . . .

Twenty years after their last visit, half-sisters Lauren, Kat and Flore are summoned to Rock Point: the beautiful and windswept cliff house where they sat for their father's most famous painting, Girls and Birdcage.

But what should be a joyous return is darkened by memories of the catastrophic events of a summer twenty years before.

Because when the sisters arrive, it is clear that someone is determined not to let the past lie.

Someone who is watching their every move.

Who remembers the girls in the painting, and what they did . . .

Set on the rugged Cornish coast, The Birdcage is a twisty, spellbinding novel with unforgettable characters who must piece together their family's darkest secrets.
________

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

Today is my stop on the tour for The Birdcage by Eve Chase, released on 28th April. I read The Glass House last year and I absolutely loved it so I was really excited when Michael Joseph invited me to be a part of this tour.

Eve Chase’s writing is absolutely beautiful, the way she weaves her story so that two separate timelines converge perfectly is just stunning.

We know from the start that something happened in the Summer of 1999, something that changed the lives of the three sisters Flora, Kat and Lauren forever. We know that although all half sisters, Flora and Kat were close but they were detached from Lauren, who only appeared in their lives when she was nine. Lauren isn’t on her own though, the housekeepers daughter Gemma, is a similar age to her and they get along well. Flora and Kat know what happened at the time of the solar eclipse, they were responsible, Lauren was a victim, but of what we are still to learn.

The tag line for this novel is “some stories need to be set free”, each of the girls is weighed down by secrets. For Kat and Flora it is secrets about what actually happened back in 1999. Today, all of the girls have secrets about what is going on in their lives. Why is Flora not answering the calls from her husband, why are a legal team constantly calling Kat, why is Lauren hiding the letters that she is writing to her friend?

Truth relies on perspective. It’s relative. If you live a life of pure, sheer truth, it’d be blinding, untenable, and every family would kill one another over Sunday lunch.

At the centre of all of this is Rock Point, the family home, the other characters that live there and the landscape itself. This novel honestly couldn’t be set anywhere other than Cornwall for it to have the same windswept impact. The house itself is imposing and gothic, although slightly neglected it is still grand.

And Flora can hear a slow drumbeat, which isn’t the waves, or her heart, but seems to be coming from the house itself, as if it were a sentient being.

Rock Point is home to the girls eccentric painter father, Charlie, and his parents in 1999, although they are no longer present in 2019. His father doesn’t play a major role in the novel but his mother, grandmother to the girls is ever present, as his her parrot, who is able to mimic people at the most inopportune moments. The parrot actually has a surprisingly central role in the novel, seeming to know exactly what is happening and what to say to cause the most disruption. The girls are desperate for their fathers love and affection, his attention. But he lives life on his own terms, not really paying any heed to the consequences of his actions. Hiding his own lies from all of them throughout the novel.

But Charlie Finch is not most people. He’s a Finch. He’s an artist. He has an ability to detach from his subjects, to see human beings as arrangements of form and flesh in space, volume and light a technical challenge to be solved.

While the girls are at Rock Point their father has asked them to sit for a painting, his most important, his daughters with a bird cage. His artwork, and particularly this painting are so important to the now, providing symbology of Charlie’s life. A birdcage is often used in both art and literature (think of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings) as it symbolises loss of freedom, the flighty bird being caged and oppression of women. This is reflected in the storyline, we have 3 very different girls, each one being held within their gilded cage for different reasons. Flora by her family life, Kat by her business and Lauren by the past.

I had already guessed some of what was to come toward the end of this novel, but that didn’t take away from it at all. The joy was in the path to the end. The end was just the perfect wrap up of everything, it led exactly where it needed to and tied up things that had happened right at the start that I’d forgotten about.

Eve Chase is now an auto-buy author for me.

five-stars

About Eve Chase

I’m an author who writes rich suspenseful novels about families – dysfunctional, passionate – and the sort of explosive secrets that can rip them apart. I write stories that I’d love to read. Mysteries. Page-turners. Worlds you can lose yourself in. Reading time is so precious: I try to make my books worthy of that sweet spot.

My office is a garden studio/shed. There are roses outside. I live in Oxford with my three children, husband, and a ridiculously hairy golden retriever, Harry.

Do say hello. Wave! Tweet me! I love hearing from readers.

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TTT – One Word Reviews of Last 10 Books

Posted May 3, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 6 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This is so hard for me to do. I started a book blog because the word limit on Instagram wasn’t enough and now I’m going to try to do one word reviews! Anyway, here goes…

The Birdcage by Eve Chase – amazing

22 Seconds by James Patterson – standard

The Executioner by Chris Carter – gross

The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell – excellent

No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride – crazy

The Serial Killers Girl by LH Stacey – predictable

Survive The Night by Riley Sagar – overhyped

The Perfect Holiday by TJ Emerson – staycation

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie – humorous

The Lighthouse Girls by BR Spangler – clowns

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Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

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

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Penguin UK on April 7, 2011
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
five-stars

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia. An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn't know if she'll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope. Lina hopes for her family. For her country. For her future. For love - first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose . . . Will hope keep Lina alive? Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

Before this book was published I didn’t know anything about the treatments of Lithuanian’s during World War II, it amazes me that everyone knows about the treatment of the Jews during this period but they were by no means the only people who were mistreated. Having recently read Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet about the treatment of Chinese people living in the USA I was eager to get another insight into this period from a different perspective.

Knowing that this was about Lithuanian Prisoners of War during World War II, I thought I was prepared for it to be an emotional read. I was wrong, nothing could prepare me for how absolutely heart wrenching this novel is. Within pages of starting this book I was openly crying in public places, I couldn’t help myself and yet I couldn’t tear myself away, I was absolutely transfixed from the start and desperate to know what happened.

We start the novel as Lina, her mother and her brother are being taken from their home, their father has already disappeared days earlier. They are told nothing about where they are going or what to expect, but are taken to a railway station where they are forced to board a train with hundreds of others in appalling conditions. Within the carriage Sepetys introduces us to a number of characters who accompany Lina and her family throughout the novel, she does this with such skill that you grow to care about each of them, know their idiosyncrasies and really do feel the pain of all those involved. As a group they have to fight for their survival but also look out for one another and support each other through what is obviously the worst ordeal of their lives. The conditions on the train are horrific but this is only the start of the story, the trains are a means of transferring the prisoners to work camps where the fight for survival escalates. I actually started to worry about myself at this point in the novel, it was almost as though I had become anaesthetised to what they were going through, I calmed and went a couple of hours without tears. I think part of my calming was the determination, spirit and camaraderie that the prisoners showed. Even when they were suffering and there was little hope to be had, they clung to any glimmer of hope that could be found. The attitude of these people was unbelievably uplifting, in the UK in times of trouble people talk about the spirit of the blitz, although I’m sure it wasn’t a great time for anyone to live through the spirit of the blitz cannot even compare to the courage that is conveyed throughout this novel.

Just when you are thinking that things are as bad as they can get, the prisoners are again moved – to Siberia. For me, the thought of heading to Siberia now when I could take all manner of modern gizmo’s and clothing to keep me warm still isn’t appealing. For a malnourished, mistreated prisoner to be sent there in clothes they’d been wearing for years with no accommodation awaiting them at the other end is beyond comprehension. Yet still, they refuse to be broken and carry themselves with dignity at all times.
If I thought the start of Between Shades of Grey was emotional I was in for a shock at the end, I’m writing this review a week after finishing it and my eyes are welling up as I type, it was absolutely heart breaking.

This was a fabulous book, filled with raw emotion. For a horrific subject matter it was often shocking, but never unbearable to read. Sepetys is very eloquent in her storytelling and I loved the dignity and hope that was present throughout the novel.

five-stars

About Ruta Sepetys

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author and Winner of the Carnegie Medal.
Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. The daughter of a refugee, Ruta is drawn to underrepresented stories of strength through struggle and hopes to give voice to those who weren’t able to tell their story. Her award-winning historical novels are published in over sixty countries and have received over forty literary prizes.

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Weekly Wrap Up – 1 May 2022

Posted May 1, 2022 by louisesr in Features, Monthly Wrap Up / 0 Comments

Hello!

I suppose the main thing to say in my weekly wrap up is – I started a blog!! I used to have a book blog back in 2010-2012 and I loved posting to it, but then life got in the way, I had kids and I stopped posting, and then deleted it. You have no idea how much it makes my heart ache that I no longer have all those reviews and posts.

About 2 years ago I started reading again, and then in November 2020 I joined Bookstagram, I didn’t think people really had blogs any more. Although I love Bookstagram and the amazing community of readers on there I have been frustrated that I can’t go into the same level of detail in a book review as what I would like to. After looking into things a little I decided I’d set up a free blog on blogger. That lasted about 3 hours before I got seriously frustrated in not being able to set things up how I’d like to.

I scoured the internet and somehow managed to find Ashley at Nose Graze who offered the perfect book blogging plug in, gorgeous themes and hosting so I don’t need to worry about any of the techie aspects of running a blog. She also offers full support, all for a really reasonable monthly price. I’ve definitely got my money’s worth already this month. Everything was set up for me instantly and I published my first post the same day!

I’m hoping to publish posts daily going forwards as I have a lot of historic reviews to share, as well as a huge TBR which I want to share with you.

Books I received this week

I’ve received 3 books this week

The Retreat by Sarah Pearse

I loved The Sanatorium which I read with my online book club last year, as soon as I saw Sarah Pearse had another book out I new I wanted to read it. I got this copy from NetGalley

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan

I was watching Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix and absolutely loved it, by the time I was half way through the series, I’d ordered Sarah Vaughan’s latest book.

The Executioner by Chris Carter

I’m part of a small book group where we read some of the more gruesome thriller books; Chris Carter, Karin Slaughter are favourite authors in there, we started on the Robert Hunter series towards the end of last year and decided we were going to read this next week so I picked it up from Audible.

What I read this week

I’ve had quite a decent week and have read 5 books, a few of which I’ve already reviewed on here

The Perfect Holiday by TJ Emerson

Survive the Night by Riley Sagar

The Serial Killers Girl by LH Stacey

No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride

The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell

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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

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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
Goodreads
five-stars

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

five-stars

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.

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