Posted in Five Star Reads

Five of the Best (June 2014 to June 2018)


5 Star Reads

In 2015 to celebrate reviewing for five years I started a series entitled Five of the Best where I chose my favourite five star reads which I’d read in that month. I will be celebrating Five years of blogging later this year and so I decided it was time to repeat the series.

It should be noted there are typically slimmer pickings for reviews to choose from in June as that is typically when I go on holiday but fear not, there are still some great reads to choose from.

You can read my original review of the book featured by clicking on the book cover.

From June 2014 I am choosing The Kill by Jane Casey, book five of her spectacular Maeve Kerrigan series. It looks like book eight is due to be published in 2019.

This exceptionally worrying read features a serial killer who is picking off the police in London. The story uses elements that we witnessed from the 2011 riots in London giving the storyline a basis in reality that only serves to give it more credibility. That combined with the media and politicians using the murders to serve their own agendas only ramps up the tension.

As ever Jane Casey includes a wonderful array of characters, the plotting and pacing are spot-on making for absolutely compulsive reading.

Their job is to investigate crime – not become the victims…

A killer is terrorising London but this time the police are the targets. Urgently re-assigned to investigate a series of brutal attacks on fellow officers, Maeve Kerrigan and her boss Josh Derwent have little idea what motivates the killer’s fury against the force.

But they know it will only be a matter of time before the killer strikes again. Amazon

I am a huge Sophie Hannah fan but even given the massive expectation I already have A Game for all the Family was just something else!

Never before have I got quite so far through a book where I’m enormously enjoying what I’m reading but have no clue what actually is going on… the oddest experience and all the more delightful when everything became clear in the end.

The basic premise is that whilst driving to their new house, the Merrison family spot an odd house which resonates.

All goes well with the move he ugly house is more or less forgotten and for the first couple of months the move out of London to Devon proves to be a good one. But then Ellen becomes withdrawn and secretive. Ah but she’s fourteen, so nothing too out of the ordinary! Ellen is spending all of her time working on a story she’s writing for an English assignment and when Justine finds the first couple of pages she’s alarmed. It is very well-written, set in their new house and has more than one murder! Around the same time Ellen becomes distressed about her friend George Donbavand who has been expelled from school for a crime he hasn’t committed. Justine visits the school and is told that George never existed!

The story winds tighter and tighter and is one of the most unusual and yet absorbing books I have read.

Blurb

He’s not your son. It’s not up to you to save him. But you have to try.

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.

But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.

Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.

If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Amazon

For June’s 2016 top pick I am choosing another innovative writer but this one is a police procedural. Reginald Hill’s Pictures of Perfection is one of my favourites of all of his books. This is the thirteenth book in the Dalziel and Pascoe series, and as with any series they are probably best enjoyed if you read them in order although many, this one included, can be read and appreciated perfectly well as a stand-alone novel.

There is so much to delight in within the pages of Pictures of Perfection, from the links to Jane Austen both ostentatious in the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter and slightly more subtle references within the themes themselves, to the moment in history that the book evokes; this was probably the last moments where ‘village life’ could be portrayed in this manner without those who live in such places laughing at the cliché of ‘Olde Worlde Britain’ that it evokes, one where everyone knows each other better than they know themselves often bound by a common enemy or two.

You’ll be pleased and reassured to know with all the periphery views to enjoy within the pages of this novel, there is also a proper plot with a full-blown mystery or two to be solved

Blurb

High in the Mid-Yorkshire Dales stands the traditional village of Enscombe, seemingly untouched by the modern world. But contemporary life is about to intrude when the disappearance of a policeman brings Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel and DCI Peter Pascoe to its doors.

As the detectives dig beneath the veneer of idyllic village life a new pattern emerges: of family feuds, ancient injuries, cheating and lies. And finally, as the community gathers for the traditional Squire’s Reckoning, it looks as if the simmering tensions will erupt in a bloody climax… Amazon

There were a few books I could have chosen to feature in this post from June 2017 but I have decided to go with Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett because this is not a crime fiction novel of any description!

Instead it taps into the fact that music is the soundtrack to all of our lives. We all recall how we felt about those songs that were the background to early years; the songs we fell in love to and those that we obsessively listened to as we attempt to mend wounded hearts; for many of us there is a tune that can turn back the years to a distant time and place. Laura Barnett has taken this idea and turned it into a densely woven story.

Music is woven throughout the tale about songwriter Cass’s life and we meet some stand-out characters of all types. Cass’s life felt like one I could have been part of, so evocative were the descriptions and so rich in both characters and writing style. This is a book to wallow in with a story that transports its reader to a time and place far away.

Blurb

If you could choose just sixteen moments to define your entire life, what would they be?
Cass Wheeler has seen it all – from the searing heights of success, to earth-shattering moments of despair. She has known passion, envy, pride, fear, and love. She has been a daughter, a mother, a singer, a lover.

A musician born in 1950, Cass is now taking one day to select the sixteen songs in her repertoire that have meant the most to her. And behind each song lies a story – from the day her mother abandoned her, to her passionate first love, to the moment she lost everything. The dreams, the failures, the second chances. But what made her disappear so suddenly from her public life and, most importantly, can she find her way back? Amazon

There was no question about the book I would choose to star as my top read of 2018 – Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is a stunning follow up to Beartown (originally published in the UK as The Scandal). The beauty of this book is the truths that are woven into the story of a small town on the downward slide. The characters are complex with ‘bad’ people doing good and good people doing things that hurt others – I know of no other author who can create such a rich array of characters that reflect real life and create a mesmerising tale for us to meet them in.

I think these two books are among the most quotable of modern books, there are truisms that are expertly woven into a story that will have you experiencing tragedy one moment and wondering at the strength of character of another the next. Everyone in Beartown has a story to tell and Fredrick Backman tells it to us with the love of his creation illuminating the world even when its facing destruction.

Blurb

Beartown is dying . . .

Tucked in a forest in the frozen north, Beartown’s residents are tough and hardworking. They don’t expect life to be easy, but they do expect it to be fair.

Which is why the sudden loss of their hockey players to the rival town of Hed hurts. Everyone needs something to cheer for in the long winter nights. Now they have nothing.

So when a new star player arrives, Coach Peter sees an opportunity to rebuild the team – to take on Hed and restore Beartown’s fortunes. But not everyone in town sees it his way.

As the big game between both towns approaches, the rivalry turns bitter and all too real. Once the stands rumbled with threats to ‘kill’ and ‘ruin’ each other, but the residents didn’t mean it. Now they do.

By the time the last goal is scored, someone in Beartown will be dead . . .

Us Against You is the story of two towns, two teams and what it means to believe in something bigger than yourself. It’s about how people come together – sometimes in anger, often in sorrow, but also through love. And how, when we stand together, we can bring a town back to life. Amazon

How many of these have you read? Did you enjoy them as much as I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Five of the Best 2018

January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018

Posted in Books I have read

Cleopatra’s Top 10 Books Published in 2015

Top 10 2015

Well 2015 has provided me with a great selection of books, so good that I originally had 50 (yes 50!!) books that I had awarded the highest five stars too – now even I can’t pretend that 48 books equals 10. What to do? Well as I decided back in 2013 when I started this blog to feature books published in that year I got to discard some of the older books and two got carried forward to next year – that left me with a mere 39 books to select from.

With such a selection to choose from I’ve had to accept that it is inevitable that some great books are not featured this year but I’ve finally settled on my final list which despite me assuming that my best of each month posts would reflect these closely, this exercise has just proved to me that sometimes it is after letting a book settle a while that you realise those that have really made an impact.

This year is particularly crime heavy, even for me but I hope I’ve managed to show what is available across the spectrum, it isn’t all serial killers and missing children you know!

So in no particular order here we go:

If you click on the book covers you can read the full review for each book

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

The Kind Worth Killing

A modern take on Strangers on a Train which is ingenious; Ted and Lily meet in an airport lounge and for a bit of fun Lily suggests they should only tell each other the truth. On the flight Ted reveals that he wants to kill his wife as she has been unfaithful, Lily taking the moral high-ground offers to help him. If you like your book with plenty of twists and turns, this could be just the right book for you.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby

Perhaps you, like me enjoy books that really delve into the psyche of the characters? If so Pretty Baby will provide just that along with a story which will keep you gripped. Heidi decides to befriend a young woman, Willow when she sees her at a train station with a young baby. Unsurprisingly her husband Chris isn’t totally up for the idea especially as Willow and Ruby look like they are becoming a permanent fixture in their lives with little thought for their own daughter Zoe. The placing of the narratives by Chris and Heidi in the past in relation to Willow’s, as told to a third-party, in the present casts a dark shadow over each episode and the full story is gradually revealed.

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

The only non-fiction choice this year not only had a killer of a title, but it also had one of the most riveting stories I’ve ever read, more so because it was true! The book covers the story behind a number of court cases that spanned a decade which all centred on the belief that Thomas Charles Druce, the owner of a Victorian Bazaar was actually the 5th Duke of Portland, an eccentric and reclusive man. As I say this is a fascinating look at not only the court cases but also gives the reader a glimpse of how real people behaved during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods which isn’t quite how the history books portray it.

Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly MacMillan

Burnt Paper Sky

Ok so now we do have one missing child story for the mix, but there is far more to this book than the heart in the mouth search for a lost child. Set in Bristol this book gave me an idea of what sort of information I react to when I read or see media reports about crime – what triggers in the news cause me to make snap judgements about the truth behind the news? A very clever book that made me think as well as being totally entertaining from an investigative perspective with this unfolding chronologically I needed to know the outcome.
Note readers in the US can read this under the title What She Knew in 2016

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Lost Girls

Angela Marsons had her debut novel published in February 2015 and this was her third book featuring the likeable Detective Kim Stone – yes you read that correctly, this is the third in the series. I could easily have included all of her books but this was my favourite premise. More lost children I’m afraid… Two friends are kidnapped but the kidnapper has an extreme way of pushing up the money they will receive, the two sets of parents are pitted against each other! As you can imagine the fallout is spectacular.

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

Disclaimer

Back in April I predicted this book would make my top ten reads of the year, and it has, one book that didn’t need to settle, I knew this was a hit more or less from the first page. It was also one of the hardest to review as there is so little that can be said about the plot without inadvertently spoiling it for others. I liked that the author skilfully manipulated my emotions, over and over again. If you want a book that is full of surprises, choose this book. I have recommended this far and wide (in the real world) and everyone who listened, has loved it!

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths

Smoke and Mirrors

Missing children again, but this time back in history being set in Brighton in 1951. In the second in the Max Mephisto the book is far more a complex puzzle with a feel of an old-fashioned detective novel with clues rather than forensics at the fore. Tied in with a production of Aladdin there is links to another murder years before all to be solved by a wonderful cast of characters. Fancy trying a different type of crime fiction – this could be for you.

A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah

A Game for all the Family

The queen of psychological thrillers completely wowed me with this, a stand-alone novel which had me utterly and completely confused. Now I see you scratching your heads because that doesn’t sound like fun but therein lies the genius of this book. Told in part in a story written by a teenager and part in real-life the writing was thoroughly entertaining even if I couldn’t for the life of me work out what the point was – rest assured there was a point and I don’t think I’ll ever forget this amazing read.

Hidden by Emma Kavanagh

Hidden

Want a mixture of investigative and psychological crime fiction? Hidden opens with a shooting at a Welsh hospital and the descriptions aren’t for the faint-hearted. What follows is an in-depth look at the crime from multiple viewpoints over an ever-changing time period before and after the shooting.. the result is amazing – this complex structure worked, against all odds.

The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minnet

The Hidden Legacy

This debut novel is another book that has an opener that will become seared on your memory when a young boy sets fire to two girls in a school playground yet the opening is backed up by a thoughtful, deep and in places deeply moving novel with some of the most consistently rounded characters I have ever had the pleasure to read about. With a mystery legacy for one woman and secrets bubbling throughout, this is a book that made me think about all manner of moral questions. Most definitely the surprise hit of the year for me!

So my top ten is just that – ten great books that have stamped themselves onto my memory in a variety of ways.

Book reading and blogging has helped me through the most difficult of years and I am so very grateful for everyone’s support, kind words and friendship which has been absolutely amazing – thank you! Now all that is left to say is Happy New Year to you all! To the authors, please give me some great new books to visitors to my blog, please keep coming and adding your comments.

If you want to see more of the 144 books I’ve read in 2015

Reading and Reviewing in 2015
Reading Bingo for 2015
2015 Book Reviews with linksHNY

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (June 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them!

2011

My favourite read in June 2011 was a find courtesy of Amazon Vine; The Ghost of Lily Painter by Caitlin Davies which tells the story of Annie Sweet who on moving to a new home feels compelled to delve into the house’s past… what she finds is the story of two baby farmer’s who when entrusted with babies that their mother’s were unable to keep with them, killed them. Well-told and backed up by solid research this book left a lasting impression on me.

The Ghost of Lily Painter

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

The first time Annie Sweet sees 43 Stanley Road, the house is so perfect she almost feels as though it has chosen her. She longs to move in, but with her husband seeming more distant, and her daughter wrapped up in her friends and new school, Annie is left alone to mull over the past.
Soon she becomes consumed by the house and everyone who has lived there before her, especially a young chorus girl called Lily Painter, a rising star of the music hall whose sparkling performances were the talk of the town.
As Annie delves further into Lily’s past she begins to unravel a dark episode from Edwardian London, that of two notorious baby farmers, who lured young unmarried mothers with the promise of a better life for their babies. Until Annie solves the mystery at the heart of the scandal, the ghost of Lily Painter will never be able to rest.
Based on a real period from London’s rich history, Caitlin Davies skilfully blends fact and fiction to bring to life part of our sinister past. Spanning an entire century, from the journals of an Edwardian police inspector to a doomed wartime love affair, The Ghost of Lily Painter is an engrossing and poignant novel from a hugely talented writer. Goodreads

2012 yr

My choice for June 2012 is the second from a series that I have continued to enjoy. Written by the writing duo Nicci French. Tuesday’s Gone features the Psychotherapist Freida Klein who is drawn into another collaboration with the police
Tuesday's Gone

Blurb

In Tuesday’s Gone, a London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man’s identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can’t shake the feeling that the past isn’t done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?
A masterpiece of paranoia, Tuesday’s Gone draws readers inexorably into a fractured and faithless world as it brilliantly confirms Frieda Klein as a quintessential heroine for our times. Goodreads

2013yr

My June 2013 I read The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell, a writer who has moved from the chick-lit arena to one that deals with serious issues without losing the ability to draw her reader into the scenario posed, in this case sperm donors.

The Making of Us

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Lydia, Robyn and Dean don’t know each other – yet.
They live very different lives but each of them, independently, has always felt that something is missing.
What they don’t know is that a letter is about to arrive that will turn their lives upside down.
It is a letter containing a secret – one that will bind them together, and show them what love and familyand friendship really mean… Amazon

2014yr

Last year I was on holiday during June so I have a large selection to choose from, but in the end, the choice was easy Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly is a terrific example of domestic noir. When one mother forgets to notify another that her daughter won’t be able to stay over and then she goes missing, you can imagine who the finger is pointed at.

What Kind of Mother Are You

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Your friend’s child is missing. It’s your fault.
No family is perfect.
A husband, three children and a full-time job, so many plates to keep spinning.
No wonder you forgot you were supposed to be looking after your friend’s daughter.
But no one has seen her since yesterday.
And she’s not the first to go missing from your small town.
So who’s hiding something? Amazon

2015yr

Once again picking my favourite book over the last month is proving difficult but I do have to pick between two excellent but very different reads and have gone for A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which is due to be published in August. Never before have I got quite so far through a book where I’m enormously enjoying what I’m reading but have no clue what actually is going on… the oddest experience but I’m relieved to say all did become clear in the end.
A Game for all the Family

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.
But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.
Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.
If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Amazon

I hope you have enjoyed my trip through my June reads, if you missed the previous months you can find them here:

January Five of the Best
February Five of the Best
March Five of the Best
April Five of the Best
May Five of the Best

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

A Game For All The Family – Sophie Hannah

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

This is a stand-alone book from Sophie Hannah, a woman who creates stories using the most unlikely but not, unbelievable, disturbances of the mind.

On the way to their new home in Devon, the Merrison family; Justine, Alex and Ellen spot a house that resonates inside Justine for no apparent meaning. Justine has just left the world of TV drama and is determined to spend her days doing nothing. Ellen is enrolled into a quirky private school and Alex will continue to sing in Operas around the world.

All goes well, the ugly house is more or less forgotten and for the first couple of months the move out of London to Devon proves to be a good one. But then Ellen becomes withdrawn and secretive. Ah but she’s fourteen, so nothing too out of the ordinary! Ellen is spending all of her time working on a story she’s writing for an English assignment and when Justine finds the first couple of pages she’s alarmed. It is very well-written, set in their new house and has more than one murder! Around the same time Ellen becomes distressed about her friend George Donbavand who has been expelled from school for a crime he hasn’t committed. Justine visits the school and is told that George never existed!

This book had me totally confused but in an enthralled way. It is a puzzle where you have to decide who, and what to believe, and the author does a good job of making that path as murky as possible with each possible scenario being equally unlikely: if George doesn’t exist does that mean Ellen has invented him? Why? If he does exist why would the head-teacher deny his existence? And this is just the beginning!

Ellen’s writing assignment forms a story within a story, featuring a peculiar family, the Bascom’s, with their oddly named children, is well-written and entertaining (it is rare for a psychological thriller that has me sniggering in places) and although the reason for its inclusion isn’t immediately apparent (or for quite some time) I promise it all eventually does become clear.

I think it is essential that you read this book with the mind-set that you will go with the flow! I was slightly concerned when I got half-way through and was absolutely loving the ride but still had absolutely no idea what was going on, let alone where the solution to the puzzle was hiding. Fortunately Sophie Hannah weaves a wonderful tale, with interesting, if not likeable characters to stem my impatience. This is a book that raises more questions than it answers, has you believing, unbelievable events, and is populated by the most untrustworthy bunch of characters that you are ever likely to meet.

I loved it! It is a clever book, but not too complex (it didn’t make my brain hurt too much), the clues are there and this little detective actually managed to provide at least part of the solution once I’d found the question!

For readers who like their psychological mysteries to be something different, who don’t mind reading a story where you have to put your trust in the author that you will, once you’ve finished, be able to work out what all those entertaining words added up to, this is a fantastic read. This is a book of extreme psychological disorders, both in Ellen’s assignment and in Justine’s life. Justine’s life of doing nothing is punctuated with threatening phone calls, anonymous notes and graves being dug for her and her family causing distress and causing Justine to spend her days investigating who is out to get her, but much more importantly why?

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lovereading who provided me with a copy of this book to review prior to its publication on 13 August 2015, another definite entry into the best reads of 2015, quirky, inventive and original. I was already a fan of Sophie Hannah’s and this is definitely her best book to date.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (June 17)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton.

Little Black Lies

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post

I have recently finished A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which was an amazing read, one I couldn’t stop reading despite not having the foggiest what on earth it was all about until the final pages…

A Game for all the Family

Blurb

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.
But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.
Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.
If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Amazon

My review will follow shortly

Next up for something a little lighter I am planning to read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

Blurb

Set in 1950s London, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope, the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty, Talitha, who lost her husband to the war. Penelope, with her mother and brother, struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home—while post-war London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.
Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love, and when her new best friend, Charlotte, a free spirit in the young society set, drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties, she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous, with unforeseen consequences, and a dashing, wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s— and her family’s—future happiness. Goodreads

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (June 6)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Well after a week’s break to share my 20 Books of Summer 2015! challenge post I seem to have acquired a few more books!

First up from NetGalley I am thrilled and delighted to have a copy of After The Fire by Jane Casey featuring the brilliant Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent, this book is due to be published on 18 June 2015.

After The Fire

Blurb

Arson, accident or murder?
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in their 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?
As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide… NetGalley

and I’m equally as thrilled and delighted to have received a copy of First One Missing by Tammy Cohen which is due to be published on 2 July 2015.

First One Missing

Blurb

There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Even close friends can’t understand what you are going through.
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join. NetGalley

Now comes the naming and shaming for all of you bloggers who have made me stray…. First up is The Book Trail who are constantly tempting me with their original reviews complete with maps. They had a competition to win a copy of The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas and I was lucky enough to win!

The Illusionists

Blurb

London, 1885
As a turbulent and change-filled century draws to a close, there has never been a better time to alter your fortune. But for a beautiful young woman of limited means, Eliza’s choices appear to lie between the stifling domesticity of marriage or a downwards spiral to the streets – no matter how determined she is to forge her own path.
One night at a run-down theatre, she meets the charismatic Devil Wix – showman, master of illusion, fickle friend. Drawn into his circle, Eliza becomes the catalyst of change for his colleagues – a dwarf, an eccentric engineer, and an artist – as well as Devil himself. And as Eliza embarks on a dangerous adventure, she must decide which path to choose, and how far she should go when she holds all their lives in her hands. Goodreads

or click on the link to read The Book Trail review

And then there is Sonya at A Lover of Books who also has a wonderful selection of books on her blog. She had a competition to win a copy of Set Me Free by Daniela Sacerdoti and I won that too.

Set Me Free

Blurb

In London, Margherita’s marriage has slowly been falling apart since her little Lewis’ birth, a surprise baby much wanted by her but not by her husband. To add to her problems, her adopted daughter, Lara, is going through a rough patch and all of a sudden she’s gone from quiet and introverted to constantly angry, burdened by the unhappy memories of her early childhood. Then Margherita’s husband, Ashley, suddenly announces he needs a break from the marriage and from family life. He couldn’t have chosen a worse time, just when Lara needs him most.
As Margherita struggles to come to terms with what’s happening to her, she decides that maybe this is the chance for Laura to spend some time away from London, and for her mother and daughter to reconnect. So, together with three-year-old Lewis, they decide to spend the summer in Glen Avich, where Margherita’s mum and stepfather have opened a coffee shop, La Piazza. To keep herself busy, Margherita agrees to help Torcuil Ramsay get his crumbling estate in order, with Lara’s help. And as her plan begins to work, Lara increasingly finds peace in the beautiful house and its huge library, and in a new friendship with a mysterious local boy, Mal.
And as Margherita discovers, Glen Avich can have a strange effect on people and soon her heart is reawakened by shy, awkward Torcuil in a way she’d never thought possible again. But Mal is hiding a secret, and the summer won’t last forever . . .
Spellbinding and emotional, Set Me Free is a beautifully written story of a family in crisis and a secret that will change their lives forever. Goodreads

And then I’m blaming Fiction Fan for the next book which I purchased on her recommendation following my review of The Magnificent Spilsbury and the case of the Brides in the Bath by Jane Robins, so I have a copy of The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by the same author.

The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams

Blurb

‘Was rich Mrs Gertrude Hullett murdered at her luxurious 15-room home on Beachy Head? Detectives are tonight trying to establish the cause of the 50-year-old widow’s sudden death…’ Daily Mail, 1957
In July 1957, the press descended in droves on the south-coast town of Eastbourne. An inquest had just been opened into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Bobbie Hullett. She died after months of apparent barbiturate abuse – the drugs prescribed to calm her nerves by her close friend and doctor, Dr John Bodkin Adams.
The inquest brought to the surface years of whispered suspicion that had swept through the tea rooms, shops and nursing homes of the town. The doctor’s alarming influence over the lives, deaths and finances of wealthy widows had not gone unnoticed – it was rumoured that the family doctor had been on a killing spree that spanned decades and involved 300 suspicious cases. Superintendent Hannam of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate.
The Curious Habits of Dr Adams brilliantly brings to life the atmosphere of post-war England, and uses a wealth of new documents to follow the twists and turns of an extraordinary Scotland Yard murder enquiry. As expertly crafted as the best period detective novel, this book casts an entertainingly chilling light on a man reputed to be one of England’s most prolific serial killers. Amazon

When Kay from Kay’s Reading Life started reviewing the Days of the Week series by Nicci French she reminded me that I still hadn’t read Thursday’s Child, you can read her review here

Thursday's Child

Blurb

Two crimes, generations apart . . .
Twenty years ago teenager Frieda Klein was brutally attacked in her own home. No one believed her – not the police, not her mother, not her friends. She left town, trained as a psychologist and never went back.
Now an old classmate has shown up. She wants help with her daughter, who claims to have been attacked at home. An attack eerily similar to the one on Frieda. No one else believes the girl’s story.
Now – with a school reunion in the offing – Frieda returns to the darkness she fled. To the small town which refused to help her and which hides a terrible secret. Because someone at the reunion knows what happened.
And they’ll stop at nothing to prevent Frieda discovering the truth . . . Amazon

Search as I might I can’t find a culprit for my purchase of You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz but I’m sure one of you are guilty.

You Should Have Known

Blurb

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself. Goodreads

Lastly I was delighted that Lovereading saw fit to provide me with a copy of A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which will be published on 13 August 2015.

A Game for all the Family

Blurb

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…
After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.
Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below