Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (March 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! Here is January’s and February’s top five, but onto March!

2011

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock was one of my first reads through the Amazon Vine program, a book that I couldn’t resist as it is set in Guernsey – I do wonder why there are no similar books set in Jersey, it seems unfair that being smaller they get all the good books written about them including a recent favourite The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Schaffer & Annie Burrows

The Book of Lies

Blurb

Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable–going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.
Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey–from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted–in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words–recorded on tapes before his own death– a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story. Goodreads

2012 yr

Another Vine offering in March 2012 introduced me to Camilla Läckberg, an author who is now one of my favourites with the sixth in the Patrick Hedstrom and Erika Falck series; The Drowning

The Drowning

Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?
When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…
Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.
But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed? Amazon

2013yr

In March 2013 I found an another now must-read author, Louise Phillips who wowed me with Red Ribbons

Click on the book cover to read my review
Red Ribbons

Blurb

A SERIAL KILLER
When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl’s body 24 hours later.
THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST
Desperate to find the murderer, police call in criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the serial killer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar as her own past threatens to cloud her investigations.
AN ACCUSED WOMAN
Ellie Brady has been institutionalised for 15 years, for the killing of her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy. After all this time, does Ellie hold the key to finding the killer of the Dublin schoolgirls?
What would you do if you were accused of killing your own daughter? What if those closest to you turned their back on you? And when everyone stopped listening, what next, when even you believe you’re guilty?
THE BAD MAN IS EVERYWHERE Goodreads

2014yr

March 2014 was a bumper month for 5 star reads but I chose Precious Thing by Colette McBeth for the sheer addictiveness that caused me to try and cook and read which was an epic fail!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Precious Thing
Blurb

Remember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?
Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever.
They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes.
Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it. Goodreads

2015yr

The best book for March this year has to go to a book I’ve been waiting an age for; Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals with a difficult subject in an intelligent and sensitive way, definitely a book to make you think!

Click on the book cover to read my review

Humber Boy B
Blurb

A blur in the sky, a brick no, a trainer, red falls to the water… There seems to be a scuffle… a hand grabbing at the dangling child. Then, with the awfulness of inevitability, the hanging child drops, gravity takes him. A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B s reintegration into society. But the general public s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play? Amazon

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 17)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!
From NetGalley I have a copy of Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unravelling Oliver
Blurb

‘I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.’Liz Nugent’s gripping novel of psychological suspense, Unravelling Oliver, is a complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath in the tradition of Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith.Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the leafy suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children’s books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease – enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and puts her into a coma.In the aftermath, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story. So do those whose paths he has crossed over five decades. What unfolds is a story of shame, envy, breath-taking deception and masterful manipulation.Only Oliver knows the lengths to which he has had to go to get the life to which he felt entitled. But even he is in for a shock when the past catches up with him. NetGalley

Due to be published by Penguin Books (UK) on 6 March 2014

Following a visit to Book Lover’s Attic the author John Terracuso kindly offered me a copy of his book A Fool Among Fools

A Fool Among Fools
Synopsis

It’s 1986 and Michael Gregoretti is a struggling copywriter at a big New York ad agency, trapped on accounts no one else will touch.Toss in one insane boss, a sweet and sassy gal pal, a dreamboat boyfriend with cold feet, a wisecracking roommate and what might be the worst TV commercials ever made, and you’ve got a witty, wonderful story that will keep you laughing until the very last page.

I was also gifted a copy of Tea Cups and Tiger Claws by Timothy Patrick
Tea Cups and Tiger Claws

Blurb

When identical triplets are born in 1916, newspapers from across the country cover the story, and the babies become little celebrities. Unfortunately, this small portion of fame, combined with a much larger portion of parental greed, leads to some sleazy bargaining, and the triplets are split up parceled out to the highest bidders. Good fortune shines on two of the baby girls and they go together to live in a hilltop mansion. The third baby isn’t so lucky. She ends up with a shady family, in an abandoned work camp, in the same small town as her sisters.
The two girls on the hill grow up to become renowned beauties presiding over a world of glamour and privilege. The other girl, the leftover one, grows up in shabbiness, under the cloud of her sisters’ magnificence. But this girl has something her sisters will never have: ambition. Her name is Dorthea Railer, and she dreams about eliminating her sisters and taking their place in society. Amazon

I have also found out about two books that have gone on my must reads

Thursday’s Children by Nicci French, a continuation of the days of the week series which I have on good authority will consist of eight books! No blurb yet but this is due to be published by Penguin on 10 April 2014

Thursday's Children

Another continuation of a series. number eight of the Patrik Hedstrom series completes my finds for this week:

Buried Angels by Camilla Läckberg

Buried Angels
Blurb

Easter, 1974. A family vanishes without a trace from the island of Valö outside of Fjällbacka. The dinner table has been exquisitely set, but everyone except the one year-old daughter Ebba is gone. Are they victims of a crime or have they voluntarily disappeared?
Years later Ebba returns to the island and the old summer camp where her father ruled a boarding school with an iron hand. She and her husband Tobias have recently lost their three year-old son, and in an attempt to overcome their grief they have decided to renovate the house and open a B&B.
Erica Falck’s interest is piqued – she has researched the tragic and mysterious history of the family, and looks forward to meeting Ebba.
But the couple have barely settled in before they are subjected to an attempt of arson. And when they begin to remove the floor boards in the dining room, they find dried blood underneath… Goodreads

Also due to be published on 10 April 2014 by HarperCollins; not the best planning because I can’t read both these much wanted books on the same day!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Lost Boy – Camilla Läckberg

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

The Lost Boy is the seventh book in this series by Camilla Läckberg featuring Patrik Hedström and his writer wife Erica Falck.

Erica has now had her twins after the cliff-hanger of The Drowning when Patrick is called to investigate a shooting. A man named Mats Sverin has been found shot in the back of the head yet early signs show him to have been well respected. Mats had recently returned to Fjällbacka, a coastal fishing village in Sweden, and the detectives working with Patrick wonder if the clues to his killing lie with secrets from his past.

Alongside this murder to solve there is the parallel tale of Graskar, known by the locals as Ghost Isle. The legend is set in the 1870’s. These interwoven excerpts detail one woman’s life as the wife as a lighthouse keeper there but the legend of the island lives on to the current times. Is it a coincidence that Nathalie who was Mats childhood sweetheart has returned to take up residence on Ghost Isle?

Camilla Läckberg’s books have some great characters with plenty to appreciate in the villager’s personal lives as well as the central murder. Although I wouldn’t say this was the best book in the series it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The previous books in this series are

The Ice Princess
The Preacher
The Stonecutter
The Stranger
The Hidden Child
The Drowning

Each book can be read as a stand-alone, I actually started with The Hidden Child which was a fantastic read, but to understand all the relationships between the villagers and the police, they are much better read in sequence.

Click the book cover to read my review of The Stonecutter

The Stonecutter

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Stonecutter – Camilla Läckberg

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

The Stonecutter is the third in the Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series which began with The Ice Princess (Patrick Hedstrom and Erica Falck, Book 1) and followed up by The Preacher (Patrick Hedstrom and Erica Falck, Book 2) Patrick takes the lead when the young daughter of a friend of Erica’s is found drowned, with accusations flying around Fjallbacka about who has committed this terrible crime. Recently having had a baby girl, Maja, the crime resonates even more deeply with Patrick.

I enjoy these books but I am constantly astounded by the clues that are ignored by the Police, they may get a result but it does seem more by luck than judgement. The story is interspersed with another story set in the late 1920’s about a girl, Agnes growing up in Fjallbacka, it is obvious these two stories are linked but the how and why is revealed slowly.

The plot is good, the writing moves along at a speed although the translation has problems with tenses in places these are minor and didn’t spoil the writing for me. I didn’t find this one as much as a mystery as some of the others I have read (I have also read books 5 & 6) but this one is still well worth a read.