Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Beauty of the End – Debbie Howells

Psychological Thriller 3*s
Psychological Thriller
3*s

After her debut novel The Bones of You this author has chosen to provide us with another original idea as a premise for her second novel The Beauty of the End.

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. Goddesses have that effect, even on teenagers such as I was. Being plump or uncool has no bearing on the ability to fall in love—and my fate was sealed.”

Noah Calaway is still haunted by the love of his life, his first love, April Moon. As he is cocooned from the world in the present day in his remote English cottage, writing a novel, he receives a phone call from an old friend Will. Will tells Noah that April is in hospital suffering from the overdose, but worse, she is accused of the murder of a man and will be arrested if she surfaces from her coma. Since Noah was a lawyer, and because he still loves April he races to the hospital where she is recovering and seeks to find out as much as possible about her life since he last saw her. He is convinced that April would never have resorted to violence, there must be another explanation.

This is a fairly slow-moving tale told in multiple time-lines between 1989 when Noah was fourteen and the present day. Told mainly from Noah’s viewpoint, he charts the ups and downs of their relationship until they parted when she left him shortly before their wedding. In amongst Noah’s narrative we have excerpts from a teenage girl having therapy; how Ella is related to the story is a mystery though.

This isn’t a book that rattles along, with the information drip-fed and the characters almost without exception either unlikable or plain weird, it did take a while to take shape but fortunately the rewards of sticking with both the pace and the characters is rewarded as the seeds sown early on in the book bear fruition.

The writing has a lyrical edge to it giving an almost dream-sequence feeling to some parts of the book which competed with the mystery angle of the murder, why April left Noah and who on earth is Ella? Lyrical it may be but the writing doesn’t flinch from packing an emotional punch every now and again with some painful truths being revealed.

“We were butterflies. Some of you fly, the rest of us get our wings ripped off. My wings had gone before I knew you. And I’m not sure wingless butterflies have anywhere to go.”

Although I was keen to understand what had happened, both in the years Noah and April had been apart as well as the investigation that Noah undertook, I’m not sure that I was fully engaged in the story itself partly because the latter parts of the story were a little bit too far-fetched which knocked my belief in the entire novel. This is definitely at the more literary end of the thriller selection of books and incredibly sad. In conclusion, if you are in the mood for a slow-burner with many layers, you can do far worse than to read this book.

I’d like to thank the publishers Kensington Books for allowing me to read a copy of this book which has led to this unbiased review.

 

Published UK: 14 July 2016
Publisher: Kensington Books
No of Pages 352
Genre: Literary Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 27)

This Week In Books

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

Still struggling with reading hence the missing This Week in Books for last Wednesday, which was identical to that of the week before!

At the moment I’m reading Liane Moriarty’s latest novel Truly, Madly, Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty

Blurb

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.
For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again. But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them. Which is how it all spirals out of control… NetGalley

I have recently finished The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells, a deep and chilling psychological thriller which was published on 26 July 2016

The Beauty of the End

Blurb

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . .”
So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose–and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.
While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.
Or so everyone believes. . .
Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love. NetGalley

Next I am planning on reading I See You by Claire Mackintosh

I See You

Blurb

You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . . NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Any of these catch your eye?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (February 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.

My resolve not to acquire too many new books is going so well, here is the latest batch to make their way onto the TBR!

Firstly, after joining BOOKERTALK in her Read into 2016 post, I was lucky enough to be the winner and have a beautiful copy of The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies, a collection of short stories.

The Redemption of Galen Pike

Blurb

In a remote Australian settlement a young wife with an untellable secret reluctantly invites her neighbour into her home. A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change her life. At a jubilee celebration in a northern English town a middle-aged alderman opens his heart to Queen Victoria. A teenage daughter leaves home in search of adventure. High in the Cumbrian fells a woman seeks help from her father’s enemy…… Goodreads

Another collection of short stories caught my eye on the excellent blog written by Marina Finding Time to Write, The Blink that Killed the Eye by Anthony Anaxagorou. She made it sound so appealing with her statement:
We come back to the grey shores of Great Britain, except there is nothing ‘great’ about it. It is perceived as a diminished, impoverished island, with fearful people and dysfunctional families, in this collection of loosely related short stories.
How’s a girl supposed to resist?

The Blink that Killed the Eye

Blurb

The Blink That Killed the Eye is a stunningly crafted debut short story collection, taking a poetic torch to the shadows of daily life – illuminating the characters, situations, emotions and dilemmas that pour into even the most ordinary existences. From building sites to prison cells; from the birth of love to the last moments of breath – Anthony Anaxagorou navigates expertly through the tangled nets of invisibility, desperation and power to bring us time-defining tales of tragedy and hope; commenting on the irony of our shrinking capacity to really see ourselves or each other in a world increasingly defined by appearances and dangerous preconceptions. Goodreads

I have been approved of some good looking books on NetGalley too – of course I have, I can’t stay away!

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon was published on 5 January 2016 by Revell

Thin Ice

Blurb

After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail–addressed in her sister’s handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.
FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he’s coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive–who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game–or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.
Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers’ hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish. NetGalley

One of my favourite authors, Helen FitzGerald has written a new book, Viral which also made it’s way onto my pile:

Viral

Blurb

So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen me online. They include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year Biology teacher and my boyfriend James.
When Leah Oliphant-Brotheridge and her adopted sister Su go on holiday together to Magaluf to celebrate their A-levels, only Leah returns home. Her successful, swotty sister remains abroad, humiliated and afraid: there is an online video of her, drunkenly performing a sex act in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it.
Ruth Oliphant-Brotheridge, mother of the girls, successful court judge, is furious. How could this have happened? How can she bring justice to these men who took advantage of her dutiful, virginal daughter? What role has Leah played in all this? And can Ruth find Su and bring her back home when Su doesn’t want to be found? NetGalley

and Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You, also has a new book; The Beauty of the End and for the second time this year, my wish on NetGalley was granted!

The Beauty of the End

Blurb

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . .”
So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose–and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.
While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.
Or so everyone believes. . .
Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love. NetGalley

Lastly, Channel Islander, Rachel Abbott has a new book out on 17 February 2016, Kill Me Again and she has kindly passed me a copy to my absolute delight.

Kill Me Again

Blurb

When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.
But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.
When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?
She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 6 books, and gained, it yes, 6, so the total stands at 174 books!
85 physical books
75 e-books
14 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

 

You can check out the books I have read  and reviewed in 2016 on my new page in shades of green!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Bones of You – Debbie Howells

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

I have to admit when I first started this book I wasn’t too keen at all, but once I adjusted to the slow pace, I was hooked! All that despite some supernatural elements which would normally have me closing the book in disbelief.

One day Kate, mother to Grace, gets a phone call that Rosie Anderson has gone missing. Eighteen year old Rosie is nowhere near as socially confident as Grace and in the small Sussex town everyone hopes that she will return home unharmed.

Told from Kate’s and Rosie’s perspectives this book is a slow-burner but no less gripping for that. Kate has got to know Rosie as she was keen on Kate’s horses and she befriends her mother Jo through the search for Rosie.

Before Rosie’s disappearance Jo and Neale appeared to have an enviable life. A large house decorated to perfection with a garden to match and two beautiful daughter’s polite and well-behaved. This is a look at behind those closed doors with Rosie’s narrative giving away incidents that show her life was far from perfect. Neale is a renowned journalist while Jo seems a little more fragile, no wonder why when we hear the truth from Rosie.

Kate is keen to help Jo out but her husband Angus points out that she shouldn’t get too involved, particularly as Rosie’s younger sister, Della needs support while her mother is increasingly absent from her life. Kate is aware that Jo is not being as open with her as she could be, but is frightened to push her new friend to confront the reality. And then Kate starts receiving anonymous notes that seem to relate to Rosie – Who has posted them, and why?

This isn’t a crime fiction novel, the police are kept firmly in the background on an occasional advisory capacity, rather, it is a look at the structure of a family, one that at its heart, is nothing like the face that they present to the wider world. Dark and nasty things are afoot and it takes Rosie’s narrative to flush them out. At the same time we get to see behind Kate’s front door, is her marriage to Angus as strong and secure as she believes? How will Grace’s departure to university change her life, can she cope particularly with the tragedy hanging over the town. She finds solace in her horses and fills her days with her gardening job, meeting up with the boy who may, or may not, have been Rosie’s boyfriend at the nursery. The rumours are swirling round and so when old friend of Kate’s wants to write a piece about Rosie and her family, Kate is torn between revealing what she knows and wanting to preserve the family’s privacy.

Although the pacing is steady without the showy twists and turns that the more brash books of this genre display, the mystery anchors the book and there are a number of possible answers. By the last third of this book I had a pretty good idea of what had happened but I was enjoying the ride so much that even if I wasn’t waiting to find out if I was right, I’d still have been turning the pages as eagerly.

I’d like to thank Kensington Books for allowing me to read this expertly told tale in return for my review. The Bones of You is due to be published on 30 June 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (June 10)

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 The Whicharts by Noel Streatfeild a book from my 20 Books of Summer 2015! challenge

20 books of summer logo

The Whicharts

Blurb

She never doubted for one moment that once she had the necessary training she would find the work. She knew with her whole being that she was a born mechanic. In what way she would have a chance to prove this she didn’t know, but her prayers always finished: “And oh God, if possible, let me fly”.
1920s London: three adopted sisters train for the stage and support the household.
Maimie, Tania and Daisy Whichart have self-reliance thrust upon them. The Whicharts is the story of their dreams, friendships and loves. The drudgery of stage-work is set against their passion for family ties and realising their dreams.
Out of print since the 1930s, Noel Streatfeild’s rare first novel is an exuberant portrayal of London cultural life in the inter-war years.
Streatfeild used parts of this first novel to develop the classic ‘Ballet Shoes’ Goodreads

I have just finished After The Fire by Jane Casey

After The Fire

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

My review will follow shortly

Next I plan to read The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

The Bones of You

Blurb

I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft‑petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.
Children who don’t die before their parents.
When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love. NetGalley

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (April 4)

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!

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz which will be published by Lion PLC on 15 May 2015.

The Lost Garden

Blurb

Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident, and at thirty-seven she is made guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister Rebecca. They leave Hampshire for the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast, and settle into Bower House on the edge of the village church property. When a door to a walled garden captures Rebecca’s interest, Marin becomes determined to open it and discover what is hidden beneath the bramble inside. She enlists the help of local gardener Joss Fowler, and together the three of them begin to uncover the garden’s secrets. In 1919, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Sanderson, daughter of Goswell’s vicar, is grieving the loss of her beloved brother Walter, who was killed just days before the Armistice was signed. Eleanor retreats into herself and her father starts to notice how unhappy she is. As spring arrives, he decides to hire someone to make a garden for Eleanor, and draw her out of – or at least distract her from – her grief and sorrow. Jack Taylor is in his early twenties, a Yorkshire man who has been doing odd jobs in the village, and when Eleanor’s father hires him to work on the vicarage gardens, a surprising – and unsuitable – friendship unfolds. NetGalley

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is billed as a dark psychological thriller, so it begged to be chosen!

The Bones of You

Blurb

I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft‑petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.
Children who don’t die before their parents.

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.

Eric Rickstad kindly sent me a copy of his book, The Silent Girls, a book that was published in November 2014.

The Silent Girls

Blurb

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well . . .
Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective’s badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an ’89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.
Soon Rath’s investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.
With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere—and no one is safe.
Morally complex, seething with wickedness and mystery, and rich in gritty atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, The Silent Girls marks the return of critically acclaimed author Eric Rickstad. Readers of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, and Greg Iles will love this book and find themselves breathless at the incendiary, ambitious, and unforgettable story. Amazon

And after hearing wonderful things about The Big Picture by Douglas Kennedy I couldn’t resist and purchased a copy.

The Big Picture

Blurb

On the face of it, Ben Bradford is your standard Wall Street hot shot – Junior partner in a legal firm, 6 figure income, wife and two young kids straight out of a Gap catalogue. But along with the WASP lifestyle comes the sting – Ben hates it. He wants – has always wanted – to be a photographer. When he discovers his wife is playing outside the ground, the consequences of a moment of madness force him to question not just the design of his life but the price of fulfilment. Because finding yourself means nothing when you’re pretending to be someone else. From the picket fences of yuppie New England to Montana’s untouchable splendour, THE BIG PICTURE spans states and states of mind in a thrilling novel of genuine originality. Amazon

… and after reading a wonderful review of The Day She Died by Catriona McPheason by Crimeworm who has a great selection of crime fiction on her blog and is well worth checking out, I couldn’t resist purchasing this one.

The Day She Died

Blurb

That was the day I met Gus, the day I grew a family as if from magic beans, the day she died. That’s the point, see? It was the very same day…
Jessie Constable has learned the hard way to always keep herself safe. But meeting Gus King changes everything. Before she knows it, Jessie is sleeping at Gus’s house, babysitting his kids, becoming a part of his family. And yet, she can’t ignore the unsettling questions. Who does she keep seeing from the corner of her eye? Why are strange men threatening her? Most importantly, what really happened to Gus’s wife?
Creating a brilliant, foreboding mystery where nothing is as it seems, master storyteller Catriona McPherson weaves an ominous tale that will keep you guessing until the very end. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy? What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below