Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Dying For Christmas – Tammy Cohen

Psychological Thriller  4*'s
Psychological Thriller

I’m a big fan of Tamar (now known as Tammy) Cohen’s writing having really enjoyed the sharp observations in The Mistresses Revenge and I was thrilled when she ventured into the psychological thriller genre with The Broken. In Dying for Christmas we meet Jessica Gold, a young woman with a long-term boyfriend out shopping for Christmas in London. She visits a department store café and meets Dominic Lacey a charming and good-looking man who flatters her and by the time she has finished her drink she agrees to go home with him. Yes not the wisest move! Jessica soon finds out what a big mistake she has made.

And there it was. The thing that had lurked beneath the perfect glass surface of our encounter. The thing I’d been trying not to face. The thing my mother had warned me against.
And it was all my own fault.

Right from the start this book is totally gripping and the tension rises as Dominic presents Jessica with a present each day, but these aren’t your conventional gifts of jewellery, underwear and toiletries. Dominic is a truly scary man and over the course of the book, the stories he tells partly explain why, but they also tell us how his mind works, and what he is capable of.

Although Jessica is harder to categorise from her own narrative although she does divulge her problems connecting with others that seem to stem back to early childhood. Travis her trainee doctor boyfriend gives her a veneer of normalness which she would be lost without but his interest in her has recently waned.

Along with Jessica and Dominic’s story the police investigation is told from the perspective of Kim a tenacious and ambitious officer whose personal life is in a state of flux. Kim’s investigation gives the background to Jessica’s life through her parent’s brother’s and colleague’s and psychotherapist’s statements adding another dimension.

The psychotherapist’s smile remained fixed on her face as if it had been thrown there and stuck, like not quite-cooked spaghetti against the wall.
‘It would be uncharacteristic for her to act in that way,’ she said eventually. ‘But I wouldn’t rule it out. Jessica is a highly unusual person. I wouldn’t want to risk predicting her behaviour.’

As always I enormously enjoyed Tammy Cohen’s writing style, her dry wit appeals to my sense of humour and the momentary lightness these bring gave me some relief from this chilling Christmas tale.

She was well aware how the family would be judged on how much emotion they showed. Too much and it could all be deemed a show. Too little and they were hiding something. When did people start judging real life like the X Factor.

Books that have a wide range of characters are ones that I enjoy the most and this book is made up of a great collection all with varying flaws but not so much so that they become unrealistic and their actions fit the pace of the plot which is a twists and turns enough to make the reader giddy.

This is a great anti-Christmas tale, one to curl up with when the relatives really have over-stayed their welcome and you want to remind yourself that it could be worse! For all of that I finished up knowing that I’d suspended belief and shut down the questioning part of my brain in order to get the maximum enjoyment out of this one and it is an accolade to the author that the more unrealistic section occurred after a brilliant set-up to make this possible.

I’d like to thank the publishers, Random House UK, for allowing me to revel in my favourite kind of villain ahead of publication date of 20 November 2014 in return for my honest opinion.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (November 12)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen an edgy psychological thriller.

Dying for Christmas


I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out.
But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?Goodreads

I have recently finished my surprise find for the year, Interlude by Rupert Smith
which is a book about a writer and his secrets. This was an enthralling read set partly in the present by Helen and then across the decades  from the 1930’s to the 1960’s by her Grandfather Edward Barton.
click on the book cover to read my review


Next I am going to read The Perfect Mother by Nina Darnton which I imagine is going to bring out a lot of ‘What would I do?’ moments.
The Perfect Mother


When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her.
A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.
A novel of harrowing emotional suspense, The Perfect Mother probes the dark side of parenthood and the complicated bond between mothers and daughters. Goodreads

What are you reading this week? Please share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (November 11)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

Dying for Christmas


I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …
But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you? NetGalley

My Teaser
‘Ah yes. In case they’ve replied to that text you sent them.’
I looked at him then. Just the most fleeting of glances. Enough to see the smile on his lips. Enough to know he knew there was no one looking for me.


What do you think? Would you like to know what happened next?

Please leave the link to your teasers in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (August 22)

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

This week I have two finds from NetGalley that I would have missed if it weren’t for fellow bloggers highlighting them in their finds, so please keep them coming as you never know one day I might run out of books! I’m sure this compulsion should be a recognisable condition but I’m not sure that I’m ready to take the necessary steps to beat it, in fact I know I’m not.

First up, I have a copy of The Twilight Hour by Nicci Gerrard, half of the very successful partnership that makes up Nicci French. This book is due to be published on 23 October 2014.

A book about a personal history is just up my street however this is the third notable book that I have read this year about old age; Elizabeth is Missing and The Girl Next Door also featuring elderly protagonists.

The Twilight Hour


Eleanor Lee is fiercely independent. She has lived alone well into her nineties, despite her now near-total blindness. Now, finally, she has been persuaded by her children to move into a home.
She employs Peter, a recent graduate nursing a broken heart, to spend the summer sorting through her attic – papers, photographs, books and letters – ahead of the move.
These fragments of her own history unleash in Eleanor a long-concealed story of forbidden love, betrayal, passion, grief and self-sacrifice; and in their unlikely friendship, something is unlocked in Peter’s heart, too.NetGalley

I also have managed to get a copy of Dying For Christmas, the latest book by Tamar Cohen who has now decided to use the more informal Tammy Cohen , there’s nothing better as far as I’m concerned for the sweetness of Christmas to be offset by a psychological thriller and this one sounds good.

Dying for Christmas

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …
But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you? NetGalley

I was very excited to hear that Peter James is having a second book published this year, a collection of short stories; A Twist of the Knife, due to be published in November 2014.

A Twist of the Knife

Combining stories from ebook story collections Short Shockers One and Short Shockers Two, and with never-before-seen new material, this is a story collection you won’t forget. From a woman intent on revenge, to a restaurant critic with a fear of the number thirteen, and from a story of ghostly terror to the first ever case of his best-loved Detective, Roy Grace, James exposes the Achilles heels of each of his characters, and makes us question how well we can trust ourselves, and each other. Funny, sad, but always shocking, each tale carries a twist that will haunt readers for days after they turn the final page . . .Amazon

The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths also caught my eye, this book is also due to be published in November 2014 and is a stand-alone book from the creator of the Ruth Galloway series.

The Zig Zag Girl

Brighton, 1950.
When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.
The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.
Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.
Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in danger… Goodreads

Can anyone explain to me why Brighton is such a popular place for crime novels?

Fellow blogger from Musings From a Bookmammal kindly pointed out that Lucy Worsley has written another book, The Art of the English Murder which will look very smart next to my copy of A Very British Murder. This is why I love blogging because I’m fairly certain this book would not grace Bookmammal’s bookshelf yet she thought of me when she saw it. Strangely this is being published soon in the US but here in the UK we have to wait until November, this will be top of my Xmas list! Goodreads

The Art of the English Murder


Murder a dark, shameful deed, the last resort of the desperate or a vile tool of the greedy. And a very strange, very English obsession. But where did this fixation develop? And what does it tell us about ourselves? In The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley explores this phenomenon in forensic detail, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nationwide panic in the early nineteenth century, and the case of Frederick and Maria Manning, the suburban couple who were hanged after killing Maria s lover and burying him under their kitchen floor. Our fascination with crimes like these became a form of national entertainment, inspiring novels and plays, prose and paintings, poetry and true-crime journalism. At a point during the birth of modern England, murder entered our national psyche, and it s been a part of us ever since. The Art of the English Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul by one of our finest historian”s. Goodreads

So for a change I’ve found more than I’ve acquired this week – what have you found? Please share!