Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (July 10)

Weekly Wrap Up

There was no weekly wrap up last week as I was celebrating my birthday in St Malo with friends, this beautiful French walled port city is just an hour away from Jersey by ferry and we managed to eat, drink, laugh and shop to our heart’s content.

St Malo Tourism

Due to lots of socialising and an insanely busy time at work, I haven’t really done an awful lot of reading in the last couple of weeks and looking ahead over the next couple of months, time is at a premium! Hey Ho! fortunately I still have some of my holiday reading reviews to post.

Last Week on the Blog

On Tuesday my post included an excerpt from The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, a story that seems to have echoes of real crime which will be published on 14 July 2016. This date seems to be incredibly popular, I have lots of books to review for that date (sadly it is unlikely impossible that I’m going to achieve this)

My review of Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant was posted on Wednesday, an author who has wowed me three times out of three with her unique psychological thrillers. This one was set in Greece and unusually narrated by a man.

Thursday saw me posting my review for the fifth of my 20 Books of Summer 2016 Challenge. It was the stunning non-fiction book The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by Jane Robins which follows the investigation and trial into said doctor who was accused of murdering his patients for legacies in their wills back in 1950 Eastbourne. Fascinating stuff!

On Friday I joined The Book Jotter in her Six in Six meme to showcase a selection of the books I’ve read over the first half of 2016. There were lots of categories to choose from and I managed to complete it without repeating any choices!

Yesterday’s review was from a book published a decade ago – easily as enjoyable as many of my highly starred newer reviews and so it seems a shame not to shout as loudly about these old treasures as the newer shinier ones! Click here to read my review of The Dead Hour by Denise Mina

Stacking the Shelves

Of course not reading very much and having no time doesn’t mean that I haven’t been acquiring new books.

From NetGalley I have one from one of my favourite authors Lisa Jewell, I Found You which I’m so delighted with I will be opening it very soon. I Found You will be published on 14 July 2016

I Found You

Blurb

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’
‘I got here yesterday.’
‘Where did you come from?’
‘I have no idea.’
East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.
Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Drew has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.
Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can’t remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s brilliant new novel. NetGalley

I also have a copy of Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane by Paul Thomas Murphy, which will be published on 14 July 2016 by Head of Zeus.

Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane

Blurb

In April 1871, a constable walking a beat near Greenwich found a girl dying in the mud – her face cruelly slashed and her brains protruding from her skull.
The girl was Maria Jane Clouson, a maid for the respectable Pook family, and who was pregnant at the time of her death. When the blood-spattered clothes of the 20-year-old Edmund Pook, alleged father of the dead girl’s unborn child, were discovered, the matter seemed open and shut. Yet there followed a remarkable legal odyssey full of unexpected twists as the police struggled to build a case.
Paul Thomas Murphy recreated the drama of an extraordinary murder case and conclusively identifies the killer’s true identity. NetGalley

I received two books for my birthday from my brother; Little Black Lies by Sandra Block

Little Black Lies Sandra Block

Blurb

She helps people conquer their demons. But she has a few of her own…
In the halls of the psychiatric ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is a resident in training, dedicated to helping troubled patients. However, she has plenty of baggage of her own. When her newest patient arrives – a beautiful sociopath who murdered her mother – Zoe becomes obsessed with questions about her own mother’s death. But the truth remains tauntingly out of reach, locked away within her nightmares of an uncontrollable fire. And as her adoptive mother loses her memory to dementia, the time to find the answers is running out.
As Zoe digs deeper, she realizes that the danger is not just in her dreams but is now close at hand. And she has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most. Because what she can’t remember just might kill her.
Little Black Lies is about madness and memory – and the dangerous, little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. Goodreads

and a copy of Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun, another book about Florence Maybrick (and of course poison.) I sent him a text thanking him for the inspired book choice and stating that I was into poisoning at the moment to which I got a super fast response commenting on how lucky my OH is to have me. If I’m ever forced to go onto Mastermind I think dear Florence will be my specialist subject!

Did She Kill Him

Blurb

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick.
‘The Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence’s past and glimpse her likeness in Madame Tussaud’s.
Florence’s fate was fiercely debated in the courtroom, on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country. Did she poison her husband? Was her previous infidelity proof of murderous intentions? Was James’ own habit of self-medicating to blame for his demise?
Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him? Goodreads

And… there have been a lot of sale books on Kindle which I have gallantly resisted but The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid was a temptation too far.

The Skeleton Road

Blurb

When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a crumbling, gothic building in Edinburgh, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the bones. As Karen’s investigation gathers momentum, she is drawn deeper into a dark world of intrigue and betrayal.
Meanwhile, someone is taking the law into their own hands in the name of justice and revenge — but when present resentment collides with secrets of the past, the truth is more shocking than anyone could have imagined . . . Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
We have progress!! Since my last post I have read just 4 books, gained 6 (I have an arc without details about a stalker too) so the total this week is now standing at 175 books!
88 physical books
68 e-books
19 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Books I have read

Little Black Lies – Sharon Bolton

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

This book tells the tale of how the friendship between Carin and Rachel turned ugly the day Rachel was responsible for the death of Carin’s young sons. Both women had given birth to two boys of similar ages and the two women continued their friendship which had started when they were both eleven.

The book starts in the run up to the third anniversary of the boy’s deaths. In the shocking opening we learn that Carin, a marine conservation officer, has been devastated by her grief and harbours ideas of revenge against Rachel. She is questioning if she is capable of killing, convinced that in the right circumstances, everybody is. The novel is set over five days and is quite slow to get going but when it does, well it was a case of hang onto your seat and try to keep up with the revelations that spill from the pages.

The story is set in the Falklands, in 1994, twelve years after the war and one of our three narrators is Callum, a former soldier who saw appalling scenes during the conflict. The author doesn’t spare us this horror as Callum suffers with PSD and relives some of those wartime events during his narration. Sharon Bolton does an amazing job of bringing to life this large land mass populated by a small number of people, rarely have I been able to visualise a place I have never visited and never so unobtrusively as the bleak landscape with a wide variety of wildlife is cleverly woven into the plot. The Falklands in Little Black Lies are bleak with more than a whiff of claustrophobia about it with the whole population knowing everyone’s business. The mixture of secret desires being held in this small-town setting is incredibly powerful, because however much people think they know, they can’t know everything, they can’t see another’s thoughts.

Each of the three narrators, Carin, Callum and Rachel narrate their portion in one hit, each covering the same timescale. While I felt sympathy for Carin she is so damaged she comes across as quite a remote character and you can’t help but wonder what she is capable of, especially when there is a disaster and she is forced to make a difficult choice. Callum is far nicer, in some ways too nice and it is through his eyes that we see a different side to Carin. Rachel has been forever marked as the woman who killed two children, she’s removed herself from life through the use of sleeping pills.

As if our characters didn’t all have enough going on in their lives, a young boy goes missing and all the islanders are out searching for him. With visitors from a visiting cruise ship to swell the numbers the local police organise search parties and attempt to quell the inevitable comparison to two other boys that have gone missing over the last couple of years.

This is a tense novel that accurately portrays the nature of grief, small-town life, difficult choices and rejection. In the hands of such a gifted writer the dark emotions are powerful and intense. The plot has been well-thought out although I feel that the structure was responsible for the slow start to the novel, it was cleverly used to add layers to both the plot and the characters, as we cover the same time period from different perspectives. This is quite unlike the Lacey Flint series, being far darker, and firmly marks Sharon Bolton out as an author who is a master story-teller.

I’d like to say thank you to the publishers, Random House UK who allowed me to read a copy ahead of the publication date of 2 July 2015.

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

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (June 16)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My current read is Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton which will be published on 2 July 2015.

Little Black Lies

Blurb

What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?
Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours.
Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity.
How long before revenge becomes irresistible?
With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?
So now, what’s the worst thing you can do to your best friend?

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

DAY TWO
Tuesday, 1 November 1994
I believe just about anyone can kill in the right circumstances, given enough motivation. The question is, am I there yet? I think I must be. Because lately, it seems, I’ve been thinking of little else.
It’s a minute past midnight. In two days time it will be the third of November. Two more days. Am I there yet?

Please note that this was taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more?
Please leave your thoughts and links in the comment box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (April 18)

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!

This week I have a copy of The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish from Lovereading for review purposes.

The Sudden Departrure of the Frasers

Blurb

Welcome to Lime Park Road. A picture-perfect street with a secret at its heart.
When Joe and Christy Davenport step behind the Oxford Blue painted door of their ‘for ever’ home, they believe their dreams have come true.
Yet the boxes aren’t even unpacked before a series of events leads Christy to become obsessed with the previous occupant, the glamorous, enigmatic Amber Fraser, whose departure from Lime Park Road is shrouded in mystery.
What happened to her? And why are Joe and Christy’s attempts at friendship with neighbours met with an unnerving silence?
As Christy unravels the shocking truth about the Frasers and the place she now calls home, she discovers that behind the closed doors of even the most desirable postcodes, terrible secrets lurk. Goodreads

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is due to be published on 21 May 2015

I treated myself to a copy of a book I’ve had my eye of for some time, Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

Forensics

Blurb

The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died – and who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help justice to be done using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene or the faintest of human traces.
Forensics draws on interviews with top-level professionals, ground-breaking research and Val McDermid’s own experience to lay bare the secrets of this fascinating science. And, along the way, she wonders at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death, how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist uncovered the victims of a genocide.
In her novels, McDermid has been solving complex crimes and confronting unimaginable evil for years. Now, she’s looking at the people who do it for real. It’s a journey that will take her to war zones, fire scenes and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day. Goodreads

And lastly NetGalley or rather the publishers, Random House UK, came good and approved me for a copy of Little Black Lies by one of my favourite authors, Sharon Bolton.

Little Black Lies

Blurb

What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?
Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours.
Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity.
How long before revenge becomes irresistible?
With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds? NetGalley

Little Black Lies is due to be published on 2 July 2015

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