Posted in My book problem

On My Bookshelf – What’s In a Name?

On My Bookshelfv1

Following on from yesterday’s post where I gave you a peak at some of my bookshelves I have decided to extend the theme and show you more – yes there is more!

I have endured a lot of mocking about my reviews over the years, chiefly from my brother who on discovering them on Amazon felt the need to add helpful comments on random reviews. These comments are chiefly made up of ‘in jokes’ and will make no sense to anyone hoping for enlightenment, something that is gratifyingly noted by the number of people who thinks it adds to the discussion!

One of the latest objects for mirth is my ‘Five of the Best’ posts, which was initially prompted by my son, who insists that what I read in a certain month can’t possibly be of any help to anyone – after all a book I read in February has no relevance to what someone else will choose in February – I take all this on the chin and tell myself it is done out of affection.

However all this mickey taking got me to thinking… and I give you an excerpt of an early comment on one of my book reviews. The book I was reviewing was written by Sophie Hannah:

Probably also the kind of person who only reads books by people who have surnames as first names like Clive Michael or Betty Richards – don’t bother looking them up as I made them up as I’m not that kind of person myself –  although I once did have a surname as a first name but now I don’t as I changed it about three weeks ago for a first name to another name with a first name afterwards so it’s not a hypocritical thing to say at all…

So if you can disentangle the last part of that sentence you will deduce that my  maiden name is also a surname which is a first name… so today I am spotlighting five authors who have first names as surnames and currently sit on my bookshelf! That’s got to be helpful right?

Sophie Hannah – I have read all the books in the Culver Valley series which are very clever puzzles, one was too obscure for this reader, and although I haven’t enjoyed them all, I do like to see what direction the author will take us in next.

My review for book nine in the Culver Valley series: The Telling Error

Sophie Hannah1

Peter James – Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of this series, not least for another name detail, Roy Grace’s wife is called Cleo! Peter James delivers consistent well-told tales including his latest book You Are Dead which is out later this month.

Peter James 1

Agatha Christie – probably the author that started my trend of reading books by people with surnames that can be first names. I love Poirot and his little grey cells and here are three 1970’s editions published by Fortuna!
See my review of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie 1

Graeme Cameron – the newest author to join this special gang has created a serial killer with a wicked sense of humour in Normal

Graeme Cameron

Sarah Hilary has created a fantastic protagonist in Marnie Rome (perhaps my next post should be characters who have countries for names?) while simultaneously covering difficult issues in this immensely readable series.

See my review of No Other Darkness Sarah Hilary

So today’s challenge is to tell me who sits on your bookshelf with a first name as a surname!

Tune in next time and you might be lucky and find a useful link between my chosen books although this can’t be guaranteed!

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

No Other Darkness – Sarah Hilary

Crime Fiction  5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

One of the things, and there were many, that I loved about Sarah Hilary’s debut novel was it took a fairly common issue and went far beyond the obvious whilst simultaneously giving the reader a complex and well-written crime mystery to explore. No Other Darkness is no different although the issue chosen is not as common-place as domestic violence it isn’t so rare to be unheard of.

The mystery starts with the bodies of two young boys found buried in a bunker in a garden by the owner of the house, a father of two young boys and it isn’t long before DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jakes are called to take a look. This is a harrowing story line made more so because we are given a view of the boys last days from the viewpoint of the eldest boy. The detective’s first job is to find out who the boys were and then how they came to be placed in the bunker and by whom The investigation is led by Marnie with her team including DS Ron Carling who is more office based as he looks for leads starting with Missing Persons and the expert help from Fran the pathologist who looks at soil samples and the like.

As in Someone Else’s Skin the author skilfully gives the reader all the clues but allows enough gaps for the wrong conclusion to be reached, time and again as no sooner was one of my theories disproved there was another incorrect assumption to be made. In addition to her other skills this author sets the pace just right, with some contemplative investigation which ends up with an edge-of-your seat action packed finale.

I am a lover of series as I do like the mix of a story arc and current investigation and Sarah Hilary keeps the balance just right with the character’s lives adding to the story with the reader given more information about Marnie Rome’s traumatic background. Noah’s character is also developed and we learn more about his background too and his brother Sol but these strands of the characters’ lives are used to add shades to the story rather than overshadowing it or giving information that has no connection to the case in hand. For once we have a couple of detectives (and a team) which are admirable, there are few of the politics that tend to dominate this genre and despite her background Marnie Rome’s past only serves to underline how ‘normal’ she is for this genre, yes bad things have happened but she is still a compassionate detective who doesn’t allow the past to overshadow her current investigation although she is aware of any comparisons.

If you too are looking for something more in-depth than a simple police procedural then this series is well-worth following and whilst I think this book could easily be read as a stand-alone, you would be seriously missing out if you don’t start at the beginning. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sarah Hilary who sent me a copy of this book which I had to hide out of sight in a cupboard so that I could read and review it close to the publication date of 23 April 2015.

Sarah Hilary lives in Bath with her daughter, where she writes quirky copy for a well-loved travel publisher. She’s also worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. An award-winning short story writer, Sarah won the Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2012. Her debut novel SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN has been selected as a Richard & Judy Autumn 2014 Book Club pick.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 8)

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 No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary, the second in the DI Marnie Rome series which is proving to be an excellent follow-on to Someone Else’s Skin

No Other Darkness

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

I have just finished Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jaquiery

Death in the Rainy Season

Blurb

Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the rainy season. When a French man, Hugo Quercy, is found brutally murdered, Commandant Serge Morel finds his holiday drawn to an abrupt halt. Quercy – dynamic, well-connected – was the magnetic head of a humanitarian organisation which looked after the area’s neglected youth.
Opening his investigation, the Parisian detective soon finds himself buried in one of his most challenging cases yet. Morel must navigate this complex and politically sensitive crime in a country with few forensic resources, and armed with little more than a series of perplexing questions: what was Quercy doing in a hotel room under a false name? What is the significance of his recent investigations into land grabs in the area? And who could have broken into his home the night of the murder?
Becoming increasingly drawn into Quercy’s circle of family and friends – his adoring widow, his devoted friends and bereft colleagues – Commandant Morel will soon discover that in this lush land of great beauty and immense darkness, nothing is quite as it seems . . .
A deeply atmospheric crime novel that bristles with truth and deception, secrets and lies: Death in the Rainy Season is a compelling mystery that unravels an exquisitely wrought human tragedy. Goodreads

Next I am planning on reading How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost You

Blurb

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied?
I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you?
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my shattered life.
This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead?
If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back? NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 7)

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 intro this week is from No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary whose debut novel Someone Else’s Skin wowed me last year.

No Other Darkness

Blurb

Two young boys.
Trapped underground in a bunker.
Unable to understand why they are there.
Desperate for someone to find them.
Slowly realising that no-one will…
Five years later, the boys’ bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome’s career begins.
Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.
For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this… Amazon

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Five years ago

Fred’s crying again, a snotty noise with a whine in it, like the puppy when he’s shut outside. Archie’s the oldest, so it’s his job to take care of Fred when Mum and Dad aren’t around, but he’s fed up of drying Fred’s eyes and wiping Fred’s nose. Most of all, he’s fed up with telling Fred it’s going to be okay. Archie doesn’t like telling lies, especially not to his little brother.

Please note the quote is from a proof copy

Do you want to know more? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 9)

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).

It’s been a while since my last Friday Finds and I have some great additions to share with you. Through NetGalley I have been lucky enough to receive copies from three authors whose previous books I’ve enjoyed.

Firstly, Second Life by S J Watson, the author of Before I Go To Sleep which I awarded 4 stars to back in 2011 and has recently been made into a film.

Second Life

Blurb

She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.
She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.
She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.
She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.
She’s living two lives. She might lose both . . NetGalley

Second Life is being published by Random House UK on 12 February 2015

Secondly, Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt is being published by Amazon on 10 February 2015 and is the second in the DS Allie Shenton series, a shame because I haven’t read the first one, Taunting the Dead although I did enjoy Watching Over You last year

So I purchased Taunting The Dead Taunting The Dead

Blurb

Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim. Goodreads

… to enjoy Follow The Leader

Follow The Leader

Blurb

A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E.
Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing.
As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert.
The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader. NetGalley

And lastly The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer. Amazon kindly informs me that I purchased Blacklands by Belinda Bauer back in August 2010, I then read all of her subsequent novels including the fantastic Rubbernecker although I haven’t yet read The Facts of Life and Death which was published in 2014.

The Shut Eye

Blurb

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.
And now they are all his mother has left.
Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…
But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?
Or is he something far, far worse? NetGalley

The Shut Eye will be published by Random House UK on 12 March 2015

I also have a copy of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh which is due to be published by Little Brown Book Group UK on 23 April 2015.

I Let You Go
Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.
DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.
As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . . Goodreads

I have also been lucky enough to receive a proof copy of Sarah Hilary’s second book No Other Darkness after her wonderful debut Someone Else’s Skin, the first in the Marnie Rome series (and one of the top ten reviews most read by you guys)

No Other Darkness

Blurb

No Other Darkness finds Marnie on a case that hauntingly echoes her own family tragedy. Detective Inspector Marnie Rome and her partner Detective Sergeant Noah Jake are investigating the recent discovery of two dead boys in a bunker beneath a London garden. Terry and Beth, under whose garden the bodies were discovered, have two children of their own, and are also fostering a difficult boy named Clancy. Clancy reminds Marnie of her foster brother Stephen, who murdered her parents. Is Marnie’s past blinding her to the truth? Only one thing is certain: when Terry and Beth’s biological children vanish, Marnie can’t waste a moment finding them. Goodreads

So that concludes my finds for this week!

What have you found to read? Please share in the comments box below.

Posted in Books I have read

Reading and Reviewing in 2014

Updated 2014

So I have now completed (minus 2 days) an entire calendar year of reading and reviewing books on my blog – and what a year it has been! Before I choose my top 10 books for the year I thought I’d share some facts and figures with you because that’s how I roll.

In 2014 I have read 140 books and it will be no surprise to regular readers that the composition of genre is crime heavy… but I did manage an impressive 33 books that fell into (my) contemporary fiction category as well as 17 books with a historical theme.

I should warn everyone that I play fast and loose with genres and anything I’m not sure where to put does end up as contemporary fiction, but it is a guideline (of sorts).

Out of my crime reads the split was also unsurprisingly heavily weighted on the psychological fiction slant with 37 books falling into this genre, 33 logged as crime thriller and 11 in the mystery category.

When I started blogging I was curious to see how much of my reading could be supported by review copies of books, this wasn’t a new concept as I’d been part of Amazon Vine since 2011, but I’d not counted for the ease of requesting items from NetGalley, the quantity of kind publishers and authors that offer me books, Lovereading  who send me copies as part of their reviewing panel or Bookbridgr who have physical copies they are happy to post to me. That along with a little bit of stalking of my favourite authors on Twitter has kept me in more than enough books for the whole year!

In 2014 only 25 books, less than 18% of the books I read, I owned (and I’d won copies of 3 of these).  Now I’m not making any promises too stop reviewing ARCs, I love finding new authors, catching up with old ones and sometimes reading something a little bit different to the norm, far too much for that, but I am going to redress the balance a little and aim for 60:40 split.  Well, lets see how that goes shall we? Why? Well out of the books I’ve read this year 63 were by authors whose books I’d previously read. This is a whopping 45%! This means that exponentially, even discarding the minority whose books weren’t for me, or who don’t write a new book in 2015, of the new to me authors should even 40 produce  new books these added to the known to me author output, can only be disastrous for the TBR ??? That doesn’t even take into account any back catalogues!  This is why cutting down on books is never going to happen!! But what a fantastic problem to have!

So which of my reviews have been most popular in 2014?

Click on the book cover to read my reviews

10. The magnificent debut and psychological thriller by Mary Kubica – The Good Girl This book with four narrators has no chapter breaks which meant I was compelled to keep reading to find out why and how Mia Dennett disappeared.
The Good Girl

9. A Crime Fiction novel Daughter by Jane Shemilt is fixed around the disappearance of Jenny’s 15 year old daughter, Naomi but also uncovers a web of secrets and lies.
Daughter

8. Sarah Hilary’s police procedural, Someone Else’s Skin blew me away with it’s range of characters and skilful handling of a storyline about domestic abuse was a fantastic find in February 2014.

Someone Else's Skin

7. In The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner we meet Jim and Patti Lancing who  react in very different ways to the murder of their daughter mixed with an accomplished whodunit.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

6. Sees a psychological domestic thriller with Lucie Whitehouse’s Before We Met which tells the tale of how Hannah found out more about the man she married.

Before We Met

5. A Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler was put in the psychological suspense category because the author literally reveals the progressive layers of the protagonist’s mind as the tale unfolds. This was an unequivocal 5 star read.

That Dark Remembered Day

4. Wake by Anna Hope has stayed in my mind ever since I read it nearly a year ago. This tale of the run up to the Internment of the Unknown Soldier was beyond poignant. The best book about WWI that I have read although Andrew Cowan’s Worthless Men comes a close second.

Wake

3. Having missed the TV series Broadchurch , I jumped at the chance to read the book of the series especially as it was written by one of my favourite authors, Erin Kelly. I loved the story so much I had to watch the TV series to compare and will now be glued to the second series next Monday.

Broadchurch

2. In February I read a book about a fictional stalker, The Book of You by Claire Kendal brilliantly portrays the mind of a stalker and captures the powerlessness of his victim, not only that but the storyline has a parallel to an ongoing court case.

The Book of You

1. The most popular review of the year goes to an author whose books I’ve been championing for a while but this one surpassed all my expectations. Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott is a brilliant psychological thriller, even better I believe you can get a copy for a mere 99p at the moment.

Sleep Tight

So those are the reviews you’ve enjoyed – coming soon my favourite books that were published in 2014.
I’d like to thank all those authors and publishers who’ve given me a fantastic selection of books, the readers and commenters on this little blog and those who connect with my reviews via twitter, you have all made my world brighter in 2014.
Happy reading everyone and here’s to Happy a New Year full of new books!

Posted in Books I want to Read

Richard and Judy’s Book Club – Autumn 2014

I’m always interested to see which books make it onto Richard and Judy’s Book Club and the autumn list is now out.

There are two on here that I’ve already read and another three or four that had made it onto my radar and will now probably make the TBR for sure.

Daughter

When a teenage girl goes missing her mother discovers she doesn’t know her daughter as well as she thought in Jane Shemilt’s haunting debut novel, Daughter.

The Night Of The Disappearance – She used to tell me everything. They have a picture. It’ll help. But it doesn’t show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold. She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow. She smells very faintly of lemons. She bites her nails. She never cries. She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child. Find her. One year later – Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces. Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together? Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart?

My review of Daughter by Jane Shemilt can be read here

The First Fifteen

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’ This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

Daisy Goodwin

In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything – except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied.

Andy Weir

I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m screwed.

Someone Else's Skin

Called to a woman’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder. Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons. Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most…

Read my review of Someone Else’s Skin here

The Memory Book

When time is running out every moment is precious…When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers…?

The Devil In Marshalea

London, 1727 – and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors’ prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol’s rutheless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules – even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet. Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder – or be the next to die.

Under a Makeral Sky

‘All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.’ Rick Stein’s childhood in 1950s rural Oxfordshire and North Cornwall was idyllic. His parents were charming and gregarious, their five children much-loved and given freedom typical of the time. As he grew older, the holidays were filled with loud and lively parties in his parents’ Cornish barn. But ever-present was the unpredicatible mood of his bipolar father, with Rick frequently the focus of his anger and sadness. When Rick was 18 his father killed himself. Emotionally adrift, Rick left for Australia, carrying a suitcase stamped with his father’s initials. Manual labour in the outback followed by adventures in America and Mexico toughened up the naive public schoolboy, but at heart he was still lost and unsure what to do with his life. Eventually, Cornwall called him home. From the entrepreneurial days of his mobile disco, the Purple Tiger, to his first, unlikely unlikely nightclub where much of the time was spent breaking up drink-fuelled fights, Rick charts his personal journey in a way that is both wry and perceptive; engaging and witty.

Have you read any of these, or do you think you might?

To get the reviews features and more go visit Richard and Judy’s Book Club here.

Posted in Books I have read

Four Fantastic Books Published Today (February 27)

Well today is a great day for new books!

To read my reviews click on the book covers

First up is The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

The One Plus One

Blurb

One single mum
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to . . .
One chaotic family
Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone.
Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking . . .
One handsome stranger
Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .
One unexpected love story
The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances. Goodreads

This is one emotional read but utterly satisfying. Jojo Moyes is one of those writers that has the power to make you really care about the characters she has created so much so they become your friends. A publisher’s dream for Penguin Books.

Next up is Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase

Blurb

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong…
Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother’s belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew – dated after he supposedly died in the war.
Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later…Goodreads

A fantastic dual time-line novel with the modern day Roberta finding out about Dorothy’s life at the time of World War II. Who couldn’t forgive Dorothea and why is the big question at the heart of this novel published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Next up is the debut novel by Sarah Hilary, Someone Else’s Skin one of my favourite crime novels written this year, published by Headline.

Someone Else's Skin

Blurb

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome. Dependable; fierce; brilliant at her job; a rising star in the ranks. Everyone knows how Marnie fought to come back from the murder of her parents, but very few know what is going on below the surface. Because Marnie has secrets she won’t share with anyone.
But then so does everyone. Certainly those in the women’s shelter Marnie and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit on that fateful day. The day when they arrive to interview a resident, only to find one of the women’s husbands, who shouldn’t have been there, lying stabbed on the floor.
As Marnie and Noah investigate the crime further, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. Everyone is keeping secrets, some for survival and some, they suspect, to disguise who they really are under their skin.
Now, if Marnie is going to find the truth she will have to face her own demons head on. Because the time has come for secrets to be revealed…

This is just my sort of crime fiction, one where there are a myriad of storylines, expertly handled and with likeable characters to compensate for the baddies! This book was so much more than I had expected!

And lastly out of the fab four is the superbly creepy A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan published by Doubleday

A Pleasure and a Calling

Blurb

You won’t remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key.
That’s absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine?
The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all.
William Heming’s every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it – perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours… Goodreads

This book has haunted me since the day I read it and I know I am going to have to pick it up again to experience the sheer cleverness of the tale of a boy who started by hiding in wardrobes and finished up living amongst unsuspecting families.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (February 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 Don’t Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Don't Stand So Close

Blurb

What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?
If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?
What would you do if you let her in, but couldn’t make her leave?
What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?

This is proving to be another good read, Blue has visited Stella, an agoraphobic, former psychologist in the middle of a snow storm.  Why is she there and what does she really want?

I have just finished one of those wonderful books where the characters linger on in your mind; Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary

Click on the cover to read my review

Someone Else's Skin

Someone Else’s Skin is due to be published on 27 February 2014 and I highly recommend this one for those of you who love a good crime thriller with fantastic characters. great pace and a twisty turny plotline!

Next I will be reading A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan

A Pleasure and a Calling

Blurb

You won’t remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key.
That’s absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine?
The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all.
William Heming’s every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it – perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours…

I am someone who can read about murder’s but it is these sort of creepy home invasions that really make my skin crawl so I have a feeling this one may spook me a little.

I’d love to know what you are reading this week, have you found some gems too?

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

Someone Else’s Skin – Sarah Hilary

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this new crime novel, after all it takes something quite spectacular to live up to the billing ‘the crime debut of the year’ especially as it is only February!

To begin with we have the DI, Marnie Rome who has a troubled past. So far so normal for a crime novel, but in her case her back story include murdered parents which has left her determined to succeed in her job, although her personal life seems a little bleak. Her partner is DS Noah Jake, a Jamaican and gay, this presents no problems except with DS Ron Carling who is the macho policeman. However this is much more than a formulaic police procedural, this book is as much about why some of the crimes are committed as it is about how they were, and who did it.

Desperate to bolster their case against a suspect, DI Rome and DS Jake visit a woman’s refuge; they need the resident to make a statement about her treatment at his hands and walk in to find a man lying stabbed on the floor. The action starts with a bang but this turns out to be a nightmare of a case to investigate, the women are far from ideal witnesses but DI Rome is determined to find answers.

Set mainly in London in the present day with enough local references to anchor the reader, I would love to visit Marnie’s favourite café which sells French toast with cutlery warm and wrapped in a thick linen. There is a little jumping back in time mainly in relation to Marnie’s past but also a few excerpts from an unknown man set six months previously. These are all clearly headed so there is no risk of confusion.

This is just the sort of book I enjoy, there are so many different stories all playing out; those of Marnie, Noah, the social worker Ed and the female residents have clear personalities and stories to tell without slowing down the pace or preventing a bucketful surprises along the way. I lovely a book that makes you gasp and this one did. I literally worked out one bit of the puzzle a page before the reveal and it still shocked me. Not bad for someone has read as many crime novels as I have.

This was a brilliant read and I do hope this isn’t the last we hear of DI Rome as I for one thoroughly loved this protagonist as well as the reassurance that the crime genre still has a lot to offer its readers. For once I don’t think the publisher’s have got their claims wildly wrong!

I was extremely lucky to receive a free copy of this book from Lovereading as I am on their reviewing panel.  Someone Else’s Skin will be published by Headline on 27 February 2014.

Someone Else’s Skin – Amazon UK