Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (February 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them! Here is January’s top five in case you missed it: January 2011 to 2015 but now to February!

2011

Read while holidaying in the Bahamas was another great read from one of my favourite authors, Kate Morton with The Distant Hours.  This wasn’t as popular as her previous two novels The Distant Hours and The Forgotten Garden but I liked the change in style and time period.

The Distant Hours

Blurb

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family. Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it . . . Amazon

2012 yr

In February 2012 I read Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton, the second in the Lacey Flint series.  This series quickly became a fixture on my ‘must-read’  list and I eagerly await the latest addition as soon as I’ve read the last.

Dead Scared
Blurb

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim? Amazon

2013yr

In February 2013 I read Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes which features Police data analyst, Annabel, in a disturbing dark thriller.

Human Remains

Blurb

When Annabel, a police analyst, discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door, she’s appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed that anything was wrong.
Back at work, she feels compelled to investigate, despite her colleagues’ lack of interest, and finds data showing that such cases are common – too common – in her home town. As she’s drawn deeper into the mystery and becomes convinced she’s on the trail of a killer, she also must face her own demons and her own mortality. Would anyone notice if she just disappeared? Goodreads

2014yr
February 2014 was full of some of my favourite books of the year with many strong contenders so I have decided pick one of the two five star reads by a debut author; A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan.  For some reason this book has been given a new wacky cover which I don’t like so I’m featuring the old one!
A Pleasure and a Calling

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… Amazon

2015yr
The end of February 2015 reading has seen a clutch of five star reads with a number of contenders for the top spot but I have decided to plump for an author whose fourth book was as ingenious and as satisfying as her previous three; Rachel Abbott with Stranger Child.

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right.

5 Star Reads

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

Stranger Child – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

Stranger Child is Rachel Abbott’s fourth book but rest assured, she hasn’t run out of good ideas yet.

Emma Joseph is married to David a successful man whose first wife, Caroline, died in a car accident six years before. Emma lives with the reminder of her beauty in a painting and the memories of the long years where she supported him with his grief because David didn’t just lose his wife in the accident before the emergency services arrived his six-year-old daughter, Natasha, disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Finally life is looking up and Emma and David have had baby Ollie and Emma is enjoying motherhood and then one day everything changes,

What would you do if you were at home gazing out of the kitchen window and this happened?

It was a pair of eyes. A pair of eyes that were behind her, watching. Close behind her. In her kitchen. A beam of sunlight burst through the black clouds, hitting the kitchen window and obliterating the reflection as if it had never been there. Emma’s fingers gripped the edge of the sink. Had she imagined it? But as quickly as the sun had come out, it was chased away by the squally clouds and the mirror image returned. Locking eyes with the ghostly reflection that ebbed and flowed as the light outside adjusted from black to grey, Emma groped along the draining board, searching with her fingers for a weapon. Reaching up to the cutlery holder, she felt a sharp pain and a rush of liquid warmth as her fingers grasped the blade of a sharp boning knife, and she followed the steel down to grip the handle with damp, sticky fingers.

It doesn’t take long before Emma calls on her friend DCI Tom Douglas, who readers of Rachel Abbott’s previous books will remember. In my mind’s eye he is dashingly gorgeous and a thoroughly upright Police Officer who really cares about the victims in the cases he investigates. Anyway I digress, Emma soon realises that perhaps in this situation she shouldn’t have involved the Police as things get much, much worse.

I love a good psychological thriller and this one definitely has the thrill aspect at its heart assisted by the fast pace full of tension from the opening sentence.This is one of those books that I shelve under compulsive reading, I know from the start that I’m in for a treat and I just have to keep flicking the pages to see what delightful twist will present itself on the next page, to observe each character adapt as they accustom themselves to new pieces of information the events unfold. One of the things I love about Rebecca Abbott’s writing is that her characters feel realistic because they react like real people even in extraordinary situations, although there are several people in this book that I wouldn’t fancy meeting on a dark night, or even in broad daylight! As in the previous books Tom Douglas is working with Becky Robinson and it is lovely to have such a supportive working relationship within crime fiction and although we only ever get snippets of their personal lives it is clear that Tom is still struggling to come to terms with his elder brother’s death some years before.

The only complaint I have is that the short chapters that break up the 350+ pages meant that I felt like a child again as I murmured to myself, just one more chapter, at least a dozen times after I should have been fast asleep and saying to your colleagues that you’re tired because you read too much the night before didn’t really garner me much sympathy.

If you haven’t read any of Rachel Abbott’s earlier books in this series, you really should although each one can be comfortably be read as a stand-alone as no reference is made to previous cases so once you’re hooked you can start at the beginning.

I was given a copy of this book to read and review prior to the publication date of 24 February 2015.

Rachel Abbott is the UK’s most successful independently published author. She was born just outside Manchester. She became a systems analyst, forming her own software company in the mid-80s and selling it in 2000. She then moved with her husband to Italy and bought a small ruined monastery with its own chapel, restoring it and making it into a home. In 2009 she decided to try writing a novel. Only The Innocent was published in 2011 and was a number 1 e-book bestseller for four weeks from mid-February 2012. Her subsequent books, The Back Road and Sleep Tight, were also bestsellers. Her work is translated into seven languages. Following the report of her million sales in The Sunday Times, Rachel Abbott declared herself ‘astounded’ by the numbers, and by the fact that her first three  books had remained in the Amazon Kindle top 100 for the best part of six months.

Buy your copy from  Amazon

You can also contact Rachel Abbott at the following places and if you act quickly you can join in with her launch party next week which I will be attending to try and win one of the prizes!

Web :               rachel-abbott.com

Blog:                rachelabbottwriter.com

Twitter:           @Rachel__Abbott

Facebook:        RachelAbbott1Writer

The Rachel Abbot Books in order:

Read more about the previous books in the series:

Only The Innocent

Only The Innocent

Blurb

When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead –
brutally murdered – and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.
In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five sar luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband’s life have something to hide.
But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.


The Back Road

Back Road

Blurb

A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane.
A driver drags her body to the side of the road.
A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting.
The small community of Little Melham is in shock.
For Ellie Saunders, last night’s hit and run on the back road could destroy everything she has. She was out that night, but if she reveals where she was and why, her family will be torn apart. She is living on a knife-edge, knowing that her every move is being observed.
Ellie’s new neighbour, former Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas has moved to the village for some well-deserved peace and quiet, but as he is drawn into the web of deceit his every instinct tells him that what happened that night was more than a tragic accident.
As past and present collide, best-kept secrets are revealed and lives are devastated. Only one person knows the whole story. And that person will protect the truth no matter what the cost.

Sleep Tight
click on the book cover to read my review

Sleep Tight

Stranger Child

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (17 February)

Kindle,jpg

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 Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right. Amazon

My Teaser

Her husband’s first wife had been beautiful. There was no doubting that at all. Her delicate features and pale, almost translucent skin had been captured to perfection in a painting commissioned by her father on her twenty-first birthday. Emma tried so hard not to make comparisons between this fragile beauty and her more prosaic, if not unattractive features. But it was difficult.

So what do you think? Want to know more?
Please leave the link to your teasers in the comments box below.

Posted in Uncategorized

Musing Monday (February 16)

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I am currently reading Stranger Child by one of my favourite authors Rachel Abbott
and I’m not just saying that because she has used one of my quotes from a review of a previous book as part of her publicity for this one!

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right Goodreads

I have just finished reading Hidden by Emma Kavanagh a tense psychological thriller which centres on a gunman in a hospital with engaging characters and a true mystery at its heart.

My review will follow soon

Hidden

Next up is The Iron Necklace by Giles Waterfield

The Iron Necklace

Blurb

The wedding of Thomas, an idealistic German architect, and Irene, an English artist, brings together the Curtius and Benson families. But their peace is soon shattered by the outbreak of war in Europe. While Irene struggles to survive in a country where she is the enemy, her sister Sophia faces the war as a nurse on the Western Front. For their brother Mark, diplomatic service sees him moving between London, Washington and Copenhagen, all the while struggling to confront his own identity. Against a backdrop of war and its aftermath relationships are tested, sacrifices are made and Irene and her siblings strive to find their place in an evolving world. Amazon

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 30)

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).

Just one find from NetGalley this week, a book I couldn’t resist as I have waited a long time for another read by this author; When We Were Friends by Tina Seskis following on from One Step Too Far and The Serpentine Affair

When We Were Friends

Blurb

It had always been the six of us.
Since we met at university twenty-five years ago, we’d faced everything together. Break-ups and marriages, motherhood and death. We were closer than sisters; the edges of our lives bled into each other.
But that was before the night of the reunion. The night of exposed secrets and jagged accusations. The night when everything changed.
And then we were five. NetGalley

My only concern is that this sounds a lot like the plot for A Serpentine Affair…

I also have a copy of Normal by Graeme Cameron courtesy of Harlequin Books, the paperback is due to be published on 9 April 2015.

Normal

Blurb

The truth is I hurt people.
It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.
I’m not NORMAL.’
He is the man who lives on your street. The one you see in the supermarket and nod hello to.
He’s also a serial killer. Killing is what he’s good at.
He’s the most compelling antihero since Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley.
And you’ll want him to get away with MURDER. Goodreads

From Orenda books I have a copy of The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E. Hardisty to read before publication on 8 March 2015

The Abrupt Physics of Dying
Blurb

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead. A stunning debut eco-thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying is largely based on true events – the horrific destruction of fresh water and lives by oil giants. Gritty, gripping and shocking, this book will not only open your eyes but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached. Goodreads

Finally I have a copy of the latest book from Rachel Abbott, having loved her previous three books, the latest being
Sleep Tight. Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott is due for publication on kindle on 24 February 2015, paperback in May 2015.

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One Act of Revenge
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically their six year old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all her lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Tom and Emma to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe theyre right?

 

What have you found to read this week? Do share.