Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Beauty of the End – Debbie Howells

Psychological Thriller 3*s
Psychological Thriller
3*s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 27)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

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

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

Truly Madly Guilty

Blurb

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

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

The Beauty of the End

Blurb

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

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

I See You

Blurb

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

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (February 6)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

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

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

The Redemption of Galen Pike

Blurb

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

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

The Blink that Killed the Eye

Blurb

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

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

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

Thin Ice

Blurb

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

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

Viral

Blurb

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

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

The Beauty of the End

Blurb

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

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

Kill Me Again

Blurb

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

PicMonkey Collage TBR

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

What have you found to read this week?

 

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