Sweatpants at Tiffanies by Pernille Hughes

sweatpants

Length: 262 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Tiffanie Trent is not having a great week. Gavin, her boyfriend, has dumped her unceremoniously on their tenth anniversary, leaving her heartbroken and homeless.

Frank Black, the owner of Blackie’s boxing gym and where Tiff has been book-keeper for the last decade, has dropped dead. He’s not having a great week either.

And if that wasn’t enough, Mike ‘The Assassin’ Fellner, boxer of international fame and Tiff’s first love, is back in town and more gorgeous than ever. Tiff can’t seem to go anywhere without bumping into his biceps.

When she discovers Blackie has left her the gym, Tiff, with her saggy trackies and supermarket trainers, is certain she’ll fail. Can Tiff step up and roll with the punches, or will she be down and out at the first round?

The Review: There’s times when you read a blurb and it catches you by surprise and you go ‘geney mac I have to read that!’ And so it was with this, a book about Tiffanie, who is living with a guy who is probably one of the best literary examples of an a**hole that there is (!), dumping her. Tiffanie is shocked but doesn’t quite see what we’re seeing and is set on winning him back. Struggling on, we are hit with another shock, Blackie, the owner of the gym Tiffanie works at as a bookkeeper, dies. It is very wrong to think ‘oh well done’ to the way he dies, but as a writer, I’m afraid I did nod and think that (what is wrong with me?!)

I really enjoyed this book. ‘Laugh out loud’ was exactly how to describe it as there was indeed a number of moments where I actually spluttered! It deals with, as you would guess, a male dominated area where a number of men, in particular one who thinks he has designs on the gym, try to force Tiffanie out. I loved her ideas for the gym and the way not everyone was against her, there were a number of lovely characters that were brilliant in their support. The romance and heat was very well done and I read this in one sitting at the fire with a box of Pringles (just setting the scene!) and really enjoyed (both book and Pringles). Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

No Safe Place (Detective Lottie Parker Series Book 4) by Patricia Gibney

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Length: 440 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: There’s nothing more dangerous than a familiar face…

As funeral mourners stand in silence at Ragmullin cemetery, a deafening cry cuts through the air. Lying crumpled at the bottom of an open grave is the bloodied body of a young woman, and Detective Lottie Parker is called in to investigate.

Knowing the body can’t have been there long, Lottie wonders if it could be Elizabeth Bryne, a young woman who vanished without trace just days earlier. And with a new boss who seems to have it in for her, Lottie is under pressure to solve both cases quickly.

As two more women go missing from Ragmullin, Lottie and her team fear there is a serial killer on the loose. And the disappearances are strikingly similar to a cold case from ten years earlier. Could history be repeating itself?

As journalists begin to interfere with Lottie’s investigation, she fears the killer is about to strike again. Lottie is in a race against time to find the missing women, but the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Lottie be his next target?

If you love Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza and Rachel Abbott, you’ll love the latest pulse-pounding thriller from Patricia Gibney. No Safe Place will keep you guessing until the very last page.

The Review: I suppose I should start by sending you to previous gushes about this, the Detective Lottie Parker Series: Book 1 here, book 2 here, book 3 here . All three books I raced through, gobbling up every-single-word. I’ll be honest, I don’t even know how to begin this review. This was without doubt my favourite of the Lottie Parker series. I’m pretty sure that i haven’t said that before and if I have apologies but I honestly cannot think of how it can. And breeaathe.

Okay, so we begin, as you do, with a young girl running through a graveyard, trying to get away from someone. What happens next of course, I can’t tell you but I can tell you it’s been done before (and not just in my nightmares as a child), but never this well! I was shocked and sat up straight and then ran out of the room to get snacks as I knew I was in for the long haul. So with what just happened (read the book), you’d really expect that the next thing would be that this the DI Lottie Parker heads off looking for this particular person but no, the way this book is done, as you look at it with the unforgettable team at Ragmullin, there is nothing to look for, only a whole lot of local tales (special mention to the first witness, what an amazing lady!) and thoughts and speculation on people who are missing.

There are a lot of characters in this book but they are all easily traceable and trackable, you remember each of the missing women through encounters both on and after their train journeys, you remember the suspects through their quirks and attitudes, the police force are of course always unforgettable and very entertaining. There were some changes in the usual faces, most notably with Superintendent Corrigan, and I hoped upon hope that it wasn’t the end for a character that I always look forward to hearing.I loved getting to know some new characters, in particular a viper of a reporter whose making life difficult for Lottie and on a fully different spectrum, the lovely Grace who defin superseded any relations they usually arrive in books to make things difficult for a character. I loved Grace and was excited at her involvement which meant more air time for Boyd who  I also adore.The baddie came in the form of a stranger who we hear on the train and who is worrying in his thoughts throughout the book.

There are of course a few unlikeables scattered throughout and at many times there were boulders in my stomach as I watched women being stalked on the train and then was passed over to suspects homes, where things were as dark and worrying.

There were shocks and tragedies of ASTRONOMICAL proportions and at one stage I found myself cursing out loud in surprise. As said above this is my favourite book in the series. I may have said this for other books (I don’t think I have), but without a doubt it really is, pacing, setting, thrills, spills, shocks, tragedies and some very magnetic off kilter romance. Exceptional. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

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Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, she had enough on her plate already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this. Enough is enough! Jenny vows to keep both revelations a secret. She takes her life into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

The Review: I have to admit I put this book off and off (very oddly as I agpred Ms. Bloom’s ‘No On Has Sex on Christmas day’ read review  here

). I dreaded the fact that most people seemed to be laughing through the tears, and had had a few weeks of tough things happening to all of those around me, and this coupled with a lack of sleep had left me both fragile and not feeling very ‘me.’

The odd thing, so, was that I should choose the ten year anniversary of my dad’s death and a weekend of knocks and bumps in general to say ‘eff it’ and read both this and The Happiness List by Annie Lyons (another excellent book- read the review here ). Maybe I thought I was all cried out. Maybe I was challenging myself. Either way I’m so happy I read both. But enough about me-this is all about Emma. Lovely Emma who we meet first in the prologue on the 25th June 1996 in Bataria Beach Kassiopi in Corfu, where she is celebrating her 25th birthday and having the time of her life. It actually is the time of her life because fast forward to present time and she uses that day as a placemark for when she was at her happiest. The prologue leads you with a one-liner that says ‘boom! You’re in for one hell of a ride!’ (It doesn’t ACTUALLY say this, but you know what I mean).

Now, twenty years later she’s at her birthday dinner and it isn’t quite as special. We get the impression that the love of her life is the same guy from before, but things aren’t so rosy and Emma has potentially devastating news. This book drops a large cold boulder into your stomach with Emma’s health, her lovely dad’s dementia, a mother who doesn’t realise her daughter’s worth, a daughter who needs a mother and a son who’s growing up. As Emma decides to make the end count, you are met with a cacophony of images that bring you back to your own old friends, your own life, while making you appreciate what you have.  It is fun, funny, beautiful and devastating and reminds me that Tracy Bloom is at the top of the pile for rom com authors. Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

The Stolen Girls (DI Lottie Parker book 2) by Patricia Gibney

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Length: 452 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: One Monday morning, the body of a young pregnant woman is found. The same day, a mother and her son visit the house of Detective Lottie Parker, begging for help to find a lost friend.

Could this be the same girl?

When a second victim is discovered by the same man, with the murder bearing all the same hallmarks as the first, Lottie needs to work fast to discover how else the two were linked. Then two more girls go missing.

Detective Lottie Parker is a woman on the edge, haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her family together through difficult times. Can she fight her own demons and catch the killer before he claims another victim?

The Stolen Girls is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni.

The Review: You might remember my gush for The Missing Ones (read it here), where I told of Patricia Gibney’s book’s pacing, shocks and general unputdownableness, and yes, the fact that she’s from ‘around these parts’ (puts on Texan twang). I bought and requested all of her books straight away (I’m very late to the party) and can happily inform you that I’m still able to gush about her three books in (fourth still to be read).

(Also a little story of the fact I passed her on the street and a few minutes later passed: one Garda car, one decidedly looking dodgy character and two men reading newspapers- one in a car, the other standing in a laneway, JUST the way you see on tv!) and I wanted to run back and go looking for Ms. Gibney (I’ve only ever met her at the launch so it would be EXTREMELY weird if I did this) and tell her ‘something’s going down’ (puts on appropriate  voice, I actually don’t know what that is!). Suffices to say I didn’t. But there you go. Oh and I also nearly asked a Garda at the police station and another standing at The St Patrick’s day parade had he read any of her books (I’d assume they all have at the station, I mean to date she’s sold a million copies!). I know, I know, I’ll stop now!

Anyhoo, to the book. So here a body of a young pregnant woman is found. On the same day a mother and her lovely, lovely child come to the door of Lottie Parker’s actual house, begging for help to find someone. I was torn between being excited at her family being involved again (because they’re a good age group for that sort of thing) and wondering how they can be involved again, but in the end one of them showed that they definitely have Lottie’s quick thinking and wish to protect people and I loved it all.

As for Lottie herself, she is witty and sarcastic and ridunculously likeable and out to help where she can. I loved seeing more of Boyd, and really getting to know him better (a special mention to how the two  bounce off each other). The Force on the whole in Ragmullin are characters that spring off the page (Corrigan’s bursting in and wanting to kill them all, in particular Lottie, is excellent!).

The story pretty much revolves around trafficking, and people coming to Ireland to make a better life, where some are horrendously duped and forced into sub-par conditions. My stomach tumbled about at parts of this book and there are some top notch moments where you think something is going to happen and then suddenly you were realise you were led astray. Actually, after a ‘oh my god,’ (out loud) moment, I think the author is very likely to be the queen of this. Excellent book, excellent characters, setting, pacing, thrills and spills-the works! Recommended to all around and apologies for the gush and fan moments (but to be honest it’s going to take something big to knock Ms. Gibney off as my top Irish author)!

rating: 5/5

 

Gone Missing by T.J. Brearton

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Length: 372 pages

Please note that the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Katie Calumet is on an early-morning run when she hears a baby crying. The park is deserted, and there’s no one in the street. She follows the cries, but then everything goes black. When Katie wakes up, she’s blindfolded and her hands and feet are bound.

Detective Justin Cross takes on the case, but with the trail leading into endless dense forest, and a failing marriage weighing on his mind, finding Katie is his most challenging case yet – not least because the Calumet family are keeping secrets of their own.

Justin and Katie face a race against time that will push them both to their very limits. As Justin works day and night to discover who took her and why, Katie fights desperately to escape from her kidnappers and the forest that surrounds her…

Can Justin find her before it’s too late?

The Review:Talk about a book too get you nervy! Kate Calumet heads off on her run one day only to come across a the sound of a baby crying coming from a van. She’s heard all of the urban legends and so is unsure approaching the van but decides to send a text to her husband and so, of course all will be okay. But then she’s gone.

The book alternated between Kate, who I loved, who’s just trying to stay alive, and Detective Cross, who is coming up against road block after road block trying to solve the case. The husband, who seems so upset at what’s happened, still seems to be hiding something, as is her very wealthy family. There is also a large press presence because of who Kate is and so this came with the big guns in terms of people investigating too. I loved the inticacies of police work which were excellent in this book. Another thing was  the settings, if there was ever a book that had chases that read like a motion picture movie it was this one. I saw everything in full colour- the jump between her home where the stress of the kidnapping and the secrets weighing them down contrasted against Kate that was as vivid as anything I’ve read. I loved the pacing which was full on and fast, although I have to admit there was one or two points I was disappointed at things that could have happen to create more of a thrill (I know, totally just me, I was so taken with everything that I had my own movie running in my head, remember?) All in all, definitely recommended and I will most definitely be picking up more from this author again.

Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

themissingones

Length: 434 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

The Review: I read a review quite a while ago from a blogger who gushed about an author who lived in her locality, saying that everything was a billion times more real because she knew she lived in the area that the book was loosely based around. I remember thinking how great that would be, but, being outside the box in terms of irish fiction (romantic comedies and thrillers are most definitely trumped here by literary fiction that I can’t always get my head around), I didn’t think it would ever happen. And then it did! One day, I was speaking to my son’s teacher, and she mentioned that a friend of hers had gotten a major book deal. She said that she was with a publisher that was different to other publishers, but were huge. That evening  our internet was down (this was back in the day of our non existing internet, before we moved house), and I totally forgot about it until she asked me was I going to the book launch and that’s when I went googling and oh my word!

‘She’s with Bookouture!!’ I squealed at her when I met her the following day. The poor lady just nodded and I began to gush about how much I ADORED Bookouture and how they’d put out some of the best books for me of the past few years. I then gushed about her friend (Ms. Gibney), who I’d seen on Twitter and the fact that she was writing thrillers. A writer from westmeath putting out thrillers! The gushing continued at home, where I’m sure my husband wanted to stuff his fingers in his ears and sing ‘la, la, la, la, la’ until I left the room. I downloaded the first two of her books and requested the third and a few days later headed over to her book launch for ‘The Stolen Girls,’ where I bought it as a beautiful paperback, which I will share pics of with you when I get to it (very soon). So I’ll leave the lead in at this, amazing author with amazing publisher puts out an amazing book and it’s supposedly set around here, but with the name Ragmullin (not Mullingar, isn’t that ingenious?!) Okay. I’m stopping. Honest.

So we start off with a dark prologue that features a group of children seeing things that they cannot and should not get their heads around. I have to admit that already I was so shocked that I nearly forgot to highlight. Then there’s the meeting of a lady with someone from her past in a cathedral and a murder (this sounds so wrong but I have to admit I loved the modern twist in terms of the murder weapon!). Actually as an aside I have to admit when I heard that it was largely based around the catholic church my heart lurched a little. Ireland has a horrifically sordid past in terms of how mothers and children were treated, and I think it’s one of the most tawdry and wrong in the world and I have to admit there’s times I wonder how we don’t hang our heads more but then saying that I do try to go to mass when I can (I’m a cherry picker Catholic if you will, sorry if that offends people, but I choose to go by the nicer parts of catholicism, those that are inclusive and teach being nice, helpful and loving, and disapprove of anything that isn’t fair on people or that excludes people for any reason). Takes breath (yes I know this is an odd review, I’m sorry, I’ll get back to it now!!!).

So DI Lottie Parker has been called to investigate. I loved her straight away and, as the book unfolded, enjoyed finding out about her family life, which is tough going, the kids have lost their father and the love of Lottie’s life, Adam, and she’s struggling to cope. The kids were lovely, Lottie was real and I loved reading about their family life as much as the case, which is something that always draws me in and keeps my eyes flying over the screen. Then there was the dynamics of the station, and her colleagues was brilliantly done (I have to admit I truly hearted Boyd, who was by her side when she needed him).

This book is enshrouded in dark and mystery, with shifty, weak characters, and terrifyingly sinister looming figures that fill you with dread. It jumps between past at St Angel’s children’s home and present, shocks and makes you grimace. It is not always outwardly graphic(sometimes it is), but gives you enough to leave imagery in your head that shouldn’t be there. It is a memorably book for me, not just because of it’s origins, but because it’s probably one of the most unputdownable books I’ve read since I’ve started blogging. Beyond recommended and cannot wait to get to the next of this series.

Rating: 5/5

No One Ever Has Sex On Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom

What better way to start December than a Christmas read? So here’s one that’ll be hard to beat!

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Length: 298 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: A dream family Christmas or a total nightmare? Katy and Ben are about to find out…

Katy’s been stuck in the office away from her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. But Katy isn’t so sure she’s ready yet…

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy’s mum’s 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

From the no. 1 bestselling author of No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, this book will make you cry with laughter, and then book your flights abroad for the festive season. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Milly Johnson.

The review: I know I’ve said this before, but how frigging excellent is it when you go looking for an author on Amazon because you loved their sense of humour, settings and everything else and find they have numerous books out?! (Yes, it’s gonna be another gushy one, everyone beware!)

So, to start off with, this is a book that has a smattering of characters, all with different roles, and all equally memorable, which is just how I like it. We begin the story with a  lead up to Christmas. Katy’s husband, Ben, has decided to pull out all the stops in terms of Christmas decorating, and we receive the news that Katy’s mum has been having a fling with a younger Spanish man, and wants to bring him to theirs for Christmas dinner.

From the off I found the humour to be loud, but not crude, which is exactly what I love and by only eight percent in I had already laughed (properly) or smiled about six times! I highlighted on and on which was ridiculous, but from the sense of being IN the story, to the comedy, to the characters-well, I just couldn’t stop!

There was Katy and Ben, where Katy wasn’t sure which should take precedence, her career or another baby, which was what her husband, Ben wanted. Ben was a stay at home dad, and I adored his little flip outs that reminded me of the crazy days- the ones where things don’t go to plan and you feel like you’re juggling everything on your own but don’t want to upset the bread winner, as they’ve so much on their plate too.

We also got to see into other people’s homes, Alison and Matthew, with Alison, hmm, let’s just say she was a little bit het up over things that may or may not have been necessary to get so upset over (her twins ‘ place in the nativity play ruining their whole future for one!). This also led us to meet the brilliant Ian, a well known womaniser with eyes for their nanny, much to Alison’s horror!

Their was also Ben’s best friend, Braindead who I adored (adored, adored!) who had decided that maybe he was one for committment with his long term girlfriend, another excellent character!

This is perfect for people who heart films such as ‘This Years Love’ with laugh out loud moments, heartwarming ‘aww’ moments, all put together with some nailbiting ‘what are they going to DO?!’ bits. Loved it! Thanks so much to Boookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Note 1: My only problem was that I hadn’t read Tracy Bloom’s other books first and met the characters. I had read it as a standalone but wished I’d read in order. But you can (and I will go back!)! Find them here!

Note 2: Watch out for where the title is mentioned in the book. You won’t expect it!

Rating: 5/5

 

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

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Length:   321 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students vanished. 

Five years later, just when Mia is beginning to heal, stranger Alison walks into her life, saying her husband didn’t kill himself. 

Fragile, slight Alison leads Mia on a path into Zach’s past, and Mia begins to think she never really knew her own husband. As the secrets revealed get darker, Alison becomes harder to read, and Mia starts to wonder – why is Alison so keen to help?

And then a piece of the puzzle appears in an impossible place, and Mia has to ask, is she losing her mind, or should she be afraid for her life?

The Review:  We start five years ago, with Mia at the funeral of her husband Zach. The graveyard is empty, except for a small number of people there who tell Mia (and us of course) that her husband is a monster. We don’t know why, or what he’s done, and we are off. The start totally sucked me in and I was thrilled to be back to a Kathryn Croft book, an author who has never disappointed me, and who at this stage has to be my favourite thriller writer of all time.

Fast forward five years, and Mia is settled with her partner, Will (although we are told they live quite separate lives) and Mia is still on edge, having endured years of abuse at the hands of an unforgiving public, who won’t forget what Zach did. Mia has her own counselling business, which ingeniously leads us to a character, Alison, who seems to have answers to Zach’s demise. As always I loved the way the everyday was done so well, in particular Mia’s time with her daughter and Will brightened things up, but with dark undercurrants always trickling through.

Of course we are constantly wondering what Zach has done and to give us our answers are sent back in time to the beginning of the end for him as he tries to help a girl named Josie. I was rooting for Zach the whole time and wondered how things could turn so bad for him. The story jumps between both timelines, looking at Josie’s story, someone who has been led to believe she will never make anything of herself but is out to defy all the odds, that of Alison, and of course Mia. I loved that the way the timelines were interspersed, it made you suddenly be distracted from an explosion about to happen and then, boom! You were hit with it. Saying that there were some occasions the time spent in the past moved a little slow for me, but not enough to budge my opinion on the book in any way!

The characters were likable where they needed to be (a special mention to Josie’s lovely little brother Kieran, who I adored!) and unlikable when that was required of them too (a lot of boo, hisses for the REALLY unlikable ones!). Josie, who was on the run from something, gave us some real nervy moments, and then when some of the stories started intertwining I was ridiculously excited! Ms. Croft has got to be the queen at trying to make you guess who to trust and here was no exception, with an exceptionally intricate web of mistrust and paranoia! To the very end of this book I had no idea whodunnit, and then the ending … well, all I can say is that I would ADORE to have read on, I really really wanted the aftermath in full glorious technicolour! An excellent mix of great characters, unsettling goings on amidst normal settings, and twisty events that always had me sitting up straight in my seat. Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Note: You may want to check out my other reviews of Ms. Croft’s excellent books: The Girl With No Past here , While You Were Sleeping here and The Girl You Lost here (all very much recommended!)

 

 

 

Hide and Seek by Richard Parker @Bookwalter @Bookouture

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Length:  324 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:The sun is out. Your little boy is smiling. The next time you look… he’s gone.

Lana Cross would do anything to protect her perfect family but on a trip to an adventure park, they slip out of her sight. When she finds her husband, he’s out cold on the forest floor. Then the truth sinks in: Cooper, her four-year-old son, is missing.

No one stopped the man carrying the sleeping boy. The park cameras don’t show where he went. Then Lana receives an anonymous message, telling her to visit a local school with a horrifying history…

This is no random attack. Whoever took Cooper is playing a twisted game, and if Lana wants to find him, she must participate.

How could there be a link between the school and her missing son? And can Lana find her little boy before it’s too late?

The Review: First off I have to tell you that due to some issues with my Kindle I have no notes for this book and so this will not be the Pulitzer winning blog post I had hoped for, in fact, it may not even come close (I know, what?!) but, yes, you can already guess from the glib way I’m speaking that this will be another rave review that I’m quite hyper and excited about, and that if oyu don’t want this type of review you may need to just shut your eyes tight and avoid. (If not let’s go!)

So, at this stage you’re thinking ‘yeah, yeah’ another excellent book from Bookouture, right?’ YES! And wow, what a book! From the start this book was different in that it had a kick ass mother who SAVED her child from being abducted. They never do that in books, do they? The first few pages are that the mother looks out to the eerie sight of a swing moving in the wind, or a toy left on it’s own in the garden. Not here! Here, Lana (who I loved the whole way through-yay!) runs out when she sees a man land over her garden fence.  Lana does her epic ass kicking stuff, but in a way you yourself could, making your heart pound as you egg her on, and rescues her son. But the kidnapper leaves her with a message that he will be back. Yeeks!

Of course Lana and her husband are not going to let their little boy get taken and so they both try to keep him safe. Lana decides the best way is to find the kidnapper and this leads her into a dark and twisted online world where she doesn’t know who to trust, and also to various crime scenes, as she retraces and revisits old crimes, some in quite vivid, gory detail (I found it to be, anyhoo, people who like their tougher crimes probably wouldn’t flinch!) I thought it was excellent the way this was done, what better way to get characters into morbid, dark settings, than to have them want to venture there of their own free will? This added to your slowly bubbling sense of nervousness, you never knew if someone was waiting for Lana.

The suspense, the settings, both dark and light, were excellent, the characterisation perfection. In particular I adored her little man, Cooper, and her husband (whose name escapes me which is driving me nuts and apologies on this one, his story is as good as Lana’s) and a special mention has to go to a taxi driver who we meet later in the book (I won’t attempt to name him, as I don’t  don’t want to spell his name wrong, he deserves more than that!) I loved, as I always do, that actually, when it came down to it, Lana was rarely alone, she generally had a helping hand of some sort, which was excellent, as I’ve said before I don’t think a lead needs to be isolated to keep us worrying. The pacing was amazing, the settings so vividly drawn for us and so full of character that I was right there every step of the way, up until the outstanding climax that had every synapse firing. I adored this book so much and will be recommending it to anyone I know that even remotely likes thrillers. I’d love to say it should be made into a film but I don’t know that my nerves would take it. Excellent stuff and so, so, so (so!) recommended (go get!) Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5 (and very likely my thriller of the year!)

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

anks so much to thedarkest

Length: 404 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.

The review: Well, from one standout to the next, and boy was this a standout! Again, this will very likely figure in my ‘best of’ at the end of the year, as it was a book that stayed with me long after I’d moved on.

“The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it. A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it… ‘Help me! Please! Help!’ There is no one to catch the words. No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights int he far off distance.”

And so it starts. The book really begins with Beth, a young teen who’s obviously planned to do something that she hasn’t let her parents in on, as she leaves with her mother to sleep over at her friend’s house. This book thrusts you into every parent’s nightmare, made vivid by the last things, those little everyday occurances that just had to happen before she left-her dad barely said goodbye to her as he was watching tv, her mum doesn’t walk her to her friends door. This is something I always always think of, that the little things that you take for granted, in this case, that her father obviously didn’t think to say a proper goodbye, because little did he know it was going to be a night unlike any other he’d experienced, and then the if only her mother had seen her into her friend’s house.

It is the finer details of this book that keep you hooked, as they search for Beth, then find her, as you sit by her hospital bed, wondering can she hear anything, will she wake up, then as you stand on the doorstep of a house with her mother pleading for someone to tell you they can help you find the attacker or wonder if people you thought were so close to you can even be trusted. I have to admit I struggled with Melanie, the mother, feeling for her so much, but not really liking her as a person. This was especially hammered home as I loved her daughter, Beth, so much.

Some of the chapters were from the point of view of an unknown person, and I have to admit some of it made for slightly violent reading. These, coupled with the unfolding of Beth’s story were real game-changers for me, I was nervous and preparing myself to find out how this had happened to poor, innocent Beth, who was too young to know better. I knew what the end result was, of course, but still willed her to not go where she was headed. Meanwhile I was watching Mel and couldn’t figure out if her deductions were correct because, of course, she was unravelling. The pacing in this was up and down a bit, obviously we had the emotional side of Melanie and Jacob, which was honed in on a lot, to be fair, and some of the people who want a bang bang bang book might have a problem with it, but I was very emotionally invested, so it didn’t matter.

In terms of the whodunnit part- the fact that you had a village of people to look at, and worry about, was excellent, and I was shocked by the gang mentality that sprung up against the people they suspected. The part of the book that held me, though, was when what was to happen, happened, and we heard Beth’s thoughts. I have to say I have not cried like this over a book in some time. I sobbed my heart out for both her and her mum, and it sprang into my head a few times after I’d finished.

I’m split down the centre on the ending, it could have gone either way for me, as in the book could have finished earlier and I’d still have been satisfied, but then the ending that was given sent a bit of a chill so, in the end I was happy out(when the book continued on after the place I expected it to end there was a bit of a ‘what’s going on, why aren’t we finished here?’ but I was jumping the gun. All in all another excellent book that, again (and you’ll be hearing this a lot in the next while as I’ve been extremely lucky book-wise), I’d be very shocked if it didn’t end up in my end of year ‘best of’s.’ Most definitely recommended for exquisite beautiful, emotionally charged writing and settings, tension and chills. Definitely looking forward to the next by Ms. Copperthwaite, Her Last Secret, which, luckily enough, is on my Kindle right now (you can pre-order it here now). Thanks so much to Netgalley and of course the excellent Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5