Well, this book was certainly not what I expected. I haven't read any of Tracy's books yet however I do have a couple at home as they were recommended by friends who know I like rom coms. So, naturally I expected a comedy of some sort, maybe with a bit of romance and loads of laughs too. The 'chick lit-ish' cover fooled me too. But nope...this is definitely not a comedy, fluffy, or LOL read. Which doesn't mean it's bad, it's just really caught me off guard.
Now, I decided to read this book even before I read the blurb, which to some it might seem like a stupid idea but it's something I do once in a while but just for authors I was recommended to read. And Tracy Bloom is definitely an author whose writing style is totally up my alley and I'm most definitely planning on bumping her books up in my TBR pile.
But back to The Last Laugh now.. It is definitely not a comedy but a bitter-sweet story about a woman in her mid 40s who's just received the most awful news of having cancer. Now I know a lot of people avoid books with the C-word in it (and who knows, I might be one of them as I get very emotional while reading them) so consider yourself warned. However, what I can tell you is that it's an interesting take on someone who's struggling and I'd most definitely recommend you read it despite maybe avoiding this subject in books. Jenny is a 45 year old woman who was once adventurous, full of life and dreams, used to work as tour rep in Corfu and throw wild parties at the beach. Fast forward 20 years, she's working in an old people's home (nothing bad just a huge change), she's got two kids (one of them struggling with anxiety, the other a loud teenager) and is married to Mark but their relationship is not what it used to be. And one would say she still has a normal life however it all shatters when she's diagnosed with cancer and given max of two more years. On top of that, the very same day she receives the awful news, she catches her husband cheating on her. So, she's got her plate full, that's obvious but the way she handles these situations was more than fascinating to me.
Realizing she might not have much time left she decides to stand up for herself, re-creating the happy, care-free 1996 Jenny. In her own words, 1996 was the year she was the happiest, enjoying Spice Girls concerts, the sunny beaches in Corfu and the moments she fell in love with Mark. I have to say I found it a bit strange and I have mixed feelings about her fixation on the past. I totally understand that each of us creates memories and when life gets shit and out of our control we tend to visit a more familiar ground...so we turn to memories. But Jenny...oh boy she goes a lot further and this made me feel so sad at times. Of course I had sympathy and understanding for her illness, and even though she did an amazing job in hiding it from all of her friends and family I could feel she's deeply suffering. I am not much of a person who likes to dwell on the past, yet Jenny seemed so fixated on it, comparing her life now with the one she had when she was 25. I honestly wanted to gently shake her off a bit and tell her to focus on the future and the time she has. I don't know, again this could be me.
While the story was interesting and kept me turning the pages I have to say I have mixed feelings about Jenny as a character. The book does open with a scene in Corfu where she meets Mark, however I didn't feel much of the romance. I just couldn't see them as a couple, didn't feel even their fights as strongly. I also didn't understand why she'd keep her diagnose a secret... but this could be me. But I found it not very convincing, on the one hand she's madly in love with this man on the other hand she doesn't want him with her at the Doctors? I don't know... it just doesn't seem OK to me.
However, there was a lot I liked in this book. I do like how Jenny acts bravely despite the bad news, how she cares about her friends and family. But I absolutely loved how she transforms from this silent woman and 'victim' in her family to a woman who stands up to her mother, brother and husband. Overall, if you're fans of drama, I do think you will enjoy it. And as for me, I definitely will be reading more of Tracy's books....more
The Girls in the Water is Victoria Jenkins' debut and it's a really solid one. I had no expectations for this boo Originally posted on This Chick Reads
The Girls in the Water is Victoria Jenkins' debut and it's a really solid one. I had no expectations for this book, however I must admit I found the fantastic blurb and the cover very promising and I was eager to make a start with the story. It took me just a chapter or two get really immersed in the book and forget everything about the chores I had for that day. I know it sounds cliche, but really...once I started it I honestly couldn't put it down.
First off, I absolutely love a good police procedural, especially if it features female detectives (blame Angela Marsons and her DI Kim Stone for that). In this book (which is also the first in a brand new crime/thriller series) we have two female detectives, Alex King and Chloe Lane who work side by side in solving crimes. The two women are not alike however they do make an interesting team. Alex King is divorced, slightly bitter lady (but it appears she has a good reason for that) and Chloe is in her 20ties, very ambitious (as described by Alex), however has a bit of a dark past. The book is set in Wales, which I found really interesting as i haven't read many crime books set in Wales, however is not that strong on location. But that's totally OK, as the story is much more than that.
One day a female body is found on the river bank and Detectives King and Lane are called at the scene. The young woman's body is in a really bad condition suggesting she's been dead for some time. There are many bruises on the body and her nails have been torn off. What kind of a monster is behind this horrific crime? And who is the dead girl and what has she done to deserve such a fate? Shortly after the first body is found, another girl goes missing. King and Lane are trying to find a connection between the two girls and can only hope they'll be able to find the girl before the monster kills her. It takes a good 40% of the book till we find out how these two young women are connected and that missing link which gives the police force the first piece of the puzzle and hope they'll solve the crimes.
While we follow the stories of the victims, how they've come in contact with the killer and what brought them the horrible ending, we also follow Detective Lane's story of her brother that committed suicide about 8 years ago. At the same time when the girls go missing, Chloe starts receiving e-mails and she feels they are somehow connected to her brother's suicide and an old case of a 16 year old girl who strangled herself. There's a bit of this and that, all interestingly mixed, the old investigation and the new crimes and it makes the book really pacey.
While I absolutely adored the first half of the book and was absolutely blown away with the way the author managed to pull me in into the story from the first chapter, I felt things kind of slowed down in the second part of the book. However, that's not the only reason for deducing one star from the max five. The thing that made me decide on the rating is the main characters. I have to say I didn't find Alex and Chloe that memorable or strong. It's like I didn't get to know them that well, like the story was more important than their personality and their lives before the crimes. I don't know, they somehow felt... distant to me and I couldn't connect to either of them.
However, this is a great debut and a very promising start to a new series. It's evident Victoria is a talented writer who can create a great crime scene and keep things intense. I'm most definitely following the story and will be on the watch out for Book 2 in the series. If you're a fan of a good police procedural or looking for a new series to follow devotedly, this is definitely the book for you....more
After a long period of reading mostly crime/thrillers I've been SO excited to get back to my first love, rom coms Originally posted on This Chick Reads
After a long period of reading mostly crime/thrillers I've been SO excited to get back to my first love, rom coms and women's fiction. I remember the first time I saw the cover of IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW and read the blurb I felt immediately this book is my kind of read.
And then I started reading it...and holy f@ck! What did I just read?! Hold on, I will explain. Izzy is working in advertising and is after a promotion which is not going to be easy to get. She kind of has a boyfriend for two years (Max) but she's not sure why she's with him in the first place. Their sex life is practically nonexistent (of which she is reminded every day by her bestie, Tash) and seems like that spark is long gone (if there ever was one, actually). Now, her friend Tash is a completely different story. Wherever she goes she's like a magnet for men and even though she too has a long term relationship, she enjoys the random fling. After a night out with Tash, some drinks and loads of giggles, Izzy realizes she's not very satisfied with her life and decides to spice up her love life. But some very strange thing happens (and by strange I mean, WTF did just happen? kind of strange) and she's forced to make some drastic changes in her life. The WTF moment, which even for me, someone who's read tons of light hearted comedies, is a completely new thing. Izzy becomes invisible. I mean WHOA! Talk about life change! Once I got to this part of the book I said to myself... OMG, this is so not the type of book I was hoping to be.
But patience is virtue as we know and I was definitely rewarded for waiting for a few more chapters to get into the story. Now, I won't reveal more about the plot as you already can imagine there will be loads of funny and fun stuff going on with Izzy's relationship with Max, her job and her bestie. However, what I want to talk about in my review is about the absolutely brilliant message behind this book.
What appears to be a light hearted (some would say fluffy) story that's supposed to make you laugh, turns into a rather philosophical one if I may say. But don't worry, it's not the boring kind of philosophy. In an absolutely brilliant, fun and unique way Keris gives us a metaphor for life and talks about the times (we've all certainly experienced) when we felt invisible. All those times we think we don't matter, our opinion doesn't matter, when we feel like no one gets us. There were many times Izzy felt like she was invisible...till the day she really becomes invisible and reinvents herself.
I'm not sure how many psychology or spiritual books the author has read (I've read many) but either she's read tons or is very intuitive when it comes to the way we create our own reality. There were so many A HA moments when I would recognize something so many spiritual teachers have said, like living in the present, believing in something before we see it (experience it)... I'm telling you I was seriously impressed. (I swear, if Keris was next to me I would high five her for saying all these sound and wise stuff but in such a fun and hilarious way.)
I have to share with you my absolutely fave sentence which I plan on printing and even framing so I can be reminded of this every day..
''Why blend in when you were born to stand out'' - I f@cking adore this! I might as well tattoo it, I find it so powerful and true.
As you see, this is not your usual chick flick and I couldn't review it that way. While there are many laugh out moments (especially the conversations between Izzy and Tash) and there's loads of sweet, romantic moments and a gorgeous guy involved, this book is SO much more than that. So, a piece of advice when you pick it up... Scratch the surface and don't think of it as an attempt to mix fantasy with rom com. I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy (or any fantasy elements in a book) so I had to forget about the usual logic we search for in a book.
The only thing which bothered me slightly is the way how things were rushed (in my opinion). While I grasped the whole invisibility thing, I feel like some things would be much more enjoyable if they were given enough explanation and space.
However, IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW is definitely an interesting, unique and fresh read and I'm so happy I've discovered Keris. I've heard many great comments about her books and now I can understand all those readers. Keris definitely knows how to create an unforgettable story that I'm going to ponder on for many more days. So, if you feel down, if you feel like everyone's let you down and you want a book that will pick you up, please don't hesitate to get this book. You might even come to realize that all those self help books were not needed, the only thing you need to do is stop wanting to blend in. Cause as Keris says it, 'you were born to stand out'. ...more
Summer's just begun but I've already found a book that will go on my TOP 5 summer reads list! OMG Sue Watson hasOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Summer's just begun but I've already found a book that will go on my TOP 5 summer reads list! OMG Sue Watson has done it again! Once again she proves she creates the yummiest and funniest books. As someone who's read all of her books and has been devotedly following her work for years, I can say (without a single doubt) this is definitely the best she's written! I have so much love for this book I honestly don't know even where to start with my review. I just feel like screaming from the rooftop, JUST READ THE BOOK! But I know that won't please you and if you're here, you're obviously looking for at least few coherent sentences to tell you what the book is about. So...I will try, I'll really do my best but know from start that my review won't do it justice.
First off, this is THE PERFECT summer book! Not just because there's tons of ice creams flavours mentioned (OK, that's a big bonus), or even because it's set in a beautiful, picturesque place by the sea, Appledore. In my opinion, what makes this book the perfect summer read is that strong feel good factor that oozes through the pages and that effortless humour which is undoubtedly Sue's forte. It's definitely one of the wittiest and most fun books I've ever read and though I already loved every single book Sue's written, this one was sheer brilliance. It's actually the book I wish I had written (Ha! IF only I had Sue's talent).
'Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice-Cream' is the second installment in The Ice Cream series, and while I really enjoyed the first one and could feel this will be a terrific series, this book simply exceeded all my expectations. Once again we're back in beautiful Appledore where we also meet some of the characters from the first book (Ella and her cousin Gina, who own Caprioni's Ice-Cream Cafe and amazing Sue is there too). I loved reading about Ella and seeing how life turned out for her. However, the main character in this book is Dani, the assistant manager at Caprioni's. Dani is simply brilliant! Think of Jemima J approaching her 40s. She's the ultimate chick lit heroine, upbeat, single and with such zest for life (and ice creams). She's a big foodie, always has been. Chips, chocolate, doughnuts, and of course ice cream is on her daily menu. She's always been on the plus size, however there's a big reason why she's so much into comfort food. Now she's approaching 40 and wants to finally solve this problem. 40 is the new 20 (or so they say) and is there a better way to reclaim the power in your life (and get your revenge for the broken heart) than by becoming an attractive and stylish adult?
Each of the chapters is named after a diet she's tried in her life (and boy, she's tried so many of them!) and starts with a Diary entry which will make you laugh out loud. As in all of Sue's books, there's a message for every woman out there, a message that will warm your hearts. As we follow Dani's story, from one failed diet to the next, one gym injury to the next, through tears and laughter we get to realize (once again) that there's more to life than having the 'perfect' body. And what's a perfect body anyway? We all definite it differently, right?
Yet as light as this book is, it still speaks about many important subjects such as self love (or the lack of it) and body shaming (which we see so often in today's society). Everywhere we go we're bombarded by these skinny and unhealthy girls looking at us from the cover of those glossy magazines and our culture demands we follow their example. Many times those who don't follow this trend are mocked and bullied in such horrific ways it scars their personality for life. Through Dani, Sue speaks on behalf of many women out there, women who just want to be accepted. This is why I think many women will be able to connect to Dani on so many levels and cheer for her from the start. She's such a lovable character and definitely one of my fave book heroines.
This is also one of these rare books where I liked all the characters (except for Jude) and all of them were so interesting. I really wish I get to see more of Karla, she's Dani's BFF and one fantastic lady. She's always there for Dani and has been her biggest support for the last two decades. I absolutely loved their bond, how strong it is and how much they accept each other's differences.
If you were wondering if there's any romance, oh yes there is. It's Classic Sue Watson so the romance is gradually built and will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. But there will be some drama too, so I won't say anything more to spoil it for you.
This is one hell of a gorgeous summer book and if you're looking for something light and easy, yet a book that will make you feel so so soooo good, this is definitely the one. Sue really sets the bar high this time and I can't wait to see what will be happening in Appledore next. While I was extremely sad to say bye to Dani, I have fingers crossed tightly she makes another appearance in some of Sue's other books. Yup, she totally got under my skin! Witty, delicious yet absolutely calorie-free, this is definitely Sue's best book yet. Even if you haven't read the first part in the series, you can easily jump into this one. I promise, you're going to love it....more
I can not believe it took me so long to read a book by Kerry Wilkinson! It's probably because the author writes m Originally posted on This Chick Reads
I can not believe it took me so long to read a book by Kerry Wilkinson! It's probably because the author writes mostly fantasy and YA and I hardly read those genres, however I'm pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this book. The cover is brilliant and the blurb is fantastic so I was really excited to get my hands on this book. What I feared is the slower pace, as lately I've been reading a lot of thrillers that were slow burners which kind of drained me. Well, while this isn't the most suspenseful and fastest book I've ever read, it sure kept me interested and turning the pages.
Two Sisters tells the story of Megan and Chloe Smart, who've just lost their parents in a car accident and are back at their summer cottage in Whitecliff to take care of the estate. The sisters have really had a crap childhood and had gone through the trauma of losing their brother, Zac a decade ago. Seems no one is the small village ever got to know what exactly happened to him, however many assumed he drowned. Once Zac is gone, the cold relationships in the family turn to the girls being sent to boarding schools and the sisters hardly seeing each other. They whatsapp and e-mail occasionally, however their relationship feels stiff and unnatural most of the times. It's like they've never learned from their parents about what real love and affection is and that is reflecting in all parts of their lives. Megan has an eating disorder, anorexia and Chloe is an insecure teenager who loves art but isn't confident enough to do anything about it. At the day of their parents' funeral, Megan, now in her twenties, receives a postcard with Whitecliff on the picture and one letter written on the back. Z... Z for Zac, right? Very creepy, right? Now this creepy factor you can feel all throughout the book which makes it a good psychological thriller.
Soon the sisters get on a search for their brother. He must be alive, right? Who else would send them a postcard? Whitecliff seems like a nice, friendly place next to the beach...but it proves to be everything but that! You can actually feel the eery atmosphere of that place and will suspect everyone in the village, both villagers and the tourists. I think the author did an amazing job in creating such a dark atmosphere, turning a small village into this creepy place you'd want to get the hell out of.
While the book has in its background the story of the missing kid, this book is actually more about the sisters, especially Megan. We really get into her brain and see the motives for her bitchy behavior. Yes, Megan is not the most likable character. Actually except for the sympathy I felt because of her condition, she really pissed me off most of the times. But then I'd remember she's in her twenties, never felt that unconditional love by either of her parents... and it kind of made sense she's like that. I didn't like Rachel from 'The Girl on The Train' either but think she made one hell of a protagonist! Same case here... Megan is not someone you'll easily connect to, but she drives the book and you'll definitely be interested in her search.
What I also found fascinating is the ease and the sensitivity with which the author handles issues as anorexia, dysfunctional families, siblings' relationships. The sensitive hints were a nice touch and made the characters more believable and the atmosphere more sinister. There are so many layers to this book and I am totally impressed of the author's skills to 'speak' on behalf of a twenty year old girl. I do think it took a lot of effort to get into a 'girl's head', but as a reader I didn't feel any struggle on Kerry's part. Which only proves his writing talent and skills.
I also really liked the twists and turns and couldn't predict some of them, however I have to say that I can't help but feel this thriller is for the younger audience. I swear, even if I didn't know Kerry writes YA, I could easily 'feel' that as he's got great interest and skill in getting inside a young mind. So, what I'm saying now is totally subjective and doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Maybe you enjoy YA so you won't have an issue with this.
To sum it up, this was a really interesting psychological thriller and I'm so glad I finally read something by Kerry Wilkinson. He's got so many books and while I'm not sure I'm ready for the YA books I'll definitely be checking out his other thrillers in the future. ...more
'The Serial Killer's Daughter' is Lesley Welsh's second book yet the first one I've read by he Originally posted on This Chick Reads
Actual rating 3.5/5
'The Serial Killer's Daughter' is Lesley Welsh's second book yet the first one I've read by her. It was caught on my radar when the publisher, Bookouture revealed the cover which I find absolutely fascinating. We all know covers can 'speak' and tell a lot about the book's story though sometimes publishers pick art designs which have no connection at all to what's inside. In the case of this book, I have to say that Bookouture did a brilliant job as not only is the cover amazing, but also it fits the story perfectly too. Sadly, Lesley is no longer with us and passed away in April this year so she's not able to see her 'baby' published and read all her readers' thoughts on the book.
Another thing that made me want to read this book is the blurb, which promised a lot. Now that I've read it, while I can't say I'm disappointed I certainly expected a faster story with more twists and turns. However, I'm really glad I've read it and I would definitely check out Lesley's first book too, 'Truth Lies Buried'.
Suzanne's lived with her mother and doesn't even have any recollection of her father who left them when she was very young. However, when Rose Anderson, who claims to be her father's partner till his last days, approaches her, Suzanne's life starts to dramatically change. Change for the worst, I need to add. Rose has some notes and pictures which she wants for Suzanne to have as they are the only thing now left of her deceased father. Suzanne's never really had any relationship with her father, however what she's about to discover will make her hate and despise him even more. When among the other pictures she finds one of her friend who went missing years ago, she starts suspecting her father was involved in something horrific.
As you see, the plot really promises a lot of suspense, horror and shocking revelations. While the story definitely kept me turning the pages I have to admit it took me a lot of time to really get into the story. The pace is too slow for my liking and I was desperately waiting for something to happen. It really is a slow burner (at least in my opinion) and this did annoy me to a certain degree.
However, the good thing is that Lesley did an amazing job in portraying a bad guy you won't help but hate. There are many graphic scenes and loads of violence, so if you're not into this or will find it too disturbing, consider yourselves warned.
It took me some time to get to like Suzanne too, however I did feel the hell she was going through and can only imagine how hard it is for someone to find out about so many family secrets.
Overall, this was an interesting thriller and I would definitely like to check out Lesley's first book as it's obvious she knew how to write a good thriller. If you're a fan of serial killer's stories, dark and disturbing reads this is definitely one to check out. ...more
I'm a HUGE fan of Jenny Hale and she really is my go-to author whenever I'm in need of a sweet romance book. She' Originally posted on This Chick Reads
I'm a HUGE fan of Jenny Hale and she really is my go-to author whenever I'm in need of a sweet romance book. She's got such an enormous talent and writing skills and really can create the most gorgeous, lovable characters. Especially the male characters, boy..they'll sweep you off your feet. The Summer House is truly an enjoyable and gorgeous read, just like the cover. I remember seeing the cover for the first time and thinking how mesmerizing it is. How it screams 'Freedom' and 'Beauty'. Besides thinking the cover art is amazing I really think it captures the very essence of the story.
Callie and her friend, Olivia have just bought a house in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and they're doing their best to finish renovating and open the B & B just by the end of summer. Ever since the first time they visited Olivia's grandmother in this small, picturesque place they've dreamed of buying a house there and starting their own business. They were thrilled when they finally could make an offer on the house and start their new business venture. As in all of Hale's stories, there's a dishy hero ready to sweep the heroine off her feet. A guy most romance lovers will drool over, and list him in their top 10 book hero crushes. Luke Sullivan is gorgeous, smart, classy and despite the rumors he's a playboy, he's actually a great and well mannered guy. If I wasn't already familiar with Jenny's books I might have feared of 'rich boy meets a not so rich girl'cliche, and even think the hero would be a spoiled brat, however I knew this was not going to be the case. Jenny's book couples sometimes tend to be on the border of too good to be true or 'too perfect', however this doesn't bother me the slightest. It's actually one of the reasons why I love books, especially romance ones, cause in these stories everything is possible and I can forget all about my real problems and even for a while believe the world is perfect. The story is just so gorgeous it actually makes you forget about yourself as you get immersed in Callie's life, her relationship with Luke and the mystery of the diary.
Speaking of this mysterious diary, Callie stumbles upon while renovating the house, it contains some very intriguing things, some secrets which might destroy certain people and their lives. Should she reveal it? Should she do something about it?
While there are kind of two stories to follow, the whole mystery part is in the background and adds more drama to the book. It's clear Jenny wanted to give the book more depth and complexity however I didn't find it as interesting as the romance part. Don't get me wrong, it still kept my interest and made me turn the pages with the speed of light, however if I compare it to the romance...it didn't flow that easy. But I was (as usual) totally immersed in Luke and Callie's story and adored the chemistry between them. If you're looking for a clean romance, this is definitely the book for you.
Another forte of Jenny's is location and how she manages to completely transport you to this beautiful, colourful place in North Carolina. It's like you can smell the salt in the air, feel the sunshine rays on your skin, breathe in the sea air. I could close my eyes and already feel at the beach, feeling that freedom and enjoying the nature. Jenny's the absolute master in describing the scenery and making you feel like you're actually there.
If you're a fan of sweet romance stories that will leave you feeling all fuzzy and warm inside, look no further! The Summer House is the perfect beach read. Prepare yourself to meet your next book crush (Luke <3 ) and to spend hours gushing about it. ...more
Well, this sure was a really intense book! I'm still a tiny bit confused about what I read and even surprised I lOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Well, this sure was a really intense book! I'm still a tiny bit confused about what I read and even surprised I liked certain parts even though there was so much violence. When I first read the blurb, I wanted to immediately read the book. As someone who's kind of addicted to social media, especially twitter I was immediately intrigued. I even found the premise a bit similar to Angela Clarke's 'Follow me' which I really enjoyed, so I was pretty certain this book will be up my street. While it certainly had my interest till the last page, I'm still not sure just how much I enjoyed it.
Four people in four different cities have been murdered after twitting the hashtag #BeMyKiller to the same @BeMyKiller account. What started of as fun and mocking of a weird account soon turns into a horror. The victims would tweet @BeMyKiller and would be killed off exactly the same way 'they chose to be murdered'. One victim tweeted 'Hit me up @BeMyKiller' and she ends up run down. The police have no idea what's going on or if there are more than one killers. Are these random murders or somehow connected? Hazel is a documentary maker and one of the victims is her childhood friend, Meredith. When she finds out her friend is killed in such horrendous way she decides to make a documentary on these murders and gathers the crew and family of the other victims in the very park her friend was killed as a filming location. But what they didn't predict is that one by one the crew members will be killed off and everything will soon turn into Hazel's biggest nightmare.
As you see, the story is really intense. The short chapters make for one very pacey thriller which sometimes borders the suspense/horror genre. While I adore psychological thrillers, I have to say I'm not too crazy on books with so many characters and so much action. What really intrigued me from the beginning to the very end is the whole 'social media killings' thing. However, I wish I got to feel more the characters (and wish there were less character as I was a bit confused trying to remember them all) and build a certain picture/profile of the Killer.
While Be My Killer is definitely a fast paced book and keeps you glued to its pages, I really wish I got to connect to at least one character. One can see the author is definitely good at describing the killings, at times there was even too much violence for my taste, however my complaint would be that I missed connecting with the characters. I really missed that 'psychological' element which makes both the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' more interesting and memorable.
I've heard that Be My Killer is the first in a series and I'm sure I'll be checking out the next installment. It's evident Mr Parker knows how to create a dark and gripping story that will have your stomach in knots. Exciting and scary at the same time, e? :)...more
Patricia Gibney's books are definitely gems and I'm so thankful for discovering this author anOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Actual rating 4.5/5
Patricia Gibney's books are definitely gems and I'm so thankful for discovering this author and reading her books. Few months ago, Patricia made her debut on the thriller scene with her gripping and simply unputdownable book, The Missing Ones. Ever since then I've been waiting impatiently for the next installment in the series. Now that I've read it, I can only say, WOW...Patricia sure knows how to create a gripping story, characters you'll either love or dislike strongly and intertwine the past and present amazingly.
In 'The Stolen Girls' we're back in Detective Lottie's messy life and follow her story few months after the incidents in 'The Missing Ones'. Lottie is struggling with her life, still mourning the loss of her beloved husband due to cancer and juggling taking care of 3 teenage kids and her dangerous career. She's really on the edge sometimes, having difficulties in communicating and expressing her feelings. Her partner, Mark Boyd is there for her despite sharing a bit of personal history with him and many on/offs in their relationship.
One day the body of a young girl is found and the very same day a mother and her son visit Lottie for help in finding a missing friend. Could this be the same girl? And why have they come to her for help? Soon more bodies appear and Lottie is struggling to find a connection and if this is done by the same killer. In short chapters we're moving from present to past, from Ireland to Kosovo discovering some pretty nasty cases of human trafficking, organ farming, rape... Lottie also discovers that her late husband might be somehow connected to these cases and it brings her to pieces.
As you see, there's a lot of stuff happening in this book. There are many stories to follow and I have to say I found this rather challenging at times. It's also the only reason why I rate it 4.5/5, just half a star less than the first one in the series, The Missing Ones which I found simply mind-blowing.
The Stolen Girls is equally thrilling and gripping like the first one in the series, however I had some difficulties in following the many stories. It's still a chilling thriller that at times will have your stomach in knots. Patricia has a real knack for describing a crime scene and as in the first part, she doesn't shy away from this task and doesn't spare the reader from all the gruesome details. The topics covered in this book are rather sensitive and I think she did an amazing job in connecting the past with the present crimes.
Overall, this is definitely a great thriller and follow up in the series and I can't wait to see what Patricia has in store for us next. I'll definitely be following this series in the future as well as read everything Patricia ever writes, cause I simply love her writing style. Layered and clever, not to forget simply unputdownable, 'The Stolen Girls' definitely deserves to be on your reading lists. Especially if you're a fan of crime/thriller, I think you'll absolutely love Patricia's books. However, one piece of advice, though they can be read as stand alones, I advise you to start with the first one so you can get to know Lottie better and get a better feel of the dynamics in her relationship/partnership with Boyd and the rest of the team. Enjoy!...more
First off, isn't the cover stunning? I don't know about you, but I'm a big sucker for a gorgeous cover and this oOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
First off, isn't the cover stunning? I don't know about you, but I'm a big sucker for a gorgeous cover and this one caught my attention immediately. As I haven't read the first book in the series (The Beachside Sweet Shop) I really had no expectations. Maybe I expected more laughs judging by the blurb, but nevertheless I ended up liking it (most of it).
As I said, I haven't read the first one in the series (but had a quick glance at the reviews and blurb) and Karen brought the readers back to Shipley where Carrie is off to help her out with her flower stall. The beautiful sea place is nothing like Manchester where Carrie's spend the last 10 years of her life. She's an accountant and knows nothing about flowers (except watching a tutorial on youtube) but her parents think it's a good idea for her to go and help help her aunt as firstly, she's in between jobs anyway and secondly, her aunt Ruby would appreciate it. However being back to her home town, the one she escaped a decade ago brings back not only memories but people from her past too. Tom is there, still gorgeous and successful and seems she hasn't gotten over him still.
The reason why Carrie fled her hometown was to heal her broken heart, after her friend, Megan ends up with Tom. There's a lot of unresolved issues and now she's back, seems she has to face the past. But while I enjoyed Tom and Carrie's story, I have to say it's not the only story we follow in the book. Which I liked as it gives the book another interesting layer. The story of Ruby, her 'illness' and past was what really kept my attention.
While I didn't particularly like Ruby, I tried to understand her as much as possible as I'm a mother myself. I also liked that we were gradually being introduced to her past and bit by bit being allowed to see Ruby for who she really is. At the beginning, I really didn't understand her reasons for giving up on her stall and closing in on the people around her. But as I learned more and more about her, her behavior started to make more sense and I could feel her more.
While there are many things I enjoyed about this book, the lightness and the beautiful setting being just few, I also didn't like some parts. Actually, the main problem were the characters. I can assume what the author tried to do and how she wanted to portray Carrie as someone who transforms by the end, however it was slightly annoying how gullible Carrie was at times. As the book opens with an event 10 years ago, at Tom's 21st Birthday party, we get to see the 'awkward' friendship between Carrie and Megan. I was so surprised to read Carrie could swallow such a thing and actually have a friend like Megan. I mean, they were in their twenties, not actually kids. The relationship was anything but friendship and no matter how much I tried to like Carrie, I felt like I've lost all my respect for her right at the beginning of the book.
But there's hope as Carrie does transform however it was too late for me, as I already had my opinion firmly made. While Megan is evil and a real bitch, she's definitely important to the story and is the perfect example of how evil some people can be, using lies and manipulating with people and their trust. I'm thankful I haven't had the experience of having someone as her in my life, but I guess there are people out there who've had a Megan as a friend. So, be careful when you give your trust, guys - there's a nice little message in this book.
However, the triangle was a bit too much for me and their story was less interesting for me than Ruby's. Ruby's story was really what kept me turning the pages and got me even emotional at times. While I'd certainly like the book more if I could've connected to any of the characters more and if the pacing was faster, I still enjoyed it and would definitely continue the series. If you enjoy light, warm reads and flowers even, this is definitely the book for you....more
Oh dear, for the first time in a year or so I actually fear writing a review. Why? Well, firstly because the bookOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Oh dear, for the first time in a year or so I actually fear writing a review. Why? Well, firstly because the book is SOOOOOO beautiful, I fear like my words and desire to analyze it will ruin the experience of it. I actually feel like keeping it all for myself for a while, feeling the warmth of Mascull's beautiful prose, thinking of quiet Della and just like her, keeping my opinion to myself to honour her and her quietness. Secondly, I fear that no matter what I say, no matter the way I approach it, I will ruin it and not do the book justice. My words will never be good enough to explain just how amazing this book is.
But in this world we have to use words to explain how we feel and as hard that is for me right now, I will do my best. Ms Mascull has created a true masterpiece of a book and I will do everything in my power to let the world know about it.
I've never encountered such an authenticity, imagination, creativeness like in Ms Mascull's writing. It's so clever yet elegant, emotional yet firm. I'm at awe of her skills to deliver such a story, intertwine the real life events, a time turbulent and hard, with what's product of her imagination. The Wild Air tells the story of young Della Dobbs, a very 'ordinary' and quiet girl. She's got a big family, two older sisters and a brother and was never her parents' favourite. Seems not many people are actually interested in her opinion, so she spends her days being quiet and enjoying her bike. It's when she meets her great aunt Betty that she realizes there's a different world out there, one who needs her talents and dreams. Great aunt Betty has been living in the US since she was 40 and it's there that she discovered her passion for the sky and flying. Now she's back home and shares her stories with little Della, she actually influences the little girl to have dreams. It's then that Della realizes her understanding of mechanics and love of bikes is actually a talent. Just like the Wright brothers she's about to discover her analytical and practical mind can be put to good use.
Though the story is about Della, it can really be about any woman living in Edwardian times. In times when women are expected to marry and have their lives revolving around their family, Della and Betty are an example of the progressive ideas that are out of the norm. What I loved the most is how inspirational this story is, and though every reader will take out of it what they want/need, I saw this side of the story, the one that tells us that whatever we can see in our mind's eye and heart, we can achieve. It speaks of the endless possibilities and stepping out of the comfort zone and about being yourself first and always.
The amazing thing about this book is that Ms Mascull managed to get me hooked on the story as well as on her characters. You'll agree with me, there are some book with great stories however the author is not too skilled to portray a good main character. Seems no matter how much they try, their characters feel two dimension and not real. Well, in the case of 'The Wild Air' you not only get your teeth in a fantastic story, but you also get to meet amazing characters you'll root for, feel them so close as if they are in the same room with you. I was absolutely blown away with Della and Betty. While I consider myself an extrovert and I can connect more easily to such book characters, I absolutely adored Della. I don't know how she got under my skin, but she did it effortlessly and will live with me forever. She's nothing like me, she's quiet and very practical (and doesn't even like books), and yet I could understand her perfectly.
I really could go on for days about this book, but it all goes down to this - JUST READ IT! Don't hesitate, don't doubt, don't think of your toppling TBR piles, just find the time anyway you can, because I promise you, the experience of reading this baby is sooooo rewarding. No matter if you're a fan of historical fiction I'm positive you're gonna enjoy it. Emotional, clever and so well researched, The Wild Air is a novel that deserves all the praise and rewards. Hats off to Ms Mascull for creating such an exquisite novel that will live with me forever....more
Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you discover a new series you're excited to read and can't wait for the neOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you discover a new series you're excited to read and can't wait for the next installment? Honestly, I can hardly believe this is Liz Eeles' debut. I don't know if she's previously published something under a different name or if she self published before signing up with Bookouture, but all I know is this woman can write!
You know, as someone who's read tons of chick lits/rom com's and women's fiction over the years, it's kind of hard to impress me. I've seen it all, the cliches, the predictable story lines, the humour and don't get me wrong. This is not a bad thing. Chick lit/women's fiction is my fave genre and I can't ever see me not reading it. However, I've 'learned' all the tricks and really got a good feel of the genre so I kind of know what to expect even before I start reading the book.
Now, while I haven't heard of Liz Eeles' before, I read the blurb and the last sentence, the comparison of her writing with Alex Brown's was what really got me intrigued. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Ms Brown's books and I've followed her work from the beginning and I KNOW she's one of these authors whose writing simply gets under your skin. But does Liz Eeles 'deserve' this comparison? It's what really made me want to read this book, besides the gorgeous cover that simply mesmerized me.
Now that I've read Ms Eeles' debut I can say that as much as I hate comparing authors or their books, there really is some similarity with Ms Brown's books...not in the content but in the feeling the book evokes. I was totally surprised to see myself laughing out loud from the first page. But no, the book is not all laughs, but there's a nice balance between laugh out moments and more serious tone when needed.
In this part #1 of Salt Bay series, Annie's Lovely Choir by the Sea (really wish the title is shorter), we follow Annabel (Annie), a young woman approaching her 30s, who receives a letter from a solicitor in which she's asked to meet her great-aunt Alice in Salt Bay, Cornwall. However, this is rather a shock as Annie didn't even know her great-aunt. In fact, she doesn't know any of her relatives as her mum had her young and was kind of thrown away from her house. It's always been just the two of them, and now her mum is gone...she's all by herself doing the best she can to take care of herself. She's not ready to commit to anything really, she hates staying at a job for too long and after a year at her last work she decides to leave it. She's also not to keen on starting a family which is why her boyfriend dumps her, telling her she never wanted to commit anyway so why waste their time. Overall, Annie is someone who likes to enjoy her freedom in every aspect and while I didn't feel she's an adventurer, I could feel her fear of being tied down. Not having any better plans, Annie decides to meet her great aunt, Alice and give Salt Bay a chance. It's there that she discovers many secrets about her family but also feels the community and being part of something bigger for the first time.
It took me a while to get to like Annie, not because she's a commitment phobic but cause I didn't really feel her words. It's like I didn't feel her narration for the first few chapters, I simply couldn't take her for a girl who doesn't like starting a family. It could be just me but the first few chapters though funny weren't that much convincing. However, as Annie comes to Salt Bay and we really get to see who she is, things start coming to place. Not only did I start to root for her, I have to admit I adored her. While you can expect from the title the book would be all about a Choir she and her friend resurrected, it's actually in the back of the story. I wish we got to see more of that and their contribution. However, this story is about so many things. It's about family, love, friendship and the community. It's about discovering yourself again and again.
Overall, Annie's Lovely Choir by the Sea is a wonderful start to a new series and one I'll gladly follow and expect every new installment. If you're looking for a feel good rom com set by the beautiful, picturesque Cornish seaside, no need to look any further. I'm definitely impressed with Liz Eeles' writing and can see she really owns the rom com genre. I have a feeling we shall be hearing a lot about her in the future and I'm really thrilled any time I discover a new talented author. Gorgeous story with equally gorgeous characters (most of them) from a fresh, new and powerful voice on the chick lit scene....more
Ella's Ice Cream-Summer is a delicious book and brilliant start to a new series by Sue Watson. While in many Originally posted on This Chick Reads
Ella's Ice Cream-Summer is a delicious book and brilliant start to a new series by Sue Watson. While in many ways it's everything I expected from Sue, she still manages to surprise me. When I say this I firstly mean the amazing, fresh and effortless humor. Simply said, Sue KNOWS how to make you laugh. It's like it's in her DNA and is one of the main reasons why I'm such a huge fan of her writing.
If you've read Sue Watson's book before you'd also know she does love writing about food and baking. So, it was no surprise she decided to write a whole series dedicated to an Ice Cream Cafe. And while there's so many amazing descriptions of ice cream flavours that will make your mouth water, this book is more than that.
The story follows Ella who's recently been laid off, her two kids are already grown up and leaving the nest to explore these exotic places and learn about the world by themselves. Even though her mum came to stay with them for short time, she seems well settled with Ella and there's no indication she's planning on leaving. Ella feels tired, alone but still she's doing her best to keep a smile on her face and please everyone. She's a born pleaser, always putting herself and her needs last. One day she finds out her aunt, Sophia, the owner of a cafe left her an ice cream van and that's when Ella's world changes in many ways.
The thing is, aunt Sophia and her mum fell apart long time ago and seems her mum never really missed her sister. She does remember a time when she enjoyed visiting Appledore and her aunt, especially cause she loved her cousin, Gina. But then Gina left to marry some hot shot and even though they tried to keep in touch, the letters came less and less often...till they finally stopped. it's funny how a family can fall apart. And sometimes for no reason. But is there a reason why her mum and Sophia decided to stop being in each others' lives?
As you see, there's a bit of a mystery element and some family drama/secrets that will be revealed to Ella when she leaves for Appledore and starts a new life there. While I could predict where the story is going, I really didn't mind as I so enjoyed Ella's voice and humor. Her down to earth character and positive outlook on life is what made this book so enjoyable for me.
While there's also dashy Ben and a bit of a romance, I didn't feel like that is the most important part of Ella's story. I do wish though I saw more of it, but who knows. We might see more in the next installments.
The best thing about this book is that strong feel good factor that oozes through the pages. I swear, I had a big smile on my face all while reading it and there were some absolutely hilarious situations and laugh out moments. Classic Sue Watson if you ask me. Don't you just love picking up a book knowing you're gonna adore it? That's how I always feel when I pick up Sue Watson's book.
Ella's Ice-Cream Summer is a warm and delicious read perfect for a sunny day at the beach! If you're looking for an uber entertaining read you'll devour in a day, this is the book for you. It might make you crave ice-cream though, so just consider yourselves warned. I'm already excited about #2. Woop, bring it on!!...more
It's been a while since I've read a book by Tilly Tennant and I was really excited about A Wedding in Italy. I ju Originally posted on This Chick Reads
It's been a while since I've read a book by Tilly Tennant and I was really excited about A Wedding in Italy. I just adore the cover and the blurb made it sound like totally my thing. However, while I did enjoy it, I have to say I am slightly disappointed. It could be the fact I had expectations as I know Tilly is an amazing author, or the fact most of my friends loved it and I assumed I will too.
A Wedding in Italy is the second one in a series, and while I haven't read the first part, I can say this one can definitely be read as a stand alone. While there are many characters, I had no trouble in remembering their names or their role. However I did read some reviews on Rome is Where the Heart Is (the first part in the series) to get a better feel of the MC, Kate and her history with Alessandro. While apparently the first part is more focused on their romance, in the second part we meet Alessandro's family and see Kate trying to fit in.
The family dynamics is what makes this book enjoyable and so easy to ready. Alessandro has three sisters and while Kate has established a good relationship with Lucetta and Abelie, Maria, Alessandro's oldest sister is really not fond of the English girl. The Italian Mum is also hard to impress, though she's kind and nice to Kate, it's no secret she'd like a good Italian wife for her only son. Rome is a wonderful place, but Kate is no tourist and she's gonna try hard to win her man. One of the reasons Maria dislikes her so much is the fact that Maria has plans of her own for her brother. There's nothing she'd like more than to see Alessandro get together with her friend. Orazia who'd make a perfect wife for him. She could even understand his working hours better, since she's a police officer herself.
The book opens with Lucetta getting married which is stressful for all the family members, including Kate, who will be meeting the whole family (400 wedding guests is not a small thing). All Kate wants is to be good for Alessandro and be accepted by his family. Kate is a lovable girl, she's trying hard to make ends meet and dreams of starting up her sewing business. She's very good at making dresses, though she's not that good when it comes to finances.
While I absolutely enjoyed reading about the Italian culture, their customs and the family bond between the members, I have to say I found the book a bit slow. It takes good 30% for things to start happening and it was then that I started enjoying the book. There's too much drama by the end, which I liked to certain extent however it was pretty much predictable.
What I liked about this book the most was the feel good factor, will the girl get her boy and show the world how great she is? That was what kept me reading. I wasn't the biggest fan of Kate however I liked her and appreciated her efforts to fit in though I think sometimes she tried too hard. I wish she was more ballsy and voiced her opinion more freely. I also wish there was more romance, but I guess I'll need to go back and read #1 in the series for that.
Overall, A Wedding in Italy is a cute, light, easy book perfect for a lazy weekend. While it isn't the most memorable book I've read this year, it certainly made me smile and feel good while reading it. I'd definitely read more from this author as I felt through the pages she's got something, that X factor needed in chick lit. Tilly knows how to create characters that will make you smile and feel entertained. ...more
Oh this was such an enjoyable book! The Cornish Escape is the second one by Lily Graham that I've read and while Originally posted on This Chick Reads
Oh this was such an enjoyable book! The Cornish Escape is the second one by Lily Graham that I've read and while I certainly enjoyed her first book, The Summer Escape, I found this one much deeper and layered story.
I've been reading a lot of dark and disturbing books lately, so this book was just what I needed. I did have some expectations, however it proved to be much better than anything I've thought it would be.
After 9 years of marriage Victoria's happy life is shattered. Her husband cheats on her with a much younger woman and she sees no way out of it but to escape...leave him for good. She's a successful autobiographer and due to her work she's traveled all around UK and feels this special bond with Cornwall. Naturally it is there she finds peace and starts anew. However, there are some secrets she'll reveal, secrets that span decades and go back to the previous owners of the house she buys in Cornwall.
At the worst time of her life she discovers Tilly's diary and letters and starts her own investigation on who exactly Tilly was and why is there so many rumors about the house she bought, some even calling it the Cursed House. Good thing is that Victoria is not really into rumors and love s a bit of mystery and research. She starts feeling Tilly so close to her, as if never meeting this young woman or the decades that lay between them didn't matter.
This was such an easy book to read. The author's writing and the short chapters with some diary entries and letters make it really dynamic and easy to follow. I was quite impressed with the mystery element. I thought the book would be all about Victoria reinventing herself and healing her broken heart, and while it certainly there's a lot of it about that, the story goes beyond. Tilly's story makes the book more complete, complex and layered and it sure made me intrigued enough to keep turning the pages.
The only reason why I've decided to give it 4* instead of 5* when it's obvious I enjoyed the book, is that I wasn't too pleased with the ending. For me, it felt a bit rushed and I do think a few more chapters could've helped and made it more enjoyable. But this could be totally me as I've seen a lot of reviewers loving the ending even being surprised by it.
To sum up, The Cornish Escape is one enjoyable, feel-good book I totally recommend. You'll simply be flying through it, devouring it in one sitting. The author picked the perfect setting, beautiful Cornwall and did an amazing job in transporting me to this place. If you're a fan of women's fiction with some mystery and drama, this is definitely the book for you....more
HOW can this be a debut? I mean here I am double checking if this is actually Ms Gibney's first book. OMG can youOriginally posted on This Chick Reads
HOW can this be a debut? I mean here I am double checking if this is actually Ms Gibney's first book. OMG can you tell I am impressed? Actually I am BEYOND impressed! She's super talented, created a perfectly suspenseful thriller with loads of characters (something I usually don't like) and perfect past to present switch. Seriously guys, this book can't get any better!
The book opens with a crime in the 70s. We don't know much where it's happening, why or who is the victim. Fast forward to 2014 and a woman is killed in a Cathedral. Just when we meet 51 year old Susan, she's already dead. She's off to meet someone and ends up strangled. DI Lottie Parker and her partner, Detective Mark Boyd get immediately on the scene looking for clues as to why she's been murdered. However, Susan is one big mystery and an awfully contradictory character. Of course this doesn't help the police force, so after going through her apartment and not finding any clues (except some prescriptions), they're off to question her employee. Seems they've hit another dead end in the investigation (excuse the pun). And then another body is found and seems these two cases are somehow connected. The old handmade tattoo both victims have on their thigh seems not only to connect them but holds the secrets of their history. Many years ago they were connected by something, something which was so strong that bind them together always.
But Ms Gibney doesn't stop here, some people also go missing and believe me, you won't know what will happen next. This whole book felt like watching this super suspenseful police procedural that pulls you in from the start and once you're done, it seems everything finished in a blink. Yes, be prepared to lose track of time and postpone all your activities cause you won't be able to put it down.
Ms Gibney is another of Bookouture's gems and seems they have a hell of an amazing list of thriller authors. Angela Marson and Robert Bryndza to name a few and now Patricia Gibney as the newest member of the team...honestly, sky is the limit. I am absolutely in love with this book and have so many reasons, too many to mention in a review and I know that once I hit 'post' I will come up with some more to add. But anyway, in no particular order I'll mention some of the things which blew me away.
THE STORY is absolutely brilliant, there's something so mysterious and intriguing about these books revolving around old crimes. The author managed so gracefully and skillfully to connect these strange and horrible crimes with some new ones, intertwine their stories and mutual history. Everything is simply flawless and despite the fast pace you won't be distracted even for a second.
THE CHARACTERS are brilliant, from the main DI Lottie Parker, to her partner Detective Mark Boyd but also all the other side characters. If you've read Angela Marsons' DI Kim Stone series, you might see certain similarities, but that's only because both Kim and Lottie are kick ass, independent, bloody amazing at their job, women. But that's where all the similarities end. Lottie is a mother of 3 and has lost her husband few years ago due to cancer. It's a tragedy the family is still coping with and Lottie is really doing her best to juggle between motherhood and being in the force. She's got her usual ups and downs, fights anxiety and takes meds. But she's a tough cookie and is definitely one of the strongest leading characters I've ever read about.
THE PACE is perfect! I mean I'm telling you, it's action, action & more action. There are so many twists right till the end of the book that I really couldn't predict what will happen in the next chapter let alone the ending.
THE SETTING is amazing! Small town in Ireland during winter, it really can't get any chillier than that :). I absolutely loved it!
While I didn't find too many scenes of graphic violence, the book talks about some rather sensitive and awful topics, such as child abuse and pornography. At times it wasn't the easiest book to read because I would feel this awful rage towards beasts who commit such crimes.
The Missing Ones is undoubtedly one of THE BEST thriller/crime books I've ever read and a start of an amazing series I'll follow. I honestly can't wait for the #2 and can't hide it, I do have big expectations for it. If you're a fan of Angela Marsons' gripping thrillers, you'll definitely LOVE The Missing Ones. You'll simply devour it in one sitting, it's that gripping and fan -fucking-tastic! Oh and don't be scared by the +400 pages cause they will fly, baby! :)...more
'How to Mend a Broken Heart' is Anna Mansell's debut and a book I was really excited to read. I have to say, like Originally posted on This Chick Reads
'How to Mend a Broken Heart' is Anna Mansell's debut and a book I was really excited to read. I have to say, like so many reviewers here, that I did expect something else. When you look at the cover you expect a fluffier and funnier chick lit. But on the contrary, this is one emotional women's fiction/drama that will have your heart wrenched and make you go through a roller coaster of emotions.
There aren't really much characters and the story is focused on the lives of Kat, Susan and Rhys. The book opens when Susan is hit by a motorcycle and rushed to the hospital. No one really knows the reasons for the accident. Could be a suicide attempt maybe? Kat is a 28 year old nurse who's on her shift when Susan is rushed to the hospital. Rhys is a plumber who's still grieving for his brother, David who recently committed suicide. Among the few possessions of Susan, Rhys' number is found so the hospital calls him thinking they are related. However, Susan seems to much young to have Rhys as a son. Then why is the only number in the phone book those of Rhys?
Three complete strangers, three completely different stories will be interwoven into one. They all meet by chance, but there are ties they are not able to see. They are all grieving and searching for a way to mend their broken hearts. Susan is 56 and till recently has lived with her parents. She seems so sad, like the whole world is on her shoulders. Kat has just recently broken up wuth her boyfriend of 5 years. Seems like the exotic holiday won't help her heal. Rhys is mourning the loss of his brother, trying to understand why would he do such a thing. Why would anyone decide to take their own life?
As you see, this is not the easiest book to read. There are too many emotional moments and if you're looking for a tear jerker or perhaps you're grieving the loss of someone dear, then this is the book for you. While their stories blended nicely, what I didn't like is how much time it took for me to get inside of it. I wasn't really impressed with the first couple of chapters and felt pretty early on I will have trouble with the pace. It does pick up later on, but I had to be rather patient and keep on reading. I am glad I did though!
The characters didn't leave such a great impression on me. I must say I was rather interested in their stories, how they are connected and how everything will turn out. But I wasn't crazy about any of the characters because they didn't feel that real to me.
However, the story is told from different POVs and we all know how hard that is. Anna did an amazing job on that, showing each of her characters perspective and giving them interesting pasts. I also loved how their stories were delicately and masterfully intertwined and how the characters grew thanks to each other.
Overall, if you're looking for an emotional women's fiction and don't mind the slower pace, this is definitely the book for you. I think it's a good debut and I'll definitely be reading more by Anna.
'The Silent Wife' is the latest book by Kerry Fisher and one I've been so excited about. Back in 2015 I read Originally posted on This Chick Reads
'The Silent Wife' is the latest book by Kerry Fisher and one I've been so excited about. Back in 2015 I read Kerry's book 'The Island Escape' and immediately fell in love with her writing, the way she explores friendship and made me recognize parts of myself in both of her main characters. Needless to say then that I had such high hopes for 'The Silent Wife' and now after I've read it, I can say I wasn't disappointed.
As I'm already mentioning Kerry's books, unlike her previous ones this one has a more serious tone. It's like Kerry wanted to go even deeper, exploring family and it's dynamics and all the complex relationships as well as their secrets.
The beautiful thing about this book is that while it's mostly focused on two characters, the sisters in law Lara and Maggie, we learn so much about both their families. The book opens with Maggie marrying Nico and entering this new Italian family where she feels all but wanted. Nico's first wife died young due to cancer, so their daughter, Francesca is really not too crazy on the idea of her father marrying again. Especially not so shortly after her mother's death. As so isn't Nico's Mother, the cruel matriarch, Anna. But despite all her fears, Maggie is so happy to finally have a real man by her side, a true gentleman who respects her and who is willing to take care of her 10 year old son, Sam. It was so heartbreaking to read these pages. Maggie comes from a broken home and is the only one in her family which comes even close to marrying. Three generations of single women without anyone to care for them made Maggie a strong women yet thirsty for love. But real problems start when she moves in with Nico and watches her stepdaughter and mother in law trying to sabotage her marriage on every step. No matter how hard she tries, she's not appreciated. Out of this hard situation comes an unusual friendship though, the one with her sister in law, Lara. Lara is Massimo's wife, also a second wife just like Maggie. Massimo's first wife didn't want any kids so she left him. Lara gives him the child he's always wanted and yet Massimo seems never pleased. Their son isn't anything like the sporty, masculine Massimo so naturally, Lara feels disappointed and unhappy. However different Lara and Maggie seem at first sight, they will become allies and discover some secrets carefully hidden from the family. In the attic, Maggie finds a a box which belonged to Nico's first wife, a box full of secrets ready to shatter everyone's lives.
Wow, good e? When I started reading, I have to say it took me a while to get into the story. It seemed there were loads of characters, stories intertwining and I admit I found it a bit too much. But once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. I already knew Kerry will create a wonderful and layered story, with characters so vividly portrayed, however I was totally surprised by the mystery element. I can't say I really connected to or particularly liked any of the women, however their unusual friendship was what really kept me reading. They appear so different at the beginning so it was really intriguing to see their bond growing. While I liked Nico being the more sensitive one, Massimo was such a nasty guy. I didn't like him at all, but his character definitely added to the story.
While some books are all about the pace and action, this book is all about the characters and their relationship. It's clever, emotional and layered and I really enjoyed it. If you're a fan of women's fiction or family drama, this is definitely a book you mustn't miss out. It's also Kerry Fisher's best yet and I'm already looking forward to her next one....more
In 2016 K.L. Slater made her debut on the thriller scene with 'Safe With Me' and instantly won the readers' Originally posted on This Chick Reads
In 2016 K.L. Slater made her debut on the thriller scene with 'Safe With Me' and instantly won the readers' hearts. The book was also recommended to me by many of my friends/bloggers as they do know I love a good, gripping thriller. I still haven't got round to reading K.L.'s debut but I'm so happy I got the chance to read her second and latest book, Blink.
First off, doesn't the blurb sound amazing? I couldn't wait to start reading! However, this is one of those psychological thrillers which you need to be really careful about when reviewing, as everything is so tightly woven and could be considered a spoiler. The book is told from several POVs and follows events 3 years before Evie's disappearance and after that sad event.
Toni and her 5 year old daughter Evie have just moved to a new house and a new neighborhood, which though not the nicest at least promises a new star. Toni and Evie had been through a lot, loads of pain and suffering. 18 months ago Toni's husband died in Afghanistan, such a sudden and heartbreaking moment for the new family. Toni's trying to be the best mum possible for Evie, but she's crushed. She turns to pills and the odd glass of wine for comfort. The move should do them good, they have Toni's mum to help them settle in, help with Evie and the new school and everything seems to be going great when Toni finds a new job.
However, what Toni hoped will be a fresh new start, turns to be the most devastating moment in her life. After Toni's mum is brought to hospital and Toni is late to pick up her daughter from school, little Evie is never seen again. No traces, no eye witnesses, like she disappeared in thin air.
Gripping, right? There are many things I liked about this book, however some I didn't like that much so this is gonna be a balanced review (I will really try). The pace was rather slow and until half of the book it seemed nothing is really happening. The accent was given to the emotional state of Toni, not so much on the actual disappearance of Evie. This I admit was a bit frustrating, as some scenes were explored to details yet seemed irrelevant to the actual plot. However, the slow pace gave enough time for me to portray Toni in my head as vivid as possible. As a mother, the pain she was feeling was excruciating even for me. I could feel through the pages her grief, hope to find her daughter and fight. This I really liked.
Toni is not a character you will immediately fall in love with. Hell, she might be a character you might not like at all even after you read the whole story. But in a way, with all her flaws and imperfections, she kept me interested in the story.
The story goes back and forth, 3 years before and after Evie's disappearance and I think the author did an amazing job in the past/present switching. Everything flows and you won't be confused even for a second. However, it takes a lot of time until things start moving and this frustrated me to a point. About the 80% mark everything starts to fall into it's place and there's an amazing twist which got me totally by surprise.
To sum it up, if you're a fan of psychological thrillers and you don't mind the slower pace and build up, this is definitely a book for you. The other day I've heard K.L. has signed a new 4 book deal with her publisher, bookouture so we'll be hearing about her a lot in the future. ...more
*Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell is one of my most anticipated autumn releases. I haven't had the chance to read any of Katey's novellas in The Meet Cute series, and was so excited when I was approved to read her new full length novel by her publishers.
Although I'm not single and I hardly even remember how singledom feels like, this cute novel refreshed my memory and made me think of those years. What immediately caught my eye were the gorgeous cover and super fun blurb. I'm a big sucker for a beautiful cover and books on friendship.
The Singalong Society for Singletons tells the story of few friends, all single who spend every Friday night devouring musicals and Disneys animated movies. Friday is the day when anything is possible, to cry about your life taking the wrong turn, laugh like crazy while singing to LET IT GO for the millionth time and even have a break through moments while chatting and deciding to take up a new career. You see, for Monique, Issy, Hope and Connie the singalong society is not just just a way to vent, but a place where you can share anything and not be judged. Monique has just been through a hard break with a man she was with since 11th grade. Justin leaves for a year and even though original plans are to make their relationship work even long distance, it seems Justin wants to focus on his career more. Mon is practically left without a say and finds herself single. Single but not alone, as she has her friends who will not only cheer her up but also change her life for the better. Issy's having her own problems, trying to figure out how to help her 17 year old pregnant sister. Connie is helping out her dad and seems she's settled for so little. She feels like her life is not what she wanted and that she forgot her dreams. But thank god for the singalong society and her friends who make her realise she needs to chase her dreams. Hope is Mon's sister and has just been dumped by her girlfriend. But all their troubles seem to vanish when they hear the tunes of their favourite musicals. When Ray and Liam join the group, things get a lot more interesting and fun.
The Singalong Society for Singletons is a cute, undemanding book. It's easy to read and perfect after a hard working day. However, it felt too light a read for my taste. The girls are an interesting bunch and despite going through a rough period, they are optimists (I love these type of characters in my chick lits), but I didn't feel them on a deeper level so I could make a decent connection with them.
I'm not the biggest fan of musicals but I do believe music heals. I've been there, singing Let it Go from the top of my lungs trying to forget how some person mistreated me. I was not familiar with some of the songs or musicals mentioned, but that didn't stop me from reading.
The thing I liked the most was the girls' friendship. The girls have this amazing bond between them and it made me think about friendships and how much one true friend means more than million 'so-called-friends'. But I expected more romance, especially at the beginning of the book when Mon and Justin break up. I wanted to feel a bit more of her grief, rage, whatever. I wanted her to persuade me she loved Justin so much in deeds, not just words. I couldn't help but think a crucial part of their story is missing, and this definitely affected my perception on Monique later on.
However, it's a super fast read and I think it took me less than 3 hours to finish it. If you're looking for a light chick lit to take your mind off your problems, this is the book for you. Who knows, you might even sing along to some songs or put that Frozen DVD on to watch for the millionth time. :)...more
I'm not new to Caroline Mitchell's writing, however I was still pretty amazed with what she's done here. Unlike h Originally posted on This Chick Reads
I'm not new to Caroline Mitchell's writing, however I was still pretty amazed with what she's done here. Unlike her previous books (published with bookouture), this one (published by Thomas & Mercer) is REALLY a hard core thriller. While I did enjoy her previous books, I have to say I'm not the biggest fan of paranormal and was thrilled to hear she's writing a more realistic crime now.
Witness is not the easiest book to read, not because it's long or the writing is bad. On the contrary, the writing is great and pulls you in from the start. It's written from the POV of the 'witness' or Rebecca, and the most manipulative sociopath I had the chance to read about, Solomon. The story goes back to 2007 when Rebecca's life is changed forever, Solomon is sent to prison, and then back to present when he's released and back to destroy her.
But let me start from the beginning... the book opens with a scene where Rebecca, with blood on her hands, holds the body of her dead colleague. The police is here and she reports Solomon, her boyfriend who has such a nasty temper for the murder. Solomon's dad works for the police, and though Rebecca doubts the police will put Solomon in prison because of his father's connections, he ends up locked for 10 years. One would say, justice's been served! Fast forward 10 years and Rebecca has a new life, a husband who cares about her but doesn't know much about her past. When Solomon is back, he's still got his hands on her, manipulating her and making her witness and choose the victims he's about to kill. This is why I say this book is not easy to read, I felt my stomach in knots and even felt sick.
Solomon is one nasty mother f@cker and despite hating his guts I feel like applauding to Caroline for creating such a character. He seems so real, his manipulation knows no end and boundaries, he has no respect for anyone, not his father or mother, not Rebecca or the whole society. He's a real abuser, seeking domination over fragile women. He's a creepy man and you would want him FAR FAR AWAY from you.
While the pace is perfect and there's never a dull moment in the book, I wasn't really impressed with Rebecca. As this is a book which has as a main theme domestic violence, and we know tons of women in the world face this problem every day, I had absolute compassion for Rebecca. But I was somehow not convinced and some of her choices were too frustrating. I've never talked to a victim of domestic abuse in my life, and I'm thankful to god I've never experienced it, however Rebecca's reactions were sometimes really strange.
The book sends a powerful message and I bet Caroline had a tough task and felt a lot of pressure in writing on this topic. If you check Caroline's GR page (or website) you'll see she's a former police detective and has worked with high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. That being said it's obvious she has a background and knows a lot about the psychology of both the abused and abusers and this book only proves it. If you're looking for a gripping thriller or you are a fan of dark, disturbing reads no need to look any further. This is definitely the book for you....more
*Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Why are the books we love the most hardest to review? I guess I feel sort of a responsibility to put my feels for this book into most appropriate words. If my review could be summed up in just one sentence it would be 'BLOODY BRILLIANT!' But I know you want to hear more and I do owe that to the world.
I assume you've already heard of the genius mind that is Angela Marsons. If you haven't, have you been living under a rock all this time? Sorry, I don't mean to insult anyone but if you haven't heard of Kim Stone series, that can easily be fixed. Just head to amazon right away and download a copy. Start with 'Silent Scream' of course, the first one in the series introducing one of the most kick ass thriller heroines the world of literature has seen. 'Blood Lines' is the fifth installment in the DI Kim Stone series, but is some what connected to the second part, 'Evil Games'. You can definitely read the parts as stand alones, but if you want to get a better feel of the antagonist, Dr Alexandra Thorne, it's best if you read Evil Games first. Or just start at #1 in the series and move on, I can promise you you'll be able to finish all 5 books in just few days.
Blood Lines is so awesome, so amazing and gripping it totally exceeded all my expectations. And this says a lot, because as a huge fan of Ms Marsons' I have really REALLY high expectations. As in all her books, things happen fast, there's lots of suspense, twists you won't expect and characters you will love or hate from the bottom of your heart.
Kim thought she's past the whole situation with Dr Alex Thorne, the manipulative sociopath responsible for loads of crimes in the past. Alex is in prison where she belongs and can no longer harm anyone. But is it really that way? Kim works on a case, a 47 year old woman, Deanna Brightman is murdered and Kim and her team are asking everyone around looking for suspects. The murder seems rather 'clean', there's only one wound, very precise and sharp in the victim's abdomen. Seems the killer was detached completely, there aren't any evidence of hesitation in the form of small cuts. As they question Deanna's husband, sister and members of household, Kim can't help but feel that Deanna must have known the killer. And then another murder happens. Maxine Wakeman, a 22 year old woman with a drug addiction is found dead. One wound in the abdomen. Could it be that these are a work of the same killer? How are these women connected? There are no obvious signs of any connection, except the same, clean, single stab wound on their abdomens.
Blood Lines is a book that may result in heavy heart pounding, biting nails and adrenaline rush as you try to find the killer, the pattern of the murders, not to mention the depth of the 'bond' between Kim and her nemesis, Dr Alex. There were so many characters, so many things happening at once, new crimes, mentioning of old crimes, deep wounds come to surface...a lot to take in but a truly rewarding feeling. So when you close the book you can't help but send a signal to the universe to bring you #6 in the series as soon as possible. Honestly, this series is so addictive! But what's slightly different about Blood Lines is that Ms Marsons goes deeper and deeper in analyzing the human psyche, the dark and spooky parts, the strong emotions of grief and hate. She puts her characters in all sorts of situations, confronting them with their worst fears and their ugly pasts. I'm in awe of how well the author handles these situations, all her characters seem so believable and ...well, real!
What truly fascinated me was the contrast between Alex and Kim. Alex is one hell of a bitch, so manipulative and revenge driven. But despite being so evil, she's a character you'll be hooked on. She's the darkness to Kim's light and their 'bond' is really the driving force behind Blood Lines.
I have to say a part of me wanted Kim to make amends with her past and her mother, but I'm also aware her mother did a horrible thing in the past (murder of Kim's brother). And this also adds to the pace. Will she or won't she forgive her mum? After 2 decades of being in an institution, has her mother finally realized what she's done? Has she felt the deep remorse, has she changed? What would we do if we were in Kim's shoes? Could any of us forgive someone for such a horrible crime? Got me thinking, a lot. But still, I couldn't find an answer and I surely didn't judge Kim for her choices. But I felt more connected to Kim (which surprised me, as I thought I already knew what she's capable of). I also feel with each new book the reader is peeling a layer after layer, revealing more and more sides to her.
I could go and on about this book but I'm sure you get the point - JUST READ THE BOOK! As I've heard there'll be a total of 16 books in this series which is a truly daunting number as I've never followed a character in so many books. But when it comes to this series, I have no doubts Ms Marsons can keep us entertained and interested in her books for a very very long time. So 16 books? I say 160. Who counts when you enjoy something so so profoundly? Blood Lines is definitely one hell of a roller coaster and a book not to be missed! Grab a copy as soon as you can!...more