Hard Girls by Martina Cole

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Hellllllllo readers, interesting book today because I picked it up when I was a little desperate in Nottingham? I went to a Hen Do and upon getting the train back to Stoke realised that trains from Derby to Stoke didn’t run until about 2 hours after I had arrived. With no book and no laptop I was a little bit stuffed, so I explored Nottingham (a tiny bit) and found a lovely charity shop and picked up this! So now imma going to tell you what I thought!

HARD LIVES. HARD LESSONS. IT’S MURDER ON THE STREETS.

Danielle Crosby had a body to die for. A body she sold to the highest bidder. But she ended up paying for it with her life. When a prostitute’s body is found lifeless, mutilated and brutally raped, DCI Annie Carr has never seen anything like it and never wants to again.

Kate Burrows, retired DCI now consultant, has plenty of experience when it comes to murder — after all she caught the Grantley Ripper and broke the biggest paedophile ring in the South East. She is determined to help put the killer behind bars. But whoever it is won’t be easily caught. And when another girl’s body is found, even more horrifically disfigured than the last, it’s clear the killer is just warming up…In a ruthless world where everyone’s out for themselves, Annie and Kate must dig deep if they hope to catch a callous serial killer who knows no limits and makes no mistakes.

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This is my first encounter with Martina Cole and unfortunately I’m still a tiny bit undecided on this book. I’m not going to include too much about the blurb because it is quite extensive. DCI Kate Burrows is living with Patrick Kelly former criminal who has tried valiantly to change his life for Kate (a former DCI who currently works as a consultant on new cases.) When working girls are found murdered in terrifying ways Kate is drafted into help but it turn out the case falls a little close to home. Is Patrick involved? Did he know anything about what has happened? Annie and Kate must work together to solve the case.

So why did I struggle with this? Well it wasn’t due to strong female characters because there are some fantastic female figures in this book. Kate and Annie are fantastic characters – full of strength, vigor and freaking sass. What I also liked was the actual murders – they were scary, they were horrific, it did make me a little frightened and I was very interested in getting stuck into the story, but there were problems.  Many problems.

The problem really is the repetition of the books – many different lines, situations, and meaningful moments and thoughts of the characters are repeated. Over and over again. Although it’s not the same words it feels like you’re reading the same section again. There are two problems to this – one it waters down the tension and excitement and secondly IT MAKES IT SO GODDAMN LONG. It’s almost 600 pages. Like wha.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

The second, and maybe the main problem is that the story revolves so much more around the detectives than the murder. Honestly, we don’t even get a murder suspect until 400 pages in? At the beginning it’s really exciting that there are no clues at the beginning as to who it is, but it starts to wane. I don’t want to spoil the plot but the detectives solve the murder less through detecting ie the murders, more so from the relationships they have as detectives if that makes sense? (Just a quick not had totally worked out the murderer so – yeaaaah.)

So, what do I think. I did actually enjoy this and I knew that I would finish this. I did feel like the murder was really overshadowed and even the final reveal was overshadowed because it almost felt like a sub-plot WHICH IS NOT GOOD. But, I know that this is quite far through the series and therefore I don’t know if this was book written for die-hard fans of the series who wanted to see more into the relationship of Kate and Patrick? I think I’ll finish this by saying I want to read more by this author; this one didn’t quite work for me though.

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Wormwood by K.E. Coles

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Helllllo readers, fantastic book from me today! Really exciting book review for a fantastic author and friend actually who I have been collaborating with from the beginning. She’s a fantastic author, and has been forever a supporter of this little blog so it’s a really privilege to be reviewing her new book today.

‘I wore my guilt like a coat, but it was one I was used to wearing – old and worn and shabby, and it fitted me perfectly.’

They’re finished, aren’t they? Mesmeris. But what if they’re not? How far will you go to protect the people you love?

Pearl has moved on with her life. She has a home, a job, a wonderful friend in Spicer, and a beautiful child – everything anyone could want. If only she could stop loving Art.

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So, what is Wormwood about? Well Wormwood is the third in the Mesmeris Trilogy and oh my life have I been waiting for this. Book one Mesmeris introduced us to the dark, dank world in this dystopian nightmare, the second book (Infixion) really pulled in a number of new exciting characters that helped to bulk the story and give it depth, and the third, well IT’S GOING TO TURN IT ALL ON ITS HEAD. Following on from Infixion Pearl is trying desperately to move on with her life; she has everything she could have ever wanted; a job, a house and a lovely friend called Spicer but her old life is starting to make an appearance and Mesmeris is still at large. Can Pearl distance herself from her old life? Only time will tell.

So what did I think? The first thing I want to say was that it’s incredible how Coles has managed to keep the suspense throughout all three books. Her writing is not filled only with impact, but it’s engaging, wonderfully captivating and it tells a story. The whole story. I’ve read too many dystopian style stories that only look at the surface. They don’t delve into the bottom of characters but this does. Coles is fantastic at creating a web. A story that has multiple strands that keeps the reader engrossed.

All the characters are fantastically written Pearl especially. The main character needs to stand strong throughout the story and I’m not going to lie Pearl is not only a pillar for the tale but she is relatable and warm. She’s a nugget of gold in this story. I also adored that we got to delve into Art’s personality and understand more, I also adored Spicer. He’s just bloody fantastic.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

In terms of the story, I adored the ability to delve into the perspective introduced through Wormwood allowing us as the reader to learn more about the ominous cult leader Papa. We’ve had whispers but we really get to look into Papa’s back story. Not only does it give us a completely new perspective but we get to delve more into the dark side that Spicer and Pearl are desperately trying to fight against. The ending? Well I’m not going to go into it, because that would just spoil it but the story goes out with a little bit of a bang. I’ve adored these books from the beginning and it’s certainly not one I’m going to forget for a long time.

Overall this is a fantastic book filled with light and dark, good and darkness. It’s got a fantastic set of rich, warm and enticing characters and Cole’s writing really flourishes through this final book.I feel that Cole really met her stride here – it’s not that she didn’t deliver before, no. But here I feel that she finally felt comfortable to really round out the story, push the characters to their limits and really explore her writing. It’s just bloody fantastic. 

I’m going to stop here because I could go on, and on and on and on. GO pick up this book and the rest of the trilogy if you haven’t already. It’s fantastic.

Linnnnnks 

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Shock of the fall by Nathan Filer

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Helllllo readers, hope you’re enjoying this wonderful week. I have a really interesting and exciting book for you today. I think this book has been on my radar for months but I just didn’t get around to picking it up yet which is actually really silly of me. My friend sent me this book along with a hella amount of chocolate and it really just sorted out my day (Hattie you angel.) Hope you enjoy the review as much as I enjoyed those chocolate buttons.

‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.

There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.

The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.

This is the story of Matthew, Matthew is a young man that suffers with schizophrenia,  a teenager suffering with mental illness in the wake of the sudden death of his brother Simon. It could seem like a difficult read based on the subject matter but this an easy and flowing read (which might seem like an odd comment.) The time is fragmented throughout, there are different typefaces and it dips in and out of different places in Matthew’s mental illness.

Narrated by Matthew himself this story tells a really striking description of schizophrenia. It’s convincing, honest and moving. This felt incredibly moving in the tone as he takes and doesn’t take his medication and we capture a hell of a lot through Matthew’s eyes. Whether it’s bitterness for the past, sadness, wit or anger it’s perfectly portrayed through the eyes of our main character Matthew. The author manages to paint an incredible picture of what is inside Matthew’s head.

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The story is beautifully told – Matthew’s fragmented mind allows us to get a history of his family, the jobs he’s experienced. It adds body to the novel, it adds a feel, it adds a sense of character. Characters that surround Matthew are beautifully written. They allow us to truly experience Matthew and understand how his brain is working. It’s a terrifying but beautiful tale.

I really liked the descriptions of Matt’s parents; presented as a family that sits together and watches Eastenders, the mix of family awkwardness, the secret handshake and the mother’s attempts at home schooling after the brother’s death.  It’s difficult to believe that this is a first novel because it is so accomplished. It might not be the most action packed book, but it is utterly, utterly bloody beautiful.

Throughout this book I felt really emotional, I felt stressed and overwhelmed, I found it difficult to put the book down and I felt an utter devotion to Matthew. We never know what people are really going through until it’s sometimes to late and I think sometimes that terrifies me. We’re all different, we’re all struggling with something bigger than ourselves and sometimes it’s not easy to see. In Matthew’s bumbling but incredibly intelligent prose we get to experience all of that. He might be swearing, he might be yelling at someone, he might be stuck inside a memory or hinging on an episode of near exhaustion but it’s all Matthew. It’s everything that has happened to him

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So why should you pick up this book? Why should you add it to your Amazon basket, or your Goodreads to read list. It’s a beautifully, brilliant book full of light and dark, shadow, shade and also beaming beautiful bright light. It’s a book to give perspective, it’s a book to give hope, it’s a book to give understanding. It’s a book to make your little noggin think and I adored it.

Linnnnkkkks

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The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Hellllllo readers, interesting post today and a book I really want to get into quickly. I’ve started to run. I’ll probably write a post about this soon because it’s something I want to talk about more but basically one morning I got up and went for a 3K walk, and then I did the same, over and over and over again. Then a month or so back I started to run that 3K, over and over again until it became a 5K and a 7K. It’s given me a new confidence and a new sense of determination and one thing that really helped me sustain my running was this book.

The End of the World Running Club by [Walker, Adrian J]

I honestly hold the mantra ‘To Survive you Need to Run’ in my head every morning at 6am when I’m exhausted, my head is heavy with sleep and I feel like rolling over and becoming a duvet burrito. When I started running (a little while before I picked up this book) I didn’t realise how hard it was. As a younger version of myself 5 miles really wasn’t that hard to do, but as an adult I could barely make it ten meters without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack.

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The character in the book is the same – stranded from his family in the middle of the collapse of the world, overweight, struggling with mind daemons that he could have done more for his family and relying on too much alcohol to get through it all I saw myself a little in this character. He begins to run, knowing that if he doesn’t make it to Dover where his family are getting ready to leave for a less damaged country, they will be gone, maybe forever. As he continues travelling hundreds of miles the difficulties become more tragic, lack of water, other people who have survived threatening his very existence.

All the way  through he faces obstructions, both physical and mental. Whether an inability to keep his feet moving forward mentally or physical blockages like broken cars, and unstable houses that threaten to cave and squash our runner –  I carried this book everywhere. The thing with running is you don’t really have time to turn over every little stone inside your mind. Instead you have to keep your feet moving, you breath steady, and you HAVE TO KEEP GOING.

If you’re wondering how much is end of the world style writing and running, it’s about a 75% to 25% split, but every move in the book has the need to survive. Whether in a cellar with no air, ravaged cities, or crammed military bases, there’s a sense of hope, seen mostly in the passages of running – where we get to really feel the mental aspect of running, kinda like this passage here:

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“That other beast inside you, the one you rarely see? You have it tethered tight. It watches and waits while you mess up your life, fill your body with poison and muddy your mind with worry. For some it takes just one call to free it. For others it takes five hundred miles of agony. But mine was free now, for the first time since I was a boy, running with a grin like a wolf through moonlit bracken. Pain ran alongside me, kindred and beautiful and garinning my grin. I’ll always be here, it said. Always, but now we’re friends.”

In terms of characters, Ed actually feels REAL. Like a real character – he has problems, he has insecurities, he has wobbles but at the same time he’s exciting to follow. The motley crew that he runs with including the terrifying but hilarious Bryce add their own tune to the book – each has a very special addition to the story line and reading about them all, getting to know their stories, it was beautiful. I have rarely felt so in tune with a book.

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In terms of the writing, the book is beautifully written, the writing is soulful and also to the point, it has such a strong rhythm and as we move further into the book and find more and discover extra characters and subplots Ed pulls us through – no matter how messy the world is, we get to keep going, we keep running no matter difficult or dangerous the road gets. The ending is beautiful, I won’t give it away because that’s not fair but I had a real step back moment, where I had to give myself five minutes (on a bus in Nottingham) but I might have shed a tear.

This book is incredible, whether you define as a runner or not. I know it’s made it into my top ten list of books due to its sheer power to encourage me to always look forward, lace my trainers up and get running. Now it’s your turn.

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Dangerous by Ian Probert

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Helllo readers, LISTEN UP, because I have a really special book for you. When I started writing reviews BACK IN THE DAY, the author Ian Probert got in touch and to be honest I’ve been reading everything he’s written ever since and that’s because it’s brilliant, and this book is no different. Less rambling from me, onto le review.

A quarter of a century ago journalist and author Ian Probert decided never to write about boxing again. His decision was prompted by the injuries sustained by boxer Michael Watson during his world title fight with Chris Eubank. Now, in common with so many fighters, Probert is making an inevitable comeback. Dangerous sees Probert return to the scene of an obsession that has gripped him from childhood. In the course of numerous meetings with a number of leading figures in the fight game, including Herol Graham, Steve Collins, Michael Watson and Kellie Maloney among others. 

Probert takes a look at how lives have changed, developed and even unravelled during the time he has been away from the sport. From an illuminating and honest encounter with transgender fight manager Kellie Maloney to an emotional reunion with Watson himself, Probert discovers just how much the sport has changed during his absence. The end result is one of the most fascinating and unusual books ever to have been written about boxing.

Dangerous: An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Boxing (Paperback)

I’m not quite sure how to review this book because it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before and I’m not sure I’ll ever read anything like it again. This is a book about a journey, about self-worth, about family and roots and finding, or trying to find answers that might have always been slightly out of reach. In the book Probert tries to come to terms with the death of his father. Their relationship, built so strongly through the passion for boxing has become weathered and tense through the lives of both, and now that he has passed Probert wants to break free of the shackles of a tumultuous relationship and delve back into the sport that drove the two of them together – maybe more so than the bond of father and son.

Through the book Probert visits and talks to many boxers from his past – you see this book is almost a sequel to the novel Rope Burns published in 1998 which I will link for you. Being a sports journalist for rather a long time Probert became well acquainted with LOTS of boxers and we get to visit so many of them. Chapter by Chapter Probert delves into his history meeting boxers such as Michael Watson, Chris Eubank,  Nigel Benn  and interestingly Kellie Maloney. This is all contrasted with the author going to see a rather awkward therapist for sessions to talk, just talk. It’s a really interesting concept as we see both sides of the ‘healing’ process

The writing style is incredibly personal –  it’s as if you’re inside the authors head throughout, feeling his inner thoughts, and seeing all of his memories converge as we kind of wade through a lot of boxing knowledge. Which is what I wanted to come to next I actually read this book on my computer because ya know the joys of ARC copies, but I actually found myself  googling and watching a lot of different fights, finding out facts and researching different boxers. I was actually shocked at how engaged I felt with a book that talked about something I have, before now, had no interest in at all. This book opened my eyes to a completely new world of boxing. 

The end is also utterly beautiful – we don’t quite get a perfectly sewn up ending but, I’ll leave that to you because you have to go and pre-order it and then go and read it because it’s awesome. So yep. #NOSPOILERSHERE.

SO, time to sum up. This is one of those reviews where there is JUST TO MUCH TO GET IN. I can’t tell you about all the special moments, the sweet stories, Probert’s bittersweet pain of delving into his past and then comparing it to the present and the current lives, loves and health of the boxers that we get to meet. Go and pre-order the book. Go, because it is fantastic, it is wonderful and it is a brilliant book that might open your eyes to a completely new world.

Linnnnnnksssss

Rope Burns 

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Escape To Wonderland Colouring-book

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Helllllllo readers, slightly different book review today because this one is for COLOURING, not for words which is always pretty cool. I’ve written a couple of reviews for colouring books, but, this might just be my favourite. Why you ask? Well let’s find out.

Escape to Wonderland is an enticing, extraordinarily intricate and beautiful colouring book filled with highly detailed line artwork that allows the magical fantasy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to be brought to be life in an entirely unique way.  Pivotal moments from the story of Alice are scattered throughout for inspiration, and there are spaces left within some of the compositions for individual design and embellishment.

This highly original, exquisite colouring book for older children and adults alike is in a handy-sized square format, a perfect size to carry around in your handbag or schoolbag with a tin of crayons – you’ll be ready to colour and relax wherever and whenever the moment takes you.

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So, the first thing I wanted to say, is this book is utterly gorgeous and is ESSENTIAL to any Alice in Wonderland fan! I have to say this though, because all the 1* reviews on Amazon are because of this, it is smaller than most of the colouring books, but to be honest with you I found that this made it a lot less intimidating because the images aren’t huge, but also it means it’s perfect for taking with you, on the train or on a holiday trip where you need a chill out.

The book does have a softback cover which although might seem a little dangerous with a book of this size, but the cover is almost the double thickness of cardboard and folds in itself so when it opens up you have a stunning image of different mystical things including owls, mushrooms and pocket watches (I’m late – hint, hint.) The cover is utterly STUNNING. It has silver and gold foiling with blue details, and it just feels so luxurious.

In total the book has 96 pages which are double sided with images and each is border-less which means that the pages do get a little lost between the spine but this hasn’t been an issue for me so far and not all of the images are spread over two pages. It does have quite a tight spine but it does relax quite easily but I haven’t damaged it yet so fingers crossed it stays in good condition. The pages are cream and are a little textured but they are so much better than the other colouring books I have had because they have more of a thickness to them. I have used pens on it, the thin nibbed type and they don’t seem to be leaking through – I haven’t finished an entire image yet but, so far it’s good!

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One of the things I have seen is that some colouring books, especially those that are directed towards mental health, do have difficulty levels. So some are more complicated than others. This doesn’t, but it does create a much more cohesive feel to the book. Additionally what I UTTERLY LOVED, was that the pages are not only in the same order as the story, which allows you to get really engrossed, but also most of the pages have a quote from Alice in Wonderland so you know where you are, although if you’ve read the story you’ll get it, but it’s nice to have a little reminder.

In terms of the images, they are all so beautiful and so wonderfully drawn. So many of the images include animals, scenes and objects from the story and the films and I struggled to pick one image that I liked the most. Some of the images I have coloured do have sections that don’t connect, which at times can be a little confusing but I think it’s so it fits with the surreal feel of Alice in Wonderland. All the classic characters are there including the caucus race, the croquet match and meeting the giant caterpillar.

I would definitely recommend this book. I received it from a friend and to be honest with you, she got it utterly spot on. An evening with a face-mask on, a cup of tea, watching How to Train your Dragon and eating hella handfuls of minstrels was just beautiful. This transported me to a really happy place and into the wonderful world of Wonderland.

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Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Helllllo readers. This is my first review back which feels first incredible but secondly terrifying. Have I forgotten how to review? Hopefully not. Before we start, just wanted to point out a couple of things! I’m going to be changing up a lot of my blog. Firstly there is only going to be one review a week – it’s not that I don’t love them, but I think my main burnout out was because I was trying to review TOOOO many books; I will be posting loads cause I love to write but just less reviews. The second is I’ve changed my review thingy about ^ and I’m going to start PROPERLY taking my own photos, so please don’t laugh. Play nice.

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When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up and begins to read.

But as she turns the pages she is horrified to realize she is a key character, a main player.

This story will reveal her darkest secret.

A secret she thought no one else knew…

So as the blurb suggests the book follows the life of Catherine Ravenscroft who discovers a novel titled ‘The Perfect Stranger’ on her bedside table. Although she has no idea how it got there she decides to read. Soon enough she realises that the book is not fiction but is instead a recreation of Catherine’s past that describes her VERY WORST NIGHTMARE. As you can imagine, chaos follows.

I guess the first thing to say is, I thought this book would be utterly fantastic. Being an obsessive reader, if a book appeared that spoke of an event I had tried desperately to cover, well – it’s not worth thinking about. The plot unfolds in alternating chapters between Catherine in third person and a character called Stephen Brigstocke who is a retired teacher who speaks in the first person narrative. The tale moves between past and present, and so far the book is pretty good-ish.

However, a couple of chapters in the book really fell to pieces. Firstly none of the characters are likable and actually Catherine is pretty exhausting. Not only is she completely lacking in emotion, but her decisions, her reactions, and her actions are SO FRUSTRATING. All the way through I felt like yelling ‘Dude No.’ I didn’t care about a single character because real people do not behave the way that these characters do. It’s trying desperately to be The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl but it falls so, so, flat.

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The writing is stilted and doesn’t create an atmosphere at all and this is partly because the characters are all so bitter. I won’t spoil the plot, but when Catherine’s husband finds out the secret he leaves for a couple of days, (understandable,) but then he returns whilst she’s at work, packs a bag calls a taxi, and just puts her in it and she just goes. They don’t speak, they don’t communicate. It’s just so bloody odd.

The secret is kept well hidden throughout, but as we reach the final corner, the author flunks it. The entirety of the book would have collapsed if two/three characters had just sat down with a cup of coffee and some cake and chatted it out. Yes, I understand that this is the point of a deep dark secret, but honestly, there were so many different points where I felt like crying hysterically with bookish pain, – how was this published? To try to distract from this the author throws in a number of completely implausible sub-plots. Not only do these include characters that I couldn’t stand (so I didn’t care,) they felt lazy and a cover-up.

I felt cheated by this book and I feel cheated by the 5* ratings because there are so many better thrillers out there. It feel like a desperate attempt to create the hype of popular thriller books that are in fashion right not, but this just lacks depth, and care and time. The premise had the chance to be fantastic but this left me raging. Honestly raging. I think if I had been sent this I would have felt a little better but I didn’t – I spent almost £8.00 on a book that left me feeling cheated. Please don’t do the same.

LIIIINKKKKKS (If you really must.)

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Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus and Steven T. Murray

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Helllllo readers, apologies it’s been a little while since my last review – I’m still getting back into the swing of writing reviews so often. No wonder I was exhausted all the timee but I do utterly adore it. Today’s review is a book my lovely lovely sister gave to me. If my sis were to start a book blog it would be literally all CRIME BOOKS, cause she loves crime books. Anyway thanks Char Balds hoping you’re enjoying UNIVERSITY FREE TIMEEEE. Enjoy the review.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?

In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

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Right, so the blurb is kinda extensive so I’ll try to sum it up super quickly. We follow the truly devastating story of Tobias Sartorius. Pia Kirchoff is embarking on her saddest case so far after finding the bones of an unknown individual in an underground jet fuel tank. Pia and her partner in crime Bodenstein must unravel the secrets that surround the body. On the other side of town, there is another incident, a 7-car collision caused by the attempted murder of a woman pushed off a bridge. The woman in question is Rita Cramer and as it comes to light  there are more and more secrets in the town of Altenhain. Tobias is back in town after serving ten years for the murder of two beautiful girls whose bodies were never found not that he can remember what happened – when another young girl goes missing and once again Tobias is missing his  memory is everything as it seems?

Right, down to the nitty-gritty (finally.) In terms of the story there are multiple story-lines mixed in together and pulled in very quickly. The writing is really engaging and definitely draws the reader in. In terms of characters profiles, despite their being MANY MANY characters all of them are really well-developed and examined. I thought Tobias could have been developed a little better – I think because he was so closed off because of all that had happened it was at times difficult to feel for him.

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I must admit at times it does feel a little stilted, I think it’s because of the translation but it is sometimes a bit awkward. I also found it a little difficult to keep up with alllllll the names. I don’t know whether I’m just really bad with names but I struggled a little when characters were mentioned super quickly and then weren’t mentioned until another ten chapters later. Some of the police procedures were very different from UK practices? I guess it’s just a European thing but it added to the slight awkwardness.

However, what I did like was that there were lots of twists and turns, lots of mixed messages, red herrings and throughout there were LOTS of possible suspects for certain parts of the mystery. It’s one of those books were I felt maybe a diagram would have been a good idea just to spell out all the twists and turns but it plays out really well – it’s not too confusing but I adored looking at the different alliances with different members of the village, the use of town anxieties, and gossip. It just helped to fuel my excitement.

Before I go on for utterly forever  I would definitely recommend this book for a read. It’s one that recaptured my attention and I literally didn’t put down for over 2 and a half hours on the train to London. It’s a really good crime novel and although there are wobbles it’s still a brilliant book!

LIIIIINKKKKSSS

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Wedding Season by Katie Fforde

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Helllllllo readers, hope you’re well! It’s time to review another couple of old favourites in terms of books. This is a book that I caught Charlotte reading when we took the train to London with the family. It’s one we’ve both read several times, don’t ask why – but after several reads since reading the book I thought it might be time to review it.

All you need is love. A wonderfully romantic novel from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Recipe for Love, A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

Sarah Stratford is a wedding planner hiding a rather inconvenient truth – she doesn’t believe in love. Or not for herself, anyway. But as the confetti flutters away on the June breeze of yet another successful wedding she somehow finds herself agreeing to organise two more, on the same day and only two months away.

Luckily Sarah has two tried and tested friends on hand to help her. Elsa, an accomplished dress designer who likes to keep a very low profile, and Bron, a multi-talented hairdresser who lives with her unreconstructed boyfriend and who’d like to go solo in more ways than one.

As the big day draws near, all three women find that patience is definitely a virtue in the marriage game. And as all their working hours are spent preparing for the weddings of the year, they certainly haven’t got any time to even think about love. Or have they?

I’m not going to write too much about the blurb because it’s a bit of a long one and a lot of the plot is included. In terms of the book we do follow the lives of  three very different women; Sarah who is the cynical wedding planner who struggles to believe in happily ever after’s despite her job, Elsa who is a very nimble fingered dress-maker who always dresses plainly in black and Bron, the gifted hairdresser. Very talented with many hidden talents but stuck in a possessive relationship with a bit of a nob. The brief professional relationships between these three women blossom into true friendship when they are given the chance to take part in the celebrity wedding of the year. But the wedding just happens to fall on the same date as Sarah’s sister Lilly – two weddings, one day, three women – will it all work out okay?!

So what did I think? I think I’ll start by saying there’s nothing wrong with this book at all. The writing is pleasant and draws you in, the characters have a little bite and depth; Sarah is a little cold despite her job and her experience with the romance business, I adored Elsa and her slightly shy but utterly adorable personality and the addition of the secondary plot-line with Bron helped to add a little adversity. It all moves to a slightly obvious conclusion and it’s nice. Really nice.

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The problem is, which is a little expected with romance novels the romantic endeavor that Sarah ends up with (despite her hatred of happy endings.) appears in the first two chapters or so and was so obviously included you almost feel cheated. In terms of their relationship suffering from any type of adversity the author seems to put in a road-block and it feels so awkward and obvious. What follows is a series of awkward encounters, meaningful glances and not really communicating to sort things out. WHY ARE CHICK-LITS STILL DOING THIS. Why can’t we get a relationship that speaks a little truth.

Maybe I am sounding a little cynical and maybe that’s because at the moment I feel like I’m basically allergic to chick-lits. I think the problem is that this book works so hard to stay away from being depressing or boring. It’s so light and fluffy and darn nice that it feels like you never really GET INTO THE STORY. The ending is so neatly ticked off and each character finds a happy ending somehow (I won’t spoil how if you’re all for the cloying, happy, too-good-to-be-true ending,) but for me I wanted more. Why don’t authors understand that books that are so perfect with characters that have the perfect life don’t relate to us – that’s not how the real world works!

I’ll stop now because I’m probably getting a little annoying. If you like a reallllly like happy go-lucky books this will be perfect, fluffy and nice. For me, I liked it but as always was left feeling like I wanted more.

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Once Taken by Blake Pierce

 

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well and ready for another review for yours truly. I’m really into crime books at the moment – I’ve really gone off funny or romance books so there could be a few of these coming your way. Anyway, I read this book a little while back but I just hadn’t quite got round to writing a review and posting for you. I found this author just by searching on Amazon, finding her first book and buying it – WHICH NEVER HAPPENS, and I decided to buy the second book – so enjoy.

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Women are being murdered in upstate New York, their bodies found mysteriously hanging in chains. With the FBI called in, given the bizarre nature of the murders—and the lack of any clues—there is only one agent they can turn to: Special Agent Riley Paige.

Riley, reeling from her last case, is reluctant to take on a new one, since she is still convinced a former serial killer is out there, stalking her. She knows, though, that her ability to enter a serial killer’s mind and her obsessive nature is what will be needed to crack this case, and she just can’t refuse—even if it will push her over the edge.

Riley’s search takes her deep into a killer’s deluded mind as it leads her to orphanages, mental hospitals, prisons, all in an effort to understand the depth of his psychosis. Realizing she is up against a true psychopath, she knows time is short before he strikes again. But with her own job on the line and her own family a target, and with her fragile psyche collapsing, it may all be too much for her—and too late.

So, as like the first book ( YOU CAN READ MY REVIEW HERE.) this book follows the exciting life of Riley as she struggles to pull herself together at the end of the first book. She finds a number of pebbles in her bed which she is 99.9% sure have been left by the serial killer that tried to take her life. But, there’s a new case to be solved; bodies are mysteriously appearing wrapped in chains and hung up for all to see. Riley must try to put the past behind her whilst solving the case and keeping one eye open at all times.

So, what did I think? I actually really enjoyed this book and although part of me preferred the story (in terms of the murders) during the first book, I found the use of the chains and the interesting character of the killer exciting to read about. It’s odd with crime books because you kind of get into the head of the killer and this author does it incredibly well. Riley has this almost second sense when it comes to reading a crime scene, and although throughout we get a little look at the what the killer is thinking and the motives, we do get to follow Riley and see how she manages to piece everything together.

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Once again I thought the numerous secondary plot-lines were really well interlinked. Using a past crime from Riley’s life that we haven’t really got to experience (it happens before the first book) means we’re constantly on edge trying to piece together what has happened. I thought using Riley’s daughter a little more was really intriguing and I like the play-off between the two in their relationship as mother and daughter. The writing as before is really punchy, it moves quickly but not so fast that you’re gabbling to keep up. Instead it builds and builds until we reach the exciting climax.

The only slight wobble I had was at the end – no spoilers, but it was a little well tied up this time and I’m interested to see how the third is integrated into the story-line. It has been a little while since I read this so there might have been more of a link to the next but it doesn’t stick in my mind. Overall I think I enjoyed the first book more, I think it was creepier and I always struggle a little if we get too much from the killer’s point of view which I find we do here. I think to really amp up the excitement it needs to be kept more of a secret. Either way, I still would give this a solid 3*’s and can’t wait to read the next.

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