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.


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.



Bloodline by Mark Billingham


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Hellllo readers – SUPER INTERESTING BOOK TODAY.  I read a book by Mark Billingham called Buried and it’s the first book in ages that has made me really angry. I thought it was going to be amazing and it was just rubbish, really rubbish. Any, spoke to my sister a weekend or so ago and told her how annoyed I was and she told me I had read the crap book she had by him and to read this one. AND? Well, it was FANTASTIC and I’m going to tell you why.

It seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of X-ray is found clutched in the dead woman’s fist – and it quickly becomes clear that this case is anything but ordinary.

Thorne discovers that the victim’s mother had herself been murdered fifteen years before by infamous serial killer Raymond Garvey. The hunt to catch Garvey was one of the biggest in the history of the Met, and ended with seven women dead.

When more bodies and more fragments of X-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together until the horrifying picture finally emerges. A killer is targeting the children of Raymond Garvey’s victims.

Thorne must move quickly to protect those still on the murderer’s list, but nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunted…

A chilling, relentlessly paced thriller, Bloodline is the most gripping Tom Thorne novel yet.


So, I’m not going to go into too much detail about the blurb because it’s all there – it’s a very extensive blurb actually and I don’t want to give away any more plot spoilers. The book throws us straight into the action; Debbie and her challenged son Jason are about to jump from a bridge in front of a train. Then we’re whipped away, back to the death a young woman who is found with a piece of plastic found in her hand. DCI Thorne needs to find the motive behind the murder. At this point Thorne and his girlfriend Louise find out some really horrible news – the author really works around this and uses it within the plot to create subplots that integrate with the murder investigation really well.

The writing is really exciting; the crime ^ as explained the blurb annoyingly, is really exciting. The murders come thick and fast and Thorne has to try and place them together, their time of death and why it’s all happening. There are twists and turns, there’s a red herring or two, it’s fast paced and exciting and it’s just great. Later on we get to see into the mind of the murder, which I normally dislike. I kind of like to feel like I’m only in the mind of the detective so you’re fully engaged in the plot from the detective POV but it worked. It was just enough. I loved that Hendricks was back; a little wobble I wish we got to learn more about him, the heavily tattooed and pierced pathologist is a really big part of the story and I just wish I got to know more about him.

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As always Tom Thorne is the disallusioned detective you just can’t help but love – he has this hard exterior and yet as he has to deal with the stresses and emotional pain of the situation he and Louise are in, it means he’s constantly evolving and changing and although we never get a description as such of him, we create Thorne in our own minds making him a lot more personal and helping us interact with him. Additionally unlike Buried although there were lots of characters, they were written and had enough characteristics to distinguish between them.

So, the big question – what did I think? I loveddd this book, it had everything I wanted from a crime thriller –  in contrast to Buried, the murder was really well constructed; it was integrated throughout, the murdered was constantly involved. One of the major wobbles with Buried was when I got to the end I didn’t know who the murderer was! Here I was so engaged I didn’t want to put this down, and immediately after picked up another Billingham book. Overall, this is much better than Buried and I can’t wait to read more!





What to do When Someone Dies by Nicci French

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Heeeeellllo readers, hope you’re well! Today’s book is one by Nikki French and it’s actually pretty good! At home we have a book shelf where you can put books once you’ve read them but don’t mind if they’re borrowed, used, lost. It’s supposed to be a way of allowing you to keep the books you want safe and also share ones you don’t mind others reading; although it doesn’t always work that way – anyway, this is one that I borrowed from the shelf from my Mumma and it was pretty good.

‘This is not my world. Something is wrong, askew. . . I am Ellie Falkner, thirty-four years old and married to Greg Manning. Although two police officers have just come to my door and told me he is dead . . . ‘

It’s devastating to hear that your husband has died in a horrific car accident. But to learn that he died with a mystery woman as his passenger is torment. Was Greg having an affair?

Drowning in grief, Ellie clings to Greg’s innocence, and her determination to prove it to the world at large means she must find out who Milena Livingstone was and what she was doing in Greg’s car. But in the process those around her begin to question her sanity and motive. And the louder she shouts that Greg must have been murdered, the more suspicion falls on Ellie herself.

Sometimes it’s safer to keep silent when someone dies.


I’m not going to spend anytime re-writing the blurb because it’s allll there to read. The first thing to mention, is that although this is marketed as a thriller, it’s more of a find out the truth style book – Ellie’s husband Greg’s body is found in a burned out car with another woman; rather than taking the police’s belief that it is a simply a horrific accident and the two were having an affair, Ellie denies this and decides instead to take the investigation into her own hands.  From this point onwards the story is narrated by Ellie in first person narrative. She has a clinical and dry personality; she doesn’t cry at the funeral  she is consumed by proving that Greg wouldn’t , and couldn’t have had an affair.

The writing despite Ellie’s strained personality has a certain quality that draws the reader in. The word lyrical isn’t quite right but the contrast between her feelings; this constant desperation to find the truth in an almost soulless way and the writing style that is so engaging and interesting to read. Her constant rejection from the police’s discussions, they’re rejection of her desperation saying it is all grief and nothing else contrasted with the lyrical writing style is incredibly engaging. Lots of the reviews on Goodreads say that it’s too cold and un-engaging but I found that the stifling lack of emotion of Ellie just helped to prove the true roots of the love between Ellie and Greg and her constant persistence to clear his name.

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Yes at times what she does it a little bizarre and it does make her come across a little deluded but there’s such a devotion to Greg and because he’s not there tell his side of the story it’s difficult to get a feel for Ellie before the terrible event happens. We learn more about her through her actions; sneaking herself into the place where the woman that died with her husband worked, meeting Frances, mix in the friends and family around her and the authors manage to construct a really true and intriguing character. YEs, she might be a little difficult to warm to, but in her position it is understandable.

Did I work out who did it? Yes, I did I have to admit and it wasn’t too difficult to but I didn’t think that hindered the plot or my enjoyment on the book on the whole. I must admit that I enjoyed this, but only really as a calm, interesting thriller-ish book. It didn’t really rock my world, it didn’t feel like a punch you in the face book, and on the whole it’s a little tame but it’s definitely an exciting read and definitely if you want a book that really plays with the feelings of the main character it’s on to definitely pick up.




Once Gone by Blake Pierce

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Helllllllo readers, hope you’re well and all happy bunnies. I’m on day 5 of dry February which feels pretty damn awesome still although tomorrow could be a struggle after the week I’ve had. However, today, it’s still Thursday but I’ve got a fantastic book to tell you about. Without further Lizzo warbling, onto the review.

Women are turning up dead in the rural outskirts of Virginia, killed in grotesque ways, and when the FBI is called in, they are stumped. A serial killer is out there, his frequency increasing, and they know there is only one agent good enough to crack this case: Special Agent Riley Paige.

Riley is on paid leave herself, recovering from her encounter with her last serial killer, and, fragile as she is, the FBI is reluctant to tap her brilliant mind. Yet Riley, needing to battle her own demons, comes on board, and her hunt leads her through the disturbing subculture of doll collectors, into the homes of broken families, and into the darkest canals of the killer’s mind. As Riley peels back the layers, she realizes she is up against a killer more twisted than she could have imagined. In a frantic race against time, she finds herself pushed to her limit, her job on the line, her own family in danger, and her fragile psyche collapsing.

Yet once Riley Paige takes on a case, she will not quit. It obsesses her, leading her to the darkest corners of her own mind, blurring the lines between hunter and hunted. After a series of unexpected twists, her instincts lead her to a shocking climax that even Riley could not have imagined.


I’m going to do something a little less Lizzy and going to go straight into the review because I think the blurb gives enough away already. The first thing I have to mention is this book was free, and I know what you’re thinking free books are normally a little bit watery. This is full on whack – immediately we are thrown into the action; there’s barely time to take a breath and we’re in the horrifying atmosphere, tied up with a young woman who is terrified for her life. From here we’re taking on a rip-rolling adventure, with red-herrings, murders, terrifying back-stories and intriguing characters.

In terms of the characters we follow the story of Riley and her partner in the FBI Bill. Riley is struggling with her past and a terrifying event that happened on her last case. Currently taking leave from the force she is pulled back to her job needed for her intense ability to put herself in the shoes of the murderer. Her past story is fed into the tale to add intrigue and interest and I did wonder whether I was reading the second book in the series (I wasn’t I must add.) Bill is her lovable partner who has a lot of respect for Riley and constantly supports her. Both help to give the tale depth.

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In terms of plot it does move quickly and I have seen a number of reviews that have commented it moves too fast. For me, I don’t think it does although I think an extra 150-200 page wouldn’t have hurt I’m not sure that it wouldn’t have reaaaaly added anything and could have been a little bit of over-waffling so I’m not complaining. The writing is really excellent; it builds suspense and mystery and also weaves in a number of sub-plots that are well-written and add to the drama. The writing is gutsy, full of intrigue and exciting elements. It honestly drew me and kept me there.

The only wobbles come towards the end which I will try to explain without spoiling the plot. We see the backstory of the main character and how it affects her and yet she follows the complete same actions knowing how dangerous it is. I did actually take a minute to stop and say to myself ‘girl – what are you doing’ because it felt like exactly the same actions all over again. Additionally there are parts that feel a little over the top and we do spend a lot of time in the main characters mind for me it worked but only just. It’s a little bit dense.

However the ending is superb and will 100% be tuning in to the next book, if it’s half as good as this one, this reader will be a happy bunny.




Buried (Tom Thorne Novels) by Mark Billingham

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Hellllllllo readers, something really exciting for you today and something a little different. When I can’t find something to read I always find myself scouring the bookshelves of the parentals forgetting that my little sister (not so little now that she’s twenty – when did that happen!) has a number of exciting books for me to sneak. They are normally thriller/abduction/horror style books but her shelves are stacked (unlike mine) with books she honestly loves and so I know I’m almost always going to get something good; today surprised me so I’m going to see what she thought of said book; hope you enjoy.

A retired copper’s son is kidnapped. Many of the villains he put away had sworn revenge. So why does he fail to mention the one who is still the main suspect in a four-year-old murder?

Must admit at the start of this, that I’m coming into this series pretty late because this is the sixth book in the series but I often think with series books in a crime genre you should be able to throw yourself right in and to a point I could. Quite easily. The book follows the country music loving detective Tom Thorne who appears to be a little side-lined by his colleagues (I’m sure this relates to a book earlier in the series.) However he is moved back into the spotlight when he is chosen to investigate the kidnapping of a former Detective Chief Superintendent’s son Luke. The book continues as the police hunt down Luke and his kidnappers as the plot thickens with more deaths, a racial crime and a romantic love interest to boot.

So for the positives; the book is a well written in terms of the jargon police language and the main character (I’m sure over the previous five books) has been developed into a really strong character profile. I thought it really helped the plot feel grounded and was an interesting persona to read about. Additionally  the supporting main characters to a point were well written although at times under-developed and they helped to weave the two stories and add a feel to the novel. I thought the writing of the racially motivated murder was intriguing and helped to add a sub-plot. There are a number of red-herrings weaved into both the plots and I thought the use of the Former Detective helped to add some suspense. Throughout I knew there wasn’t something quite right and I thought the sense of unease was handled well.

For me though this book really struggled; it has a really slow pace and being such a hefty number of pages I felt bogged down and need something to really excite me, but it just doesn’t deliver. Many of the secondary characters are under-developed or seem to play very little part and I think in terms of the writing a good two-hundred of so pages could have been wiped and instead the other content should have been whipped into shape.

Additionally, and oddly, the title doesn’t match the book inside. T asked me why it was called Buried and I could only come up with a very tenuous link. The author however, appears to acknowledge this with one of the chapters starting with a line such as ‘It was like being buried.’ Nope – that is not enough to link the book to the blurb. Additionally I thought that the links between the first and second plot was so tenuously linked it was a struggle to see why Billingham has done it at all.


I needed to put this in because I wanted to rage about this to you. Towards the end the police find out who the killer is, they then discuss him without directly mentioning him for a good chapter or two and then when the name was revealed I had no idea who it was. Mainly because he had been spoken to once in the first couple of chapters. No, No, that is NOT okay! Gah *rages.* Additionally, there are so many last names that I had trouble defining who was who and who was female and not; crime novels are so bad for this but here it was overwhelmingly so. I thought the ending was messy too, I’m still not sure how it all connects. Finally, and this is a big one, I didn’t like any of the characters that much so when it all came to a resolution I kind of thought – right that’s over. That’s not the feeling I want to feel so I was quite disappointed.

Overall I was really upset about this and I’m annoyed. For something so long in length I wanted something really powerful  and to not get that after 350+ pages I feel cheated. Add to this that to have under-developed characters in something so long is unbelievable. I didn’t enjoy this and I’m not sure you will too.

(PS: Spoke to Char and she struggled with book too and has since suggested others *yay* #holla)