I recently went to Crete and it was fantastic.

Time to relax, time to take a minute, try and get a tan and read. Lots of reading. I downloaded The Memory of Water novel onto my Kindle purely because of the cover. I was desperately downloading books before my holiday and didn’t have time to really go through and look at every single one. The Memory of Water appearing under the search Free Romance, but that’s not strictly what is was. Here’s what I thought (either way.)

Blurb

Slade Harris will do anything for a story, including murdering the woman he loves.

Slade doesn’t think twice about jumping out of a plane or conducting disastrous love affairs to gather material for his work, but his self-indulgent life is catching up with him. Stumbling through his late thirties hopeless and a little drunk, Slade has a dazzling, dangerous idea which will change his life forever. It’s going to be Slade’s ultimate story … and all he’s hoping for is to survive it.

My Review

I didn’t read the blurb before beginning the book, but it goes a little like this. Haunted by his past and struggling with writer’s block novelist Slade Harris plans a theoretical murder in order to the get words flowing again. When the events of his outline begin to play out he can’t control where fiction and reality blur. Set in modern day South Africa the action moves between rich suburbs and seedy towns. The plot moves with pace and constantly keeps you on your toes guessing what is real and what is only in Slade’s head.

Slade Harris is an author who likes to experience life high’s and lows to feed his writing. He carries around a car load of baggage from a family tragedy and the author documents it sublimely. The style has a contemporary crime novel feel with modern and classic culture references. The twist at the end left me off guard but I had an inkling. I liked the hints of the locale language that helped place me as a reader in South Africa. The place depicted add a flavour without too much focus on the country and its recent history.

The writing is phenomenal (and I don’t say that too often.) It has a melancholic, deliciousness to it. Slade is a hedonist who is too self-absorbed but definitely lovable. He sees himself as a Jay Gatsby character; a little shady, with brushes with the law and a vagueness about his sister’s death. We do in the end have the stories of Eve and Emily tied up. I had to definitely re-assess Slade, but I still thought he was wonderful. It’s a crime novel but the sex scenes are evocative, dark and delicious. Big fan.

Final Thoughts

The ending isn’t perfect. We have a double ending which is interesting but doesn’t quite get pulled off. Otherwise, I adored this. I couldn’t stop myself from reading it. The plot is excellent, the characterisation is fantastic, the themes and writing are a storm. It’s one of those books I find super difficult to review because it’s everything I was from a book. Just go read it. It’s bloody gorgeous.

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You might have seen recently that I’ve fallen for the Pigeonhole App. I wrote about it a little here and here. Today I’m reviewing a book from their disappearing stave collection. There’s a post about the concept and my experience with that coming Friday. But today I take you into the chilling book All the missing girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Blurb

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

But here’s the thing I’ve learned about leaving – you can’t really go back. I don’t know what to do with Cooley Ridge anymore and Cooley Ridge doesn’t know what to do with me, either. The distance only increases with the years.

My Review

After the initial set-up of the story, All the missing Girls is told backwards. We start from Day 15 and go back to Day 1 following Nic’s return to her old home. She attempts to unravel in these what has happened to Annaleise, and Corinne all those years ago. Nic must also come to terms with the secrets her family have kept hidden whilst protecting them too.

The book kept me hooked from start to finish. Telling the tale backwards means that you have work out the references without the build-up to an event. Then you read what actually happened before in the next (previous) chapter. Throughout Megan Miranda doesn’t miss a beat. I was second guessing myself through the reading, trying to pick through the lies and work out the truth. At times I struggled to trust Nic as a narrator making the reading more haphazard. (This is mentioned at the beginning but when I reading I try to find a credible source.)

A polaroid fading from the edges in, the colors bled out; the outline of a ghost town full of ghosts.

The writing is claustrophobic and dense. It has a magical, woven sense of style and I devoured it. It’s blustery and free-spirited but always with a sense of danger. I have a feeling I will buying everything and anything this author writes.

“The woods have eyes and monsters and stories. We are them as much as they are us.”

The characters are fantastically written. Tyler the ex-boyfriend who was/is always there for Nic. Trusting but also cold he was a favourite of mine. Nic can be a struggle to empathise with but as I threw myself deeper into the rabbit hole I wanted it to all be okay. Her ailing father, closed off brother it’s an infuriating and exciting mess. The flashbacks to the group ten years ago tell of a dangerously intense female friendships that left me gripping the edge of the book.

The biggest credit to this book was I constantly judged every character I came across. I was toying and frowing as to who I thought had done it. Towards the end I managed to stumble on a conclusion but I didn’t quite get it. The execution is spot on. I want to go back and read this the other way round – but I’m not ready to yet. The initial excitement of reading this hasn’t worn off. The ending is brilliant too – maybe there are monsters in all of us. That’s all I’m saying.

Final Thoughts

It’s better than Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train. It’s sublime. GO get it.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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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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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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Helllllllo readers, hope you’re well. I’ve got some superrrr exciting books for you this week – the first thing I need to do is apologise because I was asked to read and review this book forever ago and I read it and then the review kind of got stashed in my ‘must-post-on-the-internet’ pile. But here we are, on the internet and with a super brilliant review (hopefully) sooooo, enjoy.

Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.

A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep…

When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.

So the book follows the life of Anna Shuler Rayler who is a 29 year old school counselor who when she goes to work on February 18th finds that the school she works at is surrounded by police, detectives, and the whole college is covered in crime tape. Finding that a colleague of her’s has been brutally murdered, Ellis Trachtenberg, just the day before. A  day of hell for Anna that she thought would forever be forgotten and yet now, a year later she is rising to the top of a suspect list. As it becomes more and more apparent that Anna  needs to find out what happened and clear her name her past that she has worked hard to keep locked away is coming close to being revealed to all.

So what did I think? I thought that the characters were really well built; I kept swapping between Anna and Jeannie and how I felt about both of them. At times I really struggled with Anna and then I would swap back to Jeannie and it definitely kept me completely consumed with the plot and what was going to happen. I thought the writing was a little slow to start off with, but after a chapter or so it definitely started to move forward – the writing had real suspense, the swapping from past to present worked incredibly well and I thought the big showdown towards the end (#nospoilers) was reallllly great. I thought the author was also brilliant at creating a really descriptive landscape to hold the book together.

I really liked the continuous swapping between the crime and also what was happening in terms of the life of Anna; we see her struggling to contain her past and using drink as a way of coping and this leads to a really interesting understanding of the main character. The author works had to contain all of these sub-plots together at once and overall I think it worked really well. There is an interesting concept worked in around some letters – I think this could have been developed more – I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone but it did leave me wanting more in terms of their involvement in the book.

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The only wobbles were that I thought that there were a lot of unnecessary details and when a book is kind of short it took away from the rest of the plot-line and made the movement of the book a little sluggish. I thought more suspects could have been easily incorporated to make it a little more exciting and add a little more suspense. I also found, and don’t hate me, that being inside the head of Anna for a little while became a little tiresome; she is an addict, she does exhibit a typical addict behavior but over time it does become a little tiring. The only final wobble was a cliffhanger ending – I just wish more of the loose ends had been tied up but that’s a smaller issue for me.

Overall I would definitely recommend this – I think if you’re a reader that likes thriller books that have a family feel to them and mix that into the suspense this will be brilliant read for you and also, if you like thrillers that have NO ROMANCE, this will definitely be one for you. A solid read with a few wobbles but a book I really enjoyed.

Linnnnnks

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