February 2021 Wrap-Up

For me, January this year seemed to really drag, but February has flown by. I hope you’ve managed to have a good month. It does finally seem that there is some light at the end of the tunnel which is giving me something to look forward to. Hopefully by the summer we’ll have some sense of normality back in our lives.

I managed to read thirteen books in total this month which has taken the number of books I’ve read this year so far to 31. Last month I finished writing my second book and I have started work on something new which I’m very excited about. My current idea I’m working on, was partly inspired by an episode in a true crime documentary I watched on Netflix at the end of last year. I already know where I’m going with it which is very rare when I start writing. I’m not a writer who can sit and plan but this time I did write a full synopsis and it has definitely made things a lot easier.

This month I took part in seven blog tours and I’ve listed the links below, in case you missed any.

An Eye For An Eye by Carol Wyer

The Art of Death by David Fennell

Black Widows by Cate Quinn

Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson

Deity by Matt Wesolowski

Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst

In March, I’m taking part in six blog tours. The blog tours I’m taking part in are, Bound by Vanda Symon on the 1st March, Future Perfect by Felicia Yap on the 13th March, The Night Gate by Peter May on the 20th March, The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana on the 23rd March, Nighthawking by Russ Thomas on the 24th March and Last Seen by Joy Kluver on the 28th March.

I also received some exciting bookpost this month. I received copies of, The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana, Good Girl by Mel Sherratt, Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl and Facets of Death by Michael Stanley Nighthawking by Russ Thomas, Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith, If I Fall by Merilyn Davis and The Night Gate by Peter May

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

That’s all from me this month. At the moment I’m currently reading Nighthawking by Russ Thomas and I’m listening to the audiobook of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The Midnight Library isn’t the type of book I would typically choose, but it is the book which was voted for this month in the book club I am a member of on Facebook, A Novel Book Club. I’m interested to see what I think of it. What are you reading at the moment? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget that First Monday Crime is back live on Facebook on Monday, 1st March 2021 at 19.30 p.m. You can access the event by clicking on the link below.

First Monday Crime

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the stunning novel by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing. I only discovered this book just before Christmas and I can’t believe it’s only now that I’ve come across it.

BLURB

For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

MY THOUGHTS

I finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t expecting to be pulled as deeply into the novel as I was, it took me totally by surprise. I was captivated by the story of ‘The Marsh Girl,’ and I loved Delia Owen’s writing, which transports you to the marshland’s atmospheric setting.

Kya is one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across in a long while. She lives with her family on the outskirts of the nearby town, surrounded by marshland. From a young age, things are tough for Kya. Unable to live with her father any more, her mother abandons her and the rest of the family when Kya is very small. Soon her older siblings follow their mothers lead, leaving Kya alone with her abusive father. But Kya knows her father well, and she manages to co-exist with him over the next few years, until the day when he doesn’t come back.

I felt so frustrated for Kya. I couldn’t understand why the rest of her family had abandoned her, particularly her siblings, who could have taken her with them. It seemed so unfair that she was the one left behind at such a young age. Because of this, Kya has to grow up first. She has to provide for herself after her father abandons her as well. Kya also becomes the topic of a lot of gossip among the locals. That’s how she earns the nickname, ‘The Marsh Girl.’

This novel isn’t a fast-paced read. When I was reading it, I decided I wanted to take my time with it as I was enjoying the writing so much. We flick backwards and forwards from the late fifties and early sixties to 1969. In 1969 the body of a young man has been found. But we get to learn more about the background of this man in the scenes from earlier years. What is his connection to Kya? I also wanted to know why he had ended up dead? The police are treating his death as a murder, although some believe it was a tragic accident. But the police want to wrap the case up quickly.

There were moments towards the end of this book where I was literally holding my breath as I waited to find out what was going to happen next. Kya was the one character who I rooted for throughout the book. I wanted her to succeed in life and to find someone to spend her life with.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a masterpiece, it’s haunting, and it is beautifully written. It is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long while. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time to come. I highly, highly recommend it!  

Publisher: Corsair

Publication date: 8th November 2018

Print length: 379 pages

Where the Crawdads Sing is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

WWW Wednesday – 30/12/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

What have I finished reading?

Innocent: the gripping and emotional new thriller from the author of FOUND by [Erin Kinsley]

The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But when a lavish summer wedding ends with a shocking murder it seems life will never be the same again.

As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and relationships begin to unravel.
Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

What will I read next?

The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello: A modern cosy mystery with a classic crime feel (The Stonebridge Myseries Book 1) by [Chris McDonald]

Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But, on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte.
Armed with an encyclopedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.

WWW Wednesday – 23/12/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege.

Pupils and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news.

In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

What have I finished reading?

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

What You Pay For: Shortlisted for McIlvanney and CWA Awards (DI Birch) by [Claire Askew]

DI Helen Birch faces a terrible choice – family or justice? – in the gripping second novel from the author of All the Hidden Truths

DI Birch joined the police to find her little brother, who walked out of his life one day and was never seen again. She stayed to help others, determined to seek justice where she could.

On the fourteenth anniversary of Charlie’s disappearance, Birch takes part in a raid on one of Scotland’s most feared criminal organisations. It’s a good day’s work – a chance to get a dangerous man off the streets.

Two days later, Charlie comes back. It’s not a coincidence. When Birch finds out exactly what he’s been doing all those years, she faces a terrible choice: save the case, or save her brother. But how can you do the right thing when all the consequences are bad?

As she interrogates Charlie, he tells his story: of how one wrong turn leads to a world in which the normal rules no longer apply, and you do what you must to survive.

From one of the most acclaimed new voices in crime fiction, What You Pay For is a brilliantly tense and moving novel about the terrible disruption caused by violence and the lines people will cross to protect those they love..

What will I read next?

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

Dishonoured: An addictive psychological thriller by [Jem  Tugwell]

WE’RE ALL ONE MISTAKE FROM RUIN…
Dan has worked hard for the perfect life. He has a loving wife, beautiful kids, a fabulous home and is a successful businessman.

One afternoon Dan steps onto his usual train and sees the waitress who served him an hour earlier. It all seemed so normal, but it was the most dreadful mistake. Four stops later, Dan is a criminal who has lost everything. He’d only just met her, so why did she destroy him—and why did she say ‘Sorry’?

Dan battles through a web of lies and deceit to clear his name and win his life back, but first, he needs to find out who plotted his downfall.

WWW Wednesday – 02/12/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A DAUGHTER
Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A SON
Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A LIFE BUILT ON LIES
As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it’s too late?

The Last Resort by [Susi Holliday]

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One perfect crime.

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

What have I finished reading?

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan does not wish to linger on the grisly scene before her eyes. Two mutilated corpses. In a church. In Clontarf. Her profiling background screams one fact: this is just the beginning of a sickening message.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old case is playing out on a TV documentary, the convicted professing his innocence and historical police errors being exposed daily in the media. Frankie’s superior, commissioner Donna Hegarty, makes no bones about who she expects to clean things up – both in terms of past mishandlings and the present murders.

But not everyone working the cases wants the truth to come out. And the corridors of power have their own vested interest. Soon Frankie pinpoints just what is making her so nervous: the fact that anyone could be the next victim when justice is the killer.

The Killer In Me is a fast-paced thriller in which lies are safer than the truth, the past is never far from the present, and the ability to kill could well, it seems, live in everyone.

Black Summer (Washington Poe) by [M. W. Craven]

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

What will I read next?

Sins of the Father: A disturbing and heart-stopping debut by [Sharon Bairden]

Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him.
TRAUMA RUNS DEEP
When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity… and her life.
TRUTH WILL OUT
With her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.
FORGIVE HIS SINS
But someone must pay for the sins of the father…

A chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…