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

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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

WWW Wednesday – 18/11/20

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?

The Coral Bride (Detective Moralès) by [Roxanne Bouchard, David Warriner]

It’s not just the sea that holds secrets…

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a rare female in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep.

Exquisitely written, with Bouchard’s trademark lyrical prose, The Coral Bride evokes the power of the sea on the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

When body parts start washing up along the banks of the river Thames, the Serial Crimes Unit is called to investigate, and it quickly becomes apparent to DI Henley that there isn’t just one victim. There are two.

The murders are hauntingly familiar to Henley. The modus operandi matches that of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.

Olivier is the last person Henley wants to see but she needs his help. He might be their best chance to stop the copycat before more body parts start turning up. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping out Henley and the SCU is the last thing on his mind.

All bets are off and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley or the Jigsaw Killer?

What have I finished reading?

An impossible murder
A remarkable detective duo
A demon who may or may not exist

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia.

But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night. And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft. Third: an impossible murder. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

Shed No Tears: The stunning new thriller from the author of Richard and Judy pick 'Sweet Little Lies' (DC Cat Kinsella) by [Caz Frear]

Four victims.
Killer caught.
Case closed . . . Or is it?

Christopher Masters, known as ‘The Roommate Killer’, strangled three women over a two-week period in a London house in November 2012. Holly Kemp, his fourth victim, was never found.

Until now.

Her remains have been unearthed in a field in Cambridgeshire and DC Cat Kinsella and the Major Investigation Team are called in. But immediately there are questions surrounding the manner of her death. And with Masters now dead, no one to answer them.

Did someone get it wrong all those years ago? And if so, who killed Holly Kemp?

What will I read next?

Out For Blood: The tense and addictive detective thriller set in Aberdeen (DI Eve Hunter) by [Deborah Masson]

DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2020.

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.

Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.

Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…

Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?

Just Like the Other Girls by [Claire Douglas]

After the death of her mother, Una Richardson hopes for a fresh start when she takes on a job as a carer for the rich and elderly Mrs Elspeth McKenzie.

But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.

Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. More disturbing is the evidence suggesting two girls lived here before.

What happened to the girls?

Why will the McKenzies not talk about them?

As the walls close in around her, Una fears she’ll end up just like the other girls . . .

The Push by Claire McGowan #bookreview

Happy publication day to Claire McGowan. Her latest novel The Push is out today. With thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for sending me a copy to review.

BLURB

From the bestselling author of What You Did comes a stunning psychological thriller. One party. Thirteen people. By 3.02 p.m., one of them will be dead.

The party should have been perfect: six couples from the same baby group, six newborns, a luxurious house. But not everything has gone to plan, and while some are here to celebrate, others have sorrows to drown. When someone falls from the balcony of the house, the secrets and conflicts within the group begin to spill out …

DS Alison Hegarty, herself struggling with infertility, is called in to investigate. She’s convinced the fall was not an accident, and finds the new parents have a lot to hide. Wealthy Ed and Monica show off their newborn while their teenage daughter is kept under virtual house arrest. Hazel and Cathy conceived their longed-for baby via an anonymous sperm donor—or so Hazel thinks. Anita and Jeremy planned to adopt from America, but there’s no sign of the child. Kelly, whose violent boyfriend disrupted previous group sessions, came to the party even though she lost her baby. And then there’s Jax, who’s been experiencing strange incidents for months—almost like someone’s out to get her. Is it just a difficult pregnancy? Or could it be payback for something she did in the past?

It’s a nightmare of a case, and as events get even darker it begins to look impossible. Only one thing is clear: they all have something to hide. And for one of them, it’s murder.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a big fan of Claire McGowan’s writing, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest novel, The Push. I found the writing highly addictive. I was drawn into the world, Claire’s new set of characters inhabit and I was engrossed in their lives. What I thought was interesting about this book, is that we know someone has died, but we don’t know who it is straight away. That is gradually revealed over the course of the book, and it’s what I found all the more intriguing. I thought it was an ingenious idea and I thought it was done very well.

The novel focuses on a group of new mums. Six of them are having a party to celebrate the arrival of their new babies. They have steadily grown closer over the last few months as their pregnancies have progressed. The party, however, ends in catastrophe when one member of the group ends up dead. It is up to DS Alison Hegarty to work out if there was foul play here or if the death was a tragic accident. She is determined to find out the truth.

The characters are all very different. It was interesting seeing them all interact with each other, and it kept me thinking about which ones really got on with one another.  It is clear that they all have their own opinions of each member of the group, and this is what drives tension between them. This is even though some of them seem to be quite close friends.  

Alison has a complex case on her hands to deal with. There are conflicting accounts about what happened the night of the party. Which one of them is telling the truth? Who can Alison trust? The book is primarily told from the viewpoint of Jax and Allison. Jax is an interesting character having recently got together with a twenty-four-year-old man; Jax is in her late thirties. Prior to her getting together with her most recent boyfriend, Jax broke off her relationship with her previous partner just before they were about to get married. I did wonder about her decision to date someone quite a few years younger than she was.

Alison is also a character who I liked and found interesting. Although she wants to see the investigation through, it’s clear that she finds being surrounded by this group of new mum’s difficult. Allison would like to be a mum herself but has found getting pregnant difficult. This did make me wonder if this would have any effect on her investigation.

I loved the final denouement as the story raced towards its conclusion. It was clear that the book could still go either way and Claire McGowan kept me utterly gripped until I reached the final page.

The Push was highly engrossing. For me, this was more of a character driven story, and I really liked that. Claire McGowan breathes life into them, keeping you completely invested in the novel. An excellent read, I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 12th November 2020

Print length: 367 pages

The Push is available to buy:

Amazon UK

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Elly Griffiths, The Postscript Murders.

The Postscript Murders: a gripping new mystery from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries by [Elly Griffiths]

BLURB

PS: thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…

And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…

And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

MY THOUGHTS

The Postscript Murders is another engaging book by Elly Griffiths; it is also the second book to feature Detective Harbinder Kauer. This is definitely for you if you enjoy cosy crime and I can see why this has been compared to Agatha Christie.

What I really loved about this book is that it is set within the world of publishing. After the body of a ninety-year old-woman, Peggy is found; the police discover that she had several connections to well-known writers and publishers, especially crime writers. In a number of books she has received from authors and publishers, there are alarming, threatening notes; Peggy isn’t also the only person to have received them. I thought this gave the book a golden-age crime feel. I found myself smiling at a lot of parts, as the detectives found themselves immersed in the publishing world. There is also even a reference to bloggers who are attending a literary festival. I’ve been to a few literary festivals now, and I could picture these scenes very clearly in my mind.

What I think really makes this book are the characters. Elly Griffiths has created a diverse cast, and they make the book really intriguing. It’s what, to me, made this book feel really fresh and Elly does a brilliant job at bringing them to life and making them feel like real people. Peggy was a really fascinating character. I wanted to know why she was killed at the age she was now. It must’ve been something big in her past that had given someone a motive to do this. What’s certainly clear is that she has lived a very interesting life. She isn’t just your simple armchair detective, as I’m sure many readers will at first begin to believe.

I thought the plot was very cleverly thought out and as I was reading it seemed it could go in a few different directions, but I liked how Elly Griffiths pulled everything together. It seemed that someone was targeting a particular group of writers who Peggy was involved with, and I wanted to know who. What was it that they were covering up in their past that may be the key to the investigation? Elly Griffiths kept me turning the pages with exciting new information on; I was desperate to find out the truth.

The novel starts off feeling very cosy, but it gradually gets darker as more secrets about Peggy’s life are revealed. Elly Griffiths kept me wondering who the real Peggy was and what more secrets we were going to find out about her life. The Postscript Murders is hugely enjoyable, and it makes for a very fun read which will keep you guessing. I’m looking forward to seeing where Elly Griffiths will take this series and the characters next.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 1st October 2020

Print length: 352 pages

The Postscript Murders is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

WWW Wednesday 14/10/2020

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?

The Postscript Murders: a gripping new mystery from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries by [Elly Griffiths]

What have I finished reading?

33 Women: A gripping new thriller about the power of women, and the lengths they will go to when pushed... by [Isabel Ashdown]
The Search Party: You won’t believe the twist in this compulsive new Top Ten ebook bestseller from the ‘Stephen King-like’ Simon Lelic by [Simon Lelic]

What will I read next?

The Girls in the Snow: A completely unputdownable crime thriller (Nikki Hunt Book 1) by [Stacy Green]

September Wrap-Up

Hi everyone, September seems to have gone by really quickly. I think we’ve probably seen the last of summer in the UK and I have already seen the first signs of autumn. I am missing the long summer nights though, so I’m already looking forward to the spring.

I personally think, though, this time of year is one of my favourites, although I’m not a fan of cold, wet and windy days. My perfect weather is bright sunshine on a freezing cold day. Perfect for hot chocolate.

Towards my Goodreads reading challenge, I’ve now read 114 books so far this year and I’m continuing to make progress with my TBR pile.

Also this month, I joined a new book club on Facebook run by authors, Sam Carrington, Elisabeth Carpenter, Amanda Robson and Caroline England. Each month there is a choice of four novels; group members then vote for the next read. It’s open to anyone to join and if you’d like to, you can do so by clicking on the following link: A Novel Book Club. The choice for this month is The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

I had a quieter month on the blog, blog tour wise this month and I only took part in three blog tours, I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.

The Watcher by Kate Medina

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone

This month I’ve ordered copies of, Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten, The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen, Stone Cold Trouble by Amer Anwar, The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard and How the Wired Weep by Ian Patrick and The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

I have four blog tours coming up for October, The Choice by Alex Lake on the 2nd, Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir on the 5th, A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury on the 9th and Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten on the 20th.

At the moment I’m currently reading Snap by Belinda Bauer, Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone and A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury. Let me know what you’re reading in the comments.

WWW Wednesday – 16/09/2020

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?

What have I finished reading?

Betrayal by [Lilja Sigurdardóttir, Quentin Bates]

What will I read next?

The Stolen Sisters: the most thrilling, terrifying and shocking psychological thriller of 2020, from the bestselling author of The Date and The Sister by [Louise Jensen]

Discussion post: Which characters do you continue to think about?

Hi guys, I hope you’re keeping well. Today I’ve got another discussion post for you about characters and about which characters continue to stay in your head.

It’s always a great feeling when you become so attached to the characters in a book you’re reading. There have been many occasions when I’ve been left craving for more information about them. I want to know what’s happening with them now after turning the final page. Although the particular story in which they’ve appeared has been wrapped up, they’ve still sometimes played on my mind afterwards. This, to me, is always a sign of excellent writing, and it’ll keep me coming back to that author’s work. Do you ever finish a book and think I’ve just got to talk to someone about the characters? This has happened to me a few times, and it’s made me push books into peoples hands, so I can discuss the characters with them after they’ve read it.

I started thinking about this topic last week when I finished reading Bitter Sun by Beth Lewis. The story was wrapped up well but a week on and I’m still wondering what happened to the characters after the final page. I became so invested in their lives as I was reading the book, and I wish I knew more about what they were up to now.

One character from a crime series who I always continue to wonder about is DI Marnie Rome. The series is written by Sarah Hilary. Marnie has an incredibly powerful back story and her character kept me coming back. This series began with Someone Else’s Skin. In fact it’s the book I always recommend to someone if they’re looking for a good read.

Someone Else’s Skin (DI Marnie Rome 1) by [Sarah Hilary]

Angela Marsons Kim Stone series is another one which has had a similar effect on me. There have been a couple of books in this series which have left me reeling, and I was left wondering for months, before the next book was released, how the characters were getting on. This series began with Silent Scream.

Another character who keeps me coming back is DS Maeve Kerrigan in Jane Casey’s brilliant series. I love Maeve, especially her humour, which always makes me laugh. This series began with The Burning.

The Burning: (Maeve Kerrigan 1) by [Jane Casey]

These are just a few examples of books where I always wonder what the characters are up to once I’ve turned the final page.

Let me know who some of the characters are who you continue to think about. Like me, do you sometimes crave more information about them as well? Let me know in the comments.

WWW Wednesday – 05/08/2020

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?

The Blossom Twins: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 5) by [Carol Wyer] Her Husband’s Secrets: A gripping, twisty, must-read new psychological thriller by [Louise Mangos]

What have I finished reading?

One Eye Open: 2020’s must-read standalone from the Sunday Times bestseller! by [Paul Finch]

What will I read next?

 

July Wrap-Up

I don’t know about you, but I still think things are just as crazy in the world as they were four months ago when we first went into lockdown in the UK. In the last couple of weeks I have started to go out a bit more; I’ve also been up to our local pub twice. It’s felt really good to get out and socialise with people but I’m still missing the regular bookish events I normally attend. Sadly I can’t see any of these events happening again until next year at the earliest.

I’ve been ploughing my way through books this months. I’ve now so far read a total of 88 books towards my Goodreads challenge of 160 by the end of the year.

I took part in four blog tours this month and I have included the links to them below in case you missed any.

All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge

Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell

Written in Blood by Chris Carter

The Next Widow by C J Lyons

My book buying has been on the up again this month, God knows how I’m ever going to get on top of my TBR pile 😂😂. I turned twenty-five on the 13th July so I did receive a few gift cards to spend on books for my birthday. Of course I’d spent them within a couple of days!

I’ve ordered The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer, Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough, How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister, The Syndicate by G.J. Minett, Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard, A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone, The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond, The Storm by Amanda Jennings, Senseless by Ed James, Shed No Tears by Caz Frear and The House Party by Mary Grand.

The Blossom Twins: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 5) by [Carol Wyer] Dead to Her: The most gripping crime thriller book you have to read in 2020 from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author! by [Sarah Pinborough]

Rewind: An explosive and twisted story for fans of The Hunting Party by [Catherine Ryan Howard] A Song of Isolation by [Michael J. Malone]

Senseless: the most chilling crime thriller of the year by [Ed James]

Shed No Tears: The stunning new thriller from the author of Richard and Judy pick 'Sweet Little Lies' (DC Cat Kinsella) by [Caz Frear] The House Party: A gripping heart-stopping new psychological thriller for 2020 by [Mary Grand]

I have six blog tours coming up for August. The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone on the 3rd, Final Cut by S.J. Watson on the 4th, The Silence by Susan Allott on the 6th, Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis on the 7th, Hinton Hollow Deathtrip by Will Carver on the 10th and The Whispering House by Elizabeth Brooks on the 19th August.

At the moment I’m currently reading How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister and The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer.

That’s all from me for this month. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments. Happy Reading!