Publication Day Review: Perfect Death by Helen Fields

Publication Day Review


Perfect Death by Helen Fields
Series: D.I Callanach Book 3

Published: 25th January 2018
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Format: Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9780008181628
ASIN: B073YKBTYD

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

There’s no easy way to die…

Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.

But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task…

My Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon, for my copy of the book in exchange for my review.

First impressions of this book is that it is very different to the other 2 in the series.  You don’t think that any crime is being committed to begin with. It lures you in with false pretences, and then you begin to doubt it all. You begin to notice coincidences, then a certain character, then something shocking happens and it all clicks in to place.

Normally, crime books leave me a little unsatisfied but the DI Callanach books do not.  This book particularly has renewed my love for crime books, it’s reminded me what can be great about them.  It’s reminded me that sometimes, just sometimes, there is an author out there who can leave a chill in your bones.

This book was fast-paced, clever, and a little untrustworthy.  The characters all work well together, with the perfect balance of witty comments, insults, and just good humour. The crimes within the book could have been perfect, if there wasn’t the little details that would normally get left behind.  This book has it all, a near perfect crime, a horrendous villain, some gangsters and underground crimes.

Callanach and Turner have incredible chemistry, they play off the page perfectly and it balances the good people and the bad people in the book.  Their relationship, the non-professional relationship, it still at an almost stage and it’s full of suspense and a very likeable will they/won’t they situation.  I’m rooting for them, but there are many things that could potential ruin everything for them. It’s all about their timing and it’s usually one of them that is a little off.

Helen Fields, for me, writes perfect books.  This one has shocked me, left me a little wary, and wanting more and more from her! I loved this book, along with the first two.

For me, a big fat gruesome 5/5!!!!

 

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Publication Day Review: A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

Publication Day Review


A Map of The Dark (The Searchers #1) by Karen Ellis

Publisher: Mulholland Books
Published: 11th January 2018
Format: Ebook
ISBN: 9781473662773
ASIN: B071NLV5CS

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

A girl missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…

A thrilling new FBI series for fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter.

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.

 

My Review

Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for my copy of the book, in exchange for my honest review.

This review is not going to be a long one, I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked Else, I liked Lex, but there was something missing. I didn’t feel excited, thrilled… I didn’t see the scary part of it.  I found the whole thing a little rushed, a little sketchy, and maybe just a little bland? It lacked maybe a certain oomph to make it a great crime book.

I enjoyed learning about Elsa, and her past. I didn’t see the final detail in the relationship with her Mother, in all honesty I thought it would be all down to another family member. Else has her hidden secrets, and for once I wish we had an FBI agent, or detective, who doesn’t have a troubled past. Yet, the troubled past worked in this case.  The description of the book made it seem like her past will overflow into her current case but I wouldn’t say it did. Maybe the smallest bit, but not in a huge way I was expecting. I really should learn to not expect anything with these books!! Lex was an interesting character, and I hope it makes an appearance in any future books. He worked well against Elsa’s coldness and her determination to keep everything hidden.

The book was written well, I’m glad we got the parts between Elsa and her mum, Deb.  It was good to know the full backstory all in one book instead of having to wait for it spread over a whole load of books. I felt for Elsa in those scenes as it must have been tough for her to experience that, and not be able to do anything about it.  You really get a sense of how Elsa felt in those moments, and you fully understood why her dad and her let it happen.

With it’s blandness, it’s lack of a spark I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

 

Christmas Book Week #2: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

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The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

Publisher: Avon
Published: 6th October 2016
Format: Ebook
Pages: 353
ASIN: B01D4WO2OU
ISBN13: 9780008175535

Description

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

Curl up with this gorgeous, festive read – the perfect treat for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

My Review

Firstly, Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my review. It’s one I’ve had my Netgalley shelf for a while and this Christmas seemed the perfect time to read it.

I love the cover for this book.  It immediately makes me think of this different mish mash of houses in London.  I guess that’s the aim though as it is set in Camden… Hmm… Pretty though, and a big sense of wintery feelings.

While a good storyline, I didn’t really like the characters the way I thought I would,  except for Sam anyway. He seemed to be the only one with any real depth or sense of reality. Ava came across as a little naive but also independent, strong willed and determined at the same time. I can’t pinpoint what it was I didn’t like, but she slightly irritated me. Maybe it was the fact that she just wouldn’t accept help without an argument? Izz was a bit of a hard one to figure out as well. On one page she was awkward, the next she was this overly confident sassy woman. Tod wasn’t involved enough for me to even form an opinion of and I sensed he had his own story to be told.  I loved Sam’s Mum and his Aunt, they oozed fun and with, sarcasm and a real family feeling which this book slightly lacked.

The writing style was quick and easy to read. Nice, short chapters and a sense of where things were going. While touching on a theme that is very relevant in today’s world, it handles it brilliantly. It even gives advice in its own little way. It makes if clear that it could happen to anyone and that it isn’t their fault. You feel the sympathy for Ava over it all and you really feel that she thinks its her fault and that she will be judged in an awful way. Lucky for her, her friends understand and support her through everything.

What I did really like about this book is that it gives you an update on Sam’s mum and where Ava and Sam ended up in their love story. It really was a happy ever after ending.  I wish more books had this little update page, especially when you don’t know what has happened to some of the characters.

I gave this book 4/5. It honestly would have been a big fat 5 if I connected with all the characters like I did immediately with Sam.

Book Review: The Missing Twin by Alex Day

The Missing Twin The Missing Twin by Alex Day

Publication: Ebook: 18th August 2017 Paperback: 5th October 2017
Publisher: Killer Reads
Format: Ebook
Pages: 400
ASIN: B072TYXKLB

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

A unique, exciting psychological thriller that will tug at your heartstrings, and keep you guessing until the very last page!

Can she find her sister before it’s too late?

A missing girl…a secret to be uncovered.

Edie and her identical twin Laura have always been best friends. So when Laura surprises Edie at the Mediterranean holiday resort where she’s working, Edie can’t wait for the partying to start! But then, Laura vanishes without a trace…

At the same time, in a country on the other side of the sea, Fatima and her twin daughters set out on a harrowing journey that only the strongest – and luckiest – survive.

Edie and Fatima’s lives are worlds apart, but now, their paths are set to collide, with devastating consequences. When Fatima hovers on the brink of survival, Edie must risk her own life to save her, and finally discover the truth about her missing sister.

Review

Thanks to the author for reaching out and giving me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.  The paperback is published the beginning of next month – look out for it!! I think you”ll be grateful for having this in your life.

I have only seen good reviews about this book. I didn’t see where it was going to begin with, I really struggled to get into it. After starting it like 3 times, something happened. Something gripped me, wrapped itself around my brain, and I just carried on reading it instead of putting it down like I had been doing.

Characters. I felt so much for Fatima. The struggles she went through, the strength she had to keep going for her children. She was an incredible character, my favourite character. I was wishing that she would get to where she wanted to be and that everything worked out for her and the girls. I could never imagine finding the strength or the determination to get through what she did, and it’s made me realise what these families do to get to safety. Edie, I didn’t really like. She was a bit whiney, demanding, naive maybe? She just didn’t work for me, something was off and I just didn’t really connect with her. Vuk I hated immediately, he was a cruel, horrible man. I had a strong feeling that he wasn’t as nice as she made him out to be straight away, and I’m glad I wasn’t wrong about it. I had a feeling that Zayn was going to have a connection to everything, the little hints were there about families and I took a liking to him.  He seemed innocent, free. I had my fingers crossed that he was not a bad person.

I loved how we would go from chapter to chapter changing between Edie and Fatima, and then bigger gaps between each of the women. It made me question what was happening to them, what was going to happen and if they would get their answers. The writing style was a bit jumpy but it added to the tense feeling throughout the whole book.  It made me question everyone who was involved. And as for that ending, that was a bombshell and a half!!!!! I was rooting for a happy(ish) ending but damn… That was not it, but looking at it and thinking about it, maybe it was a happy ending? Everyone got the answers they were looking for. It worked amazingly well. An eye opener if anything!

I have some questions that have been left unanswered, unless I didn’t register that they’d been answered. I can’t really ask them though without giving them away so I’d love to speak to someone about it!!! One of them include Laura, and messages, but without going into detail it’s a bit of a mystery to me.

After my struggles to start reading it, I cannot recommend this book enough. It kept me guessing how everyone was connected, who was the bad guy, what happened to Laura, everyone was under suspicion and I rarely get like that with books. I didn’t trust anyone.  For all of those reasons, this book gets 4/5

Book Review: Den Of Shadows by Christopher Byford

Den of Shadows: The gripping new fantasy novel for summer 2017 (Gambler's Den series, Book 1) by [Byford, Christopher]

Den of Shadows (Gambler’s Den #1) by Christopher Byford
Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: May 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 250 (Or 176 according to Goodreads)
ISBN13: 9780008257484
ASIN: B06XGKQPHK

Amazon UK
Goodreads

Description

The Gambler’s Den weaves its away across the desert… But will it stop at your station?
While fighting off poverty in the blistering desert heat a travelling casino offers one night of solace. One chance to change your fortunes. But once on board there is more to the show than meets the eye: enter Franco, the elaborate ringleader, Wyld the stowaway thief and Misu the fire breathing showgirl.
In a kingdom ruled by the law Franco ensures his den remains in line. But when he’s faced with saving the fate of the train, and those on board, he may be forced to break his own rules. Life on the den isn’t just a job but a way of life and once you’re in you’ll never be able to leave.

My Review
Firstly, let me thank Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

I feel this needs to be said. That cover is just beautiful. It is definitely one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen this year so far.  The colour is just spectacular, it makes you think of magic, of possibilities, of adventure.

This book has been had a lot of confusing thoughts from me.  I loved parts of it and never wanted it to end but then I felt it dragged on for too long on other parts.  The book is beautifully written, don’t get me wrong.  It’s descriptive, it gives you the backstory of characters, it gives you a sense of where they are from, why they wanted to be on The Gambler’s Den, it left nothing unanswered for me.  And yet, I feel a bit puzzled by it all.  There isn’t enough of it but then there’s too much of it as well.

Franco, being the main man, had the most page time.  I was intrigued by his backstory, and while I wanted to know more, I wanted to see more of his present than his past.  A likeable character, he was extravagant, not quite larger than life but very close to it. Flamboyant comes to mind.  He made me think of a Ringmaster at a circus in a way.
I would have liked to have known more about Jacques, Misu, and Wyld.  Maybe even some of the other showgirls that were mentioned. While we do get some backstory, it’s mainly the explanation of how they came to be on the Den.  I feel that we missed out on a lot about them, and had too much in one go about Franco.  All the characters are likeable though, and all add something to the storyline.

As I said, this book was beautifully written, with some glorious descriptive scenes.  The world has a lot of possibility, especially as we are on a train! This series of books has a huge about potential, I think it can only get better with each book.  And I’m very curious as to where it is going in the next.  The pace of the book can only improve for me, I hope anyway.  The only fast paced part of the book is near the end of the book.  Other than that it sort of plods along, taking it’s time with everything.  I’m hoping the next is better.

Overall, I’m giving this book 3/5.  With a huge amount of potential, I can only hope that the next is bigger and better.  I feel like I’m missing something from this review so it’ll probably end up getting edited at some point.

Book Review: Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman

Seven Steps to Happiness by [Newman, Stella]

Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman
Publisher: Headline Review
Published: 20th October 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
ISBN13: 9781472220110

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Synopsis
Is there a formula for happiness?

If it’s Netflix, two-for-one Malbec and the perfect toasted-cheese sandwich, Lenny has it covered. But when her friend Juliet finds herself at rock bottom, Lenny realises it’s going to take more than that to fix her.
Luckily help is at hand in the form of HappyGuru: a plan which promises happiness in seven easy steps. So when Lenny is asked to research it, she puts scepticism aside and persuades Juliet they should give it a go.
The friends quickly find themselves immersed in mindfulness, juice cleanses and death-defying circus stunts. Yet as Juliet becomes increasingly buoyant, things only get more complicated for Lenny.
Can it be that happiness is only seven steps away?

My Review
I begun this book thinking it was going to be all slow going, a little hard to get on with, and if I’m honest a little boring.  Then something happened.  I can’t pinpoint what part of the book it was but something made me sit up and pay that little bit more attention.  It had be gripped. I felt for the characters, I felt the pain or the happiness, the sadness, everything right beside them.  I connected with them, I wanted everything to work out for them.

Lenny, to begin with, was a little… I just can’t put my finger on it.  I wouldn’t say self-centred, she definitely wasn’t that.  I really couldn’t figure her out until Juliet’s world falls apart.  She comes into her own then, she stays beside her friend when she needs her the most.  She never falters, she is loyal, and her main concern is to get Juliet to become happy again.  Everything she does is to help her friend.  Her own world crumbles down, and it’s the reverse of everything she did for Juliet.  Lenny does get her ending though, which I was very pleased about.

Juliet to begin with comes across as a stable, secure family woman.  Until it all comes tumbling down around her unexpectedly.  I felt for her, I really did.  I think I connected more with Juliet than Lenny.  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because we see what she lost.  I know we saw everything with Lenny as well, and now this will sound horrible, but Lenny never had much to begin with.  Not like Juliet.  Juliet has to lose everything before she finds her happiness. As with Lenny, Juliet gets her ending.  She’s happy, she’s at the top of the happy mountain.

This is the first book I’ve read by Stella Newman, and it definitely will not be the last.  Her writing style took a while to get used to, but it was just wonderful.  It gripped me when I least expected it, it nearly had me in tears because it made me feel everything they felt.  I never thought that this book would make me feel like it has.  It has taken me a few days to even think about writing a review for it.  Sometimes it’s the books we never expect to have an impact, that actually have an impact.  This book has sat on my shelf for a long time, and I felt it was the right time for it.  I’m glad I waited.

This book has it all.  Loss, love, laughter, happiness, sadness.  Funny moments, heart breaking moments.  The characters are beautifully developed, written perfectly.  The food described within the book.. Christ, I want one of those cheese toasties desperately. I would have done anything for one of Lenny’s cheese toasties.

This book. Well, I read another review for it and they said that do you ever get the feeling that certain books are meant to find you at the exactly right time? I completely agree with that.  Wholeheartedly agree with it.  This book found me at a time that I needed to look at everything and be extremely grateful, and just happy. I loved it, I loved the characters, the writing style, just everything.  For that, I give it a massive 5/5.

September Wrap Up!

So, September is over and done with.. That went too quick for my liking.  We had a good holiday, if not a little blustery – but what do you get for going to Wales, by the seaside, at the end of September?? We loved it though, the child (and the man-child) were very well behaved, no tantrums, not many tears, it was fab!! I got some decent reading done, with 4 books under the “Read” pile. My Goodreads reading challenge now stands at 124/150.

This month, I’m doing things differently.  Instead of saying what I’ve purchased, I’m going to concentrate on the actual read side of things. On that note, here is what I snuggled up with this month!!

1:  Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Rated: 4/5
2: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant. Rated: 4/5
3: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin. Rated: 5/5
4: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin.  Rated: 4/5
5: All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll. Rated: 4/5
6: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. Rated: 4/5
7: Unexpectedly Wilde by Rose Chen. Rated: 2/5
8: The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley. Rated: 5/5
9: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Rated: 5/5
10: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan. Rated: 4/5
11: Letters from Lighthouse Cottage by Ali McNamara. Rated: 5/5

Worse Read:
Without a doubt, Unexpectedly Wilde. Oh my god, I don’t even know where to begin with it.  Firstly, let me say that I do not normally go for stories with lots of sex, or verging on the “erotica” label. But with this one… The description given on Netgalley was what made me think it wasn’t like that. I was wrong. Now, I’m not a wimp or a prude or anything when it comes to sex, I just don’t really get the whole erotica thing.  Anyway, that wasn’t the only reason why I didn’t like this book.  On one page, the ex-wife’s name was one thing, and then a few pages later it was a completely different name!!!!!! Then another example that I can think of was a friend was on their honeymoon in one place, and then towards the end of the book it was a different one!!! Surely if you’re writing a book you keep track of details, right?? Just makes sense that it all matches up throughout the book.
This book to me, had a huge amount of potential, but it just fell flat on it’s over sexual face.  It was poor.

Best Read:
Well, with the amount of 5/5 I’ve given, I cannot pick. It’s unusual for me to give 4 of them in one month!!!! Each of them had their own fantastic elements to it.
Six of Crows was fantastic to read, I loved the world – having read The Grisha Trilogy earlier this year.  I loved the characters, I loved the ending, I loved everything about it.
Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky was a brilliant start to what is hopefully and ongoing series.  The characters were fantastic, the island was such a beautiful setting (I need to visit), it’s a great read to get you in a festive mood.  The writing was wonderful, and I cannot wait to see if there will be anymore of them after Christmas Under a Starlit Sky.
The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was such a comfort read.  It set me up for my little reading marathon on holiday, it was just perfect.  I sort of wish I could visit the cooking school, maybe have a little one-on-one with Tom?? Just a wonderfully perfect, comforting book.
Letters from Lighthouse Cottage was great.  It was wonderful to read the backstory of Grace, and how she got to her perfect life.  it was done differently, and I loved every moment of it.  The characters in this book were great, we see how they grew, developed from awkward teenagers into adults, parents, spouses.  I loved the idea of Remy, it certainly made the book have a completely different feel to it.

Biggest Surprise:
This is definitely Christmas at the Little Village Bakery.  While I enjoyed the first one, I didn’t actually have high hopes for this one.  The description, in my own opinion, does not match the book at all. Something about Milly’s cousin being too flirty with Dylan, it just didn’t happen in the book. In fact, cousin Darcie was a shy girl, not what I pictured when I read the description.  Anyway, good points.  I loved the fact that the story didn’t actually centre around Milly and Dylan.  It was nice to read about Spencer and Tori, and their worries about getting married, where to live, their completely different parents.  It was nice to read about other characters, I didn’t particularly connect well with Milly in the first book.  Anyway, I think this book is slightly better than the first, but I cannot see if it can be added to with another one – if there is one, I will read it.  The only way I can see it being added to is with Darcie.  I would enjoy reading about her story, where she came from, where she goes.

Any Disappointments:
Not really, which isn’t a surprise.
I did struggle to get into Glass Sword, but I got there eventually. I’m excited for the 3rd book in the trilogy, and very intrigued with where it is going.  As I said, I struggled to actually get into it. I can’t really pinpoint why though, I loved Red Queen, I was very excited to pick this up but it just didn’t start with the Oomph I was expecting.

October Plans:
This is where I struggle. I’ve got to plan an international giveaway for a author (any tips will be gratefully received!), and read and review both her books (watch this space!!).
I’ve also got extra copies of a book to giveaway as well so look out for that as well.
Other than that, no special Blogging Plans. I’m going to be aiming for 2 reviews a week, fingers crossed I can do it! I’m hoping to get one up by the end of the week this week, and then 2 next and every week from then but we shall see.
This month is busy with homelife as well.  We have a 3rd birthday with the child, with another week away visiting Mum.  Our poor feline-baby, Percy, must think we keep abandoning him!