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.

 

Advertisements

Christmas Book Week #6: Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Snowflakes on Christmas Street

Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Published: 2nd November 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 384
ASIN: B01MUUV6R4
ISBN13: 9780751569728

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

On a little street in a big city, everything is changing

Bill has lived on Christmas Street since he was a young man. He’s seen families come and go, watched children grow up… Now he wants to be left alone.

Everything seven-year-old Teddy loves is in America. But his widowed father, Sam, has brought them both back to England to be closer to their family. Sam’s one wish is for Teddy to be happy again.

As Teddy and Sam settle into their new life, a very special four-legged neighbour is determined to make them feel at home. Jack, the Christmas street dog, is welcome in everyone’s house – but will it be in his power to help a little boy and a lonely old man remember the true meaning of the season?

As the snow sparkles on the ground, one small act of kindness will give a whole street a happy Christmas…

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for mu copy of this magical book in exchange for my review.

This book is a magical story, filled with love, and the warmth of friends and family.  I didn’t see where Jack was going to fit into this book, thinking he would be a side character but he ended up having a starring role.  He effects peoples lives massively in ways that a dog really shouldn’t. He’s the connection between each resident of Christmas Street and I love how the story weaves together.

My favourite residents probably would be Sam and Teddy though. Sam, with his witty comments about beetroot (yes, beetroot), and Teddy with his caring nature.  Teddy really hit a soft spot with me, he was a wonderful little boy.  One part of the book really moved me, involving him, his class members, and another character, Bill his next door neighbour.  It really moved me, and it showed perfectly that children always see the good in the world, while there is so much pain and suffering.  It was a moving moment which fitted perfectly within in this story.

I cannot believe that this is Ivy Pembroke’s first book, it reads beautifully with fantastic characters. I love the fact that the only common link, except living on the same street is Jack.  Jack being the street dog.  His backstory is a sad story but I like to think that the was he lives now is better than what it was. At least as the “street dog” he has more people loving him, more affection, more food.  Obviously.

Each chapter is split into sections for each resident of the street.  We have Teddy and Sam, Bill (Mr Hammersley), Pen, Pari and her family (brother Sai, mum Diya, and dad Darsh), Max and Arthur, and Emilia with her parents Anna and Marcel,and of course Jack.  Each character adds something to the story, be it stability, adventure, young love, family.  They all add it.

I loved this book, and I don’t think I can portray actually how much I did.  It made me think of how people around us impact our lives, be it an animal or an unknown neighbour.  It all happens when it’s supposed to.

I give this book a huge 5 out of 5.

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

29744755

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

Blog Tour: It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

It Was Only Ever You

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9781784082420
ASIN: B01AATYCBS

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Head of Zeus Link

Description
Set in late 1950s Ireland and New York, the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

My Review

Thank you to the publishers and Kate Kerrigan for the chance to read this book and to be involved in the blog tour.

This book started slow to begin with, and it does jump around a bit between the women and with time, but it all slowly comes together in the end.  The way it is all done works well, there is a lot of path crossing and potentially big what ifs, but it does work.  It did get confusing with how quickly the time did move, and it made me question whether things were all moving at the same pace with all the people when it came to their chapters, or paragraphs.

The one person everyone has in common is Patrick, and it works perfectly.  All the women add something to the book, and all have their own parts to play when it came to him.  Of the 3 women, I felt more of a connection with Ava or Sheila.  I wasn’t really keen on Rose though, whether that was her naivety or her innocence, she just didn’t click with me.  Ava knew exactly what was expected of her, but she still bit the bullet and went for what she truly wanted.  Girl after my own heart.  Sheila had a sense of purpose, maturity, and a feeling of toughness that the other girls lacked.  I would say that Patrick is full of regrets, but does what is right and does what is for the best.  He loves Rose, and he does love Ava.  But his heart will always go to his music first, but he does finally realise who is love is.

Kate Kerrigan has a unique writing style, I enjoyed it, I felt for the characters and their love, their heartache, their losses.  This book was beautifully written, but it took me a long time to get into it.  While I enjoyed it, and did feel for the characters, I felt it was a little rushed and was missing something to make it spectacular.  I can’t pinpoint what I thought it was lacking though.  The ending was a sudden thing, I would have loved to have known if everyone was happy with their choices, and if it worked out well for them. It leftbtoo many what ifs and do they/don’t they for me, I would have liked things to be wrapped up neatly.

I give this book 3/5.  I liked the majority of characters, I liked the romance, loved the setting (who doesn’t love a New York story?!), the music references, it was written beautifully, but as I said, I felt it was missing a spark.  Something to make it so much better and mind-blowing. 

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.

Blog Tour: Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

34728527

Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks.
Publisher: Piatkus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780349415505

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

My Review

A delight to read on a horrible wet, windy, typical British summer day.  Thank you to the publishers for the chance to read and review this spectacular book.  Any book set in Italy will always have me in its grips within pages, especially one written by Carrie Elks.  I have only read one  other book by her, but I loved this one just as much as that.  Her writing is wonderful, her characters bounce from the pages and read spectacularly.

Cesca was an amazing leading lady, going from her downward spiral unconfident ways to a confident, young woman who goes for what she wants.  She comes across as a bit of a stray to begin with, forever trying to find her place in the world.  She thought she had her place once, but then it all fell apart.  Since then, Cesca has always blamed one person: Sam Carlton.  I’ll get to him in a minute.  I loved Cesca’s story, her backstory, everything.  Her sense of loyalty to her family is wonderful, especially the bond she shares with her 3 sisters.

Sam, your typical Hollywood actor. Handsome, “chiseled”, charming, what else can you ask for?  Except, with the beginning of the story from Cesca’s view, he only ever thinks of himself.  But he doesn’t, and Cesca realises that.  I loved Sam.  He hides from his mistake, yes to protect himself, but also to limit the damage done to his family.  He cares about what will happens to his mother, and his sisters.  Not so much his father though.  Sam is caring, he comes across as a sensual man, a sexy man.  He definitely knows what he wants.

Chemistry flows from the page the first time they come into contact with each other, and it just gets more intense as the book goes on. With a few hot and steamy parts further on in the book, I was expecting it to be quite cheesy and a bit cringey but I was wrong. It was done in a non-cringe way and didn’t leave anything to the imagination.  They work well together, whether they are arguing, having a normal conversation or having sex.  They work perfectly.

I’m glad things work out well in the end, I don’t think I could have handled it if it didn’t.  I will happily read anything else to do with Cesca.  I wonder if we’ll be getting one for each sister? I’m very intrigued by them.  I would love to know each of their stories.

I happily give this book a huge 5/5.  In fact, I would happily give it 10/10!!!!

About the author

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.