The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill by C.S. Robertson #BookReview

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Death is not the end. For Grace McGill, it’s only the beginning.

When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.

When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.

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I’m sure everyone’s heard at least one story about someone who was found dead in their home for quite some time, months even. Their absence was not remarked upon by family, friends, not even their neighbours. How sad is that? Well the last person that takes note of them is the woman who cleans up after they are gone, it’s Grace Mc Gill, death cleaner.

Grace has a 10-step plan each time she needs to carry out a deep clean and it’s very thorough. Grace takes the reader (once or twice) through what happens after bodies start to decompose and how she needs to clean their final resting place. It’s a unique approach, it fascinated me and Grace is quite unique (and fascinating) as well. A little quirky right from the beginning maybe, because she lives alone with her cat George, thus leading a similar life to the people she cleans up after, and because she makes dioramas of the rooms the people who died were found in, right till the smallest detail. She is also at the beck and call of her father who’s an ugly drunk most of the time. They don’t seem to be able to stand each other so it was a real mystery to me why she didn’t just ignore his calls. There’s a lot more to be discovered about Grace and her family history but that would be spoiling things too soon.

At one house she finds newspapers of the same day but for different years and Grace packs them up with a few other mementos of the deceased to give to his next of kin, only to start wondering about the significance of the date of the papers once home. She also finds the strangest little thing next to his pillow, a little dried daisy. It won’t be the only time she’ll find this little flower either, but what does it mean and who left it there?

I found the investigation about Thomas Agnew’s past and the secret he took with him to his grave a little slow going in the first half of the novel, nobody wants to talk, everybody’s angry at her for asking questions and Grace walks around in the footsteps of another person without much result at first (I know I’m impatient!) but the significance of the daisy sure made up for it. This side of the story was so cleverly put together and I had not seen this coming at all.

Grace cares about the lonely people, the ones lying in their homes all alone, their absence unnoticed. Grace is a remarkable character, determined to solve a 56 year old secret that leads her to Bute and to age-old conspiracies. She’s a person I won’t easily forget, especially with the ending the author had in store for her, it was utterly fitting even though I felt a bit sadness about it as well.

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill might be a little bit of a macabre read, but don’t let that put you off because it’s worth it! If you don’t mind your reads more on the darker side then make sure to put this one on the list, it’s so unique!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner (Frankie Elkin #2) #BookReview #BlogTour @centurybooksuk

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I’m delighted to share my thoughts on the latest book by Lisa Gardner ‘One Step Too Far‘ featuring missing person tracker Frankie Elkin. My thanks to the publisher Penguin Random House’s imprint Century for the invite for the blog tour and the digital ecopy via Netgalley. A heads up already, you won’t fail noticing that I’m quite enthusiastic about this novel 😉

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A young man disappears during a stag weekend in the woods. Years later, he’s still missing.

But his friends who were with him that day are still searching for him. Still hunting for answers.

They hike deep into the wilderness.

With them is missing person specialist Frankie Elkin.

What they don’t know is that they are putting their own lives in terrifying danger, and may not come back alive . . .

Purchase

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Author

Lisa Gardner started her writing career aged seventeen. Having caught her hair on fire while working in food service, crafting a novel seemed a safer bet. A mere ten years later she became an overnight success with the publication of her first thriller, The Perfect Husband.

Now an internationally bestselling author and winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for best suspense novel, Lisa lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

When not glued to her computer, she can be found hiking the mountains with her dogs and/or researching new and interesting ways to get away with murder.

Follow Lisa Gardner on Twitter @LisaGardnerBks ; or visit her website: https://www.lisagardner.com/

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One Step Too Far is such an amazing novel! To say that I loved it is an understatement, it’s phe-nom-in-al! I was already itching to share the book love only 10 minutes after I finished reading it, so I’m excited it’s finally review day.

This is the second novel in a series about Frankie Elkin, a woman – not a detective, not a professional – who tries to find missing persons. A new location and new characters in every novel in the series, it’s a wonderful idea because you can read them as standalones but the characters of the first book in the series (bar owner Stoney, his terrorizing cat (still love him) and the special detective) were so great that I wished she’d stayed in town. That was before I read this novel. By the end of it, I had exactly the same feelings all over again, so many of the characters captured my heart, not to mention the dog, a lab called Daisy who’s a cadaver dog but can also find people alive.

Frankie is on her way to investigate the disappearance of an 8 year old but decides to make a little detour and join a search party for Timothy O’Day who went missing 5 years earlier. The party consists of 8 people (and a dog): a grieving father, a hiking guide, three college friends and three semi-professional searchers. They set out to an area in the massive Popo Agie Wilderness Area that consists of woods, mountains, streams, lakes, gullies, cliff faces, wild animals, you name it. Frankie is the one most out of her comfort zone but this city girl is determined, focused and absolutely amazing at what she does. When night falls on day 1 someone sabotages the group but who? I was hyperalert all through the novel but I honestly couldn’t say and after a while they all wormed their way into my heart.

I’d love to go over everything they went through up on that mountain but that would mean we’d need another hour. Suffice to say that there is lots of blood and wounds involved and yeah people will also get murdered. It’s like a version of The Hunger Games but better, so much better. The plot was so clever. I also had not a single idea how this was going to end.

I really enjoyed the first novel Before She Disappeared but in all honesty One Step Too Far is even better. If this doesn’t make it on my top 10 end of year list I don’t know what does! This character driven novel has wrung me out emotionally too. I nearly cried once, then smiled when it all came to a close, and in the very last pages I was emotional all over again. I think it’s easier to say it’s hormones then to explain to non-readers.

It can’t get any better than this if you ask me, but I can’t wait to follow Frankie again in the next novel and see what trouble finds her there!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

One Step Too Far Blog Tour Poster

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne #BookReview

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Nemesis (n.)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

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OH MY, this novel is HOT HOT HOT. This also proves I haven’t lost it somewhere along the way, I’m still a hopeless romantic. The Hating Game is a fairy tale come true and gosh maybe it’s the dark and lonely days but I needed this. Enemies to lovers first, then in second place friends to lovers, they’re the best kind of love to read about if you ask me.

The animosity between Lucy and Joshua was brilliant and believable and it seemed to have started when Lucy and Joshua met as executive assistants on their first work day after the publishing companies Gamin and Bexley merged. She said hello to him with a smile, he didn’t say anything back, he certainly didn’t smile. It’s been a cold war ever since. The two of them play a lot of games during the day, designed to make the other one either laugh or cry. Joshua is pretty good at doing neither. He’s an unlikeable character but not one you ever really despise. Lucy wants to strangle him on a daily basis though.

Everything changes when Lucy goes on a date with Danny from IT, a date she never intended to have but then she can’t lose face when Joshua doesn’t even believe she has a date. That same day Joshua gives her the kiss of all kisses in the elevator because he was testing something out. Huh? Now she can’t stop thinking about this and neither will any reader. The elevator scene and the entire teambuilding day made me swoon so much and I it got my hopes up right there that they would end up together. How that was going to happen when the promotion was only going to one of them I didn’t figure out though. Would this be the kink in the cable? What would happen after they had played the Or Something game?

I loooved the games they played, the slow burn between the two of them and how much the tension was building. The big moment was put off for sooo long! Maybe some readers might find the characters a little too cliché (Josh has ‘the body’ and a spotless house, he’s also very much the bad guy; Lucy is loveable, quirky and cute) but it didn’t bother me for a minute. This is Romance with a capital R, I can hardly believe this was a debut.

I decided to finally pick this one up because I saw Jonetta of Blue Mood Cafe was going to watch the movie they made of this novel and although I really want to see this I wanted to read the novel first. I do wonder if the chemistry will be as big on screen as in the novel. I don’t want to say the novel is better beforehand but the way I experienced it… Well we’ll see when I get the chance.

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

My top 10 favorite books of 2021

My top 10 favorite books of 2021

Happy New Year to you! I wish you love, health, success, and general happiness! Oh and lots of great books in the future of course! There are new books being published this year by Ruth Ware, Megan Goldin, Sarah Pinborough, Fiona Cummins, Jennifer Hillier, Alice Feeney, and many others, and I want to read all of them!

But all in good time. For now, you’ll have to make do with my most favourite novels of last year. As always it was a difficult choice and there are at least two, three other titles that deserve to be on this list. I admit I changed the list at the last minute again too, because I still found the last novel I read this year deserved to be on the list too. So here are my ten favorites of 2021:

If you want to know which one gets the golden buzzer from me I’d have to say it’s No Exit. This was a new author for me and I was blown away. I’d love to reread all of my favorites at one point but this is definitely highest on my list. If you want to feel an adrenaline rush created by book, you need to read No Exit. Highly recommended!

So see anything you like that you haven’t read yet? Any title(s) we share? What’s on your list? Do let me know, I looove putting more books on my readlist 🙂 

He Started It by Samantha Downing #BookReview

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No one knows you better than your family. They know your hopes and dreams. And your darkest secrets.

This is a story about three siblings. It’s about a secret they’ve all kept since they were children. It’s a story about lying. A story about murder. A story where only one can win…

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Thank you to my blog friend Jonetta for making me pick up one of Samantha Downing’s novels! Well the year has certainly ended on a high note with this novel! He Started It is a novel about a road trip. Scratch that, it’s a novel about a power trip, both in the present and past storyline.

After their grandpa died Beth, along with her siblings Eddie and Portia stand to inherit his estate, car and liquid funds. All they have to do to receive their inheritance is go on a road trip. Well not just any road trip but THE road trip, following the exact same route as the only other road trip they went on when they were children and their grandpa took them on to give their parents time alone to sort their differences.

He Started It is filled to the brim with secrets and lies, the characters are generally untrustworthy and greedy. Her older brother Eddie is a charming asshole, her younger sister Portia stole from her even when she was 6 years old so she might be up to her old tricks in the present. As for Beth herself, she doesn’t call herself a good person, she makes it clear from the start that she’s not hero, and she really isn’t a good person either but in the end I did still feel for her! Mission accomplished you amazing author!

This was literally the road trip from hell, it all starts going haywire fairly soon when they feel they are being followed by another car, but who and why? Are they even being followed or is it also a lie, Beth doesn’t know for sure. Strange things do start to happen when they’re not looking, things go missing, but is it an outsider or an insider… you just don’t know! On top of that the author drops plenty of twists and turns in the past roadtrip as well with great shock value. It only added to the suspense and it had me question every few pages what went wrong on that first roadtrip and what secret they’re not talking about.

This was unlike any other roadtrip I ever read about and I loved every second of this crazy trip. Maybe I would have liked it more if Beth was the one good person but in this family, how could she? I had no idea how this would end and this novel managed to surprise me right up to when I read the very last lines.

I can’t believe it’s only the first novel I read by Samantha Downing, but it will certainly not be my last! If you enjoy unpredictable stories, then you really need to add this one to your list!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel via Amazon. This is my honest opinion.

Same book, different cover #17

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Happy hump day! I’m here to bring you again 5 new book covers (ok I was so fired up I even added an extra one so you get 6 book choices this time). It’s up to you to pick and choose your favorite cover. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK then, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

Bone China by Laura Purcell

Bone China 03   Bone China  Bone China 02

I choose cover 2. It has that historical and gothic feel to it which is missing in the third cover, and the first one feels a little too bare and colorless to me, it’s like it was the first draft and the second one is the one where they added all the color and extras and is actually the finished cover.

No Exit by Taylor Adams

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I choose cover 2. I actually read the first one but it’s the great reviews that convinced me because I wouldn’t have picked it up based on this cover, it feels too ghostly and if anything, I try to stay away from ghosts. If you feel the same, I can reassure you, it’s a real handprint left on a window and you’ll find out soon enough there’s nothing ghostly about this book.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

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I pick cover 1. The second isn’t too bad either but the purple doesn’t feel as ominous as it should for me. Also I find it more chilling with the promise of someone vanishing in plain daylight than at night.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders 01  The Cheerleaders 02

I definitely choose cover 2. I do like the tagline of the first one but I’m not a fan of the image. It gives me such an all American feeling and despite the title it feels too cosy and cheerful. The second cover with those little smudges of blood is more ominous and mysterious.

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

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I guess this one depends on how much you love winter and novels set in winter time. I don’t love winter at all so I definitely pick cover 1. Sorry!

House of Correction by Nicci French

House of Correction 01  House of Correction 03  House of Correction 04  House of Correction

Hmm well I’m spoilt for choice this time but I’m going for cover 2. I actually have nr 4 which looks nice as well and certainly stands out in my library with the vivid blue color but cover 2 reflects that feeling of confinement so well that I’m eager to find out more. The third cover makes me expect a story set somewhere in the seventies or eighties for some reason so I wouldn’t really pick this one either.

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So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out Battle Of The Books – #16

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware #BookReview

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When she stumbles across the advert, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

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The Turn Of The Key is the creepy novel you didn’t know you needed (or wanted) to read. I’m not especially very much into scary novels myself and I stay far away from everything that might seem ghostly but this novel is an exception and I could hardly put it down.

The way the novel started alone was already a great beginning. Rowan writes to a solicitor to take her on as a client and explains that she’s accused of murdering someone but that she didn’t do it. What she doesn’t do is disclose the name of that person in her letter. It’s a high profile case so the solicitor will know very well who it is but the reader is kept in the dark. There are not so many characters in the novel but it remained an absolute mystery until the very end why or how she might have done it.  

Rowan hadn’t even set foot into Heatherbrae, the house of the Elincourt’s and already I was having unsettling vibes from the house itself so the impact of the intrusive high tech, combined with not so cooperative or friendly children to nanny and things that go bump in the evening or night.. well you know this one will play on your mind!

The whole novel is suspenseful from beginning to end and her writing was very convincing in making me believe what was happening. Things go missing which was bad enough but the strange sounds really made the goosebumps raise on my arms because I couldn’t find any reasonable explanation for it.

Rowan has her arms full with Petra, Ellie, Maddie and Rhianon and I wondered for which of the four children she was arrested and if she really was innocent. The story ends with another letter which gave some much needed answers and I love how the author brought the truth to light in this way. Even so, it still ends with some mystery about Rowan’s fate. I have my own thoughts about what happened to her in the end (convincted or not convicted) but I’ll never know for sure.     

This is the third novel I read by Ruth Ware (after The Lying Game and One by One) and I definitely haven’t had enough. I’ve already added her next novel IT Girl (expected July 2022) to my readlist!

I bought a copy of this novel in a secondhand bookshop. This is my honest opinion.

Who is playing games? The Christmas Murder Game / The Other Mrs #AudioBookReviews

AudioBookReviews

TheChristmasMurderGame

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This Christmas is to die for…. Let the game begin.

Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House – the grand family home where her mother died 21 Christmases ago. Until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve 12 clues, to find 12 keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.

Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: the clues will also reveal who really killed Lily’s mother all those years ago.

So, for the 12 days of Christmas, Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home, but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house – and not all of them are playing fair.

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realises that she is no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.

Twelve clues. Twelve keys. Twelve days of Christmas.

But who will survive until Twelfth Night?

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review-2

star three and a half

I listened to numerous samples on Audible and I chose The Christmas Murder Game because a. then I could finally say that I read a Christmas themed novel this year and b. I loved the narration by Laura Costello instantly, she has a very pleasant voice to listen to. Oh and if there ever even needed to be a third reason, I also do love a locked-in type of novel on any given day.

I was spoilt with the characters, well until, one by one, they started to die of course. But when Lily enters Endgame House, a hotel and conference venue that comes with its very own labyrinthe next to it, she is met by her cousins: the ever lovely Sara (not!), Rachel en Holly (I appreciate the author for choosing a lesbian couple among the family and for not making a thing of it), and then there’s Rony and his wife Philippa, Tom and Lily herself who both arrive single.

I was eager to get started with the clues but the start was a little slow as the first clue only happened when I reached Chapter 9. But when we were off we were off with a good start. Each of the twelve days of Christmas has a clue in the form of a sonnet which leads to a key. The sonnets were intriguing but too hard for me to find the clues in them myself so I had to be led by Lily (as she’s the star who can solve them with ease) which was quite ok for me even though I had hoped to be able to unravel some of it myself.

The clues were a nice touch but I enjoyed the search for two killers most of all. There is of course the killer in the house whose only goal is to get his or her hands on the house but there’s also the search for the person who killed Lily’s mother Mariana and because that happened 20 years earlier it was safe to assume that it was someone else than the present killer, but who and why?

I can’t say I didn’t see some of it coming in the end, especially when they’re down to only a few persons but I was very interested to see how Lily would escape death and with her quick thinking she definitely didn’t let me down. I was quite satisfied with the way the story ended. Maybe not the most memorable novel out there but all in all quite an entertaining audiobook.

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TheOtherMrs

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When Sadie moves with her husband, Will, and their two children to a tiny coastal town, it’s a fresh start. Will swears the affair he was having back in the city is over, and Sadie believes him. But their new beginning is tainted when a local woman is murdered, leaving Sadie convinced there’s a killer in their midst.

Hot-headed, beautiful Camille is obsessively in love with Will. She’s even prepared to follow him thousands of miles to stake out his new home in secret – and in doing so, becomes the only witness to a brutal crime.

But who is Camille really, and what is her connection to the dead woman? And as the murder investigation deepens, whose secret will be revealed as the darkest of them all?

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star three and a half

The narration (mainly by Piper Goodeve) was fine but I did pick this one up because of the author. I read and loved Kubica’s first novel years ago (about an abducted girl) and while I have another paperback on my tbr pile, I couldn’t resist choosing this title to listen to.

There’s a really big twist in this novel which will illicit a five star rating if it hits you from the side, but I actually read a novel with the same twist in 2014 and it was such an unforgettable twist, so it was literally staring me in the face this time with a big neon flash. The idea was formed in my head when Will and Sadie were summoned to their son’s school and I found confirmation not much later again by things that were said. From then on it was simply enjoyable to see how the author cleverly manipulated the reader in the rest of the story.

The Other Mrs also serves several snippets of a 6 year old girl named Mouse, and at the beginning it really wasn’t clear how these fit into the whole story, or even who the girl is. Is it the little girl of the dead woman, Imogen when she was young, Camille, Sadie? With my growing insight it did start to make sense though and I liked that the author chose to insert this background story. Mouse – whose real name we don’t get to hear until the end – tries to be a good little girl but ‘fake mom’ calls her ‘a rodent’ among other things, when her father isn’t around to hear it. I can usually handle reading about domestic abuse fairly well but it became more heartbreaking as time went on and it hurt to hear this anonymous girl talk about what was happening to her without knowing what was going on. It is relevant to the story though and it definitely helps to understand all of it in the end.

Even though I figured out the biggest twist (debatable) I was still very surprised in the end because the author had one more surprise up her sleeve. I nearly fell off my chair when I read it because there was no foreshadowing for this turn of events!

This novel has everything in it to keep you hooked so I do recommend this thrilling mystery! I’d give it a star more if it hadn’t been so obvious early on what was going on. I’m definitely very interested to read some of Kubica’s other novels now.

Olive by Emma Gannon #BookReview

Olive AMZN

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Independent.
Adrift.
Anxious.
Loyal.
Kind.
Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

This is a story of friendship between a small circle of friends, namely Olive and her 3 best friends, Bea, Cecily (Cec) and Isla. Along the line they make different life choices so the plotline is told over a number of years, one timeline is where she and her friends are 22 years old and another at the age of 32 or 33. At 22 Olive and her friends lived parallel lives, but since then they have all spread their wings so to say and while they still meet at their favorite Italian restaurant on a regular basis and have vowed to stay friends and to always be there for each other, it is proving difficult to hold their unison intact ten years down the line. Bea is a mother of three children, Cec – who was the wild one, the disorganised one – is pregnant of her first child and Isla is waiting for another round of IVF. She desperately wants a child but it’s not happening. The odd one out is Olive and she feels that way too. She doesn’t want to have children and her relationship of 9 years fell apart because of it. With her friends all so busy and focused on babies she has trouble finding a listening ear and would they understand at all if she did tell them?

Even though I received a free copy of this novel in a giveaway, I was drawn to this novel immediately. I’m single now but I had two relationships of 11 years (it’s a magic number it seems) and neither relationship resulted in offspring. My first love didn’t want children and I was happy with our life, we enjoyed it to the fullest and I also didn’t want it to change. The second time I was older and slightly more open to it but decisions were made (snipsnip) so having a child was never going to happen.

So I welcomed the thought of a novel about choosing not to have children because it really is something that still is something of a taboo. When are you starting a family? No children yet? WHY NOT? I heard it a lot over the years and it makes me feel as if I need to defend myself over and over again. I was curious how Olive was going to experience her life choice and I expected that I’d be able connect with Olive and feel a kinship there.

While we’re in the same boat, Olive still has a slightly different mindset and while I can see positives and negatives for myself as much as others Olive seems to have more of a one track mind. I found Olive’s reactions to be generally speaking mostly negative, it’s not because you don’t choose children that you can’t enjoy being around them for a while (she’s horrified at the thought of having to babysit them even hypothetically). She certainly doesn’t acknowledge the joy a child can bring at all. Olive accuses her friends of not being there for her but is she there for them? She also wants their bubble to stay EXACTLY the way it was. People evolve though and nothing stays the same, I find it pretty amazing that they still managed to meet up at their restaurant with everyone’s busy lives, that alone takes dedication if you ask me, but Olive doesn’t realise this. She came across a bit naive on that part and a bit self-centered although she comes to realize this too and does make amends towards the end of the story.

What hit me the most though is that she finally finds other women who choose to live childfree (a different term than childless) after she wondered if she was the only person feeling that way but then she decides not to write an article about it for the magazine .dotcom that she works for. I didn’t understand this at all and I never found out what was in the article she ended up writing either. The ending did surprise me in some ways. It was mainly a happy surprise that Olive had changed enough by then that she was more accepting and understanding of her friends.

Pfew sorry for my long piece here where I had a lot to say about Olive. Overall a decent debut about friendships for life and the different angles of the life altering choice of motherhood.

I received a free hardback copy of this novel from the publisher via a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

The Coffinmaker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride #BookReview

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A house of secrets…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the sea. The trouble is: that’s where he’s been hiding the bodies.

A killer on the run…
It’s too dangerous to go near the place, so there’s no way of knowing how many people he’s murdered. Or how many more he’ll kill before he’s caught.

An investigator with nothing to lose…
As more horrors are discovered, ex-detective Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.

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Stuart MacBride is a well-known author to me although I lost sight of his work over the last few years. I have now rediscovered how fond I am of his writing style peppered with metaphors, descriptions of people’s appearances to die for (what about: a face like a slab of concrete that’d been carved by a sadist; a greying beard trimmed to within an inch of its death; a head looking like something happened to one of the hairier muppets) and other punchy comments which make it all very humorous, so I definitely regret that I have let this happen. Apart from The Coffinmaker’s Garden I have 3 other MacBride novels in my library (photo on my Instagram if you care to see). I think I read two of them but I definitely seemed to have forgotten how witty and fun his writing is. It’s not just a well placed one liner in every 50 to 100 pages either but all throughout the novel. I loved the dry humour!

I blasted through this novel and despite this being the last novel of a trilogy, I had no problem engaging with Ash Henderson. I don’t know yet what happened to his foot or Rebecca, his wife so I need to go back to find out but that did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. I didn’t get a good grip on Alice though, the woman he apparently shares a house with. In a fleeting moment I wondered if they were lovers but aside from the age gap it also soon felt Ash’s protective stance was more fatherly than anything else. Alice, a psychotherapist (who seems to be in need of some therapy as well) is investigating the murders of some young boys and the disappearance of one, while Ash is assigned to this serial killer on the run. He not only has to find him but also identify his victims while he’s being chased, followed and blackmailed.

I read reviews saying there’s a lot of violence and while Ash Henderson does get battered (within an inch of his life even) quite a few times it does not get into any graphic details about the torture of the victims. If there’s one thing I would have changed about this novel it would be hearing more about the victims, why they were targeted, their backgrounds, how the killer’s wife fit into all of this, etc. but otherwise this novel is bloody perfect as it is.

There’s plenty to sink your teeth in and there’s really never a dull moment. Lots of action and investigating going on with main character Ash and his faithful sidekick Henry aka ‘the Scottie Dog Vehicle Defence System’. Who doesn’t want to read a novel with a dog in it (not that he’s very helpful but he’s so cute!)?

If you’re looking for a thriller that is action-packed, intriguing and has a good dose of humour, you need to put this one on your list! Believe me, you won’t regret it! I already was a fan but now I’m an even bigger fan!

I received a copy of this book in my Capital Crime book subscription box.