He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker #BookReview

HeWillBeMyRuin def

whats-it-about-2

Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.

On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life-and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

I’ll be honest, I certainly did not choose this novel for its cover, but I have already read 3 other books by this author (you can read my review of the last one Until it Fades on the blog in 2017, the others pre-date my blog) so I was able to look past first looks and decided it was time for another read by this author.

The prologue alone had me hooked as Maggie finds herself quite ‘trapped’ and I immediately wanted to know why and who, what was going to happen to her and what led up to this. But before any answers are given the story loops back to the start where Maggie arrives in New York to clear her friend Celine’s room after her death.

Maggie and Celine were best friends, or so Maggie thought. After Celine’s death she finds a photo of a man who’s lying in bed almost naked. At the back of the photo her friend wrote “he will be my ruin”. Maggie wonders who he is and why Celine never told her of him. Was he her boyfriend? Even nosy neighbour Ruby (she’s an 81 year-old writer) who sees and hears everything knew nothing about him. As Maggie dives deeper into her friend’s life she is shocked to find out there’s a lot she didn’t know about Celine’s life. I loved the fact that Celine was into collecting antiques and I never thought I could feel so interested in this but the side-story of a theft that Maggie was looking into really only added to the intrigue.

In this murder mystery Maggie encounters two very good-looking men so there are some sexy times in this novel and the thought alone that she might just be making out with a killer was quite unsettling. Maggie is at least convinced that her friend didn’t want to kill herself. Initially I was looking in the opposite direction from where Maggie was looking – I thought it was kind of obvious even – but then the author pointed subtly to ‘my suspect n°1’ so I had to shift my opinion again, and again. I enjoyed how she kept me on my toes and while the suspect pool is very limited I couldn’t decide nor anticipate the ending.

The side characters were great to get to know and they all help to reveal the truth, from Hans the gay antique expert who helped Céline with her collection, Ruby the neighbour who bakes the best shortbread, detective Doug and hacker Zac. In addition there’s also worth mentioning Grady the sexy super of the building and Jace, the rich man who has all women lying at his feet.

He Will Be My Ruin was a decent mystery that kept my attention throughout and even when you find out who’s behind the wheel, the suspense is not over yet. She kept me hooked until the last page!

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

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood #BookReview

TheCactus def

whats-it-about-2

People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green. Family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand – but Susan makes perfect sense to herself. Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a steady job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.

Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. And things can only get worse … at least in Susan’s eyes.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars_1457015465_81_246_96_2

A warning, there’s an unpopular opinion ahead so if you only want to read positive reviews you might want to skip this one.

I picked this novel because I read it’s similar in style to Eleonar Oliphant is Completely Fine (loved it!) and Meredith, Alone (waiting for my copy) and I also heard they’re adapting the novel into a Netflix series with Reese Witherspoon.

Well what can I say, those are hours I can’t get back. I wanted to read this novel as fast as I could, not because I loved it but because I wanted to get to the end of it. I couldn’t get on with Susan at all. I did want to find out if see was capable of loving someone and making friends but I didn’t hold out much hope to be honest. See Susan comments on everything and everyone ALL of the time, she’s spiteful and self-centered, jealous of her brother who received more attention and love from their mother than she had. There are a few people who try to engage with Susan, his brother’s friend Rob, her cousins, her upstairs neighbour Kate who’s a single mum and just looking for a friend but Susan’t not very interested in anyone. This changes thanks to their continued efforts towards the end but it’s quite a slow process. No the one thing that she invests herself in is finding a way to make her brother Edward move out of their mother’s house. It’s her mission and she’ll take it to court if she has to.

Believe it or not but Susan did manage to find a guy (Richard) to hook up with, on her terms of course and finds herself pregnant. She doesn’t want to lose her independence so she shuts the door on him too (in a text no less) after 12 years of Wednesday evenings spent in each other’s company. Why she wanted to keep the child is beyond me and I already felt for this unborn child. She’s not excited at all about the pregnancy and it doesn’t really occupy her thoughts, she doesn’t think about baby names, she isn’t into nesting, so I wanted to see how this would go. I’m happy the novel didn’t take me so far to see how she would exactly raise this child, and how she would cope with the noise and the mess. She did babysit once rather reluctantly when her neighbour had to rush to the hospital but I can’t say the scene warmed my heart and made me feel optimistic about her motherhood.

Towards the end she mellows a little bit and is slightly more open to other people which was of course what I wanted to see but the damage was done, she couldn’t atone enough for all the negativity I had to live through. The plotline involving her trying to get her brother out suddenly gets a spin to it with a twist that makes perfect sense and I hadn’t seen coming. The ending turns out quite positive for everyone involved but I can’t shake the negative atmosphere all through the novel. I thought she was cruel and unfair so many times and I rooted for Edward to win actually most of all. You’ll have to read this novel if you want to know the outcome of the disputed will!

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

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord #BookReview

TheNamesTheyGaveUs def

whats-it-about-2

When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.

Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.

It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

I bought a copy of The Names They Gave Us in 2017. The cover sparkles so beautifully in the sunlight so that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t resist, as well as for the glowing reviews I read at the time. But as the story goes so often, I lost sight of it until I recently held it in my hands again when I was looking for something emotional and charming to read.

After reading a few pages I did wonder if I would be able to fully enjoy this novel because I discovered right away that Lucy, the main character, is the daughter of a pastor and a very religious girl. She takes her faith pretty serious and at the start of the novel she’s struggling a bit with it after she finds out her mother is diagnosed with cancer for a second time. I don’t have anything against her faith but I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t be able to build a connection with her. I needn’t have worried because Lucy was easy to sympathise with after all and the religious context doesn’t take over the story. As the novel progresses she becomes a lot more worldly and in the end her belief is integrated into a message of a more general nature.

Upon her mother’s request Lucy’s not going to church camp with her parents like she does every year but she’s filling in for someone at the Daybreak Camp on the other side of the lake. In Lucy’s opinion that is a ‘hippie camp’ but she can’t possibly say no to her mother when she’s just been diagnosed with cancer.

If there’s one thing I can say is that her stay at Daybreak Camp is a real eye-opener for this girl who lived such a sheltered life. This is a camp for troubled teens (where Lucy is responsible for a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds) but the camp leaders also come with their own baggage. This novel tackled several difficult topics, with loss and identity just to name some, but it never felt too heavy on me and there were lots of beautiful and fun moments too. It’s really not a sad book! The attraction to Henry was cute as well but I wouldn’t call this a romance novel, the focus fell more on the development of Lucy’s friendships and it definitely shows in the end how important they’ve all become for her.

‘What is a group of friends? A relief, a scaffolding, a safety net,…’

The camp and the people in it changed Lucy and she grew tons in this transformative novel. The Names They Gave Us refers to the labels the kids in Daybreak Camp get – even from Lucy before she arrived – but they are not just a group anymore, they are individuals and their personalities and voices touch Lucy and touched me as a reader as well. This novel holds a torch for more acceptance and understanding and delivers the message perfectly, without it being too much of a lesson but simply by showing some wonderful people and how they deal with things that life threw at them.

I enjoyed this novel more than I expected when I first started it so absolutely don’t let the religious background scare you off to read this one! I had a warm feeling when I finished reading it.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel at a local bookstore. This is my honest opinion.

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior #BookReview

EllieAndTheHarpmaker def

whats-it-about-2

Sometimes it takes a chance encounter to discover what happiness really is . . .

Meet Dan: Dan needs peace and order. He likes perfectly triangular sandwiches, the way coffee smells of sunshine and harvest, and the sound of birdsong that drifts into his harp-making workshop on Exmoor. His life is quiet, predictable, and safe from any danger of surprises.

Meet Ellie: Ellie is a dreamer. But recently Ellie has stopped dreaming and her world has become very small. Her days are spent keeping a perfect home for her husband, Clive, and trying to keep him happy.

When Ellie stumbles across Dan’s workshop, they cannot imagine that their lives are about to change forever…

amazon ukamazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Ellie and the Harpmaker was Hazel Prior’s first book, published in 2019. I don’t remember reviews of this debut or it’s possible I missed them because I didn’t pay attention at the time but it’s such a beautiful, heart-warming story so Ellie and Dan’s story definitely deserve to be on the reader’s radar. Maybe you might know this author’s other books published a year later – Away With The Penguins and How The Penguins saved Veronica – better so if that’s the case I can recommend you to add this one from the backlist.

Apart from the cover it was especially Dan’s character that I felt intrigued with. I have a soft spot for the introverts and especially for characters who love peace and quiet and lots of routine. I guess I love to read about characters that I would want to be – confident detectives with super sleuthing skills – as much as characters that I can identity with at some level.

Dan isn’t exactly like me though, it’s never named in this novel or given special attention, the author doesn’t make a thing out of it, but in my mind he has the personality traits of a person with autism, he takes things literally, he can’t very well read people either but his child-like honesty and trust in people makes him a very sweet guy. Ellie is married to Clive but as soon as her husband’s introduced into the story everything about him screams dominant and commandeering. While living with someone as lovely as Clive, Ellie finds her escapism at The Harp Barn. She learns to play the harp there while Dan is at work making new instruments. She’s ticking this dream from her bucket list and along the way she discovers she can really be herself around Dan. Ellie is sensitive to who Dan is and how he functions and it was endearing to see how they develop a friendship even when having a friend isn’t evident for either of them. How long can she hold off keeping this from Clive though and how will he react when he learns she hasn’t been spending time with her supposedly injured friend Christina but with another man instead?

The novel certainly had a fair dose of drama and turbulence but many enjoyable and fun moments too. I like it when characters own a pet and I found it very original that there was a pheasant (Phineas) who came into Dan’s life and how well he was cared for. It was also a nice little extra to find out that I share the same last name with Ellie in this novel.

Ellie and the Harpmaker is such a charming and feel-good story about friendship and love and I can’t wait to read more uplifting books by this author.

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

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh #AudioBookReview

TheLoveOfMyLife

whats-it-about-2

I have held you every night for 10 years, and I didn’t even know your name. We have a child together. A dog, a house. Who are you?

Emma loves her husband, Leo, and their young daughter, Ruby: she’d do anything for them. But almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie.

And she might just have got away with it, if it weren’t for her husband’s job. Leo is an obituary writer, and Emma is a well-known marine biologist, so when she suffers a serious illness, Leo copes by doing what he knows best – reading and writing about her life. But as he starts to unravel her past, he discovers the woman he loves doesn’t really exist. Even her name is fictitious.

When the very darkest moments of Emma’s past life finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was….

But first, she must tell him about the love of her other life.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

star three and a half

The Love of My Life is a novel with plenty of surprising twists and turns. The beginning is a little slow but really hooked me once Leo discovers his wife told a lie and dives headlong into the unknown by reaching out to people he didn’t know of but she’s been in contact with. Who is Jeremy Rothchild and why is his wife Janice missing? What does Emma have to do with it? You’d think this is a story about cheating but maybe it’s something else, I’m not saying more, my lips are sealed. In any case it’s not Emma herself but Jeremy who informs Leo about Emma’s history, and flashbacks to a time when Emma came into their lives show what Emma went through when she was in her twenties. The heart of the story is tragic and it will probably tug at your heartstrings too in the scenes set in the past.

I enjoyed the story but I was hoping so hard for a re-do of The Man Who Didn’t Call, this great impossible love story between a man and a woman, and being so different it didn’t entirely live up to my expectations. I loved her first novel so much and while there is definitely love in this story too, and an impossible, yearning love even, the love between the couple of main characters, Leo and Emma, isn’t what I call epic. When I think of a romance novel this isn’t what I’m thinking of and for me this falls more under contemporary fiction, a family history, drama.

So, apart from this novel feeling as a different type from her debut novel, my enjoyment was also tempered by the narration. The story is told in his (Leo) and her (Emma) voices and Leo’s voice was pleasant enough to listen to, the male voice was measured and calm but the female narrator stressed every other word in a sentence and I like audiobooks with attention to intonation but this was too much for my liking. I didn’t enjoy the other voices she did either, she gave Leo in her parts in the beginning a very deep and slow voice but that wasn’t how the other narrator presented his character. Also her child’s voice for Ruby wasn’t a young voice that sounded innocently cute or angelic, but rather annoying. I know several blog friends who love listening to audiobooks narrated by Imogen Church so I think it’s just a personal thing for me and if you’re interested in this novel you should not refrain because of this.

I received a free digital copy of this audiobook from Macmillan UK Audio via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover #BookReview

RemindersOfHim def

whats-it-about-2

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

For those of you who don’t know Colleen Hoover’s books I’ll tell you what she writes about. She writes books about flawed people. She writes about real emotions, about grief, hope, pain, and she throws in a little romance too just to make things even more interesting (or complicated). She writes stories where you root for these flawed people and you feel those emotions with them. Do you know a lot of authors who can do that in every single novel? I can count them on my one hand to be honest.

Reminders of Him tells the story of Kenna who did something terrible in the past which made her go to prison for 5 years. She only tells what that is in the last part of the novel of course, once she has won all of the reader’s hearts over already with her personality and the remorse that is palpable from the start. The letters she is writing to Scotty still and how she includes him in her everyday thoughts made me believe that whatever it was, she does have her heart in the right place. People can make bad decisions but does that mean they’re a bad person? And if you figured out the answer to that one, there’s another question that is quite prominent in this novel: what does it take to forgive someone?

Ledger, the local bar owner is put in a very difficult position when he grows fond of Kenna. Taking her side, even hanging out with her publicly wouldn’t go down very well with the people around him though. These people know Kenna and have hated her for the past 5 years. He is torn between both sides and the push and pull between became very emotional. I didn’t ugly cry with this one but it was a close call. Colleen does what she does best, delivering a rollercoaster of emotions.

I bought a paperback copy of this book. This is, as always, my honest opinion.

The Couple at No. 9 by Claire Douglas #BookReview

TheCoupleAtNo9 def

whats-it-about-2

When Saffron Cutler and boyfriend Tom move into 9 Skelton Place, they didn’t expect to find this.

Two bodies, buried under the patio over thirty years ago.

When the police launch a murder investigation, they ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner – Saffy’s grandmother, Rose, whose Alzheimer’s clouds her memory.

But it is clear she remembers something . . .

What happened thirty years ago?
What part did her grandmother play?
And is Saffy now in danger? . . .

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I’m so sorry I didn’t pick this one up sooner, what a great read!

The Couple at No.9 tells an intriguing story of three generations of women of the same family, Saffy (24 years old), Lorna (her mother and grandmother to be at 41) and Rose (Saffy’s grandmother, aged 78). When Rose settled into a retirement home Saffy and her partner Tom (and Rose’s little doggie Snowy) moved into the little cottage she owned in Beggar’s Nook. And what’s in a name, it’s as if it is meant to be, at Skelton Place they actually find 2 skeletons in the back garden. Who are they and who killed them? It’s clear that they’ve been there for a while so did anything happen in the ’80s when Rose was living there?

They try asking Rose about it but her answers are making no sense at all. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the things she shared. She’s talking about Sheila and Jean and a Victor… but who are these people? Even with the alternating chapters in the past recounting the days of Rose and a 2 year old Lorna there are no such characters involved in their lives. The only thing I did feel strongly was that Rose was very protective of her daughter and that she had run away from someone. When she meets this woman called Daphne she feels a kinship and she can’t help it, she lets her in her life. Does that mean the start of their undoing? 

I had no idea who the two bodies were, my super sleuthing skills were failing me terribly, Claire Douglas is just so good at not giving anything away before the right moment comes. I can’t say anything else then that you don’t know anything when reading this novel and I’m convinced there’s no fortune teller who will be able to predict the truth of the matter at heart. This is not a simple whodunnit but there’s a whole history about these women’s past peeled back as layers of an onion. So many questions were raised and so many of these answers gave the story an unexpected twist.  

Claire Douglas is an auto-buy author for me and she doesn’t have to fear that will change in the future. I have enjoyed every single book that I have read of hers so far and with The Couple at No.9 she delivered a smart, sharp and compelling novel once again.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is as always my honest opinion.

Olive by Emma Gannon #BookReview

Olive AMZN

whats-it-about-2

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.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

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.

Deity by Matt Wesolowski #BookReview #SixStoriesSeries #Orentober

Deity def

whats-it-about-2

A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

First of all I have a confession to make: I read this novel months ago, right after I received it and I loved it one hundred percent. The only problem was finding the words to tell you this. Now I recently heard the news that the next novel ‘Demon’ is going to be published by the end of the year, so I didn’t want to let Deity just pass unnoticed. I really want Deity to receive the attention it deserves. I therefore reread Deity (this is exceptional let me tell you because I plan to reread dozens of novels but due to lack of time this is probably the first one in a decade) and honestly, it really was as enjoyable as the first time. It was not a waste of time, on the contrary, I’d read Deity a third time too if it would help me to convince you to read this novel and the entire series. I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to give it a shot now though!

To situate, Deity is the fifth title of the Six Stories series. The series is called this way because the stories are told by Scott King, an online journalist who interviews six people in six podcast episodes. His goal is always to reveal the truth and in Deity he tries to find out who Zach Crystal really was. A good man or a devil in disguise? He investigates the accusations against mega pop star Zach Crystal of sexual abuse and murder before his death. There are many rumors but Scott King can’t question Zach Crystal himself because he’s dead and the five women who accused the star of sexual assault in 2010 and 2011 are not willing to be interviewed either but Scott wouldn’t be King if he didn’t find other interesting figures who can shed a light onto this case.

Scott’s first interviewee is an opponent of Zach Crystal, someone who sides with the accusations and has his own story to tell about Zach which puts him in a very bad light. A harrowing story if it were to be true and the connection to existing stars with unsavory stories was easily made. These statements and his credibility were then contradicted by the second interviewee, a Crystal Truther as she is called, someone who is a bit of an expert and who was actually at Crystal Forest herself because yes, Crystal lives in a ‘tree house’ in the forest where he invites disadvantaged teenage girls to stay, to watch horror movies and take strolls in the forest. Apparently if you’re a pop star then it’s quite ok to do such things. Crystal believes in a presence in the Whispering Forest too, in a creature called the Frithghast, some ‘thing’ he always sees when something bad is about to happen. It creates a bond between him and his followers who’ve seen it too. Is it manipulation or is it real?

With each new interview there’s strange new information that comes forward, both speaking for and against the star, depending on who is talking. There’s a former employee, a mother of one of his fans, a fellow musician who was an unexpected but very pleasant surprise and the last one… well you just need to read it to find out but it will bring the closure you will crave after reading the other podcasts. 

I didn’t know what to think of Zach anymore, my opinions swung this and that way. Are the people making accusations about popstars money-grabbing vultures with a hidden agenda? Do we actually know the stars we adore so much? Do they deserve to be put on such a pedestal though simply because they’re great singers? Do they possess a power over people who are willing to believe anything they say? Deity is a thought-provoking and reflective novel, and it managed to change my own thinking. Next to the amazing inclusion of yet another creepy legend this is what I loved most about this novel. Deity is a well thought-out story, it covers all angles (you even hear from Zach himself in an exclusive interview before his death) and you never know how it’s going to end, it ALWAYS takes me by surprise. I can’t say which novel is my absolute favorite but I can say that Deity is definitely in my top 3 of the series!

I received a free paperback copy of this novel from the publisher Orenda Books to read and review. This is still my honest opinion.

Here are my reviews of the Six Stories series so far:

Six Stories
Hydra
Changeling
Beast

 

The Heights by Louise Candlish #BookReview #BlogTour @louise_candlish @TeamBATC

The Heights pack shot

whats-it-about-2

He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him. It’s time to confess what we did up there.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

I read a Quick Reads novel (The Skylight) by Louise Candlish a few months back, which I really enjoyed. It was my first read by this author and enough to know I wanted to read more of her books so I was really delighted with the chance to read The Heights.

Under the tutelage of Felix Penney, an esteemed author and one of the most high-profile creative writing tutors in the UK, Ellen Saint is trying to write her memoir, and as I discovered later on, she sure does have something to write about. In between the chapters of her memoir detailing the story of Lucas and Kieran there are also snippets from the Sunday Time Magazine where the reporter seems to follow and comment on Ellen’s progress during the course.

The Heights is a story of family drama and revenge. Ellen Saint is such a sympathetic character and even with her thoughts spiraling out of control over time she never really lost my sympathy. Her son Lucas was appointed as Kieran’s buddy on his first day at his new school and they became best friends. Kieran was a bad influence though and Lucas soon went out at all hours, doing and taking god knows what. Ellen worries non-stop but all she can do is complain to her ex, the boy’s father Vic Gordon, who promises to keep an eye on them. Unfortunately it goes from bad to worse and an accident happens involving the two of them. After that she is hell bent on making Kieran pay. Imagine her surprise when she sees this good-for-nothing boy two years later in a penthouse enjoying a magnificent view over the Tower Bridge. She is truly shocked and we find out all the reasons why that is so.

Ellen’s rage and fears are tangible and leap from the pages and while her actions are eh wild and crazy, I couldn’t stop from being hooked and wondering how she was going to cope now that it didn’t go as planned. In a later part of the novel the story shifts incrementally with Vic’s point of view. His vision adds a different perspective to the story and I saw Ellen with a fresh pair of eyes. Did she overreact? Is Kieran really a devil or not? Did her grief cloud her emotions and her experience of the past, it’s interesting and a challenge to make up your mind about all this while reading. I was on pins and needles at the end when I had a feeling of what was to come but the author kept more than one surprise for the final chapters. It’s well worth the wait!

The Heights is a gripping story that won’t let you go once you start reading. Twisted and compelling!

I chose to read an ARC for the blog tour and this is my honest opinion.

*** Do check the other stops on the tour here ***

The Heights - blog tour