Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver #BookReview #BlogTour @MichaelJBooks

MissingPieces def

whats-it-about-2

You don’t know your darkest secret.
But someone else does . . .

Rebekah Murphy knows too much. . .

She knows she’s alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail.
She knows that to get home to her children, she must survive long enough to understand why this is happening.
She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.
What she doesn’t know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn’t know enough . . .

He doesn’t know where to find Louise Mason. He doesn’t know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago. He doesn’t know the identity of the man last seen talking to her. Not yet.
But what he does know it that he’s a week away from retirement — and if he doesn’t find out where Louise went, no one will.

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realise is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle — and it will cost them everything they love to finally solve it . . .

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

We toss the term addictive around quite easily sometimes but you must take my word for it, Missing Pieces is crazy addictive!

It’s laughable in hindsight but when I had the book in my hands I was a little intimidated by how heavy it was, it counts 500 pages so I was a little scared to start with… but I flew right through them. It was an amazing read, and you know why I read it as fast as I could? Because nearly every chapter ended with a splendid cliffhanger. I swear sometimes I would think about stopping at the end of the chapter but then I would reach the end and I just found I COULD NOT STOP READING. 

It’s as much a survival story as it is a very compelling mystery and while I’m not always so into survival stories because they often show the same precut elements (being chased, struggling with the simplest survival skills etc.), it was a completely different story in Missing Pieces. Rebekah, the main character of the novel, is awesome, she’s very resourceful, she’s got what it takes and she’ll do anything to see her two children again.

The novel opens with Bek alone on the island but then also shifts between the time before she arrived there and detective Travis’s final days before his retirement. There’s one case Travis hasn’t cracked and with the hours ticking away he finds himself pushing himself to try and find some answers. I couldn’t work out at all how Louise Mason could be connected to Rebekah because artsy Louise seemed very far removed from mum-of-two Rebekah and they certainly didn’t seem to know each other.   

While Rebekah wonders why someone tried to kill her she is trying her best to survive in this utterly desolate place called Crow Island. The imaginary of the island itself was vivid and movie-worthy and it wasn’t even her struggle to find food that worried me the most but I was more afraid the lack of interaction with other human beings might prove to be the bigger threat for a deterioration of her state of mind. I rooted so much for her that I felt I couldn’t abandon her sometimes. Does that sound crazy? I know it does but really, I sometimes wanted to continue reading just to see how she would tackle a certain challenge. It’s not that I didn’t have faith in her, I just wanted to see what she would do and how and rather see her do it sooner than later. I did hold my breath at one particular time though when a situation that was built up over the course of the book became so tense and dangerous, it was really a make or break kind of moment and when I thought I could breath out again, I found it wasn’t over at all.

How are the women connected, is Travis going to solve the case, what happened to Johnny, who is after Rebekah, what ‘secret’ does she know, how is this all going to end? The questions just kept on coming and I was strung for answers. I highly anticipating the moment the ‘missing pieces’ of this puzzle would fall into place and the author certainly pulled it all perfectly together in the end. Missing Pieces is an incredible pacy read with a taut and compelling plotline that I hugely enjoyed. 

Where was I all these past years and why hadn’t I read any of his novels? I seriously regret not having read any of this author’s books before… what a big mistake! Missing Pieces is a brilliant standalone novel. Gripping is an understatement for this un-put-down-able mystery!

A big, big thank you to Chrissie Antoniou of Michael Joseph for the free paperback copy of this spell-bounding novel. This is my honest opinion.

* Do check out the other stops on the tour *

Missing Pieces Blog Tour

 

The Whispers by Heidi Perks #BlogTour #BookReview @arrowpublishing

TheWhispers def

whats-it-about-2

A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?

Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.
She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life. . .

But what has happened to her?

At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth.

With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And a the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks. . .

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

The wait was long but it’s fiiiinally my day to boast about this novel! Just so you know what’s coming up ahead ;-). I absolutely loved Heidi Perks’s novel Now You See Her (it made my top 10 of 2019) so I couldn’t be happier with the chance to read her latest novel The Whispers and – I can repeat my words from a few years ago – I absolutely loved it! The Whispers made it definite, Heidi Perks is on my auto-buy list from now on. I love the massive twists she incorporates in her stories. She really took me by surprise again this time and I was ready for anything but this.

The prologue starts with the discovery of a dead body (it’s in the first sentence so it doesn’t count as a spoiler I think) and then jumps to four months before, when Grace Goodwin shows up with her daughter Matilda at the local school in Clearwater, where she grew up herself. She’s looking for Anna, her childhood friend – they were even more like sisters then – but when she sees her it’s clear that Anna’s three new friends don’t really want to share Anna.

It is impossible not to sympathise with Grace who feels all alone and only wants to revive the friendship they once shared but her old friend doesn’t seem interested in reminiscing about the past. Anna’s friendship with Nancy, Rachel, and Caitlyn made alarm bells go off in my head, the circle of friends felt all wrong and Nancy came over as having quite an intimidating and domineering personality, I didn’t like her one bit. Then Anna goes missing after a night out with her besties and NOBODY seems inclined to involve the police. At least she has one good friend, Grace of course, who tries to find answers. Nancy, Rachel and Caitlyn were the last ones to see her so surely one of them (or maybe all 3 together) are keeping secrets? Would they really hurt her though, and if so, why? I was still able to hear Anna’s thoughts through her sessions with a therapist and I knew something was eating at her but she doesn’t immediately share what it is so the anticipation was a wonderful slow build of tension.

Cue an invisible break in the story where there’s a shifting of gears which put some of the things I thought I knew and felt in an entirely different perspective. I fell from one surprise into another and could hardly believe my eyes. I suddenly felt ambiguous towards both Anna and Grace and unsure what to think about the three musketeers,… Whose story to believe? It’s brilliant how she managed to make me feel throughout the story and made me change sides again and again, only to finally leave me with a astonishing ending. The ending should have felt righteous and justified and yet I couldn’t help feel sad for this person. Believe me I wouldn’t change the ending at all and I loved how tragic it is, it’s just one of the things that makes the impression of this novel long-lasting.

The Whispers is a fabulous psychological type of novel. I’d love to read more books of this type so I’m going to add the ones I haven’t read yet and I’ll definitely keep my eye out for the next one!

Many thanks to Rachel and the Arrow Publishing team for asking me to take part in Heidi Perks’ blog tour for ‘The Whispers’, and for supplying me with an ARC to review. This is as always my honest opinion.

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

HB Whispers Blog Tour Poster (1)

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay #BookReview #BlogTour #AlexFinlay @HoZ_Books

EveryLastFear def

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay and a big thank you to Chrissie of Head of Zeus for the invite to read and review this great debut novel!

whats-it-about-2

University student Matt Pine has just received devastating news. Nearly his entire family have been found dead while holidaying in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI aren’t convinced – and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy thrusts his family into the media spotlight again. Seven years ago, Matt’s older brother, Danny, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his teenage girlfriend. Danny has always sworn he was innocent, and last year, a true crime documentary that claimed he was wrongfully convicted went viral.

Now his family’s murder is overlapping with Danny’s case, Matt is determined to uncover the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison. Even if it means putting his own life in danger, and confronting his every last fear.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

That opening chapter of Every Last Fear… BAM! I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be so in your face right from the start. The discovery of Matt’s dead family was a little bit shocking, yet intriguing and it certainly made me want to dive right into the story, so as far as first chapters go, I’ve got to give it credit, it’s easily one of the best I have come across in quite some time.

In general terms, I very much enjoyed the writing style of the author as well as the special format of the story building and it didn’t take me long at all to know that this was going to be a novel to devour and that I would need more hours in a day. There are several mysteries up in the air at the same time making Every Last Fear quite a rollercoaster read. The first being of course the murder of the family which had me guessing wildly why anyone would want to murder an entire family (assuming it wasn’t an accident of course but I thought that was a safe bet) but I could not see any reason for a very long time. The other plotline involves the possible false imprisonment of Matt’s other brother Danny. Matt is absolutely sure Danny’s guilty but his father Evan and sister Maggie were never convinced he did it and never stopped trying to prove otherwise. The small matter of fact is that Danny actually confessed, just to make things more complex. What happened 7 years ago isn’t just told in cold hard facts nor in flashbacks like is often the case in these type of novels, no it’s through the family’s investigation as well as parts of a documentary made after Danny’s arrest that an image took shape in my head until the rest was filled in at a much later point in the novel. 

There’s also a detective in the story, Sarah Keller, but – another surprise – she’s not appointed to investigate the family’s deaths (because they were claimed to be an accident) but leading a money-laundering investigation into Marconi LLP, the firm Evan Pine was employed at before he was made redundant. Did that mean we have to search in the direction of corporate fraud or were the answers lying elsewhere? It’s not Keller who leads us single handedly to the truth in this novel but there was a wonderful mix of leads being followed and progress brought on by several of the family’s characters. There were also parts of an interview with Evan Pine interspersed between the chapters which were intriguing to read and I hoped they would help me build a picture of what happened with Danny Pine and possibly hold a clue in them somewhere that could be useful later into the story.  

At around 60-65% I started to have a small inkling about some of the answers but it was really only in the last 10% of the novel that it all started to make a lot more sense. I absolutely loved that the author was able to keep me in suspense for so long, and although I’m still in two minds about whether the (entire) family really had to die and the motive, I enjoyed the outcome very much. 

Finally, a word of appreciation for making me feel the pain of losing this wonderful family. I knew four members of the family were dead right from the start, yet I couldn’t help hoping for another outcome at the end of the novel. They were so alive in all those pages, Maggie a wonderful tenacious investigator and Evan such a wonderful father, it made it all the more tragic.

Every Last Fear is a very commendable debut novel. I love the author’s fresh ideas and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from Alex Finlay in the future!

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

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

The Last Fear Banner 2

🎬 🔪 The Cut 🎬 🔪 by Chris Brookmyre #BookReview

TheCut def

whats-it-about-2

Millie Spark can kill anyone.

A special effects make-up artist, her talent is to create realistic scenes of bloody violence.

Then, one day, she wakes to find her lover dead in her bed.

Twenty-five years later, her sentence for murder served, Millicent is ready to give up on her broken life – until she meets troubled film student and reluctant petty thief Jerry.

Together, they begin to discover that all was not what it seemed on that fateful night . . . and someone doesn’t want them to find out why.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I had only read Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre before and I found that one so very, very clever (you can read my review here) that it made it into my top 10 the first year after starting the blog. So when I saw The Cut and read the first line of the novel (‘Millie Spark can kill anyone’) I was immediately intrigued and wanted more than only this sublime catchphrase.

Millie and Jerry proved to be a brilliant and dynamic combination in this novel, even if you wouldn’t put them together at first sight. On the one hand there’s Millie (Millicent) who is in her seventies and lives with two other older ladies after her release in prison where she spent 25 years after being arrested for killing her partner. At the start of the novel she isn’t anyone’s best friend, her reactions keep everyone at a distance but at the end of the novel she’s transformed into a much friendlier woman, someone who can make jokes and who can have fun after all, and it might just be that Jerry played a role in making that transformation happen. Jerry is a student who studies film. He’s always been extremely interested in horror movies (or video nasties as they are called) and he knows just about every movie title and every actor. The story starts with alternating plotlines introducing these two characters and it was fun to see how their lives intersect and seeing them discover how much they have in common in their passion for the job on a movie set for Millie and love for the end product the actual film, for Jerry.

The story really kicks off when Millie – in Jerry’s company – finds a photo of her boyfriend of the time and doesn’t know who the other people in the photo are. A quick phone call only raises more questions about the night the picture was taken and unwittingly she happens to draw the attention to herself by someone who doesn’t wish her well exactly. She and Jerry don’t really have a choice but to embark on a thrilling and dangerous adventure in search of answers about who her dead boyfriend really was, while trying to figure out who is coming after them and why. 

The Cut is a story that plunges the reader into the movie business, horror movies in particular, and it entails everything from a little history about how the genre came to life to urban legends, while also making you feel as if you’re a fly on the wall on a movie set. Even though it’s not my genre to watch at all, I thought it was very interesting to read about.

The status of horror movies is negative by association. There are rumours of people dying who watched a horror movie or worked on one, and have you never heard media say that crimes that were committed stem from watching this type of movies? In the book they also talk about some cult movie, Mancipium, which was never shown because it’s supposed to be too disturbing for the public. Is it a myth, is it real, who knows? It does play a role in the story but not how I had anticipated at all. I did struggle a little bit following the political influences involved and the powers financing a movie and I thought this would ultimately lead me to the path of destruction and danger but I could never have been more wrong so you don’t need to worry when it sounds a bit complicated because the author created some wonderful red herrings only to lead you to the truth in the end, and what a stunning and shocking revelation it is! Much to my satisfaction, I loved how the story ramped up on speed and tension and the story turns out to be something completely different than I had thought, but in the best way.

The Cut is another great book by Chris Brookmyre, it’s one to sink your teeth in! Very compelling, highly recommended. I can’t wait to read more of his books after reading this one!

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

You Love Me (You #3) by Caroline Kepnes #BookReview

YouLoveMe def

Joe Goldberg is back. And he’s going to start a family – even if it kills him.

Joe Goldberg is done with cities, done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now, he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library – he does know a thing or two about books – and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle, he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old fashioned way… by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is… Mary Kaye already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s… busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

I haven’t read You #1 and #2 but I’m a biiiiiigg fan of the Netflix series YOU so I was very excited to read the third book in the series. It was a weird experience because I really saw Joe Goldberg and the way he sometimes looks in the camera, that half smile of him, while I was reading this novel. I could literally hear his thoughts in my head the way they’re always presented on screen. It was strange but I liked how I could visualise him so I actually find it an advantage to have watched the series first and then read the novel.

Though I have to say Joe is a bit different from before. Our Joe’s grown a bit softer in this novel and while you saw how disturbed he was in the past, he appears to be – or at least wants to be – normal and have a real family AND he found just the right woman for that. Does that mean he can lay off killing someone in this novel? I’m not saying! All I can say is that he really really tries and that he just doesn’t have luck on his side at times. It is impossible not to root for Joe this time to stay out of the police’s hands.

I very much enjoyed reading You Love Me, reading about the many ups and downs for Joe, struggles and unexpected setbacks along the way to his road of happiness. As usual he’s obsessing over this woman MK (or Mary Kay) and while he can admit she’s not perfect in some ways he always finds a reason to justify why she’s acting the way she is. All she has to do is fall for him… and Joe wouldn’t be Joe if he didn’t pull eeeeverything out of the closet to get her to be in a relationship with him! The only one standing in the way is her husband and it’s tempting (so tempting) but he promises himself not to kill her husband for it, or lock him in his silent room at home (of course he has another ‘cage’, it was a perk that came with the house). That’s a nice promise right? But Joe wouldn’t be Joe if he doesn’t lend a hand and tries to get what he wants this time in another way. His manipulation skills have never been put into practice as much as in this novel! Ah and the ending, well the last chapters of the novel did not disappoint at all with twist upon twist upon twist upon twist. I’m deadly serious :-).

The only small issues I had were mostly about Joe’s attitude towards someone who is blackmailing him, it goes on throughout most of the novel and I found it so unlike Joe. He would normally be bothered by this, he would plot and scheme to take revenge but it doesn’t even enter his mind, he’s OK WITH IT. I’m almost ashamed to say he was a little disappointing there, a regular Mr. Goody Two-Shoes and just a little unbelievable. Also his many repetitive references to Closer, Murikami, and calling Mary Kay’s daughter Nomi always a Meerkat became a bit too much (I didn’t always get them either so maybe there’s that too). A last point was the fact that the novel seemed to start from another point compared to how season 2 ended on Netflix, it’s really not the case and it becomes clear after a while with flashbacks what has happened in between but it was a bit confusing at the start and made me wonder if the novels were just that different from what they filmed.

All in all, there’s a lot happening (yes you can read that as there’ll be some dead bodies; I’m sure that’s not really a surprise if you saw or read the previous novels or series) in You Love Me and you’re in for a real adventure that just keeps on giving… I have a good feeling there’s going to be a next novel too so I can’t wait to read or see it, I’ll take whatever comes first because I love both! You can get the beautiful cover of You Love Me as from April 1st, if you’re a fan of the series you know you must have it ;-)!

I received a free paper copy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster UK. This is as always my honest opinion.

Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor #BookReview

HerLastHoliday def

whats-it-about-2

You come to Soul Shrink to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of 2 people. But he has never let on what happened to the third suspected victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

I’d love to hear someone disagree but I don’t think you can go wrong with a novel by C.L. Taylor. Unfortunately she did write one about a secluded place with a select yet big cast of characters at the same time as many other authors did (is this the 2020/2021 trend?) so it’s maybe harder to stand out this time. One thing is for sure though, I haven’t read this kind of ending in any of the other novels I read recently.

But let’s start at the beginning and I’ll tell you what that’s about. Fran’s sister Jenna went missing when she went on a retreat in Gozo, organised by the charismatic Tom and his wife Kate. Their company Soul Shrink offers to heal people from trauma, freeing them from anxieties and letting them face the future with optimism instead of fear. At the time the police ruled it as a suicide but Jenna’s parents, especially her mum Geraldine, aren’t so sure so they instruct her sister Fran to attend a retreat incognito and to find out what happened to Jenna.

Her Last Holiday might not have had the same power over me as Strangers, hence the four instead of five stars, but it really was a very enjoyable read with plenty of suspicion to cast. At first all my thoughts settled on one particular person and I’m convinced everyone will have this person in mind as a perfect suspect to commit foulplay and who you’ll love to hate (I really really enjoy it when that happens), but then some of the other group members slowly come more into view and before you know it you don’t trust anyone anymore. It seems that Fran isn’t the only one there under an alter ego. The novel recounts both Jenna’s time at the retreat and Fran’s investigation and the alternation between these two time frames really kept me on my toes. I don’t think there’s anything left to say without spoiling the plot, so to wrap up all you need to remember is that it’s a solid good read so if you love a good mystery novel you’ll find everything you want in this one, and the ending is quite a nice bonus!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Avon Books UK via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen #BookReview @TransworldBooks

TheWeddingParty def

whats-it-about-2

Lucy has dreamt of her wedding day for as long as she can remember.

And now the day is almost here. Her nearest and dearest are gathered on an idyllic Greek island and she just knows it’s going to be perfect. It has to be.

But even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Why are her parents behaving so strangely? Why won’t the rather odd lady from the airport stop hanging around? Who is the silent stranger her sister brought as a plus-1?

And then they find the body.

It’s going to be a day to remember.

amazon uk 

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

Lucy has a dream that many brides-to-be share, getting married on a beach in the sun, surrounded by close friends and family. 

I know that if anyone can spin this dream image into a nightmare it’s Tammy Cohen and she does it with verve. I wanted to keep on reading this novel all day long and every free moment I had I picked it up again and found myself surrounded by a family that I came to know as close as my own which is how I ended up reading this novel in record time.

Lucy and Jason chose sunny Kefalonia in Greece to have their dream wedding. Lucy’s parents Hazel and Dom and sister Jess are invited and Jason has his mother Cora with him and they also both have their best friends by their sides, Shelly being Lucy’s friend and Gil and his wife Zoe are there for Jason. The cast isn’t complete yet, there’s also the wedding planner Nina, Jess’s surprise guest and Vivian, an old woman who happens to be around a lot.

In the first pages of the novel there’s a body found but the author doesn’t let on who it is. There are extracts from police interrogations with several characters that helped me mostly to eliminate who wasn’t dead, but it didn’t really mean I found out who the killer of the party was. There were also Therapy Journal entries that told of a very tragic childhood and this person’s history up to the present. I didn’t have a clue whose point of view this was so I tried to figure out first whether it was a man or a woman and when I knew that there were still several people who could fit the bill because quite a few of them were acting dodgy about their past.    

That alone would have kept me busy but no there was a lot (A LOT) more going on. You see, this story really is riddled with secrets, and everyone seems to be hiding something. I had the feeling I couldn’t trust anyone here and there was motive enough for killing but I couldn’t really see it in any of them… and yet, it did happen in the end. I must say I was kind of surprised after all but more than that, I was actually feeling a bit sad and I felt even sadder for the person who died when more about the past events came to light.

The Wedding Party is a novel filled with lots of domestic drama and tragedy. It is especially that tragedy and the psychological pain one of the characters feels in the novel that made it so noteworthy and memorabel for me and this character’s personality was developed so well that they krept under my skin. The novel has a great cast of characters and they each contribute to the story brilliantly. I’m sure it will surprise you in the best way! It’s definitely a novel to read for fans of Catherine Cooper (The Chalet) and Lucy Foley (The Hunting Party).

You can read my previous reviews of novels by this author here: Dying for Christmas (still my favorite one), They All Fall Down, When She Was Bad.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley to read and review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner #BlogTour #BookReview @arrowpublishing

BeforeSheDisappeared def

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. I don’t do book tours often anymore so you should know it takes a special kind of book or author to make me sign up and I didn’t have to think long at all to say ‘yes please’ to read and review this one. Take a look at this great blurb and tell me you’re not intrigued a little yourself:

whats-it-about-2

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who spends her life doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier.

Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own. And she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered.

But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing will be her …

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

The author found inspiration for this novel when she stumbled upon some forums where ordinary people are united and are willingly giving up a lot of their free time trying to crack cold cases. There are more people who are active and invested in the many unsolved cases than you might think. She embodies these people in Frankie Elkin, a woman with a mission. Frankie has been travelling all over the country for over 10 years, her only ambition finding missing persons, to give families an answer to that burning question where their loved one is. So far none of them was found alive but she keeps this not unimportant fact from the families. Her motivation for being such a loner, bringing only a rucksack and travelling with the same old sparse set of clothes remains unclear until the end but it is obvious what motivates her is linked to a person of her past, a man named Paul who is absent from her life now but who she still appears to love dearly.

Frankie Elkin is a flawed and troubled soul but one that I could fully get behind. She has more than one demon and aside from the one she’s hiding, she’s quite open and upfront about her battle with alcohol. She goes to AA meetings wherever she is staying and even after 9 years of staying sober she can’t say she has slayed this dragon completely. I loved that she wasn’t perfect and it made her even more sympathetic in my eyes.

So one case finished Frankie scours the net and travels to the multi-cultural city of Mattapan, Boston to find 15-year old Angelique (Angel for her friends) Badeau. While risking her own life not only in certain areas of the city where it is unwise to walk around as a white person let alone a single white female, but also by getting out of bed in the morning and meeting the wreath of a maniacal cat called Piper who she shares her room with, Frankie is not intimidated by either one. She roams the city asking questions, going properly old-skool with her investigation, and while she didn’t receive a warm welcome at first, she does gain trust here and there and with detective Lotham finally aboard the investigation is re-energized although there are only more questions rising after her first significant discovery of a puzzling clue. What was Angelique getting into, the case gets weirder by the minute and Frankie is not out of harm’s way herself. The author kept me well in the dark about what was going on and while my mind was going in overdrive I did love every minute of it. It was great discovering how she was able to disappear with so much CCTV all around, but finding out the reason why she disappeared was even better and also different from any missing persons novel I have read so far.

I totally understand why readers would love to see Frankie Elkin (and the pub’s loveable landlord Stoney, Piper and detective Lotham) again in a series but since I’m rubbish at following series I’m quite happy this was a standalone. I read two, three of Lisa Gardner’s novels before (which can be read as standalones too) and I’m also a big fan of detective D.D. Warren so it was never even a question whether I was going to like Before She Disappeared. This author never fails to deliver and I’d really love to read more stories as intriguing as this one!

Before She Disappeared Blog Tour Week 2 Poster 2

I received a free paperback copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager #BookReview

HomeBeforeDark def

whats-it-about-2

What was it like? Living in that house. Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into a rambling Victorian estate called Baneberry Hall. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a memoir called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon.

Now, Maggie has inherited Baneberry Hall after her father’s death. She was too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist.

But when she returns to Baneberry Hall to prepare it for sale, her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the pages of her father’s book lurk in the shadows, and locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself – a place that hints of dark deeds and unexplained happenings.

As the days pass, Maggie begins to believe that what her father wrote was more fact than fiction. That, either way, someone – or something – doesn’t want her here. And that she might be in danger all over again . . .

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I can hardly believe I’m saying this but this girl here (ok woman, whatever) actually enjoyed a ghost story! Believe me that it takes a writer with very special skills to make me love a ghostly novel. After several tries and misses I know it’s better to avoid these kind of stories but I loved Riley Sager’s previous novels so much that I put my faith in him for that one last try. If I can’t trust him, then there’s really nobody else, and guess what, looking at the rating on top you could say that I finally found a good, better yet a great ghost story.

Maggie is a non-believer, like me, so we were off to a good start. So many strange things were happening though at Baneberry Hall, both in the past and in the present so many years later, that I actually started to waver and the door to believing the impossible was cracked open a teensy tiny bit. Maggie didn’t know what to believe either and although she’s trying to make sense of everything in a logical way, we were both just flailing about. Riley Sager outdid himself in creating the atmosphere and the reporting of the strange events that happened at Baneberry Hall. I loved the historical, tragic background of the house, its haunting look (from the windows that look like eyes to the mention of poisonous baneberries all around the house in the past so it looked like a sea of blood) and hearing about all of the unusual events. Trust me when I tell you don’t want to go asleep when you start reading this :-).

This novel has alternating chapters between her father’s account in the House of Horrors before they fled in the death of the night after a mere 20 days and Maggie’s stay there. Maggie thinks her father lied about what happened there, after all she can’t remember any of it, nor does she recognize herself in the girl her father wrote about, but as she goes about her days it looks like some events actually did happen and there are strange things happening again so maybe she was wrong after all? The tension builds up towards the final day, July 15 with tapping, thuds, a record player that starts playing songs in the middle of the night every night and 5-year old Maggie’s imiginary (ghostly) friends with Mr. Shadow telling her that she’s going to die… can it get any scarier? I didn’t know what to make of it all but I was not disappointed when I found out why Mr. Shadow was haunting her.

On a sidenote, the strangest thing also happened while reading this novel because I read a certain scene set in the past about some kind of wild animal infestation that felt very scary and creepy (I still have goosebumps) and believe it or not but I read about a very similar scene in the newspaper on the same day. So, farfetched, I think not!

This is such a clever novel with lots of intricate plotlines and twists and it’s most certainly a four and half stars rounded up! This novel is begging to be made into a movie but when that happens I actually don’t know if I can or want to watch it, I’m not used to a novel this high on tension and watching this on screen is not good for my heart! Riley Sager is one of my favourite authors and he proves again why that is!

If you enjoy Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series then you will definitely enjoy this novel and vice versa!

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

📱The Strangers We Know 📱by Pip Drysdale #BookReview

TheStrangerWeKnow def

whats-it-about-2

When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken – after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends laughingly swiped through the men on offer. But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t let it go. Because she took that photo. On their honeymoon.

Suddenly other signs of betrayal start to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position – she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act.

But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are …

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2 

The Strangers We Know turns out to be one of the most surprising novels this year. It starts off with a friend flicking through profiles on tinder in Charlie’s presence and it only takes a split second for Charlie to recognize her husband. What then you might think? Well, like any sane woman losing her mind probably, confirmation and confrontation are high up on Charlie’s agenda but from thereon the story only takes on very twisty developments

‘Who the hell did I marry?’ is a question Charlie Carter asks herself in the middle of the novel and I was also completely caught up in Charlie’s search for answers. What was Oliver playing at? Before she even has a chance to find out all the answers something happens that upped the mystery tenfold. 

I really liked Charlie, even with this lousy situation she’s in she made me smile, her reactions were precious, they were sometimes funny, sometimes logical or fierce but they always felt completely natural. I also loved how she would sometimes address the reader directly. We were on the in, her confidente, her friend.. this technique made me feel very close to her. She’s not some naïve woman, she’s a strong woman and a smart sleuth, and she gained a whole lot of knowledge from the movies (like us, right) and I loved all the small references she made of how it would go in a movie. I didn’t always agree with Charlie’s actions but she’s only human too, right, and without some stupid mistakes we’d never get such a page-turning book.

I had no idea how this story was going to play out, there were a lot of questions and no idea where to go to find the answers so I had no idea exactly how or who the bad guy/woman was. All I can say is that this novel is not at all a cliché story, it is refreshing and intriguing and quite unpredictable (and hearing this from me you know you can count on it being true!). When you finish reading and see where the story started and where it ended and what the motivation of it all turned out to be (it was definitely more than her husband simply looking for a booty call), well I can only admire the clever mind and resourcefulness of the author for incorporating such a deep-running backstory as this one in a seemingly everyday domestic scene of a man caught cheating red-handed.

I didn’t have Pip Drysdale on my radar before so this novel (this is her second book following debut novel The Sunday Girl) is the first one I read and she has definitely left me wanting to read more. I really love her style and her plot design and I’m very interested in finding out what else she has in store.

I received a free paperback copy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster for review. This is still my honest opinion.