The Murder Box by Olivia Kiernan #BookReview

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At first, Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan believes the murder mystery game sent to her office is a birthday gift from one of her colleagues. But when Frankie studies the game’s contents, she notices a striking resemblance between the ‘murder victim’ and missing twenty-two-year-old Lydia Callin.

As Frankie and her team investigate, a series of grisly crimes connected to the game are discovered across Dublin city and Lydia’s involvement with a shadowy network of murder mystery players becomes clear.

On the hunt for Lydia’s murderer, Frankie is drawn more deeply into the game. Every successful move brings her closer to the killer. But the real question is not what happens should she lose — but what happens if she wins.

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This is the first novel by Olivia Kiernan and I do like to read a good detective novel. When I read some reviews about her latest novel I went looking and when I stumbled upon a copy of The Murder Box I didn’t think twice about it. I quite enjoyed reading the story and the Murder Box – a game offering a true crime experience – is actually something I’d be interested in playing myself. Well those were my initial thoughts but can you imagine finding out that the victim is actually a real person, no thanks I think I’ll pass after all!

I liked Frankie and was left wondering why her partner Baz kept on disappearing. It was not only driving Frankie crazy but me as well and I felt sorry for Frankie that she was being kept in the dark about his whereabouts for so long, even if it added a nice little touch of intrigue to the story. Another character I’d like to see more of in future novels was Detective Mullins who transferred from traffic and was one of the brightest ones in the team. All in all Frankie is well surrounded and even her boss Jack is not a bad egg.

There was only a limited cast of suspects who could have been responsible for the murder game but my mind was probably thinking why not complicate a situation if you can so I went looking for other possibilities and no surprise there, I found someone who fit ‘my bill’. Someone who wasn’t listed as a suspect and even though interviewed wasn’t a red flag for the Gardaí. I was completely off the mark with my suspect but I was right that the author did make it extra interesting and the added twist came as real surprise. I do love surprises if they present themselves like this.

Overall I enjoyed this book, I was invested in finding out who was behind it (even though the suspects weren’t particularly interesting or weren’t given enough time to be very fleshed out) and it had a grand finale that had me at the edge of my seat. I look forward to reading the next one of the four novels about Frankie Sheehan titled The Killer In Me (she’s certainly killing it with her book titles!).

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


The Trap by Catherine Ryan Howard #BookReview

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Stranded on a dark road in the middle of the night, a young woman accepts a lift from a passing stranger. It’s the nightmare scenario that every girl is warned about, and she knows the dangers all too well – but what other choice does she have?

As they drive, she alternates between fear and relief – one moment thinking he is just a good man doing a good thing, the next convinced he’s a monster. But when he delivers her safely to her destination, she realizes her fears were unfounded.

And her heart sinks. Because a monster is what she’s looking for.

She’ll try again tomorrow night. But will the man who took her sister take the bait?

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Yes, yes, all the yesses! Thank you for such a great read! If you read and loved The Nothing Man it’s safe to say you’ll love this one too!

The story is about the desperate attempt of one sister in finding her missing sibling. The novel didn’t miss an amazing start because I was sitting on the edge of my seat right away, as Lucy’s trying to lure the person who abducted her sister into taking her on a dark miserable night. The start is totally gripping, but the rest of the novel as well.

The tension did somewhat subside after those first tense moments which was a good thing for my own health, but it never completely left so I raced through this, almost as desperate as Lucy was to find her sister Nicki. Nicki is one of three women who was presumably taken by the same man, but it was only when the third girl was taken that they made a connection between the cases where the only thing retrieved every time was their cell phone. A task force was set up under the name of Operation Tide but they are not getting anywhere until Angela who’s not a garda (yet) but someone working at the Missing Persons Unit, stumbles upon something interesting left at a thrift store that could potentially help break the case open.

Apart from hearing from Lucy and Angela, the abductor has a chance to share his thoughts as well. He is married and his wife is totally and horribly oblivious of course, and the more I heard his voice the stronger and more desperate I wanted him caught and the women found. I wouldn’t have wanted to skip those chapters for anything, he’s a fascinating character and the way he talks in such a matter of fact way only made me realize even more that he could very well be your next door neighbour and you wouldn’t have a clue at all.

It felt like the danger in this novel was lurking around every corner and it really ramps up when Lucy uses the media to demand attention for the missing women, especially her sister. The twists in this novel were really great, I expressed a few expletives while reading this story and I was knocked for six in the last part of the novel. That twist! And what an ending! All I have to say is that it was all quite… unpredictable. I still don’t really know how I feel about the final pages, a part of me feels there’s still unfinished business, as if the whole story isn’t told or over yet, but on the other hand I do respect the author’s wish to deliver maybe a little bit of an unconventional ending. It’s the main reason for giving 4.5 stars, it is not exactly the ending that I had in mind and I do feel a little guilty that I have to admit a miniscule part of me still felt somewhat let down.

This is my third novel by this author, the first one was a miss for me but I’m so happy I picked up The Nothing Man afterwards and now I’m totally won over. Bring on the next one!

I received a free ecopy from the publisher via Netgalley to read and review. This is as always still my honest opinion.

Conviction by Jack Jordan #BookReview

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Wade Darling stands accused of killing his wife and teenage children as they slept before burning the family home to the ground.

When the case lands on barrister Neve Harper’s desk, she knows it could be the career making case she’s been waiting for. But only if she can prove Wade’s innocence.

A matter of days before the case, as Neve is travelling home for the night, she is approached by a man. He tells her she must lose this case or the secret about her own husband’s disappearance will be revealed.

Failing that, he will kill everyone she cares about until she follows orders.

Neve must make a choice – betray every principle she has ever had by putting a potentially innocent man in prison, or risk putting those she loves in mortal danger.

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Jack Jordan successfully delivered another amazing moral dilemma in Conviction, a cat and mouse type of novel that extends to the courtroom.

Neve Harper is Wade Darling’s barrister. The man stands trial in a case of familicide, where he is believed to have killed his wife and two children. Neve is determined to defend her client tooth and nail but that’s before she is being blackmailed to have him convicted. Someone not only knows one of her secrets, they also threaten the family she has left, namely her missing husband’s daughter Olivia.

What is she to do? Is Wade guilty or not guilty and would that make a difference? As the trial continues I saw Neve navigating a very fine line where she gives and takes a few punches figuratively speaking and I was continuously wondering which way it would go. I wanted Neve to do the right thing but what was that exactly? 

There are courtroom novels that are rather slow and boring but this was certainly not one of them! I loved not knowing Neve’s next move and it was difficult to make up my mind about her as well so the jury (that would be me) was not only out on Wade but also on Neve. I wanted her to put up more of a fight early on, to find a way out and still save everyone involved and I saw her doubling under the pressure which was NOT what I wanted, I’m averse to weak protagonists, but I had my hopes up that she’d have some kind of ace up her sleeve after all. Some books have an anti-climatic ending but that certainly wasn’t the case here either. It still didn’t go as I expected but I wasn’t disappointed at all and that’s all I have to say about the ending.

I did foresee how Neve’s husband went missing and the reason for his disappearance especially from quite early on. I can’t say exactly what made me make this leap but there must have been a clue that I picked up on to come to that conclusion. I wasn’t a big fan of the reason why he disappeared, hence the four stars, although I did enjoy everything that followed afterwards in that plotline.

Conviction is a great legal thriller, a gripping read filled with well placed twists and turns. I can never get enough of these kind of plots and I love it when I can be really participate in such a way by making up my own mind. Guilty or not guilty, convicted or not convicted, I’m sure this page turner will hook many readers.

I received a free copy from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell #BookReview

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Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie is also celebrating her 45th birthday. They are, in fact birthday twins.

A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for Alix’s series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Alix agrees to a trial interview. Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep digging.

Slowly Alix starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life – and into her home.

Soon she begins to wonder who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?

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Alix Summer and Josie Fair meet at the restaurant where they’re both celebrating their birthday. It turns out they’re both 45, born on the same day at the same hospital. It’s karma right? They run into each other again and that’s when Josie proposes that Alix make a podcast about Josie’s life story. She promises she has a story to tell and boy she wasn’t lying.

Josie is the weirdest character I have met of late, with her always wearing denim, her habit of stealing little trinkets from Alix’s house, and not to mention her family situation which seems even weirder. She has a husband who’s in his seventies, a daughter who never leaves her room and lives on baby food, and another daughter who ran away from home when she was 16. What is going on in that house?!

Josie’s story was very addictive to read and it soon escalates into a horrific family dynamic. Alix has her own family drama with her husband Nathan going on benders and not getting home till the morning but that is frankly not nearly as interesting as Josie’s situation. Walter is dead against her sharing her story in this podcast but she decides to do it anyway. Her story is tragic. The only thing is that there was always this unsettling feeling at the back of my mind too because Josie was a little too encroached onto Alix so that didn’t entirely sit right. Going forward there were also little hints that made me wonder. There are Netflix intro scenes set up and interviews with people who know or knew Josie so I knew something bad had happened and it created so much more intrigue and suspense, and I can totally see this turned into a real Netflix series.

The title played on my mind all the time and while it seems to simply give away the plot (which was a bit of a disappointment in advance), Lisa Jewell was still able to have my head spinning with the many shocking and twisty turns in the story. The author also ends the novel on a high note for me that kept me thinking for a while about the characters while I had made up my mind about them for a long time already.

None of This Is True is one disturbing dark ride that spirals totally out of control and you better hold onto your seat while reading this. If there’s one truth I can share with you it’s that I was completely engrossed in this novel. Highly recommended!

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

Homecoming by Isabel Ashdown #BookReview

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They were perfect neighbours.
Now they are prime suspects.

Security, a sparkling sea view and the best kind of neighbours – The Starlings gated community has it all. The residents are like family to each other, in a place where doors are left open and children run free. But that all changes when an idyllic street party takes a dark turn, and one of them is found dead at the foot of his neighbour’s stairs. Who knows what really happened? And what answers are harboured within the old building, a former asylum?

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There’s a barbecue in celebration of the one year anniversary for the residents of The Starlings, a gated community and then, suddenly, a body is discovered. Who’s dead and is anyone responsible for this death? I was a bit overwhelmed with the start of the novel as all the characters were present and I didn’t know them yet but it was nothing to worry about because I had the chance to really get to know each of them throughout the story.

At first glance the Gold family are living the dream and they have the perfect family. Katrin and Bill and their young twins are residents (and founders) of The Starlings, and close to Hugo and Amelie and their daughter Frida. The drama seemed to be centered at first around Frida (there’s clearly something going on at school) and her parents (Amelie is not a devoted mother and poor Hugo just has to keep all the balls in the air) but looks can be deceiving. Then there’s Ginny who befriends Katrin and becomes her bestie but is clearly hiding something as well. Her fear is plain to see but the author did a great job at hiding what she’s fearful for.

Homecoming is a really intriguing read with a lot of mystery and I couldn’t quite put my finger on the situation there but it often felt not quite right. People are having secrets, they are hiding things, and some know things about others, others are completely oblivious… There was a lot left unsaid and I was very excited to see how everything would unfold and how it would eventually culminate to a situation that involved a dead body.

Before Katrin and her husband developed The Starlings into the luxury houses of the present day, the site was a Mother and Child care home and then an asylum in the past. That past setting was suspiciously often referred to and my feelers were out because I had a strong sense of foreboding that there was more to discover about the site and the clocktower that they had kept. Ginny volunteered to help Katrin with the restauration but there’s no real progress made after months and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why that was.

Homecoming has domestic suspense and family drama in spades and I really enjoyed the journey towards the fateful ending. I didn’t know anything at all and that’s what I love the most.

I you loved Big Little Lies (or if you like to watch a soap like Neighbours) then this will definitely be up your street, it had the same vibe for me although I liked this one better than both of these references, probably because it was slightly more atmospheric and there was a simmering unsettling feeling that the author was able to maintain from start to finish.

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley to read and review. This is still my honest opinion.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan #BookReview

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Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

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Ruth Hogan, I’m so pleased to meet you. That’s what I would say if I had to chance to meet this author. I bought this novel on a whim in 2019 when I saw the paperback was only 2£ and I loaded it in my basket with another book that I really wanted to read (one by Holly Jackson if you must know). I didn’t know at the time but I’m ever so happy with my impulsive decision because it’s so much more worth than the price I paid for it.

The Keeper of Lost Things is a story of love and loss, of finding unexpected things and the incredible stories that might be hiding behind those small objects. Anthony Peardew collects things in the hope of returning them to the owners. He labels each item and what was so great is that he writes a backstory for each item and a simple hairband or a single puzzle piece found in the street gets so much more meaning.

I can’t find any fault in this novel and I can hardly believe it’s the author’s debut. Even the small supernatural hint in it didn’t bother me at all because it was such a good means to an end, spurring Laura into action.

The main characters were delightful, Laura, Sunshine (who has the dancing drome aka down syndrome), Freddy the gardener, Anthony, Eunice and Bomber who had a storyline in the past that involved their work as a publisher and Bomber’s family, and of course Douglas, Baby Jane, Carrot and Billie, all the dogs included in the story. There were some tough moments where I had to say goodbye to some of the characters but it never got to the point that it made me tearful. The only weird thing I found was that Ruth Hogan never mentioned any age, not when celebrating a birthday nor when some of them died, apart from Sunshine who was 20 I believe. She probably didn’t find it necessary but it comes so naturally to me to place people into age brackets so I did take notice of it.

The keeper of Lost Things is perfect for fans of Lucy Dillon and is such a cosy and heartfelt read. If you’re a fickle reader when it comes to romance than I also recommend this one to you because it is about love that won’t make you gag (or roll your eyes if you’re already more immune). I mean it you’re going to love it if you give it a chance!

I truly love the cover of my copy but when I saw the new cover and the rest of her collection of books then the only thought I have is that I want them all! Hopefully they’ll all be discounted too some time 🙂

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

Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover #BookReview

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After a childhood filled with poverty and neglect, Beyah Grim finally has her hard-earned ticket out of Kentucky with a full ride to Penn State. But two months before she’s finally free to change her life for the better, an unexpected death leaves her homeless and forced to spend the remainder of her summer in Texas with a father she barely knows.

Devastated and anxious for the summer to go by quickly, Beyah has no time or patience for Samson, the wealthy, brooding guy next door. Yet, the connection between them is too intense to ignore. But with their upcoming futures sending them to opposite ends of the country, the two decide to maintain only a casual summer fling. Too bad neither has any idea that a rip current is about to drag both their hearts out to sea.

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Heart Bones grabbed me from the opening pages and never let me go. I fell hard for Beyah right from the start, it was even a bit shocking how quickly I forgot they were simply words on paper and how I felt her as if she was real. Her shitty life and the way she survived, her view on the world and that she wants to protect herself and never let anyone in, it tugged at my heart strings and that were only the first pages of the novel. She’d been through so much in her young life, living with poverty and an addictive mother but then her life changes when she goes to live with her father and his family, and she meets Samson, who’s housesitting next door. He’s rich but there’s an air of loneliness about him too, and Beyah feels a kinship with him.

Her family welcomes her with open arms, her half sister isn’t even the nasty jealous type you see so often in fiction, and Samson seems too good to be true. They’ll part ways at the end of summer, in two months time and that’s perfectly fine for Beyah because she has plans for her future and honestly, she’s not looking for love anyway. Samson is cheering her on (literally, he listened to what she needed and is there for her) and Beyah is slowly opening up to him. But some questions she has for Samson are off-limits and I was wondering which secrets he was keeping close to his heart. It makes him very mysterious and I was getting a little hungry to get to know him more as I felt it was unfair. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for because I practically tumbled from cloud nine to the hard ground when his layers were ripped off all it once. A great and hard moment.

Heart Bones was everything I expect from a book written by Colleen Hoover. It is a story of damaged people finding acceptance, it is about finding family, a new life… it is about a horrible past that you take with you, it is about trusting people and letting them in. I can’t tell you enough how heartfelt CoHo’s books are and how they rip my heart apart every time. This one’s was no different, I had it tough in those first pages but the best was yet to come.

The writing was very addictive so I read this novel in double quick time. Heart Bones was an emotional read, if you hadn’t gathered it already, but I did feel more emotional throughout the story than at the end of the novel, which I’m not sure was meant to be. The ending was a bit rushed and I don’t know if I would have wanted it to follow a different path but I didn’t feel IT so much there. Still, the story is well worth reading and maybe I should just believe in fairytales more than I currently do. I can’t wait for my next read, I always keep some of her books for when the mood arrives.

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

The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas #BookReview

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Twenty years ago, Olivia Rutherfood crashed her car while driving home with three friends.
When she regained consciousness, she was alone – her friends had vanished.


Now, journalist Jenna Halliday visits the town where it happened, determined to unlock the girls’ disappearance.

But Olivia won’t speak. And as Jenna probes further, the locals grow frightened . . .

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Claire Douglas delivers a new intriguing mystery novel and in her latest novel the plot subject concerns the disappearance of three girls after a car accident happened on a night out. The only one who remained in the car was 18 year-old Olivia. She now lives a very secluded and sheltered life with her mother, helping her out with the family business: the Stafferbury Riding School and Livery Yard, and she spends the rest of her time with Wesley, her boyfriend from even before the accident. Even after 20 years she’s still an outcast though and she has no friends in town.

There’s a veil of secrecy and mystery surrounding that night and it’s clear that Olivia is hiding something. Does she know what happened or is it something else? There are several dodgy characters and Jenna – the journalist who makes a podcast for the 20 year old ‘anniversary’ of the missing girls – sees some strange things in the bungalow park where she’s staying too. There’s an unsettling, creepy vibe seeping through the pages and I was almost dying of curiosity.

There’s also another plotline which is totally different from the main plot and follows four couples going on holiday to Thailand. This group of friends was invited by a guy called Derreck who was clearly swimming in money. Another dodgy character and I loved to read these scenes just as much, I only couldn’t figure out how they fit in with the other story.

There were many more bad characters then I had expected in the story and I didn’t suspect most of them. The only one I had an instant dislike of was Wesley and his controlling personality which he camouflaged really well as protectiveness and caring for Olivia but he made me effectively cringe every time he made an appearance. There were certainly others too who flew under my radar but weren’t all that nice either.

The Girls Who Disappeared is quite atmospheric. Jenna is being watched and threatened and I had no idea who wanted to scare her away. Jenna’s not even sure if she can trust detective Dale, although it’s taking her some real effort not to fall into his arms every time she sees him (and I kind of wished she would every time despite all of this) :-). If Claire Douglas should ever write full romance I’ll definitely be standing in line.

Anyway, I really loved the build up of all that uneasiness and tension, it was really gripping me but when the big denouement happened where the disappearance of the girls was finally explained it was over rather quickly compared to the rest of the story and not drawn out or as detailed as I thought it would be, and the rest of the story wrapped up quickly afterwards. It was a bit anti-climatic to be honest, my imagination ran a bit too wildly compared to reality. There was a nice little sting of a twist at the end though when it turned out yet another person wasn’t quite as good natured as I believed them to be.

Overall a cleverly constructed mystery and while this is perhaps not my favourite novel by my favourite author, it certainly did manage to surprise me all the way, and I wouldn’t want to miss her next novel in any case.

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

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco #BookReview

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Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

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I was in the mood for reading some historical fiction and when I saw this novel about Jack The Ripper, well how could I resist? I’m also a big fan of the cover and reading the story I can say that the woman on the cover fits the story perfectly, she even made it easier for me to imagine Audrey Rose. 

There’s A LOT that I liked about this novel. First of all I loved how the author was not afraid to dive right into the story. The novel opens with an autopsy in Audrey Rose’s uncle Jonathan’s laboratory and just reading that first line about the moment before making the incision was enough to know that I was really going to enjoy the story and writing. The author inserted real photos of that period which gave the story a sense of authenticity, and afterwards I read in the afterword also a number of details about the Jack The Ripper murders that she tried to replicate in the story as well. 

I also loved how Audrey Rose didn’t want to fold to the Victorian standard expectations for a woman. I loved her fascination for the dead and how she’s adamant that she’s just as capable to perform a postmortem as a man. She has to walk a fine line, on the one hand she has to have tea parties and if she wants to wed soon she needs to be on her best behaviour, but on the other hand she sneaks away to assist her uncle, she doesn’t shy away from looking at Jack The Ripper’s havoc on his victims, she isn’t afraid to tell her mind and as an act of defiance further along she wears her riding gear.. when she’s not riding. She’s a perfect heroine and the exact character this novel needed!       

I’d say she’s the star of the show but that’s a lie because she has to share first place with Thomas, another student of her uncle. Thomas has mad deductions skills, I was seriously in awe and I don’t know if I loved the murder mystery or the courting going on between Audrey Rose and Thomas most. I’m tempted to go for the latter. The flirting (on a Victorian level) was so good and I loved Thomas’s pursuit and his little remarks. Apart from that they were also great as a detective duo and I think it’s no coincidence that Thomas addressing her often as Wadsworth always gave me major Sherlock and Watson vibes.

Last but not least, the story is of course about Jack The Ripper. Audrey Rose and her entourage are called upon and soon enough it doesn’t let her go. There are a few possible suspects but I figured out who Jack The Ripper was very soon, without any real grounds I admit but I still knew I had to be right on this and I was. Authors always follow the same formula and I have cracked that formula so it takes a lot more than this to surprise me, although she did try to create some doubt. While I knew who I didn’t completely understand the why though and finding out left me a little speechless. Now I wonder about the real Jack The Ripper even more!

Stalking Jack The Ripper is an original young adult novel with a great Jack The Ripper twist. I neither expected the morbid details nor the romance but I loved both and I do hope to read the next in the series in the future.

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

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney #BookReview

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Isolated on their private island in Cornwall, the Darker family have come together for the first time in over a decade. When the tide comes in, they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again. Nothing – because one of the family is a killer . . .

As the leaves of autumn fall, Daisy Darker arrives at her grandmother’s house for eightieth birthday celebrations. Seaglass, the Darker’s ancestral home, is a crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island.

Every member of the family has their secrets. Nana, alone for so long. Daisy’s absent father, Frank. Her cold-hearted mother, Nancy. Her siblings, Rose and Lily, and her niece, Trixie, full of questions and without a father of her own. Daisy has never had an easy relationship with her family, but some secrets are much darker than others. This will be a gathering that some of them won’t remember.

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Alice Feeney is one of the best writers that I know and she delivers another spectacular story in Daisy Darker. I want to say that she keeps getting better and better but all of her stories are next level and I always recommend her if someone asks for suggestions for novels with great twists.

There are six characters next to Daisy who come together at Seaglass house to celebrate her grandmother’s 80th birthday. The sea separates the house from the main land and they can only cross it when the tide is low so basically they are trapped for the night in an isolated location with no escape from each other. As if that’s not bad enough, there is a killer among them! The characters were all very well fleshed out and the flashbacks to the past really made me get to know each of them: Nana (the grandmother), Frank and Nancy (the parents), Rose, Lilly and Daisy (the daughters), Trixie (Lilly’s daughter), Connor (childhood friend until he stopped speaking to Daisy), and Poppy (Nana’s dog). The first pages with everyone arriving at the house made me wonder if I would have trouble knowing who’s who but the characters are very distinct from each other. One by one they also get finished off. Who will be left, who is the killer and why? What is the secret that is being kept? The answers are nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Daisy was a great character and I felt a bit sad for her because she’s always been a bit of the black sheep in the family. She defied death multiple times but that didn’t earn her more love from her parents or sisters, except from her grandmother who always adored her. Daisy was born in one big dysfunctional family and as the story progressed the true colours of all of them came out. Still, with some of them gone I found it difficult to find answers to the pressing questions. For a brief, silly moment I even wondered if Daisy was the killer herself, even though everything was told from her POV with the necessary panic…

Well I certainly got value for money because this novel was very very clever, the pacing of mounting tension was perfect and the story that led up to all the murders was nothing I expected. I didn’t see that one special plot twist coming that I’m normally not fond of but was actually quite appropriate in this story… Ok I didn’t really see the rest of the twists coming either except for this one fundamental one and that’s only thanks to my ever-present paranoia (and not because it’s obvious when you read what it’s compared to in almost all of the reviews therefore I will not mention it). Let’s just say it’s best to go into this novel blind. Let it just surprise and hook you as it did to me!

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