Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #BookReview #Orentober

CallMeStarGirl def

whats-it-about-2

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I know a lot of fans of this author and they grab each and every opportunity to shout (quite loudly I might add) how amazing Louise Beech’s novels are so I was a bit nervous to start Call Me Star Girl. Would I like it as much as the rest? I could have saved myself from stressing about it because she’s a sensational author. The way she wrote this emotional story, I have no words for it! It’s not a Jojo Moyes or Amanda Prowse type of novel though, she has her own tense style, delivering a stellar story that is as much a thriller and murder mystery as it is heart-breaking. 

If you ask me to recap Call Me Star Girl in only a few words I’d say it’s a story about love. I mean the dark side of love, not the sweet sugarcoated love, no the big, obsessive, messy love. I’m talking love where you do things for people that you don’t want to do, a love that goes so deep it means giving up your child for it, an overpowering feeling that you can’t do anything against. Elizabeth, Stella’s mother followed her heart and Stella still bears the consequences. The sad thing is that Stella has more of her mother in her then she realises.

The story itself is as dark as the radio studio at nighttime where most of Stella’s story is taking place. The setting had a serious nightclub feel, one where Stella was on the stage with the spotlight on her. It was intimate and with even the timings mentioned between the different songs, I felt I was actually listening in. I was part of the audience, hanging onto her lips to hear about her listeners secrets but mostly because I wanted to hear hers. What was she going to say, what was her big secret? I never stopped liking Stella though, not even when I found out what it was. She had already wormed her way into my heart and I only felt for her. For being so scared of being boring, for her fears of people leaving her because, after all, her own mother left her, for doing things for Tom that weren’t ok.

There’s a murder reported in the story, someone who might or might not know something about it, and some surprising ties to the victim that makes you wonder who exactly is keeping secrets. On top of all of this intrigue there were also telling paragraphs in the past about Stella and her mother that kept me gripped and were deeply touching. The perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper means so much in the story, it’s incredible how loaded this object became throughout, how important it felt even to me.

I never saw the end to the story coming and it just hurt me so much. There are twists and then there are twists and this one totally hit me. My heart is full and yet it’s been squeezed unapologetically. It’s been a long time since a book did this to me. I’m pretty sure this is going to stay my favorite novel by Louise Beech for a good while. It might be my first novel but certainly not my last.  

I received a free ecopy of this novel in a giveaway organised by Mac Reviews Books. This is my honest opinion. 

Advertisements

The Sixth Wicked Child (A 4MK Thriller Book 3) by J.D. Barker #BookReview

Blank bookcover with clipping path

whats-it-about-2

Hear No Evil

For Detective Sam Porter, the words “Father, forgive me” conjure memories long forgotten; a past intentionally buried. For Anson Bishop, these three words connect a childhood to the present as he unleashes a truth concealed for decades.

See No Evil

Found written on cardboard near each body, these words link multiple victims to a single killer—discovered within minutes of each other in both Chicago and South Carolina—clearly connected yet separated by impossible miles.

Speak No Evil

Chicago Metro and the FBI find themselves caught in chaos—a hospital on lockdown, a rogue officer, and corruption at the highest levels. When Anson Bishop, the prime suspect in the notorious 4MK serial murders turns himself in, he reveals a story completely unexpected, one that not only upends the current investigation, but one that will change the lives of all involved.

Do No Evil

With unrelenting tension and pulse-pounding suspense, the past unravels at breakneck speed as the truth behind the Four Monkey Killer’s motive is finally revealed in this masterfully crafted finale.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

Wowza, what a novel! A brilliant and perfect ending to one of my most liked book series. There’s so much to take in and wrap your head around in this one, it seriously had my thoughts in a twist. I really had no doubt it was going to be good but I didn’t know it was going to be this good. The Sixth Wicked Child might be the third and last novel in the trilogy but all three novels have very strong plotlines and every one of them is a thrill to read if you like your reads very dark and about a really disturbed killer.

Just like in his previous books, there are also more than 500 pages in this novel but it was never boring, not even for a minute, not even slightly, it was in fact a right exhilirating read from start to finish.

The Sixth Wicked Child mainly brings the background story of a young Anson and about detective Sam Bishop’s past as well. In the present both characters are set up against the other in the most wondrous way. The author really messes with the readers in this one, in what to believe, making us wonder from the very first pages if we actually really know without any doubt if the 4MK killer is all that he seems. Is the bad guy really the bad guy and the good guy, the one we so cheered for and held in our hearts (because he’s a bit of an underdog after all), all that he claims to be? Isn’t there a little bit of bad in everyone? All registers are open, everything is possible and while I didn’t want to believe it could be any other way, surely, knowing this author’s capabilities I knew better than the rule the other possibility out.

In the novel there are multiple plotlines once again, which means there’s a lot to follow and try to work out in your head. You have the FBI working the case with Metro (Nash and Frank Poole) and then there’s a team working at the hospital (Clair and Kloz), and then Anson and Bishop each have their own agenda as well.

I finally received all the answers and hearing the truth in this novel really gutted me. The reason why 4MK drops 3 boxes with every victim, and the reason for all those murders is suddenly pretty plausible. I loved the diary entries from a young Anson again and I couldn’t help feeling touched when I read everything he and Kristina, Tegan, Libby, Vincent, Paul, Weasel and The Kid had to go through. I didn’t know how Bishop would fit in with this story for the longest time though, or how this story was going to end because one of them, Anson or Bishop would be the last one standing, in my mind. The author kept me in suspense, only to deliver a phenomenal ending that I didn’t see coming at all in the last chapters.

I received a free ecopy of this novel via the Read Now section of Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh #BookReview

Twisted def

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

Soooo many people told me how much they enjoyed reading Steve Cavanagh’s novels. I really can’t think of any (good) excuse that explains what kept me so long from picking up one of his novels. When I heard Twisted was a brave new standalone though, one with such an intriguing blurb (the shorter is sometimes really the better), I finally caved, so now I don’t have to feel FOMO any more, yay! And I’m truly happy I finally FINALLYYYY discovered Cavanagh’s unbridled talent of writing plot twists.

I can’t think of any other title for this novel that would be more perfect, because the story is indeed Twisted with capital T. I believed I knew how the story was going to go down but I was so wrong about my ideas. The story is totally unpredictable because there are some big game changers along the line. When you read this then don’t underestimate any of the characters in this novel, they all try to be the most clever one and take a run for the money (literally). There can only be one of course and I was eager to find out who would come out on top of the game. Cavanagh was able to reshuffle the cards throughout the novel a few times to keep the reader on their toes. The only constant is the danger for life :-).

The reason I didn’t give this one the full points in the end is that I did not really like any of the characters more than the others. At some point or other I liked and also disliked every one of them, so there were a few moments that I didn’t know who to root for anymore, if any. None of them are really good people, Maria, Paul and Daryl are all deceitful and oh so very greedy (as if there’s nothing else to live for)… oh and then there’s dirty secrets, lies and deceit involved as well of course, everything you want from a great novel really ;-).

I can’t say any more about the plot in case I talk too much, but I also noticed that I hadn’t written anything down about the story when reading. This makes it abundendly clear the whole story was so absorbing I didn’t even think of it. I loved the twists and that the novel’s about an author whose identity is a mystery. You’re constantly searching if you’re reading about a fictional character called JT Lebeau or about the author talking about himself. I’m sure the lines blurred occasionally :-). All in all, this was a very surprising novel and it’s definitely not the last novel I will read by Steve Cavanagh! Highly recommended!

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

Push that button: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin #BlogTour #BookReview @megangoldin @Tr4cyF3nt0n

TheEscapeRoom def

Today I’m thrilled to share my review of The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for my invite onto the tour and the publisher Orion Books, for the free ecopy via Netgalley.

whats-it-about-2

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one more final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

What a revelation this novel turned out to be! The Escape Room was an amazing read because it has great characters and also: 1. a corporate setting that is more than fascinating, and 2. an intense and claustrofobic locked room mystery in an elevator. Despite it being such a tiny room, there was lots to discover and it really never got boring. There was a perfect balance between both scenes and just when the heat gets on in the elevator with nicely timed hints, it switches to the past where you learn a little more about the people trapped in that small space.

The people in the elevator all share Stanhope and Sons unofficial but very truthful mottofake it till you make it‘. The firm has over 9000 applicants each year and only 30ish are chosen for an induction week, where they are pampered and spoilt extravagently. Sara Hall is a girl with an MBA who tries to get a place as a financial analyst at the prestigeous New York firm. It is through her eyes that we get a sense of the place. The author provides such a clear imagine of the corporate mentality that even for all the money in the world, I wouldn’t want to work there.

At the same time 4 high-rolling employees of Stanhope are sent to the 87th floor of a builing for an urgent team building assignment. They never reach the floor though and it appears the elevator itself is set up as an escape room. The prologue gives the reader a taste of what’s waiting at the end of the story and you’re left wondering for the next few hours who’ll get out of that elevator alive and who’ll die. If that doesn’t get you hooked immediately, I don’t know what is.

As the story progresses I found out so much about this foursome. They seem to work well together but secretly there were jealous of each other and tried to undermine one another whenever they got a chance. They’re unlikeable characters but very interesting to read more about so they were absolutely the right kind of unlikeable. I was trying to suss out who was the baddest devil of them all but they all quite rival each other. Not to worry though, you have Sara to root for, for most part of the novel. It’s kind of a mystery why she isn’t in that elevator with them. Did she leave the team, turn her back on that money? It seemed very unlikely. My eyebrows almost touched my hairline when I found out why that was, no kidding.

Without giving away anything more about the plot, The Escape Room had me racing through this novel, it was a thrill of a read and I can’t recommend it enough. This novel is a real gem and definitely one of my favorite reads this year.

I can hardly believe this spectacular read is a debut novel and all I know is I can’t wait to read the next Megan Goldin novel!

*** Don’t forget to check the rest of the tour…
first one up tomorrow is Over The Rainbow Book Blog ***

The Escape Room blog tour

 

 

Vox by Christina Dalcher #BookReview

Blank bookcover with clipping path

whats-it-about-2

Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

[100 WORD LIMIT REACHED]

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

This book! Have you read it? Well if not, why haven’t you? It’s an incredible novel and it feels so friggin’ real (well for the most part but I’ll get to that later); it is actually a super scary thought that this world Jean lives in is something that could actually happen. 

From p. 370: “The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The novel made me think a lot about the world I’m actually a part of and about this fictional one and I couldn’t believe how easy they made it sound to change the world in such a small amount of time. Even without any dead bodies (okay, maybe a few), it really got under my skin.

I was planning to not do this but it’s just inevitable, so yes I’ll have to bring up The Handmaid’s Tale. Vox is set in its own frightening world: one where women are not ‘surrogates working as servants’ no they can stay with their own family, if they’re married, but they really don’t have to talk too much. Shut your mouth is to be taken pretty literally in this novel. At least in Atwood’s novel the women could talk on stolen moments, there was solidarity and friendship. The world building in Vox (‘Vox’ being the Latin word for Voice) is very different even if the domination of women is the main goal in both novels. Women and girls can’t talk, or barely. What’s a hundred words? It means no bedtime stories to your children, it means not replying even when you know the other person is wrong or lying… Take away someone’s voice, take away the communication (reading, writing, nor signing is allowed either of course) and you isolate people, you make them docile. Those first two chapters really came in and I felt for Jean instantly.

Jean (or Gianna, both names are used because she’s Italian) isn’t just anybody though, she’s a linguist who did ground-breaking work in the field of brain repair. Now they suddenly come to her because they need her help. She doesn’t want to help but there are some incentives. I loved the dilemma’s she faced throughout the novel and one of the biggest was whether she would choose to stay or flee the country, leaving her family behind if it ever came to it. It might seem like an easy choice but it really wasn’t.

One of the most poignant storylines were the conversations she has with her daughter Sonia and her son Steven. Steven, aged 17, was subtly influenced through school and it was so disheartening and frustrating to hear him change. It was equally heart-breaking to hear how proud Sonia was of her achievement and how she is used to this reality. The world is all wrong and they’re too young to get it.

OK so the novel was brilliant, I’m sure you get it by now BUT the second part of the novel was the part with the blazing guns and the action so to speak. At one point towards the ending the author must have thought let’s crank it up a notch and see how crazy we can really make it. The whole thing with the monkey and that other dude was a bit nuts and I wasn’t really sure what the purpose was to be frank, I wanted to shout at them for being so dumb.

Honestly, I loved the concept and this was such a chilling and thought-provoking novel, a very impressive debut. Oh and lest you not forget: ‘We will not be silenced‘, damn right :-)! This review consists of 608 words and I’m not taking any of them back.

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

The Puppet Show (Poe #1) and Black Summer (Poe #2) #BookReview

ThePuppetShow Black Summer

Hello hello !! I’m delighted to share my thoughts today on two novels!

If you haven’t started the first novel yet, you might as well get both of them at the same time because I highly recommend binge-reading this series! You know sometimes when you read a book in a series you like it but you still want to read something else in between novels, well I didn’t feel any of this, au contraire, I was very happy I didn’t have to say goodbye yet to Poe and Bradshaw and I wouldn’t have minded reading the next one (The Curator!) either. I’ll have to wait almost a year for that now, boohoo.

Anyway, I think you know what’s coming 😉 but here’s what I thought about both novels…

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe Book 1)

ThePuppetShow def

whats-it-about-2

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

The Puppet Show is a superb police procedural novel! The storyline is very puzzling, with a serial killer at work who seems to want to deliver a message to Washington Poe.  Poe’s name is carved on one of the victim’s chests and Poe would hate me for it but god I just love it so much when there’s a personal score to settle. Anyway, Poe feels he doesn’t have much choice so decides to come back to work and catch the ‘Immolation Man’. I never even heard of the word before but then again this guy’s MO is also not so common in novels. I was super intrigued and very happy as well to have learned something new here.

What I really loved about this novel is that it follows the Hansel and Gretel principle (yes it’s my invention but I’m sure you know what I mean). The detectives follow a trail, not breadcrumbs but clues in this case, and one tip leads to the next and that leads to yet another revelation in the investigation and so on. It’s amazing how far you can get this way and especially where it takes you. If you look back and see what the first starting point was and the trail followed felt as if  it was going its natural course  then you know you have a great read in your hands.

The story in itself is disturbingly splendid and you’ll never be able to guess where the story will lead the detectives. Poe is a very likeable character and with Stephanie Flynn and Tilly Bradshaw he makes a great team. Bradshaw has a very high IQ, she’s a computer whizz and doesn’t know any social skills, and it feels like she’s on the spectrum to me, although it isn’t told as much. Even though they’re almost polar opposites Poe and Bradshaw appreciate one another for who they are, which results in a really great dynamic and it was a pleasure to see them together. I also loved Poe even more when he stood up for her, I’m all #teamPoe!

The story was dark and twisted but nobody needs to feel scared to read it. It’s disturbing like many other books that have some triggers in them but not horrific in my opinion and the killer’s motive was understandable. I was on the edge of my seat towards the ending and I really searched my memory for something I missed in the investigation but my mind felt empty, I couldn’t figure it out. Once it was revealed it all made sense of course but that’s how it always goes. The author still had a nice little cliffhanger ending up his sleeve to make you wonder about Poe’s personal life even more, so when you read this, you better have book 2 on the ready.

If you like police procedurals, you’ll want to read this one!

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

Line

Black Summer (Washington Poe Book 2)

BlackSummer def

whats-it-about-2

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

‘We have a problem, Poe’. How I love to hear these words now!

I’m forever and more #TeamPoe now.

While I thought The Puppet Show was brilliant, I have to say this novel is possibly even better. The mystery is sooo big in this one! I loved every single page of this thrilling investigation.

Washington Poe has his work cut out in this novel, that’s crystal-clear from the start! A decision of the past is backfiring in an unbelievable way and now they’re coming after him. Don’t we all love to give our support to the underdog, especially if it’s someone as likeable and good as Poe? He had me in his pocket before he even explained the case or his decision to arrest the chef for murdering his daughter.

But did Poe really mess up? Did he help convict someone for murder, someone who’s innocent but spent the last 6 years in prison? And also one of the most intriguing questions that I really wanted to hear the answer to: can the dead become alive again? I only needed a second to answer that one, but something made me bite my tongue this time as everything points to the opposite as it were. Ah I don’t think there’s a single question more intriguing to explore! What a premise! And what a phenomenal execution too.

There were a lot of how’s and why’s in this novel and I loved how complex the case seemed once again. I also very much enjoyed the setting, the novel takes the culinary road this time and it was great to be immersed into the restaurant world. It was all quite interesting (except for the first chapter where someone eats a little bird in a disgusting way) and once again, it took Poe and Bradshaw to very unexpected places.

M.W. Craven has a brilliant mind. Not once but twice already he managed to overwhelm me with setting, characters and murders. The whole picture makes sense, everything in the plot fits. I also secretly love that the novels are a bit darker than usual, and that the murders are quite eh original. That’s all, I’ll let you all find out the rest for yourself :-).

If you enjoy police procedurals, you would be mad to miss this series! It really stands out from the rest and I for one can’t wait to read his next novel.

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

Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe #Blogtour #BookReview @JSThrillers @HoZ_Books

Blank bookcover with clipping path

I am delighted to by joining the blog tour today for J.S. Monroe’s gripping new novel, Forget My Name and I want to thank Vicky of publishing house Head of Zeus for the tour invite and sending a copy my way! I’ll share my thoughts about the novel in a minute but do take a look at this fabulous blurb first.

whats-it-about-2

You are outside your front door. There are strangers in your house. Then you realise… You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

amazon uk amazon com

iBooks |Kobo | GooglePlay

Author

Author photo

J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. Monroe is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller, Find Me.

Connect

Twitter : @JSThrillers

fB : @JSMonroeFindMe

review-2

Blimey! I read a novel I’m not likely to forget soon. Forget My Name is a thrilling read and it has an excellent plotline involving amnesia. I was delighted to find it felt differently from other novels about memory loss and my mouth almost dropped when I realised what was the truth and really at the base of this novel. There’s so much more to it than I assumed at first.

To be honest, I don’t know if I would and I wonder if other people would really let someone in who turns up at their doorstep claiming to live there so quickly, but luckily Tony and Laura do, they open their door and let the woman on their doorstep in to get to her senses, and with that act of goodwill the story is well set into motion and will twist and turn continuously.

I loved all the guesswork in this novel and this time it wasn’t only me, everyone was trying to find out who the mystery woman was and the wildest assumptions were made making her the suspect of being a Russian spy to a ruthless killer or even a long lost family member. But which one is it? As a reader you just don’t know which path the story is going to take ultimately, everything goes and that makes it a brilliantly unpredictable novel. I couldn’t get a grip on the mystery woman either, who is named Jemma – with a J -. She seemed genuine enough but I did wonder occasionally if she really was all she seemed. She did seem legit and she definitely knew Tom and Laura’s house though. My thoughts were running wild, and then, when I thought I had finally figured it out, the author made my confidence waver and the situation turned out to be completely different than I had thought and the story took off on a second wave of even more questions about what was going on right there. I certainly wouldn’t place any bets when reading this novel, you might lose your money.  

I can’t really say more about this novel because it would spoil so much fun, but this one falls in the category of one of my favorite tropes, so of course I couldn’t contain a little shriek of contentment when I saw where this was going. I read similar novels about what ‘Jemma’ is going through before but I’d certainly recommend this one if anyone asks. The plot has lots of mystery and thrills and a deep dark secret too and the author has a brilliant way of writing about it. I had no idea where Forget My Name was going to take me but it still surprised me more than I had anticipated!

Follow the rest of the tour :

Blog Tour Poster 2