All Your Little Lies by Marianne Holmes – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When everything you say is a lie, can you even remember the truth?

Annie lives a quiet, contained, content life. She goes to work. She meets her friend. She’s kind of in a relationship. She’s happy. Not lonely at all.

If only more people could see how friendly she is — how eager to help and please. Then she could tick “Full Happy Life” off her list. But no one sees that side of Annie, and she can’t understand why.

That all changes the night Chloe Hills disappears. And Annie is the last person to see her.

This is her chance to prove to everybody that she’s worth something. That is, until she becomes a suspect.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. It’s not often where I find a narrator who made me feel extremely edgy but it was I got with Annie. I have to admit that this feeling didn’t last for the whole length of the novel but she definitely wasn’t a character who I would like to meet in real life. And even though my feelings did change slightly when I realised what had happened in her past somewhat, she was still someone who I felt wary of. Even though this book is about a missing girl, most of the novel concerns Annie and the way she handles the situation. Which has to be said isn’t well. 

Apart from the character of Annie what I found interesting about this novel was the impact a missing child had on the local community. This isn’t really told from the point of view of the police. Instead it’s about those who come together to search, help, and at times turn vigilante as suspects are revealed. It also show how rumours and gossip spread and how dangerous it can be. Often without any thought for the victim or their family and friends. It also shows that there will always be the ones who don’t really care, who are more concerned about the impact it has on them rather than a family going through their worst nightmare. 

Alongside the story that concerns the missing girl there are also brief passages that show an unsettling friendship between three girls. They are short but sinister, when you see how easy it is to manipulate a dangerous situation. 

This is the first book I have read by this author, I would definitely read another.

You And Me by Nicola Rayner – Review.

About The Book

This is not a love story…

Watching sunrises together should have been romantic.

But you were always inside with your wife, and I sat in your garden, in the shadows.

I thought you’d never know how I felt about you.

Until one night, I witnessed a terrible crime.

I wanted it to bring us closer together.

But now the secrets are tumbling out.

And they could tear everything apart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Fran is a loner, known by the cruel nickname Freaky Fran when she was at school she is the type of person who finds the real world difficult to be in. She would to prefer to live in her little book world, surrounded by all her favourite characters. She doesn’t have many people she can talk to in the real world. Her mother is dead, her sister and niece estranged and has a sometime distant relationship with an old school friend. One who knows about her extremely concerning obsession with another old school friend Charles. This isn’t an obsession that takes place across social media platforms. This is one where she watches his home and place of work but when he starts to make contact, after the death of another from school  she starts to feel that she is happier with the image she has in her mind rather than the reality.

I liked Fran a lot and had a lot of sympathy for her. She definitely didn’t handle her predicament well, it would take a very strong person to admit they had seen a death whilst they were stalking somebody else. I wanted to know more about her sister and why they argued and I wanted her to be able to relax and start to realise who her friends were. 

This is a crime novel but it also concerns mental health and a few other medical conditions that it would be difficult to reveal without spoilers. There is a heart to the storyline that shows you never know what is behind certain actions. 

There were plenty of twists, none of which I saw coming but it did all work surprisingly well. It’s well written, a great storyline with some decidedly unpleasant characters and an interesting account of a job in a bookshop. I would definitely read more by this author. 

The Devil And The Dark Water by Stuart Turton – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

An impossible murder 
A remarkable detective duo 
A demon who may or may not exist

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia.

But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night. And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft. Third: an impossible murder. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes? 

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was looking forward to reading this book after thoroughly enjoying The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Even though it is completely different with the storyline and setting it was similar with its depth of character and plot. You couldn’t  read  either of these books quickly. It is probably the longest I’ve taken to read a book all year. 

I was lucky enough to read a sampler a few months ago, which ended on a sinister note so I knew that this was a novel that unsettle me. The fear of a ship under a threat from a devil was extremely convincing. All of the characters reacted in a different way and it didn’t take long for simmering  resentments to boil over into an increasingly dangerous situation.

It wasn’t just the threat from the devil that left me uneasy. The leper, who should have been dead, the attitudes to the women on board the ship and the animosity between the sailors and rest of the passengers  left me in no doubt about how volatile the situation was. And when the storm hit and lives became endangered this feeling increased. I had no idea who I could trust, who could have been possessed and no idea which way the storyline would end.

A lot felt believable. In particular the way in which women were regarded. The marriages they were forced into and the way in which they were controlled by the families. I wasn’t quite sure that they would have been as strong willed and forward thinking as they were portrayed but it did work well in the storyline. The superstitions were believable and I imagine that many sailors in modern day have similar views. 

I read this book digitally, I would love to read it again as a print copy. From what I have seen it is stunning, it would probably be a more enjoyable read and it has the added bonus of maps. 

Playdate by Alex Dahl – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

It was meant to be your daughter’s first sleepover. 
Now it’s an abduction. 

Lucia Blix went home from school for a playdate with her new friend Josie. Later that evening, her mother Elisa dropped her overnight things round and shared a glass of wine with Josie’s mother. Then she kissed her little girl goodnight and drove home.

That was the last time she saw her daughter. 

The next morning, when Lucia’s dad arrived to pick her up, the house was empty. No furniture, no family, no Lucia.

In Playdate, Alex Dahl puts a microscope on a seemingly average, seemingly happy family plunged into a life-altering situation.

Who has taken their daughter, and why?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Elisa is a bit reluctant to let her young daughter go to a friend’s house after school for a ‘play date’ but because she can see how excited Lucia is, how well she gets on with her friend and the friendliness of her mother she agrees. But her world falls apart when there is no sign of the house being lived in the day after when her husband goes to collect his daughter. 

What makes this novel so original is the lack of storyline involving the police investigation. Instead the novel concerns Elisa trying to come to terms with Lucia’s disappearance, Lucia, confused, frightened and not knowing what to believe, Jacqueline, abductor, understandably damaged, Marcus, a man who is in an open prison for reasons unknown and Selma, a journalist who is determined to find out what what happened.

The narrative switched between them all constantly throughout but it was very easy to follow. And with the chapters being so short I found it difficult to put aside. Waiting to see what would happen next to the character concerned.

It is one of those novels where the reader is aware of what happened fairly early on but not why. The reason is revealed in the latter half of the novel, but I had decided a lot earlier that I wasn’t that keen on Elisa. I struggled to know why until the very end but I was glad that my gut instinct was a correct one. 

Whilst my favourite character by a long was Selma, simply for her determination and her care of Medusa her cat I had a lot of empathy for Jacqueline. I know her actions were wrong but I could understand why she did what she did.

Playdate is one of the more original crime novels that I have read this year. A fascinating storyline and I also enjoyed the descriptions of the countries in which the novel takes place.

He Started It by Samantha Downing – Review.

About The Book

No-one knows you better than your family.

They know the little things that make you smile. Your proudest achievements. Your darkest secrets. 

Sure, you haven’t always been best friends. 

But if it seemed as though someone was after you, that you might be in danger, then you’d be on each other’s side.

Right?

So gripping you won’t stop reading.

So twisty that you won’t know who to trust.

And so dark that you’ll realise something truly chilling:

No-one is more dangerous than the ones who know you best.

My Review

I hadn’t read Samantha Downing’s first book so was unprepared for the enjoyment I would get by reading this novel. I love dual time frame novels and this was one of the better ones. Same characters, set in modern day and when they were young children doing the same road trip. And the more I read the increasingly unlikeable they became. Nothing would get me in car with any of them. I have probably never misjudged so many characters in one book.

Three siblings, Beth, Portia and Eddie. Beth’s husband Felix and Eddie’s wife Krista. This isn’t a close family, they barely tolerate each other. All of them  prefer to communicate by text, mainly to complain about another in the group. None are honest with each other, especially Beth who has never revealed the truth about what happened concerning her parents to Felix and he has no idea that there was an older sister. The reasons why become clearer the more you read. 

The location fascinated me, I had initially thought that the tourist attractions were invented but after researching a couple I found I was mistaken. I’m not sure I would visit a barbed wire museum but would have enjoyed everything to do with Bonnie and Clyde and seeing the Codger Pole.

It’s full it twists, none of which I saw coming and I enjoyed every one of them. I had it all worked out which way things would go and I was wrong on just about everything.