The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

It’s Christmas 1845 and Haworth is in the grip of a freezing winter. 

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are rather losing interest in detecting until they hear of a shocking discovery: the bones of a child have been found interred within the walls of a local house, Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous and brutish Bradshaw family. 

When the sisters set off to find out more, they are confronted with an increasingly complex and sinister case, which leads them into the dark world of orphanages, and onto the trail of other lost, and likely murdered children. After another local boy goes missing, Charlotte, Emily and Anne vow to find him before it’s too late. 

But in order to do so, they must face their most despicable and wicked adversary yet – one that would not hesitate to cause them the gravest of harm . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. How did I not know there was a Brontë Mystery series? Before I got a few chapters in I was fascinated by the idea, the setting and all of the characters. Despite not reading the first book in the series I had no problem getting to appreciate any of them. It didn’t even matter that my knowledge of the Brontë family is slim. I am only aware of who wrote which book and how young they were when they died. 

It is one of those few novels that contain everything I enjoy in fiction. A mystery, a touch of the gothic, historical facts and likeable characters. I did feel a touch of sadness because I know how and when they died and the opening chapter is very poignant. I wanted to know how many similarities the Brontë family had in this novel had to the real life family, in particular the relationship that they had with Tabby, if she existed, and the self destructive attitude of Branwell. 

Whilst you have to suspend belief that the Brontë sisters were a team of detectives what this novel does show extremely well is portray the life at the time. The struggle to keep warm,the harsh life in the orphanages, the customs and superstitions, the feeling of horror at crossing the border into Lancashire and the attitudes towards the Irish. 

This book was just what I needed after a slight reading slump.

The Searcher by Tana French – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.

Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whilst The Searcher is described as a crime novel or ‘a novel with a murder’ it is slightly different to all of the ones I usually read. There are a few reasons, the lead character is a retired police officer who is a long way from where he was based so has no contacts, little knowledge of the local area or customs, has no jurisdiction and the investigation isn’t the main thread in the novel. Instead the focus is on Cal’s attempting to rebuild his life in the small town on the West Coast of Ireland. It was this side of the story that was the strongest for me.

The description of the local area, the nature, the weather, the wildlife ( in particular the rooks) and the people were spot on. Much of it made me smile, particularly the scenes that featured Noreen the local shopkeeper and the initial scenes involving Trey, otherwise known as The Kid.

Cal is initially reluctant to get involved but he does so despite knowing that it could jeopardise his standing in the area. He wants to be accepted, not regarded as a ‘blow-in’ or trouble. His involvement isn’t without difficulties, some of it caused my naïveté, some by ill feeling from the locals to him sticking his nose in but he does get there.

As I said at the beginning of my review I liked the story of village life more. I would like to know more about Cal as he settles down in his new life. 

Happy Dog Days At The Pug Cafe by Anushka Fernando and Bertie The Pug – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Bertie the pug had an unlucky start in life.

Diagnosed with hemivertebrae and unable to walk, his owner decided to open up a dog-friendly cafe where he could meet friends and have fun.

The Pug Cafe quickly became a very special place for all dog owners to meet and have a drink.

But when the cafe faced closure, it was brave Bertie the pug and his friends who came to the rescue.

Inspired by true events, Happy Days at the Pug Cafe tells the heartwarming story of one little pug and his beloved cafe.

Help yourself to a Puguccino, put up your paws and get your nose into the heartwarming tale of Bertie and friends.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have a confession to make. I am a cat person, not a dog person, I have never owned a dog. But I still enjoyed this book which was a welcome breath of fresh air after a long bout of crime fiction and an even longer bout of depressing news. 

When Anushka fulfils her life long dream of owning a pug she has little idea how many friends that it would bring into her lonely world.  What starts as a series of meet-ups in a park soon escalates into the pug cafe and she is unprepared for how successful it would be, the positivity and a little bit of negativity that it brought.  Cleverly told by both her and Bertie the pug every step of her journey is shown. What friendships are formed, heartache and suspicion and pitfalls along the way. 

I have to say that I did prefer to read Anushka’s narrative, even though Bertie’s is very sweet. This is probably for no other reason than not understanding dogs. I could visualise clearly though the hatred of rain and the love of treats. And of course sharing his bed with his humans.

Since reading this book I have visited the various media pages of the pug cafe and it is evident how popular and loved  it is. I’m sure this book will be adored by many dog owners. 

The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Anybody who is familiar with this series will know that it is slightly different to most others. Instead of moving forward in time it moves backwards, so this final book in the trilogy is the furthest back in time. It shows in some detail the tragedy that tore apart Hulda’s life. 

The reader gets to know her fairly well. The way she does her job, quietly but efficiently and the way her home life is causing her concern. Her daughter’s depression is difficult for her to understand, even though the reader can guess at what the problem is. 

But there is another part of this novel and that concerns Erla and Einar. They live in an isolated farmhouse that becomes more so when the weather turns bad. And when a stranger turns up asking to come in they are unprepared for what follows. And it is the isolation, the threat from the stranger and what he wants that is by far the strongest part of this novel. You forget that there was once a life without mobile phones. Where if your landline wasn’t working and there was no electricity that you couldn’t use a mobile to ask for help of even use as a torch. The intimidation caused by the conditions and the stranger seemed to intensify every time I turned the page. 

I have now read two series by this author, both different and both captivating. I can’t wait to see what will come next. 

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday – Review.

About The Book

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Amelia is part of a group of people who have been invited to an event. None of them have any idea where they are going or what they will be doing. They also don’t know anything about any of their travel companions. Most of them have the public image that they want to glorify and they all have something that they want to try and keep hidden. The most exciting part of this novel for me was when and how their secret would be revealed. And all of their secrets made me think about each of them differently. Some with pity and some with revulsion. The rivalries and friendships made in the small group were perfect. I could really sense the tension between them, especially the women.

It’s an unusual novel that I struggle to assign to just one genre. There is a crime element, but also Sci- fi, tech, and suspense. The tech was just enough for me. It didn’t go over my head and was just about the right amount to make me wary. 

When I read a book by this author I know that it will always be a little different. No two books have been the same. What I didn’t expect was to find some thoroughly unlikeable characters or rediscovering my childhood with the references to The Famous Five. But you have no need to be concerned if you are not familiar with that series. This novel is completely original and I think it will be a long time before I read anything like it again.