Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon

imageA great debut novel by Holly Seddon, Try Not To Breathe is an excellent read that you will not want to put down.
Alex is a freelance journalist whose life is a wreck. Her marriage had collapsed due to her alcoholism and both have a major influence on her life. The alcohol controls her whole life, she only works certain hours then she can be back home with nothing to disturb the drinking. Amy is the same age and from the same area but her life could not be more different. She was attacked fifteen years earlier and has been in a comatose state since.
Alex is trying to write her come back article in which she is looking at comatose patients and how they might be more responsive than people think and Amy is the patient on who she focuses.She starts to visit her, plays music that she knows she likes and tries to get some answers on who attacked her.
I really liked Alex, she knew she had to get her life back on track and was trying her hardest to prove to herself and people around her that she would succeed. The addiction was fascinating, I’ve never read a book where it showed how controlling it could be. How she accepted the consequences that the addiction was having on her health.
The narrative switches between the characters and time since the attack. Amy’s narrative was quite eerie, it showed that she was aware that her life was different, she knew who attacked her but she didn’t know why she had no contact with most people she knew or how life had moved on.
It didn’t go the way I thought it would, there were a few surprises during the read and I think I  suspected most people who were in the book.
This was a really addictive read, yet another that is likened to Girl on a Train (I really wish they wouldn’t do this). I found it nothing like, but it is a very strong novel and will probably be a huge success.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy received.

My Top Books From 2015

My top eleven books of the year are listed below. It should have been ten but the last book I read had to be added and I didn’t want to remove one. They are in no particular order.

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons








The Hummingbird by Kati Hiekkapelto


How To Be Brave by Louise Beech


The Lost by Claire Mcgowan


In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware


I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh


Normal by Graeme Cameron


Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans


Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt


Shtum by Jem Lester


Snow Blind by Ragnar Jónasson



Snow Blind by Ragnar Jónasson

imageAri Thór Arason is a new police recruit who has just got his first position within the police in a village called Siglufjördur in Northern Iceland. He moves there, leaving behind his girlfriend Kristín. He feels lonely, both parents are dead and he misses his girlfriend. He isn’t sure if their relationship will survive him being away from Reykjavik.
He accepts the nickname of the Reverend in good faith when he realises it is public knowledge that he studied theology before going into the police force. But despite the affectionate term he feels very much an outsider especially when the two cases that they have to investigate have taken place in a village where everybody knows each other and everybody insists that there are no secrets. But Ari refuses to accept what he is told and continues to dig into the past.
It’s very claustrophobic. I can’t really imagine how I would feel to be trapped in a town by bad weather. Where the only way in and out is through a tunnel and an avalanche has made inaccessible. A feeling that must be so much worse when you don’t know anybody and don’t know who to trust.
I loved the way Ari would think of something or ask a question and you didn’t find out straight away what he discovered. Just a little enticement to read a little bit more. And I loved to read about the Icelandic tradition regarding books at Christmas. It sounds wonderful. It is beautifully written (and translated by Quentin Bates) and I’m looking forward to reading the second book Night Blind very soon.

My copy is a limited edition signed hardback (no 134). It will be treasured.

Follow Me

imageFollow Me is a crime novel that focuses on social media and how influential it has become but also a reminder of how dangerous it can be if you interact with the wrong person.
At times I found it bizarre, I do use social media but not to the extent that Freddie did. I wasn’t that sure what some of it was, there is a lot more about than just Facebook and Twitter. But I did know a lot more about it than the police that had to find the murderer. I found it a bit unbelievable that the police were so inept, the only one who showed any capabilities was Nas and she was guided a lot by Freddie.
I have seen a few reviews where the reader had failed to connect with Freddie but I quite liked her. She had a tough childhood and something happened with her and Nas when they were teenagers that she still felt bad about years later. You do find out what this was towards the end of the book. She was trying to get a paid job in journalism with little success and was working in a coffee shop doing a job that she hated.
If you like your crime fiction to be the usual police procedural then this novel probably wouldn’t be for you. But if you fancy something a little different, amusing but still gritty then give it a try.

Half a World Away

imageHalf a World Away was a great reintroduction to Cath Staincliffe’s novels. The book is about new graduate Lorelei who goes on holiday to China. She sets up a blog and posts regular diary posts with photographs and emails her family regularly. And then it all stops. The blog isn’t updated, phone calls go to voicemail and emails remain unanswered. When her parents feel they are not getting enough answers they fly over to try and find her.
The biggest thing for me with this novel was how different life was in China to how it is here. No freedom of speech, people afraid to get involved in case the police or people with power became aware of it. Jo and Tom are being controlled by the Chinese police, they are held back repeatedly as they try and search for their daughter. Jo also has problems at home to deal with as well. Her husband has been made redundant, and her youngest child has mood swings.
I found this a quick fascinating read, I wanted to know what had happened to her and also because I was learning about a country that I knew nothing about. Despite the police, the food and the climate its appeal was still there. I didn’t really think of it as a crime novel. It is a crime investigation but mostly it is about the desperation felt by a parent in finding their daughter.
Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley.