How to be Brave

imageI am certain that How to be Brave is going to be a huge success. Based on fact, there are two stories running throughout the novel and both are equally addictive. Natalie and her nine year old daughter Rose are struggling to accept and adapt to the fact that Rose has been diagnosed with type one diabetes. To make the injections that she needs to survive less of a battle Natalie starts to tell Rose about her great grandfather (Colin) who was adrift in a lifeboat for over a month during WW2. She adds to the story by reading an excerpt from Colin’s diary that was found in a box of items that belonged to his wife.
The other story focuses on Colin and his fellow survivors after the ship they were travelling on was torpedoed by the enemy. They had to find land before they ran out of supplies, cope with the blistering heat, some injuries and a constant companion -a shark.
At times I was very emotional. Reading about everything that Colin and his friends had to endure, understandably terrified, but still at times trying to make light of their situation.. And then at the same time reading about Natalie and Rose’s relationship being affected by the diabetes. Both very much alike they had to get past the anger and frustration that the diagnosis had brought. But reading about the events that occurred in 1943 helped them both.
I adored this novel. I did cry quite a lot. I don’t think I’ve cried so much over a book since reading Charlotte’s Web when I was about six years old! But while it didn’t make me laugh as such I did smile a few times. The relationship between Mother, Daughter, Colin and his friends was really quite special.
How to be Brave will definitely be one of my top ten books of the year. It’s a hard act to follow.
With massive thanks to Orenda Books for sending me a copy of this novel.

The House on Cold Hill

imageI like a good horror story, not the type that are full of blood and gore but the ones that play with your mind. The ones that have you wary of being in the house on your own and makes you want to put every light on. The House on Cold Hill does all of this and more.
The ‘scares’ started immediately and stayed pretty intense all the way through. A few of them weren’t convincing but the majority had me biting my nails. I don’t want to go into much detail about any of the events, everybody will find different things that bother them more. But for me it was the windows.
I found Ollie and his family to be the most unbelievable part of the novel. How a couple who were very successful in their careers could overlook all of the work that needed doing on the house.
A very good fairly quick ghostly read for anybody who enjoys to be scared.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley

The Blissfully Dead

imageI was never a teenager who became obsessed with a band, pop star or actor but have heard about those who do in the media. From what I picked up from that source over the years The Blissfully Dead is chillingly accurate.
Teenage girls who worship a boy band are being tortured and murdered. Lennon and his team at desperate to find the killer before more die. They have to find a connection between thousands of forum and social media posts to try and find a link. And then the killing gets much closer.
I like the group of detectives who feature in this series with the exception of one, Winkler. He is just as obnoxious and infuriating as he was in From the Cradle. The only difference was that I could laugh at him as well as snarl. There wasn’t as much focus on Lennon’s private life which I was slightly disappointed in. I hope that we find out more in future books, as well as more about Carmella and Suzanne.
The band and all the people associated with them were believable, some of the fans not so but I did enjoy reading about their antics. I really enjoyed the parts that’s involved Kai, he was very entertaining.
I am looking forward to reading more in this series, I have read both books in the last couple of weeks and enjoyed them very much.
With thanks to Marks Edwards and Louise Voss for the copy received via netgalley.

The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds

imageA series of sweetheart murders take place in a small town named Texarkana in 1946. Charlie Yates is a New York reporter who is out of favour with his boss. He is told to get out of New York and get the story.
His marriage is over and it looks like his career is heading the same way so he does as he is told. Nobody in Texarkana wants him there, they just see him as a hack who is desperate for his story with no thought for the victims or their families. The police see him as trouble and are very convincingly intimidating in their attempts to drive him out of town.
The Dark Inside is one of the most accurate titles of books that I have read. It is a fantastic novel that is very dark at times. Sometimes a little too much so for me and for a short period I could only read a few chapters at a time. Charlie is hard to warm to initially, he isn’t blameless in the collapse of his marriage or for the fallout with his employers. Many of his problems are due to him being unable to participate in WW2, the reasons why are revealed during the novel.
However part way through, after a quite harrowing time for him my opinions changed and I was willing him to succeed. From that moment Charlie wanted to get answers for Lizzie a woman he had feelings for but mainly for himself. To prove everybody wrong.

Before I started this novel I expected it to be similar to Raymond Chandler but I was mistaken. It’s so much more bleak than that. I could see it being on the screen, it would need a strong cast to carry of such a great novel and would ideally be in black and white. That is my wish anyway.
Quite violent, very atmospheric and totally different to other books that have been published recently. An excellent debut novel by an author that will go far.
With thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy received by netgalley

From the Cradle by Mark Edwards and Louise Voss

imageFrom the Cradle is intense right from the opening chapter. We often read a crime novel where a lead police officer has a troubled private life but l think that Patrick Lennon must be very near the top of the list for having the most difficult and unusual one.
Along with Carmella, Winkler and Suzanne he is trying to find three young missing children. Very much aware that time is against them they are desperate to find a link and reunite the children with their frantic parents. Not all the team are working together. Winkler is not a team player and resents Lennon being in charge of the investigation. Lennon himself is struggling to stay in control. His private life is very close to the investigation and at times he questions his ability.
I had no idea which way the tale was going to go. There were a lot of twists throughout, especially in the final third, maybe if I’ve any gripe, a few too many. But it didn’t ruin the book at all.
I would love to know how writing a book as a joint project works. I have read books by Mark Edwards before but I’ve never read any of the books that are also written by Louise Voss. I was quite impressed and I am happy that I have the second book in the Patrick Lennon series to read. Incidentally the second novel The Blissfully Dead is released today.