About The Book
We all see what we want to see…
2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.
1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.
A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A Version Of The Truth wasn’t really what I expected it to be. I did expect secrets to be revealed and for lives to fall apart. What I didn’t expect was for the storyline to be mainly about how one of the characters dealt with what she found out. I also didn’t expect to detest so many of the characters, most of them are repulsive. There were only two I liked throughout, but they appeared less than everybody else. Two did grow on me as I read more and I realised how they had been duped. The others were cruel, controlling, elitist and they had many other faults that I struggle to reveal without spoilers.
Narrated by both Julianne and Holly my feelings changed a few times about whose account I preferred to read. Julianne appealed most at first, her account was more about how she handled realising that she had never really known her husband. When I found out what really happened to Holly and saw more of her strength I found I preferred her. I wanted her to be strong, happy and away from the university and her unfeeling mother.
I did find the ending a little abrupt, but overall its a good debut.
About The Book
There’s a stranger in your house…
When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.
But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.
As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?
Cuckoo was a novel that had me feeling increasingly uneasy as I read it. At the beginning when Caro arrives at her childhood home I thought she was just a little paranoid, exhausted and unsettled after spending so long away.
She is an illustrator and has a commission to provide drawings for a book of fairy tales. But these tales are not ones that you would feel happy a child reading. I remember fairy tales as being slightly fluffy with only a slight threat in the background. These tales are how they would have been without the true threat removed. They were not tales you would like to read in an old house with its creaks and isolation. Especially when you can also see the images that Caro has created.
Along with increasing unease there were the twists. By the end I was feeling completely duped by everything I had read and wanted to reread parts to see if I had missed anything. I did, I hadn’t. I was just cleverly misled.
Not many of the main characters are very likeable. They were brittle, defensive and unfriendly. It was one of the lesser characters I did like more than than anybody else.
It’s a great book that I read mainly in one sitting on a glum December day. Sat in my nice warm home that had no unexplained noises, empty rooms full of unwanted memories or threats from the past and the present.
About The Book
A killer is on the loose, attacking people in places they feel most safe: their workplaces, their homes. It’s up to DS Grace Allendale to stop the murders, and prove herself to her new team.
All clues lead to local crime family the Steeles, but that’s where things get complicated. Because the Steeles aren’t just any family, they’re Grace’s family. Two brothers and two sisters, connected by the violent father only Grace and her mother escaped.
To catch the killer, Grace will have to choose between her team and her blood. But who do you trust, when both sides are out to get you?
With thanks to the publishers for the copy received. The book starts with a murder. The more you find out about this man in the flashbacks throughout the novel made me feel little sympathy for his death. He was a horrible man whose actions had severe repercussions for the rest of his family. His murder is only the first and occurs before Grace returns to Stoke. It is the subsequent murders that she has to try to solve but she does have a connection to him. And it is that connection to him that could stop her becoming part of the team in her home town.
His actions are described in the book from a child’s point of view. You see the fear and upset over the violence shown to a mother but much of it is from listening to what is happening. It’s different to what I’ve read before and at times chilling.
Grace was a character who I warmed to instantly. Still struggling after the loss of her husband and mother she has moved back down to Stoke. Whilst the move could be good for her it also brings back unwelcome memories and brings her into contact with family she wants to have no contact with. But she has a stubborn streak, is determined to be honest with her new colleagues and solve the murders that are happening. I was willing her to succeed and not feel threatened by events that were happening in modern-day and the memories of her childhood.
I loved the descriptions of Stoke, it’s somewhere I’ve never been. It must be easy to over describe a place you know well and I found it worked perfectly here. I had a feeling of the area, with its history. places to see and places to go. And the oatcakes.
I really enjoyed Mel’s Allie Shenton series so was looking forward to what her new series would be like. I was delighted that there were some characters that had reappeared.
It is good news that book two will be released in Spring 2019.I am looking forward to seeing Grace and her team become good friends.
About the Book
When silence falls, who will hear their cries?
The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.
After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Everything I have heard about this series of books has been great and I’m kicking myself that this is the first that I have read. Obviously this isn’t ideal but I had no problem following the storyline. I plan on catching up as soon as possible and have the first two books from the series on my kindle.
There are quite a few murders in this novel, they are gruesome but not where the reader feels that there is too much information. What they do show is a very deep image of how much pain the victims go through. I don’t think I’ve read a crime novel before that is like this, where the victim is given so big a personality and you know what their final thoughts are. It was poignant but also made me feel tension, hoping that they would be found in time, that this one wouldn’t die.
I have only ever seen the tourist side to Edinburgh, like many cities it has its homeless and drug problem. In this novel the drug is spice, reading how it affected the people who took it was chilling and very convincing.
I found the team fascinating and likeable. From what I can gather the series is usually focused on Luc but this book is mainly about Ava. This probably made it easier to follow and will have no impact on me reading the series out of sequence. I gather that Luc is a big hit with readers, again, I will probably see the reasons why when I read the other books. There was at least one character I was mistaken about, a more compassionate side was revealed as I got towards the end.
Despite the often upsetting storyline there were humorous parts, a storyline that runs through most of the novel had me smiling a lot. Especially when the ‘why’ couldn’t be revealed.
This is a series that I can’t wait to catch up on and I’m also looking forward to what happens next.
About the Book
Here are two things I know about my mother:
1. She had dark hair, like mine.
2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.
Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.
But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.
Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.
And then a body is found…
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
11 Missed Calls is a dual narrative novel concerning two women in the same family. Debbie who is the mother of Anna, went missing on holiday in Tenerife thirty years ago when Anna was a baby. They each have their story to tell. Debbie has struggled with depression and low esteem since the birth of Anna, her second child. Anna struggles to accept that her mother left her as baby and refuses to accept the rest of her family’s belief that she is dead. When communication is received to suggest Anna is correct, there are mixed emotions from all concerned.
It is slow burning novel. The narrative switches with each chapter so it did take me a while to get to know the characters. It took me longer to understand Debbie, to accept that she wasn’t selfish but struggling with post natal depression, low self-esteem and loneliness. Looking after babies was considered to be the mother’s job and the sense of frustration when her husband complained about having to change nappies etc was evident. She couldn’t see what her family and friends could, that she was a beautiful young women with a devoted family.
Anna, I liked immediately. She was like Debbie in some ways but was more open. She wanted answers, but recognised that they would cause anguish for others. It had been an obsession, but I can’t imagine what it must be like. Not to know and understand what happened. She was very much like her grandfather, Debbie’s father with her need to never give up hope.
It’s difficult to select a genre for this novel. It is a powerful story of relationships and bonding. Not only between parent and daughter but also in marriage and friendship. I think there are many families like this, where the need to cope with everyday commitments leaves feelings unspoken about. It is a novel that shows how important communication is.
I live in the area where the book is set, and I enjoyed reading about the places I know. There were a few times I was laughing to myself, these parts would probably only appreciate if you knew them too.
A great follow-up to 99 Red Balloons and I’m looking forward to book three.