The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

It begins with an abduction. The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end…they find nothing. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air.
A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer’s day is broken by the wail of sirens.
Sara and Will are trained to help in an emergency. Their jobs – their vocations – mean that they run towards a crisis, not away from it. But on this one terrible day that instinct betrays them both. Within hours the situation has spiralled out of control; Sara is taken prisoner; Will is forced undercover. And the fallout will lead them into the Appalachian mountains, to the terrible truth about what really happened to Michelle, and to a remote compound where a radical group has murder in mind…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Even though I have read books by Karin Slaughter before I have never read one from the Will Trent series. I had no problems following the storyline though. Despite knowing nothing about any of the characters.

The action starts immediately with the abduction of a mother who is out shopping with her daughter. Whilst this is unexpected, you would expect it to be the daughter, it isn’t the main focus of the storyline. What is, starts when Sara and Will are just about to have a family meal and are interrupted by an emergency situation. And it is one of the most convincing, terrifying and sickening that I have ever read. 

There are three points of view. Sara’s, Will’s and Faith, his partner and good friend to both of them. It was Sara’s I preferred, mainly because she was the one who was in the midst, but also because I understood her story a lot more. There is a lot to understand about white supremacy groups and I did find some of the terminology a little confusing at times. But as the story progressed and the danger levels increased I struggled to put the book down.

It is a series I need to catch up on. I want to know more about Will and how he turned his life around and how  he met Sara. And I want to know more about Faith and her brilliant and sometimes witty approach to being a mother. 


The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. 

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? 

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read a book by Jeffrey Deaver so when I found out that this book was the start of a new series it seemed a good one to start with. I was not disappointed, and I now have more books to read at some point in the future.

Colter was a character I liked instantly, I could tell that he was doing his job out of a desire to save a life, not just for the reward. I enjoyed the glimpses of his childhood and the survival techniques he was taught. And I liked his no mess attitude, the bravery, his use of percentages to assess a situation and his attitude when he was proven right or wrong. 

The gaming industry that is the theme in this book is one that baffles me. I don’t understand how people can sit for hours obsessed with online death or survival. And the thought of turning that online activity into reality is terrifying. I had also never given a thought to what else the gaming companies might be involved in. Something that made me more dubious about various gadgets that are in many homes.

A great start to a series, I will be looking forward to reading more about Colter in the future. 


The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine – Review – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

The past is about to become the present… 

Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile. Left rootless by the death of her estranged father, she is faced with the daunting task of sorting through his possessions. Amidst the dust of her old life, Ruth discovers a hidden diary from the eighteenth century, written by her ancestor, Thomas Erskine. As she sifts through the ancient pages of the past, Ruth is pulled into a story that she can’t escape.

As the youngest son of a noble family Thomas’ life started in genteel poverty, but his extraordinary experiences propel him from the high seas to Lord Chancellor. Yet, on his journey through life, he makes a powerful enemy who hounds him to the death – and beyond.
Ruth has opened a door to the past that she can’t close, and meets a ghost in her family tree who wasn’t invited. She will have to draw upon new friends and old in what will become a battle for her very survival…

The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine’s own personal history – branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via LoveReading. It is many years since I read a novel by Barbara Erskine. I always enjoyed the ones I had read, so was looking forward to reading this new one, especially when I realised that one of the themes concerned genealogy. The author has done a brilliant job of combining her own family tree, a haunting and modern day fraud into a fictional work. I spent a lot of time looking at the handwritten family tree at the beginning of the novel.

The modern day story concerns Ruth, who is trying to protect her inheritance whilst reading and researching her family’s past, Timothy and April the siblings who are determined to get their hands on her property and Thomas the man who Ruth is descended from. And present throughout is Andrew Farquhar, the man who is determined to get revenge. Everybody has underestimated how far he is prepared to go in his resolve to make Thomas pay. His character was probably the strongest one. You can’t beat a malevolent spirit!

Some of Thomas’s story is revealed through Ruth reading his journals. I have to admit that I preferred him when he was younger. His time in the navy and when he first met his wife Fanny showed his better side. As he got older and more powerful I had a lot less empathy for him. Even though I did realise that he was being controlled by some. One of the more chilling parts of the novel concerned him witnessing a public hanging. Whilst I have read similar the account of how the crowd took a lot of delight in the act was horrifying.

I liked Ruth. She was loyal to Thomas, not interested in making money from his journals, just wanting to know more about what happened to him and his immediate family. But the modern day story I preferred was the one that concerned April and Timothy and the way that their whole life changed because of greed and dishonesty.

I would like to thank Charlotte Walker for asking me to be part of LoveReading’s Ambassador Book Buzz.

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis – Blog Tour Review.


About The Book

With a high-flying job, a beautiful apartment and friends whose lives are as happy as her own, Vivienne Shager is living the dream. Then, on the afternoon of Vivi’s twenty-seventh birthday, one catastrophic minute changes everything.

Forced to move back to the small seaside town where she grew up, Vivi remembers the reasons she left. The secrets, lies and questions that now must be answered before it’s too late. But the answers lie in thirty years in the past…

Shelley Raynor’s family home, Deerwood Farm, has always been a special place until darkness strikes at its heart. When Vivi’s and Shelley’s worlds begin to entwine, it only takes a moment for the truth to unravel all of their lives.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. One Minute Later is a book that I wouldn’t usually read but every now and again I need something a little different. The first half of it is dual narrative, Vivi, who has been diagnosed with a life changing illness in modern day and Shelley whose narrative starts in the 1980s and moves forward towards modern day. It was Shelley’s story I preferred. I liked the family’s efforts to make their farm a success, the hectic family life and the people in general. Vivi I couldn’t warm too, I found the way she was with her mother quite difficult to read.

The second half of the novel focuses on Vivi more and the way she has to live with her condition. I found her more likeable here, she has a better relationship with her mother, and I enjoyed reading about her relationship with Josh, the way she was accepted by his family and her finding out the truth about her father. But the most important factor to this part of the novel was the way it highlighted the importance of organ donation. It doesn’t force a reader to sign the register as such, more it shows how many lives could be changed and the way the person who needs a transplant has to live their lives.

Coincidentally, a real life character in the novel, Jim Lynksey, was on a breakfast news talking about his wait for a heart and how important the register is. 


Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You’ve known her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. But she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. And it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just begun. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Pieces of Her is only the second book that I have read by Karin Slaughter. Like this, that was a standalone novel. I am aware that she has a huge fan base and after reading this book, which left me at times with my heart racing and had me chewing on my knuckles I know why. And I know I have a huge back catalogue to enjoy.
It took me a while to get used to both of the main characters. Andy has some major issues, I couldn’t tell if it was lack of confidence or depression and at times she really annoyed me. But there was one moment in this book that my opinion changed completely and I was rooting for her. I don’t think I was meant to laugh but I did. I didn’t know what the situation was with Laura, I felt that she was pushing Andy away for her own safety but didn’t know why. The reason I came up with was totally wrong, and the real reason isn’t revealed until much later.
The narrative switches back and forth throughout the entire novel. The chapters are fairly long and the second half of the novel was when I was chewing on my knuckles, anxious to get back to find out more.
I’ve thought for a long time that a female author is better at creating a character that feels really evil. There are two characters in this novel that made me cringe every time they appeared. Karin Slaughter has proved me right in my thinking and has also showed that she is one of the best.

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