Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years. 

But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…

There’s something terribly wrong. 

Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Sophie Hannah is always an author I enjoy, mainly because you can always rely on her to deliver something a little different. I have never read a storyline like this before and I had no idea which way it would go. Every solution I came up with was wrong.

The characterisation is very strong, particularly Beth and my favourite of them all her daughter Zannah. I thought she was brilliant, the way she managed to convince her father that her mother had a point, there was something not quite right with the Braids. But more so, her takedown of the teacher, which made me smile all day.

When, finally, the truth was revealed I went cold, this was evil control and I really hope there is nobody who has had to deal with a situation like this in real life. It is difficult to review without spoilers but if you choose to read this you won’t be disappointed.

My Top Ten Books of 2019

The time has come again to face an impossible task of narrowing the 117 books I have read into a top ten list. As always it was difficult to do but I have managed and I will list them in no particular order. Apart from my favourite book of the year which I will reveal at the end. You can see my review for each book by clicking on the title.

Expectation by Anna Hope.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman.

The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Red Snow by Will Dean

From The City, From The Plough by Alexander Baron

On My Life by Angela Clarke

The Taking Of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman

My Book of 2019

Turbulent Wake by Paul. E Hardisty

Many Rivers To Cross by Peter Robinson – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

A skinny young boy is found dead – his body carelessly stuffed into wheelie bin.

Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called to investigate. Who is the boy, and where did he come from? Was he discarded as rubbish, or left as a warning to someone? He looks Middle Eastern, but no one on the East Side Estate has seen him before.

As the local press seize upon an illegal immigrant angle, and the national media the story of another stabbing, the police are called to investigate a less newsworthy death: a middle-aged heroin addict found dead of an overdose in another estate, scheduled for redevelopment.

Banks finds the threads of each case seem to be connected to the other, and to the dark side of organised crime in Eastvale. Does another thread link to his friend Zelda, who is facing her own dark side? 

The truth may be more complex – or much simpler – than it seems . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Pigeonhole. Many Rivers To Cross is the latest novel in the Inspector Banks series. I found it slightly different to the previous books. Banks seemed to feature less with more focus on Gerry and Annie. When he does appear though, you still see his love of music and fine wine. My thoughts about his character though are changing with each novel. Maybe because of the TV series but also because his increasing loneliness makes him more vulnerable and a little needy with the women he knows.

There is also more focus on modern day news than in previous books. Politics, particularly Brexit, human trafficking, drugs and racism. All of which is seen daily in the news. One of these topics in particular, is covered more than the others and its heartbreaking and unfortunately very real.

One of the more interesting parts of the novel was Zelda’s story. She was a character I really liked. What she went through before her arrival in the UK was horrific and I can see her appearing in a few novels in the future.

This series has the potential to be successful for years to come. I can see it changing, some characters appearing more as Banks gets closer to retirement age but there are still plenty of stories there.

Peter Robinson will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 7th October .

Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly – Review – First Monday.

 

41AzwAN65xL

Erin Kelly will be one of the authors who are appearing at First Monday Crime in December. This event always looks interesting,  sadly something I will probably never be able to go to with the distance involved but for those who can the details are
https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/december-panelists

About The Book

You can’t keep the secret.
You can’t tell the truth.
You can’t escape the past…

Marianne was seventeen when she fled her home, her family, her boyfriend Jesse and the body they buried.

Now, forced to return, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving, is finally threatening to expose the truth.

Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built; the husband and daughter who must never know. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy…

But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep.

Moving back through time to reveal twists you’ll never see coming, STONE MOTHERS is the gripping new suspense novel from the bestselling author of HE SAID/SHE SAID.

My Review

When I started Stone Mothers I wasn’t sure what to expect. Erin Kelly always manages to give the reader something different. What I got was a novel based around an asylum in Suffolk. It was one of those books that could have been set anywhere. The old asylums/hospitals were in many towns and their closures would have had the same impact that the closure of Nazareth had on the local community.
It takes a while to get to the horror of what happened in the asylum. The novel was one I struggled to put down at times but this part I was incapable of tearing myself away. Even the name is enough to send shivers down your spine. More so, because I had strong feelings that much of it was based on the truth. This is hard reading, it makes your blood go cold but it’s mesmerising. It’s something that I will be thinking about for some time.And, when you think about it, it’s not that long ago that people were treated this way.
It’s only a small part, other parts renew your trust in family and loved ones. It shows you not to be critical without knowing all the facts. Like I did, I admit that I was quick to pass judgement on certain characters and acts committed.
There is something that should stop me having a book from 2019 in my top ten books from 2018 but it’s hard to miss this one out. It is a book I need to buy for family members, because they told me tales from what they saw from working in a hospital that used to be an asylum.
I can not recommend this book enough. It’s a fantastic story but there is also so much to learn from it.

Before I Find You by Ali Knight – Blog Tour Review.

41N8BexL+2L

About The Book

Maggie is a husband watcher. A snooper, a marriage doctor, a killer of happy-ever-afters. She runs her own private detective agency specialising in catching out those who cheat. And she’s very good at it. Until Helene walks through her door.

Helene is a husband catcher. A beautiful wife, a doting stepmother, a dazzling presence at parties. She counts herself lucky to have married one of the most eligible men in town – Gabe Moreau. Until she sees something that threatens her little family of three.

Alice is a perfect daughter. Apple of her father’s eye, a kind stepchild to Helene, a tragic daughter of a dead mother. She lives a sheltered but happy life. Until she finds a handwritten note on her father’s desk: ‘You owe me. I’m not going away.’

All three women suspect Gabe Moreau of keeping secrets and telling lies. But not one of them suspects that the truth could result in murder . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.  Although I do have books by Ali Knight on my kindle I haven’t managed to read them yet. So I was totally unprepared for how intense her writing was and how impossible it would be to put this book down.
You know from the prologue that there are injuries and death but it is only towards the end that it is revealed what happened. The rest of the book concerns events leading towards that day, all told by either Maggie’s, Helene’s or Alice’s point of view. I do read novels that are similar but this is different in a few ways. None of the three women are easy to understand, they all have secrets and all have something that made them easy to dislike.
It is a tense read, quite dark, with a venomous and spiteful thread. There are games being played. On reflection after finishing, it is a novel where you learn more from what remains unsaid. One where you feel that you are not seeing what really happened.
The storyline concerning social housing was original, it was quite refreshing to see wealthy characters considerate of others.
The last section of the novel, when you do become aware of what has occurred was bit of a shock. I had expected it to end when you realised what had happened in the prologue but there was more to come. And my feelings regarding each of the women changed. When I realised that I had misread most of what I had read.
A brilliant novel, one that made me change my thoughts constantly.

IMG_1164