The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

IF YOU ONLY READ ONE BOOK THIS YEAR MAKE IT THIS ONE. SOME GAMES ONLY END IN ONE WAY . . .

We all have fears we hide from. But in the end they will find us . . .
———————
None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.
Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?
Was it the terrible accident?
Or when they found the first body?

My Review.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
The Chalk Man is a crime novel that felt very refreshing. Yes, there are murders. but instead of being primarily focused on a police investigation, it is about how a group of friends who are connected to both murders in the 1980s and modern-day cope.
It is a book that I want to review without giving away any plot details. There is little detail in the synopsis and I feel that this is the best way to approach the novel.
Strong friendships feature especially when Eddie is twelve years old. There are first signs of love and loyal friendships but there is also insecurity and mistrust. I enjoyed reading about Eddie’s childhood, his attempts to avoid doing everything that his parents advised, the antics the group of friends got up to, the bullying from older children and the guilt felt over events that no twelve-year-old should ever have to think about.
Combined with the life that Eddie has in modern-day, fear of being like his father, disappointment with life and loneliness it is much more than just a crime novel. He is, however determined to find out what happened years earlier and why they appear to be happening again.This is a novel where every character had a personality and they all coped with life differently and the best way they could. Even if people got hurt. It’s also about secrets, some of which don’t get revealed until near the end.
An astonishing debut.

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On The Bright Side – The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

The Old-But-Not-Dead Club return, in the sequel to the INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old, bringing with them some life-affirming lawlessness.
Chaos will ensue as 85-year-old Hendrik Groen is determined to grow old with dignity: to rise up against the care home director. NO more bingo. NO more over- boiled vegetables. NO more health and safety.
85-year-old Hendrik Groen is fed up to his false teeth with coffee mornings and bingo. He dreams of escaping the confines of his care home and practising hairpin turns on his mobility scooter. Inspired by his fellow members of the recently formed Old-But-Not-Dead Club, he vows to put down his custard cream and commit to a spot of octogenarian anarchy.
But the care home’s Director will not stand for drunken bar crawls, illicit fireworks and geriatric romance on her watch. The Old-But-Not-Dead Club must stick together if they’re not to go gently into that good night. Things turn more serious, however, when rumours surface that the home is set for demolition. It’s up to Hendrik and the gang to stop it – or drop dead trying . . .
He may be the wrong side of 85, but Hendrik Groen has no intention of slowing up – or going down without a fight.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book featuring octogenarian Hendrik Groen and his group of friends so I was looking forward to reading about what they got up to in this new novel. I wasn’t disappointed.
With this book I decided to read a month at a time and found it more engaging. All of the characters reappear along with some new ones and they continue with their antics. Mainly to enjoy some good times together and annoy other residents and staff whilst doing so.
Hendrik talks about the devastation he feels over the loss of his daughter, his wife’s health and the news that he mentions throughout the book. Much of the reports concern the atrocities that occurred in France but Dutch politics is also mentioned. We also see his reaction to the failing health of a very dear friend and how the close-knit group helped him cope.
It’s a lovely book to read, different because it most of the characters are elderly but still shows spirit, devotion and humour.

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Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.
But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.
Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

My Review

I would like to thank the publisher for the copy received for review.

After an evening out goes disastrously wrong, Joanna has to make a decision quickly. Being honest with the police and her family or running away from scene. Whichever path she chooses there will be consequences.
‘Conceal’ is the version where Joanna decides to stay quiet. Because she didn’t act the situation is worse for her and the man she leaves on the footpath. She feels guilty, loses a lot of weight and pushes away everybody she is close to.
‘Reveal’ is where she does act and gets help for the young man but places herself in a situation where she could go to prison.

Which ever decision she took would have consequences on the rest of her life. Which would you do?

Both scenarios were fascinating but I found it easier to like and have sympathy for Joanna in ‘reveal’ . The reader is introduced to a character who has always felt that she has had to prove herself. Especially to her family, who seemed to take satisfaction in ridiculing her at family get togethers. She never stuck to anything, hung up on being a failed Oxford graduate. In ‘conceal’ you also saw a different side to her, the guilt and desperation taking over and her punishing the ones who loved her.

There were a few characters I liked in both versions. These were her husband Reuben, a strong character who loved her for who she was, her brother Wilf and her colleague Ed. All three were close to her and all could have helped if she let them.

It did take me a while to get used to the narrative. I have never read anything like it before. It is dual narrative with a difference, often the same scene played with the same characters, same time but a different outcome. You could easily enjoy both as two different novels. One of the more unusual novels that I have read this year.

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Nothing Stays Buried by P. J. Tracy – Blog Tour Review and Giveaway.

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About the Book

There’s a search for a missing girl, and another for a serial killer: death holds all the cards . . .
When Marla Gustafson vanishes on her way to her father’s farm, her car left empty on the side of an isolated country road, even Grace MacBride and her eccentric team of analysts are baffled.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, homicide detectives Gino and Magozzi have a serial killer on their hands – two women murdered in cruelly similar fashion, with playing cards left on the bodies. But one card is an ace, the other is a four – it seems the killer is already two murders ahead.
With both teams stumped, it slowly becomes clear the evidence is inexplicably entangled. And they have little time to unravel the threads: a twisted killer is intent on playing out the deck…

My Review

The Monkeewrench series is one that I followed in its early years and I was quite surprised when I saw how many books had now been published. I have only read a couple, so now I can add the books I’ve not read to all the other series’ I want to catch up on. Even though I was familiar with a couple of the characters, I really read this as a standalone novel without any problems with missing any back story.
Initially both teams are working different cases, but as the body count rises Gino and Magozzi realise that they are linked. They make contact with Grace and the others and head straight into a different type of danger on their way to join them. A tornado.
I’ve never a read series before where two different types of investigators have equal coverage in a novel. Whilst Monkeewrench dealt with technology they left the detecting to the police and they worked well together with a mutual respect. It looked like an established formula that was easy and interesting to read.
The main characters had strong personalities and all were believable. There were hang ups from some, and a few unexplained issues but I’m sure I will get to know them all very well when I read the earlier books. Both Annie and Roadrunner especially were very intriguing. Walt was a character that I adored. He is not a regular character, it is his daughter who has gone missing. Marla is all he has left in the world after his wife and son died a few years earlier. I was hoping that they could bring her home and he could get some happiness again. He coped beautifully with the arrival of Monkeewrench, many of who were a mixed bag of personalities. Probably nothing that a down to earth farmer had ever seen before.
The storyline concerning the tornado was just as intimidating as that of the killer. Living in the U.K we have no idea how powerful the weather can be in other parts of the world. The speed and the depth of the destruction left behind was frightening.
I am delighted that I have two books to giveaway today ( U.K. only) courtesy of the publishers Michael Joseph. I will pick two winners using a random number generator from blog shares and retweets of the pinned blog post on twitter. I will then pass the winners details on to Jenny Platt so she can send the books out. The competition will close at 12pm on Friday.

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Jenny Sparrow Knows The Future by Melissa Pimentel – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Jenny Sparrow can tell you her future:

1. Meet soulmate at 25
2. Move in with him
3. Marry him this year . . .

According to the plan Jenny made at thirteen, it’s time for her to get married. But when her boyfriend proposes a break instead of a wedding, a girls’ weekend in Vegas is the only solution . . . until she wakes up in a stranger’s bed, and discovers that this is the year she gets married – to the wrong man.
Jenny wants a quick divorce and her old boyfriend back.
But what if her accidental husband has other ideas?

My Review

It is years since I read anything like Jenny Sparrow. I have been trying to remember and it probably is Sophie Kinsella whose books this is likened to. I need a poke in the ribs for leaving it so long, I loved every page of this novel and it was a welcome respite from crime fiction.
Jenny and Isla were brilliant characters, and even though Isla was a little exhausting with some dubious habits she was a good and loyal friend to Jenny. They had a strong friendship that had lasted through their childhood even though they did have different personalities.
You don’t realise at first why Jenny was so obsessed with her lists, I thought it would have been light hearted but there was something much deeper about it so whilst I laughed a lot while reading I was also weepy. In fact, this wasn’t a book I could read in public, laughing, crying and feeling frustrated at some of the decisions she made.
Despite the huge tourist attraction London it was also a lonely place to be and the isolation experienced by Jenny felt real. I liked seeing the different version of London when she was spending time with Jackson. The description of Las Vegas had confirmed its place at the bottom of my list of places I want to visit.
This book is a great read for the summer, I have a vision of it being read on beaches everywhere.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received