He Started It by Samantha Downing – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

No-one knows you better than your family.

They know the little things that make you smile. Your proudest achievements. Your darkest secrets. 

Sure, you haven’t always been best friends. 

But if it seemed as though someone was after you, that you might be in danger, then you’d be on each other’s side.

Right?

So gripping you won’t stop reading.

So twisty that you won’t know who to trust.

And so dark that you’ll realise something truly chilling:

No-one is more dangerous than the ones who know you best.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I hadn’t read Samantha Downing’s first book so was unprepared for the enjoyment I would get by reading this novel. I love dual time frame novels and this was one of the better ones. Same characters, set in modern day and when they were young children doing the same road trip. And the more I read the increasingly unlikeable they became. Nothing would get me in car with any of them. I have probably never misjudged so many characters in one book.

Three siblings, Beth, Portia and Eddie. Beth’s husband Felix and Eddie’s wife Krista. This isn’t a close family, they barely tolerate each other. All of them  prefer to communicate by text, mainly to complain about another in the group. None are honest with each other, especially Beth who has never revealed the truth about what happened concerning her parents to Felix and he has no idea that there was an older sister. The reasons why become clearer the more you read. 

The location fascinated me, I had initially thought that the tourist attractions were invented but after researching a couple I found I was mistaken. I’m not sure I would visit a barbed wire museum but would have enjoyed everything to do with Bonnie and Clyde and seeing the Codger Pole.

It’s full it twists, none of which I saw coming and I enjoyed every one of them. I had it all worked out which way things would go and I was wrong on just about everything. 

Alice Teale Is Missing by H. A. Linskey – Review.

About The Book

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Alice Teale Is Missing is the first in a new series and also the first book I have read by this author. I’m happy to say that it is a book I really enjoyed and I am happy knowing that there is another series to read.  I have a feeling that this series is going to be a good one. 

One of the main reasons is that I liked the way the two main characters Beth and Lucas were together. Lucas could have been unlikeable and unfriendly with the disastrous case he was involved in but instead he was shown to suffer from it. A loner in the police force and a broken marriage he could have been shown as bitter and blaming everybody else but he doesn’t. Instead he has tried to move in, whilst acknowledging the gossip and mistrust from other colleagues.

Beth is the graduate officer, has a pass into her position but desperate to do a good job. She has been made aware of what happened to Lucas but wants to investigate Alice’s disappearance so tries to accept it.

I had no idea what happened with Alice. I couldn’t work out if she was dead or alive or the reasons why. I couldn’t work out if she was a nice person or if she wasn’t as popular as se seemed. I had no idea who could be trusted or relied on. I felt frustration at the lack of help from former employees and I loved the description of live in a rundown town with no chance of prospects. And I’m sure we’ve all been in a pub like The Dirty Donkey! 

I see huge potential for this series. A very likeable partnership and I want to see them succeed and prove their colleagues and superiors wrong.

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

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A gripping and compassionate drama of two families linked by chance, love and tragedy

Gillam, upstate New York: a town of ordinary, big-lawned suburban houses. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours. 

Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone.

It’s left to their children – Lena’s youngest, Kate, and Anne’s only child, Peter – to find their way to one another. To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible tragedy that will engulf them all. 

A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later . . .

A story of love and redemption, faith and forgiveness, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood – villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. 

A story of how, if we’re lucky, the violence lurking beneath everyday life can be vanquished by the power of love.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy a family drama, even more so if the novel covers a period of years and what happens to the whole family during that novel. This novel was one that I adored.

Two families, initially united through two characters being police officers. One is more successful than the other but they are friends and eventually neighbours. They both have families but never become  close friends. When the friendship that they have appears to be badly damaged after one suffers life changing injuries you would accept that they would drift apart but two of them are determined to be together.

I adored this novel. Everything was perfect, Irish immigrants hoping for a new life, and struggling to forget the past. The explanations for why events happened and the way they dealt with them. But most of all the relationship between Kate and Peter. The total devotion to each other and the determination to not let the past affect their lives. The way they handled high school and university apart but always thinking of each other and feeling that they needed to be with each other. And the way they connected again, convincing their families that there was a chance of happiness for all of them.

Pure joy. 

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received, Then She Vanishes is the first book I have read by Claire Douglas. After reading it I am happy that there are a few I can read.

The prologue concerns the murder of a mother and son but then most of it concerns Jess and Margot, Heather’s mother. Jess is a journalist but was also a teenage friend of Heather and her sister Flora. She is being pressured into getting a story by her boss but also determined not to let her job damage her relationship with Margot.

I was surprised by how much I liked Jess, I usually dislike journalists in fiction but she was honest in the mistakes she had made in the past and was determined to handle the situation the right way. She has a steady working relationship with her colleagues, especially Jack and it is him she confides in about her past, before her partner Rory. He only really has a role in the latter stages of the novel. They have a great relationship but she has commitment problems, these are revealed in the flashbacks to 1994 when Flora disappeared. Margot was another character who I liked instantly. Never knowing what happened to Flora, wanting to help Heather, and despite her misgivings allowing Jess back into her life.

I enjoyed the flashbacks, the teenage girls are believable with emotions, first love, hurt and jealousy all shown. I also enjoyed listening again to Martha’s Harbour by All About Eve which was a favourite song of Flora’s.

There are plenty of twists but they are slow to come, taking you by surprise when you are least expecting them. Some of it I did work out earlier but I don’t think it was meant to be a huge surprise. Some are chilling, more so because you know that they concern events that have happened. And the final chapter had me lost for words. Brilliant characters, fantastic storyline.