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

 

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old.

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About the Book

‘Another year and I still don’t like old people. Me? I am 83 years old.’

Hendrik Groen may be old, but he is far from dead and isn’t planning to be buried any time soon. Granted, his daily strolls are getting shorter because his legs are no longer willing and he had to visit his doctor more than he’d like. Technically speaking he is … elderly. But surely there is more to life at his age than weak tea and potted geraniums?

Hendrik sets out to write an exposé: a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs – not least his new endeavour the anarchic Old-But-Not Dead Club. And when Eefje moves in – the woman Hendrik has always longed for – he polishes his shoes (and his teeth), grooms what’s left of his hair and attempts to make something of the life he has left, with hilarious, tender and devastating consequences.

The indomitable Hendrik Groen – Holland’s unlikeliest hero – has become a cultural phenomenon in his native Netherlands and now he and his famously anonymous creator are conquering the globe. A major Dutch bestseller, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen will not only delight older readers with its wit and relevance, but will charm and inspire those who have years to go before their own expiry date.

My Review

Likened to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Hendrik Groen’s diary is all about loyalty, friendship and tolerance. Or at times intolerance. Hendrik is bored with existence. He is fed up of listening to people discussing their various ailments in the ‘conversation room’, the communal area in the residential home he lives in.
His closest friend, Evert provides laughter, usually by upsetting the other people who they live with in the home. They decide to get together with a few other close friends and take it in turns to plan days out. They call themselves the Old but Not Dead Club. Much of their pleasure comes from the level of disgust and envy that this causes among the ones that are not invited and the director of the home.
At first I liked it a lot but I think I would have preferred it if I hadn’t read it all at once. It’s definitely a book that you can read a few pages at a time and it probably would have had more impact if I had done that. There was a lot of humour, but also sadness when friends became ill. But one of the main points throughout regarding the illness was that the people who coped better were the ones who were ill. Hendrik, the diarist, who despite the odd ailment was a very healthy 83 year old suffered more than most.
I loved his battles with the home director, his friendships with Evert and Eefje and the complete dedication that he showed in caring for them. Some of his frustration towards the Dutch politicians didn’t really mean anything to me but I appreciated his cynical swipe at a certain British ex Prime Minister.
Since reading it I have read various articles on the internet, the author is anonymous and there are rumours of a sequel. It is one that I would definitely read, and prepare myself for the inevitable. That age and deteriorating health would bring more sadness to the little group of friends.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.