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Class Murder – Book Review

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I haven’t read any of Leigh Russell’s books before and received this in my mychroniclebookbox so while it’s number 10 in the series, I gave it a read. I’m glad I did, this is a thoroughly absorbing read with so many possible suspects but you really don’t know whodunnit until the last couple of chapters.  Great characters and while not an original idea ( a school whose classmates are being murdered ) it’s dark and chilling, as I’m sure we all know that one classmate who could be a serial killer ! Ha!. I also enjoyed it being set in the UK as makes a change from all the US crime stories. Now I have to get book one of the series to get the background on every one. Can thoroughly recommend

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Something wicked this way comes- Book Review

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Something wicked this way comes -Ray Bradbury

Published by Gollancz

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes – Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are the best friends, they run everywhere side by side. Then Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, the carnival comes to town.

What follows is a nightmare of freakish dust witches, balloons and a dark carousel with a calliope calling the town promising youth, age and dreams. Ray Bradbury’s writing is just so expressive, almost poetic at times and it draws such a terrible, scary but exciting atmosphere of this carnival. Mr Dark is so menacing it gives you goosebumps. The tension builds and those cool dark nights make you want to pull the curtains and put the lights on….The ending is so good and you are left wondering, would I visit the hall or mirrors ?……I loved this book

Do not despair, just smile and laugh a little !

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The Dreamers – Book Review

The DreamersThe Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dreamers by Katherine Thompson Walker

Published by Scribner

Official blurb :

The eagerly awaited new novel from the author of The Age of Miracles.

Imagine a world where sleep could trap you, for days, for weeks, months… A world where you could even die of sleep rather than in your sleep.

Karen Thompson Walker’s second novel is the stunning story of a Californian town’s epidemic of perpetual sleep.

My opinion:

This is set in a fictional town of Santa Lora in California at the local College. Kara falls asleep but then doesn’t wake and is taken to hospital…..then others at the college start to sleep. The doctors complete tests and scans and can find nothing, only they are asleep and dreaming. Hundreds in the town then do the same and it’s put down to a virus. The hospitals are full, with patients in library’s and community spaces and the military control a quarantine.

Katherine Thompson Walker, writes of those left awake, their struggles in the chaos, as more and more succumb to the sleep.

I felt the characters were well written, especially Mei and Ben…made me weep at times.
This is a tale of the perception of reality, time and dreams, not in a scientific way, but a human feeling. If after experiencing a lifetime in a dream, would you want to wake up to reality and experience that loss?….I wonder!

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

View all my reviews

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Murder at Hawthorne Cottage – Book Review

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Murder at Hawthorne Cottage

By Betty Rowlands
A Melissa Craig novel

This is the first novel featuring Melissa Craig.

Melissa Craig is a crime novelist and she has moved from London to a quiet Gloucestershire village. She makes friends with her neighbour, Iris, a fabric designing vegetarian and Bruce a local journalist. She has a grown up son working in the US and a ‘boyfriend’ Aubrey, still in London, who wants to smother her with looking after her as he believes she cannot do this herself…

Then, Iris finds the remains of a young woman, while collecting leaf mold for her garden, this starts an amateur investigation by Melissa and Bruce into her possible murder, then drug smuggling and the odd strip club. This has humour and serious moments too, a fun read.

Betty Rowlands writes a cozy yet taut crime thriller, a modern day, Murder She Wrote…. I love all the characters but Iris and Gloria are just brilliant….. looking forward to the next in the series.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

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Dark Winter – Book Review

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Dark Winter
By David Mark
Published by Mulholland Books

30 August 2018

This is the first in the DS McAvoy series.

Fred Stein is a survivor…..all his crew mates lost their lives, leaving him, alone, alive.
Daphne Cotton is a survivor….all her classmates were massacred….leaving her alone, alive
Trevor Jefferson is a survivor…..his family died in a fire he set, leaving him alone, alive
Angela Martindale is a survivor, she was raped, stabbed, mutilated but survived, damaged but alive.

All linked by being a miracle, but one by one they are murdered or in Angela’s case, attempted murder, in the same way they had previously survived.

DS McAvoy is a gentle giant of a man, who loves his wife and children and is a ‘natural’ policeman, he knows when something just doesn’t feel right. What follows is like a twisting ride at speed through a dark lane with little lay-bys along the way. Just when you think, ahhhh that’s the murderer, the next sentence has you saying..Nope, not him….

David Mark has created an original character in Aector McAvoy and a brilliantly plotted tale that makes you lose time…..I’m already looking for the next in the series.

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Dead End by Rachel Lynch – Book Review

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Dead End by Rachel Lynch

The third in the Kelly Porter series of books and is set in Ullswater, the Lake District. While it’s the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone, as I haven’t read either of the others yet, but it didn’t feel disjointed in any way.

At Wasdale Hall, the Earl of Lowesdale, Xavier-Paulus II, is found hanging in his bedroom, by his grandson Zachary. Suicide?

2 young women, Hannah and Sophie are missing after leaving a campsite for a hike in the hills. They have been missing for a few days and concern grows for their safety…..

DS Kelly Porter is investigating both cases and wonders if there’s a link to Freya Hamilton who had been missing for a few months.

Rachel Lynch has created an original character in Kelly, she doesn’t have the usual ‘tough female cop, with a temper’ persona as is found in many novels in this genre. She has a healthy, happy relationship with Johnny, a family with the usual dramas (a couple not so usual though and a little link to Wasdale Hall), which just adds to Kelly’s character and is not the main point at all. She’s just a regular human being. The description of the area is detailed and atmospheric and Rachel Lynch clearly knows the area and breathes life into it.

Brian, is the gardener come handyman on the Wasdale estate and his partner, Linda, has been the housekeeper for the Earl for many years and has seen Zac grow up. She also has a son a little older than Zac, Dominic.

There are other characters which play a large part in the story and the suspects add up, each one is credible and it keeps you guessing to the end. Just when you think, ahhhhh it’s him, it isn’t!!!!!!

This is a book that will make you lose time…..as it’s a ‘just one more chapter’ read. I can thoroughly recommend it.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

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You Let Me In – Book Review

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Elle is a successful author, struggling to complete her second book. She has a beautiful house but lives alone and her life is a social media filter.

As she goes on a book tour she decides to rent her perfect, Cornwall house out using AirBnB…..but when she returns something doesn’t feel right…

There’s a sinister neighbour, events in her house which scare her, such as locked doors, messages left in the condensation on windows or words written in library copies of her books…..is This real or a figment of Elle’s imagination?

Fiona, Elle’s sister lives nearby and is there to offer support along with her husband Bill….they worry that Elle is struggling…

Lucy Clarke has written a very absorbing tale…..there are so many possible suspects, just who is terrifying Elle and why…..it starts quite slow with little background chapters which I felt didn’t seem relevant, but my was I wrong….the tension builds and builds until a stunning twister of a reveal…..brilliant

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

 

 

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The Crossing Places – Book Review

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The Crossing Places

By Elly Griffiths

This is set in present day Norfolk…a beautiful part of the UK but bleak at times.

Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist with a particular interest in bones. she describes her self as almost Forty and overweight, a cat lady with two cats, Sparky and Flint.

Harry Nelson is a detective investigating a missing girl, Scarlett. Then bones are found buried in the sand and Ruth is asked to check their age. These are found to be Iron Age and not the missing girl. Nelson, who is from Blackpool, is haunted by a similar case from 10 years previously which was never solved and Lucy never found.

Nelson has kept letters he had been sent over the past 10 years from the possible ‘killer’….Nelson shares these with Ruth and due to her background in archaeology and history she tries to decipher them and this leads her to a grim discovery in the sand….

Elly Griffiths has given us great characters with past affairs, lovers, friends and even a Druid, which build a great background to the tale. The chemistry between Ruth and Nelson is palpable and there are some touching moments, plus tension and some dark, scary places on the Saltmarsh.

Ruth is a grown up, a real woman…..not all thin, elegant and groomed within an inch of her life. She is a little plump and lives in wellies and a sou’wester….so original and feels like a real person. My new favourite author and I’ve already ordered the next in the series, The Janus Stone

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Labyrinth of the Spirits- Book Review

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David Sempere and his family, secrets and a bookshop….with Daniel and his deep thoughts of revenge for what had happened to Isabella, his mother.

His friend , Fermin is so disjointed in how he speaks and jumps around from subject to subject, he is a comedian and philosopher. Then there’s the resolute Alicia all connected to each other and the Sempere family.

There is a clear love of books and the absolute joy of reading is important in this one of Zafon’s quartet of novels. So is the act of writing, to document the fascist regime of Franco and it’s barbarity and sheer greed.

This darkness in Barcelona starts to fade with Franco’s death, and Spain begins to recover. This is a spellbinding tale telling of the sheer emotions during a miserable and frightening part of Spain’s history and giving a human touch to the heartbreak and fear of that time. I will be thinking about this novel for some time….I can thoroughly recommend it.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

 

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Skellig – Book Review

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Skellig

By David Almond

Classic Children’s fiction

I am too old to have read this as a child, but was given this by a friend as a recommendation.

Oh what a lovely book…..Michael’s baby sister is ill, very ill and he worries she may die. His family have moved to a new home, a doer upper with a rickety garage. As with all children, the garage held a fascination and Michael explores…..he finds a being, living off flies and spiders but he’s not sure if he’s imagining it.

He then meets Mina, a neighbour who is home schooled and he shares the secret. Mina can see the creature too and together they move him somewhere safer, feed him and care for him, until he is ready to leave.

This is a beautiful story, teaching empathy, love and belief in the magical natural world around us, there’s fear, hope and William Blake

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Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

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This starts with a carriage driver struggling in the rain and mud to take his passenger home. He’s not even sure if he is still alive.

John Lacroix is brought to his family home barely conscious, stinking and wounded. Nell the housekeeper of the empty house, washes him, clothes him and feeds him gently, nursing him back to health

John doesn’t talk about the war in Spain and is clearly troubled, he then has a visitor, Wood, who tells him he is needed back in Spain once he has recovered sufficiently.

He decides to travel to Scotland purportedly to recover his health and collect local folk songs as did his Father before him. However, on his trail are an English Corporal and a Spanish Cavalry officer with orders to kill…

I loved Andrew Miller’s style of writing, it’s so descriptive bringing an atmosphere to the story and the believable characters, landscapes and the atrocities of war.

This is a book about war, dishonesty, and the suffering both cause. It is also about triumph and kindness and devotion and guilt.

Andrew Miller has written a beautiful, evocative and powerful piece of historical fiction with a great thriller which will keep you reading late into the night.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

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Toll the Bell for Murder

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Toll the Bell for Murder

By George Bellairs

This was first published in 1959 and is set in the village of Mylecharaine, in the north of the Isle of Man. One night a loud explosion is heard, waking the villagers, then Reverend Lee is ringing the Church Bell, nearly hysterical……the body of the cad, Sir Martin Skollick is there, with half his head missing. Shot.

Reverend Lee confesses to the killing and is jailed while the now Superintendent Littlejohn investigates, as he does not believe the Reverend is telling the truth.

Littlejohn is joined by the Archdeacon and Knell, in the search for answers but, then another murder, the shooting of the poacher, Casement.

What follows is a brilliantly written murder mystery, George Bellairs adds some of the Manx language and dialects and descriptions of the area, building the atmosphere of a beautiful but at times, bleak, countryside. His description of the Reverend Lee’s home is just depressing and a little sad. There are some gentle humorous moments too as in ‘ Knell scrambled about among the contents, sat on Sam’s lunch, which made strange noises as he squashed the hardboiled eggs’.

The reveal is a surprise right to the final chapters, with a few possible suspects along the way…male and female, to keep you guessing.

George Bellairs has created wonderfully rounded characters and at times a dark and emotional tale. Mr Bellairs deserves greater recognition as an original, classic crime novelist alongside Josephine Tey and Agatha Christie