The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder [review]

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder - Sarah J Harris

Title: The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder
Author: Sarah J Harris
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

[Synopsis]

Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…

Jasper is not ordinary.
In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.

He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.

But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

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[My Review]

This is a charming, unique story about Jasper, a boy with synesthesia – so he can can ‘see’ colours from sounds. It’s not a condition that I have any prior knowledge of so this made for interesting reading.

Jasper is a frustrating character in many ways, especially as the novel is narrated by him throughout – there are many points where you know you’re not getting the full picture but it’s just because Jasper doesn’t understand himself. You want to reach into the novel and ask the ‘grown ups’ what’s really happened, because they see things not necessarily in a more ‘truthful’ way, but in a way that most of us, as readers, can better understand.

I love the crime element to the novel – that kept me reading on when I might have got a little bored otherwise. I did really enjoy the story, but I felt it was a little long at some points. Wanting to find out what had really happened to Bee Larkham, and how they’d all got to the point they were at, was what kept me interested.

Most other reviews have raved about this book and, though I did enjoy it, I wasn’t blown away – however I can really appreciate the amazing writing of Sarah J Harris; it’s a beautifully written novel and definitely a unique premise too.

[Rating: 3/5]

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

 

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Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling [blog tour review]

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling

Today I am really excited to be a part of the blog tour for Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling – read on to find out what I thought…

Title: Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
Author: Emer McLysaghtSarah Breen
Publisher: Penguin

[Synopsis]

Everyone knows an Aisling:

Loves going Out Out, but secretly scared of liquid eyeliner.
Happy to drink the bar dry, but will bring her own coaster if necessary.
Would rather die than miss a cooked hotel breakfast, but can calculate the Points in a Snickers at fifty paces.

Aisling’s the girl with a heart of gold, but a boyfriend who still hasn’t made a peep about their Big Day even after seven years.

But then a disastrous romantic getaway shows Aisling that it’s time to stop waiting around and leave John behind for the bright lights of Dublin. After she’s wailed her way through Adele’s Greatest Hits, that is

Between glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and finding herself in a weird love square, Aisling is ready to take on the big city. So long as she has her umbrella with her.

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[My Review]

Fun, entertaining and, at times, a bit emotional, Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling is a fast-paced, funny read which I really didn’t want to put down!

The word ‘Aisling’ seems to be a term originally coined in an Irish Facebook group set up by Emer and Sarah, which has amassed many members who discuss the things they’ve noticed and observed about a certain type of Irish girl, known as an ‘Aisling’. I didn’t know this before I read the novel, so it’s not essential information, but I found it interesting that Aisling is a (seemingly fond, not cruel) term for a certain type of girl – and what an amusing character this novel’s Aisling is!

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling made me smile and laugh, and though she’s odd in many ways, I really warmed to Aisling – seeing the world through her eyes is so entertaining, and left my hugely amused. Her observations on other people and their habits are brilliant. Some parts are ridiculous but that’s all part of the fun, and there are some much more serious moments too – it’s not all light and fluffy.

I wish there were more pages to this novel so I could spend more time with her (Emer and Sarah, write a second book asap please!). Definitely recommended.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Penguin for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

Buy your copy here

[Follow the rest of the tour!]

Complete Aisling Blog Tour


DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Cross Her Heart [review]

Cross Her Heart - Sarah Pinborough

Title: Cross Her Heart
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: HarperCollins

[Synopsis]

Promises only last if you trust each other, but what if one of you is hiding something?

A secret no one could ever guess.

Someone is living a lie.

Is it Lisa?

Maybe it’s her daughter, Ava.

Or could it be her best friend, Marilyn?

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[My Review]

Cross Her Heart has atmosphere and mystery within its pages and I found myself gripped by the plot. Sarah Pinborough does a great job of making you think one way about a character before suddenly surprising you, and though I don’t want to give too much away, I will say this is satisfyingly twisty…

The characters are a mixed bag of likable and annoying, but they all felt convincing and interesting to read about. For example, Ava – just through being a stroppy teenage girl – did get on my nerves at times, but you understand why she acts the way she does sometimes and you do feel like she could be one of many teenagers struggling with hormones etc! Meanwhile I really warmed to both Lisa and her best friend Marilyn but each had their own faults, too. You’re never quite sure who is telling the truth, and I always love a story that makes you doubt everyone, including the main narrator!

There are some really upsetting themes in this novel – again, I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that some parts make for hard reading but they do add to the tension. Secrets and lies feature heavily, as does family strife!

I really enjoyed reading Cross Her Heart, and would definitely recommend Sarah Pinborough as an author – the other two books I’ve read by her, 13 Minutes and Behind Her Eyes, were brilliant reads (see my reviews for them here and here respectively)! It’s gripping, intriguing and the plot kept me turning page after page!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to HarperCollins for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

 

The Craftsman [review]

The Craftsman

Title: The Craftsman
Author: Sharon Bolton
Publisher: Trapeze

[Synopsis]

Catching him will make her career – and change her forever. 

August, 1999 
On the hottest day of the year, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, the convicted murderer she arrested thirty years earlier. A master carpenter and funeral director, Larry imprisoned his victims, alive, in the caskets he made himself. Clay effigies found entombed with their bodies suggested a motive beyond the worst human depravity.

June, 1969 
13-year- old Patsy Wood has been missing for two days, the third teenager to disappear in as many months. New to the Lancashire police force and struggling to fit in, WPC Lovelady is sent to investigate an unlikely report from school children claiming to have heard a voice calling for help. A voice from deep within a recent grave.

August, 1999 
As she tries to lay her ghosts to rest, Florence is drawn back to the Glassbrooks’ old house, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where she once lodged with the family. She is chilled by the discovery of another effigy – one bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself. Is the killer still at large? Is Florence once again in terrible danger? Or, this time, could the fate in store be worse than even her darkest imaginings?

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[My Review]

I’ve only read one other novel by Sharon Bolton (Little Black Lies, which I really enjoyed – read my review here) and that was a while ago, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. I soon found myself completely drawn into this atmospheric, well-written mystery/crime/thriller novel.

One of the things that set this apart again other novels for me was the fact that the majority of the storyline is set in the late 1960’s, and so you see the way women police officers were treated at that time and the hurdles they had to overcome to be taken seriously in the force. It’s such an interesting topic to read about, and I also enjoyed seeing police investigation techniques from back then as opposed to those used in modern-day investigations, which crime novels tend to focus on. It seems crazy to think of a female police officer being treated in this way nowadays – and I don’t mean she was necessarily treated in the worst way ever, but just dismissed and not taken seriously purely because of her gender. Florence is such a great, strong-minded character and I loved reading about her – in fact, I wanted there to be a series so I could read more about her!

The story itself is gripping, and occasionally switches between the time of the initial investigation, and the ‘present day’ narrative (which is actually 1999). There is a touch of the mystical / magical about it, which I’m not usually a fan of in this genre, but Sharon Bolton pulls it all together so well that it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book at all.

There are creepy moments and things that make you think twice, and file them away for later (which I loved!). I hugely enjoyed this novel and would recommend to anyone looking for a smart, wonderfully crafted (sorry!) crime novel.

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the publisher, Trapeze, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

WWW Wednesday [22 May 2018]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

The three W’s are:

    1. What have you finished reading?
    2. What are you currently reading?
    3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading? 

The Craftsman

The Craftsman – Sharon Bolton [review to follow]

>What are you currently reading? 

Cross Her Heart – Sarah Pinborough

The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder – Sarah J Harris [audiobook] – I keep forgetting to listen to this so it’s taking me ages to finish, but I am enjoying it!

What will you read next?

Either:
The Brighton Mermaid – Dorothy Koomson
or…
Days of Wonder – Keith Stuart [I’m on the blog tour in June!]


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!


DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Our Kind of Cruelty [review]

Our Kind of Cruelty

Title: Our Kind of Cruelty
Author: Araminta Hall
Publisher: Cornerstone

[Synopsis]

This is a love story. Mike’s love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.

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[My Review]

Our Kind of Cruelty is a gripping read, drawing me further and further into Mike’s (often completely crazy/ridiculous/warped) world. I found this quite a tricky review to write because I feel like it says so much whilst being quite hard to ‘pin down’…

I loved that this is a psychological thriller based around the male offender, whereas – as Araminta explains in her author’s note – this genre is often centered around the female victims. This novel recounts events entirely from the male stalker perspective – and its done so well! At some (limited) points you feel a little sorry for him, at other times you CANNOT BELIEVE he can think that way. And at other points you just feel outrage at the way the justice system works for men vs. women. Yes, this is going to be a novel that will make you a bit angry (unless you’re a much calmer person than me) – either way I don’t think it can fail to provoke some strong feelings, and I love novels that do this.

At some points I wondered if anyone would have this level of tunnel vision… but then I’d think about stories in the news and in day to day life and realise that some people really are like that… scary.

Our Kind of Cruelty manages to make such a statement about the way stalkers and ‘the stalked’ are treated, and delves into that horrible, seemingly increasing, male persona where they feel entitled to a woman and can’t understand the word no. It really makes you think, as well as being a really interesting and well-written novel – give this a go, it’s something a little different and it kept me turning those pages.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to the publisher, Cornerstone, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

 

 

 

Whistle in the Dark [review]

Whistle in the Dark - Emma Healey

Title: Whistle in the Dark
Author: Emma Healey
Publisher: Penguin

[Synopsis]

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”

For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

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[My Review]

Whistle in the Dark is such a powerful read. Not only boasting a compelling storyline with a definite air of mystery (something that always pulls me into a novel), it also has some really interesting characters of the type I really like reading about – not always hugely likable, but captivating all the same.

The story itself addresses some really serious issues, including missing children and mental health. I don’t want to give anything away you can’t glean from the synopsis, but this is very far away from a light-hearted read about a family; at times it’s shocking, surprising and heartbreaking, but it never feels like this for the sake of being shocking/surprising/heartbreaking. It all feels very genuine, and I can (unfortunately) imagine many families having to deal with elements of this novel applied to their families on a day to day basis.

I really warmed to main character Jen, perhaps because we see things from her perspective, but also because Emma Healey manages to convey her rapidly changing emotions so well.  I felt like I was right there with her as she worried, wondered and drove herself half-mad trying to guess what exactly had happened to her daughter Lana over those four days. What actually did happen actually becomes less key to the story than the relationship between Jen and Lana, and Lana’s father Hugh. The characterisation is brilliant, and though Lana really irritated me, I felt for her too – she’s not having the easiest time herself.

I know this is a fairly vague review but I don’t really want to give much away about this beautifully crafted story. It really struck a chord with me and left me thinking about it long after finishing which is, for me, the sign of a powerful, masterfully-written novel. Definitely recommended and an excellent new release after the brilliant Elizabeth is Missing [see my review here]… in fact, I think Whistle in the Dark is even better!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Penguin for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

 

WWW Wednesday [16 May 2018]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

The three W’s are:

    1. What have you finished reading?
    2. What are you currently reading?
    3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading? 

Whistle in the Dark: A Novel – Emma Healey [review to follow soon]
Our Kind of Cruelty – Araminta Hall [review to follow soon]

What are you currently reading? 

The Craftsman – Sharon Bolton
The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder – Sarah J Harris [audiobook]

What will you read next?

Cross Her Heart - Sarah Pinborough

Cross Her Heart – Sarah Pinborough


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!


DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

You Me Everything [review]

You, Me, Everything

Title: You Me Everything
Author: Catherine Isaac
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

[Synopsis]

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.
You, Me, Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable novel about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love.

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[My Review]

Ohh, what a wonderfully written and emotional book – I didn’t want to stop reading, despite the tears (I do cry easily but even so, this was a heartwrencher!).

Catherine Isaac’s writing feels so like real life – in many ways but, at its heart, just in the way she portrays dialogue and actions – it all feels natural and so convincing. The situation – Jess trying to get her ex (and father of her child) to bond at last, whilst dealing with her own problems and those of her family too – I don’t want to give too much away so will leave it at that – is one that no doubt many people have experienced, and it’s all portrayed so realistically.

I also love the characters in this novel. Jess is lovely, strong and the kind of person who deals with things so well considering what she has to worry about – definitely an inspirational main character! In fact, the other characters are also so interesting to read about. I really like them all… even Adam, despite his MANY faults. You can see why Jess fell for him; I think everyone reading the novel might feel the same just a bit. However what I like most of all about this novel is that people and circumstances are never simple. There isn’t an easy switch to solve everyone’s problems, because that isn’t real life. People don’t always behave so well but that doesn’t preclude them as bad people, just as other people might end up having to deal with more than their fair share of trouble, but unfortunately life is like that sometimes – not always fair.

You Me Everything conveys all of this without being overly depressing – there’s certainly times when I felt upset and shed a tear (or two…or a hundred) but there were other times where I smiled. It addresses some really important issues and I loved Catherine Isaac’s writing.

You, Me, Everything is a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions at times, but it’s a brilliant read and I loved being along with them for the journey.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and Catherine Isaac for providing a copy of this book, on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Gone Viking [review]

Gone Viking - Helen Russell

Title: Gone Viking
Author: Helen Russell
Publisher: Ebury

[Synopsis]

Frazzled mum Alice Ray likes to think she’s on top everything – she has FOUR bags-for-life in the boot of her car for heaven’s sake. But after spectacularly embarrassing herself at work, she finally gives in to her sister’s pleas to take a much needed break.

But this is not the luxury spa holiday Alice hoped for – instead, she finds herself in Denmark, in the middle of nowhere, on a ‘How to be a Viking’ getaway.

Can the two sisters finally learn to get along or will learning to embrace their inner warrior just make them better at fighting?

Two sisters. One Scandi holiday they’ll never forget…

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[My Review]

Gone Viking is a humorous, fun story about discovering what’s really important, all told through the eyes of ‘frazzled’ mum Alice.

The characters are good fun (some more likable than others); I found main character Alice quite hard to warm to, especially at first – I suppose I don’t have a lot in common with her as a character. However, following her and the group’s adventures during their Viking ‘holiday’ is really amusing, and the story is uplifting and engaging. I really liked Inge, in particular – she is someone to aspire to in many ways!

Some parts of Gone Viking are ridiculous, but you kind of expect that, and there are some more emotional parts too, meaning this isn’t completely light and fluffy. You follow Alice as she really changes during her time away, and see her grow as she realises what’s really important, and learns to loosen up a bit!

An amusing, fun read in the ‘women’s fic’ category which doesn’t just focus on relationships!

[Rating: 3/5]

Many thanks to Ebury for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS_ / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!