Our House [review]

Our House - Louise Candlish

Title: Our House
Author: Louise Candlish
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK


On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.
Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

For better, for worse.

When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blind-sided. Trinity Avenue has been her family’s home for years. Where are all her belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared.

For richer, for poorer.

The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been turned upside by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party? What has Bram hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him?

Till death us do part.

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I had high expectations for this novel from the start and was hoping it would live up to them… and I needn’t have worried because I hugely enjoyed this novel!

Our House is actually less ‘thriller’ than I thought it would be, but this wasn’t a negative; it concentrated more on excellent character development and interactions, plus it added in some great twists to keep things interesting! There wasn’t actually a huge amount of mystery about the plot because you find out a significant amount from fairly near the start, but as the novel continues you realise that there’s more and more which isn’t quite what it seems…! It’s definitely a fantastic example of the hugely popular Domestic Noir genre.

I’m not going to rehash the synopsis or the plot here, but I will say that the way the book is structured – partly showing Fi’s experience, partly through excerpts of the real-life ‘victim’ podcast she is appearing on, and partly through excerpts from a word document her ex-husband is writing (but to whom, and why?) means the reader, at times, knows more than Fi does as we’ve heard directly from Bram, giving us an interesting edge over Fi herself, who is supposed to be recounting the story.  I enjoyed trying to work out exactly what had happened with her ex-husband, and how everything got to the state it’s in when we first join Fi, on Friday 13 January 2017.

Just when you think it’s figured out, something else surprises you, and this made for riveting reading. I’ve really enjoyed other novels by Louise Candlish and this is no exception. Beautifully crafted – as the tension slowly builds, Our House will grab you tightly in its grip and not let you go until you’ve finished the last page!

[Rating: 5/5]

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



The Wicked Cometh [review]

The Wicked Cometh

Title: The Wicked Cometh
Author: Laura Carlin
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton


The year is 1831. Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city’s vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets.

Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.

Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they’ve ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking…

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[My Review]

The Wicked Cometh was a mixed bag for me. Firstly, I loved the way this book was written. It evoked a real sense of time and place, and you could imagine being there with Hester as she navigates and lives among the shady characters of murky 1800’s London. The narrative is easy enough to read and the characters are interesting. I liked the element of mystery that hung over the novel, too.

There are some good twists and turns that kept me wanting to read on, with the first part of the story setting the scene really well, transporting me there in my mind. It’s the second half, however, where the action ramps up a bit more, and I was glad of this as I felt some of the story tended to drag things out a bit.

This was the main problem I had with The Wicked Cometh: the pace and the length of time the story spent on certain things instead of advancing the plot as I wanted it to. I should make it clear that I don’t mind a book that has a slower pace, but I felt like this lost its way at times. I think at times there were a little too many characters to keep track of. who I didn’t really care enough about. I found myself losing interest a little as the novel took so long to get anywhere. As the second half of the story approached I did get more into the narrative, and found myself caring more about what happened.

Saying that, I definitely appreciate the really skilled writing in this novel and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction who don’t mind a book that tends to go more ‘around the houses’. However, whatever novel you prefer, Laura Carlin’s writing is sure to fire up the imagination, painting a vivid picture of 19th century London for whoever reads this!

[Rating: 3/5]

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


Force of Nature [blog tour review]

Today I am incredibly excited to be a part of the blog tour for Force of Nature, the second novel by Jane Harper, with my review! Read on to find out more and see what I thought of it…

Force of Nature_UK

Title: Force of Nature
Author: Jane Haper
Publisher: Little Brown


Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

[My Review]

Force of Nature is a worthy follow-up to the hugely successful The Dry. Force of Nature is full of atmosphere and is again set in a location that has its fair share of threat and menace. It feels very different to Jane Harper’s debut, but I know everyone will automatically be comparing the two; I actually feel this novel should be read and enjoyed in its own right – as a solid, absorbing crime novel which kept me really wanting to read on.

Rotating around the disappearance of Alice – one of a the Bailey Tennants employees who were taking party in a corporate retreat  – the novel takes a welcome return to Aaron Falk (who featured in The Dry) as he tries to work out what happened in those three nights out in the harsh Giralong ranges, and why only four of the five women returned. There is a long of focus on what happened, with the reader discovering more and more through flashbacks to that weekend, along with the present day narrative following Aaron and colleague Carmen, who had actually been investigating the company prior to Alice’s disappearance. 

Force of Nature is hugely entertaining and I loved every minute of it! The characters are really interesting and varied, with some being quite unlikeable, meaning you could really imagine the resentment building on the retreat. I don’t want to give too much about the plot away but I’m glad that most of the plot is quite convincing and not too ‘out there’ in terms of crazy resolutions; you don’t feel like you have to completely suspend your disbelief to enjoy this novel. You also don’t need to have read a The Dry to enjoy this – it can definitely be ready as a stand alone novel if you haven’t. 

I really enjoyed this novel and feel that Jane Harper has done a great job of creating another story which packs a punch and makes you feel like you could be there with each character!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Little Brown 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!


No Turning Back [audiobook review]

No Turning Back

Title: No Turning Back
Author: Tracy Buchanan


Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens.

While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby. But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt.

Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago-and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life?

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[My Review]

I wasn’t sure what to expect from No Turning Back; from the synopsis it sounded like a bit of a thriller/mystery read but the first half of the book is, I’d say, just about Anna and her way of dealing with that awful day on the beach when she protects her daughter and ends up killing a schoolboy. There’s a lot about the aftermath and how Anna feels, but not much mystery – and I was eagerly awaiting some elements of suspense because there was the mention of an ‘Ophelia Killer’ from years ago which peaked my interest. Although I can always appreciate a novel that is just character-based, I felt this story wasn’t gripping enough without the mystery element, so I struggled to stay hugely interested for the first half.

The tension does ramp up after that, when we find out more about what actually happened all those years ago and on that fateful day, and there were some more interestinfg partsbut to be honest the plot felt a little ridiculous towards the end. However, at least it did get a little more engaging, and there were some surprises which I definitely did not see coming.

The narration is quite easy to listen to, though at the beginning I did find Anna’s voice grating a bit! However I am overly picky when it comes to audiobooks so I suppose that’s my own problem!

Overall I found this an enjoyable read but quite unpredictable; some parts really kept my interest whilst others felt like they dragged and/ or were a little unbelievable at times.



The Feed [review]

The Feed - Nick Clark Windo

Title: The Feed
Author: Nick Clark Windo
Publisher: Headline


It makes us. It destroys us. 

The Feed is everywhere. It can be accessed by anyone, at any time. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it.

Tom and Kate use The Feed, but they have resisted addiction to it. And this will serve them well when The Feed collapses.

Until their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing.

Because how do you find someone in a world devoid of technology? And what happens when you can no longer trust that your loved ones are really who they claim to be?

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[My Review]

The Feed is a really unique, interesting dystopian-style novel (I won’t say ‘thriller’ as I don’t think it’s really that kinda book, and I’ll explain why) which I enjoyed reading.

I felt that it was fairly slow to start with, taking time to build characters and a sense of this world that Tom and Kate (and the people around them) live in. Because a lot has changed between the real world of today and the fictional world that the story is set in, there’s a lot to take in with regards to details and occurrences as things begin to fall apart. We then skip forward 6 years and see how things have developed.

I struggled to warm to the main characters, but there’s kind of a reason for that as you read on. There are some interesting developments and surprises which took the book, for me, from a fairly slow read to suddenly a much more interesting one – I really like the way the author ramps up the tension as the book goes on. The second half of the book definitely features more ‘action’ but I still wouldn’t categorize this as a thriller, as it’s much more about the characters and the setting they live in, rather than what they’re doing – though of course this does play a key part too, as they desperately try to search for their missing daughter.

I loved the idea of humans becoming reliant on a kind of social network which is embedded inside us; with our seemingly growing reliance on social media and technology, this is a very pertinent story which makes you sit back and consider how realistic this is. Worryingly, I can actually imagine this kind of thing happening one day.

I don’t want to say any more as I don’t want to give too much away, but this is definitely a recommended read for anyone who enjoys a different and intriguing dystopian read.

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


Anything You Do Say [review]

Anything You Do Say

Title: Anything You Do Say
Author: Gillian McAllister
Publisher: Michael Joseph


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?

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[My Review]

Another fantastic read from Gillian McAllister; it’s full of every emotion you can think of, all written spectacularly well. I couldn’t put it down!

I don’t want to give anything away so I’m going to keep this fairly succinct. What I will  say is: don’t read Anything You Do Say if you have immediate plans – all you’ll want to do is stay in and race through this novel… which is exactly what I did!

The plot itself is just excellent, and presents a worryingly realistic situation. It’s every woman’s worst nightmare and whilst reading it I could imagine only too well how I might feel in Joanna’s place. Though I may not agree with everything she did, and at times her indecision was frustrating, but I really felt for her throughout the novel.

I absolutely loved the split storylines, titled ‘conceal’ and ‘reveal’, each showing what would happen if Jo had reacted in a different way, and how her life would have changed accordingly (and in some ways, dramatically!). It feels very realistic, and Gillian McAllister resists the urge to make everything tied up with a neat bow. It also made me really think about how unfair some aspects of just being a woman are! It provoked some strong emotions in me, which is always the sign of a great writer.

This is just a brilliantly constructed, convincing novel which I highly recommend. No doubt this will be on my best books of 2018 even though we’re only in January!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Michael Joseph UK and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

Anything You Do Say is out in the UK on 25 January. 


The Chalk Man [review]

The Chalk Man - C J Tudor

Title: The Chalk Man
Author: C.J. Tudor
Publisher: Michael Joseph


In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

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[My Review]

Crime fans seeking something new and exciting, listen up: this is a riveting, intriguing novel which I absolutely loved!

The Chalk Man has the right balance of creepiness (plenty of that at times!) and comedy (dark comedy, mind!) plus some great character development. I loved Ed, despite his flaws and/or strangeness at times, and though the people around Ed had their own problems, and weren’t always that likable, they were very interesting so I still hugely enjoyed reading about them!

Ed was a great narrator, leading the reader back in time (to the 80’s – one of my favourite decades to immerse myself in) and then back around to present day, when I couldn’t wait to find out what on earth was – and had been – happening!

The Chalk Man featured lots of subtle clues and hints (which I always love!), plus BIG twists and turns (also love!) and that ending… it left me reeling!

I don’t want to say much more on the plot as I don’t want to give anything away or lead the reader to expect anything. I’ll just say that the writing is excellent – I can’t believe it’s a debut novel, and to be honest I’m sort of upset that it is because I want MORE to read now by C.J. Tudor – please, release something new soon!

The Chalk Man is a rollercoaster of mystery and surprise and a brilliant novel that I’d highly recommend. Read it now!

[Rating: 5/5]

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

The Child Finder [review]

The Child Finder - Rene Denfeld

Title: The Child Finder
Author: Rene Denfeld
Publisher: Orion


Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?

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[My Review]

The Child Finder is a well-written, atmospheric novel with a bit of a twist.

The plot is intriguing, with a few different strands to it – we hear from this mysterious ‘Snow Girl’, Naomi’s own thoughts and feelings and past life, and some of the other families Naomi has tried to help.

I loved the alternative narratives and the book’s twist on the usual police/ detective novel; there was more of the thoughts and feelings of people, not just the procedure of finding them – though that is in here too. Naomi is a unique kind of ‘detective’ in that she ‘finds’ children – having had some experience of being a lost child herself. I found some of the novel, around the middle, to be a little slow and at times found my attention wandering, but the pace picked up again towards the end when I was really eager to find out whether Naomi would be able to find little Madison. Some sentences did feel a little overdramatic in the way they were written but I felt that most of the book was just right.

There are plenty of emotive parts and some uncomfortable scenes which adds to the tension, and I really liked Naomi, though she had her own problems and faults – I’d like to read more about her in future books!

[Rating: 4/5]

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


Close To Home [review]

Close To Home - Cara Hunter

Title: Close To Home
Author: Cara Hunter
Publisher: Viking


Someone took Daisy Mason. Someone YOU KNOW.

Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying. DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, CLOSE TO HOME is a pulse-pounding race against time and a penetrating examination of what happens to a community when a shocking crime is committed by one of its own.

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[My Review]

I have definitely, definitely found a new favourite crime writer (and new crime series) in Cara Hunter! As soon as I read the first few pages of Close To Home I was hooked. It’s a riveting read set in Oxford, which effectively combines elements of police procedurals with those of a gripping psychological thriller -this ticked all the boxes for a riveting read!

The characters in this novel are really complex and convincing, from the mysterious/ strange Mason family – do they have anything to hide? – to the smart Detective Inspector Fawley who has his own issues to deal with on top of trying to find out what’s happened to little Daisy Mason! No character is completely ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they all have their own quirks and faults, and on the whole it does feel like you’re reading about real people, something which isn’t always applicable to other novels in this genre.

The pacing is just right, opening with a bang and warning the reader that these kind of child ‘disappearances’ are often linked to someone close to them (don’t worry, it says that right at the start so I haven’t spoilt anything) – which makes you think throughout that it must be someone in the family… or is it?  I love the sense of unease and doubt that comes with novels like this, and Close To Home hits it right on the head.

There’s definitely some uncomfortable parts of the story, but that kind of goes with the territory and I didn’t feel like any of the story was unnecessary. Like the police, I had various ‘suspects’ in mind and the tension of the story builds until… that ending!!

I won’t say any more, just read this if you love your crime / police procedural novels (or even if you don’t!) because it really is an entertaining, gripping and well-written read!

[Rating: 5/5]

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


Why Mummy Drinks [audiobook review]

Why Mummy Drinks

Title: Why Mummy Drinks
Author: Gill Sims
Publisher: HarperCollins


Why Mummy Drinks is the brilliant novel from Gill Sims, the author of the online sensation Peter and Jane.

It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’

But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.

Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

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[My Review]

With every page offering some form of entertainment or hilarity, Why Mummy Drinks is a witty, sharp novel full of fun and craziness – and the audiobook version that I listened to, narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, is a fab version!

Though I don’t have any kids myself, I still found this novel to be really amusing. I could picture the situations very well, despite not having been through it myself, and this shows was a fab writer Gill Sims is. Listening to this on audiobook was also very funny as Gabrielle read the novel out loud so well, in a very comical way, and I found that I could imagine some parts even more having listened to them. on audiobook.

Why Mummy Drinks is both delightfully sweary and comical, with some hilarious situations peppered amongst the more ‘everyday’ tasks (which are also very funny) of trying to juggle kids, husband and work – certainly no mean feat. Though there are moments when I didn’t like Ellen’s actions and felt a bit irritated by her, wondering why she was doing that, I can really appreciate this entertaining story and I really enjoyed reading it, from first page to last. I imagine that, if I had kids and had been through all this myself, it would be even more entertaining and relatable.

Definitely recommended if you fancy a light-hearted, easy read and good laugh!

[Rating: 4/5]