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Archive for the ‘secrets’ Category

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Published: 1 December 2016
Reviewed: 3 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Transworld / Penguin Random House as part of the blog tour

 

Description:

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

My Thoughts & Review:

What Alice Knew first caught my attention on social media, the cleverly timed tweets by the publisher giving away snippets of information were enough to pique my interest and I immediately requested a copy for review.

The first thing that struck me about this book was the fact that it begins so benignly, an artist painting a portrait, nothing sinister there, not hint towards crime, mystery or thrills but yet it draws the reader in, promising that something sinister lies ahead.
Alice and husband Ed seem the quintessential family with their two children.  Both Alice and Ed have jobs they enjoy and excel at, a wonderful home and all the trappings of a successful life, but when Ed goes missing one night their perfect existence is called into question.

The reader is then plunged into a labyrinthine series of events that boggle the mind.  The author cleverly builds tension and confusion throughout the plot with use of unreliable narration from frantic characters who struggle with the complexities of the situations they are in.  Each action, each lie, each accusation swiftly moves this book to a new level of thriller, the skill in the writing means that the attention of the reader is held captive but all the while they are thinking “what happens next?”  “why did they do that?”  “what does this mean?”

I will admit that when I finished this book I was confused by what I had read and reached out to other bloggers to see what they thought, and the general consensus was that this was a cleverly plotted book, deviously ambiguous and allowed the reader to draw their own conclusions as to the ending.  By doing so, the author allows the reader the freedom to decide which category this thriller falls into – a very nice touch.

The use of art throughout the book is a fantastic metaphor for seeing the truth, being able to look at a subject and actually “see” what’s underneath as opposed to what is on the surface.  The details included about art techniques and styles also adds an authenticity to  Alice and her profession, as well as being generally interesting.

You can buy a copy of What Alice Knew here.

 


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour

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As If I Were A River

Author: Amanda Saint
Published: 14 April 2016
Reviewed: 5 August 2016
4 out of 5 stars 
Copy supplied by Urbane Publications in return for an honest review
Description:
When we discover the truth about others, we find ourselves…

Kate has a safe, happy, ordinary existence. Or so she thinks. When her husband Jimmy goes missing she is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life, and must confront the past to find a future. Kate hasnt seen her mother, Laura, for 25 years, and she cannot seek solace from her estranged father. Can Una, her paternal grandmother, provide answers about those who have seemingly abandoned her, and help her come to terms with the loss of those she loves?

‘As If I Were a River’ is the emotional story of three generations of women and the impact of their actions upon each other…and themselves. It is a story of buried secrets, and of finding the courage to question the life you lead. Are we forever shaped by our past, or can we find redemption in making our own future?  

My Thoughts & Review:

“When we discover the truth about others, we find ourselves..” is an incredibly fitting phrase for this book.  So many things impact upon us, our lives and the decisions we make and this book highlighted that through a clear and concise story. 
As the début novel for Amanda Saint, I was unsure what to expect when I picked this one up.  Her writing style is simplistic but efficient, it is the characters that tell the story in this book without the typical preamble and purple prose.     

Life changes completely for Kate following the disappearance of her husband Jimmy one night, she struggles to cope with his absence, which in turn forces her to face her issues with abandonment – her mother left when she was a child, Kate never knew why.  In order to move forward, Kate has to address the secrets that surround her mother’s mysterious reappearance.   

Written from the perspectives of the three female characters, each generation reveals more about their own tale with every chapter.  All of the tales are then neatly woven together to form a thought provoking story. 

Kate is an odd character, in the sense that in the beginning it is hard to feel much emotion or attachment towards her, spending most of her time drunk or stoned she came across as very self indulgent.  However, as the story progressed I felt empathy for her plight and deeply wanted things to stop spiralling out of control for her.   

Laura, Kate’s mother is also a character worthy of note.  As a young woman finding her way in life, she meets a man, falls in love and ends up married with two children before realising she‘s missed out on having a life.  Struggling to cope with this realisation she makes a bold decision, one that will have astronomical consequences for herself and her family.  
 
This is not a fast paced book,  but it is entirely consuming.  It’s a fascinating and and compelling read.
 
You can buy a copy of As If I Were A River here.  

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Streets of Darkness

Author: A.A Dhand
Published: 16 June 2016
Reviewed: 6 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Transworld Books/ Penguin Random House in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars

 

Description:   

My Thoughts & Review


A chance conversation with Ben Willis at Transworld Books brought about a copy of this beauty arriving on my doorstep, and all I can say is a massive thank you to Ben, he was right, this is an absolute gem of a book!
From the very outset I was gripped, Harry Virdee is a man with a secret, a troubled past and a very troubled present.  Stepping away from the “textbook” police procedural Dhand gives us a protagonist that breaks all the previously set stereotypes.  He’s a Sikh policeman, he’s happily married and not living on an unhealthy diet of takeaways whilst bemoaning his fate.  Instead Harry Virdee is a highly functioning, intelligent and active man, he runs when he can’t sleep and has connections that get results to solve cases.  
But when Harry finds a body when out running he knows he has to call it in, although facing his colleagues and friends on the force whilst suspended isn’t something he’s comfortable with.  When he’s asked to operate under the radar to track down the murder suspect he never envisions the secrets he will unearth along the way. That’s about all I want to say about the plot, there are too many things I could say that might give away little details and this is not a book you want spoilers for!! 
 
This is a gritty novel, with a heart racing pace, indeed I read it in one sitting, desperately reading on to find out what would happen next.  Lies, deception and danger are the key aspects, so when you add in a policeman operating on the edges of what is acceptable this really moves to the next level.  But there are other themes that play an important role in this book, race, religion, family and loyalty are also of equal importance here, reminding us that we are a multicultural society and that actions can affect our future more than we think.  
 
The characters in this are fantastic, very multidimensional and incredibly detailed.  The writing is brilliant, and for a début I am truly impressed.  Dhand has created and woven a complex plot with a clever sub plot running alongside.  He then draws it all together to wrap up the details and shocks the reader with the ending.  
 
I am very grateful to the author for the cultural details Things like the various Sikh and Muslim festivals that take place during the novel are not areas I have much knowledge of, so adding explanations through the narration was definitely a bonus for me.  I felt that I learned something new reading this and really appreciated the authenticity it added to the story.    
I cannot wait to see what Dhand has lined up next for Harry Virdee!  
A.A. Dhand is a name you will want to look out for in the future. 

You can buy a copy of Streets of Darkness here. 
 

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Solomon Creed

Author: Simon Toyne
Published: 24 March 2016
Reviewed: 3 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Killer Reads at HarperCollins in return for an honest review

4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

Description:   

My Thoughts & Review


Solomon Creed is an interesting character, for a start he emerges unscathed from a plan crash in the middle of rural America, but even more intriguing is that he has no idea who he is or why he is there.
As the narration develops and other characters are introduced, we discover that Creed is also fascinating in his physical appearance, he is an albino, something that is never seen in the town of Redemption.  
With the ability to speak numerous different languages, a wealth of knowledge and skills that surprise even himself, Creed is definitely an enigma.  But little by little, snippets of his memory clear so that by the end he has a good idea of why he ended up in Redemption, what his purpose here was and who he isThe most mind blowing answer definitely has to be the latter – once that’s revealed….wow! 

Redemption is a small town in Arizona, built around the church, and instead of the inhabitants being friendly and helpful as you might expect, they are suspicious of newcomers and locals alike.  Worse still, Creed can feel there’s something going on in the town, secrets are being buried and he is sure this is linked to why he is there.  
The links to a Mexican Crime Boss, despicable Sheriffs and desperate town mayor add a sinister edge to the goings on in this town.

With narration in the form of historical journal entries by the town founder as well as present day narration by several characters, this really does add something “extra” to the plot.  
The religious angles meld well with the almost supernatural elements of the book – indeed it helps it to stand out from other books in this genre.  The super natural aspect of the story does feel like something out of an episode of the X Files, not entirely plausible but at the same time not entirely indisputable.      
  
Action packed chapters ensure that the reader is kept entertained and intrigued, who is fighting for whom?  Who are the good guys?  What are they all after?  The pace of this book is also kept brisk with this style of writing, the murder mystery element makes for a thrilling read and with characters that are multi dimensional, well fleshed out and in some cases downright villainous, you’ve got a great read on your hands.  

Despite some more complicated ideas in this book, it is still an enjoyable read.  Some of the religious passages may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s definitely worth sticking with it and seeing it through to the end, in this book I would definitely say they work and go as far as to add depth to the tale. 

After finding out Solomon Creed’s identity, I cannot wait to see where the author takes this character next, a brilliant stepping stone for the next book!   


You can buy a copy of Solomon Creed here. 
 

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Beneath The Surface

Author: Heidi Perks
Published: 24 March 2016
Reviewed: 3 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Red Door Publishing in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars

 

Description:   

My Thoughts & Review

Every once in a while there’s a book that appears in the post that just blows you away, and this is definitely one of them. 
From the beginning the author draws you in, dangling the mysterious plot of a mother walking out on one of her children and taking the two youngest ones with her, and the one left behind has no idea why or where her family has gone. It’s compulsive reading, the need to find out why teenage Abi was left to fend for herself by her mother is strong.  

I won’t lie, my maternal instincts kicked in at this point, I felt I wanted comfort Abi and pull her into a motherly embrace.  The abhorrence at what her mother had done was palpable and incomprehensible.  I needed to find out why.  

Abi’s struggles to come to terms with what happened are cleverly detailed in the form of letters to her husband Adam.  Her therapist Maggie advised her that this might be a good way to get out how she feels about what has happened between her life before Adam and where she is now.  As she recounts the tale of her life up to that point it’s difficult not to feel some compassion towards her.  The irreparable damage to her mental state and her trust issues are so deeply rooted because of that disappearing act fourteen years ago.

As the story develops, things become less clear, characters evolve and you begin to see things from other points of view.  The narration from Abi’s mother Kathryn was particularly interesting.  She was a well portrayed character, incredibly meek and highly anxious.  Her mental health definitely seemed questionable at times, the girls often mentioning about her being in a constant state of anxiety or unease about things.  The controlling influence of her mother Eleanor was too much for her to bear, and the constant need for approval from her mother was definitely heartbreaking to read.  

Whilst this story was about secrets, lies, families and betrayal, there as a lot of emotion in this too.  For a writer to create characters that you could feel an absolute loathing for, ones you desperately wanted to comfort and ones you wanted to take and shake some sense into is a mark of good writing.  
Weaving such a delicate issue into a wonderful story like this is also brilliance, for some people, the idea of a mother abandoning a child is a step too far, but this was well handled throughout.  In fact, all of the sensitive issues involved in this story were well written and thoughtfully detailed and for that I applaud the author.  

The characters were all well detailed, and three dimensional (even the flawed Kathryn), they appeared very lifelike and believable.  The writing is superb, detailed and well researched, the skill at maintaining the suspense and intrigue throughout really means that Heidi Perks is a name you want to look out for in the future.  It’s the sort of story that stays with you after you’ve read it, almost making you wonder what you would do in that situation. 
This was an all consuming and compulsive read, I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others.  

You can buy a copy of Beneath the Surface here. 
 

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Little Bones

Author: Sam Blake
Published: 17 May 2016
Reviewed: 30 May 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Bonnier Publishing /Twenty7 in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars

 

Description:   

My Thoughts & Review

The discovery of tiny bones in the hem of a wedding dress is strange enough, but to then ascertain that they are a baby’s bones is enough to turn a simple break-in into a full scale investigation for the Guards in Dublin.
Detective Cathy Connolly and her boss Inspector O‘Rourke have their work cut out for them tracking down answers to solve this grisly case.
Throw in the mysterious appearance of a fugitive killer from Las Vegas, who is intent on tying up loose ends in Dublin and the Guards have more than enough to deal with.  

This is the first of instalment of the Garda Cathy Connolly series and it definitely doesn‘t hold back.  The writing it superb, the plot is interesting and gripping, characters are multidimensional and easy to relate toThe various elements of the story are well written Masterfully weaving together the tales of Mary‘s past and present dementia like struggles, Zoe‘s world slowly falling to pieces around her and the personal life of Cathy Connolly mixing with her professional dutiesIt would be easy to assume that something would get lost in the myriad of characters and details but as far as I was concerned, nothing did.  The detail in this book was incredible, even the intricacies of the art work created by Zoe was thoroughly detailed, so much so that I could almost imagine the canvases. 

The chemistry and camaraderie between Connolly and O’Rourke is a delight to read, they are a great pairing, and the hints to their shared history open up the opportunity for Sam Blake to go so many ways with this series, I cannot wait to see what she has for us with book two.   

Secrets and lies rarely follow a linear path, the ones in this book scaled the chart of complexity and just when you thought that the secret was as dark as it got, another layer is peeled away and for some characters the truth was too much to bear.  
With so many twists and turns, both expected and unexpected, this book is entirely engrossing.

I enjoyed this book so much that at just over half way in I was already recommending it to friends that I thought would appreciate it.  

You can buy a copy of Little Bones here.  
 

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I’ll See You in Paris

Author: Michelle Gable
Published: 9 February 2016
Reviewed: 2 May 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by St. Martin’s Press / Thomas Dunne Books in return for an honest review

  3 out of 5 Stars

 



Description:  


Michelle Gable’s I’ll See You in Paris winds together the lives of three women born generations apart, but who face similar struggles of love and heartbreak.


After losing her fiancé in the Vietnam War, nineteen-year-old Laurel Haley takes a job in England, hoping the distance will mend her shattered heart. Laurel expects the pain might lessen but does not foresee the beguiling man she meets or that they’ll go to Paris, where the city’s magic will take over and alter everything Laurel believes about love.


Thirty years later, Laurel’s daughter Annie is newly engaged and an old question resurfaces: who is Annie’s father and what happened to him? Laurel has always been vague about the details and Annie’s told herself it doesn’t matter. But with her impending marriage, Annie has to know everything. Why won’t Laurel tell her the truth?


The key to unlocking Laurel’s secrets starts with a mysterious book about an infamous woman known as the Duchess of Marlborough. Annie’s quest to understand the Duchess, and therefore her own history, takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a decaying estate kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris where answers will be found at last.

You can buy a copy of I’ll See You in Paris here.

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The Travelers

Author: Chris Pavone
Published: 10 March 2016
Reviewed: 12 April 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Faber & Faber Ltd in return for an honest review

3 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

An ingenious, compulsive thriller from the Edgar Award winning, Sunday Times bestselling, author of The Expats and The Accident

Will Rhodes is an award-winning correspondent for The Travelers, on assignment at a luxury Argentinian resort – fine wines and gourmet food, polo fields and the looming Andes.


But Will’s life is about to be turned upside down when a new flirtation turns into something far more dangerous, and he only realises too late.


Turns out he’s been targeted, he just doesn’t know why. He doesn’t know what these people truly want and how far into his life they will reach, to his friends and his colleagues, to his boss and his wife. He doesn’t know that they will stop at nothing in their pursuit, and he doesn’t know about the secrets he has already been keeping…


From the Edgar Award winning, Sunday Times bestselling, author of The Expats and The Accident, The Travelers is an ingenious, compulsive thriller – taking us from New York to Washington, Mendoza to Capri, London to Paris, Edinburgh to Dublin, Stockholm to the wilds of Iceland – about marriage, deceit, betrayal, and the secrets we should watch out for.

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What She Never Told Me

Author: Kate McQuaile
Published: 3 March 2016
Reviewed: 18 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Quercus Books in return for an honest review

4 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 


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You Sent Me a Letter

Author: Lucy Dawson
Published: 3 March 2016
Reviewed: 3 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Corvus in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

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