Monday 25 July 2016

Sibel Hodge

I haven't read much of Sibel Hodge's considerable output but what I've read I've really enjoyed. This dark psychological thriller kept me glued.


My review -

Maya’s heart and whole life are shattered when her partner Jamie is found hanged in a local beauty spot. She is fairly sure he intended to propose that evening. The verdict is suicide but Maya can’t let it go. She discovers later that Jamie had been brought up in a children’s home. She also finds out what had been going on there, and that some of the people responsible are still holding down lucrative and responsible jobs. It begins to appear that Jamie was about to blow the whistle and has been silenced.

This is a really gripping thriller and is both gruesome and dark in places. We accompany Maya and Jamie’s friend, Mitchell, on their journey to seek justice for Jamie and all those he was going to champion. It looks an impossible task because the perpetrators seem to be – untouchable. If you’re not squeamish about the subject matter you’ll find this book really engrossing. I enjoyed it immensely.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Neil Grimmett

If you search on here for the name Neil Grimmett you will see how much I enjoyed his books The Hoard and The Threshing Circle. I was saddened to learn that he died after a short illness - far too soon - last November. I was informed that three more of his novels were published this June. This is one, and it's an enthralling and at times uncomfortable read. A family in tension.

My review -

Brothers Richard and William have a tense relationship which hardens into enmity as they grow older. William is artistic and Richard feels that his parents favour him because of it. He’s excused jobs on the farm so he can paint. Richard feels all the work falls to him. They love the same girl, Selina and when she marries Richard, William leaves to paint abroad.

I really enjoyed the detail in this book. The countryside which is the setting for the farm comes to life. The parents, Herbie and Madeline, come under inspection as we see how each has influenced the men their children will become. It was hard to feel affection for any of the characters yet one is drawn to them and their sometimes furious anger. This is a brilliant depiction of a family in tension. It’s difficult not to draw a parallel with The Prodigal Son and I suspect the similarity in the title is no coincidence. If you read his compelling story you will become involved in the lives of the family.
I received a copy of this book from the author’s agent in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday 16 July 2016

Shalini Boland

Another new author to me - there are so many good ones out there.

We are the sum of our memories. We exist not merely in the present but as the person we know we are from our past. A girl is washed up, half drowned, on a beach in Dorset. Her boyfriend reports her missing so she knows, but doesn’t recognise, her name; Mia James. The face in her mirror is a total stranger to her. She can’t connect with people she is told she knows – all but one. Can she re-invent herself or will she one day regain her memories and her true past?

I found this book utterly gripping. To exist in your own mind only from the day you woke on the beach is a fascinating but terrifying thought. Mia doesn’t know who to trust and neither does the reader. I found the way the author managed to switch the reader’s perceptions particularly well done. We don’t know who to believe. Was she the victim of an accident or was someone trying to kill her? You’ll have to read it to find out. It’s not often I read a book in a day but this one is so compelling. It’s a page turner and no mistake.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher who offered copies for review purposes.

Friday 15 July 2016

John Marrs

John Marrs is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. His stories have an immediacy - they feel real. That's a bit scary in this case!

My review -

Wouldn’t it take all the hit-and-miss out of finding love if someone had discovered a gene you could match with your partner? Some has discovered that gene and it leads to people in their millions sending a DNA swab to find their perfect Match. Match Your DNA becomes a multi-million pound business. Matched couples get lower insurance – no suicidal depression, no divorce. Non-matched couples feel insecure and many get tested and then split up. It’s thrown the world of dating into chaos. But once everyone does it, it’s going to be brilliant, isn’t it? Isn’t it? This excellent story takes a closer look at several couples and follows their experiences through the Match Your DNA process. The world of instant love is not a path of rose-petals, it seems. You’re guaranteed a Match – how can it possibly go wrong?

I loved the idea and found myself engrossed in the characters and their stories. They were sufficiently well-drawn and different that it was easy to follow from one to another as the chapters moved forward. The sections were fairly short so the page-turner element really kicked in. I hated leaving one story-line but after the first paragraph of the next, I remembered why I hadn’t wanted to leave this one the last time around. This is the third book of the authors that I’ve read and I think he’s getting better. Imagination and technique go hand in hand here and it’s a very compelling book indeed.

I received a review copy of this book from the author.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Joel Hames

This, like a may-fly, is ephemeral - so topical it must be read now!

My review -

This topical short story tells the tale of the unprecedented referendum vote and adds some fictional spice to the result which probably astonished us all when it happened. Dave is a taxi driver working nights. Someone leaves a briefcase in his cab and an unsuspecting banker finds it. He reads the contents, leaves it there and later, Dave himself reads it. The contents are explosive. There have been cunning plans and dirty deeds (we all knew that!), the banker dies and Dave finds himself in great danger.

This is a bit of fun (well, assuming you like murder and political intrigue). They say a week is a long time in politics, and life imitates art. Current events are catching up with, and even overtaking, this story – but take it in its context. It’s a funny, slightly scary and bravely ambitious book. I enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Peter Sidell

I love to find a new and very promising author - here's one! Short stories which ticked a lot of boxes for me.

The Reality Principle

My review - 

This is a book of short stories which you can read start to finish in an evening or, if you prefer, intersperse them with longer books. I intended to use them to break up longer novels but I found them sufficiently compelling to read them straight through.

The stories are all quite dark and make you think. If pressed, I’d call them speculative fiction. Some have elements of science fiction but also some have psychological and philosophical leanings. The writing is very good and the characters well-drawn. I really enjoyed reading them. This is a great beginning for the author who I see is currently writing a novel. I look forward to this very much.

Tuesday 5 July 2016

S K Tremayne

This is the second book I've read by this author and I think it's particularly good.

At the time of writing this is not available on as a kindle book

My review - 

I enjoyed SK Tremayne’s The Ice Twins and jumped at the chance to read this when it was offered by the publisher, via Netgalley, for review. Thanks for this opportunity.
Rachel is newly married to David Kerthen, the wealthy owner of Carnhallow House, hub of the Kerthens’ Cornish lands and mines, though he now makes his money in legal circles in London. Rachel has it all – a real rags-to-riches story. She has the handsome, rich husband, the beautiful surroundings and a gorgeous young stepson, Jamie, for whom she falls deeply. Slowly, it all starts to go wrong. 

I really loved the fact that, with the ex-wife’s echo everywhere, it was almost a cliché – shades of Rebecca. It changed, though, and I was gradually drawn in to the family’s history, both David’s and Rachel’s. Jamie, the child who appeared to be a catalyst for supernatural activity within the house, was an appealing character and towards the end I became truly afraid for him and for Rachel, undergoing her own personal nightmares. I loved the story and I found some of the writing stunning. A big five stars from me.