Rapid Fire Book Tag

I was tagged by the ever lovely Inge at The Belgian Reviewer so without any further ado, let’s get to it!

qanda

Ebooks or physical books?

Both, please and thank you. Although I read ebooks more since I order physical books from the UK and I’m an awfully impatient lady.

Paperback or hardback?

Also both? Hardbacks are so pretty on a bookshelf but paperbacks are easier for reading.

Online or in-store book shopping?

Online. I’m an excellent online shopper. It’s a gift.

Trilogies or series?

Series.

Heroes or villains?

Both. I’m easy. … 🤔

A book you want everyone to read?

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Recommend an underrated book.

Sheesh. I don’t have the faintest idea!

The last book you finished?

Lies by TM Logan

Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

Probably a doggie biscuit.

Used books, yes or no?

I prefer new.

Borrow or buy?

Buy.

Characters or plot?

Both. I need everything.

Long or short book?

Any. All! I’m not bothered. I read the Song of Fire and Ice series so anything after that is a breeze.

Long or short chapters?

Short. Just to be able to squeeze in one more before bed time.

Name the first three books you think of?

In Deep Water by Sam Blake

A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood

Dead Woman Walking by Sarah Bolton

Books that make you laugh or cry?

Laugh. I bloody hate crying.

Our world or fictional worlds?

Our world.

Audiobooks : yes or no?

Nope. I’ll be off doing whatever and completely forget I’m supposed to be listening to something.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

All the time. Bad Dee, bad.

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

TV. Just because I feel they have more time to get things right.

A movie or TV adaptation you preferred over the book?

Maybe The Hobbit but only because of Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner. Did I mention I was easy?

Series or standalone?

Both.

Phew, I’m exhausted!

 

I have no idea who’s already done this or not. If you’d like to do this, please do. If not, just ignore me.

Mystery at Maplemead Castle – Kitty French – @Bookouture

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4*

aboutthebook

Maplemead Castle is crawling with ghosts, and the new owners need them gone. When Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency arrive on scene, they quickly identify the troublemakers swinging from the chandeliers … literally. A century ago, stunning trapeze artist Britannia Lovell plunged to her death, and has done every night since. But did she really just fall, or was there something more to her demise?

mythoughts

Maplemead Castle is the second book in the Chapelwick Mysteries series and it’s every bit as brilliant as the first one. Melody and her little band of misfits are fast becoming firm friends and it’s great to know I can rely on them when I need a laugh.

Maplemead Castle was bought by an American couple, sight unseen, over the internet. As you do. But they quickly realise all is not right. For this case, Melody is forced to work together with the ever annoying ex-boyfriend Leo and with irresistible reporter Fletch. No problems there then.

The story of the ghosts haunting Maplemead Castle is incredibly sad once again. Britannia used to be a trapeze artist who plunged to her death and she has done every night since. But was it an accident? Thank goodness for the humour or I’d be bawling like a baby.

Leo gets in far over his head. Melody doesn’t even know where her head is at most of the time, as having Fletch around is utterly distracting. While I wouldn’t mind having a Fletch of my own (sorry OH), it was Artie and Lestat who stole the show for me.

Personally, I felt this one was a bit too heavy on the romance. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery aspect and trying to figure out exactly what happened. And of course, the ever-present humour. I don’t know how Kitty French comes up with some of these things but her brain must be the most wonderful place.

All in all, captivating, full of witty characters and I can’t wait to see where the crew ends up next time. There’s a next time, right?

Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy which I chose to review.

Mystery at Maplemead Castle is out now.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

Tattletale – Sarah J. Naughton

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3*

aboutthebook

One day changes Jody’s life forever. She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.

One day changes Mags’ life forever. After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind. But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit …

mythoughts

Tattletale was one of the most anticipated psychological thrillers of the year. While it did deliver, I’m not entirely sure it lived up to the hype.

Abe is in a coma. Was it an accident? Was it suicide as the detectives believe? Or was it something more sinister?

Mags hasn’t seen her brother for years but she’s desperate to know the truth about what happened. And then she meets Jody.

Jody and Mags have both experienced highly disturbing childhoods, which some readers might find upsetting. Neither is particularly endearing and as the plot moves on, you wonder if either of them is a reliable narrator. There are some surprises as you expect from this genre but a few I could see coming a mile away.

Some of the material is quite dark but I didn’t feel it was as gripping and compelling as it could have been. While the first few chapters were quite confusing and I couldn’t figure out what they had to do with anything, it did all make sense in the end. However, for me, I thought the actions of the characters became just a bit too unbelievable.

Tattletale has all the ingredients and potential but it fell a little short of the mark. However, for the most part I did enjoy it and I do look forward to whatever Naughton comes up with next.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

The Silent Kookaburra – Liza Perrat @LizaPerrat

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5*

aboutthebook

All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives, the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom. Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret. Then one blistering summer day, tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web.

mythoughts

Wow. Like seriously, wow! The back cover of the book says this story will get under your skin and that is not a lie. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Set in Australia in the early 1970’s, this novel tackles a number of dark and disturbing topics, seen through the eyes of our narrator, eleven-year-old Tanya.

Tanya struggles at school. She’s not the prettiest, nor the skinniest but what she wants more than anything, is a happy family. Sadly her mother has suffered multiple miscarriages and this has left its mark. When finally baby Shelley joins the household, Tanya thinks things might be looking up and her wish of a happy family will come true. But then tragedy strikes and the family will never be the same again.

There’s also uncle Blackie who befriends Tanya. But why won’t anyone in the family talk about him? And why should Tanya keep their friendship a secret?

This book may be upsetting to some readers as it deals with mental issues and paedophilia, amongst others. It’s heartbreakingly sad and incredibly tense but so amazingly well written and I just couldn’t put it down. It’s powerful, authentic, realistic and believable. Having Tanya as a narrator works extremely well, especially when seeing things unfold no child her age should have to deal with.

Liza Perrat describes everything quite vividly. I’ve never been to Australia but had no problem imagining the hot summer temperatures, the sounds of the various animals and even the smells. Mentions of popstars of old and the fun Australian slang only added to the experience. As do many of the things that come out Nana Purvis’ mouth, fitting for that day and age.

The Silent Kookaburra is one gripping and compelling novel and I can’t recommend it enough.

Many, many thanks to Liza Perrat for sending me a copy of this novel. It was my utmost pleasure to read and review.

The Silent Kookaburra is out now.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

Sometimes I Lie – Alice Feeney

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5*

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore

3. Sometimes I lie

My thoughts :

Isn’t that the most fantastic description ever? It tells you a lot and yet nothing at the same time. However, it’s so intriguing that I bet you’re curious! I know I was.

Now, yes, I’m fully aware that I quite confidently announced a hiatus from psychological thrillers. I totally blame Lorraine and Joanne for my falling off the wagon. I have a feeling they won’t be sorry but neither am I because this is one fabulous psychological thriller that will mess with your head like you wouldn’t believe!

I blatantly refuse to tell you any more about the plot than what’s mentioned in the description. That right there should intrigue you and draw you in. The less you know when you start reading, the better. Suffice to say there are plenty of twists and turns that will leave you feeling like a cartoon figure who’s just been hit over the head with a hammer. Multiple times.

Alice Feeney has come up with a most intricate plot that will have you hooked from the very first page. Engrossing, compelling, a fabulous page turner and yes, another contender for book of the year! Absolutely loved it!

Sometimes I Lie was published on March 23rd and you should drop everything and run off to buy it NOW!

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

The Gingerbread House – Kate Beaufoy

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4*

Nestled among cherry trees in a picturesque country garden, the Gingerbread House resembles an illustration from an old-world storybook. But beware! For in the fairytale, that’s where the witch lives …

Not really. The Gingerbread House is nothing like the one in the fairytale and the witch is a grandmother suffering from dementia.

When Tess is made redundant from her job as an advertising copywriter, she goes to the Gingerbread House as it seems like the perfect place to work on a novel. But caring for her mother-in-law Eleanor is harder than she imagined.

The story is narrated by Eleanor’s granddaughter, fourteen year old Katia. Katia doesn’t talk but she’s an excellent listener and observer. She loves books and stories and it is she who named the house. As Tess starts to struggle with the isolation and the harsh reality of being a full-time carer, Katia is forced to watch helplessly.

This really hit a nerve with me. My grandmother suffers from dementia too. While it hurts that she doesn’t always remember me, the most emotional moment for me was when I realised that she knew fully well what was happening. “There’s something wrong in my head”, she told me. Like Eleanor, she has good moments and bad moments and it’s the bad ones that are positively draining.

There’s no sugarcoating, it’s highly realistic and believable and you will come away with nothing but the utmost admiration for those that are full-time carers.

The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving story. Heartbreaking and occasionally also quite funny. Katia is a fabulous narrator and her father often relies on dark humour to lift his wife’s spirits. There’s also a twist I didn’t see coming it all. At the end of the book, I was left with a massive lump in my throat.

Many thanks to Black & White Publishing and Netgalley for my copy which I chose to review.

The Gingerbread House is out now.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

Last Breath – Robert Bryndza @bookouture @RobertBryndza

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4*

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim. When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case. While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved.

My thoughts :

Hard to believe we’re already up to the fourth book in this series and Erika Foster is back with a bang!

Stuck in a boring office job and drowning in administrative paperwork, she’s determined to get back to where she belongs : the murder investigative team. So when the body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, she immediately grabs the opportunity to attend the scene.

This is another page turner and quite a quick read. Or maybe that was me, swiping the pages like a mad woman as the action built up. Erika’s going through some changes, showing more emotions and vulnerability. A side to her we’ve not seen too much of. (Maybe she’s pregnant? 😉 ) It’s always a good thing to see more character development along the way. Don’t fret, she hasn’t changed that much. She’s still fiery, outspoken and impulsive.

The reader knows pretty early on who the killer is but that didn’t bother me at all. I thought it was quite fascinating to see how their mind works and how they try to keep up the pretence of living a normal life while Erika and her team are desperately trying to figure out who they’re chasing before they strike again.

Sometimes you start to build up expectations and worry you may be feeling left disappointed. It happens quite a bit in series. Not just in books, but tv show seasons too. (I’m looking at you “Lost”.) But not in this case, as Robert Bryndza is amazingly consistent.

Last Breath is an excellent addition to this series and quite possibly the best one so far. Bring on the next one!

Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my advanced copy which I chose to review.

Last Breath will be published on April 12th.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

The Skeletons of Scarborough House – Kitty French @bookouture @KFrenchBooks

30325010

5*

Life’s tough for Melody Bittersweet. She’s single, addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers, and she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder? Waking up lonely on her twenty seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change. Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency – kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits.

My thoughts :

After having read a few disappointing (to me) psychological thrillers in a row, I made a conscious decision to leave the genre behind for a bit and try something completely different and I somehow ended up with this book.

The Skeletons of Scarborough House is the first instalment of The Chapelwick Mysteries. Having seen many great reviews for the second book, once again Dee-logic dictated I start with the first one.

I had no idea what to expect since I can’t remember ever having read something labeled “a cosy mystery” before. I was wary of all the laugh-out-loud comments I’d seen because I can name a number of things that were called “hilarious” that didn’t even make my lips twitch. So imagine my surprise, when barely two pages in, I snorted quite unlady-like.

Melody sees dead people, as do her mother and grandmother. She starts a ghostbusting agency with her best friend. Soon they’re joined by Art and the team is complete. Their very first case involves Scarborough House. Set to be sold, it’s putting off potential buyers as it’s haunted. It’s up to Melanie to figure out why.

This book is filled to the brim with the most quirky characters I’ve ever met. The Bittersweet ladies are my kind of crazy and absolutely endearing. I doubt you’d get bored if you invited them to dinner. Even the dog is a little goofball.

Don’t go thinking this is just some bit of fluff, to be dismissed off hand. Yes, it’s funny. Laugh-out-loud funny sometimes. But it’s also sad. The tale of the ghosts at Scarborough House was heartbreaking. Quite a feat to combine a healthy dose of humour with the darker aspect of a murder.

Once I picked this up, I couldn’t put it down. It’s quite a quick read and I’m so glad I could finish it in one sitting, snuggled under a blanket with a warm cup of tea while the rain kept coming down outside. Great plot, fabulous characters, brilliant and extremely funny! The next instalment of the series (Murder at Maplemead Castle) is already on my to-read list.

Also, as a side note, how adorable is that cover?!

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Wicked Game – Matt Johnson @Matt_Johnson_UK @OrendaBooks

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5*

2001. Age is catching up with Robert Finlay, a police officer on the Royal Protection team based in London. He’s looking forward to returning to uniform policing and a less stressful life with his new family. But fate has other plans.

My thoughts :

Having seen some amazing book blogger ratings about the second book in this series (Deadly Game), I decided to give this one a go first, as Dee-logic dictates to always start at the beginning of a series. Which in this case isn’t so bad. In other cases when there are already five or more books, it’s a bit more problematic. But I digress.

Robert Finlay, a former SAS Member, is giving up his job on the Royal Protection team. He’s happily married, has a beautiful daughter and wants to lead a less stressful life. But his past is about to catch up with him when his former SAS colleagues start dying all over the place. Someone is playing a wicked game. (Get it?) Who can Robert trust?

Admittedly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t even really know what the book was about as I try to read as little of a description as I possibly can since a lot of them contain way too many spoilers for my liking. But I have faith in my book blogger friends and I soon realised my trust in them was not misplaced. I quickly became completely engrossed as I tried to fit the pieces of the puzzle together and ended up suspecting pretty much everyone in this cat-and-mouse game.

This is one cleverly constructed plot, with some nail biting moments. At the end of the book, I felt utterly exhausted, like I’d gone through the entire thing myself. That’s all down to Matt Johnson’s amazing writing. Quite obviously, he knows what he’s talking about and it adds that extra level of authenticity to the reading experience.

This would make an excellent movie or tv series. (Preferably with Richard Armitage in it. Just saying’.)  I could see scenes play out right before my eyes. Such a thrilling ride.

Wicked Game is tense and dramatic. Highly intelligent and adrenaline fuelled, with some fabulous plot twists. I doubt I’ll be waiting long to read the next one in the series.

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Goodreads

#GuestReview: Splintered by Kelly Miller (@MillerMystery) @BookaholicDee

My very first guest review! So exciting!

damppebbles

splintered.jpg“Life turns from barely tolerable to complete hell when Maddy Eastin’s impulsive plan to win back the attention of her absentee father backfires. Word of her scheme spreads through her high school, but when mockery escalates to cyberbullying, Maddy and her failed stunt become headline news. But the worst is yet to come…

A disturbed man is fighting the overwhelming urge to surrender to his true nature—a moral code molded by a sadistic father who taught him that a girl needs proper training to become the perfect subservient woman. As he watches Maddy on the evening news, his already fractured psyche completely splinters. She’s the girl he’s been waiting for.

When Maddy disappears, she’s labeled a runaway even though her mother believes it was foul play. Will the detectives investigating Maddy’s disappearance find her before it’s too late? Or has she already fallen prey to the vicious stranger hunting her?”

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