Weekly Wrap Up (April 30)

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It’s been a particularly horrendous week and my reading took a bit of a backseat. I’ve “only” managed to read 4 books.

Books I read this week:

 

Books I bought this week :

 

Received from Netgalley :

On the blog this past week :

WordPress threw a temper tantrum on Friday and didn’t share my scheduled post. Otherwise I would have posted every day. Grumble.

Last Sunday, I shared my review for Play Dead by Angela Marsons

On Monday, I reviewed The Crying Boy by Jane E. James

My first ever blog tour participation was on Tuesday with K.L. Loveley’s Alice

Wednesday was reserved for my weekly “what are you reading?” post and I also finished my Kim Stone series challenge and posted my review for Blood Lines by Angela Marsons

On Thursday I shared my review for The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick.

And finally on Saturday, it was time to review Dead Souls by Angela Marsons (which should have posted on Friday, in case you missed me mentioning that once or twice before)

Next week on the blog :

Who the heck knows? I certainly don’t. Except for Wednesday, when I’ll be hosting the Watch You Burn blog tour. Everything else is entirely up in the air. I do so like to “wing it”.

What have you found to read this week? What did you buy/receive/borrow? Curious minds and all that!

Have a great week and happy reading! xx

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

The truth was dead and buried … until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone. As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps. Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

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First of all, let me say I’m incredibly excited to be around for this on publication day after having caught up on the series in the previous weeks! (edit : well, I was until WordPress decided to throw a temper tantrum and not post my scheduled review yesterday. I’m shaking my fist in anger!)

I’m not sure I can find the words to describe how this book made me feel. It left me reeling, feeling angry and sad at the despicable way some people are treated.

Dead Souls, the sixth book in the Detective Kim Stone series, is on a different level than the previous ones. While the pace is a tad slower until the final chapters, there’s a depth to it that had me gripped. So many revelations, so much heartache.

The book starts with the suicide of a teenaged boy, which has a profound effect on Stacy, for reasons you’ll have to discover yourself. Somewhere in the middle of a field, Doctor A is on a routine archaeological dig with her students, when she discovers skeletal remains. It quickly becomes clear there is more than one victim. Who are they and what happened to them?

Angela Marsons is mixing things up a little bit this time as the team, and I thankyouverymuch, are pulled from their comfort zone. Kim is forced to work with Detective Travis on this case and boy, is she thrilled about that! Meanwhile her team must solve a case without her help. I admit this scenario had me worried at the start and I was all set to start throwing things because I don’t normally like it when a team I love is split up. But it actually worked. Watching the dynamics shift really held my attention. And as has been the case so far with the previous instalments as well, the reader learns so much more about the characters as secrets are revealed and questions are answered.

The case is a brutal one but since the blurb doesn’t mention it, I won’t either. Suffice to say it’s incredibly dark, gritty and disturbing with some sickening events that really got to me because it sadly sounds all too realistic.

Dead Souls is …. wait for it … you know it’s coming, don’t you? … the absolute best in the series yet! There. I said it again. If you love the Kim Stone series, you will undoubtedly love this one too! If you haven’t been reading this series, you’re missing out!

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

Dead Souls is published on April 28th. That was yesterday, people! I’m sure you’ve all got your copy by now! 😉

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The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick

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3*

aboutthebook

Two sisters and one betrayal that will carry across generations.

In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begin – the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heartbreaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the efforts of one reckless act still echo – but how long will it be until their past returns?

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The Returning Tide is a heartbreaking story about love, loss, betrayal and regrets.

Twin sisters Amelia and Adele have always been close. Until one day, one of the sisters commits the ultimate betrayal.

And that is probably the shortest breakdown about a book, ever! But I can’t say much more because it would give the entire plot away.

This is an emotional read and while the sisters and their story may be fiction, some key events are actually based on historical research and there’s something really striking about having a place as beautiful as Cornwall connected to something as horrible as a war. It’s clear a lot of research has gone into this book and the author knows what she’s talking about.

Liz Fenwick has a beautifully descriptive writing style which truly captivated me. However, I feel like I would have enjoyed the story far more if it had just been from Adele’s point of view, past and present. I didn’t really have a need for Lara’s chapters, although I do understand the motivation behind them. But I ended up speed-reading those, because I wanted to get back to Adele and the mystery, even if that in itself was somewhat predictable. Overall, while I did enjoy some parts of it, I’m not sure if this was the right book for me.

The Silent Tide was published on March 23rd.

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Blood Lines by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?

A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up. When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother, her own mother.

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Oh, yes! I did it! Thank you book pimp 😉 for the wee nudge and the encouragement along the way. Couldn’t have done it without you!

In case you didn’t know, I set myself the challenge to get caught up on the Kim Stone series before book 6 is published and I totally nailed it! No applause, please. Oh, okay, go on, a little bit. I’ll wait.

Before you ask, yes, I know I haven’t posted the previous review that long ago but after everything, you didn’t really think I wouldn’t try my hardest to be around for the publication day of book 6, did you? (spoiler : I will be.)

So Blood Lines, the fifth in the series and really, I’m running out of words to describe the awesomeness that is Detective Kim Stone and her creator Angela Marsons. There was a part of me that wondered if the author could keep up the level I’ve now become accustomed to. Would there be a blip? Would I think Angela Marsons had lost her writing mojo? Would I, with pain in my heart, be inclined to hand out four stars instead of five? (Who knew I was this good at drama?)

The answer is : heck no!

A woman is found stabbed to death in her car. It looks like a robbery gone wrong. But when a second body is found with the exact same wound, Kim knows she’s dealing with the same killer. The victims don’t seem to have anything in common so what’s the connection? And who is lurking in the shadows?

Meanwhile Alex and her fabulously manipulative talent are providing a huge distraction, forcing Kim to face her past head-on.

Since we last saw Alex in Evil Games, I always felt that a silly inconvenience of being incarcerated wouldn’t stop her from trying to get into Kim’s head. So as soon as I realised she was making a comeback, I was on the edge of my seat! Her evil games know no limits. She may just be my favourite baddie and even behind bars, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

So again, I’ll say, this one is the best one yet in the series. Angela Marsons raises the bar every single time. I know I’m repeating myself but it’s true. This series just goes from strength to strength and book 5 is another cracking addition. I’m so looking forward to reading the next one and I will never lose track of this series again!

Blood Lines was published in November 2016.

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This Week in Books (April 26)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading :

34500937

The truth was dead and buried … until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone. As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps. Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

The book I’m currently reading :

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Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart?

When life gives you lemons … make ice-cream! Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum, Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her. Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business : a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

What I’m reading next :

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My name is Irini. I was given away

My name is Elle. I was kept.

All her life, Irini thought she was given away because her family didn’t want her. What if the truth is something worse?

Two sisters. Two separate lives. One family bound by a harrowing secret.

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As always, my schedule is subject to change.

What are you reading this week? Anything I should absolutely add to my TBR?

Alice by K.L. Loveley @K_L_Loveley @emmamitchellfpr #blogtour #giveaway

Good morning book lovers and welcome to my stop on the blogtour for K.L. Loveley’s Alice, for which I’ll be sharing my review! Make sure you also visit the fabulous Karen at My Reading Corner who’s hosting a stop today as well. AND! Don’t forget to enter the absolutely amazing giveaway!

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aboutthebook

Alice is near breaking point. Floods have left her beautiful dream home a damaged mess, her stepchildren’s lack of respect is giving her migraines and, worst of all, her husband is giving her no support to lean on. Her life is slowly spiralling out of control.

When Alice’s daughter, Anne Marie, repeatedly falls victim to aggressive vandals, Alice finally can take no more. She decides to take control of the mess that has become her life, and finally frees herself from the chaos that has been bringing her down.

Freedom, however, isn’t as sweet as Alice first thought it might be. She finds herself yearning for something she can’t quite put her finger on. In her quest to find it, Alice finds herself turning to drink.

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After her first husband left her for another woman, Alice’s confidence got a knock. But with the support of her children, she quickly found her feet again and even got a degree. Then she met Robin. They bought a house together and got married and slowly things started to fall apart.

Not only did a flood ruin their dream home, Robin’s children are manipulative, disrespectful and lazy. Not wanting to rock the boat and be the stereotypical wicked stepmother, Alice bottles things up. But her husband is spineless and doesn’t do anything to rectify the situation, out of fear of losing the love of his children.

Many a time I wanted to knock some sense into these characters. I kept urging Alice to get out but when she finally does, things get worse for her. And while I’m not usually an aggressive person, I really wanted to strangle Robin’s children.

This book gives a realistic insight into the decline towards alcoholism. Alice is a confident, working mother, whose daily struggles finally just get the better off her. The desperation she feels is such, that she feels she can only find solace at the bottom of a bottle. Even if it makes her feel like utter crap the next day. Alice’s despair was truly heartbreaking.

There was quite a long build-up but I did feel that was necessary to point out that this could happen to anyone. How quickly one drink to ease the tension, can turn into so much more and how hard it is to fight your way back. Raw and highly believable!

Alice was published in January.

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!! GIVEAWAY !!

One lucky person will win the following #GoodieBag!!

  • Signed copy of Alice
  • ‘Mindfulness for the frazzled’ by Ruby Wax
  • Mindfulness coloring book
  • Staedtler Colouring Pencils, (Johanna Basford Edition)
  • Pukka Relax tea
  • K.L Loveley mindfulness mug

UK ONLY! Enter by clicking this link right here –> a Rafflecopter giveaway

abouttheauthor

K.L Loveley is a contemporary fiction author from Nottinghamshire, who writes gritty, realistic novels which tackle medical and social issues.

The author has enjoyed a successful 47-year nursing career with the NHS, during which she acquired vast skills. She has transferred her medical knowledge, and incorporated her excellent human observation skills into writing interesting stories about people affected by social and medical issues.

Her debut novel, ‘Alice’ tackles alcoholism head-on, and presents the reader with an empathetic account of a spiralling addiction and the resulting pattern of hopelessness that many fall into.

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Follow the rest of the tour!

Alice - Blog Tour Banner

The Crying Boy by Jane E. James @jane_e_james @Bloodhoundbook

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4*

aboutthebook

Clayton and Avril Shaw have lost their little boy and are still grieving when they move into Swallow’s Nest on the Yorkshire moors. In their new house, Avril discovers a painting and is intrigued by the history surrounding it. When she learns that the boy in the painting was deaf, like her dead son, she starts to try and communicate with his ghost.

Meanwhile Clayton finds himself entangled in an equally undesirable friendship with a retired fire chief who knows more about the painting than he’s prepared to let on. Is The Crying Boy painting cursed and can numerous house fires be linked to it?  Struggling with their unstable marriage, the couple find themselves in further danger as an increasingly disturbing bond develops between Avril and The Crying Boy.

mythoughts

Holy flying Scotsman, what the heck was that?!

Really, there’s only one word that applies to this book and it’s “creepy”. Creeeeeeepy! The stuff of nightmares!

My in-laws used to have this painting on the wall in their living room. Even then, it freaked me out and I didn’t even know the story behind it back then. And no, before you ask, their house never burnt down.

I’d like to say that in the spirit of broadening my horizon, I picked up this book because I’m not normally interested in the paranormal or supernatural (unless it involves the Winchester brothers) but I’d be lying. The truth is, I kept seeing the cover pop up on my twitter timeline and I couldn’t forget about it. Then when I realised it was a “thriller”, I was too intrigued for my own good. So I had absolutely no idea what the book was about and I’m glad I didn’t.

Clayton and Avril move to Swallow’s Nest on the Yorkshire moors after the death of their son. They find a painting that looks remarkably like their little boy. But this painting of The Crying Boy is nothing like any other painting. It is steeped in mystery and believed to be cursed.

The painting itself kicks off the book by relaying events through its own eyes, so to speak.  Did I mention creepy? What a way to hook a reader! I would have loved to have seen more chapters like that one. As it is, it set the tone perfectly for what lay ahead.

This is one nailbiting read, where the action builds up from first page to last. I wondered what was going on and I couldn’t quite figure out how things would end up. And … well, if that ending doesn’t shock you to the core, then there’s no hope for you!

A dark and disturbing book, with the Yorkshire moors providing the perfect setting. Chilling, creepy, absolutely brilliant! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Jane E. James!

The Crying Boy was published in March 2017.

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Play Dead by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

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5*

aboutthebook

The dead don’t tell secrets … unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess. Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A “body farm” investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

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A procrastinator I may be but when I set myself a challenge, I’m like a dog with a bone. Competitive streak? Me? Nah! So there was no playing dead for me, or very little sleep as it goes (thank you insomnia), and I made it to book 4 in the Kim Stone series. I may have patted myself on the shoulder but you can’t prove it.

Things get a tad gruesome as we find ourselves on a body farm. Having read a lot of Kathy Reich’s books (which to my delight was mentioned), I knew what that was but still … gross.

The fresh body of a young woman is found on a body farm of not-so-fresh bodies. She’s been badly beaten and her mouth has been stuffed full of dirt. Well hey, if you’re going to dump a body, why not hide it in plain sight?

Meanwhile, Tracy Frost is trying to solve the mysterious murder of “Bob” whose body was found without his hands. Could the two cases be connected somehow?

This series just keeps going from strength to strength and this is another cracking read! The prologue already hooked me and it remains haunting as you carry on reading and realise the devastating effects of a damaged childhood. While the “why” may be clear at some point, the “who” is a whole different matter and the author kept me guessing until the end.

Not only do we get to know Kim better every time, the same goes for other characters which is just another thing to love about this series. Doctor A may quickly become a firm favourite of mine and I really enjoyed the involvement of Tracy Frost.

Another brilliant addition to a most excellent series. Now to find the time to move on to the next one!

Play Dead was published in May 2016.

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Behind The Lie by Amanda James

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3*

aboutthebook

Who can you trust, when you can’t trust yourself?

Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go. Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth … her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

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Holly used to be a model with a drug addiction. Until one day, Simon spots her on the runway and decides he wants her in his life. He helps her get her act together, they get married and are now expecting twins. Holly splits her time between a flat in London and a beach house in Cornwall. Life is good.

Until Holly gives birth and only one of her twins survives. She’s convinced her son is alive and will stop at nothing to find him.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the psychological genre and I are having some sort of relationship crisis. We’re at that stage where there’s angry shouting and door slamming and maybe some plates you never really liked will end up in pieces on the kitchen floor.

Based on the description, Behind The Lie had a lot of potential. I was expecting an intricate plot with lots of twists and turns but unfortunately for me, I figured the whole thing out quite early on and I thought it all became too predictable and slightly far-fetched.

I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. They all came across as highly unlikeable, which doesn’t always have to be an issue but in this case, for me, it was. I couldn’t even muster up sympathy for Holly, which felt all kinds of wrong since she’d just lost a baby.

However, I did enjoy Amanda James’ writing. Since this was my first time reading a book written by her, none of what I said will stop me from reading another one at some point. This is quite clearly a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” and the psychological thriller genre and I desperately need some time away from each other.

Many thanks to HQ Digital UK and Netgalley for my advanced copy.

Behind The Lie will be published on April 21st.

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Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell – @Caroline_writes @Bookouture

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4*

aboutthebook

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.

A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise his dark fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her former lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart. Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

As Ruby starts to close in on the twisted individual, can she stop him before he strikes again? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

mythoughts

Sleep Tight is the second book in the Ruby Preston series by Caroline Mitchell and it’s every bit as great as the first one.

There’s a creepy killer on the loose. His targets are prostitutes. He means to make them beautiful and poses their bodies as fairytale princesses. This is one brutal and disturbing serial killer who has no conscience whatsoever.

When the first body is found, Ruby and her team quickly find a suspect. But is he the killer? Things become even more complicated when Nathan Crosby finds himself entangled in the murder investigation. Ruby is convinced someone is trying to frame him. But is he really that innocent? How well does she know him anyway?

This is what makes the series so unique and why I keep coming back for more : the complicated life Ruby is living. On the one hand, she’s a detective out for justice. But on the other hand, she’s romantically involved with Nathan, head of one of the biggest criminal families in town. He’s on the wrong side of the law that she is trying to uphold. You can’t help but wonder how that will play out because surely at some point, something’s got to give.

Brilliantly constructed and gripping plot with a great twist that I didn’t see coming at all. I love it when that happens. I’m looking forward to book 3 and can’t wait to read what’s next for Ruby.

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

Sleep Tight was published on April 20th.

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