The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Andrew Taylor
Title : The Ashes of London
Series : James Marwood #1
Pages : 482
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : April 7, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.

In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back.

Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Recently, I’ve been on the look-out for more historical crime fiction as it’s a genre I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately. The Ashes Of London caught my eye as it’s an era I’m not especially familiar with. I had heard of The Great Fire though, so that’s something as that is where this story starts.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 caused quite a few deaths. But St. Paul’s holds another body that didn’t perish in the fire. This victim was murdered before the fire got to them. As James Marwood watches the devastating fire roar, he helps a boy to safety. A boy who later turns out to be a young girl. This girl, Catherine, is trying to find her father. Could he be the murder victim?

For some reason, I couldn’t quite get to grips with this one. While I found it interesting to see the devastation the fire caused across the city, how it affected some but not others and the way it seemed to rain ashes for days on end, I mostly picked this book because I’m a crime fan. And the crime fan in me will always be way more intrigued by the murder investigation. This seemed to often take a bit of a backseat though in this story. There is a lot of walking through the streets, soaking up the atmosphere, a rather big cast of characters which sometimes confused me, conversations of which I felt they didn’t really bring much to the table and a rather slow pace where I was expecting more tension and “oomph”.

The story switches between James and Catherine. Unfortunately for me, neither of these two characters particularly held my interest and I often found my attention wandering. This story of conspiracies and revenge didn’t quite do it for me. I actually have the other books on my shelves and I will be giving them a go at some point. But for now, when I need a historical crime fiction fix, I will return to the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom which, in my most humble opinion, is far more superior.

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Book 10 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | @tjenkinsreid @AtriaBooks | #20BooksOfSummer #recommended

Author : Taylor Jenkins Reid
Title : The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Pages : 385
Publisher : Atria
Publication date : September 1, 2017

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Aging former movie star Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell the world about her life and set the record straight. Surprisingly, she picks an absolute nobody to write her biography. But as soon as you get to know Evelyn, you realise she doesn’t do anything for no reason and that nobody, Monique, is right where she should be. Why though? That’s the million dollar question and one I completely failed to answer until it was revealed to me.

Evelyn Hugo’s story depicts life behind the glitz, glamour and bright lights of Hollywood. In the days when the big movie studios ran Hollywood, things were very different from now. The movie studios held enormous power over their stars, determining what they should look like, what to eat (or not to eat) and even who to date. Anything to make their movie stars stand out, get publicity and sell movie tickets. There’s quite a lot of deceit, hiding behind masks, putting on acts all over town, the need to be seen. But more than anything, the sense that you should do whatever is necessary to avoid a scandal. Not just to protect your career, but also your family.

Evelyn Hugo married seven times during her lifetime. While talking to Monique, she deftly guides us through each of these marriages and it was often quite heartbreaking and devastating. Numerous times, I found I had a bit of a lump in my throat and by the end, I was very much an emotional mess.

Just like Monique, I too had a hard time deciding how I felt about Evelyn. From a young age, she knew exactly what she wanted and she went out there and got it, no matter what it took. Some of her actions really caused food for thought. Yet, they were also entirely understandable and throughout I was often left to wonder what I would have done in the situations Evelyn found herself in.

I found myself absolutely engrossed in Evelyn’s story from the very beginning. I feel privileged to have spent time with her, to have somewhat gotten to know the woman behind the actress. I say somewhat, because I’m convinced there were many more stories she could have told. Saying goodbye to Evelyn has left me feeling quite bereft and I realise I’m talking about her as if she was a real person because that’s exactly how she felt to me.

I loved everything about this story. The setting, the complex and multi-layered characters, the absolutely beautiful writing … there’s someone out there nodding her head, saying “I bloody told you so!” and now I’m telling you. If you love historical fiction or just a fantastic story in general, really, you have to meet Evelyn. This is my first time reading a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid but it won’t be my last.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is available to buy!

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Book 7 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter | @KarinSlaughter @HarperCollins | #20BooksofSummer #recommended

Author : Karin Slaughter
Title : The Last Widow
Series : Will Trent #9
Pages : 448
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.

| MY THOUGHTS |

After a three year hiatus, Will Trent is back and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried! The Last Widow is the ninth instalment in this series but it can be read perfectly as a stand-alone. Karin Slaughter manages really well to give new readers sufficient background on these characters, while giving older fans a bit of a refresher course.

If you’re new to my blog, or you just haven’t been paying attention, you may not know I am a huge Karin Slaughter fan. I’ll read whatever she writes, to be honest. I’ve been following the Will Trent series from the very beginning and it’s one of those series that just keeps getting better and better, while Karin Slaughter’s writing gets even more taught and sharp with each book. One of the things I really like about her, is that she doesn’t shy away from the tough and hard-hitting topics and The Last Widow definitely has one of those.

A series of events put Will and Sara’s lives in danger. First, a scientist from the Centers of Disease Control is kidnapped in broad daylight. Then, a month later, one of Atlanta’s busiest neighbourhoods is rocked by two explosions. As Will and Sara both work for law enforcement, they run towards the danger in order to offer any help they can. But that decision has devastating consequences when Sara is abducted.

Cue heart pounding, clammy hands and the need to take a break from time to time because the tension was so high, I almost forgot to breathe!

The Last Widow isn’t an easy story to read. It often made me feel extremely uncomfortable and it should have done, considering the topics that are dealt with here. White supremacy, pedophilia, child abuse, all the worst things man could possibly get up to; it’s all here, hidden away in a remote location in the Appalachian Mountains where the leader of a cult has zero good intentions. You know deep down things won’t end well, you can feel it in your bones but nothing can prepare for the devastation.

This is Karin Slaughter at her best. Yes, there was a bit at the beginning that slightly puzzled me. Certain events played out from both Sara and Will’s point of view and while I could totally understand why it was done that way, it was also somewhat repetitive. But that little niggle aside, The Last Widow is an absolute corker of a book. The wait for Will Trent to return was most definitely worth it. This story made me angry, it made me sad and throughout it all, you can feel Will’s desperation and helplessness, his fear but also his determination and resolve to do whatever it takes to save Sara. I’m not normally one for romantic shenanigans in my crime fiction but these two? Aaww. They have such a delightful, yet complicated relationship and I can’t help but root for them all the way.

Karin Slaughter firmly keeps her top spot on my list of favourite authors. She can truly do no wrong in my eyes and I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Be it another book in the Will Trent series or a stand-alone, I’ll be right there at the front of the line, using my elbows.

The Last Widow is available to buy!

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Book 4 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary | @QuercusBooks | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Beth O’Leary
Title : The Flatshare
Pages : 390
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : April 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.

Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course…

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

| MY THOUGHTS |

During one of those weeks where numerous books found their way back onto the bookshelf after just a few pages, I thought to myself “Self, why don’t you just pick up something completely different? Why not step away from the crime and the psychological thrillers?”. And so I did, because Self is often wise. This is how I ended up reading up-lit. As you do.

Tiffy needs a new place to live after being dumped by her cheating boyfriend. Leon needs money to pay for his brother’s solicitor and Leon has a flat, which he only uses between 9am and 5pm and never at the weekends. So during the hours when he’s not around, why not let someone else enjoy the flat? This is the start of a most unusual arrangement.

Now, I was prepared for this story to be predictable and in some parts it absolutely was. Yet, there are also some deeper issues running through the storyline that I wasn’t expecting at all. Tiffy’s relationship with the ex-boyfriend isn’t as straightforward as it looks and Leon’s job as a nurse on a palliative ward made me feel rather emotional at times. What won me over more than anything though, were the incredibly delightful characters. Quirky Tiffy is absolutely fabulous and often made me chuckle and her network of friends were a true delight to get to know as well. Both Tiffy and Leon, and also Leon’s brother, are characters you root for from start to finish.

The Flatshare is an uplifting story about love and friendship but also one about letting go, making changes and finding yourself. To my surprise (because this isn’t normally something I’d read), I actually thoroughly enjoyed this one and I read it one sitting. My only niggle was the way Leon’s chapters were written, which I found rather annoying. But ultimately, this book does exactly what it says on the tin. Sometimes moving, often funny; it left me with a huge smile on my face.

The Flatshare is available to buy!

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Book 3 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Beneath The Surface by Jo Spain | @JoSpain @QuercusBooks | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Jo Spain
Title : Beneath The Surface
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #2
Pages : 389
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : September 8, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.

At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Beneath The Surface is the second instalment in the DI Tom Reynolds series and if I wasn’t a fan of Jo Spain before this one, I sure would be now.

Ryan Finnegan, a high-ranking government official, is found shot to death in Ireland’s most secure building – the seat of Parliament, Leinster House. DI Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to solve Finnegan’s murder but that won’t be easy. With a charity ball across the road and lots of people milling around, the list of potential suspects could quite quickly run into the hundreds. Most of those are involved in politics, obviously, and we all know few of them can be trusted to speak the truth.

Politics, blackmail, backstabbing, lies and deceit. Sounds like an episode of House of Cards. There are a multitude of questions that need answers before DI Reynolds can even begin to make sense of it all. Why was Finnegan in that part of the building? What is the significance of the picture that was found underneath his body? Does his murder have anything to do with a Bill that Parliament needs to vote on soon?

I love the balance Jo Spain achieves in combining the team’s job with their private lives and even manages to throw in some chuckle-worthy moments, often courtesy of Ray. Tom is adjusting to new circumstances at home and the arrival of his grandchild, which causes quite a few problems between his wife and his daughter. Meanwhile, Ray realises he may just see Laura as more than just a colleague. But she has a boyfriend now. Timing is everything.

These personal events allow you to get the characters so much better, while also sometimes bringing some much needed relief from the murder investigation. I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened to Ryan Finnegan and this incredibly clever plot kept me guessing until the end. I must admit some of the political shenanigans confused me somewhat from time to time but that didn’t ruin my reading experience at all. And let’s face it, who isn’t confused by politics these days. I’m thoroughly enjoying this series! So much so, that I have now picked up book 3. I can’t wait to see what DI Reynolds and his team will be investigating next.

Beneath The Surface is available to buy!

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Book 2 from my 20 Books of Summer list

All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Stuart MacBride
Title : All That’s Dead
Series : Logan McRae #12
Pages : 437
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : May 30, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Inspector Logan McRae was looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Few things get me as excited as the arrival of a new Logan McRae book so as soon as my pre-order arrived, I dropped everything and settled in for what I was sure would be an entertaining afternoon.

On his first day back at work after a year long absence, Logan McRae is hoping for a nice and easy ride but luck is not on his side. High-profile and anti-independence campaigner Professor Wilson goes missing from his home and that’s just the start of a major shit-storm all over the place. Social media goes mental, there’s a war brewing between between factions for and against Scottish Nationalism and the media is having a field day.

Gee, I wonder where Stuart MacBride got his inspiration from 🤔. All That’s Dead is extremely politically tinted, if you hadn’t guessed that yet, and thus sadly incredibly apt in this day and age. This may not be to everyone’s liking and I dare say the author took quite a risk putting this out there. Personally, it didn’t bother me at all. It makes for a great story and ultimately that’s all I’m ever looking for.

I always worry slightly about how much Logan McRae can actually be involved in an investigation, being that he now works for Professional Standards. I shouldn’t have though, because he’s not on the fringes of this one at all. Logan McRae is tasked with keeping an eye on the investigating Detective King and this puts him smack-bang in the middle of it all. There are some surprises, some twists, many dubious decisions and quite frankly, if I were the big chief who gets a say in these things, I’d fire pretty much the entire force.

The Logan McRae books are always a treat but even though I found this one a fabulous read and it had me hooked as these books always do, I also felt it was missing something. It’s hard to explain but there’s a special kind of Stuart MacBride magic that seemed to be lacking this time around. Many of the characters that normally bring a brilliant kind of dark humour to the table were now just plainly getting on my nerves. I missed that particular way Stuart MacBride has of combining the darkest of crimes with a healthy dose of chuckles, even sometimes at the most inappropriate moments.

Was this the best book in the Logan McRae series? I’m sorry to say that no, it wasn’t. Although I also fully admit that my expectations are always insanely high. But I did still enjoy it immensely and if Stuart MacBride decides to carry on with this series, I’ll still be every bit as excited as I used to be.

Can’t leave without mentioning that for a The Hobbit fan like myself, seeing “Tuftin Oakenbeard” pop up in the middle of a page genuinely made me laugh out loud.

All That’s Dead is available to buy!

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Book 1 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

20 Books of Summer – 2019

The 20 Books of Summer Challenge is an annual event run by the lovely Cathy, running from June 3rd until September 3rd. Since I nailed it last year, joining in again this year was a total no-brainer. And just like last year, I will be reading these 20 books on top of my other commitments because otherwise it just doesn’t feel enough like a challenge to me. Unless my reading slump continues, in which case I’ll be in serious trouble 😂

So, here are the 20 books on my list. For now. This list has gone through so many changes already and I can’t promise you’ll be seeing these same 20 books again at the end of it all. But that’s okay! Because it’s totally allowed!

In no particular order, with links to Goodreads for your convenience. Reviews will be added as and when they are written. I hope.

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about my list. Apart from two titles that are only there because Janel made me add them 😜.

Who’s joining in this year? The more, the merrier! It’ll be fun! I think 🤣

Wish me luck! xx

The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollins

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Author : Michael Wood
Title : The Hangman’s Hold
Series : DCI Matilda Darke #4
Pages : 416
Publisher : Killer Reads / Harper Collins
Publication date : August 24, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

Your life is in his hands.

The gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, in which Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

He knows your darkest secrets.
The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.

And he is closer than you think.
As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

mythoughts

You’re all reading this series, right? If not, you should be! It’s one of the best ones out there and it deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting!

The Hangman’s Hold is the fourth instalment in the DCI Matilda Darke series, a series which is going from strength to strength and I have no qualms whatsoever in saying this is the best one yet. Quite frankly, I didn’t expect that because the previous book, Room Full of Killers was so utterly mind-blowing that I didn’t think Michael Wood could top that. I apologise for underestimating you, sir.

So, we meet the Hangman. He’s a vigilante serial killer with an ax to grind and the race is on to catch him from selecting another victim. The victims have been chosen for a reason and are hanged by the neck to pay for crimes they’ve committed in the past. This is where I found myself in the very strange position of almost sympathising with the killer’s reasoning. Because really, does the punishment always fit the crime? I think not.

Busy as the killer may be, they do also find the time to taunt Matilda along the way. This causes Matilda to think they’re quite close and just like her, I couldn’t at all figure out who to trust anymore on this team I’ve grown so fond of. A team that’s struggling to sink their teeth into the investigation due to a fierce case of victim apathy and yet, again, I could sympathise with that as well as it’s all too easy to imagine. I also thoroughly enjoyed how the focus shifted away from the case and delved into the impact the crimes have on family members who are left to deal with the aftermath.

It took me a while to figure out who the hangman was as Michael Wood deftly led me in the wrong direction. This is one gripping and tense story and I was hooked from the first page to the last. On top of that, this fantastic addition to the series ends on a massive cliffhanger that is sure to have readers coming back for more! I know I am!

The Hangman’s Hold is available in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published in September.

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Book 20 from my 20 Books of Summer list. Nailed it! And with time to spare too. *smug*

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter @SlaughterKarin @HarperCollinsUK #20BooksofSummer #mustread

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Author : Karin Slaughter
Title : Pieces of Her
Pages : 470
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : August 9, 2018

aboutthebook

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . .

mythoughts

I don’t think it’s a secret anymore that I am a massive fan of Karin Slaughter’s work so when Pieces of Her arrived, I had no qualms whatsoever in turning my reading schedule entirely upside down so I could squeeze this one in.

Pieces of Her marks quite a departure from Karin Slaughter’s previous work. If you’re expecting something like her amazing Will Trent series, this is not it. All I can tell you is to please keep an open mind when you pick this one up as there is none of that particular gruesomeness throughout that you may be expecting but it is nonetheless an intensely gripping story and I absolutely loved it!

Andy and her mother, Laura, are enjoying a nice lunch when a young man enters the diner and starts shooting at people. To Andy’s surprise, Laura executes some majorly impressive ninja skills and takes the shooter down but where the heck did she learn how to do that? She’s a normal mother, isn’t she? A speech therapist, for crying out loud. Suddenly Andy is left feeling like she doesn’t know her mother at all.

Laura has been in hiding for years. She has a new identity and lives a quiet life but the events in the diner have now left her exposed and in danger. Laura’s story will be revealed through quite explosive chapters set in the 80’s, bringing to the fore a number of injustices and thus turning this into more than “just” a psychological thriller.

The premise of this story intrigued me from the start. It made me think about how well I knew my own mother, for instance. I’m sure like many of you, I got the little glimpses into what her life was like before I was born but mostly they centred around how she met my father, the jobs she had, what school was like in those days. Does that really tell you what a person is truly like though? Do we ever really know someone through and through? Do we even really need to know all there is to know about our parents?

As with every Karin Slaughter book, Pieces of Her starts with a horrible event. There are more to follow but this book isn’t about that really. This is very much a character-driven and tense thriller that explores relationships between mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters and siblings. And along the way, Andy will not only try to fit the pieces of her mother together, but also find out more about the kind of person she is herself. Because like so many of her generation, Andy is lost and needs to figure out what to do with her life.

Karin Slaughter has written some brilliant stand-alones already and this one is no different. It had me utterly gripped with its fantastic plot and interesting and incredibly multi-layered characters. Pieces of Her is clever and complex and for me it once again proves that Karin Slaughter is one of the best writers and storytellers out there. I love that she doesn’t choose the safe option and stick to what she knows, so to speak, and that she isn’t afraid to try her hand at something completely different, surprising me at every turn. Whatever she decides to do next, wherever she goes, I will follow. I’ll be right there, ready to devour the pages, safe in the knowledge that she will blow me away.

Pieces of Her is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository  | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

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Book 19 from my 20 Books of Summer list

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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Sarah Pinborough
Title : Cross Her Heart
Pages : 400
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : May 14, 2018

aboutthebook

SOMEONE IS LIVING A LIE… BUT WHO?

Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions…

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house—she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever. And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.

mythoughts

After being blown away by Sarah Pinborough’s previous book and that #WTFending, I was curious to see what she’d come up with next. I had high hopes and expectations but I’m sad to say, they weren’t quite delivered.

The book is divided up into three parts and I must admit part one had me wondering if I had the right author. It all felt incredibly slow, too much time spent on setting the scene and being introduced to the various characters. It’s obvious early on that Lisa is hiding from her past and I felt like shouting “just bloody tell me what’s going on already!”. Patient, I am not.

I desperately needed something, anything, to happen. Luckily, the last page of part one finally promised something exciting around the corner but up until that point, it all felt a bit like pretty much any other psychological thriller out there.

And …. that didn’t really change. Not in part two and not in part three. Sure, there are a few surprises and a red herring or two but overall, it wasn’t the addictive page-turner I was expecting and it wasn’t anywhere near the brilliance of Behind Your Eyes. Some of it was rather predictable and some things were a bit too much out there, losing believability along the way and causing me to roll my eyes once or twice. And all of this ended in a massively disappointing reveal.

So no, Cross Her Heart didn’t quite work for me. It fails immensely at standing out from the crowd, which I very much expected it to. Now, it’s not all bad. She says way too late. I do enjoy Pinborough’s writing style and I think she handled the character of Ava, particular, extremely well. All that teenage angst and secrets. Overall, there is a good plot here and it never occurred to me not to finish the book. I just read too much in this genre, I think, and I fully admit that my constant comparison to her previous book didn’t do me any favours as I was constantly awaiting a special kind of BOOM.

So, please don’t take my word for it. This is getting some rave reviews so grab yourself a copy, read it and feel free to come back and tell me how wrong I am 😂.

[I normally wouldn’t have posted this review but since this book was on my 20 Books of Summer list, it only seemed like the right thing to do. Also, thanks to Janel @ Keeper of Pages for another fun buddy read!)

Cross Her Heart is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

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Book 18 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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