Categories
adult Books coming-of-age Fiction review Suspense

Girl In The Walls by A.J. Gnuse – Review

Fiction 
Genre: Suspense/Coming-of-age
Published: April 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Pages: 359
My Rating: 4/5 stars


The Girl in The Walls stays safe because she hides. She doesn’t meddle in problems she can avoid.

A.J. Gnuse, The Girl In The Walls

Elise is an orphaned young girl living in the walls of her former family home after her parents were killed in a car accident. The new family living in the house have no idea she is even there. But slowly, the younger son Eddie notices strange things happening. Little sounds and creaks that don’t make sense and items going missing. He’s not sure if he’s just imagining it or if there is someone or something else in the house with them. 


Do you ever remember hearing sounds in your house when you were growing up or even now? Growing up, our house made all sorts of sounds and it was never something I was scared of. My parents always described it as the wood just expanding and shrinking. 

When I read this beautifully written novel, it brought back some of those childhood memories. Girl in The Walls is a story about belonging and holding on to the past.

“But none of them would ever know the house like she did.”

The chapters are so short that I feel like I ended up flying through them while still taking in every moment. And some of them will have you at the edge of your seat. I loved the headings of each chapter, which felt like an introduction.

Early on in the story we learn more about the new family living in Elise’s old house, we get a feel of the family and dynamics through the perspective of ‘The Girl’ as she is referred to in the beginning.

Even with her tragic past and the fact that she is now alone and having to fend for herself, I never really felt sorry for her. I was just intrigued and wanted to know about her story. We get to know more about the family and especially sibling dynamics between Eddie and Marshall. I have a younger sister, it’s just the two of us and we are so close. And because of this I found myself becoming really invested in the strained relationship between the two brothers as the story progressed. 

Later on, we learn a bit more about Elise herself and what it means for her and why it is so important that she stays connected to the house. With the house at times feeling like a character itself in this story. I loved that we get a glimpse into her past every now and then to see what life was like before she lost her parents.

I enjoyed each and every moment I spent reading this book. It is a truly unique and well-written debut novel 😊


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books coming-of-age review

The Divines by Ellie Eaton – Review

Fiction
Genre: Coming-Of-Age
Published: February 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 306
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5

“I am Divine. My mother was Divine and her mother before that, which isn’t uncommon.”

Ellie Eaton, The Divines

St. John the Divine was an elite all-girls boarding school. Generations of women from the same families attended this school. Bad attitudes and misbehaving was the norm. No one respected or listened to the teachers and no one feared any consequences. They called themselves The Divines.

Josephine, now in her thirties hasn’t spoken to another divine since the school shut its doors after a scandal rocked the community. But a recent visit to the area on her honeymoon stirs up memories and emotions about those days and there are more bad than good. 

It also starts affecting her marriage and her career. It turns out that what she remembers about her time at the school is not the whole story and little by little the truth is revealed.


This book tackles a number of different issues that teenagers deal with. From peer pressure, bullying, exploring sexuality, toxic relationships.
As well as strained relationships between teenagers and parents. 
This story was different to what I was expecting and was more of a coming-of-age story than mystery.

“I put my head down.

Kept on walking.

Never looking them in the eye.

They were townies. I was Divine.”

Each student comes from a long history of Divines, their mothers and grandmothers were Divines as well. 
They think that because they come from money and are privileged, that they can act in any way they like. They think they can say what they want and do what they want without consequences. 
They are rude and disrespectful to the teachers. 

The can be terribly mean to one another and there is also the divide between the towns people or ‘Townies’ as they call them and the Divines.
The Divines come from well-off families and the towns people rely on them to keep their economy afloat. The girls spend their money at their shops. Some of the towns people work as maintenance people at the school.

Narrated by Josephine, It alternates between the present with Josephine as an adult and the past when she was still at school.
I didn’t really connect with Jo as a character, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the overall story. I don’t expect to love every character in the books I read and I think if that did happen, it wouldn’t be as exciting. Even the though it was such a long time ago, Jo seems almost obsessed with her school days and she is clearly still haunted by her past. Even though she is married and has a child, she can’t seem to move past what happened while she was at school.

I think it’s interesting how different people interpret the same situation and you learn that the way Jo remembers the past is different to those of her peers.
It made me think of my own high school career and how I remember it and how it might differ to my peers. 


That ending was also not what I was expecting and it wasn’t always a comfortable read. Some parts are quite detailed and raw so be warned. There’s no sugar-coating, but it was utterly engrossing. Overall, I enjoyed this unique debut novel, it was unlike anything I have ever read before and I look forward to what Ellie has in store for the future 😊


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books Fiction review Thriller

Black Widows by Cate Quinn – Review

Fiction
Genre: Thriller
Published: March 2021
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 466
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5


He had a way of talkin’ to all of us, where you just felt what he was sayin’ was only for you. Like he could see into your soul or somethin’.

Cate Quinn, Black Widows

Rachel, Tina and Emily are all very different, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all married to the same man – Blake Nelson. Rachel is the perfect wife, always listening to Blake and trying to keep him happy. Emily is the youngest and most naive and Tina with her rebellious ways is the exact opposite of Rachel. They live on a deserted farm in Utah, away from those who judge them and their lifestyle. Then one day Blake’s body is found. Questions arise about who would have wanted to kill him. Each wife has their own back story and motive. They all become suspects, both to the police and each other.


The first words that come to mind when I think of this book is – disturbing, creepy, but absolutely captivating!

“That mix of hardness and neediness. Pull me close, push me away. Rachel has it. Emily too. We’re like an old T-shirt I saw once. Same same but different.”

The story is told from the POV of each wife. As the story progresses we learn more about each one’s life and personality. We also learn about each ones past and who they were before marrying Blake. I loved the rebel in Tina. A former meth-addict and prostitute with a troubled past and childhood wanting to turn her life around. Young naïve Emily who didn’t know what she was getting herself into. Rachel and Blake were college sweethearts and she was always eager to please him and to be the perfect wife, but unbeknownst to the other wives, she carries around a dark secret that she would like to remain hidden. They are so different so it is no surprise that they don’t always get along.

My first thoughts were, how does someone get involved in a polygamous marriage and why? But as the story progresses, we learn about what each wife wanted out of the marriage and why they agreed to it in the first place. I loved the character development and the details of the story. I didn’t care much for Blake or what we learn about him, but loved how the story focused on the wives own back stories and their dynamic as a whole.

The only criticism I have is that the twist didn’t completely blow me away, but the story itself was extremely captivating. Usually with longer books, I always worry that it might drag or be slow, but that was not the case with this book at all. I loved that the ending felt complete and that there were no unanswered questions.

This mystery thriller gets a big thumbs up from me!


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books Fiction review Thriller

The Package by Sebastian Fitzek – Review

Fiction
Genre: Thriller
Published: March 2021
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Pages: 371
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5

“It was wrapped in normal brown paper and the edges reinforced with sticky tape. Two lengths of fibrous string were tied around the package, forming a cross on the front. Nothing unusual.”

Sebastian Fitzek, The Package

Emma is a psychiatrist living in Germany and is the only survivor of a serial killer. Or at least she thinks she was…

No one is convinced, not even her husband. She soon quits her job and stays home, where it is safe and quiet. Where no one can hurt her. But one day she accepts a package for a neighbour and everything changes. She has no idea what she has let into her house.


If a psychological thriller, with twist after twist is what you’re after then I think you’ve found your next read. This book will have you doubting what you think you know so often, you won’t be sure what and who you can believe.

“Why should strangers believe her if her husband didn’t?”

This book is not only a thriller, but also delves into the life of someone living with mental illness and how at times those who have been diagnosed with one are often treated differently as there is a stigma attached. Emma’s concerns about her safety are often overlooked and thought to just be paranoia. She struggles with anxiety and agoraphobia with panic attacks. It affects her social life and relationships with everyone close to her. She even begins doubting herself and her own sanity.

The themes are quite dark and there are scenes of sexual assault and violence. The story is told from Emma’s perspective and the book alternates between the past and the present, but does so in a way that is easy to follow.

I really enjoyed her internal dialogue and this is actually where we see how much she really struggles with her own thoughts. She gets to a point where she’s not sure what is real and if she is imagining things. A lot of the time I found myself unsure of what to believe and also kept doubting what Emma was actually saying. ‘Was she or wasn’t she attacked. Is this real or is she hallucinating?’

I kept thinking that it must be so scary and difficult for Emma to deal with her mental condition as a psychiatrist, having treated patients with the same symptoms. A sentence that stuck in my mind was, ‘What sort of life is it if you can’t distinguish between madness and reality?’ She realizes that she can’t even trust herself and her own mind.

There were so many twists at one point and happened at such a pace that it was almost overwhelming. But I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is definitely not Fitzek’s first rodeo and he clearly knows how to keep the reader coming back for more. This made me look a up some of his other work which sounds just as exciting. I guarantee you that this is the first, but not the last book I read by this author!


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books Mystery review Thriller

The Survivors by Jane Harper – Review

Fiction
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Published: February 2021
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 384
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋.75/5

They had reached the top of the cliffs and stopped at the lookout. Out on the water, The Survivors stood tall.

Jane Harper, The Survivors

Set in the small Tasmanian coastal town of Evelyn Bay, Kieran Elliot has had to live with the consequences of a reckless decision he made twelve years ago which claimed the lives of two young men, one of them being his brother. At the time another young girl Gabby Birch also went missing under suspicious circumstances. 

Now after many years he returns to his home town with his own family to help his parents with a move. But the town won’t let him forget his past mistakes. 

Then, the body of a young artist is found on the beach and a murder investigation follows. Questions arise about whether this may be connected to those past events. Haunted daily by his past, Kieran tries to come to terms with what actually happened all those years ago and discovers that there is more to it than he realised.


There’s just something about thrillers set in a coastal town that gives it an even more ominous feel. I always picture the weather to be gloomy with rough seas and the fact that this book centres around a tragedy that took place at the time of a storm made me picture it even more vividly.

“I’m so tired. I’m so tired of feeling guilty.”

This is definitely one of those books with a slow burn, but it really picks up just after halfway through. The timelines alternate between past and present, giving you just enough to keep you coming back for more. Harper sets the scene so clearly you can just imagine the quiet coastal town. This gives you small town vibes and the locals are not very keen on outsiders.

I like that it also deals with dementia and the difficulties that come with it. People are often misunderstood and it can be so difficult for the family to deal with as well, especially one who has gone through such a traumatic event.

This book explores how guilt can stay with a person for many years, impacting not only their own lives, but those around them as well. If not dealt with properly, it can also increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression.

Overall, a beautifully written novel by a well-known author. I can’t wait to dive into some of her other work.


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books nonfiction True Crime

The Killer Across The Table by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker – Review

Non-fiction
Genre: True Crime
Published: September 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Pages: 338
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5


“The aim is not to be a friend. The aim is not to be a foe. The aim is to get the truth.”

John E. Douglas

True-crime fans, here’s another great rec!


John Douglas has over twenty five years of experience as an FBI criminal profiler and is the author of several true-crime books. He teams up once again with author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, on a quest find out WHY killers behave the way they do and to understand their possible motives for killing. In this gripping true crime book, we get a detailed background as well as information about each of these killers including their upbringing.

Each one is completely different, they are people you might walk by on the street. They are teachers, family friends and even a hospital worker…

They are unassuming and that’s what makes them so dangerous.
Because each of them and their crimes are unique, we can learn different things from them. This is exactly what Douglas is intent on exploring. He uses this knowledge to assist law enforcement with future cases.



Even though this book focuses on 4 killers, we are also introduced to quite a few other cases which are referenced, each with similarities and what he learned about those killers that has helped him with other cases. In order to connect with and outsmart these killers, he mentions that he needed the interaction to feel natural and not like a formal interview. This helps to try and get them to let their guard down and hopefully get insight into the real killer across the table. I enjoyed reading about the nature vs nurture debate. But at the end of the day it is still a choice that the person has made.

“If you can get most serial killers to be honest with you, they will admit that they never would have stopped killing on their own.”

John E. Douglas

This is the second true crime book I have read and now I can completely understand the fascination which I didn’t get before 😁


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
Adventure Books Fiction Historical Fiction review

Blood In The Dust by Bill Swiggs – Review

Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure
Published: November 2019
Publisher: Bonnier
Pages: 388
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5


Yeah, Pad. Whatever happens, we are together.

Bill Swiggs, Blood in the Dust

Synopsis:
Set in Victoria, Australia 1853 in the midst of the gold rush. Toby and younger brother Paddy find themselves orphaned and alone after their parents are brutally murdered in front of them at their homestead by bushrangers and then swindled out of their family home by a local businessman. As they try to survive and find their feet, they meet an English family, The Hockings who came to Australia to make a better life for themselves and end up forming an alliance. We follow the highs and the lows of the brothers’ adventure as they set out to right the wrongs done to them and to regain their family fortune as they vow to get back what is rightfully theirs.


“Desperate times call for desperate measures, Toby.”


I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to reading recently and I have been really pleasantly surprised by all these gems that I would never have even thought about picking up before.
Blood In The Dust is the story about brotherhood and overcoming adversity. It is a story that emphasizes the importance of family and how family doesn’t need to be blood. 

I enjoyed this fantastic piece of historical fiction, set in the midst of the Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s where immigrants left their countries and homes to try and strike it rich in the gold mines. There was a massive influx of people into the area and at the time men were leaving secure jobs hoping make a fortune. This in turn caused massive labour shortages. As you can imagine, the government was not very happy about this. I enjoyed reading up a bit about the gold rush in Australia at the time and about the riots that took place between the government and minors due to the exorbitant mining license fees.

The story alternates between the story of Toby, Paddy and the Hockings and then the story of the bushrangers. It’s easy to become attached to the characters, you feel their pain and sadness and you feel their joy. Overall this is a captivating and beautifully written novel, I can see why it has won an award ☺️

If you are looking to branch out and read more historical fiction that has a little bit of everything then I would highly recommend this book. 


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books Fiction nonfiction

My Top 10 books of 2020

Wow, can you even believe that 2020 is coming to an end? For some this year has dragged on, but for myself, it has flown by.

Of course it has been a difficult and challenging year for most, but today’s post focuses on something positive. One of the good things that came out of it was that I was able to really embrace my love of reading. I started my own Bookstagram account as well as my blog.

I will be sharing my top 10 books of 2020. Now these are just books I read in 2020, not all of them were published this year. These are all books I have reviewed on my Bookstagram page and some on my blog. I have also linked them to goodreads so that you can check them out and add them to your TBR list.

This list is in no particular order. There are a few thrillers, medical non-fiction and a couple of fantasy novels as well.

1. Mermaid Fillet by Mia Arderne

I am all about supporting local authors and when the local author happens to be from my home city that’s an even better bonus. This crime novel also has a supernatural element. Based in Cape Town, which is my hometown, it was relatable, but unpredictable. Covering important topics affecting us at present.

I was absolutely blown away by Mia’s debut novel, with its complex characters, to the well thought out storyline that keeps hooked from page one. This is a must read!

Blurb:

The only human ever born wearing Jordans receives a DM on Twitter after a gang-related hit. The mission: Find the Tamagochi, or else! This is the story of a banggat, a main ou, a genuine ou, a malnaai and a Twitter user. A story where dark and fantastical experiences are intricately woven to tell the tale of a network of wannabe gangsters, a wife fanning herself with her husband’s money in the Northern Suburbs and a sturvey twenty-nine-year old living in Woodstock.
In Cape Town, there’s a Goddess who casts raging red storms when female bodies are abused. It’s a place where women try to redefine their space in society and highly coveted mermaid tails are traded for R4 000/kg.
Mermaid fillet is about violence, feminism and how you dala what you must.

2. Everything is Lies by Hellen Callaghan

I had read a previous novel by this author earlier in the year, which wasn’t really a favorite of mine, but because I had this one on my shelf, I decided to go into in with an open mind and boy was I glad that I did. This was one of my absolute favorite thrillers of 2020 and whenever someone asks for a thriller recommendation, this one is high up on that list. The story line is captivating and with a twist I did not see coming, this book with hold your attention up until that very last page.

Synopsis:

Sophia knows her parents to live quiet and unsuspecting lives, until one day she returns home and finds her mother’s body hanging from a tree and her father barely alive after having sustained stab wounds.
The police are quick to rule it a murder-suicide case, but Sarah knows that her mother would never have done something like this.
She is determined to find out the truth behind what happened to her parents, but she slowly learns that all is not what it seems. 
There are family secrets to be uncovered and it turns out that….Everything Is Lies.

3. Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Riley has quickly become a favourite of mine and is now on my list of auto-buy authors.

Last Time I Lied is Riley’s second novel and I can tell you his writing keeps getting better. With twist after twist, I was left speechless as I turned that last page.

This is one author who knows how to write a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

Synopsis:

During her stay at Camp Nightingale Emma is allocated to stay in a cabin for 3 older girls. Vivian, Natalie and Alison. One night the three girls sneak out while Emma watches and they are never to be seen again. 
After this tragedy, the camp closes its doors for many years.
Fast forward to a grown up Emma who is a budding artist on the New York scene. Her art catches the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the owner of camp Nightingale. She contacts Emma and tells her that she is re-opening the camp and would like her to return as a counsellor and art teacher. 
Unsure at first, Emma decides that she needs to return to find out exactly what happened so many years ago.
Secrets are uncovered and it is clear that things are not what they seem at Camp Nightgale.

4. You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

Before picking up this book, I had not read anything else by Emma Rowley, but I can safely say that I will definitely be on the look out for other work by this author.

For a completely thrilling and unputdownable read, you need to check out this one. True to the thriller genre and told from the perspectives of the two main characters, you really won’t know who you can trust.

Synopsis:


Olivia Hayes is a well know Instagram influencer, also described as a ‘domestic goddess’ 
She has millions of followers online and now she will be releasing her very own book which will be written by ghostwriter Nicky Wilson. 
She lives in a gorgeous house, has a wonderful husband and a young daughter. 
She has the perfect life, or so it may seem.
What her followers don’t know is that she has a dark past filled with tragedy and secrets and will do anything to keep it out of the public’s knowledge. 
As Nicky starts finding out more about Olivia, she starts finding out secrets about her past that she would rather have left buried.
What is Olivia trying to hide and why can’t Nicky leave it alone? 

5. Sweet Pea and In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

Ok, so technically these two make my list top 11 and not top 10 of 2020, but I couldn’t mention the one without the other. With a psychopath protagonist who has you rooting for her all the way, this gives me “YOU” vibes, but in a completely original way. CJ Skuse knows how to keep the reader hooked,

Rhiannon is a complete definition of psychopath. She is foul-mouthed, dark and devious, but you can’t help finding yourself liking her. I cannot wait for the third book in the series.

About this book:

Rhiannon Lewis, seems like your average young woman, she’s unassuming, has a mundane job, a steady boyfriend. Pretending everyday to be someone she is not so that she can fit in without arousing any suspicion. No one would guess that she’s got a kill list and is hungry for blood🩸 
Do not get on her bad side, you will regret it.

6. This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

This was probably the most relatable book I have read all year. Being a doctor and working in general medicine myself, I felt like I was reliving my years as a junior doctor while reading this book. Written in the form of diary entries with footnotes that will having you giggling to yourself like a small child, you will end up flying through this book. And no, you do not need to be in the medical field to enjoy this book.

About this book:

Adam Kay writes about his time spent working as a junior doctor for the NHLS, the hard truths with some of the most bizarre and entertaining stories to heartbreaking moments he has faced while working in the medical field.

7. Autopsy by Ryan Blumenthal

This book absolutely blew my mind. It had me hooked from the beginning. Straight forward, no beating around the bush. There is a bit of medical jargon, but they are explained the back of the book. There are so many lessons that we can learn from the dead. It is an extremely gripping read, so you better clear your schedule before you start reading this one because you won’t want to go anywhere or do anything else until you’ve read the last sentence.

About this book:

The author is a senior forensic pathologist working at a well known South African university. He has been working as a forensic pathologist for many years and therefore has so much experience and amazing advice that he shares with us in this book. 
We learn about how he got into forensic pathology and why. As well as what keeps him motivated as he says ‘after the 9000th autopsy’.
From veld fires and lightning strikes to gunshot wounds and stabbings, we learn how resilient, yet fragile the human body can be.

8. Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd

This book will always be special to me, not only because it is about forensic pathology and beautifully written, but also because it was my first buddy read that I had ever done. The writing style is descriptive and at times reads like a novel. At times I would often forget that I was actually reading non-fiction. Highly recommended for fans of medical non-fiction, especially those who enjoy reading about forensic pathology.

About this book:

Dr Shepherd describes his life from the moment he decided he wanted to be a forensic pathologist when he was just a young boy, up until after qualifies as a well known and established expert in his field. He talks about the work itself as well as how it affected his personal life and emotional and mental well-being. 

9. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

There is one book completely surpassed my expectations this year that book my friends is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Clarke’s descriptive writing style, storyline and memorable characters will have you thinking about this book long after you have finished it and put it back onto your shelf. I was so drawn in that I actually watched the series online after finishing the book. Another reason that this book is so special to me is because it was part of my very first read along that I not only took part in, but co-hosted with some amazing bookstagrammers.

If you’re looking for a modern classic fantasy combined with historical fiction, then look no further and grab yourselves a copy now!

Synopsis:


In the early 19th century it has been many years since magic has been practiced in England. Now magicians are gentlemen who only write and read about magic and no longer practice it themselves
Except for a reclusive Mr Norrell who is the only known practical magician left in England. When he is sought out by two theoretical magicians to answer the question of why there was no more magic done in England, a series of interesting events unfold. 
And when a new, charming young magician Jonathan Strange emerges, Mr Norrell is challenged and his ways beliefs are put to the test. Norrell decides to take Strange under his wing as an apprentice, but they have differing ideas of how magic should be practiced and this threatens their partnership with potentially unpleasant consequences. 
All the while discovering that the history and practice of magic is much more complex than it seems

10. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi is Susanna Clarke’s latest release and it was also read as part of the second read along that I hosted with some amazing bookstagrammers. Fantasy is not always my first choice, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read one of the most anticipated books of 2020.

This book was like nothing I had ever read before, the story is completely captivating and draws you in with the descriptive writing and unique storyline. You will struggle to put this one down.

Synopsis:


Piranesi lives alone in the House. We do not know when he arrived or for how long he has lived there.
It is labyrinth with never ending corridors, infinite halls and there’s always more the explore. Where there is an abundance of statues and an ocean contained within its walls.
The Other, Piranesi’s only friend and only other person alive that he is knows of, comes to visit every Tuesday and Friday. 
Suddenly writing starts to appear on pavements within the house. 
Someone else is in the house, but is this person a friend or dangerous like The Other says? And what do they want?

So there you have it, my top 10 (ok, 11 😜) of 2020. I hope I have helped you to add onto your 2021 TBRs.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe New Year! 🎉

Categories
adult Books Fiction Thriller

Scar Tissue by Ollie Ollerton – Review

Fiction
Genre: Thriller
Published: December 2020
Publisher: Bonnier
Pages: 323
My Rating:🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋/5


Better to be tooled up and not need it, than to be caught short if it goes noisy.

Ollie Ollerton, Scar Tissue


Alex Abbott is an ex-special forces soldier, living in Singapore as a gun for hire. Alone and battling with an alcohol addiction which he is in denial about. After a job goes wrong, he soon learns that his son, Nathan who is also in the military is missing. He finds himself having to return to Baghdad in an attempt to find his son and return him home safely. In the process his past comes back to haunt him and old secrets uncovered which may potentially sabotage his mission and threaten his safety.


This was my first military based thriller and I can’t tell you, it was super action packed! It is also the author’s first novel, which was absolutely brilliant. From the build up all the way to an exciting and unexpected ending, I was kept at the edge of my seat.
The main character battles substance abuse, depression, PTSD which is not uncommon among military veterans. We get a good idea of how it affects their mental well-being and how it can influence their relationships with the people around them. 

“Alex Abbott had a rule: never wear anything you can’t run or fight in”

There is emphasis on father-son relationships as well as dysfunctional family relationships and how this ends up shaping the characters. I enjoyed the character growth of the protagonist and as this is only the first book in the series, I have a feeling that there is still a lot more to learn about Abbott and his past. 

Matthew ‘Ollie’ Ollerton is actually an ex-special forces solider who was able to draw on his own experiences while writing this thriller, which I enjoyed as I honestly am not that familiar when it comes to the military. He, himself has faced his own personal battles with substance dependence and mental illness.

This story was fast-paced and very exciting, with lots of twists that I did not see coming. The short chapters make for a quick and absolutely thrilling read. True to the genre. As the story progresses, you find yourself not knowing who you can trust which keeps you guessing. Never for a second did I find myself bored or losing interest.

Even if you have never previously read any military based thrillers like myself, I can guarantee you that this book will keep you hooked. This is the first in the Alex Abbot series and now I cannot wait for the next book which will be released in 2021! 


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Categories
adult Books Crime Fiction Mystery

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner – Review

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published: December 2020
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 327
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋.5/5


“If circumstances go against you, keep your head up and smile.”

Anne Glenconner, Murder on Mustique

Mustique is a beautiful and peaceful private Island. Where the rich and famous go to spend their summers. There is no crime and everyone knows each other. But on the morning of Friday 13th September 2002, when 23 year old heiress Amanda Fortini goes missing, everything changes. Amanda’s friend Lily calls her godmother, Lady Veronica Blake. Her husband bought the island years ago and she knows it better than anyone else. With a storm approaching, DS Solomon Nile has to step in and do whatever it takes to catch the criminal before the Island is hit. Even if it means putting himself in harms way. He teams up with Lady Vee to try and find bring the culprit to justice. Along the way realizing that people they have known all their lives, may not be as innocent as they seem. Secrets are uncovered and true colours are revealed in this gripping thriller.


This was such an intriguing read. Chapters are short, fast-paced and the story has such an easy flow. The chapters alternate between Lady Vee and DS Nile’s POVs. I wouldn’t say that they end on cliffhangers, but they definitely make it difficult to put the book down.

Mustique is not portrayed like a typical gloomy town as with a lot of thrillers. It is described as beautiful Island with blue ocean water and stunning sunsets which makes you want to be on the island except for the fact that there is a potential killer on the loose. I found myself growing very attached to Lady Vee and Detective Nile and how you get to know them as the book progresses.

Even though Vee is very wealthy with staff who waits on her hand and foot, she is known and loved on the island. She is a genuine character, who is kind-hearted and cares for her friends and loved ones. She was the Lady in Waiting for Princess Margaret for many years before she died. Something I did not know before I started reading this book is that the character of Lady Vee is loosely based on the author herself, who was in actual fact the Lady in Waiting for the real Princess Margaret and has spent many years on the actual Island of Mustique.

I loved the fact that Lily, Vee’s goddaughter, is so passionate about the ocean and is trying to restore the bleached coral. Even though this is not only what the book is about, it does create some awareness about what is actually happening in our oceans at present. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it is high on my list of recommendations.


Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.