Book Review: Keeper by Jessica Moor – Part of Viking’s KEEPER Blog Tour!

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Rating:  4 🔪

Author: Jessica Moor

Publisher: Viking Books

Release Date: 19th March 2020

 

(Thank you Ellie and Viking Books for the free early copy to review!)

 

Synopsis:

He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes.
Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside.

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

An addictive literary page-turner about a crime as shocking as it is commonplace, Keeper will leave you reeling long after the final page is turned.

 

My Thoughts:

My thoughts on this one are conflicted and have been from the first page. It’s hard to say that this book is ravingly amazing because the issues it deals with are horrendous, evil, dark and very real all over the world today. It holds up a mirror to some of the grimiest realities of life and the almost inhuman way that many governments deal with them. Jessica Moor wields her pen like a sword, raising awareness for a very real world problem and hacking away at the structures around these issues. It’s fabulous, she’s fabulous and it’s important, so important.

The conundrum comes with the fact that I could rave for days about how great the message is that this book gives, about how Moor tackles these issues and brings her characters into stark reality. I could say this one of the best books I’ve read this year so far. All of these things would be true. But I can’t say with a good conscience that I loved the book, I couldn’t say I enjoyed it either… not because I don’t and didn’t, I do and did, but because giving a book like this those emotions seems sordid and unacceptable. What happens to the women in this book is scary because it’s real and it’s everyday life for so many women… I can’t happily say I “enjoyed” reading about their torment. Does that make sense?

So on a simpler note, this book is a great debut from an amazing author who has definitely caught my attention with this one. It deals with some terrible issues (abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, etc) so tigger warnings for this one, but it’s in my opinion a stark look at a dark corner of society and Moor brings it tragically to life.

Book Review: Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Rating: 4 🔪

Author: Ruth Ware

Publisher: VINTAGE

Release Date: 2nd April 2020

(Thank you NetGalley and VINTAGE for the free early copy!)

Synopsis:

IT WAS THE DREAM JOB. IT WOULD BECOME HER WORST NIGHTMARE.

‘So clever and original . . . from the first gripping page to the last shocking twist’ ERIN KELLY, author of He Said/She Said

‘Ruth Ware just gets better and better. The Turn of the Key is her most compelling and addictive to date; I read this in a two sitting frenzy, barely able to turn the pages fast enough’ Lisa Jewell, author of The People Upstairs

When Rowan stumbles across the advert, it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a very generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences by a picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is…

‘Will hold you captive until the brilliant ending’ SHARI LAPENA, author of Someone We Know

Full of chilling menace and sinister secrets, The Turn of the Key is a gripping modern-day haunted house novel that will keep you reading through the night.

My Thoughts:

This is my first ever Ruth Ware. I’ve had her books on my shelf for the longest time because I only ever hear amazing things about her, but have never gotten round to trying her books. After discovering her amazing writing skill and attention to detail I am going to have to change this and bump those books up my list! Ruth ware is a delight and a treasure! What a haunting book!

Right from the off I was hooked with this one. The usual layout, here’s where I am, here’s why I’m here, I shouldn’t be, here’s who I am, here’s what happened…. it’s unique and it’s clever. I really liked how we the reader are left not really sure whether or not Rowan was actually innocent or not until the very end. It really made the whole book stand out for me from my other reads this year!

Another thing is just how creepy and haunting it is. I actually found myself worried about the bumps in the night after reading this before bed and being very jumpy. I’m hard to spook, especially in literature so this reaction alone is high praise. I’m really fond of a ghost story like thriller and this is one of the finest I’ve ever read. The publisher description of it being a chilling menace is most ardently correct. It’s brilliant!

Book Review: Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti

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Rating: 3 🔪

Author: Kate Moretti

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: 22nd September 2020

 

(Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the free early copy!)

 

Synopsis:

Haunted by her sister’s disappearance, a troubled woman becomes consumed by past secrets in this gripping thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year.

When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancé, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fueled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.

Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels and a novella. Her first novel, Thought I Knew You, was a New York Times bestseller. The Vanishing Year was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards mystery/thriller category for 2016 and was called “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) with “superb” closing twists (New York Times Book Review). Moretti has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for twenty years as a scientist and enjoys traveling and cooking. She lives in Pennsylvania in an old farmhouse with her husband, two children, and no known ghosts. Her lifelong dream is to find a secret passageway.

 

My Thoughts:

Despite being advertised as a thriller, this book reads much like a ghost story and it is chillingly satisfying and enjoyable.  I have read and loved Kate Moretti’s The Blackbird Season, which was another amazing thriller that had very ghost story vibes to it also. Moretti seems to be a master of chillingly, haunting thrillers and I am a fan.

Hannah is wonderful character. She’s flawed and fierce and mysterious and I really enjoyed getting to unravel her mysteries as the book progressed. It was eerie throughout and Hannah’s building anticipation throughout made me even more on edge as I read along.

I don’t want to give too much away and ruin the ghost story vibes of the book, but it gets a recommendation from me!

Book Review: Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson (Also known as Eight Perfect Murders)

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Rating: 5 🔪

Author: Peter Swanson

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Release Date: 5th March 2020

 

(Thank you Connor and Faber & Faber Publishing for the free early copy!)

 

Synopsis:

‘Fiendish good fun’ ANTHONY HOROWITZ

If you want to get away with murder, play by the rules

A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders,’ and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list – which includes Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

 

My Thoughts:

Holy mother of Jack! Is this my second five start read of 2020? I think it might just be. And I can’t think of a more worthy author or title to receive the honour! My goodness! This book is literally every crime fiction addicts dream. It’s a mystery book about mystery books and a speciality mystery bookstore. A heavenly combination and when the books involved are some of the greatest books in the genre, it just makes it all the better. This is my first Peter Swanson book, and sign me up! I am a fan!

This is a quick read. The chapters are short and sharp and the book itself is not all that long. I read it quickly over a few hours and felt like it was drawing to it’s conclusion much too soon. I wanted it to go on forever, I enjoyed it so much. It is a fun, interesting read. Now, there is though a lot of spoilers in the book for other books. This didn’t at first seem an issue as I’ve read all but two of the books and didn’t feel any issue with reading about said two books, but I’ve since noted that a lot of readers hate spoilers, and so for a person who hadn’t read any or many of the books discussed in the book, they would find some pretty big spoilers. This by no means took away from the book for me, it wasn’t an issue. But if you’re a reader who hates spoilers than maybe this isn’t a book you should read until you’ve exhausted the list of 8 perfect murders books.

I just really loved this book, and the writing and flow. I loved it nods to such great classic mystery books and authors and I loved dear Malcolm, the MC of the book, who happens to be a crime bookstore owner. It’s like the book was written for me. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to read more Peter Swanson now.

Book Review: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Rating: 4 🔪

Author: Karin Slaughter

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: Out Now

Synopsis:

The gripping standalone thriler from No. 1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter, soon to be a Netflix series

You’ve known her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.

but she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

and it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just begun. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them…

My Thoughts:

I can’t really compute right now… whoa. Pieces of Her is my second Karin Slaughter in about 10-12 years and just wow…. not only do I feel really old saying that! But also I can’t fathom why I waited so long! Her writing is addictive, dark and thrilling. Her wit is marvellous. This book has earned her a prominent place amongst my favourite authors.

I don’t even know what to say except exhaustive praises for the skill that has woven these words into such a great book. I’ve heard a few people saying that this is one of Karin Slaughter’s lesser books, and others are much better reads. If that is the case then I CANNOT wait to read her other books because this was a true delight that I savoured every page of.

Book Review: Victim 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Rating: 2 🔪

Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen

Publisher: Quercus Books

Release Date: Out Now!

(Thank you NetGalley and Quercus for the free copy!)

Synopsis:

In the heart-pounding new installment of the No.1 bestselling Department Q series, a terrifying international investigation reveals the complex backstory of one of the department’s own – the enigmatic Assad. 

The newspaper refers to the dead body only as Victim 2117 – the two thousand, one hundred and seventeenth refugee to die in the Mediterranean Sea. 

But to three people, the victim is so much more, and the death sets off a chain of events that throws Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold cases division led by Detective Carl Mørck, into a deeply dangerous – and deeply personal – case: a case that not only reveals dark secrets about the past, but has deadly implications for the future.

For a troubled Danish teen, the death of Victim 2117 becomes a symbol of everything he resents and is the perfect excuse to unleash his murderous impulses. For Ghallib, a brutal tormentor from the notorious prison Abu Ghraib, the death of Victim 2117 was the first step in a terrorist plot, years in the making. And for Department Q’s Assad, Victim 2117 is a link to his buried past and to the family he assumed was long dead.

My Thoughts:

Okay… let me collect myself here because this book raises some major issues and tensions that are relevant to the current political climate that really touched a nerve for me. It looks long and hard at some of the political, racial and religious issues, tensions and prejudices in today’s world and I applaud the attempt and the representation of such important issues, but at the same time it completely ruined the book for me. I see this stuff everyday on the news and in the streets and on the internet, I do not need to find in my fiction novels which I read for enjoyment and relaxation. There is nothing at all relaxing about this book or the very serious issues that it covers.

I have to doff my hat to Jussi Adler-Olsen for tackling these important and current cultural issues and tensions. The way he handles them is clever and leaves an impact, sadly for me it’s too harsh an impact when I’m looking for relaxation and reading and not whatever you could call this. Realist fiction? Political fiction? I don’t really know.

What I can say is, I’ve since read A LOT of rave reviews about this one, so if you like your fiction to be filled with serious contemporary issues and tensions then it might be the book for you! Unfortunately it’s not the book for me and I had to DNF at just over halfway through.

Book Review: My Perfect Wife by Clare Boyd

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Rating: 3 🔪

Author: Clare Boyd

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: Out Now!

 

(Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the free copy!)

 

Synopsis:

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book is one of those books that I pick up out of boredom and the next minute I know I’ve finished the whole book. It was literally unputdownable, as in once I’d started it I quickly found I’d finished it. It wasn’t though, by any means one of those books where I don’t want to put it down. For me, this book was simply enjoyable. It was interesting enough to hold my attention for a few hours on a windy, stormy night when sleep evaded, but it wasn’t a book that I’d rave about. Good but not great. Interesting but not gripping.

Essentially a book with a personality to match its leading lady – interesting but empty inside. Does that make sense?

Now, I wouldn’t by ANY means say this was a bad book, if a book can keep you turning the pages for several undisturbed hours then it’s GOT to be good, and it did and it certainly is. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t rush out to my friends and family and insist they read it, I probably won’t think much about it again and I am unlikely to reread it.

I’d recommend it, as a good quick read that keeps you interested especially if you like a domestic suspense. Which is in fact very popular right now. It’s a good book with an interesting few twists and turns.

Book Review: House of Shadows by Darcy Coates

Rating: 2 🔪

Author: Darcy Coates

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Release Date: 5th May 2020

(Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the free early copy!)

Synopsis:

Sophie’s world is shattered when disaster bankrupts her family. She’s still reeling from the news when she’s offered an unexpected solution: Mr Argenton, a wealthy stranger, asks for her hand in marriage. Marrying Mr Argenton will restore her family’s fortunes and save them from scandal, but condemns Sophie to a life in Northwood, a vast and unnaturally dark mansion situated hours from civilisation. Sophie struggles to adjust to her new position as mistress over the desolate house. Mr Argenton’s relatives are cold, and Mr Argenton himself is keeping secrets. Even worse, the house is more than it seems.

Mr Argenton’s young cousin, Elise, draws terrifying images. Doors slam. Inhuman figures slink through the forest surrounding the house. A piano plays in the middle of the night. Blood drips from the ceilings. Sophie is inevitably pulled towards the terrifying truth: Northwood’s ancient halls are haunted by the family’s long-dead ancestors. The malevolent spirits—produced by grisly deaths—resent her intrusion into their home.

Trapped in Northwood and desperate for an escape, Sophie’s fate is further complicated as she finds herself irrevocably drawn to the tall, dark-eyed man she married. She suspects her feelings are returned, but Mr Argenton is hiding the truth about the house—and his secrets are so dangerous that they might just be unforgivable.

Also By Darcy Coates:
The Haunting of Ashburn House
The Haunting of Blackwood House
Craven Manor
The House Next Door

My Thoughts:

I’m so unbelievably sad that I didn’t like this book. Having previously read Darcy Coates’ Hunted and LOVING it, I wanted to devour more of her books. Her writing style and creature feature-Esque thriller wooed me entirely, but to my great unfortune this book is nothing like her other book. It’s not even really a thriller and not very “crime” either. It’s simply a dark and gothic historical fiction, which is good if you like that kind of thing, but sadly it’s not for me and I was expecting something else entirely.

Book Review: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

Rating: 4 🔪

Author: Ellen Byron

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Release Date: 8th September 2020

(Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the free early copy!)

Synopsis:

Maggie Crozat has the Halloween heebie-jeebies in USA Todaybestselling and Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s howlingly funny sixth Cajun Country mystery.

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October—and Halloween—approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana. 

Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play—and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.

My Thoughts:

Oh my gosh! If this isn’t the CUTEST cosy Murder mystery I’ve ever read. I have to admit it was the adorable pup dressed as a vampire on the cover that drew me to this one. I mean, how cute is he? But the old fashioned Louisiana fun and rougarou folklore kept me interested. That adorable pup did not let me down, this book was a complete delight to read. Quick, light and fun and full of all the Louisiana pride, bayou beauty, Cajun folklore and cute animals you could ask for!

Maggie is a wonderful and fun character. With a wonderfully modern Miss Marple personality and vibe. It was lots of fun solving the mystery along with her, and her witty and sassy banter was a treasure. This is the sixth book in the series and it would be lovely to read the previous books and see how Maggie has grown throughout the series to the character she is here in the Bayou Boneyard.

I honestly didn’t expect to like this book, I certainly never thought I’d love it, but sometimes you find pleasant surprises in unexpected places and Murder in the Bayou Boneyard is definitely one of those unexpected gifts.

Book Review: Hunter by Darcy Coates

Rating: 3.5 🔪

Author: Darcy Coates

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Release Date: 5th May 2020

(Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the free early copy!)

Synopsis:

Her disappearance wasn’t an accident.
Her rescue will be a mistake.

Five days after twenty-two-year-old Eileen Hershberger went missing on a hike through the remote Ashlough Forest, her camera was discovered washed downriver, containing bizarre photos taken hours after her disappearance. But with no body and no additional clues, finding Eileen in the dark and winding woods seems next to impossible.

Chris wants to believe his sister is still alive. When the police search is abandoned, he and four of his friends vow to scour the mountain range until they find Eileen and bring her home. But as the small group strays further from the trails and the unsettling discoveries mount, they begin to realize they’re not alone…and Eileen’s disappearance was no accident.

But by then, it’s already too late.

My Thoughts:

This book hooked me from the cover. It looked eerie and creepy and the dark overgrown forest made me curious. I’m a sucker for the forest even in my literature! I didn’t know what really to expect because I’ve never read a Darcy Coates book before and wasn’t sure if she would be my cup of tea, but I was pleasantly surprised to find her writing fluid and well done and her story addictive. She’s a wonderful writer.

The book itself screams Sasquatch vibes right off the bat. It’s got all the makings of a creature feature from page one and I was totally here for it. Of course, I won’t give anything anyway and ruin the fun, but it’s brilliant with an amazing ending after all that creepy, eerie, monstervibe build up. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Brilliant!

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