Dead Certain

Dead Certain

Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner
Published by Thomas & Mercer
Ebook
Expected publication 1 June 2017
348 pages
Kindle First

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Ella Broden is living a double life.

By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most gruelling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.

No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.

Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.

Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?

EXTRACT

 I have news!

For someone who fancies herself as a writer, Charlotte’s texts are extremely heavy on exclamation points.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I really enjoyed Dead Certain. I liked the way the novel was structured, littered with extracts from Charlotte’s novel in progress, providing links to her disappearance. I liked the use of novel-within-a-novel in this book. I thought the characters were excellent, well written and very real. I liked Ella the most. Her bond with her baby sister was very touching. Dead Certain has fantastic pacing. I liked the chapters from the killer’s point of view which take place towards the end of the novel. His indifference to the woman he’d killed as chilling, especially when his real identity is revealed. I love the ending of Dead Certain. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

My Sister And Other Liars

My Sister And Other Liars

My Sister And Other Liars by Ruth Dugall
Published by Thomas & Mercer
Ebook
Expected publication 1 May 2017
364 pages
Kindle first

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.

Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.

Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself.

EXTRACT 

My body is eating itself. My brain too, apparently, is being consumed by its eternal search for sustenance. This is what the staff tell us, one of the topics of our enforced education, the damage we are doing to ourselves.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

This is my first time reading the author. I have her novel, Nowhere Girl unread on my Kindle.

My Sister and Other Liars blew me away. It’s one of those novels where you don’t find out what’s really going on until the last chapter and when you do it’s the opposite of what you thought it was. I love books like that. This is the first time I’ve read fiction dealing with anorexia and this is handed really well in a sympathetic manner. Sam and the other residents of the Ana Wing became like an extended family and I wanted them all to be well. When tragedy strikes one of the patients I cried for her. I loved the way the novel is structured, gradually revealing what led to Sam’s anorexia through her therapy sessions. In this way information is drip-fed which compelled me to read on. I had no idea what events had led to Sam’s condition. I thought I knew until revelations in the last few chapters stunned me. My Sister and Other Liars is great. I loved it and would highly recommend it.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire
Published by Lake Union Publishing
Ebook
Expected publication 1 April 2017
350 pages
Kindle First

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

In this tour de force, a father, shaken by tragedy, tries to avenge his daughter’s murder—and restore his family’s shattered life.

It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner of lamb tagine, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods.

The Eastern Seaboard town of Port Fortune used to be Will’s comfort. Now, there’s no safe harbour for him. Not even when Father Gervase asks Will to paint portraits of saints for the new cathedral. Using the townspeople as models, Will sees in each face only a mask of the darkness of evil. And he just might be painting his daughter’s killer.

As Will navigates his rage and heartbreak, Sophie tries to move on; Father Gervase becomes an unexpected ally; and Rain, Lucy’s best friend, shrouds herself in a near-silent fugue. Their paths collide in a series of inextricably linked, dark, dangerous moments that could lead to their undoing…or to their redemption.

OPENING 

Every day is ordinary. Until it isn’t.

WHAT I THOUGHT

This was my first time reading the author. I chose this for this month’s Kindle First selection because I liked the blurb and have a soft spot for murdered daughters and damaged parents.

The Halo Effect is excellent and I loved it. LeClaire is a very talented writer and I was impressed by her rich, vivid and almost haunting prose style. I though the characters were amazing, they are so human it was painful to read at times. Will and Sophie are very much alive and their pain was uncomfortable to read at times. My heart bled for them. Their reactions following Lucy’s murder are completely believable. I had no idea who the killer was. At one point I thought it might even be the priest. When his identity and motivations are revealed I was gob-smacked. I loved the ending and Will’s response when he finds out who killed his daughter – an unmissable moment. The final resolution is happy and satisfactory without being twee. Overall, I loved The Halo Effect and would recommend it and plan to read more by this author.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

The Marvellous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid WinterThe Marvellous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt
Published by AmazonCrossing
Ebook
Expected publication 1 March 2017
217 pages
Kindle First

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Ingrid Winter is desperately trying to hold it all together. A neurotic Norwegian mother of three small children and an overworked literature professor with an overactive imagination, Ingrid feels like her life’s always on the brink of chaos.

Her overzealous attempt to secure her dream house has strained her marriage. She’s repeatedly reprimanded for eye rolling in faculty meetings. Petulant PTA parents want to drag her into a war over teaching children to tie their shoes. And an alarmingly persistent salesman keeps warning her of the potential dangers of home intrusion.

Clearly she needs to get away. But Russia? Forced to join an academic mission to Saint Petersburg to promote international cooperation, Ingrid finds herself at a crossroads while drinking too much cough syrup. Will this trip push her into a Siberian sinkhole of existential dread or finally give her life some balance and direction?

OPENING 

The marimba ringtone was not to be ignored.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I really enjoyed The Marvellous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter. This book is very funny and I couldn’t stop laughing most of the time I was reading it. This novel was hugely enjoyable. I loved Ingrid as a character. She’s the sort of heroine I love and can get behind; batty, barmy, mad as a hatter, scatter-brained, thoughtless but utterly lovable. The Marvellous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter ticked all the boxes for me; great story, great characters and great writing. This book is a very funny, spot on take on the trials and tribulation of modern life. I especially loved the chapters towards the end set in Russia where Ingrid hopes to escape the consequences of her mistakes and finds more chaos waiting for her. The cough syrup scenes were the funniest moment in the whole novel.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

The Winter Over

The Winter OverThe Winter Over by Matthew Iden
Published by Thomas & Mercer
Ebook
Expected publication 1 February 2017
354 pages
Kindle First

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Each winter the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life.

But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance. Confined and cut off from the outside world, will they work together or turn against one another? As the tension escalates, Cass must find the strength to survive not only a punishing landscape but also an unrelenting menace determined to destroy the station—and everyone in it.

OPENING

 The woman’s arms were spread wide, open to the world, as though she were asking for a hug or just starting a snow angel.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

The Winter Over ended up being much better than I expected. The book is quite slow at first and I wasn’t very enamoured with it for the first 20-25%. I didn’t dislike it but I was getting this so-so feeling. And then what happened? Well things went bug-shit crazy and my jaw still hasn’t recover from the number of times it bounced off the floor. The tension really builds as things spiral more and more out of control. This happened and things get intense and more stuff happens and the tension builds and builds leaving madness and chaos in its wake. The concept behind the real reason certain people were selected for the winter over is not the most original but is executed really well. The characters are very good in The Winter Over. They are just the right mix of people to get caught up in chaos. I thought the ending was good and events on the base play out really well. The Winter Over is not a brilliant novel but it is a very good one.

RATING

4 STAR RATING