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I have always loved books ever since I learnt to read. The sort of person who would look at an instruction manual if there were nothing else available. Not that that has happened too often - I have tottering piles of books not to mention e books. I will read almost anything as l long as it holds my interest. Besides books. I love music, photography, cryptic crosswords and playing Fitz 1 & 2 games.
The Temp - Susan Lyons, Michelle Francis

What happens when you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant and you decide to keep it despite your partner’s lack of enthusiasm? Even worse when you work with him in the fickle world of TV. Emma is much younger and talented but always seems to be there, much to Carrie’s dismay. Very much a slow burner, with much too much about the seemingly shallow environment of TV scriptwriting/producing which I found dull. None of the characters, even the hard done by one, came out well in this book. I did enjoy the Broadstairs parts which were interesting. I did expect this story to have a few creepy undertones judging by the description. It was better when the pace picked up later on as the reader discovers the true mettle of the characters and why they behaved as they did.

Our Little Lies - Sue Watson

Marianne thought she was so lucky and blessed when she not only caught the attention of the skilled, handsome surgeon, Simon but got to marry him too. There she was, living a wonderful like with the man she adored, his young daughter and later on their twins. Able to buy the best of everything. But delve deeper and it wasn’t the heaven she expected when Simon showed his true colours. It was very easy to read, but the trouble was it went on and on a bit too much with Marianne’s thoughts and actions trying to preserve the “perfect” life (a word which was definitely overused in this book!). A once strong woman turned into a whining mess by her “loving” husband. She was so annoying, so much so that it was hard to feel anything for her plus the other characters were also awful. I did read it all, so was invested that much in the story. Would describe it as a domestic, kitchen sink drama, rather than psychological.

A House of Ghosts - w. c. Ryan

Loved the cover! The book itself, not quite as much mainly because it couldn’t seem to decide what it was. Supernatural? Espionage? Romance? Not enough of the first, too much of the second and the third only just touched on. The house on the island was interesting, so would have liked that to have been gone into in much more depth than it was. This novel had the makings of being really creepy but wasn’t and I felt it could’ve been reduced by a quarter as it was too long and repetitive.

The Wife's Secret - Kerry Wilkinson

Where’s the bride? Has anyone seen her? This is Seth’s dilemma on his wedding day. His new wife Charley has gone, disappeared. A great start, but then it slowed down a bit, until the end, where all is revealed and why. Seth was very calm and collected, a bit too calm, came across as a cold fish really. Told from several viewpoints, from then and now. Despite it wasn’t a racy, fly through the pages book I still enjoyed it and was intrigued enough with the plot to stay with it, to see how it all panned out.

Not a Proper Child: A True Story of Abuse, Violence, and Survival Against the Odds - Elizabeth Shepard, Nicky Nicholls

This is Nicky’s story of how she was abused and betrayed by the people who should’ve protected and loved her the most. It is distressing to witness just how cruel and horrible some people can be. Anyone not moved by this memoir must have a heart of stone.

The Teacher - Katerina Diamond

Anyone who likes particularly gory murders will enjoy this, especially as there are so many! The title of this is “The Teacher” but could just as easily be another profession because that doesn’t really feature much. Obvious who is doing it and everyone in the book is flawed in some way. The Museum is creepy with its exhibits and I liked that, also the role reversal. It was certainly an interesting read!

Portraits of the Dead - John  Nicholl

Emma, an attractive university student is kidnapped and tortured by someone wearing a clown’s mask. The cover was fantastic, really creepy and I loved it. I quite liked the book, despite the over descriptive bits but that ending lost it some stars. I hated it, so rushed, unsatisfying with questions left unanswered and made me wish I’d chosen something else to read - sorry!  Two star rating.

The Wife Before Me - Laura Elliot

When Elena spots the handsome, affable Nicholas at her mother’s funeral, she has no idea of what she’s letting herself in for. The story follows the “what really happened to wife number one” formula, but this one adds a twist to the proceedings. Elena was a bit of a wet blanket to be honest and spineless most of the time, so that was annoying. This is a dark novel, so maybe not for those who enjoy gentle romances. It was a bit predictable really, but maybe I’ve read too many books in this genre! I liked the cover and descriptions of the Irish scenery.

Her Last Move - John Marrs

A spate of murders, but is it a serial killer? The victims die horribly and all in a short space of time, so what is the connection? A huge problem for the police. Joe and Becca from two different departments work together to solve the case. On one hand I loved this book but on the other was irritated by the actions of some of the characters who were never 100% focused on what they were meant to be doing and it began to get very tiresome! That niggle aside, it was a great story and hard to put down. Started with plenty of oomph and finished in the same manner. Plenty of thrills and spills to keep the reader intrigued.

The Wordsmith - Alan Ayer

Keep away from this particular typewriter because it has a mind of its own! A gruesome tale with a gruesome main character, although none of the others were particularly likeable either. Would have really loved this story if there had been a different style of writing. Great idea though, but ultimately disappointing simply because of the clunky, stilted way it was written. Could’ve been brilliant, but turned out to be mediocre.

The Spite Game - Anna Snoekstra

Three and a half star rating.
It all begins in high school where Ava is desperate to be accepted into a clique of three other girls, but finds that when she is allowed into the edges of the group that it’s not that great and the girls not that nice. Years later she is determined they won’t get away with what they did to her. Ava might have been the victim then, but proves she’s none too pleasant herself! Loved the idea of this book but it was confusing at times - a change of font would sort that out. It was annoying too to find both English and American spelling - centre 1 minute and the next center etc. A great story for people who like awful girls (+1 boy) but who are also hilarious at the same time.

She Was the Quiet One - Michele Campbell

Murder mystery in a posh, expensive American school. Twins Bel and Rose are sent here by their grandmother when their mother dies. Handsome teacher, handwringing wife and attractive schoolgirls with crushes - a recipe for disaster! Who would want to go to boarding school after reading this tale? Goes along nicely, gathering pace as the villain is revealed. I liked the idea and found it easy to get on with and would buy it as a nice little stocking filler.

You Were Made for This - Michelle Sacks

Sam, Merry and their baby now live in an idyllic part of Sweden. It’s a beautiful location, wholesome and good, but only on the surface. There are secrets and undercurrents and into this mix comes Merry’s best friend Frank (Frances) who knows her friend better than she knows herself. This story is deep, dark and disturbing and not really suitable for those of a sensitive nature. There’s nothing likeable about these three at all and they all deserve contempt. Starts off all calm and homely and then suddenly without any warning it’s as if you’ve stepped off a cliff and from that point there’s no going back and you have to read every single word with eyes half shut! Wow, what a book, it’s great and horrible all at the same time - I loved it!

34 Days - Anita Waller

It’s Anna and Ray’s 35th wedding anniversary when she makes the decision to walk out the door for good. From this a whole chain of events follows. The book starts as a family drama then gradually changes to something a bit darker with secrets and lies. I liked the start and end but not the middle section too much. It may have been the style of writing which didn’t seem to flow along easily. Plus there were too many “disconnected”s - almost every time someone spoke on the phone this word would appear! Loved the idea of this story so read it very quickly. It was engaging.

An Unwanted Guest - Shari Lapena

An isolated luxurious hotel in the mountains, assorted secretive people who have come to spend a weekend, away from it all. All is great until an ice storm hits, cutting them off from civilisation, then all hell breaks loose. Reads very much like an Agatha Christie type of book, so great for people who like “whodunnits” with a slightly sinister feel. Sadly the way it was written really let the story down - it was stilted and awkward and with so many people having their say, a bit muddled. I read it all as I enjoy murder mysteries but I was left feeling disappointed by this book.

Deadly Secrets - Robert Bryndza

This is the 6th book to feature Erika. This time a murder and several assaults. On the face of it that’s all it is until she starts digging deeper and finds some rather unpalatable secrets. Erika is her usual feisty self and won’t rest until she’s found the culprit. It would be really nice if she could experience a bit of happiness! As usual, a fast paced, gripping story to keep readers on their toes, racing through the pages to the conclusion - phew the rollercoaster has stopped......for now!