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boudicca

alwaysbooks

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.
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!

Chasing Ghosts - Glenn Rolfe

Extensive woods and who or what lives in them. This would be great for anyone who wants a quick read, a very quick read! Too long for a short story and not long enough for a novel. No real excitement or scary moments, just a disappointing tale, sadly.

The Ex-Wife - Jess Ryder

Natasha is second wife to Nick and mother to toddler Emily, living the high life, lacking for nothing. Unfortunately first wife Jen won’t back off but you can’t expect everything to be perfect! So far so good but then the plot unravels a bit. Who can be trusted and be relied on is what Natasha has to find out. A slow burner, told from several points of view, it was engaging and entertaining and definitely had its moments of suspense. I liked it and it was a great idea - would definitely read other books by this author.

The Date - Louise Jensen

A night out with her friends which ends badly for Alison, very badly. A bit of a slow burner this and only seemed to get going once Ali began to work things out. She is one very annoying character who never did the right thing at the right time and came across as pretty dense. This is the sort of book where everyone is a bit murky with something to hide, apart from the dog! It intrigued me enough to carry on reading, mainly to see how long it would take Ali to discover who was after her and why, which was actually quite obvious. A very interesting storyline and a great cover.

Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

A “mute” 7 year old and the first time she speaks is to the mother she hates. An interesting idea and genuinely creepy in parts. Is this a horror or domestic drama? Hard to say as it is often both. Not an easy read at all and often disturbing especially some of the scenarios and quite often violent. Hanna seems much older than 7 with her reasoning and what she gets up to. Alex is quite happy going off to work whilst his wife Suzette struggles with their daughter every day. I liked this book, I think, but certainly not all of it!

Clowders - Vanessa  Morgan

A strange village in Luxembourg overrun with cats. You are allowed to stroke, feed, love them but do not under any circumstances harm them! Irish Aiden, American Jess and their daughter move here from the USA when a vets job comes up, simply because Aiden has itchy feet. Loved the idea of this story but found the style of writing far too stilted, as if it had been translated, nor was it very scary. Creepy in parts, yes, but frightening, no. Aiden was very unpleasant and extremely selfish and Jess was just a doormat, without, it seems, a backbone. This could have been a terrific story, but didn’t quite come off.
Two and a half star rating.

White Lies - Lucy Dawson

Dr Alex Inglis is horrified when she discovers that her one night stand in Ibiza is a teenage patient of hers. Johnathan Day insists she pursued him and she says it is all a figment of his imagination - so who to believe? This is a tale and a half as I veered from one account to another and back again! Page turner definitely and very fast too in my haste to find out who is lying or not. Hard to put down, gripping all the way through to the final page despite no one really coming out of this story well as they were all as unpleasant as each other! Take it on holiday or read before bed, but do read it - you won’t be disappointed.