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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.
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.

Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense - Julia Heaberlin

A road trip with a difference. Was Carl really the murderer that Grace thought he was? Carl has dementia, so whatever he says can’t be relied upon, but Grace doesn’t care. I really wanted to like and enjoy this story, but sadly I couldn’t and I didn’t. It was ponderous and seemed to take a long time to get through all the pages/percentages. The beginning was intriguing, but then my interest started to flag. I did love the photos and thought they were a nice touch. Sorry but I found it all a bit tedious and Grace a letdown. I’m sure lots of other people will enjoy this book though.

Stalker - Lisa Stone

Three and a half star rating.
Derek Flint is a bit of a loner, lives with his mother and installs security systems during the day. At night he then watches his “people”, making sure nothing untowards happens. Suddenly there are several crimes being committed at the premises he has been looking after. It was quite easy to spot who was to blame I thought. Loved the creepiness of this - someone watching and listening to you and you are totally oblivious - makes you think about the trust we place in people we invite into our homes. It was a great book, very easy to get into and well worth investing your time into.

The House Swap - Fleet,  Rebecca

Three and a half star rating.
A house swap, but not the usual run of the mill swap where the only thing to concern you is if anything is broken. Not when the person staying in your home knows more about you than they should, as Caroline discovers when she and Francis arranged a little holiday. A slow burner this one, but did heat up nicely, as secrets were revealed. It was a well written, easy to read domestic drama/thriller even if the characters were not too likeable and some were a bit on the strange side. Maybe could have been a bit shorter, especially the Francis sections who was a bit of a bore. If nothing else, this book might make people think twice about letting strangers stay in their homes!

The Cyclist - Anthony Neil Smith

Three and a half star rating.
Don’t take anything on face value, especially online - something Judd forgot when he flew from the U S to see Catriona in Scotland. This keen cyclist got more than he bargained for - much more! The book really got into its stride once Judd and Catriona met at Glasgow airport and from then on it was absolutely action packed, a thrill a minute, but who is the cat and who is the mouse in this violent story? It certainly kept me entertained!

By Flower And Dean Street, & The Love Apple - Patrice Chaplin

Two and a half star rating.
Connie has it all, a lovely home, husband and four children up until she meets a stranger on a night out and then everything changes. Set in the 70's and with the Ripper influence, creepy in places and strange in others but not that scary and with a very sudden ending. I would have liked to have seen less chattering with their friends Mark and Jane and more horror in this short book!

Indian Summer - Marcia Willett

Nice cosy tale of an extended family and friends who always head for this delightful Devon village whenever they have a problem or just want to have some thinking time. Nothing harsh to jar your senses in this book - lovely characters (some of whom may be familiar to readers of earlier books), peaceful setting and dogs! Great for a rainy afternoon in front of a fire with a cup of tea - let the words magic you away to somewhere beautiful and sunny. Marcia's books are very easy to read and get into.

Her Name Was Rose - Claire Allan

When Emily witnesses a fatal hit and run she’s convinced that it was meant to be her, not Rose, the young mum. From that point on she tries to “be” Rose, finding out everything she can, like a stalker would. What she didn’t take into account is the fact that no one has the perfect life, not even Rose. Emily is scatty and needy after being in an abusive relationship and comes across as desperate, always trying too hard to ingratiate herself which makes her unlikeable. The book has plenty of twists, some unexpected and it really comes to life a bit later in the story, so a slow burner. I enjoyed this, the first book I’ve read by this author and look forward to many more.