Tag Archive | mystery

The Missing Pieces of Us, Eva Glyn

 

The Missing Pieces of Us, Eva Glyn

The Missing Pieces of Us: The most emotional and gripping page turner of 2021! by [Eva Glyn]

Genre: General Fiction (adult), Romance, Women’s Fiction.

First, darn, women’s fiction Again…Why? Its 2021 not 1821. Men read romance, men write romance..

So, the book. I was really intrigued by the description. I know from reading that actually what we remember as The Truth isn’t necessarily what happened. There have been many studies around police witnesses to prove this. So I wondered how things would play out in the story. Plus I’m a sucker for second chance romance.

I liked Robin, as a young man and now as someone older. He’s been through a lot and has learned so much about himself, he seems reasonably secure in who he is but…Izzy. She seemed to spend an extraordinary amount of time belittling him, in subtle and not so subtle way, and he just took it. She didn’t seem to notice she was doing it. I liked her at the start of the book, and I think that core of her remained inside. Now widowed, suddenly, she’s clearly got issues of her own that she’s ignoring, and that’s affecting those around her. There’s still a strong bond between her and Robin but she needs to have more respect for him IMO.
Claire was the star, just 16 but so good with her mum and Robin. Yes she has the teen outburst at times, but that’s normal. Considering she’s just had her dad die suddenly, her mum’s old lover/boyfriend turns up on the streets and is now in their home she’s amazing.

The theme of memory and truth is strong here. I didn’t really take that in and when I read something Izzy recalled that didn’t match what I’d read Robin say I was confused, flipped back to check I’d read it right, and was more confused when I had. It all connects eventually, just go with it.
There were a few times I needed to check who was talking/remembering/thinking, as it wasn’t clear but I assume final edits will sort that.
I enjoyed the story, its not one I’d reread and the romance side was really only a small part of the novel

Stars: Three, I enjoyed it but at times it was a little hard going, and Izzy frustrated me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Love you to Death, Reily Garrett.

Love you to Death, Reily Garrett.

Love You To Death: FBI Romantic Thriller (Moonlight and Murder Book 6) by [Reily Garrett, RE Hargrave]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romantic Suspense

I really enjoyed this. I think much of that comes from having read some of the earlier books, I’m familiar with the characters and how the team works. The only issue I had was that Dylan was a major romance lead when its only been months since his love was killed. I find it difficult to believe someone can fall in love again so quickly – but that’s just me, its not an issue for everyone of course, and didn’t spoil the story.
I loved Dylan in the last book, Deadly Interception so was pleased he’s the male focus of this one.
Taylor is ambitious, fresh out of probation and working along with her dog Magnum, she’s been given the job of looking into cold cases of missing girls. Out in the woods she gets a terrific break ( and OK its fiction right, so go with it. Strange things happen even in real life) when the latest would be abduction goes wrong and the victim escapes. She meets Dylan with Amelia, the victim, and another man, both helping but also very suspicious of the other, especially Dylan. We know his background but Taylor doesn’t so she’s immediately wary of both.
Gradually the team become involved, Taylor is wary but can’t deny the results, and her supervisor Trenton seems to know and approve of them all so goes along with it. It beings her right into danger several times, and I enjoyed trying to work out along with her so was behind this. There are some interesting clues, some I missed at first of course, that always seems to happen….I’ll get better one day at finding them. I’m in awe of how authors think of all these thinks, think of how to set up little signs that aren’t obvious until it all comes together. Reading I love, writing had never been my forte though! I just don’t have that kind of imagination.
I was still puzzled by the motives though, even when the person behind the abductions was revealed, and then there’s a lead in to the next book which shows that its actually not all over yet. They have one of the major players captured but it looks very much like there is another, so of course the motive is yet to come 😉
Trenton seems to be involved in the next story, I hope he’s the male lead. He’s kind of on the fringe of the group right now, but has some good talents and connections and could give much to them.
As always the dogs ( and Keiki’s drones) play a major part, and I love that they’re brought in that way. Dogs in real and fictional crimes don’t get the recognition they deserve very often!

Stars: Five for this one, a really gripping and entertaining read. I look forward to more on this story.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

No More Words, Kerry Lonsdale

No More Words, Kerry Lonsdale

No More Words: A Novel by [Kerry Lonsdale]
Genre: general fiction ( adult), women’s fiction

Sigh….women’s fiction yet again. Outdated, publishers, lets get rid of it.

Anyway, the book. Well, its Kerry Lonsdale, I love her writing.
She delivers a story that I can get engrossed in, that’s full of twists and surprises and keeps me guessing. And wow – this book did all that and more.
I didn’t realise it was a trilogy when I requested, but I’m not ready to leave this family yet so I’m really glad there’s more. As this story does end but there are lots of unanswered questions, I assume it’ll be Lily and Lucas that are main characters in next books, that we see the story from their pov maybe? That will fill in some of those blanks.

When we first meet them we can see their family is one of those perfect on the outside, dysfunctional on the inside, where appearances and money are all. ( what my Nan would call silk purse and no knickers….)
We see them as children, with parents that really want the perfect family image wise, but not the actual bother of raising them, although Olivia’s dad seems to adore her, and give her time he won’t spend on her siblings. Even so they get dropped off/dumped on family friends for the whole summer at a very young age. Lily is only five the first time we meet them, being left with near strangers for six weeks! Maybe that’s less shocking in US where summer camps are popular, but in UK that’s certainly unusual.

Then we meet them years later, Olivia mainly, and Josh, Lily’s son. He really was the star, his part so well written it was easy to believe in him, to feel his frustration, his fear for his mum, he really was a joy to read.
I liked how we see them change, how slowly Josh starts to trust Olivia, how she goes from wanting no-one in her life, to rely only on herself and yet by the end she and Josh are so close. It was good too seeing how her past impacted on her life, understanding why past actions of herself and others affected the person she is now. I hope we see that in the next two books, I’m really puzzled over Lucas, and of course I want to know where Lily and Josh have been all these years.

Stars: Five, another Kerry Lonsdale Classic and a real treat to read. Kept me engrossed, guessing ( wrongly mostly), on a mix of giddy highs when things went right, and tears when they didn’t right til the end.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

For the Wolf, Hannah Whitten

For the Wolf, Hannah Whitten

For the Wolf (The Wilderwood Books Book 1) by [Hannah Whitten]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

I was so looking forward to this but the beginning…well, I had to restart a few times because, honestly, it was a slog. Once past that though it was a fantastic read, I’m so glad I didn’t give up, and I really want the next book Now!

I loved the Wilderwood scenes, they really were the best part. The slow burn romance, the Fife and Lyra interactions, the other characters, descendants of those caught in the past, and of course, the Wilderwood. A wood like no other, sentient, but focused on survival at all costs, and that’s meant the deaths of second daughters in the past.
What I wasn’t keen on was the Neve, Kiri part of the story, at least in the early stages. When the end grew near the two parts melded and became one but until then it was as if I was reading two different stories, only tangentially connected. It was hard jumping from one story arc to the other.
There were some terrific characters here, some horrific moments in the Wilderwood, and lots of things to learn, superstitions and stories, some of which were true, others not. I hadn’t read the connection to Red riding Hood, thankfully, as I don’t like re-imaginings of traditional stories and would have not requested this. To me, the only connection really is superficial, Red’s name and cloak, the woods and Eammon being known as The Wolf.
Its a fantastic read, once past the beginning I was gripped. Its very intense at times, lots of gritty drama and details, and the fabulous slowly unfolding romance. I am so hoping its not long to wait for more!

Stars: Five, If you struggle at first, stick with it, its so worth it. Fabulous, dramatic, intense story. And a gorgeous slow burn romance.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Threadneedle, Cari Thomas

Threadneedle, Cari Thomas

Threadneedle: SUNDAY TIMES bestseller and most anticipated debut fantasy release of the year by [Cari Thomas]

Genre: General Fiction ( Adult),

I struggled with this. Its classed as Adult yet it feels very YA. I’ve read YA books I’ve loved, some transcend age, but this feels so YA that I struggled with it. The story dragged, and sadly by 40% in I started skim reading to see what happened. There was a lot going on but it seemed very confusing, very muddled and some events seemed to have no real purpose. It could well be my skimming though, that missed the events they led to. I wanted to know what would happen, wanted to see how it would play out but just couldn’t get through the whole story to get to the end.
Would I read next part? I don’t know. Maybe as the characters are aging it’ll feel less YA, Towards the last quarter it began to lose that feeling for me, with the characters facing some very hard situations and decisions.
Of course first books in a series or trilogy also have a hard time delivering a good story while creating a new world, and this one has a different kind of magic, and different magical groups too, so there was a lot to introduce to the reader.

Its a shame I didn’t get along with it better, I was so looking forward to it. It could be that book two lures me in and I love it and read this with different eyes. Who knows, I’ve had that happen before, in the same way as I’ve loved the first couple of books in a series but then it lost interest for me.

Stars: Three, its a good story, just didn’t quite click for me. Like I said, maybe when there’s more to tell, more to understand I’ll feel differently about this one. It has left me wondering “what next” so in that sense it delivers.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Grimoire for Gamblers, (The Trove Arbitrations Book 1), Amanda Creiglow

A Grimoire for Gamblers, (The Trove Arbitrations Book 1), Amanda Creiglow


Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Sci-fi and Fantasy

This sounded unusual, and that’s good in a market saturated with so many fantasy reads that are almost copies…so I dived in.
The magic here is different, very different to the usual, and I liked that, it was good to read a protagonist that wasn’t instantly transformed into someone more skilled than others hundreds of years older. Magic here – for humans at least – relies on skill, practice, accuracy- and intention. I really felt that part was one of the things that sets this novel above so many others.

I liked Elizabeth, and understood her grief for her father even though he’d been trying to end his life for some time. Her curiosity – that would be me, I couldn’t leave such interesting papers and items alone either….The grief provides a convenient excuse for her not being at work too, which gives her time to sort out this mess she’s inadvertently involved in. I didn’t see the point of the boyfriend, Faisal, he’s away for most of the novel and doesn’t add anything. Their relationship doesn’t feel like a very solid one, there’s no real pull between them, they feel more like flatmates than lovers.

I did get a little confused by all the different magical creatures, and I’m still not entirely sure what/where the Gravelings come from. That kind of brings up the weakness in the story for me, I have several unanswered questions. I didn’t understand the relevance of some incidents, felt others were too slickly glossed over. Max seems almost manic at times, yet terrified of his masters – why? What was the significance of the train, other than to begin events? The solutions occasionally seemed a bit slick, though the end result, the big problem, worked excellently for me. Complex enough to make me think, yet with a logic that I could understand.

Overall this was a fun read, and the issues I had could easily be put down to first in series syndrome. Those books have a tough ask, delivering a story interesting enough to hook the reader, but a world wide enough to carry future books. I think its successful here, I’d certainly like to read more.

Stars: Three and a half, its a fun fantasy, but with some darker edges. Holds promise for an interesting series.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Secret Scottish Escape, Julie Shackman

A Secret Scottish Escape, Julie Shackman

A Secret Scottish Escape: The most heartwarming and feel good read for women of 2021! by [Julie Shackman]
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Arrgghhhh, women’s fiction Again! Why? Its an outdated category IMO.

Anyway, the book. Its billed as romance but in reality there’s very little. In fact for most of the book the male lead doesn’t even seem to like Layla.
Layla herself drives very close to the nosey and interfering, rather than concerned neighbour. Its needed for the story, but there were times when, like Mask, I would have been intensely irritated by her actions.
Mask was very rude to her, I was amazed she continued to try to help him. I did understand why when all was revealed of course, but until then he came over as some surly, rude guy.

The plot flows along nicely, there’s the tragic death of Layla’s fiance at the start, and the awful situation it happened, but it left her free to pursue setting up her dream, which of course involved her dad and his band-mates, and led to another story line with them.
I did feel she managed to set the club up incredibly easy, IRL of course there’s be endless council inspections, licenses to sort, building regs and appeals to get round….but book land is different thank goodness. Sometimes I wish real life was more like that, innovation gets stifled by the constant legal issues…..

As the story continues it gets more complex , with another story line popping up. I felt that was pretty real but they way it was resolved felt wrong, I just couldn’t see it happening that way after the long while the grudge had been held. Still, as ever others won’t bother about that – we all have different opinions.

The romance almost doesn’t happen until the end, but the story itself is fun. I would have liked a bit more romance, we get a nice epilogue but for me I needed more in the story itself.

Stars: Three, its a fun mystery but a bit thin as a romance read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Portrait in Ash and Lace, Casket Girls Chronicles, Sofia Aves

A Portrait in Ash and Lace, Casket Girls Chronicles, Sofia Aves

A Portrait in Ash and Lace: The Casket Girl Chronicles: Book 4 by [Sofia Aves]

Genre: Romance, Sci Fi & Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult)

1) I spent ages looking for casket girls 1-3….Thought I was losing it 😉 but this is a series with each book written by a different author. Found that out from anther reviewer!
That’s why i couldn’t find casket girls 1-3…..i never though to look under different authors!
I felt the story had so much potential but it never quite got there. It is very short, another thing I hadn’t realised, shorts rarely work for me. I felt that everything became squashed into far too quickly over events, whereas the potential for making a longer read was there. Was there is worked well, if a little disjointed at times, confusing at others and that’s where more space would have helped, let the story come out fully instead of being pushed into brief, not always clear, sections.
The ending is very abrupt, in fact for me it doesn’t feel complete. I haven’t read this author before, but I would happily read more if the story was longer.

Stars: Three, its a bit muddled at times, and would benefit from extra length IMO as it has the potential to carry more.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Forgotten Creek, A Winston Radhauser Mystery 10, Susan Clayton-Goldner

Currently just 77p on kindle!!

Forgotten Creek, A Winston Radhauser Mystery 10, Susan Clayton-GoldnerCurrently just 77p on kindle!

Forgotten Creek: A Winston Radhauser Mystery: #10 by [Susan Clayton-Goldner]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Another winner from Susan. It kind of feels automatic now to me that I’m going to be thoroughly engrossed in one of her books. As a reviewer though I do take reading seriously, and even though I’ve loved past books I still rate each on their own merits. If I don’t enjoy one I will say so. Fortunately that doesn’t happen here 😉

So once more Radhauser is hunting for a killer, a race against time as it seems an open and shut case, and of course as always the media and the local bigwigs are pressing for a resolution. It helps them too that the alleged killer is one of the homeless….
We have that same kind of pressure here in UK, where the news media are baying for blood, casting blame everywhere if there’s not a suspect found asap. I’ve always worried about that, about whether the real killer could get away due to that pressure, and the wrong person be convicted.
Radhauser is determined Corndog is innocent, but his partner MacBride isn’t. His boss Murphy is being leaned on by the Mayor, who no doubt is being led by press and of course votes…its easy to see how things get muddled, how its simple to take the obvious solution and not look harder. Thankfully Radhauser goes with his gut, bends the lines to the fullest, even puts his job on the line in his search for the real killer.

Along the way we learn a lot about homeless folk, and here in UK we have same issues sadly. Its awful, horrible, to think of people living in tents in freezing weather, sleeping on benches, in doorways. What do we do? Make rules to force them elsewhere rather than try to solve the problem. It’s a good job there are folk like Radhauser and sister Elizabeth who see the person, not just the tag of “homeless”. Its a fate that could happen to any of us.
Radhauser’s search takes him cross country, digging out old files, asking hard questions. We meet folk connected to suspects and victims, and learn more backstories. Some of them are heartbreaking, and for parents dealing with the loss of a child, well, I just can’t imagine that kind of grief. He has to be really careful in how he approaches them.

When the answers begin to show up Radhauser knows he’ll have to have an iron clad case. Its going to be a really tough sell to his boss to get the warrant to search for evidence, even if his boss wasn’t convinced they already have the killer. Radhauser needs to find every scrap of evidence he can, motive, opportunity, connections to what they already have, to make his case for that warrant.

I loved that we meet Kendra and Caleb again, I was so pleased for them. I can’t recall which book featured them, but it felt like meeting old friends and being pleased how their life worked out.

Stars: Five, another brilliant read, engrossing trying – and failing – to work out who was the real killer. That came as a huge surprise.

ARC supplied by author

Deadly Interception, (Moonlight and Murder 5), Reily Garrett

Deadly Interception, (Moonlight and Murder 5), Reily Garrett

Deadly Interception (Moonlight and Murder Book 5) by [Reily Garrett, R E Hargrave]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers.

Well, book five in the series and the gang is growing. Hands up here, I’ve only read book three before, but each book can be read as a stand alone. TBH though, I think if you’re a thriller reader I’d say start at the beginning, part of the fun in this story was being back with characters I felt I knew from book three, so if you know ALL of them 😉

Reily’s wring is fun, lots of snarky humour, not that artificial forced stuff, but almost throwaway lines that really hit the point. And the dogs, I adore animals and the dogs here are perfect, fit the story so well. ( and why do I feel the bore of four eyes on me, my girls mentally saying to me “ but we’re perfect too!” Dogs are good at the guilt trip)

Each person in the gang has their own talents and connections that are integral to the plots, and for me Keiki’s drones are amazing, but the dogs win out….again! The teamwork and camaraderie is what makes these reads such fun. I’m not a huge thriller reader, and I’m sure there’s bits I missed here, clues that passed over me but its a satisfying read. As an occasional thriller reader I don’t want to get bogged down in detail or read stomach churning gore scenes. Reilly gets it right, adventure, fun, scares, just the right amount of dangers, the dogs and a bit of tech to help get the bad guys…. and a background of romance. Perfect for me.

Stars: Four, an absorbing read, just the right amount of danger for me, lightened with some terrific snarky lines.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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