The Intruder by P S Hogan

theintruder

Length: 288 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

A gripping, sinister, deeply unsettling novel from the most sociopathic narrator of 2018. Meet Mr Heming…

***

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught?

What will he do next?

The Review: Ooh!! I don’t know about the ‘most sociopathic narrator of 2018’ (I haven’t read all the books out there!), but my word WHAT a narrator!

William Hemming is an estate agent. He keeps copies of keys of houses he’s shown and sold and lets himself in to, well, for his own reasons. William tells us quite calmly how and why he does what he does and basically brings us about his daily life, where he is pretty much always in the right. THIS is the epicness of the book. Because he is most definitely an enigma, an intriguing character with a sense of right and wrong that generally results in him dishing out vigilante justice in a non vigilante, way, and this is coupled with a play by play of his past- including a despicable genius plan that was formulated to get him to the top of his game. I love books where you get a good back story that shows us where things went wrong and he’s got one to make you think.

In ‘The Intruder’ we get attention to detail that is spellbinding, and narration that is perfection for who you decide he is. Oh and do I have to add that there’s murder involved somewhere in the book, and Mr Heming may or may not be involved, having been in the wrong or right place at the wrong, or right time?

I have to say I have a special fondness for this book, for William’s character, his narration, for the settings, his workplace, all of it really and I will most likely be re-reading this book in the future.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Transworld Digital for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

Our House by Louise Candlish

ourhouse

Length: 449 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house? 

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

The Review: Okay, first, read the blurb. Now. What in the actual frig? Do premises for books get better than this? Surely not! This is the story of Fi Lawson, who, yes, returns home after a few days away to find that there is somebody else LIVING IN HER HOUSE. It’s her house, yes, but someone else now owns it. They’ve moved their stuff in already and are ready to start their lives.

I settled into this book sooo quickly. I was indignant for Fi-who ARE these people and why are they here and what? They’ve decorated? What? Yes, I sound nuts but this was my thought process as I ranted with Fi, then went through all the possible scenarios-they’ve made a mistake with the house, they’re fake. I tried them all. I then nearly wept with poor Fi as what had really happened came to light.

Fi’s a character that you feel sorry for, she’s kind of  likeable, which sounds funny, but it’s true. Anytime you think her entitled, she reminds you of some of the stuff she’s gone through and sets you straight, which I loved. Her story is told through a pod cast and you also get to hear the opinions of the people listening.

Bram’s story didn’t always hold my attention, which was a pity, it was  just because I think at times there was a bit too much of the nitty gritty of how everything was done, but other than that I liked that you could empathise with him, even though you knew what he’d done. The fact that at the same time you were hearing Fi’s pov was brilliantly done, with both stories making  you wonder what’s going to happen until an ending you reach an ending that made me go ‘whoah!’ Out loud. Actually as an aside I think this would be amazing on audio, if done well, of course, and am actually considering it for pressies for people!

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster UK and Netgalley for this book inreturn for an honest review

Rating: 4.5/5

Gone Missing by T.J. Brearton

gonemissing

Length: 372 pages

Please note that the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Katie Calumet is on an early-morning run when she hears a baby crying. The park is deserted, and there’s no one in the street. She follows the cries, but then everything goes black. When Katie wakes up, she’s blindfolded and her hands and feet are bound.

Detective Justin Cross takes on the case, but with the trail leading into endless dense forest, and a failing marriage weighing on his mind, finding Katie is his most challenging case yet – not least because the Calumet family are keeping secrets of their own.

Justin and Katie face a race against time that will push them both to their very limits. As Justin works day and night to discover who took her and why, Katie fights desperately to escape from her kidnappers and the forest that surrounds her…

Can Justin find her before it’s too late?

The Review:Talk about a book too get you nervy! Kate Calumet heads off on her run one day only to come across a the sound of a baby crying coming from a van. She’s heard all of the urban legends and so is unsure approaching the van but decides to send a text to her husband and so, of course all will be okay. But then she’s gone.

The book alternated between Kate, who I loved, who’s just trying to stay alive, and Detective Cross, who is coming up against road block after road block trying to solve the case. The husband, who seems so upset at what’s happened, still seems to be hiding something, as is her very wealthy family. There is also a large press presence because of who Kate is and so this came with the big guns in terms of people investigating too. I loved the inticacies of police work which were excellent in this book. Another thing was  the settings, if there was ever a book that had chases that read like a motion picture movie it was this one. I saw everything in full colour- the jump between her home where the stress of the kidnapping and the secrets weighing them down contrasted against Kate that was as vivid as anything I’ve read. I loved the pacing which was full on and fast, although I have to admit there was one or two points I was disappointed at things that could have happen to create more of a thrill (I know, totally just me, I was so taken with everything that I had my own movie running in my head, remember?) All in all, definitely recommended and I will most definitely be picking up more from this author again.

Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

#Excerpt Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Today I’m thrilled to bring you an extract from Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts, which is out now!

hiding_sleeve

Length: 258 pages

Please note that the book image leads to a universal buy link for the book

What they say:

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

(Jenny Morton Potts takes to the psychological thriller stage on an international canvass, and with a unique, bold voice.)

The Excerpt: When they arrived at Turville, there were many cars in the lot. You might have thought you were attending a concert. There was no landscaping, nothing to soften the bricks of this death house which had been painted grey some time ago and had begun to flake. The Harfield logo hung on a large metal plaque. It too was faded and chipped.

Without a word of leave, the escorting officers walked away from the passengers and new staff took over. The minibus occupants were told that their belongings would be locked in the van until post-procedure. They were asked if they would like to take quarters into the building as there was a vending machine with snacks and drinks.

Then another officer, a woman, just young, set about asking them security questions and issuing tags on neck bands. ‘You have to sign your name in a ledger. That’s first.’ She made herding movements with her arms and the group passed through a body sensor and then there was a cursory pat down. The officer held her thumb and forefinger up, like a diver’s affirmative. Good to go.

Keller noted that indeed the older man he had marked out as a journalist, was permitted to take a notepad in with him. The redhead girl was also permitted writing material. Their pens were tested in a small scanning machine and he overheard the girl saying that she was preparing her doctoral thesis.

‘Nice subject for a PhD,’ Keller muttered beneath his breath. ‘Classy.’

Somehow, he thought there would be a long walk now, time for contemplation but almost straight away the group were led into a small waiting room. The walls were solid, there was no viewing window. This was not the place then. But there was a vending machine. Keller could see fresh apples in the bottom row.

The redhead sat opposite Keller. He wondered if she would like the look of him. Women usually did, at first. It wasn’t really the time or the place but a woman like her was hardly one for etiquette. She looked at her watch and said to the student wearing the plaster cast that she could barely cope without her cell. She then realised that there was some sort of joke to be made of the pun on ‘cell’ and actually

laughed. Keller had a sudden vision of being in a lifeboat, sitting next to her, and pushing her over the side. She scribbled away in her big A4 pad, a ring with a diamond on her wedding finger. She was engaged then, and no doubt believed that she had everything to live for. The death penalty has a way of driving home a point like that. The girl sighed, like she had done a hard day’s work. As if taunting him, she let the pad rest upside down on her lap, so that he could make out the words. She had big, babyish writing. Not like the American cursive they were taught. She had a bit of an accent too. Probably went to one of those expensive schools in Europe. Keller looked down at her notes.

…2002 Uzbekistan authorities boiled men to death in water… China have mobile death units, small buses with in-house execution equipment which travel to far lying provinces…. Neighboring South Carolina executed a 14 year old in the electric chair…

Keller stared hard at the redhead. What a charming companion for the day. Fleetingly, he wondered if he should follow her home tonight and get in a bit of target practice. He could get himself match ready and make the world a better place without this member of the population. He dug his knuckles into his thigh and told himself to stop getting distracted.

Keller knew that there would be no stay, and no clemency. He knew that the procedure would begin at 12 noon prompt. He closed his eyes and let his head rest against the cool plaster of the wall behind the bench. Without vision, the thrum of the AC filled his ears fully and he shut out the hushed voices and fell asleep, as he had done in moments of stress as a child. He had Aunt Joya to thank for that technique. Every time she locked him out of the house, he’d nap, no matter what the temperature. If he were to have died of cold before waking, that wouldn’t have been much of a tragedy. There was a point in the coldness when you stopped noticing and the sleep just washed gently over you. He trained that sleep to come to him when he needed it, like a faithful dog.

When Keller was woken in the Turville waiting room, his legs had loosened and sprawled out before him. ‘It is time,’ someone seemed to have said in his ear. As the day’s reality cleaved through his head afresh, the redhead opposite had the nerve to

offer him a look of disapproval. She picked her way through his sleepy limbs and walked out of the door, sober and straight-faced.

There was a walk now. They passed doors, like random choices. They all looked the same, all the colour of pale nicotine. But some of those doors were in the business of living and some were not. As you walked past them, you could feel hope slipping away. Which door? Which one? It was like a game the devil might play as you entered hell. Eventually the passengers reached the end of their journey and were shown into another room which was similar in size to the last but with what looked like a window on one side. The window was dark for the moment, with a black blind pulled down and opposite, there was a gallery with seating. The seating was slightly raked, like a theatre. They were here for a performance.

About the author

jennymorton

Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realised she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.
Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with family.
She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Website http://www.jennymortonpotts.com/

Twitter (@jmortonpotts)

 

#BlogTour #TheAbandoned by Sharon Thompson

Thanks so so much to Sarah from Bloodhound Books and Sharon Thompson herself for allowing me to be part of the book tour for The Abandoned, which is out now and, at time of posting, only £0.99 on Kindle!

9781912175901

What they say: Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.

 

In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.

 

What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?

 

Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.


The Review: I can’t even tell you how long I’ve waited to see Sharon Thompson appear on this blog! Sharon, a member of Carmel Harrington’s ‘Imagine Write Inspire’ Writing group, has to be one of the most inspirational, hard working people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing in the writing world. Her work has always been of the standout variety, with characters that are bold and brazen with flaws, quirks and imperfections and yet morals and beauty and an incredible story to tell. And there is always, always a nice layer of dark humour to grab you too! And so here we stand with Peggy Bowden. From the second I met Peggy I was hooked. She is strong with sass and backchat ever present, but with a multitude of worries and fears. The thing is she tries to hide anything that could be seen as a weakness from her girls, the women who work for her in a brothel in number thirty four in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, in the 1950’s. (The most special mention for the innocent Molly, who stole my heart and made my stomach ball up with nerves on more than one occasion.)
 This is the story of Peggy’s journey as she tries to get out of said house and her life as she knows it. We are shown where Peggy came from, via beautiful scenes of her mother, who farmed and tended lands and then thrown into the harsh reality of how hard it was for women of the time and how men were seen as saviours for all women. This was a running theme, which Peggy battled sometimes successfully, sometimes not as we learned and saw some of the things Peggy did to make money, always justifying her actions, even when she doubted her motives.
This is a gritty, rise to power, revolutionary type of book, that shows what men do to keep their strongholds and how women do what they can purely to keep alive. It is filled with sorrow, angst, hope, love and a wealth of characters, some that disgust you, some who make you cheer, some that give you hope and others that disappoint when you least expect it. It’s gritty, dark, vivid and sometimes very very brutal (see blurb for her job descriptions, throw in some violence and you’re halfway there), but always gripping, with dark laughs in there to keep your head above water. I have to admit I was terrified that this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, as to me it sounded more like historical fiction, but to be honest I’m not sure that this can be put into any category (I’ve seen it described as a thriller but personally I wouldn’t put it there), it seems different to anything in the charts out there at the moment, and is very much a standout. Ridiculously highly recommended!
Rating: 5/5
Author Profile: 

XPpijWaR
Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman websiteSharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.

Connect with her online

Website    
twitter   @sharontwriter        

 

Now, How about you check out the rest of the blog tour?

BLOG TOUR

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

midnightLength: 319 pages

Please note that the book cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu.

The review: So I actually found this book via Claire Heuston over at Art and Soul (an epic book and baking blog, see review here  and, having read the blurb, was keen to get over to Netgalley to request (Thanks so much to Cornerstone and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review!)

Now Claire’s review basically told me that it was a beautiful book, with a fabulous bookstore in it that didn’t feature quite enough, with the story moving away from this fantastic setting to investigate a murder that had happened in the protagonist, Lydia’s life. She found this to be a slight disappointment and I was slightly disappointed when she said this, but decided that maybe this element would be different for me. Unfortunately not, although it didn’t always take away from the book.

It is a book of two paths, the first, the story of Joey, who sadly committed suicide at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. His suicide fully took hold of me, his climb to his death, with the sound of fluttering pages and falling books echoing around a bookstore that oozed character adding to the intrigue as to what was going on. Joey is a Bookfrog, one of many characters that enter the bookstore solely for somewhere to be, and my heart went out to him and wished for him to be stronger, and less beaten down by life.

We meet Lydia, one of the only people in Joey’s life, without being his actual person, and we soon realise she has some monstrous skeletons in her closet. Lydia starts looking into Joey’s death, and it brings her back to her own past, as we find out the horror she had to face as a child int he presence of ‘Hammerman’. There’s a number of characters about, some lovely, some tougher. I found Lydia to be overdramatic at times, even given her circumstances, and so I sometimes struggled.

We come to know her estranged childhood friend and father, who have also been affected by the goings on of times past. Her past itself, when revealed, is tough going, not by any means the toughest I’ve read by a longshot, but you’re so immersed in it and so filled with the sensation of the darkness and being enshrouded by snow, that it was one of the more headachy reads I’ve read recently, causing me to blink a few times on finishing, as if I’d just woken up, or stepped into the light myself. The way everything was put together in the end slightly perplexed me at times, and there was some overdramaticness on Lydia’s part in relation to her father especially.

It’s a tough book to review, because I was incredulous at some things that happened in terms of coincidences, and yet was so taken by some of the storytelling, settings and beauty of it all that it made me want to make people read just so they could experience it too, in particular the opening.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

the girl int he ice

What they say: Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza’s new series today – at a special launch price.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

The Review: You know the phrase ‘you had me at “hello”?’ Well this book most certainly did:

“The pavement glittered in the moonlight as Andrea Douglas-Brown hurried up the deserted high street.”

(Note: I’m afraid to quote more as it could be labelled a spoiler, though to be honest if I could I’d actually quote the whole prologue, so maybe you’re lucky!)

So you’ve guessed it, this is going to be one of those gushy reviews where I’m going to be a bit all over the place because I just want to FORCE you to read this book! It’s apity because it’s a book I’d love to do justice to, but, well, I’ll try my best.

As Andrea moves along we are given hints of how affluent Andrea was as she struggles to decide on whether she should call her father’s driver and then we are hit with some action that made me want to lock the door and suck in the whole book there and then.

Actually our introduction to the characters were extremely well done, brought about purely through events they were involved in, and I was nervy fairly on in the book and soon quite nervous. Detective Erica Foster was a very strong character, albeit one with her own issues and I took to her straight away, her ‘nothing to lose and so willing to lose everything’ demeanor that was essential in order to solve the cases that came before her were really well done, as were the scrapes she got into and I was reminded of why Robert Bryndza’s books are so popular and why he has made the move from chick lit to thriller so flawlessly.

There were multiple points of view in this book, however most of the job of telling us what happened descended on Erica, although it was told in third person which I have to admit, I generally enjoy more. The characters were so alive from the very first words and the descriptions of the locations, some so decadent, others dank and filthy, were amazing. The book was gripping from start to finish, with a humdinger of an ending, although I have to admit I found myself to be slightly disappointed with the identity of the killer, I could missed something but I’m not sure I could have guessed it was them, which I think is always half of the fun of thrillers.

A great great book, and one that readers of most contemporary genres will fly through, very satisfied, as I was, after they reach the end (where they are greeted by a brilliant letter from the author himself.) After this book I have to admit, I dove straight in and signed up for his newsletter (something I don’t do a lot), and went to check out his back catalogue of books (which seem to be right up my street, by the by so yay!) and his new one ‘The Night Stalker,’ the second book of this series, which I will without doubt be reading soon. As for ‘The Girl In The Ice?’ Most definitely one to read asap.  Thanks to Netgalley for the book in exchange for an honest review and as always the image links to a universal buy link for the book. Go get.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

 DistressSignalspack

What they say: Did she leave, or was she taken?

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

NOTE: As always the top picture leads to  a universal buy link for the book (author image leads to author’s website).

The Review:You’ll probably remember (or maybe not) that I made a big leap and decided I was going to properly get back into writing with a world of good intentions (only now beginning to be fulfilled) and I raved about my Holy Trinity of writing books  which contained (among others) Catherine Ryan Howard’s how-to self publish guide, Self Printed . I’m not going to go on and on here about the fact that when I self published I did it step by step with my husband, going solely on everything said book told me to do and that at one point my tech-savvy hubby  exclaimed ‘We’d be properly (insert curse here) if we didn’t have this book, wouldn’t we?’ Because this isn’t about Self Printed. It’s about Distress Signals.

The premise of this book is perfection. It’s essentially that, out in the sea, the law is sketchy around jurisdiction, so in terms of who can investigate a crime, there are limited options and resources creating a crime free for all, if you will.
I received the book with the genius pack you see above (how great is the ‘do not disturb’ sign?) which included a post-it that said simply ‘I’m sorry-S’ as Adam Dunne, the lead character, did, and (after trying to figure out for some time if they’d sent me the book late and someone whose name began with the letter ‘S’ was responsible-I know, I know(!)), I began.

As you can see above, Adam is investigating the disappearance of his girlfriend Sarah.His deductions have led him onto a cruise ship, the Celebrate, much to his confusion. I loved Adam as a character, his personality and his tenacity. The fact that  he was a scriptwriter and so we got a bit of writerly background didn’t hurt!

In terms of the story itself I really liked the mix of dead ends, helpful (and unhelpful) characters, but also the many open doors which I felt were present largely due to the fact that Alan was a civilian, without the constraints and bureaucracy which generally accompany crime stories that follow somebody from the law enforcement arena. The descriptions were commendable, in fact most of the book played out as a movie in my head, and I’m sure I was as in awe of the majesty of the cruise liner as he was! The pacing was brilliant, my eyes devoured each and every word and yet the pages turned swiftly in my fingers. The characters played their parts well and came to life before my very eyes.

The only things that niggled a tiny bit with me, was that a few times in the book we were reminded of something that had happened before, which was fine, but this would be in a very obvious way, and also a few deductions were hammered home, where I felt they could have been more subtle and we’d still have got it. The other thing that I was unsure of, is the story that ran with Adam’s, which is that of Romain.

Romain’s story was one of cruelty and isolation, and could become fairly uncomfortable in parts. I’m warning you of this because I do feel that some people might be bothered by it. It’s not that it’s in anyway gruesome or graphic, it’s definitely neither of those things, it’s more that it’s a story that might stay around in your head for a little while. I found it funny that one of the book’s recommendations on the cover came from Liz Nugent, from ‘Unravelling Oliver’ (which I adored!) fame, because Romain’s story stuck with me the way Oliver’s did, with a mish-mash of why questions and  ‘if only X hadn’t happened’ swimming around in my head. The darkness of this story contrasted hugely with the rest of the book which, although thrilling and dramatic, still stayed relatively light for me.
All in all the a great book. The ups, downs, twists and turns were brilliant and I was a step behind most of the way which made it both a satisfying read and conclusion. I’ll tell you I was praying this would be a goodie and I wasn’t disappointed. Very much recommended. Thanks to the author and Corvus/ Atlantic for this book in return for an honest review and apologies in advance for the lengthy post(!).
Rating:4.5/5

The Author: Catherine Ryan Howard

cathryanhow.png

Catherine Ryan Howard’s website

Catherine on Twitter @cathryanhoward

Catherine on Facebook

Catherine on Instagram

 

 

 

Room by Emma Donaghue

By the

 

room

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What They Say: NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE — nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

The Review: I read this some time ago but due to all the buzz and craziness (probably warranted) I thought I’d post a review. It’s now a bit overdue but anyhoo …

I adored this book. When I read it there was a lot of talk about it (pre film, though a lot of people were hoping for one), but I had no real idea what it was about and I’ll admit, hadn’t even read the blurb. The narrator  of the book is the gorgeous five year old Jack, obviously intriguing and ingenious in itself,a s he goes through everyday life in ‘Room, ‘with ‘bed’ and ‘wardrobe’ practically characters in his mind. We are given insights into his mother’s frame of mind and yet her strength as she struggles to give Jack a ‘normal’ life, playing with him, telling him of stars and things ‘out there’ that he doesn’t believe exist. This may just be a mother’s view, but I think one of the big themes of this book was that even faced with huge amount of adversity in life, if a child has some form of stability in forms of a parent or guardian, they can still be well adjusted and educated.

It’s funny how such a simple story can bring you along with it, for most of it is simple, you remember that they’re trapped there, you have a slight feeling of unease  and yet you’re just listening to a mother and son converse, a mother explaining things to her son without trying to upset him and yet, as would be expected, it’s not always that easy, nobody could be expected to hold it together all the time, and there are times she falls and you feel the horror again, how can anyone exist like this and what will happen to make things change?

Her captor makes appearances every so often and he’s everything you expect him to be, a monster who thinks of people as property, with no thought for what he’s doing. Even though he is this, and even though the subject matter is oh so dark, I didn’t really empathise with the reviews that found it so disturbing, and I think that that’s where Ms. Donoghue’s simple and effective writing, as well as the child’s narrative comes in. We’re so deeply involved in the story, in listening in, in thinking about their next move, as in the next five minutes, not whether this can continue long term, that we just read on, we have the slight uneasy feeling the whole time, but there’s not the graphicness and horror that other writers may have added to shock. I have not seen the films, but was a bit shocked by the unnecessary spoiler contained in the trailer, in the same way I’m pretty sure the paperback had a hint as to what might happen in the book and it annoyed me. Let me tell you, you don’t need to know. A must, must, must read (in my humble opinion!) Oh and make sure to let me know, have you read? Have you seen the film? Maybe you plan to do both together or are you just not bothered?I’d love to know!

Rating: 5/5