The Mirror Man by Lars Kepler – Review

5 Stars

I have read several books in the Detective Joona Linna series and this is the eighth and does not disappoint. Although part of a series it can be read as a stand-alone story. The action begins immediately with the abduction of a young girl, who is later found murdered. It ramps up quickly as Joona links another case with the same MO. He is relentless and will stop at nothing to catch the perpetrator, including going against the orders of his superiors.
Lars Kepler writes so well it’s a pleasure to read his stories. The constant descriptions keep you right in the story, allowing you to see what he sees. At times, the action is so fast it’s breathtaking. It’s one of those books you find impossible to put down.
The book is quite graphic at times so it won’t be for everyone, although I really enjoyed reading it. Oh, and it’s a terrific ending.

Many thanks to #NetGalley, #LarsKepler and #BonnierBooksUK for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Carry on Regardless by Caroline Frost – Review

Firstly, I’m a huge fan of the Carry On films and their actors. I never tire of the bawdy not-politically-correct humour, filled with risque elements, double entendre comments and saucy seaside postcard gags. A British institution for many years, still watched by generation after generation for its raw, sometimes slapstick but always funny humour.

As the book relates, it was a very different world sixty years ago when the first film arrived in our cinemas. The space race had begun as Sputnik 1 fell to earth and Elvis Presley joined the Army.

The book delves into the personal lives beyond the public and theatrical personas of the actors. Sometimes sad and sometimes happy but always interesting.
It is a beautiful tribute to post-war comedy cinema, well researched and written. Making it a joy to read for anyone interested in this series of comedic adventures.

In many ways, this is quite a sad tale as many of the actors who provided their audiences with so many laughs were quite sad and lonely in their personal lives. Definitely a recommended read.

Thanks to #NetGalley, #PenandSwordBooks and #CarolineFrost for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Final Nail by Stefan Ahnhem – Review

This book is number five of a series involving Detective Fabian Risk; a man who has been to hell and back. It’s one of those books where the action grabs you immediately and never relents, which I love. I haven’t read any of the previous books but that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this work. There were plenty of recaps to ensure I knew who was who and what their back story was but it was cleverly done.

I love Scandinavian noir so this book fitted my reading taste straight away. The story does flit about a bit and, I thought, more than necessary but it is well written and flows well. A lot is going on though. It all comes together beautifully at the climax, however, to make a gripping and exciting ending.

I will look out for previous books in the series.

My thanks to #NetGalley and #HeadofZeus for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward – Review

1 Star

This is the story of a serial killer and a stolen child. Revenge, death and an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. In the dark forest at the end of the street, something is buried, but not what you think.

This book begins strangely and it took me a while to get a handle on the writing style but once I did I thought it was well written. There is a constant air of gloom all through the narrative, a suspicion of something sinister always in the background; people who exist but are not really there. In parts, it becomes rambling with no story, just monologues from the different characters. Some parts make no sense at all.

The book started with promise but lost itself in the middle. The story from Dee’s point of view makes sense, just about, but the others are confusing and, at times, ridiculous. This book has so many 5 star reviews on Goodreads I am beginning to think I may be reading a different book.

It wasn’t for me.

Liarmouth by John Waters – Review

Liarmouth

By John Waters

This is a filthy tale of sex, crime and family dysfunction. Marsha Sprinkle is a suitcase thief, smart, disturbed and she’s on the run. Billed as a feel-bad romance. I can’t argue with that.

Firstly, I love John Waters. He is so extreme and so ridiculous to be fabulous. It has everything to make you feel uncomfortable and it’s quite stunning. It is so unbelievable to be good although it’s not a book for those of a nervous disposition. Take note, this book is so bad it’s brilliant but only for those of us warped enough to read it. You have been warned.

My thanks to #NetGalley, #JohnWaters and #LittleBrownBookGroupUK for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewel – Review

Roan, Cate, daughter Georgia and son Josh rent a flat in Hampstead whilst their property is being repaired. They treat it as a step-up but things are not what they seem. Owen, lives across the street but has problems relating to women. Saffyre watches them all. This a story about intertwining families, each with their own problems but you just know they are going to collide at some stage.
I love this type of book. Well written, interesting characters doing everyday things badly.

Lisa Jewel is a gem of a writer, weaving intricate stories of everyday life. This book is no different as she manages to make everyday events sinister so we begin to distrust the characters as the story progresses.

Excellent end to the book too. Well worth reading.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenwood – Review

Sixteen-year-old Deborah’s identity is shattering as she retreats further from her real world and into her imaginary kingdom of Yr. Sent to a psychiatric hospital she tries to find her way back. This fictionalised autobiography is a wrenching account of mental illness. This was first published in 1966 I believe.

From the beginning the prose is wonderful. The writing is so good with telling descriptions and it just flows beautifully. The subject, however, is quite difficult.

The parents reluctantly agree that their daughter needs professional help as they can no longer cope with her. The characters feel real, well defined and three dimensional. It’s a sad but honest story but quite difficult to read in places. We are constantly reminded of the stigma attached to mental illness.

I’m glad that I read it but would only recommend it to those who either have an interest in mental illness or how the medical world has changed over a few short decades.

My thank to #NetGalley, #PenguinPressUK for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – Review

The Guest List

By Lucy Foley

3 Stars

A celebrity wedding on remote Cormorant island off the Irish coast brings together a group of people expecting the wedding of the year; one for magazine pages. But as the drinking begins resentments and petty jealousies begin to dilute the good wishes. When someone turns up dead things begin to ruin the wedding.

The first few paragraphs introduce us to the wedding guests which is okay but there seems a lot to take in at once. The story is told from the individual points of view of Jules, Will, Hannah, Johnno, Olivia and Aoife which just seems to work as the story progresses. There is an air of dark mystery throughout the story. There is also a group of adult but ex-public schoolboys who are quite annoying. There is a backstory to each person, giving them some depth. I don’t usually like that too much but it seems to work in this instance. The pace of the narrative is good although with multiple viewpoints it does chop and change quite a lot.

Once I got used to the changing viewpoints the story flowed well. There were some unexpected twists as things progressed which I enjoyed and the pace began to pick up. But so did the switching of points of view and, for me, it detracts from the natural flow. The story does have a good twist at the end though.

It would be another good holiday read.

Stranger on Board by Cameron Ward – Review

A Stranger on Board

By Cameron Ward

When ex-Royal Marine Sarah French joins a luxury superyacht as onboard security she’s excited to get her life and career back on track. With a small crew, it seems the perfect place for her to start over. But there is a storm on the horizon and not all of them will make it out alive.

Sarah, I immediately liked. She’s tough and uncompromising with an early hint that she is trying to escape something. The book is well written with believable characters. A whodunit of the high seas. With Sarah as the protagonist, it would make an excellent series (maybe that will happen?) I haven’t read any previous work by this author but I will definitely look out for some in the future.

A great read with a story that keeps you guessing all the way through. Plus a terrific ending.

My thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Michael Joseph UK and Cameron Ward for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Matter of Everything by Suzie Sheehy – Review

Suzie Sheehy introduces us to people who, through a combination of genius, persistence and good luck, made experiments that changed the world of physics. The Matter of Everything is a celebration of human ingenuity, creativity and curiosity.

Firstly, I am a long way from being a physicist or scientist but found this book remarkably interesting and easy to read. It contains lots of ‘Wow’ moments and wonderment. But I did also find that some parts of the book were too dry for me as a layman. There is a lot about the history of physics, which I found fascinating. The book isn’t funny but there is a degree of humour in it, which adds to its readability. It’s not an easy subject to relay but the author makes it interesting.

My thanks to #Netgalley, #SuzieSheehy and #BoomsburyPublishing for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review.