Book Reviews

Book Review: Deadly Curious by Cindy Astley

Happy Monday Bookish people! It’s time for another book review. This book was on My June TBR and my whatever you want-a-thon TBR. In case you are wondering it fit three prompts on whatever a thon which were: hauled in the last year, 5 star prediction and fit a TBR prompt which was from my own TBR game. This book did not turn out to be a 5 star for me but it was still a quick and enjoyable read.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Deadly Curious plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I enjoyed the overall plot of this book. Especially the setting of Victorian London (I think it’s London but I’m not completely sure) and all of the complexities that came with it. For the first half of the book the mystery was gripping, especially because the book opens with a third person ‘clip’ of the murder which was a really nice feature of this book. I liked how this story came together and how the investigation was playing out. However, the second half of the book I found very predictable, it was very easy for me to figure out who the murderer was which did take away some of the enjoyment for me. That is my own personal opinion.

This book kept swapping perspectives between the female and male protagonists. I enjoyed this for the most part because it gave an extra dimension to the story and allowed the reader to get a glimpse into the minds of both characters. Although with the male character’s chapters I found they did get a bit repetitive, particularly with it always mentioning how he shouldn’t be letting the female protagonist investigate because she’s a woman.

Deadly Curious Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I haven’t got a lot to say here. I enjoyed the male and female protagonists, both of their characters were clear and well developed. Cousin Daphne is an interesting character, I think she had potential but when I thought she was going to be part of the investigation she was sometimes there and sometimes not. I felt that this was slightly distracting, I wasn’t always sure what the point of her character was and then sometimes she was important to the story. There were quite a few other characters in the story but I can’t mention them here without spoilers….

Deadly Curious Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The writing and dialogue in this book was done well. It consistently kept to the period and setting of the book and it was clear and easy to read. I read this book very quickly, I finished it within two and a half hours.

Deadly Curious Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall I gave this book four stars because I did enjoy reading it but it had some elements that meant it couldn’t be a five star book for me.

Blurb/Synopsis:

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks–and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case–with the help of a charming young policeman–she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Quotes

Favourite Book Quotes – 100-91

Happy Friday bookish people! This post is going up later than I would have liked it to, this week has been super busy for me with my job, University, hospital etc.. and this morning I got my second Covid jab so hopefully I’ll get this written before any side effects kick in.

I’m starting a little series (in case you didn’t notice by the title of this post…) where I show and maybe talk about, depending on my mood, my 100 favourite quotes from books. But doing ALL 100 in one post might have been a bit much so I’m splitting it down into sections of ten. Also it will give it a bit of mystery, you’ll be thinking ooh I wonder what’s going to be on the next set of ten and I wonder what quote will take the top spot – no? Just me? Okay…

Well, with all that said lets go to the first set of ten.

In last place at 100 we have a classic from….

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

100. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” – I really dislike Wuthering Heights but this quote just managed to squeeze into my top 100.

Coming in at 99 we have a quote from….

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

99. “Fate […] is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast” – I mean yes, it certainly is. I don’t usually eat breakfast so if you want to talk to me about fate you’re going to have to wait until after I’ve eaten something for lunch.

Speaking of food we have number 98…

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

98. “It was a well known fact that there were no calories in homemade cakes” – if only that was true.

Quote 97 is one that came from a series of books I read in my early years at Secondary school….

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

97. “Dreams, dreams. I walk them; I live them. I delude myself with them” – I can definitely relate to the deluding yourself with dreams part, I’m well known for daydreaming.

A much more serious quote at 96…

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

96. “The only way to learn is to live”

At the halfway point for this first installment of favourite quotes is one from a favourite series of mine…

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

95. “There were shipwrecks more graceful than Tella” – I am more graceful than Tella and I need more than ten fingers to count the amount of times I fall and trip each day.

At 94 is a quote that reminds me of a few people who I know….

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

94. “It’s not exciting if nothing can go wrong” – I completely disagree with this statement and that’s not at all because I’m scared of everything, including people. Some particular people.

Moving on quickly. 93 is a quote that I wrote down on a sticky note while I was reading the book because of how much it caught my attention….

Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

93. “Seize the wind, don’t become the kite that never flies” – as illogical as trying to catch hold of actual wind is, this is still a beautiful quote.

Up next is a quote from a book that has vampires in…

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

92. “She was no lamb, she was a lion” – I won’t tell you the character name who says this but this quote sums up her character arc very well.

and the final quote of this first installment is…..

How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories by Holly Black

91. “A heart of stone can still be broken” – simple and a little sad this quote tells you a lot about two characters – the one who says it and the one they are saying it to.

That’s it for this blog post, I hope you all enjoyed the first installment – have you seen any of your favourite quotes yet? Are there any quotes you are hoping might show up further up my list? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll be back soon with quotes 90-81!

Book Reviews

Book Review: You Had It Coming by B M Carroll

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today is my stop on the book tour for You Had It Coming by B M Carroll, and I will say that this book actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank you to Viper Books and Anne Cater for sending me a copy of this book to read and review.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review!

You Had It Coming Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The plot of this book is multi-layered and complex, fast paced and suspenseful. Carroll artfully drops clues into the story without the reader always noticing that they are significant. This book strikes the perfect balance between the present investigation and the mystery surrounding what happened in the past.

Throughout this book there is the evidence of trauma in the characters and it explores ideas surrounding sexual assault victims and how they are presented in Court. It also touches generally on how overly sexualised women can be presented by others and the topic of women being able to do whatever, and wear whatever they want without being judged. All of this is what actually made me emotional reading this book, especially because of society at the moment, I think a lot of women have experienced judgement, fear, and many other things. I thought it was a very important topic to be included in this book.

The mystery/thriller element of this book was executed brilliantly. There was a point where my brain was so muddled and that is a sign of a good book for me. I like to be confused by them.. that’s probably a little strange but nevermind.

You Had It Coming Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I enjoyed that this book was written from multiple perspectives. It not only allowed the reader to experience every story surrounding the investigation but also the characters in the background of the stories that may have had a bigger part to play than would be shown with the limited perspective of one character.

There are many characters in this book but the main ones are Megan – the paramedic who knew the victim, Jess – someone who knew the victim and Bridget – the detective investigating the case. Their stories are interwoven with very dramatic impacts at points. I thought every character was explored thoroughly and had intriguing personalities. I definitely felt throughout that I couldn’t trust the characters – as is common in good thrillers.

You Had It Coming Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As I think is already obvious I thought the writing of this book was excellent – clear, good pacing, intriguing. There’s not much more I can say about it. The dialogue is used well to further the mystery and the general plot.

You Had It Coming Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had to give this book four stars overall because I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed being dragged along as the mystery progressed and discovering exactly what happened both in the past and in the present.

Blurb/Synopsis:

‘B.M. Carroll is a wonderful writer’ – LIANE MORIARTY

‘A true page-turner, relentlessly fast-paced’ – KATIE LOWE

‘Well written and very, very clever’ – A.J. PARK

‘I absolutely loved it. Gripping and twisty’ – SOPHIE FLYNN
________________________________________

WOULD YOU SAVE THE MAN
WHO DESTROYED YOUR LIFE?

When paramedic Megan Lowe is called to the scene of an attempted murder, all she can do is try to save the victim. But as the man is lifted onto a stretcher, she realises she knows him. She despises him. Why should she save his life when he destroyed hers?

Jess Foster is on her way home when she receives a text from Megan. Once best friends, the two women haven’t been close for years, not since the night when they were just the teenage girls whom no-one believed; whose reputations were ruined. All Jess can think is, you had it coming.

Now Megan and Jess are at the centre of a murder investigation. But what secrets are they hiding? Can they trust one another? And who really is the victim?

Perfect for fans of C.L. Taylor, Lucy Foley and Lisa Hall, You Had It Coming is a thrilling tale of suspense and dark secrets.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

All My Lies by Sophie Flynn Book Review

Happy Monday bookish people! Today is the first day on the blog/book tour for All My Lies by Sophie Flynn. Thank you to Anne Cater and Random T Tours for gifting me an e-copy of this book.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

All My Lies Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The plot pf this book absolutely fried my brain. There were so many twists and misleading paths I didn’t know who or what to believe the whole way through. I probably read this book the fastest I have ever read through a thriller/mystery book. The plot of this book was like the driver of a car and I was the passenger forced into the front and unable to get out. It was fast paced and the mystery was the main subject of the novel, it had many layers and each one was explored thoroughly and with an intensity that kept me hooked. Some parts were confusing, however I think that was the point – the main character was confused and so was the reader. I felt the ending was extremely satisfying and I’m definitely a little smug that I managed to guess what happened.

All My Lies Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It is a testament to the author that she managed to make me love a character on one page and by the end of the next page I could lose all trust in them. I loved this, for me it added to the sense of mystery because I never really knew who was telling the truth – including the main character. I felt a connection with the main character, Anna, the things she was going through with her husband is something that many people have also experienced and can connect to. I thought there was a wonderful balance between the personalities of the characters and each of them had grown by the end of the book.

All My Lies Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sophie Flynn’s writing is so smooth and easy to follow, it’s easy to get swept into the story simply because of this. The dialogue is something I really enjoyed about this book. Personally I felt that there was a tiny bit too much explanation in the dialogue but I still thought each line of dialogue matched the characters it belonged to.

All My Lies Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall, I gave this book four stars because I wanted to keep reading so badly that I sped through it and enjoyed every second.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Perfectly paced, suspenseful and gripping – a real page-turner’ SOPHIE HANNAH, author of Haven’t They Grown

‘A rollercoaster ride with a cast of flawed characters – an excellent debut from Sophie Flynn’ CATHERINE COOPER, author of The Chalet

‘A twisty, intense and emotional story with suspense on every page’ TM LOGAN,author of The Holiday and Trust Me

Anna wants to escape.
She doesn’t know when her marriage to James began to feel like a trap or when he became so controlling. All she knows is that she needs to leave before it’s too late.

And she has a plan.
When Anna reconnects with her childhood sweetheart, Sam, she sees it as the answer to her problems. Finally, they’ll have a life together, like they’d always planned – the life she was meant to have.
 
But the lies are catching up with her . . .

On the morning of their escape, Sam goes missing. Anna knows he wouldn’t leave her, that something must have happened to him.
Her search for answers will force her to confront her past, something that she has been running from for a very long time . . .

Perfect for fans of Louise Jensen, Phoebe Morgan and K.L. Slater, this is a twisty, tense psychological thriller about one woman’s hunt for the truth and her ultimate fight to break free.

Praise for All My Lies

‘I raced through All My Lies in a single weekend . . . I barely paused for breath until the final page. A must read’ HOLLY SEDDON, author of The Hit List

‘A fantastic debut that showcases how blind love can make us. Sophie Flynn has written a brilliant book that sucks the reader in and keeps them guessing throughout’ S.V. LEONARD, author of The Islanders 

‘A fresh new voice in psychological suspense . . . Great characters, evocative writing, interesting locations and a page-turning plot with plenty of twists and turns. I can’t wait to see where Flynn goes next!’ SARAH LINLEY, author of The Trip

‘An exciting debut with a poisonous love triangle at its heart. Unsettling, compelling and twisty – perfect for thriller fans!’ RUBY SPEECHLEY, author of A Mother like You

‘I raced through this book, reading well into the early hours of the morning. Original, bold and highly compelling, this is a book that will stay with readers for a long time. It heralds the arrival of an exceptionally talented voice in crime fiction. A riveting debut!’ AWAIS KHAN, author of No Honour 

‘A thrilling new voice – Sophie Flynn pulls the reader in with believable, strong characters and an explosive plot’ AMANDA BRITTANY, author of The Perfect Nanny

Author – Sophie Flynn

Sophie Flynn is a Cotswolds based psychological thriller author with an MA in
Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes. Alongside writing, Sophie is the Head
of Marketing at Jericho Writers. After being awarded a place at Swanwick
Writers’ Summer School on the TopWrite scheme for young writers in 2017,
Sophie began writing short fiction. She has since had many stories published
and placed in competitions with organisations such as Writing Magazine and
The Cheltenham Literature Festival.
When not writing, Sophie can mostly be found on muddy walks with her
husband and rescue dog or disappearing to Cornwall whenever possible. She
is represented by Kate Nash of Kate Nash Literary Agency.
To find out more, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.
sophieflynn.com | @sophielflynn

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Peter Swanson’s Rules For Perfect Murders

I have recently finished reading Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson and I really enjoyed it, in this book review I will give star ratings for four categories and write a little about each of these. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you all enjoy reading my book review!

This is a cleverly plotted, fast paced, whodunnit full of twists and secrets. It focuses on a man called Malcolm Kershaw who works at a bookstore that specializes in selling mystery/thriller books. Then he becomes involved in a murder investigation. This novel contains elements of the great Golden Age era of crime fiction like Agatha Christie yet still manages to make itself unique in both it’s premise and structure. The reader follows the POV of Malcolm, following both the present and the secrets of his past that slowly emerge throughout the novel.

Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This novel is an entertaining plot that kept me guessing from the very beginning. It was well thought out and from the technical point of view every scene led into the next in a brilliant and clever way. The secrets were hinted at and clues were sprinkled throughout leading to a (in my opinion) satisfying ending. I am usually pretty good at managing to guess the ending before it happens but with this novel I had no chance, the story swept me up and so many theories were spinning around my head. That is one of the reasons I gave this novel 4 stars for plot.

Characters:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As for characters there are a lot of them, but the main ones are Malcolm Kershaw, his two bookstore employees, FBI Agent Gwen Mulvoy, his old friend Marty Kingship and married couple Brian and Tess Murray. Although each of the characters had very defined personalities from each other for me it felt like they were lacking in some way. Malcolm, was not a very likeable character I didn’t particularly have strong feelings for or against him but I was still engaged in his story. The two bookstore employees I feel could have been developed further, they are distinct and personally I felt they were likeable – the only two characters who I felt were likeable in this novel – but they weren’t that interesting. I would have liked to have seen more of Agent Gwen Mulvey, she features more in the first half than the second half and I felt her character could have been explored better. The other three characters I didn’t find to be all that likeable either but again they were well thought out and had an impact on the story.

Dialogue and writing:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I became invested in the novel because of the dialogue in the very first scene. It helped to heighten tension when it was needed and it helped lighten the tone when the novel needed balance as well. The dialogue, or lack of from some characters, provided personality and created an image of the characters for me. The writing style was easy to navigate, it flowed well in my opinion and it didn’t feel forced in any way. That was one of the main reasons I enjoyed the novel, usually I am a fan of character driven novels rather than plot driven novels but because of Swanson’s writing style and the engaging dialogue I found myself enjoying the read.

Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So, overall I rated this novel four stars because even though I wasn’t invested in the characters I truly couldn’t put the book down, I had to know how it ended. If you enjoy novels where you aren’t sure who you can trust then I would recommend Rules For Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. (One note I will make is that if you want to read The Red House Mystery by A A Milne, Malice Aforethought by Anthony Berkeley Cox, The A B C Murders by Agatha Christie, Double Indemnity by James M. Cain, Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith, The Drowner by John D MacDonald, Deathtrap by Ira Levin or The Secret History by Donna Tartt I would recommend reading them first because Malcolm is fond of giving spoilers to these books).

Synopsis/Blurb:
Years ago Malcolm Kershaw wrote a list of his ‘Eight Favourite Murders’ for his Old Devils mystery bookshop blog. Among others it included those from Agatha Christie’s The A.B.C Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.
Now just before Christmas, Malcolm finds himself at the heart of an investigation – as an FBI Agent believes someone may be re-enacting each of the murders on his list.