Tag Archives: #2017MustReads

The Dry by Jane Harper #Bookreview @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK


Book description

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

So I’ve finally got around to reading The Dry by Jane Harper, shameful I know and I must be one of the last bloggers on the planet to read this book (hangs head in shame). This book was HUGE on it’s release way back in January 2017, everyone was talking about it well apart from me of course, book bloggers raved about it and it’s one of the most popular books on bloggers top reads of 2017. So was The Dry worth the wait? am I kicking myself for not reading it before now? Well here are my thoughts…… 


This novel has the most intriguing prologue, it’s one of those that leaves you desperate to flick to the last chapter of the novel to read the outcome, I never I should add but I was very tempted. Atmospheric and beautifully written, The Dry is part police procedural, part murder mystery. This compelling novel transports the reader to a small farming community in Kiewaara Australia. the towns people are ravaged by feelings of resentment and distrust that are exacerbated by the worse drought in a century. The author paints a bleak but realistic portrayal of a town and it’s community. Jane Harper describes the town, the constant heat and the desperation of the towns people with such conviction, Kiewarra felt oppressively claustrophobic, and those feelings stayed with me until I reached the final pages of this captivating novel.

The Dry begins with the suicide of Luke, which could potentially be connected to a death years earlier. The protagonist, Aaron Falk, returns to Kiewarra for the funeral and finds himself investigating Luke’s death to determine what really happened. As he pursues the truth, secrets emerge, and passed resentments surface. The author has created an array of characters that are credible and well depicted, at some point I suspected each character of “wrong doings”, I just love it when an author keeps me guessing, it always makes for a more enjoyable read. The author narrates the story in the present, but she also includes extracts from Falk and Luke’s past, which explore the events leading up to Falk being accused of murder as a teenager, not only do these extracts give you insight to Falk’s character but they add to the simmering tension.

The Dry isn’t a fast paced mystery by any means, it’s more of an intricate slow reveal, the author entices the reader with small titbits, deftly leading the reader to a dramatic Conclusion. Now normally I’m not a fan of a slow paced thriller, but I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel I relished the slower pace, the atmosphere, the characters and the intricate plot, so much so I read it at every opportunity. The author has written a tense and evocative thriller and one that’s worthy of all its hype, it’s definitely a book I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a murder/mystery where a fast pace is not your first priority. I’m thrilled I’ve read this book so late in the year, as it means that The Dry was my last read of 2017 so I definitely feel I have finished my year of reading on a high. I know one thing for sure, I won’t be leaving it a year to read Force Of Nature the second book in the series

Buying links:       Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

Publisher: Little, Brown (12 Jan. 2017)

Print Length: 336 pages

The book review cafe’s book of the month **December 2017**


Time is like a flowing river, no water passes beneath your feet twice, much like the river, moments never pass you by again, so cherish every moment that life gives you and have a wonderful New Year.

Yes I’m back after an extended break which I desperately needed, I hope you are all well and the hangovers are receeding😂😂, and wishing you all a fabulous 2018 where all your dreams come true.

As it’s the 1st January it can only mean one thing it’s time to choose my book of the month for December. The Book Of The Month is chosen by myself at the beginning of every month, for the previous month. It goes to the author/book that I found outstanding for that month, and I may have given a higher rating than a 5 star review if I actually star rated books on my blog.

I read some fabulous books in December, but there were two (yes it’s a New Year, but I remain indecisive😂) I loved these books I would highly recommend them so without further ado here they are…..

The Collector by Fiona Cummins


Ever since I read RATTLE The Collector has been one, if not my most anticipated read of 2017. Now sometimes I find when when I finally get to read a sequel I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever it can go one of two ways, I will either love it or I’m left feeling cheated that the book just didn’t make the cut, but OMG I’m thrilled to report The Collector exceeded my expectations and then some, I loved it so much it’s gone straight on my “top reads of 2017” list. Utterly gripping I absolutely loved everything about this book, its dark, packed to the brim with tension and very creepy. You can read my full review here…..The Collector by Fiona Cummins #mustreads @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillian

The Liar’s Promise by Mark tilbury


Terrifying and deliciously dark this has to be one of the most original books I have read this year. Yes you will have to suspend belief but in my opinion it’s definitely worth doing so. The Liar’s Promise is twisted and very disturbing and is definitely the most disquieting book I’ve read in a long time. In case you haven’t already guessed I absolutely loved this book. You can read my full review here…….The Liar’s Promise by Mark Tilbury #bookreview @MTilburyAuthor @BloodhoundBook


The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen


The Wife Between Us deserves all the hype surrounding it and much more, in fact this is one of those books that you want to shout and scream about to all and sundry. It’s one of those books that will make you question everything you read and everything you think you know, it will have you flipping back through the pages making sure what you read was correct, it’s expertly executed and such an addictive read. You can read my full review here…..The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen #OmgthatTwist @panmacmillan

And as it’s a New Year I have to share one of my favourite inspirational quotes



**The book review cafe top reads of 2017**


This is the first year since I’ve started blogging that I’ve actually managed to do a top reads of the year post. As a book blogger I consider myself very lucky to have received some amazing ARC’s this year so firstly I must say a HUGE thank you to all the awesome publishers and authors who have contacted me and sent me some of the most amazing books. 

When I first started thinking about putting this post together I was going to do my ten top books of the year, but then I thought “what the hell I’m going to do it differently.” As most of you who follow my blog will know I run a monthly book of the month post, so rather than try to narrow my list down to ten books I decided to share  my top reads of 2017 by the month I choose them in.

As you will see even doing a monthly post it wasn’t very often I managed to narrow it down to just one book 😂😂. So my list on my top twenty four books read in 2017 plus three that I really should have included in my books of the month.





The Mountain In my shoes by Louise Beech

Behind Her Eyes Sarah Pinborough



A Room Full Of Killers by Michael Wood



Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Six stories by Matt Wesolowski




Abattoir of dreams by Mark Tilbury

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza



Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson



The Marsh Kings Daughter

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/07/01/my-book-of-the-month-june-2017/July to September 2017



Those That Remain Rob Ashman

In Your Name Rob Ashman



Pay The Penance by Rob Ashman

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan



Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech



The Foster Child by Jennifer Blackhurst

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite



Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell

The Treatment by C.L Taylor



The Collector by Fiona Cummins

The Liar’s Promise by Mark tilbury



And three books on reflection that deserve to be included in my top reads of 2017 just because they were so good.

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen


Broken Bones by Angela Marsons


The Detriment by David Videcette 



How many books on my top reads of 2017 are on your list one? two? none? Please feel free to leave a comment or a link to your own top reads of 2017



The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan #BookReview @phoebe_A_Morgan @HQDigital #2017MustReads


Book description

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

IMG_2357Oh my, Oh my, what a fantastic read The Doll House turned out to be, I loved every page of this dark and intense psychological thriller. Steeped in malice with a constant nagging sense of unease I literally couldn’t put this book down, and read it in just under twenty four hours. I must mention this is Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel, which I was really surprised at, I’m convinced The Doll House will be a book everyone will be talking about, and I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more about this very talented author. The Doll House is a story of family secrets, lies and revenge, which makes this book deliciously twisted and very creepy.

Corinne and Ashley are two sisters, grieving the death of their beloved father, but they are also battling problems in their home life’s. Ashley is a mother of three children and fraught with worry that her increasingly distant husband James is having an affair. Corinne is in a long term relationship with Dominic and desperate to start a family by undergoing another round of IVF. Strange things keep happening to the two sisters,  anonymous phone calls, objects left in their homes from the dolls house built for them by their father. Someone is watching the sisters the whys? and who’s ? are expertly revealed layer by layer.

There is so much I could say about this book, but it’s definitely one the “less you know about it the better”. Phoebe Morgan has created some fabulous characters, each one well is well depicted and I found myself sympathetic to Corrine and Ashley plight. From the start The Doll House you get a sense of foreboding which grows as the story progresses. Told from the sisters view POV you sense their fear, the author manages to alternate between chapters seamlessly which is always a plus. There are also chapters from an unknown person and it was these chapters that sent shivers down my spine, and made this book all the more compelling.

The Doll House is definitely going on my top reads of 2017 it’s dark, atmospheric and made for a gripping read. I think what I liked about this book so much was the author’s ability to keep the reader guessing right up until the end, at one point I applauded myself as I thought I had worked it all out, but I was so Wrong I’m pleased to say, as for the ending sheer brilliance! Would I recommend this book? It’s a HUGE “Yes” I can’t recommend this book highly enough, Phoebe Morgan is an exciting and powerful new voice in crime/psychological fiction and I’m already excited for her next book.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear I’m giving The Doll House the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a fabulous read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.


Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 355 pages

Publisher: HQ Digital (14 Sept. 2017)


Rattle by Fiona Cummins #Review @FionaAnnCummins #2017MustReads


Book description

A serial killer to chill your bones A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter. He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum. Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs. What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge. It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.


If you only read one book next year here’s a piece of advice, make sure it’s Rattle by Fiona Cummins, I’m sure this book is going to be Huge in 2017. When ever I pick up a new book by an unknown author (to me) I always have a few reservations, will I like their style of writing, characters and plot? But any qualms I had disappeared after reading the first chapter of this highly engaging novel. This is the authors debut novel, but it certainly doesn’t read like one, it’s exceptionally well written, with an intriguing plot, which is both dark and sinster. Rattle is one of those books where an incredible sense of malevolence is there from the from the very first page and it remained there until the last spine chilling chapter, it’s a highly compulsive read, dark, totally gripping and very dramatic. It’s categorised as a crime thriller, but it goes beyond that it’s much darker and definitely more disturbing than the usual crime read.

I really don’t want to say to much about the plot as it really is one of those you need to read with little more than the book description to go on. What I will say is the author has produced a serial killer (The  Bone Collector) like no other, he made my blood run cold, in fact I actually suffered nightmares whilst reading this book, but my god what a complex character. This is a serial killer with two very different sides, the carer versus the evil caretaker, but his total lack of empathy in either role make him terrifying, even more so when Fiona Cummins describes his thoughts and feelings with such conviction, It gives the reader a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath which made for a chilling read.

The author has the rare talent of making all her characters come alive, the victims family’s are very well depicted, their loss and anguish is palatable, as family’s personal relationships begin to disintegrate I couldn’t help become emotionally involved in their story, and the innocent victims well let’s just say they will melt even the hardest heart. Detective Etta Fitzroy was another intriguing character, she’s tenacious, and driven and shows great empathy for both the victims and their families, like many Detectives in fiction she does have issues but they add credibility to her character.

Rattle is told during the period of just over a week, the chapters have time stamps which add a sense of urgency to the plot. I’m sure my heart rate went through the roof, as Fiona Cummins doesn’t let up on the suspense. The dialogue is sharp and the writing fluid and at times beautifully descriptive, which added to my enjoyment of this rivetting novel.Fiona Cummings has given the reader a roller coaster of a thriller for sure, but this novel is also a rich and harrowing story of the psychology of evil and those who strive to stop it, insights that will stay with you long after you’ve finished Rattle.

In case you haven’t guessed I actually loved this book and it’s a MUST READ for fans of crime thrillers and if you like them Dark then you are going to love it too. Rattle is a chilling and inventive debut from a very talented author and I personally think this book is going to be HUGE when it’s published at the end of January 2017.

I won’t be giving Rattle 5 star’s but I will be giving it the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating it’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.


Hardcover: 496 pages

Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (26 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸


Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb #Review @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks #2017MustReads



Book description

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong.

The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut.


First a word of warning before you start reading this book, make sure you read it when you aren’t going to be interrupted, it’s one of those books you just can’t bear to put down because it’s just so damn brilliant. I actually loved every page of this fast paced and innovative thriller. Deep Down Dead has to be one of the most original thrillers I’ve read in a long time, and believe me when I say I’ve read more than a few! the characterisation is second to none and I can honestly say I think this book is going to be a HUGE best seller on its release in January 2017. 

I won’t go into detail regarding the plot as it’s all there in the book description, but suffice to say it’s one hell of an adrenaline fuelled read. what sets this book apart for me is the way the author has not only depicted characters who are rich in personality but they are also highly original. I absolutely loved the protagonist Lori Anderson a bounty hunter (see what I mean by original, when was the last time you picked up a book where the bounty hunter was a woman?) who certainly knows how to kick ass, she’s tough, she’s fearless but she’s also a mother who will do anything to protect her young daughter which adds an extra dimension to her character that I wasn’t expecting. As for JT he’s a man who oozes character, the relationship between the pair crackles with tension, frustration and unfinished business. Steph Broadribb has created characters that are very well rounded and an intriguing bunch, the dialogue is also authentic and fits the characters perfectly.

There is no let up in the pace, it’s non stop action from the opening chapter, sometimes violent and never dull, every chapter is filled with bucketfuls of action. As Deep Down Dead reaches its highly charged conclusion I really felt I had been on a hell of a ride thanks to Steph Broadribb’s ability to draw the reader in. The pace of Deep Down Dead is relentless, there’s no room for meaningless scenes just to pad the novel out. This book reads like an action packed Hollywood movie and it would never surprise me if it ends up on the big screen, it certainly reads like an action blockbuster. In my humble opinion Deep Down Dead is a rare and exceptional well written debut, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an action packed read, with fantastic characters and settings.

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Orenda (5 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK   🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land @byAliLand #Review #2017MustReads


Book description 

SET TO BE ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY, CONTROVERSIAL AND EXPLOSIVE DEBUTS OF 2017 – for fans of quality psychological suspense and reading group fiction: once you read this book you’ll want to talk about it . ‘NEW N A M E . NEW FA M I LY. S H I N Y. NEW. ME . ‘

Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter

img_1258As you can see from the book description the publishers are saying this book is going to be EXTRAORDINARY, CONTROVERSIAL AND EXPLOSIVE, now when I read such claims the cynic in me comes out and often think “no way, it maybe good BUT……), but I’m thrilled to announce that Good Me Bad Me is certainly all it claims to be and more, It’s dark, utterly gripping, and brilliantly executed. This is the debut novel from Ali Land, I admit I found it hard to believe this wasn’t written by an established author, it’s just unbelievably brilliant. Annie is the mother of a serial killer, who after years of watching her operate, decides enough is enough and tells the police everything she knows about her mother. Now named Milly she starts a brand new life in foster care whilst awaiting her mums trial, I’m not going to say anything else about the story line as it’s definitely one of those books the less you know the more enjoyable the read.

The characters in Good Me Bad Me are very well drawn, especially Millie who I found to be intriguing to say the least. If I’m honest although I felt some empathy for Millie I can’t say I really took to her, this was due to her being an unreliable narrator every time I began to feel sorry for her, Mille would come out with a thought or a comment that sent chills down my spine. Millie is a very damaged soul, and this becomes more obvious as the storyline developed.  At times Millie appeared to struggle with the good and bad sides of her personality, but considering this was a young girl whose only role model was a serial killer it’s hardly surprising. This book goes from heart wrenching to disturbing and back again, so it’s difficult to second guess Millie which I loved.

If you are looking for a fast paced read then this book may not be for you, if you enjoy a story that slowly builds a dark and twisted web then I would highly recommend this book. There are numerous threads running through the plot which make for a tense and gripping read. Good Me Bad Me would certainly make a good book club read, as it raises many questions which I’m sure will make for a lively debate. For me personally I couldn’t help but think about Millie’s life, up until she was taken in to care she was obviously influenced by her mother, life experiences and her environment, and I couldn’t help wondering how once she was placed into a different environment with different role models would it be possible for Millie to start life over again? But  even after reading Good Me Bad Me I’m still not sure……after all Millie is her mothers daughter!!

Ali Land’s God Me Bad Me is both compelling and shocking, and it’s definitely a page turner, I became so engrossed I read it in just one sitting, it’s certainly a book that I feel will do really well when it’s released in January 2017. An astonishing debut from new author Ali Land I shall definitely be pre-ordering her next book without hesitation.


I won’t be giving Good Me Bad Me  5 stars, but I will be giving it the very prestigious GOLD STAR AWARD. I give this award to a book I feel covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grips until I reached the very last page, and this book certainly had all these things

Publisher: Michael Joseph (12 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK