Tag Archives: New Releases

The book review café book of the month **November 2019**

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Can you believe it’s the second day of December? As I’m growing older the years seem to be getting shorter or is it just me? As anyone who follows my blog will know I’m not a fan of winter, but I do love Christmas and the build up to it, so it’s the only month I don’t mind the darker nights, anyway is digressing here!

Today is my final book of the month for this year, later this month I will be sharing my books (not in a million years could I choose just one book) of the year post, that’s if I can compile a list without having a major meltdown, I have read so many amazing books this year, it’s going to be difficult to compile a top reads list, but I will give it my best 😂.

Anyway a big round of applause to myself…..I kept my pledge and have only chosen one book every month this year, in previous years I’ve had two or even three top books of the month, and yes once again I have ONE book of the month, go me!

How do I choose my book  of the month?

I go for a book that I find particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  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.

So without further ado here’s my book of the month for November and it’s a Cracker………

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

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I loved the Erika Forster series but Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! you can read my full review here……..Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

You can read my full reviews here……A Dark matter by Doug Johnstone (Skelfs #1) #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #TartanNoir

First Blood by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #BreakingNews #TeamKimStone #FirstBlood #Surprise

Violet by SJI Holliday #BookReview @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet #BookHangoverAward

Books I’m hoping to read in December

I’m hoping to start making a dent in my January 2020 ARC’s, I live in hope 😂😂

And tomorrow I will be revealing my new Christmas feature, which I’m so excited about, but until tomorrow my lips are sealed 🤐, excuse the pun but it’s a cracker.

Thats it for now folks and don’t forget to check out my books of the year post later in December.

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A Dark matter by Doug Johnstone (Skelfs #1) #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #TartanNoir

Today I am sharing my review for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone if you are looking for a different type of thriller, one that stands out from the crowd I may just have the book for you, but first the book description……

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Three generations of women from the Skelfs family take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a taut, page-turning and darkly funny new series.

Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators…

When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.

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When I picked up A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, I felt a frisson of excitement, (Breakers one of his previous book is sitting solidly on my list of top reads of 2019) as you are never sure what road the author will take you down, but once again the author has written an impressive book, with remarkable characters. A Dark Matter is certainly different to Breakers but how I loved this book, it’s the first in a series following three generations of Skelf Woman. This is a book that doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, it’s a kind of family saga, thriller, crime thriller all rolled into one, making for an unusual but compelling read. 

When the head of the family, Jim Skelf passes away, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of the family businesses, a funeral-home, and private investigators.Two very different businesses, that are polar opposites, but the two blend perfectly, creating a plot that’s teeming with mystery, dark humour and tension. The story is narrated in alternating chapters by the three women, normally this can cause me issues with the flow of a story, but that’s not the case with A Dark Matter the author moves fluidly between the three POV creating a read that’s seamless.

Doug Johnstone has a knack for creating well-rounded characters, they are characters who get under your skin; you find your thoughts continually returning to them. I admire the fact the author isn’t afraid to create characters who aren’t without flaws, after all none of us are perfect! Neither are they stereotypes, they are likeable, credible, and relatable. The women face overwhelming challenges; we feel their grief, anger, turmoil, and anxiety as they become overwhelmed by hidden secrets, strange disappearances, and adultery. As the three main characters are not bound by rules or regulations, they aren’t afraid to push the boundaries, their techniques aren’t always professional, their unpredictable, rash, led by their emotions, which means you are never sure what they are going to do next, for me personally I thought this made the read even more unpredictable. 

As the location for A Dark Matter is a funeral directors, there is some talk of death, and references to what happens to people after death. In the wrong hands this could have made A Dark Matter a gloomy read, but not the author he deals with the subject with a delicate hand, injecting just the correct amount of ‘dark humour’ to lighten the mood, without appearing insensitive. Doug Johnstone captures the reader’s attention from the original opening, tension mounts as each chapter ends, and with a winning combination of diverse  characters A Dark Matter is a thriller that begs to be read in one sitting. Highly recommend

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (23 Nov. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks as always to Karen Sullivan for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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First Blood by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #BreakingNews #TeamKimStone #FirstBlood #Surprise

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Today I’m over the moon to be sharing my review for a very special book…….First Blood by Angela Marsons, it’s the PREQUEL to the Kim Stone crime series!!!!!! “What? How did I not know about this book”? I can hear Angela Marsons fans shouting. Bookouture decided to do something very unusual and keep this book top secret until publication day, (naughty Bookouture, but what a brilliant idea) which means you can grab a copy of this fabulous book right now, but before you head off to get your copy, here’s my review, along with the book description………

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In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station.  She’s about to meet her team for the first time.  The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…

When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.

Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop.  Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?  

As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson.  But that’s not all Stacey finds …

She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?

With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad.  Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.

Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…

Discover where it all began for Kim and her team. An absolutely heart-stopping mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, reading late into the night.  Perfect for Kim Stone fans and new readers to the million-copy bestselling series.

A detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.

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Oh, my giddy aunt I can’t believe that Angela Marsons has finally written the VERY book I’ve been fantasying about,  First Blood a PREQUEL to the Kim Stone books, yes you read that right!!!!!! Anyone who follows this series will love this book. As a huge fan I’ve watched Kim and her team (and surrogate family) evolve and grow into living, breathing characters. I’ve always wondered about the previous years, and what forces bought  Kim, Bryant, Stacey, and Dawson together, well here Lie all the answers in First Blood the exciting and riveting prequel. **a word of warning** you will struggle to put this book down, forget about eating, drinking, sleeping, and work, this book will consume your every waking moment.

As per Angela Marsons she doesn’t hang about in drawing the reader in, from the promising and shocking prologue to the very last page the author keeps you firmly in her clutches. We first meet Kim as she’s seconded to Halesowen, or rather she’s forced upon them after being transferred from West Bromwich, after a communication issue with a chauvinistic senior officer! Kim’s newly gained  team are full of reservations, about working with her, sadly for Kim her reputation proceeds her, she’s known for being difficult, lacks social skills, and is considered  bloody-minded. 

Their first case together sees them hunting a serial killer, that kills their victims in the most savage way, besides finding a killer, they also have the added challenge of being a new team. It was interesting to see how the dynamics between the team shifted as their strengths  and weaknesses became clear. Bryant is solid and dependable, Stacey is keen and passionate about her work, Dawson ambitious, lazy and rebellious. As for Kim she has to learn to work as part of a team, rather than being a ‘one-man band’, which takes some doing especially when you don’t trust or like people! 

As the plot develops and the team close in on the killer, the book takes a dark turn, one that’s horrifying, and unsettling, and yet you have to read on, racing on to the dramatic conclusion. First Blood is peppered with chapters narrated by an unknown voice, the fury that radiates from these chapters is palatable, It’s seldom I feel any sympathy towards a serial killer in a crime thriller, but Angela Marsons has managed to do just that, I found myself questioning my own moral compass. A small part of me had a small amount of  respect for this killer, even though it conflicts with my own thoughts on murder, at the same time I struggled to summon up any sympathy for the victims. 

As you would expect with any good crime thriller,  it’s very well written (but we’re talking Angela Marsons here, so I expected nothing less, she sure knows how to draw the reader in.  There are more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, the tension ramps out with every turn of the page, there are gory crime scenes (not for the fainthearted), brilliant characters that immediately draw you in, misdirection at every turn. In fact, it’s the perfect crime thriller read. Without a shadow of a doubt Angela Marsons has written another best seller, highly, highly recommended.

Violet by SJI Holliday #BookReview @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for Violet by SJI Holliday, Violet is published by the fabulous Orenda Books. What I love about this publishers books is the fact no two books are the same or even similar in plot. Read on for my thoughts about Violet but first the book description…….

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When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

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Oh, how I loved Violet by SJI Holliday, what an intense, psychological thriller this novel turned out to be. Sometimes strangers come into our life’s, and it seems like fate, they become friends, a confidant, someone who we will feel better for knowing,  this appears to be the case for Violet and Carrie when they meet by chance in a Beijing Hotel. On impulse Carrie invites Violet to take the place of her friend and accompany her on the Trans-Siberian Express. The more sensible amongst us would think twice, after all you have to take a stranger at face value, how do we  know they are who they say they are? they could be an axe murderer or drug trafficker, but both girls are young, living for the moment, the worlds their oyster and where we perceive danger they see adventure! So we the reader accompany them on their journey aboard the Trans Siberian Express, a journey that darkens with every country that passes. 

This story tale is narrated from Violets POV, the ‘wary’ part of me immediately went on high alert, there was something about Violets story that set alarm bells ringing, her story seemed to have a lot of holes, she skirts certain subjects, and there was always a niggling feeling that she was keeping something back, she came across as being very intense and a little bit creepy. There are also sporadic emails from Carrie sent to her best friend Laura, she shares her inner thoughts and feelings, these could easily be dismissed as ramblings but it’s only later you realise there importance. SJL Halliday expertly allows each of her characters to raise suspicion in the reader’s head, whose telling the truth? Violet? Carrie? Or neither? 

The parent in me wanted to shake Violet and Carrie so intent are they at ‘having the time of their life’ they take unnecessary risks with their own safety, drugs, drink, talking to strangers, but maybe all the time danger lays much close to home!  To begin with Violet and Carrie’s new found friendship seems to thrive, but as their journey progresses, it turns into something much more intense, it begins to feel uncomfortable, it’s a friendship that’s based on manipulation and obsession, it’s one that’s toxic in its making, this adds a darkness to the story, along with a growing sense of dread. 

The attention to detail in this book is evident, SJI Holliday writes in such a descriptive way, it’s easy to conjure up images of the country’s the two girls visit, the atmosphere, the train journey, and the people they meet along the way. There are so many psychological thrillers on the market, it’s difficult to find one that stands out from the crowd, but Violet does just that, and for all the right reasons it’s deliciously dark, slightly creepy, with unreliable characters. It’s a book that will keep you guessing until the devious author decides to reveal all. Exquisitely written, Violet makes for an all-consuming read, one that begs to be read in one hugely satisfying sitting. Highly recommended 

Yes you’ve guessed it I’m giving Violet my shiny Book hangover award, 

What criteria does a book need to meet to win this award?

It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  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.

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  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (14 Sept. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. 

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The Child Of Auschwitz by Lily Graham #BookReview #BlogTour @lilygrahambooks @Bookouture #HistoricalFiction

Today I’m on the blog tour for The Child Of Auschwitz by Lily Graham, not my normal kind of read by any means, but I do like to mix up my genres once in a blue moon. Before I share my review here’s the book description…..

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She touched the photograph in its gilt frame that was always on her desk, of a young, thin woman with very short hair and a baby in her arms. She had one last story to tell. Theirs. And it began in hell on earth.’

It is 1942 and Eva Adami has boarded a train to Auschwitz. Barely able to breathe due to the press of bodies and exhausted from standing up for two days, she can think only of her longed-for reunion with her husband Michal, who was sent there six months earlier.

But when Eva arrives at Auschwitz, there is no sign of Michal and the stark reality of the camp comes crashing down upon her. As she lies heartbroken and shivering on a thin mattress, her head shaved by rough hands, she hears a whisper. Her bunkmate, Sofie, is reaching out her hand…As the days pass, the two women learn each other’s hopes and dreams – Eva’s is that she will find Michal alive in this terrible place, and Sofie’s is that she will be reunited with her son Tomas, over the border in an orphanage in Austria. Sofie sees the chance to engineer one last meeting between Eva and Michal and knows she must take it even if means befriending the enemy…

But when Eva realises she is pregnant she fears she has endangered both their lives. The women promise to protect each other’s children, should the worst occur. For they are determined to hold on to the last flower of hope in the shadows and degradation: their precious children, who they pray will live to tell their story when they no longer can.

A heart-breaking story of survival, where life or death relies on the smallest chance and happiness can be found in the darkest times. Fans of The Choice and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will fall in love with this beautiful novel.

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This is the first book I have read by Lily Graham,  I feel it’s improper to say I enjoyed a book based on an appalling time in history, but I found it to be a compelling read. It’s exquisitely written, a bittersweet tale, which recounts the story of Eva, one of thousands of women held captive in the death camp Auschwitz. The story shifts between two timelines, when Eva and Michael first met, and the troubling times that led up to the war and persecution of Jews,  and the second focuses on Eva’s time at Auschwitz, and her search for Michael, and the birth of their child. The Child Of Auschwitz is a remarkable tale of endurance, love and friendship, and the worse and best of humanity. 

The novel is set against the harrowing backdrop of Auschwitz, personally I think any author who uses a concentration camp as a location hasn’t chosen an easy path. When ever I pick up a fictional book about this location, I always worry an author won’t be able to get the balance right, I generally find Auschwitz has been used as a setting to shock and sell books, and lack empathy for the real victims of Auschwitz, or the story overshadows just how horrifying these concentrations camps were. I think Lily Graham manages to get the balance right; she doesn’t shy away from describing the severe conditions or the cruel treatment of Eva and her fellow prisoners, but neither is this her primary focus, it’s very much  a character driven novel about friendship, lost, survival and hope.  

It was heartwarming to see the developing friendship between Eva and Sophie blossom, a friendship so deep that they willing forego their own moral compass to help each other through sickness and starvation. When Eva gave birth my heart broke, It’s almost impossible to imagine that babies were born in Auschwitz let alone survived, their mothers experienced a life of starvation, forced labour, and infectious diseases, which hardly gave these innocent infants the best start in life. I found this read incredibly sad as fact blended with fiction, at other times my heart lifted at the strength, determination and camaraderie between the prisoners shone through. 

The Child Of Auschwitz is a reminder that even in the darkest of places its possible to find happiness,  it may be only have been for a few seconds, before it crumbled to dust, but it was moments like this that gave prisoners hope and the will to survive.  Whilst reading The Child Of Auschwitz I found it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction, Eva’s story could be any number of women who had the misfortune to end up in Auschwitz in fact the story was inspired by Vera Bein who gave birth during her time in Auschwitz. The Child Of Auschwitz is a moving story that’s emotive, horrifying, and heartbreaking, you can’t help but think of the millions of prisoners who suffered, and died in the concentration camps. Highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction

  • Print Length: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (8 Nov. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Lily Graham grew up in South Africa, and is a former journalist. She lives now in the Suffolk coast with her husband and English bulldog, Fudge.

She is the author of six novels, published by Bookouture, including the bestselling, The Paris Secret and The Island Villa. 

Her latest novel The Child of Auschwitz published 8th November 2019 by digital publishers Bookouture.

My thanks to Kim Nash and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Follow the blog tour………

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Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m over the moon to be sharing my review for one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza. Nine Elms is the first in a brand new crime series and I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit with crime thriller lovers. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING

Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE

Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

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**This review does includes a health warning**

Robert Bryndza is a danger to my health, that’s a fact! I read Nine Elms the first instalment in a brand spanking new crime series, whilst on holiday in Greece. I became so engrossed whilst reading it I forgot to reapply my sun tan lotion and ended up with slightly sunburnt legs! Very painful let me tell you! Was Dark Elms worth a restless and uncomfortable nights sleep because of my burnt legs? You bet it was! I loved the Erika Forster series but Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

I’m sure lovers of the Erika Forster series will be wondering how the author could top this series, rest assured if Nine Elms is anything to go by, this will be a hell of a series. I instantly connected with Kate, the complexity of her characters lies deeply seated in her dreadful past, there’s an air of fragility about her, but at the same time she is determined not to let her past define her, which is easier said than done especially when her past comes back to haunt her in the most horrifying way.

Luckily for Kate she has a cast of supportive and very likeable characters to help her on her journey. As for the serial killer, there perfectly depicted, chilling, cunning and yet you can’t help but become drawn into their backstory story, its one that’s original and disturbing to say the least. As to their killing techniques Robert Bryndaza, has come up with something stomach churning (best read on an empty stomach) Without giving too much away the killer in question is surrounded by evil forces, who tap into their disturbed psyche, urging them on to commit even more horrific crimes. These evil people are in need of serious therapy,  but such a brilliant combination. I won’t deny I found them fascinating, but at the same time I felt sickened by their behaviour. 

I really liked the fact that Nine Elms isn’t a regular police procedural novel, Kate has the skill set of a police detective but isn’t hindered by procedures or led by rules and regulations, so she’s more likely to bend the rules making her unpredictable. At every turn of the page Nine Elms crackles with apprehension and a growing sense of dread, it’s a fast-paced, exhilarating read that I found impossible to put down even for a few minutes. Robert Bryndza can transport the reader to the crime scenes with vivid descriptions, that make you realise just how depraved the killer is, although some scenes are stomach churning, they never felt superfluous. Once again Robert Bryndza has confirmed why he is one of my favourite crime thriller authors EVER, Nine Elms is a cracking book and an exciting start to a compelling new series, I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and the one after that….. Highly recommend to all crime thriller lovers.

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And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving Nine Elms my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  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.

 

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

Buying links:

The hardback will be released Tuesday 5th November 2019 in the US and on Thursday 16th January in the UK. 

Amazon UK Kindle Edition

UK Hardback Edition

Amazon USA Kindle Edition

USA Paperback Edition

USA Hardback Edition

Kobo Ebook

iBooks Ebook

Google Play Ebook

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The Lost Ones by Anita Frank #BookReview @Ajes74 @HQstories #HalloweenRead

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Happy Halloween to all my followers 👻🎃🧙‍♀️ Today I’m reviewing the perfect read for Halloween The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. I was looking for a book to read that was a little bit different from my normal crime thriller read, and thankfully I spotted The Lost Ones by Anita Frank, part historical fiction and part ghost story, this book sounded the perfect read  with Halloween approaching. It’s published today so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy. First the book description….

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Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917

Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

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The Lost Ones is the exquisite debut novel from Anita Frank, it’s a historical, gothic novel, that’s haunting and steeped in atmosphere. Set in the latter days of the First World War Stella Marcham returns from the battlefields of France a broken woman following the recent death of her fiancé. Whilst recovering Her brother-in-law asks her to travel to Greyswick Hall, (along with her maid Annie Burrows), to keep her pregnant sister Madeleine company. On arriving at the imposing Greyswick, Stella realises all is not as it should be. Madeleine is far from ‘blooming’, she appears apprehensive and terrified, she believes she can hear a child crying at night, but how can that be? When no child lives there. Stella experiences what can only described as supernatural incidents and she finds herself convinced the house is haunted. 

Greyswick is a house that bears many secrets, they are as much the fabric of the house as the bricks and mortar.  As we step into Greyswick alongside Stella, the house immediately feels claustrophobic, a growing sense of creepiness wraps itself around you, and the tale grows darker in tone. This isn’t a “jump out your skin” ghost story, it’s much more subtle, it’s more like a classical ghost story, never-less it’s creepy, intense with a very dark, horrifying tale at its core. 

The author has created well-drawn characters, especially  ‘plucky’ Stella and her ‘creepy’ maid Annie, despite their different upbringings and class, there’s a tie that binds the two. Stella with the aid of Annie investigate the strange events, are the ghostly occurrences caused by malevolent spirts looking for justice or retribution? Or is there something more sinister behind the occurrences? The second part of the book was the part I enjoyed the most, it’s here the story takes a menacing turn, shocking revelations come to light, and Anita Frank deftly weaves the threads of The Lost Ones together. The Lost Ones is an emotional, haunting mystery that I found tragic, yet compelling. I really enjoyed this book in case you haven’t already guessed, it’s definitely one I would  recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction and traditional ghost stories. 

  • Print Length: 462 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (31 Oct. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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