After You Die by Eva Dolan 

 

Huge thanks to Eva Dolan and Harvill Secker for my ARC of After You Die. I’ve has this on my TBR for a good few weeks now, I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I’m so cross at myself for leaving it so long as this book was just brilliant!!!


About the book:


Dawn Prentice was already known to the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit.

The previous summer she had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead – stabbed to death whilst Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. DS Ferreira, only recently back serving on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty, had met with Dawn that summer. Was she negligent in not taking Dawn’s accusations more seriously? Did the murderer even know that Holly was helpless upstairs while her mother bled to death?
Whilst Ferreira battles her demons, determined to prove she’s up to the frontline, DI Zigic is drawn into conflict with an official seemingly resolved to hide the truth about one of his main suspects. Can either officer unpick the truth about mother and daughter, and bring their killer to justice?

My thoughts: 


Having never read any of Eva Dolan’s previous books, I didn’t know what to expect when I started After You Die. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be hooked immediately and not wanting to leave the book down to sleep, but with 2 kids, I need sleep 😂

Happily, when I picked it back up, I was just as engrossed. I started the book on Tuesday night and had it finished last night. It was utterly addictive reading!
While the themes in the book are tough subject matter, they were handled skilfully, both by the author and the characters she has created. Zigic and Ferreira are one of the best, and most cohesive pairs of detectives I’ve read in a while. I often find that one or the other gets more time, or demands more attention, but both were equally present throughout the narrative.

The plot in After You Die was very tight. Every story was perfectly constructed, and together they intermingled brilliantly. You felt something for almost every character, whether it be sympathy, sadness, happiness or anger, and that is something I look for in the books I read. If I can’t connect, I find it harder to concentrate on the story. No fear of that here!!!

I’m not going go into details of the plot, the synopsis above should be enough to whet your appetite. I, for one, am glad I went in without reading more that the synopsis as it was such a layered book that I wasn’t expecting half of what happened! Also, as usual lately, I guessed the perpetrator and was wrong, again! 😂

Dolan has a fabulous writing style, descriptive yet easy to follow, which I loved. After You Die just flowed off the pages, a compelling and pacy read that just reels you in and doesn’t let you go until you turn the last page.
I gave After You Die an easy 5⭐️ on Goodreads and I’d highly recommend it! I’m off to buy the first two books in the Zigic and Ferreira series! 😉

You can get your copy of After You Die HERE

Happy reading 😊📖

Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon

My thanks to Corvus and Holly Seddon for my ARC of Try Not To Breathe. I’d seen this book and lots of reviews popping up on my Twitter feed so I was thrilled to get a review copy. I tried not to read the reviews so that I didn’t know much of the plot, as it makes it easier for me to make up my mind about the book.

 

About the book (via Goodreads):

 

Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen years old, Amy disappeared walking home from school one day and was found in a coma three days later. Her attacker was never identified and her angelic face was plastered across every paper and nightly news segment.

 

Fifteen years later, Amy lies in the hospital, surrounded by 90’s Britpop posters, forgotten by the world until reporter Alex Dale stumbles across her while researching a routine story on vegetative patients.
Remembering Amy’s story like it was yesterday, she feels compelled to solve the long-cold case.
The only problem is, Alex is just as lost as Amy—her alcoholism has cost her everything including her marriage and her professional reputation.
In the hopes that finding Amy’s attacker will be her own salvation as well, Alex embarks on a dangerous investigation, suspecting someone close to Amy.
Told in the present by an increasingly fragile Alex and in dream-like flashbacks by Amy as she floats in a fog of memories, dreams, and music from 1995, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer to a breathtaking conclusion.

 

My thoughts:

 

Lack of organisation on my part meant I started Try Not To Breathe within two days of publication, I hadn’t checked my book diary so I read another book that’s not out until next week first! #bookwormproblems 😄

 

Try Not To Breathe, for me, started slowly. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m used to books opening with gruesome murders or crimes. The change of pace was welcome though. It pulls you in and makes you wonder how Amy ended up where she did, and what happened to Alex to make her the way she is.

 

Lately, it seems like all the books I’m reading involve children in horrendous situations, death, abuse, kidnapping and so on.

 

However, books like Try Not To Breathe take you on a journey. They make you feel for the characters, and their circumstances. It is effortlessly written, blending Amy’s past,with Alex’s present and weaves the perfect take around the true events of Amy’s attack and subsequent hospitalisation.

 

I really enjoyed (never sounds right to say that about books with such awful subject matter!) Try Not To Breathe. I flew through most of it yesterday and last night as I wanted to be able to post my review for publication day today! Myself and Celeste over on Celeste Loves Books were saying we’d have to speed read to get it read on time! 😂

 

I gave Try Not To Breathe 4 ⭐️ on Goodreads. The only reason I dropped a star was that I figured out early on who had put Amy in the hospital. It was still a great book regardless of knowing early!

 

You can buy your copy here:
Try Not to Breathe

 

Happy Reading 😊📖

That’s What Friends Are For by Marcie Steele

My thanks to Bookouture, Netgalley and the lovely Marcie Steele for my copy of her new book.

For any of you that don’t know, Marcie Steele is the alter ego of superb crime thriller author, Mel Sherratt.


(I have serious hair envy Mel 😉)

Anyway, I digress, as usual!!!

That’s What Friends Are For is the second Marcie Steele book I’ve read. The first, Stirred With Love, was brilliant. Such a step away from my usual crime reads, and really well written (I gave it 5⭐️ and read it in a day!!!).

About the book (via Goodreads): 

Best friends tell each other everything… right?
Sam and Louise have been best friends since they hung their coats side by side on the first day of primary school. Now in their thirties, they’re just as close, but life is a little bit more complicated…

On the outside, thirty-something Sam seems to have it all; the gorgeous husband, the beautiful home and the flourishing business. But things are not quite as rosy as they seem. So when handsome stranger, Dan, walks into her life, Sam finds his attentions hard to resist.
Louise might seem like life and soul of the party, but her outgoing exterior hides her sadness about the heartbreak in her past. She just wants someone to love – but all Louise gets left with is a quick fumble with an ex at the end of the night.
When a glamorous face from the past returns to shake things up, things get even more complicated for Sam and Louise. And just when they need each other the most, they’ve reason to wonder whether they ever really knew each other at all.

My thoughts:

Anyone that knows me, and reads my blog, knows that I pretty much only read crime/thrillers/police procedurals et al so this isn’t my usual fare. However, the moment I heard the new Marcie Steele was on Netgalley, I instantly downloaded and began reading it. After loving her previous book, I knew I was in for a treat with That’s What Friends Are For.

Marcie/Mel has a lovely writing style in these books. It hooks you immediately, and you feel as if you’re reading about your friends. It’s almost comforting because picking up one of these kinds of books makes you feel right at home within the pages.

Sam and Louise could easily be you and your best friend, they are that relatable. I loved them both equally as characters as they are very down to earth and likeable.

Both have their own issues (haven’t we all?! 😂) but their friendship seems to be very strong. Alas, the girls run into problems in their respective lives and it leads to trouble brewing between them.

Family and relationships are the main themes in That’s What Friends Are For, and they are addressed beautifully by Marcie Steele. I loved all the intermingling stories between the supporting characters on the book. Whether they work together, are related, or even a minor character, they are all written so well that you can imagine them in your head.

Due to the nature of the majority of books I read, it’s not often (thankfully!!!) that I can put myself in a characters position, but with Louise and Sam and their respective families it was easy to draw comparisons as it’s just so real.

As an avid crime reader, I can happily say that I would easily continue reading Marcie Steele’s books as long as she continues writing them. These books are the perfect antidote to the depraved psychopathy in the books I usually read! 😉

I would absolutely recommend That’s What Friends Are For, especially if you enjoy well written, character rich, heartwarming books. An easy 5⭐️’s from me on Goodreads.

That’s What Friends Are For is out on December 11th. You can pre-order it HERE
😊

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Many thanks to Ben at Transworld for my ARC of The Widow by Fiona Barton.

I have been seeing this book pop up in tweets and on bloggers pages for the past couple of months so I was dying to get my hands on a copy to see what all the fuss was about. The lovely Ben Willis at Transworld Books kindly sent me out a copy to read and review. Needless to say I was like a child upon receiving it!


Goodreads description:


We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?
Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. 
Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.
But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.
Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

The Widow is a a great book. It’s extremely psychological with intimate insights into the mind of the widow, the detective, the reporter, the mother and the husband told through alternating chapters. The aforementioned widow becomes one early on in the book,with her husband being hit and killed by a bus. Prior to this, her husband Glen, had been accused of a terrible crime.

A little girl goes missing from her front garden while her mother is inside. Glen is accused of kidnapping Bella Elliott and The Widow tells the story of events after, and later on in the book, prior to the abduction.

The Widow is by no means an on the edge of your seat thriller. It is a slow burner, with information slowly being revealed in each chapter. It’s at times painful to read some of the details of the case. No parent ever wants to imagine anything happening to their child.

The widow herself, Jean, is hard to like as a character. I found her to be very hard to empathise with. If that’s even possible in the situation she is in. Jean is clearly an emotionally weak person in the earlier half of the book, but towards the climax of the story she seems to find her inner voice.

I’m not one for spoilers,but with a book like this it’s difficult not to see what happens at the end!

I have to say, I really enjoyed The Widow. Fiona Barton has a lovely writing style and it’s very easy to follow. I’m glad I got a chance to read this book before January 2016 as with the hype surrounding it, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten near it!

My thanks again to Ben Willis and Fiona Barton for my copy of The Widow!

4 stars on Goodreads from me!

Happy reading 😊📖