Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

REVIEW

Utterly Captivating!

I absolutely adored Eleanor Oliphant. The unfolding tale of Eleanor’s life, her childhood, her relationship with her mother, her obsessive desire to meet the ‘perfect’ man, and her friendship with Raymond is beautifully written and held my attention throughout.

Her inability to function within a normal social gathering, along with her straightforward talking, was hilarious on occasions but it also made me want to cry on her behalf.  They say that opposites attract and her friendship with Raymond is proof of this.  Raymond is such an amazing character and shows Eleanor a different route in life, forcing her to try new experiences, going out, changing routine.  Eleanor has a strong, wilful and highly independent personality but even strong, independent people need someone to lean on once in a while.  I don’t think Eleanor would have been able to deal with memories that resurfaced if she did not have Raymond by her side.

Funny yet heart-wrenching. Be prepared to experience a range of emotions and enjoy every minute of it.

 

Synopsis

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than. . . fine?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35900387-eleanor-oliphant-is-completely-fine)

 

Kiss of Death – Detective Mark Heckenburg, Book 7 by Paul Finch

REVIEW

To say I have been left reeling by this latest chapter in Heck’s life is an understatement!

Detective Sergeant Mark Heckenburg is back but could this be last case for Heck at the SCU?

When SCU combines forces with the Cold Case Squad, in order to save departments, they soon realise that they are not the only ones who have been looking for felons gone to ground.  Heck once again follows his instincts to uncover the deeper powers behind the disappearances.

Really enjoyed this book and loved it as the story unfolded every time Heck put two and two together.  The SCU really would be lost without him. There are elements of violence throughout this book but I would say that they are not as graphic and expansive as some of Paul Finch’s previous books have contained, that being said there are still some scenes that made me squirm. I know this is fictional writing but the sad truth is, is that out there somewhere, there are people who are capable of such depraved and unconscionable crimes.  Let’s hope we also have a Heck out there to stop them.

Lots of favourite characters are back again, with a few new faces to make things interesting! Does Gemma have a new love interest? For that matter, does Heck?!

This is a far more emotional book for Heck than the previous stories in the series.  Although he still manages to get himself into scrapes and generally disregard orders from higher up, Heck embraces the inner demons that have been plaguing him of late and faces them full force.  With decisions made and words spoken I was on the brink of happiness but then the end of the book happened…

This was an ARC Review for Netgalley

Release date 9th August 2018

Synopsis

Don’t let them catch you…

A Deadly Hunt
DS ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has been tasked with retrieving one of the UK’s most wanted men. But the trail runs cold when Heck discovers a video tape showing the fugitive in a fight for his life. A fight he has no chance of winning.

A Dangerous Game
Heck realises that there’s another player in this game of cat and mouse, and this time, they’ve not just caught the prize: they’ve made sure no one else ever does.

A Man Who Plays With Fire
How far will Heck and his team go to protect some of the UK’s most brutal killers? And what price is he willing to pay?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38613621-kiss-of-death)

 

A Shameless Little Con, Lie & Bet – Shameless #1,#2 & #3 by Meli Raine

REVIEW

Once again Meli Raine has brought us an exciting romantic suspense filled with action, love, betrayal and surprises – lots of surprises.

As with the other series from Meli Raine, I have decided to review the story as a whole because really you cannot read one without reading all three, it is essentially one story broken into three parts.  I have loved the other books by this author and this set is no different.

This series, based around Silas Gentian and Jane Borokov, follows on from the Harmless Series.   Silas is awesome, I loved his character in the Harmless series and so pleased to see him get his own story. He is mistrusting and not at all happy about having to bodyguard for the lying, deceitful Jane, but the longer he spends with her and the closer they become he realises that what he thought was true may not be so clear cut.

Jane has a lot questions surrounding her and they are answered in this series along with so much more.

Since the ‘incident’ with her best friend, Lindsay Bosworth, was so publicly aired, Jane has become the most hated person in the USA prompting multiple death threats against her.  Jane continues to claim her innocence and when the Senator Harwell Bosworth requests protection for her, Silas is the lucky one to get the job.

There is plenty of tension between these two.  Jane is desperate to prove that she did not set up her friend and as her feelings for Silas grow she wants him to believe her more than anyone.  The trust/mistrust that encompasses this story plays throughout all three books and we find out why Silas has such trust issues.  There is, however, definitely no issues in the bedroom when the sexual tension takes over.  Silas, the sly dog, has a secret that we find out about in ‘Bet’ and I was really looking forward to reading more about this side of him but it never came about.  Maybe Meli could write a novella on “Jane and Silas – Bedroom Dominance”?

Many characters from the previous series crop up – Drew and Lindsay Foster, Harry and Monica Bosworth, Mark Paulson, Marshall.  But we do have a couple of new faces as well – Lily and Duff (next series main characters).

Lots of questions arise and most of them are answered.  Secrets are revealed and surprises are in abundance.  This was a fantastic continuation to what is an ever increasing story, told from the point of view of one particular couple in each series.

As one series leads onto the next and interlinks with others, I would suggest reading them in order as characters from all four series will be found popping up in others:

  • Breaking Away
  • Coming Home
  • Harmless
  • Shameless

Looking forward to seeing what happens between Lily, the flower shop girl, and Duff, the quiet and reserved bodyguard, in The False Series.

Synopsis

A Shameless Little Con

I didn’t do it.
I never betrayed my friend.
Last year, I was kidnapped along with presidential candidate’s daughter Lindsay Bosworth, forced to help her assailants, my mother implicated in one of the biggest political scandals in American history.
I’ve been cleared of any wrongdoing, but that doesn’t matter. Once you’re tried by the media, you’re guilty as sin. The truth doesn’t get the public’s attention.
But shame? Shame sells.
And everyone assumes you’re tainted.
Now I have my own personal security team, courtesy of the United States government. Not the one you learned about in civics class, though.
I’m being tracked by the deep state. The shadow government. They’ve assigned Silas Gentian to be with me twenty-four seven. He thinks he knows everything about me – all of it bad — and he does.
On paper.
Like everyone else, he assumes I’m a traitor. A backstabber. A betrayer. Someone who helped a group of violent psychopaths, puppets of powerful men in Washington who made me into a tool.
Yet I see how he looks at me. True desire can’t be faked.
Or hidden.
And that goes both ways.
He assumes I’m trying to fool him.
And he might be right.
But not for the reasons he thinks.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36636115-a-shameless-little-con)

A Shameless Little Lie

I did it. I admit it. I fell in love with Silas. My bodyguard. My protector. My new informant.

We’re playing a cat-and-mouse game. I’m not sure whether I’m the cat or the mouse, but I can definitely tell I’m in a trap. A trap with no way out.

I’m not who everyone thought I was. The truth is out there, finally turning the lie about me inside out. I am the shameless little lie. It’s finally been revealed, and now even more people want to kill me.

As a presidential campaign hangs in the balance, a delicate web of international relations and economic stability at risk, power becomes more important than anything else.

Even my life. Especially my life. I’m a nothing. A no one. Just a tool, remember?

But tools can be used to open locks. Cracking open the truth and exposing it could change the balance of power. Tip the scales. Make a presidential campaign turn on a dime.

Too bad Silas doesn’t believe me when I tell the truth. And that may make him the biggest tool of all.

(http://meliraine.com/book/a-shameless-little-lie/)

A Shameless Little Bet

How do I prove a negative? I need to prove Jane is innocent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 

Mirrors, smoke, and lies can conjure a truth that isn’t real. Money, bribes, and power can twist reality. What we call proof is all an elaborate magic act. 

So is love.  How do you prove you’re in love? How can you know with unrelenting certainty that the person you can’t live without really loves you?

It’s all about what you believe. Who you believe. And I believe Jane. I love her. But it might be too late.

Or, worse – it might all be an illusion. If proof is just a magician’s sleight of hand, then we’re caught in a sick trick.

A deadly one.  One that doesn’t end with applause.   But with a bang.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37715250-a-shameless-little-bet)

My Champion – Knights of de Ware #1 by Glynnis Campbell

REVIEW

An entertaining and exciting tale of honour, loyalty and love, with a hint of Pride and Prejudice thrown in.

Linet de Montfort has been brought up to believe that all commoners are the same as her money-grabbing mother.  This is the exact opposite to Duncan de Ware’s upbringing. When Duncan first see’s the fiery tempered angel he knows that he can never let harm come to her and vows to protect her with his life.  Linet, mistaking Duncan as a beggar, tries to relinquish Duncan of his vow but the longer they are together and the more trouble they find themselves in, the more her feelings grow for him.

I can understand Linet’s feelings having been brought up the way she was, however her blindness to the true Duncan does get a bit annoying after a while. With all the evidence to the contrary she still believes him to be a commoner and therefore not someone her title would deem suitable for her.

Despite Linet’s prejudice towards him, Duncan is steadfastly loyal to her.  I really liked Duncan’s character.  His whole personality screams loyalty, humanity and understanding.  Besides having many children by many different women it is portrayed in the story that he would be faithful to his wife, although if I was Linet I would want to clarify this with him before I married him….any future children should come form her and her alone.

Knights, Lords, Ladies and Pirates are all encompassed within this fast-paced action story with love at the heart.

Synopsis

Sir Duncan de Ware is a sworn champion of the common man and a master of disguise.  So when he finds plucky maiden-in-distress Linet de Montfort facing off against a notorious pirate, noble Duncan goes undercover to come to her rescue, despite her insistence that she can take care of herself.  When the pirate abducts her, Duncan and Linet are caught up in a breathless adventure of danger and romance on the high seas.  And soon Linet realizes her only hope is to trust her mysterious hero—with her life and her heart.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19009284-my-champion)

Ashes to Ashes – DS Heckenburg #6 by Paul Finch

REVIEW

Heck is back on home turf and it’s not a happy experience for him.

Following a lead for a known torturer, Heck and the SCU team are plunged into the middle of a drugs gang war, however someone else is out to cause mayhem.  Dubbed ‘The Incinerator’, a lone figure has been burning people alive with the use of a flame-thrower.  When Heck is taken off his original case and moved to the incinerator case he is less than happy, but when the two cases collide Heck could be in more danger than he realises.

Heck is by far my favourite detective. He is not your traditional ‘guns-blazing’ hero, he gets dirty, tired and more often than not beaten up.  Like a tenacious Jack Russell, he grabs hold of a lead, shakes it around until something gives, then sinks in his teeth to leave his mark.

This story was far more personal to Heck than his previous cases.  Being on his home turf hasn’t helped but when friends become suspects and family becomes victims, Heck feels it more and to some respect it makes him reflect on his life.  The ‘chat’ with Gemma Piper doesn’t help the situation either.

The relationship between Heck and Gemma needs to advance. Part of me really wants them to get together but then another part feels that, although Gemma shows signs of the love she used to have for Heck, she will always choose her career over him, maybe the same could be said the other way round as well.  I would just really like to see Heck happy with a partner who will be there for him, help him through the tough cases, and love him for who he is without trying to change him.  If this turns out to be Gemma than I would be happy, if not then so be it (plot twist – what if Hazel from ‘Dead Man Walking’ came back in his life?)

And what’s going to happen to Shawna?  Really like her character and her link to Heck.  I think she also helps to keep him sane in a non-romantic capacity.

Another exciting and action-packed case for DS Mark Heckenburg.

Listened via Audible – narrated by Paul Thornley

Synopsis

John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.

A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25394450-ashes-to-ashes)

 

 

Dead Man Walking – DS Heckenburg #4 by Paul Finch

REVIEW

A thrilling fourth installment for DS Mark Heckenburg.

Having left the SCU for a more sedate life in the Lake District, Heck is now the local detective in a quiet village where the most excitement he gets is tracking down thieves preying on local tourists.  However, when a young girl is found shot on the hills, her harrowing account leaves Heck chilled.  The story brings back memories from a decade ago that are too close to home for comfort. As more and more horrific murders are caused by the elusive “Stranger”, Heck is determined to ensure this monster does not get away again.

This is a very different setting for Heck and a much needed respite, although it is clearly not where he belongs.  It’s not that Heck goes out looking for trouble but he is definitely a man of action and much happier when he is out on the streets bringing down the bad guys. The deaths are without doubt gruesome and graphic in their description but that is one thing I like about the way Paul Finch writes.  He does not hold anything back and approaches each scene in a very specific way by giving the reader a full character description, even if the character is not around for long, a lot of thought and detail goes into each and every one of the characters in these stories and everyone has vital role to play.   The build up and ‘getting to know’ the victim is what makes each murder even more horrifying as the reader can associate more with them and sympathise at their plight, it is almost as if you (the reader) are waiting for the hero to swoop in at the last minute and rescue the damsel, but this rarely happens.

Broken lives and broken hearts are left in the wake of the ‘Stranger’ and Heck is once again left to pick up the pieces and reassess his life.  What is next for DS Mark Heckenburg?

Previously read in 2015.  Listened to via Audible 2018 – Narrated by Paul Thornley

Synopsis

Beware the stranger in the night…

Consigned to a remote valley in the Lake District, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is getting used to a quieter life—a far cry from the bloodbath of his former division, the Serial Crimes Unit. But wherever Heck goes, trouble is never far behind.

Unknown to Heck, ‘The Stranger’ has returned. Last seen on Dartmoor ten years earlier, this prolific serial killer has found a new home. As a dense, frozen mist descends on the Lakes, The Stranger returns to his old ways, starting with two young women lost high on the hills. Only one girl is ever found—barely alive—but able to confirm Heck’s worst fears.

As The Stranger lays siege to the remote community, Heck helplessly watches as the killer plays his cruel game, letting off his trademark call before viciously picking off his victims.

And with no way to get word out of the valley, Heck has no choice but to play ball… 

How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

REVIEW

A heartbreaking and heartwarming book all in one.

Lauren and Jenna are as close as sisters can be, even with an ocean between them.  Nancy, their mum, has always been more interested in her painting than what her girls are up to. And then there is Mack, Lauren’s daughter, who now at the age of sixteen is becoming increasingly distant from her mum.

When a tragedy befalls Lauren, and secrets are revealed, she and Mack return to the island of Martha’s Vineyard where her family lives to try to piece themselves back together. Over the following months more and more secrets are uncovered and truths are aired.  Each woman has her own pain to deal with but with each other to lean on they can be strong.

This is a poignant tale of decisions made and secrets kept. Would their lives have been different if the truth was told or was keeping the secret the best for everyone?  Can we learn to forgive and forget? Is living a life of misery worth it to protect our children?

This is the first book I have read by this author and I absolutely loved it.  It is beautifully written and each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the four lead female characters.  Although there is plenty of heartbreak wrapped within these pages, there is also love, tenderness and togetherness.  A great read for the beach in Summer or curled on the sofa in Winter.

ARC review for Netgalley

Synopsis

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise.  Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, the rewards could be infinite…Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan’s brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37936161-how-to-keep-a-secret)