Duplicity ~ Sibel Hodge

I really enjoyed this book. I was reading it thinking I had it all worked out, but every few chapters there was a twist or turn that saw me change my mind all over again.

So the plot is a newly married couple come home from eloping and suddenly one becomes a widow, but is the widow all they seem? And of course who did it? This is the first of Hodge’s books I picked up and loved DD Carter immediately! And the layout and style of writing had me hook, line and sinker; the book starts from and is mostly from Carter’s point of view and then we get chapters written from Alissa and the occasional chapter from the mysterious third party (or fourth?) which I really liked as it gave you a broader picture of those involved and the reasonings behind it all.
If you like a crime novel that you can’t put down and like having your “Eureka I’ve got it!” Moments thrown back in your face then this would be a good read for you!

The Body In The Marsh ~ Nick Louth

Started strongly and finished impeccably BUT it was the middle that lacked for me; when Elizabeth Knight goes missing and appears to have been murdered by her husband, who disappears off the face of the earth, it’s up to DCI Craig Gillard to hunt down the truth. The middle of the book is where the leads go quiet, with the exception of a European drive around in an attempt to search for their perpetrator, the story shifts on to “inside” crimes involving a fellow high ranking officer before going back to the main investigation.

The final chapter is where it all ties together nicely and I felt glad I stuck with the book and really enjoyed the ending and seeing the why and how explained.

I’m not sure if the reason I almost gave up on this book numerous time’s (and the lengthy three week period it took for me to read) was down to the slow middle section of the book, the reading slump I appeared to develop or a mixture of the two. It was a very complicated plot but would make for an appealing mini-series so long as the leads stayed hot and not so drawn out. As I said; the ending was frankly brilliant and I enjoyed how it all came together. So I’ll giving this one an 8/10. I have two more novels by Louth to read but next I’ll be going to one of my newly found favourites to get me back in to the swing before trying this author again.

Look Behind You ~ Sibel Hodge

I loved this book! I devoured it in three sittings!

My previous read took a good while to get through and I thought I had hit a wall and gotten myself in to a reading slump BUT turns out I hadn’t (sadly something about the book meant I wasn’t 100% in it) and Look Behind You had me reading constantly in the evenings!

I was tempted to give it 9.5/10 because at 3/4 of the way through the focus of my original suspicion shifted to another character and then I had the carpet yanked from under me (something I really do like with books!) but ideally the focus could have been made to shift a little earlier to heighten suspicions maybe BUT the writing style and the clear understanding of coercive control and emotional manipulation was what really boosts the rating to full marks.

The story is this; a woman escapes captivity from a physically dark place and has no memories, they come back slowly and reflection upon recent events cause those around her to not believe her-a perfect abduction up until the very last minute. The book is written entirely from the point of view of the central character and as a reader following her, suspicions arose at every turn. I felt the sheer frustration she did when no one believed her and tried to explain away the truth with science and possibilities.

Anyone who has experienced coercive control will feel Chloe Benson and her plight deep in their heart and bones and it’ll stick with you long after the last page has turned.

Good narrative and strong characters. I can’t rave enough about Hodge’s writing style and her research in to her choice of subject. Well worth a read-even if you want a crime read that’s fairly light (in respect that no one actually dies in this as you read) but want something a a recent topic (coercive control is appearing more and more in the media and law now more than ever) this is a book you’ll want to pick up and not put down.

The Secret Of Cold Hill ~ Peter James

I’d give this book an 8/10 and this is why; I devoured it in just three days and was intrigued right from the start, however the ending seriously lacked for me. It became very confusing and very infuriating toward the end. Several thoughts went through my mind and they included Jason going mad by making visits to people and having visits from people that no one remembers or would have been impossible. And then I considered the possibility of Jason and Emily being a part of the spirit community for longer than originally thought.

Truth is, the more I think about the more confused I get. Why would the priests come to the house for a cleansing if they died abroad and were nothing to do with the house itself? Is it the entire village that’s actually a ghost town? The female police officer during their call-put told Jason she and her husband had two paintings of his which reminded her of her own King Charles Cavalier and then later a different female police officer says the same thing but Jason does not question this?

I will read more books by Peter James in the future but this one had an ending that felt dissatisfying to me. Well written and good characters and a nice flow and style of writing but not the climatic ending I had hoped for.

After The End; The Furious Four ~ Samantha Rendel

I was gifted a digital copy of this book prior to its general release in exchange for my feedback and opinions.

To start off with, I don’t “do” Zombies. The only film I’ve ever seen that hasn’t made me crap my pants is Shaun of the Dead but generally, me and zombies just don’t mix. I find the genre unnerving and frightening and all too possible given current circumstances, so I was sceptical but not one to turn down either a free book or a challenge, I dived right in, not expecting too much. However; I read this in two nights and couldn’t stop. Wouldn’t stop, even.
The book itself is well written and when it does (but not often) allow you to partake in past occurrences, it’s easy to understand the time jump without the need to re-read and re-find your place in order to figure out where you are in the timeline. Which I like. A lot.

The characters, at first, seemed a tad flaky as the first chapter we see a what is portrayed as an unhinged young criminal in the back of a police car having not long been arrested and then leaving the confines of the car with difficulty in order to escape custody (and find keys to the handcuffs) and then witness a zombie attack (I hate that word! And I’m glad that Rendel changed it to Ailing further in to the story) without giving too much away, our criminal ends up in the run from the apocalypse with his boyfriends little sister, a teenage girl and her babe-in-arms.
This, for me, is when the characters gain real substance and come in to their own (something which a survivor would do) and it’s only during these flash-backs you gain full understanding in to them as individuals and silently a acknowledge how they interlink with other survivors and how well they just fit together). The end had me wondering about the struggles of containing mental heath issues alone, the possibility of new infants and challenges, but then shocked me with a death (actually I’m pretty peeved about that one, I liked this character!) and the most immense cliff hanger.
Halfway through the book I would have declined reading further instalments, however I’m desperate to learn what happens next and will most definitely read the next book!

In To The Darkness ~ Sibel Hodge

The second instalment of the Detective Carter series.

What do you get when you cross a detective, a missing girl and a vigilante? One AMAZING crime thriller is what!

Toni, a teenage girl, goes missing and her worries mother makes a phone call to an old friend with the hopes he can find her. Detective Carter follows the clues and finds himself entangled in something darker than he anticipated. It’s a race against time and the system in order to save Toni, and not all the “right regulations” quite cover the quicker way to get her out.

When I picked this title up, I was more excited than ever simply because a place local to me features within the plot so I immediately felt more drawn in than I thought I would. It made for uncomfortable reading at times, but was well put together and agin was written from the point of view of Warren Carter with chapters from Toni and the vigilante. The twists and turns will have you on the edge of your seat right up until the very last page.

Kill Me Again ~ Rachel Abbott

I didn’t realise this was book 5 in a series and I have to say it doesn’t appear to matter if the series is read in order or not; the plot and victims are centre stage and the DCI is just another character solving a murder and his back story doesn’t come in to it much at all. It’s a good book if anyone wants a plot twist and mystery BUT the only thing that really annoyed me was in the last few chapters you suddenly click and think “this guy is the missing link and the real evil in the crime” and the main character, whose a highly intelligent and educated woman, totally missed it until the very last page. Three good plot twists one after the other and actually an enjoyable read. Took me about four days to get through it.

Those Other Women~Nicola Moriarty

A 10/10 read for anyone whose found themselves the odd one out among the mummy and non-mummy groups

This was a special buy in Aldi that I simply bought without really knowing what it was about; I’ve been reading a lot of crime novels and murder mysteries so far this year and I assumed this would be another crime novel or a “whodunnit” and left it on the shelf for “later” (mainly for when I ran out of things that I really wanted to read and needed a back-up book). Scrolling through Instagram I saw an account I recently began to follow had also purchased this book from Aldi and raves about it, so I decided that night to give it a go. I am so glad I did!

I literally devoured this book within 8 hours over two nights! I read until the early hours of the morning not caring I had to be up early to look after a highly energetic young child! This book is amazing!

It’s a tale of Us vs Them in the world I’d social media (Facebook) so mother’s vs non-mothers and is bought about from a sudden marriage breakdown and pregnancy. Friendships are formed and secret accounts set up which means a mole within the non-mother group resulting in a Mean Girls style have-it-out. I was gripped by the drama! As a mum in a social media group who has mummy friends and non-mummy friends, this is one of those books that has highly relatable subjects and covers a range of perceptions from both sides and I couldn’t empathise enough with each of the characters! The last three chapters had me bawling my eyes out! Yes it was sad, but it was also very happy and I am so exceptionally glad I picked this up! I’m intrigued to read more of Nicola Moriarty’s books in the future and feel quite excited to pick up more titles from her for my ever growing TBR pile!

The Disappeared~Sibel Hodge

For me this read is a 9.5/10

I liked this book; it was informative and well researched and also shocking. Knowing how well Sibel Hodge considers her topics and thoroughly and deeply delves in to the subject matter, I’m confident in saying I have learnt a lot about cocoa plantations and slave trade from this book.

I adored good old Uncle Charlie and of course Becky Harris being my favourite all time detective really bought a smile to my face among the serious chapters, however I didn’t click with the character of Nicole as I have with previous lead female characters in Hodge’s novels. Blade and Massa are the hands-on type of bad guys and they’re written so well that I’ll never stop hating them! Which is vital for any book with a baddie because it stays with you king after the final page has turned and adds much more depth to your emotions as a reader. I feel bad for Isabel but she was a bit of a wet blanket in my eyes- but that’s my thought and her thoughts weren’t really voiced and I think she could have had a lot of potential (but if she had stayed longer and been changed at all I don’t think the book would have had the same ending).

I adored the ending! 💖 it was beautiful and so happy and this is when I really thought “yes Nicole! So happy for you!” And I’m a sucker for a happy ending and this one had enough soppy emotion and sense to make me hope if there were to be a follow on (or a TV adaptation) we would see more of the brighter and happier future 😊

About the Reader.

I’m Sam, most people call me Sammy, and I’m a thirty-something year old mother, wife, child care worker and avid reader. My hobbies (besides reading) include baking (a recent hobby thanks to lock-down), gardening, pretending I can run, being walked by the dog and getting bossed around by my sassy-pants toddler.

I’ve always loved reading, even as a child, and I’m rarely found without a book within arms reach. While I am no longer one of these people who has multiple books on the go at once (I blame motherhood for this loss of skill!) I am one of these people who has stacks of books that have been read once, more than once and also have yet to be read. I’m also one of those Kindle owners (I can hear people groaning already!) I do like my Kindle and has allowed me to read with a sleeping baby on my chest and snoring husband next to me plenty of times, I still love a good old fashioned book; the weight, the feel of the pages, the smell and font. I get a real thrill from going in to a bookshop (new or second hand, I’m not fussed as long as there are books involved!) and from ordering online and opening boxes of books (I can never buy just the one! It’s a real bug-bear of my husbands!).

So why start a book blog? Well in short; why not? 100 days in to a pandemic and I’m finding myself bored of baking, the garden literally has been mowed, preened and tidied to within an inch of its life, my dog is no longer willing to walk me and my knees can’t take anymore of me pretending I’m still capable of running miles on end. I have an Instagram account that now sees more book posts than anything else and has joined the ranks of “bookstagram” and I’ve been reading so much and chatting to authors that I’ve been extremely lucky to receive three early copies of books in exchange for honest reviews (I was asked to Beta read and literally squealed in excitement which alarmed the dog who then got so excited he chased one of the cats out of the room), so it seemed like maybe this was a right time to do something new and start a proper book blog. I like to read and talk about it, I also like to drink copious amounts of tea and gin (not together) and reading and writing seem to go hand in hand with that. I also like to avoid football season and F1 (my husband loves those but I really can’t get in to it) and this is a great reason to not sit in the living room!

I hope that you join me on my reading journey and enjoy my reviews; I promise I will always be honest with you and tell you why I like/dislike a book and what I feel it has done well/not so well and to also share with you what made me laugh, cry, mourn and lose sleep over. Reading is journey we take to other places, periods in time and universes without having to leave the comfort of our own homes, reading also provides us with the sanctuary we need and adventures we crave. I have found previously that reading has helped me to find some of the answers I have been looking for, and revelations I didn’t want to accept upfront and has also given me respite from my own pains and stresses and boredems.

I’d love to chat with you about what you have read as well- please visit my social media page to say hi and drop me a line!

Speak soon! Take care, be safe and happy reading x