Here To Stay ~ Mark Edwards

If you want an infuriatingly good read with three plot twists and a big mystery throughout then THIS book is for you!

Literally the in-laws from Hell!
Did she plan everything and want to get rid of the two thorns in her side? Was she oblivious? Were they as bad as she believed? Did she really love her husband at all?
None of it is revealed until the very last chapters.

I was reading this thinking “why can’t you just give them the boot?!” And then realised that the people we learn to loathe have their claws in so very deep and will stop at nothing to get what they want. It was gripping and it was shocking and it was bloody good!

markedwards #heretostay #murdermystery #plottwist #bookstagram

The Last Time I Lied ~ Riley Sager

Where to start with this one 🤔

This was a special buy from Aldi the other week and I’m glad I purchased it, however I’m not feeling 100% certain on my thoughts about the book.

For the very first and very last chapters, the author has you imagine a scenario (you awaken to sunlight…..you paint….you have memories etc) and there are time hops (which actually aren’t as annoying as you might think because they’re full of narrative and description as well as placed in the perfect positions between chapters) and the last chapter for me was very good and I would like a follow on about the woman in the final painting (I don’t want to give too much away!) but sometimes it did feel like a chore to sit down and read for the first 3/4 of the book. I’m glad I stuck with it but it was hard work in some places. A review by Stephen King said “if you liked Gone Girl, you’ll like this” ; I did like Gone Girl very much and found it rather clever and did have to read it twice in order for something’s to click, however, if given a choice between Last Time I Lied and re-reading Gone Girl a third time, I’d pick Gone Girl.

I think maybe I was expecting too much; the characters lacked something I can’t quite put my finger on (strength? Personality? A back story?) but I am keen to read Sanger’s other books and if there is a follow up to Emma’s story then I’d be keen to read that as the ending was very good!

What You Did ~ Claire McGowen

I read this thinking perhaps a murder mystery as the blurb stated six uni friends have a reunion with shocking consequences. It was a murder mystery with an adulterous relationship throughout the book as well as a rape case (giving the plot away a bit too much BUT I wouldn’t want someone to read it in my recommendation and not fully know what’s within the pages). It was disturbing but gripping and there were a number of plot twists along the way with one final twist at the very end. Not for the faint hearted in anyway but intriguing to read how people perceive things and how they react (even fictional characters)

I did enjoy this title but it was very gritty and hard to read at times but I’m glad I picked it up and stuck with and will read more of McGowen’s books in the future

Beneath The Surface ~ Sibel Hodge

Yep, another 10/10 read from the ever talented Sibel Hodge; extremely thought provoking and stays with you long after you’ve turned the very last page.

This isn’t at all like the previous novels of hers I’ve read (Dark Shadows being the latest release) which I fondly nickname Becky Books and Carter Books (if you know, you know 😎) as this time around the style of the chapters is slightly different; it’s from the same view point with the exception of a few text messages between two bad guys whose identities aren’t revealed until the last moment.

The direction starts of as a murder/suicide and an investigation by a journalist with the beginnings of an alcohol dependency issue which becomes a dark and twisted conspiracy which sees those close to her places in great jeopardy. It’s dark and saddening, as any good murder mystery is, but the ending is beautifully just.

However the subject of the book is one that is close to me personally as a person who takes medication for their mental health. It was an eye opener and did have me thinking about what I willingly put in my body (which is no bad thing)and while this plot may have had the anxious person in me quivering in the corner and being overly cautious had I read it a few years ago, I actually found it a refreshing read; I’ve read countless murder mysteries and conspiracy novels over the years but this is one subject I’ve never given a great deal of though on. I was glad to read this and go on Holly Gold’s investigative journey with her and experience the highs and lows of her discoveries and mourned her losses and rejoiced in her happy ending.

Well worth a read!

Dark Shadows ~ Sibel Hodge

“Two suicides.One horrifying accident.Each involving a university student.The police don’t think it’s a coincidence. They just can’t prove it.” She’s only gone and bloody well done it again!! Dark Shadows is the latest crime novel wrapped around one the biggest conspiracy theories, from the tremendously talented Sibel Hodge and the first stand-alone Becky Harris novel (and I’m hoping not the only one!). I was so lucky to be gifted a digital copy shortly before general release by Sibel in exchange for feedback and I was so thrilled! I have loved Hodge’s writing style from the very book of hers I picked up and have been an avid reader of hers ever since!

When I first began to read this, I thought along the same lines of the boss man; cult. Then as more characters came in to play I understood the actual science behind the mysteries of St Albans university tragedies. I was GRIPPED once again! My favourite thing about Hodge’s writing style is how the chapters are from the point of view from the characters and as you only hear from the relevant people and the relevant and key time’s, there’s no overload of information fuelled imagination; yes you do tend to wonder off and follow different trains of thought, but you’re never left to wonder aimlessly and far from the core and heart of the story. The last few chapters really stuck with me during this difficult time and has piqued my interest and left my ears pricked up ready to hear more. Everyone needs to read this book. Right now. It’s the best decision.
Another 10/10 read!! If this gets made in to a series or film, I bagsy the role of Becky! 🤣🖐

An Anatomy Of A Scandal ~ Sarah Vaughan

Sitting on the fence a bit with this one. It’s one I’ve been seeing in magazine reviews and on social media, hearing good things, so added to my ever growing To Be Read list. I’m

Glad I read it as I actually learnt a lot from the book and found it interesting read as a former law student. However I did have to keep back-tracking until the halfway point when the author allows you to learn that the QC for the Prosecution is actually a former student with a life changing trauma that has paved the way for her drastic change in direction and formidable career and allows you to gain a deep empathy as well as understanding for her desire to prosecute the cases that she does (the seemingly impossible, he said/she said cases).

It was a well researched idea and you can see Vaughan’s desire to be precise within the use of the legal language at relevant points. It’s all very well written and I found myself picking my jaw up off the floor toward the end and was unhappy with the result (I don’t want to give too much away, but those who have finished the book will know what I mean) and I do feel a happy ending past the finishing page for the female characters.

I do recommend this book but it is not for those who are struggling with experience or knowledge of the crime in question during the entirety of the book. It does make for uncomfortable reading at times, and is not sugar coated (again this is pressed on by the importance of legal persons discussing facts of a case for the jury and the need to be blunt for lay persons of the court in order to make a decision beyond all reasonable doubt). I feel that this would be a prime series for a televised drama or mini series and would get high ratings and is definitely one I would watch, and having been told by Vaughan that it will be made in to a series for Netflix, I’m highly anticipating its release and can’t wait to see the cast line up!

I am looking forward to reading more of Vaughan’s books in the future (once I have ploughed through my Increasingly vast shelf of books not yet read!)

Their Last Breath ~ Sibel Hodge

The final (or is it??) book following DC Warren Carter ❤️ This instalment saw him investigating an illegal egg donation clinic and human trafficking among side murder and cover-up’s.
And I LOVED it!!! The last instalment I managed to sort through the plot pretty quickly but still thoroughly enjoyed. This time I didn’t get it quite so right or quite so quickly but I still really enjoyed it and I find having the story unfold from three different view points actually makes it clearer and easier to take in (some mystery novels literally need reading two or three times to fully understand parts, I find). Another cracking crime novel from Sibel Hodge and I can’t wait to read her stand-alone books.
I’m glad a certain person will get their comeuppance BUT I am sad that they lost the one thing they wanted more than anything (but I think that had I have read this a few years ago, I wouldn’t have felt so sad about that particular part)

I highly recommend anyone looking for a crime novel that has some office humour and conspiracies to read these books 📚

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.