Review of ‘Her Last Request’ by Mari Hannah

‘Her Last Request’ by Mari Hannah is her best Kate Daniels story yet. When a murder victim leaves a note for whoever finds her, Kate is drawn into the life of the deceased, and must do everything she can to act on the one request she makes. ‘Find Aaron’. Who is Aaron and what danger is he in? It will take Kate into a world of fear, abuse and danger. Will her obsession affect her relationship with Jo – and will it put her partner in peril too? The story is full of tension and is impossible to put down. 

You get fond of a character over the course of a few books and it’s scary to think something terrible could happen to them. It’s chilling and personal and it feels so very real. I know it’s fiction, but Mari Hannah makes me believe that these characters are real people, and so are the terrible things that happen to them. In this story the stakes are huge.  This was the most immersive experience. The writing is of such high quality, the reader is transported to the world Kate Daniels inhabits.  It was an excellent story, with an important message too.

Review of ‘We Are All Liars’ by Carys Jones

The Fierce Five have been friends since early childhood. Once close, they have drifted apart as adult life takes hold. In an attempt to rekindle the feelings they all had for each other, Gail invites the women to her cabin in the Scottish Highlands for the weekend. Will they find that friendship again, or will they discover that the lies we all tell each other are too big and too serious?

‘We Are All Liars’ is exhilarating, terrifying and very, very, clever. Told from the point of view of Allie, we see the lives the women lead now and how that has affected their friendship group. But the past cannot and will not be forgotten. There are secrets and lies that have remained hidden for twenty years, but once the women are together it becomes increasingly difficult to keep them from surfacing. I was shocked and surprised and could never have guessed where it was all going. Carys Jones took me on a rollercoaster ride, one I could not get off until the brilliantly conceived twist was revealed. What an amazing story.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘While Justice Sleeps’ by Stacey Abrams

While Justice Sleeps is utterly compelling and brilliantly plotted, with legal and political intrigue to keep the reader up all night. You will not want to put this one down! 

Avery works as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn. When he ends up in a coma, she finds herself unexpectedly in charge of his affairs. But why? He has entrusted her with a puzzle, one that she alone is capable of solving. The story is brilliantly conceived, with mysteries and secrets she must uncover before it’s too late. It didn’t let up for a second. I loved Avery. She was smart, resourceful and loyal. But she also knew how to get the most out of people, how to encourage their talents. The world of Washington politics was fascinating and all the more so because it felt as if the author knew exactly what she was writing about. It felt real. This book would make an amazing film. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke

‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke is the story of two sisters; one lost after her plane to a small Fijian island disappears, the other on a quest to find her. Erin cannot let it go. When everyone else wants to move on, she becomes obsessed and makes it her goal in life to find out what happened. The chapters move between then and now, between each sister, giving us insight into their relationship as well as how they function as individuals. 

You will not be able to put it down. There’s a sense of foreboding, tension and suspense that never lets up. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and takes the reader inside the minds of the characters and to far off places. The twists in the tale were astounding and did not come out as I expected. I was gripped from start to finish. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Kitty’s Top Ten Books of 2020

We’ve all relied on distractions this year. I know I have. Books have been a lifeline and have taken us to other places, far away from the world we’ve had to live in.

I have read so many wonderful books over the past twelve months, so choosing a Top Ten has been extremely difficult. Only three have been pure romance and each of the three were exceptional. Two were mystery and crime stories and among the best I’ve ever read in that genre. The remaining books on my list veered into other genres – science fiction, fantasy and the supernatural. I needed some escapism it seems. 

I recommend each and every one and hope that you will have a look at my reviews and maybe try them for yourselves. Here are my Top Ten, in alphabetical order

Finding Jessica Lambert by Clare Ashton

The Lost Temple of Psiere by K Aten

The Thing About Tilly by G Benson

Never Too Late for Heroes by A.L. Brooks

Spirited by Julie Cohen

Alsea Rising: The Seventh Star by Fletcher Delancey

Without A Trace by Mari Hannah 

Christmas in Mistletoe by Clare Lydon

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Whispering Wildwood by Emma Sterner-Radley

 

Review of ‘Without A Trace’ by Mari Hannah

‘Without A Trace’ is the best Kate Daniels book yet. It’s an emotionally intense, perfectly plotted story, that doesn’t let up for a second. When a plane goes missing over the Atlantic, with Kate’s soulmate on board, she stops at nothing, and is willing to break all the rules to find out what happened. Mari Hannah’s pacing ramps up the tension bit by bit, and takes the reader with Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels as she struggles to cope with the prospect of losing Jo. This is the book in which we see more of Kate than ever before. We see her vulnerabilities and her pain. I could feel that pain with her and like her, I held onto hope. The combination of personal and professional and the pull of her heart over the job was powerful. It’s something Daniels has always struggled with, but not to this extent before. Mari Hannah is an astounding talent in the field of crime writing, and here she is at the top of her game.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Breathe’ by Cari Hunter

‘Breathe’ by Cari Hunter is the story of asthmatic paramedic, Jemima Pardon (Jem), the unluckiest woman in England. Or so she thinks. Meeting  cherry, fun police officer Rosie Jones might be the start of something different in her life.  They keep bumping into each other on call-outs and it’s full-on excitement from the beginning. 

Cari Hunter’s sense of humour is a mixture of leg-pulling, sarcasm and the gallows humour that anyone working in the emergency services has to adopt to survive. The banter between the main characters is brilliant. It is so real and natural . The language and local lingo and dialect pulls the reader into the world of her characters in a way I’ve never seen with other authors. It’s  hilarious.  Also Cari Hunter- you make me starving every time I read one of your books! From dunking biscuits to roast dinners and hot buttered toast, I need to eat after every chapter. 

The story itself is tightly plotted and full of action and excitement. The two women find themselves in danger more than once and Ms Hunter had me on the edge of my seat.  I’m totally in awe of Cari Hunter. Her skill as a storyteller is unparalleled. I loved this book and highly recommend it. 

I was given this ARC for review

Review of ‘The Girl With The Treasure Chest’ by V.A. Fearon

The girl with the treasure chest by V.A. Fearon starts with such intensity that I couldn’t stop reading. I barely took a breath for the first chapter.  Dani is a complex character and the layers are revealed slowly. She’s part of a gangland world, where she looks out for her ‘soldiers’ and tries to help them get on, with education and apprenticeships. There’s such a weird dichotomy when it comes to Dani. She didn’t seem to see the contradiction between the two agendas.  The same is true in her personal life. While she’s in a relationship with one woman, she continues to be obsessed with Susanna. And that could be disastrous for her. Can she keep control of her emotions and ultimately her way of life, while she’s so affected by her feelings for this woman?  The story is unlike anything I’ve read and is so tightly written and exciting. It got better and better as it reached the climax. A great read.

I was given this ARC for review .

 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Ireland – Peace, Quiet and Lots of Reading!

Enjoying the peaceful Irish countryside – reading as usual

I have just returned home after a wonderful two-week holiday in Ireland. I took full advantage of the quiet countryside to catch up on some reading. In this photo I was engrossed in ‘Steel City Confidential’ , a new thriller by Anne Hagan. The Carlingford Mountains are behind me and The Irish Sea in front. I could have heard a pin drop in the garden of the cottage, so it was the ideal location to read.

The Irish Sea

Whilst there I also read ‘A Shot at Love’ by T.B. Markinson and ‘After Mrs Hamilton’ by Clare Ashton. I can certainly recommend a trip to the emerald isle for those seeking a space to relax. I was also able to get some writing done and squirrel away some ideas for future stories. Of course there are plenty of things to do for those days when you want to get out and about. I visited The Giant’s Causeway, Portrush, Dublin, Dundalk and had many lovely meals out at some truly fantastic restaurants. All in all a truly memorable trip.

Review of ‘Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan

‘Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan is a triumph. It’s a fascinating story, well-told and with characters readers will warm to immediately. Ro Rabinowitz, a Pittsburgh lawyer takes on the case of Pamela Wilson, a woman in her sixties charged with the murder of a college professor who got her daughter pregnant. She’s confident that the case can be won, but there are complications – and a story from the past that Pam’s not telling. It’s not going to be that simple. I was drawn in from the start with a revelation of something I’ve known and loved for many years. Characters from the past . It was a brilliant set up. There are plenty of surprises that will have readers jumping for joy – but that’s all I’ll say. I won’t divulge any spoilers. But they are stunning.  Now, I know that  Anne Hagan writes great mysteries, but she has really found her forte with this legal thriller. I am so glad that this is book one in a new series for her. I was intrigued from the start and it just kept getting better and better. She skilfully weaves a complex tale of secrets and revelations and her characters are likeable and I want to find out more about them. Ro is a great mentor, a principled and caring lawyer. I liked her associate Dominique too. I can see her developing well in the future. Oh, and for aficionados of Ms Hagan’s Morelville Mysteries Series, a certain name pops up that will have you smiling. The book is brilliantly done and if Hollywood has any sense then this would be made into a movie – because I can guarantee there will be a huge audience for this particular story. Highly recommended.

I was given this Arc for review.