Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Fear Blog Tour

The Fear by C. L. Taylor
Published by Avon
March 2018

After my review yesterday, I wanted to share an exclusive extract from The Fear to whet your appetite for reading this gripping thriller.  Currently, if you have a kindle, it's also only 99p at the moment, so what are you waiting for? 

If you fancy seeing who else has been on the final part of the blog tour, and who else is still to come, here is the list of us all:

And now for that extract....

How long does it take to get discharged from a hospital? When I was woken up just after six this morning to have my vitals taken, I asked the nurse whether I could leave, seeing as everything appeared to be normal. She told me no, I needed to be officially discharged by a doctor. It’s now lunchtime and there’s still no sign of a doctor. When I moaned to the nice lady who brought me a tiny portion of spaghetti bolognaise with a pile of overboiled carrots and a cup of tea, she shrugged and said, ‘You might be here for hours yet, darling. They’re all terribly overworked.’

Find out who is in hospital, and why by getting a copy of The Fear!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 7 May 2018

The Fear

The Fear by C. L. Taylor
Published by Avon 
March 2018

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…
When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.
Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.
But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

Lou Wandsworth is about to return to her family home  in Malvern after the death of her father.  It's a home she has actively avoided returning to since she left it with her mother following her dramatic escape to France with her married older lover Mike when she was only 13 years old.  Mike still lives in the area and Lou knows that at some point she needs to face up to him and let the past finally go.  However after tracking Mike down at work she discovers him kissing a teenager and knows that the past is repeating itself.  Lou knows what Mike is capable of, and will do anything she can to prevent the same thing happening to Chloe Meadows.
The story is told from the perspective of teenager Lou and of her experience with Mike when they were in France, and also from her now as a recovering adult.  We also see the story through the eyes of Chloe and of her feelings for Mike.  Involved in the story too are Lou's on/off boyfriend Ben and Chloe's parents who are friends with Mike.  We also meet Wendy, a 50-something woman who also lives in Malvern and has an unhealthy relationship with Lou.  She stalks her on facebook under a pseudonym and contacts her friends.  Wendy is very interested in Lou, but the two have never met, until Wendy arranges a meeting with Lou at her workplace.  

The story takes lots of twists and turns and yes, at times some of it may seem a little implausible but then it is fiction and sometimes you have to suspend disbelief and go with the flow of a narrative.  I thought that Cally Taylor told a good story here and she keeps you turning the pages right to the shock ending.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 30 April 2018

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Published by Raven Books
February 2018

'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.'
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath...

Now this is an interesting concept - billed as being of a similar genre to an Agatha Christie novel or of the film Gosford Park  I was instantly hooked and wanted to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but actually this is only similar in that it is set in the 1920s and involves a murder. It is more of a sci-fi thriller set in the past and nothing that Agatha Christie would have dreamt up!

What I hadn't realised until I started the book is that the victim, Evelyn Hardcastle, is going to be murdered in exactly the same way until Aiden (our narrator) discovers 'whodunnit' and why.  The major twist in the tale is that he isn't solving the murder as himself because he is going to wake up each day in the body of 8 different guest at Blackheath and see the murder from each of their perspectives!

Confused?!  You may well be, I certainly was for the first couple of chapters until I got the hang of how the story was going to pan out.  Aiden has been tasked with finding the murderer and for him it is groundhog day until he does so.  He also have a million unanswered questions, not least who is Anna the girl he has seen chased through the Blackheath woods at the start of the novel and her murder that he is sure has been committed.

Alongside this is the no small matter of the death of Evelyn's brother Thomas in the lake when he was just a child, and for which Evelyn was unequivocally blamed and of the psychopathic footman who will stop at nothing to prevent Aiden from solving the mystery.

This is a book to concentrate when reading, go with the flow, suspend your disbelief and let Stuart Turton take you into a murder mystery unlike any other.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 23 April 2018

The Coffin Path

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements
Published by Headline Review
February 2018

Maybe you've heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there's something up here, something evil.
Mercy Booth isn't afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father's study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.
When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can't see it yet.

This is Katherine Clements' third novel and this one is set Just after the civil wars, across the moors of Yorkshire which make for a compellingly spooky and atmospheric back-drop to the story.  Scarcross Hall is the home of Mercy Booth, a farmers daughter who takes her role as heir to the family business very seriously.  One day upon walking the moors she feels that someone or something is watching her and this feeling continues both on the moors and back at home.  When a mysterious stranger appears asking for seasonal work, Mercy finds herself reluctant to take him on, but with nothing more than a feeling to base it on, she has no choice but to accept him.
Soon there are occurrences that no one can account for.  Sheep and lambs are being taken and killed across the moors, with no evidence as to who or what is doing the killing, and at Scarcross Hall, her father's prize possession, three ancient gold coins have vanished.
"One marks the first to go. A second bodes the fall. The third will seal a sinner's fate. The Devil takes them all."
In parts this was a little like The Silent Companions because of the link with things moving unaccountably within a house and if you enjoyed that, then you will certainly want to put this on your reading list.  My only negative is that there is a lot of talk about sheep and lambs, a lot!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Dark Angel

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Published by Quercus
February 2018

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He's discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn't know what to make of them. It's years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!
So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock - the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.

This is the latest in the Ruth Galloway series of books by Elly Griffiths and for once this isn't predominantly set in Ruth's beloved Norfolk but in Italy!  The change in scenery does change the novel in some ways because where we, the reader, are used to the windswept, lonely, brooding coastline of the east coast of England, we are suddenly transported to sunny, hot Italy and neither Kate, nor Nelson feel totally at home here.  Whilst a holiday to Rome is a rest from the norm, I was glad when everyone returned home at the end of the story.

An old flame of Ruth's, Dr Angelo Morelli gets in touch and asks her to come over to his home to have a look at some bones that have been discovered on a site he has been filming at.  Desperate for a much needed holiday for her and her daughter Kate, Ruth rapidly agrees to go, accompanied by her friend Shona and her son.  It's not long after they arrive that Ruth suspects there is more going on in Castello degli Angeli than first met the eye, especially when the local priest is found murdered in his church and a freak earthquake soon has DCI Nelson and the faithful Cathbad boarding a plane to Italy.  

Meanwhile, an ex-prisoner with a grudge against Nelson has been released and whilst Harry is away holidaying with his youngest daughter, his wife and daughter are experiencing their own troubles.  Nelson clearly can't be in two places at once so who is going to protect Helen in her hour of need?

Obviously anyone who has followed the series throughout knows that there is an underlying story-line going on here with the relationship between Ruth and Nelson, and Michelle and Tim, and for some of us, this is more at the forefront of our minds when reading the story than with the actual crimes that are committed, and yes, I'll admit that it's that way for me - if this baby isn't Tim's I might just cry!!!!!  If you haven't discovered this series of books yet, and you love crime fiction, then do try the Dr Ruth Galloway books because you might just fall in love with the characters like I have done.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Hunger

The Hunger by Alma Katsu
Published by Bantam Press
April 2018

After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.

Donner’s decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds and a bitter cold that freezes the cattle where they stand. Driven to the brink of madness, the ill-fated group struggles to survive and minor disagreements turn into violent confrontations. Then the children begin to disappear. As the survivors turn against each other, a few begin to realise that the threat they face reaches beyond the fury of the natural elements, to something more primal and far more deadly.

When I saw that The Hunger was being published I instantly requested a copy to read because I have a degree in American Studies and so the infamous story of the Donner party attempting to cross America in 1846 was something that was well documented when I was at university.  Alma Katsu's book is an homage to this event, to the families that joined the Donner's to cross America to make it to California to realise their 'American Dream'.

There are a number of characters in this book and Katsu takes a number of them and makes them her focal points throughout which keeps the reader interested in what is happening through a number of different perpectives.  Whether you like them or not, they all play a vital role in the unfolding drama.

For anyone who is not familiar with the tale, let us say this - it does not have a happy ending.  It is not one of success and celebration at the end of the journey.  It is one of miscalculation, of fate and bad fortune for all involved.  You can google it to find out more or buy one of the many books on the subject itself, but I have to commend Katz for not making her tale too gruesome.  She hints at it, quite strongly, but never commits to those final depraved moments that we know occurred and whilst she could have done, I actually don't think that the book needed it.  She was right to hint, and then walk away and leave matters to the readers own imaginations.

This was a perfect read for the recent winter nights we have been having recently and I thanked my lucky stars that I have never had to experience anything like the homesteaders of America did.  

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Magpie Murders

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Published by Orion
November 2017

Seven for a mystery that needs to be solved . . .

Editor Susan Ryland has worked with bestselling crime writer Alan Conway for years. Readers love his detective, Atticus P√ľnd, a celebrated solver of crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s.

But Conway's latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.

Okay so I'll be totally honest here (and don't shoot me down) but I've never read anything by Anthony Horowitz before! I know, where have I been etc but I saw this at Christmas and my love for detective fiction had me popping it into my shopping basket at top speed, and with good reason it turns out.

This is a great old fashioned detective story, with a twist of course.  Alan Conway is a crime novelist and has just delivered what is to be his final Atticus Pund novel to his publishers as real life imitates the fictional and shortly afterwards our author is found dead at the foot of the tower of his glamorous country home.  But who could have killed him, or was it suicide?  His editor Susan Ryland becomes intrigued by what has happened to Alan, and even more so by the fact that the manuscript of his last book seems to have the final chapters missing from it - with Alan Conway dead, the publishing company need to get their hands on the missing pages, and fast!  Reading through the novel though, and meeting Alan's friends and family in real life, soon strikes a cord with Susan and she begins to suspect that his final novel is actually a lot more real than readers might suspect.  Turning through the pages, Susan discovers that there might be a few people who actually wanted Alan out of their lives - but the question is....whodunnit and can Susan safely find out or will her life be in danger too?

This book begins with Alan's final mystery and then moves into the 'real world' whereby Susan tries to find out what happened to her most acclaimed author.  Yes this is like a modern day Agatha Christie novel, or an Agatha Raisin story but I bloody loved it and if that sort of crime drama makes you happy then grab a copy of this, a cup of cocoa and settle down in front of the fire to while away the hours.  You won't be sorry that you did.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x