Monday, 18 September 2017

See what I have done

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Published by Tinder Press
May 2017


When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden - thirty two years old and still living at home - immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent and no one is ever convicted of the crime.
Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie's unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid and a boy hired by Lizzie's uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

I'm not so sure of the youth of today, but I certainly remember the rhyme about Lizzie Borden that goes:
"Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one"
However I'm not sure that I remember realising it was based on a real person and a true-life murder mystery.  On August 4th 1892 the bodies of Lizzie Borden's father Andrew and her step-mother Abby are discovered at the family home, hacked to death by a hatchet.  Lizzie becomes the prime suspect due to her behaviour before and after the murders but she is eventually found innocent of the crime and no-one is charged with the Borden killings.  Looking back at the available evidence about the crime and from the trial itself, Sarah Schmidt takes a fictional look at this crime and opens up so interesting dialogue as to whom the killer may actually have been.

I enjoyed this take on a factual account being turned into fiction and it made for interesting reading.  Did Lizzie kill her parents though, this is the key question surely?  But of course I cannot answer that here, you are going to have to get the book and read it to find out for yourself.  All I'll say is that I wouldn't have wanted to get on the wrong side of Miss Lizzie Borden!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x



Monday, 11 September 2017

In conversation with Stephanie Butland


Today on the blog I'm in conversation with Stephanie Butland, author of Lost for Words.
Stephanie Butland
Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?
Read. Read anything and everything, within your genre and way outside it. Find something to admire in every writer. 

And write. Regularly. Make writing part of your routine and your life. Get into the habit of setting targets and finishing things. It’s relatively easy to dash off 1000 words when you’re feeling happy, well-rested and in the mood. If you want to make a career of writing you need to also be able to write 1000 words when you’re tired, have a towering to-do list and feel utterly convinced that every word you’ve ever written is terrible. So practice showing up. It will stand you in good stead. 

Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere! I collect things I see, hear, find in a sort of mental kitchen drawer and when a few of them stick together, that’s a novel. For example: LOST FOR WORDS is a conjunction of: 

a postcard I found in a second hand book 

a poetry book I found on a pavement by a bin in Camden in 1990 

a story someone told me about an adoption that went wrong 

watching a contestant called Ted Loveday on University Challenge and thinking ‘Loveday, what an interesting name, especially if you were a bad-tempered night-owl’. 

What are you working on next?
I’m busy with the line edits of my novel that’s out next April. It’s about Ailsa, who has waited all of her life for a heart transplant, and when she gets it finds out what being ordinary is really like. It has tango dancing, Strictly, the Edinburgh Fringe and a lot of flirting. Though there’s a dark side too, it’s been huge fun to write. 


What five people, living or dead, would you choose to invite to a dinner party?
This is a deeply unfair question! But also a fun one, so I’ll play. I’m going to go with all dead people, because it seems mad to waste the opportunity. And all brilliant writers, for the same reason. 

Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, John Updike, Agatha Christie, Samuel Pepys. And D H Lawrence can act as waiter and learn a thing or two about women. 

Thank you Stephanie for taking the time to come and chat on my blog.
Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club Blog Tour


Cocktail inspired by The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club



My Instagram feed is testimony to the fact that I’m a bit of a cocktail fiend. Here is a suggestion to sip whist you read!

Elderflower cordial

Come high summer, West Beach is in full bloom, and this year I picked some of the lacy elderflowers from around the beach huts and made my own cordial. It was simple to make and delicious topped up with fizzy water or added to prosecco. I also shake this in equal parts with my lemon vodka to make a sherbety martini.

Make sure you don’t leave your elderflowers steeping to for too long: I accidentally fermented my cordial, a mistake I only realised when the lids popped off of my first batch! 
10 – 15 elderflower heads, depending on size

2 unwaxed lemons

500g sugar

Wash the elderflowers carefully, and place them in a large saucepan with the flowers facing downwards.

Add the peel of your lemons to them, followed by the juice and the sugar.

Pour over 1 litre boiling water, and bring the pan to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and leave steeping for 24 hours.

Strain through muslin into clean bottles. It’s wise to release the lids every 3 days, just to make sure it’s not fermenting. If it doesn’t fizz after a fortnight, you’re probably safe.

You can download The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club for the bargain price of just 99p onto your kindle right now! What are you waiting for?
Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x



Friday, 1 September 2017

Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Published by Century
July 2017



She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.

And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

Then She Was Gone is a much darker novel by Lisa Jewell than I think she has written before.  In parts it is quite harrowing at times which is certainly a move away from the 'chick lit' title that she was once branded with - no one could call this book 'chick lit'.

Our central character is Ellie, a teenage girl with her whole life ahead of her.  One day Ellie disappears and no one knows where or why she has gone.  Her family live in hope of finding her, but as the years go by, this hope begins to fade.  When they find her bag buried in woodland they know that they must accept the truth that Ellie won't be coming back.  Ellie's mum is Laurel, a woman who built her whole life around Ellie, her perfect child.  Her relationship with her other children is strained and her marriage has ended.  One day she meets Floyd in a cafĂ© and they start talking.  They immediately decide to meet again and soon a relationship begins.  Floyd has a nine year old daughter, Poppy, a precocious little thing, but who reminds Laurel so much of Ellie.

I don't want to give too much away here but there is another story that runs alongside this one of Laurel and Floyd and as you read on, it soon becomes clear how these two paths are intertwined with each other.  There are lots of questions to be answered as you read on, and you wonder if Laurel will ever find out what happened to Ellie.  Lisa Jewell will keep you turning the pages long into the night as you attempt to join all the threads together.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Little Boy Found




Little Boy Found by L K Fox
Published by Quercus
July 2017

Image result for little boy found book by l k fox

WHEN HE FOUND HIS LITTLE BOY, NICK THOUGHT THE NIGHTMARE WAS OVER . . . IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING.


One rainy morning, just after Nick drops off his young son Gabriel outside the crowded school gates, he has a minor collision with another car. The driver won't surrender his insurance details, so Nick photographs the licence plate. When he gets home, he enlarges the shot on his phone and spots something odd about the picture - Gabriel in the back seat, being driven away by a stranger. Nick needs to know what happened to his boy, but losing Gabriel turns out to be far less terrible than the shock of finding him. Now, to discover the truth, he must relive the nightmare all over again...Be warned, this is not another missing child story: what happened to Nick and his son is far more shocking.

L K Fox is the pen name of author Christopher Fowler who writes the Bryant & May novels (I reviewed one here). This book focuses on Nick, who on the day of his son's birthday drops him off a school only to notice that his child has somehow ended up on the back seat of a stranger's car!  What on earth has happened to Gabriel and how can he get him back?

There are many strands to this book and it's not until the end of the book that they are all tied up together.  Nick is not Gabriel's 'real' father, this is his ex-husband Ben although it is Nick and Gabriel who have the closer relationship.  They are now estranged and it turns out that Nick's nightmare at the start of the book is in fact a memory of what happened to Gabriel twelve months earlier.  Did Nick see more on that fateful day than he first imagined.  Can he discover what really happened to his child?

We also have a second narrator, and this is Ella, a teenage girl who has a massive crush on a popstar called Ryder.  When she wins a competition to meet him, her life is changed forever.  This is also her story.

How do the stories of Nick, Ella and Ryder link though?  Keep reading Little Boy Found to find out the truth.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Caller

The Caller by Chris Carter
Published by Simon & Schuster
July 2017



Be careful before answering your next call. It could be the beginning of your worst nightmare.

After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring.  The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward.  Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins.
 
Detectives Robert Hunter
and Carlos Garcia are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear. 

Where on earth have I been hiding away?  This is the eighth of the Robert Hunter novels by Chris Carter and only the first one I've picked up.  In fact, it's the first one I've even heard of, and I love a great crime thriller so I'm somewhat bemused as to how the previous 7 books have escaped my radar, especially being a book blogger and all!  Anyway, that aside, this is the newest in the series and it's completely worth a read; I loved it!

The story starts with our first character, Tanya Kaitlin, stepping fresh out of the shower and she receives a video call from her best friend Karen which is set to blow her world apart.  On the phone is Karen but also a masked man who tells her if she can get two questions right about her best friend then she will live, but if she gets them wrong, Karen will die!  Initially she thinks this is a prank but she soon realises that this is no game.  It's up to detectives Hunter and Garcia to investigate but this isn't just one isolated incident, it soon becomes apparent that LA has a serial-killer on the loose!

I was gripped by this book, though the killings themselves are quite graphically described so it's not for the faint-hearted.  Also, you won't guess the killer which isn't a good or bad thing but if you think you know who it is, trust me, you don't! 

I'm now off to get the previous 7 books in the series, I hope that they are as good!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Lying Game

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Published by Havill Secker
June 2017




The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn't seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn't a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight…

I've reviewed Ruth Ware's debut novel here and when the fabulous Reese Witherspoon recommended this for her book group I decided to check it out, after all, who is to argue with Reeese?!  The book started off grippingly enough - Isa receives a text from an old school friend reading simply 'I need you'.  This is enough for her to immediately drop everything, literally she just packs up her baby and goes and travels to Salten to stay with Kate, whilst awaiting the arrival of the other girls that made up their group at school.  The girls all met when they were 16 and sent to boarding school - Kate, Isa, Fatima and Thea were all very different and nobody would have predicted the bond that they would form with each other.   They begin a game, the lying game where they  make up a lie and get points for how well it is believed by others.  What they don't realise is the effects that this game will have on those around them.  But the girls are well practised in their lies and it is apparent from the very start that all four of them are continuing to lie to their nearest and dearest to this very day - the only people they don't lie to is each other.  Isn't it?

I did enjoy this book and it is a real page-turner but I guess I did question how quickly and easily all four were able to drop everything and meet up, despite having had no real contact with each other in about 17 years.  I also found the ending a touch disappointing.  I can't really explain it but it didn't end the way in which maybe I thought it deserved.  It is hard to explain.  If you do pick up a copy, and I'd recommend you do, please let me know what you thought when you finished it.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Her Husband's Lover

Her Husband's Lover by Julia Crouch
Published by Headline
January 2017


After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died. Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.

And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her - the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband's lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

I can't believe I read this book at the start of the year and haven't blogged about it yet!  Well I'm making up for it now, apologies for the error!  Her Husband's Novel  focuses on two female central characters - one being Louisa who has just lost her husband and both of her children in a car crash and that of Sophie, the girlfriend of Louisa's husband Sam.  According to Louisa, Sam was a violent, cruel man who made her life a living hell and he always said she would never get away from him - well it looks like his prophecy almost came true. 

However Sophie does not feel the same.  The Sam that she knew and loved wouldn't have hurt a fly.  She believes that Louisa has ruined her life, and she doesn't see why she should be allowed to get away with her lies. Living alone in her bedsit, with only her shrine of Sam to get her through each day, Sophie is determined to clear Sam's name.

This is a story of two women but which one is telling the truth?  Is it the grieving widow who feared for her life or is it the heartbroken lover who feels robbed of her future happiness?  Julia Crouch's book will keep you turning the pages long into the night as you try to figure out who you should be believing.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x



Monday, 21 August 2017

The Graces

The Graces by Laure Eve
Published by Faber & Faber
September 2016




Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

As a huge witchcraft nerd I am not entirely sure how The Graces slipped off my radar when it was first published but it did.  A friend put it up on her Instagram page and I immediately brought a copy for myself and devoured it instantly!  Basically if you have seen the film The Craft then this is kind-of the book version of that film.

So River is the new kid at school (and I should point out here that this book is set in England, not in the USA like so many of its contemporaries - think Twilight for the many comparisons to the Cullen family).  She immediately becomes obsessed with the Grace siblings, because why wouldn't she? Everyone at the school wants to be like the Graces! Twins Fenrin and Thalia plus their younger sister Summer are both revered and despised by those in the town in which they live.  Their parents are successful and beautiful and some say that the family are witches.  No one from school ever goes to their house or to their parties - only a whole range of outsiders who emerge from out of the blue, stay for a few days and then disappear again.  River becomes the first person to get invited to their house by Summer but what really goes on there?

The Graces is part one of a trilogy of books, of which the second was due out this September but I have it on good authority by the author that this will now be next year instead.  I'm not sure how she is going to work this out and where the story will take us but I'm certainly queuing up for a copy to see what is going to happen next to the Grace family. 

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin
January 2017


HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can't remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is. Then she kisses someone she shouldn't, and the next day she remembers it. It's the first time she's remembered anything since she was ten.  But the boy is gone. She thinks he's moved to the Arctic. Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

This is Emily Barr's first novel for children, and after finishing it in less than 24 hours I think I can safely say that it won't be her last.  Our central character is a 17 year old girl called Flora Banks who suffers from anterograde amnesia.  She has zero memory.  Everything she knows about herself is written in a journal, through notes left all over her house by herself and her family and by what she writes down on herself.  She lives with her mother and father in Cornwall and her best friend is called Paige.  One night she goes to a party and ends up on the beach kissing a boy called Drake (who is actually Paige's boyfriend but that's another part of the story).  The next day Flora wakes up and can actually remember kissing Drake - this is her first actual memory since she fell ill at the age of 10.

And so the book continues.... Flora is delighted at both remembering, and kissing Drake.  Paige is furious with her. Drake is off to the Arctic to study so Flora will see him no more.  At the same time as all of this is happening, Flora's brother Jacob, who we learn lives in Paris, is taken seriously ill and her parents have no option but to fly out to be with him.  They decide that due to Flora's condition the best thing that they can do is to leave her behind in Cornwall with Paige to look after her.  What they don't know, as they board their plane, is that Flora and Paige are no longer talking to each other, due to 'the kiss' and that Flora is seemingly on her own for the first time in seven years.

What continues is how Flora copes with this situation.  I don't want to give the plot away so won't reveal much more but suffice to say it involves heartbreak, travel and a breakthrough though not necessarily in that order.  Yes there have been some reviews that say that parts of this book are repetitive but I think that's the point - Flora has memory loss so when she remembers something she keeps referring to it again and again.  It didn't bother me one bit. 

If you like YA books, or have read any other of Emily Barr's books then I can't see why you wouldn't want to read this.  I was rooting for Flora throughout, she's a great character.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen
Published by Black Swan
July 2017




Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

This is the second Tammy Cohen book I've read since Dying for Christmas and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  It's principally set in a mental institution where our main character Hannah is residing after a breakdown.  As the story begins the second of Hannah's friends dies, both seemingly suicide attempts, though Hannah is not so convinced that either of friends actually wanted to die. No one else believes her theory though; this is a mental hospital and both women were suffering from serious issues so it is thought of as unfortunate and the deaths are overlooked.  Hannah though cannot stop worrying that something isn't right.

All Fall Down is told through three perspectives, that of Hannah, from her mother Corinne and through Laura, a member of staff at the hospital.  I have to admit, I got a little confused with who everybody was at the beginning but I'll put that down to not concentrating enough in the first place.  Through each of these characters we get to see a different perspective of life at the hospital, but is there actually a killer or is it all in Hannah's head, and what exactly did she do to end up in there?

Lots of twists and turns throughout with a dramatic final chapter.  I've got another of Tammy's books to read and I'll be heading toward it with haste.  Fancy a book to grab you by the pool this summer then you can't go far wrong with this one!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Girls

The Girls by Emma Cline
Published by Vintage Books
May 2017




If you’re lost, they’ll find you…Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s the summer of 1969 and restless, empty days stretch ahead of her. Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful.  If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live.

Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?

Loosely based on the killings in 1969 by Charles Manson and his group of followers, Emma Cline's novel shows just how easy it can be to fall into a cult setting such as the one Manson created.  Evie Boyd has a mother who is more interested in her new boyfriend than in Evie herself, so it is easy for her to say she is staying at best friend Connie's house when in fact she isn't.  Evie meets Suzanne in a local store and is drawn in by her beauty and state of apparent bohemia.  This girl is not like her or Connie, and Evie is immediately drawn to her.  Suzanne takes her 'home' to meet Russell, and the other people she lives with.  What occurs there is seedy and uncomfortable but Evie is strangely drawn to being there amongst them. 

The book weaves through that extraordinary summer and now in the present day, as 50-something Evie recollects whether she could have prevented the tragic events that occurred, or whether in fact she had been protected by Suzanne all along. 

I can see why the book has been so raved about.  I liked it, but I didn't love it but I think it's a personal choice.  I certainly would say to read this though as it is both dark but intoxicating at the same time, and an eye opener to the world for some of the summer of 1969.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Before You Were Mine

Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin
Published by HQ Digital
May 2017



Sometimes hope has a way of changing everything…

Just hours after giving birth, Eli Bell is forced to give up her newborn baby daughter for adoption. Devastated, she tries desperately to rebuild her shattered life.

Then, over thirty years later, Eli catches sight of her daughter. And she knows that she must do everything to find a way back into her life. Even if it means lying…While her husband Tommy must grow to accept his own part in the events of her early life, he can only try to save her before her obsession with the young woman ruins them both.

Eli Bell gets pregnant at 14.  Refusing to name the father, she is shunned by her family and forced to give up her precious daughter, never to see her again.  However Eli has never forgotten her and dreams of one day being reconnected with the child she was made to leave behind.  One day whilst out shopping, Eli bumps into her daughter.  She instinctively knows that it is her, as only a mother could.  However this once-in-a-lifetime sighting cannot be left to remain so, and Eli finds herself returning to the same place time and time again in order to once more reconnect with her child.  She doesn't discuss this with her husband Tommy though and finds herself making excuses as to where she is spending her time during the day.  Tommy also has his own issues, and one day makes a decision that he will find Eli's daughter for her.  He too decides this must be kept secret and both begin a path that will see them separate from each other despite their common aim.

Em Muslin's book is set in rural America where bigotry still remains. Eli's mother is one such character and boy did I long to slap her, she is a vicious woman and one well written to make me feel this way.  Tommy is such a sweet character and I adored him.  At the start of the book I didn't feel that Eli's skin was white and I'm not sure why this is, I think it is because her best friend Daisy (whom I didn't much like either) is described as being so fair; it makes no difference to the story but I just felt that she was from an African American background only to realise she was not.

Before You Were Mine is a story of love and hope, of a mother's longing to see her child again, and of a man who will do anything to protect those he loves.  A great debut.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x


Friday, 21 July 2017

The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Published by HarperCollins
July 2017



Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville's notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case which can't help triggering the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried for ever…

I'll just start by saying that this is so different from Karin's previous book The Kept Woman which I've just finished listening to on audiobook.  For one thing, there is hardly any swearing in it!!!!  But seriously, it's sort of like reading a completely different author so maybe if you have read her books before and decided that they are not for you, this might be the one to change your mind.  Anyway, I digress so back to the book in hand....

The book flits back and forth, from the past to the present day of our two main characters, sisters Charlotte (Charlie) and Samantha.  When we first meet them they have just moved house due to a fire at their old property which has possibly been linked to their father Rusty's career as a lawyer, he often defends the prosecuted, and in many trials, gets them off from the crimes they have been charged with committing.  On a warm summers day the two girls are at home with their mother Gamma when two men enter the property.  Things don't go according to their plan though and Gamma is killed in front of her daughters; Samantha is left for dead, and Charlie runs for her life.

Twenty eight years later and the sisters become reunited after a series of events lead to a high-school shooting and a family injury forces them to work together.  Neither of the girls have ever really talked about what happened on the night Gamma was killed and as the case against schoolgirl Kelly Wilson builds, the sisters begin to realise that they cannot continue their lives without some sort of dialogue as to what they experienced.

There is a whole host of characters in this book and each is vital to the story itself, there are no real bitty characters here but there are lots of questions to be answered.  Did meek and mild Kelly kill two people at school?  Can Rusty get her off the charges she faces?  What happened when Charlie ran on that horrific evening?  Karin Slaughter keeps the tension up throughout the book, with some real twists in the plot throughout.  I really enjoyed reading this, though it may not be for the faint hearted.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Monday, 17 July 2017

Ask No Questions

Ask no Questions by Lisa Hartley
Published by Canelo
July 2017



After an operation goes badly wrong, undercover specialist Detective Caelan Small leaves the Metropolitan Police for good. Or so she thinks. Then the criminal responsible is seen back in the UK.

Soon Caelan is drawn back into a dangerous investigation. But when the main lead is suddenly murdered, all bets are off. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect - even close colleagues.
Someone in the Met is involved and Caelan is being told to Ask No Questions. That isn't an option: Caelan needs answers… whatever the cost.


This is the first in a series of books featuring Detective Caelan Small - a woman so used to being undercover she no longer knows how to be herself.  We meet Caelan on holiday in Egypt when a former colleague, Richard Adamson, is sent to ask her to return to the UK to come back to the job she has just resigned from. A kidnapped child and a police officer died during her last operation and a killer is on the loose; the Met feel that the only person who can bring him down is Caelan.  

Ask No Questions has many twists and turns and Lisa Hartley weaves together a whole team of characters so well that you are never sure who is on Caelan's side, and who secretly wants her dead!  I really enjoyed this book and it certainly kept me gripped, particularly the twist at the end!  I will be checking out the following books in the series if this introduction is anything to go by.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Small Great Things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
April 2017




When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Despite that fact that we have had abolition laws passed in both the UK and the US, I think it is safe to say that there are still some states where the colour of your skin is still an issue and in Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult brings this to the forefront of her storyline. 

Ruth Jefferson is a maternity nurse in a Conneticut hospital and has a pretty much unblemished record, that is until she delivers and cares for baby Bauer.  Both parents are white supremacist and tell Ruth that they don't want her handling their baby boy.  Ruth is removed from his care, and later, whilst she is in the same room as him, the baby dies - is Ruth somehow responsible for his death?  His father, Turk, seriously seems to think so.

Picoult then takes us through the impending court case as we see Ruth try to defend her career and race, whilst Turk sets out to ruin her in every way he possibly can.  The white supremacist movement still has many members and it is a shocking thought that the issues Picoult raises here are so truly valid today.  As with all of her books, there is a twist coming at the end, but can you guess what it wil be?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Little Sister

Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown
Published by Trapeze
July 2017



After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns and before long Jess has moved into Emily's comfortable island home. Life couldn't be better. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess's care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart.

Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before?

Little Sister is one of those books whereby you are glad that your family isn't like that portrayed on the pages before you.  Jessica and Emily are sisters, and on the surface you would think them one happy family, with Jessica caring for Emily's baby daughter Daisy during the day, but it's only when Daisy disappears that the cracks start to appear and you realise that appearances can be deceptive.

Emily and Jess didn't speak for years, but when Emily meets widower James and his stepdaughter Chloe, they become a happy family unit.  The arrival of baby Daisy leads Emily to look for someone to care for her, and she turns to Jessica to do so.  Jess instantly loves both girls so Emily feels that they are in safe hands; however on a rare night out, the parents arrive home to find Jessica seemingly passed out drunk, and Daisy no longer in the house. 

As you can well imagine, this is where things begin to crumble.  Emily goes to pieces, and it becomes Jessica's role to hold the family together.  But is she doing so for the sake of her sister, or does she have her own ulterior motive? 

Read this in one sitting!  It would make great big screen entertainment too.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Here and Gone

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck
Published by Vintage
June 2017


Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start.

Audra keeps to the country roads to avoid attention. She’s looking for a safe place to stay for the night when she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. Blue and red.

As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining. . .

Here and Gone is currently out in Kindle format, but will be published in the hardback edition in August.  Audra Kinney has decided to leave her controlling, abusive husband and his interfering mother at long last, and is driving with her two children from New York across the state to California where she hopes a friend will put them up until she gets herself sorted out.  Audra is understandably nervous, she is worried about her husband and the repercussions of her actions to remove both herself and her children from his life.  When she pulls into a gas station in Arizona for drinks for her two children and sees a police car waiting there, she begins to worry that he has been sent to find her.  However all is fine and Audra continues on her journey.  However it isn't long before she sees the police car behind her and this time his lights are flashing at her for her to pull off the road.  Officer Whiteside tells Audra that the rear end of her car is weighed down too much and that he believes it is not safe for her to continue driving in this manner.  He helpfully agrees to take some of the luggage out of her car, transfer it into his vehicle and follow her to a place to stop for the evening.  Audra agrees, for what else can she do, and when Officer Whiteside opens her boot, he pulls out a bag of drugs, too large for personal use.  He has no choice but to take Audra down to the station for questioning.    The sheriff radios for his partner Deputy Collins to come and fetch the children so he can take Audra into custody.  When Audra arrives at the station for her interview, she asks Whiteside where her children are - he replies "what children?"

As a parent that bit put chills down my spine.  Whiteside is adamant that when he arrested Audra her car was empty.  The question he has for her, is what has she done with her children?  Now it is Audra's word against the law and once her husband gets involved, everyone starts to doubt her story. As a former junkie and alcoholic, her previous history isn't doing her any favours amongst the media.  For Audra there is only one person who she can turn to now and that is a stranger known to many as Danny the Knife Boy.  His daughter also disappeared in similar circumstances and his wife ended up taking her own life as a result.  For Danny, the tale Audra tells sends alarm bells ringing in his head, and he realises he needs to reach out to a woman he has never met before to try to gain her trust.  For Audra, Danny could be her only hope.

This is a real page-turner of a book and I was gripped by the twists and turns it took, wondering and waiting to see if Audra would ever find her children again.  Haylen Beck is an author I will read more books by in the future.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x


Monday, 3 July 2017

Together

Together by Julie Cohen
Published by Orion Books
July 2017


Is this a great love story? Or a story about great love? You decide. On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.


This is an interesting story and has an ending that I have no doubt will divide readers. I was sent a copy by the publisher to review and the last two chapters had been removed.  We were asked to tweet our thoughts at this point in the book - mine was WHAT?!!!!!!

Robbie and Emily are in their eighties, happy in their own little world, children grown and flown the nest.  But Robbie has Alzheimer's disease and whilst some days are good, others are confused and muddled and he isn't sure that this is a life he wants to live.  One fine morning he leaves Emily and note and goes to the shore near to where they live.  He knows he only has a certain amount of time remaining to carry out his plan before Emily wakes and rises for the day, now is not the moment for confusion and delay.

The story starts at the end and ends at the beginning of their relationship. We learn about their family and children, of the early days of their relationship and of when they first meet each other when Emily is studying at Cambridge University.  We learn fairly early on that something happens in 1962 that the pair swear they will never share with anyone else.  Neither has family that they see anymore.  It is only the death of Emily's mother that leads her to fly across the Atlantic to see the family that she ran out on all those decades ago and it would seem that even her younger sister Polly has no idea of the secret Emily has been holding on to for all of these years.

I didn't expect the twist that Julie Cohen throws into the mix but it does work sort of... It comes out of the blue and answers some of the questions that the reader may have about Emily's family and why her and Robbie never see them anymore.  I do think it will divide readers as some may be satisfied with this and others I feel may think that it is a little like a curve ball thrown unexpectedly into the mix, there is no real build up - just BOOM!

This is a story of family and love and of two people that fate brought together and who are destined to remain together no matter who or what tries to pull them apart.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x




Monday, 26 June 2017

The Devil's Poetry

The Devil's Poetry by Louise Cole
Published by Kindle Press
June 2017




Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends are being drafted and many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace just by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. But how do you make the right decision when no one will tell you the truth? Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. There are only two people Callie can trust – her best friend and her ex-Marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. Callie alone must decide: dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who will pay?

The Devil's Poetry is a YA dystopian novel set on the brink of World War III.  Our central character is Callie, a teenage girl who has a fairly ordinary life with her father in Yorkshire.  However as the reader quickly learns, whilst some things remain the same in the future, there are many things that are now very different.  One evening in a nightclub with her friends Gavin and Amber, trouble breaks out and Callie meets a handsome man who gives her a book with the message "do not read this" as he squirrels her away to safety.  Of course, Callie, who adores books, reads the book that has been given to her!

The mysterious stranger (Jace) returns again at school, as a new TA and Callie can't help but think there is something suspicious about this.  On her way home with Amber they are confronted by some creatures (who we find out are the Cadaveri) and Amber fights to save Callie's life as they are attacked.  Callie finds herself saying some mysterious words out loud in order to fight off the Cadaveri, and it turns out she is actually recalling the text of the book that Jace had given to her.  It turns out that Jace is in fact her bodyguard and is meant to be protecting her from these demon-like creatures.  Callie, unbeknown to her, is actually the next Reader, and only she can save the future of the world.

As the book progresses, we learn more of Callie's family background, such as what happened to her mother, who died when Callie was much younger, of her distant relationship with her father, and of the growing bond between her and Jace as they spend more and more time together.  The tension builds throughout the book, and you wonder if Callie will make it to read from the book by the end of the novel and if she does, will the result be what is expected or will it just add more confusion to a world already broken with fighting.

I did enjoy this book, which is the first in a series.  It has a fast-moving plot and the tension does build throughout and actually it isn't hard to imagine the world like this in a not-so-distant future..  The only negative I have is that the book contains a synopsis of the second title in the series and within that there is a huge spoiler for what is coming up next.  So if you do go and read this, and you want to read book two, don't be tempted to read this bit please.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Thursday, 22 June 2017

This Much is True

This Much is True by Jane Sanderson
Published by Orion Books
June 2017





After decades in a deeply unhappy marriage, Annie Doyle can barely bring herself to care that her husband Vince is finally about to die.

But as the family gathers to see out his final days, Vince utters a single word that will change everyone's lives completely:
'Martha.'

Who is Martha? And why is Annie so quick to dismiss the mention of her name? As Annie's long-held secrets start to emerge, the lives of everyone she holds dear will be changed forever...

This is the latest novel written by Jane Sanderson and takes on a different slant from her earlier, historical novels.  This is part memoir, part mystery and features Annie a 73 year old woman, living with her eldest son Michael and dog Finn in Coventry.  Her husband Vince is in a nursing home having been there for decades following his diagnosis with dementia.  We soon learn that her marriage has not been a happy one and that Vince only married Annie because he thought he would get a substantial allowance from her husband, his then boss. When this fails to materialise, Vince decides to work away from home, only returning to his wife and child when absolutely necessary.  It is on one of these visits that Vince arrives home with a gift for Annie that will ultimately change all of their lives forever, and it is because of this, that Annie has a secret she has been forced to hide for most of her adult life.

On a routine walk with her friends Josie and Sandra, Finn attacks a local farmer's sheep and Annie is forced to make some difficult decisions surrounding his well-being.  She meets Mr Dinmore ("call me Alf"), a friend of Josie's and he introduces her to his sister who rescues dogs.  As she learns more about Alf she discovers that he is a former policeman and this brings to the forefront of her mind the secret that she has been hiding for so long.

With Vince on his deathbed at last, younger son Andrew returns home from Australia and it is the mention of the name "Martha" by Vince that starts everything unravelling.  A box discovered in the attic by Andrew only proceeds to make everything worse.  What should Annie do?

This is a book about families and the secrets that some of them hide because they ultimately believe this to be for the best.  There are also some interesting characters in the book.  Michael is not a pleasant person, towards the end of the book it is explained why this might be, but that is not why this made me dislike him so much, though by the end he does seem to redeem himself somewhat.  He is the polar-opposite of his brother Andrew, who I must admit comes across as quite smug at times with his magnificent life in Byron Bay.  Vince is a not a nice man throughout and I felt no sympathy for him during the course of the book.  I did like Josie though her friendship with Annie seems somewhat unexpected but she was a nice addition to the story and it was interesting to have an older central character who as the book progresses, begins to live more in her later years than she has done during the preceding decades.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x



Monday, 12 June 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books
May 2105




Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill - the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place.

Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Now if I'm being honest here, and it's my book blog so wouldn't I be, I missed all of the hype surrounding this book when it came out 2 years ago, though if I'm totally honest, I'm not sure how I did... Anyway, that aside, there are many people whom I follow over on Instagram who still rave about this book today (especially as the third book in the series has just appeared) so I felt tempted to order it and see just what all the fuss was about.  OMG, it's fab!!!  I haven't felt like this since Twilight was published so I know I'm about to get the next two books and devour them, even though my tbr pile is huge!

This book is set between the real world and the world of the faeries, there is no secret in that.  We know that they exist and that their lands are over the border, but we also know not to trust them and not to stray into their lands.  Our central character Feyre is out hunting one day when she spots a wolf.  It is pursuing a deer she intends to kill so that her family can eat, so faced with a choice of hunt or be hunted, she kills the wolf.  Only when she returns home does she learn of her fatal mistake - the wolf was infact faerie and for killing him Feyre must go to the kingdom from whence he came to reside forever more.  Saying goodbye to her father and sisters, Feyre embarks on the journey to her new life where she is housed in the Spring Court presided over by Tamlin, and his friend Rhysand. Both are masked and mysterious as a curse has been placed on them that makes removing their masks impossible. 

As predicted you might say, the bond between captor and captive grows deeply and both of our main characters find themselves falling in love.  Little did Feyre imagine that at the beginning of her journey into the Spring Court that she might be forced to risk her life to save the man she now wants to be with forever. 

This book is full of twists and turns and it encourages you to use your imagination.  Yes this is a YA novel but I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it and will be purchasing the rest of the series immediately.  If you love a good fantasy novel, and faeries and magic are your thing, then this is highly recommended.


Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lost for Words

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Published by Bonnier Zaffre
April 2017



THIS BOOKSHOP KEEPS MANY SECRETS . . .Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.

Into her refuge - the York book emporium where she works - come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can't hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?
It's time to turn the pages of her past . . .

For a lover of books this was an ideal read to while away the hours, by reading about someone who works in a bookshop!  Our central character is Loveday Cardew, a not conventional girl whose body is covered in tattoos with the first lines of some of her favourite books.  She keeps herself to herself, and very few people know very much about her past, including her only friend, bookshop owner Archie; who himself is larger than life for the both of them.  Stalked by the very weird Rob, Loveday is not looking for romance, until the studious Nathan enters the shop with a book request.  He invites her to the local poetry reading night and Loveday sees a side of him revealed that makes her want to spend more time with this man.  Can she actually learn to open her heart in return through the genre of poetry?  Throughout the book we travel back to Whitby, to Loveday's childhood and learn why she no longer sees her parents despite what appears to be an idyllic childhood.  Things are about to change for her though when a delivery of books to the store starkly remind her of her childhood, in fact they appear to be the exact copies of books that were owned by her mother, but that couldn't possibly be the case could it?  Could there be someone in York who actually knows of Loveday's hidden past, and if so, who are they, and what do they want?

This book had the perfect combination of happy and sad and bitter-sweet moments within it that made it a pleasure to sit and immerse myself into.  I'll be looking out for more books by this author.


Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Friday, 2 June 2017

An Act of Silence

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth
Published by Wildfire
June 2017


These are the facts I collect.

My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.

Mariela is dead.

Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning.

Linda Moscow loves her son; it's her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she's not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?

She's done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her.

This is Colette McBeth's third book, out at the end of June, and it's a crime novel with some hidden undercurrents.  Linda Moscow is a fomer MP.  Her son Gabriel is a famous comic and he is under suspicion by the police for the death of a woman whose body has been found at an allotment that backs onto his London home.  He comes to his mother for understanding, and for reassurance from her that he had nothing to do with this incident.  Unfortunately this doesn't happen and Gabriel is forced to leave with the suspicions of his mother weighing heavily on his mind.

Linda doesn't know how to react.  Gabriel's news has stirred up a whole host of memories that she thought she had buried in the past.  However she has no time to concentrate on Gabriel, she is on a trip to Scotland to interview an important witness who might just bring down some people with very powerful connections.  However when she crosses the border she is soon to learn that not everything is as it seems and the people you thought you could trust might not be the people you first thought them to be.

I enjoyed this book but I did get a little muddled with so many characters, especially as some have different names throughout the book (but there is good reason for this).  Is Gabriel guilty or has he been set up, and if so, by whom?  Can Linda save her son, and herself before the powers that be close in around her?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Return of the Witch

The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston
Published by Corsair
Paperback Edition
1st December 2016


After five years in the Summerlands, Gideon has gained his freedom. Elizabeth knows he will go straight for Tegan, and that she must protect the girl she had come to regard as her own daughter. In the time since she the dramatic night in Batchcombe woods, Tegan has traveled the world learning from all manner of witches, and she is no longer the awkward teenager and novice spellcaster she once was. However, her skills are no match for Gideon's dark, vengeful power, and he succeeds in capturing her. Will Elizabeth be able to find her? Will they be able to defeat their nemesis once and for all?

In a breathless journey that takes them through history, witch pursues warlock. Three people steeped in magic weave a new story, but not all will survive until the end.

This is the sequel to The Witch's Daughter and is not a disappointment.  At the end of the first book, Gideon managed to escape from the clutches of the witches' spell and now Elizabeth knows that he will one day return to take Tegan for his own.  Since that day five years earlier, Tegan has journeyed around the globe seeking out the best mystics, shaman and witches she can find in order to become that best in her craft, but will that actually be enough to protect her from Gideon when the time comes?

Elizabeth travels back in time to the days of the Civil War and Paula Brackston's ability to conjure up the past has lost none of its charm in this her most recent book.  Her characters, as always, are so full of life and her settings ring true.  The suspense and tension of Gideon's plans for both Tegan and Elizabeth hold firm throughout the book and of course, there has to be a dramatic climax at the end of the book, but I can't possibly reveal whether Gideon gets him comeuppance or whether it is the end of the road for Tegan and Elizabeth.  If you are a fan of magic and witchcraft then I do urge you to read the Shadow Chronicles novels.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Published by Fourth Estate
23rd April 2015
Paperback Edition


A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

‘Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.


Set in both France and Germany during the Second World War, it tells the tale of Marie-Laure who is blind and initially a recluse in her own home.  Her father builds her a model of their neighbourhood in Paris which she has to learn to follow by heart before she can be allowed outside on her own.  For me this was the best part of the story - following her journey and progress and of how frightening it must be to become blind and of how to live your life once more.  The story also takes us to the other side of the war into Germany and of brother and sister Werner and Jutta.  Werner can make radios come to life and his talent does not go unnoticed by the Nazi party.  Soon he is drafted into a war as part of the Hitler Youth and his path will eventually cross with that of Marie-Laure's.  The main part of the story is set in Saint-Malo as the invasion by the Germans enters into France and Marie-Laure is forced into hiding.  Her father has vanished, and with him, the possible diamond that is housed in the Museum of Natural History.  There are some who would kill for that stone, and this endangers Marie-Laure further.  Who to trust and who not to trust in a war of two sides?  For Werner and Marie-Laure this becomes a matter of life and death.

I guess I should have known that I wouldn't fall in love with this book.  It's not necessarily the fault of the book but I don't think I've ever enjoyed a prize-winning novel; I sometimes find them a bit too 'above' me if that makes sense.  However, that is not to say that All the Light we Cannot See is not a good book; I just didn't think it was a great book but there are many more who would disagree with me as in some parts it is both incredibly beautiful and gripping.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x