Archive | January 2021

The Burning Girls ~ C.J.Tudor.

Back of the book :

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

What I think :

When Rev Jack Brookes has a bit of trouble in her Parish in Nottingham, her superiors feel it would be best if she and her teenage daughter Flo relocate to another Parish in a different part of England. A new home and a new start is what is needed …

As soon as they get to the village of Chapel Croft in Suffolk, things don’t seem quite right. The locals don’t seem to want the new vicar and her daughter there, they don’t like newcomers who don’t understand their past and their ancient superstitions concerning the martyrs from 500 years ago.

The previous reverend found this out too his cost, so what exactly happened to him … ?

Flo, an avid photographer, starts to see weird things as she photographs the graveyard, little girls on fire. Then Jack starts getting quite distressing messages and someone is leaving little wicker dolls on her doorstep, why is someone trying to scare her ?

It would seem everyone has secrets from the past, including Jack, can Jack keep Flo safe from that past … ?

WOW !

I have loved all three of this authors other books but this one has got to be the best of all of them.

I found this novel to be the creepiest by far ! I’m not spooked that easily but I was looking in dark corners of my bedroom last night whilst reading the last few pages.

This book is such a huge rollercoaster ride that keeps you the edge of your seat right up until the very last word. I just could not put this book down. So many twists and turns that you are just getting over the latest twist then the next one is on top of you !! And that ending ! Such brilliant story telling !!

I don’t want to say too much and give things away but I do think that you should read this brilliantly spooky novel yourself.

I give this book a really well-earned 10/10 (5 Stars) My highest award !!

Published by Michael Joseph on 21/01/21

I got my signed copy from Waterstones (online) for £12.99.

The Last Thing To Burn ~ Will Dean.

Back of the Book :

He is her husband. She is his captive.

Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.

She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.

Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.

For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him, and waiting . . .

What I think :

Somewhere in the Norfolk Salt Marshes ..

Jane is trapped.

Jane is not her name. Her name is Thanh Deo and she is an illegal immigrant. She came here to the UK with her sister, hoping for a better life. That didn’t happen. Instead, whilst she was working on a farm she caught the eye of another farmer. He wanted her, so the other farmer ‘sold’ her to him. She is now his wife.

Lenn, her husband, watches her constantly. He has installed video camera’s all over the house. She is not allowed to shut any door, they must be kept open so he can see her at all times. if she does anything wrong or misbehaves or tries to escape, he burns one of her very few possessions. She arrived with 17, she only has 3 left now.

She thinks that things are hopeless and that she’ll never get away.

But then something happens and she starts to think maybe there is hope …

This book is a very dark traumatic read. The whole book is written in ‘Jane’s’ voice, she tells us, in her own words about her life before and after arriving in the UK and then at Lenn’s farm and everything that happens to her there.

Lenn is NOT a nice person, in fact I found him to be a very warped individual. He does some really depraved things to Jane, so much so that I wanted to get a knife and cut something off !!

All the time that these awful things are happening to her Jane never loses her sense of self worth. Lenn might be able to control every other aspect of her life but he can’t get inside her mind.

This is a really well-researched book that I didn’t want to put down, I was up until silly o’clock reading this book. I really loved the tiny little twist at the end !!

The very awful and sad thing to me is that this story could be happening right here, right now, (human trafficking is getting worse and not better) somewhere very close to me and you and that thought, if I’m quite honest makes me feel very anxious to say the least.

This is a haunting story that will stay with me for quite a while.

I give this book 9/10 (5 stars)

Published on07/01/21 by Hodder and Stoughton.

I got my copy from Waterstones for £12.99 (signed copy with orange sprayed edges)

The Push ~ Ashley Audrain.

Back of the book :

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

What I think :

When I first started to read this book, I found the writing style quite hard to get into. I’d heard so much hype about this book in the media and on the socials, about how readers/bloggers ‘couldn’t put it down’, they’d read it in ‘one sitting’ and they ‘just couldn’t stop thinking about it long after they stopped reading it’. I thought maybe I was missing something because if I was honest I couldn’t really get ‘into’ it. But then around chapter Four or five, something clicked and I realised what the fuss was about. 

This was Blythe’s story and she was telling to to me … 

This book is very painful in places, it all begins when Blythe and fox meet in college and they fall in all consuming love. Blythe is trying so hard to be a good person and when she gets pregnant, the good mother Fox  knows she can be. Blythe does so many things wrong and makes so many mistakes, which isn’t surprising after the damaged childhood that she had to endure from her own mother and her mother before her.

Violet their daughter, isn’t an easy child. Blythe doesn’t take to being a mother very well, she thinks that violet must hate her because she is only well behaved for her father. Fox doesn’t see anything wrong with violet’s behaviour but even his mother has noticed a tension building between mother and daughter.

Blythe gets pregnant for a second time and in time gives birth to a son, Sam. This time things are so different, he is her second chance and for a while everything in Blythe’s world is right again. 

But when tragedy strikes and something awful happens, Blythe has to face up to the truth maybe it isn’t her maybe it’s Violet …

This is a very open, raw and psychological look at nature versus nuture. I must admit after that first little hiccup, I was glued to it and couldn’t put it down, although there was times when I should have done because It did upset me in places. 

I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that there are a few twists and turns along the way and I would strongly recommend you go out and buy this book, its on my ‘Best Books of 2021’ 

Published by Michael Joseph on 07/01/21 

I bought my copy from Waterstones for £12.99

The Spiral ~Iain Ryan.

Back of the book :

Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

What I think : 

 A few months ago I received an email from the publishers of this book. (Zaffre) It was quite an interesting email in as much as there were some clues you had to follow. Then a few months later I got another email asking me to post some photos to my socials in order to get the next clue. I posted but I never did get the next clue. However I thought that those emails were pretty ingenius as they had made wonder what this book was all about and it made me want to read it, so well done Zaffre that was pretty good marketing !! 

Any way on to the actual book,  Erma’s just a normal person, with a normal job in a college, leading quite a normal life. She does normal things that a young person does, has affairs and gets herself in trouble. She writing a book in Spain when she gets an email, there has been a complaint (well actually quite a few) about her so she jumps on a plane to try and sort it out. Nobody really wants to tell her what’s going on, so she decides to find out for herself. That night after she’s been all over town looking for the girl who started it all, Jenny, the student who was helping her with her book.  When she gets home she stumbles into bed. A while later she is woken, it’s then Erma hears a noise and is suddenly shot by Jenny who in turn shoots herself dead. With Jenny dead Erma has no-one to ask WHY … 

After her recovery Erma embarks on a journey to find out why this happened. 

Will Erma find out the truth or will she spiral out of control … ? 

OMG ! what a book ! from the start its packed with action.

It has many twists and turns and is very much a roller-coaster ride. It quite dark and a bit weird in places if I’m honest. There are chapters that I can only presume are from Ermas dreams which I was quite confused about at times.

It also has quite a kicker of a twist, which if I’m honest I really didn’t see coming. (Which is quite unlike me as I always like to pride myself on the fact that ‘I saw ‘that’ coming’ !!)

However all in all I really did like this book and would recommend it to other readers. 

I give this book 9/10 ( 5 stars ) 

Published by Zaffre Books on 31/12/20

I got my copy from Amazon and I paid £11.19.

N.B Because this book is of Australian origin, the author uses slang from that region and sometimes it’s difficult to understand what the character is saying or doing. I found this a couple of times whist reading this book.