Review: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle

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Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found. Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman’s corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan’s past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods–if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister. Both cases reveal old secrets–about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they’ve been hiding from each other their whole careers.

My review:

As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read Idyll Hands. I didn’t know this series so I hadn’t read the previous books, but I believe this can be read as a standalone and I had no issues following the characters and their backstory.

This is a police procedural set in the 90s, and it features two different cold cases that must be solved many years later. Although the main character is chief Tommy Lynch, we also have Detective Finnegan narrate his side of the story, and the disappearance of his sister was my favorite case out of the two.

I really enjoyed this book, not only because of the mysteries, which were smart and well-written but because of the interaction between the characters. I loved reading about Lynch’s love life, and I found incredibly interesting that he was the gay chief of police, as I haven’t encountered many characters like him in mystery books. He was so likable!

As for the investigation, I did think that the first clue for the Finnegan’s sister case was a bit too coincidental (Seriously? No one thought of that? And are we supposed to believe that many years later someone just spills the truth after speaking to Tommy Lynch for the first time?), but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story at all.

This is a great cop procedural featuring a unique protagonist and a set of interesting secondary characters. Stephanie Gayle is an amazing writer and I loved reading all the references to 90s movies and culture.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

My review:

First of all, I want to say that I haven’t read all the books in this series. I read the first one years ago when it came out and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. But then, I watched the tv series last year and I really enjoyed it, especially because of Cormoran and Robin, whose relationship I adored.

As I knew what was going on because of the tv series, I decided to read the fourth book, Lethal White. When it arrived, I couldn’t believe it was almost 700 pages. Surely, JK Rowling is following the same path as with the Harry Potter books. But would Lethal White be as entertaining as the latter HP novels? I couldn’t wait to find out.

This was a buddy read with a friend and I’m not proud to say that it took us almost three weeks to finish it. I started another book while I was reading Lethal White, but it wasn’t really a matter of lack of time, it was just SO LONG that I never felt I was making progress.

The plot was super addictive at first (the mystery of Billy was what made me want to keep reading) but as I kept on reading, I realized the main mystery was a political storyline that I didn’t really enjoy that much. Halfway through the book, the intrigue picked up and it became more engaging because of a sudden death that left me wondering what had happened.

Overall, I would say that this book interested me more because of Cormoran and Robin’s personal lives than because of the mystery storyline. I truly believe this novel could’ve been like 50% shorter and the result would’ve been the same. And that’s a pity because I really like JK Rowling, and I love Robin and Cormoran, but unfortunately, this was not a favorite of mine.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers ‏

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Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him. When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

My review:

A few months ago I wanted to read something different and so I came across Sadie, which looked like a young adult novel but with a mystery touch. I don’t usually read YA (although I enjoy some) and everyone was raving about it, so I thought it would be a great idea to give it a chance.

Sadie was a sad story and quite different from the other two books I read by Courtney Summers (like 10 years ago), but I can’t say I loved it the same way. It was a good novel, it didn’t take me long to read it, and I certainly loved the podcast format, but it wasn’t a memorable read for me.

This is the story of a young girl who flees her hometown in search for someone she believes killed her little sister. At the same time, there’s a podcast about them called “The Girls” which follows Sadie’s disappearance. I found this section of the book rather interesting, the format made it a quick read and the chapters where Sadie was the narrator were also compelling and intriguing.

In the end, the main reason why I think I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted is that it was pretty predictable in my opinion. The reason behind the disappearance and the secrets that Sadie was hiding weren’t shocking. We’ve read this same story many times before and this wasn’t a favorite of mine.

Would I recommend this? Yes. If you enjoy Courtney Summer’s writing -nothing to complain here, she writes beautifully-, and edgy YA stories, this could be a winner for you.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Blog Tour: The Promise by Katerina Diamond @TheVenomousPen @AvonBooksUK

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When troubled teen Connor moves to Exeter from the US to escape his past, he finds himself embroiled in a world of popular kids and easy girls. Everyone wants to be his friend, but they don’t know about what he did…and they don’t know about his father. As Connor’s life in England begins to unravel, DS Adrian Miles and his partner Imogen Grey are working up against the clock to catch a serial killer who dates his victims before he kills them. Determined to uncover the truth, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she take it too far and risk her own life?

 

My review:

The Promise is the fourth book in the Imogen Grey & Adrian Miles mystery series and this is really a series that I can’t get enough of. To be honest, I think they get better with each new book. This last installment was as exciting and as addictive as always and although the mystery storyline wasn’t my favorite, the storyline focused on Imogen and Adrian was the absolute best.

The team is investigating a serial killer who takes the victims on a date before killing them. And when they find out he chooses them while playing a mobile app, Imogen decides to act as bait. She’s not living a good moment after a romantic breakup and neither is Adrian, who had his heart broken in the last book.

The relationship between Imogen and Adrian has always been one of my favorite parts of this series. It’s not romantic, or at least it isn’t yet, and it’s so complex and beautiful that I would read about them for many more years. In this book, their relationship is more special than ever and their scenes had me on the edge of my seat.

As it is common in Katerina Diamond’s novels, we have multiple perspectives here. This time, the three voices are from Imogen & Adrian, a young troubled teenager called Connor who’s new in town, and the mysterious young woman from the journal pages. As you can expect, there’s a connection between them, and while there’s not a twist as there was in The Angel, the plot was thrilling and I read about 75% of The Promise in one sitting.

This book is everything you can expect from a cop procedural. The mystery is amazing and I care so much about these characters that I can’t wait until the next book is out! Hopefully soon.

Extract

‘Was she sexually assaulted?’ Sarah said, her body tense, as though she almost didn’t want to know the answer. ‘Did he rape her? I asked but no one would tell me.’
‘There were signs of sexual activity, but at this point there is no evidence of sexual assault, we will know more when we get the post mortem.’
‘You think they met before? She wasn’t the kind of person who would sleep with someone on the first date.’ Imogen handed her the box of tissues that were on the table; the girl took one and clutched it to her, ready for the tears to come out. ‘Is there a possibility it was someone from her work at the recruitment agency?’ Imogen asked gently.  Sarah shook her head. ‘No, she kind of hated everyone there, she was looking for another job anyway. I don’t think so.’
‘Did she have any hobbies? Go to any clubs? Any cafés she went to regularly?’ Imogen said. ‘No, she used to get lunch in the theatre; they did these sandwiches she liked and she never had to wait because no one else ever thought to go there for
lunch. It was always empty.’ ‘What about your parents? Is she likely to have told
them anything?’ Adrian said. ‘Our dad lives in Spain with my stepmother; we aren’t very close. Mum died five years ago.’ ‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ Adrian said, inclining his head. ‘Is there anything else you can tell us that might help find out who she was with?’ Imogen asked.

Katerina Diamond

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives on the East Kent Coast with her husband and children. She is a Sunday Times and Kindle bestseller.

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Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Blog Tour: Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer @KelRimmerWrites @headlinepg

Before I Let You Go Cover (1)As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father and their mother’s swift remarriage, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leather-bound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears… As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a doctor, successful in her practice and happily engaged. Annie is addicted to heroin – a thief, a liar, and unable to remain clean despite the fact that she is pregnant. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to help and take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

My review:

A couple of years ago I read A Mother’s Confession and completely fell in love with it. When I saw that Kelly Rimmer had written a new book, I instantly knew that I wanted to read it. Before I Let You Go is yet another beautiful and devastating novel that had me in tears when I finished it.

This is the story of two sisters, Lexie and Annie, who don’t have an easy childhood. But as it usually happens, some kids face tragedies better than others. And while Lexie grew up to be a successful doctor, her sister Annie, who was full of life and creativity, became addicted to drugs. During many years, Annie turned to Lexie when she didn’t know what to do, but this time it’s her worse yet: she’s pregnant and her baby might be in danger. So Lexie tries to help her one more time… but is it too late for Annie and the baby?

I find stories about addicts to be extremely interesting, and the more books I read about this topic & the more films I watch, the more I believe this illness to be one of the scariest ones. When I was younger, I didn’t understand how people could so easily become addicted and I didn’t even feel super sorry for them. However, many years later, I can understand them perfectly and I wish there were more things we could do about drug addiction.

This book is told in two different voices: first of all, we have Lexie’s story in the present, when we learn all about Annie’s pregnancy and her fight to give up drugs once and for all. But every few chapters, we also read about Annie’s and Lexie’s childhood, told by Annie in a journal format that fitted the story so well. Both storylines were equally compelling, but as usual, I’m always more attracted to the coming of age part of the story, and especially here, because we learn how Annie became the person she is now.

This is a wonderfully written book, smart and delicate, perfect for fans of emotional reads and Diane Chamberlain. Be aware that it’s not a happy novel, so definitely have some tissues nearby… However, even if you cry, I’m sure you will find Before I Let You Go as beautiful as I did.

P.S Does anyone else think that Lexie’s husband was too perfect? I’m so used to thrillers that I was totally waiting for him to become the villain of the story lol

Kelly Rimmer

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review