Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction

Who was before me?

The Girl Before Book Cover The Girl Before
J. P. Delaney
technothrillers, women sleuths, thriller, suspense
January 25, 2018

THE RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB CHOICE - FEBRUARY 2017 'The tension is built up subtly, leading to a devastating climax. A really clever thriller... [the film] will no doubt become the third big "Girl" film' - Daily Mail 'A deeply addictive literary thriller that deserves to be one of this year's biggest successes' - Daily Express Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price? Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

I tried to read this book twice and failed  – the style failed to engage me and even though there was a mystery at the heart  of the house and the architect and the flowers, it did not engage me.

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Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction

Watch those brothers..

The Bride Wore Dead Book Cover The Bride Wore Dead
Josie Tucker #1
EM Kaplan
contemporary fiction, romance, humour, women sleuths, mystery
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3 edition
(24 Nov. 2013)

Snarky food critic Josie Tucker usually can soothe any problem with food or drink. Missed bus? Mango-orange smoothie. Mild doldrums? A piece of peppered beef jerky. But lately, she can’t stand the smell of a watery cup of broth. Being at the mercy of an indignant and vengeful stomach is no cup of tea.
So what happens when she gets roped into being the last-minute bridesmaid at a society wedding? The bride’s mother tries to kill her with kindness. Too bad for the bride, Josie won't be the only victim.

I have noticed something that has changed since I was married, the top layer of the wedding cake is no longer saved for your first anniversary of the birth of your first child, whichever is sooner. When did wedding cakes change so that they aren’t able to be saved? And what is this business about cakes made of different cheeses?

And now we come to sickness/health benefits. This is obviously a very controversial point in today’s USA. If your employer doesn’t cover you for sickness, you have to pay a great deal of money (and for above the cost of an annual new iPhone of course) for private insurance or rely on a very poor system – or even no sickness help at all. Belonging to a forum which has US participants I often read them talking about how they have to borrow money or get a new mortgage to pay for the cost of their medical bills.  As I recently had a skin graft I looked up what it might cost in the US and was horrified to find it over $100,000  for the hospital charge and then there is ongoing treatments – I visit the hospital every week for these and have done for 3 months. So add these onto the total and you must be horrified. And in this story, Josie had her health benefits cancelled by her organisation whilst she was on sick leave!

This is a cozy mystery with an overweight detective wearing plaid trousers and a novice (food blogger) sent on an observation trip to find out just how and why the bride had died.  And she found out rather more than she expected about the bride and her husband and his brothers and their complicated relationships.


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Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction

What causes fear?

Tastes Like Fear Book Cover Tastes Like Fear
D.I. Marnie Rome 3
Sarah Hilary
mystery, police procedural, psychological, women sleuths
(28 July 2016)

Children are missing. Teenagers disappear. D I Marnie Rome returns to investigate in Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year winner Sarah Hilary's TASTES LIKE FEAR. For readers of S J Bolton and Alex Marwood.

'Intelligently and fluently written with a clever plot and an energetic pace, dealing with harrowing topics and shot through with humanity' Cath Staincliffe


The fragile young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to return to the man who understands her and offers her warmth, comfort, a home. He gives her gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He's the head of her new family.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

A mystery girl wanders into the road causing a car crash and what follows is unsettling for many in this police procedural.

A number of issues are explored – why would girls write on their bodies? How paranoid can you get from being locked up? Does being locked up causes fear and thus aggression? And does the Forgiveness Project really work?

We are left wondering about the young girls in this story such as Christie – does she have Stockholm Syndrome? Who exactly is Aimee? And can a 13 year old girl really behave like Loz?

I thought there were some some nice twists but also some predictability. I did like the alternating voices style as reading the ‘lost girls’ stories in their own voices helped understand them more and why they might be in the situation they were. I also liked finding out a little – but not too much – of the police characters and their backgrounds.

I am giving it 4 as I did guess who Aimee was just over half way through the book and thus some of the storyline was then obvious.

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance

Sapphires and Tunnels

Moonglow Cafe Book Cover Moonglow Cafe
Deborah Garner
Fiction, Women's Literature

New York reporter Paige MacKenzie has a hidden motive when she heads to the small town of Timberton, Montana. Assigned to research the area's unique Yogo sapphires for the Manhattan Post, she hopes to reconnect romantically with handsome cowboy Jake Norris. The local gem gallery offers the material needed for the article, but the discovery of an old diary, hidden inside the wall of a historic hotel, soon sends her on a detour into the underworld of art and deception. Each of the town's residents holds a key to untangling more than one long-buried secret, from the hippie chick owner of a new age cafe to the mute homeless man in the town park. As the worlds of western art and sapphire mining collide, Paige finds herself juggling research, romance and danger. With stolen sapphires and shady characters thrown into the mix, will Paige escape the consequences of her own curiosity?"

An interesting Western story with the discussion about Yogo sapphires thrown in. Now Yogo sapphires in Montana are a real thing. They were first mined some 100 years ago having been discovered in 1860 but not really considered to be worthwhile. They come n a multitude of colours not just blue but also green, pink, pale red, purple, yellow and orange.

People now pay to dig in the mines as a hobby.

In 1980 Thailand developed a heat treatment which enabled white and yellow sapphires to be turned into blue  thus making these coloured sapphires more commercial.

I have not read the previous book in the series so was coming at the character of the reporter from new and rather liked her style. Although who goes into a basement without a really good torch with good batteries? I know she had one but…didn’t last long did it? The tunnels didn’t surprise me much for 2 reasons. I had already guessed that the hobo (name?) was looking for something and also from my experience of mining towns in the UK – they all have tunnels / mines under them!

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Why go to funerals?

Adventures in Funeral Crashing Book Cover Adventures in Funeral Crashing
Funeral Crashing Series / A Kait Lenox Mystery
Milda Harris
Mystery, thrillers, YA
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform;
26 April 2012

Sixteen year old Kait Lenox has a reputation as the weird girl in her high school, mostly because of her ex-best friend turned mean popular girl, Ariel, but maybe it has a little to do with the fact that Kait has a hobby crashing funerals. At one of these, Kait is outted by the most popular guy in school, Ethan Ripley. Yet, instead of humiliating her for all the world to see, he asks for her help, and Kait finds herself entangled in a murder mystery. Not only is the thrill of the mystery exciting, but more importantly Ethan knows her name! A little sleuthing is well worth that!


A 4 for the age group  and a 3 for me

A really nice clean YA fun read

How do you get over your mother’ death? Well. When you attended her funeral people told lots of fun stories about her, and so you go to other people’s funerals to hear their stories. It helps make sense of you grief.

And then you bump into the  High School hottie at his sister’s funeral and a strange partnership is formed to discover why she died as neither of you believe the official story.

Whilst the ending is traditional, there are some nice twists along the way.

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