What I’ve Been Reading – February 2015

SUNDAY 1st MARCH 2015

Happy Sunday folks! We’ve just returned from a weekend away in beautiful Ambleside in the Lake District. The excuse was to celebrate my (belated) birthday as the hubby was away for my actual birthday.

Five mile walk at Elterwater certainly blew away a few cobwebs

Five mile walk at Elterwater certainly blew away a few cobwebs

However, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for us both. After a particularly stressful week at work – hubby on call and I dealing with one of many urgent projects – getting away from it all was the breath of fresh air we needed.

And it doesn’t get much fresher than at the Lakes.

Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness

Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness

Recharging our batteries with the obvious indulgence in food and drink, we justified it all with a five-mile walk around Elterwater. We played our role as tourists by participating in the red cruise from Ambleside to Bowness and tapped into a more sophisticated side of us both – listening to live music at the Jazz café Zeffirellis.

I managed to squeeze some reading in yesterday morning at the lovely B&B we were staying in – Lacet House – when hubby had to make an emergency trip to Asda (something to do with forgetting a suitcase. Now that’s a different story). And since this blog is about stories, I won’t waffle on about our trip

I’ll cut to the juicy bits.

Here’s what I read in February:

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

Renee Knight – Disclaimer

James Patterson – Mary Mary

But first – let’s see where January ended …

Lee Child One ShotI ended January’s reading list half way through Lee Child’s One Shot. I finished this book early into February and I can confirm that I was pleasantly surprised. It all comes together in the last 100 pages where the pace really picks up and my heart was in my mouth, I couldn’t put it down. The slow start was worth persevering with as the action toward the end of the novel more than makes up for it. A clever concept.

 

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

SynopsisKeep Your friends close

Your best friend isn’t who you think she is.

You’ve been friends since university, when you became the people you are today.

You don’t see each other enough but when you do it’s as if you’ve never been apart.

She’s one of the family. You would trust her with your life, your children, your husband.

And when your daughter is rushed to hospital, you’re grateful that she’s stepping in at home, looking after things.

But your best friend isn’t who you think she is. You’re about to find out just how wrong you were.

Thoughts:

A Psychological thriller that’s wickedly clever. You can’t help but fall in love with Natty’s control freak nature as she’s like many of us – striving for perfection, to have it all; the husband, the children, the business. But when her daughter takes ill and she rushes to France to be by her side, we see Eve, her friend from college, prey on her weakness – her absence from her already neglected husband.

We’re so wrapped up in Natty making sure that her daughter’s alright that when we get to Eve and Sean’s antics, we’re devastated. Daly builds up the tension from start to finish, with the sexual tension between Eve and Sean, to the volatile feeling Natty has towards them and the effect this has on her daughters. We follow this tension to an intense finale.

There are underlying stories from other characters such as Natty’s father. We also see the return of Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall, who appeared in Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?

Daly has again written a page-turner and Eve is a character that you love to hate. The character’s are realistic and the emotions that they experience, particular Natty, you feel with them.  Daly builds up the frustration and anger wonderfully and there’s a scene where she has no means to pay for petrol. It’s a small, but significant scene. A point where we could all relate to the circumstance in one way or another and in this story, it’s like the straw that broke the camels back. Something minor in the grand scheme of things but tips you over the edge.

We’ve all been there in some way shape or form.

I was lucky enough to host Paula Daly last month on my Cuppa and a Catch Up feature. You can read the full interview here.

Renee Knight – Disclaimer

Disclaimer Synopsis

When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up in bed and begins to read.

But as she turns the pages she is sickened to realize the story will reveal her darkest secret.

A secret she thought no one else knew…

Thoughts:

This is a debut thriller from Renee Knight and she’s joined Paula Daly in my shout-through-the-rooftops love for books that I can’t recommend enough.

The snappy synopsis is short but once those three lines were cast, they hooked themselves into my mind from the moment I read them.

What an interesting concept – a story within a story. I was intrigued as to where this novel would take me.

Catherine Ravenscroft has the perfect life; a successful career, a doting husband and a grown-up son who is finding his independence in the world. After moving house, things are just about settling down and, like many of us, she picks up a book for a bit of escapism.

However, the book (The Perfect Stranger) does not provide the kind of escapism Catherine is after.disclaimer 3

The structure of Disclaimer works wonderfully; the chapter’s flit between the present and the past, following both Catherine and the author of the book she’s reading. Disclaimer is written in such a way that you become attached to both character’s at different stages throughout the story, the words leading you into changing your loyalties. I found my perspective of Catherine changing and I was horrified to find myself feeling like that. It made me want to read on – to challenge why the author of the book she was reading had written it. And if it indeed was true.

And this is where Renee Knight has you gripped.

Disclaimer has an undercurrent of suspense throughout the novel leading to a very tense finale. My heart raced as  I stayed in bed for an emotional two hours on a Saturday morning, the household chores and plans for the morning completely cast aside as I simply had to read on, to find out if the ending of Disclaimer married up with the ending of The Perfect Stranger.

That’s an outcome which you will just have to establish yourself.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Transworld Publishers. Disclaimer is released on the 9th April 2015

James Patterson – Mary, Mary

Mary MarySynopsis

This is the eleventh book in the Alex Cross series

Somebody is intent on murdering Hollywood’s A-list. A well-known actress has been shot outside her Beverly Hills home. Shortly afterwards, the Los Angeles Times receives an email describing the murder in vivid detail. It is signed Mary Smith. More killings and emails follow – the victims are all major Hollywood players. Is it the work of an obsessed fan or a spurned actor, or is it part of something far more terrifying? As the case grows to blockbuster proportions, Washington, DC, FBI agent Alex Cross and the LAPD scramble to find a pattern before Mary can send another chilling update. Filled with the ruthless and shocking twists that make his fans hunger for more, MARY, MARY is James Patterson’s most sophisticated thriller yet.

 

 

Thoughts:

My love affair of James Patterson’s novels continues in the form of Mary, Mary.Mary Mary 2

Written in his usual short chapter structure, with the last sentence always begging you to turn to the next chapter, Mr Patterson tells us the story of a murderer going by the name of Mary Smith.

Mary Smith is an arrogant killer that leaves no trace, creating their own story by murdering Hollywood A-lister’s and taunting the FBI and LAPD by sharing the details with the press.

Mary, Mary is a typical James Patterson page turner and has all the right ingredients for a crime thriller, right through to a decent and satisfying ending. I did enjoy this book and it had me hooked, but the concept of the storyline wasn’t up there with some of the books that I’ve read recently.

 

Spring has sprung and I can’t wait to see what books March has to bring …

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

 

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