#review: The Honeymoon by @tinaseskis @MichaelJBooks

 

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The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

 

My Review:

I had heard a lot about The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis, but not having read any of her previous books I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

This psychological thriller really does keep the reader guessing. Jemma is on her honeymoon on a beautiful and exclusive island in the Maldives, but it is clear from the start that all is not right with her new marriage, and when her new husband goes missing the reader is unsure whether Jemma’s version that gradually emerges as the book progresses it true, or if she is hiding something.

The book goes back to the start of Jemma’s relationship with Dan when Jemma was really not sure whether he was ‘the one’. As the relationship progresses and we learn more about the backstory I became less and less sure about what was true and what wasn’t. Jemma definitely didn’t seem like a reliable witness.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the book, and I’m happy to admit that I didn’t see the main ones coming. Jemma, as a character was not likeable and there was very little about her that I could like, but that didn’t stop me wanting to know what had happened to her husband and whether she was involved. Another couple on the island provide a bit of light relief, which was welcome.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Honeymoon, I wanted to keep reading and the twists were great and cleverly done. If you like a twisty, turny book then this is for you! It gets an easy 4.5* from me. I’m off to look at Seskis’s other books.

Blurb:

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

About the author:

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, before going off to study in the beautiful city of Bath and then moving to London, where she has lived on and off ever since.

Tina’s first novel One Step Too Far was released in 2013, and has since been published in 17 languages in over 60 countries. Her latest novel, The Honeymoon, will finally be released on 1st June 2017.

Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis is out now and available from  Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

 

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The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

 

Ok, so I have to admit that in order to read this book as soon as I possibly could I became something of a stalker. Regular readers of If only I could read faster will know that I loved Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris’ debut book that was my book of the year 2016. So when I knew that her second book was available to reviewers I wanted it, badly. I don’t normally bother and if I want to read a book and can’t easily get it to review then I pre-order it and wait like everyone else, but I just couldn’t wait to read this book! Thankfully the author herself came to my rescue when she heard how much I loved her first book. So thank you B.A. Paris for helping me get a copy of your book!

My 4.5* review:

The Breakdown had a lot to live up to, I absolutely loved the author’s debut novel Behind Closed Doors, and was desperate to read this book. I was worried that I would be disappointed, as so often happens when you have really high expectations, but whenever I heard from anyone who had read it it was all positive so I was excited to read it.

Cass sees a car stopped on the side of a remote road during a huge storm, she pulls over but worried for her own safety she doesn’t get out of her car and as the driver of the other car doesn’t get out or signal to Cass she decides to drive home and call someone from there. On arriving home Cass gets distracted and never makes that phone call.

When the next morning news spreads of a murder on the very same road Cass is flooded with guilt when she learns that it was the driver of the car that she saw that had been killed. Cass decides to keep it a secret, scared that she will be judged by others for not helping the driver.

With the murder so close to Cass’ isolated home it is not surprising that she feels jumpy but as time goes on Cass is sure that she is being watched and becomes convinced that the killer saw her on that fateful night and is going to come after her.

At the same time Cass starts to find her memory going, her mother had early onset dementia and it appears that the same is happening to Cass. She does her best to hide it but her husband can’t help but get frustrated at her and gradually Cass comes to accept that she is heading the same route as her mother.

The combination of her memory loss and the guilt that she feels over not helping the murdered woman causes Cass to crumble and without the support of her husband and best friend she knows that things would be even worse.

But is everything as it seems?

This book is totally different to the author’s debut which is definitely a good thing, it is an enjoyable and easy to read book, that keeps you guessing and wanting to know what will happen. I felt that the ending was rushed which was a real shame but it gets a solid 4.5*’s from me. I loved how the story took you in and you were never quite sure about what was going on. Now I have to wait for the authors next book!

Blurb:

THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

The Breakdown is out on 9th February 2017 and is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

 

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

 

My 4.5* review:

I haven’t read an Emily Barr book for years, the first book of hers that I read was Backpack, a book that I loved back in 2001. After that, I read a few more books by the author but then she seemed to disappear under my radar and I actually thought that she had stopped writing. A look at the author’s page on Amazon tells me that she hadn’t disappeared at all.

I heard a bit about The One Memory of Flora Banks and when I realised who the author was I requested it to read on Netgalley and was happy to be approved. This was Emily Barr’s first book aimed at young adults, but as I enjoy reading that genre it didn’t put me off, and I hope that it won’t put you off either. When a friend told me how much she’d enjoyed this book I quickly bumped it up my tbr pile and I’m so pleased that I did.

Seventeen year old Flora is a wonderful character, she copes with short term memory loss by writing on her arms and hands, making sure that when she suddenly finds herself somewhere believing she is ten years old she can quickly see the information that she needs to know. As well as writing on her arms Flora has one tattoo, it says ‘be brave’ which becomes Flora’s moto and at times, her mantra.

Understandably, Flora’s mum is very protective of her but when Flora’s estranged brother is suddenly taken very ill in France her parents decide to leave Flora at home with her best friend while they go to be with him. Unknown to Flora’s parents, her best friend is no longer speaking to her after finding out that Flora had kissed her boyfriend at a party.

Suddenly alone in her house Flora appears to go slightly crazy. She remembers kissing the boy so clearly, yet she has no other memories at all after the age of ten. Believing that only true love would cause her to remember something she becomes obsessed with Drake and determined to find him, even though he is now at university in Norway. Flora proves to be remarkably resourceful and thanks to numerous post-it notes around her home she remembers to keep up the pretence to her parents that she is not alone and all is fine.

I loved the character of Flora, she is so strong and capable, it would be so easy to give up in her situation but instead she fights and she finds ways to get around her short term memory loss. The way that she is written is so believable and real, I have no idea how Barr managed to portray such a complex character so well.

Flora is clearly a special person, everyone she meets seems to be endeared to her and wants to help. This proves particularly useful when Flora manages to get herself to Norway, determined to find Drake. In a completely unknown and foreign world, Flora struggles, the constant daylight confusing her body as well as her mind and unlike home, where she has memories from before the age of ten, here she remembers nothing, relying on the writing on her arms to guide her. She meets some right characters along the way, they soon realise that there is something different about Flora, but they see her spirit and so endeavour to help her where they can.

I could go on and on about the book, the storyline and Flora but I don’t want to give too much away. The book is a joy to read, I just loved Flora’s fighting spirit and how with the help of other’s she is able to overcome her difficulties and fight against her mothers’ control. Flora really has to be one of my favourite ever characters in a book and I hope that I remember her for a long time. Be Brave might just become my new moto too.

I received a copy of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr from Netgalley but I was under no obligation to review it.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr is out now and available from Amazon UK. In America, you can pre-order the book from Amazon US or it is available now on audiobook.

Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Blog Tour Review: Blood Lines by Angela Marsons.

 

I am super excited to be part of the blog tour for Blood Lines by Angela Marsons. As you might know I’m a huge fan of the Kim Stone series. You can also read a Q&A that I did with author Angela Marsons and my review of Play Deadalso in the Kim Stone series and The Forgotten Woman which is a standalone book.

But today we are here to celebrate Blood Lines, the fifth book in the amazing Detective Kim Stone series.

 

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Blood Lines by Angela Marsons.

 

My 4.5* review:

If you’re a regular reader of If Only I Could Read Faster then you will know that I am a huge fan of author Angela Marsons and her Detective Kim Stone novels, so it was with much excitement that I started to read Blood Lines.

Blood Lines is book five in the Kim Stone series, and although Marsons has always been clear that they can be read as standalone books, as time goes on I think that the reader would definitely benefit from reading the series from the start. And frankly, if you didn’t you’d miss out on some brilliant books.
Marsons is signed up to write a whopping 16 Kim Stone books and I have to admit that as much as I love the character I am unsure how Marsons will manage to maintain her for that many books. But thankfully she appears to be a long way from running out of steam with Blood Lines.
Book number two, Evil Games, featured a character that was so brilliantly written that she scared the bejeebers out of me. it was one of the best portrayals of a sociopath that I had read. So when I heard that Alex Thorne was to make another appearance in Kim Stone’s life I was even more excited.
For some reason, the relationship between Stone and Thorne just didn’t click for me in the same way and Thorne did not make my skin crawl as she had in Evil Games. This was disappointing for me. I felt that Stone dealing with Thorne and the chaos she was creating took up a lot of the story, but at the same time Stone was the lead detective on a puzzling murder investigation. For me, I think that it would have been better for the story to focus on one of these things, and to save the other for another book, as I felt that neither could be dealt with satisfactorily.
Having said that Blood Lines is still a very good book and will no doubt satisfy the many Kim Stone fans desperately waiting for another book in the series. I was pleased that we got a teeny bit more about Stacey and Kevin, two of Stone’s team but I’d love Bryant and Stacey to feature more.
Marsons is a skilled writer who is able to write in a way that makes the stories flow and feel so real. I’ve said it before but I do feel that each time a new Stone book comes out I get to catch up with a friend. The Detective Kim Stone books have been phenomenally successful and Blood Lines doesn’t let the team down and it gets a great 4.5* from me.
 Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, for a copy of Blood Lines.
Blurb:
How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?
A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…

A totally gripping thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page to the final, dramatic twist.

Blood Lines is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

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Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

If you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult then she is doing a tour of the UK to promote the release of Small Great Things. You can find out more about her tour here.

My 4.5* review:

I used to be a huge Jodi Picoult fan and would read everything that she wrote. I remember desperately trying to get hold of her older books many years ago as I just had to read them. I can’t remember why but that changed and I stopped reading her books a good few years ago now.

I heard a lot of positive things about The Storyteller and downloaded it onto my kindle but never quite got round to reading it. But when I started to hear murmurs about Small Great Things I knew that it was a book that I wanted to read. Picoult and the publishers did a very brave thing, they asked reviewers if they wanted to read a book without prejudice. The readers were not told who the author was, and everything that I heard was positive.

And so I started to read Small Great Things. Firstly there is nothing small about this book, at just over 500 pages it is a long read. The length of the book means that the character development is very good, we spend a good amount of time with the main characters and get to know them well as the story develops. The downside is that it takes a long time to read (for me anyway) and at times I would think about all the other books I want to be reading. But saying that I never felt that the story was dragging. I do feel that the book could easily have been shorter and that this wouldn’t have had a huge impact on the story, but I feel that the book benefited from being longer than average.

Picoult is good at getting the reader to think and Small Great Things is no exception. I did feel that a lot of the situations discussed were more related to certain areas, or states, of America more than the UK. Of course maybe it is possible that I am being naive but the UK doesn’t have the slavery history that the US does and the ingrained racism. Having said that since the Brexit hate crime has increased dramatically in the UK, something that has shocked and saddened me. Maybe Small Great Things should be given to everyone to read, and to make them think.

While some of Small Great Things was a little bit predictable and the end was certainly tied up nicely, maybe a little too nicely, but it is still a very powerful book. The writing is excellent and the research that Picoult clearly put into the book is impressive. The way that she talked about nursing and labour and delivery was spot on and if I hadn’t known better I would have thought that the author had training in that area. I would be interested to know how minorities feel about Small Great Things and the fact that it was written by a white woman.

Yet another accomplished and well researched book from Picoult. Has this book converted me back to reading Picoult’s books? Well yes, it most definitely has.

I received a copy of Small Great Things via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Blurb:

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.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us. It is about opening your eyes.

 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult will be released on 22nd November 2016 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Bloq by Alan Jones

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Bloq by Alan Jones

So before I put my review I need to apologise for being awol. I have been going through it health wise recently and it all caught up with me and I needed some time to recover. I’ve had more needles either taking blood out or putting drugs in than I can count, I’ve had procedures under sedation and an operation under general anaesthetic. My poor body doesn’t know whether it is coming or going. I have been reading, as much as possible, my trusty Kindle joining me on all hospital visits. I feel battered and bruised but hopefully on the up!

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So, without further ado, here is my 4.5* review of Bloq by Alan Jones.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Bloq, I’d heard lots of positive things about it but didn’t actually know what the story was about. When the book started a body was being buried, multiple profanities were used, and I really wasn’t sure where the book was going.

Turned out it was taking the reader on a journey through the dark side of London and the story of Carol, a middle class Scotland girl who got caught up with the wrong crowd. The book tells the story of Carol, but also of her father who is attempting to save his daughter and bring the baddies to justice. Bill’s journey takes him to places that he never imagined he’d go. It becomes apparent that he is incredibly proficient at all he turned his hand to, perhaps too adept. At times I wondered how an average man learnt the things that he did and knew how to do all that he did. But that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of Bloq.

There are plenty of twists and turns and although you’re fairly sure where the story is going to go I did not know how it would take me there. Overall Bloq is an easy to read, gripping story of an ordinary man who finds himself in an extraordinary situation.

Thank you to the Author, Alan Jones, for giving me a copy of Bloq in return for an honest review.

You can buy Bloq from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.