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Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan..

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The Dead Ground, Claire McGowan

Blurb:

A stolen baby. A murdered woman. A decades-old atrocity. Something connects them all…

A month before Christmas, and Ballyterrin on the Irish border lies under a thick pall of snow. When a newborn baby goes missing from hospital, it’s all too close to home for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire, who’s wrestling with the hardest decision of her life.

Then a woman is found in a stone circle with her stomach cut open and it’s clear a brutal killer is on the loose.

As another child is taken and a pregnant woman goes missing, Paula is caught up in the hunt for a killer no one can trace, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

The Dead Ground will leave you gasping for breath as Paula discovers every decision she makes really is a matter of life and death…

Review:

First of all a massive thank you to Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book! This is the first Claire McGowan book I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Dead Ground is a sequel to McGowan’s The Lost and it is a series which follows the journey of forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. I didn’t realise I was reading the sequel until I was already two chapters in. However, Claire does a good job of explaining what happened in the previous book so I wasn’t left feeling confused. This book can be read as a stand-alone but if you like reading things in order, then I recommend you read The Lost book first.

The plot of the book revolves around Paula and her team trying to locate a killer who is stealing newborn babies and murdering pregnant women. There are few sub-plots that run throughout the book which mostly revolve around Paula’s own decision on whether or not to stay pregnant and the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance.

From the get-go I found Paula to be quite independent, resilient and responsible. The dilemmas that she faces were quite realistic to what an average woman who isn’t ready to be a mother would face. To that extent I could empathise with her. Also, Paula does seem to be stuck between two men whom she cares for but at the same doesn’t know if they’re worth it and the irony comes when the father of her baby could be either of these two.

The subject matter in the novel is quite sensitive and just from reading the prologue I found myself quite disturbed because of how grotesque it actually seemed. However, I do firmly believe that Claire dealt with the subject as best as possible and that the events that unfold are necessary for the plot of this book.

The pace of the book is quite slow. I usually like a crime novel to have a lot of action and to be quite fast paced. For me this book wasn’t as fast paced as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, the different twists and turns in the story kept me fully engaged until the end. Also, there are a few things that are left unclear at the end but I’m hoping that’s because Claire is gearing up for a few more books in this series.

If you’re a crime/thriller fiction fan then I would definitely recommend this book. Claire took me on a roller coaster of a journey and I absolutely loved her attention to detail, throughout the book. It will definitely give you a fright, make you squirm and will leave a deep impact on you emotionally.

Overall Rating: 8/10

The book will be releasing on 10th April 2014, so in a few days’ time! If you haven’t read the first do read that too because I’m sure it will be as great as the second. You can pre-order The Dead Ground or purchase The Lost from the following places:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dead-Ground-Paula-Maguire/dp/1472204379

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Ground-Paula-Maguire/dp/1472218566/ref=la_B006WP8O78_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396862880&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Claire-Mcgowan/dp/075538640X

http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Paula-Maguire-Claire-McGowan/dp/075538640X/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1542AJNZMB7J60Y4HWRM

You can also follow Claire on twitter here: https://twitter.com/inkstainsclaire

Or if you would like to find out more about Claire’s books, you can check out her website here: http://clairemcgowan.net/

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes..

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mebeforeyou_jojomoyes

Blurb:

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Review:

I hope my review does this book some justice because I honestly believe that this is one book that has touched me like no other.

This was my first Jojo Moyes book and since then I’ve literally followed her books like an obsessive fan. The plot of this book revolves around the lives of the two protagonists Lou and Will.

Lou is a wonderful character that I immediately liked and was able to relate to on so many different levels. Moyes makes her very realistic and I felt that her simplicity and unselfishness is what made her so lovable. She’s very bright but does not have any stable direction in life, which is why after losing her job she applies to be a carer for a young man who has been left in a quadriplegic state. Fate works in mysterious ways and this job sets her on the path of Will Traynor, our second protagonist.

Will has been left in a quadriplegic state following a road accident, which occurred two years earlier. Unlike Lou, Will used to have a high-end active lifestyle and a successful career. However, after his accident he is left feeling demoralised, as he believes he has now lost everything. I couldn’t blame Will for being bitter and angry after what had happened to him but this is where Lou comes in. With a riot of colour she sets out to change Will’s perception and make him realise that there still are some things worth living for.

This is probably the first book I’ve read that centres so deeply around a physical impairment. What I loved though was that Jojo doesn’t just focus on the disability, rather gives us an insight into Will’s emotional journey as a whole. Will’s emotional journey and Lou’s loyalty towards making Will realise how beautiful his life really is, is what makes this story so special.

This book is very moving and made me realise just how important life really is and how easily we take so many things for granted. It made me appreciate the things I do have in life and has left a deep impact on my heart.

Me Before You is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and fall in love all over again. Jojo Moyes has done an exceptional job with this story that needs to be heard by all. I cannot recommend this book enough; if you haven’t read it you are doing yourself a great injustice. It is a gem of a book and if like me you’re an emotional person, have that tissue box ready. A thought provoking and a memorable book that will stay with you for a very long time.

Overall Rating: 10/10

Interview with the New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan..

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My previous book review was on Allison Brennan’s No Evil trilogy. I absolutely loved these books and just couldn’t get enough of them. Even though they terrified me at times, I have to say Allison’s gained a new loyal fan. I was also fortunate enough to have gotten the opportunity to ask Allison a few questions about her books and inspirations. The questions follow below:

1) Why Romantic Suspense?

To me, romantic suspense is the best of both worlds: I can have a strong, suspenseful mystery with a happily ever after, where two worthy people overcome all obstacles and learn that there’s someone special for them too.

2) I’ve recently just finished reading the No Evil trilogy. What was your inspiration for this trilogy? Any particular author or book?

I came up with the idea for the first book in the trilogy, SPEAK NO EVIL, when researching information about social media years ago when my then-12 year old daughter wanted to get a MySpace page. I uncovered a true story about a college freshman who had a sexually explicit pseudo-anonymous blog, who disappeared. It came out that she had a much-older boyfriend who eventually (after her body was discovered months later) pled no contest to murder charges. I started wondering about how much we put on-line and whether teenagers have the social or emotional maturity to limit themselves and their information. The other two stories sort of came out of the same basic world of online networking.

3) If you had to pick one character from the Kincaid family that is most like you, who would you pick?

That’s hard! Patrick in many ways because he’s the most easy-going of the Kincaid’s. And Carina, because she’s matter-of-fact and methodical in the way she approaches a crime scene.

4) Which villain(s) from the three No Evil books scared you the most?

That’s also a hard question! They all scare me for different reasons. The teen-age thrill killers in SEE NO EVIL because they could be so random. Random murder can hit anyone. But Trask in FEAR NO EVIL as well, because he is so manipulative and has no remorse. The way he set up Lucy was very smart — and smart criminals scare me more than stupid criminals!

5) What do you find most difficult when writing a suspense book?

Pacing — I always want to make sure the story is moving well, neither too fast nor too slow.

6) What books have influenced you the most?

The two books I read right before I started writing — THE THIRD VICTIM by Lisa Gardner and THE SEARCH by Iris Johansen. Those two books showed me that in the right hands, romance can be blended with suspense to create a chilling, fast-paced, emotionally fearsome thriller. Other books that have impacted me in important ways include THE STAND by Stephen King, the IN DEATH series by J.D. Robb, THE FIRST VICTIM by Ridley Pearson, THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and FAHREINHEIT-451 by Ray Bradbury.

7) What book are you reading right now?

I just finished CONCEALED IN DEATH by J.D. Robb and am bringing WHEN SHADOWS FALL by J.T. Ellison on a plane trip with me tomorrow.

8) If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I don’t even want to think about that! I worked in the California State Legislature for 13 years before I sold my first book and quit that job. I’d probably still be there if I wasn’t writing … and that wouldn’t make me happy.

9) NOTORIOUS has just recently been released. What can you tell us about your new book?

NOTORIOUS is the first book in the Max Revere series. Max is an investigative crime reporter specializing in cold cases. Her motto is, “The truth will set you free,” and she takes that to the extreme. She believes that the truth is always better than secrets, and this can get her into trouble. She has compassion for victims — she sees the families left behind by violence as much as victims as the individual who was killed. NOTORIOUS takes her back home, for a friend’s funeral, where she gets wrapped up in two cold cases — that of her best friend from high school who’s been dead for 13 years, and a more recent murder of a young architect on the campus of her alma mater.

10) Any other new projects coming out?

DEAD HEAT, the 8th book in the Lucy Kincaid series, comes out in June.

There you have it folks! Thank you to the incredible Allison Brennan for taking out time to answer my questions, I was absolutely delighted to hear back from her. If you’re an Allison Brennan fan, you can follow her on twitter here: https://twitter.com/Allison_Brennan

Or if you would like to find out more about Allison’s books, then you can have a look around on her official website: http://www.allisonbrennan.com/

If you want to read Allison’s new book NOTORIOUS, you can find it at the following places:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Notorious-Revere-Novels-Allison-Brennan/dp/1250035058

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Notorious-Revere-Novels-Allison Brennan/dp/1250035058/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/notorious-allison-brennan/1115382429?ean=9781250035042