Tag Archives: mystery

The Ghost Writer by Alessandra Torre. Review. 

Sometimes, despite my best intentions to stick purely to my TBR I get drawn in and tempted by other books when browsing Netgalley, most of the time I end up with something either decent, or mediocre. But occasionally I end up with a book that’s so good it will give me the book hangover from hell. The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre is one of these books. 

I find reviews where I loved a book so much despite its maudlin content, really difficult to write. So be patient with me reader, please. 

The Ghostwriter’s main character is Helena Ross, a published author of romance novels who pulls in 6 figure advances (I know right, a budding writer’s dream), she is a snarky, self absorbed, grumpy, old woman in a 32 year old’s body. Then she finds out she is terminally ill. The diagnosis and her short prognosis convinces her that it’s time to write a novel about her own life. Her confession. The reason her behaviour has become even more erratic, the reason she lied to the police and the reason that her husband and child are no longer with her. 


This book had so many emotions. I was tearing through it at a rate I rarely do these days, so absorbed did I become in Helena’s story. A character who is so flawed, so desperately unlikeable and yet one we can all relate to. The solitary life of a reader and writer who cares for nothing else but. 


The distress she feels and the anticipation at finally discovering what had happened. The writer leads us along the path of the ghost writer themselves, learning everything about Helena before the final secrets are revealed. Causing us to live, moment by moment with her, desperate to know, making our own assumptions until wham! It hits you like a dumbbell in the face. 


This novel walks away with an easy 5* rating. This is One that will leave me reeling for a while. 

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The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood. Review 

The Crow Garden is the first novel I have read from author Alison Littlewood and it was a rare treat! I love the idea of novels about madness but it is rare that I find one so well written, most I have found dance around with innuendo and mystery and I find that quite frustrating. Not so with The Crow Garden with echoes of Shutter Island Alison Littlewood builds tension with a novel where everything is evident to the reader and not to the characters themselves! 


Nathaniel Kerner is determined to become an Alienist or ‘mad-doctor’ treating patients in an asylum to atone for his father’s suicide, for which he blames himself. Soon he finds himself in his first position at Crakethorn, an old Manor House and now asylum where he meets the beautiful yet damaged Mrs Harleston. But as tension builds between the characters the lines between madness and sanity become blurred. 


Spotted with the poetry of Browning and Byron, the story tells of a terrible love story woven with insanity, in a time when it really was unclear who was mad and who was not. A time when Doctors were allowed free will to carry out barbarous treatments and patients could be admitted purely for being epileptic. The setting on the Yorkshire Moors and the time which is perceived to be Victorian times only add to the dark and cryptic storyline. 


Alison Littlewood’s writing reminds me a lot of the writing of Daphne Du Maurier and I feel that is the biggest complement I can afford the author of The Crow Garden a fantastic novel and highly recommended! 

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. Review. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like being scared. Despite this, a few years ago I watched The Woman in Black because I figured something with a 12 rating couldn’t scare a 20+ year old woman. Wrong. But despite being scared witless I really wanted to try the book. Which I have now finally done! 

I really enjoyed The Woman in Black it’s a fairly short novel only 200 pages long but it’s 200 pages of white knuckle fear, or at least it was for the biggest scaredy cat in the world (me). 


Arthur Kipps is a young solicitor, sent to out into the countryside to a small town surrounded by marshes, to attend the funeral of an old client’s death. The town is shrouded in mystery and nobody seems to want to talk about the deceased Mrs Drablow or her weird old house only accessed at low tide. And when Arthur spots a curious looking woman dressed in black at the funeral he finds the townsfolk shutter up even more. Cue weird experiences and ghostly goings on when he goes over Mrs Drablow’s house; Eel Marsh House. 


I found the book to be both interesting and scary. Which I think is the best kind of horror. I have no interest in gore, aliens, etc. But I do like a ghost story which troubles you and causes a psychological reaction, The Woman in Black successfully achieves this, with a mystery at the centre of the hauntings. Susan Hill’s description of her narrator’s terror, told in a first person narrative is utterly believeable because it is exactly the kind of fear we have all experienced. 


Spine tingley good, I just hope I can sleep tonight! 

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen. Review. 

Tess Gerritsen is an author who I already respect and admire as an amazing crime thriller author. Her Rizzoli & Isles series about detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles have already taken the world by storm with a 12 book series plus short stories and a TV adaptation. 


I Know a Secret is the 12th and most recent novel in this series and I am pleased to say that it was as gripping and engaging as it’s predecessors. I loved getting back into the world of the two friends who couldn’t be more different and yet connect with each so well. 


I Know a Secret find the duo investigating a series of weird murders which the two Know are connected but cannot prove. As the plot thickens they have a suspect in mind but is he just that little bit too obvious? Meanwhile a mysterious girl haunts the funeral, she knows all the victims and she knows what their connection is, but there’s no way she’s ever going to tell her Secret. 


I can’t really say much more about the plot without giving anything away but I will say that there is more to it than meets the eye and secrets never stay buried! 

An excellent crime thriller, fast paced, intriguing and keeps you guessing until the end. 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. Review 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry seems to have been the most talked about book of the year, people who I know are not regular readers have even read and raved about it. As usual I am a little late to the party thanks to my enormous reading pile, but I’ve finally read it. 

In all honesty I found it a little slow paced, while the writing is beautiful I often find that beautiful writing makes you read much slower. When I first started my own studies in writing I remember scoffing at the idea that people prefer to read speech, conversations etc. Rather than description and the narrator telling the story. Show don’t tell. It’s the first rule of writing school isn’t it? And this book I felt, does a lot more telling than showing which I guess is why I found it slow paced. 


There’s no denying that Sarah Perry is a great writer, her prose is beautiful and the story is interesting as it looks to a time when scientific discovery begins to battle not only religious piety but myth and legend as well. Not only this, the novel explores the human psyche, emotions and relationships in minute detail, and the way that as humans we blunder on breaking relationships and not knowing or even perhaps caring how we effect other people. In particular the character of Cora Seaborne who sees herself so much as a woman empowered, taking back her identity that she fails to see how her actions and words effect others. 


I thought that this book explored the concept of feminism very well, in believing in herself and her own rights to do as she pleased, Cora destroyed friendships and relationships completely unaware of the fact and somewhat resentful when she became so. 

It was weird in places but as I say, well explored and what are people if not a little on the strange side? 

Unpopular Opinions Booktag 

So I’m reading two books at the moment. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard and Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra. Which means I’ll not be able to review for a while as the great Don alone is over 1,000 pages. So I’m going to be doing a couple of book tags in the meantime! 

This is one I should have done ages ago but never got round to, I found it on http://www.booklovingnut.com which has a host of fantastic book tags which you should check out! It was originally created by https://readatmidnight.com/ and it’s all about Unpopular Opinions! 

1. A popular book you didn’t like. 

Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith 


Loved the show, hated the books. Genuinely some of the worst books I have ever read. Poorly written, terrible characters and well, just poor altogether! 

2. A book series that everyone hates but you love. 

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James 


I’m not going as far as to say everyone hates this book but I’ve heard a lot of bad things about it. I really enjoyed it and I like the series. Fair enough the first book is pure smut but the second and third start to bring together a storyline which is really interesting. 

3. A love triangle where the main character ends up with the person you didn’t want them to end up with. 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 


Although Cathy’s heart always belonged to Heathcliffe I hate that she ended up married to Edgar. He was a sweet guy, I can’t speak ill of him, but Cathy and Heathcliffe should have been the couple! 

4. A popular genre you rarely reach for. 


Horror, I’m far too much of a scaredy cat! I’ve read a few but they scar me for days so I tend to avoid them! 

5. A popular character you didn’t like. 


Katniss Everdeen, I just find her a bit annoying. Also she treats her love interests like sh*t but they still love her. 

6. A popular author you can’t seem to get into. 


Saying that, I’m reading Glass Sword at the moment but I’m just really struggling to keep an interest in these books. 

7. A popular trope you’re tired of seeing. 

Lip biting. Seriously, who can bite their lip and look sexy? I’ve tried, I look like I’m attempting self cannabalism. Also who here bites their lip when they’re nervous/angry/scared? Nope, me neither. 

8. A popular series you have no interest in reading. 


The Discworld series by Terry Pritchett has just never appealed to me at all. 

9. The saying goes “the book is always better than the movie” but what movie do you prefer to the book?


I can’t think of a film but I’m enjoying the tv mini series of Cuckoo’s Calling much more than the book. 
I hope you enjoyed my unpopular opinions. Let me know what you think in the comments and have a go yourself if you haven’t already! 

The Angel by Katerina Diamond. Review. 

Katerina Diamond is fairly new on the crime thriller scene with her debut novel The Teacher published in 2016. Since then she has released another two books in her Imogen Grey series; The Secret And The Angel. You can read my reviews of The Teacher and The Secret on the links below: 

https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/the-teacher-review/

https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/the-secret-katerina-diamond-review/

The Angel picks up after the events of The Secret. Imogen and her partner Adrian (that’s her police partner, not romantic one) are investigating a fire at a disused signal box where a body has been found. Gabriel Webb a lonely, goth teenager finds himself taking the blame for the crime. A brutal double murder follows and Imogen and Adrian find mysterious links that may mean their two cases are connected despite their dramatic differences. 


Not only that, Adrian can’t fight the feeling that the cases may have some connection to his own private investigation into his son’s stepfather Dominic. Let me just say that the connections are absolutely earth shattering! I couldn’t believe it, it really surprised me despite a clue so obvious that I overlooked it! 

The Angel has the same cryptic style as Its two predecessors while engaging the reader with the really likeable if slightly flawed characters of Imogen and Adrian. I like that the mystery of Dominic and his dodgy dealings were followed up on as well and the plot was something completely new for me, considering I’ve read over 400 crime/thriller books thats quite a rareity!