Review: Quieter Than Killing

March 7, 2017 in Book Reviews, Crime

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Quieter Than KillingQuieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary
Series: DI Marnie Rome #4
Published by Headline on 9th March 2017
Genres: Crime
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

For the past few years, my most-anticipated release list has included Sarah Hilary’s latest works. We’re now onto the fourth book of the DI Marnie Rome series and Hilary never fails to impress me. Her storytelling sweeps me up, diving into her books is like meeting up with old friends – and I love it!

The case in this book is compelling. There has been a series of attacks and Marnie and Noah are tasked with finding the culprits. Are the attacks connected? One again Hilary has woven her narrative, teasing and tripping me up along the way.

For me though, what I really enjoyed most about this book was spending more time with Marnie and Noah. I feel that by now, book four, we have a good handle on their characters, we know their histories and Hilary ensures we become even more invested in our protagonists.

I feel that I say this after every Hilary book, but Sarah handles the issues involved in Quieter Than Killing with great respect. It’s one of the things I love about her writing; she takes care and consideration with any issues she addresses, yet doesn’t detract from the story or lose any of the impact. If anything, it adds more impact!

I could sit here and gush about Sarah Hilary’s novels all day long. Her stories are realistic and believable, her characters relatable. Hilary references real-life news events to anchor her stories into our lives. I love her ongoing development of Marnie and Noah’s lives, and feel we are being drawn in closer with each passing page.

All in all, Quieter Than Killing is a fantastic addition to the series. It will raise many questions, but not all of them having answers!


Review: This Is How It Always Is

February 24, 2017 in Book Reviews, Contemporary

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: This Is How It Always IsThis Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Published by Headline on 9th February 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time - and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and, he loves peanut butter sandwiches.

He also loves wearing a dress, growing his hair long, and dreams of being a princess.

Rosie and Penn have four boys when they decide to try, one last time, for a girl. Claude arrives and they continue their hectic lives with a houseful of boys. However, it seems Claude really just wants to be a girl.

This is a beautiful, witty, hopeful yet sometimes heartbreaking story of a family who want the best for all of their children. A family who shoulder a secret so that their youngest member can be happy. Sadly, many secrets don’t say that way and not everyone is so accepting of the family’s choices.

This is a stunning, special novel full of wisdom, love and kindness. It educates but doesn’t lecture. It grabs a hold of your heart from the first page and doesn’t let go.

Frankel does an excellent job of inserting us into the family of seven. We feel that we know each one of her characters, and that’s no small thing.

One thing I loved about this book is that Penn is a writer who tells his children an ongoing fairytale bedtime story that has been progressed every night for their whole lives. Through this tale he weaves important messages for his children – messages that we as readers also need to hear!

This is a tale of unconditional love, parental decisions, childhood innocence, sibling relationships and handling the world outside of the safety of your own four walls.

It’s beautiful, important, relevant and thoughtful. I highly recommend reading it!


Review: Defender

November 28, 2016 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, Thriller

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: DefenderDefender by G.X. Todd
Series: The Voices #1
Published by Headline on 12th January 2017
Genres: Dystopian
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.

The moment locks them together.

Here and now it's dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.

These voices have purpose.

And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn't know it yet.

Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.

It’s our world, but not as we know it. It’s been seven years since the voices made themselves known and the population of the world dwindled. Now those that are left fighting to survive.

Pilgrim is a loner. He has survived, fought when he had to, done what needed to be done. However, meeting Lacey, a strong, surprising teenager, changes all that. He finds himself helping the girl to try to find her family and the two of them embark on an eventful, dramatic, action-packed road trip of sorts.

Going into this book I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if it would be my kind of read, but let me tell you – IT IS BRILLIANT!

Yes it’s dark, violent and bloody. Yes there’s gore, guns and grief. But there’s also friendship, loyalty, fantastic characters and writing that will keep you hooked from the outset.

I was trying to explain to my husband what I was reading; The Walking Dead minus the zombies was where I began, but honestly this book is so much more than that. It’s clever, multi-layered and mysterious. I feel we’ve just touched the surface of this dystopian world and I can’t wait to read on and learn more.

I mentioned the characters – they are what makes this book for me. Their interactions, banter and humour had me captivated. The progression of their relationships did likewise. I truly cared about our central characters and consequently felt I was embarking on their dangerous journey with them.

There’s so much more I want to say, I *need* to talk to someone who has read this book! The fact that this is a debut novel blows my mind! I’m reeling myself in here though as I refuse to be the source of spoilers! Let me just say though that I finished this book over a month ago and I’m STILL thinking about it.

I feel that this is a series to really be excited about.  Clearly, I’m not the only one as Goldsboro Books have DEFENDER as their December book of the month (an excellent way to get the book a month early)! They have an exclusive sprayed edges limited edition with only 700 copies available. Want to know how much I loved this book? I’ve ordered the special edition. Yup, it’s that good!



Review: Kids of Appetite

September 21, 2016 in Book Reviews, YA

I received this book for free from bookbridgr, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Kids of AppetiteKids Of Appetite by David Arnold
Published by Headline on 20th September 2016
Genres: YA
Format: Paperback
Source: bookbridgr, Publisher

In the Hackensack Police Department, Vic Benucci and his friend Mad are explaining how they found themselves wrapped up in a grisly murder. But in order to tell that story, they have to go way back...

It all started when Vic's dad died. Vic's dad was his best friend, and even now, two years later, he can't bring himself to touch the Untouchable Urn of Oblivion that sits in his front hall. But one cold December day, Vic falls in with an alluring band of kids that wander his New Jersey neighbourhood, including Mad, the girl who changes everything. Along with his newfound friendships comes the courage to open his father's urn, the discovery of the message inside, and the epic journey it sparks.


Vic’s best friend was his Dad. His Dad seemed to ‘get’ Moebius syndrome and Vic’s life with it, but he’s been dead for the past two years. Vic’s Mum seems to be trying to move on with her life. It’s her moving on that prompts Vic to do something he’s been unable to do so far – touch his father’s urn. This sparks a series of events that will not only lead him to discover more about his parents, but lead to his meeting a group of kids who each have their own stories to tell. It’s also how Vic meets Mad.

We begin each chapter with a police interview. There has been a murder and the police are trying to decipher what Vic knows about it. To tell his story he has to go back in time and recount the last eight days.

The story is told from two perspectives – Vic and Mad. It’s through them that we uncover the details of the murder and the events preceding it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kids Of Appetite.  I have been meaning to pick up David Arnold’s debut Mosquitoland for quite some time now and having read this, his second novel, I’m most definitely going to get my hands on a copy!

I’m not sure I can adequately convey the depth of this book. There is so much more to it than the mystery of the murder – although let me tell you, I didn’t actually figure out the mystery myself! There’s loss, fear, illness, the naivety of youth and simultaneously the loss of childhood innocence. There’s understanding, orphans, refugees, bullying, new relationships, friendship and family.

In truth, there are so many layers to this book. It will undoubtedly make you laugh (the lettuce wrap in particular made me chuckle), it’ll educate you, make you think, consider life and perhaps even cry. Arnold’s concepts and way with words is striking, and the characters in this novel are incredibly memorable.

I refuse to give you any more details as this book is a journey in itself. My vague description will have to be enough to convince you to take this trip – it’s stunning!


Review: Tastes Like Fear

April 4, 2016 in Book Reviews, Crime

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Tastes Like FearTastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary
Series: DI Marnie Rome #3
Published by Headline on 7th April 2016
Genres: Crime
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

The 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 go home.

To the one man who understands 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.

He's Harm.

DI 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.

Because when Harm's family is threatened, everything tastes like fear...

As ever, I close the final page of a Sarah Hilary novel and I am in awe. It’s not just the plot that leaves me feeling this way but her writing. I can see each of her books so clearly in mind’s eye and Tastes Like Fear is no different. I’m left feeling more like I’ve watched a movie than read a book.

As with her previous books, Hilary tackles an emotional and challenging subject in her plot. Once again she handles it with great care and respect. This is, for me, one of the reasons that Sarah Hilary is such a fantastic writer.

DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake (I like to think of them as ‘The Dream Team’) are back with a new case to solve – the disappearance of a teenage girl. When a young girl causes a fatal car crash and disappears from the scene, Marnie and Noah are called to investigate. Is this the girl they’ve been looking for?

This incident opens up their case as they realise that it’s not just one girl that in trouble, there seem to be more.

In fact a man, Harm, collects runaway girls. He keeps them ‘safe’ – unless they break his rules.

The topic of runaway teenagers is obviously an emotional one. Hilary not only captures the mindset of the runaways but she examines the families that they leave behind.

There’s more to Hilary’s work than a ‘who dunnit’. She makes us care about her characters, consider their lives and the situations they find themselves in. She gives us a glimpse into the minds of the victims, their families and the criminals themselves.

She does all this while weaving an intricate plot with carefully crafted prose.

Naturally, I enjoyed catching up with Marnie and Noah. As ever, I like the way Hilary takes us into their personal lives, as well as professional. It’s this, for me, that really bring home how real these scenarios are. It’s easy to forget that police have their own lives. Professionally they may have to deal with murders, accidents, assaults, deaths, but at the end of the day they still go home to a partner, a beer and a meal. Personally, I’ve always felt that Hilary doesn’t glamorise her fiction, she keeps it very real, which makes it all the more powerful.

Yes, I’ve not really discussed the plot but I’m not going to – you’ll just have to read it! What I will say though is that you haven’t read Someone Else’s Skin and No Other Darkness yet then get reading as this is a series of books you don’t want to miss!

Let me finish with a rather bold statement – Sarah Hilary is my favourite crime writer. If you’re a fan of the genre you need to read her books. Tastes Like Fear is a stunning third novel in a tremendous series.