Review – Daisy Darker – Alice Feeney

Daisy Darker

Alice Feeney

Macmillan

ISBN:9781529089813

Description:

The New York Times bestselling Queen of Twists returns…with a family reunion that leads to murder.

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.

The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…

Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

My View:

Love the cover art. Love the writing; evocative, some really beautiful prose, full of surprising revelations.

This is a very cleverly plotted and written book; there are plenty of surprises, some reflections on the meaning of “family” and lots of exploration of family dynamics in general.

Daisy Darker pays homage to 2 well known narratives ( no spoilers see if you can pick them) this was a clever device, but for me it took a little of the gloss of the reveal away. If you like a “locked in” mystery, like a twisty plot, then this book is for you.

If you have read this what did you think?

I think its time I read her previous acclaimed book, Rock Paper Scissors.

Guest Review: Verity – Colleen Hoover

Verity

Colleen Hoover

Sphere

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408726600

RRP $32.99

Description:

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

Rachel’s View:

In a stark departure from her run of popular young adult romance novels, Colleen Hoover has delivered a dark, tense thriller.

When a successful novelist who writes from the chilling perspective of the villain is involved in a terrible accident, struggling writer Lowen is brought in to finish the final contracted books. Staying in the house with the famous but now irrevocably changed Verity Crawford and her husband Jeremy, Lowen begins sifting through a room full of the author’s notes.

As she sets about outlining the new novels, she stumbles across something almost too horrible to read – but read she must. And as the pages unfold, Lowen is given a disturbing insight into what really happened surrounding the tragedies of the Crawford family.

Ill at ease from the dark words she has discovered, Lowen begins to question her own sanity as she sees things around the house that don’t add up.

With a last minute twist you’d never expect, Verity is a compelling page turner. Of course there are elements of the romance Colleen Hoover is so well known for, with a few of the common tropes thrown in for good measure. Still, it is an exciting and creepy read that’s easy to finish in a matter of hours.

But reader beware – if you’re a new mum like me, there are parts that will make your stomach turn!

#Giveaway A Day – Brimstone – Russel Hutchings

For my birthday this year I decided to do something a little different – you get the presents- I am giving away a book a day – drawn randomly, sometime during the day/night…for the next few days…a lucky dip of books.

I hope you find something in this eclectic selection that sparks your interest. Open to Australian residents., thanks to DMCPR Media – its simple – just respond, “yes please” in the comments.

Description:

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO PROTECT YOUR COUNTRY?

John Devereaux, an SAS Warrant Officer, is seconded to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and handed a mission that will test him to his very core – both professionally and personally.

The operationally deniable mission: infiltrate into Cambodia via parachute in the dead of night and assassinate two high-value targets, alone, and with two dozen enemy soldiers in his way.

From the relentless jungles of Cambodia to the chaotic civilian-filled streets of Sydney and Bangkok, to the secretive dens of Moscow and the extravagant French Riviera, explosive SAS and ASIS action uncovers a shadowy and powerful organisation that brings us face to face with the Russian Mafia, and an assassin getting intimate.

Unbeknown to Devereaux, the Director-General of the Secret Intelligence Service, Magnus Webb, is testing him for a far more important role – to head an off-the-books clandestine cell buried deep inside this secret organisation and known only as MANTRA-6.

Devereaux’s mission has only just begun…

Review: Verity – Colleen Hoover

Verity

Colleen Hoover

Sphere

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408726600

RRP $32.99

Description:

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My View:

Unsettling.

Incredible.

Unreliable narration.

So many surprises.

Shocking.

Psychological suspense.

Twisty.

Domestic Noir with many twists.

READ IT.

Review: Blind Date – Brenda Chapman

Blind Date

Hunter and Tate #1

Brenda Chapman

Kindle

ASIN: B09PNWW5GK

Description:

Nobody’s safe when a killer has you in their sights.

True crime podcaster Ella Tate is shaken to her core by the horrific assault and murder of Josie Wheatly, a teacher she has never met … because not only had Josie moved into Ella’s vacated apartment three months earlier, but her Facebook photos reveal a striking resemblance between the two women.

Within days, two people close to Ella are harmed, and she fears that she’s become the target of twisted revenge from her crime-reporting days. Reluctantly teaming up with her neighbour Tony, a hairdresser who loves the finer things in life, and Liam Hunter, the persistent detective assigned to the cases, Ella struggles to stay one step ahead before she becomes the target of the final kill.

My View:

It is no secret that I have been a long time fan of Brenda Chapman’s,  The Stonechild and Rouleau police procedurals. After I finished the last in that series, I did wonder what we might expect next from this accomplished author, I was so pleased to discover Blind Date.,

In Blind Date Chapman has created another very followable partnership of crime investigators- Ella – true crime pod caster/journalist and Hunter, cop. I like this this team. We learn a lot about Ella in this read, her past, her family, her trauma, her resilience. Hunter’s role in this book, whilst important, was not the focus and I am sure that in the next book in the series we will get to know Hunter a lot better.

Character lead crime fiction is one of my favourite genres and if its one you love you will not go wrong picking up a copy of this just released book. I cant wait to read more about Ella Tate and Liam Hunter

Review: Wild Dogs – Michael Trant

Wild Dogs

Michael Trant

Bantam Australia

ISBN:9781761046773

RRP $32.99

Description:

Wild Dogs is a page-turning action thriller set in the WA outback, introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher

‘Tough, fast and hard – my kind of book.’ -Lee Child

In the drought-ridden rangelands of Western Australia, Gabe Ahern makes his living trapping wild dogs for local station owners.

Still coming to terms with his wife’s death – and the part he played in it – the old bushman leads a solitary life. Until one morning, when he rescues a young Afghan man, Amin, from certain execution.

Now, with a gang of people smugglers on his tail and the lives of Amin’s family on the line, Gabe is drawn into a ruthless game of cat and mouse. His main opponent is Chase Fowler, a kangaroo hunter with bush skills as wily and sharp as his own.

As the old dogger and roo-shooter go head to head, Gabe will need all his cunning to come out of this alive…


Wild Dogs is a just-one-more-chapter thriller that kept me up long after lights out.’ -Jack Heath 

My View:

Firstly I would like to disagree with the statement” ….introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher“. This book is so much more interesting, complex, taut, gutsy, and raw; so much better than any Jack Reacher (apologies Lee Child, nothing personal).

WOW!!! That about sums up my reaction to this book. Read it, I think you will agree with me. 🙂

Review: Exit .45 – Ben Sanders

Exit .45

Ben Sanders

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781761065590

RRP 29.99

Description:

Marshall Grade returns in an action-packed thrillride through the New York underworld.

When a former NYPD colleague is shot dead in front of him, private investigator Marshall Grade discovers there’s far more to the killing than meets the eye.

Ray Vialoux is in trouble. Big trouble. And he needs Marshall Grade’s help.

Reluctantly, Grade agrees to meet. Over dinner in a Brooklyn restaurant, he learns that his former NYPD colleague owes money – a lot of money – to the wrong people. But the conversation is cut short by gunfire, and suddenly Ray is lying dead on the restaurant floor.

As Marshall investigates the circumstances leading up to the murder, tracking down the drug dealers, bag men, bent cops and mob players within Ray’s orbit, it becomes clear there’s far more to the killing than a gambling debt. Just who is responsible for Vialoux’s death . . . and why? What secrets are his family hiding? And can Marshall find the answers before his own history marks him as the prime suspect?

‘It’s easy to see what the fuss is about. Sanders’ prose is sharper than a switchblade . . . It’s like Raymond Chandler, Lee Child and Elmore Leonard rolled into one.’ – Sydney Morning Herald on American Blood

My View:

If you are a fan of crime fiction, if you love a great procedural, if you turn over the last page and sigh and mutter “oh…”under your breath in disappointment that you have reached the end of an excellent, engaging, tension packed read, then this book is for you 🙂

5 stars. Encore.

Review: Dog Rose Dirt – Jen Williams

Dog Rose Dirt

Jen Williams

Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780008383800

Description:

What if your mother had been writing to a serial killer?

A convicted murderer with a story to tell

Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.

A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth

Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.

A hunt for a killer ready to strike again

When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.

If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.

My View:

Dark dark dark!

Picture this – full moon, late at night, reading, reading…. new pup needs a toilet break before we go to bed – we put on her lead and we go for a wander around the garden…it’s midnight or later… we walk around and around in the light of the moon; its forty minutes and we are still walking (these “things” needed to happen before we could go to bed). We hear noises. We keep walking- hesitantly, reluctantly (me) purposefully (me) timidly (dog). I am feeling just a bit apprehensive (thanks scary book) 😊 Eventually the dead is done and we scurry inside and go to bed.

I slip into sleep – into dreams (not good ones) and wake up shouting “NO!” and snuggle closer to the husband. I had such a bad feeling…. such unease. Thanks book. I finished reading this in the daylight.

To sum up: a dark dark read- atmospheric, compelling. Read in the daylight.

Dog Rose – a type of climbing rose

Review: Local Woman Missing – Mary Kubica

Local Woman Missing

Mary Kubica

HQ Fiction

Harper Collins

ISBN:9781867226369

Description:

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

My View:

I have mixed feelings about this one. The premise is exciting, the first few chapters are captivating, the red herrings are well planted. However, I wasn’t captivated, I wasn’t staying up late to finish …and a few situations just didn’t sit well with me – no spoilers but interested to hear what others think…and whilst the ending was very clever it also was too neat a wrap up for my liking.

Maybe this is more about me? Lately I have been finding the genres I usually are drawn to are just not doing it for me. Is it because I am super busy? (It’s Open Studios here in 4 weeks and I have a lot of prep work to do) Is it because I have read too much of the one genre and need a break from that for a while? I will try mixing up my reading a little more.  Sorry Mary – I have loved your previous works but just didn’t love this one.

Review: Catch us the Foxes – Nicola West

Catch Us the foxes

Nicola West

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781760857479

RRP $32.99

Description:

Some secrets you try to hide. Others you don’t dare let out … Twin Peaks meets The Dry in a deliciously dark and twisted tale that unravels a small town

Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local paper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of Lily Williams, the reigning showgirl and Lo’s best friend. Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.

When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life.

What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy home town has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation. Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way, she could never have dreamed of.

My View:

This book had many interesting/intriguing parts but unfortunately, I could not suspend my disbelief to comfortably ride out this narrative.  I think this is a book that will divide readers – you will either enjoy or like me will walk away feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with the ending.  

The plusses – some great moments of intrigue, dilemmas, social issues highlighted …the best creepy character – Michael (very subtlety but creepily portrayed), many twists and turns.  Bound to cause lots of discussions in book groups.

The minuses –   so many “about faces”, my inability to suspend my disbelief, it felt like the book was trying to be too many things and not sure what that “thing” should have been.  The social issues that were sympathetically highlighted then later ridiculed /condemned. The ending…you either will love or hate it.

If you have read this, I would love to hear your thoughts.