Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A New Podcast & Some Old Favourites Too.





Combining two of my favourite podcast themes (that would be Old Hollywood and True Crime) Hollywood & Crime is a new podcast from Wondery that aims to investigate one of Hollywood's most notorious unsolved crimes, the murder of Elizabeth Short, more widely known as The Black Dahlia. 

Now, you might think you know all about The Black Dahlia, but Hollywood & Crime promises to delve deeper into the mystery of one of the world's most famous unsolved murders.  Two episodes in, I'm definitely intrigued and eager to learn more.


If you're looking for a podcast that explores the deep, dark underbelly of glamourous Old Hollywood, then this is it. 





*****




Possibly my favourite podcast of 2016, Accused details the unsolved murder of college-graduate Elizabeth Andes. This is one of the best unsolved crime podcasts I've listened to -- and is definitely one that will appeal to amateur sleuths and Serial fans alike. 



*****



The Heavyweight podcast from Gimlet Media focuses on the turning points in people's lives when everything went wrong - and tries to make it right. It's an intriguing show, sometimes quirky, sometimes emotional, always compelling. 

If you liked Starlee Kine's excellent Mystery Show (sadly and bafflingly dropped by Gimlet) then I reckon you'll like this one too. 


*****





One of my all-time favourite podcasts, You Must Remember This sees host Karina Longworth spill a whole lot of secrets as she dishes the dirt on the downright scandalous lives of Hollywood's Golden Age stars.  If you love Old Hollywood, then you need to listen to this podcast in which the ever-knowledgeable Longworth covers topics ranging from The Hollywood blacklist to the Manson Family murders. A new series drops January 31st. I can't wait!


*****


So, what are your favourite podcasts? Let me know in comments!







Monday, 9 January 2017

Book Review: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson.


Product details:
Publisher: William Morrow.
Hardcover, 352 pages.
Release date: January 10th 2017.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: Adult
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 Trading apartments with her Boston cousin seemed like a good idea to Kate. She might finally shake off the nightmares that have haunted her. On arrival, she discovers that the woman in the next apartment has been brutally murdered. Kate’s worst fears are about to be realized, as the police come to suspect her cousin as the killer. There are other bodies in his past that she has yet to learn of.

HER EVERY FEAR is a classic nail-biter about a troubled young woman in jeopardy. This novel echoes those of Patricia Highsmith at her best.


  
Haunted by a traumatic past that threatens to define her, Kate Priddy is ready for a change. So, when her distant cousin Corbin Dell gets in touch to propose an apartment swap, Kate gladly accepts. For six months, Corbin will live in Kate’s tiny London apartment, while Kate will relocate to Boston, where she’ll take up residence in Corbin’s luxurious Beacon Hill abode. It sounds like a sweet deal to Kate. But, there’s a catch. Soon after Kate arrives in Boston, things start to take a turn for the dark, when the woman in the apartment next to Corbin’s goes missing, only to turn up dead. Kate is used to this kind of darkness. In fact, you could say it follows her around. A murder right next door? It’s not going to deter Kate from enjoying her time in Boston ---at least not at first. However, as the murder investigation gets underway and police questioning comes into play, it seems that this distant cousin of Kate’s, well, he just might be hiding some very dark secrets indeed.

I was first introduced to Peter Swanson’s work via The Kind Worth Killing, which featured the deliciously evil Lily Kintner, and earned Swanson a well-deserved place on my list of auto-buy authors.  Swanson writes stories that capture the imagination with well-drawn characters, backstories that always delve into darkness and multiple twists, many of which will truly surprise. Her Every Fear is another compelling read, once that grabbed me from the get go and kept me hooked throughout. I will say, though, that I had a some issue with the structure of this book, in so far as that at a certain point in the tale,  each major reveal was followed by a step back in time where the events leading to that reveal are relayed from the perspective of another character. This made for a loss of momentum, at times, as it slowed the action down.  When I’m reading a thriller, I want to know what happens next – I don’t want to know what I already know, told from a different perspective. This was definitely my major gripe with this book.

All that said, Her Every Fear is a solid thriller that piqued my curiosity and kept me invested till the end. Is Kate’s cousin a merciless killer? If so, what kind of game is he playing with Kate? Is she next on his murder hit list? It did occur to me, that if I was in Kate’s shoes, I would have gotten the hell out of Corbin’s apartment as soon as the woman next door turned up dead, the victim of a particularly gruesome murder. But then, that wouldn’t make for much of a story. As for Kate, she’s intrigued by the whole thing, and soon finds herself playing amateur detective, a dangerous tactic that might just make her every fear become a reality.

A compelling mystery that is shrouded in the darkness of mistakes once made that can’t be undone, Her Every Fear, though not as twisted or addictive as The Kind Worth Killing, is nonetheless another hit from Swanson. Her Every Fear will keep you reading late into the night as you put yourself in Kate’s shoes and strive to catch a killer from line-up of a mysterious cousins, stalker neighbours, shady strangers and complete unknowns. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

2017 in Thrillers: It's (Still) All About The Girl.

It started with 'Gone Girl.'
  
Then came 'The Girl on the Train'.
 
In 2017 the leading ladies thriller trend looks set to continue, with a whole host of upcoming titles dedicated to the titular girl.  These girls have stepped off the train, and now they are running for their lives, running from their secrets, running from that plot twist you maintain you saw coming, but deep down know you didn’t….


2017 in thrillers: it’s still all about the girl.


*****


The Girl Before by JP Delaney || Release date: January 26th 2017


For all fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl comes this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller which takes psychological suspense to the next level
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.
*****

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson || Release date: January 10th 2017
Trading apartments with her Boston cousin seemed like a good idea to Kate. She might finally shake off the nightmares that have haunted her. On arrival, she discovers that the woman in the next apartment has been brutally murdered. Kate’s worst fears are about to be realized, as the police come to suspect her cousin as the killer. There are other bodies in his past that she has yet to learn of.
HER EVERY FEAR is a classic nail-biter about a troubled young woman in jeopardy. This novel echoes those of Patricia Highsmith at her best.

*****
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough || Release date: January 26th 2017
Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.
It’s said that the only people who really know what goes on in a marriage are the couple themselves. But what if even they don’t know the truth?
David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?
Louise, David’s new secretary, is intrigued. But as Louise gets closer to each of them, instead of finding answers she uncovers more puzzling questions. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise could never have guessed how wrong things really are and just how far someone might go to hide it.
*****

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia || Release date: March 9th 2017
Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. So when she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.
Local sheriff Del Goodman, a good friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers; it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives: Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the real Hattie, and what happened that final year of school when she dreamed of leaving her small town behind . . .

Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity, about the line between innocence and culpability, about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control.
*****

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel || Release date: March 7th 2017
A gripping, provocative thriller about the twisted secrets families keep, perfect for fans of The Girls.

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.
Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl.

But you won't when you know the truth.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family's rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls.

But what she doesn't know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice...
 
*****
Final Girls by Riley Sager || Release date: June 29th 2017
Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead...


They were the victims of separate massacres. Three strangers bound by similar traumas grouped together by the press.


When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

*****

Of course, this is just a taster of what's to come thriller-wise in 2017.  There's also a new highly-anticipated release from 'Girl on the Train' author Paula Hawkins. 'Into the Water' may not have a buzzworthy 'girl' in its title, but I believe it does, in fact, revolve around the female of the species, two sisters with a whole lot of secrets.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney is coming up soon on my TBR (My blogger friend Jess tells me this is ah-mazing!) while I have a review of Peter Swanson's new novel Her Every Fear on the way very soon!

Tell me what thrillers you are most looking forward to reading in 2017!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

YA I Can't Wait to Read in 2017!

So, before I get back to the business of review writing, I thought I'd do a little 2017 book preview of sorts. Today, I'm focusing on Young Adult Fiction. I've narrowed this list down to ten books (which wasn't at all easy, let me tell you!) I hope you enjoy my picks and find some books to add to your 2017 reading list! 

Books listed in order of release date, since I'm chicken and couldn't list them in order of preference, don't you know.



*****




Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse 
Release date: March 7th 2017

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

*****


Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Release date: May 2nd 2017

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.


Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.


But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.


When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

*****


Girlhood by Cat Clarke
Release date: May 4th 2017


Real, compulsive and intense: Cat Clarke is the queen of emotional suspense. For fans of E Lockhart, Lisa Williamson, Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Brodick Academy. But she can't escape guilt of her twin sister's Izzy's death, and her own part in it.

But new girl Kirsty seems to understand Harper. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Izzy died.

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's dead sister?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.


*****

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Release date: May 16th 2017

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

*****


Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Release date: June 6th 2017


As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
 

*****


The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Release date: June 27th 2017


I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

*****


Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Release date: July 11th 2017


A Prep School Girl with a Hollywood Dream

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying. 

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill? 

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.

Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.

*****


I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
Release date: July 11th 2017

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks travelling through Europe with her childhood best friend Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower-Selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très-hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug of war. 

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera….wearing only her polka dot underpants.

*****


There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Release date: Autumn 2017

A YA horror novel in the vein of the movie Scream in which a cadre of high school students are being stalked and attacked by a mysterious killer with no obvious motive.




*****


Untitled (The Shaw Confessions #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Release date: TBC

What happens after happily ever after? By the end of the Mara Dyer Trilogy, Noah Shaw and Mara Dyer discovered their world-changing abilities along with their love for each other. In the first book of The Shaw Confessions, Noah’s father is murdered, and Noah inherits unimaginable riches, terrible knowledge, and the chance to find other people like himself. But as Noah and Mara begin their global search, they’ll discover that they have very different goals: Noah wants peace. Mara wants power. When the girl of your dreams turns the world into a nightmare, what do you choose? The girl or the world? 


*****

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

My Top Reads of 2016!

It's no secret that just like last year 2016 has been a bit of a  mixed bag of a reading year for me BUT that doesn't mean that I didn't read some great books all the same.

Here are five of my favourite reads from 2016, listed in order of preference.




I read a hell of a lot of mysteries and thrillers, so the one's that keep me guessing right till the end have to be very tightly plotted and really very clever indeed! This one is. Catherine Ryan Howard's stunning debut gets and A+ from me. 





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In a year when a whole lot of YA missed the mark for me, Emery Lord's When We Collided, with its gorgeous prose, was a big winner. 



Up next from Emery Lord: The Names They Gave Us releases May 2017.


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Clare Mackintosh is fast becoming one of my go-to authors for creepy crime fiction. I See You is a complicated puzzle of a book with many a twist to keep you reading late into the night.



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One of the most talked about books of 2016, Emma Cline's Manson-family inspired coming-of-age debut, lived up to the hype thanks to its gorgeous prose.



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A gorgeous beach setting and swoony romance give this book the feelgood factor I demand from all of my summer contemps. This one is a great beach read that will leave you with a big ol' smile on your face.




******




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