Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Death Sentence- Mikkel Birkegaard

I received a copy of this to review for Transworld Book Challenge.  I loved the concept of this book- an author discovers that someone has recreated one of his murders and worries that he will be a suspect.  Soon after another murder is committed again based on one of his novels.  As both of the victims are people he knows he worries what will happen next and begins to investigate himself.  He is a well known author with a reputation of writing particularly horrific, violent murder stories and as a result of this the book is, at times, fairly gruesome.  The story is interspersed with chapters charting Frank's early life, studenthood and marriage

I found this a gripping read but some of it didn't hold together, particularly with regard to the lack of the police investigation and I found the ending slightly frustrating.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Nothing but trouble- Rachel Gibson

I received this to review for Transworld Book Challenge.  For me it was a very predictable novel filled with one dimensional character who could have been developed much better.  Mark Bressler was the Chinooks captain before having a serious accident stopping him playing hockey.  Chelsea Ross has been hired to care for Mark.  He doesn't want her there and sets out to get her to quit whilst she is doing all she can to stay as she wants the $10,000 reward for lasting.  I found it difficult to believe that Mark needed a carer and apart from a bit of rudeness there wasn't anything particularly to get rid of Chelsea. 

Despite these criticisms to read it purely as fluffy, escapism it was an ok read.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The colour of death- Michael Cordy

I am part of the transworld book group and have been given a copy to review.

This was an outstanding book.  Its the first book I have read by Michael Cordy and I hope it is to be the start of a new series.  Dr Nathan Fox is a psychiatrist with his own share of emotional baggage as he still doesn't understand why he was the only person not killed in a petrol station hold up.  He is assigned to treat a woman known only as Jane Doe as she has complete amnesia of anything which happened prior to her rescuing dozens of Russian women held captive.

The book tackles a complex medical condition "synaethesia" and interweaves it very well into the storyline.  Early on in the book I was reading it slowly, trying to savour it as much as possible but as the story progressed I was desperate to find out how it was going to end.  All in all very highly recommended!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

It's not about me- Max Lucado

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

This book pretty much seeks to unpack the title and explore the fact that the world does not revolve around me. I am not the be all and end all of the world and nor should I seek to put myself in that position. It does this by, in part 1, dipping in and out of the Bible showing the character of God culminating in reminding us what He has done for us before posing the question how is this not about me? Part 2 seeks to answer this question and uses a series of analogies to do so.

This book is written in typical Lucado style, full of thoughtful insights, analogies and drawing on personal experiences. It includes a really powerful, well written chapter on legalism as well as touching on real life issues such as sex, struggling and suffering.

This is a well written, biblically sound but easy to read book.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The midwife's confession-Diane Chamberlain

This book focusses on secrets.  The main character, Noelle commits suicide in the first chapter so it is strange to view her as the main character but she is central to most of the other storylines.  Her good friends Tara and Emerson can't understand why she has committed suicide so they begin to delve deeper into her past and discover secret siblings, surrogacy and baby swapping. 

Tara is also trying to come to terms with her husband's death and both she and Emerson have teenage daughters who both cause problems for their parents as well as trying to deal with their own issues.

Chamberlain's great strength in this book is the well roundedness of all the characters.  They feel like real people and I found myself drawn to all of them at different times.

We also are introduced later on to Anna who is dealing with an ill daughter and a returning husband.  This book is written alternately by Tara, Emerson, Grace and Anna as well as third person narrative of Noelle. 

All in all a very good read

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Secrets she left behind-Diane Chamberlain

Her writing is likened to Jodi Picoult and I can see why. This book follows the characters introduced in Before the Storm. I hadn't read Before the Storm before reading this one and don't think it mattered once I had worked out the characters. I'm not sure whether it will affect my reading of Before the Storm as I know who started the fire and why and the effects on other people etc.

This story is written from 4 main viewpoints- Maggie who is being let out of prison, Andy-her brother, Keith who she has just learned is her half brother and was badly scarred in the fire and Sara, Keith's mum. The latter's chapters are written as a journal rather than narrative and cover the time from Maggie being born to present.

The story encompasses Sara's disappearance, Maggie's return home from prison and attempts to be accepted by society, as well as issues of complex family relationships, fetal alcohol syndrome, guilt and surviving and is a gripping read

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Gallow's Bird by Camilla Lackberg

Another great novel by Camilla Lackberg, who manages to interweave Patrik's personal life with the cases he is investigating without overdoing one or the other!  In this book Patrik and Erica are preparing for their wedding whilst also dealing with Anna living with them.  Meanwhile, Patrik is called to a car fatality which soon reveals itself as more than the tragic accident it first appeared to be.  We learn more about Melberg and his love life which never runs smoothly.  This book also shows a better side to Gosta, who until this book has been portrayed as a work-shy officer and we are introduced to Hanna, a new inspector to the team

There is also a reality tv show being filmed in the town.  I think my biggest criticism of the book is that I don't think the characters of the contestants are developed very well.  Other than that an excellent novel and I eagerly await the next one!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Stone Cutter- Camilla Lackberg

This is the third book in the Erica Falck/Patrik Hedstom series.  Personally, Patrik has become a father and Erica is suffering some form of postnatal depression.  In his professional sphere a girl is found drowned in the river and she is the daughter of Erica's friend.  In addition to this storyline there is, interwoven, the story of Agnes told beginning in the early 1920s.  It is not clear until a lot later in the book (for me almost at the end) what relevance this has on the modern day story.  We also follow more of Erica's sister Anna's story which I am sure will be continued in the next book

I like the way that Lackberg builds the different characters.  She gives real depth to them.  Would definitely recommemd this book but reading the other 2 first might be worthwhile.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

10th Anniversary- James Patterson

 This isn't the best book I've read and I have largely given up on James Patterson books but I do enjoy the women's murder club series so read this.  It was typical Patterson in that it had short chapters and is very fast moving.

The book opens with Lindsay's wedding but quickly moves onto the discovery of a girl who is bleeding heavily but her baby is missing.  Simultaneously to this investigation we have Yuki tackling a domestic murder trial and Cindy dealing with a rapist who leaves his victims near to where they were abducted but still fully dressed.  In amongst all of this we have romance blossoming for some of the characters and longings for a baby. 

All in all great escapism and light reading and a must if you have read the first 9!!!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cold Shoulder-Lynda La Plante

Lorraine Page was a promising lieutennant until she kills a young boy whilst drunk on duty.  She then continues drining more and more until she has lost everything- her husband, children, house and dignity.  Some years later we catch up with her again after having been admitted to a hospital Rosie (a former alcoholic) takes her in.  A serial killer is on the loose and Lorraine has seen something which makes her invaluable to the police.  She finds herself eventually at the centre of the investigation. 
I really enjoyed this book but did feel that it could have been trimmed by about 50 pages or so.  Towards the end it all seemed a little too protracted.  Had it not been for this it would definitely be a 5* read for me and I am now going to go and search for the next in the series!

Friday, 3 June 2011


My Grandma died last night.  She lived in a care home where she had been since I took the decision with Social Services that she was unsafe at home almost 11 years ago.  The home rang my parents on Sunday morning and said she wasn't well and probably wouldn't get through it.  Mum and Dad went to visit her.  I didn't.  I don't like the care home and I don't like seeing her like that.  Dad phoned me yesterday to tell me they had heard that she was unlikely to make it through the night.  I decided then that I did want to see her and say goodbye.  She was laid in the bed, one eye slightly open, she was rasping trying to breathe.  I couldn't talk to her with mum and dad there.  Dad left but mum stayed.  I still couldn't talk.  Eventually I asked mum to leave too.  Then I talked to Grandma and told her I loved her and I cared about her and that I was pleased that soon she wouldn't be suffering any more.  And I cried.  I knew she wouldn't get better this time.  I kissed her clammy head and stroked her arm.  The body in the bed didn't look like Grandma.  Only when I saw her hands did I know for certain that it was her.  While I was talking to her I was convinced that her breathing was easier.  I said goodbye and left.  My parents came back in the room but I hadn't told them that I thought her breathing was less laboured because I thought it was just me getting used to it.  I went home but Dad rang me 20 minutes later and told me she had died.  He remarked that when they went in her breathing was much easier and then they suddenly realised that it had stopped.  He told me that she had been waiting for me.  I think its probably true.

Grandma and I had a special relationship.  Looking back now I don't think it was a healthy relationship.  My Grandad was admitted to hospital just before I was 10 for a routine heart operation.  He didn't ever recover.  The night of his operation it was agreed that I would spend the night with Grandma to give her some company as she wouldn't be able to go and visit him.  From that point on every weekend I used to stay one night and if I didn't I was made to feel so guilty.  This continued til I was 17.

I am grieving but I am grieving for lots of different things.  I am grieving because she is gone but she went a long time ago- she had dementia towards the end. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The crucifix killer

A woman is found with her face removed hanging on a cross.  The first question that needs to be answered is who is she?  Then who killed her?  She has a mark on the back of her neck that Detective Robert Hunter has seen before...but the man who made that mark, on his victims before killing them, is now dead so does this mean that there is a new crucifix killer or was the wrong man arrested?

This book introduces us to the combination of Hunter and the new boy Garcia.  I wish I had read this before reading the Executioner as it does give background to both the detectives but particularly Hunter and I think he is a character who could go far.

Its a fast paced thriller with some gore.  Recommeded for James Patterson fans!

Things not to say to a self harmer..

Again as with the earlier post this is just random things that have popped into my head and I'm sure there'll be many more I come up with later
  • Its only superficial
  • Were you trying to kill yourself?
  • Can I see?
  • Its just for attention
  • I knew it wasn't anything serious cos it wasn't very deep/it was in the wrong place

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

I enjoyed this book.  The writing style was very different- Beatrice telling her story to Mr Wright with the occasional rememberance of dialogue with Tess, her sister who has gone missing.  I think it was possibly the writing style as much as, if not more than the actual storyline which kept me gripped.  The actual storyline involved Beatrice leaving her life in New York to come and find her sister who has gone missing and then subsequently her determination to find out what happened to her even in the face of everyone else's adamance that the matter is closed.
I look forward to read Rosamund Lupton's next novel to see what she can produce next time!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Frozen moment by Camilla Ceder

Its not often I give up on a book but I really didn't have the desire to find out whodunnit or why.  A man is found dead in his garage with a gunshot wound and has also been run over by a car.  Sometime later another victim is found with the same type of gunshot wound and having been run over by a car, but a different type of car.  Interspersed with this is the story of a girl who attends an arty type college 10 years or so previously.  I'm sure the link between the 2 stories would become clear eventually but after 170 or so pages I really didn't care.

Am gutted because I hate giving up on books and I wanted to enjoy a new scandinavian author but sadly this one wasn't for me


After 6 years of stability with my depression I've had a wobble...and a fairly major one at that.  To quote my gp "it feels like you're at the bottom of a big hole where your fingers can't even reach the top, let alone have any chance of pulling yourself up".  Hubby is working away a lot at the moment and the boys are being challenging.  The dr doubled my medication a few weeks ago and then last week decided that wasn't making any difference so changed me.  I had nasty withdrawal from coming off the old stuff so now back on half doses of the old stuff plus half doses of the new stuff and generally feeling rubbish!  Physical side effects are horrendous, suicidal plans are even worse!

Sunday, 29 May 2011


I am depressed.  I have depression.  What does this mean?  What should you say/do/think?
  • Don't think you have to treat me differently.
  • Talk to me
  • Ask me questions
  • Show that you care-a note, a text, anything will do
  • Be there for me
  • If you are serious about wanting to help be prepared for the long haul-its unlikely to get better overnight.
  • Don't make promises you can't keep (especially promises of time)
  • Just because I smile or laugh doesn't mean I'm "better"
  • Don't assume that because I'm depressed I can't smile or laugh.  I do still have a sense of humour!
  • Don't make it all about me.  Let me be a friend to you too.
  • Be prepared for silences when we're together

I'll come back to this.  I thought of some when I was at the rugby this afternoon.

In a dark house by Deborah Crombie

I like Crombie's writing. I like Kincaid and James as characters and have enjoyed their professional and personal relationships developing. I must confess I have not read the books in order but this largely doesn't matter-it means that I know what happens regarding certain things but doesn't detract from the individual stories. However, I do not think this is her best story.

There is a body found in a fire which could be one of many people who appear to have gone missing, a 10 year old abducted by her father who later reports her missing, and the ongoing custody battle over Kit who may or may not be Kincaid's son. For me, it felt that there were too many characters who were not able to be adequately developed. I would still recommend reading this and other books by her as they are a good police procedural without the gore!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

This was on my amazon recommendation list so I requested it from the library without really knowing a lot about it!  Alexandra Wijkner is found dead in her bath with her wrists slit.  Initially it appears to be a case of suicide but soon it is discovered that she couldn't have killed herself.

Her childhood friend Erica Falck has returned to the area following the death of her parents and she is asked to write an obituary to Alex.  However, the writing of this throws up some questions and Erica finds herself, along with Detective Patrik Hedstrom conducting their own investigations into the death.

This is a really well written novel, easy to read and introduces some good characters who are easy to like or dislike depending on who they are!  It isn't a gory read but it is fairly gripping.  I think my biggest complaint though is the lack of chapters...there are only 6 in the entire book!!  I am looking forward to reading the next book by this Sweedish author

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Executioner by Chris Carter

I didn't realise when I bought it that this was the second book in the series. It didn't matter though as it was easy enough to read it as a stand alone book. It was fast paced and although slightly implausible at times it was still a great book. It starts with a decapitated priest who has a dog's head instead of his own and when the detectives discover the number 3 painted on him they realise that maybe the priest isn't the executioner's first victim. As subsequent victims are discovered it is down to Hunter and Garcia to uncover a link between them and a motive for their deaths.

Broken Silence by Danielle Ramsay

This read very much like an introduction to a series so I was relieved to find that it was the first in a series! The focus is more on building the characters than having a complex storyline.

The main character is DI Jack Brady who is returning to work after being shot. As with many literary detectives he is a heavy drinker and a womaniser and we see glimpses of his former loves throughout the book. This book also introduces us to the local criminal master of the area who I think will feature highly in the next book which is soon to be published.

A young girl is found in a field and with a badly mutilated face identification is tricky. As investigations continue it becomes clear that she wasn't a naive youngster but the question facing Brady is who killed her and what does his colleague and longterm friend Jimmy Matthews know about it all?

The Jackal Man by Kate Ellis

Kate Ellis' books are always cleverly written and follow a similar format. There is death, an archaeologist and something that happened in the past that does link with the modern day crimes but this link isn't clear. They are not predictable or repetitive but they are truly gripping stories.

In this book a girl is attacked and the best description she can give is that the attacker has the head of a dog. Later dead bodies are found wrapped up in sheets. The question is whether there is a connection between the cases and if so what is it?

The characters continue to be developed in this book and whilst I would recommend reading all the books in the series they can all be read pretty much as stand alone stories.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

I read this because I had heard so much hype about it. I normally enjoy historical novels but I certainly didn't enjoy this one. It was very wordy when a lot of the description didn't add to the story or the atmosphere at all. It flicked between modern day and 1209 which somehow didn't work for me. Normally I don't have a problem keeping up with the storylines in two different settings but I found this altogether confusing and as for the ending I can't say it was anything like satisfactory! I continued reading the book because I was convinced it had to improve...I was wrong!

Footsteps on the shore by Pauline Rowson

As much as I love reading long novels at times it is refreshing to read a book which cuts through all the complicated twists and turns and long narratives. Rowson narrates a clever story (complete with twists!) without wasting any words. I think it would be an advantage to have read previous novels in the series to understand the relationships between Horton and other characters.

The book focusses on the Luke Felton, a convicted murderer who has been released on license. Felton has gone missing, simultaneously a body turns up in the river. Horton doesn't know whether this body is Felton's or not. As the case progresses we are introduced to other dead bodies as well as remeeting Andy's ex-wife and her new partner.

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

For me this is possibly the best book in the Harry Hole series. It opens in Hong Kong where Harry is taking some time away after the end of the Snowman case. Shortly after Kaja Solness appears to bring Harry back as his help is needed in a serial killer case. Only when it is revealed that Harry's father is critically ill in hospital does he agree to accompany her home.

For me the great strength of this book was the real development of characters. Harry Hole seems to be a more rounded character now especially following interactions with his father that we are witness to. Other characters who were introduced seemed to be given very clear personalities. I think the main weakness with the book was that it was a little bit too long. At times some of the narrative could have been trimmed.

I would definitely recommend reading the books in the correct order as there are references to the snowman amongst other previous cases


I'm Sarah, mum to 2 great boys.  I love reading and a lot of posts here will probably relate to books.  I play chess and watch the rugby.  I am a Christian and lead a teenage youth group and a local toddler group.