3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Literary Fiction

ARC Review | When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

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When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

Published: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Pages: 356

Genres: literary fiction

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: heartbreakingly beautiful novels, stories that honor the older generations

Foodie Vibes: liquor that reminds you of certain loved ones

 

Synopsis:

A tale of a single night. The story of a lifetime.

If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said and done?

This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.

Beautifully written, powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Thomas Dunne Books and Anne Griffin for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

My rating is actually 3.5/5 stars but since there aren’t half stars I always round up. 

When All Is Said is a heartbreakingly beautiful and poignant piece of literary fiction. The main character, ____________, is near the end of his life. When we find him, he’s in a bar ordering very specific drinks one evening. One drink for each important person that he would like to toast.

Each chapter is about one important person over his lifetime. The chapters about his late wife and sister in law are especially touching. The writing is elegant without being overly pretentious or stuffy. I think this book is a wonderful way to tell the stories of a person’s life.

However it made for some very long chapters. Over 50 pages for most to be exact. I hate stopping in the middle of chapter, which I was forced to do. It’s not realistic to finish up the few pages left in the chapter when you have 35 pages left. Also, while some of the people’s stories were captivating, others didn’t hold my attention at all. Very hit or miss. 

All in all, When All Is Said is beautiful, sad, and relatable. A wonderful way to honor the older adults in society. Often their feelings and wishes are overlooked with others telling them what they must do. The author tells a story of a man honoring his own life and making decisions for himself. The book will stay with me for a long time. 

 

Have you read this book yet? What did you think?

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

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Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

Published: August 30, 2018

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 348

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, police procedural, psychological thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted serial killers, police procedurals, characters to root for, the TV show Criminal Minds

Foodie Vibes: home cooked meals alternating with bad police station coffee

 

Synopsis:

Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

 

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Caroline Mitchell for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

Truth and Lies pulled me in right from the beginning. I was so engrossed in the story that I hardly stopped to take notes for my book review. The character of Amy, a Detective Inspector, made the entire book work. She’s the daughter of a serial killer and is being contacted by her imprisoned mother. Forced to unearth haunting memories of her childhood to solve the case.

I really enjoyed the creepy multilayer story. It reminded me of a Criminal Minds episode but set in the U.K. And Criminal Minds is my favorite TV show, so that’s good all around. The evil from Amy’s mother was so far reaching. It impacted many people and made for a great novel.

At the beginning I had trouble figuring out which police personal were which. As the story went on, it made more sense. Also, I wish the characters were more developed. Now this isn’t always possible with an intense police procedural. I really want to get to know Amy better and find out what happens to her next. I hope there’s a sequel!

 

Have you read the book?

Do books ever remind you of TV shows?

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

ARC Review | Murder on the Marshes by Clare Chase

Be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom for a fun twist!

 

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Murder on the Marshes by Clare Chase

Published: July 31, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: doesn’t list 

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: murder mysteries, Law and Order SVU, books about college faculty

Read with food: pretentious hors d’oeuvres at networking events

 

Synopsis:

Meet Tara Thorpe – she had enough on her plate before a grisly college murder landed right in her lap!

As the sun rises, a young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat.

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Clare Chase for an ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

Murder on the Marshes is a fast read that pulled me in right from the beginning. The action is written so there’s plenty of it to move the story forward, but not so much to be over the top ridiculous. In general I enjoyed the writing style. The color descriptions and imagery are wonderful. They paint quite a picture.

I also really liked the setting. Many of the main characters are college professors, so it’s set on and near a college campus. There’s something about getting a behind the scenes look at college life through the eyes of the professors. Maybe it’s just me, but these types of books are really appealing. I could read an entire book about this alone, completely taking out the murder mystery aspect. Although that was intriguing as well and gave the plot structure.

I would recommend the book for the great writing, college professor characters, and also the mystery.

 

Random Question of the Post: 

What dish do you cook best?

 

Let’s hear all your answers!

 

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense · thriller

The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter

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The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter

Published: April 10, 2018

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 538

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: mysteries set in London, police procedurals, thrillers mixed with fantasy

Read with food: fish and chips in iconic London

 

Synopsis:

When several major political figures die mysteriously, officials declare the deaths are from natural causes. Then the German Vice-Chancellor dies on the steps of 10 Downing Street and a drone is spotted hovering over the scene. The truth becomes clear – these high-profile deaths are well-constructed assassinations, and the Covert Eyes team is tasked to investigate.

With the help of Dr Isabella Marin, a young expert in the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript and cryptophasia (twin language), Nicholas and Michaela home in on Roman Ardelean, a wealthy cybersecurity genius and a descendant of fifteenth century Romanian Vlad the Impaler – often romanticised as Dracula. Ardelean believes the Voynich Manuscript will unlock the secret to curing his severely ill twin brother’s blood disorder and is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way, including Nicholas and Michaela.

Along with MI5, the Covert Eyes team must race against the clock to find Ardelean before he unleashes a devastating attack on London intended to destroy those he believes betrayed him.

Review: 

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaway for a free copy of the book, as well as the publisher and author. As always, an honest review.

Drones, falcons, cyber warfare, and boots on the ground police determined to solve the mystery of multiple high ranking officials’ deaths pretty much sums up this action packed book. In general The Sixth Day was good but not great.

I enjoyed the page turning action packed intensity of it. I even finished the last 200 pages in an afternoon. The story is extremely relevant to this day and age. It’s even more terrifying, because with technology these sorts of crimes are possible. Definitely creeps me out a bit! The entire book takes place over six days, which works wonderfully.

However a major premise of the story wasn’t a great fit for me as a reader. The foundation of the mystery is the legend of Dracula and The Voynich Manuscript. Ancient curses, bloodletting, twin powers, secret texts and languages. If that’s what you love in a book, then you will probably enjoy the story even more than I already did. This sort of fantasy folklore aspect isn’t my cup of tea, so I enjoyed the actual investigation more than anything else. Also at over 500 pages, the book was too long. I thought it could be shortened by maybe 50 to 100 pages.

The Sixth Day is the first book that I’ve read by the author. I would read more of her books, but would pick and choose carefully based on the subject matter. Overall, a good solid police mystery, set in London, filled with tons of action, and featuring ancient texts.

 

Random question of the blog post:

What advice would you give to someone looking to get more reading done each day?

 

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

Book Review: Last Witness by Chris Merritt

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Last Witness by Chris Merritt

Published by Bookouture on July 24, 2018

Pages: 325

Genres: mystery, thriller

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: crime thrillers set in the U.K., the balance between police work and family life

Read with: a roast chicken and potato dinner~ appropriately matches the homey feel of the characters’ personal lives

 

Synopsis: 

What if you made one mistake and it came back to kill you? 

Detective Zac Boateng’s old friend, Troy McEwen, is found dead in his home. The official verdict is suicide. But Boateng believes it was murder. And he thinks he might be next on the killer’s list.

If Troy didn’t take his own life, then who did? As he investigates, Boateng discovers a link to an incident from decades earlier. Mistakes were made that day. Lives were lost and secrets kept. Until now…

As more people who were there on that fateful day are found dead, Boateng knows that the killer is closing in on him…

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

Overall I enjoyed Last Witness, but it didn’t wow me. The premise is cliche, but it works. Supposed suicides that only a few people think might actually be murders. As I have found, cliches are cliches for a reason. Because they work. And it does work in this book. The story holds up and generally held my interest throughout. However it took me awhile to be completely pulled into the story. For it to really find it’s footing. I think this might be since the story bounced around a lot at the beginning.

When the book found it’s footing halfway through, I just kept reading to find out who was the killer. I appreciated that both male and female police are represented well. Also, the characters’ family lives are well established and create believable characters. The story still focuses mostly on the mystery, but it’s evident that there’s an entire backstory for all the characters. The author gives them a depth and realness that rounds out the story.

In general, the book has a bit of an unsure start, but comes together to intrigue the reader.

 

What’s the most important aspect of a book for you?