Dot Scribbles

19.4.15

Book Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

In Boston, Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating a bizarre murder. A man has been found gutted and hanging in his home. When the remains of another victim are found, it is clear that this murderer has been a work for years, and not just in Boston.
Six years ago, a group of travellers set off on an African safari. None of them are seen again- apart from one woman who stumbled out of the bush weeks later, barely alive. The only woman to have seen the killer's face.
Has the 'safari killer' resurfaced in Boston? Jane is sent to Africa to find the one link between the two cases- the only survivor- and convince her to face death once again...

Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 352

This is the 11th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series, it had a slightly different feel to some of the others but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. As with most in this series, some of the action takes place in Boston but a large part of this book took place in
Africa and this was really refreshing.
Jane Rizzoli is called to a murder scene where a hunter and taxidermist has been gutted and left hanging upside down. Maura helps with the investigation and when another body is discovered they soon realise that the victims are linked and that there may be many more. Jane is led to the disappearance of a group of travellers in the African bush more than six years ago. Only one woman survived and now Jane think she may hold the clue to identify the killer.
I felt that Die Again focused much more on Jane than Maura and in this particular book the author was looking at the pressures Rizzoli has out of work. She has a very stressful and demanding job and on top of that she is a wife, mother and daughter, all three positions pulling her in different directions.
I found Tess Gerritsen's writing style as gripping as usual; the plot was fast paced and very clever. I thought I had it all worked out at one point and I loved the plot twists along the way. This series of books never disappoints and I urge you to read this one.

13.4.15

New to Dot Scribbles' Shelves...

Here's a selection of what will be coming up for review on the blog over the next couple of months, if you have read any of them then please let me know what you thought!

A Mother's Story by Amanda Prowse (Head of Zeus, 368 pages) I deserve all this because I did the worst thing a woman can do. The very worst.
Jessica's wedding was like a fairytale. She looked radiant in a dress strewn with crystals. Her Dad conquered his nerves and made a tearful speech. And her gorgeous husband Matthew declared himself the luckiest man alive. Together, Jessica and Matthew feel like they can take on the world.
But when their beautiful baby girl is born, Jessica is gripped with panic and fear. She can't tell anyone how she feels. Even when her life starts to spiral out of control...
This is her story. A mother's story.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (Sphere, 448 pages) Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.
And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.
Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Polly and the Puffin by Jenny Colgan (Little Brown for Young Readers, 96 pages) When Polly discovers an injured puffin, she and her mummy look after him in their cottage by the sea.
Slowly, Neil's wing heals and Polly must prepare herself to say goodbye to her new friend. Will she ever see him again?
Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.
The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne (Harper Collins 384 pages) One of Sarah’s daughters died. But can she be sure which one? A terrifying psychological thriller that will chill you to the bone.
A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley (Allen and Unwin, 320 pages) Her time is running out. How can Daisy ensure that Jack will live happily ever after? On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant 'Cancerversary' with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of good health, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it's unstoppable. Death is a frightening prospect - but not because she's afraid for herself. She's terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but charmingly helpless husband when she's no longer there to take care of him. It's this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife. With a singular determination, Daisy searches for Jack's perfect match. But as the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy is forced to decide what's more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband's happiness - or her own?

1.4.15

Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

My name is Amber Fraser. I've just moved in at number 40, Lime Park Road. You'll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.
This is a lie.
When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers had renovated the entire property, yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.
As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house's previous occupants- and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart.

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 500
Publication Date: May 21st

Ooh this book was good! Louise Candlish is so good at drawing you in and then not letting go. The story is told from Amber and Christy's perspective. Amber is the previous owner of 40 Lime Park Road and Christy the present-day owner with her husband, Joe. Joe and Christy are so excited and cannot believe their luck at getting the house for such a bargain price. It is one of the most coveted addresses in the area and they are full of excitement to have found their family home. However this all changes when none of the neighbours will socialise with them and none will explain why the Frasers left so suddenly. Christy become
s obsessed with finding out the truth, she convinces herself that she could be in some kind of danger and that something awful must have happened to Amber.
I loved the suspense that the author created. We gradually build up a picture of Amber through her chapters and the tiny snippets of information that the neighbours pass on to Christy. We don't get the whole truth until the very end though and I felt like I was holding my breath for the last few chapters.
The premise of the book is very clever, Louise Candlish takes an ordinary suburban street and turns it into a terrifying mystery. I loved Christy's chapters where she is watching everyone from her bedroom window; as she says so herself, it is very Rear Window.
As the saying goes, 'you never know what goes on behind closed doors'. The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is the perfect example of this. Louise Candlish has written a superb, modern day thriller and I urge you to read it.

Many thanks to Penguin for allowing me to review this book via NetGalley

27.3.15

BOOK REVIEW: Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

One dark secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six year old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie,
Then a stranger walks into their lives and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma's life no longer feels secure. Does she really know what happened all those years ago? Any why does she feel so frightened for herself and her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all of their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger, maybe they're right. 

Publisher: Black Dot Publishing
Pages: 356 pages

This is the first book I have read by Rachel Abbott but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Emma is happily married to David and they have a baby son Ollie. David tragically lost his first wife in a car accident; the same accident that saw his daughter go missing, more than 6 years ago. Until now, when Natasha reappears in their kitchen with no explanation of where she's been or why she's back. Emma has so many conflicting emotions; she is overjoyed to see David reunited with his daughter but on the other hand she doesn't trust this girl who seems so full of anger and who realistically is a complete stranger. When Natasha's reappearance threatens the life of Ollie, Emma feels she has nowhere to turn; she feels her only option is to call DCI Tom Douglas, he's an old friend but she feels sure that he will know what to do. She has no idea of the danger she is about to place him in,
Rachel Abbott sets a relentless pace from the very first page. I was initially worried that it would nose-dive at some point but she sustained the tension and I really struggled to put this book down.
The author plays on every parent's fear of their child being threatened or taken from them. There were times when I found this book quite uncomfortable to read as thinking of the same thing happening to my own daughter made it all very realistic.
All of the characters in this book are battling with their emotions and this made it all the more interesting. All involved have something to gain and something to lose and you do wonder who is going to come out the worst off.
DCI Tom Douglas is a good, solid character and I liked the way his story was woven into the case. It is clear that the case is personal for him but you just know that he is one of the good guys who always goes above and beyond.
Stranger Child is a gritty, fast-paced read which I would highly recommend. I am definitely going to read more from this author in the future,

Many thanks to Alexandra for providing me with a review copy of this book. 



20.3.15

BOOK TOUR: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Two couples. Two love stories.
One epic tale.
Ninety-one-year-old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, an image of his adored- and long-dead- wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together: how they met, the dark days of WWII and its unrelenting effect on their families.
A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko's life is about to change when she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a tantalising future for herself, but Luke is keeping a secret that could destroy it all. 

Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 465


I was very excited to be asked to take part in this blog tour. The Notebook is one of my favourite films but I have to hold my hands up and admit that I have not read any of the author's books. I don't think I'm alone as one of the rea
sons behind this blog tour was to get people to read the book before the film comes out.
The story flits between Ira and Sophia and Luke. Ira has just been in a car accident, he is seriously hurting and waiting to be found. His wife Ruth, who died several years ago, appears to him and we gradually learn about their relationship and the love they shared. Sophia is mending a broken heart when she meets Luke, he is not her usual type but the attraction between them is instant . Love does not run smoothly for either couple but it is interesting to see how they overcome obstacles and also how their two separate stories come together.
Ira was my favourite character and I did enjoy his parts of the book the most. I felt that his love for Ruth was so genuine, I found his story really interesting and very believable too.
I particularly liked the warmth with which Nicholas Sparks writes. I felt that he really gets to the heart of the characters and shows them at their most vulnerable.
The Longest Ride is about love and also the way it doesn't run smoothly. The plot grabbed my attention and held it throughout; it is a book I would highly recommend.

Many thanks to Victoria at Sphere for asking me to take part in this blog tour, the book is out now! 

9.3.15

Book Review: Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Even the darkest secrets can't stay buried forever. Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken  but the pact had been made.  Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood... Years later a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shook the Black Country. But when human remains are discovered at a former children's home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she's on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades. As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they can strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it's too late?

Publisher: Bookouture

This book was a fantastic read and a complete breath of fresh air. I may be biased as I am a very proud Brummie but it was so refreshing to read a crime book that wasn't set in London or Manchester!
Angela Marsons doesn't hold back, she takes you straight into the thick of it, five people standing round a shallow grave. These pe
ople thought that their secrets were buried but a spate of murders linking staff at a children's care home mean that people are going to start asking questions.
D.I. Kim Stone is called to the first murder which leads her to the care home connection and the remains of a child buried in the grounds. I really liked this character, I felt that she was very believable and even though she had a very hard shell, she does care deeply about her job and getting justice for those who can't get it for themselves.
This case particularly resonates with Kim as she is a product of the care system. Throughout the book we learn more about her past and her story is heartbreaking.
Silent Scream hits the ground running and has a relentless pace. There are more murders and more secrets revealed. Then ending completely threw me and I loved that it was so unexpected.
Anglea Marsons is writing more D.I. Kim Stone books which I am chuffed about as she is an excellent creation. This book has been sitting at the top of the Amazon chart for a while and it is clear to see why,

Many thanks to Bookouture for allowing me to review this book via netgalley.

2.3.15

BOOK REVIEW: The Two Of Us by Andy Jones

This is not a love story.
It is a story about falling in love...
and what happens next...
Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing but staying there is an entirely different story. 

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 451

I do not read a lot of books by male authors so I wasn't sure what to expect from The Two of Us by Andy Jones but I really did think it was good.
The whole book is told from Fisher's perspective and I liked him straight away. His heart is in the right place and he just wants to do the best for those he loves. What's not to like?
I liked Ivy in the main but even by the end of the
book I didn't necessarily feel as though I knew her that well. There were a few points where she seemed quite selfish but this could just be because we don't get her side of the story. The two of them together though are brilliant and extremely realistic. Their relationship, for one reason or another becomes very serious very quickly and I liked how Andy Jones demonstrated that by showing them go through a very intense set of emotions and feelings.
There were some chapters of the book that I found a little slow but the ending more than made up for these. The last few chapters of this book were like a master class in how it should be done. There were so many ups and downs packed in and so much emotion. I felt that Andy Jones dealt with it all beautifully.
I used to read a lot more by male authors (Tony Parsons and Mike Gayle in particular) but then I found it really hard to find a male author who I could still identify with. I think I may have found him again in Andy Jones, I hope this author goes on to write more books as he clearly has more to offer.

Many thanks to Clare at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of the book to review, it is out now! 

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