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The Good Daughter
Karin Slaughter
A Boy in Winter
Rachel Seiffert
The Idiot (Everyman's Library, #254)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear
The Velvet Hours
Alyson Richman
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel
Sarah Pinborough

Can You Keep A Secret?

Can You Keep A Secret? - Karen Perry Having enjoyed Karen Perry's previous novels I was really looking forward to Can you Keep a Secret

This is a thriller where years of secrets and intrigue come to boiling point on a weekend reunion for friends and family at the crumbling estate called Thornbury Hall.

Karen Perry is certainly a writer with a terrific imagination as her past novels [b:The Boy That Never Was|18774350|The Boy That Never Was|Karen Perry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1384046170s/18774350.jpg|25095594] [bc:The Boy That Never Was|18774350|The Boy That Never Was|Karen Perry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1384046170s/18774350.jpg|25095594]and [b:Girl Unknown|30629314|Girl Unknown|Karen Perry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1479308791s/30629314.jpg|51162994] [bc:Girl Unknown|30629314|Girl Unknown|Karen Perry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1479308791s/30629314.jpg|51162994]were compelling and suspensful. Both novels I really enjoyed but Can you Keep a Secret just didn't seem to draw me in quite as much, while there is suspense and intrigue and the writing is good the book for the first 120 pages was a slow burner and took me a while connect or care for any of the characters. It does get there in the end and perhaps I just didn't have the patience for the slow reveal and others may appreciate this one better.

I look forward to more novels from this author.

My thanks to Penguin books for the opportunity to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review

The One

The One - John Marrs An immensely seductive story, clever and unpredictable, modern and just the sort of book to get completely lost in.

" A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person Millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now five more people meet their match but even soul mates have secrets and some are more shocking and deadlier than others"

I just recently had my DNA test completed with Ancestry for family research and when I picked this book up in a book store recently I just had to give it try and what a great surprise it turned out to be as it was dark and disturbing with five very interesting characters and lots of twists and turns to keep the reader engrossed.

Short alternating chapters (which I loved)dedicated to each character make this one easy to follow and exciting.
Fast pacced and extremely well plotted, this turned out to be a great psychological thriller that kept me up way past by bedtime.

A Doctor's Sword – How an Irish Doctor Survived War, Captivity and the Atomic Bomb

A Doctor's Sword – How an Irish Doctor Survived War, Captivity and the Atomic Bomb - Bob Jackson What an amazing story of survival and humanity of an Irish Doctor who survived war, captivity and the atomic bomb.

I came across this book while listening to the author's interview on radio and found the story fascinating and I sourced a copy the next day.

Aidan MacCarthy was from Castletownbere, a small fishing town on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, he studied medicine and became a doctor and while praticing in England he volunteered and went off to War looking for an adventure. His story is inspirational and uplifting from beginning to end and his suffering,endurance and bravery makes this book quite a gripping read.

Packed full of photos, maps and illustrations this is a riveting and vivid read which I could not put down. Well written factual and educational and I came away from this one feeling I had gained an insight into a horrible time in history.

Aidan MacCarthy's description of the atomic bomb explosion above Nagasaki in August 1945

(Excerpt from inside cover). There followed a blue flash accompanied by a very bright magnesium type flare..... then came a frighteningly loud but rather flat explosion, which was followed by a blast of hot air, All this was followed by an eerie silence.

I really enjoyed learning about Aidan's life before, during and after the war and Christopher Reeve's quote HERO came to my mind on finishing this book.

HERO......is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to presevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

The Secrets She Keeps

The Secrets She Keeps - Michael Robotham From the moment I picked up The Secrets She Keeps I was sold. This story grips you from the start and I found it impossible to put down until as this was a psychological thriller that exceeded my expectations and I think 2017 has really put good psychological thrillers back on the shelf.

A riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family

This was my first novel by Michael Robotham and I was really impressed by his writing as the characters were real and complex and the plot suspenseful and devious. I read this over a very busy few days and I found myself itching to escape from company on many occasions over the weekend to delve deeper into the lives of Agatha and Meghan and uncover their secrets.

This is a character driven, skilfully plotted page turner that I thoroughly and I can't wait to read more by Robotham.

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel - Elizabeth Strout An interesting insight into a mother and daughter's complicated relationship and what at first appears as a simple enough story turns out to have quite a lot going on that I feel would be best read and discussed as a bookclub read to get the best out of it.

It's a short book and while I liked it and took my time to digest it's simple prose and complex characters, I didn't feel any emotion or connection with the story or the characters which was disappointing for me. I kept feeling that I needed to read this with a view to discussing it in a group and instead of reading it for its enjoyment and story I was constantly trying to fill in the blanks in the plot as this is the type of novel where little is said but a lot is implied and therefore I didn't feel I connected with this book. I did read the discussion questions online Just to satisfy my curiosity.

Having said that, if it came up for reading in my book group I would happily revisit it as feel it would making an interesting discussion book. An interesting read but not one for my favourite shelf.

The Heart's Invisible Furies

The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne 3.5 Stars

Ireland of the 50s 60s 70s 80s.
He who dares be different........... gets a slap
Thankfully we have moved on.......


I wish I could break this novel down into 3 parts and my rating would differ on all three. The first 200 pages I just could not connect with the characters or the book as I felt situations and conversations especially the conversation between the 7 year old boys and the confessional scene and the numerous over played comic scenes and ridiculous coincidences made me want to throw this book at a wall as it just bordered on the ridiculous (2 Stars) and yet something compelled me to stay with the novel and I was so glad I did as the next couple of hundred pages the novel seems to find it's rhythm and was a wonderful insight into Ireland of the 1940s to today WARTS and all. (4 stars) and the last 200 pages were just deeply affecting and heartbreaking and hypnotic. John Boyne at his best.(5 Stars).

I am a fan of John Boyne and have enjoyed most of his novels and this one without doubt shows of his masterful storytelling as he depicts an Ireland that was ruled by religion and prejudice. An Ireland that many many people suffered in the name of religion and their childhood memories were dominated by cruelty in some shape or form. And yet we have come a long in the last 20 years with some 62% of the Irish Republic electorate voting in favour of Gay marriage in 2015 and 2017 sees Leo Varadkar becoming Ireland's first gay prime minister which shows how much our little country has changed and for the better on so many other levels as well.

This is a book that is humorous (sometimes boarding on farcical) tender, heartbreaking shocking and powerful.
Beware there is quite a lot of profanity so don't say you weren't F***ING! warned.
I think this book would make a terrific book club discussion read as I dare you read it and not have an opinion or a meaniful discussion on it.

I was lucky to have a hard copy of this book and to listen to it on audible as well and both worked well for me.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde - Eve Chase 4.5 Stars
A compelling and atmospheric page turner, a rich gothic tale for lovers of books like the [b:The Thirteenth Tale|40440|The Thirteenth Tale|Diane Setterfield|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1346267826s/40440.jpg|849453] Set in large period Manor deep in the English countryside a once imposing home but now slightly dilapidated overgrown estate. A house with a sense of intrigue about it and an unsettling history where strange rumours surround the Estate and the family that lived there in the past.

Present Day
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds a perfect escape for her troubled family, far away from London and its madness and a new beginning in a home that she can at last make her own. But the house has a hidden history and strange rumours surround the estate, rumours which the locals are not about to divulge too easily.
The Fifties
When the four wilde sisters come to stay with their Aunt and Uncle at Applecote Manor, they find that the vanishing of their young cousin Audrey 5 years earlier still remains a mystery and the hot summer of 1959 becomes one they will remember for some time.

Beautifull descriptive writing by Eve Chase and a terrific air of suspense with a tightly woven and mysterious plot, I was captivated from beginning to end, for me this is the sort of novel that only comes around once in awhile and not only has the author a remarkable literate style she has a terrific imagination and I have no hesitation in recommending this novel for loves of gothic intrigue and haunting tales where family secrets and period houses come to life.

My thanks to NetGalley for an opportunity to read this one in return for an honest review.

The American Girl

The American Girl - Rachael English What a wonderful read Rachel English's American Girl was, Fresh, entertaining, witty, rich characters and just an all round good story that will have you turning the pages to find out more

I picked this up after hearing the author interviewed and was immediately drawn to the premise of this story. Boston 1968 Rose Moloney is seventeen, smart, spirited and pregnant. She is shipped off to a baby home in Ireland against her will. 2013 Martha Sheeran's is struggling to come to terms that her marriage is over and is urged by her daughter to look for her mother who gave her up for adoption over 40 years ago.

I really enjoyed this page turner, with its wonderful sense of time and place and for me a terrific reminder of all things 80s. I enjoyed the writing and the sensitive way Rose's story was handled and yet I had so many laugh out loud moments in this book as the writer has a wicked way with words that comes across so natural in her writing without been Cheesy or twee.

Loved the characters, and the small Irish town setting and having a teenager myself I felt the character of Evanne was so well protrayed as in fact were all the characters as they felt real and full of life and I could identify with them which made the book so enjoyable.

Martha watched her crouch to get a better shot of the slate-coloured church . It was funny, she thought, how small a part religion played in the lives of Evanne and her friends . For them the catholic church was a source of indifference. Like thatched cottages, slow sets at the disco and black and white TV, it belonged to to the past.

A terrific summer read, and one I will be recommending to friends to pact for holidays as its a really entertaining and a well written novel.

I think readers who enjoy [a:Diane Chamberlain|93345|Diane Chamberlain|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1366490290p2/93345.jpg] , [a:Heather Gudenkauf|2875124|Heather Gudenkauf|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1494019846p2/2875124.jpg]. or [a:Maeve Binchy|3532|Maeve Binchy|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1206566579p2/3532.jpg] might also enjoy this novel.

The Shell Seekers

The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher 3.5 Stars

A beautifully written character driven novel about family and life, love and loss, greed and hope, a book that has the charm and eloquence of books from a bygone era, just a good old fashioned family saga, a story with real characters and places that are interesting and vivid.

I had never read a book by this author before and as a couple of Goodread friends have really enjoyed her novels and the fact I saw it on the BBC list of Top 100 books I just had to try one and I was in not disappointed by the story or the writing style as the characters and images in the novel are so well drawn with little details that bring a wonderful sense of time and place to the story which makes this novel so readable and enjoyable.

This is the type of novel that while it didn't move me or have me on the edge of my seat, I loved picking it up and spending time with the characters and just enjoyed the good feeling it gave me. It would make a terrific holiday read or a book for cosy winter nights by the fire, It the sort of book I will remember reading 10 years from now and still be able to recall the characters.
I did find the book a tad long but I am not a fan of long books anyhow but I am certainly looking forward to reading more by this author soon.
I bought a paperback edition of this novel and delighted to place this one on my bookshelf for future re-reading.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann What an amazing insight into The Osage Indian murders which occurred in the early 1920s in Osage county Oklahoma. I had never heard of these murders and when I read reviews on this book by David Grann I really was keen to learn what happened to these people.

Between 1921 and 1925 over 60 Osage were killed, and these crimes appear to have been committed by greedy individuals in order to take over the Osage lands which were rich in oil and were worth vast sums of money. Newspapers of the time described the increasing number of unsolved murders as the "Reign of Terror".

an extremely well researched and written account by David Grann, this is a book that informs and educates the reader as well as being a terrific true life crime story well worth reading.

The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid

The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid - Will Bardenwerper I really had no interest in reading a book about Saddam Hussein until I happened upon [b:The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid|32620358|The Prisoner in His Palace Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid|Will Bardenwerper|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1484708286s/32620358.jpg|53208041] and I was curious as the book was written from the viewpoint of "The Super 12" and this piqued my interest along with a goodread friend's review.

In 2006, 12 young Soldiers deployed to Iraq and were tasked with guarding Saddam Hussein. Through a series of first hand accounts from the American guards, interrogators and spies who recalled their conversations and observations with the Dictator before he died we learn how these young men viewed and treated their prisoner and how Saddam viewed and treated them in return which I found extremely interesting. These young men's lives would be changed forever as a consequence.
The book is not an account of Saddam's life and yet the author has included adequate background information about his life, family and the heinous crimes he and his sons inflicted during his time in power.

A well researched and a very interesting account of the Prisoner Saddam Hussein and his American guards.

The Alice Network

The Alice Network - Kate Quinn, Saskia Maarleveld An interesting and entertaining read about two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947. The chapters alternate between Charlie’s story in 1947 and Eve’s story in 1915 and I really enjoyed Eve's story the most.

The Alice Network was new to me and I was really interested in reading a historical fiction book about this time in history and how women became spy's and put themselves out there in the midst of danger in order to help win the war.

I always think the women are the unsung heros of war as they put up with and give up so much in wartime. No part played in war by any women is a small part as they watch while their husbands,sons, daughters and families went off to fight, they managed on rations and brought up their children alone and learned to raise their children against the odds and when the wars were over they grieved their loved ones, nursed husbands that were both physically and mentally wounded for many years after without complaint.

This book is well written and is an interesting read. I did however find it a tad too long and think it could have been trimmed down and still delivered on the story. The characters were well formed and I did injoy a lot about this historical fiction book. The ending was little too contrived but thats just my opinion.
I listened to this one on audio and the narrator was excellent. I believe there is an afterword in the hard copy which explains what is fiction and what is fact and unfortunately it wasn't included in the audio version which was quite disappoinng as I finished the book and was left wondering.

An interesting read and could have been a 4 star for me if I had read it as opposed to listening to it. I think readers who enjoyed the [bc:The Nightingale|21853621|The Nightingale|Kristin Hannah|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451446316s/21853621.jpg|41125521][b:The Nightingale|21853621|The Nightingale|Kristin Hannah|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451446316s/21853621.jpg|41125521] or[b:All the Light We Cannot See|18143977|All the Light We Cannot See|Anthony Doerr|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451445646s/18143977.jpg|25491300][bc:All the Light We Cannot See|18143977|All the Light We Cannot See|Anthony Doerr|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451445646s/18143977.jpg|25491300] might well enjoy this one.

The witch of Withyford

The witch of Withyford - Gratiana Chanter 1.5 Stars

Dear Book


I feel we have come so far in our relationship that I can now be honest with you.
I think it is time we parted company despite our mutual friend pairing us together with the hope that our relationship would be the one that would be the talk of 2017. I know you think I am going to say the usual " it's me and not you". But let me assure you it's all "YOU" despite your handsome facade you just don't have any depth or knowledge that I require for a long term relationship, in fact I found you rather twee and your lines cliched and wasted on me despite the many lovers you boast about, I certainly will not become a dog ear on your page. I know you will find many more lovers more deserving of your romance than me therefore I don't feel so bad parting on bad terms but I have my standards and you just don't meet them. My words may seem harsh as many of your previously lovers raved about you but I feel honestly is the best policy and I know you will be partnered with someone else who will appreciate your romantic lines much more than me. Xx

Coffin Ship: The Great Irish Famine: The Wreck of the Brig St. John

Coffin Ship: The Great Irish Famine: The Wreck of the Brig St. John - William Henry 3.5 Stars

The Irish Famine drove huge numbers of people to leave Ireland and sail for new lands. In 1847 200,000 people sailed for Boston alone. Of this number around 2000 never made it to their destination, killed by disease and hunger during their voyage, their remains consigned to the sea.
The sinking of the Brig St. John of the coast of Massachusetts in October 1849 was one of the many tragic events to occur during the mass exodus

The Wreck of the Brig St John, written by archaeologist and historian, William Henry with harrowing and vivid illustrations by James O’Mahoney’s of the Great Famine which were taken from a series of drawings commissioned by the Illustrated London News in 1847, many of which are reproduced in this book.

I found this a really interesting and well researched account and while I had heard about this many times in Irish history classes at school I had never come across a book written about the subject. The author describes with great clarity the appalling poverty, disease and starvation the people of Ireland endured at the time of the famine and also the details of the harsh evictions of the landlords brings an understanding to the reader why this mass exodus takes please. We learn the names and fates of some of the passengers on board and this makes the read all the more interesting. The ill-fated vessel carried 143 souls and the conditions and hardships they endured are well documented in this account.

A short and interesting read and a book that many may appreciate who have ancestors from Ireland that may have taken this arduous journey on coffin ships to find a better life for themselves and their decedents.

The Therapy House

The Therapy House - Julie Parsons The Therapy House by Julie Parsons is set in Dublin and tells the story of a brutal murder of a retired judge and also a murder committed in the past by the IRA.

I found this novel very slow paced and the characters lacked any real depth. Every time I picked up this novel I found it so difficult to engage with the plot or the characters and while the book was readable it really wasn't suspenseful or a page turner for me.

I read this one as a book club read and while I may not have enjoyed it perhaps the book club discussion might be more memorable.

An OK read but certainly not one for my favourites list.

Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South

Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South - Karen L Cox True crime reading is not really my thing and yet this book premise and cover caught my attention as it was set in 1932 Natchez, Mississippi and told the true story of Jennie Surget Merrill, a women who once belonged to a society where While Mansions, wealth, Souther aristocracy and plantations were all part of her life. Now a recluse, a brutal shooting rocks Natchez and the case become known as the Goat Castle Murder.

Extremely well researched and so much history about the South and the South Cotton culture and and characters involved in this case. I got a little bogged down with all the background information on all the characters and second half of the book did drag but overall an interesting and informative read and I really enjoyed reading about the Souther culture and the architecture of the South.

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review.