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If I Can't Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children
Rebecca Morris, Gregg Olsen
Skin Deep
Liz Nugent
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

The Last Mrs. Parrish

The Last Mrs. Parrish - Liv Constantine 3.5 Stars

A clever psychological thriller with a gripping plot that will keep you turning the pages. But will I remember it is a years time from now ...... Probably not!, but I sure enjoyed the read and couldn't put it down.

This is my type of ESCAPE TO book when I want something that isn't too taxing, but a book that will kept me engaged and guessing.
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine tells the story of a coolly manipulative young woman who befriends a wealthy and successful couple, The women appear appear to have nothing in common and yet they become entwined in each others lives after finding a common bond that ties them together.

The story is told from both Amber’s and Daphne’s points of view and has many twists and turns which I figured early on in the novel but it didn't take a way from my overall enjoyment of the book

An entertaining and page turning read for those who enjoy mystery/thrillers.

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia - Esther Hautzig The Endless Steppe is an extraordinary and haunting story which reads like fiction but is based on first-hand family accounts and memories from the author. The story is heartbreaking and inspiring and while its shelved as a young adult novel certainly is an education and eye opener for any reader who wants an insight to the suffering and hardships of families transported to Siberia during the War.

Esther Rudomin was ten years old when, in 1941, she and her family were arrested by the Russians and transported to Siberia. This is the true story of the next five years spent in exile, of how the Rudomins kept their courage high, though they went barefoot and hungry.

Having read and loved [b:Between Shades of Gray|7824322|Between Shades of Gray|Ruta Sepetys|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327873479s/7824322.jpg|10870318][bc:Between Shades of Gray|7824322|Between Shades of Gray|Ruta Sepetys|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327873479s/7824322.jpg|10870318] I wasn't sure I wanted to read another book covering a similar story and yet this book keeping coming up in my recommendations feed and I am glad I didn't ignore it. Well written, descriptive and moving this book while short in pages it certainly captures the infamous climate and harshness of the Siberian steep in vivid details as well as telling a the authors story of surviving World War 11 in the labor camps of Siberia.
As Ester tells the story of her and her family's journey and life in the camps she does it in a very candid way never shielding the reader from the horrors they endure and yet I would have no hesitation in recommending this for teenagers or young adults as it is one of those books that is important in remembering the suffering endured by so many of those transported to Siberia.

A great Non-fiction read and a book I would recommend for adults and young adults alike.

The Girl with Seven Names

The Girl with Seven Names - Hyeonseo Lee, John David Mann What an interesting story and its so hard to believe that in this day and age that a whole nation of 25.5 Million people could be so cut off from the rest of the world and its leader could controll and dictate everything about peoples lives from birth to death.
I had read a couple of books on North Korea over the years and came across [b:The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story|25362017|The Girl with Seven Names A North Korean Defector’s Story|Hyeonseo Lee|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1435968828s/25362017.jpg|45105689] and another book which I felt were both worth reading.

This book is easy to read and Hyeonseo Lee is certainly a lady with a lot of courage and if you enjoy reading about different culture and traditions then this is interesting and a great insight into one young woman's struggle to gain freedom. I watched a couple of you tube clips of this lady giving talks and she certainly is an inspiring and interesting woman and her book is an excellent insight into life under one of the world's most ruthless and secretive dictatorships.

There were times in the story where I struggled with the authors choices and found myself wondering why she made some of the crazy choices she did and yet the more I though about it the more I realised she wasn't brought up as I was where making choices is something I take for granted, in her world life is dictated to you and you dont get to crave your own path in life so therefore choices and decisions must be very difficult to make when its never been part of your life.

Each chapter ends in a sort of cliff hanger which I found a little bit pointless as the book didn't need to be written in this format as the story is so compelling in itself but its only a small thing and doesnt take a way from the book.
The one thing this book really brought to light is just how confusing and challenging life in the free world can be for those who make the journey and the guilt and worry over family left behind.
An easy and insightful read and I think this would make a wonderful bookclub read for those looking for something a little different.

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel - Fredrik Backman Described on the blurb as a " Brilliant mix of belly-laughs, Insightful and touching I was really looking forward to my 4th Novel my Fredrick Blackman having recently read and loved [b:Beartown|33413128|Beartown|Fredrik Backman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1482108618s/33413128.jpg|54171514] but unfortunatly Britt-Marie was a real let down as on completion I found it neither witty or touching and am afraid this book was quite twee and dull in my opinion.

I didnt connect with Britt-Marie as a fussy passive aggressive busybody and while I know other readers might connect or empathize with her I just found the story bizarre and far fetched and found myself disliking quite a lot about this book and on completion this one is going in my newly created Dull Shelf. Some of the conversations in the novel left me annoyed and bewildered as the characters actions and conversations rarely made sense and the humor was totally lost on me.

I think having read [b:Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine|31434883|Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine|Gail Honeyman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1493724347s/31434883.jpg|47327681][bc:Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine|31434883|Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine|Gail Honeyman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1493724347s/31434883.jpg|47327681] and found it fun, touching and insightful, "Britt Marie was here". just paled in comparrison and therefore a disappointing read for me.

I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust

I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust - Livia Bitton-Jackson 3.5 Stars

I have lived a Thousand Years is a well written, candid, and deeply poignant account of survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.

It is however the first book of a 3 parts series which I do think it is important to point out as I failed to observe this fact before reading the book and really felt the ending rushed until I realised it there are two other books in the series.

A First hand account of the life of a young teenager in a Nazi concentration camp, a difficult but important story from a first hand view, a compelling read and as always with books written on the Holocaust an important account of what torture and cruelty human beings can inflict on their fellow citizens. Every memoir or account like this is unique and essential in helping us remember and experience though words a time of madness, of shocking and shameful atrocities and a time when people turned their backs while their neighbours and friends

The book is informative and insightful and you certainly feel emotion on reading this account.

I listened to this one on audio and the narrator was excellent.

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black - Susan Hill After finishing and loving [b:The Silent Companions|34600633|The Silent Companions|Laura Purcell|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1489571003s/34600633.jpg|55746774]I really wanted to another gothic/period style ghost story to creep me out and when The Woman In Black came up in in my recommendations feed I was excited about the novel after reading the book's blurb.

image: image
What I heard next chilled and horrified me....
The noise of the pony trap grew fainter and then stopped abruptly and away on the marsh was a curious draining, sucking, churning sound, which went on, together with the shrill neighing and whinnying of a horse in panic and then I heard another cry, a shout a terrified sobbing......


A short novel that really should have but didn't pack a punch, it had Most of the elements for the type of ghost story I normally am drawn to, the fog-shrouded house set on the outskirts of a remote English Village where sightings here and there of a ghostly lady all dressed in black.... but unfortunately the story lacked athmoshpere and for this reason it failed to be eerie or anyway creepy for me. The characters were bland and I felt the book a little predictable and repetitive. Having loved [b:The Silent Companions|34600633|The Silent Companions|Laura Purcell|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1489571003s/34600633.jpg|55746774] [bc:The Silent Companions|36412620|The Silent Companions|Laura Purcell|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1508003921s/36412620.jpg|55746774]perhaps I was expecting too much from this novel. An ok read but not a book that will cause me any nightmares.

The Child Finder

The Child Finder - Rene Denfeld 5 Stars......... and to think I wasn't even going to read this book

Rene Denfeld's prose is beautiful and magical, a captivating and realistic tale, sad and haunting and yet so much beauty in her descriptions of people and mountain landscapes.
I listened to this one on audio and the story was beautifully narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan, the pace was excellent and authors tone really added to this wonderful experience.

This book surprised me as I was one of the very few people who didn't connect with Rene Denfeld's [b:The Enchanted|18090147|The Enchanted|Rene Denfeld|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1373991244s/18090147.jpg|25146823] and was wary about trying this one, but gentle nudges and beautiful reviews by my Goodreads's friends gave me the push that I needed and I am so glad to add this captivating novel to my favourites list for 2017.
I loved the characters and I felt Rene Denfeld transported me to this rural mountain town of settlers in Oregon's Skookum National Pk. This is the sort of book on finishing I just want to buy a copy for my book shelf so I can admire the stunning cover and re-read agin some time in the future.
There is sadness in the story but the book does make you think and feel and I thoroughly enjoyed the read and have been recommending this one to many of my friends.
This is the sort of book that would make a great bookclub choice as plenty to discuss in this one.

A Mother's Confession

A Mother's Confession - Kelly Rimmer 2.5 Stars

While I found the story interesting and well written in places I had an issue with the bookcover which really irked me and that was the description on the front cover of the paperback edition as per spoiler below.

"A Mother's Confession: A heartbreaking story with a breathtaking twist

Is it really necessary to market a book in such an obvoious manner to readers by putting that scentance on the front cover. This for me this is pretty much a spoiler before I even begin the book as I am over questioning every action and detail and I would rather let the story flow without watching for the " Breathtaking twist" which really wasn't as breathtaking as promised if like me you had guessed it very early on in the novel so by end I was left a little disappointed.

"Your husband took his own life. Tell the truth and destroy what’s left of your family. Or keep a secret that will tear you apart. What would you do" An interesting premise and I probably would have loved this book but for the spoiler.

This is a book that will strike a cord with many people who have struggled with or know people who's lives are affected by the content of the story, it is easy to read a novel like this and think why? or how? or why didn't she/ he? but for the victims nothing is straightforward and this book does highlight those struggles. Some readers may find this a suspensful read but for me the suspense was spoiled quite early on.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters

The Lightkeeper's Daughters - Jean E. Pendziwol If I had to describe this book in three words it would be Charming, Engaging and Memorable

From the the very beginning of this novel I was captivated by the magic of the voices on audio and the memorable characters that make this book such a pleasure to listen to. I think readers of books like [b:Orphan Train|15818107|Orphan Train|Christina Baker Kline|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1362409483s/15818107.jpg|21545713][bc:Orphan Train|15818107|Orphan Train|Christina Baker Kline|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1362409483s/15818107.jpg|21545713] [bc:The Light Between Oceans|13158800|The Light Between Oceans|M.L. Stedman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1336683021s/13158800.jpg|18337340][b:The Light Between Oceans|13158800|The Light Between Oceans|M.L. Stedman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1336683021s/13158800.jpg|18337340] may well enjoy this novel.

Elizabeth Livingstone, is living in a retirement home and her eyesight has failed her, raised on Porphyry Island in the 1920s and ’30s. Her father’s old Lightkeeper's day logs, returned by a constable investigating a shipwreck may throw some light of the tragedy that forced her and her twin sister to leave the island 60 years before.When Morgan Fletcher, a foster teen sent to do community service at her retirment home, Elizabeth convinces Morgan to read the journals to her and both women benefit
from the experience.

The author does include a short note at the end about the Lighthouse and its inhabitants and includes some entries from the originals journals but most of the book is fiction.
I enjoyed the novel for what it was a historical fiction story with wonderful characters, an engaging and suspenseful plot and I finished the book with a sigh of contentment and I think I hated parting with the narrators as much as the characters.

A terrific cosy by the fire winter time read and a book that will keep you turning the pages and leave you wanting more.

The Silent Companions

The Silent Companions - Laura  Purcell 4.5 Stars

What an intriguing, atmospheric and scarily good story which had the hairs standing on the back of my neck.


A chilling period piece set in two time frames 1860s and 1630s which I loved from page one. I was lucky enough to purchase a hard copy of this novel and cover is beautifully illustrated and unique. This is certainly a book I will be recommending to friends but I am not loaning this one out as its a bookshelf keeper.
image: imageThis is why for me kindle and audible just don't compare to holding an actual printed copy.
A genuinely suspenseful and really quite chilling tale set in an old crumbling Country estate, newly married and newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure - a Silent Companion - that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself...,

I loved the eerie atmosphere created by the author and every time I picked this book up off my bedside locker I was so looking forward to getting back to the characters and the story. A book of intrigue and secrets and just a good old fashioned ghost story that chills as well as entertains.

Loved every moment spent with this novel as this is the book I needed to pull me out of my recent reading slump.
I think readers who enjoyed [b:The Thirteenth Tale|40440|The Thirteenth Tale|Diane Setterfield|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1346267826s/40440.jpg|849453][bc:The Thirteenth Tale|40440|The Thirteenth Tale|Diane Setterfield|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1346267826s/40440.jpg|849453] [bc:The Thirteenth [bookcover:The Forgotten Gardenbook:The Forgotten Garden|3407877|The Forgotten Garden|Kate Morton|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1455283767s/3407877.jpg|3448086][b:The Forgotten Garden|3407877|The Forgotten Garden|Kate Morton|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1455283767s/3407877.jpg|3448086] or even [b:This House is Haunted|17307162|This House is Haunted|John Boyne|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1366068693s/17307162.jpg|23594735][bc:This House is Haunted|17307162|This House is Haunted|John Boyne|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1366068693s/17307162.jpg|23594735] may enjoy this novel also.

The Break

The Break - Katherena Vermette An ok read for me but sadly not one for my favourites list


The Break is a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside the home of Stella a young Métis mother. One evening Stella looks out of her window and spots someone in trouble on the Break ― she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

The story is told in series of shifting narratives, people who are connected both directly and indirectly with the victim, the police, family all tell their own stories leading up to that fateful night and this is where my difficulty began with the book. I found it very difficult to keep track of all the characters and just when I thought I was getting to know a character the narrative would shift and I would have to try and connect again. I also found the pace slow and tedious in places a lot of detail and yet little action. The writing was good but I seemed to loose interest in the story and ended up just being an ok read for me.

I read this as part of a group read and look forward to doing this soon again as its a great way to read a book and although I didn't love this one I am looking forward to more of Traveling Sisters Group reads.

The Party

The Party - Elizabeth Day Elizabeth Day’s first novel, Scissors, Paper, Stone which I really enjoyed won a Betty Trask award So I was really looking forward to her latest book and when I saw it compared to The Dinner by Herman Koch I was really excited about the read.

The Party starts at the end of a story that began in public school some 30 years previously when we meet Martin Gilmour an outsider who wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn’t wear the right attire or speak with the right kind of accent but then he meets the dazzling and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gets a taste of his exclusive world. Soon Martin is enjoying the high life at the Fitzmaurice family’s estate and becomes an extended family member. Ben's 40th birthday party full of glitz and glamour is the venue to be seen at but things take a nasty turn.

I felt like I had read this novel before as all the characters seemed familiar and similar plot lines have been hashed out many times before in other novels so nothing really new here. The story is told in flashbacks to two different time periods and while this works well but the book just plods along and not a lot happens. I found myself becoming a little distracted and losing interest in the characters as they were a dislikeable bunch apart from Lucy.

An ok read but not a book that I will remember in a year’s time.

The Ninth Hour: A Novel

The Ninth Hour: A Novel - Alice McDermott The Ninth Hour a story by Alice McDermott is well written vivid and an interesting insight into 20th Century Irish Catholic Brooklyn and while I found the book well written prose wise I did find the novel quite disjointed and at times difficult to follow.

The Story starts out quite strong with Jim a young Irish immigrant recently fired from his job as a subway motorman takes his own life in the Brooklyn apartment he rents with his pregnant wife Annie. Sister St. Saviour from the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick appears on the scene and takes the young widow under her wing.
The life of the Little Nursing Sisters was to go out in the very Catholic Brooklyn community and nurse those who were sick or suffering and I found this really interesting and informative in the book. Their nursing went far and beyond what was normal duties for a nurse as the sisters would also cook, clean, take in laundry, provide company, and sustenance for people in need. The sisters contributed immensely to the community they worked in and it was nice to see that portrayed in this story as there are many wonderful caring nuns who dedicate and have dedicated their lives to the poor and suffering.

There is much to like about this novel and I could possibly rate the writing 5 star as the scenes were vivid and so well written and yet the book dragged for me and became a little bit of a chore. I liked the characters and yet I never felt I got to know them or connected with them. A short novel and yet a book that became a long read and therefore a 3 star rating from me.

The Hands of Strangers

The Hands of Strangers - Michael Farris Smith Review to follow

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, 1921-1933

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, 1921-1933 - Anne Applebaum Parking this one for the moment....... may come back to it but for now now really keeping my attention.

Defectors

Defectors - Joseph Kanon A Spy Novel set in Russia during the Cold War times interesting but not hugely engaging for me

In 1949, Frank Weeks, agent of the newly formed CIA, was exposed as a Communist spy and fled the country to vanish behind the Iron Curtain. Now, twelve years later, he has written his memoirs, a KGB- approved project almost certain to be an international bestseller, and has asked his brother Simon, a publisher, to come to Moscow to edit the manuscript. It’s a reunion Simon both dreads and Frank both dread and long for.

Firstly the book has a terrific sense of time and place and you feel and see Moscow in the 60s. I really enjoyed the journey for the scenery but somehow the story and the characters lacked any real punch for me. While it was a short book it dragged in places and while the last third picked up pace it just seemed a little late for me.

An ok read but not one for my favourites list.