Tuesday 29 May 2018

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

One thing you can say of Sarah Pinborough, she doesn't make reviewing her books am easy job. 

Last year her 'Behind Her Eyes' came with the accompanying tag #WTFThatEnding, imploring all to not discuss the final twist. It worked! That Ending was kept out of reviews (for the most part) and people who had read it only discussed it with those who had done the same.

So, this year we get 'Cross Her Heart' another multi-lead thriller with another twist (although it comes a bit sooner this time.)  The leads are Lisa, a mother who sometimes seems to be trying a little bit hard to be a part of her daughter's life, Ava, the aforementioned daughter, and Marilyn, Lisa's work colleague.

As the story starts all 3 ladies tell their part of the story, they all have their little secrets and, if I'm being honest, it did tend to just pootle along at first. Things happen and you have an idea of where things are going then...


Sarah blindsides the reader and the story takes on a whole new dimension, becomes a whole different thing and, to be fair that is all I can tell you without spoiling things (and you know I wouldn't do that to you)

What I will say is that this went from 'a couple of pages before bedtime' to 'it is now the early hours of the morning and I don't care, must read a few more chapters' The twist, when it came, was right out of the blue (for me) and then the 'reveal' at the end did it again... twice.

I really enjoyed Behind Her Eyes and thought Pinborough would struggle to surpass it - I guess I was wrong. I'm going to stick my neck out and say Cross Her Heart is a better book. BHE was a thriller with a supernatural leaning whereas CHH is a straight up thriller.


Saturday 26 May 2018

Two books from Otter-Barry Books

Two books arrived in the post this week from Otter-Barry Books, a publisher I have not heard from before, and not my usual thing but, hey, they took the time to send it so I took the time to have a look.

First up then is Riding A Donkey Backwards (Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin). This is a collection of 21 tales (all short, between 1 and 2 pages long) about Mulla Nasruddin, the wisest and most foolish man in the village. He manages to get himself in all sorts of silly situations and always thinks he's doing the right thing however silly it makes him love.

With lovely illustrations this is one that I think children will really enjoy.

Secondly (and if I'm being honest, my favourite of the two) is Is It A Mermaid by Candy Gourlay. In this tale Benji and Bel find a creature on the beach. They know it is a Dugong but the creature is convinced she is a mermaid. As they play together on the beach the Dugong shows them why she is a mermaid but the children aren't convinced - until it is time for her to go back into the sea.
The story here is a lovely one but when you add the illustrations (by Francesca Chessa) it becomes even more special.

As I said earlier I have never heard of Otter-Barry Books before but if these two gems are anything to go by I look forward to seeing many more of their books.

I think kiddies will love these books and I will be passing these two on to my niece.

Monday 21 May 2018

It Was Her by Mark Hill

Hello and welcome to the first stop on the blog tour for Mark Hill's second novel 'It Was Her'. 

The First thing you need to know is that this is the second story featuring DI Ray Drake, a rather dark and, I guess, complicated character, so reading the first in the series, 'His First Lie' (previously known as The Two O'clock Boy*) will make events at the beginning of IWH a lot clearer.

Anyway, to the book in hand.

 IWH begins in flashback with a tragedy which may or may not have been an accident and is cut back to at various points in the narrative as the mystery of just what happened unravels.

In the present day Drake and his colleague, DS Flick Crowley, have their own mystery to solve - homes in supposedly safe neighbourhoods are being broken into and lived in while the owners are elsewhere and more often than not of late, people are ending up dead. How this ties to the events in the other story strand certainly makes for an interesting and intriguing read (I got through it in 2 1/2 days) that will have you changing your mind as to 'whodunnit'. Even after finishing the book I still find myself unsure - and that, for me, is a sign of a good tale and a good author.

Where Mark Hill really excels, in my opinion, is with his lead characters. With what happened at the end that 'His First Lie' things are a little edgy between Drake and Crowley. In that book Drake had a dark secret but now Crowley is a party to that secret and what she knows could ruin both their careers. The early tension is really ratcheted up and even though you sort of know they'll sort things out (that's not really a spoiler, it is a series after all) Hill still manages to leave you wondering and turning page after page.

As with his previous novel Hill leads you down dark and dangerous paths but you know what? You're glad he does and I hope he will continue to do so for a long time to come. He's only two books into his crime writing career but he's already up there with the big players

5/5 stars

Below are the rest of the dates and sites for this blog tour, please pop in and have a look
*also reviewed on this blog site