Mini #book #reviews

In an attempt to get myself up to date and back in the blogging swing of things, I’ve put together these mini book reviews.  The fact that they are mini has nothing to do with quality or enjoyment, this is purely a way to get me back on track!

So, here’s what I’ve read recently:

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
Goodreads | Amazon

An advanced reader copy that’s been on my shelf for well over a year! Bad book blogger!

I was hoping for a mystery involving a kidnapped child, which in the most part it is which very much reminded me of Madeleine McCann, although this isn’t a police procedural.  I was totally not expecting the supernatural element which just smacked me in the face with disbelief.  I don’t do supernatural unfortunately. 3*


An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth
Goodreads | Amazon

Yet another ARC that slipped by the wayside 😦

This reminded me of the historical sexual abuse allegations that have cropped up recently and often doesn’t make for a comfortable read, but then I guess real life is often like that.  An ok whoactuallydunnit novel although I preferred Colette’s first novel The Life I Left Behind.  3*



The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Goodreads | Amazon

My daughter gave me this to read as she needed someone to discuss it with.  It’s definitely one of those you need to chat about as this one will totally mess with your head over who did what.  A proper gripping twisty book that I read in less than 48 hours. 4*




How do you keep on top of your reviews, do you do them straight away or knock out a batch at a time?

Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – X

XX is for eXcerpt
(Ok, so it’s a little cheaty)

Today I have an excerpt for you from a new psychological thriller/mystery published by Faber & Faber at the end of February – The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer. It’s received very positive reviews via social media.

The Girl in the Red CoatThe blurb

She is the missing girl. But she doesn’t know she’s lost.

Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…

While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

Excerpt from chapter 2 of The Girl in the Red Coat

 For my eighth birthday I want to go an see a maze.

“Carmel. What do you know about mazes?” Mum says.

If I think hard I can see a folded puzzle in my mind that looks like a brain.

“I’ve heard things,” I say. And Mum laughs and says OK.

We don’t have a car so we go on the bus, just the two of us. The windows are steamed up so I can’t see where we’re going. Mum’s got on her favourite earrings which are like bits of glass except colours sparkle on them when she moves.

I’m thinking about my birthday, which was last Thursday, and now it’s Saturday and I’m thinking about how my friend gets cards and presents from her nan but Mum doesn’t talk to her mum and dad even though they’re still alive. I don’t mind so much about the cards and presents but I’d like to know what they look like.

“Mum, have you got a photo of your mum and dad?”

Her head shoots around and the earrings flash pink and yellow lights. “I’m not sure. Maybe, why?”

“I just wonder what they look like sometimes and if they look like me.” It’s more than sometimes.

“You look like your dad, sweetheart”

“But I’d like to know.”

She smiles. “I’ll see what I can do.”

When we get off the bus the sky is white and I’m so excited to see a real maze I run ahead. We’re in this big park and mist is rolling around in ghost shapes. There’s a huge grey house with hundreds of windows that are all looking at us. I can tell Mum’s scared of the house so I growl at it. Sometimes she’s scared of everything, Mum – rivers, roads, cars, planes, what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen.

But then she laughs and says, “I’m such a silly old thing.”

Now we’re at the top of this hill and I can see the maze below and it does look like a brain. I think it’s really funny I’ve thought about a brain inside my brain and try to explain but I don’t do it very well and I don’ think Mum really gets it. But she’s nodding and listening anyway and standing there with her long blue coat all wet from the grass at the bottom. She says, “That’s very interesting, Carmel.” Though I’m not sure she really understood, but Mum always tries to. She doesn’t just ignore you like you’re just a mouse or a bat.

So we go in.

line dividerIf you enjoyed this excerpt and would like to buy the book; here are the links: Hardcover | Kindle

Connect with the author Kate Hamer via Twitter or Facebook

Linked with the excerpt above, have you ever got lost in a maze?

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

Many thanks to Sophie at Faber & Faber for approving use of content 🙂

WWW Wednesday (April 1st)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Little Paris BookshopThe Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I’ve let this one jump the TBR queue as I was looking for something a little more light-hearted than my previous reads, however, this is not the case. I’m 30% in, and the main character Jean Perdu, needs a real kick up the backside and told to get on with it and move on – frustrating!

The blurb

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I have a real book hangover from this book, I’m still thinking about it and did I understand the ending correctly. This was our book club read for this month and I really enjoyed it. I’d seen the BBC adaptation so had a vague recollection of the plot and the ending but was pleased that I hadn’t quite remembered it all so there were some twists still waiting for me!

The blurb

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart…

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life?

As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life…

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think may be one of these depending on my mood – which should I go for?

Eleanor & ParkThe ExitThe Girl in the Red Coat





What’s on your reading list this week?

My month in books – February

February for me has been mostly about getting through my backlog of Netgalley digital review books thanks to the challenge set by Sophie & Suze.

sasncI started the month at 64%, which is not that bad but I do try to limit the amount I request. However, I’m now at 62% as I just requested and was approved for another book and haven’t managed to write up my outstanding reviews yet. I really do need to crack on if I’m going to be make a positive dent and up my ratio.

On the plus side I’ve read 13/80 books for my Goodreads challenge which at the moment puts me on target. How’re you getting on with your reading challenges?

Books read: 5 (4 out of the 5 were Netgalley’s)

The Undertaker's DaughterSecond LifeThe MiniaturistEternally 21The-Book-of-Secrets




Books added to the TBR:

Eleanor & Park The Exit The Girl in the Red CoatNormal

Currently reading: The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

Favourite book for February: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

How was your February reading and what are you looking forward to in March?