The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver

This book will be released in the UK on May 16 2019

Jeffery Deaver is an American author. He has written a lot of books, including three which have been made into films.

The Never Game book coverThe Never Game is the first book in a new series, and follows Colter Shaw as he gets embroiled in a game he didn’t expect.

Colter Shaw finds people. He’s not a cop or a bounty hunter, but he earns money by looking for people who are missing and there is a reward to find them. He’s good at what he does.

Shaw had a different upbringing. Brought up on ‘the compound’ he was home schooled and alongside that was taught hunting and survivor training.

As soon as you start reading this you’re pulled into the action. Shaw is desperately trying to rescue a woman in a sinking boat. Then we go back to the beginning and you find out how he got there.

I found the story engrossing from the start. I wanted to know more about Shaw, I wanted to understand what was happening. Deaver is very good, he regularly drip feeds you information and answers, but leaves enough out to keep you wanting to read more.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’m pleased that I got a chance to read the first in a new series before there are too many books to catch up with. I will definitely be reading the next book, there is so much about Shaw I want to know and a very important unanswered question from his childhood.

If you like crime and mystery then I strongly recommend that you read this book!

Thank you to LoveReading and HarperCollins for sending me the book to review.

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

This book will be released on 18 April 2019.

Roberts is a British author who has released four books in the Cosy series (The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, The Cosy Christmas Teashop, The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop, and The Cosy Seaside Chocolate Shop) and also two other standalone books (not including this one).

Image of book Rachel’s Pudding PantryRachel’s Pudding Pantry is about a young woman called Rachel in her mid twenties who is running her families farm after the death of her father a couple of years previous. Overall she is doing well however there are some struggles that she has to work with her mum and other family and friends to help resolve, all whilst raising her five year old daughter.

This is very much a chick lit book and has a romance brewing throughout. It’s very easy reading and not at all heavy like the recent books I have been reading. However I don’t think that this genre is given as much credit as it deserves. For this book to be considered ‘easy reading’ it has to be well written, which it is. The story flows, at a calm, but not too slow, pace. The characters are well written and I really liked the main character of Rachel and cared about what happened to her. This was such a pleasure to read after the recent, very involved (and good) books that I’ve been reading.

I’m not a farmer, but the descriptions of farming life seemed to be well researched, believable and were clearly described in an engaging way. Also the depiction of Northumberland was beautiful and if the opportunity ever arises for me to go there I will be eager to seize it.

I thought that the way Roberts dealt with grief was impressive, I appreciated that it hadn’t been rushed and it was shown that it is something that can still be raw and difficult years later.

If you’re looking for a nice, pleasant read that leaves you feeling hopeful and positive, as well as emotionally moved in parts, then I recommend this book.

Also there were a couple of recipes at the end that I’m looking forward to trying.

Thank you to LoveReading and Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this book to honestly review.

The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine

The Ghost Tree is the most recent book by Image of bookBritish author Barbara Erskine. Ruth returns home to Scotland to visit her sick father who dies shortly after. When sorting out his possessions she comes across old items belonging to her late mother and starts to unravel a mysterious family history.

Given that this book was about family history, British history and had a bit of the paranormal thrown in it was ideal for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, getting through it in just two days and hardly putting it down. I found all of the characters to be really well written, even the ‘baddies’ had some depth to them and weren’t two dimensional like they so often are in books.

This is a book about Ruth and her ancestor Thomas, and it swapped between the two almost seamlessly. I found I was completely engrossed in the book, always wanting to know what was going to happen next, and not appreciating having my attention pulled away from it.

I liked the fact that the paranormal side of it wasn’t easily accepted, Ruth is reluctant to believe in it and uses logic and reason to argue against it being true. For me this made the character of Ruth easier to relate to and made it less of a science fiction book and more historical fiction.

I was worried that the ‘present day’ storyline would take away from the historical one, however I feel that it managed to balance the two very well. I also enjoyed the authors note at the end, untangling the fact from fiction as Thomas was indeed a real person, and the author is in fact distantly related to him.

I have never read any books by Erskine before but if they are all as well written as this I will have to change that. Are you familiar with Barbara Erskine? Are there any of her books you would recommend?

Read other reviews of the book at the blogs listed in the image below that will be published on the dates listed.

Thank you to Love Reading and Harper Collins for my copy of the book to read and review.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the debut book by Gail Honeyman, a Scottish author.  It was written after Honeyman read a newspaper article about loneliness and it quoted a woman who said that she rarely spoke to anyone between leaving work on the Friday and returning on a Monday morning.

Book of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineI have to admit that I found this book difficult to begin with.  Not because it isn’t well written, it is.  But because the main character, Eleanor Oliphant, is difficult to connect to.  This is of course the point of the character, but it still meant that I struggled to sympathise with her or like her very much at the beginning.  Gradually you get to know her though, especially through her relationship with others, and you see that she is just a confused, lost person who is trying to fit in as best she can.  It was a little over half way through the book, when we reach the second section, that I finally began to connect and fully empathise with the character.  Watching her grapple with feelings and emotions and facing her past made her more human and relatable.  I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of this book, in fact I read it in one sitting, not getting the early night I had planned but I was just completely absorbed by it and had to read what happened next and then finish it.

The overarching theme of this book is loneliness.  It takes quite an extreme approach to it, but it was effective nonetheless.  It also reminded us that we don’t know what people have experienced in their past or what they are currently going through and we shouldn’t judge a person based on our own preconceptions – something that was addressed well with an encounter on a bus. 

It did feel as though the second half of the book was too quick, the speed at which Eleanor is meant to deal with her past issues when she finally faces them was extremely fast.  Having said that Honeyman was clear that Eleanor still had more work to do, and although the ending was a bit of a surprise (more so how easily Eleanor dealt with a revelation) you could tell that it wasn’t the end of her journey and she still had a long way to go.

I did enjoy this book and am pleased I read it, I can also see why it was a Costa Book Awards winner in 2017.

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Roar by Cecelia Ahern is a book of 30 short stories about modern day life as a woman.

Cecelia Ahern is an Irish novelist who is known for books such as ‘P.S. I Love You’ and ‘If You Could See Me Now’.

I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, I have to admit I’ve never read any books by Cecelia Ahern before (I try to avoid books that are going to make me cry) so it was with some trepidation (I really didn’t want to cry) that I read this book.  It’s also been a while since I’ve read short stories, having had a long phase of just novel reading lately so this was a real change of pace for me.

I expected it to take me some time to get into the book, to find short stories unfulfilling.  I assumed that with the stories being short I wouldn’t be able to connect to the characters and so wouldn’t care about them.  I was completely wrong.  As soon as I started reading I was enraptured.  The stories, no matter how long or short were completely engaging and I wanted to keep reading and find out the outcome of each story, and the next story, and the next.  It was rather clever of Cecelia Ahern to not give a name to the main character in each chapter – it made it that much easier to relate and put myself in the characters situation.

I found this book to be incredible.  Each story had its own metaphor and there was a moral or lesson at the end of each chapter.  I found it so easy to read, quite often picking it up to read just one story and finding myself reading three or four.  I found every single story relatable, even the ones that on the face of it I would expect to have nothing in that was relevant to me.  Some obviously touched home more than others, but each left me feeling more empowered and self-aware in their own way.

I was surprised, and pleased, to find that Cecelia Ahern has published other books of short stories and they will definitely be added to my ‘to read’ list.

It is such a lovely, positive and uplifting book.  I strongly recommend reading it, especially if you are a woman who… well, if you are a woman.

Thank you to LoveReading and Harper Collins for my review copy.

The book is released on 1 November 2018 (Hardcopy and Kindle) and then 2 May 2019 (Paperback).

Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

Trisha Ashley is a British author of humorous romantic fiction.  She has published more than 15 novels, a number of which have been top sellers, and she has also been nominated for numerous awards.

CreatureComfortsCreature Comforts follows the main character Izzy as she breaks off her engagement to her fiancé and moves back to her childhood home.  Izzy has had a difficult life, her parents are deceased so she was brought up by an aunt, and when she was 15 she was involved in a fatal car crash.  As her childhood home is also a small village, the repercussions of the accident were widespread and by moving home Izzy has to come to terms with the crash that was nearly 20 years ago.  Whilst trying to settle back home and confront her past, her life is also turned upside down with the arrival of a mysterious man.

I have to admit, I struggled writing this review, mainly because I struggled with the book itself.  I found it a slow storyline, and it seemed to be rather dragged out in the beginning.  I also didn’t really relate or like any of the characters until I was over half way through the book.

There seemed to be lots of irrelevant storylines in the background, which detracted from the main plot, and it appeared that every character had to be extraordinary in some way rather than a ‘normal’ character who you would meet in real life, which made it even more difficult to find believable.

I persevered and over half way through the book the characters seemed more likeable (maybe because Ashley has explained their background more and we can understand why they are the way they are?) and relatable. I did find myself enjoying the last half, even though I didn’t feel any suspense as it was obvious what happened in the crash, but watching it all unfold was rather interesting.

This is not a book that I would recommend to family or friends, however I am hopeful that this is simply a bad book for a new reader of the author to start with. Ashley does have a good fan base with readers who eagerly wait for her next novel, so I will look to see which of her releases is most popular and try that.

(Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for my copy of the book)

The Jackdaw by Luke Delaney

Book is due to be published: 12 March 2015

DI Sean Corrigan and the Special Investigations Unit are on the hunt for a dangerous man. The Jackdaw has decided to punish the rich bankers for their part in the financial crisis, and one by one is taking them from the streets and then streaming their ‘trial’ on the Internet. As The Jackdaw describes their crimes, viewers can vote – guilty or not guilty – before he makes the final judgment and carries out the sentence.

Corrigan and his team have to work quickly to solve this case. Who is The Jackdaw? Where is he hiding? Who will his next victim be?

TheJackdawThis is the fourth book in the DI Sean Corrigan series by Luke Delaney. It is the first book from the series that I have read, however that did not cause any issues for me with relating to the characters or following background storylines. Delaney himself worked for the Metropolitan Police, and in CID, which I think adds an authenticity to his writing. The understanding of procedure, the internal politics, even just the conversations had by the characters – it all makes for a novel that completely draws you in. Delaney mentions various recent issues (as well as the obvious controversy with banks) that the police have had a significant role in, such as the phone hacking scandal and the high-profile celebrity paedophile investigations. By doing this he pulls you further into the story, making it seem like something that – worryingly – is actually feasible.

Although you get an insight into what The Jackdaw is doing and thinking, you’re never aware of what his plan is or who he is. You’re still completely enthralled, reading on, wanting to find out what is going to happen next and who the next victim will be. There are also other ongoing storylines for the main characters, which I am looking forward to find out more about when I go back and read the first three books in the series – which I will definitely do!

Delaney creates a depth to his characters, even the victims. He could have so easily made them your typical rich, greedy, London banker. Instead they all have their own motivation, reasons for what they are doing, thoughts about what they are doing etc. Nothing is overly simple, but nothing is over complicated. Delaney has managed to get a good balance between too much information and not enough. It’s this clever (and time relevant) storyline, multi-faceted characters, and the well-balanced descriptions that have all combined to make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

If you like crime novels and thrillers then I would definitely recommend this book.

(Thank you to Harper Collins and Love Reading for my pre-released copy of the book.)