Monday, 11 December 2017


Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
Published by Trapeze Books
October 2017

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the 'Ragdoll'. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The 'Ragdoll Killer' taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

I saw this on a shelf in a bookshop and decided that it sounded right up my reading street, and I was right!  Ragdoll is a great crime thriller and I'm avidly looking forward to the next book which is due out next year.  Anyway I digress, back to this book....!
A body is discovered hanging in the window of a high rise apartment block in the middle of London.  On investigation it appears that the body has been constructed out of a number of body parts all from different victims - 6 in fact, but who are they?  More chillingly one of the hands has a finger that is pointing toward an apartment in the opposite tower; that flat belongs to Detective William Fawkes - is this a message from the killer aimed directly at Fawkes?
Alongside identifying the victims, the killer also has a list of other people he is going to kill and when he plans to do this.  Fawkes has this information, as too does his newsreporter ex-wife Andrea and now thanks to her, so do the public.  It is up to Fawkes and his team to find these individuals before the killer gets to them first.
This was a real page-turner and I thoroughly enjoyed it, right up to its dramatic climax.  What's more, at the time of publishing this, Amazon have it for sale on their kindle books for a mere 99p so what are you waiting for?!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The House

The House by Simon Lelic
Published by Penguin
November 2017

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door.

This is the first novel I've read by author Simon Lelic but as it was recommended by the Radio 2 Book Club and was super cheap for the kindle edition (99p at the time of typing this) I decided what harm could it do to download it and add it to my never ending tbr pile!  As it should so happen, it didn't stay on the pile for very long, and I read it in just two sittings.  For me it seemed to be a book of two halves, I felt the first half of the book was tense and quite spooky but not some much the second half.  This might be deliberate or just the way that I read it but as I put the book down on the Saturday evening I felt a little creeped out, but not at all on Sunday morning when I began to re-read it.
We have two main human characters, boyfriend and girlfriend Jack and Sydney who, as luck may have it, have just managed to purchase a house in the middle of London!  Now you may be a bit judgemental at this point and when you learn about their background think 'now how is this even possible?' but stay with it because all will be revealed at a later point in the tale.
The house - for this is a character in it's own right, is quite frankly spooky from the offset and I certainly wouldn't have been putting an offer in on it if I'm honest with you, however I am neither Jack nor Syd who decided to put in a cheeky bid only to find that it has been accepted by the overseas owner so now they have to move into the building complete with all of the contents that have been left behind.
And so things continue.... Jack makes a creepy discovery in the attic (but it kind of gets brushed aside), things go bump in the night and Syd meets the girl from opposite who has a dead mother and an abusive father in her life.  They both get involved with young Elsie and this is where the story takes a turn for the worst because her father is soon discovered murdered in the alleyway at the end of their garden and Jack's driving licence has been found nearby, but was he responsible?
The book is written in the first person, with each chapter being written by either Jack or Syd which doesn't exactly make them reliable authors.  I like the way the book ended though, I like a good twist to my thrillers.  Whilst this might have some flaws within it, if I'm being picky, it's not a bad thriller to spend your time or money on.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Hanging Girl

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook
Published by Hot Key Books
October 2017

Two girls, one fatal reading . . . because the truth always lies in the cards

Skye's mother believes she has 'the gift' - the ability to see the future. Skye however can only see the opportunity to make money - and happily fleeces her gullible classmates into handing over their cash to hear their futures through Skye's well-worn tarot cards. But it's all for a good cause, right? Skye needs to save her hard-earned cash to go to New York with her best mate Drew. 

Then the local mayor's daughter, Paige, disappears - and Skye has a tip off about her whereabouts. Skye is uncomfortable about the source and masks the tip off as a vision. 

But things get wildly out of control when Paige is found murdered and Skye is a prime suspect . . .

Anyone who knows me knows I have a love for tarot, so when this book appeared on my radar I knew that I had to read it!  It's set in an American high school and features two best friends Skye and Drew.  They are nearing graduation and all both girls have dreamt of is of moving to New York together.  However Skye has forgotten to mention to Drew that she hasn't actually saved the money to be able to afford to go, and even her tarot card readings for her friends at school isn't going to bring in enough cash to help her out.  Then an offer comes her way following the disappearance of the mayor's daughter and she finds it hard to say no to the money that is offered to her.  All she has to do is tell the police that she has had a vision about classmate Paige and her abduction.  

Suddenly Skye is headline news, and her mother is delighted as she has always claimed that she too has been able to 'see things' and aims to help the police with their enquiries.  As the book progresses however, we soon learn that all is not how it initially seems and that Skye may have got involved with something that is soon going to get wildly out of hand.

I did enjoy this book.  It had a few good twists and turns and an ending that I didn't expect.  I'll certainly look out for more books by this author.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Final Girls

Final Girls by Riley Sager
Published by Ebury Press
July 2017


The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.


But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or...


All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Final Girls when it came out in the summer.  I missed out on getting a review copy so had to buy it as soon as I could to see what all the fuss was about.  I have to admit, the hype is real; I really enjoyed this debut novel by Riley Sager.

The basis is that there are three women in America, all totally unrelated to each other but they have one thing in common.  Each was part of a mass murder and each was the only surviving victim in each situation.  They have been labelled as the 'final girls' by the media.  The first of these women is Lisa, and then she is found dead in her bathtub.  Just before she died she sent an email to Quincy asking her to get in touch with her - Quincy does not.  Then Samantha turns up on Quincy's doorstep and suddenly the two meet for the first time.  Quincy prefers not to think about her past life at all, but with Lisa's death and Sam's insistence that she relive the horrors of that night in the woods, the past seems to be coming back to haunt her.  There is only one person she can rely on to help her through this journey, and that's cop Coop, the man who rescued her at Pine Lodge all those years ago.

Yes there may be some unlikely twists and turns in the narrative, but come on, it's fiction for goodness sake, it's not real life and do you know what, this book has a decent ending.  I didn't work out 'whodunnit and I thought the ending was pretty much perfect - and anyone who knows me, or follows this blog knows I can't stand a weak thriller ending (Gone GirI - I rest my case!). Go get this and spend a few hours immersed in a gripping story.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne & Rowan Coleman
Published by Trapeze
October 1017

Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits; still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Life isn't perfect, but music unites them, and they're excited about what the future holds for their band, Mirror, Mirror. That is until Naomi vanishes before being pulled unconscious out of the river.
She's left fighting for her life in a coma. The police claim it was a failed suicide attempt, but her friends aren't convinced. Will Naomi ever wake? What -­ or perhaps who - led her to that hospital bed? How did her friends fail to spot the warning signs?
While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by black moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth. It's a journey that will cause Red's world to crack, exposing the group's darkest secrets. Nothing will ever be the same again, because once a mirror is shattered, it can't be fixed.

Mirror Mirror is the debut novel by top model Cara Delevingne, with some contribution by bestselling author Rowan Coleman.  Obviously I have no idea whether Ms Delevingne wrote the book, came up with the idea, wrote it alongside Ms Coleman but nevertheless they have worked together to produce this YA novel, and it's not half bad.

We meet a group of friends, Red, Leo, Rose and Naomi - misfits in their own ways but united by their love of music and the band that they are in together at school.  Pretty much at the start of the book Naomi disappears - and none of the others have any idea where she has gone.  Her mobile remains unanswered and her family have heard nothing from her at all.  The remaining trio are at a total loss as to where their band mate could have gone to.

When Naomi's body is pulled from the river and is left in a coma, the friends vow to find out what happened to her.  We learn more about the lives of Red, Leo and Rose - all three very different but yet united in their quest to help out Naomi.  When Red notices a mysterious tattoo on Naomi's wrist, the band know that this is something she would never have agreed to - someone has definitely had a part to play in her disappearance!

There are lots of different stories entwined throughout the book, and the twist with Red - nope never saw that coming!  I did work out who the perpetrator was before the big reveal but despite the many a swear word I really enjoyed this book.  Bravo!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Angel

The Angel by Katerina Diamond
Published by Avon
September 2017

When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?
DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.
When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.

Today I'm part of the blog tour for the new thriller from Katerina Diamond.  If you don't know who I'm talking about, where have you been?  This is her third novel featuring detectives Grey and Miles and you can check out my review of her debut The Teacher here.  I'm lucky enough to have been given an extract from the book to whet your appetite, so what are you waiting for?  Read on.....

Imogen knocked on the door of the church and pushed lightly against it. It swung wide open. The building inside looked empty. She had never been a religious person but she found the church quite calming in itself; the well-worn wooden seats, the dancing light from the stained-glass windows, the smell of incense and burning candles. It reminded her of her childhood; her mother was always burning incense and leaving candles lit through the night. It was a miracle there had never been an accident. She thought of her mother, painting by candlelight and she knew that was why she liked churches: they reminded her of her mum, the peaceful mother that would quietly paint in the half-light and not the manic mother that would continually forget to collect her from school.

‘Hello?’ she called out tentatively.

Adrian had no such compunction and walked down the aisle and up towards the altar.

‘Hello?’ His voice echoed hers. Seconds later a door opened to the side of the altar and a priest emerged.

‘I’m Father Berkeley. How can I help you?’

Imogen joined Adrian as the priest approached, they both pulled out their IDs and the priest’s smile got a little tighter.

‘We’re conducting an investigation. We heard that you have a lot of homeless people in and out of here. We just wondered if you had noticed anyone missing recently?’ Imogen said, as Adrian wandered off towards the candle bank, the tiny shine of the tea lights burning away even when no one was there.

‘It doesn’t really work like that,’ Father Berkeley told them politely, clearly already eager for them to leave. ‘People come and people go.’

‘Do you know a man called Bricks?’ Imogen asked him.

‘Yes, Bricks came here sometimes. He was a strange one. I occasionally invite people to eat with me. He came and had dinner a couple of times but I didn’t invite him back a third time.’

‘Why was that?’

‘He was quite unpleasant and made me feel uncomfortable. You know when someone has a darkness about them? I imagine you get something similar in your line of work, like an instinct about people.’

The Angel is out now for you reading pleasure!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Good Me Bad Me

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land
Published by Penguin
August 2017

Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way Annie can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. 

With a new foster family and a new name - Milly - she hopes for a fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But as her mother's trial looms, the secrets of Milly's past won't let her sleep . . . 

Because Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water...

Milly has just arrived at the family home of Mike, Sasha and Phoebe Newmont.  Her mother is awaiting trial on 9 counts of child murder, and Milly (formally known as Annie) is in hiding.  Apart from her foster parents, no one knows who she is or the secrets that she is hiding.  It was tough reading the school scenes between Phoebe and Milly, the bullying, the hatred that seemed to flow towards Milly, and the way that she tried to cope with this.  However it isn't long before you start to wonder about Milly, about how much she knew about her mother's behaviour and what part, if any, she played in the deaths of these children.  She isn't a reliable narrator, as at time there are two voices running through the narrative.  Milly wants to be accepted by Mike and Sasha and when there is a glimmer that she might be about to lose that security again and be moved on, her actions speak louder than words.  Phoebe is right to be suspicious of this girl sharing her home, because there may be more to Milly than meets the eye. 
I didn't find this book as 'thrillerish' as I thought I would to be honest and at one point, Milly thinks her mother has escaped from prison and I thought the book might have been going down a different path, but it didn't pan out that way.  It was a okay read and there were parts of it I really enjoyed  but I think more could have been made of the trial itself and of the crimes committed by her mother, but in the end that isn't where the focus of the book lay; it was to do with Milly herself and maybe there was more there to be revealed?  However, I do disagree that this book is the "new The Girl on the Train" because it isn't; the two books are completely different and there is no comparison between the two.
Happy reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Dry

The Dry by Jane Harper
Published by Abacus
June 2017


I just can't understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn't rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke's death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend's crime.

Karen and Billy Hadler have been found dead in their farmhouse, shot at point blank range it would seem by Luke Hadler, husband and father of the two victims.  Luke then drove his ute to a country lane and turned the gun on himself.  Kiewarra is a small town in Australia where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows each other's business.  This is a murder that is going to be talked about across town by every resident.  Aaron Falk was Luke's best friend when they were at school together, and at the request of Luke's father, he returns to Kiewarra for the funerals of Karen and Billy.  Aaron is not an altogether welcome visitor to his home town however, for some twenty years earlier, he and his father were driven out by the locals for the murder of Ellie Deacon, school friend of both Aaron and Luke whose body was found washed up in the lake that runs through Kiewarra.
Aaron is now a policeman and at the request of Luke's parents, begins to dig into the financial background of the Hadler family, desperate to find something to explain Luke's actions.  Alongside new resident Sergeant Raco they begin to investigate more thoroughly the murders and to probe more closely into the lives of the residents of Kiewarra.
The question is, will Falk and Raco discover who really did commit this crime, or will the ghosts of the past that haunt Aaron over the Deacon killing get the better of him before he has to leave?  After all, neither him nor Luke had a solid alibi on that day in question twenty years ago, and there are some in Kiewarra who know exactly why that is and aren't prepared to keep quiet any longer.
I really enjoyed The Dry especially as it helped to get me out of a reading slump.  The atmosphere of the drought, the need for rain and the fear that goes alongside this is ever present throughout the book.  There are some nasty characters here and you can feel the tension building as old scores are finally settled as the pages turn.  Did Luke Hadler kill his family though - only reading to the very end will answer that question but Jane Harper knows how to keep her readers enthralled right to the very end.  I'm looking forward to her next novel.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Friday, 6 October 2017

Death in the Stars

Death in the Stars by Frances Brody
Published by Piatkus
October 2017

Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.
During the eclipse, Selina's friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can't help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths - and whether there is a murderer in the company.
When Selina's elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .

Frances Brody is back with the 9th Kate Shackleton mystery.  This time Kate starts her adventure in Yorkshire, as a chaperone to the stage actress Selina Fellini.  Whilst observing the eclipse, Selina's friend Billy Moffatt, a well-known comedian disappears and later dies.  Selina is then forced to reveal to Kate that he is actually the third of her friends to meet an untimely death this year and she is worried for her own safety.  Can she employ Kate to investigate these incidents, and protect her well-being at the same time?

Frances Brody ties historical events well into her stories.  Set in 1927, the effects of the Great War are emerging amongst some of the men who fought, in this case, in the guise of Selina's husband Jarrod - can his mood swings be responsible for these deaths or it someone else close to the star responsible?  In the close-knit world of the theatre, Selina soons begins to fear who is friend and who is foe but Kate is never one to shy away from danger and is keen to investigate further.  The world of the Northern theatrical stages come to light as Selina continues to perform with the threat of death hanging over her every performance.  Oh, and as an after-read treat, there's a recipe to create your very own Eclipse Cocktail - what's not to enjoy?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Dangerous Crossing

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
Published by Black Swan
August 2017

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go ...

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

This is the first historical novel by author Tammy Cohen, writing under the pseudonym of Rachel Rhys and after this stunning debut, it surely won't be her last.  The book begins with a glamourous woman being escorted off of the ship Orontes after sailing from England to Australia during the summer of 1939.  We, the reader, know that a crime has been committed on board the ship but we do not know the name of the victim, nor the identity of the woman charged with murder.  Our central character is a young woman named Lily Shepherd, sailing for a new life in domestic service after a failed relationship.  On board she soon finds herself in the company of a dazzling pair of first class passengers, the Campbells.  Max and Eliza are on a second honeymoon and their flamboyant ways are soon the talk of the ship.  Lily's berth companions soon fade into the background as she begins to spend more and more time upstairs on the boat, accompanied by siblings Helena and Edward Fletcher.

As talk of an impeding war carries across the ship, can living in such close proximity to a group of strangers, and foreigners at that, ever really be a good thing?  One thing is certain though, sailing on the Orontes is to become a dangerous crossing for some.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Silent Companions

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
Published by Raven Books
October 2017

Newly married, 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. But 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...

This is a great gothic novel by Laura Purcell in the style of Sarah Water's The Little Stranger in that the principle character is a house, in this case The Bridge, family home of Elsie's recently deceased husband Rupert.  She arrives, a former match girl, to this crumbling mansion where stories and rumours about her new home mean that none of the locals will set foot in her home to even work for her.  Upon exploration with her companion Sarah, they discover some wooden figures, scarily lifelike hidden away in the garret.  Sarah decides that she will like them out in the house as company and they take them downstairs. It is this move that seals the fate of this novel.

The book moves back and forth in time, in the present day, 1866,  Elsie is in an asylum for the criminally insane after a fire at The Bridge which has left her without a voice.  We also go back in time to the 1600s to the lives of Rupert's ancestors which include the mysterious Hetta, born without a tongue.  The silent companions travel throughout the story, and I don't want to spoil anything but they are wonderfully creepy throughout.

The best bit about the book for me though was the ending and I say that because I have a real 'thing' about endings that leave me feeling 'meh' or 'pfff' - don't get me started on Gone Girl again, but this book has a proper ending.  One that made me inhale sharply as I read the final words on the last page.  That is what I want to read in a book, not some flaky 'I'll just finish it like this' ending but a proper, thought out closure and The Silent Companions has this in spades.

Go read, be haunted!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 18 September 2017

See what I have done

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Published by Tinder Press
May 2017

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden - thirty two years old and still living at home - immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent and no one is ever convicted of the crime.
Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie's unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid and a boy hired by Lizzie's uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

I'm not so sure of the youth of today, but I certainly remember the rhyme about Lizzie Borden that goes:
"Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one"
However I'm not sure that I remember realising it was based on a real person and a true-life murder mystery.  On August 4th 1892 the bodies of Lizzie Borden's father Andrew and her step-mother Abby are discovered at the family home, hacked to death by a hatchet.  Lizzie becomes the prime suspect due to her behaviour before and after the murders but she is eventually found innocent of the crime and no-one is charged with the Borden killings.  Looking back at the available evidence about the crime and from the trial itself, Sarah Schmidt takes a fictional look at this crime and opens up so interesting dialogue as to whom the killer may actually have been.

I enjoyed this take on a factual account being turned into fiction and it made for interesting reading.  Did Lizzie kill her parents though, this is the key question surely?  But of course I cannot answer that here, you are going to have to get the book and read it to find out for yourself.  All I'll say is that I wouldn't have wanted to get on the wrong side of Miss Lizzie Borden!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 11 September 2017

In conversation with Stephanie Butland

Today on the blog I'm in conversation with Stephanie Butland, author of Lost for Words.
Stephanie Butland
Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?
Read. Read anything and everything, within your genre and way outside it. Find something to admire in every writer. 

And write. Regularly. Make writing part of your routine and your life. Get into the habit of setting targets and finishing things. It’s relatively easy to dash off 1000 words when you’re feeling happy, well-rested and in the mood. If you want to make a career of writing you need to also be able to write 1000 words when you’re tired, have a towering to-do list and feel utterly convinced that every word you’ve ever written is terrible. So practice showing up. It will stand you in good stead. 

Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere! I collect things I see, hear, find in a sort of mental kitchen drawer and when a few of them stick together, that’s a novel. For example: LOST FOR WORDS is a conjunction of: 

a postcard I found in a second hand book 

a poetry book I found on a pavement by a bin in Camden in 1990 

a story someone told me about an adoption that went wrong 

watching a contestant called Ted Loveday on University Challenge and thinking ‘Loveday, what an interesting name, especially if you were a bad-tempered night-owl’. 

What are you working on next?
I’m busy with the line edits of my novel that’s out next April. It’s about Ailsa, who has waited all of her life for a heart transplant, and when she gets it finds out what being ordinary is really like. It has tango dancing, Strictly, the Edinburgh Fringe and a lot of flirting. Though there’s a dark side too, it’s been huge fun to write. 

What five people, living or dead, would you choose to invite to a dinner party?
This is a deeply unfair question! But also a fun one, so I’ll play. I’m going to go with all dead people, because it seems mad to waste the opportunity. And all brilliant writers, for the same reason. 

Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, John Updike, Agatha Christie, Samuel Pepys. And D H Lawrence can act as waiter and learn a thing or two about women. 

Thank you Stephanie for taking the time to come and chat on my blog.
Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club Blog Tour

Cocktail inspired by The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club

My Instagram feed is testimony to the fact that I’m a bit of a cocktail fiend. Here is a suggestion to sip whist you read!

Elderflower cordial

Come high summer, West Beach is in full bloom, and this year I picked some of the lacy elderflowers from around the beach huts and made my own cordial. It was simple to make and delicious topped up with fizzy water or added to prosecco. I also shake this in equal parts with my lemon vodka to make a sherbety martini.

Make sure you don’t leave your elderflowers steeping to for too long: I accidentally fermented my cordial, a mistake I only realised when the lids popped off of my first batch! 
10 – 15 elderflower heads, depending on size

2 unwaxed lemons

500g sugar

Wash the elderflowers carefully, and place them in a large saucepan with the flowers facing downwards.

Add the peel of your lemons to them, followed by the juice and the sugar.

Pour over 1 litre boiling water, and bring the pan to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and leave steeping for 24 hours.

Strain through muslin into clean bottles. It’s wise to release the lids every 3 days, just to make sure it’s not fermenting. If it doesn’t fizz after a fortnight, you’re probably safe.

You can download The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club for the bargain price of just 99p onto your kindle right now! What are you waiting for?
Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Friday, 1 September 2017

Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Published by Century
July 2017

She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.

And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

Then She Was Gone is a much darker novel by Lisa Jewell than I think she has written before.  In parts it is quite harrowing at times which is certainly a move away from the 'chick lit' title that she was once branded with - no one could call this book 'chick lit'.

Our central character is Ellie, a teenage girl with her whole life ahead of her.  One day Ellie disappears and no one knows where or why she has gone.  Her family live in hope of finding her, but as the years go by, this hope begins to fade.  When they find her bag buried in woodland they know that they must accept the truth that Ellie won't be coming back.  Ellie's mum is Laurel, a woman who built her whole life around Ellie, her perfect child.  Her relationship with her other children is strained and her marriage has ended.  One day she meets Floyd in a cafĂ© and they start talking.  They immediately decide to meet again and soon a relationship begins.  Floyd has a nine year old daughter, Poppy, a precocious little thing, but who reminds Laurel so much of Ellie.

I don't want to give too much away here but there is another story that runs alongside this one of Laurel and Floyd and as you read on, it soon becomes clear how these two paths are intertwined with each other.  There are lots of questions to be answered as you read on, and you wonder if Laurel will ever find out what happened to Ellie.  Lisa Jewell will keep you turning the pages long into the night as you attempt to join all the threads together.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Little Boy Found

Little Boy Found by L K Fox
Published by Quercus
July 2017

Image result for little boy found book by l k fox


One rainy morning, just after Nick drops off his young son Gabriel outside the crowded school gates, he has a minor collision with another car. The driver won't surrender his insurance details, so Nick photographs the licence plate. When he gets home, he enlarges the shot on his phone and spots something odd about the picture - Gabriel in the back seat, being driven away by a stranger. Nick needs to know what happened to his boy, but losing Gabriel turns out to be far less terrible than the shock of finding him. Now, to discover the truth, he must relive the nightmare all over again...Be warned, this is not another missing child story: what happened to Nick and his son is far more shocking.

L K Fox is the pen name of author Christopher Fowler who writes the Bryant & May novels (I reviewed one here). This book focuses on Nick, who on the day of his son's birthday drops him off a school only to notice that his child has somehow ended up on the back seat of a stranger's car!  What on earth has happened to Gabriel and how can he get him back?

There are many strands to this book and it's not until the end of the book that they are all tied up together.  Nick is not Gabriel's 'real' father, this is his ex-husband Ben although it is Nick and Gabriel who have the closer relationship.  They are now estranged and it turns out that Nick's nightmare at the start of the book is in fact a memory of what happened to Gabriel twelve months earlier.  Did Nick see more on that fateful day than he first imagined.  Can he discover what really happened to his child?

We also have a second narrator, and this is Ella, a teenage girl who has a massive crush on a popstar called Ryder.  When she wins a competition to meet him, her life is changed forever.  This is also her story.

How do the stories of Nick, Ella and Ryder link though?  Keep reading Little Boy Found to find out the truth.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Caller

The Caller by Chris Carter
Published by Simon & Schuster
July 2017

Be careful before answering your next call. It could be the beginning of your worst nightmare.

After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring.  The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward.  Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins.
Detectives Robert Hunter
and Carlos Garcia are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear. 

Where on earth have I been hiding away?  This is the eighth of the Robert Hunter novels by Chris Carter and only the first one I've picked up.  In fact, it's the first one I've even heard of, and I love a great crime thriller so I'm somewhat bemused as to how the previous 7 books have escaped my radar, especially being a book blogger and all!  Anyway, that aside, this is the newest in the series and it's completely worth a read; I loved it!

The story starts with our first character, Tanya Kaitlin, stepping fresh out of the shower and she receives a video call from her best friend Karen which is set to blow her world apart.  On the phone is Karen but also a masked man who tells her if she can get two questions right about her best friend then she will live, but if she gets them wrong, Karen will die!  Initially she thinks this is a prank but she soon realises that this is no game.  It's up to detectives Hunter and Garcia to investigate but this isn't just one isolated incident, it soon becomes apparent that LA has a serial-killer on the loose!

I was gripped by this book, though the killings themselves are quite graphically described so it's not for the faint-hearted.  Also, you won't guess the killer which isn't a good or bad thing but if you think you know who it is, trust me, you don't! 

I'm now off to get the previous 7 books in the series, I hope that they are as good!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Lying Game

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Published by Havill Secker
June 2017

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn't seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn't a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight…

I've reviewed Ruth Ware's debut novel here and when the fabulous Reese Witherspoon recommended this for her book group I decided to check it out, after all, who is to argue with Reeese?!  The book started off grippingly enough - Isa receives a text from an old school friend reading simply 'I need you'.  This is enough for her to immediately drop everything, literally she just packs up her baby and goes and travels to Salten to stay with Kate, whilst awaiting the arrival of the other girls that made up their group at school.  The girls all met when they were 16 and sent to boarding school - Kate, Isa, Fatima and Thea were all very different and nobody would have predicted the bond that they would form with each other.   They begin a game, the lying game where they  make up a lie and get points for how well it is believed by others.  What they don't realise is the effects that this game will have on those around them.  But the girls are well practised in their lies and it is apparent from the very start that all four of them are continuing to lie to their nearest and dearest to this very day - the only people they don't lie to is each other.  Isn't it?

I did enjoy this book and it is a real page-turner but I guess I did question how quickly and easily all four were able to drop everything and meet up, despite having had no real contact with each other in about 17 years.  I also found the ending a touch disappointing.  I can't really explain it but it didn't end the way in which maybe I thought it deserved.  It is hard to explain.  If you do pick up a copy, and I'd recommend you do, please let me know what you thought when you finished it.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Her Husband's Lover

Her Husband's Lover by Julia Crouch
Published by Headline
January 2017

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died. Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.

And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her - the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband's lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

I can't believe I read this book at the start of the year and haven't blogged about it yet!  Well I'm making up for it now, apologies for the error!  Her Husband's Novel  focuses on two female central characters - one being Louisa who has just lost her husband and both of her children in a car crash and that of Sophie, the girlfriend of Louisa's husband Sam.  According to Louisa, Sam was a violent, cruel man who made her life a living hell and he always said she would never get away from him - well it looks like his prophecy almost came true. 

However Sophie does not feel the same.  The Sam that she knew and loved wouldn't have hurt a fly.  She believes that Louisa has ruined her life, and she doesn't see why she should be allowed to get away with her lies. Living alone in her bedsit, with only her shrine of Sam to get her through each day, Sophie is determined to clear Sam's name.

This is a story of two women but which one is telling the truth?  Is it the grieving widow who feared for her life or is it the heartbroken lover who feels robbed of her future happiness?  Julia Crouch's book will keep you turning the pages long into the night as you try to figure out who you should be believing.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Graces

The Graces by Laure Eve
Published by Faber & Faber
September 2016

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

As a huge witchcraft nerd I am not entirely sure how The Graces slipped off my radar when it was first published but it did.  A friend put it up on her Instagram page and I immediately brought a copy for myself and devoured it instantly!  Basically if you have seen the film The Craft then this is kind-of the book version of that film.

So River is the new kid at school (and I should point out here that this book is set in England, not in the USA like so many of its contemporaries - think Twilight for the many comparisons to the Cullen family).  She immediately becomes obsessed with the Grace siblings, because why wouldn't she? Everyone at the school wants to be like the Graces! Twins Fenrin and Thalia plus their younger sister Summer are both revered and despised by those in the town in which they live.  Their parents are successful and beautiful and some say that the family are witches.  No one from school ever goes to their house or to their parties - only a whole range of outsiders who emerge from out of the blue, stay for a few days and then disappear again.  River becomes the first person to get invited to their house by Summer but what really goes on there?

The Graces is part one of a trilogy of books, of which the second was due out this September but I have it on good authority by the author that this will now be next year instead.  I'm not sure how she is going to work this out and where the story will take us but I'm certainly queuing up for a copy to see what is going to happen next to the Grace family. 

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin
January 2017


I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can't remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is. Then she kisses someone she shouldn't, and the next day she remembers it. It's the first time she's remembered anything since she was ten.  But the boy is gone. She thinks he's moved to the Arctic. Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

This is Emily Barr's first novel for children, and after finishing it in less than 24 hours I think I can safely say that it won't be her last.  Our central character is a 17 year old girl called Flora Banks who suffers from anterograde amnesia.  She has zero memory.  Everything she knows about herself is written in a journal, through notes left all over her house by herself and her family and by what she writes down on herself.  She lives with her mother and father in Cornwall and her best friend is called Paige.  One night she goes to a party and ends up on the beach kissing a boy called Drake (who is actually Paige's boyfriend but that's another part of the story).  The next day Flora wakes up and can actually remember kissing Drake - this is her first actual memory since she fell ill at the age of 10.

And so the book continues.... Flora is delighted at both remembering, and kissing Drake.  Paige is furious with her. Drake is off to the Arctic to study so Flora will see him no more.  At the same time as all of this is happening, Flora's brother Jacob, who we learn lives in Paris, is taken seriously ill and her parents have no option but to fly out to be with him.  They decide that due to Flora's condition the best thing that they can do is to leave her behind in Cornwall with Paige to look after her.  What they don't know, as they board their plane, is that Flora and Paige are no longer talking to each other, due to 'the kiss' and that Flora is seemingly on her own for the first time in seven years.

What continues is how Flora copes with this situation.  I don't want to give the plot away so won't reveal much more but suffice to say it involves heartbreak, travel and a breakthrough though not necessarily in that order.  Yes there have been some reviews that say that parts of this book are repetitive but I think that's the point - Flora has memory loss so when she remembers something she keeps referring to it again and again.  It didn't bother me one bit. 

If you like YA books, or have read any other of Emily Barr's books then I can't see why you wouldn't want to read this.  I was rooting for Flora throughout, she's a great character.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen
Published by Black Swan
July 2017

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

This is the second Tammy Cohen book I've read since Dying for Christmas and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  It's principally set in a mental institution where our main character Hannah is residing after a breakdown.  As the story begins the second of Hannah's friends dies, both seemingly suicide attempts, though Hannah is not so convinced that either of friends actually wanted to die. No one else believes her theory though; this is a mental hospital and both women were suffering from serious issues so it is thought of as unfortunate and the deaths are overlooked.  Hannah though cannot stop worrying that something isn't right.

All Fall Down is told through three perspectives, that of Hannah, from her mother Corinne and through Laura, a member of staff at the hospital.  I have to admit, I got a little confused with who everybody was at the beginning but I'll put that down to not concentrating enough in the first place.  Through each of these characters we get to see a different perspective of life at the hospital, but is there actually a killer or is it all in Hannah's head, and what exactly did she do to end up in there?

Lots of twists and turns throughout with a dramatic final chapter.  I've got another of Tammy's books to read and I'll be heading toward it with haste.  Fancy a book to grab you by the pool this summer then you can't go far wrong with this one!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x