The Light that Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew #BookReview #YA

thelightthat
Title: The Light that gets Lost
Author: Natasha Carthew
Series: N/A
Format: Digital, 320 pages
Publication Details: November 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

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A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day.

Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s he not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.

Review

The Light that Gets Lost is a lot of things. It’s a little bit murder mystery, a little bit coming of age, and a whole lot of emotions.

Camp Kernow is supposed to be a place of salvation. It’s supposed to turn wayward boys into model citizens by teaching them a trade and hammering a work ethic into them. In reality, it’s far from it.

Trey will never forget witnessing his parents get murdered at an early age, and now he’s heading to camp Kernow which seems to be both a blessing and curse. A curse because the camp is not all it seems, and the boys and staff there are not exactly welcoming, and a blessing because despite all this, Trey begins to make friends, and not only that, but he believes this is the exact place where his parent’s killer can be found.

I found this book interesting on a lot of different levels. The story was new and quirky, and the writing was beautiful and like nothing I’d read before. I felt for Trey the whole way through and needed to know how his story would end.

I was also interested in the whole idea of the camp as a juvenile detention centre and whether its true purpose was for good or for evil – it posed a lot of questions!

I’m sort of at a loss at what else to say about The Light that gets Lost. As you can probably tell, it’s a really hard book to describe, so maybe you should just give a go to find out more!unicorn rating 4

Guest Post: My Love of Murder and Mayhem by Cleo Bannister #HorrorOctober

I discovered Cleo’s blog, Cleopatra Loves Books relatively early on in my blogging life, and have been an avid reader ever since. I really enjoy crime fiction, especially a good, gritty, psychological thriller, but I still find myself only reading them sporadically.

Cleo however, has a seemingly insatiable appetite for all that involves death and murder, something we have joked about before in comments and such. As Horror October approached I thought it would be a great opportunity to find out more about Cleo, her blog, and where her love of crime fiction came from.

Huge thanks to Cleo for agreeing and sending over this great guest post. If you don’t follow her, head over there ASAP (she also covers more than just crime fic btw).

HorrorOct2015

My Love of Murder and Mayhem

by Cleo Bannister, Cleopatra Loves Books

I came to murder fairly late in life, although on reflection the seeds were sown earlier, but up until relatively recently you were more likely to find chick-lit or historical women’s fiction decking the shelves of my bookcase. These days they are dominated by black spines adorned with words such as death, murder or the darkly mysterious single word title!

My earliest introduction to murder stories came in the form of true-crime, more specifically the very trashy looking True Crime magazines with which I scared myself half to death before passing them onto my younger brother (something my more responsible adult self would say is probably not to be recommended).

Buying these magazines was a feat in itself, we lived in a rural town where everyone knew my mother, who certainly wouldn’t have approved, and they were kept on the top shelf. I’m not exactly tall now, and in those days top-shelves weren’t meant to be reached by under-sized teenagers so it was only on trips to the nearby city, Gloucester, that I was occasionally brave enough to get someone taller to pass me a copy.

Our local library didn’t stock YA fiction, it hadn’t been invented back in the 80s, and so once I’d finished the children’s section it was straight round the corner to adult fiction where I continued to read the classics fairly indiscriminately interspersed with the occasional bonk-buster as was required reading for every girl my age! Now either my library didn’t stock much in the way of crime fiction or I simply never really came across it, remember these were pre-internet days, you read what was available and unless you had a title and an author it really was pot-luck when pulling books out of the shelves.

Murder on the Orient ExpressI do remember one holiday home we stayed in, I want to say it was Wales but maybe that is my adult self, superimposing the stereotypical rainy weather on an entirely innocent region, which contained a huge stack of readers digest magazines and a good stock of Agatha Christie books which I devoured with relish and then I returned home and they became the one highlight in a very wet, windy and quite frankly miserable holiday.

In no time at all I left home, joined a library in every place that I called home still without any real structure to my reading, except for an overwhelming need to have a constant supply of books and it was only when I moved to Jersey that I became reacquainted with Agatha Christie with Poirot being played by the marvellous David Suchet which was required Sunday evening viewing for an entire winter, as well as settling down more than happily to watch Inspector Wexford do his stuff in a gentler contrast to Poirot’s more flamboyant manner. I sought out Ruth Rendell’s books featuring the detective and fortunately not only was Jersey library better stocked, it was better structured, books were shelved traditionally but some shelves were designated genres, paperbacks or recently published books, although I found my best bet of getting the choicest picks was to peruse the trolley which had the recently returned books on it. There I picked up a book by Barbara Vine, A Fatal Inversion, and having worked out this was Ruth Rendell whose Inspector Wexford books had filled my need for police procedurals, who used the pen name Barbara Vine when she wrote about crime from a psychological view-point.

Happy Like Murderers - Fred and Rose WestIn 1994 Fred West, an odd-job man in Gloucester had his garden dug up and the bones of his daughter who had been missing for eight years were located, I was in hospital giving birth to my son when the news came through that more bodies had been found, twelve in total. When Fred’s wife Rose was arrested, and later found guilty, I wanted to understand how such a large number of murders could take place under the noses of the residents in Cromwell Street, a road that I had walked along the end of many times while living in Gloucester.

I also wanted to understand why? Particularly in the case of Rose; what sort of woman kills for pleasure? In short this case reawakened my interest in true crime, although I now accept that the answers to the why part of my question will probably never be clear since Rose has refused to say anything at all in the intervening years.

Jersey library had a fairly good stock of the books that spring up after a particularly sensational crime so for a while my days were filled with caring for my young children while my nights were spent looking into some of the most depraved minds to grace the earth. It will relieve all those close to me that I wasn’t particularly interested in the methods used, I was interested in the make-up of these men and women.

The Scolds BridleAt about the same time I came across Minette Waters who wrote in a new style, one which combined my interest in the psychological but felt far more modern than Barbara Vine, whose novels were often, but not always, set in a bygone era. Minette Waters used transcripts and newspaper articles as part of her stories, which were without exception incredibly powerful. In The Scold’s Bridle, Mathilda Gillespie is found dead in her bath, flowers in her hair and wearing just us to a medieval torture implement, the scold’s bridle – absolute genius, no crazed serial killer needed just a deeply disturbing (and it still disturbs me now twenty years later) image.

In many ways my crime fiction reading continued with those books picked up for TV serialisation so I came across the marvellous Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Frost and of course the wonderful Morse and true to form proceeded to read the entire series of each – people the books are so much better than the TV series! There is far more to these books than cosy Sunday night viewing, the depth in the Dalziel and Pascoe books whilst brilliantly portrayed on screen, is lost when reduced to a two hour show.

As the years rolled by although I picked up any new books by these now much loved authors, plus a few more favourites found along the way, most notably Gillian White who wrote brilliant psychological thrillers with P.D. James, Peter James and Gill McGown for the more classic police procedurals, my reading was more concentrated on the books of the moment, I loved Bridget Jones, Dorothy Koomson, Lisa Jewell and Jodi Picoult. At the same time I love history and have a particular weakness for dual time-line stories so Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Lucinda Riley also have book that still grace my shelves today.

In 2010, with far more time on my hands, I decided to start reviewing the books I was reading on Amazon, and was lucky enough to be invited onto their Amazon Vine program which offered me free books in return for a review. I was in heaven and here was an opportunity to read books not only before publication but to check out those that I probably wouldn’t pick up in a bookstore.

The books I chose became increasingly dominated by murder and mayhem so that in 2015 out of the 111 books read and reviewed so far 67 are shelved under crime fiction or psychological thriller with a high percentage of non-fiction category also being books about murderous intent. My love of history, and particularly women’s history hasn’t dimmed, but now I enjoy books about Victorian Murderesses, women committed to lunatic asylums and suffragettes instead of love stories.

In 2013 Cleopatra Loves Books was launched primarily so that I had control of the books I’d reviewed and since then, the list of books I’ve found and been recommended that fit into this preferred genre has grown totally out of control. I thank you fellow bloggers for some absolute cracking reviews that has widened my reading to include such a variety of murderers from the domestic to the sadistic serial killer, I simply can’t get enough!

As you can probably tell, I have read loads of books about murder and mayhem so far so I’ll just leave you with a few suggestions from my bookshelves but if you want more detailed advice you can always contact me on my blog – I don’t even bite!

Police Procedural Series
Police Procedural

Roy Grace Series – Peter James
Lewis Trilogy – Peter May
Dalziel and Pascoe – Reginald Hill

Psychological Thriller
Psychological
Just What Kind of Mother Are You? – Paula Daly
Disclaimer – Renee Knight
Copycat – Gillian White

Historical Crime Fiction
Historical Crime

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young
Out of the Silence – Wendy James
Caversham Lock – Peter Conway

Non-Fiction
Non Fiction
A Very British Murder – Lucy Worsley
The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath – Jane Robbins
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale

Thanks again to Cleo! I hope this post has inspired you to pick up a murder mystery or two this Autumn, it certainly has for me! 🙂

Horns by Joe Hill

horns
Title: Horns
Author: Joe Hill
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 437 pages
Publication Details: June 2nd 2011 by Gollancz
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from a friend.

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Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more – he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone – raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances – with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty.

Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power – with just a touch he can see peoples’ darkest desires – to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It’s time for a little revenge; it’s time the devil had his due.

Review

I saw the movie adaptation of Horns when it came out and really enjoyed it, despite not really liking Daniel Radcliffe as a leading man, and it really made me want to read the book.

I usually hate doing it that way round and will usually avoid the book if I’ve already seen a movie or TV version, but I’m so glad I gave Horns a go. It was pretty batshit, but I loved it.

Ig is a pretty troubled guy. His high-school girlfriend, Merrin – the love of his life, his one and only GF who he plans on marrying was raped and murdered, and the whole town is convinced it was by Ig’s hands when they discover that Merrin was planning to leave him.

At the beginning of the book (and the film), Ig wakes up feeling hella rough after yet another night of heavy drinking and casual sex…nothing new there, until he looks in the mirror and see that he’s grown horns overnight, and things get weirder and weirder from there on out.

Horns was definitely an experience. The first page was one of the best openers to a story I’ve ever read. I was stunned, and that’s after seeing the film and knowing what to expect. So good. I loved Joe Hill’s writing style; it was dark and delicious, with a brilliant black humour weaving through it.

The book explores what demonising someone can result in, and I loved the dark themes running through it. There is no ‘good Vs evil’ in Horns, it’s more like evil Vs the lesser evil. We are all evil in some ways, after all.

The movie seemed to stay pretty faithful to the book, which is great, but I definitely found the book even more sinister and mysterious. The only down side was that I lost interest a tad towards the end – I felt like it could have finished earlier!

However, I have the feeling that Horns is just the first of many Joe Hill books that I’ll enjoy.

unicorn rating 4

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

bonesofyou
Title: The Bones of You
Author: Debbie Howells
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: June 30th 2015 by Kensington
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free, advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review!

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When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.

Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.

Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.

Review

I was totally hooked on The Bones of You from page one. Kate is a down-to-earth woman (literally – she’s a gardener), wife, and mother who is shocked and saddened at the disappearance of the girl next door, Rosie.

Rosie is the same age as Kate’s daughter, and although they were not friends, quiet, little Rosie would often visit Kate and help her look after her horses. It’s only when she disappears that Kate realises that Rosie had kept it a secret about visiting Kate, and all of a sudden, Kate is involved in the chaos that is a missing teenager.

It’s not long until Rosie’s body is found, in the exact place where Kate and her horse got spooked just days before and from there things just get weirder and weirder and the perfect family become much less perfect, page by page.

There were a lot of things that shouldn’t have worked in this book: The switching of narrators, the flashbacks and fluctuating timeline and the ghost of Rosie telling her side of the story from both before and after her death, but I thought it really did work.

The pace was fast, and I was dying to know (not really, don’t kill me) who had killed Rosie even though at times it seemed obvious. I also found it really easy to read and follow despite all the previously mentioned things which usually prevent that from happening where I’m concerned.

The Bones of You is a dark, interesting mystery turned psychological thriller, which ticked lots of boxes for me.

unicorn rating 4

Lazy Saturday Review: Cruel Summer By James Dawson

cruelsummer
Title: Cruel Summer
Author: James Dawson
Series: N/A
Edition: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Publication Details: August 1st 2013 by Orion
Genre(s): YA; Mystery
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

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A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Janey was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…

Review

It took me so long to pick up a James Dawson book, and I won’t be leaving it so long the next time, promise! I liked Cruel Summer a lot!

In one respect it was exactly what I was expecting – a YA murder mystery with a few LGBTQ characters, but I wasn’t expecting it to remind me so much of 90’s gems like teen slasher movie I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the of likes the Point Horror books. I could tell that that was Dawson’s inspiration even before reading his acknowledgements.

It was a quick read that was so perfect for the beach, I can’t even tell you! I was disappointed with a few things though. Such as not really clicking with any of the characters – they all seemed a bit shallow and self-involved and the whole ‘life is a TV show’ did fit with Ryan’s personality, but I found it a bit annoying after a while.

That being said, I was pretty hooked and the pages seemed to turn themselves. I look forward to reading his other offerings.

On a side note, congratulations America – FINALLY! #EqualMarriage #LoveWins

unicorn rating 4

Anyone Can Betray Anyone: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

redqueen
Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Edition: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: February 10th 2015 by Orion / Feb 12th 2015 (paperback)
Genre(s): YA, Dystopia; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

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The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Review

OMG THIS BOOK!

I’d gone through a whole array of feelings about this book before I even picked it up. Firstly, from the cover alone I was so taken with it I couldn’t wait to read it. Then I started seeing it described as The Hunger Games meets The Selection via X-men, and my mind was blown. BLOWN.

But then, the hype just went a bit mad. It was all over the blogosphere and while I tired to avoid most of the reviews, I started to doubt my first thoughts and wondered if this was just another Hunger Games wannabe; all hype and no substance….

Thankfully, I was wrong. Red Queen, whilst having some flaws, ended up completely surpassing my expectations. And it made me want to throw it across the room (yet another downside to the e-book!), in the best possible way.

In Victoria Aveyard’s take on a dystopian future, there are two classes. The Redbloods, the lowly commoners who do all the physical and menial jobs, and are conscripted to fight in the war, and the Silverbloods, the ruling class, who all have different powers such as the ability to manipulate fire, water or metal – much like the X-MEN (which I LOVE).

I really loved this world. When you break it down it isn’t anything new, but the combination of ideas from other worlds made it original in its own way. It was a little bit Noughts & Crosses (Malorie Blackman) as well as being understandably likened to The Selection and THG.

Mare isn’t talented, unless you count stealing. She doesn’t have a skill like her sister does so she’s destined for a future in the army, just like her brothers and her best friend Kilorn. She hates the Silverbloods as much as anyone for taking them away. But one night she tries to steal from the wrong person – a handsome cloaked stranger – who listens to her story and can offer her a better life.

The stranger… is Cal, the prince and heir to the throne, and Mare finds herself with a job at the palace. But this isn’t any ordinary palace. It just so happens that Mare has arrived in time for the Queenstrial, where silver nobles will fight it out (with their powers) in the arena, for the princes hands in marriage (oh yes, there’s two of them to swoon over!).

Without giving away any massive spoilers all I’ll say is that somehow, Mare finds herself engaged to a prince, disguised with silver dust and the constant threat of execution hanging over her head.

INTENSE!

I seriously couldn’t put this down. The action was good, the whole on-off love/hate romance thing was pretty hot and man, it was just so good. HOWEVER, there were so many things that didn’t make sense. A few of them did by the end, but there were some definite annoying plot holes.

For example, there wasn’t really any need for the noble Silverbloods to train in the arena every day. They use the Reds to fight on the front line, so why do they need to train, and compete against each other so much? I felt like this was just an easy way to get more action into the plot and be a bit more Hunger Games-esque. It was a bit gratuitous.

Also, they change Mare’s identity (making her a Silver Noble) and swear her to a life of secrecy, but it’s not like no one will notice her – she is filmed on a few occasions – which is shown in the Red villages… and they make her fight in the arena, where blood is often spilled, so how do they expect her to not be exposed? ARGH!

Another huge thing which got my goat is that the Queen(the big baddy)’s power is mind manipulation. She can get into your mind and see all of your memories and thoughts, not to mention make you do anything she wants, and yet Mare and others are planning a rebellion under her very nose – errrr how!!!?

And while we’re talking about war and rebellion, I don’t think we’re ever even told why the war began. Something was mentioned about the Lowlanders being the ones they’re fighting against but that’s about it. Maybe this will be explored more in the next book, who knows.

But anyway, I need to breathe.

All of these things added to my enjoyment of the book, because y’know PURE GOLD in ranting material. I was really tempted to give this ALL THE UNICORNS, but the only reason I didn’t is because I predicted a major twist from quite early on. I need to stop thinking so much!

unicorn rating 4

Red Queen is available to preorder from Waterstones now, and the paperback is due to be released Feb 12th.

Cherry-loving Wolves, Bloody Knives, and People Made of Magic…

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

arc1
Title: Of Scars and Stardust
Author: Andrea Hannah
Series: N/A
Edition: ARC, 366 pages
Publication Details: October 8th 2014 by Flux
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review.

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Purchase

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Woah. This book.

I have a total book hangover from this so please excuse my babbling review.

First of all, I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book before I picked it up. I requested it on the basis of the title and the cover alone, and went into it pretty blind and I’m so glad I did.

Not that I think it would have been any less amazing if I’d heard more about it, but I wasn’t expecting that.

Claire is living an average teenage existence in Ohio, going to bonfire parties where they drink cherry vodka and tell stories about the wolves that stalk the cornfields. Claire’s little sister, Ella is full of creativity and imagination and sees the world through magical eyes like only an eight year old can.

When Ella is asked to leave a party that she followed Claire to, she’s attacked on her way back. Her face will never be the same again, and Claire, now obsessed with the wolves that she believes attacked her is shipped off to New York. The only thing that brings her back to Ohio is when Ella disappears.

Of Scars and Stardust completely blew me away if you can’t tell already. It was a mystery, a psychological thriller, a romance, and it was written so beautifully it made me want to cry.

I loved how Claire saw her sister, and tried to make sense of the world as she saw it. She was terrified, damaged, and often alone, but she never felt like a victim. As the book went on it became clear that not only did Claire not know who to trust, but we as readers are not sure if we can trust her either.

I don’t think I even took a breath during the second half of this book, I was literally on the edge of my seat – which is pretty hard to do when you read in bed. If someone could come and pick my jaw up off the carpet, that would be great.

I loved setting, I loved the characters and I loved the uniqueness of this book, but I don’t want to say much more about it in case I ruin it for others.

What I will say, is that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to start over. Therefore, I give it all of the unicorns. Keep them all. And let them breed.

unicorn rating

Pre-order Of Scars and Stardust now, you won’t regret it!

Trust in Me by Sophie McKenzie (Out this week!)

trust
Title: Trust in Me
Author: Sophie McKenzie
Series: N/A
Edition: ARC, 464 pages
Publication Details: September 11th 2014 by Simon & Schuster UK
Genre(s): Psychological Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy via the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.

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Purchase

Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy’s sister, Kara, they’ve always told each other everything.

Or so Livy thought.

So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as.

Troubled by doubt but alone in her suspicions, Livy sets out to prove that Julia was in fact murdered. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend’s private life will cause her to question everything she thought she knew about Julia. And the truth that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart.

Trust in Me was my first Sophie McKenzie read, and the first psychological thriller I’ve read for a while. I totally ate it up.

When Livy finds her vivacious, free-spirited best friend lying dead on her sofa, her life begins to spin out of control. All signs suggest that she’s killed herself, but Livy knew her too well to know for certain that she’d never do a thing like that. Or did she?

Julia’s death not only brings back the horror of Livy’s little sister’s murder years before, but also starts to turn her pre-teen daughter and husband against her. Livy only has Damian – Julia’s boyfriend whom she knows very little about- to turn to, but can she trust him?

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a book that I just couldn’t put down. As the story unfolds, it’s clear that Kara and Julia’s deaths are related, and all signs are pointing to people close to Livy, or to Damian. Trust in Me was one of those books that I had to stay up reading to find out who the killer was.

McKenzie did an excellent job of creating, and building tension. I felt so sorry for Livy whose life was crumbling down around her and there was nothing she could do about it, and had no one to trust.

There were just enough characters involved to suspect, making it a compelling read.

However, I did feel like the book was too long. Some passages were drawn out, and although I liked getting a complete picture of Livy’s life and past, I found myself skipping ahead sometimes. The pacing was good in parts, in order to build tension, but sometimes I wished McKenzie got to the point a bit quicker.

As for Livy, I liked her for the most part. I felt for her being in such a difficult position, but sometimes I wanted her to pull herself together and stop worrying about what her family thought of her, and just get on with finding out what happened to her best friend.

As the title suggests, this book raised a lot of issues surrounding trust. Will, Livy’s husband had cheated on her years before, but they’d overcome it. Livy trusted him as much as she knew how, but when evidence suggests that not only has Will cheated again, but that he might also be involved with Julia, and her death, understandably, Livy doesn’t know who she can trust.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I hated that towards the end of this book it was repeatedly thrown in Livy’s face that she didn’t trust Will, but it was never highlighted that Will didn’t trust her either. He was so quick to dismiss Livy’s belief that Julia was murdered, that he made her think she was going mad. Gah! Double standards or what!

For me, Trust in Me, was a great read with only a few flaws. It reminded me a lot of the ITV drama Broadchurch. Much like with that show, at one point I was so confused as to who the killer was, I tried too hard figure it out and ruined it for myself when I did. In this, I figured it out quite a while before the big reveal which was a bit of a disappointment, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Note to self: Stop thinking too much.

unicorn rating 4

Trust in Me is now available to Pre-order from Waterstones.

The Medea Complex by Rachel Roberts

med1885. Anne Stanbury – Committed to a lunatic asylum, having been deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for the crime of which she is indicted. But is all as it seems?

Edgar Stanbury – the grieving husband and father who is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity, and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life.

Dr George Savage – the well respected psychiatrist, and chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. Ultimately, he holds Anne’s future wholly in his hands.

The Medea Complex tells the story of a misunderstood woman suffering from insanity in an era when mental illnesses’ were all too often misdiagnosed and mistreated. A deep and riveting psychological thriller set within an historical context, packed full of twists and turns, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.

The Medea Complex was different to what I was expecting, even though I’m not really sure what I was expecting.

Based on true stories and medical records from the late 1800s, it documents the time that protagonist Anne spends in an asylum.

The thing that drew me to this story was definitely the lunatic asylum setting. I find it fascinating how different things are today to the barbaric nature of those unprecedented, experimental medical practices of that time. Roberts did a great job of setting the scene, making me feel sorry for Anne despite her crime.

I was sucked in from the start.

I’m not always a huge fan of multiple first-person narratives but I thought in worked well in this book. Between Doctor Savage’s notes on Anne’s rehabilitation, Anne’s commentary on the asylum and what she goes through there, and Edgar’s grief-stricken behaviour, we are swept away into a world filled with intrigue, anticipation and mystery.

This is one of those books that is hard to review without giving away any spoilers so you’ll have to forgive me for not going into plot details. But what I will say is this, the last thing I was expecting was for The Medea Complex to turn into a court-room drama, but it did, and it was good!

I thought the second half of the book really picked up the pace, there are double-crossings, murders, missing persons, and you’re never quite sure what, or who to believe. On the whole, I enjoyed the narrative voice – especially the humour, considering the serious subject matter – but I did sometimes feel like there weren’t enough differences between each of the characters. I sometimes got confused about who was speaking (even though each chapter is named) which occasionally brought me out of the story.

Overall, I was impressed with this debut novel which kept me guessing, and I especially enjoyed the author’s notes detailing the characters and events that were based on fact, and where she found them. I think the work Roberts must have put in definitely paid off.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: I received a free copy fro the author in exchange for an HONEST review.
Title: The Medea Complex
Author: Rachel Florence Roberts
Details: Paperback, e-book, 272 pages
Published: Published November 1st 2013 by CreateSpace
My Rating: 4/5

Coming Up: Winter Vs Summer

I have two very different books coming up. Watch this space.

18633458Title: A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1)
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Details: E-book, Hardback, Paperback, 496 pages
Expected Publication: January 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Emma Day and her two cousins, Gretchen and Penelope, are uninterested in their debutante lives. All the boring balls, tiresome curtsying and polite conversation leave much to be desired. Then a girl is found dead, frost clinging to her lifeless body, and the murder is traced to Emma. As their world is turned upside down, Emma discovers more about herself and her cousins, from her connection to the murders to the secrets of her family legacy. Now the girls must embrace their true Lovegrove inheritance in order to stop the chaos, even if that means risking their lives. Dangerously handsome Cormac Fairfax wants to help Emma – but, with secrets of his own to hide, can she trust him?

The first book in a deliciously dark new trilogy. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Ruth Warburton.

cover32711-medium Title: Game, Set and Murder
Author: Elizabeth Flynn
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Expected Publication: October 18th 2013 by Lion Fiction

It’s the first day of the tennis tournament at Wimbledon. And a dead body is lying on court nineteen. Newly-promoted detective inspector Angela Costello recognizes the dead man as the Croatian champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic. Double grand-slam winner, Petar was one of the best-known and best loved players of the modern era. Petar had a complicated life: an ex-wife who wanted him back; a girlfriend who didn’t want to let him go; a business partner with secrets. Then there was leading Brit Stewart Bickerstaff, not universally popular with his fellow players, whom Petar had been coaching. Little by little DI Costello, despite awkward and prickly colleagues, discerns a trail through the mass of information. Unfortunately she has no way of proving her suspicions. But a prime suspect has overlooked a vital detail …

I’m excited about both of these, even if Game, Set and Murder sounds like more of a summer read, murder at Wimbledon…I couldn’t resist!