Murder my Darling by Gerald Darnell

My Rating: 5 Stars

Date finished: 10/11/18

Date published: 19/5/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

A famous author is murdered, Carson is at the scene of the crime and considered a prime suspect – but he doesn’t remember anything! 
Missing manuscripts, a missing diary and strange stories from the past bring an unusual group of characters together in this tangled web of deceit, blackmail and murder. The mystery travels from Memphis to New Orleans, while Carson works to prove his innocence – without success. 
Come along for the ride and follow the clues to a strange and unforgettable ending in the adventure called: Murder My Darling.

My review: 

I have enjoyed every one of the Carson Reno books I have read so far and this one is no exception. This is the 17th book in the series and I think I have read four of them so far. All of the Carson books can be read as standalone which is really great too. The cover for this book in the series is one of my favourites so far and I really think it has a much more professional and endearing quality to it. It feels as though as Carson is evolving throughout the book series, so is the quality and covers. 

Darnell writes really well and I would recommend any of his novels to anyone who reads the crime/thriller genre. He may not be as well known as some authors but he definitely deserves to be as well known as the big players in his genre. Each time I have read another Carson book, Darnell has always brought something new to the series. This one is no different and it was really great to read this book from a slightly different view point whereby Carson is in some serious trouble and not exactly on the right side of the law. 

Overall, this is another great addition to the Carson Reno series. I never have anything negative to say about Darnell as an author and Carson as a book series. So, this review is a little short and sweet but all I can really say is give them a go. You will honestly be surprised as to how much you end up enjoy this series and how much this series still relates to the present time; very realistic feeling and well thought out. Thank you for the opportunity again, even if it is a little late in posting. 

Happy reading :) 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

My rating: 4 Stars.

Date finished: 24/4/18

Date published: 20/9/16

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

My review: 

I had been looking at this book for a few months and deciding whether to read it. If you follow my reviews you may notice that crime/horror/thriller are my top favourite genres. I am also always on the look out for something a little different. What drew me to this book (apart from the gorgeous cover) is the strong female lead in a time where this wasn't really allowed. I don't specifically go out of my way to just read books with female leads, although I do read alot of them.

This book did actually take me a good several sittings to get through. Sometimes I would read big chunks and other times I wouldn't. The story read somewhere between fast and slow paced. Overall it was generally quite easy to read which I always like in a book. There was only one thing that niggled me whilst reading this book. Although it doesn't say in this synopsis from Goodreads, on the back of the book it does mention that our main character loved the ripper and this gave me a biased approach to looking for who the ripper might be. If you are going to read this book, don't fall into this trap as we don't really have any clues to who the ripper is until the back end of the book and it is not quite as obvious as you may think. 

The author does a really good job of creating a dark atmosphere and letting us into an environment of the late 19th century London. The way Maniscalco describes London and the way the bodies are shows an author who has done her research and create the perfect atmosphere. These were some of my favourite parts of the book. I'm not too sure on how much I really liked Audrey. She was an ok character but I'm not sure if I felt like I was rooting for her to find out who the ripper was.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The series is definitely going to be something I will look to keep reading. Although there is quite a bit of detail to the murders and everything that goes with it, I can still feel the YA side of this book. If you're only starting to get into this genre, then this book is a great start. I look forward to picking up the next book! 

Happy reading :) 

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh by Carolyn Arnold

My Rating: 4 Stars. 

Date finished: 12/4/18

Date published: 17/4/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.
So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.
The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

My review: 

This is the third book I have read by Arnold and completely different to the previous two. Arnold is known for her crime writing series's featuring Brandon Fisher and Madison Knight. I accepted the offer of reading this book as I completely loved the books I have read previously; they were both definitely 5 stars worthy books! I also, like many individuals I think, have a real interest in Ancient Egypt and mysteries in general. This book gave a feel of a real adventure type book and something any Indiana Jones type lover may really enjoy. 

Arnold has kept up on her excellent writing skills in this book as with the previous ones I have read and has also done a really good job of describing everything and the characters. One thing I really enjoy about Arnold's work is that she does a really good job of researching her ideas and the genre she is writing in. This book is no exception to that and it is well thought out and informed. 

This is the second book in the Matthew Connor series and I haven't read the first book. Arnold has done another good job here of allowing the reader to jump into a series without reading the previous book/s. The book had a fast paced read to it and it didn't take me long to get into the storyline once in. The storyline is pretty much go from the first pages. All things I like in a good book. 

Overall, this was a really good book; fast paced and entertaining. My own personal opinions however, are that I didn't love it just quite as much as the previous books I had read by Arnold. This is definitely not a reason to not pick this one up, I do just love my crime books more. I always appreciate a very well written book and I was still very entertained by this one. I would pick up another book in this series as I am fascinated by mysteries of this type. I look forward to the next book I pick up by Arnold, whichever the series!

Happy reading :) 

Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

My Rating: 5 Stars.

Date finished: 2/4/18

Date published: 03/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip. 
As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

My Review: 

This is the third book in the Madam Tulip series and I have to say it is my favourite so far. I have given previous books in this series four stars each, but this one definitely deserved a five star rating. I really enjoyed the setting of this book much more than the previous books and this had a big impact on my rating as well. The way Ahern has written this book and developed the characters through the series shows and I can say without a doubt that Derry and co. are growing along with the series. 

Ahern has really developed a great character with Madam Tulip and the characters that surround her such as Bruce and her parents. This series would not have been something I would have normally picked up in a bookstore and I love when I find I series that I love for being so different to my usual reading tastes and also different in its genre. I can really imagine all the characters and the way they talk in my head which is always a great thing for me. Derry is definitely my favourite character, and not just because she is the main character. I really do enjoy the way she takes in her Madam Tulip side character and the way she interacts with other characters; especially her parents. I automatically have a smile on my face when she speaks to them.The book is a fast paced read and can easily be read as a stand alone to the other two books which for me is a very good sign of a great writer. 

The Madam Tulip series brings something new to the crime/adventure genre (I'm not very good at placing books in genres mind!) that we should all be diving into. I would also especially recommend this book to people who like reading a good 'who done it' but don't want all the gritty/dark side of that type of genre. 

Overall, this book really upped the game for Madam Tulip and I really wonder where the next one will take us! I always look forward to the next book in the Madam Tulip series and I am really hoping it will continue for some time. 

Happy reading :) 

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

My Rating: 3 Stars.

Date finished: 19/3/18

Date published: 11/1/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank... until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

My review:

I was really looking forward to reading this book and I have to say, it was a little bit of a let down overall. I was expecting to find it a lot more mysterious and frightening, but the book fell very short of this. I finished the book still not really knowing who the chalk man was and the chalk figures didn't play that much of a starring role. The book mostly focused on Eddie's life, who really killed Waltzer girl, and what was happening with the Reverend. 

For me, the positive parts of this book was that the overall story was a decent read. I found it easy to get through and managed to read big chunks of the book before putting it down for a break. I prefer my books to be of the easy read type. I think the author would have been better writing a different synopsis for this book, as it then wouldn't have been a let down. Finding out who really killed Waltzer girl was a good part of the book and probably one of the bests. The alternating between flashbacks and the present day also worked really well. 

My absolute let down for this book was that the part of the chalk man was relatively dismissed. I would have liked more scare in the aspects of the chalk figures. I didn't follow the hype for this book but reading some of it now, I am even more glad that I didn't. I also didn't particularly love any of the characters either. Eddie was ok as far as characters go, but nobody really stood out for me either. 

Overall, I think this book has a long way to go if it is to follow on from the 'best kind of suspense novel'. I am feeling a little disappointed but it seems a lot of readers did love this book. 

Happy reading :) 

Strange Sight by Syd Moore

My Rating: 4 Stars. 

Date finished: 8/3/18

Date published: 14/11/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

The La Fleur restaurant has a slew of unusual phenomena. Bonnet-clad apparitions pass through walls, blood leaks from ceilings and rats besiege the dining room. Experts from the Great Essex Witch Museum are called in to quell these strange sights. But before Rosie Strange and Sam Stone can do their thing events turn darker. For La Fleur's chef has been strung up and slaughtered like a pig. More oddly, he only witness, the owner's daughter Mary, swears blind a ghost did it. 
Rosie and Sam must find out what's happening before Mary takes the fall. But intuitions and tip-offs lead them stumbling into the dark waters of the past, exposing secrets of a wider conspiracy, as well as secrets all Rosie's own. With strange chills Rosie and Sam learn that seeing isn't always believing, while thoughts of truth may be just as illusory. 

My review: 

I really enjoyed the first book in this series by Moore and I really couldn't wait to get my hands on the next book. What I really enjoyed about the first book was definitely the characters and the way the book was written and its light hearted feel to it throughout. The second book in the series kept to this and I still really enjoyed the characters. I could feel each character talking in my head with their accents more so than with some books, which is definitely a good thing. 

There were only a few things I didn't enjoy in this book as much as the previous one. This book moved slightly away from the witch/magic essence that the first one had and has now moved onto working ghostly mysteries. I didn't enjoy the plot of this book as much as the first one for that reason. It was still a good plot however, and did keep me on my toes in figuring out what was really going on. Rosie and Sam are a great pair and I still don't know how they managed to figure it out. Hopefully from reading my previous posts, you will all know how much I like not knowing 'who dunnit' until we find out at the end. 

Overall, this book did keep everything that was good about the first book in it. I would have just liked keeping the mysteries to a more witch stance. I am still definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. 

Happy reading :) 

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

My Rating: 3.5 Stars. 

Date finished: 22/2/18

Date published: 24/1/17

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Could a witch hunt happen again in Salem? 

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem's chief of police, John Rafferty, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem's most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed "The Goddess Murders," in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

My Review:

This book is technically the sequel to The Lace Reader which I did actually begin reading but only read about 40 pages and just could not get into it. This books synopsis feels like a completely separate book from The Lace Reader. I'm not sure how much this book relates to its predecessor but I am aware that this book is about 20 years on from that? Or there abouts. 

So I picked this up because as you can see I really love my witch style books and so here is another book to add to that list. I generally really enjoyed this book but there were alot of the book that felt better than other parts of the book. The book is set in three parts and the third part really let down the rest of the book. I really enjoyed trying to figure out who the killer was and who the fifth petal was related to in relation to the witches and young women. 

My main gripe with this book was the massive time differences. At first, it was just a week here and there which made sense. However, in the third part of the book, it felt like Barry just needed to rush the ending and tell us what actually happened. There were massive gaps of months that were left unfilled. I felt like Barry could have spent more time here going through what Rafferty was doing about the murders and implication of Rose, rather than what Callie was up to abroad. 

The ending was quite a success in terms of finally finding out who the killer was, but that final part in the book was really just a complete let down to the rest of the book. I was getting a little bored and just wanted it to end. 

Overall, I did enjoy this book and the synopsis. Barry needs to work on her endings a little more as the rest of the book was very strong. Time jumping was something that I found was a big issue and although we don't need to know everything someone is doing in a book, things need to flow. 

Happy reading :)