Tag: Fiction

Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey

 

Four Stars

Emily Klein doesn’t know her husband Greg is dead until the day of the funeral. From her hospital bed, she doesn’t yet know that she killed him. Once home and beginning to recover from the dreadful car crash, she sees her husband at a distance, in coffee shops, around town and in his car, yet when she gets home the car is on the drive.

Lies 1

Posts appear on his Facebook account and she begins to get text messages from him, it can only be him as he’s the only one who called her Alice when her name is Emily. She thinks she’s losing her mind and the reader is reminded of her past when  she was in a mental institution after killing her father.

The book switches back to her childhood home with her sister and their abusive father. We get an idea of Emily’s mental state and the reason behind her spell in a mental institution. Emily’s sister is key throughout the story giving support when she’s just lost her husband. Most of the story is in present day, just a few switches to childhood as memories resurface.

Emily’s friends are all under suspicion of imitating Greg and she doesn’t know who to trust or believe. There are several twists and jaw-drops before all lies are revealed and unravelled at the end.

Diane Jeffrey

 

 

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Rosie and Ruby by Patricia Dixon

five_stars

Rosie and Ruby was first published under the title Three Mothers, (Trois Meres) and was Patricia Dixon’s second novel. Her writing and storytelling in this book is flowing and confident, not afraid to tell it how it is.

Patricia Dixon - Rosie and Ruby_cover
Briefly, this is the story of cousins Rosie and Ruby, starting with their childhood and teenage years living in Manchester with their parents. Both have equally awful mothers in different ways, and both girls, and later young women, come to terms with and overcome the mental scars that haunt them for years. Rosie follows her dream of being a hotelier and ends up in France, while Ruby marries her wealthy whirlwind heart throb who turns out to be a violent and vicious monster. I don’t want to give the whole story away so won’t go any further with that.

There were tense and, at times, quite viciously nasty parts in this book and I can see that a more sinister genre was waiting to escape – Over My Shoulder by the same author.

Patricia Dixon writes fluidly and interestingly and never leaves any loose ends. When a new character comes on the scene she gives a concise and engrossing outline of who they are and what sort of personality they have.

Whose books are hers similar to? Well, the Manchester element reminded me of Mandasue Heller but her warmth and friendship within the story is much like Patricia Scanlan or Maeve Binchy – lovely fulfilling stories. I have read all Patricia’s books and the warmth, emotions and characters never fail to give me a fuzzy loved feeling.

 

TrishandOwen

 

 

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Death’s Dark Veil by Patricia Dixon

Five Stars

Death’s Dark Veil opens with someone on their death-bed being taunted and observed by ghostly figures. She knows who they are and knows they have come to escort her to the next world, but their descriptions are terrifying and I wondered if she could ever rest in peace.

The firstDeath's Dark Veil chapters introduce two very different characters, Georgie and Ivy, and these two young girls create the theatre for a very dark and dangerous show. Each has a tragic start to their adult lives but grow into strong and capable young women. We follow them individually to the time their lives collide at Tenley House, the Gothic towering home of first Daphne and Kenneth, then Georgie and Kenneth, as well as a dreadful old bat mother-in-law, Phyllis. Evil is all around, too many deaths for comfort (and coincidence), so who is behind these suspicious deaths?

Well written in a dark and menacing way with a good amount of humour to keep things light – the nick-name for curmudgeonly Phyllis, (Syphilis) had me howling.  There are gasp out loud moments at tragedies and deaths, and there is a great twist at the end.  I certainly didn’t guess the outcome and I loved the ending.

 

Patricia Dixon

 

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Katerina by James Frey

Purplefourstars

I haven’t read any of Frey’s previous novels and only when looking at other peoples reviews of this book did I realise there was massive controversy surrounding his book A Million Little Pieces. I have read this book ‘blind’ in that I haven’t read any of his previous work nor did I know about the controversy prior to reading Katerina in the hopes that my review is accepted as totally unbiased.

katerina

To start with I found the strange sentence construction and lack of punctuation difficult to follow and not easy to take in, but the more I read, the better I got at ‘getting’ it. It’s James Frey’s unique writing style and he has every right to write and punctuate, as an artist, as he wants. It’s raw and passionate and at times so gut-wrenchingly sad and pathetic. It’s full of profanities (don’t read if you don’t like unnecessary swear words – it’s full of, and punctuated by, the f-word) but I strangely go to like it and felt his anger, disgust, hate, fear and love pounding through.

It’s written over two timelines and two countries – Paris in 1992 and Los Angeles in 2017. Jay is a disillusioned, non-conforming young student in America and decides to sell unwanted personal items and make fast money from drugs to fund himself in Paris, France. We go back and forth from Jay in Paris to Jay’s present day and really just learn his background, his strengths, weaknesses – oh, the weaknesses!!! loves, life and beliefs, and, of course, meeting Katerina. It’s a roller-coaster of a young life which I read with loathing and longing in equal measure.

It’s written like a memoir and after the furore I’ve now read about Frey’s earlier ‘memoir’ novel A Million Little Pieces, it feels like this is ‘the real thing’ or at least has put some reality into the fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed Katerina and now need to read the very controversial Million Little Pieces.

james frey

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Christmas Spirit by Nicola May

 

Four Stars

 

Christmas SpiritThis is a lovely Christmas themed story, short enough to read in an afternoon. The characters are endearing and different from each other with just jilted Evie, funny man-mad Beatrice, and c and thought provoking Yves.

Evie has split up with her boyfriend just before Christmas and so she’s upset, penniless and not looking forward to Christmas at all. To keep her mind off her ex-boyfriend on Christmas Day, she agrees to work in a homeless shelter serving food. Here she meets enigmatic Yves and meets him at various places over the next few days.

A heart-warming Christmas story with a touch of magic and an unexpected twist.

 

Indecent by Corinne Sullivan

3-and-half-star

I enjoy a good slow burner of a book but the burn has got to be really worth the slow. For the first half of this book, I was disappointingly waiting for something to happen, for the story to take off. We really got to know Imogene, our leading lady, during this time but she was such an insular, detached sort of person that nothing had really happened in her life to create a story about. We learn of her insecurities, lack of confidence, lack of experience with the opposite sex and the propensity to pick her face all the time.

Indecent

Imogene is an apprentice teacher at a prestigious boarding school for boys, and works under the supervision of other tutors. She knew and understood the rules of the school and what her relationship to the students should be, but her lack of experience or stupidity has her taking personally any interest from the boys.  This naivete sets her on a course of inappropriate behaviour and reckless abandon of school rules. and I could see a mile off that this was going to end badly.

What I couldn’t get out of my head while reading, was if the sexes were changed – Imogene was a male teacher at a girls boarding school – is that it would blatantly have been a very uncomfortable read about grooming and paedophilia.

The final third of the book did pick up in tension as we see the excruciating obviousness of Imogene’s demise. She can’t cope with work or indeed life, and her lack of relationship experience leads her away from all sensibility.

Very well written, and certainly worth reading if you like a slow burner.

 

Viking Wolf by Emmanuelle de Maupassant

4 and half 1

 

Viking Wolf

This is the second instalment of the Viking Warrior series, Viking Thunder being the first. Viking Wolf carries on where Viking Thunder left off and opens towards the end of the crossing by boat from England to Erik’s homeland. Elswyth and Faline took the decision to leave their village where both had bad memories and nothing to stay for, and joined the Vikings on their ship home.

Elswyth meets Erik’s brother and feels a shiver of danger, not wanting to be left alone with him. On Erik’s home turf, Elswyth feels that she is looked down on and not to be trusted by his kin folk. She slowly makes friendships when sickness sweeps the village but is mistrusted by some. There is plenty of Viking folklore, lust and eroticism to keep the reader entertained, with the story moving at a good pace and a touch of fantasy giving a very satisfactory ending.

As with each of Emmanuelle’s books, this is very well written and edited and I look forward to the next in this action-packed Viking series.

 

First in the series: Viking Thunder  Viking Thunder 2