Tag: Four and a Half Stars

The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods by Samuel J. Halpin

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Review by Alice

The Peculiar Peggs

The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods is about a town called Suds where children have been disappearing for a long time. Poppy arrives in this town to live with her grandma, who makes her follow these strange rules and soon she befriends the weird Erasmus. The two children team up and try to solve the mystery of the disappearing children.

The Peculiar Peggs is a book, that shows that imagination with an eerie atmosphere can make an excellent combination. This is definitely not your average ‘two kids team up to solve a mystery’ there are so many more layers to unpeel that just keep getting better and better!

I think this book can be for anyone because although the main characters are two innocent children, it’s so much more dark and creepy than you ever anticipated.

 

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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

Four by Andy Jones

4 and half 1

An intimate story of three friends when a new lady joins to make the foursome. We are first introduced to Sally, a GP, who is married to Alistair. Their marriage is taking a bit of a battering and they are attending marriage counselling in an effort to save their marriage. We then meet Mike who has recently divorced and has a little girl who has emigrated with her mother. He used to be at university with Sally and were a little more intimate than Alistair knows about, and also now works with Alistair. Faye is a young actress and is introduced by Mike to Sally and Alistair after she has just performed a part as a naked schoolgirl on stage. Faye is flirtatious and after an evening of drink, drugs and a dare game called ‘never have I ever’, the couples swap and end up sleeping together.

Four

The main theme of the book is the analysis of what that one reckless night has done to each of them individually and as couples. Then, about half way through the book, there is an unexpected twist which has further connotations.

I found the book to be well written and delved deeply into areas I’d not thought about. It felt realistic and the characters were all believable. There was tension throughout because of the embarrassment felt by each of them in the cold light of day. It was refreshing to read a male author’s viewpoint of some very intimate and emotional situations and I will certainly look out for more by Andy Jones.

The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth

4 and half 1

Helena is a confident and successful business woman heading her own department in an international make-up company. Then Ashley is interviewed and taken on and everything goes out of kilter.

The Rival

The story is told in a present day and back a year or so style, and although I felt that sometimes the timeline wasn’t quite clear (only realising we’d gone back/forward after a paragraph or two,) it worked well to show how quickly Ashley was taking over and Helena was spiralling down with pregnancy, childbirth and depression.

Both main female characters had their faults, pushy, deceptive, unfaithful etc., and the author making them both unlikeable at times made them feel realistic, more true to life, just a bad combination when they got together.

I thought the book was well written and well plotted, it had a couple of unexpected twists at the end and I enjoyed it very much.

 

Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany

4 and half 1

Best Kept SecretA powerful and impacting story of how Cadence struggles with work and bringing up a toddler after her marriage falls apart, and turns to the bottle to help her cope with life. Only it doesn’t, it devastates her life in the most sobering way possible when her husband finds her passed out from drinking with their son in the room, taking him away and filing for custody of four year old Charlie.

From sinking so low Cadence, with help from her sister and alcoholics’ meetings, lifts herself from the depths of despair to fight to gain the right to see her child.

A raw and emotionally charged story portraying the destructive effects of alcohol.

Amy Hatvany

 

 

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

 

4 and half 1

I love Karin Slaughter’s writing style and how she’s developed and matured over the years, from her early days of the Grant County series and through the Will Trent series. Pieces of Her is her fourth full length standalone novel. It’s cleverly written over two timelines thirty-two years apart which are not at all confusing, you won’t get them mixed up, although the plotline itself is quite complicated.

Pieces of Her

In the first chapter we meet Laura who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, and her daughter Andrea, at a restaurant chatting about Laura’s illness and that Andrea should move out of the family home and get a place of her own. Andrea’s life is stale and stagnant and needs something to give her a push to the next chapter in her life. While they are chatting, a gunman opens fire on people around them and Laura is caught in the gunfire. Andrea is like a frightened rabbit and can’t move from behind her mother and is almost shocked into a stuttering silence when Laura speaks with the shooter and one of them ends up dead.

Andrea’s life then takes off in a completely different orbit as she tries piecing her life together, questioning her mother’s past and now facing much danger. The story goes back to events over thirty years ago and we start to understand the events then with what is happening in Laura and Andrea’s life today.

This is a fast paced crime story, sometimes graphic and gory but always gripping. At times it’s heart stoppingly intense and fast paced with chases and danger at every turn.

 

Karin Slaughter

 

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They Don’t Know by Patricia Dixon

4 and half 1

 

I’ve read all of Patricia Dixon’s books and I’m struck each time by the warmth of her writing. She oozes love and care for the characters she’s created, and in turn they give friendship and reality to the story.

They Don't Know

There is a short prologue which relates to a time near the end of the book. We then start chapter one with Daisy, who lives in France with her parents, leaving the family home to go to university in Manchester, England. She’s an astute girl but is also shy and very nervous about the whole university process and getting accommodation. During the wait in the long queue she meets Adam, who is also a little nervous, but after a few minutes of small talk they hit it off and it’s obvious they will become good friends.

There is also a little back story of Adam and his brother Ryan which fills in their personalities and why each are like they are – quite different but both troubled. Once all three meet up, they become a solid force to be reckoned with, nothing will ever break them.

Adam is a good looking lad, and when Fliss can’t get him to be her boyfriend, talk about him being gay is spread around. Adam is hurt about the false and personal allegations and confides in Daisy his true feelings and unusual sexual orientation.

This is a very moving book; there is love, emotion and deep friendship as well as a dreadful tragedy which rocks them to the core. The character description is exquisite, you can picture what each of them look like. They feel so real and have definite individual identities. This is a love story with a difference, and I adored the references to songs, especially Kirsty MacColl’s They Don’t Know.

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