Book Review: Sleeping in the Ground (DCI Banks #24)

“If the incident had been a scene in a film, it would have looked beautiful. The violence would have taken place in elegantly choreographed silence and slow motion. Perhaps it would have started with the wedding party milling around outside the picturesque country church, then the camera would zoom in on a rose of blood blossoming from the bride’s white gown as she looks up, surprised, and floats serenely to the ground, arms reaching out, gasping for something too insubstantial to hold.”

The 24th book in Peter Robinson‘s DCI Banks series, published in 2017, Sleeping in the Ground begins with a shocking mass murder at a wedding in a small Dales church. A huge manhunt follows as Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders. But as he struggles with the death of his first serious girlfriend, Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why. With the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for. But when the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

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Book Review: Pretty Girls

“No matter what happened to you, no matter what horrors you endured when you were taken away, you will always be my pretty little girl.”

From the author of the Will Trent series, Karin Slaughter, Pretty Girls is a 2015 thriller that follows two sisters, Claire and Lydia, who haven’t spoken in years. Claire is a glamorous trophy wife and Lydia is a single mother who struggles to make ends meet. When a pretty, young girl goes missing in their hometown, Claire and Lydia are reminded of their sister, Julia, who vanished without a trace when she was a teenager more than 20 years ago. Now, the two are brought back together when Claire’s husband is murdered, something that Lydia couldn’t be more happy about. But what could connect the disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man almost a quarter-century apart? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago.

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Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

Gail Honeyman‘s 2017 debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, follows an out-of-the-ordinary character who leads a simple but strictly routined life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day, and she buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. But her life is anything but fine, as much as she will tell you otherwise.

Eleanor Oliphant is a little weird and struggles with appropriate social skills. She tends to say exactly what she’s thinking, and avoids all social interactions, apart from her unavoidable weekly chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling IT guy from her office, and they save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk. Although she hadn’t planned to welcome anyone into her once secreted life, Eleanor begins to look forward to changes in her schedule, as Raymond begins to rescue her from the life of isolation that she has been living, as she is forced to face the profoundly damaging past that she has been hiding from.

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Book Review: Then She Was Gone

“If she could rewind the timeline, untwist it and roll it back the other way like a ball of wool, she’d see the knots in the yarn, the warning signs. Looking at it backwards, it was obvious all along.”

Then She Was Gone is a 2017 book by Lisa Jewell, which sees a 15-year-old girl go missing just before her exams. 10 years later, her mother, Laurel, still hasn’t given up hope of finding her. But when she meets a charming stranger called Floyd in a cafe, Laurel’s breath is taken away by how much his nine-year-old daughter, Poppy, reminds her of Ellie. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What really happened to Ellie? Where did she go? And who still has secrets to hide?

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Book Review: Unseen (Will Trent #7)

“If only Lena hadn’t found it. If only she could take a razor and slice the images out of her brain. They haunted her. They flickered into her vision like an old movie every time she blinked. They filled her with a constant, unrelenting sorrow.”

The seventh instalment in Karin Slaughter‘s Will Trent series of detective thrillers, 2013’s Unseen sees Special Agent Will Trent return with a secret, something he doesn’t want the woman he loves, Dr Sara Linton, to find out. He’s gone undercover in Macon, Georgia, and has put his life at risk to solve a case involving someone close to Sara – her stepson, Jared, who has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife and also a detective, responsible, so Will knows that she will never forgive him if she finds out the truth. As Will tries to solve his case, Sara is forced to confront her past and, without even knowing it, they become involved in the same crime. Soon, both of their lives are in danger.

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Book Review: The Escape

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

C.L. Taylor‘s 2017 thriller, The Escape, follows mother and wife Jo Blackmore who, when a stranger asks her for a lift, says yes. But she quickly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband, Max, and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two-year-old daughter, Elise. What starts off as a series of inconvenient encounters soon turns into threats, police and social services involvement, and then even Jo’s own husband turns against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger, but Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – to escape.

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Book Review: The Lie

“I was escaping from a job I hated, Al was escaping from a failed relationship, Daisy was tagging along for the adventure, and Leanne… well, she was looking for somewhere to call home.”

C.L. Taylor‘s 2015 thriller, The Lie, follows Jane Hughes, an ordinary woman living in a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She has a caring boyfriend and a dream job working in an animal sanctuary and is happier than she’s ever been. But her name is not really Jane Hughes. Five years earlier, Emma went on a spa holiday with her three best friends to Nepal. It was the trip of a lifetime, until it rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women. Jane has tried to put her past behind her, but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

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My Reading List 2017

Over the past couple of years I have documented every film that I have watched and reviewed them all using Letterboxd.

As a way to motivate myself to read more, I thought I would do the same for what books I have been reading, using Goodreads as a way to set myself a reading challenge.

After completing my challenge of 15 books last year, I thought I would increase my goal to 20 books. However, it turns out that having a baby takes up more time than I thought it would, so this is the first year that I haven’t completed my challenge. Still, I thought I would share the few books that I did manage to find some time to read. Here’s how my 2017 challenge went, with a short review and rating for each of the books:

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Book Review: The Maze Runner – The Death Cure

“I watched as that kid died. In his last few seconds, there was pure terror in his eyes. You can’t do that. You can’t do that to a person. I don’t care what anybody tells me, I don’t care how many people go crazy and die, I don’t care if the whole shuck human race ends. Even if that was the only thing that had to happen to find the cure, I’d still be against it.”

The Death Cure is a 2011 young adult dystopian novel written by James Dashner and is the third book published in his Maze Runner series. Picking up where The Scorch Trials left off, Thomas has beaten the Maze and survived the Scorch, but WCKD has taken everything from him. Now, he’ll risk anything to save his friends. But there’s one final test. Thomas remembers far more than they think, and it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say. But the truth will be terrifying and it could be what ends it all. The time for lies is over. Is there a cure for The Flare? And will the Gladers make it out alive one last time?

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