Book Review: Ithaca (The Songs of Penelope #1) by Claire North

“Athena watches from the shore. Artemis prowls in the forest. And in the belly of the earth, the Furies are stirring.”

Published in 2022 and the first book in The Songs of Penelope series, Ithaca by Claire North follows the story of Penelope who was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. While he lived, her position was secure. But then King Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them has returned, and the women of Ithaca were left behind to run the kingdom.

Now, years on, speculation is mounting that her husband is dead, and suitors are beginning to knock at her door. No one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne — not yet. But everyone waits for the balance of power to tip, and Penelope knows that any choice she makes could plunge Ithaca into a bloody civil war. Only through cunning, wit, and her trusted circle of maids, can she maintain the tenuous peace needed for the kingdom to survive.

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Book Review: Snatched (Will Trent #5.5) by Karin Slaughter

Book 5.5 in Karin Slaughter‘s Will Trent series, Snatched follows Will Trent, a dedicated agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who knows that there’s definitely such a thing as a cop’s intuition. Which is why he should have listened to his own.

While in an airport restroom at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, Will overhears a girl’s pleading, plaintive voice: “Please, I wanna go home.” Something isn’t right here, thinks Will. He feels it in his gut. But he waits too long to act, and now the girl and the anxious, angry man she’s with have disappeared into the crowds at the busiest passenger airport in the world.

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Book Review: Fallen (Will Trent #5) by Karin Slaughter

“The killing won’t stop until someone pays the price.”

The fifth book in Karin Slaughter‘s Will Trent series, Fallen sees Special Agent Faith Mitchell return home to a nightmare. Expecting to find her mother minding her new baby daughter Emma, Faith is horrified to discover Emma locked in the shed, her mother’s safe open, her gun missing and a trail of blood to the front door.

Without waiting for backup, Faith enters the house to a scene of carnage. It has been torn apart and a man lies dead in a pool of blood. She stumbles across two more intruders, and within minutes they too are shot dead. And when the Atlanta police force turns up, Faith has some difficult questions to answer. But she has desperate questions of her own. What were the killers searching for? Is her mother directly involved this time, and where is she now?

With Faith suspended from duty, Faith’s partner Will Trent, together with the help of Dr Sara Linton, must piece together the fragments of a brutal and complicated case – and catch a deeply troubled and vicious murderer with only one thing on his mind. To keep on killing until the truth is finally revealed.

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Book Review: The Half Burnt House by Alex North

Published on 16th March, The Half Burnt House by Alex North follows Katie who has always looked after her beloved younger brother Chris – until she left him alone for one selfish afternoon, and their picture-perfect family fell apart. Although Chris survived the attack, the scars ran deeper than the ones left across his face. Now they’re adults, and they haven’t spoken in years. Then she gets a call, from Detective Laurence Page.

Page is facing an unusually disturbing crime scene. Alan Hobbes, a distinguished and wealthy philosophy professor, has been brutally murdered. Hobbes was living in a sprawling mansion – but one that remains half-ruined by a decades-old fire, wind and rain howling through the gaping, creaking roof.

Page only has one suspect: Chris, caught on CCTV at the house. But he has plenty of questions. What could cause a man as wealthy as Hobbes not to repair his home? Why did he seem to know his death was coming, yet do nothing to stop it? And why was he obsessed with a legendary local serial killer?

But Katie only has one thing on her mind. She knows this is her last, best chance to finally save her brother, and make up for her negligence all those years ago.

But she can’t possibly imagine just how much danger he’s in…

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Book Review: Shadow Of Night (The All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

“You tell me that magic is just desire made real. Maybe spells are nothing more than words that you believe with all your heart.”

Published in 2012 and the second book in Deborah Harkness‘s All Souls Trilogy, Shadow Of Night picks up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, as Diana and Matthew go on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different and vastly more dangerous journey.

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BLOG TOUR: The Snow Graves (Agent Tori Hunter #5) by Roger Stelljes

The fifth book in Roger StelljesAgent Tori Hunter series, sees a young couple found lying still on the snow-covered sidewalk, their gloved hands tightly linked as though they could save each other. But flashing blue lights illuminate the quiet street, and drops of blood scatter the pure white ground…

Agent Tori Hunter is heartbroken at the murders of Cam and Gracie, two college students dating for just a few months, shot dead outside his aunt’s home. With witnesses in this once-peaceful neighborhood saying they saw a black car speed away, Tori races to a lonely cabin deep in the pine forest when she gets an anonymous call from a female voice that makes her blood run cold. Is Tori speaking to the killer, or is putting her trust in this mysterious woman her one hope of catching the true perpetrator?

As more phone calls come, it’s clear the voice knows all about a cold case from Tori’s past—and that Tori must confront this twisted mind, and her own darkest demons before more innocent lives are lost.

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Book Review: The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

“She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?”

The Good Samaritan by John Marrs follows End of the Line employee Laura, who offers her callers hope and reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it. But now someone’s on to her, though they have no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to. Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

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Book Review: The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase

“Houses are never just houses. I’m quite sure of this now. We leave particles behind, dust and dreams, fingerprints buried on wallpapers, our tread in the wear of the stairs. And we take bits of the hoses with us… We grow up. We stay the same. We move away, but we live forever where we were most alive.”

Published in 2017, The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase follows four sisters who arrive at Applecote Manor to spend the summer, but all is clearly not well. They find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before. No one seems any closer to finding out the truth. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret? As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later…

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Book Review: Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo Moyes

Published in 2018, Still Me is the third book in the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes, which sees Lou Clark leave her boyfriend Sam behind in London to start a new job in New York. She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down. Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt. Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.

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Book Review: Until Proven Innocent by Nicola Williams

Set tp be released on 16th March, Until Proven Innocent by Nicola Williams follows Lee Mitchell, a young barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.

On her doorstep in South London the 15-year-old son of the pastor at the local Black church is shot, and the local community is shattered. All evidence is pointing to infamously corrupt, racist police officer Sergeant Jack Lambert as the irredeemable suspect. His own boss – rebel-turned-copper Danny Wallace – is certain he is guilty.

Against her will, Lee is strong-armed into defending him. With cries of ‘Black Lives Matter!’ echoing in the streets, Lee is at the centre of the turmoil as lies, anger, and mistrust spiral out of control. With the line between her personal and professional life becoming increasingly blurred, Lee keeps asking herself the same question: How can she defend the indefensible?

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Book Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

“You can’t outrun what’s inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try and turn it into something better. I may not know exactly where I’m headed, but this time I’m choosing my own destiny.”

Published in 2017, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel follows fifteen-year-old Lane Roanoke who goes to live with her grandparents and cousin at the Roanoke family’s rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls.

But what she doesn’t know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice…

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Book Review: The Baby Group by Caroline Corcoran

“Her life was perfect. Until the video.”

Published in 2020, The Baby Group by Caroline Corcoran follows mother and blogger Scarlett whose golden life suddenly unravels when someone sends a shocking video of her to everyone she knows. The only people who claim they haven’t seen it are the friends in her new mothers’ group: Cora, Emma and Asha.

Scarlett is forced to delve into her past to discover who is out to get her. But as her circle of trust gathers around her, she has to ask – are her friends as innocent as they seem?

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Book Review: The Puppet Show (Washington Poe #1) by M.W. Craven

Published in 2018 and the first book in the Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven sees a serial killer burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

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Book Review: Missing Angel (Agent Tori Hunter #4) by Roger Stelljes

The fourth book in Roger StelljesAgent Tori Hunter series and published in 2022, Missing Angel sees Agent Tori Hunter race to the scene of the kidnapping of 12-year-old Isabella who is taken on her bike ride home from school. Witnesses saw a man throw her into the back of his blue van and speed away. Terrified that a child she loves like her own might be next, Tori knows every second counts in the hunt for the missing girl.

Isabella’s distraught parents insist no one would want to harm their perfect family. But while searching a stretch of road where the van was last seen, Tori finds a tiny clue: an angel-shaped charm. Isabella was here. But what chance is there that she is being kept alive?

Unable to trust Isabella’s parents, as Tori closes in on the truth she realises someone already known to police must be involved: and she herself is in terrible danger. But even if Tori makes the ultimate sacrifice, will it be enough to find this innocent girl before she disappears forever?

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Book Review: It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne

“Love isn’t just a feeling. Love is a choice too. And you may not be able to help your feelings, but you are responsible for the choices you make about what to do with them.”

Published in 2017, It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne follows Audrey who is over romance. While dealing with her parents’ contentious divorce, a breakup of her own, and shifting friendship dynamics, she has every reason to feel cynical. But then she meets Harry, her fellow coworker at the local cinema. He’s brash, impulsive, and a major flirt. And even though Audrey tries to resist, she finds herself falling for his charms. But in this funny, insightful, and ultimately empowering novel, love—and life—isn’t what it’s like in the movies.

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Book Review: Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

“Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is the biography of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. In an extraordinary story that only he could tell, Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humour, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.

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Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

“It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I’d known, maybe I’d have kept tighter hold of them and not let unseen tides pull us apart.”

Originally published in 2005, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro follows children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy who were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time, she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special, and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

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Book Review: The Institution by Helen Fields

“They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.”

Set to be published on 2nd March, The Institution by Helen Fields follows forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine who has five days to catch a killer. On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking. Connie is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now, she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth and use her unique skills to find the girl – before it’s too late. But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

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Book Review: The House Share by Kate Helm

“Seven housemates. Seven lies. Would you join The House Share?”

Published in 2020, The House Share by Kate Helm follows Immi who thought she had found the perfect new home in central London: a shared warehouse with luxury accommodation, a rooftop terrace and daily yoga, all with a surprisingly affordable price tag. The Dye Factory is a ‘co-living’ community, designed to combat the loneliness of big city life.

But soon after she moves into her new haven, Immi realises that it’s not quite as idyllic as it appears. No one seems to know who is behind this multi-million-pound urban experiment. And her housemates may be hiding a dangerous secret…

Then, as a series of pranks escalate into something much darker, Immi is left questioning whether, in this group of strangers, she can ever really be safe. And when you’re sharing a house, you can’t always lock the danger out.

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