Book Review: The Winners (Beartown #3) by Fredrik Backman

“There’s no life liek youth, no love like first love, no friends like teammates.”

The third book in Fredrik Backman‘s Beartown series and set to be released on 5th October, The Winners is set two years after the events that no one wants to think about. As the locals of Beartown struggle to overcome the past, great change is on the horizon. Someone is coming home after a long time away. Someone will be laid to rest. Someone will fall in love, someone will try to fix their marriage, and someone will do anything to save their children. Someone will submit to hate, someone will fight, and someone will grab a gun and walk towards the ice rink.

So what are the residents of Beartown willing to sacrifice for their home? Everything.

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Book Review: Troy (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #3) by Stephen Fry

“How strange is our mortal zest for fame. Perhaps it is the only way humans can be gods. We achieve immortality not through ambrosia and ichor but through history and reputation. Through statues and epic song.”

Published in 2020 and the third book in Stephen Fry‘s Great Mythology series, Troy tells the story of the classic Greek myth centred around the Trojan war. The kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against the city of Troy, to which they will lay siege for ten whole years. It is a terrible war with casualties on all sides as well as strained relations between allies, whose consequences become tragedies.

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Book Review: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

“I had been a fool to trust in a hero: a man who could only love the mighty echo of his own name throughout the centuries.”

Published in 2021, Ariadne by Jennifer Saint is a retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, told from the perspective of Ariadne, the Princess of Crete and daughter of the fearsome King Minos.

Ariadne grew up with her sister Phaedra hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year. When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

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Audiobook Review: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

“A DECADES-OLD CRIME CASE
A DANGEROUS OBSESSION
A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS”

Published in 2022, All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers follows aspiring investigative journalist Margot Davies who is stuck at a small-time newspaper, until she stumbles upon a new development in an unsolved case that took place in her hometown: the infamous murder of six-year-old January Jacobs.

Margot quickly becomes obsessed with solving the case and returns to the town she left at eight years old, hoping to bring justice to January, who was discovered dead in a ditch only hours after her family awoke to find her gone, along with a horrifying message spray-painted on their kitchen walls.

As Margot digs deeper into the case, she begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems. There is something more sinister than she ever could have imagined lurking in the town: a twisted secret that threatens to endanger the lives of everyone involved, including Margot.

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Book Review: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

“Silence does not mean yes. No can be thought and felt but never said. It can be screamed silently on the inside. It can be in the wordless stone of a clenched fist, fingernails digging into palm. Her lips sealed. Her eyes closed. His body just taking, never asking, never taught to question silence.”

Published in 2017, The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed follows three girls. Grace, the preacher’s daughter who moves into the former house of a girl whose pain adorns the walls. Bold Rosina, who dreams of a life of playing music instead of waitressing her uncle’s restaurant. And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people.

They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of Lucy Moynihan, the girl behind the graffiti in Grace’s bedroom. When Grace learns that Lucy was run out of town for accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that she never got justice. Together, Grace, Erin and Rosina form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.

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Book Review: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

“This is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s. They have waited long enough for their turn…”

Published in 2019, A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes tells the story of the women, girls and goddesses at the centre of the Western world’s great tale ever told, from the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war.

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Book Review: Shadow And Bone (Shadow and Bone #1) by Leigh Bardugo

“I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina. You and I are going to change the world.”

Published in 2012 and the first book in Leigh Bardugo‘s Shadow And Bone trilogy, Shadow and Bone is set in the once-great nation of Ravka which has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now, its fate rests on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life – a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.

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Book Review: The Pursuit Of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy

“It’s the most astonishing thing about getting old: discovering that all the pain, all the drama, is so completely transitory. You carry it with you. Then, one day, you’re gone.”

Originally published in 2001, The Pursuit Of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy is set in New York, 1945, where Sara Smythe, a young, beautiful and intelligent woman, is ready to make her own way in the big city. One night, she attends her brother’s Thanksgiving Eve party. As the party gets into full swing, in walks Jack Malone, a US Army journalist back from a defeated Germany and a man unlike any Sara has ever met before – one who is destined to change Sara’s future forever.

But finding love isn’t the same as finding happiness – as Sara and Jack soon find out. In post-war America chance meetings aren’t always as they seem, and people’s choices can often have profound repercussions. Sara and Jack find they are subject to forces beyond their control and that their destinies are formed by more than just circumstance. In this world of intrigue and emotional conflict, Sara must fight to survive – against Jack, as much as for him.

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Book Review: Perfect Kill (D.I. Callanach #6) by Helen Fields

“He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.”

The sixth book in Helen FieldsD.I. Callanach series, Perfect Kill sees DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach working on separate cases that soon collide, as it becomes clear that men and women are being shipped to France and traded for women trafficked into Scotland. With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when so many others will soon be dead…

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Book Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

““It’s not always the truth that survives, but the stories we wish to believe. The legends lie. They smooth over imperfections to tell a good tale, or to instruct us how we should behave, or to assign glory to victors and shame those who falter. Perhaps there were some in Sparta who embodied those myths. Perhaps. But how we are remembered is less important than what we do now.”

Published in 2021, Lore by Alexandra Bracken sees the start of the next Agon, an event that takes place every seven years as, punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man – now a god – responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods, who offers an alliance against their mutual enemy. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and re-join the hunt will come at a deadly cost, and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

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Book Review: Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam

“Parenthood was never knowing what was going to hurt your kids, but knowing only that something, inevitably, would.”

Published in 2020, Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam follows Amanda and Clay who head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city.

But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?

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Book Review: Sweet Dreams (Ewert Grens #10) by Anders Roslund

The tenth book in Anders Roslund‘s Ewert Grens series and set to be published on 15th September, Sweet Dreams follows Detective Ewert Grens who finds a connection between two little girls who went missing on the same day in Stockholm, whose disappearances were never explained. In time, the investigations are abandoned, and the girls are pronounced dead. But Grens is determined to find out what happened to these children who were snatched away from their families and never seen again, whose coffins lie empty in the local graveyard.

Now, his search leads him into the most repulsive recesses of the dark web and the discovery of a paedophile ring that can only be cracked from the inside. Grens is forced call upon his retired partner, Piet Hoffman, the best undercover operative he knows, to try to infiltrate the group. They will have only one chance – but are they up to the darkest challenge of their lives?

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Book Review: Perfect Crime (D.I. Callanach #5) by Helen Fields

“Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable…”

Published in 2019 and the fifth book in Helen Fields‘s D.I. Callanach series, Perfect Crime follows DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner as they are drafted in to investigate the death of a man who has now been found at the bottom of a cliff, after a suicide prevention counsellor stopped him from jumping off a bridge only weeks before. Now, Luc and Ava must determine whether he jumped or whether he was pushed.

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be. Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

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Book Review: The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas

“Three missing girls. A twenty-year mystery. A woman who may be able to crack this cold case.”

Set to be released on 15th September, The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas is set in a rural Wilshire town where The Devil’s Corridor lies. A road which has witnessed eerie happenings from unexplained deaths to the sounds of a child crying at night. But nothing more puzzling than the Olivia Rutherford case. Four girls drove home but after their car crashed only Olivia was found.

Twenty years later, journalist Jenna Halliday is covering the case. But the locals aren’t happy with this stranger’s arrival. Least of all Olivia. Jenna soon starts receiving threatening notes and it is clear someone wants her out of this town before she suffers a dark fate…

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Book Review: The Demon Code (Joe Mason #2) by David Leadbeater

The second book in David Leadbeater‘s Joe Mason series, The Demon Code is set high in the Italian alps, cut off from the outside world, where a chapel sits, battered by winds and icy blizzards. The priests who guard this sacred place have sworn to protect the dangerous treasure that lies within their walls. But when Joe Mason and his team are called to the remote church, they find its ancient stones reduced to rubble, the priests murdered in cold blood and their precious cargo stolen.

As Mason pursues the thieves across continents and dangerous waters, he wonders what incredible secret the priests laid down their lives for… And if he can recover it before it claims more innocent victims, and brings the downfall of civilisation as we know it…

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Audiobook Review: Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.”

Published in 2021, Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay follows NYU student Matt Pine who returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family — his mum, his dad, his little brother and sister — have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain, and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte and was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed, Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his family, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison, forcing him to confront his every last fear.

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Book Review: Mrs England by Stacey Halls

“Saying no can be ten times harder than saying yes, but it makes you feel a hundred times better.”

Published in 2021, Mrs England by Stacey Halls is set in West Yorkshire, 1904, when newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners. She hopes it will be the fresh start she needs, but as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby is forced to confront her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.

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Book Review: Perfect Silence (D.I. Callanach #4) by Helen Fields

“When silence falls, who will hear their cries?”

Published in 2018 and the fourth book in Helen Fields‘s D.I. Callanach series, Perfect Silence sees the body of a young girl found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the outline of a doll carved into the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby. After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

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Book Review: The Night Watch (DS Max Craigie #3) by Neil Lancaster

“He’ll watch you. He’ll hunt you. He’ll leave you to die.”

Set to be released on 8th September and the third book in the DS Max Craigie series, The Night Watch by Neil Lancaster follows DS Max Craigie and his team investigate the murders of Scotland’s most notorious criminal, who had just walked free, and his lawyer, who was supposed to be on his honeymoon after the end of the trial.

As the case begins to show links to several other mysterious deaths, Max knows this can only mean one thing: they have a vigilante serial killer on their hands. But this time the killer isn’t on the run – he’s on the investigation team. And the rules are different when the murderer is this close to home. He knows their weaknesses, knows how to stay hidden, and he thinks he’s above the law…

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