Monday 13 May 2019

2019 Reading Challenge | Books 21-25 Round-Up

I'm a little behind with these round up posts - it feels like I've read the ones I'm about the write about ages ago!

You can catch up with 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and 16-20 and don't forget to come add me on Goodreads!

Two Little Girls by Frances Vick - 4/5

"An innocent girl is taken. The family's lodger confesses.
But that's not the whole story. That's not even the beginning...

It's 1985 and the disappearance of ten-year-old Lisa Cook shocks the nation. Her best friend, Kirsty, traumatised and fearful, gives evidence that helps to put the Cook lodger behind bars.

...But what if Kirsty made a mistake? 

Now, decades later, Kirsty leaves a life she loves to move back to the hometown she hates - tortured by her memorie, she's determined to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Lisa that day. But someone is waiting for her there, someone close to her family. Someone who is hoping to finish off a job that was started years ago..."

In 1985, ten-year-olds Lisa and Kirsty are best friends forever. They have a minor argument, Kirsty goes off home and Lisa isn't seen again, presumed dead.

Fast-forward to present time and Kirsty has moved away and is married to Lee. A family commitment brings her back to her hometown and she becomes friendly with an older psychic lady who thinks she can help her find out the truth about what happened to Lisa. Kirsty soon finds out that she can't trust anyone.

I was excited to read this book based on the synopsis and I really enjoyed it. It's full of twists which kept me on my toes. I don't buy into the whole psychic medium thing so I read those parts with a pinch of salt but the plot is still very good.

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey - 4/5

"How can you spot a murderer?

Leo Stone is a ruthless killer - or a victim of a miscarriage of justice. A year ago, he was convicted of the murder of two women and sentenced to life in prison. But now he's free, and according to him, he's innocent.

DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve finds out, the less convinced she is of his guilt.

Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?" 

This is a really good crime fiction novel. DS Maeve Kerrigan is looking into the deaths of two (possibly three) women in the hope of finding new evidence against Leo Stone, the man suspected of murdering them, after he is released.

It is full of twists as you follow Maeve and her colleague DI Josh Derwent. I thought I had it sussed about halfway through but it went another direction. This is the eighth book in the Maeve Kerrigan series but only the first I've read. After seeing how well written this book is, and the fact that I loved the characters, I'm definitely going back to read the rest!

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister - 5/5 

"It's the day Izzy's father is released from jail.

She has every reason to be conflicted - he's the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories.

But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy's father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial.

But should she give him the benefit of the doubt?

Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?" 

Gillian McAllister - you've done it again! 

When I first read her novel 'No Further Questions' last year, I very quickly named it my favourite read of 2018 and I got that exact came feeling with 'The Evidence Against You'. It's going to take a lot to beat it.

Izzy's father was convicted of murdering his wife, Izzy's mother Alex, 17 years ago. He has now been released and is protesting his innocence. Izzy decides to listen to his side of the story and see if she can work out if he's telling the truth or not by looking into the evidence.

I couldn't put it down and I kept saying to myself "just one more chapter" until I was up until 2am reading. I was chasing the end to see the conclusion and what an ending it was! I felt like I needed a breather afterwards. It's so well written.

Izzy's father, Gabriel, telling his side of a situation then Izzy recalling the same moment from her point of view was done very well and I loved how it wasn't just all about her trying to find out the truth. It touches on her sadness of not having her mother around to do typical mother/daughter things and her sadness of seeing her father trying to integrate back into society after being incarcerated for almost 20 years.

I cannot recommend this book enough and if you've never read a book by this author before, do it!

Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer by Stephen G Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth - 2/5 

"The book behind the sensational Netflix series 'The Ted Bundy Tapes'. Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer was born out of more than 150 hours of exclusive interview footage with Bundy himself, recorded on death row before his execution in a Florida electric chair. Bundy's shocking eleventh-hour confessions to journalists Stephen G Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth provide a horrifying insight into the twisted mind of America's most notorious serial killer. He was a sadistic monster. A master manipulator. His grisly killing spree left at least 30 innocent young women dead. This is Ted Bundy in his own words."

I love anything to do with crime, especially true crime and I was excited to read this because I thought it would be a great insight into Ted Bundy's mind but it was a really tough read, I got bored very quickly and felt like it was a huge waste of time. I haven't watched the Netflix series but I get the impression that it would translate better as a TV show.

Kudos to the journalists for sitting and listening to, what I can only describe as, utter drivel and word vomit. He speaks in the third person about these crimes, talking as though he's imagining what the person who committed them was feeling or thinking but he's clever and knew what information to leave in and what to omit.  

If you are wanting a quick, easy explanation for Ted Bundy's crimes, this is not the one. 

Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham - 4/5 

"She says she's an ordinary mother.

He knows a liar when he sees one.

Sarah thinks of herself as a normal single mum. It's what she wants others to think of her. But the truth is, she needs something new, something thrilling.

Meanwhile, DI Tom Thorne is investigating a woman's suicide, convinced she was driven to do it by a man who preys on vulnerable women.

A man who is about to change Sarah's life." 

The story starts with DI Tom Thorne investigating a suspicious suicide.

I don't want to give too much away, I can't review without minor spoilers, but we also meet a toxic couple, Sarah and Conrad, and the story is told from two points of view; the couple and the crimes they are committing, and DI Thorne trying his best to suss out what is happening and catch them.

Everything is weaved together very well and there are some great twists thrown in for good measure. The characters are all great and you really feel like you know them because they are given a proper background.

This is the 16th book in the DI Thorne series but only the first I've read. It reads well as a standalone book but judging by this, I'll be seeking out the others. 

Have you read anything good lately that I should check out?
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