#BookReview THE MEMORY WOOD by SAM LLOYD @ThePigeonholeHQ #TheMemoryWood

ABOUT THE BOOK

The must-read novel of 2020. Chilling, moving and unputdownable, The Memory Wood is a thriller like no other.

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Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

PUBLISHED BY TRANSWORLD

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON  £10

GOLDSBORO BOOKS – signed edition £12.99

HIVE.CO.UK  £9.89

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

I really don’t know where to even begin in reviewing this one!  It was a book that was brutal, evil, dark, twisty, shocking, heartbreaking, emotional, traumatizing and more, and I loved every single word of it!!! I was eager to read each chapter as the twists and turns went to the extremes and back, leaving you breathless but totally invested in how each scene would play out!

It’s difficult to review this one without revealing too much, but it starts out the simple story of a young girl who plays chess, Elissa Mirzoyan, being taken from a chess tournament. What follows is anything but simple but you follow the story from her point of view alongside the frantic search by the police, led by Mairead who is going through her own personal traumas, and how the time factor plays such a crucial part in the investigation of a missing child.  

When Elissa is chained up by her captors, she is visited by a young boy in the darkness ‘Elijah’ and despite her desperate situation, she starts to use her ‘smarts’ to try and befriend him into finding a way out.  I’m not sure I would have been able to remain as level headed as her in a similar situation, but her ingenuity was staggering and how her chess mind came into play on more than one occasion.

This is a book that totally unsettles you! You think you can guess what’s going on but you’d be  totally and utterly wrong!!  It was tense, it was shockingly emotional, it was twisted and is definitely going to be one of my most favourite reads of the year – and it’s only February!! A must read!!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE SISTERS GRIMM by MENNA VAN PRAAG @ThePigeonholeHQ

ABOUT THE BOOK

The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

PUBLISHED BY  BANTAM PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

I read this via THE PIGEONHOLE app.

I loved the mix of female characters, fantasy and the modern world in this compelling story, and it’s one of those books that you really lose yourself in! And that opening is a brilliant way to lead you into the Sisters Grimm world – very inspiring!

The 4 sisters are struggling with their own problems in their day to day life, but there’s always that feeling that there’s something more going on with visions and dreams and it was so rewarding seeing how the story built up when these ‘sisters’ are reunited approaching their 18th birthdays – when a whole new life is ahead of them and they have to choose their paths! This is a coming of age of a different kind for them all!

My favourite sister is Goldie as I just found her story easier to connect with and the introduction of Leo added the romance element which I really enjoyed. But all the sisters had their own interesting stories and the way the story was told really worked for me – I liked dipping in and out of each of their timelines while strange things started to happen and they were trying to work out why these things were going on.

It was magical and mystical, filled with dark and light moments and the struggles each girl faced made them much easier to find a connection with for me as a reader. These girls aren’t perfect – they’re torn, they have fears and doubts, life doesn’t always work out for them as they hoped and there’s always that element of wondering whether they are going to go down a darker path. It’s a story about finding your place in the world and that’s a very easy thing to relate to! A fabulous fantasy read – and I’m hoping there’ll be more from this Grimm world!

★★★★

#BookReview THE FOUNDLING by STACEY HALLS

ABOUT THE BOOK

London, 1754.

Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst – that Clara has died in care – the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed – by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’ lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars, and set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, The Foundling explores families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood.

PUBLISHED BY MIRA

PUBLICATION DATE – 6TH FEBRUARY 2020

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon  £6.47

hive.co.uk £9.95

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition £12.99

MY REVIEW

I read this via the Pigeonhole app.

Another exciting piece of historical fiction from Stacey Halls who seems to really capture the essence of the time and the issues that people faced and I found it fascinating to see the story told between the haves and the have nots, in the form of Bess and Alexandra.

Bess finds herself unmarried and pregnant and is forced to leave her baby daughter at The Foundling, a place where she is hoping that her daughter will be cared for while she gets her life together and then can go back and claim her. When she goes back 6 years later she finds out that Clara was taken from the hospital the day after she was left, by someone claiming to be Bess and so they mystery begins as to who that was and where her daughter is now.

And the story of Alexandra is just as captivating – she’s a widow who hasn’t left her home for 10 years. Which means a very closeted life for her daughter who only leaves the house to go to church. Alexandra is then persuaded to get a young nursemaid in to help with the care of her daughter. You wonder what this change in her lifestyle will mean for her as she’s been so careful over the years to protect her family, and she struggles to cope with a stranger in the house but her daughter seems to thrive.

I loved the little flashbacks in their lives as we got to find out about their pasts that affected their present situations. And their personalities were extremely intriguing – Bess had faced so many tough times but had never given up hope, whilst Alexandra had this privilege but that didn’t seem to stop her having so much anxiety about the world she was living in. At the heart of it is a young girl who just wanted people to care for her, while the women around her seemed to put their own feelings first instead of thinking of her wellbeing which they often lost sight of as they became so wrapped up in doing what felt right to them.

A story full of emotion and one I raced through desperate to find out how it was all going to play out!

★★★★

#BookReview The Silver Road by Stina Jackson #TheSilverRoad

About the book

Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.

As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.

Published by Corvus

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk £10.55

waterstones £12.99

W H Smith  £9.35

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a totally absorbing and haunting story that was so deftly written that you could really sense the tension and angst of the characters throughout.

Lelle is a teacher and father who is haunted by the disappearance 3 years ago of his beloved daughter who he’d dropped off on The Silver Road to catch a bus – she never did and nobody has seen her since.  His desperation to find his daughter has caused the breakdown of his marriage, but he refuses to give up and constantly drives round the local area looking for clues or a suspect.

Meja is a young girl who has moved to the area with her mother Silje, but Meja is more sensible and responsible than her mother is and that pressure is getting to her, so when she is shown interest and kindness from Carl-Johan, whose family live nearby, her head is turned and all she can think of is him.  It’s not long before she moves to where his family are – and to say they’re a little odd is putting it mildly.  They are survivalists and trust nothing the government or authorities say, and they’re very happy to live in this closed off world.  Even Meja has to give up her phone when she moves in with them.

Lelle is Meja’s teacher so they form a bond through school and he can’t help to feel protective towards her especially when her own mother doesn’t seem to bothered.  Maybe he feels he needs to look out for Meja because he couldn’t do more for his own daughter.  He feels frustrated at the police for not investigating her disappearance more and lives in a constant state of alert – his only purpose is to find out what has happened to his daughter.

From the setting to the storyline, I found this story to be one that was both beautifully written and well staged.  It was never rushed or too elaborate, and the slow burn of a couple of storylines really put doubt in your mind as a reader as to what could have happened and how such a disappearance affects the family left behind and the lengths some may go to in seeking out the truth.  A fascinating and gripping read.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

I read this via The Pigeonhole app

#BookReview One Minute Later by Susan Lewis

About the book

The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Susan Lewis.


It’s takes one minute to change everything…


Vivienne Shager has it all. A highflying job. A beautiful apartment. Friends whose lives are as perfect as her own. But on the afternoon of her 27th birthday, Vivi has a heart attack.


Now Vivi’s life shrinks back to how it begun, as she moves back to the small seaside town she grew up in. With her time running out, there is one thing she wants to know the truth about.


Some secrets are best left in the past…


Thirty years earlier, Shelley’s family home, Deerwood farm, bursts full of love and happiness. But one family member has hidden a secret for all these years. Until Vivi comes home demanding answers, and it takes just a moment to unravel the lie at their heart of their lives…

Published by HarperCollins

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

This was an engaging and thought provoking read as it looks at the question of organ donation, and how the wait can affect the patients and those around them, alongside a story of family drama and what happens when the truth comes out after years of feeling aggrieved at not knowing the full story.

Vivienne is a high flying lawyer with the whole world at her feet – until she collapses on her 27th birthday and her life then flips 180 and she is left to ponder what is really important to her, while trying to stay positive in the hope of receiving a heart transplant.

Alongside the story of Vivi, we also go back in time to the story of Jack and Shelley who lived on a farm and had the perfect family life – or so it seemed. Trouble with the neighbours sparks off a number of disputes and when tragedy strikes it rocks the family to their core.

The paths of the stories soon cross and it all becomes clearer as to why the stories are being told in the way that they are. I did feel at times it took a little too long to get to the point and often got too bogged down in trivial little things when there were bigger issues to be dealt with.

The last third of the book was where the point of the story got going and it is obvious how passionate the author feels about the importance of Organ Donor registration as this came through very clearly in the story and how it affected Vivi and her family. An enjoyable read

🌟🌟🌟

#BookReview I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

About the book

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

Published by  Bantam Press

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

There’s something about a Sophie Kinsella book that just makes you relax and enjoy the art of reading! It feels relatable, it’s witty and it throws up a number of situations that has you wondering how you’d react in the same position, and that’s how this book made me feel although I did have a few issues with some of the characters!! But then we can’t expect everybody to be ‘perfect’ and not have annoying traits in real life so why should books be the same!

Fixie is the main character and she is one of those people in life who seems to enjoy fixing things for other people but does it to deflect from problems she’s having with her own life, and the biggest problem for her is that she doesn’t seem to have much belief in herself. From the way her own family treat her – her brother and sister are 2 of the most self centred people I’ve ever read about! – to issues she has with her job, she always seems to run herself down. So when she saves a strangers’ laptop in a coffee shop and he – Sebastian – offers to owe her a favour this leads to a series of events that might start to show Fixie that she IS worth more than she’s getting and maybe she needs to start believing in herself more and put herself before others.

I enjoyed the story line featuring Seb as he was dealing with his own problem of being able to move on after losing a loved one, but I did find myself screaming at Fixie at various times with how she was letting others treat her. It was just so frustrating and detracted from the story of her trying to save the family shop, especially in this age of online shopping, and how the ideas of others (her brother and sister mostly!) had no real place in helping to keep the business running! And as for the character of Ryan, don’t get me started on him!!

An entertaining read!

🌟🌟🌟

#BookReview Domini Mortum by Paul Holbrook

About the book

Paddington, London 1883

Samuel Weaver is a tabloid illustrator and reporter for The Illustrated Police News, whose sensationalist style makes him both popular with the public and hated by the authorities. Obsessed with an infamous murderer, Sibelius Darke, he will let nothing get in the way of finding the truth behind the stories.

Meanwhile another set of ghastly murders has begun, linked to Darke’s reign of terror six years earlier.

Perhaps Darke was not the terrifying killer that he was made out to be? Perhaps the real murderers are still at large in London society? And perhaps, in order to prove this, Samuel Weaver will pay the ultimate price for his obsession

Published by Unbound

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

unbound – ebook edition

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app which made the reading experience even more interesting as you got to share your immediate thoughts daily with other readers and the author himself – and he seemed to enjoy the range of responses – mostly shock and horror! -that Domini Mortum brought out in us all!

I haven’t read Memento Mori – but will be rectifying that as soon as I can! – but I found the darkness of this story so instantly entrancing! There were many times I found myself not knowing where the story was going to lead to, a cast of characters who one minute you’re on their side, the next they betray you, and full of darkness in a grizzly murderous kind of way!

Sam Weaver is at the centre of the story. His talent is for drawing and he uses it to portray crime scenes for the local press. And the scenes he gets to witness never seem to turn his stomach, although they turned mine as a reader when described in this book! He becomes obsessed by these crimes that all seem to be linked, but is constantly met with people at the top trying to hush things up.

He meets some very interesting characters along the way – some help, many hinder his investigations – and you also get to find out more about Sam and his past proving that darkness can be found everywhere!!

I loved the ride that this book too me on and the shocking ending has left things nicely poised for more!

✮✮✮✮✮