Wednesday 26 January 2022

Book Review | It Ends at Midnight by Harriet Tyce | prettylittlewriter



‘New Year's Eve, when the clock strikes twelve. A lavish party in one of Edinburgh's best postcodes is sent spiralling into chaos when two guests fall tragically from the roof, impaled on the cast iron railings below.
For Tess, it was about more than reuniting with long lost friends. Recently diagnosed with an illness that could be terminal, it was her last chance to make things right. Having grown apart from her husband Marcus, she knew this would be the perfect opportunity to renew their vows, surrounded by everyone they love.
Their time is running out. Tess' closest companion Sylvie knows this better than anyone. She's trying desperately to offer her friend some closure from the guilt that has plagued them both for decades.
But as midnight approaches and the countdown begins, it becomes clear that someone doesn't want a resolution.
They want revenge.’

It’s taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts together on how I’m going to review and rate this novel.

On the one hand, the storyline/plot is great and has a clever twist, but in other ways, I found it shocking and offensive.

This is the first novel by Tyce that I’ve read (I have Blood Orange on my TBR) and she did a great job of creating suspense and keeping you guessing surrounding who the bodies were that were found impaled. I did however, find most of the characters annoying and very entitled, which made me not really care what happened to any of them, even Sylvie. The only characters I had any sympathy for were Linda and Marcus.

There was a lot of legal/law jargon that unless you know your stuff, it kind of just goes over your head (as it did mine). However, I did like that Sylvie was a judge, as I've never read a novel with the main protagonist of a judge rather than a
lawyer, so I enjoyed that it was slightly different. 

Sylvie's friendship with Tess is a toxic one. She is always on edge around her, not knowing if she has said something to annoy/upset Tess, and I found myself wanting to jump into the book and shake Sylvie, telling her that Tess is a terrible friend and she deserves better. 

There is a particular scene within the novel that shocked me to the core, and I couldn’t believe how badly Sylvie reacted to it. This scene involved a graphic sexual assault, and Sylvie was very passive and acted ignorant to it. This infuriated me and I had to stop reading for a couple of hours as I just couldn’t believe it had happened.

Overall I thought the storyline was good, and the very final twist at the end was unexpected, but I found myself getting more annoyed with each character as the story went on, and I just did not find how Sylvie reacted to things very believable, so this reduced my enjoyment of the novel.

3/5 stars

Thursday 20 January 2022

Book Review | Little Sister by Gytha Lodge | prettylittlewriter

This has been one of my favourite Gytha novels so far! She never ceases to amaze me with her brilliant ideas!

‘Detective Jonah Sheens is enjoying a moment of peace and quiet, when a teenage girl wanders out of the wood.
She's striking, with flame-red hair and a pale complexion.
She's also covered in blood.
She insists she's fine. It's her sister he needs to worry about.
Jonah quickly discovers that Keely and her sister, Nina, disappeared from a children's home a week ago. Now, Keely is here - but Nina's still missing.
Keely likes to play games. She knows where her sister is - but before she tells, she wants Jonah's full attention.
Is she killer, witness, or victim? And will Jonah find out what Keely's hiding, in time to save Nina?’

This is a story about two teenage sisters with beautiful red hair and a past that will horrify you.

One moment you think Keely is the spawn of the devil, the next you are questioning everyone and everything. There are so many twists and turns that you really are kept guessing until the very end.

I was so hooked that it only took me a couple of evenings to read as I just didn’t want to put it down!

The only think I would have liked to see more of is the relationship between Ben and Juliette, as I’m dying for them to get together, but other than that I cannot fault this novel at all!

I’m not going to do a really in-depth review as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but it was absolutely brilliant and there were some great reveals that I did not expect!

So grateful to Netgalley and Penguin Michael Joseph for allowing me to read early to review!

5/5 stars

Monday 17 January 2022

Book Review | The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain | prettylittlewriter

This novel is going to stick with me for a very long time.

‘2020. A recently widowed architect moves into the home she and her late husband designed. When disturbing things begin to happen, it's clear that someone is sending her a warning. Who is trying to frighten her away, and why? It is only when she meets an elderly neighbour that she learns the street has a shocking and tragic past. A past that some will go to any lengths to keep hidden. 

1964. A young white female student becomes involved in the fight for civil rights in North Carolina, falling in love with one of her fellow activists, in a time and place where an interracial relationship must be hidden, especially from the reemerging Ku Klux Klan. As tensions rise in the town, she realises not everyone is who they appear to be.


Decades later, past and present are set to collide in the last house on the street...’

This book had me all over the place emotionally. Diane’s writing is incredible. I was cringing, gasping, on the verge of tears (who am I kidding, I was crying A LOT) for the dear souls within this novel. From Mattie and Dee Dee, to Winston and Ellie, I couldn’t have felt more involved in each of their lives thanks to the way Diane draws you in.

There are some truly vile characters in this book; so disgustingly horrifying that you want to jump into the novel and kill each and every one of them. And what saddens me the most, is that a lot of what happened within this novel, is what would have happened to thousands of black people in real life. I’ll still never get over the fact that people were (and can still be) so cruel and disgusting to another human being because of their skin colour.

Back to the book now, before I keep ranting.

I enjoyed both characters, Ellie & Kayla, and their separate chapters, and how it all cleverly came together at the end. Kayla’s was a bit more of a slow burn, but that was only because Ellie’s story needed to be told before we could really see how the two intertwined.

Winston was my favourite character throughout; a pure soul, full of heart and gumption, and I’m still reeling from what happens to him (I did guess about ¼ of the way through the novel that something like that was going to happen, I just desperately didn’t want it to be true).

All that remains for me to say about this novel really is that I urge you all to read it. It’s powerful, raw, heart-breaking and brilliantly clever, and I think everyone needs to read this incredible novel.

5/5 stars

Friday 14 January 2022

Book Tour | The Girl She Was by Alafair Burke | prettylittlewriter

I'm super excited to be participating in the blog tour for this absolutely brilliant book!

I've never read anything by Alafair before, but after reading this, I now want to go back and read her previous novels.


 'She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she really is.

Fourteen years ago, she was found thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Hope started a new life, but never recovered her memory.

Now she's missing. With nowhere else to turn, Hope's best friend, Lindsay Kelly, calls NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher.

In pursuit of answers, three women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they've ever known.'
I was really impressed by this novel. It went in a way I was not expecting, and I was quite shocked at how gritty and dark it got! There are secrets within the secrets, and every character seems to be hiding something.

I really liked the character of Ellie, the cop, and was pleased to find that Alafair has written books about her before, so I will definitely be reading those at some point! There were also many characters that went through so much within the novel, that I couldn't help but feel so much empathy for them.

The only reason I haven't given this novel 5 stars, is because I didn't think it was necessary for there to be more than a sisterly/friendship bond between Lindsay and Hope. It just felt like it had been thrown in as a little extra to the novel, and wasn't really needed as a close bond between friends can be just as strong if not stronger than lovers.

The twist at the end was brilliant and I did not predicted it at all. 

Thank you so much to Faber & Faber for allowing me to participate in the book tour, and overall I was thoroughly impressed and would highly recommend it to any crime fiction fan!

4.5/5 stars

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Book Review | The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson | prettylittlewriter

I was lucky enough to receive not one, but two of Nicola's book from Faber and Faber (thank you!), and The Dead of Winter was the first one I picked up as I was reading it over the Christmas period!


'December 1938, and storm clouds hover once again over Europe. Josephine Tey and Archie Penrose gather with friends for a Cornish Christmas, but two strange and brutal deaths on St Michael's Mount - and the unexpected arrival of a world famous film star, in need of sanctuary - interrupt the festivities. Cut off by the sea and a relentless blizzard, the hunt for a murderer begins.'

I was hooked on this novel from start to finish. From the historical and geographical elements, an Agatha Christie vibe with dark and twisted secrets, it's the perfect crime thriller.

The first 'chapter' is pretty gruesome and upsetting, with murder-suicide involving children, I found it quite difficult to read. Then it skips ahead 18 years later, with the Detective who dealt with that terrible day, as a guest at St Michael's Mount for Christmas. 

I've been to St Michael's Mount myself, so it was thrilling to read a murder mystery set somewhere that I knew, and could picture quite easily! 

I hadn't previously read anything by Nicola, and I've started with a novel quite far into the series, however, it can definitely be read as a stand alone as I didn't find I was missing any information to enjoy the book. 

I also did not realise that the character of Marlene Dietrich was a real person! 

Without giving anything away, Upson throws you a few different suspects and plenty of twists and turns, that keep you guessing until the very end! 

I will definitely be reading more from her! I genuinely couldn't fault a thing!

5/5 stars