Tuesday, 31 July 2018

July Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in July -

Her Watchful Eye by Julie Corbin* - Ruby, an ex-copper works as a CCTV operative in Edinburgh. She sees someone on the screen who she hasn't seen in five years and begins to watch her - following her moves on the screen as she goes to her job at the restaurant and back to her flat and hanging out with her boyfriend...she's just watching out for her...she's not being an obsessive stalker is she? Lennie, her friend and colleague gives Ruby's life some grounding when she lets him in.

We learn of the heartaches in Ruby's life and how she can't forget or forgive herself for the thing she's done. Her soon to be ex-husband who never wanted a family is soon to be father to twins which causes Ruby no end of pain. All Ruby wanted was a child and a second chance. A twisty read with an ending I just didn't see coming. Would recommend.

Stalker by Lisa Stone* - Derek Flint is middle aged and still lives at home with his mum. He works in home security and every night watches over his clients on CCTV in their homes. They've become like his virtual family.

A series of crimes take place and all the victims have CCTV installed by Derek's company. DC Beth Mayes digs deeper and finds that somehow Derek is involved. Unbeknown to him he's been hacked and they can see everything he can... A twisty read which I enjoyed.

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware* - Hal Westaway, who lives alone in Brighton following her mother's tragic death suddenly receives a letter from a solicitor in Penzance telling her that her grandmother has left her a substantial amount in her will. She doesn't believe the letter is for her - her grandparents are dead after all. She owes a lot of money to a loan shark and her day job as a tarot reader doesn't bring in much money so this might be the answer to her prayers.

She travels to Cornwall and Trespassen House and meets her relatives who are a mixed bunch, some of whom are enraged their mother has left almost everything to a stranger. The house is creepy and surrounded by resident magpies which makes everything feel more threatening. Hal's installed in an attic far away from everyone else with bars on the window and a lock on the outside of the door. The housekeeper, Mrs Warren seems to take an instant dislike to her.

There's a story running alongside from the past and two girls who have happy and unhappy times at Trespassen House. It's very cleverly woven into the story in the present day. Hal unearths a lot of secrets, mystery and tragedies and you wonder if she'll make it out of Trespassen House alive...A brilliant, brilliant read which I loved.

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys**It's 1948 and Eve Forrester is trapped in a dull and lonely marriage with straight laced husband Clifford. She receives a solicitors letter out of the blue in which she learns that a wealthy stranger has left her a quarter share in his villa. She's got no idea who or what Guy Lester means to her.

Clifford and of course her mother Mary almost forbid her to leave England for the beautiful and sparkling French Riviera. She's been invited alone to find out more about her inheritance. Used to rationing and penny pinching she falls head over heels for the decadence, abundance and glamour of the Riviera.

The Lesters are not at all happy to welcome this stranger to their midst. Who is she in relation to their father? A twisty read which made me gasp out loud when I learned of the connection(s). Eve was a brilliant character who grew and developed over the course of the story, ready to make her own decisions and forge her way in life. Totally brilliant and highly recommend.

In Love and War by Liz Trenow* - the story is set in July 1919 and three very different women are searching for three men very dear to them who lost their lives at the battlefields of Ypres in Belgium.

Ruby, is just married and looking for her husband's grave. Confident Alice, a loud American is looking for her younger brother and Martha and her son Otto, looking for someone close to them. Three very different women who when it comes down to it are not very different at all.

The women go to look for their men in the cemeteries around Ypres and beyond. You feel transported there to the battlefields, trenches and feel the devastation of war. Freddie, a British soldier who stayed there after the war is an interesting character who is also searching for who he is. The women grow and change and find out they are in fact stronger than they could ever believe. The characters and storylines stayed in my mind long after I'd finished the book.

Islands in the East by Jenny Ashcroft* - The story is set in Singapore in the 1890s and the 1940s and the two stories are intertwined. In 1897, identical twins Mae and Harriet, born from an affair have always had each other despite the malicious gossip. They are sent to Singapore by their benefactor and one of them has to marry creepy businessman David Keeley. 

When dashing Alex Blake comes into their lives the twins, for the first time in their lives fall out and their loving relationship fractures. The interwoven story is set in 1941 and Ivy, an Intelligence Officer is posted to wartime Singapore. She's going to be such an asset to the war effort as she speaks fluent Japanese and will work interpreting and tracking their movements. 

She has ghosts from war-torn London and when she meets gorgeous Kit she doesn't believe she should be allowed to be happy. She also meets up with friends of her grandmothers and is truly surprised to learn they lived in Singapore. The story is about love, rivalry, betrayal, war and friendships. I thought it was a brilliant novel. Highly recommend.

The Ice Maiden by Sara Sheridan* -  I adore Sara's Mirabelle Bevan series so pretty much knew I'd fall for The Ice Maiden and what a fabulous, well researched, engrossing and un-put-downable read it is.

The story is set initially in 1842 when Karina stows away on a boat leaving Deception Island. She's destitute and hungry, owing money here and there since her husband went missing at sea. She dresses as a boy and sneaks onboard a boat she believes is bound for England for onward journey to her sister in Amsterdam. But, the ship is bound for the chilling and unforgiving Antarctica. 

It's soon discovered that she's a woman and she forms a friendship with the ship's surgeon, Joseph Hooker. Life on board is tough and fascinating to read about. There's a twist in the tale which shocked me and took me a while to get used to. Karina is brave, plucky, passionate, impatient and wants it all. She's a great character. The fact interwoven into the story is an expedition - the Voyage of Discovery and the attempt to take the South Pole by Scott and Shackleton. I absolutely loved the story and would highly recommend.

The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis* - The story opens in 1956 when Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant by her footballer boyfriend. He wants nothing to do with her or the child and she's sent in disgrace to St Margaret's, a house for unmarried mothers run by nuns. Her baby Rose is adopted against her will. 

In the present day, Samantha Harper is a journalist who is juggling her busy job and caring for her four year old daughter with the help of her Nana and sometimes her ex, Ben. Her Nana has a series of letters from a young mother who is begging to be rescued from St Margaret's which makes heartwrenching reading. Samantha delves into the past desperate to get the story which will be the making of her career. She also cares deeply about what happened to Ivy and Rose and getting to the bottom of what happened at St Margaret's. 

Kitty, a famous TV host is searching for her sister and will stop at nothing to find out the truth. The stories are intervoven and there are some surprises in store for Samantha. With twists and turns I didn't see coming. A thrilling but sometimes harrowing read which was un-put-downable. Highly recommend. 
What have you been reading this month?

*copy from the publisher via Netgalley **copy from Love Reading

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