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Liz Loves Books.Com.

Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere.  All views my own. Mostly.

I didn't Fall for The Fall Guy....

The Fall Guy: A Novel - James Lasdun

The Fall Guy was just too slow. That is the basic reason that it was not for me. I'm not sure selling it as a "Taut psychological thriller " is doing it any favours because it is not taut nor is it really a thriller. It is more character study and yes some lovely literary writing the author has got going on here but although I love some literary stuff I need to have at least a sense that something might happen soon. Or at least a little tension.

I think it would have worked better from multiple viewpoints. We only get the one and that one is vaguely monotonous at times and seriously if I wanted to read a cookbook I'd get a cookbook. The plot kind of meanders along until quite late then suddenly things pick up but by then I was genuinely past caring. If we had heard from the other characters in the drama - and that is what this is a character drama- it might have added layers beyond lots of beautiful words tagged together to tell a rather long winded (yes it is only a short novel but trust me it feels long winded) story. For me the ending was lazy too.

Look it's not terrible, certainly James Lasdun has excellent writing skill but I was bored. The only reason I finished it was because it was short and I had an occasional eye on "maybe this is going to have a kick ass finale that will make all this worthwhile". Sadly that did not happen. At least not in my opinion.

I think The Fall Guy and I are not compatible. We had a brief interlude in time but the relationship really wasn't going anywhere.

If you like the Donna Tartt school of novels you will likely love this to be fair. I was the wrong audience and I'm probably missing the nuances of what the author was trying to achieve here, hey it happens.

Almost Missed You.

Almost Missed You: A Novel - Jessica Strawser

I enjoyed Almost Missed You - it was beautifully written, I think I liked the writing more than the story probably which was compelling but peppered with rather divisive characters who I had problems relating to on the level I prefer.

Still, it was a cleverly insightful examination of those things that can make and break relationships, the secrets that can become so large to the person holding them that they think there is no way of speaking them out loud - ending up with everyone concerned being in untenable situations.

Finn runs away from his wife taking their child with him. Suddenly and with no explanation. What follows is an exploration of why he did that, past events overtaking him with sudden repercussions. Jessica Strawser shows many levels, telling it from several viewpoints, including Caitlin, friend to both and this is a beautifully paced family drama.

I found it fairly fascinating to be fair. Finn annoyed me to the point of growling. Seriously insular, his reasons were entirely selfish - yes ok there are psychological issues here he's not entirely unsympathetic but mostly I wanted to slap him hard. That is ok right? Caitlin would rather leave her supposed best friend in agony rather than face up to her own secret and basically Violet was a dishcloth. Yet they held me in their grip the entire time, I wanted to know the outcome for all.

In the end I think it would be fair to say that for me this was a solid read that makes me want to read more from Jessica Strawser, but perhaps it did not quite light the fire under me that it could have done due to my personal dislike of the characters within.

Recommended for fans of womens fiction and family drama.

You. Not for Me.

You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

Have given up on this one at approximately the halfway mark. It just is not doing anything for me. Sometimes it happens that way. Too disjointed and not going anywhere I feel like following because I'm not particularly bothered what happens to Beck who is shallow and uninteresting.


Writing is good and Joe's voice is sort of interesting. Sadly I'm a little bored by the plot though and just can't be bothered. Lots of love for this one out there though so if it sounds like your sort of thing give it a go! As I said nothing wrong with the writing quality.

The One Memory of Flora Banks...

The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr

I LOVED this book.


All because of Flora. Sometimes a character just speaks to you and Flora has an amazingly strong and indelible voice – the whole of this story is told from her point of view, although often necessarily repetitive each reboot she gives to herself has added nuance and emotion – Emily Barr moving the story forward with gentle yet incredibly addictive pace. This is one of those books I label beautiful – beautiful writing, beautiful characters and in the end a whole truck load of beautifully emotional shots through the heart.


Utterly compelling throughout as we follow Flora, learning about herself, those around her, then doing it all over again readjusting her senses, one of the strongest components of this particular story is within the relationships she forms with others.  Her best friend, her parents, those she meets along the way, all seen by the reader through the filter of Flora’s memory. Her notes to herself form her next decision process, she is alive on the page and absolutely captured my heart.


The scene setting is also gorgeous – from Penzance to Svalbard the author paints a picture, again filtered through this girl, Flora, who is seeing it all for the first time all the time – it made me want to follow the journey she takes, to the land of the midnight sun. One day perhaps I will.


There is a mystery element layered into the story, the feeling that there is more to Flora’s situation than meets the eye, that perhaps not everyone is being honest with her – the whole novel is a journey of discovery not only for Flora but for the other characters we learn about along the way and for the reader. It made me cry. Proper real cathartic tears.Flora’s life rules may be ones to live by.


For me a truly wonderful novel. If this is how Emily Barr is going to write YA then I’m going to read every single one. But there will never be another Flora..


Highly Recommended. Be brave and watch out for Polar Bears…

The Caller.

The Caller - Chris Carter

Out of all the crime series I read avidly I think perhaps the Robert Hunter novels from Chris Carter are somewhere near, if not the top of my favourites list. It is the combination of twisted plotting, riveting and heart stopping death scenes and a main protagonist to die for in the unequivocably intriguing Mr Hunter.

So with The Caller we go to a whole new level of gritty and intense storytelling - I was gripped, utterly gripped from the very first page, Chris Carter gives us an almost cinematic reading experience with his descriptive and realistic settings and events. I defy you not to gasp at the end of the first chapter, then continue to do so throughout whilst your heart goes hoppity skip. Love books like that. You can't get out of them easily you are dragged along in their wake, a willing participant in a game of many levels.

It is clever writing because yes of course serial killer vibe - entirely fascinating, we are all drawn to the dark side - but there are many more layers of story to be had here including in the personal lives of our series mainstays - and a particular character tied to this case who I REALLY hope we hear from again. It felt like we might. I say no more - no spoilers here but if that IS the case I'm really really intrigued by what might happen.

Really this is an insanely good crime series. Extraordinarily well written, high quality and high drama all the way, please lets have many many more tales from the world of Robert Hunter. Damn fine reading! Erm and I'm kind of freaked out. Even better.

Highly Recommended.


Painkiller - N. J. Fountain

Painkiller was one of those addictive bang through novels that you just cannot put down and for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not without its problems for me though, however the premise from which we start is highly intriguing and somewhat emotional.

Monica lives with chronic pain. The HUGE strength of this book is how that is put across, through her words, through her actions and changing attitudes, she is not particularly likeable but extraordinarily sympathetic. I like the way the author starts with "I wake up" and then takes us through a plethora of different emotions, pain levels and acceptance v denial. Extremely well done.

The mystery element is well plotted through the majority- Monica has memory issues due to the immense amounts of medication she has to take and its possible her husband is not as loving as she thinks, her friends may not be entirely trustworthy and those she interacts with may not always have her best interests at heart. Therein lies the hook, that addictive sense as you race through the pages to find out the truth.

Clever misdirection, an off kilter reality, mostly seen through the filter of Monica and her pain, the twists and turns in Painkiller are beautifully placed and unpredictable which of course makes it fascinating and engaging. However...

My problem came with the ultimate resolution. I found it a little over convoluted, the last little bit was a maelstrom of rather ragged sprints to the finish line that were slightly overwhelming and not always as believable as the rest of the novel had been up until that point. That is not to say the finale was unlikely to the extreme, more that I felt it was rather banged together. But you know, sometimes these things can runaway with you.

Overall though Painkiller was a thought provoking, nicely done psychological thriller with a different starting premise that gave it an edge over others that I have seen lately. I would recommend it. You'll be slightly breathless by the end...

Find Her.

Find Her (D. D. Warren) - Lisa Gardner

A truly addictive read from the pen of Lisa Gardner here, an author I'm a huge fan of especially the Raine/Quincy novels (of which there is a new one coming YAY) Up until this point I had not been QUITE as enamoured of the DD Warren novels but for me Find Her brought this series into its own.

Tense, claustrophobic, a really serious page turner, Find Her has all the elements of a classic crime novel with added pizazz and some truly atmospheric and heart stopping writing. Flora Dane is a remarkable character, the descriptive sense of her was pitch perfect and her ordeal and life changing experience extraordinarily compelling.
I also felt a lot more connected to DD throughout this instalment, all of a sudden she clicked for me and I engaged fully with her and her life and background. Her frustrations with Flora here were my frustrations and the fact that she is not entirely up to par fitness wise only added to the overall sense of urgency that Lisa Gardner brings to this story.

In fact if you have not read this series before I would say this would be an excellent starting point - it may make you want to go backwards (and you'll enjoy the previous books too) but it will (almost) certainly make you want to move forwards, especially if you are a huge crime fan looking for your next fix.

I like a multi layered tale, a more than just the facts narrative and the exploration of victimology and the aftermath of trauma are done so well here, you can feel the emotional highs and lows, the author bringing a huge amount of authenticity to the tale. The victim advocate angle was great, Samuel Keynes being one of my favourite characters in this and I hope we get to meet him again.

Plenty of twists and turns, a thoughtful and considered underlying tone, taut plotting and a brilliantly focused finale means Find Her comes highly recommended from me.


The Chemist..

The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer Interesting. I liked it. So I'll be honest I'm not a huge fan of Stephenie Meyer's novels to date. I enjoy the Twilight movies but couldn't cope with the books, I did not get to the end of The Host but I was intrigued to see how she would tackle an adult novel and a thriller at that. Very well it turns out. The Chemist follows an oft done theme, shadowy government agent, on the run from nefarious employers who want to finish her off, maybe if she can pull off one last thing for them they'll leave her alone. Things go pear shaped as expected and off we go. But you know there is a reason why those who love thrillers love thrillers, come on we would ALL secretly like to be Jason Bourne. The thing that makes this a little different is in fact the chemistry angle. The main protagonist, Alex, is a scientist, a brilliant mind and if she wants answers from you you'll probably either give them to her or die. Plus she makes stuff that would make your hair curl. It was a fun and tingling read that evoked an awful lot of googling. So we get action and we get poison. And things. Alex is very well drawn. Cool, collected, intriguing, I wanted to go along with her and see where she ended up. I enjoyed the scientific angle muchly, the author also tells a very addictive and well flowing story and its not always entirely predictable. All good things. Ok so its not perfect. There has to be a romance right? Well that did not really ring true for me if I'm up front about it. I can't say why because I'll spoil it but Daniel (love interest) was just not my cup of tea. He had no edge and no interest for me. I believed that love affair not one iota. However that is entirely subjective and may be because personally I thought she was far more suited to an entirely different character. Or frankly nobody at all. Alex is a cold fish and she is that way for a reason. Her path back to humanity went way too fast. That is a small thing within the mostly great things though. The action was banging, the edge of seat moments made more so by the fact that you actually felt that not everyone would survive the journey - there were plenty of twists in the tale and overall I thought this was engaging, enjoyable, fun and fascinating. If you like a good thriller you will find a lot to like here.

Demons and Booze....

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge: A Novel - Paul Krueger
  Urban Fantasy with booze. Yep I can get behind that. This was a fun frolic of a novel with an interesting hook in the whole drink to get the ability to fight demons thing - and I especially enjoyed the background of alcohol and cocktail recipe inserts that tied into the plot.

Overall a good read with a slightly different vibe although I think this would have worked better as a full on adult novel rather than sitting on the cusp of YA.



Lies: The Gripping Psychological Thriller That Will Take Your Breath Away - T. M. Logan

Fast paced twisty psychological thriller of the type so popular right now and this is a good example of why they are popular. Read it quickly, wanting to know what the outcome was so it held attention. Nothing particularly new but still a good read. Difficult to review because it just does exactly what it says on the tin!

Devils Knot.

Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three - Mara Leveritt

Truth really can be stranger and more twisted than fiction! Fascinating case, excellent book covering all aspects. Really enjoyed.

Darkness Savage - The Dark Cycle. Great series.

Darkness Savage (The Dark Cycle) - Rachel A. Marks

I’ve loved the Dark Cycle series. Because I love a bit of magical mayhem with a demonic mix of wit and witchery. Phew.


So Darkness Savage is part 3 – the ending maybe, I don’t know but certainly it ties up an awful lot of stuff regarding Aiden and his sister, Rebecca and her struggle and all the highly addictive and intriguing plot elements Rachel Marks has brought to us in books one and two. Again it is fast moving, exciting, sometimes contemplative and the character arcs are as compelling as ever.


I like the world that has been built here, it is YA Urban Fantasy with a top notch descriptive sense that puts you right into the moment and some bang on characters to love and hate. Add to that an excellent nuanced plot that is written beautifully to be highly engaging and you have a winner.


Multiple viewpoints which work well, the mythology is solid and fascinating and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I’m sure there are more stories to tell within this universe. I hope they come along soon.



Fickle. Now for something a bit different...

Fickle - Peter Manus

Now I came to Fickle almost accidentally – the cover caught my eye during a random flyby on Netgalley and then the premise seemed intriguing. Still I nearly carried on past it but in the end impulse got me. Boy was that a stroke of luck because I LOVED this one. Cool, quirky, different and utterly compelling I engaged with every moment of it.


Clever novel. Clever. See Fickle is told via a blog. Well 2 blogs if you want to be exact but thats for you to discover. Basically you are reading a sequence of blog posts and the ensuing discussions. The main blog in question is a blog all about the wonder of Noir. One night our blogger tells the tale of her brush with death, the unfortunate unlucky coincidence of being present at a suicide. She reaches out to her small band of regulars and they all weigh in, showing concern and offering support. There it begins…


Things start to happen. Coincidences pile up. Every post that follows adds more layers to the tale but is our blogger an innocent bystander who has now been caught up in the vortex of things beyond her control or is she making the whole thing up to create her own style of noir  or is she lying or WHAT THE HECK. And blimey as things unfold you will get more and more into it, you’ll wish to heck you could comment yourself, you’ll think you’ve got it then you won’t have it and its the twistiest tale I’ve read in ages. Also if you like Noir this whole thing is Noir tastic in both style and substance.


The writing is incredibly smart, it does read like a blog but also like episodic tv and each instalment leads you further down the rabbit hole. It won’t be for everyone I get that, but for me it was brilliantly executed, the nuances are nuanced to a high degree, in a lot of ways it is interpretative reading, you’ll take your own idea’s from it especially in relation to the ending.


Really really excellent in my opinion. Doing something a little different, pushing the boundaries somewhat within the crime and suspense genre, this is what I love about reading. Those little gems you discover randomly and fall for absolutely. This one I’m just going to say BOOM. Give me more from this author.


Highly Recommended.

Field of Girls...

Field of Girls: A gripping thriller for fans of Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell - Martin Krist

I read Field of Girls really fast. Its one of those that you just bang through, I kind of read it last night. So it has a compelling nature about it.


It is a cool murder mystery/psychological thriller with a main character, Alex, who was extremely engaging, his backstory is intriguing and a bit different to the norm for these things so that was a major plus. The plot twists were clever and it had its dark side and the dark side always appeals to me.


However it was not without its problems. The narrative was a little disjointed, the lines were not clear, especially in the early portion before the flow got going. A character jumble that took a while to come together in my head, not sure whether that was because something was lost in translation. I kept with it though because even with that I wanted to know where it was going.


I’d say for a book in this genre it was solid storytelling with a good premise and a decent execution with some small hiccups. Would I read more from Martin Krist? Yes absolutely. I have a sense of his voice now so I doubt the same problems would arise and he spins a good yarn. And I do love a good yarn.



Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake

Loved Frostblood.

Okay so there is a reason why YA novels of this type work so well for me - its the mix of fantasy and romance and a bang on story that just engulfs you. Frostblood is an adventure for the soul, engaging, fun characters, enough angst to shake a stick at and plenty of action and fiery frosty mayhem.

Come on you HAVE to love a bit of fiery frosty mayhem...

ANYWAY this is one of those novels I love to read when the weather is cold and real life is somewhat bleak, pure escapism with a lot of charm and a whole heap of that addictive quality that as readers we look for. Is it a brand new concept? Well no but that matters not - because its FUN and not only that you get right into it with the characters because you can tell that Elly Blake got right into it with the characters - an imaginative streak that came out in a brilliant way. The world building is classic, laying the foundations, drawing you in, loved the descriptive sense of it.

I was fond of Ruby whilst often wanting to slap her. Hey. Its just me. The romance is low key enough not to intrude on the more action and plot building aspects and thank heavens not endlessly saccharine which would have driven me nuts. All in all the set up is pretty perfect, count me in for the rest of this series, I'm hooked.

If Red Queen and Frozen had a lovechild it would look very much like Frostblood but Frostblood is also very much its own thing. Erm person? Ok I'm mixing up analogies and comparisons and whatever here but this is why I read them and don't write them. Basically Frostblood is all the fun. Roll on book 2!


The Drowning Child

The Drowning Child (Ren Bryce) - Alex Barclay

Late to the party with Alex Barclay novels and Ive started here with book 6 in the series but don't let that stop you if you are in the same boat, easy enough to get into. Too easy if anything, I found it to be a bit of a page turner that often made me late for things.


Loved the vibe here. I like a good small town story, and in this instalment that is exactly where Ren has ended up - investigating a disappearance and discovering that in this town secrets lie buried deep.


Ren as a character is all kinds of messed up, events from previous books (which I will absolutely have to go back and read now dammit, like I need to add to the teetering pile) are defining her thinking a lot of the time but still she has a job to do and do it she will. I like a controversial character especially when embroiled in a twisty plot that is eminently unpredictable so for me The Drowning Child was an excellent read.


It is not perfect, Rens inner monologue sometimes distracted me, but it is part and parcel of her I assume (we'll find out when I go back) but for the most part the plot fairly rocks along. Some interesting and divisive characters, a strong mystery element and an endlessly fascinating story unfolding the writing is sharp and engaging and so here is yet another series Im adding to my must read list.


Recommended for Crime fiction fans.