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The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything By Kara Gnodde

The Theory of Not Quite Everything‘The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything’ is the latest book by Kara Gnodde.

Like circles of a Venn diagram, Mimi and Art Brotherton have always come as a pair. Devoted siblings, they’re bound together in their childhood home by the tragic death of their parents. Art believes that people – including his sister – are incapable of making sensible decisions when it comes to love. That’s what algorithms are for. Mimi knows that her brother is a mathematical genius. But she believes that maths isn’t the answer to everything. Not quite. Especially when it comes to love. Still, when Mimi begins her search for a soulmate, Art’s insistence that she follow a strict mathematical plan seems reasonable. The arrival of Frank, however – a romantic stargazer who is definitely not algorithm-approved – challenges the siblings’ relationship to breaking point. As their equilibrium falters, Art’s mistrust of Frank grows, but so do Mimi’s feelings. Something about Frank doesn’t quite add up, and only Art can see it.

The story is seen through the narrative of brother and sister Art and Mimi. Since the death of their parents, Art has relied heavily on the support of his younger sister, essentially taking over her life with his high maintenance demands, because of this Mimi has decided to take back control of her life and look for love, much to the disgruntlement of her older brother. Art is concerned that he’ll loose his sister but decides to reluctantly help her on her dating journey and uses his Mathematical mind to help her on his quest. But when Mimi finds Frank, he seems perfect on paper but with his mathematician mind, Art begins to see some flaws in Frank’s algorithm.

This book is a quite a lovely story, it’s bittersweet, uplifting and funny. Both characters are complex and fascinating in their own ways. After the death of their parents, they rely heavily on each other and it’s interesting how much Mimi does for Art and for such an intelligent man, how much he depends on her. I loved Mimi progresses throughout the story and how her confidence grows and the same goes for Art.

The story flows at a gentle pace that made it easy to sink into and the author’s style of writing is also quite gentle like her characters. A tender and witty story about love, resilience and finding your place in life, ‘The Theory Of (Not Quite) Everything’ is a lovely read.

You can buy ‘The Theory Of (Not Quite) Everything‘ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Strange Sally Diamond By Liz Nugent

Strange Sally Diamond‘Strange Sally Diamond’ is the latest book by Liz Nugent.

Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died. Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and police detectives, but also a sinister voice from a past she cannot remember. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends and big decisions, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say. But who is the man observing Sally from the other side of the world? And why does her neighbour seem to be obsessed with her? Sally’s trust issues are about to be severely challenged.

I was delighted to have been sent a copy of ‘Strange Sally Diamond’ by Liz. Liz is one of my favourite authors, her debut novel called ‘Unravelling Oliver’ has one of the best opening lines that I’ve ever read and the first line to ‘Strange Sally Diamond’ was just as gripping.

Prior to reading the book, I attended a book launch for the book at Belfast bookshop, No Alibis and Liz discussed her inspiration behind Sally Diamond and why she decided to create Roscommon Noir as the setting for a story a small rural town called Carricksheedy.

The story is set in 3 parts and is primarily seen through the narrative of Sally Diamond, a woman who lives her life by literal instructions, so when her father advises her upon his death to put him out with the bins, that’s exactly what she does.

Suddenly a media frenzy descends onto Sally and the quiet life that she’s been leading is taken away and she’s put into spotlight making friends for the first time, adapting to social situations and human interactions.

I loved Sally Diamond, she’s honest, blunt and absolute breath of fresh air, her life has been far from perfect and so the trauma of her childhood is what makes her who she is as a person and her behaviour. She speaks her mind and is always quick to put others in their place when she doesn’t agree with them.

Although the story is a fantastic one, it’s not for the faint hearted focusing on child abduction, sexual assault, child abuse, racism and diversity and these parts of the story does make for hard and unsettling reading. But like Liz’s previous books, she adds some lightness to the story to balance out darkness and this often takes place with Sally.

Another element of the story are the postcards that are sent to the Sally from New Zealand and the sender is another narrative in the book, but it’s hard to say much about them without giving something away!

This book is another wonderfully crafted story from one of Ireland’s favourite crime writers. The chapters are short and snappy so they really pull the reader in dark making it impossible to put down. The book is also beautifully descriptive in parts, from old home that Sally grew up to the new cottage with a steam that flows underneath the floorboards, Liz really paints a picture with her writing. Witty, dark and compelling from the first page, ‘Strange Sally Diamond’ is an absolute must read for all crime fans.

You can buy ‘Strange Sally Diamond’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Gin Palace By Tracey Whitwell

Gin Palace‘Gin Palace’ is the latest book by Tracy Whitwell.

Tanz can talk to ghosts, although she’d prefer it if she couldn’t. Struggling to make ends meet as an actress and wholly unsuited to supply teaching, Tanz is only one bad day away from a meltdown. And the babbling ghosts aren’t helping. So when Tanz is offered a paid acting gig in her hometown, things start to look up. But Newcastle’s dead won’t stay quiet for long, and soon Tanz becomes haunted with visions of a mysterious Gin Palace guarded by a sinister figure. As Tanz starts to piece together a terrible tragedy, it becomes clear there’s no limit to what the poltergeist will do to keep his secrets his own. Unfortunately, he’s never met anyone quite like Tanz before.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Tracy and I have to say that it was a genuinely lovely story.

The story is seen through the narrative of Tania, a medium who’s wanting to make it as an actress lands a bit part in a Newcastle soap series as a far from classy character. But when she’s not dressed up a brassy woman, she’s finding herself exposed to tormented children, bad spirits and meeting new like-minded people who help her hone and develop her medium skills.

This was a great story to sink into, it’s part of a series and Tracy references previous books, but it has given me a curiosity to look into the series. Tania is a great character, she’s warm, relatable and terribly kind. She’s trying to use her new gifts for good but with it brings in some badness which does make for sad and unsettling reading. There’s a lovely mix of characters in the story, from Tania’s best friend Milo and his boisterous personality to Gladys, her new friend with a love for food who’s helping Tania keep the spirts at bay.

Engaging with an interesting insight into the paranormal world, ‘Gin Palace’ is a wittily written and energetic story that made for fun reading.

You can buy ‘Gin Palace’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Accident By Julia Stone

The Accident‘The Accident’ is the latest book by Julia Stone.

The police ruled it as misadventure. A young woman falling from a bridge onto Janice Thomason’s car was not an act of suicide or murder, it’s just an accident. But for Janice, it feels like fate has thrown them together. As a genealogist, Janice is used to tracking down clues – is even a little obsessive, one might say… The police know so little about the Jane Doe that fell on her car that she decides to start her own investigation into the victim and the people she knew. Surely someone must be to blame? Sometimes the only way to uncover the truth is to lie… and for Janice, living a lie comes all too easily.

I’ve spent Sunday with my head in this book and I loved every intense second of it.

The story is seen through the narrative of Janice, a quiet, lonely woman who witnesses the horrible accident when a Jane Doe dies. She’s determined to find who the woman and through her own cunning skills and archiving work finds the family of Sunny and manages to weave her way into the family and finally after years of living a lonely life, feels apart of something.

Janice is a character that I felt a deep empathy for, she’s a kind woman who’s always felt inferior to her mother’s high maintenance way of going. Her life was put on hold when her father passed away and she had to look after her mother, but her mother is quite self absorbed and spends their own phone call a week talking about herself and belittling Janice.

At just over 300 pages long, this book was easy to consume in one sitting – I had tea for company! An insightful and cleverly written psychological thriller about deceit, ‘The Accident’ is an addictive page turner that made for fantastic reading

You can buy ‘The Accident’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Close By Jane Casey

The Closer‘The Close’ is the tenth book in the DS Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey.

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together. But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing. It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before. And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

Even though this is the tenth book in the series, this is only the second or third book that I’ve read. And all the time, I intend to read more in the Maeve Kerrigan series.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Maeve, who’s investigating two cases, a murder of a doctor and then has been chosen to work undercover in a small estate when a man is found dead in suspicious circumstances. She has to work to her colleague with Josh and pretend that they’re in a relationship, which Maeve is struggling with after in an abusive relationship. Josh and Maeve have a complex relationship, their friends and colleagues, but there’s an obvious sexual chemistry between them that sizzles off the pages.

There’s also an inclusion of the perspective of the murderer and this made the story interesting, as I found myself trying to find out the murderer.

I really enjoyed seeing Maeve in a more relaxed role pretending to be a fluffier version of herself. Her interactions with people are softer in comparison to the harder version of herself with her guard up.

It’s quite witty in parts and this distracts from the darker moments in the story. As the story is a series, there are references to previous books and situations but has this just made me more keen to read the rest of the series.

‘The Close’ is a thrilling police procedural book that’s packed with drama, twists, suspicious characters that was gripping from the first sentence.

You can buy ‘The Close’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.