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Hostage By Clare Mackintosh

Hostage‘Hostage’ is the latest book by Clare Mackintosh.

You’re on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney. It’s a landmark journey, and the world is watching. Shortly after take-off, you receive a chilling anonymous note. There are people on this plane intent on bringing it down – and you’re the key to their plan. You’d never help them, even if your life depended on it.But they have your daughter . . . So now you have to choose.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Clare so ‘Hostage’ was a fantastic return to the author.

Set thousands of miles above the ground, Mina has been chosen for the first flight direct from London to Sydney, a momentous moment in her career. But right from the moment that she steps on the plane, she felt that something was wrong and when her daughter’s life is put in danger leaving her with no option but to help hijacker’s take over the plane.

I loved this story, it’s adrenaline inducing, fast paced and written in a style that the reader also feels stuck on the claustrophobic plane.

The story is written through the narrative of Mina and her ex husband Adam. Mina had a childhood dream of becoming a pilot but becomes a cabin crew member instead. Adam has messed up his marriage and is trying to repair it. He wishes that he had the same close relationship with Sophia that Mina has and finds himself always in the sidelines of the family. Sophia is the daughter that they always longed for and even though she wasn’t conceived naturally and isn’t a blood relative. Mina adores her like she’s her own flesh and blood. Sophia is a complex little girl, wise and full of energy, she likes order and routine.

There’s also the inclusion of narratives from the passengers on this famous flight, their background and reasoning behind their trip to Sydney. This is really interesting and was a clever addition by the author, as it keeps the reader on their toes as they try to figure out who the hijackers are.

Thrilling from the first page, ‘Hostage’ is a suspenseful story that pardon the pun – I flew through it! Packed with drama, deceit and focusing on real hard hitting topics such as environment and climate change, this book is about the strength and bond of a mother’s love, whether they are blood related or not.

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

A Place To Lie By Rebecca Griffiths

A Place To Lie ‘A Place To Lie’ is the latest book by Rebecca Griffiths.

In Summer 1990, Caroline and Joanna are sent to stay with their great aunt, Dora, to spend their holidays in a sunlit village near the Forest of Dean. The countryside is a welcome change from the trauma they know back home in the city; a chance to make the world a joyful playground again. But in the shadowy woods at the edge of the forest hide secrets that will bring their innocence to a distressing end and make this a summer they will never forget. Years later, a shocking act of violence sends Joanna back to Witchwood. In her great aunt’s lonely and dilapidating cottage, she will attempt to unearth the secrets of that terrifying summer and come to terms with the haunting effects it has left on her life. But in her quest to find answers, who can she trust? And will she be able to survive the impending danger from those trying to bury the truth?

For the last few days, I’ve had my head buried in this book and I have to admit it’s quite the thriller that really takes the reader on an unexpected journey.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is primarily seen through the narrative of successful pianist Joanna, who has just discovered that her troubled older sister has been killed in an attack. As Joanna tries to piece together Caroline’s last steps before her sudden death, she finds herself on a journey back to a place that brings back many unhappy memories and times. The past sequences is seen from the perspective of a young teenage Caroline, who’s fallen for Dean the older barman in the pub she works and when his younger stepsister suddenly disappears, Caroline is the only witness.

I loved this story, its flows seamlessly in the past and present sequences and really keeps the reader on their toes, as they try to piece together why she was suddenly killed and what has left her to be so paranoid. As Joanna delves deeper in her estranged sister’s life, she realises that she really didn’t know and how much was going on in the woman’s life.

The past sequences are located in a small picturesque village and they really set the scene for the disappearance of a little girl, with suspicious characters that leave the reader unsettled in parts, everyone was suspicious of each other and with such a small community, everyone knew each other’s business.

Caroline is an interesting character, she’s young and immature but thinks she knows it all and is scornful of Joanna and her friend Ellie. She’s complex due to her mother’s attempted suicide and that is often seen in her actions and the way she treats people, whereas Joanna is innocent and kind towards others.

With an intriguing narrative that had me hooked from the first page, this book is the perfect, twisty tale to curl up with. Atmospheric, eerie and with a shocking introduction that pulls the reader in, ‘A Place To Lie’ is a rural noir that is cleverly written and keeps the reader engaged throughout.

You can buy ‘A Place To Lie’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow Bay By Ali McNamara

Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow Bay‘Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow Bay’ is the latest book by Ali McNamara.

Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true! She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea. Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…

Ali is known for her charming tales of new beginnings and love and her latest offering is exactly that.

In this book, we meet single mother Amelia and her son Charlie. With her husband suddenly out of the picture, Amelia is finding it to make ends meet until one day, a stranger called Benji tells that her life is about to change and she’s become a real life Lady to an actual castle. Suddenly, Amelia finds herself being called ‘M’Lady’ as well as bringing some life back into the dusty old castle with the help of the staff as well as handsome furniture restorer Tom.

I loved this story, it was a lovely story to curl up and get lost in. Amelia is a sweet character, she’s kind with a heart of gold and is determined to bring the castle back to its original form to help secure the future for not only herself but the staff also. The supporting characters are a vibrant mix of personalities which add a burst of warm and humour to the tale. There’s also the ghostly presence in the story which adds an element of mystery to the tale as Amelia finds herself researching into her family history.

‘Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay’ is the ideal summer story, packed with humour, magic and a little bit of romance, this book is a charming story from the very first page.

You can buy Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Friend Request By Laura Marshall

Friend Request‘Friend Request’ is Laura Marshall’s debut novel.

Maybe that had been the problem all along: Maria Weston had wanted to be friends with me, but I let her down. She’s been hovering at the edge of my consciousness for all of my adult life, although I’ve been good at keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of my eye, almost but not quite out of sight. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston has been dead for more than twenty-five years.

‘Friend Request’ was one of the big debuts of 2018 and I finally got around to reading it at Christmas and it was quite the roller coaster ride.

The story is seen through the narrative of Louise Williams, a young woman who randomly gets a Facebook Friend Request from Maria Weston, a woman from her past. A woman that Louise is convinced is no longer alive. After a fateful night at their school leavers ball, Maria disappeared and has never been seen again. Now 25 years later, Maria wants to get back in touch, just as Louise receives an invite to her school’s reunion party, to reconnect with all the people who changed her life.

As the date of the reunion looms closer, Louise receives more unsettling messages and finds herself fearing for her life, as she believes that she is being punished for Maria’s disappearance.

The story is written in the past and present tense. Maria and Louise at school, Maria is the newcomer that the popular girls don’t like and force Louise make Maria’s school life unhappy, even though Louise likes Maria.

The story is filled with suspense and right from the start, we are drawn in the dark world of social media and how easy it is to reconnect with someone from your past. Louise is deeply troubled and haunted from her past and even though she is terrified that she is being hunted, she’s also relieved that the burden she’s been carrying may finally be revealed. She’s not the most strongest of characters, but as the story progresses, we begin to see another side to her. The story has many interesting characters, including Sam, Louise’s ex-husband and crush at school. He’s charismatic and charming and someone Louise can confide in, even though he broke her heart.

Twisty from the first page, this book really pulls the reader in and keeps them guessing until the final page. With unsettling moments and dodgy characters that make everyone a potential suspect, ‘Friend Request’ is a cleverly written psychological thriller that is well worthy of all its hype.

You can buy Friend Request from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

My Sisters And Me By Lisa Dickenson

My Sisters And Me‘My Sisters And Me’ is the latest book by Lisa Dickenson.

When Willow Lake asks her daughters for help renovating the family home, each has a reason to hesitate about returning to Maplewood. For quiet and bookish Emmy going back to the town that ridiculed her fills her with dread. The youngest Noelle is perfectly comfortable in herself now, but once wanted to fit in so badly that she walked away from her first love. A first love who still lives in Maplewood. And outspoken Rae is painfully aware of how much the townspeople hurt her little sisters growing up. She didn’t protect them then, but there’s no way she’ll let history repeat itself. The sisters agree to go home and make the best of it. After all if they’ve changed over the years, it’s possible the townspeople have too.

‘My Sisters And Me’ is a fun and playful book that really makes for entertaining reading. It’s seen through the perspective of three sisters, Emmy, Noelle and Rae as they take on the hard task of returning home and sorting out all their childhood memories.

As they return to their old town, old memories are stirred up bringing up some happy feelings of nostalgia as they remember growing up and reconnecting with old friends. But for the sisters, who lived in the middle of the woods during the era of ‘The Blair Witch Project’, they were seen as weirdos with hippy parents. This led to years of abuse and ridicule and when the women returned home, thought that opinions would have changed. But it, seems that even though they have moved on and grown up, the town is still stuck in the past and have kept their opinions.

As well, as having to deal with the small minded townsfolk, the sisters have their own issues to deal with. As Emmy, the baby of the trio, is an intelligent young woman who dreams of one day going to space becomes awkward when her first, unknown love enters her life, whilst Noelle has embraced her sexuality and wants to repair old bridges and outspoken Rae wants to tell everyone what she really thinks of them.

An uplifting story about the strong bond of the sisterhood and putting old ghosts to rest, ‘My Sisters And Me’ is a witty and heartwarming story about love and friendship, that will have you giggling throughout at the funny characters and hilarious situations.

You can buy My Sisters And Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.