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The Butcher And The Wren By Alaina Urquhart

The Butcher And The WrenThe Butcher And The Wren’ is the debut novel by Alaina Urquhart, co-host of the popular podcast, ‘Morbid’.

In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch. With her encyclopaedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice. And yet, he continues to elude her. As body after body piles up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.

Who better to write a book about serial killers than Alaina Urquhart, co-host of ‘Morbid’, a podcast about serial killers. With her extensive knowledge, of personality and characters, I figured that ‘The Butcher And The Wren’ would be a fascinating and addictive story and it certainly was!

The story is seen from the narrative of Jeremy and Wren. Jeremy is a sociopath who works a normal office job inputting data but also enjoys kidnapping people, torturing them before leaving their bloodied bodies for Wren to look after. As the bodies mount up in the most gruesome manner, as a forensic pathologist, Wren is one of the last people to see the victims and figure out what became off them. But as Wren tries to get into Jeremy’s mind who the media have named ‘The Butcher’ due to the slain victims. She tries to find out what pushes a person to become a serial killer and Jeremy begins his killing spree a bit closer to home.

I loved this story, I’ve always had an interest in serial killers and criminology and have subscribed to a few murder podcasts and I’ll most certainly be adding ‘Morbid’ to the list.

The story is an in-dept exploration of the human mind and behaviours and it’s fascinating to see the narrative of Jeremy, who appears emotionless and completely stable in his actions. Reading the narrative of both characters, gave a cat and mouse vibe story, which was almost like a countdown to whether Jeremy would ever be stopped and I found myself rapidly devouring the book, as Wren got closer to Jeremy.

Although the story is wonderfully dark and atmospheric, with the swampy, humid Louisiana air and the unfortunate people that Jeremy preyed upon, there is an element of humour in the story that balances the goriness of the victims as well as the procedures that Wren performs.

With intense characters, storyline and short, snappy chapters that were easy to absorb, ‘The Butcher And The Wren’ is a fantastic debut, cleverly written, thoroughly researched and slightly reminiscent of ’Dexter’, a must for all fans of crime!

You can buy ‘The Butcher And The Wren’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Liane Moriarty Reveals New Book Called Apples Never Fall

Liane MoriartyExciting news for fans of Liane Moriarty as it has been announced her new book for 2021 is called ‘Apples Never Fall’ and will be released on 14th September 2021.

‘The Sunday Times’ and ‘New York Times’ Number One international bestselling author’s eagerly awaited novel will once again take us behind the closed doors of seemingly tranquil suburbia.

What the back cover says –

From the outside, the Delaneys appear to be an enviably contented family.

Even after all these years, former tennis coaches Joy and Stan are still winning tournaments, and now they’ve sold the family business they have all the time in the world to learn how to ‘relax’.

Their four adult children are busy living their own lives, and while it could be argued they never quite achieved their destinies, no-one ever says that out loud.

But now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents’ marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes.

Is her disappearance related to their mysterious house guest from last year?

Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?

The author of ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ expertly peels away the layers of a family to reveal heartfelt truths, deeply felt wounds and moments of humanity with her signature wit and expert observational powers.

‘Apples Never Fall’ is set to be one of the biggest books of the autumn – 3 million copies of Liane’s books have sold in the UK and over 14 million worldwide. Her previous novel ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ has sold nearly half a million copies since its release in 2018; the paperback spent 20 consecutive weeks in the top 10 and was the biggest paperback fiction title released in 2019. The TV adaptation, starring Nicole Kidman alongside Melissa McCarthy and Luke Evans, recently finished filming and is due to be released this year by Hulu.

I’ve loved all of Liane’s books and eagerly look forward to this release.

You can pre-order ‘Apples Never Fall’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 14th September 2021.

The Push By Ashley Audrain

The Push‘The Push’ is the debut novel by Ashley Audrain.

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life. But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn’t right. I had always known that the women in my family aren’t meant to be mothers. My husband Fox says I’m imagining it. He tells me I’m nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child. But she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong.

‘The Push’ is Michael Joseph’s most anticipated book of 2021, a dark and chillingly crafted story about motherhood and love goes wrong.

The story is seen through the narrative of 3 generations of women, Cecelia, Etta and Blythe as they experience motherhood for the first time and they wait for the influx of emotions of love and care and are instead left with nothing. They retreat, they become cold and become completely different to the person they were before the babies.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Blythe who’s own mother had struggled with motherhood and Blythe is determined to be the perfect mother when her own baby is born. But her daughter Violet is the total opposite to what she expected with a vicious, cold and nasty streak that makes Blythe fearful of her and guilty and frustrated that she’s unable to have a close relationship with her daughter. When, when Blythe has a son, she is overjoyed at the second chance with motherhood and embrace it wholeheartedly, aware that in the background, Violet is watching closely.

‘The Push’ is a chilling and an uncomfortable read. It’s delves deeply into motherhood and the impact of the difficult children and the fear that something bad is going to happen. Throughout the book, it’s riddled with tension and unease as Violet connects with her father and grandparents but constantly pushes Blythe making her doubt her own sanity as well as capability as a mother. Ashley has created a compelling book with intriguing and unsettling characters that made it impossible to put down. The book also slightly reminded me of ‘Good Me, Bad Me’ by Ali Land, which is another fantastic debut. The perspectives of the different mothers throughout the years was a clever addition to the story and kept the reader on their toes, as you piecing the story together.

A book that delves into the insecurities and expectations of motherhood with an unravelling protagonist that makes for sympathetic and gripping reading, ‘The Push’ is a stunning debut that is well worthy of the hype and publicity behind it and was also my first read book of 2021.

You can buy ‘The Push’ from Amazon and other good bookshops.

Handwritten Girl’s Top 12 Books Of 2020

Top 12 Books Of 2020It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a strange old year. For some of us, we either lost our reading mojo and for others, we discovered a new passion that helped us escape the chaos of the world.

For me, my reading dipped regularly. Sometimes, I couldn’t be found without a book in my hand and other times, I left a pile of half read books in my path unable to find one to catch my attention.

If you’re looking for book ideas for yourself or for others for Christmas, check out my top 12 books of 2020, for some ideas.

Click on the links to read my thoughts on the books and why these books might appeal to you.

‘The Dilemma’ by ‘B.A. Paris
‘The Minute I Saw You’ by Paige Toon
‘The Other Passenger’ by Louise Candlish
‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes
‘My One True North’ by Milly Johnson
‘The Last Charm’ by Ella Allbright
‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell
‘Just My Luck’ by Adele Parks
The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper’ by Spencer Brown
‘The Flipside’ by James Bailey
‘Invisible Girl’ by Lisa Jewell
‘After The Silence’ by Louise O’Neill.

Although these books are available on Amazon, please consider buying from an independent bookseller to help supporting local businesses during this time.

The Break By Marian Keyes

The Break‘The Break’ is the delicious new book by Marian Keyes.

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet. However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

Marian Keyes is back with another fabulous book, a book that made me lose track of time as well as let numerous cups of go to waste and go cold.

In her latest book, we meet Amy, a deliciously kind and outspoken woman who works in PR, mother to three daughters, her life is rarely a routine and when her husband Hugh announces that he wants to take a six month break to travel the world to help him through his grieving process after losing his father. Amy’s reaction and mine was WTF?

As Hugh travels the world, Amy is left with the worry that he’ll cheat on her, leave her for a younger model, never return and this will be the end of their marriage.

But whilst Hugh is discovering himself, Amy is also finding a new appetite for life. She’s refusing to accept pity from her neighbours and give up on her marriage, even though her heart is breaking.

Amy is also on her own path of self discovery, embarking on new affairs, tackling with being a single parent and being the mother of a successful video blogger with an attitude.

I absolutely adored this book. The book is filled with Marian’s charm and wit as well her warmth. The characters are similar to the Walsh family, their dysfunctional, outspoken and there is never a dull moment, with their larger than life mother and a father who battles Alzheimers. In her light hearted tale, Marian delivers a story that has serious issues, Alzheimer’s and the effect it can have on a family, the pressure and stress. Teenage pregnancy and the legality of abortion in Ireland plus the surge of video blogging and how anyone can do it, no matter the age.

Amy is a fabulous character and one that I could never tire of reading. As the story progresses, Amy becomes a stronger and more confident woman and this is a joy to witness. Hugh was a different story altogether, I wholeheartedly hated him and the rage he invoked in me was astounding. His selfishness to find himself whilst Amy was left to look after the family and deal with the sympathy and the gossip that he left behind, it enraged me!

The characters are engaging and all have their own quirks that made for such enjoyable reading plus all the chapters are short, so one chapter can rapidly become seven or ten.

Deliciously fun and warmhearted, this book is an enchanting story that was impossible to put down, filled with charm, drama and plenty of Irish wit, ‘The Break’ is most certainly Marian Keyes at her very best. I dare you not to enjoy it!

You can pre-order The Break from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September.