‘Dear Child’ by Romy Hausmann

I was thrilled for this late approval for an ARC by the publisher, as I had heard great things since it’s publication.
I have an obsession with fiction about abductions and this was right up my alley!
It had a unique slant (why did the child Hannah look like missing Lena, but the mother didn’t?) and it was executed well.
I did struggle with the writing style at times, although I’m not sure if it had to do with the original novel or it’s translation. It wasn’t clear writing, it was subtle and inferred a little too much for my liking.
Still, a very enjoyable read that is definitely worth reading!

‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ by George Orwell

This was a fascinating audiobook. I have wanted to read this book for years so I was thrilled to be approved for it on NetGalley.
The premise of Big Brother was, and still is, an interesting concept to me. Can a Party effectively run a dictatorship but control people’s thoughts and any diversion be punished?
This was a ‘very wordy’ book, so needed a lot of concentration on my part, but the substance is very powerful, and Peter Capaldi’s narration is nothing short of sublime, perfect for the book. As the book progresses, the urgency and tragic nature was portrayed beautifully.

‘The Octopus Man’ by Jasper Gibson

released on January 21st 2021

This was a really difficult read for several reasons. It caught my eye initially because I have experience of schizophrenia in my family history and I hoped it would give me a better understanding of what is to me, a frightening illness.
After laughing out loud after just a few pages, I knew it was going to be special. Tom was a wonderful character, who I laughed at and with, and my heart ached for him throughout.
The dealing with schizophrenia was heartbreaking for me but it opened my eyes to how sufferers cope with it on a daily basis, and also epitomised the feelings of a sufferer’s family, watching someone they love manage their life with the condition.
This was so moving and poignant and will stay with me long after reading the final page.
Stunning.

‘Safe and Sound’ by Phillipa East

Safe and Sound
#NGUser reading challenge 2021: Book with ‘and’ in the title

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54494980-safe-and-sound

I really enjoyed this. It was a well thought out and executed thriller. The characters were likeable, and I was rooting for them throughout.
It took a while for me to understand the importance of the Prin and her cousin subplot, but I definitely didn’t predict the twist and I loved it!
I personally would have liked more twists but I think I am a very demanding reader!

With thanks to HQ and NetGalley for an early reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

‘Little One’ by Sarah A. Denzil

This book reminded me a lot of Alex Hart’s ‘Take Me Home’ that I read in October. To be honest, it didn’t really add much in my opinion to make it different.
I predicted the way the story was going fairly early but it was executed well, and I did get very uncomfortable reading the last hour of the book.
If I hadn’t read the Hart book fairly recently, I think this book would have grabbed my attention and held onto it, much better.
The characters were likeable, although I was a little confused about Fran’s developing obsession towards the Whittaker family. She just came across as interfering!
A good read overall, and I’m sure other readers will like it more.

‘Hidden Lies’ by Rachel Ryan

This was a good and enjoyable read, but didn’t grab me completely and say “you can’t put this down” unfortunately.
I thought the plot was well constructed, but I got a little tired of the ‘granny gave it to me’ and ‘there’s someone there’ until it picked up and the story developed.
The characters were good, Cody was a funny, boisterous boy who reminded me of my own nephew when he was little.
I would recommend it for people who are just starting out reading thrillers.

‘The Appeal’ by Janice Hallett

Release date: 14th January 2021

WOW. My head is REELING from the twists in this book. I’m still trying to work it all out!
I love books that have an unusual approach, and this is about as original as they come. Two legal assistants are given the task of reading through pages and pages of emails and text message transcripts on a murder case and the reader is taken along for the ride.
What a wild ride. I lost count of the amount of times I gasped, said out loud ‘oh my God’ or ‘I spotted that bit!’
Absolutely thrilling and one I have already started recommending it to friends. I cannot recommend it enough. I definitely suggest keeping a photo or screenshot of the cast list and character relationships until you’re confident with them. And prepare for the reveals of the last 20%, I am stunned.
This is a book-of-the-year nomination for me already.
Just do yourself a favour, and read it.

‘The Coffinmaker’s Garden’ by Stuart MacBride

Release date today 7th January 2021

My sister has been raving about this author for years, and I can definitely see the appeal. A very enjoyable read, with a great sense of humour to disperse the gritty plot.
The characters are great, I didn’t realise this was #3 in the Ash Henderson series, but as I was reading I kept thinking ‘Ash Henderson is a brilliant character for a series, there should be more.’ LOL.
My only criticisms are sometimes during the long pieces of dialogue, it was difficult to discern which character was speaking. Sometimes, I confused the 2 storylines of the child kidnappings and the bones in the garden.
Overall, a solid read and would definitely recommend.

‘The German Girl’ by Lily Graham

**** 4 stars

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3670612946

My first point for this review has to be about the change of title for this novel. Originally entitled ‘The Flight of Swallows’, the title brought out a feeling of a very emotive read. This was then changed to ‘The German Girl’, and I cannot think of a more bland title, especially when dealing with traumas around World War Two. It just doesn’t do it for me.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this read and will definitely recommend it to others. It had great characters and a strong plot. The time lapse feature worked well, although I feel this could have been developed further rather than just at the beginning and end of the novel.
I am a twin too and this bond was warmly brought out by the author.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.