Monday, 17 July 2017

Ask No Questions

Ask no Questions by Lisa Hartley
Published by Canelo
July 2017

After an operation goes badly wrong, undercover specialist Detective Caelan Small leaves the Metropolitan Police for good. Or so she thinks. Then the criminal responsible is seen back in the UK.

Soon Caelan is drawn back into a dangerous investigation. But when the main lead is suddenly murdered, all bets are off. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect - even close colleagues.
Someone in the Met is involved and Caelan is being told to Ask No Questions. That isn't an option: Caelan needs answers… whatever the cost.

This is the first in a series of books featuring Detective Caelan Small - a woman so used to being undercover she no longer knows how to be herself.  We meet Caelan on holiday in Egypt when a former colleague, Richard Adamson, is sent to ask her to return to the UK to come back to the job she has just resigned from. A kidnapped child and a police officer died during her last operation and a killer is on the loose; the Met feel that the only person who can bring him down is Caelan.  

Ask No Questions has many twists and turns and Lisa Hartley weaves together a whole team of characters so well that you are never sure who is on Caelan's side, and who secretly wants her dead!  I really enjoyed this book and it certainly kept me gripped, particularly the twist at the end!  I will be checking out the following books in the series if this introduction is anything to go by.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Small Great Things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
April 2017

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Despite that fact that we have had abolition laws passed in both the UK and the US, I think it is safe to say that there are still some states where the colour of your skin is still an issue and in Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult brings this to the forefront of her storyline. 

Ruth Jefferson is a maternity nurse in a Conneticut hospital and has a pretty much unblemished record, that is until she delivers and cares for baby Bauer.  Both parents are white supremacist and tell Ruth that they don't want her handling their baby boy.  Ruth is removed from his care, and later, whilst she is in the same room as him, the baby dies - is Ruth somehow responsible for his death?  His father, Turk, seriously seems to think so.

Picoult then takes us through the impending court case as we see Ruth try to defend her career and race, whilst Turk sets out to ruin her in every way he possibly can.  The white supremacist movement still has many members and it is a shocking thought that the issues Picoult raises here are so truly valid today.  As with all of her books, there is a twist coming at the end, but can you guess what it wil be?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Little Sister

Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown
Published by Trapeze
July 2017

After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns and before long Jess has moved into Emily's comfortable island home. Life couldn't be better. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess's care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart.

Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before?

Little Sister is one of those books whereby you are glad that your family isn't like that portrayed on the pages before you.  Jessica and Emily are sisters, and on the surface you would think them one happy family, with Jessica caring for Emily's baby daughter Daisy during the day, but it's only when Daisy disappears that the cracks start to appear and you realise that appearances can be deceptive.

Emily and Jess didn't speak for years, but when Emily meets widower James and his stepdaughter Chloe, they become a happy family unit.  The arrival of baby Daisy leads Emily to look for someone to care for her, and she turns to Jessica to do so.  Jess instantly loves both girls so Emily feels that they are in safe hands; however on a rare night out, the parents arrive home to find Jessica seemingly passed out drunk, and Daisy no longer in the house. 

As you can well imagine, this is where things begin to crumble.  Emily goes to pieces, and it becomes Jessica's role to hold the family together.  But is she doing so for the sake of her sister, or does she have her own ulterior motive? 

Read this in one sitting!  It would make great big screen entertainment too.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Here and Gone

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck
Published by Vintage
June 2017

Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start.

Audra keeps to the country roads to avoid attention. She’s looking for a safe place to stay for the night when she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. Blue and red.

As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining. . .

Here and Gone is currently out in Kindle format, but will be published in the hardback edition in August.  Audra Kinney has decided to leave her controlling, abusive husband and his interfering mother at long last, and is driving with her two children from New York across the state to California where she hopes a friend will put them up until she gets herself sorted out.  Audra is understandably nervous, she is worried about her husband and the repercussions of her actions to remove both herself and her children from his life.  When she pulls into a gas station in Arizona for drinks for her two children and sees a police car waiting there, she begins to worry that he has been sent to find her.  However all is fine and Audra continues on her journey.  However it isn't long before she sees the police car behind her and this time his lights are flashing at her for her to pull off the road.  Officer Whiteside tells Audra that the rear end of her car is weighed down too much and that he believes it is not safe for her to continue driving in this manner.  He helpfully agrees to take some of the luggage out of her car, transfer it into his vehicle and follow her to a place to stop for the evening.  Audra agrees, for what else can she do, and when Officer Whiteside opens her boot, he pulls out a bag of drugs, too large for personal use.  He has no choice but to take Audra down to the station for questioning.    The sheriff radios for his partner Deputy Collins to come and fetch the children so he can take Audra into custody.  When Audra arrives at the station for her interview, she asks Whiteside where her children are - he replies "what children?"

As a parent that bit put chills down my spine.  Whiteside is adamant that when he arrested Audra her car was empty.  The question he has for her, is what has she done with her children?  Now it is Audra's word against the law and once her husband gets involved, everyone starts to doubt her story. As a former junkie and alcoholic, her previous history isn't doing her any favours amongst the media.  For Audra there is only one person who she can turn to now and that is a stranger known to many as Danny the Knife Boy.  His daughter also disappeared in similar circumstances and his wife ended up taking her own life as a result.  For Danny, the tale Audra tells sends alarm bells ringing in his head, and he realises he needs to reach out to a woman he has never met before to try to gain her trust.  For Audra, Danny could be her only hope.

This is a real page-turner of a book and I was gripped by the twists and turns it took, wondering and waiting to see if Audra would ever find her children again.  Haylen Beck is an author I will read more books by in the future.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 3 July 2017


Together by Julie Cohen
Published by Orion Books
July 2017

Is this a great love story? Or a story about great love? You decide. On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

This is an interesting story and has an ending that I have no doubt will divide readers. I was sent a copy by the publisher to review and the last two chapters had been removed.  We were asked to tweet our thoughts at this point in the book - mine was WHAT?!!!!!!

Robbie and Emily are in their eighties, happy in their own little world, children grown and flown the nest.  But Robbie has Alzheimer's disease and whilst some days are good, others are confused and muddled and he isn't sure that this is a life he wants to live.  One fine morning he leaves Emily and note and goes to the shore near to where they live.  He knows he only has a certain amount of time remaining to carry out his plan before Emily wakes and rises for the day, now is not the moment for confusion and delay.

The story starts at the end and ends at the beginning of their relationship. We learn about their family and children, of the early days of their relationship and of when they first meet each other when Emily is studying at Cambridge University.  We learn fairly early on that something happens in 1962 that the pair swear they will never share with anyone else.  Neither has family that they see anymore.  It is only the death of Emily's mother that leads her to fly across the Atlantic to see the family that she ran out on all those decades ago and it would seem that even her younger sister Polly has no idea of the secret Emily has been holding on to for all of these years.

I didn't expect the twist that Julie Cohen throws into the mix but it does work sort of... It comes out of the blue and answers some of the questions that the reader may have about Emily's family and why her and Robbie never see them anymore.  I do think it will divide readers as some may be satisfied with this and others I feel may think that it is a little like a curve ball thrown unexpectedly into the mix, there is no real build up - just BOOM!

This is a story of family and love and of two people that fate brought together and who are destined to remain together no matter who or what tries to pull them apart.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Devil's Poetry

The Devil's Poetry by Louise Cole
Published by Kindle Press
June 2017

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends are being drafted and many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace just by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. But how do you make the right decision when no one will tell you the truth? Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. There are only two people Callie can trust – her best friend and her ex-Marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. Callie alone must decide: dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who will pay?

The Devil's Poetry is a YA dystopian novel set on the brink of World War III.  Our central character is Callie, a teenage girl who has a fairly ordinary life with her father in Yorkshire.  However as the reader quickly learns, whilst some things remain the same in the future, there are many things that are now very different.  One evening in a nightclub with her friends Gavin and Amber, trouble breaks out and Callie meets a handsome man who gives her a book with the message "do not read this" as he squirrels her away to safety.  Of course, Callie, who adores books, reads the book that has been given to her!

The mysterious stranger (Jace) returns again at school, as a new TA and Callie can't help but think there is something suspicious about this.  On her way home with Amber they are confronted by some creatures (who we find out are the Cadaveri) and Amber fights to save Callie's life as they are attacked.  Callie finds herself saying some mysterious words out loud in order to fight off the Cadaveri, and it turns out she is actually recalling the text of the book that Jace had given to her.  It turns out that Jace is in fact her bodyguard and is meant to be protecting her from these demon-like creatures.  Callie, unbeknown to her, is actually the next Reader, and only she can save the future of the world.

As the book progresses, we learn more of Callie's family background, such as what happened to her mother, who died when Callie was much younger, of her distant relationship with her father, and of the growing bond between her and Jace as they spend more and more time together.  The tension builds throughout the book, and you wonder if Callie will make it to read from the book by the end of the novel and if she does, will the result be what is expected or will it just add more confusion to a world already broken with fighting.

I did enjoy this book, which is the first in a series.  It has a fast-moving plot and the tension does build throughout and actually it isn't hard to imagine the world like this in a not-so-distant future..  The only negative I have is that the book contains a synopsis of the second title in the series and within that there is a huge spoiler for what is coming up next.  So if you do go and read this, and you want to read book two, don't be tempted to read this bit please.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Thursday, 22 June 2017

This Much is True

This Much is True by Jane Sanderson
Published by Orion Books
June 2017

After decades in a deeply unhappy marriage, Annie Doyle can barely bring herself to care that her husband Vince is finally about to die.

But as the family gathers to see out his final days, Vince utters a single word that will change everyone's lives completely:

Who is Martha? And why is Annie so quick to dismiss the mention of her name? As Annie's long-held secrets start to emerge, the lives of everyone she holds dear will be changed forever...

This is the latest novel written by Jane Sanderson and takes on a different slant from her earlier, historical novels.  This is part memoir, part mystery and features Annie a 73 year old woman, living with her eldest son Michael and dog Finn in Coventry.  Her husband Vince is in a nursing home having been there for decades following his diagnosis with dementia.  We soon learn that her marriage has not been a happy one and that Vince only married Annie because he thought he would get a substantial allowance from her husband, his then boss. When this fails to materialise, Vince decides to work away from home, only returning to his wife and child when absolutely necessary.  It is on one of these visits that Vince arrives home with a gift for Annie that will ultimately change all of their lives forever, and it is because of this, that Annie has a secret she has been forced to hide for most of her adult life.

On a routine walk with her friends Josie and Sandra, Finn attacks a local farmer's sheep and Annie is forced to make some difficult decisions surrounding his well-being.  She meets Mr Dinmore ("call me Alf"), a friend of Josie's and he introduces her to his sister who rescues dogs.  As she learns more about Alf she discovers that he is a former policeman and this brings to the forefront of her mind the secret that she has been hiding for so long.

With Vince on his deathbed at last, younger son Andrew returns home from Australia and it is the mention of the name "Martha" by Vince that starts everything unravelling.  A box discovered in the attic by Andrew only proceeds to make everything worse.  What should Annie do?

This is a book about families and the secrets that some of them hide because they ultimately believe this to be for the best.  There are also some interesting characters in the book.  Michael is not a pleasant person, towards the end of the book it is explained why this might be, but that is not why this made me dislike him so much, though by the end he does seem to redeem himself somewhat.  He is the polar-opposite of his brother Andrew, who I must admit comes across as quite smug at times with his magnificent life in Byron Bay.  Vince is a not a nice man throughout and I felt no sympathy for him during the course of the book.  I did like Josie though her friendship with Annie seems somewhat unexpected but she was a nice addition to the story and it was interesting to have an older central character who as the book progresses, begins to live more in her later years than she has done during the preceding decades.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x