Book Review · Books

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

If you are looking to try a different take on mystery, All That’s Left Unsaid is a great book to start. It has the right amount of mystery and emotion to get you invested and keep you intrigued until the very end.

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 400

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis

Just let him go. These are the words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny–optimistic, guileless, brilliant Denny–is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.

Returning home to Cabramatta for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by Denny’s case: a dozen people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.

Desperately hoping that understanding what happened might ease her suffocating guilt, Ky sets aside her grief and determines to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels back another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny, exposing the seeds of violence that were planted well before that fateful celebration dinner: by colonialism, by the war in Vietnam, and by the choices they’ve all made to survive.

My Thoughts:

“You can’t be there for everyone. You can’t be everything to everyone. People will make their own choices, no matter what you do.”

My goodness, this book is beauty and heartbreak, brilliantly put together. It will hold a special place in my heart. All That’s Left Unsaid is quite close to me, not because Ky will lose a brother. I’ve never felt such loss and I hope to never feel it. But Ky speaks to me because of who she is and where she comes from. Being an immigrant myself, I could connect with Ky’s story in a way that I didn’t anticipate I would. I’ve read many books with this topic before, and didn’t quite click with a character in a way I clicked with Ky. The culture differences and the lost sense of belonging casts a shadow on every written page.

“When I’m away from Cabra, I feel like I’ve shed my own skin. But whenever I come back here, it’s like I didn’t shed anything at all. It’s like I’ve just flipped a switch, you know? And my old self was there all along.”

I devoured this book, because it entwined these motives into an interesting and emotional mystery. Ky is trying to find out who her brother has become in her absence from home. And why he is now suddenly dead. Everyone is keeping secrets and Ky is not sure who to trust.

“It wasn’t the punishment itself that Ky feared. It was the look. The look that said, I expected more from you. I’m disappointed in you. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

I also enjoyed how her past friendship ends up having a role in her present life. The author can portray broken relationships in a very relatable way. Drug abuse and drug dealing are a main topic in this book and they often come up – so please be aware if this may trigger you whilst reading.

“Would an explanation of why something was not done in the past make you feel better? Because if it would change your life for the better and put happiness in your heart, pull up a chair and I will explain everything I have never done.”

About The Author:

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien [BOOK REVIEW]

Tracey Lien was born and raised in southwestern Sydney, Australia. She earned her MFA at the University of Kansas and was previously a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. All That’s Left Unsaid is her first novel.

Website: https://www.traceylien.com

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Book Review · Books

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Away With The Penguins took me on such a journey, a winter adventure that I never knew I needed!

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 391

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Black Swan – Penguin Books

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis

Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway… And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My Thoughts:

“There are three types of people in this world, Very. There are those who make the world worse, those who make no difference and those who make the world better. Be one who makes the world better, if you can.”

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to read Away With The Penguins. I knew I wanted to read it during the winter season, though, and I am glad I did. The scenes of Antarctica and the stories about the penguins, especially out penguin Pip (Patrick) made me glad to be wrapped in a warm blanket.

Veronica is such a funny character!

I warmed up to her instantly, and I think if she were to ever team up with the gang from “The Thursday Murder Club”, she’s be a remarkable addition to the team. I loved how opening an old box and ready her old diary set her on a few new adventures that changed her life. It was interesting also having Patrick’s point of view in the book – Veronica’s grandson. There was an incredible contrast of lifestyles and personalities between him and granny. It created a realistic atmosphere and opened up a mystery I enjoyed reading so much.

Antarctica was beautifully described and when Veronica was there with the scientist, I could almost feel as if I was there with them too. With Veronica’s arrival, it was interesting to see how the scientists accepted her arrival and got used to her as time went on, but weren’t too keen at first. Their dynamic changed and Hazel wrote this amazingly. Away With The Penguins took me on such a journey, a winter adventure that I never knew I needed! There was a lot of raw emotion, the guilt of time lost, of the things that never happened, of the life that just keeps on going and the years pass on by.

I couldn’t help by feel the loss that Veronica felt, reading about her part, and seeing how it intertwined with her present. It was incredible, though, her stubbornness to keep fighting and try to do good in the world. Her resilience. Alongside her, I loved watching Patrick grow as a person too – his journey was also not very easy. But together, these two polar opposites (pun intended) found each other when they needed a companion the most. The messages this book sends are powerful; about the penguins, the extinction of other animals, saving the planet. But also about love, life, joy, being brave and being one of those people that tries to make the world a better place. Avery warm recommendation from me!

About The Author:

Away With The Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #1) by Hazel Prior [BOOK REVIEW]

Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and Richard & Judy Book Club number one bestseller AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). Her third book, CALL OF THE PENGUINS, will be out in the UK this November and is available to pre-order. Hazel is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat.

Website: https://www.hazelprior.co.uk/home

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

Huge thank you to the team at Head of Zeus, for the opportunity to participate on the blog tours for “The Patient” and “The Politician” by Tim Sullivan. Reading both books has been an absolute pleasure and I would recommend them both.

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

About The Book:

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]


Pages: 400

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

A ransacked room. A dead politician. A burglary gone wrong – or a staged murder?

THE DETECTIVE

DS George Cross loves puzzles – he’s good at them – and he immediately spots one when he begins investigating the death of former mayor Peggy Frampton. It looks like a burglary that went horribly wrong to most but George can see what others can’t – that this was murder.

THE PUZZLE

After her political career ended, Peggy became a controversial blogger whose forthright opinions attracted a battalion of online trolls. And then there’s her family: an unfaithful husband and a gambling-addicted son. With yet more enemies in her past, the potential suspects are unending.

THE SUSPECTS

Cross must unpick the never-ending list of seedy connections to find her killer – but the sheer number of suspects is clouding his usually impeccable logic. He’s a relentlessly methodical detective, but no case can last forever. And politics can be a dangerous game – especially for people who don’t know the rules…

My Thoughts:

With “The Politician”, I enjoyed the book from the first chapter until the very last. The gathering of the evidence at the beginning was intriguing, making us aware of everything that is found at the scene and creating a certain scenario. I loved the abundance of suspects that this book had. With the suspect being a retired politician and a social media figure with a lot of following, it opened up a can of worms when it came to suspects. I also loved the involvement of other people in this case, and seeing some new faces at the police station. 

DS Cross was the star of the book again, unsurprisingly. I just love his method of gathering evidence and eliminating suspects. The case was quite twisted with a lot going on, and he managed to stay on top of it, with Ottey always there to support. I enjoyed Carsons’s downfall too – it was funny how he always does the wrong thing. Maybe he learns something this time around and changes in the next book. Family relationships were a big topic in this book and it was interesting to see different family dynamics. Even DS Cross had his own family mystery to unravel. 

“For someone who struggled to make relationships with the living, he had no such problems doing so with the dead.”

The pacing of the book wasn’t always great, but there was new evidence frequently enough to keep me going. I feel that involving a bit of a mafia family from Albania was a bit cliche, but being born in Macedonia and having seen some things in my life, the description wasn’t too far off. 

I wasn’t surprised by the reveal – I could spot the signs from the second interaction.

However, there wasn’t only one mystery to unravel this time. As we keep reading, and clues are being discovered, there are multiple things that require DS Cross’s attention and I was here for it. “The Politician” kept me entertained, and I never thought I would say that sentence in my life. But it did, I really enjoyed it, and same as “The Patient” I warmly recommend it. It’s not always that you have a DS on the spectrum that warms up to you as a reader as DS Cross did to me. His personality adds a uniqueness to a mystery book, and his methods are so amazing to read. Now I will have to get the first two books of the The DS Cross Mysteries series to complete my collection and eagerly wait to read about DS Cross’s next case.

About The Author:

The Politician by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #4) [BLOG TOUR]

Tim Sullivan is a crime writer, screenwriter and director, whose film credits include A Handful of Dust, Jack and Sarah, and Cold Feet. His crime series featuring the socially awkward but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross has topped the book charts and been widely acclaimed. Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy Award-winning producer of The Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]

I am so happy to be joining a wonderful group of book bloggers on the blog tours for “The Patient” and “The Politician” by Tim Sullivan. Thank you very much to the team at Head of Zeus, for allowing me to be a part of it and introducing me to the amazing work of Tim.

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]

About The Book:

The Patient by Tim Sullivan (The DS Cross Mysteries #3) [BLOG TOUR]


Pages: 407

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

No fingerprints. No weapon. And no witnesses. Can DS Cross prove it was murder?
THE DETECTIVE
DS George Cross doesn’t rely on guesswork and he has no time for false assumptions. He is a detective who goes off the evidence in front of him, not ‘hunches’ or ‘gut feelings’. He does not know what these are.
THE CLOSED CASE
When a young woman is found dead, the Bristol Crime Unit is quick to rule it a suicide as the woman had a long history of drug abuse. But her mother is convinced it was murder, saying that her daughter had been clean for years and had been making strides in a new therapy programme.
THE ANSWER
As an outsider himself, DS Cross is drawn to cases involving the voiceless and dispossessed and, here, the evidence states that this woman was murdered – Cross just has to prove it. But under pressure from his boss to shut down the case, and with numerous potential suspects, time is rapidly running out to get the answers that this grieving family deserve.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed “The Patient” very much, and it pleasantly surprised me on numerous occasions. Before I start, I should note that this book can easily be a standalone. I didn’t read the first 2 books of the DS Cross Mysteries series, and didn’t feel like anything was missing. 

DS George Cross is a character that I warmed up to instantly. We need more characters on the spectrum in books. His personality shined through the pages and that only serves to prove the amazing writing skills of Tim Sullivan. 

For a 400 page book, the pace is quite fast, although I struggled a bit around the middle.

The pace at the end was incredible and I couldn’t put the book down. In regards to the investigation, I was intrigued by the unorthodox method of eliminating the suspects. Usually, we have a lot of suspects and near the end, they are still around as possibilities. However, in this book we don’t go by the rules. The suspects were eliminated one by one, which narrowed down the suspect list significantly as we were getting closer to the end of the book. I found this refreshing and welcomed it, although it did make me expect more plot twists. 

At the very end, that last clue that was somewhat crucial to the case – I think it was very coincidentally discovered. And knowing DS Cross, it doesn’t seem like him to not explore that avenue much earlier. But aside from that, I really loved the case, the investigation, the interviews and the resolution. The book touches on some very sensitive topics on drug addiction, suicide, euthanasia, grief and therapy. I learnt a lot whilst reading the book and I always cherish that when it happens. “The Patient” was a clever adventure with a brutal twist and a thriller I enjoyed devouring. This one will keep me tinkering over it for quite some time. 

About The Author:

Tim Sullivan is a crime writer, screenwriter and director, whose film credits include A Handful of Dust, Jack and Sarah, and Cold Feet. His crime series featuring the socially awkward but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross has topped the book charts and been widely acclaimed. Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy Award-winning producer of The Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman.

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Book Review · Books

The Merciless Ones (Deathless #2) by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

The Merciless Ones (Deathless #2) by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

I am in love with the Deathless series! First, The Gilded Ones blew me away with the amazing story of Deka and her finding out more about herself, and then The Merciless Ones threw some twists and spins I never expected and savagely devoured!

About The Book:

The Merciless Ones (Deathless #2) by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 480

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Publisher: Usborne

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

The Merciless Ones is a beautiful and inspiring continuation of the Deathless series and Deka’s adventures. As this book is the second book in the series, I strongly recommend reading The Gilded Ones first, to be able to enjoy the story to its full potential. 

After the newly acquired knowledge from the end of book one and the intense cliffhanger, Deka continues her journey. Saving the women that are imprisoned and avenging everyone that lost their lives. However, things are never that easy. When she starts unlocking some additional powers, but also starting to lose power as well, things start to take an interesting turn. Deka finds out something that makes her doubt everything she knows. All of a sudden, she needs to find answers again and travel further away from everything she trusts. 

I adored and devoured this book! There is intensity and adventure in every single chapter. The pace of the book gradually increases and the last few chapters are filled with anticipation and power.

If you are looking for a fantasy adventure with a lot of magic and fierce female characters, do not miss Deka’s story. It’s by far one of the most thrilling fantasy adventures I’ve ever read!

About The Author:

The Merciless Ones (Deathless #2) by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the New York Times bestselling epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves telling stories with fierce female leads and works as a screenwriter in LA.

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