The Chain – Adrian McKinty Review

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About the book:

You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.

My review:

The idea of this story was absolutely brilliant! The idea to keep a chain going, you have to kidnap a child from a loving family to save your own child, who has already been kidnapped.

Rachel Klein is a divorced, single mother who is battling cancer. On the day that she has a call from her doctor in regards to the cancer, she receives a second, chilling call from a couple claiming to have kidnapped her daughter.

What follows is a tense, gripping read where you will want to find out what has happened and how Rachel is going to resolve this. We know that in order to save her daughter, Kylie, she must choose another child to kidnap.

Everything is controlled by “The Chain”, Rachel is being watched and every choice she makes is being scrutinised by the leaders of the chain.

Rachel’s ex brother-in-law, Pete, comes in to help. He’s an ex-serviceman suffering from PTSD and comes across as a brilliant character. In fact I loved all the main characters, Rachel, Pete and Kylie.

Every so often, you get flashbacks to the childhoods of the villains. These are terrifying and creates on-the-edge-of-your-seat reading, however, some parts can make uncomfortable reading.

There isn’t a single thing which I disliked about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and managed to fly through this. I would definitely recommend reading this if you haven’t done so yet.

About the author:

Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 on, in Denver, Colorado, where he taught high school English and began writing fiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home Competition

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One lucky person from either my Twitter or Instagram page can win a copy of The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home in my latest giveaway!

To Enter

Follow me on Twitter – @TrentBianca or Instagram – @booksaplentyreviews1 (or both!) and share The Sea Detective competition post.

UK only! I will choose a winner on Thursday 12th March 2020 at random.

About The Book

Cal McGill is an Edinburgh-based oceanographer, environmentalist and one-of-a-kind investigator.

Using his knowledge of the waves – ocean currents, prevailing winds, shipping records – McGill can track where objects have come from, or where they’ve gone. It’s a unique skill that can help solve all sorts of mysteries.

Such as when two severed feet wash up miles apart on two different islands off the coast of Scotland. Most strangely, forensic tests reveal that the feet belong to the same body.

As Cal McGill investigates, he unravels a web of corruption, exploitation and violence, which threatens many lives across the globe – very soon including his own…

Titles to look forward to in March! 1st-16th March

Today I’m posting about the paperback releases that I’m looking forward to in the next couple of weeks!

There are two titles where I’ve read the hardback and would definitely recommend:

5th March

  • The Chain – Adrian McKinty = I’m currently reading this title and loving it so far!
  • The Sleepwalker – Joseph Knox = I love the series and would recommend.

The other titles that are being released in paperback format and have caught my eye are:

5th March

  • You’ll Never See Me Again – Lesley Pearse
  • Agatha Raisin: Beating About The Bush – M C Beaton
  • The body in the Castle Wall – Martin Walker
  • One Good Deed – David Baldacci
  • The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal
  • This Storm – James Ellroy
  • The Silent House – Nell Pattison
  • Little Doubt – Rachel Lynch
  • The Other Mrs – Mary Kubica
  • Why She Ran – S A Dunphy
  • The Blood Is Still – Douglas Skelton
  • Darkness For Light – Emma Viskic
  • Shadow Play – Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • The Broken Ones – Ren Richards
  • Strangers at the Gate – Catriona McPherson
  • To Keep You Safe – Kate Bradley

9th March

  • Her Broken Wings – D K Hood

12th March

  • Killing with Confetti – Peter Lovesey
  • The Snow Thief – C J Carver

This concludes my pick of paperback releases, from the Crime, Thriller and Mystery genre, for the next couple of weeks.

Are there any titles that you are looking forward to over the next couple of weeks?

February Summary

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Well February seemed to fly by! I didn’t get much reading done unfortunately 😦 I’ve had to do a lot of DIY recently in my home which has taken up the majority of my time.

The first two reviews I put up on my blog were for The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan and The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox, both of which I had actually read in January. I thought The Smiling Man was brilliant and I would recommend both of these!

I then read and reviewed the following title:

  • The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves = I enjoyed the setting and I liked the snippets of humour throughout. Cleeves is a brilliant writer. It wasn’t my favourite read of the year, but definitely not my worst.

I did start reading The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home which I got free with my subscription box from Teatime Bookshop, however, I only got about half way through and had to put it aside, but I might come back to this.

Yesterday, I started reading The Chain by Adrian McKinty, I am flying through this and loving it so far. This review will be on the blog at some time in March.

How many books did you manage to read in February? Any that you absolutely love?

The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves Competition

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One lucky person from either my Twitter or Instagram page can win a copy of The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves in my latest giveaway!

I posted my review yesterday, so you can take a look at what I thought of this book on my blog. I received my copy second hand from Teatime Bookshop, the condition is good. If you haven’t read The Glass Room yet, then enter my competition to be in with a chance of winning a copy!

To Enter

Follow me on Twitter – @TrentBianca or Instagram – @booksaplentyreviews1 (or both!) and share The Glass Room competition post.

UK only! I will choose a winner on Thursday 27th February 2020 at random.

About The Book

Winner of the 2017 Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger.

The Glass Room is the fifth book in Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series – which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, Vera.

DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation. But when one of them goes missing, her path leads her to more than a missing friend . . .

Vera tracks the young woman down to the Writer’s House, a country retreat where aspiring authors work on their stories. Things get complicated when a body is discovered and Vera’s neighbour is found with a knife in her hand.

Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over. She’s too close to the main suspect. But the investigation is too tempting and she’s never been one to follow the rules.

There seems to be no motive. When another body is found, Vera suspects that someone is playing games with her. Somewhere there is a killer who has taken murder off the page and is making it real . . .

The Glass Room – Ann Cleeves

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About the book:

Winner of the 2017 Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger.

The Glass Room is the fifth book in Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series – which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, Vera.

DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation. But when one of them goes missing, her path leads her to more than a missing friend . . .

Vera tracks the young woman down to the Writer’s House, a country retreat where aspiring authors work on their stories. Things get complicated when a body is discovered and Vera’s neighbour is found with a knife in her hand.

Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over. She’s too close to the main suspect. But the investigation is too tempting and she’s never been one to follow the rules.

There seems to be no motive. When another body is found, Vera suspects that someone is playing games with her. Somewhere there is a killer who has taken murder off the page and is making it real . . .

My review:

I’m not a big fan of the character, Vera Stanhope, but I reckon this is what Cleeves is aiming for. Although, I’m not a fan of the character, I still really enjoy the series and Cleeves writing!

There is some humour in the story telling, even if there is a gruesome topic and I enjoy these humorous snippets throughout.

The Glass Room starts of with Vera being approached by her hippy neighbour who is claiming his partner, Joanna, has gone missing. Vera follows the trail to the Writer’s House, where there is currently a writing retreat occurring. While looking for Joanna at the house, one of the tutors gets murdered out on the terrace. Joanna gets accused of the murder and Vera takes on the case.

While working the case, another person at the retreat gets murdered. Vera then has to work against the clock to find the murderer before there is another victim.

I enjoyed the setting being at a Writers’ Retreat and this also created a “locked-room” mystery which I’m becoming a huge fan of. The Cleeves books are an old-fashioned, crime story-telling but are very enjoyable.

This isn’t my best recent read, however, it’s not the worse. I had a bit of a reading slump the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been reading this book since beginning of February. It’s taken a while to get into but is still a book I would recommend, especially if you’re a fan of the TV series. You don’t have to read the books in order, so you can still pick up this book and know enough about the characters and setting to know what is going on.

About the author:

Ann Cleeves is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels, and in 2017 was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez who can now be found on television in ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide.
Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook, and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. Ann is also a passionate champion for libraries and was a National Libraries Day Ambassador in 2016. Ann lives in North Tyneside near where the Vera books are set.

Titles to look forward to! 17th-29th February

Today I’m posting about the paperback releases that I’m looking forward to in the next couple of weeks!

The title going straight to my TBR list is:

20th February

  • No One Home – Tim Weaver

The other titles that are being released in paperback format and have caught my eye are:

20th February

  • The Long Call – Ann Cleeves
  • The Border – Don Winslow
  • Elevator Pitch – Linwood Barclay
  • Conviction – Denise Mina
  • The Guardians – John Grisham
  • Poison – Jacqui Rose
  • Fallen Angel – Chris Brookmyre
  • For The Dead – Lina Bengtsdotter
  • The House on the Lake – Nuala Ellwood
  • The Snakes – Sadie Jones
  • A Window Breaks – C M Ewan
  • Little Friends – Jane Shemilt
  • The Darker Arts – Oscar de Muriel
  • Death Deserved – Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst
  • The Nanny – Gilly Macmillan
  • Inspection – Josh Malerman
  • Into The Fire – Gregg Hurwitz
  • Dead Man’s Daughter – Roz Watkins
  • The Trail – James Ellson
  • Possessed – Peter Laws

25th February

  • The Treadstone Resurrection – Robert Ludlum

27th February

  • A Famished Heart – Nicola White

28th February

  • The Dead Don’t Wait – Michael Jecks

This concludes my pick of paperback releases, from the Crime, Thriller and Mystery genre, for the next couple of weeks.

Are there any titles that you are looking forward to over the next couple of weeks?

Favourite Debut Novels

I thought I would put together a list of some of my favourite debut novels.

  • The Chalk Man by C J Tudor – I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, however, my mum didn’t, so I think it’s one of those where readers are going to either love it or hate it. I would highly recommend trying it out though as it’s highly creepy and there is plenty of suspense to keep you wanting to read more.
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – This is a story you can fly through. Short chapters and easy writing makes for a quick read. I reckon many would be able to read this in one sitting. I reviewed this book last month so you can take a look back at my review. I thought the idea behind the story was good. I recently lent this to my younger sister as well so will check what she also thought of the title when she’s back from her holiday.
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – This gave me mixed views. There were times when it infuriated me and times when I thought it was brilliant. Again, this was reviewed on my blog last month so you can read the full review. I still felt that this was a good debut and I am looking forward to other titles from this author.
  • Dark Pines by Will Dean – Absolutely brilliant! I enjoyed this book so much that I ordered the second in the series as a hardback because I couldn’t wait for the release of the paperback (I only ever buy paperback usually!) I am very much looking forward to the third book in the series which is being released in March 2020!
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – Another start to a series that I absolutely loved! I would highly recommend checking out the Millenium Trilogy by Larsson and the more recent titles, written by David Lagercrantz, which continue the series.
  • The Whisper Man by Alex North – OK I know that Alex North has previous novels written under a different name, but The Whisper Man was the first under the pen name Alex North, so I’m still going to include it in my list. If you saw my review last month, then you will know just how much I loved this book! It has gone straight into my list of “all time favourite books”! If you haven’t read it yet, then definitely go and buy it as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Are there any debut novels which you absolutely loved?

Home Library Design Ideas

Avid readers love the idea of having a home library! Many Bookstagram accounts on Instagram show their home libraries and there are many that I would love to have.

At the moment, my partner and I live in a rather spacious 2 bedroom flat, but as we rent out the spare room, I currently don’t have a home library. We are planning to move at the end of 2020 and I will definitely have a room designated to books. I decided to put together my favourite design ideas, taken from Google. All the below images include the website name where the original image came from.

 

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Large rooms, with large windows and a staircase to the top level of bookcases! Looks gorgeous and is definitely something out of a large manor house. I quite like the look of old fashioned libraries, yet my partner prefers modern and as much as I would love something like this, there is no way my new home library will be this big!

 

 

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This is a lot smaller, but just look at the large windows, beams on the ceiling and the exposed brickwork! Quite like a large industrial warehouse that has been converted. Again, this is another design I would love but I would have to add more bookcases!

 

 

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Floor to ceiling bookcases. Using the most out of the space! Reminds me very much of THAT scene of Belle in Beauty and the Beast with the ladder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A circular room always looks impressive, and to have two floors looks fantastic with a mezzanine level. I actually like the oak panelling, but again it wouldn’t be modern enough for my new place unfortunately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Large floor to ceiling windows are amazing! And a gorgeous, modern, but still cozy fireplace. One of the main things I want in our new home is a fireplace. I love the idea of curling up next to the fire with a book and a hot chocolate. And to have the fire in the home library would be amazing!

 

 

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One of the properties that I have seen which would be ideal for us, has an upstairs attic/ hobby room. Therefore, this would be more like how the room would end up looking like. Using all of the available space, with books going up to the rafters. It’s a great design idea and is also space saving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love a window seat! I also love this colour scheme. I would make the window seat more comfortable with plenty of cushions and blankets to make an ideal space for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My ideal house would be looking over the sea. I live right next to the beach at the moment, but it doesn’t have a decent sea view from my flat. Something like this would be my dream home. It looks like a lovely place and I could imagine myself sat there reading in my favourite chair, with a gorgeous sea view!

 

So a lot of the home libraries I came across were fantasy, dream homes! Each of the above I would love to have but I’m obviously aware that none of this can happen haha 🙂

When we first move, I will have a room in the house that will be designated to books. However, the plan is to eventually get the garden sorted, and have a summer house which will hold all of my books! I hope to have a lovely, cozy area in the garden and I will use plenty of fairy lights.

What do you think of these few chosen home library designs? Are there anymore that you’ve seen that you would love? Do you have a home library already? 🙂

 

My Favourite Authors

I thought that I would create a post about my favourite authors. I am a big fan of crime, thriller and mystery, so each author comes under that category.

There are a few authors who have been on my favourite list for many, many years, and some who have joined the list recently.

The authors who have been my favourite for many years are as follows:

  • Karin Slaughter – Especially with the Will Trent series. Her writing is graphic and there is a lot of horrific content but if you’re not too squeamish then her books are fantastic. My mum and I used to get her books and share but my mum has since stopped reading them as they terrified her, I will never stop reading Slaughter’s books though!
  • Lynda La Plante – Every single book I’ve read by Lynda La Plante I have enjoyed! Each series created has been brilliant.
  • Lee Child – The Jack Reacher series is another fantastic series that I would 100% recommend.
  • Ian Rankin – The John Rebus series in particular stand out to me and the character is brilliant and as the novels are written in real time, Rebus ages along with each book.
  • Mark Billingham – Tom Thorne is another great character and there is no doubt in my mind that Billingham can write!
  • Stephen King – This author will no doubt feature on many people’s favourite author lists!
  • Jeffery Deaver – The duo of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs is a great combo! All of the books are frightening and Deaver doesn’t hold back on the gruesome details.
  • Kathy Reichs – The Temperance Brennan series is fantastic, however, I haven’t read the Virals series so can’t really comment on the books in that particular series. It on my To Do list to pick up a book from the Virals series to check it out though.
  • Val McDermid – In my eyes, she is the Queen of Crime Fiction.
  • Stieg Larsson – The Millenium Series is definitely my favourite series and one that I always recommend. I’m enjoying the remainder of the series written by David Lagercrantz too, he’s done brilliantly with taking the series over.

Recent authors that have made the list are:

  • Steve Cavanagh – After reading Thirteen and being impressed with the way it was written and loving the idea of the killer being on the jury, this author joined my favourite authors list.
  • Will Dean – This author made it to the list after starting the brilliant Tuva series and last year I actually pre-ordered the second book of the series. This is the first time I’ve pre-ordered a book!
  • Alex North – If you are regular reader of my blog, you will know how much I loved The Whisper Man! Absolutely fantastic and became one of my all time favourite reads! This has put North on to my favourite authors list.

Who are your favourite authors? Any on here you agree with?