Book Review: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario

I love a good thriller, in fact it’s one of my favourite genres, and The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario mixes classical music, with mystery and intrigue. 
I am not a huge classical music fan but, I was willing to give this book a go as it looks like a great thrill. The jacket on the hardback version which I received to review from Oceanview Publishing, does not give much way picture wise. This makes it very visually appealing and wanting the reader to find out what it’s all about. 
                     

Book Description

A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France. Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love.

The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, an unexpected love—and a musical masterpiece lost for centuries.

             

My Review

It didn’t take me very long to read this book. The chapters are very short and well written. The author has written this book in a very beautiful way, describing the locations with an artistic feel. 
The main character Maggie, a concert pianist, is a strong female lead and has been through a great deal of heartache with the deaths of her husband and best friend, and now her godson missing. This has led her to give up on music and go in search of her missing godson Tommy. Maggie embarks on a journey that takes her into a world of stolen art, music and terrorism, and not all is what it seems. There is also a romantic element to the book in the form of Maggie’s ex-lover, and this gives us another dimension into her character.
There are many twists and turns along the way, that made it a bit hard to keep up. Especially as I was turning each page quickly to see what happens next! 
I would really recommend this book to thriller/mystery fans even if you are not fans of classical music/art. I know that I will re-read it one day so I have more time to take it all in and not speed through it at 100mph like I did this time. I think this book deserves it.
I have given The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario 5 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition 443 pages
Published 1st July 2015 by Oceanview Publishing
Rachel xx
Disclaimer I was given this hardback copy to read and review free of charge from Oceanview Publishing through Tomoson. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book description taken from Tomoson.com for purpose for this review only.

Book Review: The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

I requested to read an ebook copy of The Bones of You by Debbie Howells from Netgalley for one of my Bank Holiday reads. My initial thoughts of the cover image shown further below was that I am going to be in for a deep, dark, mystery, psychological thriller type of a book. I was not disappointed, and if you decide to read it neither would you.                                             
Book Description

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.
The book starts of with a rather creepy intro from Rosie, telling us that she is looking at the movie of her life. This suggests that she is dying and her life is flashing before her eyes. We hear Rosie’s side of the story throughout the book, and get to know her character this way.
Rosie’s mother Jo calls Kate to tell her that her daughter is missing. Kate and Jo don’t really know each other very much, but through the disappearance of Rosie and then the finding of her body, Kate becomes Jo’s rock. Jo’s marriage crumbles through the book, and she becomes a depressed pill taking alcoholic. Kate is with her every step of the way trying to make sense of what is happening while watching her own daughter Grace go off to university and her husband Angus heading up to York for work. 
I didn’t particularly like the character of Kate in the beginning, she seemed to be a bit of an interferring busy body, but as the book goes on I can see why. I am not quite sure I like the parts of Rosie telling her story from the grave either. This narative can be a bit confusing. 
I do like the author’s style of writing designed to tease the reader, drawing you in, thinking yes I know what happened, then throwing another spanner in the works changing your line of thinking. This keeps the reader very much engaged with the story.
This book is a good read for anyone looking for a mystery suspense who dunnit novel. 
I have given The Bones of You by Debbie Howells 3 out of 5 stars. 
Expected publication date 30th June 2015 by Kensington Books
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for an hoenst review. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley.com for purpose of this review only.

Book Review: Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn

I was given the chance to read and review Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn by Net Galley. My initial thoughts were that the cover seemed a little bland, but I always go by the saying, ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’. I did like the thought of reading a very strong character driven book, and this is what the book is.
                   

Book Description and Cover Image

‘Seeking asylum from the wreckage of her life, Yvette Grimm arrives in Australia on a holiday visa. She applies for permanent residency with no hope of success. Resisting advice that she marry to stay in the country, Yvette invests her hopes in a palm-reader’s prophecy that she will meet the father of her children before she’s thirty.
She’s twenty-nine.

Set in the excoriating heat of an endless Perth summer, against the backdrop of asylum seekers locked in detention, Asylum is a gripping tale of loss and belonging that is dark, absurd and hilarious by turns’ 

The story starts off with Yvette Grimm finding herself back in her childhood bedroom at her mother’s Leah’s house in Australia. She is on a holiday visa at the moment, but Leah has sent off her permanent residency forms. Yvette had to leave her old life in Malta. As you read through the book, you discover what Yvette’s life was like with her boyfriend Carlos through little snippets, and why she had to leave. I love this little quote. The author uses a fantastic style of writing throughout, to the point and very clear.
‘Yvette was seeking refuge from the wreckage of her life’
Yvette’s mother tells her that she must get married to stay in Australia, but Yvette is a sort of a hopeless romantic and believes that you marry for love not convenience. 
The story follows Yvette through her struggles of belonging no-where. Yvette takes you to a cockroach infested flat, to a cute little house to singing in a choir and a life changing event. It was a beautiful journey that the author took me on. Laughing in places, crying the next.
I loved the character of Yvette, she never let anything get her down, she was always expecting the worst, and this made her a much stronger person. I didn’t like her mum Leah, she seemed very cold towards Yvette, and always going on about her sister Debbie, which made Yvette feel alone at times.
I think the main idea of the book is to inform you about the difficulties that people have in gaining residencies. Even though Yvette’s mum and sister live in Australia it doesn’t make her a definite case to live their permanently, just because she stayed with her dad in England when her mother and sister moved back when they were children. I find the topic on political asylum quite fascinating and this book does question that. 
I would love to read other books with a similar topic to this one, it was a fascinating read. I would recommend to anyone looking for a strong female character lead.
I gave Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn 4 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx
*Disclaimer: I was given this ebook to review free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and  book description taken from NetGalley.com for purpose of this review.

Book Review: The Day We Disappeared

Last month I won this book with @joythestore on Twitter. It is a book I heard about before and so really wanted to read it. My luck was in when I was announced as one of their competition winners.
The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson is a cross between a romance novel and a mystery psychological thriller type of book. The two main characters are Annie and Kate, old friends that are living in two totally different worlds and not sure who they are anymore. 
Annie is a hippy type of girl working as a masseuse in various little rooms around London. One day she meets Stephen in one of these little rooms and he becomes her boyfriend and her ‘night in shining armour’ rescuing her and giving her a new working space in his office building. What Stephen doesn’t know is that Annie has a secret from her past that she doesn’t want anyone around her to know. 
Kate has run away from Dublin, suffering from stress and burnout and ends up at a livery yard working for Mark Waverley in Somerset. Kate is scared that she is going to be found at any minute, but this doesn’t stop her from having feelings for her new boss. 
I love the way the author Lucy switches each chapter back and forth between Annie and Kate’s stories. It’s written in a very clever way. I think Kate’s story is my favourite because of her love for Mark and his horse Stumpy and the way their relationships develop. The story keeps you holding on for more as you progress through the book. I really wanted to know why Kate ended up in Somerset! The characters are very well thought out and you will learn to love them all.
My only criticism is that it does start of fairly slow, but now I can see it was building and keeping us on tenderhooks till the end. 
I would recommend this book to mystery romance lovers. It’s perfect for holiday reading and it will keep you on edge till the very end. It’s a book I will be proud to keep on my bookshelf and I’m glad I have been given the opportunity to read it.
I gave The day We Disappeared 4 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx
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3 Books and a Treat!

                            
I have my day off from work every Wednesday, so each week I pop round to my parents to collect my delivery wins. This is the most exciting day of the week for me as It’s like Christmas! I’m like a big kid opening my packages to see what’s inside. I always enter my parents address for delivery details as I’m never home to collect them. My mum always looks out for the postman everyday to see what he’s got for me. She is even now on a first name basis with him and they talk about my competitions and wins!
So these are my wins from the past week. I was a runner up in a Wagg pet food competition and I was able to choose whether I wanted cat or dog food treats. I don’t have a cat so I chose dog treats. The flavour is chicken and cheese! Sounds a bit of a weird combination to me!
The books I won are from Goodreads first reads giveways. I wrote about winning A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall in my blog post last Thursday and here it is in the top right of the picture. Its possible the cover will change once its properly published as this is an uncorrected bound proof copy. I can’t wait to get stuck into this one with a hot chocolate and some biscuits, I think I’ll start this book on Sunday while the husband is watching the first Formula 1 race of the season!
The other two books are the Lament of Sky by BB Wynter which is a dark, fantasy and very intriguing read. It came with a gorgeous little note by the author on the inside pages which I thing is a lovely cute personal touch. The third book is called The Traitors’s Mark and is written by D.K Wilson. It’s a historical Tudor mystery based on the death of Hans Holbein in 1543, which to this day is still an unsolved real Tudor mystery. Looks a fantastic read to add to my never ending lists of books to read!
Rachel xx

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