Woman on the Orient Express

One Little Mistake 

Sometimes I Lie

Wicked Game

Arcanum

Gospel of Judas

Lindsay Jayne Ashford  

Emma Curtis

Alice Feeney 

Matt Johnson

Ann Mann

Simon Mawer

Dr James Barry

House of the Lost 

The Last Hours

The Martian

Book Thief

Michael du Preez

Sarah Rayne 

Minette Walters

Andy Weir

Markus Zusak.


Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

This is a brilliant book, a wonderful debut novel.. A true psychological thriller with a twist that you only begin to suspect is coming, just before the truth - or what may be the truth - is revealed. And the twists don't end there.


The Last Hours by Minette Walters

It's rare for me to be as disappointed as I was by this book. I love Minette's crime thrillers and so I was intrigued when I saw that her new book was completely different - set in the time of the Black Death in England. But oh dear! The characters are cardboard and very two-dimensional and unbelievable. The two main protagonists must be clairvoyant in their approach to this horrible plague which wiped out a third of the population. And Minette should be far too professional a writer to use so much telling, rather than showing, to move the narrative along. And worst of all, it ends abruptly with a 'To Be Continued' note on the last page. Or so I'm told. I gave up long before I reached that point sadly. If books are going to be part of a series, then each should still stand on its own, not leave the reader floundering in unanswered questions.



Gospel Of Judas by Simon Mawer

Simon Mawer's books are always difficult to get into and to finish but even so, I never forget one of them so I plough on. I too was tempted to this one because I am interested in the character of Judas and like other reviewers, wondered most of the way through the book what the title was about. However, without giving anything away, it is a multi-layered title as the book is multi-layered. Probably the title, though clever, does attract people who expect something different. Yes, it's confusing for a long time but I'm glad I persevered, as I always am with his work.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I cannot believe it has taken me until now to read this book! Wow, wow, wow, is all I can say. It's the sort of book which you almost wish you had never yet read, just so that you could have the pleasure of discovering it again for the first time. A sad sad theme set in a dreadful time but the book still manages to come across as full of warmth and love. A tremendously ambitious book but just wonderful.


Dr James Barry - A Woman Ahead of her Time by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield

A chunky book which veers between reading like a drama-docu-book and a straightforward historical biography which is a bit off-putting. However, the story is a fascinating true one of a girl who started life in Cork and ended up as one of the top surgeons in the British Army - all at a time when women were barred from surgery and indeed, almost from medicine in its entirety. She managed it by living her life as a man. Her disguise was never rumbled, except by a few people who kept her secret. The level of research is amazing, though the level of detail occasionally makes this rather a daunting read. But well worth the effort in the end.


The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

This is a really good book. Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey. Agatha used this train to travel to Baghdad in real life, and the two women she befriends on the journey were real people, deeply entwined with her life. Other real people, such as her future husband Max Mallowan and Leonard Woolley, also feature heavily. An evocative read. Highly recommended.


One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

I enjoyed this book about the consequences of one (not so) little mistake, though the underlying coincidence is hard to accept. The book would be stronger if the baddie had sought out the subject, rather than just fallen across her accidentally. I found the constant changes in viewpoint even more disturbing as occasionally I wasn't sure initially whose voice we were hearing. Nevertheless, a good light read.



Arcanum by Ann Mann

I was really gripped by this book from the start, though I wasn't sure I would be before I started reading it. The cover is beautiful but implies it's about fairies and leprechauns, which proved not to be the case at all. It turned out to be fascinating and I looked forward to each new chapter. I would give it five stars but it could benefit from a greater amount of direct speech, more commas and a spellcheck.


The Martian by Andy Weir

This is one weird book but I really enjoyed it. I would never, in a million years, have picked this up - an astronaut stranded alone on Mars. Four years before a rescue mission can reach him, six months of food and no communication with Earth. And it's got quite a lot of science. But it's actually very easy reading, even through the often funny explanations of how he uses various unmentionables to help his crop of potatoes grow (don't ask!). There is a lot of humour in it and the writing flows. Only flaw is that you would expect him to get despondent occasionally but no, he remains upbeat throughout. But maybe that attitude is why he keeps going, in what inevitably looks like a hopeless situation


House of the Lost by Sarah Rayne

Just finished reading House of the Lost by Sarah Rayne. A little different from her usual books but brilliant, nevertheless. It's much more modern than previous offerings and certainly creepy enough in the Rayne style early on. She certainly manages to make you feel you need to read it in daylight, not like me last thing at night! Then the creepiness drops off and it becomes a fascinating murder mystery dealing with a dreadful period in the recent past of an Eastern European country.


The Wicked Game by Matt Johnson

Not normally the sort of book I'd read - SAS thriller books. But I picked this one up on a free promotion and I must say, I was hooked. Originally self-published, the book sold so well that Matt was picked up by an agent - see, it can happen. His second book, called Deadly Game, is on the verge of being published and is about the same ex-SAS policeman Robert Finlay. I'll post here when I've read it.