Mystery Book Box: ABookishEmporium

I recently purchased a mystery book box from the etsy shop ABookishEmporium. This box features a mystery book as well as some reading gifts to accompany whilst you delve into the new book!

I was really excited to receive this book, I love getting a mystery book as it allows me to delve into new genres and authors. It came beautifully wrapped in a box alongside a handwritten thank you note. Once I opened the box the book was beautifully gift wrapped with bullet point detailing certain notes about the mystery book inside.

Alongside the book (which I will reveal what it was) you also received some goodies. I got two types of teabag, thoroughly minted and earl grey, as well as an iced tea flavoured with rose and elderflower (especially excited to try this!). I also got some little snacks which included a little packet of border biscuit and two packets of Mini Loaker wafers (one vanilla and the other chocolate). not only did you receive something to eat or drink whilst reading they also includes a little tealight and a beautifully scented wax melt to enjoy. There was two bookmarks also included one that featured a quote from the book Little Women and the other a floral corner bookmark.

The book I received had the bullet points as follows:

  • one life split in two
  • Explores gender
  • “tender and thought provoking”

The book was ‘Louis and Louise’ by Julie Cohen. The book is a fictional book that explores gender and stereotypes.

“If you could look at one life in two different ways, what would you see?

Louis and Louise are separated by a single moment in time, a strike of chance that decided their future. The day they were born is when their story began.

In one, Louis David Alder is born a male.
In the other, Louise Dawn Alder is born a female.

Louis and Louise are the same in many ways – they have the same best friends, the same parents, the same dream of being a writer and leaving their hometown in Maine as soon as they can. But because of their gender, everything looks different. Certain things will happen in their lives to shape them, hurt them, build them back up again. But what will bring them back home”

I am really looking forward to reading this book and I would totally recommend this etsy store, they sell a bunch of other bookish goodies so check it out. The shop is linked at the top of the book.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS I have also created an etsy store where you can purchase a mystery book, limited availability so check it out! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ReadandDrinkTeaCo?ref=search_shop_redirect

Mystery/Thriller Book Box

I bought a ‘pamper box’, surprise gift box’ from Second Chapter Books on Etsty, and this is what I received and thought of it.

Box includes: surprise book, quote print, face mask, love hears, border biscuits, tea, bookmark

First of all, I thought this was a great purchase! I got to buy a surprise book (pre-loved) and receive some goodies all whilst supporting a small business.

When I first ordered this I wasn’t really looking for it but it popped up on my Etsy and it looked like something I would be interested in. I went to buy it and I saw that this seller has a bunch of different box options, from book only to multiple books plus surprises.

I chose the pamper self care box as I saw it included a face mask and that is something I appreciate. It was only £12 so i feel like its good value for money but there is other options that are even cheaper! When I nought this you got the option to choose the genre your book will be. (the options are romance, young adult, nonfiction, mystery/thriller and surprise me!) I think this is a great addition as if you like a specific genre you wont be diccspointed.

Personally I am a fan of mystery/thriller books so that is the genre I chose. The book I recieved (was beautifully wrapped, first off) was I Found You by Lisa Jewell. I read the back and immediatly thought this is the klind of book I would have picked and I am excited to read it.

from the blurb, the book looks as if it centres around the theme of memory loss and what happens when Lily new husband disapears, and Alice finds a man on the beach outside her home who has no memory at all. This book intruigues me and I can’t wait to delve into it.

I would highly recommend this seller on etsy and I will leave a link to it so you can look into it aswell!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SecondChapterBooks

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like and comment!)

A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci

A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci is the second book that features FBI agent Atlee Pine. This novel follows Agent Pine as she tried to find out what happened one fateful night when she was 6 years old and her twin sister Mercy was taken and Pine herself was left for dead. When she oversteps her mark on an arrest she is given a leave of absence which she uses as a perfect opportunity to try to figure out what actually happened all those years ago.

A Minute to Midnight

I picked this book up when I was browsing one day and it caught my eye immediately, I love investigative books and this one seemed to be one that I would like. Upon reading my initial thoughts were correct.

I feel that as soon as I began reading I was gripped on the story and wanted to find out what happened to Pine and her sister. In the beginning of the book we find out Pine is visiting a criminal in a Colorado maximum security prison who she beleives knows something about what happens and he plays mind games with her which proves to be frustrating to Pine. I thought this was an interesting way to begin. As Pine already believes she has found someone who knows something the book takes off from there and with Pine being given leave of absence brings an opportunity for us to follow her journey to the truth.

As she delves back into her past her memory of that night are hazy but she meets up with people who knew her parents and family or lived in the area at the time. She uncovers shocking surprises and secrets which makes her question her parents and her own past. What did she really know about her family?

As all of this goes on a string of murders begin to occur in her hometown which as an FBI agent she helps out with. It makes you as the reader think about whether the current crimes were connected to those of the past.

Atlee Pine is a strong female FBI Agent who I found was a character I wanted to stay with and was likeable. You want to help her find the truth and seeing the main lead of the book as a female FBI agent was great! as Pine reflects on her memories of the event that lead to her sister being taken you want to help her to find the truth. The book shows how she has never really gotten over what happened that night and not knowing what happened to her twin sister was affecting her. This book allows insight into why Pine is the agent she is today!

I found this book an easy read in the sense that the book made me want to turn the pages. I wanted to find out what happened on the next page and chapter! It was a thriller full of great twists and turns which proved to be a compulsive read. The first in the Atlee Pine books, Long Road to Mercy, is for sure on my to read list after reading this! (although I would say I didn’t find I was missing anything huge without reading in the correct order but I would recommend doing so!)

I found Baldacci writing to be engaging and easy to comprehend. With a book about discovering something that happened in the past it can sometimes become a confusing read with different timelines and tenses but this book never had that problem! I like that the chapters were not too big and allowed me to see progress clearly.

I would recommend this book for sure, especially to those who like a book with twists, turns, investigations and crime!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

Lincoln Rhyme Series by Jeffrey Deaver

The Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver conisists of 16 novels, which were the basis for a TV series that was realeased in January 2020.

Lincoln Rhyme #9 and #11

I am not going to lie and say I have read all 16 (but I will one day be able to say that). I have read two of the series that I was fortunate to have won in a competition. The two I have read, The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector, I loved and has made me add the other 14 books to my TBR list. (the list just got a whole lot longer:))

Lincoln Rhyme is a former NYPD homicide detective, forensic anaylist and crimanalist who after being injured during an investigation becomes a quadriplegic. He is now a forensic consultant who works from a state of the art lab in his own home. He works alongside Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through crime scenes and helps to solve the crimes they are faced with.

The Burning Wire was the fist one I read which also happened to be the 9th in the series. For this reason I was skeptical about how much I would understand or engage with the characters having missed out on the previous 8 books. I would say the main story of the killers whose weapon was electricity was one I found unique and made me want to read on but there was a sub-plot based around the Watchmaker, one of the few criminals to get away from Lincoln Rhyme which I felt a bit of background knowledge could have been useful. Saying that, I still enjoyed the book a lot and it didn’t really affect my reading enjoyment.

I found this book a page turner which is the best kind of book in my opinion. In this novel there is a killer whose unique weapon is electricity. I found this quite a different weapon of choice compared to others in different books which I liked and it felt new to me. Reading how something most of us take for granted can be turned into a weapon and seeing how Rhyme and his team tackled finding this killer was really engaging.

I have to admit I am not sure how much I loved the little bits of input about the watchmaker story line. I get that it is more of a bigger picture moment but I felt it kind of stunted the flow of the book. This could have just been due to the fact I hadn’t read previous books but I felt it took away a bit from the investigation ongoing.

I liked how we got to read this book from different points of view, I personally find this more engaging as we see differences within the characters and there perception of what is happening around them.

I was a fan on the character of Lincoln Rhyme and how even though he was a quadriplegic he is still one of the best in his field of work. How he utilises help from people and equipment was fascinating to read. I felt that this book showed some vulnerability in Lincoln which was nice to see that he wasn’t just a crime solving machine.

The second book was The Skin Collector, this is the 11th installment in the series.

This installment I also found to be a real page turner and I loved getting to read about Rhyme taking on another criminal. In this book the weapon of choice was poison, which was administered via an unvoluntary tattoo by the criminal. I also found this quite a unique way to poison someone and I hadn’t really read of that before which was intriguing. The killer leaves messages with these tattoos and we are able to read as Rhyme and his team try to find the killer and what these messages mean.

I was a fan of this book as well, and I think it gave more of an insight into Rhyme as a Character and more about how he works with his team to find out who is responsible for these crimes. This installment has links back to The Bone Collector which was the very first book in the series which I liked, even though I haven’t read the first one. I liked how even though it was the 11th in a series it is still connected to the book 10 books prior.

I felt this book gave more of an insight into Amelia Sachs as we see her connection with 19 year old Pam whom Sachs has taken under her wing. This relationship does make referals to previous books however I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t understand the relationship and I still enjoyed it!

There is also a TV series, Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector, which was released in January 2020 which I haven’t watched yet but I do intend to! Comment below if you have seen it !

I feel that book books were skillfully told, with twist and turns to keep your pages turning with them. I would recommend to read these, especially to those who enjoy mystery, thriller crime books!

Many Thanks, Caitlin x

(PS feel free to leave a comment or like !)

The Book of Hidden Things

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri is his debute English novel.

It is a fantasy novel which follows 4 childhood friends as they discover more and more about the town they lived in and themselves. They have a pact where every year they meet at a restaurant in their childhood town and when Art (one of the friends) doesn’t turn up events start to mirror those of 20 years ago. He is the one member who insisted on this pact and when he doesn’t show it is worrying. The 3 friends stay in town and investigate his disappearance.

I really enjoyed this book and I loved the mystery to it. As I read I continued to wonder what was going to happen next which I think is great in a book. Although this is a fantasy book it isn’t really heavy on fantasy element. Towards the end there is more of those elements however there is more of a focus on the characters.

I thought the characters were realistic and well written but at times they are not all likeable. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. In life there are people that you like and those not so much and therefore having this in the book almost makes it more realistic. It looks at the relationship between the character in depth which is something I really enjoyed. They are not perfect and they all have flaws and do things we really hate about them. I also like this about the characters as it adds dimension to the book.

I really like this book and would recommend it to those who not only like fantasy novels but also phycological thriller and mysteries.

Many thanks, Caitlin X
(Ps please comment if you have read this book or are going to)

The Lincoln Rhyme Series

Recently on twitter @LoveBooksGroup ran a competition to win two books from the Lincoln Rhyme Series and one from the Katheryn Dance Series by Jeffery Deaver, alongside different teas and a cute notebook, and I was lucky enough to win. (Many thanks to @LoveBooksGroup).

I had never heard of this author or this series before seeing this competition and once I had read a little about them I was very interested.

Jeffery Deaver is a former journalist and attorney who is an international best seller and has released over 35 novels. He mainly writes mystery/crime novels but he has also released a non-fiction book that looks at law.

The Lincoln Rhyme series is focused on the central character of Lincoln Rhyme who is a former NYPD homicide detective who is now a forensic consultant with the department. This change of role was due to an accident which resulted in Rhyme becoming a quadriplegic. He is partnered with Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through the crime scene.

Personally, I really liked the concept of these books as I love crime novels but having the main character as a quadriplegic is not only a great way to show disability is not something to shy away from when writing and having the main character quadriplegic hightens this but also it lets you see the stories and crime scenes from a different view as he uses his partner as his eyes.

I have not yet read them but I can’t wait! The two books from this series are; The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector.

The third book I was lucky enough to win was Roadside Crosses which is an installment in Deavers Kathryn Dance series. Kathryn Dance is a Special Agent in the Central Bureau of Investigation of the state of California. This character was originally introduced in one of the Lincoln Rhyme novels before Deaver went and dedicated a new series to her. Kathryn Dance is an expert in Kensics and interrogation and is originally assigned to interogate Daniel Pell, a convicted murderer.

As you can imagine this is also a series that I am interested in reading as I also love any book that has a spy aspect to it, and although she isn’t a spy she is a special agent so close enough!

I also was sent 4 different types of tea from ‘eteaket’ and a cute notebook.

Again thanks to LoveBooksGroup and I recommend you follow them on twitter!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(ps please comment if you have read any of the books from these series’ or by the author Jeffery Deaver.)

TBR – The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is a book I previously purchased and I am excited to read it.

The Chalk Man is a thriller that follows ‘Eddie’ as he relives his childhood after receiving a drawing of a chalk stick man. It takes him back 30 years to when a game he was playing went horribly wrong.

This book was originally published in January 2018 and had received many positive reviews. It has plenty of twists and turns and the use of flashbacks to help explain the events of previous years. It has a complex and intriguing storyline however although it has good reviews there is also some bad reviews. It’s rare to not receive any and they mainly said that some parts are a little unrealistic.

Saying this however I am excited to see what my opinion of this book will be and get to create my own views of the story.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read this book or plan to)

‘Those Who Lie’ and Author Q&A

those who lie

‘Those Who Lie’ is the first published novel by Diane Jeffrey and is a psychological thriller. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and is very engaging. It focuses on a character, Emily, life and how her past experiences and choices effect her present. She kills her husband whilst in a car accident but cannot remember doing do. Due to the fact it is a story which does feature an amnesia sub-plot it allows you to read the book without fully knowing what went on and discovering what happened alongside the character. It is a novel that is well written and is a great read! Especially for those who enjoy the crime/mystery/thriller genre. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a new book to get involved in.

The author of this book, Diane Jeffrey was very kind and answered some of my questions without hesitation so I would just like to thank her for her involvement and time.

Diane Jeffrey is an author from Devon who currently lives in France and is an English Teacher. ‘Those Who Lie’ is her first published novel and she is due to release a further novel in summer.

diane-jeffrey

Author Q&A

1 What made you become an author?

Well, I’ve always wanted to be an author. It has been my dream ever since I could write, really. I’ve always written, mainly short stories, one of which was recently longlisted for a competition and one of which was broadcast a couple of years ago on Irish radio. The first novel I wrote was unanimously rejected by all the agents I sent it too, quite rightly, too, as it wasn’t brilliant! That was about 14 years ago! But HQ Digital (HarperCollins) published my second novel in January 2017. It was quite a moment! (And quite a long journey!)

2 Were you inspired by any other authors/books?

I was inspired by other books in the genre of the psychological thriller, particularly Elizabeth Haynes’s Into The Darkest Corner, which for me really stands out in this genre, but more recently by Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, both of which I consider to be well worth the hype!

3 What made you decide to write in the crime/mystery/thriller genre?

I have quite eclectic tastes in reading, but I do like a good thriller! So I thought I’d try my hand at that. My first book (the unpublished one) was actually a Chick-Lit novel!

4 Regarding your book, ‘Those Who Lie’, why did you decide to write the story at different points in Emily’s life?

Hmm. That’s an interesting question. I wanted to show what had made Emily into who she was today. She has a past, which has shaped her as a person and affected her psychologically, and I wanted to use that to make her character as fleshed out as possible. She’s not necessarily likeable, so I felt that my readers needed to understand her if they were going to root for her. In addition, there are a lot of strange things happening to Emily in the present that are clearly connected to her past and so I decided on the dual timeline.

5 What made you decide to feature an amnesia storyline?

I love unreliable narrators and having the main character a little amnesic meant that I didn’t have to give the game away too early! It’s also very common for someone with the trauma that Emily suffered to block out painful memories.

6 Is there a specific reason you decided to make the majority of the main characters female?

Are they? I think my favourite character is Emily’s brother Matt. I suppose I killed off two of the important male characters in the first two chapters, which tipped the balance in the favour of the female characters!!!

I do like to have strong heroines as my main characters. This is also the case in my second novel, which is due to be published in July, in which a woman is prepared to put up with a lot more than she should for the sake of her child, but ultimately sets a trap for herself which she needs all her inner strength to get out of.

I’m currently writing my third novel and the main character in that is a male journalist. It’s proving to be quite a challenge getting inside an imaginary man’s head! I’m trying to make him a little arrogant and more flippant than I would be but I do want him to be loveable, so it’s hard getting the balance right!

7 Did you do any research or follow a specific process whilst writing this book?

Lots and lots of research. I learnt loads. I found every topic I researched so interesting that I then wanted to include everything in my book, but I ended up with whole chapters that read like an encyclopaedia or a page from Wikipedia, so I had to cut, cut, cut!!! I researched PTSD, bi-polar disorder, Han van Meegeren’s fake Vermeers, child abuse, the parvovirus in puppies, Lewis Carroll, blood spatter and ballistics… I was lucky to have a few very useful contacts who answered some very strange questions to help me along the way!

8 What is your favourite book and/or author?

My favourite book when I was younger (after I reluctantly came out of my Enid Blyton stage) was Wuthering Heights. In THOSE WHO LIE, Emily’s grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, buys her Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland every year for her birthday. This is based on my own grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, and who gave me Wuthering Heights as a gift many, many times. I reread it every time.

In recent years, I’ve fallen in love with The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. These books just stay with me and I still miss the main characters although I finished the books a few years ago now!

9 Are you planning any other books to be released in the future?

My second psychological thriller is due to be published in July this year and I’m currently working on my third novel.

10 Do you have any advice for aspiring authors or avid readers?

Never give up. Keep writing. Keep reading. Get in touch with as many authors as you can on social media, especially from your genre.

I’m a mother of three and I work full-time as an English teacher and live in France, so I couldn’t do any of the wonderful courses available to people who want to learn more about writing. But I read a lot of how-to articles, particularly by Joanna Penn and Writers’ Digest (Brian Klem) and the tips they give are invaluable. The agent Johnny Geller also gives some very good advice for aspiring readers

Many Thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion on this book or any recommendations you have)