Historical fiction · romance · suspense · thriller

The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal ★★★★

Blurb; The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .

My Review; I want to start by saying just how beautiful is that cover? A real eye catcher. I was sent this book off a friend to cheer me up and it did the trick perfectly. The Doll Factory for me felt like a historical fiction story with romance but also with a bit of thriller thrown in especially towards the end. Unusual but it really worked!

I cannot believe this is a debut novel. I would never have known it’s so beautifully written. It’s a page turner of a read. It’s a book that appreciates the arts and artists of the world.

Main character Iris has a choice to make does she stay as she is now working, alongside her sister and living with her family. OR… Does she go for it modelling, living alone and earning more money? She says yes to her new life and thats where it all begins. The love story. The loss of her family. The stalking that is about to begin from Silas.

Silas is one evil character. Delusional. A stalker. A predator. He won’t stop until he’s got Iris by himself. This is where the thriller part comes in… Edge of your seat, tense reading.

Overall a brilliant read for me. An escape. I loved the setting, era and the characters. The open ended ending. Just brilliant all of it. The picture of the old style shops in my mind. The appreciation of art. All of it. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend.

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horror · mystery · Short Stories · suspense · thriller

Bloody Valentine – James Patterson ★★★★

Blurb; This year Valentine’s Day isn’t for romance. It’s for murder.

Mega rich restaurant owner Jack Barnes and his second wife Zee are very much in love. However, their plans for Valentine’s Day are about to be torn apart by the most violent murder.Who is the strange figure plotting this sick crime? Who hates Jack that much? There are plenty of suspects living in Jack’s fancy block of flats. Is it them, or could it be the work of an outsider with a twisted mind? One thing’s for sure, the police have got their work cut out solving this bloody mess.

My Review; There is nothing better than a quick read and your favourite author. This was perfect! A valentines day you won’t want to remember. But one you can’t forget. It is a book that will have you hooked, gripped and sat on the edge of your seat trying to figure it all out. There was just too many coincidences emerging for my liking.

For me parts could be described as more horror. Bloody. Dark. Deathly. Descriptive. Contains a huge unexpected twist I would never have seen coming. A perfect short story. Brilliantly written. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend.

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mystery · suspense · thriller

Haven’t They Grown – Sophie Hannah ★★★★

Blurb; All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today, or ever again.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except… There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As Beth would have expected. It’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then.

They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Hilary hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.

They are no taller, no older… Why haven’t they grown?

My Review; This is one from my library pile and my third buddy read with Mel from Melanie’s Reads. I’ve seen a lot of hype about this book so ofcourse I had to check it out for myself and it was good!

Creepy. Unusual. A mystery. Confusing. A story that messes with your head. An ending I could never expect and outcome that you could never describe and believe. But alas. A brilliant, page turner of a read.

I have to give it to her Beth refuses to give up without answers. She’s determined and brave. Worried about her old friend. Her instincts were screaming at her, but was she prepared for everything she was about to unravel? Then poor Flora you’ve really got to feel for that woman. Just what is going on? I know I would want answers if this happened to me. Gripping. Thrilling. Mysterious. Twisted. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend. It’s still blagging my head now even after finishing it.

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