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The Calico Cat by Amanda James.

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The Calico Cat by Amanda James. 
"Then life takes huge bites out of you, chews you up, spits you out and watches you slowly bleed to death by the wayside."
I find it refreshing to come across writing that is somewhat different and far removed from the world of crime and detection, my usual genre. James indicates that this is about a journey of self-discovery, life, love and adventure mainly for the persona, Lottie Morgan, a "damaged" individual because of how her parents mismanaged an extremely "delicate" situation when their daughter was at an impressionable age.

Lottie is not your average female and she is so complicated, having suffered a rejection by Jenny her mother then further betrayals from people she cared about. It got so bad for Lottie that she started to self-harm, followed by suicidal thoughts then displayed what is referred to as psychotic behaviour. We get a glimpse of her childhood at the age of eleven when she asks her mother for a calico c…

MERCILESS by Heleyne Hammersley.

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Merciless by Heleyne Hammersley.
"I can't seem to stop what I've started. It's his fault. I can feel his poison in me, flowing through my veins."
Police procedural murder investigations combined with the thriller genre make up for a dynamic combination. You won't be disappointed.
"Merciless" is the second novel in the D.I. Kate Fletcher series. Set mainly around south Yorkshire you are presented with a bunch of down-to-earth detectives working with Kate. Hollis was a key part of her team, Sam Cooper, efficient but an extremely private person, Barratt and O'Connor who Kate tolerated but disliked. Nothing untoward. Kate takes her work seriously and it dominates her life. She seems a little more compassionate and human  showing how different she is from how the stereotypical D.I. is portrayed. Nick Tsappis becomes romantically attached to Kate at the end and sums up her caring nature when he tells her:"It matters. These people aren't just cas…

Islands by Gwen GB.

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Islands by Gwen GB.
"How could a child, let alone several children, have gone missing without anybody noticing, without somebody querying where they'd gone?"
Islands is a powerful and personal story based around the tragedy of miscarriages and the horrors of physical and sexual abuse. It is Gwen's debut novel and worth a read. The timeline covers Katherine's late teenage years in 1976 into the 1980s and to her maturity in 2008. In the background we are reminded of actual historical events such as the Shannon Matthews case, Haut de la Garenne, Elisabeth and Josef Fritzl and the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 flight.
Footloose and fancy-free, that's how Katherine was as she took her final exams, inseparable from her friend Anne. Both are relishing the prospect of leaving school with boys on their minds, obsessed with Darren Le Brocq and Mark Vibert. Katherine's mother, Marie indicates her displeasure in her daughter's relationship with Anne creating tension which soo…

My Sweet Friend by H.A.Leuschel.

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 My Sweet Friend by H.A.Leuschel.
"Beyond the façade we were all human, fragile and sensitive to judgement."
Helene conducted research into the consequences of lying and I mean serious lying and this interesting novella is the result. It touches on mythomania, more commonly known as pathological lying, where guilt doesn't exist at all. If parameters exist between truth and fiction, they are so blurred they are unrecognisable.
It is written in first person with two very different narrators: one nice "The Sweet Friend," the other malicious. The story is set in France, mainly in Paris although Alexa Dubois escapes for a break to Biarritz, apparently on sick-leave through exhaustion. It's 2017. Alexa has just started a new job in Paris working with Rosie, Jack, Monique and Marc connected to sales and marketing as an accounts manager.
Initially, Alexa had made a strong impression on all but Monique. Jack fancied her. Rosie just loved her to bits and uses words such …

Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes.

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 Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes.
" I can't be this woman. It's who my mother was and it terrifies me."
This is Moyes' first collection of short stories taken from "Paris For One and OtherStories."Honeymoon in Paris is more novella than short story and satisfying to read. Two newlyweds are celebrating their lune de miel at different times, one in 2002, the other in 1912 with uncanny similarities and tensions. They are certainly love matches but is this a solid enough foundation for marriage and all the challenges that they are going to be faced with? An artist, or more specifically, a painting, links the newlyweds a century apart.
Liv Halston looks down from the iconic Eiffel Tower, alone already regretting her marriage to David who designed and built properties. She was reflecting on how disastrous her honeymoon in Paris had been. She had celebrated two days of married bliss before David had returned to work. One week of celebrations had been reduced to …

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg.

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The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg.
"She got what she deserved. That hussy was going to come to grief sooner or later."
We are presented with a combination of romance and murder, a lighter version of a Scandi thriller. This is the first book in the series involving Erica Falck the writer and Patrik Hedstrom her lover.
It is set in Fjallbacka, an old fishing village, the hometown of Erica and the scene of a cold-blooded murder where she returns after the tragic death of her parents. She had already published four books and was working on the draft of a fifth one on Selma Lagerlof but was behind schedule because of funeral arrangements and cleaning out the family home. Her Stockholm flat had been sub-let as she planned on remaining at her parents' house for the foreseeable future.
Eilert Berg, a resident had been keeping an eye on the house belonging to Alex Wijkner. He was the one who discovered her lifeless body. He stumbled out in the street and found Erica, the first per…