Book Review: The Butterfly Garden

SYNOPSIS

The Butterfly GardenNear an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.

REVIEW

I feel I must start with a bit of a warning about this book. It has some disturbing content and may be a little bit unsettling for some readers. It will most definitely not be for everyone.

Aside from the blurb, I knew nothing at all about this book and hadn’t read anything by Dot Hutchinson before. After reading the book, this will very likely change.

The story is dark and twisted in a way I’ve not come across since reading Karin Slaughter’s Blindsighted. However I felt compelled to keep reading.

The story is told from two points of view. Firstly there is Maya, a former captive from the garden, who is retelling her story and refuses to be rushed. Secondly there are the FBI agents in charge of the case. The book alternates between past as Maya recounts her horrifying tale of captivity and the present as the FBI conduct their interview with her.

This type of storytelling worked really well within the book as it allows the reader time to process what had happened to the girls in the garden without becoming too overwhelming. In my opinion, it helped to add a little suspense to the story and kept you hanging on as each little mystery was revealed.

The character development is good. However, I found the overall storyline little lacking in places and the ending twist didn’t quite deliver the sharp intake of breath I expected after reading the rest of the book. Nevertheless I’m not going to let a slightly lacklustre ending spoil what was one of my favourite reads this year.

 


Details

TitleThe Butterfly Garden

Author: Dot Hutchison

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 288

Format: Kindle

Book Scavenger Hunt – Week 3

It’s week 3 of the bookish scavenger hunt hosted by Nikki over at The Night is Dark and Full of books and I have to say I’m loving this new meme.

For more information, check out what Nikki herself has to say

Book Scavenger Hunt is a weekly meme hosted by me! Each month I post directions to find a book each week. These directions are connected with each other so that we form a chain of books.

Find more information about the monthly Book Scavenger Hunt here or find all past and future directions here.

Week 3: Find a book with written by an author whose last name starts with the same letter as the author from last week

My book choice for last week was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, you can check it out here.

I didn’t have to think too hard before coming up up with my first name for this list as the obvious choice, for me at least, was J K Rowling. However since this sounded a little bit too similar to Rowell, I decided to have as search on Goodreads for an alternatives.

This is what I decided on.

The Angel TreeThirty years have passed since Greta left Marchmont Hall, a grand and beautiful house nestled in the hills of rural Monmouthshire. But when she returns to the Hall for Christmas, at the invitation of her old friend David Marchmont, she has no recollection of her past association with it – the result of a tragic accident that has blanked out more than two decades of her life. Then, during a walk through the wintry landscape, she stumbles across a grave in the woods, and the weathered inscription on the headstone tells her that a little boy is buried here . . .

The poignant discovery strikes a chord in Greta’s mind and soon ignites a quest to rediscover her lost memories. With David’s help, she begins to piece together the fragments of not only her own story, but that of her daughter, Cheska, who was the tragic victim of circumstances beyond her control. And, most definitely, not the angel she appeared to be . . .

I chose this The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley, purely because the cover caught my eye.

It’s not a book I would normally pick up but something about the cover drew me to it. I don’t think this will make it to my TBR pile simply because I’m not a fan of historical fiction or romance novels.

I’ll be back next week for another instalment when I will be sharing with you my choice of book with approximately the same amount of pages as last week’s book.

Have you read this book? Would you consider reading?

Happy Reading

Debbie x

Mid Year Freak Out Tag

So I’ve been tagged by the lovely Emma-Louise over at Read Write Inspire in the Mid Year Freak Out tag. You can read Emma’s responses here.

1) Best books you’ve read so far in 2017

Trust Me

There have been so many this year, including most of the ones I’ve mentioned below but I would have to say that one of my favourite reads of 2017 that hasn’t been mentioned is Trust Me by Gemma Metcalfe. This fantastic debut thriller had me hooked from the first page.

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017

IN YOUR NAME 2

This would have to be In Your Name by Rob Ashman. I read this book as part of a blog tour last month and really enjoyed it. My review of the final book of the trilogy was published on 13th August, you can read it here

3) New release you haven’t read yet but want to

Lost Boy

Again there are quite a few books that fit this question but I would have to go for Lost Boy by Christina Henry. I read her Alice in Wonderland retellings last year and really enjoyed them so am hoping to get around to this Peter Pan retelling very soon.

4) Most anticipated release in the 2nd half of the year

The Good Daughter

For me this would have to be The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. I haven’t read any of her books for a long time for a number of reasons but this new book is a standalone and I think it would be a perfect book to get me back into reading her books.

5) Biggest disappointment

The Roses of May

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison is probably my biggest disappointment so far this year. After reading The Butterfly Garden I was really looking forward to the next book, however it wasn’t as good as I was hoping for.

6) Biggest surprise

Alice_ The Wanderland Chronicles

J M Sullivan’s debut novel, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles. I’m not usually a big horror fan but I truly loved this book and am all but stalking the author for news of the sequel.

7) Fav new author

 

Without a doubt this has to be Conrad Jones. I have been part of two blog tours showcasing Conrad’s books and, although they are very dark and gruesome, there is something about his writing that I love. I am definitely adding some more books by Conrad to my upcoming reading pile.

8) Fav new crush

 

Oliver Tidy’s character David Booker from the Booker and Cash series is my current new crush. I have to be honest with you all here and say this has nothing to do with looks and everything to do with the fact he owns a coffee shop full of limited edition books.

9) Fav new characters

 

My new favourite character has to be Mechanic from Rob Ashman’s Mechanic Trilogy. Although a serial killer with a slightly sadistic streak there is just something about this character that has me liking them.

10) Book that made you cry

There are very few books that make me cry and so far this year I can’t think of a single one that has forced me to shed a tear.

11) Book that made you happy

Breathless

Since my preferred genre doesn’t really lend itself to ‘happy’ books I found this hard to answer initially. So much so that I had to take myself off to review my Goodreads challenge to see what I had actually read this year.

I soon spotted Breathless by Nicola Claire and knew this was the one. I love the the fact that the female protagonist in the book is forging a career in a male dominated environment during a time when women weren’t even allowed to vote. This is why the book makes me happy.

12) Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year

Wintersong

If we are going on cover alone, I think I would have to say Wintersong by S Jae-Jones. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the book itself I really do love the cover.

13) What books do you need to read before the end of the year

 

Far too many to list. Aside from the ever increasing NetGalley shelf and my upcoming blog tours here are a few books that will reach the top of my TBR pile: The Ressurector by Layton Green; Nemesis by Brendan Reichs and Two Nights by Kathy Reichs.

So there we have my mid year freak out. I’m not tagging anyone this time around, but if you want to have a go yourself, then please feel free. But don’t forget to let me know if you do, I’d love to read your answers.

Happy reading

Debbie x

Book Review: Fangirl

Synopsis

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google).

Review

Fangirl is a book by another new to me author. I’d read loads of reviews and the majority of people have raved about it. All I can say is I don’t think they were my kind of people.

I definitely had high expectations about this book and to be honest, at best it was OK. I’m not the within the target demographic of the book so this may go some way to explaining my disappointment.

There is no real plot to speak and the ending is somewhat abrupt. I would have preferred a little more if I’m honest. It felt as if I was reading about a small snapshot of Cath’s life without a beginning or an end.

I really didn’t like the references to Harry Potter or the fanfiction scattered through the book. If I’m honest I skimmed over the whole Simon/Baz fan fiction as I found I didn’t care in the slightest about it. Did it affect my reading pleasure? No, I don’t actually think it did, in fact I didn’t actually see the point of it.

So what kept me reading? Most definitely the relationships between the characters. I especially loved the growing relationship between Cath and Reagan. At times I actually found myself caring about the characters and truly wanted to know how things worked out between everyone.

I don’t regret reading Fangirl, but I may think twice before picking up any of Rainbow Rowell’s young adult books in future – they just aren’t for me.


Details

TitleFangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 460

Book Scavenger Hunt – Week 2

I’m back again with Week 2 of the scavenger hunt hosted by Nikki over at The Night is Dark and Full of books.

Here’s what Nikki has to say

Book Scavenger Hunt is a weekly meme hosted by me! Each month I post directions to find a book each week. These directions are connected with each other so that we form a chain of books.

Find more information about the monthly Book Scavenger Hunt here or find all past and future directions here.

Week 2: Find a book with the same colour on the background as the flowers from last week

My book choice for last week was The Color Purple by Alice Walker, you can read my full post here.

I didn’t have far to go to pick this week’s book as it is currently sitting on my bookshelf. I read it earlier this year (before I started this blog) and will be posting my review next week.

So lets see what I picked.

FangirlCath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I chose this book quite literally because I see it on a daily basis on my book case.

To be honest I think I got lucky as this is the Special Edition Fan Art cover and the majority of other covers are green. However, mine is yellow and for the purposes of this scavenger hunt, that’s all that matters.

See you next week when I will be sharing with you my choice of book with written by an author whose last name starts with the same letter as the author from this week.

Have you read this book? Would you consider reading?

Happy Reading

Debbie x

Blog Tour: Pay The Penance by Rob Ashman

 

BLOG TOUR (7)

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Pay in Penance by Rob Ashman, the final instalment of the Mechanic Trilogy.

There are still a few more stops on the tour so don’t forget to check them out.

Synopsis

paythepenancebulletsfinalA stunning serial killer thriller from The Mechanic Trilogy

Murder. Corruption. Revenge. 

Lucas has been tracking a killer, known as Mechanic, when his world is shattered. Unable to continue his hunt for the murderer he is forced to rely on his friend and colleague Dick Harper. But Harper has a knack for not playing by the rules. And he doesn’t disappoint.

Meanwhile Detective Moran is trying to piece her life back together. The police stumble upon new evidence without grasping its significance and she must divert the investigation if she is to survive.

The police are closer to Mechanic than they realise which puts Moran right in the firing line.

Mechanic, as usual, has other plans and the consequences for Lucas and Harper are terrifying…

Review

I’m so excited, although a little sad, to be sharing with you my thoughts on Pay the Penance, the final instalment of the Mechanic Trilogy. I have read and reviewed the full trilogy, which you can read here – Those That Remain and In Your Name.

I must start by saying I’ve have absolutely loved this series. I will be sad to say goodbye to Lucas, Mechanic and the rest of the characters as Pay the Penance is the final instalment in the Mechanic series.

Rob Ashman has ended the trilogy on a total high. I’m not a huge fan of loose ends and Rob has ended the final book perfectly.

Following on directly from In Your Name, Pay The Penance find Lucas struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of recent events and his friend Harper is finding it hard to help him get through the dark times.

The bodies are still piling up courtesy of Mechanic and something needs to be done. After receiving some distressing information, Lucas and Harper embark on their own vigilante mission to bring Mechanic to justice.

Unfortunately, Detective Moran finds herself caught up in the cross fire with Lucas and Harper and soon finds that she may be better working with them rather than against them.

As with the previous books, I don’t want to go into too much detail as it will spoil the story but the exceptional writing from Rob Ashman that I have come love is still there in bucket loads as are the plot twists.

I love the new titbits of information we learn about the main characters as well as the introduction of some new characters, such as Mechanic’s father. I still have to say that Mechanic is my favourite character of the trilogy, with Lucas a very close second

The suspense keeps you hooked until the very last page and I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the ending; I wasn’t.

Many thanks to Rob, Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Pay in Penance was published by Bloodhound Books on August 8th

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

About the Author

download (2)

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob is delighted that all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy will be published with Bloodhound Books in 2017.

Those That Remain  –  22 June

In Your Name            –  13 July

Pay The Penance     –  8 August

Rob now writes full time and has recently completed his fourth novel titled Faceless.

LINKS:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Book Review: Betrayal

Synopsis

BetrayalWHAT WOULD YOU DO
if you awoke after a mission . . .
in an Iranian hospital . . .
as the only survivor . . .
of a terrorist attack?

FBI AGENT Odysseus Carr is about to find out.

But should Odi trust the man who saved him . . .
or the man who sent him . . .
or none of the above?

Presumed dead after a staged terrorist attack, FBI Agent Odysseus Carr is running for his life with the doctor who rescued him. Meanwhile, the same power players who sent Odi to his death are now manipulating an FBI profiler into blindly tracking him down. She’s not just their best, she’s also his sister.

As Odi unravels a devious plot of profound political manipulation and global consequence, the hunted becomes the hunter, and the real terror begins.

Betrayal changes a man. Betrayal makes him worry about things he never worried about before. It makes him worry about things like self – preservation. Ponder motives. And plan his revenge.

Review

Betrayal is the second book I’ve read by Tim Tigner; I read Flash back in December 2016, and again, I loved it.  The title is very appropriate, just about every character is betrayed, sometimes more than once during the book.

It’s action packed, fast paced political plot keeps you hooked until the end wondering if the main characters make it out in one piece.

The story is unpredictable and almost believable in this current day and age. That said there are a couple of sections that made me go ‘Really??’, before reminding myself it was just a book. Regardless of that I found myself reading ‘one more chapter’ until it was past midnight and I had run out of chapters to read.

I loved the characters, especially the twins Odi and Cassie, and found myself willing them on throughout the book. I also liked the fact that their actions weren’t always what you would have expected from the main characters.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of political/espionage thrillers, although I would advise you hold off on the coffee while reading!!


Details

TitleBetrayal

Author: Tim Tigner

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 306

Format: Kindle