Ask Me No Questions by Louisa De Lange – a review

I am continuing to work my way down my TBR pile, and the latest to reach the top was Ask Me No Questions by Louisa De Lange. Firstly I do have one issue, the title. You can imagine how annoying it is trying to read, when someone finds it hilarious to ask every thirty seconds, what are you reading? Ask Me No Questions… You can imagine the reaction.

Anyway, Ask Me No Questions opens with an article about a married couple who were murdered by their neighbour leaving behind their twin girls. As children twins Thea and Gabi were inseparable, however as adults they haven’t spoken in 15 years, until Gabi is viciously attacked and Thea reappears. DS Kate Munro is investigating the attack and believes that it is personal. However in order to find out why it happened she first needs to try and unpick the secrets that both the twins are keeping.

This was an interesting story that started off relatively simple but was soon twisting and turning as we slowly uncovered what happened on the night of the attack. Overall I enjoyed this story. It was an interesting premise, and there were lots of red herrings and plot changes that kept me guessing. I did find myself getting a little confused between the characters at times, as the story flicked back and forward between present day and past but it all came together in the end.

I liked the character of DS Munro. To start with she seemed rather clinical and cold yet I soon found her tenacious attitude quite refreshing. Yes she made some rather stupid decisions and clearly had an alcohol issue, but I actually enjoyed the way the story focused very much on the case in hand rather than there being lots of detective back story that is often the case in detective novels, it made a nice change.

Ask Me No Questions was a good read that I enjoyed and would definitely look out for the next in the series.

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The Good Samaritan by CJ Parson – a review BLOG TOUR

I have a bad habit of downloading books onto my kindle and then completely forgetting what they about, even if I’m on a blog tour. That is exactly what happened with The Good Samaritan by C.J Parsons, so I started reading with no idea of what the story was about but I was soon sucked in.

The Good Samaritan starts with Carrie’s 5 year old daughter Sophia going missing from their local play park. Carrie has a condition meaning that she cannot read facial expressions and finds social situations difficult, so struggles to cope with new people. Days after the abduction Sophia is found by a stranger but there is no sign of the abductor and the police have no clues. Carrie is therefore going to have to try and trust her own instincts to keep herself and her daughter safe.

I thought this was a great read that kept me absolutely engrossed. I found the story quite unusual, a crime has been committed but there seems to be no motive or clue as to the perpetrator and Sophia has been returned unharmed. There seems to be two potential suspects, yet neither of them stand out and as the story progresses I was constantly going backwards and forwards thinking one thing and then changing my mind.

I found the character of Carrie intriguing. Being unable to read emotions from facial expressions was not a condition I had heard of before. You soon realise how difficult it would make situations if you couldn’t tell the difference between a genuine smile or a sarcastic one. I felt real sympathy for Carrie as she tried to navigate her way through situations that to most of us would be relatively simple. Her reliance on others to interpret emotion put her at a real threat of those who might want to take advantage.

This novel really focuses on just six people despite an interesting cast of supplemental characters and I felt that gave it a strange sense of tension, almost like a locked room style mystery. The two detectives on the case Juliet and Alistair were good characters. They gave a different element to the story and complemented the more intense character of Carrie as they bounced off one another.

This was an excellent story that I thoroughly enjoyed, I would definitely read more from CJ Parsons!

Find out what others on the blog tour thought of The Good Samaritan

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The List

A selection of my books

So as previously mentioned. whilst I haven’t been reviewing much since lockdown I have still read quite alot, 33 books and 7 audio books to be precise.

There is part of me that for a split second seriously thought I would try and review all of the books I’ve read. However I soon realised that that was just a silly idea, even if I could remember them in enough detail it would be like painting the Forth Bridge, by the time I reviewed one another would be finished. Therefore I’m just going to list them here and move on.

So here they all are in no particular order. I have to say I enjoyed them all (I’m afraid life is too short to finish books I’m not enjoying) although some stand out more than others. The Last by Hanna Jameson is certainly memorable, I’m not sure reading a book about a group of survivors locked in a hotel after the world has ended is the best choice during a full lockdown! The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, whilst not crime, was definitely one of the highlights, as was Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. They are two I’d highly recommend, as I would the whole Susie Steiner series.

Overall I think I was pretty lucky with my choices of books during lockdown. Whilst I may not have done anything useful with my time like learn a language, or master the art of taxidermy I did manage to reduce my to be read pile significantly. Although this has led to me learning a new word – Abibliophobia. Apparently it is a fear of running out of reading material. As I live in York and we are heading into lockdown part 2 I can confirm this is definitely a real thing! Time to restock I think.

The List (23rd March – 8th October)

1 Susie Steiner – Remain Silent
2 Jessica Barry – Freefall
3 Helen Fitzgerald – Worse Case Scenario
4 Hanna Jameson – The Last
5 Christian White – The Nowhere Child
6 Joshilyn Jackson – Never Have I Ever
7 Balli Kaur Jaswal – Unlikely adventures of the Shergill Sisters
8 Bruce Goldfare – 18 Tiny Deaths
9 Alison Belshaw – The Tattoo Thief

10 J.S Monroe – Forget My Name
11 Julia Dahl – Conviction
12 Noir at the Bar
13 Tanen Jones – The Better Liar
14 Michael Donkor – Hold
15 Jane Harper – The Lost Man
16 Amrou Al-Kadhi – Life as a Unicorn
17 AJ Parker – The First Lie
18 Isobel Ashdown – The Lake Child
19 Afraid of the Light
20 Emily St John M – Station Eleven
21 Fiona Cummins – When I was ten
22 Louise Beech – I Am Dust
23 Tarryn Fisher – The Wives
24 Will Carver – Nothing Important Happened Today
25 Denise Mina – Conviction
26 Amanda Robson – My Darling
27 S J Watson – Final Cut
28 John Marrs – The Minders
29 Rod Reynolds – Blood Red City
30 Rachell Amphlett – Turn to Dust
31 Sherryl Clark – Dead and Gone
32 Kjell Ola Dahl – Sister
33 C L Taylor – Strangers
34 Nell Pattinson – Silent House

On top of those I also listened to a few audio books:
35 David Jackson – The Resident
36 Louise Candlish – The Other Passenger
37 Erin Kelly – We know You Know
38 John Marrs – What Lies Between Us
39 Lisa Jewell – Watching You
40 Phillippa East – Little White Lies
41 Lisa Jewell – One-hit Wonder

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Cakes and Mistakes

Well as you may have noticed I have been rather absent when it comes to this blog, and there has been a distinct lack of reviews. In fact since lockdown I haven’t really done any reviewing except for blog tours (and even then I’ve managed to miss a few and in one case post on the wrong day – sorry all lovely blog tour organisers!) During lockdown I have certainly not stopped reading, in fact I have made decent in-roads into my To Be Read pile. For some reason I have just been woefully lacking in motivation to sit  down and write.

Partly I blame the whole working from home situation. For me working from home has both good and bad sides. On the plus side I like not having to get up early and make myself look presentable (yes I am one of those who only straighten the front of my hair for zoom calls, in fact the back of my hair was bright purple for a while) I also like having flexibility in terms of hours, and found it gave me time to do things such as a lunchtime yoga class and clean the kitchen (It’s all rock and roll here)

However there has also been downsides. Having access to the fridge at all times means I end up having cheese on toast as a snack, and baking cakes for elevenses whereas at work I’d have an apple and a salad. Working on the kitchen table means everything takes twice the time it should do as I spend half my time looking out of the window watching what the rest of the street are doing. The main downside being however that I find after a day staring at a laptop on the aforementioned kitchen table, the last thing I want to then do is spend the evening staring at it again to catch up on reviews. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this, but it is a shame.

However now that we have moved back into the office part time things should start to improve. Of course working in the office has it’s own issues. There is a new habit at my place of all eating lunch together (socially distanced of course) which is quite nice, but it’s going on for an hour and a half, that’s just too much forced social time for my liking. There is also tape all over the floor to ensure that we socially distance correctly. I know it’s good that it is being taken seriously but honestly at the top of one stair case in order to keep behind the tape you have to stand on tip toes with your nose pressed againt the wall. We do all have our own coffee making facilities now though which is a bonus.

Hopefully being back in the office will mean things at home get back to a bit of a more normal routine. If nothing else I think I’ll give up my baking experiments and give that time back to reviewing. I suspect both Mr F and the pigeons in the garden who end up eating most of them are all going to be happy about that!

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