Getting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

July 31st 2016, a big day in the calendar year. Time to return to the world of… Harry Potter!

After the disappointment of not being able to attend a local bookstore’s midnight party due to issues with travel and being picked up at 1 in the morning, I tried to put on a brave face as I walked to the local supermarket with my dad. At the supermarket, I was actually searching for something completely different. Not a book for once but as I walked in, a huge display was greeted before me. Made up of gorgeous hardcovers with this cover on the front:

Image result for harry potter and the cursed child

I was doing happy dances inside, let’s just say that. With a big grin on my face, I grabbed a copy and dashed off to the entertainment section to look for the original item that I was planning to get. My grin turned to a frown of anger and disgust when that item wasn’t in stock at all. But on turning the corner to go and have a sulk about it, I spotted a sign which said: All Books 50% off! Damn! I couldn’t resist! Searching through the rows of books, picking them up to read the blurb, I would have taken the whole display if I could. But in the end, I had some birthday money to spend so I settled on this book:

Image result for after you jojo moyes

This is the sequel to the hit book recently released as a film Me Before You which I have not seen but according to my friends, it was a crying fest. On Goodreads, this book has mixed reviews so I wanted to see how I reacted to After You. What I’ve read so far of Me Before You is pretty good but you never know. This was a risk buy because in life, you have to take risks. I took a book risk, hahaha. Stay tuned for my reviews of both JoJo Moyes books in around mid-August since I would like to read them before I return to College in September.

Let me know if you’ve read either book or went to a midnight party for the new Harry Potter book. Once again, thanks for reading and have a good Sunday!

Alice x

PS, Throughout the month of August, I will try to upload many more book review posts as well as a tracker of my reading for ARC August which kicks off tomorrow!

My ARC August Physical Book Haul!

Guess who’s back, back again, Alice is back, with her books. Sorry, I had to kind of get a little bit slim shady there. But yeah, I’m back with some books! *Cue happy dance*.

For someone who gets 3-5 book review requests a week, I’m having to juggle a lot of things on and due to the sheer number of ARCs I have to read and review for people and publishers, it was no surprise that I needed something to motivate me and reading a post on my blogger friend Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews Blog helped me to find the answer to my question. ARC August is happening! So, just for my blog as an exclusive, I will be posting two separate posts. This one for my physical ARC list which may need to be updated since I have a few more ARCs coming in the mail and a digital ARC one including my first ever Netgalley haul, ahhhh, so exciting! So, make sure you stay tuned for that. Should be up tomorrow or on Friday at the very latest.

The pile of ARCs people!:

Book pile

A mixture of genres, Young-Adult and Adult Fiction, I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a variety of stories to read. So, here are the tales behind the ARCs!

The top three ARCs in the pile I won all in one go in a Twitter giveaway and all three couldn’t be more different. Falling is an Adult Contemporary novel, The Couple Next Door is a Psychological Thriller and Lament for the Fallen is a Sci-Fi set in Africa.

I requested Poison City from the publishers a long time ago (whoops!) but its coming out in August and is the first in a brand new crime series set in South Africa.

And I Darken is already out, it’s a YA Fantasy novel and the hype surrounding this book is huge. I’m kicking myself stupid for delaying my read/review on this book but it’s ARC August so this is happening! I got this from Ruth over at Penguin Random House.

Three Dark Crowns is another YA Fantasy coming out in September and I received a copy to review through the twitter account MyKindaBook.

Beneath The Surface is a Psychological Thriller and I won this in a twitter giveaway with the publishers Red Door Publishing. I did a blog tour with them on Cinema Lumiere which was yesterday.

The one with no title down the book spine is called The Unseeing and I requested this from the publishers Tinder Press. It is a Adult Historical Fiction Thriller inspired by real-life events.

And finally Nevernight which I requested from the publishers Harper Voyager who also publish Game of Thrones in case you were wondering. This is the first book in a new YA trilogy I believe but it is coming out right at the start of August. And the proof cover is so pretty! 😀

Hope you enjoyed this blog post, let me know if you have read any of the books mentioned or plan to over ARC August. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Alice x

Cinema Lumiere Blog Tour!

cover

Hey everyone and welcome to Married To Books! First of all, a quick apology to today’s delayed post. I’ve been struggling with personal issues away from the internet. I was approached by the publishers Red Door Publishing if I was interested in participating in a blog tour and of course I leapt at the opportunity because I love blog tours, they are fun and a great way to promote new stories! The image below shows all of the social media links to the publishers, the author of Cinema Lumiere Hattie and all of the blogs that are taking part across the next week including mine!

cinema

So, onto the review for Cinema Lumiere!

Hannah Bailey has sealed her heart against love, she’s resigned herself to a dead-end job and her catastrophic thinking is out of control. In fact, she’s hard pushed to find a single reason for her existence until the day she stumbles across a tiny cinema with just one seat… Cinema Lumière doesn’t screen Hollywood blockbusters or even low budget art-house flicks. Instead it shows people films of their lives. But how does its mysterious French owner Victor create such unique biopics and why is he so determined to coax Hannah into that single red velvet seat?

Set in West London’s Portobello, and Paris, Cinema Lumière is a story of love, loss and seeing your life on the big screen. If you liked The Time Traveller’s Wife and One Day, this could well be the book for you.

Well, I like both of the books that were compared to Cinema Lumiere so that immediately perked up my interest! I love the whole plot premise of Victor creating films centred around people’s lives. At first I thought that was a tad bit stalky but please don’t be put off like that as by reading the novel, you will learn the reasons why behind Victor’s creations. The novel is adult fiction but to be honest, anyone 16+ could read it. I found the story behind Hannah’s character fascinating as she experiences a number of muddled relationships. I feel that I could relate to this a lot as within the last year or so, I’ve been in that exact position. The pacing was great, I’m not much of a movie person but reading this has perked up my movie habits again. A heart-racing read and kudos to Hannah’s pet dog Nellie for making me chuckle with laughter.

Alice rates this… 5 out of 5 stars!

5-stars

If you would like to read an extract of Cinema Lumiere for yourself, here is an exclusive extract from the novel on Hattie’s website!: http://www.hattieholdenedmonds.com/extracts/

STOP PRESS!

Cinema Lumiere is currently nominated in the People’s Book Prize under the category Summer 2016 Fiction Category. If you liked Cinema Lumiere, head over to the awards website to cast your vote!: http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/book.php?id=1407

award

Thank you again to Red Door Publishing and Hattie for this opportunity!

Alice x

 

Review Round Up!

These are my favourite type of blog posts to make, it’s time for another review round up! I have a mixed bag of reviews for you all to read and enjoy. If you would like to see more reviews by me as a UK Top 40 reviewer on Goodreads, send me a Goodreads friend request here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/45911840-alice-marriedtobooks and I will happily accept! Onto the books!

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Sanctum is the sequel to the book Asylum in the Asylum series, a YA Horror collection.

I really enjoyed reading the book, I thought that the carnival scenario throughout the story held my interest and circuses do interest me when things aren’t quite as they seem. Dan, Abby and Jordan all reunite in this book which takes place again at the Brookline Asylum. All of three of them have received in the mail photographs that send shivers up spines. To solve the mystery of what actually these photographs mean, they all travel back to the place that still has its secrets. Plus, it’s also Halloween and Halloween is meant for more thrills.

The ending was extremely thrilling, still the haunting pictures across the novel do paint a picture of what an Asylum looks like and also circuses from the past. Again, due to the graphic detail in some places, this is not a novel for young readers or the fainthearted. A great follow-up!

Overall star rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

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DNF at Page 52.

This was my local library’s YA Book Club pick of the month for June.

The plotline looked great, a story about a spy called Irene who works for a library. Together with her new assistant Kai, they get posted to London which in the book is very futuristic. But their mission stalls as on arrival to steal a book, someone has got there first. But sadly, the story for me just didn’t work, the descriptions were long and I felt that made the scenes a lot longer than they should have been. I lost interest and with a heavy heart, I had to DNF it as it just wasn’t the read for me.

I don’t give star ratings to books I don’t finish reading!

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3.5 out of 5 stars!

This is a modern day reimagine of Alice In Wonderland and quick fun fact, my mum called me Alice after her favourite childhood book Alice In Wonderland! The Alice in this story goes to a themed sleepover and experiences an accident. In hospital, she is in a coma and while she can hear the conversations of her family, friends and doctors, she can’t physically reach out and touch them. Through this coma, she ends up in the world of Wonderland to which she isn’t sure about finding an escape.

It’s a cute story, great for younger readers between 8-14 years of age but I wanted to see more of the Wonderland world rather than just mini scenes. I had no problems with the plot or the pacing.

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Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of Eat Sweat Play for read and review by Macmillan publishers!

I don’t really read a lot of non-fiction and certainly not ones that involve sport but I found Eat Sweat Play to be a fascinating insight into the world of women and sport. Anna has definitely done her research speaking to a variety of sports celebrities and magazines who have run campaigns to promote women in sport. A variety of topics are explored within the book: The gender pay gap, sexism and attitudes towards women in sport. In this ARC, I would have love to have seen some charts or graphs maybe highlighting survey results and other research results just to give it a visual feel.

I loved having the opportunity to review this as I wanted to branch out and read new books from genres away from Young Adult Fiction. I don’t really know what else to add other than it was a valuable insight into sport and for anyone interested in sport, this is a great read!

I am currently in the process of reading and reviewing a ton of books for publishers as well as catching up on my own TBR lists. There’s around 40 books in total across physical and digital formats. The fastest way to get updates and new reviews is through my Goodreads which I log on to everyday without fail.

That’s it for this blog post, have a great Sunday. Let me know down in the comments section if you like/dislike my reviews or if you’ve read any of the stories that are mentioned.

Alice x

Blog Tour: Random Acts of Unkindness

random acts

Welcome to Married To Books! Today is my day to host the ongoing blog tour for Random Acts of Unkindness,  stay tuned for a sneak peek of the story at the end of this post!

cover

Summary:

How far would you go to find your child?

DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.

Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.

Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?

Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.

Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.

Alice’s Review:

Random Acts of Unkindness is a Adult Mystery Crime novel set in the northern area of England and revolves around the detective DS Jan Pearce. Her son Aiden is registered as a missing person, a divorce has gone through but whilst searching for Aiden, she solves other crimes too. When she stumbles into a house containing the dead body of a woman Bessy Swain and the bones of a newborn baby in a upstairs cupboard, her research takes Jan through a story of heartbreak but she can’t help but notice that Bessy’s story is very similar to her own.

Crime novels are very popular at the moment and reading this one with its historical and thrilling elements kept me hooked to the end. There were times throughout reading the novel that made me realize just how tough it is for a family dealing with a loved one going missing. The scenes were realistic and how revenge was sought after. There are a few graphic scenes in the novel but it all came together nicely. I had no problems with the pacing.

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

More information about the book and where to purchase it:

Title: Random Acts of Unkindness

Author: Jacqueline Ward

Release Date: 21st June 2016

Genre: Adult Crime/Thriller

Publisher: Kindle Press

Format: Ebook

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30363250-random-acts-of-unkindness

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Random-Acts-Unkindness-Jacqueline-Ward-ebook/dp/B01EVK2AZM/

About the Author:

J Ward

Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.

Website: http://www.jacquelineward.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JacquiAnnC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JACauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8426429.Jacqueline_Ward

Here is a list of the other blogs that are taking part in this tour, go and show them some love!:

Bloggers List

Finally before I end this post, I am delighted to share with you all a sneak peek of Random Acts of Unkindness! Hope you enjoy reading! Alice x

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

I look a little closer and instinctively back away.

Her eyes are hollow holes where the birds have pecked away at her skull and she’s covered in tiny soft feathers and greying bird shit. Fragments of silvered hair lie on her shoulders, pulled out at the roots and exposing pinprick follicles made bigger by beaks. Her mouth is set in a wry smile showing yellow teeth, as if somehow, despite the torn skin and the deeply painful twist of her body, she’s having the last laugh.

The shock is so deep that it hurts more than it should, and tears threaten as I gaze at her. A human life ending in such a terrible, lonely way. It hits me with sadness so intense that I take a moment to sit with her, to tell her broken shell of a body that someone cares. Then fear oozes through the sadness, pushing it under and reminding me of why I’m here. Where are you, Aiden? Where is my son?

I slump onto a brown box sealed with Sellotape that’s sitting next to a small blue suitcase. It looks like this old woman was going somewhere. Somewhere she never got to.

Bessy Swain, by the looks of post on the doormat. A couple of bills and some takeaway menus. A letter from social services that arrived too late to make any difference.

As well as the boxes there are piles of newspapers and scrapbooks stacked up against ancient peeling sepia wallpaper. From the state of the house this woman has been suffering for a while. Poor Bessy.

Outside, starlings perch on the windowsill, quietly watching, judging me as I put off the inevitable phone call. Through the open kitchen door I can see a couple of blackbirds standing on the shed roof, and I can hear their song of accusation. I know I need to call this in and get Bessy some dignity, but I also need to finish what I came here to do.

The day job kicks in and I pull my scarf around my nose and mouth to protect my senses from the rancid fumes I hadn’t even noticed until now. My phone starts to ring, forcing me into the here and now.

I look at Bessy’s body and then at the flashing screen. Shit. It’s Mike. My partner in crime. Crime solving, that is. Like me, he’s a Detective Sergeant  working on Special Operations.

‘Jan. Where the hell are you?’

I pause. How am I going to explain this? I take a big breath and then pull down my scarf.

‘Right, yeah. I was just . . .’

‘Looking for Aiden. Come on, you’re going to get us both sacked. You’re supposed to be in Lytham Road, attending the Operation Prophesy briefing.’

On the worn kitchen worktop that separates the lounge from the kitchen a dead starling stares at me, its dried eyes condemning me from the pits of death.

A small metal toaster holds the remains of two slices of bread, which have been pecked right down to the toaster elements. The dead bird is lying close to the toaster, its feathers puffed from electrocution.

How many birds are there in here?

In my hurry to get inside I hadn’t registered anything apart from needing to know if Aiden was here. But now, sitting here with my mobile hot against my cheek, I realise I am sitting in a house covered in bird feathers and faeces.

The back door slams shut in a gust of wind. A few stray starlings are flying about in the kitchen, but most of the birds are now outside, my entrance breaking open their jail. What I can’t understand is why the windowsills are covered in them, their wings and curled up feet scratching at the dirty glass.

Then I realise they want to get back in.

‘Jan? Jan? Are you there?’

I nod at my mobile phone.

‘Yep. Look, I’ll just finish off here. I got a tip off about there being a funny smell coming from a house and I thought . . .’

Mike sighs deeply.

‘I know exactly what you thought. But this has to stop. Or you have to do it in your own time. It’s not just your own life you’re fucking up here. I’m your partner and I’ll back you up, but there’s a line. There’s a fucking line. Where are you anyway?’

The secure safety net I have in Mike has started to fracture recently and it shatters a little more now with the pain in his voice. I desperately want to put it right, but I can’t. Not yet. I have to deal with this.

‘57 Ney Street, Ashton.’

‘Connelly’s rented houses, aren’t they? I’m telling you, you’re heading for trouble.’

I end the call there. He’s right. I’m heading for trouble. But put any parent in my position and try telling me they’d do differently. I have a good reason. Mike knows that, but he also knows that everyone else’s lives are moving on and he’s trying to drag me on with him.

I push the phone into my bag and I pull my scarf back up against the smell. It’s invaded my hair, clothes  and skin, but the action gives me a bit of comfort and control.

There’s a sudden noise from upstairs and my heart skips. The memory of Aiden calls me back and overpowers the sensible part of my brain urgently screaming that maybe poor Bessy wasn’t alone after all. Maybe someone killed her. Maybe I shouldn’t be here on my own. Maybe I shouldn’t be here at all. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I tread the worn stair carpet and creep up, nudging open the first door on the right. It’s a boy’s bedroom, all red and white, Manchester United. So she has children. Or grandchildren? But no one is in here now.

Slowly I move on to the next door and there’s a flash of feathers. Two starlings fly past and circle the landing. Another flies at me as I step inside, hitting the side of my head. It’s a dull thud on the temple that causes a slight flash, then turns into a sickening stinging sensation. The shock bursts the tears that have been waiting to be shed since I found Bessy and not Aiden. I slump on an old double bed and touch my forehead, feeling for the dampness of blood, but luckily there is none. I shift my weight onto a pretty pink quilt and pillows for respite.

Suddenly, sitting alone in the empty house, I feel so very small and wish someone would tell me what to do next. Tell me how to find my son.

The thought that he could be captive, suffering, or dead suffocates me, and I feel my body begin to panic. Large hands squeezing my lungs. And then there’s another bird flapping, this time in a large wooden wardrobe. Sounds loosen the squeeze and I can breathe again. I need to finish this.

I open the double wardrobe door and duck out of the way this time as the bird escapes onto the landing, joining the others.

‘How did you get in there, little guy?’

They fly round and round, looking for a way out, some kind of escape, and I know how that feels. This release calms me somehow and I take an enormous breath and find raw comfort from the material of my scarf as it sucks into the crevices of my mouth.

There’s a chest lodged at the bottom of the wardrobe, like a forgotten treasure. It’s against regulations, it’s against everything I thought I stood for, but I open it anyway. I need to find out more about Bessy.

Inside, there’s another box and some papers, on top of a rolled-up baby shawl. Pink. She must have a son and a daughter.

I’m not sure what I’m searching for. A way to avoid it happening to me? What not to do. How to not die alone.

I open the inner box and there are bundles of twenty-pound notes. My fingers trace the smooth paper and lines of thick rubber bands. It isn’t often you see money like this, all rolled up and waiting for something important. My thoughts switch back to Aiden.

I remember his dark hair and angry teenage skin. I remember that I will do anything to get him home. And somehow, at this moment, the realisation of something happening to my son makes me stoop down and contemplate the unknown territory of stealing.

I’ve worked in the police force for almost two decades; I know how criminal minds work. I know that whoever has Aiden could come knocking any second, minute, hour, day now demanding money. I’m surprised they haven’t already. Time I have, but money I don’t and, as I realise the weight of a potential ransom, an intense panic prickles in my fingers. Before I can refuse this primal urge, I push the notes into my deep shoulder bag, along with the papers.

I know it’s wrong, of course; even as I’m doing it I sense my own desperation. I’m a member of the police force. I’m the most honest person I know, committed to catching the scum who do this sort of thing. Yet I can’t help myself. This is different. This is for Aiden. This could be the only way I will ever see my son again.

I’ve been involved in missing person cases before and I’ve looked at the mother, desperate and determined, and wondered how far you would go to find your child. Now I know. All the way Aiden, I’ll go all the way to find you, son.

I unravel the pink shawl, hoping I will, for a moment, lose myself inside someone else’s memories or pain instead of my own. No such luck. My hand touches fragile bone, and a tiny skeletal hand falls into mine.

I almost scream, but aren’t I Detective Sergeant Janet Pearce, Surveillance Specialist? Aren’t I hard? Tough? Impenetrable? I close the lid with shaking fingers and replace the box, hurrying now, fighting back tears. This is all wrong. It’s all too much and I rush downstairs.

My phone rings just as I’m standing in front of poor Bessy. Mike. Again.

‘Jan? Have you left there yet? You need to be here. We’re starting the briefing in half an hour and if you don’t make this one . . .’

The bag is heavy on my shoulder and pinching at the skin under my cotton T-shirt. I need to get it to my car before I ring this in, but now I have no choice. If I don’t say anything to Mike someone will suspect further down the line. I check my watch. I’ve been here ten minutes.

‘OK. I’ll be there. But I need to ring in a suspicious death.’

There’s a silence for a moment. I can hear him breathing. Mike knows what I’m going through. He gets it. He’s probably my best friend in the whole world right now. He speaks again.

‘Not . . . ?’

‘No. An old woman. Looks like natural causes, but a bit gruesome. Anyway. That’s what I found when I got here. I’ll wait until someone arrives, then I’ll be right with you.’

I sound composed, professional, but I’m still shaking. I hang up. He’ll be pleased, because I’ve got a legitimate excuse to miss the briefing. I hurry through the kitchen, out the door, and through the yard. The birds scatter then regroup on the telephone wires above.

My car’s in the back alleyway. I take the money and push it under the front seat. I push the letters into the elasticated pocket on the side of the door and pull my bag back onto my shoulder. Oh my God. What am I doing? I know this is so fucking wrong and I try to tell myself again that it’s necessary. But away from the drama of the house sense creeps in. If there was going to be a ransom from Connelly wouldn’t it have come weeks ago?

No. I can’t do it. I can’t. I pull out the money and push it back into my bag and hurry back to the house. What was I thinking? This isn’t me. The birds just sit there, their heads turning as they watch me rushing around. I try to shoo them away, because they are witnesses to my uncharacteristic misdemeanour, but they won’t go.

I move past Bessy, running now, and toward the narrow stairs, silently apologising for disturbing her secret.

But it’s too late. I see a blue flashing light against the darkness of the room and hear the back door open. Two uniformed police officers appear and someone is banging on the door.

Hugging my bag and shame to my chest, I fumble with the lock and open it. DS Jack Newsome, one of my opposite numbers in the regional police, pushes past me, followed by two uniformed officers.

‘Jesus Christ. That’s awful. How long’s it been here?’

I don’t like Jack. He hasn’t got a compassionate bone in his body. I find myself moving protectively between him and Bessy.

‘She, Jack, she. This is a person. A woman. She deserves a little respect.’

The word sticks on my tongue, heavy with mockery. Respectful, unlike me, who has just stolen her life savings. I’ve never felt guilt like this before, and I wonder how people can live with it. He smirks.

‘Right, Jan. She. How long has she been here?’

I see Bessy with fresh eyes. As Jack does, as any policeman would. Her faded dress is sagging in odd shapes against the decomposition of her body, and brown lace-up shoes sit the wrong way round, her ankles ballooning awkwardly in the crossed position they must have rested in as she died.

‘I don’t know, Jack. But I arrived fifteen minutes ago. Had a tip off about a bad smell and was just passing.’

He’s nodding and grinning. Yet underneath I can see his annoyance as he sighs and wipes his hand through his dark hair, then wipes tiny beads of perspiration away from his forehead. And, of course, the giveaway twitch at the corner of his eye that always tells me when Jack thinks he’s onto something.

‘Just passing, were you? A little bit out of town, isn’t it? Away from your usual place of work? So who was the tip off from?’

I smile now and wonder if it covers up my devastation.

‘Member of the public. In a public place. Just on my way to Ashton Market buying some bacon for the weekend when I heard two women talking about this property and the smell. Simple as that.’

He’s shaking his head.

‘OK, Jan, if that’s how you want it. I suppose all’s well that ends well.’

We look at Bessy. She’s someone’s mother. Like me.

‘Not for her, though. Which is why we’re here, not to find out the ins and outs of my shopping habits. No?’

Jack turns away now. He’s looking toward the kitchen. As he approaches the door, I hear a flutter of wings and beaks tapping on glass.

‘What the bloody hell? Get those birds out of here. And search the house. Get forensics down here, and we need a coroner’s wagon for the old bird here. Cover her up, John. She’s giving me the creeps.’

So the police machine swings into action. I stand there for a moment, wondering if there is a way for me to put the money back, but the two uniformed officers are upstairs now, battling with angry starlings.

I don’t mention that they will need two coroner’s vehicles, one for poor Bessy and one for the tiny baby. God only knows why she’s got a dead baby in her wardrobe. That poor woman must have had a terrible life if the state of this place is anything to go by. Without a word I leave by the front door and walk around to the back alley.

The houses are well maintained and I feel a little easier now the neighbours are out and I have a reason for being here. I get in my car and, with the bag still over my shoulder, drive off. In my rearview mirror the birds still watch, their heads cocking.

Two streets away, I pull up outside an old peoples’ home. I know this is a safe spot away from CCTV. My phone hasn’t even got a signal here. I’m a surveillance expert, latterly of the Communications Department, more lately promoted to DS in Special Operations. It’s my job to know these things.

Even so, guilt overwhelms me, and I remember when I first became a police detective; so full of goodwill and always on the side of the person who had been harmed. I spent hours poring over mind maps and evidence boards, midnight sessions in the operation room and endless visits to witnesses.

Sometimes when I lie awake at night thinking about Aiden, I wonder if I would have shuffled events in a different way this wouldn’t have happened. That always leads to me swearing that from now on I’ll do the right thing, be good, anything, as long as I get him back. Holding myself bolt upright, smiling, being polite, saying thank you; are they all little combinations to finding out what has happened?

In the clarity of daylight it all seems different. No hippy thinking will get me through the day. Action is needed. And, after all, in this game it’s almost impossible to be good all the time. The deeper you get into something, the more complex the relationships, the situations. Everyone’s got something on someone, and they’re going to use it at some point. Until now I’d kept my fingers out of the till, been good as gold. But this is different. This is personal.

I count the money. There’s forty-four thousand pounds. Jesus. I automatically scan the horizon for the signs I know are there, at the root of my suspicions of where my son is. Connelly. I see the scarves and shoes hanging from the telephone wires, silent messages in an unspoken world and my heart turns back to stone.

I push the money under the seat, still distraught that I took it, more distraught that I couldn’t put it back, and seeing no way to return it now. I decide that, in return for it, I’ll do what I can to see Bessy Swain’s case resolved. I’ll do what I can to find out why she had to hide a baby. Someone owes her that, at least.

 

 

 

Alice Reviews: The Ohana Tree

The 'Ohana Tree by Rebecca Addison

3.5 out of 5 stars!

I would like to thank the New Adult Book Club Read It and Review It group and the author Rebecca Addison for sending me a copy of The Ohana Tree for review.

I feel quite conflicted about this one. For starters, I thought that the plotline was interesting and the descriptions of life in Hawaii were brilliant at capturing the portrayal throughout but I felt there was something missing that stopped me from completely enjoying it. At first, the story was difficult to get into, but by the 60% mark, I was hooked and able to read to the finish. The Ohana Tree is the first in a planned series and I am interested in reading the second book once it is released. The main character is Kai, a musician who had his mother leave him at a young age, a father who blamed him for the event and a brother who warms everyone’s hearts. He meets a girl Tessa and throughout the novel, he struggles with conflicting feelings of love and compassion but also a fear of doing the right thing.

This story is perfect if you like any stories set in Hawaii or ones about family and friends coming together as one.

 

Alice Reviews: Asylum

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

I wanted to read a scary book, something that would chill me to the bone, a dark, deep, twisted read. For me, Asylum ticked all of the boxes.

The main character Daniel Crawford is on a summer programme run by the New Hampshire College but instead of staying on a College campus, the students are housed in an ex-run asylum. Dan meets Jordan, Abby and his new roommate Felix but after a short time at the asylum, nothing is quite what it seems. Dan starts to suffer from hallucinations, Jordan and Dan from nightmares and all of the friends from disturbing images and creepy texts that threaten to kill them all. It’s then that Dan starts to question his true heritage and because of this, he is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Even through all of the local residents who seem to hate his guts.

The images in the book are quite disturbing but in all honesty, I feel that the images paint scenes of portrayal throughout and gives the reader more to explore regarding settings in various locations. It’s most definitely not a book for anyone under the age of 15, it’s violent in places. Please don’t read this book before bedtime! For anyone wanting to be scared out of their wits, this is a book that I will recommend to you.

Review for the sequel Sanctum to follow soon!