Mystery & Crime Book Recommendations

On those gloomy days when the clouds turn grey and rain is tapping against your window pane, there is nothing better that settling down with a mystery or crime novel. It’s something about those dark twisted stories that when accompanied with the ambience of stormy weather you can’t stop those hairs from raising on the back of your neck.

I have always loved these kind of novels so i thought i would share just a few of my favourites. I hope you guys find these interesting and might pick some of them up as I can’t recommend them highly enough. Happy Reading!

 

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

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Synopsis: When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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Synopsis: On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Synopsis: She used to work for the U.S.THE-CHEMIST-jacket government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough26842622

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

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We are in Prague, in 1942. Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent by London plan to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich—head of the Nazi secret services, ‘the hangman of Prague’, ‘the blond beast’, ‘the most dangerous man in the Third Reich’.

Heydrich works for Hitler’s most powerful henchman, Heinrich Himmler, but in the SS they say ‘HHhH’: ‘Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich’—Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.

All the characters in HHhH existed then or still exist now. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding story of the preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?

HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifyingly modern. It is a moving, tense, and shattering work of fiction

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt’s cult be

stseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement – both compelling and elegant, dram

atic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group

of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and

living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

Night Film by Marish Pessl: Review

“Mortal fear is as crucial a thing to our lives as love. It cuts to the core of our being and shows us what we are. Will you step back and cover your eyes? Or will you have the strength to walk to the precipice and look out?”

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Grey clouds rolling across the sky, lightning forking into view. Rain drops hitting your window pane in a steady beat, a cold draft running under you door. On days like this when all you want to do is grab a book, get und

er a blanket and read, this is the book you want with you.

The story will get darker along with the sky outside. The plot twists will crack off the page like the lightning overhead and the characters will keep tugging at you like the rain pelting your window.

Night Film is a sweeping mystery that twists and turns you down dark storylines and gripping characters, taking us on a cinematic journey of investigation, heart break and a dissection of human nature.

The opening chapters of this book grip onto you with a hard grasp on the hand, leading you through the story and its twists and turns. Marisha Pessl’s presence as a story teller can be seen distinctly in her writing within this novel. Her prose is suspenseful and at times poetic, not only making this an engrossing read but also a beautiful one.
Combining the use of a well crafted mystery with the added use of screen captures, photographs, police reports, photos and files, this book was an immersive experience to lose yourself in the investigation along with the main character.
I have never read another crime or thriller novel that I have felt more connected to. Being able to see the web pages or photos the characters are talking about, it’s easy to fall into the story and I found myself having to remember this was a work of fiction.
Pessl lets the story bleed into real life right off the pages, purposely making this a bone chilling, unforgettable read.

This is a book you should go into blind and just let the story consume you. So all I can say is that Night Film is a deliciously dark and richly crafted thriller. With a dynamic cast of characters and a sweeping story that never relents in its intoxicating mystery, this is a must read for any fans of the crime, thriller or mystery genre.

My Photography: Inspiration & tips

Photography has always been a passion of mine. Since a young age I always loved taking pictures. Being able to find a view, a beam of light running through some trees, a sunset, and being able to snap a picture and keep that moment forever. That has always seemed kind of magical to me.

So after finding the book community on Instagram where I was able to blend my love of books and photography, it was the best of both worlds. I have been on bookstagram for about a year and a half now and have loved every moment of it. To see such a wide community of book lovers showcasing their passion for reading and novels through the outlet of photography is just amazing. Within the community there are so many different styles of photography so it’s always exciting to see so many people with beautiful photos of books!

My personal photography style for my account is definitely quite creative. I often get a lot of questions about how i take my photos and where i get my inspiration, so i thought I would make this blog post to answer some of those questions and give you guys a little insight into how I take my photos.

So first off is inspiration. This is probably one of the most important things about my photos because i always like to have some kind of narrative behind each photo i take. I personally get a lot of inspiration from the books themselves. When I made my instagram account, I always knew i wanted my photos to stand out. I didn’t want them to be like everyone elses or become basic, flat lay book pictures. So, whether it is the setting of the book, a certain character or a scene, I always try to replicate some part of the book in my photo. I want the book to feel alive, so I think me recreating a character or setting in a photo is a really exciting way to do that.

Here is just one example of a photo that i took with huge inspiration from the book itself. As probably most of you have either read of watched Game Of Thrones like me, you will probably be able to see the meaning behind this photo. I wanted to represent my favourite family from the books, House Stark, so i wore their signature fur cloak. I also did my hair in the style of the show because i wanted the image to look like i had just walked out of Westeros. I have so much fun creating these images and going through that process of creating an idea, dressing up and really bringing a book to life in a single photograph.

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My other main outlet of inspiration is definitely Pinterest. I am a Pinterest addict so i always find myself on there looking through photos and making inspiration boards. It’s a really great tool to just get yourself thinking by seeing other peoples photos, and the great thing about Pinterest is that it has everything, from very modern aesthetic photography, to badass female warriors in armour. It can really get those creative juices flowing when you run out of ideas.

As for how I take my photos, i almost always take my photos outside. I’m lucky enough to have grown up and live in the English countryside, on a little lane, so i’m surrounded by fields and have my own piece of land and woodland that is owned by my family. Having my own private woodland is a blessing for me. I love being out there and it’s the perfect little space to take pictures. I love taking photos outside because natural lighting is always the most vital feature of a good picture. Natural light is so beautiful because not only can it make your photos nice and bright, but it adds atmosphere. You can find those warm patches of light, those grey storm clouds and that hazy afternoon light. You just can’t recreate that.

As for a “theme” i wouldn’t say i stick that close to one. I don’t like to contain myself in a theme that means i can only take photos in a certain way or in one single place. The only thing i do stick to is a filter. As i take all my photos on my iphone as i just don’t have the money to buy a camera, i use VSCOcam to edit all my pictures. I use the filter C8 and have been using that one for a really long time now. As you can see from the instagram feed, i like my photos to all have warm and rich tones of colour. I also like darker, moody lighting compared to very bright and white photos. I think it creates more of an atmosphere and fantasy feel to my photos when i use a darker filter and lighting.

The best thing that i can advise about your own bookstagram account and your photography is to always do things the way you like them. Don’t try to copy other people or stick to a theme that seems popular. Find your own style and stick to it. Always take you photos with natural lighting and try to be as creative as you can. But most importantly, just have fun with it. There are times when i pressure myself too much or i start to compare myself to others work and all it does is disappoint me. So just do you and spread your love of books through photography. It’s something i love doing and i’m sure you all love it too!

I hope this blog post has been helpful to some of you and answered your questions. Please feel free to leave a comment is there is anything else you would like to ask me.

City Of Saints & Thieves | Review

 

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City Of Saints & Thieves.
A story of loss, love, faith and justice.
A setting of jungles, bustling city streets and fruit trees.
A girl, a daughter, a sister and a thief.

This tale follows a girl called Tina. A girl who arrived in Kenya as a refugee along with her beloved mother who found work as a maid for Mr Greyhill, one of the most respected businessmen in Sangui City. With a business built on corruption and crime, after Tina’s mother is found dead in Greyhill’s office, she knows who to blame.
Set on a path of revenge for her mother, Tina bides her time.
But with uncovered truths, a twisted knot of lies and betrayals, Tina soon learns the truth is not always what you expect and to find it she must put her life on the line.

This story was a fast paced and action packed thriller. Once i got lost within the pages I found it almost impossible to put this book down. With the settings of Congo and Kenya so vividly depicted this book was a completely immersive experience. You can tell that a lot of research and effort went in to accurately depicting both the beautiful exterior and gritty underworlds of these locations.

The characters were just as richly written. As a lead Tina was brilliant.
We follow her through the book as she educates us on the rules of being a “thief” and as she unravels the mystery of her past and her mothers murder. Her character was so real and alive as we got to see not just her fierce and confident moments, but the moments when she it utterly broken and completely vulnerable. I absolutely loved reading from her pov and she was a perfect voice to tell this story.

If this book is any example of what is to come in the YA thriller genre then i can’t wait for more. This story was not just a well written, tension filled and satisfying thriller. It was a story of character. It was a story of the lengths we will go to for the ones we love. The pain we feel when facing loss and the hope you need to see a better future. This is a story i won’t forget, and one i would recommend to everyone.

The Hate You Give| Review

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“Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples.

I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug.

He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I’ll remember how he died.

Fairy tale? No. But I’m not giving up on a better ending.”

There are times when a book is not only enjoyable but impactful. A book that after you read it you know you will never forget. A book that everyone should read. This is one of those books.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas is a story inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It follows are main character Starr, a sixteen year old girl who lives in a poor neighbourhood of America and goes to a posh school in the suburbs. After being the sole witness to the fatal shooting of her friend by the hands of a white police officer, she has to make the decision to stay quiet or speak the truth that could put her and her community in danger.

We all know the events that have been taking place in our society. The discrimination that has never stopped for the minorities of our world. With that said, this book is still a culture shock. This book is uncomfortable to read but that is so good. This should be uncomfortable to read because as white people we are privileged. This book highlights this so well. As a child we are always told that police officers are there to help. They represent safety. If you are ever in trouble, you go to the police. To read that when Starr was a child she is taught to never speak to an officer unless spoken to, to keep her hands within sight at all times so she doesn’t get shot. It’s shocking. To be able to read from the perspective of someone living within this minority was so eye-opening. It made me disgusted, ashamed and angry.

Along with these themes running throughout the book, the main focal point of the story is the shooting of Starr’s best friend. We see the effect it has on Starr and how she tries to deal with the aftermath. The ptsd she suffers and how the events lead to strains within her friendships and relationship with her boyfriend. We follow Starr as she tries to fight against a system that is constantly pushing her community down. We see her develop as she tries to overcome these terrible things she has had to witness and just keep living.

With so many cases of white officers shooting black people happening in our society today, the messages presented within this story could not be more relevent. The truths that when these cases happen to go to court are the jury looking for justice or justification? The impacts of social media that can be impactful but also harmful and manipulative. The impact of a corrupt society that due to a train of circumstances leads to poor communities where often people have little choice but to turn to drug dealing just to put food on the table.

This book is truthful, heart breaking, shocking, inspiring. I could not be happier that so many young people are reading this book and hopefully learning from it. We need to change this world for the better and hopefully this book is one stepping stone along the way to get there.

Spindle Fire – Review

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“And then, just at the break of dawn on the very day of her sixteenth birthday, she finds herself sinking through the dazzling sunlight, the aura of gold, falling, fainting, descending into a memory, into a chaos of colours. Dreams. Flame.”

When we pick up a fairy tale we know what to expect. The magic, the mystery, the beautiful writing, all encapsulated into an enchanting world of fantasy. Spindle Fire had all of these things we love about the original fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, but reimagined it in a unique and modern way. The sleeping beauty of this story was Aurora. A princess who is beautiful, intelligent and kind. Our other main character is Aurora’s sister Isabelle. Isabelle is the King’s bastard daughter who is adventurous, rebellious and slightly wild. Despite their differences in status the sister’s are extremely close and both share a special bond. Each of them had tithes taken from them by faeries when they were children. Aurora lost her sense of touch and voice, while Isabelle lost her sense of sight. With a faerie queen preparing a war, Aurora and Isabelle are separated and both fall into their own adventures where their bravery and bond is tested.

I was lucky enough to receive an arc of this book after I won a giveaway hosted by the author. After seeing this book recommended by Leigh Bardugo and knowing it was a classic fairy tale retelling I was so excited to pick it up. Overall, I was not disappointed by this book. As we all know, some re telling scan stick too closely to the original and just not stand out on their own. I really feel that Spindle Fire had a great twist on the original, that although kept a few obvious references, still held its own as a unique fantasy story.

Both the setting and characters for this book were enchanting. The magical landscapes and locations we discover throughout this novel were so interesting and came alive off the page. I loved that well constructed the characters were. Aurora and Isabelle are such different characters but I felt I could connect to both of them equally, and they developed as people which was really great to see.

The best thing about this book was definitely the writing. In a fantasy novel, you don’t just want the setting to be mystical and beautiful, you need the writing to also transport you into the world. Hillyer’s style was just beautiful. Her writing was  so lyrical and descriptive that it just made the story so much more enchanting.There were just so many meaningful passages that really spoke to me and I’m sure will speak to others.

Here are just a few of my favourite quotes from the novel.

“No one can be happy if they are always searching. That’s what I think anyway. If you believe you’re living in a shadow, you will never feel the light.”

“Night has a very different smell to-day. It is purer, sweeter somehow. In the night, there are no boundaries between herself and the world around her. She is equal to it.”

“Then again, she realises, perhaps everyone has the key to their own prison. Maybe freedom is just a matter of knowing the right story, of being brave enough to say the right words in the right order, at the right time.”

Overall, I gave Spindle Fire 4 out of 5 stars. This was really enjoyable read to get lost in, the beautiful writing and world made it a brilliant fantasy re telling. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because even though this book was really enjoyable, it didn’t wow me, and i only give 5 stars to books that really become my favourites. However, this book is still a brilliant start to a series and I super excited to see where the story goes in the next 2 books. If you are a fan of re tellings or fantasy this is definitely a book you should try out! It goes on sale, April 11th, so make sure to grab yourself a copy!

The Alchemists Of Loom | Review

I was provided a digital arc of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Synopsis: Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Th Alchemists of Loom was a fantasy of epic proportions, brimming with violence and steam punk girttyness. Meet Arianna, a half dragon chimera who can wield magic, fight like a badass and has a gift for clockwork machinery. Also known as The White Wraith, this is girl you do not want to mess with.Ari was such a great character. Not only was she a complete badass, she was also very well constructed as a character. She had flaws and vulnerability that was really interesting to read and made her a very realistic nad relatable character within this fantastical setting. Our two other lead characters, Cvareh and Florence were also brilliant. Again, they were both complex as well as kick ass. I loved seeing the friendships and relationships develop between these characters through this novel, they always had such great interactions withe another that gave the book a lot of emotion and depth.

We first meet Ari and our other characters in Loom, a girtty world of machinery, trade and clockwork technology. This world was so complex and interesting to dive into. I absolutely loved the magic system and the inclusion of steam punk within the novel. It was so unique and all encompassing I think any fantasy fan will love to be swept up within the world of Loom. The huge scale of the world made the book so exciting because every new location the characters went to was brimming with atmosphere and I found myself being able to picture everything in my head so clearly.

The writing was a big feature in this book. It’s beautiful, descriptive voice that just brought this world to life right off the page.

“The refinery belched up a sudden stream of smoke. Thick, inky, oppressive. It sizzled across Ari’s nose with the uncomfortable tang of magic turned sour. The reagents had been exhausted.”

“It was an unfinished portrait that would now be the masterpiece of her revenge. And it was missing one brush stroke – a stroke a Dragon could give.”

From start to finish, this book  is an action packed adventure that will leave you desperate for another taste of this story and its bold characters. With a sweeping world of magic and technology this is a must read for any fantasy lover so if you like that genre I would definitely recommend getting your hands on this book as soon as it comes out!