Book Reviews June 2024

Book Reviews June 2024

The post June 2024 Book Reviews is part of the #What’sonyourBookshelfchallenge

Hello Everybody,

I hope you have had a good reading month.  I have had rather a lucky book month.

I received three books for free this month.  The first was a prize for a micro fiction writing competition I entered, and then after receiving my prize I won another two in the raffle.  I usually don’t win anything so I am feeling mighty pleased!.  Now to find time to read them. 

Welcome to Blackwood

Raffle prizeHow about you, do you regularly win prizes? 

I also saw this quote which really resonanted with me: 

Book quote Emile Zol

Anyhow, without further ado, here are my book reviews June 2024: 
 
Thanks to the following bloggers for allowing me to take part in the #Whatsonyourbookshelf challenge.

Deb from Deb’s World

Jo from AndAnyways

Donna from Retirement Reflections

Sue from Women Living Well after 50

Please following the link here to check out the other book reviews in this challenge.  I’m sure you are going to discover lots of interesting books to add to your book wish list.

End of Story – A J Finn (fiction)

End of Story A J Finn

I had seen quite a few good reviews on this book so requested it for Mother’s Day from the kids.  

It was a very enjoyable story set in San Francisco.  It slowly built up a feeling of suspense and danger with lots of twists and turns revealed towards the end of the book.  

It was written in a very descriptive prose which was beautiful and extremely clever however I found this did make it harder to read.  I felt I couldn’t really whip along and lose myself in the characters and story.  As I read mainly at night, I found I had to really concentrate both on the words and the story line which was a little hard going at times. 

Overall though this was an interesting read, which diverged from my usual style of book, with a reasonable twist at the end.  However, I did feel a little that the final outcome cheated a bit but I can’t say anymore without giving away the final twist. 

The Blurb:

“I’ll be dead in three months. Come tell my story”

Sebastian Trapp, a mystery novelist,  writes the above line to Nicky Hunter inviting her to come to his home and write his final story.  Nicky is an expert in detective fiction with a long correspondence relationship with Trapp but she has never met him in person. 

Trapp himself is surrounded in mystery.  Twenty years ago his wife and son vanished and their case has never been solved.  Many suspect Trapp murdered them. 

Has he invited Nicky to tell his story and reveal what happened?    

Dark Game – Rachel Lynch  (fiction)

Dark Game Rachel Lynch

 I heard this author chatting about her books on a podcast and was immediately intrigued to find out what they were like. 

This is the first book in the DI Kelly Porter series.  The 12th novel in the series is just about to be published so there is plenty of binge reading to be done if you like the first novel.

The author was born in Cumbria and has set this series in the Lake District so the setting feels authentic with lots of  details about the mountains, lakes and towns of the area.

DI Kelly Porter is a strong female character who enjoys her job but is running away from a scandal that occurred when she worked for the Met.  However, she comes across as a normal, modern woman forging her career, if somewhat disappointed that she has returned to her home town.

I enjoyed the investigations and twist and turns in this story.  I would highlight that the crimes and some sex scenes are quite gritty in their descriptions which some readers may not feel comfortable with.  

I enjoyed this story and will try more in the series, although the crimes depicted have slightly tainted my view of the Lake District as a sleepy tourist area!

The Blurb:

DI Kelly Porter returns to her home turf of the Lake District after a scandal at the Met.

Keen to make her mark in her new job, she takes on the cold case of the abduction and brutal murder of local ten year old Lottie Davis.

Meanwhile, Kelly also gets called in to investigate a case involving an illegal immigrant and the robbery and sudden death of local businessman Colin Day.

As Kelly digs deeper into all three cases, the evidence begins to reveal a web of criminal activity beyond anything Kelly had imagined.  As Kelly gets closer to exposing those with everything to lose, she risks paying the ultimate price to get to the truth. 

 

The Diamond Hunter – Fiona McIntosh (fiction)

 

The Diamond Hunter Fiona McIntosh

I’ve read a few of Fiona’s books now.  The first was The Orphans (you can read the review here) and also her detective series featuring Jack Hawksworth (review here).  

I saw this one in the library and thought I would give it a go.  It’s a great read sitting by the fire on a winter’s afternoon!.

The story is set in South Africa during the 1870’s diamond rush and then centres on upper class northern England.  It follows Clementine Knight who is heiress to the Grant family’s sprawling estate.  

Clementine is six years old, living in a diamond shanty town with her mother and father.  Whilst her mother is a wealthy heiress, her husband is a Scottish Engineer determined to prove he can make his own riches without his wife’s trust money, thus his obsession with digging for diamonds.  Clementine’s mother dies from malaria, leaving her in the sole care of her drunken father and their unusual companion, a Zulu called Joseph One-Shoe.   

When the unthinkable dream is acheived by James Knight and Joseph of finding a massive diamond, Clementine’s life begins to unravel culminating with her return to England and the family estate.

Years later, Clementine begins to question what happened to her loved ones when she lived in South Africa and who can she trust to tell her the truth. 

This is an epic family tale which was an enjoyable and easy read.  As per usual, Fiona packs the book full of historical research.  It was however interesting to read at the end that Fiona herself spent time at a young age growing up in South Africa.  

The Messiah’s Bride – Megan Norris (non-fiction)

 

The Messiah's Bride Megan Norris

I met the author Megan Norris at my local writer’s group and was immediately drawn to purchase this book after reading Robert Galbraith’s The Running Grave (see my review here)

This is the true story of Stephanie Henrichs, who grew up in a cult in Australia run by William Kamm.

Her mother was a devout catholic from Germany.  She was completely brainwashed and mesmerised by Kamm’s religious beliefs.  She joined his ‘religious commune’, moving her family of five children and husband from Germany to Outback Australia. 

Kamm carefully groomed and manipulated Stephanie’s mother and stepfather before picking Stephanie’s older sister, Bettina, to be his bride when she was 17, even though he was already married.  He later set about forcing Stephanie to become a ‘mystical bride’ at 14, together with 84 other young teenagers in the commune.  He claimed they had been chosen by the Lord to bear his children for a new heavenly dynasty.  

The depth of his brainwashing of his followers is incomprehensible in that it allowed him to sexually assault and abuse without question.  Having been sexually assaulted herself, Stephanie’s mother refused to believe that Stephanie’s biological father had committed incest with her daughters when they lived in Germany. 

Notwithstanding this history, Stephanie’s mother encouraged Stephanie to have an underage sexual relationship with Kamm as she believed it was God’s wish.

Kamm was eventually bought to justice when Stephanie escaped the commune and told her story to the police and press.  She was supported by another of Kamm’s victims.  He eventually spent 10 years in jail but is still spouting his religious fervour over the internet and scarily finding ways to ensnare young women to communicate with him over the internet.

This book really brings home the danger that cults pose to vulnerable people in society as they are prime targets for the likes of Kamm who manipulated innocent children into sexual relationships with him. 

Megan Norris is an award winning UK trained journalist who has covered some of Australia’s most notorious crimes.  

 

Well, that’s it for this month.  Drop me a comment below, and do let me know what you’ve been reading this month. I love hearing about good books!

If you missed my last book review you can catch up here

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Book Reviews June 2024

6 thoughts on “Book Reviews June 2024”

  1. Thanks Janine! I’ve added Dark Game to my want to read list, I love a good series. I also enjoyed The Diamond Hunter a while ago, I enjoy Fiona McIntosh books. Thanks for joining us for #WOYBS

    1. Thanks for allowing me to join in the blog party fun.
      I’ve downloaded the next one in the Dark Game series so I’ll let you know what it’s like

  2. Each of those fiction books sounds like they’d be up my alley. The Messiah’s Bride sounds interesting too – cults and the way their leaders are able to influence and coerce to such an extent both fascinate and frighten me. Thanks for linking up with us.

    1. Even though Robert Galbraith’s (JK Rowling) book The Running Grave was only fictional it really opened my eyes to the power of cults. Then reading The Messiah’s Bride was even more of any eyeopener, especially as Kamm dressed his cult up as following Roman Catholicism.
      Thanks for the link up opportunity

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