Estelle Reviews..

What I Read This Month – April

If you are are a regular reader (Hello Mum!) you’ll have read my comparison of the Kindle Paperwhite to a proper book – catch up here if you haven’t, you’ll understand wby all of the 7 and a half books I read in April were all on the Kindle.

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The Crying Boy – Jane E James

Clayton and Avril Shaw have lost their little boy and are still grieving when they move into Swallow’s Nest on the Yorkshire moors.

In their new house Avril discovers a painting and is intrigued by the history surrounding it. When she learns that the boy in the painting was deaf, like her dead son, she starts to try and communicate with his ghost.

Meanwhile, Clayton finds himself entangled in an equally undesirable friendship with a retired fire chief who knows more about the painting than he is prepared to let on.

Is The Crying Boy painting cursed and can numerous house fires be linked to it?

Struggling with their unstable marriage, the couple find themselves in further danger as an increasingly disturbing bond develops between Avril and The Crying Boy.

In a twist of events Avril’s irrational behaviour is brought to a dramatic halt when she discovers she is pregnant. With her affections once again restored for Clayton, she decides to dispose of the sinister portrait. But the cast off painting wants revenge and its anger towards Avril’s unborn child might just prove immeasurable.

Can Avril and Clayton live happily ever after or does The Crying Boy have other plans?

From the description I thought this book might be pretty good, a bit creepy and spooky. Unfortunately it wasn’t that creepy or spooky. Apparently the painting the book is a real painting and there was a real media hype that culminated in a mass burning of the paintings across the county – read more about that here. I’ve seen the painting and I can confirm it that it is a very creepy painting anyway and I’m not entirely sure why anyone would want it in your house anyway.

The book itself was ok, but it seemed incredibly long – I kept expecting something to happen and the author kept putting it off. A lot of the threads of the story took a long time to come to a conclusion which was a little irritating. All in all, the story wasn’t too bad, if a little daft and made a nice Sunday afternoon easy read.

The Silent Child – Sarah A Denzil

In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered.

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…

… until Aiden returns.

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?

It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

This dark and disturbing psychological novel is a page-turner you will not be able to put down.

This was quite an interesting story about a little boy who goes missing, presumed dead only to reappear years later, think along the lines of recent BBC Drama – The Missing.

The book was written nicely, with little clues and hints dropped along the way, all unfolding to the rather gripping ending when you discover what really happened. Fabulous stuff. Definitely worth a read if you like thriller / mystery type stories.

The Silent Twin – Caroline Mitchell

Nine-year-old twins Abigail and Olivia vow never to be parted. But when Abigail goes missing from Blackwater Farm, DC Jennifer Knight must find her before it’s too late.

Twin sister Olivia has been mute since Abigail’s disappearance. But when she whispers in Jennifer’s ear, Jennifer realises it is Abigail’s voice pleading to be found.

A damp and decaying house set in acres of desolate scrubland, the farm is a place of secrets, old and new – and Jennifer must unravel them all in order to find the lost girl. But could Olivia’s bond with her twin hold the key to finding Abigail? And can Jennifer break through her silence in time to save her sister’s life?

I didn’t realise until the end that this is the third book about DC Jennifer Knight, although I don’t think it matters to much as you get a glimpse into Jennifer’s past throughout the story anyway. Luckily for the missing twin Abigail, DC Knight is part of the supernatural division of the police force (funny how you don’t hear much about that division in real life..) so using her spooky abilities she is excellently placed to find Abigail.

The book has a pretty decent twist, which I always enjoy. If you like a good crime story then this is a pretty decent read. Although it has a number of references to self harm, so best avoid if you are easily triggered.

Beneath the Boards – David Haynes

Beneath Jim Stokes’s shirt is a scar, one last horrific reminder of his old job in the police force.

Beneath the everyday normality of the village Stormark is a shameful secret, haunting people’s dreams.

Beneath the floorboards of the lake house is a hatch, sealed and forgotten for years until Stokes opens it up.

Beneath them all is blackness, and unheard screams, and scratching sounds in the night…

…and her whispers.

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This book was mental. When I say mental, what I mean is, it was flipping ridiculous. It starts off simply enough, Jim Stokes is seriously injured in the line of duty and relocates to the tranquil village of Stormark. Some overfriendly neighbours, a troubled detective and a creepy ex-vicar and you have all you need to create this story.

Jim starts to hear weird noises, voices and whispers and when a ghost dispatches the ghost in his head, things take a turn for the worse and before you know it, Jim is jamming teeth into a knife wound in his stomach. I will save you the trouble of reading this book. The neighbours did it and everybody dies. You are welcome.

Sleep Tight – Rachel Abbott

How far would you go to hold on to the people you love?

When Olivia Brookes calls the police to report that her husband and children are missing, she believes she will never see them again. She has reason to fear the worst; this isn’t the first tragedy that Olivia has experienced. Now, two years later, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas is called in to investigate this family again, but this time it’s Olivia who has disappeared. All the evidence suggests that she was here, in the family home, that morning.

But her car is in the garage, and her purse is in her handbag – on the kitchen table. The police want to issue an appeal, but for some reason every single picture of this family has been removed from albums, from phones, from computers.

And then they find the blood…

Has the past caught up with Olivia?

Sleep Tight – if you can. You never know who’s watching.

This was one of the better books I read in April. I kept thinking I’d guessed parts of the story only to find I was wrong each time. It was well written and the author kept the thrills to a good pace. Definitely worth a place on your Summer reading list.

The Undertakes Cabinet – David Haynes

In the town of Littleoak, Moreton & Sons have been burying the dead for over a century… and Bobby Moreton has had enough.

When Richard Jacobs arrives and makes him an offer for the business, the offer is so good he’s tempted. But there’s something about Jacobs’ killer smile that doesn’t feel quite right. In fact it feels wrong, horribly wrong.

There may be another way to save the business… Sell the exquisite antique cabinet that’s been waiting in the cellar for another chance to do what it was created for.

Bobby soon realises that’s a bad thing, a very bad thing indeed…

Having read Beneath the Boards by the same author I should have guessed that this book would have been ridiculous as well. Bobby & Tom Moreton are the modern day owners of Moreton & Sons and business isn’t great, so when Richard Jacobs arrives things go horribly wrong. A random and pointless tale limps to its conclusion which, spoiler alert involves some alive people being pumped full of embalming fluid which the long dead Mr Jacobs has perfected to make a living, immortal embalmed person. Fortunately for Bobby, even though his brother sadly (and factually) dies from being embalmed, his love interest apparently makes a full recovery from being embalmed alive. What the flip? Unless you want to exercise your eyes by rolling them every 30 seconds or so then avoid, avoid avoid.

The Haunting of Gillespie House – Darcy Coates

Elle is thrilled to spend a month minding the beautiful Gillespie property. More than an hour’s drive from the nearest town and surrounded by forests, the aging mansion is ideal for someone seeking solitude.

But things start to go very wrong, very quickly.

Elle discovers a crumbling graveyard nestled in the woods. It contains a generation of the house’s residents, all with an identical year of death.

Scratching in the walls… slamming doors… whispers in the night… a locked room…

As Elle explores deeper into the house, she begins to unravel the property’s dark and dangerous history. At its centre is Jonathan Gillespie, a tyrannical cult leader and the house’s original owner.

And as Elle soon learns – just because he’s dead, doesn’t mean he’s gone.

I love a good ghost story, so I was hoping this book would be good. It was alright. It’s well written and tells the story at a decent pace without too much random and distracting side tracking. Unfortunately the story lacked that something that you could really get your teeth into. If you want something easy and not too taxing on your brain cells to read then this book would be perfect for a sunny afternoon in the garden.

I struggled to find a book I really enjoyed this month, part of the problem seems to be that my Kindle recommends a new book once you’ve read a book based on what you have just read, so everything I did read seemed to be a similiar kind of story.  I picked up some new books recently in Waterstones so I think I will try to give those a go this month.

What have you been reading recently? Get in touch below.

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