Goodreads Reviews

Murder at the Mill by M B Shaw

Murder at The Mill by M.B. Shaw

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My rating: 2 of 5 stars

‘She was a riot of contradictions: quiet but pushy, reserved but passionate, observant yet refreshingly slow to judge.’

Reviewing Murder at the Mill is also going to be a ‘riot of contradictions’ because I’ve gone from rating it a one star, ‘this sucks’ read to a near on four star ‘ooooh I need some answers page-turner’ read.

It was also a riot of Post-It notes, as you can see here!

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I have never felt so conflicted about rating a book as this one, I shall try my upmost to review this honestly and fairly without too much snark.

So, Murder at the Mill is a cosy mystery set in Hampshire, England, ‘perfect for fans of Midsomer Murder and Agatha Christie’. Apparently.

To try and fathom out my star rating, I’m going to have to see how this review pans out, as I still haven’t decided my final decision even at this point.

The plot itself deserves a solid 3 stars, possibly even 3.5 because the ‘whodunnit’ element was really very good. This, along with characters whose closet skeletons were being discovered left, right and centre was what kept me going.

The characters, in which there were many, all helped to build an intriguing mystery with their dodgy pasts and poisonous personas. A 3 star rating for sure here is deserving as I particularly liked Billy, the black sheep of the family. He was portrayed well in a sinister and menacing way. The main protagonist, Iris Grey was my least favourite, her quirkiness and terrible taste in clothes became rather tiresome as the story progressed.

The writing style. Oh god, this is where it gets awkward.

SIMILES. SIMILES. SIMILES. SIMILES. SIMILES. SIMILES.

I am so DONE with the countless, terrible, TERRIBLE similes in this book.

…’the spindly tree branches swayed and shivered pathetically in the wind like the starved limbs of concentration camp prisoners pleading for escape.’ (WHAT? WHY? Editor, why? Awful. Truly awful.)

…’tore at the wrapping on his gift like a starving child clawing at a bag of rice.’ (No. Just no.)

And what’s with all these animals? After the first two dozen, I was destined for eye-rolling moments throughout.

…’like a smug cockerel.’ (Smug! Whaaat?!)

…’like a wounded fox.’

…’listening to the satisfying crack as they shattered beyond repair like the bones of tiny mice.’

…’as excited as two piglets on speed.’ (What the..?! 😂)

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…’staggering around like a newborn fawn.’

…’impale them like lambs on a spit.’

…’attached himself like a louche limpet…’

I could go on, it gets worse. Describing someone’s anger pouring out …’like pus from a lanced boil’  was the final straw really. It was pretty damn dire.

Ok, maybe there’s a bit of snark here, but I just can’t help myself! Tell me, Ms Shaw, were you sponsored by all those brands you name-dropped throughout your book? Tesco, Smarties, Heinz, Next, H&M, Zara, Cath Kidston, blah, blah, blah. So much was described based on the brand alone, and it irritated the hell out of me.

It’s also funny how so many different characters used the term ‘whatnot’ in their conversations. Must be a Hampshire village thing.

By now, you can probably tell why I’m still debating about this books star rating. My main problem is I really enjoyed the story, it hooked me in and I was overall impressed by the final revelations and conclusion. There was some pretty good red herrings in there too. But for me to rate a book above 3 stars, the writing style has to satisfy me. Towards the end I started to laugh and groan at some of the descriptive text and it took away my enjoyment and marred the seriousness of the story.

After all is said and done, I’ve decided, I’m giving Murder at the Mill 2 stars. And strangely, I would indeed read another cosy mystery about Iris Grey and her irksome sleuthing. Even if it was just to spot all the awful, and sometimes unintentionally comical similes that are scattered ‘like dandruff on one’s shoulders’ throughout the book.

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Thank you to the author, the publisher Orion Books and Goodreads for hosting a giveaway for which I was lucky enough to win!

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Goodreads Reviews, Psycho -Thrill

The End of Lies by Andrew Barrett

The End of LiesThe End of Lies by Andrew Barrett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The End of Lies, the end of excitement, the end of gasping and cringing, and the end of my first FIVE STAR 2018 book!

What a book to start the year off with. First of all, I’d like to thank Bloodhound Books for sending me a copy via Instafreebie to read in exchange for an honest review.

The End of Lies is a gripping psychological thriller with so many twists and turns that it left me in bookish turmoil! Here’s the synopsis:

“My name is Becky. I arrived home to find my husband, Chris, stabbed to death and a gang of men ransacking our house.

Turns out that Chris has something that belongs to them. And if I want to stay alive, I have to find it and return it. They have given me seven days. And a beating.

There is nowhere to hide and no time left to look. So I will stand my ground as the deadline approaches. All I have is a head full of lies and a very bad plan.

This is my story.”

Andrew Barrett took me on a fast-paced, roller coaster ride from the moment I started. This is not a simmering thriller that slowly builds tension as you go, this is full steam ahead leading to total overdrive as the conclusion looms.

The plot was tight and organised, the characters I loved to hate and hated to love. The main protagonist, Becky, was an absolute joy, she was ballsy and dry-witted. The antagonist, Savage, was wonderfully awful, he truly was that perfect ‘baddie’.

The writing was stylish and quirky, with short, sharp, shock chapters. The setting was in Yorkshire, UK, so the scenes and dialogue were relatable for me, I do love a bit of British grit! Initially, the chapters alternated between before and after Chris was stabbed, but as the plot unravelled, the present was the main timescale. Heading towards the finale brought more past events into the story to tie the conclusion into a neat little package.

This was an action packed, gripping and rather violent story. There’s a fair amount of swearing with some very brutal and bloody moments that enhanced the fear factor and gave it an edge.

I was thinking of giving this 4 stars, because surely my first 2018 read wasn’t going to be 5 star literary perfection. But I had no gripes, no niggles, the characters were fantastically drawn, the plot was thrilling and the ending was so satisfying. Did I see any of those twists coming? Nope! It was outstanding. My next read has a very hard act to follow.

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