The Hunting Party

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Lucy Foley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.                                                                During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.                          They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.                          Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.                  The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.                    Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.                         Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

I was gushing over this book the moment I finished it. A perfect who-done-it!

I wasn’t sure how I would find not only the alternating timeline but also the alternate perspectives. But it worked.

The events that unfold are told from the perspective of the employees of the lodge and the group of old friends guesting during the new year celebrations.        Each character was so individual that I never felt confused about what voice was speaking. As you progress through the book, you get to see that things are not all they seem. There were many points in this book where your opinion on these characters are completely upturned, begging the question of who can be trusted. Some of the events that unfold in this book have a huge shock-factor effect leaving you dumb-founded and unsure of what to expect next. There were also moments that left me infuriated with the character and showing how humanity can have a very dark side. It felt like everything that could go wrong, did! I only wished that some of the characters stories were given more time to be expanded on.

 There are so many twists and turns that keeps you guessing. Once you think you’ve cracked the mystery, by the end of the next chapter your theory has been replaced with another one. Even after the main reveal, there was still more to discover. Her descriptive writing of being snowed-in at hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere made you feel isolated and as the book progressed, the tension and feeling of claustrophobia was impenetrable. Despite the horrors that unfold, I couldn’t help but desperately want a trip to the highlands myself in a lodge, with a book, sat by a grand, luxurious fireplace.

I was hooked from the very beginning to the bitter end. Lucy Foley has become one of my favourite authors. If you’re a fan of Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell and Riley Sager, you’ll find this a great read!


Hardcover

400 pages

Published – 24th January 2019

Publishing Company – Harper Collins

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The Bone Houses

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Emily Lloyd-Jones

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead. The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good? Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.”

This book delved into the topic of grief in a fantastical way. With a historical element to the story, it follows the journey of Ryn, weighed down with the grief of her missing, presumed dead, father and the passing of her mother while trying to keep her younger siblings safe from harm and destitution. We also come across our antagonist, Ellis, with no clear history other than he was found wandering the enchanted forest as a small boy.

This was a very immersive tale. It’s paved the way for open discussions of death and grief and its many forms. I struggled at times with the alternate perspectives because they were written in the third person, but it gave good insight into both Ellis and Ryn’s thoughts. The bone houses are the walking dead that only rise in the enchanted forest at nightfall but, as the book progresses, we learn that they are more than just bones. Leaving me with the dilemma of; if the enchantment was to be lifted, all the bone houses that were close with loved ones would be lost forever. But for them to stay would be unnatural. It left me contemplating what I would want if the enchanted forest was real.

The conclusion to this tale was a bitter-sweet one. It didn’t leave me wowed but was certainly enjoyable and an easy read. If you liked House of Salt and Sorrows, you’ll like this.


Hardcover

352 pages

Published – 24th September 2019

Publishing Company – Little Brown Books

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An Unwanted Guest

Audiobooks, Books

Shari Lapena

Rating: 2 out of 5.

“As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.            Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.              With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.             Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.”

 I desperately wanted to like this book. After making it to the halfway point, I just completely lost interest and decided to put this in my DNF category.

The plot and setting showed real promise of a good thriller reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel but it just fell flat.

I found the writing style to be too simplistic with too much information. I have read countless books where there is little information given about characters but is enough to give an impression of that character, allowing it to come to life in the readers mind and form a personality, mannerisms, a voice, and depth. All of the characters felt very two-dimensional and mono-tonal with very little to them.

The style of writing reminded me of short stories we write in middle school where it has an understanding of what we want to achieve but not enough time or energy to make it anything substantial, so rush through it.

I came up with three different ways this story could have played out that would have been far more interesting to read while I was reading.

As I’ve said, my compliments of this book is the setting of the tale and the blurb. I am hoping, once I get the chance, that other novels by this author are much better.          


Paperback

368 pages

Published – 16th May 2019

Publishing Company – Corgi

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