What Leslieanne Read In July

I tried to make the photo of July's books extra girlie, since the book choices themselves seem to have taken a bit of a sinister turn!

Turns out, contrary to all my protesting when the Tall One tried to pull me into his literary world of thrillers and crime, I actually do like a bit of the darkside! (I'm going to have to throw in some sappy romance next month to even things out though!)

Of the five I read in July, I really enjoyed all but one - so let's get the less great one out of the way first shall we...

Bring Me Back by BA Paris
This sounded promising from the blurb:

"Finn and Layla: young and in love, their whole lives ahead of them. Driving back from a holiday in France one night, Finn pulls in to a service station, leaving Layla alone in the car. When he returns, minutes later, Layla has vanished, never to be seen again. That’s the story Finn tells the police. It’s the truth – but not the whole truth."

and to be fair, it was perfectly readable for the most part. The book jumps forward 12 years & Finn has shacked up with Layla's sister, Ellen.
I know, I know, you're thinking Finn's a bit of a douchbag, I did too, but there's enough back story woven in to make you not completely write him off as a malicious love rat. (Although you'd definitely still keep an eye on him.)
Anyway, life is lovely until tiny Russian dolls start popping up unannounced & threatening to destroy Finn's happiness. This part is actually done really well, the writing is tense, genuinely gripping in places, but I just feel like it got a bit silly towards the end & the 'big reveal' was a big let down. I can't say why exactly for fear of spoilers, but let's just say I'd figured it out, but was hoping I was wrong. I wasn't, and it left me disappointed.

Moving on!

Blame by Jeff Abbott
Psycological thriller numero deux for July! (alright fine, I admit it, I'm hooked!)
Again, the blurb pulled me in:

"The crash that killed him
Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic. Then they found Jane's note: I wish we were dead together.
A girl to blame
From that day the town turned against her. But even now Jane is filled with questions: why were they on that road? Why was she with David? Did she really want to die?
The secrets she should forget
Most of all, she must find out who has just written her an anonymous message . . .
I know what really happened. I know what you don't remember."

...dum dum duuuuum! 
SO this one, I really enjoyed. The character of Jane is so well written, I was rooting for her from the start and her frustration & helplessness at not being able to remember such an important chunk of her history, is gut wrenching!

As she tries to piece things together, the story twists and turns all over the place and made me gasp out loud more than once. (I get very involved when I care about a character!)

I don't want to say much more in case of spoilers, but the ending, although leaning pretty far towards far fetched is nonetheless very satisfying & I definitely recommend giving this one a whirl. 

A Siege of Bitterns, A Pitying of Doves & A Cast of Falcons - by Steve Burrows 

Oh hello new series I'm obsessed with!
If ever there was an overly specific niche to confirm my newfound love of murder mysteries, it is these! Steve Burrows has basically carved himself a brand new sub-genre - not murder mystery, BIRDER mystery! As in the lead detective, Dominic Jejeune, is also an avid birder, and his encyclopedic bird nerd knowledge occassionally comes in handy when solving crime. OBVIOUSLY.
(It probably helps that he's ever so intelligent, but you know how much I love feathery pals!)

These books won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely love them. They're beautifully written, with real attention to detail. They're not the paciest books I've ever read, but I kinda like that, they feel cosy and like they're meant to be savoured, not rushed through in a race to find out whodunnit!

I've ploughed my way through the first three and they've got better & better. The storytelling is brilliant, and the way the recurring characters become more 'fleshed out' with each book is so well done. Each one is a stand alone novel in itself, but there's a continuing narrative too, so I definitely recommend reading them in order to make the most of that. (Side note: I also love that Burrows trusts you to do that, and doesn't waste pages on catching up in case you've picked one up out of order!)

I've got the fourth installment in my to-read pile for August, and then I'm going to have to wait for the fifth, which isn't out until October - boooo! (It's the Rivers of London situation all over again!)

And that's the lot!
Have you read any of these? What did you think?
And do you have any more reccomendations I should be adding to my list to get through?
(fluffy romance especially welcome - I need a break from the criminal underworld!)

Happy reading!

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