Review: A Killing Fire

Here is my late review for the blog tour of A Killing Fire. Huge apologies to the author, publisher, and Anne Cater for this being so late.

About the Book

The first time Raven Burns saw her father kill, the victim was her mother. Afterwards, Floyd “FIRE” Burns set the house on fire, making Raven watch as the flames slithered across the yard like some unknowable language. Then he took her on a multi-state killing spree. She could’ve told or killed him in his sleep. But there were his constant whispers, his wet lips close to her ear saying that little girls who told were sent to hell, and their mothers were called down from heaven to take care of them.

By the time he is executed, Raven has become a cop with the sole purpose of putting men like him away. But she can’t escape Floyd’s terrorizing voice in her head, somehow guiding her steps while reminding her of the horrors he had forced her to witness. And she can’t escape the questions that continue to haunt her: Did witnessing make her complicit? Had the same evil that lived in her father taken residence in her soul?

The town of Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana appears to have made up its mind. The community accepts that Raven had nothing to do with Floyd’s crimes. But when Raven shoots a teenager who points what turns out to be an unloaded weapon at her, stories about Floyd resurface. The whispers begin. No voice is louder than wealthy socialite Hazel Westcott. When Westcott turns up dead in the backyard of her Big Bayou Lake estate, the doubting voices reach a deafening crescendo, and the ghosts of her past rise up to greet her. To catch Westcott’s killer, Raven must come to terms once and for all with who she is. And who she is not.

My Review

The Killing Fire revolves around the story of Raven. When she is called to the scene of a murder she sees something that reminds her of her father. Is it a coincidence, or is Raven’s past coming back to haunt her.

The book focuses on the murder investigation, with flashes of Raven’s past with her father. Through this we see how Raven was shaped by her father’s influence, something she still hasn’t managed to escape.

There’s only been one victim so far, but Raven is convinced this is the work of a serial killer, and that this is only the beginning.  Is she right, or is her desperation to solve the murder clouding her judgement?

The past and present are cleverly woven throughout this book. Alternating timelines are something I often struggle with, I generally prefer a book told in chronological order, but it worked well in this. It gave the reader clues about Raven’s past, letting them know more about her character while building up suspense.

Throughout the book it is unclear whether Raven is correct in her beliefs that the killings are related to her father. Raven is an unreliable narrator, so the reader doesn’t know whether to believe her theory, or if her past is colouring her abilities. This adds to the tension as the reader tries to work out what is really going on.

Raven was a very interesting character, but I don’t think I’d trust her to lead an investigation. I enjoyed the book and I’d like to see more of Raven in the future.

March Round Up

March was a really busy month at work, so I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. I finished ten books in March, and DNF’d two.

Read

Solaris – 2/5 stars
This sounded interesting, but I felt like it didn’t really go anywhere.

Sphere – 3/5 stars
This was an interesting idea, but I thought that parts of it were rushed, and the end was disappointing.

The Detainee – 2/5 stars
I liked the idea behind this book, but it felt like it was just building to the next book in the series, and I don’t care enough about any of the characters to want to carry on reading.

Her Last Move – 3/5 stars
This was a standard crime thriller, enjoyable, but nothing special

The Halloween Tree – 3/5 stars
This is the first Ray Bradbury book I’ve read, and it was fun, if quite strange.

Lost Boy – 4/5 stars
This was a wonderful retelling of Peter Pan and I loved reading about Jamie before he became Captain Hook.
Read my full review here.

I Thought I Knew You – 4/5 stars
This was another great read. I’m not sure if books dealing with rape are becoming more common, or if I’ve read more of them recently but this was really interesting.
Read my full review here.

Take Me In – 2/5 stars
I wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t connect with the story.
Read my full review here.

Witness – 4/5 stars
This was a good thriller. There was a lot going on to keep you interested.
Read my full review here.

In Bloom – 2/5 stars
Parts of this were funny/enjoyable but it didn’t really have a plot.
Full review to follow this week

Did Not Finish

Beartown – I accidentally placed a hold for this on Libby so I thought I’d try it, even though it’s not something I’d usually read. I thought the first chapter was quite gripping, but then the focus and description afterwards was all about hockey and I quickly lost interest.

Repressed – I didn’t realise that this was a romance when I borrowed it, and I found a lot of the descriptions and scenarios too annoying to continue with the book.

This Month

I’m doing two readathons this month so I’m hoping to read at least 22 books. I also got my first review copy in the post this morning so I’m going to be reading that as soon as I can.

Reading This Week: 1st April 2019

We’re officialy in April, I can’t believe we’re already a quarter of the way through 2019. Today is the start of the O.W.L.s magical readathon and Unsolvedathon, so I’m making a start on my reading lists.

I’m starting my readathons with We Were Liars, the Disney retellings A Whole New World and As Old as Time, and Murder Games. These are all quite short so should be quick reads to help give me a good start to the challenges. These are also all paperbacks, and I’m on holiday from the middle of April so I want to read these first so I only have to take my kindle with me.

I’m also going to be reading A Good Enough Mother and Close to the Edge on The Pigeonhole. I read The Passengers on the app and it’s an interesting way to read a book, if sometimes slightly frustrating to have to wait for the next part instead of reading it all at once.

What are you reading this month? Are you taking part in any reading challenges or readathons?

Unsolvedathon

I posted a few days ago about the O.W.L.s magical readathon, and because I am clearly insane I’m also planning on doing the unsolvedathon in April. This looks really fun, and I’m on holiday this month so I’m hoping that will give me enough time to read all of the books for both challenges.

I have never seen an episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved but I deeply identify with ‘sings ABBA in a haunted house’ so I’ll be following Shane’s path.

There are ten clues (so ten books) to solve in order to solve the case.

The Harrowing Hunt for Bigfoot

Read a book about a mythical creature/monster
Circe – Madeline Miller

The Strange Disappearance of D.B. Cooper

Read a mystery or thriller
I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers so I’m not choosing a book for this in advance. Instead I’m going to wait and see what I’m in the mood for/which of my library holds come in.

The Haunting of the Salem Witch Trials

Read a book involving witches
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare

The Horrific Murders of the Zodiac Killer

Read a retelling
A Whole New World – Liz Braswell

The Secret Society of the Illuminati

Read a book about or involving a secret society
Legend – Marie Lu

The Suspicious Assassination of JFK

Read a book about or involving an assassin
11.22.63 – Stephen King

The Demonic Goatman’s Bridge

Read a book about or involving demons
Wicked Gentleman – Ginn Hale

The Thrilling Gardner Museum Heist

Read a book about a heist or thieves
The Tattoo Thief – Alison Belsham

3 Horrifying Cases of Ghosts and Demons

Read a collection of short stories/anthology
The End of the World

The Treacherous Treasure Hunt of Forrest Fenn

Read a book involving an adventure or quest
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

So this is what I’ll be reading next month. Are you signed up for any readathons? What’s on your TBR list?

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon

I don’t usually watch any booktube videos but I saw a post on facebook about a Magical Readathon and was immediately curious. The readathon is explained in this video. I haven’t done a readathon before, I generally don’t pick books to fit a prompt, but I’m really excited about this.

The readathon is based on Hogwarts exams so there are O.W.L.s in April and N.E.W.T.s in August. There is also a wizarding career guide to help you pick which subjects you want to take. The career guide looks amazing and I can’t decide what career I want.

There are 12 O.W.L.s that you can take, and since I haven’t picked a career yet I’m channeling my inner Hermione Granger and taking all of the O.W.L.s.

Ancient Runes

Retelling
As Old As Time
This is from a series of Disney retellings, I bought a few from this series over a year ago and I still haven’t read them. I had to choose the one based on Beauty and the Beast for this.


Arithmancy

Work written by more than one author
I did consider re-reading Good Omens for this prompt, but Murder Games has been on my TBR list for a while. This is a standard crime thriller, which are usually pretty quick reads. They’re enjoyable, but don’t require too much concentration.
James Patterson has several books that are co-wrote with another author, so it was easy to fill this prompt.

Astronomy

“Star” in the title
I’ve had Stardust for years but somehow I still haven’t read it. I love all the Neil Gaiman books that I’ve read, but there are still quite a few I haven’t got around to yet.



Care of Magical Creatures

Land animal on the cover
The Hunting Party looks like a standard murder mystery which I love so I’m hoping this will live up to my expectations. Plus the animal on the cover is a stag so it gets extra Harry Potter bonus points.



Charms

Age-line: read an adult work
I haven’t chosen a book for this in advance. Most of the books I read are adult, other than the occasional YA book, so I’m leaving this as a freebie for whatever I’m in the mood for.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Reducto: Starts with an R
The Rumour looks really interesting. The synopsis is enough to make me curious, but doesn’t give too many details about the plot so I’m not sure what to expect.



Divination

Set in the future
This was the hardest prompt to fill. There’s a lot of science-fiction in my TBR, and I’m sure quite a lot of them are set in the future, but it’s not easy to tell which ones these are.
I have chosen The Martian. This has been recommended to me by several people so I’m hoping it’s as good as promised.

Herbology

Plant on the cover
The Bad Mother is a psychological thriller that sounds really interesting. I’m hoping it will be a good read as it doesn’t have many reviews.




History of Magic

Published at least 10 years ago
Dean Koontz has a huge back catalogue of books that I want to read so I immediately went to him to find a book published more than ten years ago. I chose Demon Seed, a dark thriller/horror about artificial intelligence.


Muggle Studies

Contemporary
For Muggle Studies I have chosen We Were Liars. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, it’s been recommended in a lot of different places, and I finally bought a copy earlier this month.



Potions

Next ingredient: sequel
For We Are Many if the sequel to We Are Legion (We Are Bob). I really love this book, but I didn’t have the sequels at the time I finished and if I don’t start the sequel straight away I tend to get distracted and forget about it.

Transfiguration

Sprayed edges or red cover
I love all things related to fictional serial killers so I’m hoping that I am Not a Serial Killer will be a fun read. It seems to be a mix of different genres so I’m not quite sure what to expect.




So this is what I’ll be reading for my O.W.L.s.

Are you taking part in the readathon? And if so what are your picks? Are you doing all of the O.W.L.s or have you already chosen your career?

Reading This Week: 25 March 2019

Last week was incredibly busy at work and the first half this week doesn’t look like it will be much quieter

I only finished two books last week, both on a work trip south of the border. I’m hoping to have more time to read near the end of the week, after all the work deadlines have passed.

I started In Bloom at the weekend so I’m hoping to finish that early this week so I can make a dent in my library books. I’m also reading The Passengers by John Marrs, through The Pigeonhole. This is my first book through The Pigeonhole and it’s an interesting way of reading. I have to wait for the next part to be released rather than racing through the entire book.

I have Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty and Roadwork and The Running Man by Richard Bachman (a pseudonym of Stephen King). I also have an audio version of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn so these week seems to be exclusively thrillers.

There’s a rare book fair in Edinburgh on Saturday so I’m planning to go along for a couple of hours and probably spend too much money on books

Here’s a picture of my little boy Dominick, looking particularly photogenic, on a walk on Saturday. This was taken approximately 45 seconds before the tiny moron tried to catch a bee and was subsequently stung.

Review: Witness

Ten years ago Rebecca testified against her abusive fiancĂ©, Solomon, and he was locked away for murder. Since then Rebecca has rebuilt her life, she now lives in the Welsh town of Pontyferry with her husband, Sean, and four year old daughter, Lottie. However Solomon has spent the last ten years plotting his revenge. For each year he spent in prison Rebecca must witness a crime, and choose the victim. She only has 30 seconds to give him a name, or it will be someone Rebecca know and cares about. As the crimes become more violent, and the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she thought she’d left behind.

Witness is the first book I’ve read by Caroline Mitchell and I really enjoyed it.

The majority of the book is told from Rebecca’s point to view, set in the present, and excerpts of her journal from ten years ago when she first met Solomon. Through these flashbacks we learn how Rebecca and Solomon met, and why she’s so scared of him. At first I found it hard to understand Rebecca’s actions, but Mitchell does a wonderful job of expressing Rebecca’s thoughts and fears, making the reader sympathise with her.

Solomon has spent the last ten years meticulously planning his revenge and he’s determined to make Rebecca pay for her betrayal. In the chapters from his point to view we learn how twisted and manipulative his character truly is. What makes Solomon so terrifying are the chapters in which we get a glimpse into his thoughts about Rebecca, and how realistic this is. His thoughts of how Rebecca belongs to him and how he will make her the perfect wife are something we see too often in real life, and never get less disturbing.

My rating: 4 stars
I’ll definitely be reading more books by Caroline Mitchell.