The Child by Fiona Barton

The ChildThe Child by Fiona Barton

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…–goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a phenomenal book if you enjoy mysteries. I love it when I can’t figure out the mystery in a book until the very end, and this is like that. Throughout reading this I guessed a lot, was wrong quite often on what I thought was going on, and then was satisfied at the ending when I found out there was even more to it than I had originally thought. So…it’s a great book.

Right away when you begin reading this, you know that there is something strange going on, but it isn’t immediately clear what is at the heart of it all. I liked the way the author combined many different story lines to create a complex book with a lot going on in it. Her characters are strong and memorable and the past meets with the present in just the right way to make the book work.

Fiona Barton takes a strong plot and makes it that much stronger by using well-designed characters and a descriptive setting that makes it easy to imagine being there, right alongside the action. The relationships she creates are believable and last in the memory of the reader long after the last page has been read.

Highly recommended for those who love mysteries.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Reported Missing by Sarah Wray

Reported MissingReported Missing by Sarah Wray

Four months ago, Rebecca Pendle’s husband disappeared. So did 14-year-old Kayleigh Jackson.

Just a coincidence? Rebecca wants to believe so… But as the police start to draw parallels between Chris and Kayleigh, it’s getting harder for her to trust his innocence.

Faced with an angry town that believes Chris has abducted the teenager, Rebecca tries to discover the truth.

But what she finds shocks her more than she ever thought. How well does she really know the man she loves?

A completely gripping, suspenseful thriller, with a shocking twist. Fans of Louise Jensen, K.L Slater and and The Girl on the Train will be hooked until the very last page. –goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this book had a really interesting premise, but I was never sure that it lived up to the potential of the idea.

Whilst I didn’t expect the tone of this book to be light and happy based on the subject matter, I wasn’t prepared for it to be as dark and gloomy as it was. The main character wasn’t the type that I felt close to throughout the story, and I felt like the author took this too slow. I kept wanting something major to happen that would keep me hooked and turning pages, but it never happened. Even when the truth was revealed toward the end, I kind of just shrugged. It felt like effort to get there, so it wasn’t all that enjoyable.

This wasn’t a bad book, but I certainly wouldn’t say it was one of the better psychological thrillers that I’ve read, either. The story moved from one event to another, but without much excitement and at a relatively slow pace. Perhaps if I could have felt more connected to the main character I would have enjoyed it more. I was hoping for a better turnout at the ending, perhaps a surprise that I didn’t see coming, but that didn’t happen either.

It is a thought provoking book, but one that I wouldn’t read again.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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The Spring Cleaning Murders

The Spring Cleaning Murders (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #7)The Spring Cleaning Murders by Dorothy Cannell

Ellie Haskell swaps scrubbing for sleuthing when yet another member of the Chitterton Fells Charwomen’s Association bites the dust. Someone has more than dust bunnies and dirty dishes to hide. Ellie is helped by handsome husband Bentley, feckless cousin Freddy, and caustic home helper Mrs Malloy.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of these books that I have had the pleasure of reading, and I found it to be delightful. If you are a lover of cosy mystery as I am, then you will undoubtedly get a kick out of this novel. The author is witty and her characters are both believable and charming. I really like Mrs. Malloy in particular, she has a certain way about her that makes her rather difficult to forget.

The mysteries in this book pile up just as quick as the body count and I loved that the main character didn’t spend her time freaking out over every little thing, but kept her head about her throughout most of the book. There weren’t a lot of ridiculous situations that forced me to suspend belief, so I was able to read right along, satisfied without stopping to roll my eyes as I do with a lot of mystery books.

The family atmosphere and the descriptions of the twins and their antics made me happy, having twins of my own I could relate. I didn’t guess the culprit until they were revealed either, which made me happy.

This book was a lot of fun and I look forward to catching up on this series. Recommended for mystery lovers.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Toward a Secret Sky

Toward a Secret SkyToward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by what a great book with an intriguing story line this turned out to be. Sometimes I pick up a YA novel and just struggle the whole time to connect to the characters and get into it, but this one was different. I liked Maren, the main character right away and feeling close to her led me to enjoy the rest of the book. There is a bit of a Twilight feel to this–especially when one considers how Maren feels during the absence of her love interest, but it was different enough that it didn’t feel like a copy.

There is plenty of action in this novel to keep you going and the romance is sweet, but not overdone–as in it doesn’t take centre focus on every page of the book. I liked the way the author portrayed the secondary characters as well. No one felt like useless padding and everyone served a clearly defines purpose within the story.

I am looking forward to seeing where she goes with this series, and to reading the next book. If you want a book that will keep you busy for hours and make you feel things–this is a good one to choose. The descriptions were lovely, the story was exciting and the ending made me want more.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two NightsTwo Nights by Kathy Reichs

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I usually love Kathy Reichs, but I have to be honest, this book just didn’t give me the same thrill as her others. Perhaps it was the dry way it was written, being mostly dialogue based, or maybe it was the characters themselves, but either way, this is certainly not what I have come to expect from this author.

The plot is interesting, but I felt like this book just didn’t hit the mark. I wanted to like it and I stuck with it until the end, but even when I read the last page I still felt like it was missing something. There were entire sections of this book that I found my mind wandering away from and times when I switched to another book before coming back and reading more of it.

I had high hopes for this one, but it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel any connection to the main character, or the story itself.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Twilight Wife

The Twilight WifeThe Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting mystery with a few unexpected twists that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

The first couple of chapters in this book drew me in and I was hooked by the third. I liked the main character right away and wanted to know what was going on with her. After she began discovering that things weren’t as they seemed, my curiosity grew and the pages started flying by. This is a very exciting book from the beginning and only gets better as you get farther into it.

I love psychological suspense books that keep you guessing at what is really going on all the way to the end, and this one does that well. Even when you think you have it figured out, there is still something left to be revealed around every corner.

If you love the kind of books where you and the main character have to figure out the mystery together, this would be a good one to pick. Recommended.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Avery by Ken Kratz

And now, for some sour grapes and whining…

Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What “Making a Murderer” Gets Wrong by Ken Kratz
It’s time to set the record straight about Steven Avery.

The Netflix series Making a Murderer was a runaway hit, with over 19 million US viewers in the first 35 days. The series left many with the opinion that Steven Avery, a man falsely imprisoned for almost 20 years on a previous, unrelated assault charge, had been framed by a corrupt police force and district attorney’s office for the murder of a young photographer. Viewers were outraged, and hundreds of thousands demanded a pardon for Avery. The chief villain of the series? Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor who headed the investigation and trial. Kratz’s later misdeeds—prescription drug abuse and sexual harassment—only cemented belief in his corruption.

This book tells you what Making a Murderer didn’t.

While indignation at the injustice of his first imprisonment makes it tempting to believe in his innocence, Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Making a Murderer Gets Wrong and the evidence shared inside—examined thoroughly and dispassionately—prove that, in this case, the criminal justice system worked just as it should.

With Avery, Ken Kratz puts doubts about Steven Avery’s guilt to rest. In this exclu- sive insider’s look into the controversial case, Kratz lets the evidence tell the story, sharing details and insights unknown to the public. He reveals the facts Making a Murderer conveniently left out and then candidly addresses the aftermath—openly discussing, for the first time, his own struggle with addiction that led him to lose everything.

Avery systematically erases the uncertainties introduced by the Netflix series, confirming, once and for all, that Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It’s rather amusing that in the blurb for this book the word “indignation” is tossed out, considering what you find when you open the cover and read the contents.

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea that this might contain crucial details about the Steven Avery case that the Netflix show did not offer to viewers. Perhaps it does just that, but it is so buried in the mire of Ken Kratz trying to systematically take down “Making a Murderer” and defend his position (no pun intended) that one nearly forgets at times that this book is about Mr. Avery at all.

Whether you like him or don’t, believe him or not, this book, for me, seemed to be more about why the author should not be viewed as a criminal than the man at the heart of it all. I really can’t keep track of the number of eye rolls that came with the reading of this book.

I understand that there are various addictions out there that do not get the proper respect and attention, and I am certainly not trying to discount those, but, according to the blurb, this book was supposed to be about Stephen Avery and the evidence against him. I thought, after finishing it, that it was more about the author than anyone else.

Needless to say, I found it disappointing.

My opinion of this case has not been swayed either way by reading this, but my opinion of Ken Kratz has gone down another few points, for all the good it does.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Little One by Timothy G. Huguenin

Little OneLittle One by Timothy G. Huguenin

Death is cold.

Kelsea Stone can’t remember her childhood, and frankly, she doesn’t really care. She’s doing fine on her own in L.A. without any family to tie her down. But when she finds out her estranged birth parents have died and left her their house in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, she discovers more than just an inheritance waiting for her in the mountains. An angry presence lingers there, and it won’t rest until it has had its revenge.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t think this was a bad book, but perhaps it was a little more on the younger reader side than I would have imagined from reading the description. Some of the actions of the characters seemed a bit silly to me and at times the story felt a little clunky, like it was afraid to move forward.

The plot is interesting and I was looking forward to solving the mystery at the heart of the book, but then I would fall into a spot where the story seemed to bog down and wonder if I really had the desire to finish it or not. Eventually, I did make it all the way to the end, but it was not without a struggle to keep paying attention.

My honest opinion is that this is a talented author that has a great imagination, but could have benefited from giving this book further consideration and the use of good beta readers before releasing it. If you cut out the portions of this that slow the story down, it would have been great. The setting was interesting and the descriptions were good.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

the Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

The Idea of YouThe Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well-written, highly emotional novel about family and second chances–perfect for a quiet afternoon to yourself.

If you enjoy reading books that mirror real life and include tough decisions for the main character, this one will do nicely. I liked a lot of things about this book. The way the author described the relationships and emotional upheaval of her characters made me feel very close to the story early on, and there was enough going on in the story to keep the pages moving quickly. The setting was described adequately but without the minutia that can slow a story down.

Lucy was someone that I could easily identify with, and I cared what happened to her right away. I thought the author did an excellent job of hinting at what had happened to her earlier in life without giving away the entire end of the book early on. I was especially enthralled with the relationship between Lucy and her stepdaughter, as it rang so true.

This was an entertaining book that kept me busy for an entire afternoon and I would happily recommend it to those who like serious novels. It made me cry–but in a good way.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Another You by Jane Cable

Another YouAnother You by Jane Cable

Sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself…

Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord.

Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son, Jude, turn into a talented artist.

But the 60th anniversary of a D-Day exercise triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change.

First there’s Corbin, the American soldier who she runs into as she’s walking on the cliffs. He is charming and has a quaintness about him, calling her an ‘English rose’.

Then there’s George the war veteran, who comes to dine at the pub, and his son Mark. George fascinates Marie with his first-hand accounts of the war, whilst Mark proves helpful in making sense of the pub’s financial situation.

And there’s Paxton. Another American soldier with an uncanny resemblance to Corbin. Young, fit and very attractive, Marie finds him hard to resist. But little does she know Paxton is also battling some inner demons.

As the heat of the summer intensifies, so do the issues in Marie’s life.

Why is Corbin so elusive? Why is the pub struggling to make ends meet? Why has Jude suddenly become so withdrawn and unhappy?

Can she help Paxton open up and begin to deal with his pain?

Or will she be shackled to the pub and her increasingly spiteful husband forever?

But as events unfold, Marie finally realises that she is not trapped, but stuck, and that it is down to her to get her life moving again.

Perfectly blending the complexities of twenty-first century life with the dramatic history of World War Two, Another You is a charming tale that will warm your heart.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I noticed with Jane Cable’s previous novel that she has a way with descriptions. Setting this book in Dorset, she did a beautiful job describing the area and creating the perfect atmosphere for a book that is part romance, part history and part–everything else. I wanted to be on that beach admiring Old Harry or in the pub awaiting a drink and a sandwich as I read this.

If you enjoy immersing yourself in emotional novels that are well-paced and have a lot to do with the study of a person’s life, this one will make you feel right at home. This is not a fast paced book, but it isn’t slow or boring either. Marie is a complex character with many different layers that are revealed throughout this novel and even without the addition of great secondary characters, she is enough to make you want to keep reading.

Jude became my favourite character in this novel early on, but there are many that are interesting and will keep you turning pages, wanting to know more about them. This book could have been based on any one of us and it is this feeling of reality and of being able to identify with situations and internal struggles of the characters that makes this such a heart-wrenching book.

I liked the different paths this novel took to get to an ending that is subjective to the beliefs of the reader. Jane Cable gave us enough information to appreciate things that were happening in the story, but not so much that we feel like we can’t use our imaginations just a little as well. I think everyone will walk away from this book with a little bit different opinion on what was really going on.

This is an emotional book, with themes of new love, loss and forgiveness included in the story. If you like literary novels, this would be a good one to choose.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, Provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.