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.

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.

The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief (The Curious Affair Of, #1)The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle

Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . .

Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . .

For several years Miss Lane was companion, amanuensis, collaborator and friend to the lady known to the Psychical Societs only as Miss X – until she discovered that Miss X was actually a fraud.

Now she works with Mr Jasper Jesperson as a consulting detective, but the cases are not as plentiful as they might be and money is getting tight – until a case that reaches across the entirety of London lands in their laps.

It concerns a somnambulist, the disappearance of several mediums, and a cat stuck up a tree . . . the links with the cat are negligible, but there is only one team that can investigate the seemingly supernatural disappearances of the psychics and defy the nefarious purpose behind them.

Jesperson and Lane, at your service.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love books set in the age of spiritualism and this novel was perfect to satisfy that kind of reader craving. The plot works with an interesting idea that the author took to the next level, providing the reader with a richly detailed atmosphere and a story that won’t let go of you once it grabs your attention. If you like literature set in Victorian times, this will be one that you don’t want to miss.

This book takes you on a perilous journey, slowly building up the mystery with the introduction of new characters and impossible to figure out situations. I liked that the author took the time to create a good, solid background for her characters before she set out to solve the mystery. I felt like these characters were old friends and there is a certain sly humour to her work that keeps you smiling even at the most intense points in the novel.

Overall, this was a great book that kept me fascinated from the first page to the last and I look forward to hearing the thoughts and opinions of others who have read it. Definitely recommended for the amateur sleuths out there.

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

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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.

Dead Seeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Dead Sleeping Shaman (Emily Kincaid Mysteries Book 3)Dead Sleeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

The End Timers, a cult-like group, have descended on part-time journalist and aspiring mystery author Emily Kincaid’s small Michigan town. With dire warnings that the end of the world is just two weeks away, the entire community has been disrupted by psychics, cult followers, believers and disbelievers alike. But when Emily’s latest job assignment leads her to an eerily motionless woman propped against a tree, she realizes that at least one person’s world has come to an end all too soon.

Emily soon learns that the victim, an eccentric psychic and leader of a shamanic healing group, harbored painful memories of the area and had mysterious ties to certain members of the cult. Turning to her friend Deputy Dolly Wakowski for help, she’s stunned to learn that Dolly has turned in her badge and joined the cult, leaving Emily to fear for her friend’s sanity and forcing her to try to solve the case on her own.

As the days tick away to the end of the world, Emily has to navigate her way through a crowd of true believers, a group of shamanic well-wishers, and a suspiciously secretive cult leader to rescue her friend and catch a killer—all the while dreading that these few precious days may be her last.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a rather rare jewel among writers. She can make you laugh, keep you interested and make you angry with a certain character all at the same time. It is these conflicting emotions that make me return to her writing time and again.

In this book, Emily literally stumbles upon the scene of a murder and once more, things are not as simple as they might first seem. I am always thrilled to see what she and Dolly do with the information they gather. I love the interaction between those two ladies, and for me, Dolly is always what makes the book.

There is more ex-husband drama to be had in this story, and it gave me a good reason to smile, watching the way Emily shuts him down. I liked the way the story flowed and thought the mystery was interesting and original.

I love the setting of these stories and the way the author describes the place that her main character lives as well as the surrounding areas. She makes great use of not only proper word choices, but of the seasons, the time of day, etc. for a full immersion reading experience.

This book kept me entertained for the better part of a day, with few breaks in between. If you like mysteries that think outside the box, this is perfect.

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

Somebody’s Baby-Donna Alward

Somebody's Baby (Darling, VT #3)Somebody’s Baby by Donna Alward

Number three [Somebody’s Baby] in Alward’s Darling, Vermont, series is a fantastic friends-to-lovers tale featuring a true-to-life wary-of-commitment couple.- – RT Bookreviews

Veterinarian Rory Gallagher chose a different path from his brothers, both of whom became first responders in the lovely little town of Darling, Vermont. Rory’s always had an affinity for animals–and the ladies. Known for his impressive track record in breaking hearts, Rory never meant to hurt anyone; he’s just never been in a hurry to settle down. It’s not as if he needs to pay a visit to the town’s famed Kissing Bridge to magically find love. He’ll know The One when he sees her. . .right?

Oaklee Ferguson is the kid sister of Rory’s best friend–and, even now that she’s all grown up, remains immune to the pet-doctor’s charms. When she shows up at Rory’s clinic late one night–devastated after hitting a stray dog with her car–Rory’s so-called -bedroom eyes- are the last thing on her mind. Still, his care and kindness toward the dog, and his concern for her feelings, catches Oaklee by surprise. . .and soon the two (and rescued dog makes three!) begin to share a deep connection that neither could have ever imagined. Could it be that love has been waiting for them by the bridge all along?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you get when you put together two commitment phobic people and add a cute dog? A really good Donna Alward novel.

In the beginning of this novel, I really struggled to like Oaklee. She had been mentioned in the previous novel, but no one really got a good feel for her and in this book, she just struck me as such a spoiled brat. As the novel progressed, I came to understand more about her and gradually began to like her.

Rory I liked from the start. I have to say, I was fooled by the title of this book, thinking it might be further developments from the last involving Willow and Ethan, but I was glad the author went the way she did with this. Not only did we get more experience learning about Darling, but we also got to explore more members of the Gallagher family in depth. These books make you feel like you just came home again after being away for years.

This one didn’t have quite the same emotional effect on me that the last one did, but I still enjoyed it–the ending was a nice touch, especially.

If you are looking for a sweet, romantic read, this is a good book to choose.

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

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

The Missing Ones (Detective Lottie Parker, #1)The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m really not sure what to think about this book when it comes to recommending it. It was a great book, with excellent writing and a strong plot that never let me down, but it is also a rather graphic novel that included subjects that I try to avoid if possible–including sexual abuse. I think it takes a strong individual to read a novel with this kind of subject matter and not recoil a bit.

The crimes are interesting and the web of intrigue the author builds makes you want to keep turning pages to find out how things are connected and why they happened in the first place. There is a wide net of suspects and it is hard to guess the ending, particularly with the red herrings the author tosses into the mix. I liked the descriptions of the setting and the way the weather and time of year played into the story.

For the first book in a new series, this was complex, engaging and exciting and made me want to read the next book before I even finished this one, but, as mentioned above, there is some tough subject matter in this novel, and it may not be for everyone.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent book and really enjoyed the voice of this author.

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

 

Belle Grove by Katherine Winfield

Belle Grove (Corsica Series Book 2)Belle Grove by Katherine Winfield

The Eastern Shore fishing town of Corsica, Maryland is about to be shaken again from its idyllic way of life.

 

Julie Seevers, owner of a local herb shop, is spending too much time on her business and her marriage begins to suffer from neglect. Julie’s summer assistant, Tabs Tucker, a misanthropic teen, is on a quest to find her father. And Julie’s best friend, Libby Langston, who is looking for something to ignite the languor of the hot summer, decides to help Tabs in her quest.

 

But when Sonia Barnes, a newcomer to town, enters the shop they soon discover they are on a twisted path of betrayal, lies, clairvoyance, and even murder.

 

Haverford House, the first in the Corsica Series, earned a five-star review from Clarion/Foreword Reviews and was a finalist in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.

 

Belle Grove continues the journey by weaving rich and unique characters through a mysterious plot set against the mystically beautiful backdrop of the Eastern Shore.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Belle Grove,” is one of those stories that pulls you in early and charms you enough that you know you will not rest until the last page has been read. From the characters to the descriptions of the beautiful East coast, there are so many things to love about this novel.

I am always happy when a longer novel is longer for a reason and is not filled with pointless exposition and fluff. This book takes full advantage of the length, offering the reader characters that they have time to get to know and a rich, atmospheric setting that makes you feel as if you are right there in the middle of the action. I loved the herb shop and the various other locations the author used as a backdrop for her story.

One of the things that made me love this book so much was the understated magic. Instead of being in your face from the first page, the author slowly weaves magical realism into her story, making it feel very natural and not hitting the reader over the head with it. Each of the characters are memorable in their own way, but there are definitely favourites that stand out early in the story.

If you are looking for something to read that will take you away from daily life and transport you somewhere else, “Belle Grove,” might be just the book you have been looking for.

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

Serpentine by Thomas Thompson

SerpentineSerpentine by Thomas Thompson

With compelling style and suspense this true-crime book reconstructs the bizarre, bloody journey of a mesmerizing but sinister young man named Charles Sobhraj. Sweeping back and forth over half the globe — from the boulevards of Paris to the slopes of Mount Everest to the underbellies of Bangkok and Hong Kong — Sobhraj left in his wake a trail of baffling mystery and inexplicable horror. He also led the police of a dozen nations on a chase that ended at least twelve and possibly twenty-four corpses later with a mere seven-year prison sentence in Delhi. Besides offering a riveting narrative of serial murder and a years-long manhunt, this singular volume examines the lives not only of the intelligent, charismatic, conscienceless, and thoroughly dangerous Sobhraj but also of the unsuspecting victims that he drugged, robbed, sometimes tortured, and without a qualm often killed. A chilling tale of deadly coincidences set in exotic, glamorous locales, Serpentine offers a reading experience as frightening as it is unforgettable.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whilst the story of Charles Sobhraj is an interesting one, this book could have benefited from being shorter, in my opinion. The author did a excellent job of researching and fact collecting, but the book was so bogged down by minutia that at times, it became boring and the flow of the story was lost on me.

Even so, if you can wade through the many details, you will likely find this book very interesting. The early life of serial killer Charles Sobhraj was recounted in such a manner that you can get a clear and concise portrait of his mental struggles, including his co-dependent relationship with his mother and his fiery temper, often fueled by the fair-weather relationship with his biological father.

As the book progresses and Charles ages, it becomes clear that he has a very elastic sense of right and wrong and that he lives his life as he chooses, with only his own satisfaction in mind. His moral sense is absolutely misguided and the author makes this perfectly clear.

If you are looking for a true crime book that will make you stop and think about nature Vs. nurture, this is a good one to choose. Overall, I thought it was very entertaining.

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