Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan | Review

About The Book

‘Utterly addictive. Compulsive, twisty, tense.’ CLAIRE DOUGLAS, author of Local Girl Missing

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for seven months pregnant nurse Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

My Thoughts

“Apple Of My Eye” is a compulsive and digressive thriller that has been beautifully put together, with motherhood at its core.

This is my second time of reading a book by this author and I was not disappointed! I have previously read the outstanding ‘Her Name was Rose’ which was a five-star read for me, so there was a lot for Claire Allan to live up to.

“Apple of My Eye” brings to life an incredible family account of mistrust, jealousy and suspicion. It is a book about motherhood and all that it means to all of womankind. In this novel, the reader is categorically and unequivocally made aware of how it affects the lives and relationships of different women. It is also a divulgence of desperation, loneliness and all the different layers of love.

As always, I am having a run of strong, inspiring thrillers and this is on the list, along with my other favourites. The plot for this book is awesome and incredibly thrilling. I’m always looking for something in a book in this genre that makes it more notable than the rest. This could be amazingly drawn characters, a super plot, great originality or something entirely different that I couldn’t even imagine.

This book has many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of family secrets, jealousy and incredibly tense relationships.

For myself, the one thing that made this a memorable read was Claire Allan’s ability to send me off course in nearly every chapter. Narrated from three different perspectives – that of Eli, her mother Angela and the mysterious Louise – I found that it was the chapters told from Louise’s angle that added a real sense of apprehension to the plot. Claire Allan managed to create so much suspicion and mistrust through her story-telling and there was an overpowering sense of menace that emanated from the pages of this addictive read which is chock full of mystery. I found that I had no idea who or what I could trust. The emotional, distressed and pregnant wife or the mother who wanted to protect her daughter from an adulterous husband, or the revealing anonymous notes? 

Another of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fluidity of the writing. The details and twists of the plot were brilliantly executed and every chapter left me with a compelling need to read on.

”Apple Of My Eye” is a supreme accomplishment, mixing women’s fiction with a chilling, sharp slice of thriller, culminating in an emotive and fulfilling ending. I absolutely adored every chapter of this pacey novel and I would certainly recommend it.

Thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and the author, Claire Allan, for my free ARC of Apple of My Eye in exchange for an honest review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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Let Her Go by D. J. Adamson | Review

About The Book

Murder, Betrayal, Love Gone Wrong

Dr. Conrad’s family is attacked. His wife is murdered. He and his son are seriously injured. Teenage daughter, Peyton, is missing. Lillian Dove needs to find Peyton Conrad to set the minds of Frytown at ease.

Book 3 of the Lillian Dove Series offers readers another page-turning romp of suspense as Lillian is pulled into another one of the Frytown Police Department criminal cases.

Advance Praise

“Let Her Go by D.J. Adamson is a fantastic, gripping story of betrayal, love, and suspense, not to mention the murder.”

–Reader’s Favorite

My Thoughts

How many times have I asked this question of myself?

“If only I could go back and do life differently. Isn’t that what people say? Life would be so much better. Would it?”

Gosh, what a book this turned out to be! “Let Her Go” by D.J. Adamson is a book you ought to read. Highly amusing, risqué and calamitous is a description of it, just like Lillian’s life.

“ Let Her Go” is the third novel in D.J. Adamson’s ‘Lillian Dove’ series, the first book being ‘Admit to Mayhem’ followed by ‘Suppose.’ Although I haven’t yet read these two from the series, it wasn’t a problem for me as the author provided plenty of history. This was interwoven very neatly with the current story and indeed, for me, complemented it.

I didn’t have any particular expectations when starting this book, other than I had assumed it would be a typical thriller. This would have been great so I was very surprised to find that it began with Lillian’s disappearing Christmas tree! It was a delightful and highly amusing beginning to start this book and I couldn’t have imagined the impact this would continue to have throughout the story.

D.J. Adamson has drawn a truly fascinating character in creating Lillian Dove. I dare say that she probably won’t appeal to everyone, but she was definitely pretty remarkable for me. Lillian is a recovering alcoholic, among other things.

She has a dynamic, though flawed character whose personality and often ill-thought actions made her the scourge of law enforcement officials in her home-town of Frytown, Iowa. Though scorned by many, she had a kind heart and warm personality though a few would have preferred her to keep her opinions to herself and not ask so many searching questions.

As the narrator of the story, Lillian couldn’t be relied upon because she had a tendency towards self-doubt and frequently questioned her own opinions and actions. 

In “Let Her Go” there is a heavy focus on Lillian’s self-development rather than the mystery itself, as she copes with the trepidations of her sobriety, relationships, and her own financial situation. The fast pacing and many twists and turns all increase the anticipation for what is a very fulfilling final reveal.

Many of the character interactions were tremendously entertaining, especially those between Lillian and Detective Jacque Leveque or her mother, Dahlia. There were a lot of unresolved, emotional issues from their past between Lillian and Dahlia, problems that Lillian needed to address in case it became too late. Just to add a bit of icing on the cake, an only partially ended affair with the Chief of Police is thrown into the mix, adding another layer to the already complex, thrilling plot.

Brilliantly written, impressionistic, with a delicious and at times, vicious humour and populated with fabulous characters, this is a mystery like no other. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read it and look forward to checking out the previous instalments. I thoroughly enjoyed the darker tone and grittier nature of the story that made this such a suspenseful read! 

Verdict: Read it and whatever you have to do to bag your copy, do it. 

Thanks to NetGalley, BooksGoSocial and the author, D.J. Adamson, for my free ARC of Let Her Go in exchange for an honest review.

[#NetGalley #LetHerGo]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain | Review

Book Synopsis

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CONFESSION AND CO-WRITER OF RTE ONE’S TAKEN DOWN

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

The new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Confession, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.

Advance Praise

See what everyone is saying about Jo Spain, the hottest new name in psychological thrillers:

‘Enthralling’ JP Delaney

‘Chilling’ Sunday Times

‘Arresting’ Sunday Express

‘Brilliant’ BA Paris

‘Gripping’ Best

‘Compulsive’ Sunday Mirror

‘Addictive’ Michelle Frances

‘Refreshing’ Express

My Thoughts

I was very keen to read “Dirty Little Secrets” by Jo Spain as I have never read anything by this author before, despite having heard about some of her work and thought I would take this opportunity to do just that. As someone who enjoys a great thriller, I’m always on the lookout for new authors, to me anyway, in this genre!

This fascinating psychological thriller takes the notion of a country manor house style mystery with a closed setting and therefore few potential perpetrators and moves it to a present-day Irish gated community. I felt, from a nostalgic point of view, that it was reminiscent of a Midsomer Murders scenario.

In the novel, there was no lack of possible motive such as perversion, intrigue or, of course, adultery. Jo Spain has written this novel with chapters alternating between each of the characters who are suspected of being involved in Olive’s passing, and of Olive herself who showed her true colours as the story continued. I absolutely delighted in this dark, conversational insight into living within a gated community. 

This is a fast-paced, well-written book with some very intriguing, though not particularly likeable characters that I would expect to find in a good thriller. I don’t think I liked any of the characters at all, apart from the police double act, Frank and Emma and their humorous rapport, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment of reading “Dirty Little Secrets.”

It was easy to read with an absorbing plot that kept my interest throughout, with a fulfilling conclusion that I didn’t predict. It was a thoroughly entertaining novel and well worth reading. I enjoyed “Dirty Little Secrets” so much and I’m hoping to read Jo Spain’s ‘Inspector Tom Reynolds’ series soon. 

For me, this is a highly recommended and well deserved 2019 winner for Jo Spain!

Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author, Jo Spain, for my free ARC of Dirty Little Secrets in exchange for an honest review.

[#NetGalley #DirtyLittleSecrets]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth | Review

Book Synopsis

A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

Praise for Sally Hepworth: 

“With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations.” —Booklist

My Thoughts

If you enjoy a good family saga then you might want to read Sally Hepworth’s latest novel. This is my first time of reading a book by this author and I was not disappointed! “The Mother-in-Law” brings to life an incredible family account of greed and betrayal.

This book, set in Australia, has many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of deep family secrets and fractured relationships, not forgetting the feelings of hope, the fear, the utter desperation and failure.

“The Mother-in-Law” focuses on Lucy’s fractious relationship with her husband’s mother, Diana. Lucy has married Ollie, who is from a wealthy family, dominated by the matriarch.

From the very first chapter, I found myself immediately drawn in, following the grave news of Diana’s death, the circumstances of which were being treated as suspicious by the police. Her death had the appearance of suicide due to the presence of a note, but then became a matter slightly more deceiving. Diana, inclined to be rather aloof, left behind her husband Tom, son Ollie and daughter Nettie, not to mention her impressive estate…

This story is told from dual perspectives – Lucy’s and Diana’s – in the present with flashbacks to the past. Sally Hepworth has drawn a great character in Lucy, the outsider, trying hard to please her mother-in-law, to be accepted into her husband’s family, only to repeatedly fall short of the mark.

Sally Hepworth has also done a brilliant job with her portrayal of Diana and this really complements the story for me. Diana was not simply a typical mother-in-law mischief-maker; she was a person with many attributes – mother, wife, friend, daughter and do-gooder. Some of her drive was quite understandable which made it difficult for me to completely scorn her. As past and present merged it  became clear that nobody in the family really knew or understood each other.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fluidity of Sally Hepworth’s writing. She managed to provide the details and twists of the plot without messing with the tone of the storyline. Each brilliantly executed chapter left me with a compelling need to read on.

For me, “The Mother-in-Law” was a tale of dramatic suspense but also one of deep reflection. At times, it made me dwell on my own family relationships and dynamics, especially those of the past. This novel definitely leaves you in a reflective mood, both during and after the story ended.

The book definitely has a strong mystery element, culminating in a thrilling and fulfilling ending. I really enjoyed it and I would certainly recommend it. This novel has left an impression on me and I will be reading more from Sally Hepworth. She has now become an author to watch out for!

Thanks to NetGalley, St Martin’s Press and the author, Sally Hepworth, for my free ARC of The Mother-in-Law in exchange for an honest review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor | Review

Book Synopsis

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear? 

Zaffre’s biggest breakout thriller of 2019.

One in 100 of us is what the police call a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family. 

Set over a long, dark winter in London and perfect for fans of HE SAID/SHE SAID and Belinda Bauer, THE DANGEROUS KIND is at once a gripping thriller and a stunning portrayal of the monsters that live among us.

Advance Praise

‘Searingly relevant’ Gillian McAllister

‘An absolute triumph’ Holly Seddon

‘Originality oozing off every page’ Eva Dolan

‘Clever, unpredictable and beautifully done’ Liz Loves Books

‘Absolutely brilliant . . . a sophisticated, smart engaging thriller’ Jo Spain

‘Dark, disturbing, devilishly plotted’ Chris Whitaker

‘Urgent, relevant and completely unputdownable’ Martyn Waites

‘Dark and unpredictable’ Jenny Quintana

‘Brilliantly compelling’  T. M. Logan

‘A powerful, timely and unnerving thriller’ David Jackson 

Pages: Approx. 448

Publishers: Bonnier Zaffre

Date Published: 11th April 2019

Buy your copy now from:

Amazon | Waterstones

My Review

If I had to describe The Dangerous Kind in three words they would be harrowing, disturbing and frightening in more or less equal measures. It’s pretty much what I would expect from a thriller set in today’s modern society. But wow, what stunning, well-thought-out masterpiece!

After having read The Dangerous Kind, I feel that I am completely indebted to Deborah O’Connor! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, the fear, the utter desperation and failure.

The title of the book is derived from a police classification of a ‘Potentially Dangerous Person’ (PDP) who is someone that has not been convicted of an offence but whose behaviour indicates that they are likely to commit one.

Set during the winter-time and spanning a period of ten-plus years, the book is told from different time periods and aspects, the first one being Jessamine Gooch, as well as Rowena and also Jitesh. Deborah O’Connor has drawn a great character in Jessamine, a former journalist now working at the BBC and hosting a long-running true crime radio series, ‘Potentially Dangerous People’. In addition, she volunteers at a helpline for victims of domestic violence and is the mother of her teenage daughter, all the while trying to cope with the various difficulties she has going on in her life.

Equally noteworthy is Deborah O’Connor’s portrayal of Rowena. Her heart-breaking story is told as sensitively as possible but her vulnerability and the level of her abuse she suffered, though implicit, is nevertheless exceptionally sorrowful to read and plays a central role to the unfolding drama.

Jitesh’s character has also been brilliantly drawn by the author, Deborah. A student who has been given an unconditional offer to join Cambridge University, he has decided to take a year out and work as an IT intern. However, even as a young adult, he has already suffered many of life’s difficulties, although he possesses a moral strength that left me no choice but to feel an enormous amount of empathy with him.

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me and it was a little like being on a roller-coaster, with someone shouting “Do you want to go faster?” However, it was extremely worthwhile even though many of the subjects touched upon are so abhorrent. 

Deborah O’Connor was very brave to write about such a disturbing and unsettling subject matter like child prostitution. She impressively managed to do so with great sensitivity, thus making the story a little more palatable than it could have been. The story-line was masterfully crafted and showed originality. The separate stories were so superbly interconnected, making the novel fantastically compelling, all culminating in a thrilling and fulfilling ending.  

I cannot recommend this book enough and I feel so inspired enough by Deborah O’Connor’s writing ability to order another of her novels – ‘My Husband’s Son.’ 

Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffire Publishing and the author, Deborah O’Connor, for my free ARC of The Dangerous Kind in exchange for an honest review.

My thanks also to Pigeonhole as I participated in their group read which was in stave format and was able to share my thoughts and comments with other readers.

#NetGalley #TheDangerousKind

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan | Blog Blast 

@RiverrunBooks @MillsReid11 @LivKiernan #TheKillerInMe.

Posted 1 April 2019 | BRIANNE’s BOOK REVIEWS

I am delighted to join the blog blast for The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan today! My thanks to Milly at Riverrun Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received via NetGalley!

The Killer In Me is available to pre-order now or buy on 4th April. 

 Amazon US | Amazon UK

Author : Olivia Kiernan
Title : The Killer In Me
Publisher : Riverrun Books
Publication date : 4 April 2019 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The heir to Tana French’s throne’ Irish Times
‘Brave and unflinching’ Liz Nugent, author of Skin Deep
‘Such sharp, clean writing and so atmospheric’ Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan does not wish to linger on the grisly scene before her eyes. Two mutilated corpses. In a church. In Clontarf. Her profiling background screams one fact: this is just the beginning of a sickening message.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old case is playing out on a TV documentary, the convicted professing his innocence and historical police errors being exposed daily in the media. Frankie’s superior, commissioner Donna Hegarty, makes no bones about who she expects to clean things up – both in terms of past mishandlings and the present murders.

But not everyone working the cases wants the truth to come out. And the corridors of power have their own vested interest. Soon Frankie pinpoints just what is making her so nervous: the fact that anyone could be the next victim when justice is the killer.

The Killer In Me is a fast-paced thriller in which lies are safer than the truth, the past is never far from the present, and the ability to kill could well, it seems, live in everyone.

‘Excellent . . . Superbly controlled with a strong voice’ Ali Land, author of Good Me Bad Me
‘Olivia Kiernan writes with a rare mastery . . . A total triumph’ Rachel Edwards, author of Darling
‘Tense, fast-paced . . . An excellent read’ Jenny Quintana, author of The Missing Girl

I THOUGHT…

I like to read a wide range of books, especially those like this one – an extremely intriguing mystery/thriller. The Killer In Me is so much more than that, though. It also delves into some emotive and thought-provoking subjects, particularly of mental health issues, dysfunctional families and domestic violence and deep-rooted resentments set against the backdrop of a small, close-knit town.

I loved that Olivia Kiernan has created a very strong, but flawed female protagonist in Frankie, with the absence of a significant other or a love interest hovering on the periphery.

The plot is very cleverly written, as is the pacing and there are clues, hints and red herrings dropped to identify the perpetrator. I allowed myself be carried along with the story as Frankie unpicked the different threads of all of the murders.

This is not a novel filled with dramatic and sensational twists but it requires skill to write a realistic story with many threads such as this, whilst managing to create something so compelling and noteworthy. I am now a new fan of Olivia Kiernan and DCS Frankie Sheehan!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK. She was born and raised in County Meath near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex. The Killer In Me is her second novel. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on the blog blast!

Until Next Time, 

Brianne

The Perfect Betrayal: The addictive thriller you won’t want to miss in 2019

The Perfect Betrayal: The addictive thriller you won’t want to miss in 2019 by Lauren North

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book has all of the qualities of the perfect psychological thriller. Deftly layered with emotion and suspense it starts off fairly slowly but the tension builds into a dramatic sequence of events.

The story is told predominantly from the point of view of the main character, Tess, along with snippets from her grief counsellor and brother-in-law. Tess’ conversations that she had with her late husband were heart-breaking. It was an incredibly emotionally charged book, well written and beautifully plotted and so cleverly constructed to help conceal major reveals in the natural progression of the story.

“The Perfect Betrayal” is my favourite type of psychological thriller – where the voices and thoughts of the characters and the reader’s own imagination complement the story. From the beginning, it is an absorbing and riveting novel as well as being massively addictive. The main protagonist, Tess, did not know who to trust and nor did I.

Highly recommended, this is a sad and harrowing story of grief, love and loss, with a fulfilling but shocking finish. Lauren North’s writing is just exquisite and I will be looking out for her next offering.

[Thank you to #NetGalley, Random House UK/ Transworld Publishers, and Lauren North for my free ARC of #ThePerfectBetrayal in exchange for an honest review.]



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The Nowhere Child

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The Nowhere Child” is a debut psychological thriller by Christian White and it was so special! Several things cast their spell – my favourite genre; a very smart cover design; winner of the Victorian Premier Literary Award; and great ratings from the offset. It could only be a winner!

The book opens with an introduction to the main protagonist Kimberly (Kim) Leamy who is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year-old girl vanished from her home in Manson, Kentucky. James Finn, an American accountant who contacts Kim is convinced she was that child, kidnapped just after her birthday. She cannot believe the woman who raised her crossed international lines to steal a toddler.

Jack and Molly Went’s daughter Sammy disappeared from their Kentucky home in 1990. Already estranged, the couple drifted further apart as time passed. Jack did his best to raise and protect his other daughter and son while Molly found solace in her faith. The Church of the Light Within, a Pentecostal fundamentalist group who handle poisonous snakes as part of their worship, provided that faith.

Now, with proof that she and Sammy are in fact the same person, Kim travels to America to reunite with a family she never knew she had and to solve the mystery of her abduction that will take her deep into the dark heart of religious fanaticism.

For me, Christian White’s writing is captivating and extremely well structured. Although the theme of a child being stolen is not particularly original, the clever telling of this story made it a joy to read. The chapters alternate between the past and the present, maintaining the reader’s attention. The chapters narrated in the past explore the impact of Sammy’s disappearance on her family and the community in which they live. The other chapters follow Kim’s pathway of discovery to the truth about her past.

The most gripping parts of “The Nowhere Child” were the chapters about the past, as the author unearthed long-buried secrets of Kim’s grieving family. It seemed that nearly every character from her past had something they wanted to be kept hidden. Revelations were made that included identity, betrayal, secrets, loss and a sinister cult. A tense story of menace and suspense, the story held my interest from start to finish and the way in which Christian White brought everything to a conclusion was just fabulous.

I loved “The Nowhere Child” and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this genre. It has left me eager to read more from this author in the future.

Thank you to #NetGalley, and HarperCollins UK for a free ARC of #NowhereChild in exchange for a voluntary, honest review.



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The First Cut (Doctors of Darkness, #3)

The First Cut by Ellery A. Kane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The First Cut” is actually the third book in a series called the ‘Doctors of Darkness’, the first book being ‘Daddy Darkest’ and the second is ‘The Hanging Tree’. I don’t think this made much difference to my immense enjoyment of the book as plenty of back-story was provided.

‘Love Doctors’ Ian and Kate Culpepper are brutally murdered in their Carmel mansion on Valentine’s Day. To Ava, its fate because Ian left her for the perfect Kate four years ago. Then they made their home close to Ava, complete with their perfect house and their perfect daughter and their matching perfect smiles. It’s no wonder that Ava can’t stop watching or that she can’t let go… 

However, Ian is far from perfect, and Ava owes a debt too, for when they were together, they did an unforgivable thing – a dark deed that severed their marriage in two. Ava’s name is found inked in blood at the crime scene and someone knows what she’s hiding…

Ellery Kane has a very unique writing style that is perfect for this psychological thriller. Many of the characters, especially Ava, were so complex that, at first, it wasn’t easy to work out exactly how they contributed to the story. Eventually, as different aspects of the story were revealed, it all started to come together. This, though, is the foundation for a fantastic psychological thriller.

Overall, “The First Cut” is a sensational and thrilling read with lots of nail-biting and alarming moments that culminate in a fulfilling conclusion.

[Thanks to Hidden Gems and the author Ellery Kane for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.]






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The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger by Marin Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What an incredible journey Marin Montgomery took us on, through the lives of the characters in this novel!

Stella McKinney thinks her life is near-perfect, with her doting husband, a beautiful house and a flourishing business. When Grant, her adoring husband, starts to behave out of character and begins devoting more time to his career, Stella has reason to question his fidelity for the first time in their marriage. As Stella’s desperate attempts to find out the truth become an obsession, the last thing she expects is a perfect stranger to show up at her door. A beautiful woman has knowledge of intimate details about Stella and Grant with which no one else could possibly be familiar. With her marriage and idyllic lifestyle at stake, the only way to uncover the truth is to ask herself how well she really knows her husband and herself. As Stella discovers, sometimes the truth is downright terrifying…

I must mention how much I loved being at the couple’s Malibu beach house. Marin Montgomery’s beautiful writing style made this, for me, a magical place to be.

“The Perfect Stranger” is a story of wedded bliss, love, happiness and wonderful times. But it is also a very sad tale of anger, fear, hate, self-loathing and doubt when events start to take a down-hill turn.

The book is told mostly from the perspective of the main protagonist, in the third person and the characters were so well written and developed, that I was keen to follow their lives for all of them including those who had secrets and dubious intentions. On reflection, though, the most outstanding for me was sweet and scatter-brained Stella and Grant for his delightful charm.

Eventually, this suspenseful and intriguing thriller, which I happily recommend to lovers of this genre, comes to a wonderfully fulfilling conclusion. 

{Thank you to Hidden Gems and Marin Montgomery for a free copy and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}




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