Featured

Blood List by Ali Carter | Blog Tour 

@alicrimewriter @Madatorbooks @RandomThingsTours
#BloodList

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Blood List by Ali Carter today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received via Matador Books!

Book Summary

Think the Lake District is a lovely place to visit? Think again. A Psychological & Chilling Thriller set in and around the fictional town of Kirkdale in Cumbria. One by one the young women of Kirkdale are being found grotesquely murdered, with no clues as to why.

Lying between the great lake Kirkwater and the base of Kirkby Pike, although beautiful, Kirkdale isn’t exactly the most exciting place on the planet. But after young reporter Jenny Flood moves into the relaxed Cumbrian town, it sets a catalogue of events in motion that brings this comfortable community to its knees.

When middle aged G.P. Charlotte Peterson discovers Jenny has followed her from Bradenthorpe, six years after a fling with her philandering doctor husband Miles, it stirs deeply buried mental health issues from her youth. In the run up to the Kirkdale country show, the arrival of this third and most recent adversary triggers the already edgy and emotionally scarred Charlotte into finally stepping over the edge. Her longing to destroy Jenny has been on a slow and very resentful burn for years, now the reality of achieving that presents itself as a genuine possibility.

Can journalist Andrew Gale protect new colleague Jenny, girlfriend Gina and her best friend Molly from the psychotic GP’s insane agenda? How will sarcastic ex Met. Officer Harry Longbridge deal with Andrew’s continued interference?

Then there’s the unexpected arrival of an American mystery woman. And just who is on the Blood List?

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Troubador Publishing (11 Oct. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1789015707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1789015706

Click here to buy Blood List from Amazon UK now

I Thought…

I was so thrilled to be one of the first to read Blood List, the début thriller by Ali Carter. What a fabulous and exciting read it was!

One of the reasons it was so appealing was its setting. I loved the author’s descriptions of Kirkdale, a beautiful and picturesque, quiet village lying between lake Kirkwater and Kirkby Pike. I have visited Cumbria on several occasions so the setting was quite special for me.

Blood List had an enthralling plot and Ali Carter displayed some amazing writing skill with her perfect pacing of the story and my goodness, there was never a dull moment! I didn’t want to stop reading this novel. The characters that the author created were so masterfully drawn and I often felt that I was in the village of Kirkdale eating shepherd’s pie with them!

I didn’t really have a favourite character, but I grew rather fond of Andrew with his kind and caring nature, as the story progressed. I even found the sarcasm and abrupt manner of ex Met. Officer Harry Longbridge quite endearing as well, although I wasn’t keen on his passion for barley sugars.

Blood List was an intense, highly absorbing story full of angst, hatred, obsession and mental anxiety issues but it was also rich in friendship and the importance of looking out for one another. I really enjoyed reading every page of the wonderful début, from the very first pages right through to its fulfilling ending.

If thrillers are one of your favoured genres then I strongly recommend that you get yourself a copy of Blood List as I don’t think you’ll regret it.

I will be looking out for more by Ali Carter in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

About The Author

Ali Carter was born in Surrey in 1958 and moved to East Anglia in 2003, settling just outside King’s Lynn 4 years later where she currently lives with her husband, 5 dogs and 6 cats. (Yes she knows the dog/cat thing is a bit mad!)

She originally found some success in writing poetry in the 80’s and 90’s, but inspiration for her debut novel ‘Blood List’ came after the Shipman case hit the headlines – a few years later the dark and deeply psychotic G.P. ‘Charlotte’ was born. The full story took its time in completion however as there was a very long period of writer’s block about three quarters of the way through the book. It was an author friend who finally persuaded her to pull it out of the laptop and finish it, for which she will be eternally grateful. At the time of writing, a sequel is in its infancy which she sincerely hopes won’t take another 12 years to come to fruition!

Ali is also a proud mum to two grown up sons, and an extra proud nanny to her adorable granddaughter, although at only 5 she won’t be reading ‘Blood List’ anytime soon!

She hopes you will enjoy her first long awaited thriller, and you can follow Ali on Twitter @alicrimewriter and on her website at alicarterauthor.com


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

Until Next Time, 

Advertisements
Featured

The Killer You Know by S R Masters | Blog Tour 

@littlebrownuk @SRMastersAuthor @annecater #RandomThingsTours #thekilleryouknow

I am delighted to join the blog tour for The Killer You Know by S R Masters today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received via NetGalley!

Book Summary

You need to kill at least three people, right? So that’s what I’ll do.

When Will jokes about becoming a serial killer, his friends just laugh it off. But Adeline can’t help but feel there’s something more sinister lurking behind his words.

Fifteen years later, Adeline returns to Blythe for a reunion of the old gang – except Will doesn’t show up. Reminiscing about old times, they look up the details of his supposed murder spree. But the mood soon changes when they discover two recent deaths that match.

As the group attempts to track Will down, they realise that he is playing a sinister game that harks back to one they used to play as kids. Only this time there are lives at stake . . .

Praise for The Killer You Know

The Killer You Know is one of my favourite reads of the year. I LOVED it. Pacey, nostalgic, excellent very well-developed characters, and a clever plot’

NIKI MACKAY, bestselling author of I Witness

‘I read and loved and HEARTILY recommend for any fans of Stand By Me. . . A thrilling, nostalgic twisty read’

CLAIRE ALLAN, author of Her Name was Rose

‘The Killer You Know has a fantastic killer concept… and is gripping and creepy to boot – loved it’

SAM CARRINGTON, author of Bad Sister 

‘A twisty, clever exploration of claustrophobic childhood friendships and the darkness they can lead to’

DERVLA MCTIERNAN, author of The Ruin

‘A compelling, unpredictable thriller that conveys the changing nature of long-lasting friendships beautifully. How well do we know even our closest of friends? Highly recommended’

ELISABETH CARPENTER, author of 99 Red Balloons

‘An original and gripping thriller combined with an evocative coming of age story that will be achingly familiar’

LAURA MARSHALL, author of Friend Request

‘A gripping, compelling read with a brilliant premise and a wonderfully twisting storyline. An incredible debut’

TM LOGAN, author of Lies

‘A thrilling read and an exceptional debut novel’

RACHEL EDWARDS, author of Darling

‘Compelling, creepy, and brilliantly executed, The Killer You Know is an original new voice in the thriller world’

PHOEBE MORGAN, author of The Doll House

A gripping, atmospheric debut psychological thriller – perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Alex Marwood and Ali Land.

THE KILLER YOU KNOW

By

S.R MASTERS

2nd May 2019

Published in paperback by Sphere, £7.99

Ebook and Audio also available

Click here to buy The Killer You Know from Amazon UK now

I Thought…

The Killer You Know is a fantastic, dark and disturbing début psychological thriller written by author S R Masters. It features five friends that lived in Blythe while they were in their teens and spent the summers of 1997 and 1998 together. Each one has their own problems and issues to deal with.

They all move on and don’t see other again until, in 2015, a nostalgic reunion is organised, so they meet up with each other and reminisce about good times past. Adeline, a successful film pod-caster along with Xan and Jon returns and stays at a hotel because she has a strained relationship with her mother. Adeline is the main narrator, however, Steve, recently divorced Dr. Rupesh, teacher, Jen, and Will, the odd guy, all offer their own perspectives in both the past and the present.

When Will doesn’t show up at the reunion, the friends remember his preference for disappearing and the games they used to play about becoming an undetected serial killer and disguising murders as suicides.

The rest of the friends try to locate Will, however, two deaths that were deemed suicides have the four of them deeply concerned that Will may have carried out his grisly plan. Gradually, details of their pasts begin to emerge…

This was such a compelling read for me! It was so well plotted and a brilliant and fast-paced psychological thriller. Not only a thriller, it was also a coming-of-age novel with all the angst, issues and dynamics that are part of being a teenager. The intense emotions, the desperate need to fit in or at least be tolerated or accepted, the jealousies and feelings of betrayal.

For me, S R Masters’ characterisation was incredibly skilful, although none of the characters appealed to me, nor were they particularly reliable as narrators. This however complemented the story. Far from being an average psychological thriller, I found myself totally fascinated by this book. I think it was Will’s interest in serial killers that made it special.

I will be looking out for more by S R Masters in the future.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Little, Brown Book Group UK via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

About The Author

S. R. Masters studied Philosophy at Girton College, Cambridge before working in public health and health behaviour for the NHS. He is a regular contributor to UK short fiction anthology series The Fiction Desk, having won their Writer’s Award for his short story Just Kids. His story Desert Walk was included in Penguin Random House USA’s Press Start to Play collection and he continues to have short fiction published in a variety of magazines. He grew up around Birmingham but now lives in Oxford with his wife and son.

The Killer You Know is his first novel.

You can find him on Twitter @SRMastersAuthor or on his website http://www.sr-masters.com/ 

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT MILLIE SEAWARD, PUBLICITY MANAGER

Millie.seaward@littlebrown.co.uk |0203 122 6757 |@millieseaward


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

Until Next Time, 

The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine | Review

About The Book

The internationally best-selling author of The Last Mrs Parrish follows that success with an addictive novel filled with shocking twists about the aftermath of a brutal high-society murder.

Kate English’s mother, Lily Michaels, is dead, the victim of a terrifying attack in her tony suburban Baltimore home. Barely keeping it together for the sake of her family, Kate is surprised and grateful to see Blaire Barrington, her old high school BFF, at the funeral.

Thick as thieves from middle school through college graduation, the girls fell out on the morning of Kate’s wedding to the confident, arrogant Simon English nearly fifteen years before. Almost instantly the years of separation fall away, and Kate and Blaire slip comfortably back into their old roles. Kate, now a prominent heart surgeon, is the accomplished, anxious achiever, while Blaire, a best-selling mystery author, serves as her fierce defender against all enemies.

And now more than ever, Kate needs Blaire’s loving protection. Lily’s killer is still out there . . . and has begun taunting Kate with threatening notes sometimes accompanied by gruesome clues. Without any solid leads, the police investigation has stalled. As the messages become increasingly macabre, Blaire decides to take matters into her own hands, alienating friends and relatives with her relentless, almost accusatory questions.

As Blaire pushes further, the danger for those around her—including the increasingly unstable Kate—grows. But will her relentless quest for the truth push her—and Kate—over the edge?

In this second novel, told with the lightning pace of The Last Mrs Parrish, Liv Constantine raises the stakes, creating an exquisitely tension-filled and absorbing tale of psychological suspense in which innocent lives—and one woman’s sanity—hang in the balance.

My Thoughts

This new novel by international best-seller Liv Constantine was incredibly creepy and intense!  

I went into The Last Time I Saw You with much enthusiasm, having read ‘The Last Mrs Parrish’. I was not disappointed as this novel was also an absolute treat. For me, it was another best read of the year.

The murder of Blaire’s mother reunites estranged friends Kate and Blaire. As the two women, now a successful author and a surgeon respectively, grow closer, Blaire begins to notice that Kate is becoming increasingly unstable. With the murderer still on the loose, Blaire vows to find justice for her mother even as her childhood friend’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic.

The Last Time I Saw You was cleverly told from different perspectives resulting in the reader not knowing who was reliable, nor who could be trusted.

This book was jam-packed with drama and deceit and there were many twists and turns throughout this hugely suspenseful story. Kate was a really unreliable narrator, forcing me to ask myself what was real and imagined. There were so many secrets and the pacing of the many twists and turns was excellent.

I can’t say that I particularly warmed to any of the characters created by Liv Constantine in this thrilling novel, but they still lent a great deal to the story and I believe that was the intention.

The emotional complexity of the story was definitely one of the highlights of this book and I loved Liv Constantine’s particular writing style. It had everything for me, from secrets and friendship to suspicion, tragedy and fear.

I thought that Liv Constantine presented a very comprehensive and fulfilling conclusion to a complex mystery and an extremely delightful story.

All in all, I found this book to be a fantastic and very worthwhile read and I look forward to reading more from Liv Constantine.

Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins and the author, Liv Constantine for my complimentary ARC of The Last Time I Saw You. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The East End by Jason Allen | Blog Tour 

@HarperCollins @parkrowbooks @justine_sha @EathanJason #TheEastEnd.

I am delighted to join the blog tour for The East End by Jason Allen today! My thanks to Justine at Park Row Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received via NetGalley!

The East End is available to buy NOW!

Buy Links:

Harlequin

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

THE EAST END

Author: Jason Allen

ISBN: 9780778308393

Publication Date: 5/7/19

Publisher: Park Row Books

BOOK SUMMARY

THE EAST END opens with Corey Halpern, a Hamptons local from a broken home who breaks into mansions at night for kicks. He likes the rush and admittedly, the escapism. One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate where he and his mother work. Under the cover of darkness, their boss Leo Sheffield — billionaire CEO, patriarch, and owner of the vast lakeside manor — arrives unexpectedly with his lover, Henry. After a shocking poolside accident leaves Henry dead, everything depends on Leo burying the truth. But unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened and there are other eyes in the shadows.

Hordes of family and guests are coming to the estate the next morning, including Leo’s surly wife, all expecting a lavish vacation weekend of poolside drinks, evening parties, and fireworks filling the sky. No one can know there’s a dead man in the woods, and there is no one Leo can turn to. With his very life on the line, everything will come down to a split-second decision. For all of the main players—Leo, Gina, and Corey alike—time is ticking down, and the world they’ve known is set to explode.

Told through multiple points of view, THE EAST END highlights the socio-economic divide in the Hamptons, but also how the basic human need for connection and trust can transcend class differences. Secrecy, obsession, and desperation dictate each character’s path. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina, and Leo approach a common breaking point. THE EAST END is a propulsive read, rich with character and atmosphere, and marks the emergence of a talented new voice in fiction.

I THOUGHT…

My word, how exciting and enthralling was this début novel by newcomer Jason Allen?!  

Being honest, I went into The East End without much enthusiasm, thinking “Oh well, yet another novel about dysfunctional behaviour and taking drugs.” (Huge sigh). But if I had continued with that line of thought and not read The East End, I would have missed out on so much as it turned out to be one of the best reads of the year so far.

I was immediately blown away by all of the drama, from page one. Yes there was some drug-taking – well a lot actually – however, it was absolutely essential to the story-line.

The book opens with a break-in. Living with his mum, Gina, in the Hamptons, Corey Halpern has just graduated from high school and Gina  is employed as a housekeeper for billionaire Leo Sheffield. Full of angst towards the filthy rich, Corey spends much of his time breaking into their homes, not to steal but to play pranks on them. He decides to break into the Sheffield mansion which is home to Leo, wife Sheila and teenage daughter, Tiffany and witnesses something he wished he had not. But what will he choose to do next?  

The East End was told from several different perspectives which is normally something I am not too fond of, however, Jason Allen achieved this admirably and without any confusion for me.

The characters that Jason Allen created were so well drawn it was almost unbelievable. I felt that I was part of the unfolding drama with every chapter, as I found myself shouting out advice to the particular character who was facing their latest dilemma. I found it difficult to choose a favourite character so I opted for three of them – Leo, Gina and Angelique. Leo, I felt huge sadness for, as he was so down on his luck, though he did habitually make a lot of bad choices. I had so much empathy with Gina and who could not adore Angelique? She was so feisty, gutsy and full of hope despite her start in life.

The emotional complexity of the story was definitely one of the highlights of The East End and I loved the tenderness between Corey and Angelique.

Jason Allen’s writing style was very unique. There were longer paragraphs of narrative and less dialogue in this book than I’m used to, however, the plot was so engrossing that it didn’t prevent me from loving the story.

This book has everything from secrets, love and family to addiction, scandal, desperation, tragedy and greed. The plot was presented in the form of a slow burning mystery with underlying themes of class, social structure and discrimination packaged as a family drama but with added comedic aspect.

The ending was a surprise and, for me, very fitting and fulfilling. All in all, I found this book to be a fantastic and very worthwhile read and I look forward to reading more from Jason Allen.

Thanks to NetGalley, Park Row Books and the author, Jason Allen for my complimentary ARC of The East End. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

#TheEastEnd #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the author of the poetry collection A MEDITATION ON FIRE. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first novel.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @EathanJason

Facebook: @jasonallenauthor

Goodreads

Jason Allen is also doing a book tour on the east coast to the cities listed below.

Until Next Time, 

Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen | Review

About The Book

Life’s a drag… Why not be a queen?

‘Stories like the one where you shagged a 79-year-old builder and knocked over his sister’s ashes while feeding him a Viagra. Or the time you crashed your car because you were giving a hand job in barely moving traffic and took your eye off the car in front. That’s the kind of dinner-party ice-breaker I’m talking about.’

Northern, working-class and shagging men three times her age, Crystal writes candidly about her search for ‘the one’; sleeping with a VIP in an attempt to become a world famous journalist; getting hired and fired by a well-known fashion magazine; being torn between losing weight and gorging on KFC; and her need for constant sexual satisfaction (and where that takes her).

Charting her day-to-day adventures over the course of a year, we encounter tucks, twists and sucks, heinous overspending and endless nights spent sprinting from problem to problem in a full face of make-up.

This is a place where the previously unspeakable becomes the commendable – a unique portrayal of the queer experience.

My Thoughts

How often do you pick up a book to read and it turns out to be very different from what you expected?

Thinking along the lines of a book that I read a few months ago, I was expecting a tongue-in-cheek look at the glamorous side of being a drag queen, but this was very much more than that. It’s a stark look at sex, the right to identify as you wish and the prejudices that still arise from all sides of the LGBTQ+ community.

Told in diary format, the reader follows Crystal throughout a period of a year. It is a selection of powerful, amusing and incredibly moving stories that I took with a very large pinch of salt.

“Diary of a Drag Queen” was so intimately told by Crystal and it felt like I was a personal confidante. This made it very easy to like Crystal and therefore the book as a whole.  

The diary style gave the author more ability to choose the parts to be shared or not and for me, some of these appeared to have been included to spice things up for their shock content. This affected some of the vital issues and points that were being made.

All in all, I really enjoyed this witty, thought-provoking and entertaining book and I think it was a very worthwhile read.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

The Summer Retreat by Sheila Roberts | Review

About The Book

Join USA TODAY best-selling author Sheila Roberts for a seaside escape to the beaches of Moonlight Harbor.

Celeste Jones has plans for a perfect summer with her boyfriend (and hopefully soon-to-be fiancé)—until he dumps her to be with the woman he’s had on the side for months. Heartbroken and furious, Celeste resolves to move on. When the going gets tough, the tough…okay, the not-so-tough go to the beach.

As soon as school lets out for the summer, she waves goodbye to her first-graders, packs up her bikini and heads for Moonlight Harbor, where she knows her big sister, Jenna, will receive her with open arms. Jenna could probably use some help at the Driftwood Inn, and Celeste is happy to do chores around the place in exchange for a relaxing summer escape. She just needs something—or someone—to distract her from her troubles.

Finding The One can be tricky, and Jenna is determined to make sure Celeste gets it right this time around. Not that Jenna’s an expert. She’s still trying to sort out her own love life. But if both sisters listen to their hearts, eventually they’re bound to discover that life—and love—is good at the beach.

My Thoughts

A Lovely Tale of Romance

Are you looking for a fantastic romance novel to take to the beach this Summer? Well, look no further because this is it! What a lovely and exciting book this was and a perfect and refreshing change from my usual, favourite genre.

“The Summer Retreat” is the third book in the ‘Moonlight Harbor’ series by best-seller author Sheila Roberts, the first book being ‘Welcome to Moonlight Harbor’, followed by ’Winter at the Beach’.

Although I’ve seen many of the author’s books around in my local library, the supermarket, and in bookshops, this is the first one I’ve read (I think) and I was not disappointed.

Celeste Jones is a primary school teacher and as the summer term has just come to an end, so has her relationship with her cheating boyfriend, Emerson. To drown her sorrows and re-evaluate her life, Celeste decides to visit her sister, Jenna who lives in a quaint town on the Washington coast where she runs the ‘Driftwood Inn’.

This was a well paced and very touching romance that had me hooked, even before I had swiped my e-reader to take me to the second page.

Sheila Roberts has drawn a pleasant, easy-going and genial character in Celeste. However, at thirty-six and a half, she thinks it’s about time she finds herself a husband who will not cheat on her and she has plans to settle down, have a family and live happily ever after.

“The Summer Retreat” was such a delightful, though predictable, tale  and once I had started reading, I found I was totally invested in the story. It held my interest right until the fulfilling conclusion.

I will be reading the first two books in the series and I eagerly wait to see what Sheila Roberts is going to be releasing next. This is a must-read for anyone who loves women’s fiction or romance novels, so you need to order your copy!

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin – MIRA and the author, Sheila Roberts for the free advanced copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang | Review

About The Book

Essie Lang’s series début is perfect for fans of Lorna Barrett, Vicki Delany, and book lovers everywhere.

Rookie book-store owner Shelby Cox must hit the books to learn the ropes before she loses a killer in the stacks.

Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her home-town of Alexandria Bay, nestled in up-state New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s book-store, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again—in Trouble on the Books, Essie Lang’s clever and captivating series début.

My Thoughts

As a lover of cozy mysteries, I knew I would be onto a winner with this début in a new series! “Trouble on the Books” ticked all the right boxes before I had even started reading. The setting – a cosy book-store in a castle, no less – and an eye-catching, colourful front cover – all the makings of a great read for me. And I was even afforded a rare opportunity to begin a series from the offset as I always seem to pick them up half-way through. Here was my chance to, hopefully, discover another new favourite author to add to my ever-growing list.

There aren’t many settings as perfect as a bookshop located within a castle, and Essie Lang made great use of this. Alexandria Bay is a fine lakeside town, with a real sense of community and a general feeling of nostalgia. This, as well as a town full of secrets, made it a brilliant backdrop for a murder investigation.

Essie Lang has drawn some fascinating and very useful characters in this début. Protagonist Shelby has the necessary attributes of any great sleuth – intelligence, curiosity and attention to detail – but lacks some of those needed to make a success of the book-store, ‘Bayside Books’, as she is not great at dealing with people. I could see avenues for Shelby’s progression as the main character in any future books in the series.

I was especially fond of Essie Lang’s portrayal of Shelby’s endearing Aunt Edie. She was depicted as having great strength-of-character and was someone who always wanted to be on-the-go.

Even though the murder investigation itself took some time to get going, this did not detract from the story in any way as this book had many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the existence of family secrets. There was a true sense of increasing danger as the story progressed, which definitely helped to keep my interest.

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

I also enjoyed the little sparks of romance in this wonderful cozy mystery.

I very much look forward to returning to ‘Bayside Books’ in  Alexandria Bay with Shelby and Aunt Edie on a future occasion!

[Thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and the author, Essie Lang for my free ARC of Trouble on the Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

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

Happy Reading!

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

Happy Reading!

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!