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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Imperfect Memories by Jody Wenner

This was another book which tested me. Nina has lost her husband and young daughter in a tragic accident and now she wonders whether there is something happening to her. A kind of dementia which she saw in her mother and which she can now frighteningly find in the same person who caused her family's death.

The premise alone is enough to keep you on edge.  Another attitude to the unknown yet looking for answers illness in dementia and in Nina's case hyperthymesia. The ability to have instant recall of incidents of every day of her life.

This was not a comfortable book, but then we read not always for comfort. This was emotional because Nina was trying to cope, trying to survive on a day to day basis and life did not help her at all.

Emotionally challenging this was a difficult read. I cannot say I enjoyed the read but it was a good book.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Jody Wenner.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Proposal by S E Lynes

The Proposal

This was a thriller in every sense of the word. At times I could not quite get my head around why Pippa acted the way she did.

Pippa was definitely an out of the box person. Her actions did not follow the routine and her good friend knew that she was governed by feelings and something so reckless that she did not even think of her own safety most of the time.

It was the recklessness which drove her to take over Ryan's story - a travelling salesman who turned up at her door. She invited him in and her proposal of payment for his life story began and ended the story.

The book drew me in and repelled me at the same time. I felt too much on edge to really enjoy the read and I am not one for discarding a book halfway. But it was not a plodding read. I read it with nervous interest is what I would say as I know it could not get better.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What Happened to Us? by Faith Hogan

Carrie and Kevin have a good relationship professionally. Running a very successful restaurant they complement each other. Kevin taking care of the kitchen and Carrie taking care of everything else. In their personal lives, they have got into a rut. Carrie still takes care of all the financial details of their lives and the housekeeping whilst Kevin leads a very relaxed life. 

When a bolt from the blue comes in the form of a Colombian waitress that Carrie herself has taken on, Carrie knows she has to get to grips with her life and decide what she wants to do. She has invested herself in the restaurant and does not intend to calmly hand it over (hurrah!). She is also very fond of her small home and offers a fair deal for Kevin who in the throes of love and lust is willing to do anything to make his new love happy. His new love's happiness lies in spending his money as fast as he can make it and she takes him to the cleaners!

The story of how Carrie survives, Kevin barely comes out of the whole thing unscathed but with severe lessons learnt and how Carrie finds a new life and love interest is very happily told. I was very happy for Kevin as there are many Kevins in this world and he got his just desserts!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

The Girl from Berlin by Ronald H. Balson

The Girl from Berlin (Liam Taggart & Catherine Lockhart #5)

This book like all those set during the great World Wars is so emotional, so factual, so matter of fact at most times that it brings all the cruelty, the in humaneness of dictators, of racism, of actual bitter hatred back, that it is frightening. It also spins a story of generations of people who strive to survive, of selflessness and always thinking of others.

Set in Germany our family is upper middle class Jewish. Educated in the arts at the height of his career Baumgarten does not think that his life is going to be fraught with danger. Even when all the signs show that Jews are no longer to be tolerated, he is protected by his profession and goes on for much much longer than others. It is at others persuasion that he knows that the future for his daughter who is herself a prodigy is bleak that moves are made to send them out of Germany to Bologna.

From here the story of Ada and her mother evolves always with the hateful Nazi powerforce behind them. Italy is not safe either but where else are they to go. Opportunities are there in Vienna but Austria is swallowed by Nazi Germany. They have left going to America too late and with the death of Ada's grandfather that sponsorship avenue is closed to them.

Told in two time lines. WW1 and 2017 the story starts from trying to prevent an old lady Gabriella from being evicted from her vineyard where she has lived for 70 odd years. Even though judgement has been given, her nephew approaches a hot shot lawyer in Chicago pleading with her to take the case. Facing obstacle after obstacle Caroline and Liam knows that the whole thing is off when registrar books are missing, lawyers are evasive and seem to have been bought over, one clerk turns up murdered and a company that no one knows anything about.

In history you go back decades to turn up a hatred between a German officer and a young girl and someone who seeks revenge at every turn.  Unraveling pages of a family history that is convoluted at best, you also read about slices of history that most people would like to forget.

The characterization was excellent, the story telling even more so.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Light of Her Own by Carrie Callaghan

A Light of Her Own

In 1633 any woman with ambition was fighting a losing battle. Never mind ambition women did not seem to hold any position other than being daughters or wives and if neither worked it was a terrible life for any of them.

For Judith abandoned by her father and mother through circumstances of debt, her brother who was her only family now getting involved in shady activities, Judith with her ambition of being an artist and becoming a member of the Guild had ambitions far beyond the usual woman of the time. With hardly any money to set herself up, she was nevertheless determined to do so.

The story of Judith's endeavours despite immense hardship, obstacles and sheer pig headedness of men around her was a tough read. It is factually true according to the author in several instances and an artist of this name did live and have her own workshop in Holland at the time. The story was intense and Judith was blessed with common sense and a sense of diplomacy to know when it was enough.

Judith upto now lived with a master guildsman and his daughter both artists in their own right but Maria had problems of her own. She would have been treated accordingly today but no one knew of her mental suffering and torment she underwent. Judith had to balance her life between being a friend to Maria and her ambition about her art on the other. It did not always balance evenly.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an independent review, courtesy of Amberjack Publishing.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Vendetta by Heather Burnside

I have been reading books which have been so idyllic that they are too good to be true, or really horrendous thrillers.

This was certainly different. Adele has been thrust into the running of the nightclub owned by her brother who is currently in prison. Everyone in the story has served time, including Adele and it is dealt with very matter of factly and casually in the book. Whether that added to the general effect of lawlessness or the undercurrent feeling that everything was slightly dodgy is another thing.

Adele wants to run the club free of drug dealers but she is up against the implacable Glynn who wants a share of the action and is intent eventually on getting rid of her brother. Though Adele has her suspicions of Glynn she has no concrete proof to present to Peter who is skeptical of his sister's views on the subject. Since she was once involved with Glynn Peter thinks she is a bit sour that he has now found someone else.

The story goes on and you know that it is not going to end well for Peter despite he getting out of prison. Glynn pretends for a little while that he is a friend, but is constantly undercutting Peter and cheating him of his share - whether legally or illegally acquired is a moot point in the story.

The book was different because here we were dealing with characters who all had served time, who did not think twice of cheating, who were involved in the drug trade and who had no qualms how they earned their daily bread.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Happily Ever After at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples

This is one of those stories that are ideal for a lazy afternoon or a weekend snooze read. Satisfying, romantic, idyllic setting, very nice people and all is right with the world.

We have a young couple not married with a baby who want now to get married. They are financially very stable - have a beautiful home, a manor in fact, and owners of a successful pub the said Dog & Duck. They are surrounded by the village with nice friends and the only worry is that something will happen to put off the much planned for wedding.

A broken ankle of the bride's father, the entire barn burning down are two of the mishaps on the way on top of the bride's mother leaving her husband and turning up on their doorstep. The bridegroom's sister is a stroppy one who cannot get on with the mother so there is tension in the house but the house is sufficiently big enough for all to have their own space, thank God.

A lovely read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Village Affair by Julie Houston

A Village Affair by Julie Houston

I'm having trouble with my computer and posting from my Ipad so excuse mistakes as they appear!
I leave for Melbourne middle of this month and really want to get up reviews all posted before I go.

This book was a good change for me. I have been reading so much of mystery murders and psychological thrillers, and good though they undoubtedly are, I did need a change of pace. This was reminiscent of a Joanna Trollope for me.

Three dear friends, two married and one very happy single. The ones who are married are set in their lifestyles and comfortable with it. They live in an idyllic village with very nice children as well. It all gives a very cozy feel. When one marriage falls apart in the most public of ways to the astonishment of Carrie  who had no clue that her darling husband was cheating on her with her best friend for well on two years, she is devastated. She thought she was in a rock solid marriage and to have this most publicly announced was tough on several counts. That she was starting a new job as Assistant Head of a School the very next day added to the complications.

Like in real life, turbulence comes in waves! we have an uprising in the village with the local lords of the manor (literally saying) coming up with a plan to be build 3000 houses on land in the village, upgrading the local school and generally turning this green belt into a jungle township! the villagers are divided on this issue and add to the general mayhem at this point in this story. On top of that cupid strikes again in the most unexpected way and Cassie finds herself in a quandary how to handle conflicting issues along with a romance which has disaster written all over it.

Despite several strands in the story, all good, it did not detract from the very story itself.

This was a lovely read with three very strong women as the main characters who handled everything that life threw at them with aplomb!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Our Little Lies by Sue Watson

Our Little Lies

From the onset you knew this was going to be a bit twisted. I knew Marianne despite being a good mother had mental health issues. Not that Simon helped in any way by his innuendos and constantly putting her down in insidious ways. His idea that because he was a heart surgeon, and handsome to boot,  played on the vulnerable ways of his wife who imagined (real or imaginary) mainly real, his flirtations with anyone around.

He put everything squarely on his wife from maintaining an immaculate house, to controlling two rambunctious boys, from being a very kind step mother to Sophie to also imagining way beyond what was actually happening when it did happen. Simon was the worst kind of husband for Marianne, ignoring her history of mental health issues stemming from the time she was a little girl when she discovered her mother's suicide and he preyed on her insecurities so much that she began to think he was all powerful, all right and that she must reign in her instinctive dislike of so many women. She could not stand up to him or for what she believed in and that spiralled into the mess they found themselves in.

Marianne would have been hard to live with no doubt. Her constant need to be reassured that she was the only one would be galling to someone like Simon who wanted a model wife and mother. He could not bear to be seen with failures and in his wife he saw many.

The end however was unexpected and came in the story after the actual end of the marriage. Totaqlly out of the blue.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

In The Vines by Shannon Kirk

In the Vines

Mop as she is known wants closure on the sad tragic death of her mother and returns to the mansion of her now eccentric, cloistered aunt. The aunt who was very close to her and looked on her as the daughter she never had.\

The story is convoluted because the deeper Mop goes to solve the mystery of her mother's death, the more she unravels none of which are acceptable or palatable to her. Is digging deeper really what she wants to do.

The story starts off in one way and ends in another. Gothic, creepy and how power and position can hide secrets more effectively than anything else can.

Not an easy comfortable read, but a very intriguing one.

Sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Thomas Mercer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Two mystery murders. Very different styles and settings.

Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Novel

The story is a good one if not a story that has been heard before. A older, richer man dies unexpectedly by drowning off the seas in Mexico. He was a good swimmer, there were no sudden changes in the tides and his body was identified by his young widow and the remains cremated immediately. She also received a very big insurance payout.

Phillip Marlowe is a retired Investigator. He was the best in the business and when he was approached by the Insurance Agents to poke around this death, he feels that this will be his last chance of working and accepts the challenge.

The dynamics of the story take off from there and include pursuit of several clues over a wide area of Mexico, picking up pieces from here and there and forming a cohesive whole of what actually happened.

I found the pace rather slow mid way and it took me away from the story because by then you knew where it was going. I felt it would have been better to accelerate it at that point rather than be long drawn but I am not the author here!

The book was sent to me for an unbiased review from Netgalley, courtesy of Random House UK. Vintage Publishing.

Murder in the morning

This is one of those cozy mystery crime books, where you wish you could live in one of those villages where everyone knows everyone, sometimes not a good thing but mainly fine and all seems nice and bright.

Melissa is just settling into a new job when her colleague is found dead in her own home. Melissa goes digging as to how and why mainly because she has got romantically involved with the chief suspect.

The story flows easily, the characters are spot on if a little too sweet sometimes to be true but it is a cozy to the last.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Long Goodbye by Anthony Le Moigan

The Swing of Things

Simon is extremely wealthy, a successful accountant and struck down with very early onset Alzheimers. Emma is married in a sort of a stuck in a groove marriage and is the manager of a Care institute. This is her life and she loves her work.

Simons admission to the Institute triggers off emotions that Emma thought were lost to her forever. The fact that despite his recurrent bouts of illness, that Simon reciprocated those feelings in full measure was a miracle for Emma.

The very quick progression of the disease, the brave face that Emma had to put on and go forward, their story was this story.

Emotional but not cloying, everything fell into place a little too neatly, but a very enjoyable read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Anthony Le Moignan.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Katie Marsh The Rest of Me

Alex is a woman no one should ever aspire to. She wants to be the perfect wife, be the perfect mother and feels it bitterly if there are any shortcomings. Permanently playing catch up, with a demanding job, an ailing husband (whom she has just donated a kidney to) and not recovering well herself, she pushes herself more and more trying to keep up with the very growing list of chores and things to be done.

What Alex does not do is listen to her children, both young - one a precocious teenager and one a very young girl. Both desperate for a mother to just listen to them and give them the opening they need to confide in her. Subjects which they cannot bring up as it is not cool enough or they are not comfortable with. Sam on the other hand, the husband who is now well recovered after surgery is blithe, having left it to Alex's capable hands for the last two decades he is quite willing to continue in the same vein.

The fact that Izzy is being bullied mercilessly and does not know how to cope and that Jenna is trying to cope with her budding sexuality are the two topics that are so well handled that it should be compulsory reading for all mothers and fathers. Whilst their children try to cope as best as they could, Alex and Sam both involved and focussed on their careers as they feel that this is what they do best, damage their family so much that it is a wonder that they did not all disappear into a black hole.

Honest to goodness day to day life for a typical first world family very well depicted.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Swing of Things by Linda Keir

The Swing of Things

Even from the title I didn't know where this book was going and I hadn't read about it on the blogs, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Eric and Jayne married with a little girl. Jayne is the bread winner, hubby stay at home dad and a good home maker. The marriage is beginning to be in a bit of a rut and Jayne wants something to shake it up to get back to their earlier spark. Eric seems more set in his ways and happy with his very comfortable life.

When Theo and Mia invite them over for a small dinner party, Eric and Jayne are more than happy to go - to be in the inner circle as it were. When the party ends in skinny dipping and light hearted flirtations all around, both of them are aware that this is a taste of what is to follow. Jayne is more looking forward than Eric is but as a couple they agree to be part of a small group of swingers. Theo gives Jayne valuable advice on a major case she is presenting, which will give her fast track to partner status, and though both have reservations how much further this can go, both are now more than excited to participate.

As would be expected there is a fall from this elevated plateau, and the machinations which have gone on behind the scenes is a bad scenario. More will be spoilers.

Characterization, plot and descriptiveness was spot on. Sexual scenes not overly explicit but sufficiently so!!!!

I read this till three am so it was an interesting read !

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Lake Union Publishing

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

We The Jury by Robert Rotstein

We, the Jury by Robert Rotstein

A not so straight forward killing - in this case the accused was a husband who axed his wife to death on the grounds that he was emotionally and physically abused, his children were abused by his wife and this was the result.

Told from the point of view of each juror and the Judge presiding, also from other court officials, each one gave a different scenario of the day to day happenings. Each one was different and quirky! even the Judge. It also showed how easy extraneous circumstances can affect us all and that no decision made by a jury is ever going to be based only the facts presented!

A very interesting piece of American justice system in play and one I enjoyed reading very much. Since all the jurors were naturally all very different individuals the story became more and more interesting as the trial unravel led.

Characterization and plot were spot on.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Blackstone Publishing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Finding Family by Judith Keim

Finding Family (Salty Key Inn Series Book 4)

Sheena and her two sisters Darcy and Regan have got a wonderful legacy. The chance to upgrade and improve their uncle's hotel. He has left them the legacy with provisos. They have to satisfy the auditors within a limited time frame that they are capable, far thinking and above all not selfish to grab all the money for themselves.

Each one is also facing personal hurdles of different kinds and they all seem to be coming to a head at the same time. Balancing their personal goals and their professional goals is going to take all their skills. They have been handed over a gold mine and it is upto them to nurture and take care of it.

This story of three sisters coming together, working together with a common goal with the beautiful setting of Florida and the Salty Key Inn as the background was a very interesting summerish type of read. I used the word summerish descriptively as being a lighter read because I really have no idea of what summer is like. We are in perpetual summer over here!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased  review, courtesy of Wild Quail Publishing.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Perfect Remains by Helen Field

This was a psychological murder thriller. I could add a few more to the descriptions and it alternately kept me on edge, full of revulsion, appalled at the sheer brutality of one man and amazed at the facade he maintained.

The story of unrequited not love, but esteem coupled with a yearning to be recognized and rebuffed by all, makes King a monster. Systematically choosing women by a method which was inhuman purely to gratify his own yearnings, he murdered two each providing DNA evidence that he doctored so that he could keep the women from whom he felt he should get recognition and respect.

The book was a tough one to read. I don't know whether it is a good thing that all I wanted to do was finish the book fast. It made me uncomfortable but I will not detract from the fact that it was meticulously plotted and planned. Still not a comfortable read.
 me on edge, full of revulsion, appalled at the sheer brutality of one man and amazed at the facade he maintained.

The story of unrequited not love, but esteem coupled with a yearning to be recognized and rebuffed by all, makes King a monster. Systematically choosing women by a method which was inhuman purely to gratify his own yearnings, he murdered two each providing DNA evidence that he doctored so that he could keep the women from whom he felt he should get recognition and respect.

The book was a tough one to read. I don't know whether it is a good thing that all I wanted to do was finish the book fast. It made me uncomfortable but I will not detract from the fact that it was meticulously plotted and planned. Still not a comfortable read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Avon Publishing.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Who she is. By Diane Byington

This was an emotional, but good read. For most of the story I was fighting for Faye, hoping that she would get out of the relentless hold of her parents Sue and Bud but I also knew she was under sixteen, had led a very restricted lifestyle and to rebel and break away was going to be hard if not impossible.

Moving every few months, no roots, a father who seemed over powering and a mother who was a coward Faye never had it easy. Her passion for running should not have got such a lot of opposition from her parents. She did not ask for money for the sport, it had the support of the school, she was so good at it that she could possibly get into college so why were the parents so anti running. Was it just because they thought it was not their social level to go to college, or is it that they just wanted another wage earner in the family. Or was it something a bit more.

Unravelling the story was a good one. Only revealed half way through that things are not exactly as they seemed for this family it goes one step at a time with fortunately a happy ending for Faye.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of BooksGoSocial.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Lover Too Many by Roy Lewis

A Lover Too Many (Inspector John Crow #1)

I am back to posting with a faulty pc so please excuse any obvious errors!

This was one of those slow paced crime classics. Not quite Agatha Christie and not quite English countryside this was set mainly in lawyers chambers and involved the partners in the office.

Inspector Crow (a most unfortunate name I thought) but quite suited to the part. Not very impressive in his physical appearance but very upto it otherwise, he is not happy with the verdict in a recent murder of the lady Jeannette, wife of one of the partners. The husband was exonerated completely but a whiff of scandal remains and he knows it is best if he resigns, moves away and starts a new life.
Before he does this however, another murder takes place and he is back squarely as a suspect.

It is now upto him and the Inspector to clear his name and this is going to be rather difficult to do. Peter's timings are just not right and it is only by a chance that he is able to finally set himself free and at the same time find out who actually murdered his wife.

This is a slow paced read so its not one of those high suspense, edge of the seat thrillers but it has its fair share of charm for some readers.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Joffe Books.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

the secrets we keep by Kate Hewitt

Two mothers who would normally never meet socially become neighbours in the not so fashionable lake side resort to which they normally would not go. It is for the entire summer so they are thrown together as it were.

Rebecca is sent away by her husband as it were, for disgracing him by being drunk at a cocktail party. He feels her absence for three months would make people forget her behaviour. The three children are a mixed bunch with the youngest Zoe being uncannily sharp, rude and arrogant. Tessa on the other hand is also at a bad point in her life. She is running away from her life and hopes that this summer will also reconnect her to her two children. Katharine who is reserved and withdrawn and Max a child with bullying issues.

Both are lonely feel discarded by their husbands and have no feeling of self worth. Both of them are trying to hold it together for the sake of their family and both are failing. Both have deep seated issues of insecurity and and in Rebecca's case a fear and hurt arising from child abuse. All this combined makes for a volatile situation which both are trying to control.

The story of friendship and family and the need to protect those we love is paramount in this story.
It was a good read, albeit an emotional one.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Finding Lucy by Diana Finley

Allison and her mother lived a quiet life. Isolated, no friends, her mother did not encourage her with young modern people so when she lost her mother she was quite alone.

But Allison longs for a child and so carefully prepares a diabolic plan to snatch a child. She does this so successfully that people who do remember vaguely a woman with a child, describe the infant very specifically as a boy. Allison delves into history at the cemetery and finds a name of a child who has died fitting into the same age and sex category and Lucy Brown emerges.

Lucy's life is calm and quiet till one day during a playful hypnosis pieces of a puzzle begin to unravel. Allison explains it as being an adopted child, the same way she was. It does not ring true however and as Lucy grows up leaves for university, finds a partner and then has a child of her own, the entire process blows up in the most horrific way forcing Allison to confront her past.

This was a real insight into how far a person could go to take what one wants, without thinking of ethical or moral issues.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of HQ Digital.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee

This was another one of those twisty kind of books which go deep into the mysteries of the human mind, which we cannot fathom anyway!

Hayley Reynolds is a disturbed teenager but to the world she appears just slightly not right. Not a mass murderer or vicious in anyway, Hayley is not welcome amongst her peers and her mother is uncomfortable with her in her own home. You know right from the start that Hayley is cooking something serious, something morbid.

Kirsten Green is a friend of Hayley. Hayley considers her, her best friend. Then she goes missing.
Hayleys mother has found happiness with a new lover who seems kind and considerate to her. Hayley does not like this. Something has to be done. A second girl goes missing and the detectives feel that they are closing in on their suspect.

The two stories of the new man in her mother's life becomes entwined in the story of Hayley and how she maneuvers everyone, including the detectives on the case to believe a scenario which is manipulated and of her choosing and planning,  and so clever that no one including a jury has any hesitation in putting away an innocent man for life.

It blows Detective Samuels world (she is still recovering from a previous case wrongly handled) and I doubt she will ever believe in her skills ever again.

Very good edge of the seat writing.t

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Wife's Secret by Kerry Wilkinson

Charley and Seth just got married. He was a vet, she was a shop albeit a small one owner. It looked like a normal wedding. The usual jokes, the usual friends who got a bit too drunk, and the couple seemed very normal.

It wasnt though. Charley was a Willis. A member of the infamous family whose members got murdered one at a time. It started with Charley's parents. Famous and murdered. Then Martha the elder girl who protected and looked after Charley. Burnt to death, suicide verdict. Charley and Martha's husband knew otherwise. And then. Charley disappears on the day of her wedding. She disappears in her wedding dress, nothing taken. Is it an abduction, is she dead.

When Charley turns up one week later in the house where she and Seth live with a blackened eye and a convoluted tale, Seth really does not know what to make of her story. The police are close lipped about it and the media are wild for stories.

What unravels is the usual myths of what lies within a family, the secrets that are hidden and lie festering within children and the explosion that will inevitably happen. The infamous line no one knows what really happens within a marriage, or a family other than those members couldn't be truer.

A very fascinating read, characterization spot on. Very well told.

I am catching up with all my reviews from Melbourne where I have time and the space to indulge in reading as much as I'd like. It is freezing though.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly

Jane and Leon are married with two small children. He is a fairly successful author, she is an aspiring one. The marriage is happy, and other than for small ups and downs the average family.

When Leon is faced with a confrontation with his neighbour Lawrence and is subsequently found injured, and badly bleeding while Jane was inside the house fetching a beer the whole scenario changes. Leon was attacked with an implement which had only Jane and Leon's fingerprints on it the whole attitude of the police changes with Jane being a major suspect.

While Leon is seriously injured and his whole life has changed, Jane is faced with upheaval after upheaval. After having left all financial decisions and planning to her husband and taking a backseat where money is concerned, she now finds herself locked out of their accounts, no money in the bank, having to take decisions and charter a course for survival for not just her and her two children but also for Leon who is now like the third child in the marriage.

Leon's recovery is going to be slow but he is unlikely to become the man he was before. The Leon that Jane knew and loved is gone and she has to come to terms with this new man, whom she does not quite like or trust anymore.

A story of how fickle life can be, how it change in an instant, betrayal by friends and at the same time how many of us cannot live in isolation however independent we may be. Extended family and friends are needed in times of crisis.

A good story. Well told.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Grove Atlantic.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tear Me Apart by J T Ellison

Tear Me Apart

I do not know what the description of this book is but mystery psychological thriller really does not cover it all. There is so much in this book and though overwhelming at times, it does not detract from the main story at all. In a lot of stories when you get lots of elements, there does not seem to be a clear line to the story and we have bits and pieces, all interesting but never really getting to the point. This book does not do that.

Lauren and Jasper and Mindy have the ultimate beautiful life. Lauren a successful artist, Jasper a lawyer and Mindy an outstanding Olympic hopeful who is on top of it all a very nice teenager. Juliet who is Lauren's sister is on the sidelines to this family - herself a scientist of repute.

When Mindy meets with an accident on the slopes it seems her chances of getting into the US team are skewered but what is even more tragic is that blood tests taken during surgery show that she is suffering from a very fast developing leukemia of a virulent type.  Medical tests prove that neither parent or Juliet is a match even in a very small way and the whole case opens at that point.

Very descriptive of the medical procedures of DNA and genetic testing which was a fascinating facet of the story in itself, the macabre maneuverings of Lauren to protect Mindy at all costs takes us into the twists of the human mind here.

A must read for everyone. It is not necessary that you like psychological thrillers or mysteries. This is seriously good writing.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Harlequin Mira (US & Canada) 

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Bronte Family by Karen Kenyon

The Bronte Family: Passionate Literary Geniuses

A detailed account of the lives of the entire Bronte family but dealing with Emily, Charlotte and Anne in greater detail, their life at the parsonage, their excursions into the wider world to both broaden their horizons as well as earn a living and how they all came back to the moors which they loved and the tragic end to their young lives.

Born at a time when women did not venture into the world of publishing however talented one coouls be they first published under male names and once established as "proper" authors ventured into this world with a great deal of success. With happiness denied in their personal lives, they lived a very self sacrificing life giving up on love and companionship for the parsonage and their (in my opinion) tyrant of a father.

This is a very short book but it encompasses all the details of the Bronte family very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Media. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Cast by Amy Bluemenfeld

Twenty five years ago five friends were inseperable. They became more so when they bonded when one of their number got cancer. She survived the cancer but the effect of the hospitalisation, the treatment and the situation after remained with them forever.

Now all grown up, with families of their own, other than Seth the perennial bachelor they are getting together once more. More disparate than before, each have their own issues in their lives and once again Becca is facing a return of the cancer and this time it is creating a huge rift in her marriage as well.

The story goes back and forth between their school years and the present times and it threw up a scenario which was new to me. Becca is faced with a decision of a mastectomy, common enough today, but she is hesitating about reconstructive surgery. She is very keen with the idea of just having the mastectomy and stopping at that. Her husband Nolan is horrified. He cannot imagine his wife without breasts, as being "not normal" and not "womanly" being the butt end of jokes amongst his friends and his attitude has blown Becca's trust and love for him as this is a Nolan whom she cannot imagine.

The attitude of Nolan divides the friends as well who try to see the situation from his point of view as well but the camps are solely behind their friend. They supported her in the past and they will do so now.

Friendships, marriage, unexpected issues, deep attractions after decades all come up in this beautifully handled story.

The book was sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Get Red PR

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

This Little Piggy by M G Crisci

This book brought to life the very theory that money corrupts and that immense amount of monies definitely upsets the apple cart unless you know how to handle it.

The prospect of making money, lots of it draws Victor in. He has no knowledge about Wall Street, about the manoeuvring the discipline of making money. He not only dives in head first, he drags his wife in. Finding themselves bankrupt and desperate, he then thinks of suicide in a rather unusual manner to absolve himself of all his wrongdoings.

The storyline was good, the characters were very typical of what they were depicting but the story also moved around a bit too much.aa

Sent to me by Netgalley for a unbiased review, courtesy of BooksGoSocial.

Monday, October 1, 2018

In Your Hands by Ines Pedrosa

Set in Portugal across decades beginning in 1935 we have a marriage which is rather unusual - Jenny gets married to Antonio but there is always Pedro as the third wheel in the marriage. Holding political salons and entertainment Pedro is much more important to Antonio than Jenny will ever be, but for appearances sake the facade is maintained always.

Fast forward thirty years and we have Camila now a headstrong young woman who reminisces about a love in Mozambique and who also bequeathed to her a daughter Natalija.

Three women's stories told across the generations, each with plenty of secrets and convoluted as thy come each of the women's stories are unique to their time and age.

Interesting background setting of turbulent Portugal and three strong determined women trying to set their mark.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of AmazonCrossing.

The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn are not the everyday run of the mill clergy. Clearly independent thinking, very much part of the clergy and part of the tiny village in Wales Sister Agatha is permanently on the look out for murders and mysteries after she solved one murder very nicely. Sister is also writing a book and all murders are grist to her writing mill!  That her Superior understands this was also unusual because the usual brakes that would be put on an over imaginative mind were absent and Sister was allowed a fairly loose rein which I don't think applies in nunneries!

The President of the Village Art Society is found dead. Apparently a heart attack and most people including the Police accept that it is a natural cause for death. Not the Sister. Until the Police who ignore her throughout are made to see that there is more to the death than meets the eye Sister Agatha will not let it go. Unraveling the mystery piece by piece she puts together a story that seems improbable for this small village but which will eventually ring true.

A lot of suspects are involved and all of them must be cleared by Christmas if the pageants and the festival is to continue with its choir without any impediment. A mystery which was also very humourous and added to the lightness of the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fatal Charm by Blair McDowell

After a string of rather intense murders and psychological thrillers this was a good change!

Caitlin is a jeweller by profession and she is stunned by the death of her sort of boyfriend. Someone she was not committed to but whom she liked. She now finds herself at the receiving end of a lot of interest by very nefarious and hard core characters who are determined to find an amulet that her boy friend has hidden in her work chambers.

Once it is found and with the handsome history professor by her side, alongside her able assistant, Caitlin is determined to return it to the Louvre, its original owner. You would think that this would be an open shut case with them welcoming Caitlin with open arms but the story becomes twisted with attempted kidnappings, murder and international intrigue.

Covering London, Brittany and Paris this was a fun read for me and a very welcome one at that. Lots of history in a very captivating way along with more than a touch of romance.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of The Wild Rose Press.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes

A Little Bird Told Me

The story was a very good one. A long time ago when she was a child bad things happened. The effect on her brother and herself was not a good one. It has effected her todate. Her brother has tried and is trying to move on, but it seems as if Robyn will not let go of the past until it has told her all its secrets.

From the beginning you realise that her sibling knew more than he let on. He was protecting his rather vulnerable sister, whether it was a good thing or not in hindsight maybe not but at the time he and his mother thought this was best.

The story was set in a small town where memories remained forever. Gosh it reminded me of villages in my country where what someone's grandmother did was spoken as if it happened yesterday.

Despite all this, the story did not come alive for me very much though it had such a lot of potential to be really good.  The main thing was that the story felt disjointed and did not flow very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Agora.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Least Wanted by Debbi Mack

A legal thriller this had a lot going on at the same time  Sam McRae is a small time lawyer but she gets into trouble big time. Defending one person who gave her a lot of sass, she never expected to get involved in a murder investigation, where the murders keep on coming.

Involving a lot of people, and those seemingly completely out of the blue the strands are very difficult to connect and draw together into an understandable whole. Covering gaming, teen porn, and the difficulties of teenage life in homes where there is no direction or protection was sad.

The part played by Tina the 13 year old was the saddest part of this story. Defenseless, unprotected by parents who should have done more her situation must be duplicated many many times and it must be to the despair of Social Service organisations in the country. So apart from the murder mystery thriller angle, this was the part that really tugged at my feelings whilst reading the book.

The title certainly does Tina justice though that was all she got.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of BooksGoSocial.

Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber

I just finished a book set in 1905 and now this is 1919. Despite the horrendous war and the after effects of it, the position of women seemed roughly unchanged. They took up the challenge, took to every known occupation available, filled in the all the gaps admirably but when the war was over they were expected to go back to their routine lives of home and family.

To those like Verity who worked behind the scenes and without anyone's knowledge in extremely desperate circumstances all for the good of the country, this must have been a hard act to follow. In her husband however, she had a stalwart supporter. Right now however Verity is in a precarious position also with her husband. He was presumed dead for a long time, and his sudden resurrection was a planned one. Verity cannot forgive him easily for the heartbreak of fifteen months when she thought she was a widow.

Now her history has come back with a vengeance because there seems to be someone following up on a very clandestine operation that very few knew about. No one even knew the names of the operators and so when a spiritualist in London makes a few strange remarks to Verity, which she disbelieves immediately followed by the gruesome murder of the spiritualist Verity knows that she has to be careful and that she must try to reach out to Emilie her contact in Belgium in order to know that she is safe and well.

The journey to Brussels and trying to find Emilie is a hazardous one - but it also shows Verity and Sydney that someone is on their trail with intent to kill. But who and why is the problem and the story unravels slowly.

Despite the slow unraveling the story is far from boring. Romance, history, espionage and a lot of mystery entwine themselves in this very well presented book.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Kensington Books.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot

Chief Constable Threadgold wants to go out with distinction. Thirty years on the job, he reopens a cold case that sent shivers through the community. He wants it closed and he wants it closed with all ends neatly dovetailed and a murder suspect taken into custody with a lot of publicity.

Things never go according to plan. Oonagh O'Neil smells something very rotten with the case.  Three woman brutally murdered, the present suspect mentally disabled by her treatment both by omission and commission in the state sector, so many anomalies in the case, police procedure not followed, so much of missing evidence, a cold wall comes up whenever the case is mentioned amongst the force and now with pieces of the jigsaw puzzle appearing, piece by piece Oonagh is also confronted with her present witnesses being slowly eliminated.

She is however not one to give up and even though she knows she will be the next target she is determined to see that justice is done for the innocent young lives which were lost in this tragic story.

Bringing up very unsavoury facts in the health sector as well as in the medical laboratories of the time it is not a very pleasant unfolding of facts. The story holds you in its thrall because these things did happen, probably still happening and no one is the wiser.

A series of which I have only read one, I will be looking out for Oonagh O'Neil in the future.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Digital Recon by Chad Bishop /Travel Adventures for the Young at Heart!

It started out way beyond my comprehension! but I got there slowly and by the end of the story I understood I think the gist of the story and how hackers work and how its done!

I think that achieved a lot for a short story.


Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of EG Publishing.

This was three books which I loved and which was just up my street. I loved the detailed outline of how each trip was planned and especially useful was the fact that it was catering to the above 60s. It took into account mobility issues, tiredness, energy being sapped by too much walking or talking all issues facing older people.

At the same time it did not detract from the very important facts of tours, cruises, travel in general. From Air bnb to hotels, to restaurants to streets and canals the book covered so much detail and in such a light hearted spirit I felt that I was on their adventure myself.

A delightful read sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of BooksGoSocial.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Feared (Rosato & DiNunzio, #6)

A reverse discrimination suit brought against the all female firm is a new one for the books and it is Mary's arch enemy Nick Machiavelli who is behind it all. Having a trusted associate turn against them was a hard one to accept, but when a day later John is found murdered the entire issue is thrown wide open with several suspects including his secret fiancee who happens to be a partner of the firm (who also kept quiet about the relationship until his murder).

Mary is seven months pregnant but she does know that Machiavelli is waging a personal vendetta on her and her firm. He is determined to get rid of them professionally but has left no traces to connect him with any of the suits brought against them. It is upto sheer hard detective skills that they are able to find traces of Nick's hand behind all the problems they face. Devious and like his name, Nick is brought down to earth with a thud (this sounded a bit unimaginable) by his mother to whom he cannot lie.

The Italian American community seems larger than life in Philadelphia and it is they who are in the forefront of Mary's endeavours to get to the bottom of their problems.  Held back by her pregnancy, she seeks help from any quarter to put an end to this battle which will see all her hopes and aspirations for her firm of lawyers dashed. This is where her arch enemy's mother came in!

I liked this bunch of feisty women who were not going to give in until justice was done. Despite skepticism from partners, withdrawal of cases from their clients, intimidation by the press they kept on.

Slightly different to Lisa Scottoline's other books, this was nevertheless a very good book.

Sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Pupil by Dawn Godwin

Katherine Baxter is a mum of two small kids, a housewife and to all appearances just another mother trying to get through the routine, the boring, the mundane. Behind this facade is a girl who had dreams of writing, of becoming an author and getting published. She also has a past which wrecked the lives of four people, was followed by the paparazzi and though she came out of it alive, she was definitely not left unscathed. Upto date, under a doctor's care with anti depressants and a careful watch by her husband she manages her life.

Attending a workshop for aspiring authors renews Katherine's hopes that she can write and sets in motion a series of meetings with Sam Morton who undertakes to mentor her, and his wife Viola who throughout the story blows hot and cold. It is only much later that you understand Viola's hatred for Katherine - illogical though it is.

Throughout the novel, you did know that something was amiss and halfway through I realised it was connected to Katherine's past and inextricably linked to the Mortons. Sad but twisted in Viola's mind was revenge of the most basic kind.

A suspenseful mystery trying to unravel the workings of the mind (which I think can never be fully and rationally understood!!).

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Last Hours by Heidi Ashworth

In 1348 when plague strikes England, it is a new disease and no one knows how it is spread. When one reads of the squalor and the lack of hygiene which was widespread it is miraculous that the country escaped the plague before this.

Attributed to God the plague is widespread and when it enters Dorsetshire, the Lady of the Manor decides on a drastic course of action which will save over two hundred souls who belong to the village. She brings them all into the castle, closes up the entrances and prevents anyone, including her husband who was a villain of the first order to enter the castle. Her husband brings with him back the plague and dies along with his soldiers save one.

The story of how Anne saves her household against all odds, against marauding fellow Lords who want to gain access to her house to plunder whatever gold she has, and above all a treacherous daughter who will not hold anything sacred to destroy her mother and all she stands for.

It was not an easy book to read because the raw emotion and animosity that the daughter had for her mother was unbelievable. It is quite clear at the end though but it did not make it any less easy to accept.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Mira Harlequin (US & Canada)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss

The Trailing Spouse

Singapore can be a dream destination for many. For expatriate workers too, life can seem to be an endless round of relaxation and parties and the very good life.  For the blue collar workers it may not be so.

Wives who are not working in Singapore are there at the mercy of their husbands. If the husbands visa is revoked, they have thirty days grace to get out of Singapore. Amanda lives a luxurious life with her husband and their step daughter. It is not an ideal relationship but Amanda tries to make it work. Their maid is Filipina and very pleasant with no signs of any dissent. When an apparent suicide takes place and her husband's medication is found in the maid's room, Amanda is left questioning her husband's past and present.

We have Camille working for the British High Commission but whose sole purpose is to find out what happened to her parents when she was a child in Singapore. They disappeared and were never found. Camille is very sure they are alive. Somehow Edward Bonham Amanda's husband seems to be the link and little memories that were hidden now keep popping up.

How Edward's secrets of so long ago are going to be an unexploded bomb in both Camille and Amanda's lives and the secrets of the maid's life are all innocently explained away but far too late for all of them. 

The story unravels slowly and though you think it is a huge conspiracy there is a simple explanation for it all. Unfortunately too late for many of the people in the story.

Very well told and very descriptive of life in Singapore amongst the expat community.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Silver Ladies of London by Lesley Eames

The Silver Ladies of London

1920s London a time of great change. Four friends in rural England, all under immense pressure of their own. All seeking a way out of their present circumstances. It came in a very strange way.

Accused of a theft of a valuable necklace, dismissed without references which in a small town was a death knell for any hopes of finding employment, the four girls face a very bleak future. An unexpected inheritance for one of the girls who is determined that all four should benefit, they take themselves off to London with high hopes of doing something with their lives.

A silver Rolls Royce is at the heart of their enterprise and despite it being completely out of the ordinary, they offer their services as lady chauffeurs to anyone wanting their services. Faced with opposition from all sides, obstacles being constantly thrown in their way the girls find not just professional satisfaction from jobs well done but personal happiness as well.

Light hearted but at the same time very descriptive of the attitudes of people in England towards working, independent women was a nice feature. It was not an easy ride at all. How families themselves could be the oppressors - you did not need the outside world at all to be a stumbling block for any step forward was very apparent in many lives.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.