Before I Find You by Ali Knight #BookReview

BeforeIFindYou def

whats-it-about-2

Maggie is a husband watcher. A snooper, a marriage doctor, a killer of happy-ever-afters. She runs her own private detective agency specialising in catching out those who cheat. And she’s very good at it. Until Helene walks through her door.

Helene is a husband catcher. A beautiful wife, a doting stepmother, a dazzling presence at parties. She counts herself lucky to have married one of the most eligible men in town – Gabe Moreau. Until she sees something that threatens her little family of three.

Alice is a perfect daughter. Apple of her father’s eye, a kind stepchild to Helene, a tragic daughter of a dead mother. She lives a sheltered but happy life. Until she finds a handwritten note on her father’s desk: ‘You owe me. I’m not going away.’

All three women suspect Gabe Moreau of keeping secrets and telling lies. But not one of them suspects that the truth could result in murder . . .

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

star three and a half

I was lucky enough to read Before I Find You via the Pigeonhole app installed on my tablet, so I received one stave each day over a course of ten days.

Before I Find You is a story dominated by women, very strong women to be exact.  I can’t say I felt much sympathy for any of them, unfortunately. Helene, the woman who suspects her husband Gabe of cheating, was too snubby and composed for me to like her. I hate to say it because there really shouldn’t be any excuse but in a way I could even see why her husband might have done what she suspects him of. Alice, the daughter, is a spoilt little brat who I wouldn’t want in my house and who happens to be smart beyond her years. I knew not to underestimate her. As for Maggie, the PI, who I would have expected to like and love, well she didn’t seem like a bad person but even she’s quite rude and standoffish. I also knew she was hiding something about her past so that didn’t make her very trustworthy either.

Aside from the characters, the storyline was quite good and kept me on my toes. The start of the story was a bit of a slow burner but it really kicks into higher gear when the murder happens. I quickly became engrossed and hooked from there. I didn’t know who to put my money on from thereon and if I thought it would end here, well no no.. the author had a brilliant twist up her sleeve that really lifted the story up to a higher level. I very much enjoyed the last part of the novel and I’d give it 4 stars easily for the ‘where the hell did that came from’ plot but I’m afraid the characters influenced my rating in this case more than I wanted. It’s still a good read though so I’m sure to keep an eye out for another one of her novels.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via The Pigeonhole. This is my honest opinion.

Advertisements

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen #BookReview

AnAnonymousGirl def

whats-it-about-2

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive, and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr Shields may know what she’s thinking . . . and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what is real in her life, and what is one of Dr Shields’s manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

This novel was very high on my wishlist and I might have squeeled a little when I was invited by the publisher to read it on Netgalley. It’s as if they read my mind!

I was’t only very excited to read the novel though, I was a little anxious as well. I don’t need to be reminded how unexpectedly twisted The Wife Between Us was so I didn’t know if the follow-up of that bestseller would be as satisfying as the first. The bar was set quite high but it definitely lived up to my expectations!

An Anonymous Girl really plays the psychological card and is for me THE perfect definition of a ‘psychological’ thriller! The book contains quite a bit of psychological warfare and I couldn’t be happier about that as I’m always fascinated by secrets and lies, how some people can derive answers from non-verbal clues, how they can read people and instinctively know their strenghts and weaknesses, what drives them and what makes them afraid. If you have an interest in the human psyche and psychology then this one is a real hit.

The novel is told in alternate chapters by Jess (Jessica), a girl working as a make-up artist and Dr. Shields, a psychology professor. Their interaction commences with Jess taking part in a survey where she has to answer truthfully on some thought-provoking questions that form the basis of a morality study. I loved getting to know Jess by working my way through her answers. Her thoughts and feelings were there, stripped from every disguise, and I liked her character, it shows she’s flawed but her honesty was touching. It also made me think what I’d answer on the questions myself. The novel takes a bit of a turn when her loyalty is being tested though. It’s not clear what Dr. Shield’s intentions are at first but I did have an unsettling feeling that there was an unseen threat and Jess was being used for something. There’s definitely manipulation in this novel involved but is it Dr. Shields or the third person who joins their little triangle who is lying to Jess? Trust is an important issue in the novel and I have to admit I was quick to judge some people as well… I liked and trusted some characters first, to change my mind about them as the story progressed, until I was completely at a loss about who to trust.

An Anonymous Girl is a novel of action and reaction, and as it nears the end it has something of a chess game with the main characters playing some serious mind games. Halfway through the book Jess doesn’t know who represents the real danger in this tangled web she finds herself in anymore. The tension hung in the air and it was great not knowing what their next move would be. The confrontation and finding out who would lie and who would tell the truth in the end was fascinating to see unfold.

I can’t wait to see what the authors come up with next.

I received a free copy of the novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sleep by C.L. Taylor #BookReview

Blank bookcover with clipping path

whats-it-about-2

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Sleep by C.L. Taylor was an answer to my prayers as I’ve been trying to find and read more locked-in type novels with a promise of lots and lots of possible suspects. If this isn’t one that fits the description then I don’t know what is! I’m such a fan of these settings where there’s no escape and the person forming a threat is right there.. it gives me a thrill to try and work out who it is.

I don’t know why but at first I thought that sleep itself might be a dangerous thing for Anna but, luckily for me, the novel doesn’t take this disturbing route but even if it’s not spooky scary, the novel can still keep you up and give you a sleepless night in the end ;-).

Anna’s reasons for finding it hard to get to sleep are quite different from mine though. She was involved in an accident where some people lost their lives and she feels terribly guilty even though it wasn’t her fault. Unfortunately, someone else feels she is exactly the one to blame. The motive was quite straightforward but the one with ill feelings was not easy to spot. This mysterious person starts taunting her, asking her how she can sleep. In an effort to leave it all behind her she takes a job in the only hotel on the Scottish island called Rum but it will soon turn out that the taunts haven’t stopped and even increase in intensity. Someone’s followed her and is looking to make her pay.

I very much enjoyed trying to figure out who was behind all of it. The author managed to surprise me halfway through the novel with a great twist and threw in some red herrings towards the end as well so that nobody escapes from being a suspect. At a certain time I thought I’d picked up on a tiny clue and I was getting more excited when there was a reference later again but alas, she still managed to wrongfoot me. It was only right at the end that I was certain I had put my money (figuratively!) on the right person. Yay me!

The novel is similar to An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena so I can recommend this novel if you enjoyed reading the former and can’t get enough of it! Sleep.. or don’t sleep if it’s as gripping to you as it was to me!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz #BookReview

TheSentenceIsDeath def

whats-it-about-2

‘What are you doing here? It’s a bit late…’

These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.

Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?

Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.

But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realises that these secrets must be exposed – even at the risk of death…

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

If you a) like a baffling mystery and b) you’re a fan of Hercule Poirot then c) it is dead certain this novel will please you.

I didn’t know at first but The Sentence is Death is actually the second in a series following PI Daniel Hawthorne and the writer, Anthony. That’s exactly right, the author of this novel is also acting as a main character, following the PI around in order to write a book (this book) about him. This infusion of some veritable facts mixed with fiction made it quite an exceptional reading experience. What was told felt very realistic and authentic and Anthony’s first person POV made me feel as if I really came to know the author’s very thoughts, quite a contrast with the closed-off PI Daniel Hawthorne.

Anthony Horowitz wrote several episodes of Poirot so it’s no wonder this novel was exactly my cup of tea. It does lean more towards the cosy mystery genre for me, a little lighter than the crime novels I usually read but I really liked the mystery, or should I say mysteries because there is not one but two cases to be solved.

The story was complex enough to keep me highly entertained and much like Tony himself I was trawling behind Hawthorne and didn’t see the clues. Even though everything was written down word for word what was happening when they interviewed everyone involved, I couldn’t figure out the connection – if there even was one – between the puzzling murder of divorce lawyer Richard Price and another suspicious ‘incident’.

There was a lot of guesswork because the novel could go forward in two very different directions with very different suspects. Did the past catch up with Price or was it indeed, as was their initial thought, one of Price’s clients? I had no idea which path it was going to follow, it was very cleverly written to keep the suspense to a maximum and it made me excited to find out the truth.

I was also surprised, and very pleasantly so, the novel was set in a world of books and publicists and writers. Anthony’s character lends itself of course to dive into this world but there’s another character who’s a writer and so he finds himself in a bookshop, talking to a publicist and talking books. He refers to his first novel, The Word is Murder, a few times because that’s where he starts his cooperation with Daniel Hawthorne but I didn’t feel I missed anything and this novel is a good standalone.

The Sentence is Death was a puzzling but entertaining murder mystery. Even though I haven’t warmed yet to Hawthorne, who is the only remaining mystery in this novel, I look forward to reading the third novel in the series already.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood #BookReview

Day of the Accident def

whats-it-about-2

They say you killed…BUT WHAT IF THEY’RE WRONG?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

An excellent novel! This is the second novel I read by Nuala Ellwood, the first being the absolutely amazing My Sister’s Bones. It’s so tricky to write a great sequel after such a debut but she pulled it off with great ease it seems, I wanted to keep on reading. The prologue alone is enough to draw you in, it opens with Maggie (Margaret) in court taking the stand and she’s determined to make things right now…

The story then cuts back to Maggie waking up in the hospital and being told her daughter is dead. She locked her car condemning her daughter to die! How could she? It doesn’t make sense because the love for her little girl is spilling from the pages. Her husband disappears quite literally out of the picture and she is left on her own devices – without a home even – with nothing but the tiniest snippets of flashbacks.

The mystery was really well developed and Maggie was a very likeable character. Is she reliable though? I felt sorry for her and rooted for her to find some answers. There are fragments of her memory that come to her and help piece together what happened on that day but there are also letters written by a little girl who misses her mother enormously and pleads for her mother to take her home. The emotional letters tugged at my heart but did not make it easier to work out what happened. They only created more doubt and confusion actually because enthralled as I was by them, it remained a mystery who the author was. I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions but if it wasn’t Elspeth, then who would it be? Maggie is convinced her daughter is alive and there are a few strange events that could be a sign she just could be right…

The Day of the Accident had a tantalising plot with great twists and turns making it even unpredictable for me to figure out where to search for answers or know who held them. It was difficult to know who to trust, Ellwood kept me guessing throughout and it all built up to a devastating finale.

The story ends in court the way it begun, making it a full circle. Knowing the story though, you’ll look at it with a whole new set of eyes. Brilliant conclusion.

Even though My Sister’s Bones is still my number one novel, I thoroughly enjoyed The Day of The Accident and I look forward to her next novel already!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

My holiday reads reviewed

I took 3 reads with me so you’re getting 3 reviews in one go. I compared them to each other too and that’s why you get a 3, 4 and 4.5 star review ;-). I’m showing them in the order I read them btw 😉

TheFlightofCorneliaBlackwood def

whats-it-about-2

She has a loving marriage.

But she has no friends.

Everyone knows her name.

But no one will speak it.

Why?

Cornelia Blackwood is about to do something very wrong, for reasons she believes to be right.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

The Flight of Cordelia Blackwood was a poignant novel with a tragic tale at the heart of it. The genre of novel was different from what I expected it to be but it was a gripping read and I really enjoyed reading it. Even without the experience of being a mother myself, I was drawn into the story right away and I could feel Leah’s agony and longing for a child.

The story is told via alternating chapters and shows Leah meeting Adrian in the past, going through some of life’s tragedies together and a new storyline that runs from the present onwards and hints at something bad happening in the past that made her lose all credit, all of her friends too. The author deftly steers the story in a certain direction and it’s impossible to miss where the answer lies. I couldn’t help conjuring so many worrisome thoughts and I held my heart at least a few times when I read about some of Leah’s life changes, but the author made me squirm in my seat with all the twists and turns in the story before getting to the exact heart of it.

I just couldn’t compute Leah’s treatment with the image that I was building of her in my head… surely she wasn’t capable of doing anything evil? Her story reads as one tragedy happening upon another and made me feel sad for her. But how did she end up so injured and broken, walking around with a cane, and why is she getting these looks? I was trying to get an idea how things added up but it was a well-kept mystery until the end and given her deteriorating state of mind I knew something was coming but I never expected that.

The Flight of Cordelia Blackwood was a story of grief and love and that feeling when it just all seems to be too much. It’s sad and heart-breaking at times and that ending, it left me reeling.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I had the intention before I left to leave one good read behind so I left my copy in Kos for another reader to enjoy :-).

TFOCB

Line

LittleSister def

whats-it-about-2

After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns and before long Jess has moved into Emily’s comfortable island home. Life couldn’t be better. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess’s care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart.

Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before?

amazon uk

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I expected a mystery but I had no idea the story would hold SO SO many secrets and lies. EVERYBODY here is hiding something or other and I absolutely loved all these surprises that follow up at warp speed. And then there is the lie of all lies.. I had no idea who’d turn out to be the biggest liar of them all so around midway the most stunning twist just happened that put everything into a new perspective. I had absolutely no idea and didn’t expect the direction this story was going in. It’s just the things you take for a truth and don’t question that can surprise you the most if they turn out to be a lie, isn’t it. I guess that’s also why we are surprised when someone tells us they don’t love us anymore, right?

The story kicks off right away with Daisy’s abduction and when the police question Jess, who was babysitting, and her parents, Emily and James, there’s already some little white lies here and there about their whereabouts and the circumstances. It starts small but after a while I couldn’t help wonder why they would lie about anything at all and then before you’re even very well aware of it one stone after another is thrown at each other and my paranoia was all over the place. I do love big happy families who come apart like that :-). You can really trust nobody here and I was keen to keep it that way too. Someone did earn my sympathy and trust little by little, and I also started to loathe another character quite vehemently at the same time when my feelings turned out to be viable in the light of some actions.

Little Sister turned out to be not only a story about abduction, the opening storyline even takes a backseat for a while when another timeline is followed taking place during the teenage years of Jess and Emily, but about what happened between the two sisters so many years ago as well. The picture becomes clearer with every flashback about the nature of their sibling relationship and the reasons why Jess left home at the age of 17.  This plotline was just as riveting to read and had its own shock-factor too.

If you’re talking about authors who can deliver an amazing twist then I have to count Isabel Ashdown among them. It took me by surprise how much I enjoyed this one and I already look forward picking up another book from this author. If you have any of her books you want to swap for something I have, you let me know!

I received a free copy of this novel from another blogger in a book swap. This is my honest opinion.

Line

IfYouKnewMySister def

whats-it-about-2

Dr. Irini Harringford was given away by her parents just before her fourth birthday. Although she has spent her whole life trying to convince herself she doesn’t need them, deep down Irini longs to understand why she was abandoned, while her parents kept her older sister, Elle.

So when Elle gets in touch with news that their mother has died, Irini reluctantly agrees to return to the family home. But she is ill at ease. She and Elle are not close. Irini knows only too well what Elle is capable of. Inexplicably drawn to her enigmatic sister, yet terrified of the sway she holds, Irini tries to protect herself even as she is sucked back into her family’s toxic web of secrets…and soon realizes that the past is more complicated than she imagined, and that her very future rests upon discovering the truth about why she was really given away.

amazon ukamazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars_1457015858_81_246_96_2

Irini’s haunted by her past and this has serious repercussions for her love life as it makes her doubt the person currently in her life. Just thinking about what her parents did, giving her up at the age of 3 and keeping her sister, Elle, made me instantly sympathetic and cautious of her parents. Was it because she had a handicap, was it because she was unlovable, she never knew the reasons. What she does know is that she doesn’t want to have children of her own, that’s how big the toll is because of their decision in the past. Truth be told, there was one member of the family who wanted her in her life, her sister has tried to find her again and again and she also succeeded. Isn’t it ever so strange though that she ran from her sister so many times then, going so far as moving and changing her phone number? I was wondering what happened right away. Now that Elle finally caught up with her again Irini decides to take the opportunity and find out the answers she’s always been craving.

This need to know her parent’s motives and the reason why Irini would run from her sister are at the core of the novel and there’s a lot of darting around the answers throughout the story. It was a bit transparent for me though why her mother and father sent her off and the biggest mystery was discovering why she and her sister have such a dysfunctional relationship and what happened in the past between them to cut all contact.

Sister relationships are always interesting to read about and the push and pull between the two sisters was no different. Their interactions make great waves and especially the domineering personality of Elle over Irini. Even though I sympathised with Irini at first and how she was hurt like that, the feeling waned and I can’t say I liked either of the sisters in the end, but Elle really is the worst character I’ve come across lately. Elle’s issues make her very manipulative and controlling and Irini is of course the perfect victim. It was impressive what Elle was capable of and fascinating to watch their interactions.

However, I didn’t always understand why Irini just went along with everything and not once stood up against her or told her off. I knew quite soon that there was something off about Elle so why she got so much credit from Irini I never fully understood. I also found it slightly unbelievable that nobody told her anything throughout her life about the reasons why her parents made the decision and in hindsight also why they didn’t even follow up on her from a distance, they could have at least sent a birthday card each year, right?

There were quite a lot of events unfolding in the last part of the novel and that’s the part that I really enjoyed best, the more you read the better it gets. I’m still not entirely sure about Elle in the end though, is she evil or disturbed, I’m still doubtful. Maybe a bit both.. you’ll have to make up your own mind.

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

IYKMS pic

Her Last Move by John Marrs #BookReview

Her Last Move def

whats-it-about-2

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

Without exception, I very much enjoyed each of the author’s previous novels. It’s no secret either that John Marrs is one of my favorite authors who I often recommend to other readers. Well if someone’s looking for a new detective novel I can now recommend Her Last Move as well. This novel is his first foray into the police procedural genre, using a detective’s point of view and I have to give him another round of applause because he pulled it off in a genre I read plenty of books in: the plot is original, the cast authentic and the writing superb.

Detectives usually pair up in novels, that’s a standard deal, but I’d never read a novel about a duo like the one (Detective Sergeant) Becca forms with Joe Russell. What am I saying, I hadn’t even heard about the job of a super-recognizer before. Joe Russell is the bunny in the hat and it works brilliantly. I was sceptical of his role and his usefulness but quite fascinated as well.

I didn’t even read half the novel before I absolutely had to know if super-recognizers are really employed in the police force. Google and Wikipedia showed that Scotland Yard has a squad of over 200! Huh! The internet also provides many tests as well apparantly if you want to check if you are in doubt (or convinced) that you have this very special ability of being able to recognise 80% of faces, whereas normal people only score a good 20%.

The author peppers Her Last Move with plenty of revelations and both of the main characters have very interesting backgrounds and family relationships that are out of the ordinary and make you sympathise with them right away as they both have their own personal issues as well. I can’t say much about the investigation but I can tell you that I was hooked as soon as the first murder occured in the very first chapter because I felt I could almost touch the murderer myself. The setting of the unfortunate event was a metro station so the thought that someone can harm someone else so easily if it’s a bit crowded makes me want to keep my distance from everyone from now on, even more than before ;-). The second murder was already more gruesome and I could only guess at the reasons why the killer let his victim suffer without remorse. Marrs kept me on my toes the whole time as I was trying to figure out what connected these people and who might have been doing this but the underlying reasons are of course not easy to spot. Just when Joe’s closing in on the suspect and the story shifts into its highest gear, there’s that one big twist that happened that I was totally unprepared for and it completely knocked me out of balance. I’m talking about one VERY intense scene. I still can’t get over it. There were so many thoughts running through my head at the time and I was holding onto my dear heart too. The author kept me guessing about the outcome for sooo long, it was bloody torture and I could only think nooooo in my head. I didn’t expect this turn of events AT ALL and I loved it as much as I hated what came out of his twisted mind.

Overall, Her Last Move was amazingly entertaining so I definitely recommend!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.