“Dead Inside” by Noelle Holten – Book Review

“I was dead inside, numb to it all even as I tried to remember the happier times.”

Staffordshire has a critical domestic abuse problem. Because of this, a new, specialized police team called DAHU (Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit) have been set up to deal with murders linked to domestic abuse. In addition, Staffordshire is experiencing an increasing number of substance abusers. The two problems act like nitro and glycerin.

New to the DAHU team is DC Maggie Jamieson. Also new to the team is the goth-dressed criminal psychologist Dr. Kate Moloney.

I was excited to learn that one of the bookbloggers I’ve followed for some time had written a book. I was tickled to read many familiar names sprinkled throughout the novel (the author used several of her bookblogger friends’ names for her characters).

The subject matter of the novel is quite dark and disturbing. Spousal abuse/domestic violence is a difficult topic, but one in which this author is very knowledgeable – having worked as a probation officer herself. She knows her subject, and it shows. She seems to have an innate understanding of the abuser’s psyche – and a knowledge of the cycle of abuse.

I thought that the novel had rather too many characters and found that less would have been more in this case. The protagonist should have been policewoman Maggie Jamieson as this is the first in the D.C. Maggie Jamieson series. However, after reading the book, I clearly felt that probation officer Lucy Sherwood was the protagonist.

Lucy Sherwood was a likable character, yet I was very frustrated with her. She has made her career working with violent offenders/abusers, yet she is abused herself. Surely she would have been more keen to escape her dire situation – and given her line of work had the gumption to do so. I understand that she was thinking of her husband’s children, yet surely even they would have been better off out of that abusive environment…

The narrative was written skillfully and kept me interested in the outcome. This debut novel will be (and has been) enjoyed by many readers. I’ll be interested in what this talented author will write next. All in all, “Dead Inside” was a strong debut.

I received a complimentary digital copy of “Dead Inside” from Killer Reads via NetGalley and the Killer Reads Facebook Group.

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast.

Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Follow Noelle Holten on Twitter.

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Killer Reads | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = FRAGILE

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

I know there are hundreds of books with the word ‘FRAGILE’ in the title, but I’m featuring a small selection of titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love.  I haven’t read any of these – have you?

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even one of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 8 Comments

“The Peacock Summer” by Hannah Richell – Book Review

Present day – Maggie Oberon has been living a rather hedonistic life in Australia for the past year. She fled England after breaking up with her fiance under a dark cloud. When she learns of her beloved grandmother’s health issues, she flies back to take care of her.

After Maggie’s return, her eighty-six year old grandmother, Lillian, is released to her care. They go home to Cloudesley, the manor house in rural Buckinghamshire where Lillian brought Maggie up after her father left her there at a tender age.

Maggie sees Cloudesley through new eyes. The place is suffering from neglect and is falling into ruin. There is no money to carry out even the most essential of repairs. The old place has many closed off rooms, suffers from damp, wood-rot, and worse.

“Lillian and Cloudesley, she grew to understand, were the only consistencies she could rely upon.”

1955 – We meet a young Lillian as she meets and marries the widower Charles Oberon. She becomes stepmother to his son Albie, whom she loves as if he were her own. Cloudesley is in its prime. Fully staffed and in good repair, the old house has a personality all its own – though even back then it held its secrets close.

Although Lillian wants for nothing, her life is not a happy one. The much older Charles is controlling, volatile, and manipulative, even physically violent at times… Lillian feels like a bird trapped in a gilded cage. She cannot leave Charles, because that would mean leaving young Albie. Also, Charles pays for the fees so that her dear sister, who requires institutionalized care, can live in a safe and caring environment.

“In a house life this – for a family like this – perhaps it wasn’t so very strange to have ghost-rooms no one ever entered.”

One fateful summer, Charles hires an artist to paint a room at Cloudesley. He wants a full mural using all four walls and ceiling.  So, the artist, Jack, moves in for the summer…

Combine family secrets, an atmospheric old English manor house, and dual timelines and you’ve created a recipe for a novel I’m sure to enjoy. “The Peacock Summer” did just that – making it a standout read for me personally.

I was absolutely riveted by both Maggie’s and Lillian’s stories. The characters were fully developed, real people, with strengths and weaknesses. They both have made decisions that they have cause to regret… But then, haven’t we all?

The old house, the grounds, all were vivid in my imagination. When the book ended, I was loathe to leave them.

In short, I loved this novel. In my opinion it was comparable to the best work of Kate Morton, Rosamund Pilcher, and Harriet Evans.  A realistic family saga that might pull at your heart strings.  Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Harper Collins via Edelweiss. My honest review is my way of saying thanks to both author and publisher.Hannah Richell was born in Kent and spent her childhood years in Buckinghamshire and Canada. After graduating from the University of Nottingham she worked in the book publishing and film industries.

She began to write in 2007 while pregnant with her first child. The result was Secrets of the Tides, which was picked for the 2012 Richard & Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and was shortlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Best Debut Fiction Award, ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year (2013) and ABIA Newcomer of the Year (2013). The novel was translated into fifteen languages.

Her second novel was The Shadow Year, published in 2013. The Peacock Summer is her third novel.

Hannah Richell a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, though she currently lives in the South West of England with her family.

Follow Hannah Richell on Twitter OR visit her blog.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Family sagas, Favorite books, Love stories | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

“The Lynmouth Stories” by L.V. Hay – Book Review

It takes talent to leave a lasting impression in a short story format. These three short stories are expertly wrought, with vivid settings and even more vivid characterization. All featuring female protagonists, the stories are dark in nature, though not really ‘thrillers’ as such.

My favourite of the three was “In Hell and High Water“. I loved the way the protagonist achieved justice without really instigating it herself.

The darkest of the stories was “Killing me Softly“. The deeply depressed protagonist is literally courting death.

The only story that I was less than completely satisfied with was “In Plain Sight“. The title was perfect for the story, the characters were wonderful, yet the ending was too ambiguous for my personal liking.

All in all, a great, though small collection of short stories that will leave you wanting more. Now I’m eager to try out one of the author’s full length novels. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources who hosted this one day blog blitz to introduce readers to this talented author.

Lucy V. Hay is an author and script editor, living in Devon with her husband, three children and six cats. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for The London Screenwriters’ Festival. Lucy is also an author, writing both screenwriting books and crime fiction. Check out her website.

Follow Lucy Hay on Twitter.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Rachel's Random Resources, Short stories | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

“Blood Lines” by Angela Marsons – Book Review #MarsonsOfTheMonth


For some time now I have noticed that the D.I. Kim Stone series has been highly praised by my fellow book bloggers. Therefore, I decided that despite my lengthy TBR, I would read the series in its entirety, one title every month. What a wise decision I made!

D.I. Kim Stone – An acerbic, brusque, and driven young woman who works as a Detective Inspector for the West Midlands Police, the second largest police force in the country. She is socially inept, and has been known to break the rules, as well as to disregard instructions and protocols in her search for justice. An insomniac, she is fueled by nervous energy and lots of coffee, and is beautiful, but she works hard to hide it. She is 34 years old, brilliant, hot-headed, and damaged. As a child, she suffered horribly, and was shunted from foster home to foster home. Only once did she experience a nurturing, loving relationship – and that was very short lived…. Now, when not working, her favourite thing to do is work at restoring vintage motorbikes. Bikes are her passion, and she uses a Kawasaki Ninja as her regular form of transport.

Other than her second in command, Bryant, she is friendless. Her one real weakness is her fondness for her adopted dog, Barney.

“Barney wasn’t keen on other people and certainly not on other dogs. Kim often wondered what had happened in his early years to make him such a complex little character. She supposed he wondered the same thing about her.”

Her team respect her and are very loyal.

Police team

D.S. Bryant, twelve years her senior, is Kim’s partner and dearest friend. He is married and the father of daughters.
D.S. Kevin Dawson, young, vain, fit, and not yet mature. Yet each book in the series shows his growing potential to be a great police officer. This time he incurs Kim’s wrath.
Constable Stacy Wood, a diligent and hard-working local girl who excels at online research and data-mining which is often invaluable to the team’s success.
D.C.I. Woodward (Woody) is Kim’s long-suffering superior. Like the rest of her team, he is loyal and stands up for her when the higher-ups would have her removed from the case. In this novel, Woody is away on holiday and his superior is Kim’s acting boss.

Keats is the local pathologist. He and Kim Stone have an acerbic but mutually respectful relationship.


In DI Kim Stone’s fifth outing we find her and her team working another murder case. A well-respected, middle-aged woman named Deanna Brightman is found dead in her car. She has been fatally stabbed. Then, shortly thereafter, another woman is found stabbed in the exact same way. There are no commonalities between the two women so Kim and her team have their work cut out for them in trying to solve the case.

“She was still bothered by two key things: the complete disparity in her victims and what appeared to be the complete absence of emotion in the attack.”

The team’s attention turns to a man named Jason Cross who fits bespoke kitchens. He seems to have some connection to both of the murdered women.

The narrative of “Blood Lines” is interspersed with sections which give the reader insight into the mind of the killer. He seems sadistic and deranged, as one might expect.

Meanwhile, Kim is experiencing great angst in her personal life. The evil psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandra Thorne (who we first met in “Evil Games”, the second novel in this series) is back in Kim’s life despite the fact that she is behind bars. Once again sociopath Alex Thorne is trying to manipulate Kim and weaken her already fragile psyche in some kind of power play game. Also, and more importantly, Kim has received a letter stating that her mother is soon to be released from the institution for the criminally insane – where she has been since Kim was six years old. Kim has never forgiven her mother and is horrified that she might be freed.

This fifth novel in the series has proved to be a worthy successor to the first four. I enjoyed every minute of the read. This was another stellar installment in what is fast becoming a favourite crime series.

By the time I finished this fifth novel in the series, I was left with the feeling once again that I wanted MORE Kim Stone. Lucky for me I purchased the entire series in order that I might read one installment every month for my “Marsons of the Month” blog series. I look forward to reading the sixth book, “Dead Souls” in June. Oh, and in case you didn’t already guess… “Blood Lines” is highly recommended by me.

I purchased “Blood Lines“ in Kindle format.

I read this book in May, but I’m late posting my review.

Angela Marsons discovered her love of writing at Primary School. She wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner, she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries. She self-published two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
After many, many submissions she signed an eight book deal with Bookouture as their first crime author. Her D.I. Kim Stone novels have sold 3 million copies.

Angela Marsons is from Brierley Hill in the West Midlands and is a former security guard at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. She continues to live in the Black Country with her partner and their bouncy Labrador and potty-mouthed parrot.

Follow Angela Marsons on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, Mystery fiction | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Millennials and #Reading – you may be surprised


Wikipedia defines the term Millennials as:

Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years.

If you want to learn more about the surprising reading habits of Millennials, here’s a fun infographic from The Expert Editor, an Australian editing and proofreading company.

Posted in infographics, Reading | Tagged | 20 Comments

Cover Love: part 75 – Empty Dresses

They say you can never have a second chance to make a good first impression. A book’s cover does just that – gives a first impression. A good cover can make a reader pick up a book. A bad cover can leave the book at the very bottom of a dusty pile.

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher ‘hooks‘ the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

In my 75th installment of ‘Cover Love‘, I’d like to show you books that have empty dresses on their covers.

One might assume that books with dresses on the cover will be women’s fiction, but there are several genres included here.  Along with women’s fiction, there are thrillers, romances, horror, fantasy, and historical fiction.   Enjoy!

Some, perhaps, will now be on your TBR!

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

Please let me know in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 74 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 15 Comments

“Scared to breathe” by Kerena Swan – Book Review

Natasha Hargreaves, our protagonist, is thirty-two years old who works as a greeting card designer. She lives in a small, modest house with her fiance Reuben. Her life is turned upside down when she witnesses a stabbing on the way home from the city. She gives evidence at trial and is threatened by the criminal’s brother.  She never feels truly safe in her waking hours, and her nights are plagued by nightmares.

Natasha is adopted and never knew her birth family. She receives a letter from a solicitor that tells her she has inherited a derelict, Grade II listed manor house in the Cotswolds, along with the ten acres of land it sits on.  She sees this windfall as a blessing on two fronts. She gets to escape the threat she lives under, AND, she now has some independence and is a land owner. Along with the manor house, she has been bequeathed money to carry out some much needed renovations.
Tasha immediately falls in love with the old place. Her fiance, Reuben, doesn’t like living at Black Hollow Hall. It is too isolated for his liking, and he misses his family and friends. A rift develops between Natasha and Reuben, seeing him going off for days at a time for work, while she stays at the Hall to oversee the workmen. She begins to doubt his commitment to her.

It would seem that Natasha’s idyll is not what she dreamed it would  be. Strange and sinister occurrences cause her to become even more frightened than she was before. She learns a little of the history of her family in the house, only to find that their lives there were not happy ones…

“Fear is my whole world now”

As events turn more and more sinister, Natasha doesn’t know who to trust, doubting even herself. Some of the workmen’s tools go missing, the lights fail, orders are cancelled for building materials, a headless dead rat is left on her doorstep, a workman is injured. All these things work cumulatively on Tasha’s psyche.

She is alone, isolated, and has sketchy phone reception. Danger lurks…

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was a perfect blend of psychological thriller and gothic suspense – written in a way that held me spellbound throughout.

The setting, the beautiful old Cotswold manor, was well described. I could picture every nook and cranny of the house and grounds.

The characters were written sympathetically, causing the reader to become invested in the story-line and the protagonist’s experiences. I particularly enjoyed reading about Tasha’s friendship with the octogenarian Bob and his dog, Bonnie.

Kerena Swan is a ‘new to me‘ author, but I plan to follow her work in further novels. A suspense-filled thriller, “Scared to Breathe” is a book I can, and will, highly recommend.

Thanks to Bloodhound Books who provided me with a digital copy of “Scared To Breathe” so that I could participate in this Blog Blitz.

Kerena Swan trained as a Social Worker and worked for Social Services for over 25 years. For the past 14 years she has owned and managed an ‘outstanding’ rated care agency for children with disabilities. Following serious illnesses she decided to fulfill her long-held ambition of writing a book and getting it published. ‘Dying to See You’, published by Bloodhound Books, was her debut novel.
After many years of writing professionally in the course of her work, Kerena has discovered the exhilaration and deep joy of writing fiction and can be found at all hours in front of her computer. She has recently completed her second novel ‘Scared to Breathe’ which is being released on 3rd June 2019 by Bloodhound Books.
Kerena lives with her family in a small village in Bedfordshire, England and her books are set in the surrounding areas.
Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience of the problematic world of social work and social studies, Kerena adds a unique angle to the domestic noir and crime genre.
If you would like to hear more about new releases, read Kerena’s blogs and download a free short-story – the prequel to Dying to See You – then visit https://www.kerenaswan.com.uk and join her mailing list.

Follow Kerena Swan on Twitter.

Posted in Blog Tour, Bloodhound Books, Book Reviews, Psychological thrillers, Suspense | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

June 2019 #TBR

 

Here are the eight titles I plan to read and review during the month of June.

Watch for my review as part of the Bloodhound Books Blog Blitz June 4, 2019

I’m reading this for the one day Blog Blitz hosted by Rachel’s Random Resources on June 12, 2019

a backlist Hachette title that I downloaded from NetGalley some time ago

a backlist title from Grand Central Publishing that I downloaded from NetGalley some time ago

a title I got via the “Killer Reads” Facebook Group.

this title was the winner of my last POLL where I asked YOU to pick my next police procedural series

a Harper Collins title that I downloaded via Edelweiss

the 6th title in the DI Kim Stone series that I’m reading for my Marsons Of The Month blog series

With my personal life in turmoil, I may not get all of them read in June. Fingers crossed…

Also, I have switched over to a personal WordPress plan. You will no longer see those pesky advertisements on my site. AND, my domain is now fictionophile.com Although you should be re-directed automatically, I encourage you to update your bookmarks.

Posted in Choosing what to read next | Tagged | 16 Comments

Hello June – Fictionophile updates

I know that I seldom put anything personal on Fictionophile. It IS a book blog after all.

However, there is so much going on in my personal life just now that it can’t help but spill over into all aspects of my life – even my blog.

On May 28th my 34-year-old son was rushed to hospital with acute appendicitis. He was operated on at 7:00 am.  Meanwhile, my daughter-in-law, his wife, was undergoing a cesarean section to deliver their first child, and my first grandchild, a boy. This was tragic timing as the baby was one month premature and was in breech position.

My son was distraught that he couldn’t be with his wife during the birth. They were in different hospitals.  Though things were a little rocky at first, all seemed mostly well with the baby.

My son, discharged from hospital just six hours after surgery due to these special circumstances, met his son for the first time.

Since then, the baby has undergone surgery to have a portion of his bowel removed. Tragic for him, his mum and dad, and his doting grandparents.  Now it is a waiting game, to see how his recovery will go. As I write this, he is not eating, or breathing, on his own.

I hope my next update will contain only good news. Lord knows we could use some…

this photo was taken before his surgery

Meanwhile, I have some posts scheduled to publish. If I don’t seem to comment on your posts, respond to your comments, or partake much in social media, I beg your understanding.  Life has a way of making you prioritize.

Posted in Fictionophile report, personal | Tagged | 41 Comments

“Those People” by Louise Candlish – Book Review

A tranquil South London neighbourhood is mortally disrupted after “Those People” move in…

You know what they say about one bad apple.

Before Darren Booth moves in, Lowland Way is a tranquil and harmonious place to live. All that soon changes when he begins disrupting the lives of the residents.  He immediately begins extensive renovations. These noisy renovations take an extraordinarily long time because Darren is doing it all himself. When not working on the house, Darren operates an illegal used-car business out of the house. He commandeers all the much coveted street parking, leaving none for the previous residents. Also, and some might say more importantly, he and his partner, Jodie, play heavy metal music at maximum volume – all the time! Both Darren and Jodie are hard-drinking, chain-smoking, partiers.

The couple immediately next door to Darren have a small baby. The deafening cacophony of loud music and high-pitched power tools interrupts their sleep and the sleep of their baby. So much so that the baby is diagnosed with hearing loss…

Darren Booth is always working on his old cars. He even has an old decrepit and unsightly RV which he parks directly in front of the Morgan’s house. They bemoan the lack of parking and the “Play Out Sunday” scheme which they instigated is now impossible. Before, on Sundays, the children of the street could safely play together because the street was closed. Now, with cars coming and going, it is unsafe and is cancelled after one of the children is knocked down.

A sixty-something widow, Sissy, runs a B&B business to make ends meet. Her previous stellar rating takes an abrupt downward turn after ‘those people’ move in. Her B&B customer’s rating go from 5 stars to 2 stars – until the business flounders and closes.

The neighbours repeatedly ask Darren Booth to turn down the music etc. He nastily disregards their requests with a belligerent attitude. The authorities do not help.

Then, a tragic accident with a scaffolding collapse kills a young pregnant woman.  The well-known fact that all of the residents of Lowland Way hated Darren serve to put all the residents under suspicion by the police. The young woman was going to his house to complain about the noise when Darren’s scaffolding fell and crushed her.

Eventually, the cumulative strain and stresses of Darren Booth’s insensitivity ends up destroying friendships, businesses, and marriages, upsetting children and dogs, and ruining the lives of all who live on Lowland Way. It is as if the community had had myriad hair-line cracks that broke wide open when Darren Booth moved in. The residents can now barely recognize each other, or, in some cases, themselves.

Though I truly enjoyed the writing, I found I did not enjoy this novel near as much as the author’s previous “Our House”. Both were property/domestic thrillers – a genre in which Louise Candlish excels.

The setting was vividly portrayed. You felt like you lived there and could hear the deafening heavy metal music and the whine of the tile cutters and drills.

The feeling of menace and injustice was well portrayed. You really started to hate ‘those people’ almost as much as the residents of Lowland Way did. I must admit, that although we met several of the street’s residents I didn’t really come to like any of them – with the possible exception of Sissy. I did feel for them however and I felt empathy for the unjust situation they found themselves in.

The ending felt rushed, and was not altogether satisfactory, at least for me. Altogether this was a domestic thriller that will no doubt be enjoyed by many, it just was not a personal favourite. I do plan on reading more of this author’s work.

Thanks to Penguin Random House /Berkley Books who provided me with a digital copy of “Those People“. My honest review is my way of saying thanks to them and to the author.

“Those People” will be available for purchase on June 11, 2019 and can be pre-ordered now.

Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and grew up in the Midlands town of Northampton. She studied English at University College London and lives in Herne Hill in South London with her husband and daughter. She is the author of twelve novels.
Besides books, the things Louise likes best are: coffee; TV; cats and dogs; salted caramel; France (especially the Ile de Re); Italy (especially Sicily); tennis; soup; Vanity Fair magazine; ‘Book at Bedtime’; lasagne; heavy metal; ‘The Archers’; driving towards the sea (but not into it); anything at the Royal Opera House; white wine; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or, failing that, a Starbar).

Follow Louise Candlish on Twitter.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

May 2019 #Bookhaul

 

I had a fruitful month in May when it comes to new books. As a result, I managed to procure TEN new review commitments. Also, I went a bit wild on Amazon buying up some inexpensive and interesting sounding Kindle books.

If you want to learn more about any of these titles – just click on the cover graphic.

From Bloodhound Books I received “Scared to Breathe” by Kerena Swan.

I will be participating in the blog blitz for this title on June 4th

 


I’m excited to be participating in the one day blog blitz for Lucy Hay’s “The Lynmouth Stories“.  The blitz is presented by Rachel’s Random Resources.


I downloaded FIVE titles from NetGalley.

Interestingly, four of the five titles are written by ‘new to me’ authors.

Where the story starts” by Imogen Clark

(I was auto-approved for this title from Lake Union Publishing)


Blood Orange” by Harriet Tyce

(I received a publisher’s widget for this title from Grand Central Publishing)


Death by Dark Waters” by Jo Allen

(I was auto-approved for this title from Aria)


Some Choose Darkness” by Charlie Donlea

(I was approved for this title by Kensington Books)


The Doll Factory” by Elizabeth Macneal

(I was approved for this title from Simon & Schuster Canada)



I downloaded THREE titles from Edelweiss:

Her Daughter’s Mother” by Daniela Petrova

(I received an invitation to read this title from Grand Central Publishing)


Stone Cold Heart” by Caz Frear

sequel to “Sweet Little Lies”

(I was approved for this title from Harper Collins)


Trace of Evil” by Alice Blanchard

(I was approved for this title from Macmillan)

first in a new series featuring policewoman Natalie Lockhart


So that means I have TEN more review commitments.

and… I purchased NINE Kindle titles from Amazon.ca

This sounds like a lot, but most of these were inexpensive at time of purchase.

My total expenditure = $ 14.16

$2.99

.99¢

.99¢

.99¢

.99¢

$1.99

$1.99

$1.33

$1.99

Hope you all have a great reading month in June ♥

Posted in Anticipated titles | Tagged , | 21 Comments

#CoverReveal – “Silent Night” by Geraldine Hogan @Bookouture

Many readers are familiar with the outstanding women’s fiction of Faith Hogan. Well, good news folks, she has turned her hand to detective fiction!

Writing under her real name, Geraldine Hogan, she has a two book publishing deal with Bookouture.

I’ve read this author’s women’s fiction and I’m VERY EXCITED to try her new Detective Iris Locke series! Here is the blurb:

Silent Night by Geraldine Hogan

A baby is snatched from her pram in the garden. She’s never found. Thirty years later her sister, now a mother herself, is brutally killed.

When Ann Crowe is killed in her sleep alongside her children, the quiet local community of Corbally is shocked. It’s also a chilling reminder of when her sister, Janey, disappeared as a baby, twenty nine years ago, never to be seen again.

Detective Iris Locke is assigned to the case and, after a year undercover which ended in failure when her cover got blown, she’s desperate to make her mark – and to live up to the reputation of her ex-cop father, the former head of the Limerick Murder Squad.

Jack Locke ran the investigation into the disappearance of baby Janey. But by reopening the case, Iris is also reopening old wounds for the team. Can she untangle the dark secrets that lead to one sister vanishing and the other’s death – even if it means digging into the past of someone very close to her?

Fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons, and L.J. Ross wont’ want to miss this – the first book in a gripping and unputdownable new crime series.

 

Do you want to see the cover? It is FAB!

Okay… I’ll put you out of your misery. LOL

I have just pre-ordered my Kindle copy from Amazon.ca for only $1.99

Geraldine Hogan gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
Writing under the name Faith Hogan, she was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.  She has written four best-selling novels including: Secrets we Keep; What Happened to Us; My Husband’s Wives; and most recently, The Girl I Used to Know.

Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland and still lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children, and an overweight cat.

Follow her on Twitter.

Posted in 1st in series, Anticipated titles, Bookouture, cover reveals | Tagged , | 3 Comments

“A Mother’s Confession” by Kelly Rimmer – Book Review

The Tragedy – When we join the story, a thirty-seven year old man has recently died. David Wyatt Gillespie was charming, a successful businessman, an avid sportsman, was on the town council, and was married with an infant daughter. He was also an abusive husband.

A Mother’s Confession” is the story of the two women who loved him.

The Wife – Thirty-five year old Olivia Gillespie, is deeply traumatized by her husband’s death. Swept away initially by David’s charm and persuasiveness, she learned, after a decade, that David’s love for her bordered on obsession. He was extremely controlling, emotionally manipulative, and physically abusive. Over the years he had cut her off from her own family and isolated her from all of her friends. Now he is dead, and Olivia finds she cannot move on.  With a daughter who is only a few months old to look after, she rarely leaves her lavish home, and then only to visit her grief counselor in the accompaniment of her mother. Olivia once worked as a veterinary surgeon, but since the birth of her daughter Zoe, she has not returned to her career. Olivia blames herself for what happened to David.

“Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.”

As the book progresses, so too does Olivia’s mental anguish gradually lessen. Enough so that she makes a list to get on with her life – using her maiden name, Olivia Brennan.

The Mother-In-Law – Ivy Gillespie is David’s mother. Reeling from the shocking death of her only and much beloved son, she is trying to grasp what has happened.  We learn much about Ivy through her reminiscences of David’s life, starting when he was just a small boy. Ivy had an unhealthy relationship with her son. She couldn’t see that he had any flaws, and always completely centered her life around his. Unhappily married to the town’s only grocer, she wants for nothing, yet she has never really loved he husband Wyatt. Her only love has always been her handsome and athletic son who learned his manipulative ways at his mother’s knee.  Ivy has always been jealous of her son’s relationship with Olivia, and she blames Olivia for what happened to David.

“David was my perfection – and raising him was instantly my purpose. I threw myself into motherhood with great abandon.”

The Vet – Sebastian McNiven is the veterinarian in Milton Falls. Once he was Olivia’s boss and good friend.  He suspected what was going on, but felt he could not interfere…

The Setting – A small town in Australia called Milton Falls which is about four hours drive away from the city of Sydney.

The reader is never made privy to how David actually died until the very end of the book. We only know that it must have been something spectacular because Olivia mentions that his death was captured by national media. This is the crux of the whole book.

I absolutely hated Ivy’s character. I was often impatient with Olivia’s character. Yet, the author must have done something very right for me to FEEL so strongly about these two women.

Don’t let the cover misguide you, this is not your sappy romance. Though it does have a small element of love story, this is mostly a book about unhealthy parenting, abuse in marriage, and even more than that, it was about grief and the grieving process.

Although readers often expect a plot twist when reading thrillers, you don’t often get one in women’s fiction. This book was the exception. The twist when it came near the end of the novel was profoundly shocking to me. That being said, after I thought about it a bit more, I realized that there were many hints in the book that I should have picked up on, but didn’t. Shame on me.

Recommended to those readers who enjoy cleverly written women’s fiction.

Thank you to the publisher Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of A Mother’s Confession via Netgalley. I was under no obligation to give a review.


Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels. Her latest, Before I Let You Go, was released in 2018. This year, she will be releasing her new novel, The Things We Cannot Say. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.

Follow Kelly Rimmer on Twitter

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Yes – these are REAL #words

While perusing the internet, I came across an article about words. So, of course I had to then stop and check it out.

Reader’s Digest has compiled a list of 15 words that many folk argue aren’t words at all.

But they are wrong. They ARE real words.

The others include:

irregardless

prolly

funner

anyways

orientate

snuck

madded

impactful

gonna

ginormous

nother

conversate

This list was originally compiled by Brittany Gibson for Reader’s Digest.

Most of these I’ve heard many times. One I hadn’t heard before was prolly (used instead of probably). Some of these I’ve used myself in everyday speech.  The four words from the list that I’ve NEVER used myself are: prolly, conversate, nother,  and madded.

Interestingly, the WordPress program underlined SIX of these words in red indicating that they are not words. LOL.

The SIX that WordPress underlined are: prolly, snuck, madded, impactful, nother, and conversate.

Your thoughts?

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