Teaser Tuesday – October 5, 2021 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @StMartinsPress @see_starling #TheDeathOfJaneLawrence #PublicationDay #NetGalley

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday October 5, 2021 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This book will be published TODAY!Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 9781250272591 – ASIN: ‎ B08R2JKC2V –  352 pages



1)  The mention of Shirley Jackson and ‘Daphne Du Maurier”s “Rebecca” in the blurb.

2)  The setting: a crumbling, isolated, creepy old English manor house.

3)  Gothic horror. This would be a perfect October read. (It is on my October TBR)

“Dr. Augustine Lawrence’s cuffs were stained with blood and his mackintosh had failed against the persistent drizzle. He looked damp, miserable, and scared.

Of her.”

Have you ever read anything by this author?

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fiction, gothic fiction, Horror, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged | 11 Comments

“Sleepless” by Romy Hausmann – Book Review

“Damaged people damage other people.”


Nelly Schütt – was brought up in her parent’s inn. She works the reception desk and longs for a ‘bigger’ life. She begins to have an affair with one of the hotel’s regular customers, Paul. A man who is married. When he doesn’t leave his wife as promised, Nelly travels to Berlin to confront him and his wife. This confrontation does not go well. A few weeks later Paul texts Nelly to meet at a hotel. Nelly is overjoyed.

Then, the police come to Paul’s home. Nelly Schütt’s body has been found…

Nadja Kulka – was born in Poland where she lived with her younger brother and her prostitute mother. Now she works as a legal assistant at a Berlin law firm. She is an ex-convict who is trying to create a ‘normal’ life for herself. She is desperately lonely and feels like an outcast. Nadja is friendless until one woman who works with her helps her in a time of need. This woman, Laura, later left the law firm and is now married to Nadja’s boss. Several years later, after not seeing Laura for all that time, Nadja gets a call from Laura who has a problem… She has killed her lover.

Gero van Hoven – Nadja’s boss and Laura’s husband is the head of Berlin’s premier law firm. A powerful man who values his marriage and child over all else. Why? Because he has been disappointed in love more than once. His own parents had the very opposite of a happy marriage, and then two of the women he later became involved with left him.

Interspersed with the dual plot-lines of Nelly and Nadja, there are myriad letters. These missives are written anonymously to a child.  They are written at the behest of a therapist who thinks the writer of the letters will benefit by writing them. These letters are never sent. Later when the author divulges who the letter writer is, and who she is writing to, I became sad and sympathetic.

After loving this author’s debut novel “Dear Child“, I was eager to read her second offering. This time, I didn’t feel the love quite so much.

The story was interesting, the characters damaged, and the plot somewhat confusing. This was ultimately Nadja’s story, and what a tragic story it was. Life has always been unkind to Nadja – and the older she became, the more cruel her life panned out.

This is a novel about twisted people playing mortally serious games. About manipulation, adultery, betrayal, actions and consequences, and framing the innocent.

It is a sad truth that some people are deemed expendable, that their lives are somehow less valuable than others.

The title of this novel was very fitting. It ended with a twist that I didn’t see coming. In summation, this was a convoluted psychological thriller perhaps written for certain acquired tastes. I hope that Hausmann’s next book is the same quality as her debut.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Flatiron Books via NetGalley in order that I could participate in the Flatiron Official Blog Tour.

Publication date: October 19, 2021
ISBN:9781250824790    ASIN:  B08T848BB7     336 pages

Romy Hausmann was born in the former GDR in 1981. At the age of twenty-four she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son she has been working as a freelancer in TV. Dear Child is her thriller debut. Romy Hausmann lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart.


Dear Child” was translated from the original German language by Jamie Bulloch,  a British historian and translator of German literature.


Posted in Book Reviews, Flatiron Books, NetGalley, novels in translation, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Midwife’s Secret” by Emily Gunnis – Book Review

“A gripping, heart-wrenching story of love, loyalty and family secrets.”

This engrossing story is told via three timelines:

“It is God’s will that a woman suffers in childbirth, he says, and it is not my place to interfere with God’s will – though he will happily interfere with his forceps and scalpels so he is home in time for dinner.” – (from Tess James’ notebook where she is speaking of the local physician, Dr. Jenkins)

1946 – Midwife Tessa James is unjustly convicted of murder when she is blamed for a bungled delivery by the local doctor. Both mother and baby perished due to his ineptitude. Midwives back then were often defiled by physicians and even the church who thought they ‘helped‘ women get rid of unwanted pregnancies. Tessa lives at the Vicarage with her young grandson, Alfie while her daughter Bella is off working elsewhere as a domestic servant.

1969 – Bobby James is the great-grandson of midwife Tessa James. He  is fifteen and lives with his father, Alfie, and young sister Nell on a farm adjoining the Hilton’s estate. When Alice Hilton, the six-year-old daughter of the powerful Hilton family goes missing, Bobby is the last to have seen her. He is imprisoned, though Alice’s body was never found. Meanwhile, his young sister Nell is sent off to a sanatorium because she caught tuberculosis from the cattle.

2017 -Willow James – the midwife’s great-great granddaughter, and the daughter of Bobby James, is a young architect working on her first big project. It has personal meaning for her as it involves the development of land that her family has lived on for generations. A tricky project because it means the demolition of two listed homes. Willow realizes that her boss has manipulated her into taking the fall for some unscrupulous practices. In order to salvage the project and save her budding career, Willow delves into the history of her family.

On the day that the Hilton family are to move out of their manor house to make way for its demolition, the young daughter of Leo Hilton goes missing. Almost fifty years ago Leo’s sister Alice went missing at almost the same age…. Could history be repeating itself?

Meanwhile, Leo’s mother Vanessa is muddled. She is confused as to whether it is Alice or her granddaughter Sienna who is missing. She has never really gotten over the trauma of losing her beloved daughter Alice all those many years ago.

What a great read! This is a story of social injustice, corruption, and ancient crimes. This is my first read by this author and I have to say her writing reminded me a bit of that of Kate Morton and/or Eve Chase.

This novel will tug at your heart and gives the reader an almost gothic vibe with the old priest’s hole, a hidden room beneath the stairs. The Sussex setting lends itself well to the historical aspect of the book.

It is the story of two families: the ‘haves‘, the Hiltons, and the ‘have-nots‘, the James. The families live on adjoining properties and the James’s have suffered at the hands of the powerful Hilton family for decades. Social inequality is the overriding theme in my opinion. It shows how the rich and powerful can manipulate those with less – to their detriment.

This is not a crime novel as such, but there are many crimes to be found within its pages. The callous Leo Hilton was a truly despicable character.

The Midwife’s Secret” was a memorable novel that spoke of grave losses and family skeletons/secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Headline Review via Secret Readers.

Publication date: October 28, 2021     Publisher: Headline Review

ISBN: 9781472272041 – ASIN: ‎‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ B091J4Y7L1 – 384 pages

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Her debut novel, The Girl in the Letter, was published in August 2018 and has sold nearly half a million copies worldwide and been translated into 17 languages. The Lost Child, her second novel was published in April of 2020. The Midwife’s Secret is her third novel.

Emily Gunnis lives in Sussex with her husband Steve and her two beautiful, very energetic girls, Grace and Eleanor.

Follow Emily Gunnis on Twitter @EmilyGunnis

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical fiction, Secret Readers (Orion) | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Spell the Month in Books – OCTOBER #SpellTheMonthInBooks #BookRecommendations

I first saw this on Nicki’s Secret Library Blog and Carla’s Love to Read, but it originated from Jana at ‘Reviews from the Stacks‘.

Every month I will spell the month in books that I have already read, linking back to my reviews of the title. (Initial articles – The, A, An – will not be taken into account)

Out Of The Blue” by Gretta Mulrooney


The Chalk Man” by C.J. Tudor


Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell


Our House” by Louise Candlish


Block 46” by Johana Gustawsson


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Rainy Day Sisters” by Kate Hewitt


That was fun!

I’m always searching for ways to share my book recommendations.

Thanks for visiting. ♥

Posted in Book Reviews, Spell the Month in Books | Tagged | 7 Comments

3/4 Through 2021 – a Fictionophile Update #Bookblogger

As October 1st is the three-quarter point in 2021, I thought I’d post an update on my reading and blogging so far this year.

My reviews for all these novels can be found on this blog.

I have read 104 novels:Of those 104 titles, 55 were from NetGalley – here is my NetGalley Reading Challenge status:

and my NetGalley Feedback ratio is as follows:Hey, at this rate I might even get my ‘500 Reviews‘ NetGalley badge by this time next year! LOL

Of those 104 titles I’ve read so far, 22 of them were from Edelweiss – here is my Edelweiss Reading Challenge status:

I have completed my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. I only pledged to read five historical fiction titles and I have by far exceeded my pledge.

I’ve read 7 of the required 8 titles to complete the Bookblogger’s Fiction Reading Challenge:

I’ve read 4 of the required 6 titles to complete the What’s In A Name Reading Challenge:I was delighted to have recently had one of my book reviews featured on the Twinkl site as part of their Literary Lovers campaign:Happy autumn everyone!

Posted in Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Fictionophile’s SEPTEMBER 2021 Reading Wrap-Up #MonthlyWrapUp

In the past month I’ve read TWELVE novels. And, would you believe it, SIX of them were 5 star reads!

I enjoyed every one of them, some more than others of course.

WHAT A DILEMMA!  I have never had such a stellar reading month. Twelve novels but most of them were SO good.  I have a four-way tie for ‘Book Of The Month’! All four are well-deserving 5 star reads.

TWO STELLAR THRILLERS:

“Rock Paper Scissors” by Alice Feeney

What a compelling, convoluted, and completely engrossing story! I read this one in a day and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Having read Alice Feeney’s work twice before, I knew going in that I was in for some plot twists, but the sheer volume of them in this novel was staggering. The best part was that although there were indeed many twists, none of them seemed superfluous to requirements. They all flowed really well – each ratcheting up the tension…

The remote, wintry setting added greatly to the overall feel and ambiance of the novel.

This is a story of damaged and tortured individuals. A story of deception, secrecy, and loss of trust. A novel of infidelity and starting over. And, more importantly, if you are a lover of the thriller genre, this is a novel you shouldn’t miss.

AND

Not A Happy Family” by Shari Lapena

What a page turner! This is Shari Lapena at her very best. The narrative fairly races along as the Merton siblings fall into dissension. They are riddled with mistrust and suspicion. Lies and deception abound. Avarice is rampant.

Although at first it was thought the double murder was a robbery/home invasion, the spotlight quickly turns to the Merton offspring as there are millions of dollars to be split between them. But could one of them have commit such a brutal crime?

This is one novel where I have to say that I didn’t much care for any of the characters. That didn’t stop be rapidly turning pages though. It was like rubbernecking at a train wreck… You just HAD to find out who murdered Fred and Sheila Merton!

The story is told with serpentine twists throughout. You literally don’t know whether you’re coming or going. The novel is told via multiple viewpoints, so you get to discern a little of what is going on in each of their minds. This is an addictive whodunit featuring a seriously dysfunctional family. It would make a fantastic movie.

TWO HISTORICAL FICTION TITLES:

“Painting The Light” by Sally Cabot Gunning

A marvelous story! From the first pages I was immediately living the life of the protagonist, Ida Russell. I was sharing her losses, her anger, her frustrations, and her joys. I was transported to her world.

The back-breaking work of life on a sheep farm was skillfully rendered, and the animals added greatly to my own enjoyment of the novel. I also appreciated the friendships Ida made following Ezra’s demise.

This historical novel had many serious themes such as betrayal, duplicity, loneliness, and the history of women’s rights. I will remember “Painting the Light” for a long, long, time.

AND
“The Midwife’s Secret” by Emily Gunnis (my review will be published here on the blog on Oct. 3rd)
What a great read! This is a story of social injustice, corruption, and ancient crimes. This is my first read by this author and I have to say her writing reminded me a bit of that of Kate Morton and/or Eve Chase.

This novel will tug at your heart and gives the reader an almost gothic vibe with the old priest’s hole, a hidden room beneath the stairs. The Sussex setting lends itself well to the historical aspect of the book.

It is the story of two families: the ‘haves’, the Hiltons, and the ‘have-nots’, the James. The families live on adjoining properties and the James’s have suffered at the hands of the powerful Hilton family for decades. Social inequality is the overriding theme in my opinion. It shows how the rich and powerful can manipulate those with less – to their detriment.

This is not a crime novel as such, but there are many crimes to be found within its pages. The callous Leo Hilton was a truly despicable character.

“The Midwife’s Secret” was a memorable novel that spoke of grave losses and family skeletons/secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I feel very lucky to have access to so many wonderful books. All the books above are reviewed here on the blog if you want to take a look.

Posted in Fictionophile report, Reading | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Fictionophile’s SEPTEMBER 2021 #BookHaul #Bookbloggers #TBR

I’ve added eight review commitments to my TBR this month.

I received seven of these titles from NetGalley.

I excited to be taking part in the Pushkin Press read-along for this title! Read-along began September 23rd on Instagram!








Fellow book blogger N.S. Ford has kindly shared an ARC of her debut novel. Watch for my interview with N.S. Ford on October 2nd. Don’t you just love the cover?


And from Orion Publishing’s ‘Secret Readers’ subscription:


I was the lucky winner of Carla’s Blogiversary Draw! With my Amazon Gift Card, I chose to purchase “We Are The Brennans”.   THANKS CARLA!

My September choice was:


Do any of these titles sound good to you?

Are any of them on YOUR TBR?

 

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 7 Comments

20 Questions with novelist N.S. Ford #AuthorInterview @nsfordwriter #NSFord #WeWatchYou

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing debut novelist N.S. Ford. Her novel, “We Watch You” is to be published in just two days time – on October 1, 2021

  1. We Watch You” is your debut novel. Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?

When my novel was finally ready for the outside world, I queried some agents and publishers, with no luck. I really wanted to get my novel into readers’ hands this year, so I decided to self-publish through Amazon in Kindle eBook and paperback formats. I have learnt a lot in the process and found that fellow authors are very helpful too.

  1. When did you make the life-changing decision to actually sit down and write a novel?

A long time ago! I always knew I wanted to write a novel. Over the decades I began a few and finished a couple of them but We Watch You is the first that I know is of good enough quality to be published.

  1. What inspired “We Watch You”? How long did the writing process take?

I had been getting into psychological thrillers while on maternity leave and was impressed by the pace, twists and unreliable narrators found in the genre. I said to myself, ‘I can do that! Or at least I’ll have a go.’ I set out to write the kind of book I’d want to read. It took perhaps a month or two to plot it first. I started writing in early 2018 – just before I started my blog and joined social media! – and completed it this year, so I was working on it for 3 years, on and off.

  1. Are re-writes part of your personal writing process?

They certainly are! I re-wrote substantial parts of my novel as it was a bit too ordinary and I wanted it to be extraordinary. After reading some books which had suggestions of science fiction or the paranormal but were still in the psychological thriller genre, I decided to apply this concept to my novel. This meant a lot of re-writes, including a new ending  It was worth the effort though as I ended up with a book that I’m proud of.

  1. Sometimes setting is a crucial factor in a novel – sometimes not. Does setting have any impact on “We Watch You”?

The setting in the novel is Becksley, a small town in the Midlands in England. It’s an average kind of place where you wouldn’t expect anything to happen, so when someone goes missing – among other unusual events – it’s all the more shocking. I would say that the setting is very important.

  1. Have you ever ‘people-watched’ to gain inspiration for any of your characters? Did you find it challenging to name your characters?

Strangely enough, I don’t think I’ve consciously people-watched for this purpose! The characters just appear in my head but no doubt they reflect different aspects of my personality and of people I’ve known, or perhaps characters from books or films which have made an impression on me. One of the protagonists, Lauren, is autistic so this is reflected in the parts of the narrative that are from her point of view. I’m autistic too but wasn’t diagnosed until after I’d written the book. Naming characters can be difficult as you don’t want them to stand out too much in a book that’s more plot-driven than character-driven. I just went with names that seemed to fit the characters and which seemed ordinary enough not to be distracting.

  1. Was the ending of “We Watch You” difficult to write? Did you know how the book would end from the beginning of the writing process, or did the story evolve as you went along?

The first ending to the novel was an anti-climax – this ending was what I’d planned from the start, but it was too safe. So I made it into a false ending! I added a few more chapters as part of the major re-write. I would say it was difficult to write, but exciting too.

  1. Your book’s tag line is “a dark psychological thriller with a speculative twist”. Do you think the speculative aspect will deter some thriller fans?

It will not be everyone’s cup of tea – some readers prefer the conventions of genre and they have certain expectations regarding thrillers in domestic settings. For those who like thrillers that are a little unusual and are open-minded about their reading, I hope that the premise of We Watch You will intrigue them. I added the ‘speculative twist’ to the book’s description as both a warning for readers who don’t like that sort of thing and as an enticement for those who do!

  1. I have to ask…. What does N.S. stand for? Why did you decide to go with your initials instead of your name?

I decided to go with initials because my first and middle names are very feminine and are more suggestive of chick lit than of edgy thrillers! Initials also seem popular for thriller authors – such as T M Logan, B A Paris, C L Taylor and S J Watson. My full name is not a big secret but my online pals generally know me as NS, which is how I presented myself when I first started my blog and Twitter more than years ago, so that’s my public name now.

  1. Writers are also avid readers. What type of book do you like to read for pleasure?

I am a book fanatic and read more than 100 every year! I like to read classics, thrillers, science fiction, memoirs, non-fiction (art, travel, science, history, music…) and contemporary fiction. I read both eBooks and print, library books, advance copies and books that I’ve bought. I review them on my blog, NetGalley and Goodreads.

  1. What current novelist do you feel is underrated or deserves to be more well known?

I think Sonia Velton should be even better known than she is already. Her debut novel Blackberry & Wild Rose was wonderful historical fiction. The next novel, The Image of Her (recently published), is contemporary fiction and very different. I admired the change of genre, which is quite unusual for a traditionally published author’s second book. I look forward to whatever she writes next, in any genre!

https://nsfordwriter.com/blackberry-and-wild-rose-sonia-velton/

I enjoyed “Blackberry & Wild Rose” as well. You can read my review here.

https://nsfordwriter.com/the-image-of-her-sonia-velton/

  1. If you could sit and enjoy a chat and a glass of wine with another thriller novelist – who would it be?

I would like to chat with Lesley Kara, author of The Rumour, Who Did You Tell? and The Dare. I enjoy her writing style and I’d say she’s one of my influences. She seems friendly and has even retweeted my reviews of her books on Twitter.

https://nsfordwriter.com/the-rumour-lesley-kara/

https://nsfordwriter.com/who-did-you-tell-lesley-kara/

https://nsfordwriter.com/the-dare-lesley-kara/

  1. Are there some books that you find yourself recommending to all your friends? Tell us two titles that you recommend.  One thriller and one other.

The Sick Rose by Erin Kelly is one of the best thrillers I’ve read. It’s so well-crafted and is my favourite of her novels (I’ve read all but one of them).

https://nsfordwriter.com/the-sick-rose-erin-kelly/

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a dystopian novel and a forerunner of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World. It deserves to be more widely read.

https://nsfordwriter.com/we-yevgeny-zamyatin/

  1. Do you watch crime drama on television? If so, what are some of your favourite shows?

No, I don’t watch crime drama, or much current TV. I tend to work my way through older comedy and science fiction box-sets on Netflix.

  1. Are you working on another novel? If so, is it a stand-alone novel? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m at the planning stage of my next novel and will soon be writing it. I had the idea for it the summer before last, but completing and publishing We Watch You has taken priority! The next novel will be another standalone thriller and as far as I know (it could change!) will include a dangerous obsession for tracking down reclusive former popstars.

  1. Would you ever write a series? Do you find the prospect of maintaining a series daunting?

I wouldn’t rule out writing a series, but as the majority of books that I read are standalone, it would feel weird to write a series when I don’t usually read them. There’s also the problem of maintaining the quality throughout the series. I can think of a few I’ve read where my interest petered out and I never wanted to complete the series.

  1. I am a huge fan of cover art and have been working on a blog series called “Cover Love”. How much input did you have in choosing the cover?

I worked with a cover designer, Dave Berens, who specializes in thrillers and is an author himself. I would highly recommend him to any authors reading this who are looking for a cover designer. I put together a collage of designs from recent thrillers which had elements, colour schemes or text design that I liked, plus a description of the ideas I had in my head. He did a great job, merging my ideas with his own, with the particularly nice touch of having a figure inside the ‘O’. We only needed a few adjustments, such as reducing the brightness of the light in the window, darkening the figure to a silhouette and sorting out the spaces in my name.

  1. The cover has a gothic vibe, what with the old buildings, foreboding sky, and birds. I personally really love the cover of “We Watch You” and would have chosen to read it on cover alone. Do you think the cover relates well to your plot?

I’m glad you love the cover! I have had so many positive comments about it. The story itself is not gothic as such but it is dark and sinister at times, with touches of paranoia. I’m a fan of what everyone who’s studied English Literature knows as ‘pathetic fallacy’ – in this case, it’s when the weather matches the mood! So the foreboding sky with the disturbed birds is very suitable. The lone female figure in the street can represent one or more of the characters in the book – in the same way that the title We Watch You has more than one meaning (if you read the book, you’ll know).

  1. I’m retired from a career in a public library and have known for some time that mysteries/crime thrillers are some of the most read genres of fiction. Why do you think crime fiction is so popular?

I used to work in public libraries too and I remember how often I had to tidy the crime fiction shelves! I think the genre is so popular because human curiosity means that we can’t resist mysteries – we always want to find out why, how, who, when. We are also strongly interested in justice, which crime thrillers address. Then I think there is also a glamour to the genre, with its cool, tough characters and suggestions of noir. Finally, there is the thrill (or the chill) that we get from being so close to the events and motivations in this fiction, while at the same time we’re safe and comfortable, sitting in a cosy armchair with a hot drink and a biscuit, our pulses racing as we turn those pages.

  1. How do you wish to be contacted by ‘fans’? Facebook? Twitter? Your own blog?

Please see my bio link for my various platforms. Twitter and my WordPress blog are where I’m the most active, so anyone wishing to contact me can do so through those.

https://bio.link/nsfordwriter

Posted in author interviews | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – September 28, 2021 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @Legend_Times_ @cassandrajaneuk #TheLeftovers #LegendPress #NetGalley

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday September 28, 2021 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This book will be published on October 1, 2021

Publisher: Legend Press

ISBN: 9781800310094 – ASIN: B0986HJBHD –  247 pages



1)  The author. I’ve read several of her novels and I love her writing.

2)  The dysfunctional family dynamics.

3)  The cover attracted me.

“On the evening my brother and father die, I learn a curious lesson about time.

It’s a warm, bright evening, and the four of us are sitting in the kitchen. Our bellies are pleasantly full of the takeaway meal we always share on the last night of our two-week shift. Frey had special fried rice, because he always does. Josh and I can have anything we want, but we’ve both caught Frey’s habit of sameness, and it’s good to have a favourite. So I had beef chow mein, and Josh had chicken curry and chips, and now everyone’s faintly sleepy and reluctant to move.”

Have you ever read anything by this author?

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fiction, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged | 6 Comments

Cover Love part 106 – Split Faces

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.

For my 106th Cover Love post, I want to share some books that I’ve found with split faces on their covers. These are predominately thrillers, but a few other genres are present as well.Have you read any of these titles?

Don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 105 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 20 Comments

“The House On The Water’s Edge” by C.E. Rose – Book Review

When new mother Ali Baker learns of her mother’s tragic death in a car accident, her baby son is only five weeks old. She had expected her mother to visit within the next few days so she was curt with her on the phone – thinking they could talk when she arrived… Her mother had said there was something important she wanted to discuss. Now, Ali will never know what that something was, and she regrets not taking the time to hear her mother out.

Struggling with being a new Mom, and still feeling the physical effects of the difficult birth, Ali’s marriage is under strain. She packs up her baby son and drives from Manchester to Norfolk to go through her mother’s house and possessions. Once there, she discovers long-held family secrets.I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but don’t believe it is correctly categorized in its description as a ‘thriller’.  There were elements of mystery, domestic suspense, and even romance within its well executed pages.

The descriptions and characterizations were very well drawn – as one can expect from Caroline England who is using the pen name C.E. Rose in this instance. Some of the characters were appealing and others not so much. I didn’t care for Ali’s husband at all. I loved Ali’s mother’s gardener, George and pictured him as looking like the actor Tom Burke.

The setting, in the Norfolk Broads, added to my enjoyment of the book and gave some scenes added strength.

I liked the protagonist and could empathize with her situation. A former criminal lawyer, now not working, and with an infant son, she is struggling to cope with her new ‘normal’. Family secrets are always a huge enticement to me when choosing a book, and there were some doozies here. There were two major plot twists, one I anticipated, and one I was surprised by.

This is a slow burner, but worth the journey. It visited the nature vs. nurture debate and would make a great movie. Recommended!


This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Hera Books via NetGalley.

Publication date: August 11, 2021 Publisher: Hera Books

ISBN: 9781912973767 – ASIN: ‎‎ ‎ ‎ B096THCDMH – 359 pages

C.E. Rose is a pseudonym of the novelist Caroline England. She is a former divorce lawyer based in Manchester. Beneath the Skin, her debut novel, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017. Her second book, My Husband’s Lies, was released in May 2018 and became a top ten Kindle bestseller. Betray Her and Truth Games are her most recent releases.

She has written two novels under the pen name C.E. Rose.  The House of Hidden Secrets AND The House On The Water’s Edge.

Follow Caroline England on Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Suspense | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

“Rizzio” by Denise Mina – Book Review

A young Mary Queen of Scots witnesses the brutal murder of her private secretary David Rizzio during the bloody coup of Holyrood Palace in March of 1566.

The Murder Of David Rizzio – a painting by Friedrich Paul Thumann

Ever since reading the brilliant crime trilogy ‘Garnethill‘ several years ago, I have been an ardent fan of Denise Mina.

This time out, she has penned a novella that brings Scottish history vividly to life like no history text could ever do.

Mary Queen of Scots became a real person, and the writing of this book portrayed her in an authentic way. Set a few years after the Reformation, it depicts the brutal murder of David Rizzio and the violent coup of  Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland. At this time Mary Queen of Scots witnessed the brutal and bloody murder of David Rizzio when she was heavily pregnant and only twenty-three years old.

This is a vivid depiction of one of the major events in Scottish history. Recommended!This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Pegasus Books/Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss.

Publication date: September 7, 2021     Publisher: Pegasus Books

ISBN: 9781643138459  –  ASIN: ‎‎ ‎ ‎ B08X4YH478  –  128 pages

After a peripatetic childhood in Glasgow, Paris, London, Invergordon, Bergen and Perth, Denise Mina left school early. Working in a number of dead end jobs, all of them badly, before studying at night school to get into Glasgow University Law School.
Denise went on to study for a PhD at Strathclyde, misusing her student grant to write her first novel. This was Garnethill, published in 1998, which won the Crime Writers Association John Creasy Dagger for Best First Crime Novel.
She has now published 12 novels and also writes short stories, plays and graphic novels.
In 2014 she was inducted into the Crime Writers’ Association Hall of Fame.
Denise presents TV and radio programmes as well as regularly appearing in the media, and has made a film about her own family.
She regularly appears at literary festivals in the UK and abroad, leads masterclasses on writing and was a judge for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction 2014. Denise Mina has been awarded the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year and the Gordon Burn Prize for “The Long Drop“.

Follow Denise Mina on Twitter @DameDeniseMina

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Historical fiction, Novellas | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

“Something To Hide” by Deborah Moggach – Book Review

This is a story set on four different continents featuring four different women who all have something to hide.  But then, some would argue, who doesn’t?

Petra – a woman in her early sixties whose children are grown and living far away. She lives alone in a large house in Pimlico, London. She is very, very lonely. Her best friend’s husband visits from Africa and the two strike up a friendship. That friendship blossoms into something more…

Lorrie – lives in Texas to a military man who is often posted overseas. She too is lonely. She has two children whom she loves, yet her time is long when her husband is away. She looks to make a little money so that the family can move to a new house and subdivision in a nicer area. Her plans go disastrously awry.

Li-Jing – lives in Shanghai with her businessman husband. The couple long for a child, but have found that they both have fertility issues.

Ernestine – lives in a tiny village in West Africa. She is married and the mother of several children. She sells beauty products to the local women and transports her shop about with her in a large box which she carries on her head.

I have never read anything by this author so really didn’t know what to expect. I found the writing especially readable and the narrative flowed smoothly despite it featuring different women’s stories.

This is essentially the story of London based Petra, though the other women’s stories overlap in some way.  I found Ernestine’s story to be interesting, but it had little to do with the other women’s stories and in my opinion could have been left out of the book with little negative effect. Lorrie’s story was one of desperation and I found it imminently sad.

This is a novel about loneliness, aging, betrayal, deception, desperation, and the vagaries of life.

Something To Hide” can be considered literary fiction as well as women’s fiction. It was a memorable novel that I found absorbing and fascinating in equal measure. I will definitely be on the lookout for more works by this author. Recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Harper Paperbacks via Edelweiss.

Publication date: May 3, 2016  Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

ISBN: 9780062427335    ASIN: ‎‎ ‎ ‎ B0166KW3J8    336 pages

Deborah Moggach studied English at Bristol University and is a British novelist and screenwriter. She has worked in journalism and has also been Chairman of the Society of Authors and worked for PEN’s Executive Committee, as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Moggach has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever (made into the film of the same name), These Foolish Things (made into the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Heartbreak Hotel.

She has two adult children and currently lives in Wales with her husband Mark Williams.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Literary fiction, Women's fiction | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = BURNING #WednesdaysWord #booklovers #bookbloggers #fiction

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.

My pick for Wednesday’s Word this week is ‘BURNING‘. In this post I’ve selected 20 novels with the word ‘BURNING’ in the title as a way of sharing my book love.

These titles cover a broad range of  genres – with literary fiction, mystery, women’s fiction, and thrillers to name but a few.

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?

Which cover MOST APPEALS to YOU?
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

Teaser Tuesday – September 21, 2021 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @MattZWitten #TheNecklace @oceanviewpub #NetGalley

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday September 21, 2021 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This book was published September 7, 2021

Optioned for film—with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

ISBN: 9781608094585 – ASIN: B08SR91BD4 –  304 pages



1)  The protagonist as ‘underdog’, hopefully triumphant in her quest.

2)  Adversity – protagonist’s fight against great odds.

3)  The all encompassing search for justice.

4)  I want to read the book before the film comes out.

“Sunday, April 7, Twenty Years Ago

“Which do you like better? Amy asked. “The purple dolphin or the pink duck?” “Here’s the fun part,” said Susan, ruffling her daughter’s silky hair. “We can get both.”

They were at the Soave Faire Craft Store in Glens Falls, picking out beads so Amy could make a necklace like her friend Kate’s. These long, leisurely Sunday afternoons together after church were Susan’s favorite part of the week.”

Have you ever read anything by this author?

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fiction, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged | 5 Comments