Fictionophile’s APRIL 2022 Reading Wrap-Up #bookblogger #MonthlyWrapUp

APRIL by the numbers:

Total books read: 12
Published in 2022: 6
Backlist titles: 5
Five star reads: 3
Debut novels: 3
Books that are part of a series: 5
Goodreads challenge: 49/120 (41%)
GR NetGalley challenge: 32/70 (46%)
GR Edelweiss challenge: 7/25 (28%)

My armchair travels took me to the Norfolk, England (The Marsh House); Melbourne, Australia (The Younger Wife); Coastal Maine, USA (Lacie’s Secrets); Glasgow, Scotland (In The Silence); Yorkshire, England (Mrs. England); Essex, England (Into The Dark); Exmoor, England (Ellie And The Harpmaker); Toronto, Canada (Watch Out For Her); Pennsylvania (Spring Girls); Wiltshire, England (Long Shadows); Upstate New York (A Dead Man’s Eyes); Derbyshire, England (In Cold Blood)

Not bad for one month.

In this past month I’ve read twelve titles.

I enjoyed every one of them, some more than others of course. (Just click on the graphics below to read my reviews)

My review of “Mrs. England”


AND WORTHY RUNNER(s)-UP:

My review of “The Younger Wife”AND

my review of “Ellie and the Harpmaker”

I feel very lucky to have access to so many wonderful books and hope that you had a great reading month. I hope 2022 is being kind to all of you. ♥

Posted in Fictionophile report, Reading | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Fictionophile’s APRIL 2022 #BookHaul #Bookbloggers #TBR

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

(All book descriptions are linked to Goodreads.)

I received ALL FIVE of these titles from NetGalley.


Delighted to receive this ARC of Backman’s conclusion to the Beartown trilogy. At a whopping 688 pages, it looks like I’ll have some enjoyable reading ahead!


Looking forward to meeting up with Boyle and Keneally in this their third outing…


I’ve read one other of this author’s titles and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to this stand-alone by her.


I loved this author’s “Death Of A Mermaid” and was excited to see a character from that novel is prominent in this one! Welcome back D.I. Toni Kemp!


Vincent Panettiere is a ‘new to me’ author. This was a NetGalley ‘Read Now‘ title and I succumbed to temptation.


AND…. I was the winner of a draw that was held on Steph Broadribb’s author newsletter! I received a paperback copy of her latest novel “Death In The Sunshine” as well as a matching pen!

Do any of these titles sound good to you?

Are any of them on YOUR TBR?

 

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 17 Comments

“A Dead Man’s Eyes” by Lori Duffy Foster – Book Review

Lisa Jamison – an investigative journalist in her hometown of Seneca Springs, New York. She is only in her early thirties, but has a sixteen year old daughter, whom she adores. She was a teenage runaway who became pregnant at fifteen. Completely estranged from her birth family, Lisa has only herself to thank for her success in life.

Her old boyfriend, Marty, has just been murdered. The authorities say he was a criminal, and a drug dealer. Lisa knows this cannot be right. She has faith that Marty would never have dealt drugs. Lisa investigates the circumstances behind his death in order to give her daughter a more accurate picture of who her father was…

Bridget Jamison – sixteen and riddled with teenage angst. She loves her mother and Dorothy, yet can’t seem to communicate with them anymore.

Dorothy – is Lisa’s best friend who is thirty-one years her senior. Dorothy began living with them to care for Lisa’s daughter Bridget, when she was younger and Lisa worked odd hours. Now, Dorothy, an artist, is a much loved part of the family and they couldn’t imagine her living anywhere else.Although this is the author’s debut novel, the writing was very assured and polished. A former crime journalist, she was already a seasoned writer.

The plot was scarily plausible and the tension of the chapters ramped up gradually throughout the novel.

My only quibble with the novel is that once again, the female protagonist took foolish risks in her quest for justice – though without these risks, the ‘bad guys’ would never have been apprehended.

I loved the family dynamic and rooted for each and every one of them throughout each tension-filled page. The excellent characterization gives this suspense thriller more heft than many of its peers.

All in all, “A Dead Man’s Eyes” was a stellar start to a new crime series. I’ve already got the second novel, “Never Broken” loaded on my Kindle. Highly 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 Level Best Books via NetGalley.  This is a title from my NetGalley backlist which I should have read and reviewed ages ago… my apologies to the author and the publisher.

  ISBN: 9781953789259 – ASIN:  ‎ B08Y66CCVZ – 228 pages

Lori Duffy Foster is a former crime reporter who writes fiction and nonfiction from the hills of Northern Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. She was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, where a part of her heart remains.

Her short fiction has appeared in the journal Aethlon, and in the anthologies Short Story America and Childhood Regained. Her nonfiction has appeared in Healthy Living, Running Times, Literary Mama, Crimespree and Mountain Home magazines.

A Dead Man’s Eyes, the first in the Lisa Jamison mystery/suspense series, is her debut novel. Book two in the series, Never Broken, is available now. Her first standalone thriller, Never Let Go, releases in December of 2022. She is also author of Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years.

Lori is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, The Historical Novel Society and Pennwriters. She is also vice president of the Knoxville (PA) Public Library board.

Lori Duffy Foster lives with her husband, Tom Foster, a fellow author.

Connect with Lori Duffy Foster on Twitter, her website, or on Instagram.

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Suspense | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“Red As Blood” by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #CoverReveal @OrendaBooks #CrimeThriller @lilja1972

It is my absolute delight to share with you the stunning cover of Lilja Sigurdardóttir’s new novel, “Red As Blood” which will be published on October 13, 2022 by Orenda Books.

Red As Blood” is the second installment in the Áróra Investigations crime thriller series set in Iceland. It is the sequel to “Cold As Hellwhich I reviewed back in February.

“Red as Blood” by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Translated by Quentin Bates

Book 2: An Áróra Investigation series


Now are you ready for the stunning cover????

What…. can’t see enough?

Awww… I’m such a tease….


Hardcover ISBN: 9781914585319 

Paperback ISBN: 9781914585326

Epub ISBN: 9781914585333

276 pages


Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a series and Lilja’s English debut shortlisting for the CWA International Dagger and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap soon followed suit, with the third in the trilogy Cage winning the Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year, and being chosen as a Guardian Book of the Year. Lilja’s standalone Betrayal was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures. Lilja is also an award-winning screenwriter in her native Iceland. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Connect with Lilja Sigurdardóttir via her website, Twitter, or Instagram.

Posted in Anticipated titles, cover reveals, Dustjackets, novels in translation, Orenda Books | Tagged , | 4 Comments

WWW Wednesday – April 27, 2022 #readingforpleasure #bookbloggers #WWWWednesday #bookworms

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

I’ve linked the book descriptions to the Goodreads site for the book.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

In Cold Blood” by Jane Bettany

This is a title from my NetGalley backlist that I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. It is the first novel in a police procedural crime series featuring D.I. Isabel BloodWhat have I just finished reading?

A Dead Man’s Eyes” by Lori Duffy Foster

The first novel in a crime thriller series set in Seneca Springs, New York which features Lisa Jamison – a journalist and single mother of a teenager. I downloaded this one from NetGalley. Watch for my review soon…

What will I read next?”

The Dark Tide” by Simon McCleave

The first in a crime series set in Wales on the Isle of Anglesey – which I downloaded via NetGalley.and after that I plan to read

The Beloved Girls” by Harriet Evans

I’m very much looking forward to this one since I really enjoyed some of her earlier novels. I downloaded this from NetGalley.


So that’s it!   How is YOUR reading week shaping up?

 

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report, Reading, WWW Wednesdays | Tagged | 8 Comments

“Spring Girls” by Karen Katchur – Book Review


Detective Geena Brassard – is single, in her early thirties, and lives alone with her aging bulldog, Codis. She is very tall and has no female friends other than those on the police force. She has only been partnered with Parker Reed for a short time. Before that she was partnered with her friend and mentor Albert – who has recently retired from the force. Geena’s loyalty to Albert and his methods is sacrosanct.

Detective Parker Reed – is also single (though he has a steady female partner, Becca, who we were introduced to in the first book in the series). He is in his mid thirties. Parker is tall, quiet, and has a good rapport with his partner Geena.The CASE: Young women are being bound, raped, and strangled in Northampton County. They are always killed in the spring and their bodies dumped in lakes and ponds. All of the women were college students, had long hair, and were assaulted while alone on the mountain trails.

Janey – the ‘first’ victim of the Spring Strangler. She is the only one who survived and her six year old son Christian is the result of her rape. Christian has troubling behavioral issues and Janey is terrified that her son will turn out as evil as his father…

The third in the Northampton County series, “Spring Girls” is a police procedural with themes of nature vs. nurture and the cyclic course of abusive relationships.  The pacing was steady, and the descriptions well rendered.

Detective Parker Reed took a backseat this time to his partner Geena Brassard. We got to know her more and discover her increasing regard for her new partner, Parker.

Janey was an interesting character. She had very low self-esteem, and loved her young son very much despite his behavior. I got bad vibes from Janey’s therapist, Helen, from the start but couldn’t imagine the reason… We learn the identity of the Spring Strangler at about the 70% mark of the book, with the rest of the novel explaining the motivation and back story.

Karen Katchur knows how to perfectly balance her plot with her characters and it is evident here. The books in this series are interconnected, but each highlights a different character so they could be read just fine as stand-alones.

All in all, another fine addition to this series and I’ll look forward to future cases of Brassard and Parker. 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 Thomas & Mercer (Amazon Publishing) via NetGalley.  This is a title from my NetGalley backlist which I should have read and reviewed ages ago… my apologies to the author and the publisher.

  ISBN: 9781542093248 – ASIN:  ‎ B07T31H66C – 320 pages

Karen Katchur is an award-winning suspense novelist with a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a master’s in education. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Follow Karen Katchur on Twitter
or on Facebook

Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“Unsettled Ground” by Claire Fuller – Book Review

“It is hard to rewrite your own history”.


Jeannie and Julius Seeder are twins who live in rural isolation deep in the heart of Oxfordshire. Their music is their solace. Julius does go out to work doing odd jobs and is the more robust of the twins. Jeannie suffered from rheumatic fever as a child and was kept out of school a lot. As a result she is almost illiterate and their tiny, rundown cottage is the only world she has ever known.

When their mother dies, they learn that the family have many outstanding debts, and no way to pay them. This sends them both on a precipitous downward spiral which leaves them homeless and shocked to learn some long-held family secrets.
The twins, along with their mother were accomplished folk musicians. Dot, the mother, played banjo, while Julius accompanied her on his fiddle and Jeanie played guitar.

I’m always drawn to books that feature eccentric characters and this one really delivered in that aspect. The protagonists in this novel live on the fringes of society, or more accurately on the dust held by the fringes of society.

Most of us cannot fathom their isolation and their abject poverty, but both of these things are not of great importance to either of them. The twin brother and sister are fifty-one years old at the time of their mother’s death. This event changes their isolated and sheltered world to such an extent both physically and emotionally, that they flounder – and understandably so.

When they are made homeless, Julius seeks independence and a ‘life’ outside their insular world, while Jeanie wants only to preserve their former existence. When the late Dot’s secrets are revealed, Jeanie is most profoundly impacted.

This is definitely not an uplifting story. It is a tale of hardship, of poverty, injustice, and perseverance. Of living an austere life; of opportunities missed, and of pride. The tale is told with vivid imagery, a few of which scenes will remain with me for a very long time.

To say I enjoyed this book seems wrong because of the many distressing circumstances described within it. Yet to say that I did not enjoy it would be a lie. The writing was astounding and I was completely immersed in Jeanie’s story and had great sympathy for her plight. So yes, I would definitely recommend this novel, though you might have to be in the right frame of mind to do so. 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
House of Anansi via NetGalley. I enjoyed this book SO much that I decided to RE-post this review to coincide with the publication in North America by Tin House Books.

ISBN: 9781953534170      

Claire Fuller is an award-winning novelist and short fiction writer. She studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art, then began writing fiction at the age of 40, after many years working as a co-director of a marketing agency. She has a Masters (distinction) in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Winchester. She lives in Winchester, England with her husband, and a cat called Alan. She has two grown-up children.

Her three published novels: Our Endless Numbered Days (winner of the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction), Swimming Lessons (shortlisted for the Encore prize for second novels, and Livre de Poche prize in France), and the critically acclaimed Bitter Orange (longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award), have all been published by Fig Tree / Penguin (UK), Tin House (US), and House of Anansi (Canada). They have been translated into more than 15 languages.

Unsettled Ground” is her fourth novel and is the Winner of the 2021 Costa Novel Award.

Follow Claire Fuller on Twitter @ClaireFuller2 ;  on Instagram@writerclairefuller

Posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, Reblogged | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Introducing…. Literary Map @literary_map #booklovers #bookbloggers

As some of you might have noticed, for the past few months I’ve listed my armchair travels in my Fictionophile Monthly Wrap-Up posts.

Literary Map is a new app that tracks your armchair travels!

Suppose you are reading a book where the protagonist is in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. You can search for that place by clicking the icon and automatically the app will go to that place and a pin would be added to the map (or you can navigate the map and add manually the pin with the icon).

You add the ISBN of the book, upload the book’s cover, then give a short one or two sentence review of the book.

Click the pin and you can add a new literary moment by adding the ISBN in the box provided. Then, you enter its info first and later the info from the literary moment, for example:

 After adding the moment, click on the circle with the cover and you can see it like:

 

You can create any moments that you want expressing your thoughts, feels or reviews, forming your own storyverse:

For instance, I have plotted 3 of my recent reads on Literary Map.

Literary Map allows you to see where your books are happening, where you have traveled with them, finding new connections between their protagonists that provoke fun and innovative ways to think about them.

Finally, the owner of Literary Map has created the promo code FICTIONOPHILE (active for three months) so that my followers can use it to add 3 more months to the default 1-month free trial for a total 4-month free trial!

After your free one  four-month trial, you will be able to continue using Literary Map by paying $4 USD a month or $40 USD a year.

Do you think you’d like to track YOUR armchair travels?

Posted in Apps for Readers | Tagged | 17 Comments

“Long Shadows” by Derek Thompson – Book Review

Book 1 in the Detective Craig Wild police procedural mystery series set in Wiltshire.

Detective Sergeant Craig Wild is in his late thirties and has recently moved from London to rural Wiltshire. He has landed in a small community rife with nepotism and local knowledge – the antithesis of his former job. In the midst of a divorce from a senior police officer, he is unsettled to say the least. Two weeks in to his new squad and he doesn’t seem very popular. His car has been keyed and his co-workers give him a wide berth for the most part. Then, finally, a case he can sink his teeth into. A farmer has been shot with a shotgun in a remote field.

His boss, DCI Marsh seems to be testing him. The only person who views him with any kind of tolerance is Police Constable Marnie Olsen, a rookie. Craig is suspicious by nature, takes anti-anxiety meds, and uses his job to avoid introspection.

I always enjoy police procedurals, especially when the protagonist has a troubled personal background. DS Craig Wild certainly fits the bill.

The setting and the police team were interesting to become acquainted with. The murder investigation was a tad convoluted, and hard to follow. The motives seemed insufficiently strong for the crime, in my opinion. Also, in concurrence with the Wiltshire murder enquiry, DS Wild still has a residual case ongoing in London, which further muddies the waters.

My favourite character was the rookie policewoman Marnie Olsen. She was smarter and more ambitious than her male counterparts, and I can see a bright future for her. Apparently the author thought so too, as she figures prominently in the second book.

All in all, a decent series debut, but not my personal favourite. I did enjoy it enough to have the second novel “West Country Murder” already loaded on my Kindle.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 Joffe Books via NetGalleyThis is a title from my NetGalley backlist which I should have read and reviewed ages ago… my apologies to the author and the publisher.

  ISBN: 9781789313598 – ASIN:  ‎ B089GXTB47 – 238 pages

Derek Thompson grew up in London and started writing fiction in his teens. After spending a year in the US, he returned to London and subsequently moved to the West Country. He wrote a commissioned piece for The Guardian in 2008 and entered the world of freelance writing in 2009. His short fiction has featured in both British and American anthologies, and can be found online. He has also written comedy material for live performance and radio.

His love of film noir and thrillers began with The Big Sleep, and has never left him. Much of his fiction involves death, data or secrets. As the saying goes: write about what you know. He writes about Thomas Bladen and his role in the Surveillance Support Unit.

His books have been described as snarky (yes, it’s a real word), pared down, and morally ambiguous. What more could any novelist ask for? Apart from pens — you can never have too many pens.

Connect with Derek Thompson on Twitter @DerekWriteLines or via his publisher, Joffe Books.

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Joffe Books, Mystery fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Cover Love part 110 – Red Umbrellas #CoverLove #fictionophile #BookCovers

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 110th Cover Love post, I want to share 20 fiction books that I’ve found with red umbrellas on their covers as part of my April showers theme. These titles fall into many different genres of fiction. All covers are linked to the Goodreads descriptions.

Have you read any of these titles?

Don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 109 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 9 Comments

Throwback Thursday – “Death Of A Mermaid” by Lesley Thomson #BookReview #ThrowbackThursday #CrimeFiction @LesleyjmThomson

The Throwback Thursday meme was created by Renee over at It’s Book Talk (who seems to be taking a blogging hiatus). She made this meme to share some of her old favorites. Although all bookbloggers have an endless TBR pile, we seldom take the time to reflect back and post about some of the great reads from a few years ago. Sharing book recommendations is one of my most favorite things to do!

Davida (The Chocolate Lady) hosts a monthly Throwback Thursday Link party.

I originally reviewed “Death Of A Mermaid” in May of 2020.


“…even sinners love those who love them.”

It all started over two decades ago at a Catholic school. Four teenage girls who called themselves ‘Mermaids’.  When one of the Mermaids got ousted from their little friendship circle, bitterness remained. Now, with only three Mermaids, as they got older, two of them fell in love – with each other…  This relationship severed ties of family and friendship.

Several pivotal events in this novel took place at the Lunette Battery, Newhaven, East Sussex.

Lunette Battery

The characters in this novel are all in some way connected to a family business. Power Fisheries has been a prominent business in Easthaven for generations.

The Power patriarch has been dead for some years leaving the running of the family business to the two sons, Adam and Ricky. Freddie (Frederica), the eldest child, was thrown out of the family and the business by her father when she ‘came out’ to him about being a lesbian.  Now, Rennie Power, their mother, is gravely ill and Freddie returns home to Newhaven to see her Mum one last time….

The Mermaids are now all around the age of forty.

Freddie Power – daughter of the powerful Power clan, has just returned to Newhaven after two decades in London where she lived with her partner Sarah, a successful lawyer. Unhappy in her relationship, she leaves Sarah when she returns to her home town.

Karen Munday – thrown out of the mermaids when she bullied Toni, she now works as a fishmonger for Power Fisheries.

Toni Kemp – now a Detective Inspector with the Sussex Police in Newhaven. She is the girlfriend of Ricky Power.

Mags McKee – single, a librarian, and a devout Catholic, she was, and still is, the love of Freddie’s life.

I’m not sure if this novel is the beginning of a new series for Lesley Thomson – but if it is, it is a series I will be following.

Newhaven, East Sussex

I love a seaside setting, and this one, set on the Sussex coast is so vivid you can hear the seagulls squealing.

The protagonist(s) were very interesting characters, and you got to know them well over the course of the book. I particularly liked Freddie Power and enjoyed the scenes where she took up her late mother’s pet hotel.

The mystery element of the book was well plotted and it had me guessing ‘whodunnit‘ until near the end. I did guess at one plot element reveal, but don’t want to speak of it here –  so I won’t spoil it for any potential reader.

The cover is stunning and exactly fits the subject nature of the novel.

I was not at all surprised that I loved this book. I have read the first novel in the author’s ‘Detective’s Daughter’ series and thoroughly enjoyed that one as well. I will endeavor to read more in that series when time permits.

With themes of family loyalty, friendship, betrayal, Catholicism, homophobia, and avarice, this novel has a lot to offer the reader. Highly 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 Head of Zeus (and their marketing manager, Vicky Joss) via NetGalley.

Publication date: May 7, 2020  Publisher: Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781788549721   ASIN: B07RM6R4WL     400 pages

Lesley Thomson grew up in west London. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won the People’s Book Prize in 2010. Her second novel, The Detective’s Daughter, was a #1 bestseller and the series has sold over 750,000 copies. Lesley divides her time between Sussex and Gloucestershire. She lives with her partner and her dog.

Follow Lesley Thomson on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

“Watch Out For Her” by Samantha M. Bailey – Book Review

“Everyone has parts of themselves they’re ashamed of, that they hide. Desperate people do desperate things. Not always on purpose. But sometimes.”

Holly Monroe – a twenty-two year old med student who comes from a prestigious family who own a pharmaceutical company. Holly’s mother died when she was born, so Holly grew up with her domineering father, her cold and calculating stepmother, and a stepsister that adores her. Her father uses her to further his business interests. The only reason she went into medicine is to please her father, but now she has had enough and wants out. She takes a summer babysitting job looking after Jacob, the six-year-old son of Sarah and Daniel Goldman. When she gets to know them, she wishes they were her family. She loves them and wants to have Sarah as a mother figure. Holly is so very desperate for love and acceptance that in recent years she has done some degrading things in her quest for approval.

Sarah Goldman – is in her early forties and is very much a ‘helicopter Mom’ to her son Jacob. She is insecure, neurotic, and paranoid. She installs nanny cams throughout her house to spy on Holly. She discovers Holly’s secrets – and finds that she cannot live with what she has found. She suspects her husband of having an affair with Holly too. She cannot wait to leave Vancouver and start over in Toronto.

When the Goldman’s arrive at their rental house in Toronto, Sarah discovers several hidden cameras installed… In addition, she encounters a pushy neighbour, and a creepy ‘neighbourhood watch‘ man across the street. And to make matters worse, her son’s favourite toy rabbit was lost in the move – until it was found on the bed in her son’s new bedroom…

Then come the threatening text messages…

First I have to say… the title of this book is perfect! “Watch Out For Her” meaning ‘be careful, she is a threat’ AND “Watch Out For Her” meaning ‘take care of her’.

This is a dual-time line, dual setting domestic thriller. We first meet the protagonists when they live in Vancouver. An affluent family who hires a babysitter for the summer so that the mother can devote her time to her photography. Then, when the summer turns sour, the family pack up and move to Toronto – to make a fresh start… away from the babysitter.

Every adult in this novel is harboring dark secrets. The subterfuge and voyeurism is oftentimes disturbing. I waffled between liking the mother and disliking her intensely. I waffled between feeling sympathy for the babysitter and liking her, to shaking my head at some of the distasteful things she does.

The author keeps the reader on tenterhooks. You wonder who to root for, who to trust.

This is a thriller that explores how far people will go to hide their shameful secrets and how much they would do to feel acceptance and affection. A domestic drama that should please fans of the genre. Recommended.I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss – at my request, for my own reading enjoyment & the writing of this review. “Watch Out For Her” will be published on April 26th, 2022 and you can pre-order now!

ISBN: 9781982155193 – 336 pages

Samantha M. Bailey is the USA TODAY and #1 nationally bestselling author of Woman on the Edge, which has sold in eleven countries to date. She is also a journalist and freelance editor; her work has appeared in NOW Magazine, The Village Post, The Thrill Begins, and The Crime Hub, among other publications. Watch Out for Her is her second novel. Samantha lives in Toronto, where she’s currently working on her next book. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @SBaileyBooks and on her website at SamanthaMBailey.com.

Posted in Book Reviews, Canadian fiction, Edelweiss, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – April 19, 2022 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday #TheBelovedGirls @HarrietEvans @GrandCentralPub

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 April 19, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on May 10, 2022Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

ISBN: 9781538722176  –  464 pages



1)  To be honest, the blurb had me at “funny old house”.

2)  The British, West Country setting.

3)  One of the characters has a troubled, fractured mind…

4) I enjoyed a previous book by this author “A Place For Us”.

First paragraph from the prologue:

“October 1983 – I was twelve when I first went to Vanes. My mother had walked out on us the previous month, and I assume this is why we were invited.”

Actual first paragraph:

“2018 – When did it begin to fall apart? Afterward, she would look back to this point in time: the arrival back home, though she never knew precisely when the moment itself came, the tipping point, so that the weight of what she carried grew heavier and heavier, and the scales simply could not be balanced any more.”

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

Have you read anything else by this author?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday, Women's fiction | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

“Ellie And The Harpmaker” by Hazel Prior – Book Review

Ellie Jacobs – Before her marriage to Clive, Ellie was a librarian, but now she is a housewife. She has little in the way of self esteem due to a fraught relationship with her mother. With no children to care for, Ellie spends her days writing poetry and wandering Exmoor. It is on just such a jaunt that one day she wanders into the ‘Harp Barn’ and meets Dan Hollis, the harpmaker.

Ellie’s marriage is not unhappy as such – it is just… empty.  When Dan Hollis gives Ellie a harp and her husband tells her to ‘take it back‘, she does, only to learn that Dan says it is HER harp, and that he will store it for her. She begins visiting Dan, and her harp, on a daily basis – then she begins taking harp lessons.

“But now I’ve found a warmer place, with music, heart and breathing space.”

Dan Hollis – at thirty-three years of age, Dan has led a somewhat sheltered and reclusive life. This is the way he likes it. He is guileless and has many quirks, though he is very aware of his own strengths and weaknesses. It is obvious to the reader that Dan must have Asperger’s syndrome. He is a man of simple routines, he counts everything, he avoids social situations, and he loves going for solitary walks and communing with nature. But most of all… Dan loves to make harps. Music soothes his soul and he turns to it when he is troubled, grieving, or anxious.

“Music helps fill up the holes that people leave behind.”

A warm and delightful read, I thoroughly treasured my time spent on Exmoor. The novel has a keen sense of place due to the author’s intimate knowledge and affection for her home.Told via the alternating perspectives of Ellie and Dan, the story was heart-warming, poignant, humorous, and up-lifting. I particularly appreciated the chapters written from Dan’s point of view as his was such a uniquely different, and pure perspective. The addition of ‘Phineas the Pheasant‘ added some levity and interest too.

Some would frown upon Ellie’s attraction to Dan – mostly because she is married, and also because of his Asperger’s. I on the other hand, disliked Ellie’s husband from the beginning, long before she ever met Dan, so I was routing for Dan and Ellie to get together. I wondered how, if they did every become a couple, they would meet the challenges Dan’s Asperger’s would present to their lives.

A story about friendship, deception, human connection, appreciation of music, and being true to yourself.

This is a ‘feel-good’ novel that will stay in my heart for years to come.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 Berkley Publishing via NetGalley. I read this author’s second novel before this, her debut. This is a title from my NetGalley backlist which I should have read and reviewed ages ago… my apologies to the author and the publisher.

  ISBN: 9781984803788 – ASIN:  B07KVK5F5Q – 336 pages

Hazel Prior is a harpist and novelist based in Exmoor, England. Originally from Oxford, she fell in love with the harp as a student and now performs regularly. She’s had short stories published in literary magazines and has won numerous writing competitions in the UK. “Ellie and the Harpmaker” was her debut novel andHow the Penguins Saved Veronicathen “Call Of The Penguins” were her second and third respectively.

Follow Hazel Prior on Twitter @HazelPriorBooks

or, visit her official website: https://www.hazeltheharpist.co.uk/

Posted in Book Reviews, Love stories, NetGalley, Women's fiction | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

#BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘P’ #GreatReads

Last year I started going through the entire alphabet, one letter per month. For April 2022, the 16th month of my endeavor, I’m listing all of my favourite novels that begin with the letter ‘P‘. I am choosing these titles from the books I’ve read since I began this blog. There are 20 books recommended here.

If the title begins with an initial article such as The, A, An etc., I will be using the second word.  For instance, “A Man called Ove” will be included in my M post. “The Silent Patient” will be listed in my S post.

Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you from these posts.

As always, I’ve linked the book cover to Goodreads, and the title link will take you to MY review of the book.


Persons Unknown” by Susie Steiner


The Possible World” by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz


"Pretty Girls" by Karin SlaughterPretty Girls” by Karin Slaughter


The Poison Thread” by Laura Purcell


The Peacock Summer” by Hannah Richell


Play Dead” by Angela Marsons


The Pull Of The Stars” by Emma Donoghue


Playing Nice” by J.P. Delaney


The Phantom Tree” by Nicola Cornick


The Paris Apartment” by Lucy Foley


Painting The Light” by Sally Cabot Gunning


Please See Us” by Caitlin Mullin


"Perfect" by Rachel JoycePerfect” by Rachel Joyce


Perfect Remains” by Helen Fields


A Place Called Winter” by Patrick Gale


A Place For Us” by Harriet Evans


The Postscript Murders” by Elly Griffiths


"Purity of Vengeance" by Jussi Adler-OlsenThe Purity Of Vengeance” by Jussi Adler-Olsen


Pieces Like Pottery” by Dan Buri


Playing With Fire” by Tess Gerritsen


If you have already read any of these titles, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

When someone asks me to recommend a book…

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books | Tagged | 8 Comments