Book Reviews

Book Review: The Silent House by Nell Pattison

If someone was in your house, you’d know … Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare: the murder of their daughter.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people from Paige’s community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder?

Or was the murderer closer to home?

 

Jaxon Hunter wakes up in the middle of the night and finds a strange figure in his room. This person tells him to go back to sleep. When he wakes up in the morning, his sister, Lexi, is dead.

The Hunter family are deaf and didn’t hear the intruder.

The police call on BSL interpreter, Paige Northwood to help them interview the witnesses but before long, Paige is drawn further into the case and begins to wonder if the killer is not an intruder but someone closer than she can imagine.

The Silent House is partly told from the point of view of Paige and also from the POV of Elisha, Lexi’s stepmother and one of the prime suspects.

I found this novel to have such a sinister atmosphere. It begins with the murder of an eighteen-month-old baby so it’s not shying away from tackling a difficult and heart-breaking situation.

The tension builds pretty much from the first page.

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Book Review: Clover Cottage by Christie Barlow

Hello and welcome to Christie Barlow and the blog tour for her new novel, Clover Cottage. This is the third novel in the Love Heart Lane series. 

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

When Vet Rory Scott inherits ramshackle Clover Cottage in the quaint village of Heartcross, Allie MacDonald just knows this is their happy ever after. A place to call home with the man she loves – it’s her dream come true!

Until Rory drops a bombshell. He loves Allie but he has dreams of his own to follow – to live and work in Africa. Clover Cottage will have to wait just a little longer…

Allie can’t imagine life without Rory, but she loves him too much to hold him back. And as he embarks on his adventure, Allie begins to rethink her own plans. She loves Rory and knows she wants him in her life, but maybe she can follow her own dreams too?

And always there, nestled in the beautiful village of Heartcross, surrounded by the people she loves, will be the place that will always bring them back to each other. Their forever home, Clover Cottage.

 

Allie has lived in Heartcross for most of her life and with Rory, the local vet, she feels as though she has met the love of her life. When he inherits Clover Cottage, she begins to picture the potential happy life for them both. When Rory drops a bombshell and opportunities threaten to pull them apart, Allie can feel the happiness slip away.

This is the third installment in the Love Heart Lane series and although I had not read the previous two books, this can be read as a standalone. There are characters that cross between the novels, but I didn’t feel as though I was playing catch up. I do want to eventually make my way through the first two books in the series though as I have quickly fallen in love with the residents of Heartcross.

All of these characters add something wonderful to the story and to me, feel real and relatable, even Zach, the visiting celebrity. I like how he was incorporated into the story. It wasn’t how you’d expect. I didn’t guess how it was going to go and it didn’t end the way I thought. There were a few surprises that kept the pace up well.

This was told from Allie’s point of view. I liked her. She displays a rollercoaster of emotions and I became invested in the relationship between Allie and Rory.

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Book Review: The River Home by Hannah Richell

Hello to Hannah Richell and the blog tour for her latest novel, The River Home.

The river can lead you home. Or it can take you under…

In their ramshackle Somerset home, its gardens running down to the river, the Sorrells have gathered for a last-minute wedding.

Lucy is desperate to reunite her fractured family. Eve is fighting to keep her perfect life together. Their mother, Kit, a famous author whose stories have run dry, still seethes with resentment towards her youngest child. And Margot, who left home eight years ago under a black cloud, is forced to come face to face with her darkness…

As the family come together for a week of celebration and confrontation, their relationships are stretched to breaking point. But can you ever heal the wounds of the past?

 

Eve, Lucy and Margot may be sisters but they are all very different.

Eve is the stoic older sister. On the outside, she has the perfect marriage and two children.

Lucy is the free spirit, the one who just wants her family back together.

Margot is the mysterious, closed off sister who has done all she can to put miles between herself and her childhood home and Kit, their mother who is struggling to finish her best-selling series of books.

When Lucy announces that she’s getting married, Margot heads home and back to the past she has wanted to escape from.

One word for this novel… WOW.

This is the first of Hannah’s books I have read but I am fast becoming a fan.

Immediately, I was drawn into this compelling novel, right from the first page. I could picture Windfalls, the river and the surrounding areas. It all felt so vivid.

The characters are all strong, complicated women who, through a lack of communication, miss out on so much with one another. It made me sad. I got emotionally involved with all these women. Each of them has such a distinct, unique voice. They are each holding their own secrets and there was a small part of me that wanted to shake them all. I grew so fond of them throughout the course of the book.

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Book Review: The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess

Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway.

Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up!

So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways…

Five years later, they meet again…

 

Orla has a five year plan. Advance in her journalism career, move to London and work at one of the national papers. What she didn’t count on was Aiden.

He’s a wildlife photographer who spends his life traveling the world. They don’t plan to fall in love but they do.

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New Book Releases: March 2020

Tinder Press

If there was ever a time to stay in, curl up in a comfortable chair and find a good book, this is it.

So, without further ado, I wanted to share some upcoming March releases with you all.

The first one up is one I am very excited for and that is Hamnet, the latest from Maggie O’ Farrell.
The plot sounds right up my street. It goes something like this.

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl falls ill. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches for help but there seems to be no one home.

Their mother is a mile away in her garden which is full of medicinal herbs. Their father is in London. Neither parent know that one of their children will not survive the week.

This is due to be released on 31st March.

 

Orion

The second book on my list is Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino.

You know when you read the blurb of a book and you know it’s something you have to read but it is also going to make you cry. This is one of those books for me.

Also due for release on 31st March, Tiny Pieces of Us focuses on Vivi Palmer. She knows what it’s like to live life carefully. She was born with a heart defect and although she’s now had a heart transplant, she’s not dared to make the most of it.

When she comes face to face with Grace, the donor’s mother, she wants Vivi to help her find the other people who have pieces of her son.

Vivi may just find a whole new world waiting for her.

 

The next book on the list is The Silence by Daily Pearce. This book was released on 1st March (you can read my interview with Daisy here,) and it sounds amazing.

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Book Review: A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

 

Caroline sees a stranger outside her new beach house. Her house that reflects her outwardly perfect life.

Her husband however is lying to her and everything in her life is turning upside down.

So, when Aiden shows up, a bartender at the party where she has a very public row with her husband, she turns to him for comfort… and revenge.

Although their brief fling means nothing to Caroline, Aiden becomes obsessed.

Then Caroline’s husband goes missing and her life descends into chaos where she is suspected of her own husband’s murder.

I’d not read any of Michele’s novels so this was my introduction. It did not disappoint.

This novel pretty much had me on the edge of my seat all the way through.

It’s a rollercoaster of suspense, tension and an ending that blindsided me.

The style of writing was interesting. It jumps around but I was soon completely into the story.

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Book Review: The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu

From a Tang Dynasty legend of a young girl trained as an assassin with the ability to skip between dimensions on a secluded mountain sanctuary to a space colony called Nova Pacifica that reflects on a post-apocalyptic world of the American Empire and ‘Moonwalker’ Neil Armstrong, award-winning author Ken Liu’s writings are laced with depictions of silkpunk fantasy, Sci-Fi and old Chinese folklore, wrapped up in a mesmerising genre-bending collection of short stories.

Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This much-anticipated collection includes a selection of his latest science fiction and fantasy stories over the last five years – sixteen of his best – plus a new novelette. In addition to these seventeen selections, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories also features an excerpt from book three in the Dandelion Dynasty series, The Veiled Throne.

 

When asked to take part in the blog tour for The Hidden Girl and Other stories, I couldn’t wait to get started.

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories is a collection of sixteen science fiction and fantasy stories. Most of them focus around technology and the human condition.

The first thing I want to comment on is the cover. It is absolutely beautiful.

I had not read any of Ken Liu’s writing before so I didn’t quite know what to expect. This is a stunning set of stories that really go into the amazing but sometimes devastating reality of technology and our reliance on it.

The Hidden Girl also examines how humans relate to one another and what we are capable of doing to each other.

These stories provoked such emotion and have made an impact. It was hard to pick one I liked over the others. However, Thoughts and Prayers was particularly hard to read when you consider what is happening in terms of gun control and internet trolling.

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Book Review: Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Resurrection by Joshua Hood

The first novel in an explosive new series inspired by Robert Ludlum’s Bourne universe, perfect for those who binged Treadstone.

Operation Treadstone made Jason Bourne, but he’s not the only agent they trained.

Treadstone nearly destroyed Adam Hayes. The top-secret CIA Black Ops program trained him to be an all-but-invincible assassin, but it also cost him his family and any chance at a normal life. Which is why he was determined to get out. Working as a carpenter in rural Washington state, Adam thinks he has left Treadstone in the past, until he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at work.

Adam must regain the skills that Operation Treadstone taught him – lightning reflexes and a cold conscience – in order to discover who the would-be killers are and why they have come after him now. Are his pursuers enemies from a long-ago mission? Rival intelligence agents? Or, perhaps, forces inside Treadstone? His search will unearth secrets in the highest levels of government and pull him back into the shadowy world he worked so hard to forget.

The Treadstone Resurrection is the first novel in an explosive new series inspired by Robert Ludlum’s Bourne universe, introducing an unforgettable hero and the covert world that forged him.

When I discovered there was a new series based around Treadstone and that there was also a new book in this series (which incidentally coincides with the 40th anniversary of the franchise), I was excited to be part of the blog tour.

Treadstone pretty much destroyed Adam Hayes life. Now working as a carpenter in rural America, he is happy to have left his old life behind.

When he receives an e-mail from an old colleague, he is quickly pulled back into his old world and must recall his training if he is to stay alive.

I feel I have to be honest and admit that I’ve not read any of the original Robert Ludlum novels. My main exposure to the Bourne universe has been the movies and I am a fan of those.

Adam Hayes is a perfect anti-hero who is pulled back into his previous life as a Treadstone agent. You could feel his resentment crossed with a sense of justice as he tries to figure things out.

The development of his character happens gradually through the novel but I got the feeling that there was still a lot about him that the reader isn’t told about. There is still a big air of mystery about him. He’s complicated that’s for sure and I hope that his background is explored more should more books be released which I hope will be the case.

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Book Review: Cloth of Grace by Rachel J Bonner

When the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, how do you choose between what you ought to do and the only thing you really want?

Leonie finally knows who she is. But now she needs to decide who she is going to be. Her choice will affect not just her family, not just those she knows, but tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of people that she doesn’t. And every path that’s open to her will put Perry under the pressures that caused his breakdown before. How can she do what she must and still protect Perry?

Perry desperately wants to make things easier for Leonie. Somehow he has to find the strength to face the things that all but destroyed him in the past. But every way he turns, some aspect of his past lies waiting to pounce – even during his happiest moments. And he can never forget that Leonie’s life is in danger from someone, somewhere.

Gabriel has managed to negotiate peace, at least in theory. Now he must put that into practice and reunite Leonie with the family she never knew she had. Then disaster strikes right in the middle of his own sanctuary. Can he still protect those he loves, or has he been harbouring a villain the whole time?

It’s nice to welcome the blog tour for Cloth of Grace to the blog today.

Leonie feels that she now knows who she is. However, she needs to figure out where she belongs whilst dealing with the pressure that brings. She wants to protect Perry. There are also people who don’t want Leonie to live and this puts both her and Perry in danger.

Cloth of Grace is the fourth novel in the Choice and Consequences series. I had not read the previous three novels before beginning this one. I did manage to keep up with the story but if you can read the others in the series before this one, it will help give you a better picture of what is going on. However, if you want to begin with Cloth of Grace, there is a brief summary of the plot at the start of the book which I found very helpful.

I really like the premise of this series. The magical aspect is something I found particularly intriguing. The one thing I struggled with was the religious elements but that is my personal preference.

I got the feeling all the way through that the plot was building into something big and it didn’t disappoint. I won’t say what as I don’t want to give anything away.

Leonie is someone I could easily relate to. She’s trying to figure out who she is, where she belongs and what her path should be. I kept forgetting how young she was. She is a very powerful character and has a strength that I feel is a little underestimated by the characters around her.

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Book Review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.

But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob ’til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

Then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

Lydia Bird is about to marry Freddie Hunter, the love of her life. Things are perfect.

Then Freddie dies in a car crash that also injures their close friend, Jonah.

Lydia doesn’t know what she will do without Freddie. She’s lost.

When she’s given pills to help her sleep, she takes them with relief. Then, once asleep, Freddie is there. She discovers that when she is asleep, she can be with Freddie. She can be with the man she loves. In this world, he never died and their life carries on. She couldn’t be happier and is quick to visit Freddie whenever she can.

It’s not long however before each life affects the other. Lydia has to decide where she belongs. Does she want the life she was promised or her ‘real world’ life?

Josie Silver is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I adored One Day in December so I was excited to start reading this novel and I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour.

Lydia is a normal character and I felt that how she dealt with the grief was realistic and heartbreaking. It was not hard to empathise with her.

The supporting characters are also great and it was interesting to see things from their point of view – how a death like that affects not only the spouse but the people around them.

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Book Review: New Beginnings at Wynter House by Emily Harvale

The New Year brings unexpected revelations at Wynter House.

Neva Grey’s Christmas brought several surprises. Now a shocking secret has life-changing consequences for the Wynters, as the New Year brings revelations … and relatives to Wynter House.

It also brings Hazel Smart and Amelia Goodbody. And it’s not just Adam and Rafe Wynter who are pleased Hazel and Amelia have come to stay. Olivia Wynter will enjoy bossing nurse Hazel around and she also makes it clear Amelia – who is handling the marketing for Rafe’s new business venture – is far more suited to be her grandson’s girlfriend than Neva will ever be.

Whilst Amelia is ensconced at Wynter House, Neva is busy with her new hair and beauty salon in Merriment Bay. Perhaps she should enlist her niece, Sasha’s help because just when she thought she had found the love of her life, old secrets, ghosts from the past, and new arrivals might shatter all her dreams.

At least she has her best friend, Jo Duncan to lean on. But newly single, Jo is determined to have some fun, both at Wynter House and in Merriment Bay. And so is Adam Wynter.

This is book two in the Wyntersleap series but it can be read as a standalone. The Wyntersleap series is interlinked with the Merriment Bay series and several characters appear in both series.

I have fast become a fan of Emily Harvale and was excited to be a part of the New Beginnings at Wynter House blog tour.

Neva Grey’s Christmas was eventful and romantic. She and Rafé Wynter are enjoying their first week as a new couple and are very much in love. Rafé and Adam are looking to launch a new business and not only is Neva opening a new hair salon with her best friend, Jo, her parents are also moving to Merriment Bay.

Unforeseen challenges are not far away though.

The new year sees the return of Amelia Goodbody back to Wynter House and a new face, Hazel Smart.

A shocking family secret will soon be revealed that will change everything.

The cover to this book is so beautiful. I have fallen so in love with Merriment Bay. The setting is one of my favourite things about this novel. I want to move there. I love how all the books are connected by setting and people.

New Beginnings at Wynter house is full of endearing characters. I love Neva and Rafé and I especially like them together. As a reader, I became quite protective of them quite quickly so, like Neva, Amelia’s arrival set me on edge.

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Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’ Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

Tiffy and Leon share a flat and a bed. But they have never met.

When Tiffy finds herself in need of a flat, Leon’s ad seems too good to be true. When she moves in, she still hasn’t met Leon.

They begin a relationship through notes left in the flat but with ex boyfriends and demanding jobs, the rule book for flat sharing may not fully apply.

I found it fascinating that the two main characters don’t immediately meet. My husband and I went through a stage when we were on opposite shifts so didn’t see each other for a few days at a time but there was evidence of the other’s existence in the house. We would also leave notes too, mostly saying that the cats are lying and they have been fed but I related to Tiffy and Leon’s relationship because of this. The idea you can forge a relationship using post it notes is one of the things I found the most interesting about this book.

Tiffy is my hero. She’s not perfect. She doesn’t always do the right thing or make the right decisions but throughout, I loved her and hoped that, in the end, she would trust the people who loved her and most importantly, herself in making the best decisions for her and realising that she deserves more.

The supporting characters are terrific. Everyone needs friends like Gertie, Mo and Rachel. The one exception is Justin. He is up there in my hall of fame of villains and could give Uriah Heep a run for his money.

I personally loved the style of writing. There was a casualness to how it was set up that suited the characters. I would say that Tiffy is the extrovert but Leon is quieter and more cautious. This comes across well in the dialogue and style of writing.

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Book Review: The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allan

No one deserves to be taken before their time. Do they?

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

Joe McKee is popular in his Derry community. He is also dead.

Arrangements are being made for his traditional funeral. He is being remembered as a nice man and the grief is felt strongly amongst friends and family.

For his daughter, Ciara and his step daughter, Heidi however, there is a whole different set of feelings. They both hold a secret that could pull the whole family apart.

Not long after Joe’s death, the police arrive. They don’t believe Joe’s terminal cancer killed him.

The horrible truth will emerge and the people with the strongest motive to kill him… are his daughters.

The Liar’s Daughter is told from the point of view of Joe, Heidi and Ciara. I found the structure of this novel compelling. I loved how it was told in both the present with flashback chapters to the past. It really gave the plot a chance to develop whilst keeping a terrific pace and a sense of suspense and building tension.

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Book Review: Taking a Chance on Love by Erin Green

One question can change everything.

Meet Carmen, Polly and Dana – all happy and successful women, with very different views on relationships.

Carmen has made a life with Elliot for the past eight years. She’s ready for the next step but a proposal seems to be as far away as ever.

Polly is devoted to her family. But after her parents’ bitter divorce, she’s wary of marriage – even after sharing twenty years and one son with Fraser.

Single mother Dana longs for companionship, despite her dedication to raising her son Luke. Finding the right person to bring into their lives feels impossible – until a unique way to select a potential Mr Right comes along.

With 29th February fast approaching, will they each take the chance this Leap Year to take control of their fates?

The perfect feel-good book for a Leap-Year; albeit, with a twist.

This is the tale of three women, Carmen, Polly and Dana, all with different expectations on their relationships with their men.

We are taken on a roller-coaster of a ride with all having to endure unexpected complications along their journeys.

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Book Review: Liar Liar by Mel Sherratt

Hello to Mel Sherratt and the blog tour for her latest novel, Liar Liar, released on eBook by Avon on 10th February. 

The truth can be a dangerous thing…

When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident.
 
Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

 

Liar Liar is the third novel in the DS Grace Allendale series.

Grace witnesses the aftermath of a tragic event. A young boy has fallen from the balcony at a block of flats.

No one will admit they saw anything. The parents are saying it was an accident. The evidence says different.

Can Grace find the truth as she’s one again thrown into the darkest corners of the criminal underworld?

Welcome back Mel!

It was so good to be back with Grace. She has become one of my favourite fictional detectives. There is something real about her. I get the feeling that there is so much about her we still don’t know. She has many layers and I look forward to discovering more (please let there be more, Mel.)

This is the third book in the series but it can be read as a standalone. I do recommend the first two books though (Hush Hush and Tick Tock.) They are excellent.

This book deals with some heavy themes, including a crime against a child but it does it with compassion.

The tension builds incredibly well as breadcrumbs are left all the way through the plot to the unseen conclusion.

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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