First Paragraph, First Chapter: would you carry on reading?

Morning all – I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend (or at least those of us in the UK who are lucky to get Friday and Monday off).

It’s hard to believe Tuesday is here again but it is, so I thought it would be nice to join in with Socrates’ Book Reviews and her First Paragraph, First Chapter post.

This week, I’m sharing a little of a recent read – Fragile by Sarah Hilary, which is due out 10th June 20221. This is standalone novel, not one of the DI Marnie Rome series (which were very good).

Here’s what it’s about…

Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easy they can be to break . . .

Here’s how it starts…

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My Week in Review(s)

So it looks like I spoke too soon about getting back in the swing of book blogging when I posted my first weekly update in over a year a few weeks ago.

This time, though, it wasn’t due to a lack of interest in reading. My daughter went back to school and brought back a big bag of germs that saw me laid up with a heavy cold (not Covid, thankfully) for over a week.

Which meant I was back binge watching Netflix and the books went back on the shelf (or the kindle on the bedside table) for a while.

I was much better by the middle of last week (which was a good thing as I had the week off) and managed to finish and review two books, one of which I loved, one of which I wasn’t too keen on.

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Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti #bookreview

Haunted by her sister’s disappearance, a troubled woman becomes consumed by past secrets in this gripping thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year.

When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancé, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fuelled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.

My thoughts on the Girls of Brackenhill

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The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb #bookreview

After a devastating loss, Brynn Wilder escapes to Wharton, a tourist town on Lake Superior, to reset. Checking into a quaint boardinghouse for the summer, she hopes to put her life into perspective. In her fellow lodgers, she finds a friendly company of strangers: the frail Alice, cared for by a married couple with a heartbreaking story of their own; LuAnn, the eccentric and lovable owner of the inn; and Dominic, an unsettlingly handsome man inked from head to toe in mesmerizing tattoos.

But in this inviting refuge, where a century of souls has passed, a mystery begins to swirl. Alice knows things about Brynn, about all of them, that she shouldn’t. Bad dreams and night whispers lure Brynn to a shuttered room at the end of the hall, a room still heavy with a recent death. And now she’s become irresistibly drawn to Dominic—even in the shadow of rumors that wherever he goes, suspicious death follows.

In this chilling season of love, transformation, and fear, something is calling for Brynn. To settle her past, she may have no choice but to answer.

My thoughts on the Haunting of Brynn Wilder

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Week in Review(s)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an update post. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve done much on my blog at all. For most of last year, I barely picked up a book. Reading felt like a chore.

This year, things started to change. I found myself enjoying reading again, posting book reviews on the blog, and engaging with other book bloggers.

I’m fairly confident that I’ve turned a corner, which makes me happy. And it’s why I’ve decided to join back in with Kimberly, the Caffeinated Book Reviewer on her Sunday Posts.

Not that there is a lot to report this week. It’s been an odd one with the kids going back to school. Home schooling was hard this time round so I should have been thrilled that my daughter went back. Instead, I found myself missing her and the noise. The house was so quiet!

Blog wise, I posted two reviews. The first was a new release and the first in a new series by Carole Wyer. An Eye for an Eye was a highly enjoyable police procedural with an interesting and engaging female detective that I’m looking forward to getting to know more.

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An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer #bookreview

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

My thoughts on An Eye for an Eye

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Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine #bookreview

They’re hunting a killer so silent, so invisible, that his unspeakable crimes are the only proof he exists.

A car submerged in a remote pond. The bodies of two girls strapped into their seats. The mystery of their mother, vanished without a trace, leads Gwen Proctor and Kezia Claremont into dangerous territory.

On the surface, Gwen’s life is good—two children approaching adulthood, a committed partner, and a harrowing past dead and gone. But that past is attracting the attention of someone invisible…and unstoppable. Trouble’s just beginning. So is the body count in this backwoods Tennessee town.

As threats mount and Gwen’s hunted by an enemy who pulls all the strings, Kezia has her back. But working to solve these vicious and unreasonable crimes will expose them both to a killer they can’t for the life of them see coming.

My thoughts on Heartbreak Bay

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Good Girl by Mel Sherratt #bookreview

Erin was a good girl. But someone wanted her dead…

When sixteen-year-old Erin Ellis is attacked, she dies in the arms of her best friend Molly, just metres from her home. Molly is the surviving girl but says she easily could have been the victim – it was a random mugging gone wrong.

With inconclusive evidence, DS Grace Allendale must dig deep within the tight-knit Stoke community for leads. And she soon finds that someone had a motive to kill Erin.

As the investigation unfolds, Grace is reminded of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career.
Is the past coming back to haunt her? And can she push through her fear to catch Erin’s killer before it’s too late?

My thoughts on Good Girl…

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Have You Seen Me by Kate White #bookreview

She’s desperate to find her missing memories – but they could unlock her worst nightmares… 

Ally Linden walks into her office early one morning, only to be told she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Although she pieces together the years she has forgotten, the last two days remain in darkness.

Ally went into a fugue state – but what was so traumatic that it made her disconnect from her whole life?

And why does she feel as if someone is trying to keep her memories buried?

My thoughts on Have You Seen Me…

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Hype Yourself by Lucy Werner #bookreview

Hype Yourself is an invaluable toolkit for getting you and your business featured in the media: newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. Crammed full of insider advice, from the building blocks of your PR strategy to the execution of creative campaigns, it includes expert tips from journalists and industry specialists and is supported by a stack of online resources.

Lucy Werner has over fifteen years of publicity experience, including running her own specialist consultancy focused on startups and entrepreneurs. In this bookshe shares the secrets, strategies, trouble-shooting and techniques that she uses with her clients and for her own self-promotion. 

My thoughts on Hype Yourself…

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