The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell #bookreview

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.

They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby?

And where did they go?

My thoughts on The Family Upstairs

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Bloodline by Jess Lourey #bookreview

Perfect town. Perfect homes. Perfect families. It’s enough to drive some women mad…

In a tale inspired by real events, pregnant journalist Joan Harken is cautiously excited to follow her fiancé back to his Minnesota hometown. After spending a childhood on the move and chasing the screams and swirls of news-rich city life, she’s eager to settle down. Lilydale’s motto, “Come Home Forever,” couldn’t be more inviting.

And yet, something is off in the picture-perfect village.

The friendliness borders on intrusive. Joan can’t shake the feeling that every move she makes is being tracked. An archaic organization still seems to hold the town in thrall. So does the sinister secret of a little boy who vanished decades ago. And unless Joan is imagining things, a frighteningly familiar figure from her past is on watch in the shadows.

Her fiancé tells her she’s being paranoid. He might be right. Then again, she might have moved to the deadliest small town on earth.

My thoughts on Bloodline…

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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton #bookreview

Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight
attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she’ll make sure no one stops her from
getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

My thoughts on The Perfect Girlfriend…

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The Last to Know by Jo Furniss #bookreview

American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.

Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.

When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.

As Ellie works to separate rumour from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?

My thoughts on The Last to Know…

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Circle of Doubt by Tracy Buchanan #bookreview

She thought she was the perfect mother—until the new neighbours moved in.

Emma and Dele’s dreams came true nine years ago when they adopted their daughter, Isla. It felt like fate, like they were meant to find each other, and now they’re living the life they always wanted. But then one day a new family moves into Forest Grove—and Emma can’t shake the chilling feeling that the wife looks just like Isla’s birth mother.

Emma tells herself that this sophisticated stranger can’t possibly be the troubled woman she remembers from the adoption. But as they get to know each other and it becomes clear that Tatjana has a special interest in Isla, her suspicions grow.

When small things start to go wrong and her parenting abilities are brought into question, Emma feels undermined, turning to her sister Harriet for support. But things only spiral further when secrets from her past suddenly resurface.

With rumours swirling, Emma begins to doubt herself. Could Tatjana be Isla’s birth mother? And, with everything that’s happening, is Emma the right person to be raising her daughter at all?

My thoughts on Circle of Doubt…

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Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas #bookreview

Una Richardson is devastated after the death of her mother. Hoping for a fresh start, she responds to an advertisement and steps into the rich, comforting world of elderly Mrs Elspeth McKenzie.

But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.

Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. More disturbing is the evidence suggesting two girls lived here before.

What happened to the girls?

Why will the McKenzies not talk about them?

As the walls close in around her, Una fears she’ll end up just like the other girls . . 

My thoughts on Just Like the Other Girls

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Don’t Make a Sound by T. R. Ragan #bookreview

Dont make a sound T R Ragan

Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.

River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.

When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?

My thoughts on Don’t Make a Sound…

On paper, Don’t Make a Sound seems like the perfect book for me.  There’s murder, mystery, a dysfunctional family, and more than one strong female character. When it came to reading what was on that paper, however, something just didn’t click.  I wanted to like it.  I just didn’t, at least not as much as I wanted to.

I’ve tried to put my finger on exactly why that is and I think it’s because it was a bit too much. There were two interconnected stories being played out here, both of which would have made great books in and of themselves but combined gave me ‘reading whiplash’. I didn’t know where to put my energies. Just when I got into one plot, the other came round again and I felt ‘snapped back’ into another world.

My other problem was the relationship between the three female protagonists. It was dysfunctional, which I normally love. But it didn’t quite feel right or real.  I am not convinced that the secrets not shared would have stayed that way.  It felt manufactured for the story. I didn’t like that.  Which meant I didn’t end up enjoying the book anywhere near as much as I wanted to.  A shame, but you can’t have every book be a winner can you?

Emma x

Cloak & Dagger – June Update

CDChallengebadge2016.jpgI have been very lax this year in doing regular updates on my challenges (and I didn’t even do that many of them), even though I have been taking part in the background.  With the end of June fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to revisit them and see where I was, starting with the Cloak & Dagger challenge, run by one of my favourite bloggers, Stormi at books, movies, reviews oh my!, along with Barb at Booker Ts Farm.

To take part, you can read any book from the mystery, suspense, thriller or crime genres (or sub-genres).  They need to be books or novellas over 100 pages so no short stories.  You don’t have to be a blogger as long as you post your reviews somewhere (so Goodreads is fine).   Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.  Then you pick the level you want to read for:Read More »

The Guilty Ones by Joy Ellis

The Guilty Ones Joy EllisWhen DI Jackman’s sister-in-law commits suicide, his family finds it hard to believe.  She was a loving wife and mother and didn’t seem to have any real cares in the world.

His partner, DI Marie Evans, finds it so hard to believe she becomes convinced not all is as it first appears.  It’s a belief that becomes a reality as first one then two more suicide victims are found, neither of which are quite what they seem.

It looks like someone has come up with a very clever way of committing murder – by getting his or her victims to do it themselves. It’s also a very clever idea of a book, one I enjoyed as I watched the police scramble to figure out just who was behind some rather vicious attacks on seemingly innocent people. Read More »

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

The Dark Lake

When the body of a young and popular teacher turns up in the waters of Sonny Lake, the first detective called to the scene is Sergeant Gemma Woodstock, a local who not only knows the area but also the victim – Rosalind Ryan, at least in passing (they went to school together).

The connection, Gem insists, is slight.  The relationship between the two women non-existent.  So she stays on the case, along with her partner Felix. Unfortunately, Gem isn’t quite telling the truth; she has a history with Rosalind (Rose), holding a secret that might put the case in jeopardy.Read More »