Emma’s Secret by Steena Holmes

Title: Emma’s Secret
Author: Steena Holmes
Genre: Popular Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5

Emmas Secret Cover

What is it about?

After being missing for two years, five year old Emma has been returned to her family, who are struggling to adjust, especially her mom Megan. Megan is terrified of letting Emma out of her sight. Her eldest daughter feels guilty, her middle daughter resentful. Her husband, Peter, seems to be losing himself in work and, Megan fears, the arms of his attractive business partner.

As for Emma, she is trying to readjust at the same time as dealing with the loss of the only family she remembers – Dottie, the elderly woman with Dementia who took Emma thinking she was her granddaughter and is now dead, and Jack, who Emma thought was her grandfather. Jack is still alive but barred from seeing Emma. He had no idea what his wife had done, believing she had rescued Emma from their drug addict daughter. When he found out, he returned her to her family. Now he’s alone.

It might not be so bad for Emma if her mom could let go but she can’t. She tries to dress Emma differently, pretends to mail pictures Emma draws to Jack, and refuses to say either Dottie or Jack’s name in her house. The fact that this hurts Emma doesn’t seem enough to stop her, neither does the fact that her other daughters are also hurting and her husband is pulling away. In fact, Peter is keeping a big secret from Megan. And so is Emma. Both worry what will happen when Megan finds out. Read More »

Accidents Happen by Louise Millar

Title: Accidents Happen
Author: Louise Millar
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 3.75 out of 5


What is it About?

Kate Parker is afraid. Not just of things that go bump in the night but of riding her bike on the road, getting breast cancer from drinking one too many glasses of wine, letting her son walk to the shops on her own. Everything she does is weighed up, considered against a never ending loop of statistics that run through her head.

It started when her parents died. Got worse when her husband was killed. Now, it’s out of control and ruining her and her son’s life. She knows she has to do something – her mother-in-law is one breath away from calling social services – and a chance meeting with an Oxford professor seems to provide the solution. He understands statistics and promises to help her by helping her take risks. The question is, are the risks worth taking?Read More »

A Trick of The Light by Louise Penny

Title: A Trick of the Light
Author: Louise Penny
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7)






What is it About?

Clara is an artist. After years of waiting, she is finally lucky enough to have a show at Montreal’s Musee d’Art Contemporain. To celebrate, she hosts a party at her home in the small village of Three Pines. The next morning she wakes up to find the body of a woman in her garden.

It probably goes without saying that the woman was murdered and that the fact the murder took place at a party means there are plenty of suspects (and opportunities for red herrings). These include Clara and her husband when it turns out they have a connection to the victim. Enter Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, veteran Detective. And a friend of the family.

What did I think?

I’ve been meaning to read Louise Penny for a while now, a couple of years in fact. Every review of her books I’ve seen has been positive and I am always on the look out for a good murder mystery. I must have added at the least her last three books to my “to read” list but never getting any further. A Trick of the Light was so prominently displayed at my local library that, not only could I miss it, I had no excuse for not picking it up and taking it home. I am really glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Penny’s main character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is also the main character in her six other books, all written before this one. He is a skilled detective, with a skilled team. Older and wiser than many detectives I have come across he also has a solid home life and no major hang-ups. He is one of the main reasons I enjoyed the story. So many other “police procedurals” have damaged detectives. Gamache is not. As this is the seventh book he appears in, he also felt well-rounded and real, as did his second-in-command, Jean Guy – though he does have his demons.

Something else I liked was that Penny allowed her characters to do more than investigate. They spent times with their families and stopped to eat (some rather delicious sounding food). I also liked that, again unlike a lot of other books, this didn’t end with the murderer being almost indestructible and the police involved in some type of peril. Instead it was very old-school Agatha Christie with the cast of characters together in a room on a stormy night while Gamache reveals “who dunit”.

Definitely worth a read!

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

Title: Mother, Mother
Author: Koren Zailckas
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5

Mother Mother Cover

What is it about?

After a drug induced psychotic episode, 16 year old Violet finds herself admitted to the local psych. ward waiting to find out if she will be charged for attacking her younger brother, Will, with a knife – something she doesn’t remember doing.  What she does remember from the same night is seeing her sister Rose, who had run away from home a year before and who no one in the family is allowed to talk about.  Rose hasn’t been heard from since she ran away.  And no one else saw her that night but Violet.

Just when she starts to question her sanity, and think she is the crazy screw-up her mum has always said,  Violet gets a letter from Rose and starts to realise it’s not her who’s messed up, it’s her mum Josephine.  Josephine who, to the rest of the world, is the perfect wife and mother but is actually a liar who manipulates everyone she professes to love in order to get her way.  At least if you ask Violet. Will would tell another story, one of a mum who would do anything to protect and take care of him.

What did I think?

I had been looking forward to reading this book, Koren Zailckas’ debut novel, after reading some really positive reviews and I very much enjoyed it.  Whilst the subject, that of a domineering mother, is one I’ve come across before the telling of the story from the perspective of the two children, both of whom had a very different view of what was going on, was an interesting take on it.Read More »

Sebastian Bergman (Review)

Title: Sebastian Bergman
Author: Michael Hjor
Genre: Crime
Rating: 4 out of 5

Sebastian BergmanWhat is it about?

Sebastian Bergman is a psychologist who used to be a criminal profiler for Riksmord, Sweden’s national police murder investigation team. After tragically loosing his wife and daughter he has withdrawn from the world, entering it only to speak to his therapist or feed his sex addiction. The death of his estranged mother takes him out of his comfort zone and back to his childhood hometown. There, he discovers a secret hidden for 30 years and one he feels he has to dig deeper into. The only way to do this is to find a way into Rikmond’s investigation into the murder of 16 year old Roger Eriksson. Thankfully, the investigation is being led by his old friend and colleague Torkel and he persuades him to let him help. Sebastian plans to get the information he needs and get out. Despite himself, however, he finds himself intrigued and then involved. He wants to find out the truth. It is a challenge he can’t turn away from.

What did I think? Read More »