Review: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth #themotherinlaw #sallyhepworth @sallyhepworth @macmillanau #bookblog #blogger @bookreview

Goodreads Blurb…

Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new page-turner about that trickiest of relationships.

My Review

It’s like I’m having Diane Chamberlain de ja vu’ again! This was my first read from Sally and it was fantastic. Obviously by this stage of her writing career, it was an absolute pleasure to read in regards to flow, ease of character to character interaction and speech.  The premise of the story was pretty brilliant because in-law issues is pretty common amongst married couples. Thankfully, I don’t have that problem, but halfway through the book I realised that Diana sounded like me! LOL.

In the beginning, I found myself disliking Diana. Her mannerisms and personality would certainly brush one the wrong way. However, the more I got to know her, the more I started understanding her and the way she behaved.  I think the author did a marvelous job in making Diana a very much likable character at the end, it’s actually a shame that she died because I would have liked to have gotten to know her more. Nettie and Patrick on the otherhand, something about them brushed me the wrong way from mid-way, especially when Nettie hit up Lucy in regards to having a child (won’t say too much so I don’t spoil it for you).  I can understand that she would have been upset, but that who scenario left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

And who killed Diana? All I’ll say is, wow. I got so caught up in this one, I didn’t see this plot coming!

I definitely recommend this one if you haven’t read it yet. And I’d also ask which of Sally’s books you recommend I read next if you’re familiar with her work. Definitely looking like she is fastly going to become a favourite of mine.

I rated The Mother-In-Law: 4/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

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Review: Snap by Belinda Bauer #snap #bookreview #bookblog #bookblogger

Good reads blurb…

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note that says: I could have killed you.

Meanwhile Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother.

But the truth can be a dangerous thing …

My Review

There was a fair bit of ‘hype’ with this book on various Facebook groups.  For me, I can’t say it lived up to that hype.  I didn’t come across any plot twists that shocked me or caught my attention.  In saying that though, it wasn’t an unpleasant read. It was very easy to read, just lacked any nail biting moment for me. I liked the scene set up of the broken down car on the side of the road, kids left behind (although in real life I definitely wouldn’t be doing that), and the  mother going for help.  I didn’t like the past and present time swap in some chapters, and I didn’t like that the chapters weren’t numbered which I’ve never come across before. I’m just trying to think of any characters that I liked but I can’t actually give you one. I didn’t feel as though I cared enough about any of them to even pick one. Like I’ve mentioned, it wasn’t a terrible piece, it was average. Had it had a fantastic plot twist, or even a few small ones, it would have given it another star for me.  I do look forward to reading more from this author because like I said it was an easy read.

I rated Snap: 3/5 stars.

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Only Child by Andrew Pyper #theonlychild @andrewpyper #bookblog #bookreview #booknerd

Goodreads Blurb:

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.

As a forensic psychiatrist at New York’s leading institution of its kind, Dr. Lily Dominick has evaluated the mental states of some of the country’s most dangerous psychotics. But the strangely compelling client she interviewed today—a man with no name, accused of the most twisted crime—struck her as somehow different from the others, despite the two impossible claims he made.

First, that he is more than two hundred years old and personally inspired Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker in creating the three novels of the nineteenth century that define the monstrous in the modern imagination. Second, that he’s Lily’s father. To discover the truth—behind her client, her mother’s death, herself—Dr. Dominick must embark on a journey that will threaten her career, her sanity, and ultimately her life.

Fusing the page-turning tension of a first-rate thriller with a provocative take on where thrillers come from, The Only Child will keep you up until its last unforgettable revelation.

My Review

Well… That was not something I would usually select to read. However, I was so intrigued by it that I finished it in a day, stayed up that little bit longer (ok, a lot longer) to get it finished because I knew I’d just be lying in bed thinking about it anyway.  Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how I would rate this story as there were parts that just didn’t gel with me.  For instance, the way Lily carried on about this mysterious nameless man, after their first meeting in Kirby.  It felt bordering on unprofessional and unrealistic.  Here’s this guy who’s committed a violent act, and sprouting a weird story which ends in him telling her he’s… and she’s thinking about how attractive he is? And then the sexual encounter with the random date guy, and she’s thinking about her patient as if she has some sort of crush. Hmmmm, I wasn’t a fan of Lily’s.  I don’t actually want to give too much away! LOL but the story itself, like I said, was intriguing which is probably because it’s not my usual genre.  It was a little slow at times, but it was pretty rich in description when Lily left the country and I found I liked the character development that went into nameless man.  I think it’s one of those stories that you have to read for yourself. You either like it or you don’t but you’ve at least got to try. I’m glad I did.

I rate The Only Child: 4/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Death Sculptor by Chris Carter @SimonSchuster #bookblogger #bookreview #detectiveroberthunter #booknerd #bookworm

Goodreads Blurb:

A student nurse has the shock of her life when she discovers her patient, prosecutor Derek Nicholson, brutally murdered in his bed. The act seems senseless – Nicholson was terminally ill with only weeks to live. But what most shocks Detective Robert Hunter is the calling card the killer left behind.

My Review

BOOM!!!! You’re immediately thrusted into a heart-racing, sweaty palms, page-turning opening chapter. Just how I like it! This fourth book in the Detective Robert Hunter series doesn’t disappoint. Yes it’s got the authors usual cliche’s, the description of Hunter, and attractive women (which I just roll my eyes at), lines such as “the blood in his veins warmed…” ugh, the blood is already warm in the veins, the continuous use of the word “evil” which I despise… But other than the usual quirks that I’ve grown accustomed too, I really bloody enjoyed this one. I think it would have to be my favourite serial killer so far.  And I actually didn’t see it coming! One issue I did have with the story, was the ‘sculpture’ aspect.  For me, it didn’t feel descriptive enough, as in I couldn’t quite imagine the scene, however I felt that there was too much wordage. I know, that doesn’t entirely make sense.  But when I would come across that part, i would read it once and think hang on, and have to re-read that part and not come away with a clear image.  I have to give the author credit where credit’s due though, was a deliciously gory killer.  If your weak stomached, enter at your own risk! I’m also wondering, is Hunter going to get a romantic partner anytime soon? Guess I’ll have to wait and see!

Bring on the next one in the series I say!

I rated The Death Sculptor: 4/5

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Forget Me Not by A.M. Taylor @killerreads @author_amtaylor #forgetmenot #bookreview #booknerd

Goodreads Blurb:

WHAT HAPPENED TO NORA?

When Maddie met Nora, their friendship felt as easy as breathing. And when Nora disappeared, all the air went with her. Without her best friend, Maddie’s life became impossible.

Ten years later, Nora is still missing and Maddie is still searching. People have been questioned. People have even been accused. But no one has managed to find Nora.

Then, in the same spot where Nora went missing, the murdered body of Nora’s little sister is found. Convinced this is no coincidence, Maddie resolves to uncover the killer and find Nora – dead or alive.

But will she be able to cope, when we learn what really happened to Nora…?

My review

Well folks, be prepared to be annoying frustrated but in a completely more-ish way.  This story will have you infuriated with having to go to bed because unfortunately us humans required adequate sleep to live and function! Admittedly, it did start out slow for me, there was a little too much narrative and not enough action, however the more chapters I finished the more I wanted to get to the end and find out what did happen to Nora? The author did have an effortless way with description which I found a pleasure to read, and it did flow nicely.  However, it could have used more plot twists, I unfortunately didn’t have any WTF moments. 

Was an effortless read and I do look forward to reading more from this author in the very near future.

I gave Forget Me Not: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Mercy by Jodi Picoult #mercy #jodipicoult #bookblog #bookblogger #booknerd

Google Books Blurb;

Police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron McDonald makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy. Now, a heated murder trial plunges the town into upheaval, and drives a wedge into a contented marriage: Cameron, aiding the prosecution in their case against Jamie, is suddenly at odds with his devoted wife, Allie — seduced by the idea of a man so in love with his wife that he’d grant all her wishes, even her wish to end her life. And when an inexplicable attraction leads to a shocking betrayal, Allie faces the hardest questions of the heart: when does love cross the line of moral obligation?

 

My Review

The author’s books have become a favourite of mine, simply because she writes about topics that are controversial, difficult, and complicated, whilst managing to look at it from that various shades of grey that the world actually is. The topic of euthanasia is emotional, I found myself crying a few times, but it’s also though provoking which I happen to love in a book. I don’t know if I’ll appreciate lying here in bed at 2:24am thinking about this book when I wake up I a few hours time, but as I was reading it, I appreciated the authors wonderfully crafted world that allowed me into the lives of the characters. It was almost a perfect read for me, right up until the very last sentence. It left me confused, and unfulfilled. What did it mean Allie did?

 

Now, as I said, the topic is controversial but it wasn’t the only controversial topic. Adultery. I have VERY strong feelings on this topic. Admittedly, I didn’t know if that was going to cloud my judgment on the book in its entirety. I stopped reading 5 times in disgust. It’s one thing to know that someone has betrayed the trust of their partner, but to actually be able to read their thoughts and feelings is horrible. Cameron, didn’t deserve his wife, in my opinion. He was sneaky, calculated, and an ass. As was his mistress. And that’s all I’ll say on that topic. Like I mentioned, my feelings are STRONG on that topic, fiction or not.

 

Another fantastic read. I very much look forward to her next and wonder which topic I’ll come across next!

 

I gave Mercy: 4.5/5 stars

 

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Temp by Michelle Frances #thetemp #michellefrances #bookreview #bookblog #bookblogger #booknerd

Goodreads…

Wanted: Assistant to provide maternity cover for high-powered TV producer. Must be bright, creative, with killer instincts.

Emma would do anything to work for the woman who has the job she wants. Carrie is at the top of her game, with a dream career, a baby on the way, and a handsome screenwriter husband. For Emma, with parents who don’t understand her ambition and a serious misstep behind her, this temp position might be her last chance.

Carrie has given up more than anyone knows to get to the top of a ruthless business. She won’t give up this baby too. But with Emma filling in for her at the office, her perfect life starts to unravel. Her bank account is inexplicably overdrawn, her husband seems strangely distant and colleagues are all too happy to take Emma’s creative direction. Carrie finds herself dying to get back to work . . . until a letter left at her door changes everything.

Trust and fear trade places in a love triangle that defies readers’ expectations at every turn.

 

My Review

It’s really an age old story idea, and it doesn’t matter how many times I read it, I never tire of it because 1) It’s a bloody good story line, and 2) An author always makes it there own.  And the other did make it there own, which I applaud because I can imagine that would be a tad tricky!  In saying that, I did find this read on the slower side throughout much of the read, and I can’t say that I found any major surprising plot twists but there was few smaller ones, which did make you want to keep reading (thumbs up).  The writing was lovely to read in that although i was slowish, it flowed and was quite effortless. I can definitely see this author being moreish!

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Pan MacMillian for allowing me an ebook copy of this story, I definitely look forward to reading more from this fabulous new author.

I give The Temp: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Watching You by Lisa Jewell #watchingyou #lisajewell #atriabooks @atriabooks #bookblog #blogger #bookblogger #booknerd

From Goodreads…

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

 

My Review

Hmmmmm. This one’s a bit of a hard one. The beginning for me was slow. However, by chapter 16 it picked up and I have to admit I had a nervous excitement! I devoured each page, growing more and more curious, what was Mr Fitzwilliam hiding? I was pretty disappointed with Joey, but that’s a personal opinion.  I actually really enjoyed the roll Freddie played, it felt unique to the story, to see things through a teens eyes. Which then got me thinking about my own teen son, although I know he’s too busy behind his PS4 to be peering through binoculars at people, lol.  So although it started out slow, it did very much pick up.  I don’t think the few plot twists were a surprise though, and unfortunately a bit predictable, so the story lost a star there. And I thought trying to wrap the story up in chapter 69 was a bit of a cheat-ish way.  I would have much preferred another 2 or 3 chapters with the other characters telling the story.

BUT other than those three points, I came to really enjoy this story.  I love it when a book has a physiological affect on you. That, I think, is a pretty darn important power of a good read.  It’s like a superpower! When you can’t help but read, and read, and read, until you notice it’s 2am and your eyes feel like cement but you just want to keep going and you end up having a micronap you didn’t even know you took and suddenly you have a second wind!!!! Yep, a good book will make you so hyped you’ll type a massive sentence :-P.

So I definitely recommend you try this one. You may just have the opposite opinion of the first 15 chapters, who knows. Enjoy it!

I give Watching You: 4/5

Happy reading,

Nat

What Did I Read In 2018? #bookblog #2018reads #goodreads #booknerd #books

So last year I was super busy writing a textbook, writing a thesis, and the rest. But I did manage to exceed my Goodreads challenge or 10 books.  I ended up reading 39.

Two of my favourite books was by Stephen King and Diane Chamberlain. Two books that I didn’t think I’d continue reading simply because I got the first plot twist and thought uh oh, this isn’t really something I’d read… However, I pushed on and was pretty much BLOWN AWAY.

The Outsider has had mixed reviews by others, and really that’s no surprise because we’ve all got our own likes and dislikes. If we didn’t the world would be a pretty boring place.  My opinion of it was that I loved how it started. Smack bang into some action, and I have to admit given my areas of research and interest academically, I wasn’t at all turned off by the brutality of the first few chapter.  I love when a story starts off with 36124936action, it’s a great way to draw readers and keep them interested.  Other authors have lost me sometimes because after that great action, they enter too much info on the characters and the settings and it drags things down. Obviously King is a master at the written word, and achieved this effortly.  I got lost in the world of this story, I didn’t want to put it down and go back to real life, LOL.  I found myself really enjoying each and every character, and they were all so different from one another.  I really had no idea, how King was planning to explain Terry’s supposed part in the crime, because it was really looking like it was him for a while, but he was pretty convincing that it wasn’t. The amount of times I said “WFT” out aloud was quite funny. My husband would be sitting mext to me and say, “What?” He’d listened to it on Audible and agreed that is was a pretty compelling read.

My other book of the year for 2018 was Diane Chamberlain’s The Dream Daughter.  I ugly cried in this one.  I was pretty invested in it thanks to the author’s use of an unborn baby 37638145with a series health issue in the womb, I mean who can flag a book when that’s at the heart of it? But when I got to Hunter’s plot twist, I was saying “WTF” but not in a good way.  I put the book down and had a serious think.  Normally, I would NEVER read a book with this in it, I know that some people have a real hard time accepting a story when it’s too unbelievable or strays too far away from fact which I’ve always found quite humorous considering that they’re reading fiction, however when I got to Hunter’s plot twist I thought I’d stop reading because it was too unbelievable. BUT I kept going and boy am I glad I did. It was a truly wonderful read.  I don’t want to give anything away, but at two points I slammed the book shut in disbelief, gasping “OMG, no way”, plenty of tears, and I laughed once.  Like King’s book, I found my self lost in the words of this book. I was reading this while away on a campy holiday with the family, so was able to finish it pretty quick, and I was truly devastated that it had to end. Although to my husband, who had to listen to me recap almost every chapter after I’d finished them, it couldn’t end soon enough!

Other books I read in 2018

2018 books

The Misbegotten Son by Jack Olsen was fantastic, probably my true crime pick of 2018. I absolutely loved Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult, the very last page, had be gasping “WTH” and then i was thinking about it, trying to go through everything I’d read whist I was trying to go to sleep trying to figure out how I should have picked that ending! Talk about plot twist. I wanted to really love A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult because I’d waited so long for it’s release, but the format just ruined it for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the constant heading hoping throughout chapters. It made it hard to get to know characters because you couldn’t sit with them long enough and it felt like you were ripped from them to get into another characters head.

But, it was a great selection of books. A whilst I didn’t mark them all 5 stars, it certainly didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the hard work that every single one of those authors put into them.  They way I rate books is that they all start out with 5 stars, and then as I’m reading I subtract for various reasons i.e. too slow, information dump, cliche’, predictable etc. They can get those stars back though if I’m made to feel an emotion physically (say if I laugh or cry), surprising plot twist, awesome character development etc.  And obviously like I’ve mentioned we all score differently and have different opinions.  I’ll always look forward to trying another book by that author because it could always me the next “One”.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think of them and which was your favourite?

Bring on 2019 reads,

Nat

Review: The Nightmare by Lars Kepler #bookreview #thenightmare #bookstagram #booknerd #bookworm #bookgeek

From Goodreads:

A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago—strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment—but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. From the internationally bestselling author of The Hypnotist comes The Nightmare, another spellbinding tale of Nordic crime.

 

My Review

Well… Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this second book in the Joona Linna Series as much as I did the first.  Again, the writing felt disjointed and hard to immerse myself in.  It felt as though there was a lot of unnecessary wordage, such as a paragraph about chocolate that felt out of place.  It was a long book, but could have been cut down by at least 200pages which would have fastened up the pace some.  I personally found it hard to like any of the characters because we don’t get to really meet them, in that they sort of feel very 2 dimensional.  However, apart from that, I did find I enjoyed to story line. Admittedly it’s not something that I would normally find myself reading as I find i enjoy the psychopathic killer more than the hired killer type plots.   And I do really like Joona’s personality, he reminds me a bit of myself.  That alone makes me want to keep on reading in the series, because I do really enjoy his thinking and behaviour.

I’m looking forward to the next in this series, and hope that my review doesn’t dissuade you from trying the book out yourself, because it may just be up your alley!

Keep on reading,

Nat