Review: After Anna By Lisa Scottoline @LisaScottoline #bookblog #bookreview #booknerd

Goodreads Blurb

Dr Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, is finally content after marrying Maggie. And they’re both thrilled when Maggie gets an unexpected chance to be a mother to Anna, the daughter she once thought she’d lost forever.

But when seventeen-year-old Anna arrives, everything changes – and the darkest turn of events will shatter their lives in ways no one could have imagined.

My Review

This was my first read by this author and I was super impressed! I loved the premise of the story and I think the author is a fantastic job with it. It flowed well, especially the courtroom scenes. I didn’t realise that the author was a lawyer, but as I was reading it, I felt that that could be the case.  I’ve read a review on Goodreads where the reader felt that the characters and situations were unrealistic, who’d meet there daughter for the first time and invite her to her home, have shopping sprees ect… I can tell you now that it happens.  Maggie has been racked with guilt for the last 17 years of her daughters life, it’s only natural that she’s going to be thrilled, excited, overcompensate, and make up for those lost years.  The rational part of her thinking is going to take the backseat.  I actually was quite intrigued with the way Anna was acting, and never in a million years did I see the twist coming, that was brilliant. I didn’t care for Kathy though, I think she was pretty quick to through Noah under the bus, to the point where I was starting to think she had something to do with the whole situation.  One thing that I did question was the well-being of Noah at the end. There was mention of intense therapy for one character, but not for another who also went through a traumatic event that would require therapy in the real world. However, overall I was captivated with this story and am looking forward to reading another from the author in the near future.

I rated After Anna: 4.5/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

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Review: Parkland by Dave Cullen @hachetteAus @davecullen #bookreview #bookblog #nonfictionbook

Amazon Blurb

On the first anniversary of the events at Parkland, the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers an intimate, deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors who became activists and pushed back against the NRA and feckless Congressional leaders—inspiring millions of Americans to join their grassroots #neveragain movement.

My Review

It was one of those events that shocked and moved us when multiple news broadcasts showed us the horrors that hundreds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL endured, with 17 losing their lives on Valentine’s Day in 2018.  I know I’ve heard people say things like “It’s just another shooting in a gun crazy country, nothing will change.”, fortunately for me I don’t live in the US (I’m Australian), and I also still feel absolutely devastated every time I hear of one of these gun-related mass murders.  The author of this book, Dave Cullen, takes a different approach with this book compared to his other, Columbine (which I absolutely loved), and I believe it most certainly paid off.  The reader is not only given information about the terrible shooting, but we get to know some of those young victims who’ve fortunately escaped with their lives, to fight for the right to be heard given that they – the school kids – are the ones who so often find themselves the victims of this type of crime.

I found getting to know these victims incredibly inspiring.  It warms my heart to read the words of these young teens who seem to have more insight, compassion, and gumpsion than many so-called adults I know.  It’s difficult not to get emotionally sucked into this book, to shed tears for the victims who died and their family’s, for your heart and sould not to ache for those incredibly brave souls who lived and are shouting their rights to feel safe in their learning environments.  I think this book has been one that forces you to question your stance on gun-laws, on your morals and empathy, and makes you figuratively sit down, shut up, and listen.

I’d also like to thank the author for volunteering to divulge his struggle with PTSD over the last decade almost, since investigating and writing about Columbine.  I understand that in a world where mental health and associated labels are still so sadly stigmatised, volunteering your struggle has the potential to show others that it shouldn’t be a taboo topic.  We should be able to feel comfortable disclosing our thoughts and feelings without fear.  The only way to do that is to model that ourselves.  Nobody is immune to mental health, no one should be made to feel at fault.  Thank you Dave for sharing your struggle, I know that you’ll have helped at least one reader.

A special thank you to Hachette Aus for my copy, eternally grateful.

I rated Parkland: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Trouble with Choices by Trish Morey @MoreyTrish @HarlequinAUS #bookblog #bookreview

Goodreads Blurb

A warm, witty and wise exploration of family and contemporary romance from international bestselling author Trish Morey.

The trouble with choices… is they come with consequences.

Dumped on the eve of her brother’s wedding, schoolteacher Sophie Faraday throws caution to the wind, and winds up in the arms of the sexy best man. Meant to be a one–night fling, an unexpected consequence means Sophie must face one of the hardest choices a woman ever has to make…

Older sister Beth finds life is tough enough juggling a mortgage, shift work and raising her ten–year–old daughter alone. When she meets Harry, the quiet gardener with a heart of gold, she’s determined to place him firmly in the friend zone. How can she let herself love again, when the guilt she carries every day reminds her what love can cost?

Hannah, older twin to Beth by ten minutes, has her own reasons for avoiding relationships. But when Irishman Declan walks into her veterinary clinic with an orphaned joey in his arms, she’s seriously tempted. But isn’t resisting the attraction the safest option? Especially when the secret she’s held close for so long can only guarantee heartbreak…

Will the Faraday girls learn that, with your sisters by your side, the wrong choices can still lead to the right places?

My Review

*dreamy sigh* It’s been a while since I’ve read a wonderful, heartwarming, tear evoking romance/drama, and this story was exactly that.  I loved that each chapter was assigned a character and that we were able to be that character for that moment of time. I’m aware that Ms Morey is quite the accomplished author and because of that, the words just flowed so serenely on the paper that it was an absolute pleasure to read this.  Funnily enough Hannah reminded me of me! I’m the eldest of three sisters, quite sedulous, serious, blunt, and the rest LOL.

There were spots, especially with Sophie and Nick, where I was talking to the characters as if I were there next to them “uh uh, Nick, shouldn’t have said that, now you’re in for it!”, and to me when a reader does that, you know that’s something special. After all, some of us read fiction to escape the daily grind of life. I actually would have enjoyed staying in this story longer, it’s always a shame when the good ones feel like they end too soon!

So thank you to the author for creating such four dimensional characters who I was able to psychologically interact with, create a story that left me warm and fuzzy, and so happily satisfied at the end.  Looking forward to my next read from you!

I rated The Trouble with Choices: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Upcoming Releases I’m Looking Forward To #newreleases #booknerd #bookworm #chriscarter #larskelper

There are a few new releases that I’m super excited for and have pre-ordered.

The first the the new Chris Carter thriller, and #10 in the Detective Robert Hunter series ‘Hunting Evil’.

42035769Title: Hunting Evil

Author: Chris Carter

Series: #10 Detective Robert Hunter

Blurb: Every story one day comes to an end.’
As roommates, they met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from Stamford Psychology University.
As adversaries, they met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter had become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter had become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer the FBI had ever encountered.

Now, after spending three and a half years locked in solitary confinement, Lucien has finally managed to break free. And he’s angry.

For the past three and a half years, Lucien has thought of nothing else but vengeance.
The person responsible for locking him away has to pay, he has to suffer.
That person … is Robert Hunter.
And now it is finally time to execute the plan.

Release: Paperback April 4th 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The second one is the new Lars Kepler.

hunterTitle: Hunter (Lazurus)

Author: Lars Kepler

Series: #6 DI Joona Linna

Blurb:  You are his prey…

The sixth gripping thriller in Lars Kepler’s bestselling series featuring Joona Linna. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.
There’s a face at the window.
A masked stranger stands in the shadow of a garden, watching his first victim through the window. He will kill him slowly – play him a nursery rhyme – make him pay.

A killer in your house.
The police offer ex-Detective Joona Linna a chance to clear his name: help Superintendent Saga Bauer track down the vicious killer terrorising Stockholm, before he strikes again.

Only one man can stop him.
Now Joona stands between a disturbed predator and its prey. He must catch a killer who hunts in the shadows and who is dangerously close to losing control…

Release: March 18 2019

Publisher: HarperCollins

Have you got books your eager to read that are being released shortly?

Happy postie stalking!

Nat

Review: Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge @mjarlidge @PenguinBooksAUS #bookreview #bookblog #blogger

Goodreads Blurb

Detective Helen Grace gets caught in an inferno of death and destruction in the red-hot new thriller from the author of Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Doll’s House

Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…

My Review

This is book 4 in the DI Helen Grace series and I’m a full fledge fan of Mr Arlidge.  As usual, this book was so pleasant to read, flowed beautifully. The characters were 4D and I enjoyed getting to know them all.  I gasped in a few spots, and the twist (who the perp was), never guessed it! Personally, I actually liked that it wasn’t your usual blood and gore type murders, I don’t usually like that sort. However as I mentioned, it was such a smooth read that I ended up really enjoying it.  One thing I’m curious about is Grace’s masochistic tendency, and if you’ve read the series you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s a strange and interesting part of her story isn’t it.

Would I recommend this book, absolutely. If you haven’t yet read the series and you enjoy crime fiction then I’d encourage you to give it a go.

I rated Liar Liar: 4.5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: A Mother’s Promise @SallyHepworth @MacmillanAus #bookblog #bookreview #amotherspromise

Goodreads Blurb

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

My Review

I’m declaring my love of Sally Hepworth stories now, to the world!! What an amazing rollercoaster ride that story was.  Have plenty of tissue handy by chapter 70 because you’ll need them. If you’re like me, you’ll be ugly crying to the end, with a mixture of shock, rage, astonishment, and cheer (for Sonja).  The twist caught me way off guard, I hadn’t put two and two together because I was so emotionally involved with Alice and her situation. You really can’t imagine having to go through something like cancer and be a single parent with no supports.  It’s actually heartbreaking, imagine having to say good by to you child… All the characters were wonderful, and i loved how we got to know each story: Kate and Sonja.  I especially loved how their issues were solved but not in a way that felt unnatural or rushed.  I have to admit, I did hope that Kate would become pregnant on her own.  And Zoe’s father, I WTF’ed, and I WFT’ed hard. I loved the way the story ended, wasn’t rushed, felt natural, and when I read THE END I was angry that it was over! An amazing heartfelt and true-to-life story. Sally, you’re now my favourite Aussie author and I look forward to reading more of you!

I rate A Mother’s Promise: 5/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams #noexit #bookblogger #bookreview #booknerd @Tadamsauthor @WmMorrowBooks

Goodreads Blurb

A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?

On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

With exquisitely controlled pacing, Taylor Adams diabolically ratchets up the tension with every page. Full of terrifying twists and hairpin turns, No Exit will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

My Review

I punched this out in 3.5 hours. I just couldn’t put it down. Phenomenal. Spectacular. Thrilling. Nail-biting. Fast paced. Exhilarating.  Really, I could go on a while yet. The only two ‘negatives’ that I have about this story is that the chapters were too long, I think it could have been even more thrilling if the chapters had of been short and snappy. The other, the first two chapters were a tad on the slow side.  Plenty more fantastic points about this book though! Like I mentioned the pace for the majority of the book was awesome, my heart was beating ridiculously fast throughout and I haven’t even had my RedBull for the day! I’m so glad I’m on holidays at the moment and was fortunate enough to have the luxury of not having to put it down because I don’t know if I could have. I was hooked.  The plot was clever, the characters you loved to hate the baddies, the little twists had me gasping “Shit”, “WTF”, “Noway”, “Dammit”. I don’t want to put any spoilers but what the hell was with the ending, I wanted it to go the other direction!!! This story would make a phenomenal movie. 

So, I guess you could say I liked it. I LOVED it!!!! But don’t just listen to me, read it, and let me know what you thought.

I rated No Exit: 5/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

Review: The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler #thefirewitness #larskepler #bookblogger #bookreview #dijoonalinna

Goodreads Blurb

At a home for troubled girls, a young girl has been brutally murdered during the night. Her body is found arranged in bed with her hands covering her eyes.

Vicky Bennet is the only girl unaccounted for. When a bloody hammer is discovered under her pillow, it appears that she was more than just a witness to the killing.

Detective Inspector Joona Linna is called in to piece the evidence together. But the case quickly descends into darker, more violent territory, leading him finally to a shocking confrontation with the past.

My Review

Righto, after reading this third installment in the DI Joona Linna series, I’m HOOKED! I found this story to be the best in the series so far which makes me super excited to get to #4.  Di Linna is the same passionate and intelligent detective, and I enjoyed reading a bit more about he and his family towards the end of this book.  I loved the troubled girls characters, pretty authentic.  When I got the ch135, I had the AH HA! moment, raised my head and said out aloud “I know who it is, it’s..” and a page or two later all was revealed.  Then I was madly trying to recall the previous chapters and where I had missed something.  I really liked how things were left with the killer in the end, usually I feel disappointed because previous authors seems to wrap it all up in a chapter and I feel cheated.  I feel that I’ve now grown accustomed to the author’s writing style now and it just flowed.  I read, and read, and read.  I didn’t want to the story to end, really.  I loved how the last chapter or two has set up the scene for the next book in the series and I look forward to getting to it soon, although I’ll read some other authors before I get to The Sandman, only because I know there are only a few books left in the series and I don’t want to finish it too soon!

I rated The Fire Witness: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Twisted by Steve Cavanagh #bookblogger #bookreview @SSCav @HachetteAU #blogger

Goodreads Blurb

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

My Review

There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book.  So naturally, I’ve been super excited to get my hands on it! Thank you very much to Hachette Au for my copy, I really appreciate it.  So that fills me with some guilt, because I really wanted to be able to join in the hype. It just didn’t get to the 5 star moment for me.

BUT

There was a lot about the book that was fantastic.  This was my first read from this author. I have three of his other books, but if you’ve seen my library, you know why my TBR pile is as big as Everest!  The pace and quality of the writing was pretty spectacular.  I stopped a number of times throughout and had to take a ‘moment’ to appreciate just how well the author is able to string a paragraph together.  There was no awkwardness, there was no jarring, it just flowed.  However,  while it was a pleasure to read, the first 15 chapters felt “empty” (for lack of a better term). It was a bit slow, and I found myself wondering if the author was being too wordy to get to a point. Then after CH 15 it started getting more to the point, more pacey.

In terms of the characters, I really didn’t like Maria. I always try not to give too much away in my reviews so that I don’t spoil it, but I felt like her actions and behaviours didn’t match the situation.  It felt like an extreme.  I especially disliked the last chapter. It felt very cliche’. I enjoyed Paul and Daryl, and Sheriff Cole.

I was very impressed by the whole idea of the story. It was very clever how the inside title page was printed as LeBeau as the author and then the character writing the story! That was really inventive and I haven’t come across of book that has done that before, so kudos to the author. I didn’t find very many twists as others have mentioned and that was another bit of disappointment for me.  I did enjoy the one large plot twist, but given the set up and content of the story i expected a few more.

So although it wasn’t a five star read for me, I did thoroughly enjoy the writers style and story idea and very much want to read everything else that he’s written. I know that his other work has received a lot of praise also and given the quality of Twisted I definitely want to read the rest.

I rated Twisted: 4/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

Review: The Boy by Tami Hoag #bookblog #bookreview @TamiHoag @hachetteAU

Goodreads Blurb

An unfathomable loss or an unthinkable crime? Number one New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag keeps you guessing in her most harrowing thriller yet.

A panic-stricken woman runs in the dead of night, battered and bloodied, desperate to find help. . . .

When Detective Nick Fourcade enters the home of Genevieve Gauthier outside the sleepy town of Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, the bloody crime scene that awaits him is both the most brutal and the most confusing he’s ever seen. Genevieve’s seven-year-old son, P.J., has been murdered by an alleged intruder, yet Genevieve is alive and well, a witness inexplicably left behind to tell the tale. There is no evidence of forced entry, not a clue that points to a motive. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife, Detective Annie Broussard, sits in the emergency room with the grieving Genevieve. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by a story that makes little sense. Who would murder a child and leave the only witness behind?

When the very next day P.J.’s sometimes babysitter, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette, is reported missing, the town is up in arms, fearing a maniac is preying on their children. With pressure mounting from a tough, no-nonsense new sheriff, the media, and the parents of Bayou Breaux, Nick and Annie dig deep into the dual mysteries. But sifting through Genevieve Gauthier’s tangled web of lovers and sorting through a cast of local lowlifes brings more questions than answers. Is someone from Genevieve’s past or present responsible for the death of her son? Is the missing teenager, Nora, a victim, or something worse? Then fingerprints at the scene change everything when they come back to a convicted criminal: Genevieve herself.

The spotlight falls heavily on the grieving mother who is both victim and accused. Could she have killed her own child to free herself of the burden of motherhood, or is the loss of her beloved boy pushing her to the edge of insanity? Could she have something to do with the disappearance of Nora Florette, or is the troubled teenager the key to the murder? How far will Nick and Annie have to go to uncover the dark truth of the boy?

My Review

Wow! My first read from this author and it will certainly not be the last.  What a fantastic read. I could tell that this wasn’t a debut novel, the writing was expertly paced,  the characters were well developed and interacted with each other smoothly.  The plot was developed well; started off introducing the characters without giving too much information and becoming a dump, and progressed by adding just the right amount of intrigue and pace so as to not make me loose interest of be over whelmed.  I thought that the secondary plot was nicely intertwined and pretty interesting, this was to do with the Sheriff but I won’t say anymore so that I don’t give it away.  Admittedly, I got frustrated with Nick quite a bit.  I did enjoy his character at times, but then sometimes he came on too strong and I found him to be overbearing. When the killer was revealed… Whhhaaaaaattttt?! I didn’t see that coming.  I thought it was becoming ‘obvious’ and had picked that obvious person, but was then pretty surprised to learn it was someone I hadn’t even contemplated. Bravo, a plot twist that makes you do a double take is worthy of one whole star for sure.

After reading that, I’ll most definitely be reading more from this author in the very near future.

I rated The Boy: 5/5 stars

Happy reading,

Nat