Review: The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth #bookreview #bookblog @SallyHepworth

Amazon Blurb

Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. But Anna has a secret: she does not plan on staying. She also knows there’s just one another resident who is her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

Eve Bennett, suddenly thrust into the role of single mother to her bright and vivacious seven-year-old daugher, finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke, she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them. Eve has her own secrets, and her own desperate circumstances that raise the stakes even higher.

My Thoughts

A heartbreaking story. It’s a hideous disease Alzheimer’s, let alone getting it as young as Luke and Anna have in this story. I felt like it might have been an authentic storytelling, I teared up a number of times. I just loved the other characters in the care home, and I loved that Eve took her little girl there 🧡

The overall feel of the book was more-ish. I would have loved to have had the time to finish it in one sitting. I feel that story’s like this, pull you in because of their realism. It could happen to any of us, or has happened to any of us. I think that, is always a draw card.

I rated The Things We Keep: 4/5 🌟 🌟🌟🌟

Happy Reading

Nat

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Review: Apple of My Eye by Clare Allen #bookblog #bookreview #blogger @claireallen @AvonBooksUK

Goodreads Blurb

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for six months pregnant Dr Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

My Thoughts

My first read from this author and it certainly won’t be the last! I enjoyed this suspenseful, fast paced read.  I felt like this one was jam packed with story but it didn’t slow the pace down at all.  The first few chapters were surprisingly pacey, there wasn’t the usual background dump that you so often find in a book, so it was quite more-ish, had I not be in semester, I definitely would have finished in one sitting.  There were a few twists, but I did see the main one coming.  But other than that it was a great read.

I rated Apple of My Eye: 4/5 stars

Happy reading!

Nat

Review: Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge #littleboyblue #bookreview #bookblog

Amazon Blurb

In the darkest corners of the city, there is a thriving nightlife where people can let loose and cross the lines of work and play, of pleasure and pain. But now that sanctuary has been breached. A killer has struck and a man is dead. 
  
In a world where disguises and discretion are the norm, one admission could unravel a life. No one wants to come forward to say what they saw or what they know—including the woman heading the investigation: Detective Helen Grace. 
  
Helen knew the victim. And the victim knew her—better than anyone else. And when the murderer strikes again, Helen must decide how many more lines she’s willing to cross to bring in a devious and elusive serial killer…

My Thoughts

Well, as usual, Mr Arlidge’s writing was very good. Another easy read due to it’s pace. I enjoyed the fact the DI Grace’s secret was exposed, I found it an interesting secret and I wanted to see other character reactions to to. There was something a bit off to me about this story, although I can’t put my finger on what it was exactly. I just didn’t find myself connecting with this one. Because of that, it was on three stars for most of the read, until I got the the end. That was a fantastic way to leave things, I think. I can’t remember the last time I read a book with that sort of ending. And for that, I gave another star. I’m now really looking forward to the next book in the series!!

I rated Little Boy Blue: 4/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain #bookreview #bookblog @D_Chamberlain

Blurb

What if you did something so devastating, you regretted it for the rest of your life? Nineteen-year-old Maggie Lockwood spent a year in prison for her part in a fire that cost three lives. The scars carried by the surviving victims – inside and out – are still raw and Maggie’s release from jail does nothing to free her from the guilt. Returning home, Maggie hides herself away, too afraid to see Keith, the boy she grew up with, played with as a child – and recently learnt is her half-brother. Keith nearly lost his life in the fire and the emotional and physical wounds he carries have changed him forever. .With childhood innocence gone, Maggie and Keith must learn to come to terms with their new lives, but trying to move forward will have deadly consequences …

My Thoughts

Well… I LOVED THIS! I didn’t think it was possible to love a story as much I loved this one yet here I am tearing up about it when I finished it, like, four days ago. Oh look, I’ve got goosebumps! LOL. What a wonderful story, the pace and characters so beautifully crafted that I just read and read and never wanted it to stop.  It was quite an interesting scenario, with Maggie going to prison and being released after a year, and Keith being her brother but also a victim from the fire.  One thing that resonated with me was everyone’s emotions. They were so raw and real, so much so that I found myself tearing up, or talking out aloud, or cursing at or with them. It was that easy to lose yourself among the characters. I didn’t care for Sara at all I’m afraid. It goes without saying that Jamie was a twat, not matter how hard he tried to justify himself, but I didn’t care for Sara’s constant manipulation of the situation. She knowingly entered that afraid knowing that he was married, that’s wrong. Period. It added to the story though, and let’s be honest that’s how things happen in real life anyway, so I’m glad it was in there but I do have very strong opinions on that topic.

Jen was a very interesting character in this story.  I knew something was up with here but I couldn’t put my finger on it and I didn’t see the twist coming! I think twists are always expected in thriller/suspense type novels, so much so, that when you read something like this you don’t necessarily expect them. So when you get one, I think it’s the sign of a pretty spectacular, beautifully written, all consuming work of art. I couldn’t recommend this story more.

I rated Secrets She Left Behind: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading!

Nat

Review: Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks #bookreview #bookblog @GalleryBooks @HeidiPerksBooks

Goodreads Blurb

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter….

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My Thoughts

I actually really loved the start of this story. It was a great storyline to begin with, I know my own heart was in my throat with the disappearance of a child. And I felt so awful for poor Charlotte. I felt the writing was great, it flowed nicely, nothing felt rushed, there wasn’t an info dump, and surprisingly I actually enjoyed the first two chapters where it can usually go wrong. However, there was a change in the feel of the story. Without revealing any of the story line, I’ll just say that there was a change with the twist. I can’t say I can put my finger on what exactly it was, but it changed how I read the book after that and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. I think that adding the DV into the story was great because it’s something that is talked about/experienced quite a lot. But the twist… I wasn’t a fan of it and it really changed the story for me from then on.

I rated Her One Mistake: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker #bookreview #blogger #bookblog

Goodreads Blurb

Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real. A triumph of reporting, a riveting narrative, and “a lashing critique of how society and the police let five young women down” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times), Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

My Review

First things first, I think it’s important to congratulate the author on making this book about the victims. It’s a horrific, tragic, undignified, and heartbreaking way to have died not only for the victims, but for their friends and family who are left behind.  This non-fiction true crime book is different to others I’ve read. The first section is dedicated solely to four of the 10 victims.  Getting to know them for the human beings that they were, how they lived, who they loved, and who loved them.  There’s not a lot more important than remembering them.

It’s certainly an interesting case, that will have most of use wondering if the murderer will ever be caught. I’d like to think that it’ll happen in my lifetime, especially seeing as 35 year old murders are being solved these days thanks to DNA.  I enjoyed the authors writing style; it was thoughtful, read smoothly,  was respectful.

I rated Lost Girls: 4/5 stars.

Happy reading

Nat

Review: One by One by Chris Carter

Goodreads Blurb

‘I need your help, Detective. Fire or water?’ Detective Robert Hunter of the LAPD’s Homicide Special Section receives an anonymous call asking him to go to a specific web address – a private broadcast. Hunter logs on and a show devised for his eyes only immediately begins. But the caller doesn’t want Detective Hunter to just watch, he wants him to participate, and refusal is simply not an option. Forced to make a sickening choice, Hunter must sit and watch as an unidentified victim is tortured and murdered live over the Internet. The LAPD, together with the FBI, use everything at their disposal to electronically trace the transmission down, but this killer is no amateur, and he has covered his tracks from start to finish. And before Hunter and his partner Garcia are even able to get their investigation going, Hunter receives a new phone call. A new website address. A new victim. But this time the killer has upgraded his game into a live murder reality show, where anyone can cast the deciding vote.

My Review

Book 5 in this series, overall it didn’t disappoint.  This series is an easy read. They’re gorey, and Mr Carter does to a rather splendid job of the description of that gore! The pace of the story in this one was probably the best of the 5, with the ending actually finishing up nicely.  I thought the story line was actually very interesting and reminded me a lot like the Diane Lane movie, Untraceable, especially the first murder method. I did however, have an issue with a few bits of the book. I’m aware that Mr Carter is also a psychologist which is why it was disappointing to read him write to term, ‘committed suicide’.  Suicide is not illegal, and saying/writing that further contributes to the stigmatisation that is already so rampant, encouraging those who may be having suicidal thoughts more guilt and shame, when we should be reaching out to those people. You can read a little more about not using the ‘c’ word with suicide here. Another thing, it was the phrase that went a little along the lines of, “… it was like her brain was hardwired differently from everyone else…”, well of course it is, all of our brains are “hardwired” differently otherwise we’d all be the same. I’ve always said that this series was full of cliche’s, this one being no different, but all that aside, I do enjoy the series which is why I keep reading it and once again look forward to the next in the series.

I rated One by One: 4/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Saving You by Charlotte Nash @charlottenash79 @hachetteaus #bookblog #bookreview

Goodreads Blurb

In their tiny pale green cottage under the trees, Mallory Cook and her five-year-old son, Harry, are a little family unit who weather the storms of life together. Money is tight after Harry’s father, Duncan, abandoned them to expand his business in New York. So when Duncan fails to return Harry after a visit, Mallory boards a plane to bring her son home any way she can.

During the journey, a chance encounter with three retirees on the run from their care home leads Mallory on an unlikely group road trip across the United States. Zadie, Ernie, and Jock each have their own reasons for making the journey and along the way the four of them will learn the lengths they will travel to save each other – and themselves.

My Review

Hachette AU thank you so much for introducing me to such a talented and artful author with my copy of this wonderfully heartwarming read 💕  To close a books’ pages and have that feeling of content that makes you audibly sigh, is quite the magical feeling.  I felt as I was experiencing Mallory’s heartbreaks, triumphs, frustrations, and love with every turn of the page. The characters were 4 dimensional and authentic. The pace and writing style suited the story and its characters (although I don’t like I would have minded if it were a little slower because I didn’t want it to end to be honest), and I enjoyed the themes the story explored in relationship breaks, financial vulnerability, motherhood, passion for work, and respect for our amazing seniors.  It was my first story from this author, though it will most certainly won’t be the last!

Thanks again Hachette AU, greatful to have found another wonderful author to add to my shelves.

I rated Saving You: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Secret of Midwives by Sally Hepworth @sallyhepworth @stmartinspress #bookreview #bookblog

Goodreads Blurb

A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

My Review

What a wonderful story *sigh*.  And, for once, it had an ending that I adored! I absolutely loved it; felt natural, not rushed, and not cliche’. Bravo Sally, you won me over by the ending and it was only natural to award that final star.  Where do I start? Loved each and every character in this story (even Marion :p), I’ve come to really enjoy separate chapters for characters because it really gives us readers a chance to bond with the characters. Of course this could also be a disaster if it wasn’t done properly, say if there was a written vomit of too much backstory or the like about that character.  But it was such a pleasure to read each character. Learning their personality traits and thought processes.  There were a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming, provoking the much desired verbal responses, “Oh wow!”, “What the F-“, “Get out of town.” Those are the best storied, when you’re so wrapped up in the characters lives, that you’re reacting as if you’re living the story with them. I held my breath with Grace’s drama, I’m a rule follower, so can’t say I felt at all comfortable with her actions, but I really loved being in the moments where all three were delivering babies.  The description was excellent.  I actually can’t even think about anything critical to say about this one. I enjoyed it enough the breeze through it and not want it to end! Bummed I’ve almost read all of Sally’s books now, I’m definitely a fan.

I rated The Secret of Midwives: 5/5 stars.

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Sandman by Lars Kelper #larskepler @HarperCollinsAU #bookblog #bookreview #booknerd

Goodreads Blurb

Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier, he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Now Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman. Years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna made an excruciating personal sacrifice to ensure Jurek’s capture. He is keenly aware of what this killer is capable of, and now he is certain that Jurek has an accomplice. He knows that any chance of rescuing Mikael’s sister depends on getting Jurek to talk, and that the only agent capable of this is Inspector Saga Bauer, a twenty-seven-year-old prodigy. She will have to go under deep cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and she will have to find a way to get to the psychopath before it’s too late–and before he gets inside her head.

My Review

After the second book, I feel in love with this series. It’s my first Swedish set crime series and I’ve been loving it. So I fully expected to love this 4th book in the series, however I did not.  I liked it, but didn’t love it. Why? It was just too slow in the beginning. Not just a chapter or two, but at least 100-150pages.  From there it started picking up and I really enjoy it from there. But the beginning just let it down, resulting in 1.5 stars for me.  However, after I got over that disappointment, I started really enjoying the book. I loved the twist, didn’t see that coming. I found Jurek an interesting character,  however, given his age I wonder the likelihood of the events her was responsible without knowing his health history and current health.  I also really liked Saga’s character, and enjoyed getting to know her more in the story.  Once the slowness picked up, the flow of info, character development, and story made for an awesome read and once again I very much look forward to book 5 in this ‘killer’ series!

I rated The Sandman: 3.75/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat