Review: These Hidden Things by Heather Gudenkauf #bookreview #bookblog

Blurb

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn–shy, quiet Brynn–who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister. Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden

My Thoughts

At first, I was confused by all the people we were introduced to with their first chapters. I thought, geeze I’m going to get everyone mixed up… But I didn’t. In fact, I was completely thrilled that everyone was included and I got to see this story from all their perspectives because it was a fantastic read! Without giving anything away, I thought the baby abandoned at the fire station was someone else’s until it was revealed, and I gasped. Yep, I got that physical response that I yearn for when I read. I cried in it. Another physical response. I berated characters. Felt like I was in the story with the characters, and finished it as quickly as I could with the workload I have at the moment.

The timeline for this was fantastic, it flowed so well, that you could definitely finish it in a setting if you didn’t have a pesky life to worry about.  Allison’s labor… WOW didn’t see that coming. BAM! And the ending with Brynn… my lips are sealed! But I think if you haven’t read this one, you’ll definitely need to give it a go because it’ll touch a couple of emotions that’ll have you sitting on the edge of your seat over.

My only complaint about this book was the cover. Had nothing to do with the story in my opinion, LOL.

I rated These Hidden Things: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

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Review: Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline #bookreview #bookblog

Blurb

Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.

My Thoughts

I actually finished this one a few weeks ago but forgot to put my review up!

I actually really enjoyed how this one started. Father son issues that are complicated by a tragic event. I’ve hit a dog once, after I was unable to stop on a busy highway and it was awful, so I can’t only imagine how it would feel to hit a human being. So I really empathised with both Jake and Ryan. Can’t say I agreed with Jakes actions though, to hide the fact. I’ve always stuck up for the hit and run driver, because it’s completely normal to be in a fight or flight mode in this type of situation. Once the shock has worn off, the driver will turn themselves in, yet people make out that they’re monsters for not stopping. No. They’re humans. It actually makes a lot of biological sense.

There were parts of this story that were a tad slow, I liked when the mysterious man and the basketball game showed up, he was a good twist. I liked the way the author took the story, actually and the ending… I never would have guessed that. I found Jakes wife to be pretty hypocritical, with her secret and I found it hard to be on her side after that to be honest. She was probably one of my least favourite characters. I’m the the story ended the way it did. I feel like all the questions were answered for me, and overall it was a great story to read.

I rated Keep Quiet: 4/5 stars ⭐️

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Before She Was Found By Heather Gudenkauf #bookreview #bookblog

Blurb

“For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover–movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences. Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora–and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted–not even those closest to Cora. Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe–even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost”–

My Thoughts

Well, I’m a little behind with my reviewing and reading at the moment. This final semester is apparently going to be a monster.  However, getting it done. Now I did enjoy this book, although I did think it was a little choppy at times. And by that I mean the head hopping got a little confusing.  The pace was great, and enjoyed the characters, even the not-so-nice ones because they were written well.  At first I didn’t like Cora’s diary entries, however I soon got into them probably halfway before the middle of the book.

I did think it was clever how we were made to start thinking it was one thing, because I didn’t see the end coming at all. So that was actually a good twist.  Although I will admit, I think i actually wanted that urban legend to be true.  That was quite tricky.  Second book from this author now, and I think I can call myself a fan. Look forward to her next.

I rated Before She Was Found: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Picture of Innocence by T.J Stimson @AvonBooksUK #bookblog #bookreview

Blurb

My name is Lydia. I’m 12 years old. I’m not an evil person, but I did something bad.

My name is Maddie. I’d never hurt my son. But can I be sure if I don’t remember?

With three children under ten, Maddie is struggling. On the outside, she’s a happy young mother, running a charity as well as a household. But inside, she’s exhausted. She knows she’s lucky to have to have a support network around her. Not just her loving husband, but her family and friends too.

But is Maddie putting her trust in the right people? Because when tragedy strikes, she is certain someone has hurt her child – and everyone is a suspect, including Maddie herself…

The women in this book are about to discover that looks can be deceiving… because anyone is capable of terrible things. Even the most innocent, even you.

This is the story of every mother’s worst fear. But it’s not a story you know… and nothing is what it seems.

My Thoughts

This was a really great read.  There was a twist that I I liked and the characters were likeable, which is always a plus. Nothing more unpleasant that characters who are annoying or poorly created.

The pace was great, so great that I finished this one in a day. The topic is one that pulls you in. A new baby dying of suspected cot death, only to learn that the parents (mother in particular) is being looked at.  I have to admit, I did think the husband was the culprit and I was saying “I bet he’s done it, he’s acting shady!”. Then I thought it was the sister-in-law, she was acting equally shady. And it was a bit like that, I was suspecting everyone LOL.  I felt dreadfully saddened for Maddie’s mom and what she endured as a child, and I really liked where the author took her story.

The ending… That was the twist and I really liked it!

Have you read it? What did you think?

I rated Picture of Innocence: 4/5 stars

Happy reading

Nat

Review: I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman #bookreview #bookblog

Blurb

Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I’d know you anywhere.
In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she’s never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She’s always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he’ll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims.
Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it—even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she’s kept buried inside.

My Thoughts

This was an interesting topic to write about, I thought.  I think that’s what drew me in in the first place. In saying that, there was something ‘off’ about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  The pace was good, it wasn’t too slow.  I did find Walter a bit, annoying. I felt like the author was trying to make him more ‘cunning’ or ‘intelligent’ than it came off.  I don’t think Eliza’s daughter’s issue was ironed out enough. Yes she was having behavioural problems, but they seemed sudden and without a good enough explanation as to why. Did she learn about her mother’s past? Was it that and moving from London? It actually sort of felt like there was something that we, the readers, we meant to know but it kind of just loomed around and was never explained (if that makes any sense at all). Kind of like we were meant to come to a realisation in the the chapter or two, but I never got there.

Now this is a matter of perspective and opinion, but Eliza was fairly relaxed for a woman who was kidnapped, abused, and raped. Especially when she went to see him.  I questioned her trauma as well. It was almost as if she had wanted to be kidnapped initially? Her sister was quite selfish, I thought.  Yes, the whole family is affected when a member goes missing, but she seemed fairly self absorbed and lack empathy and compassion when it came to her sister, in their adult years. I failed to like the sister at all because of that.

Overall, it was a pleasant read. No twists, or turns, didn’t give me any physical reactions.  Have you read this one? What were your thoughts?

I rated I’d Know You Anywhere: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald #bookreview #bookblog @bookouture

Blurb

Everyone makes mistakes. But does everyone deserve to be forgiven?

She runs past the tinkling of children’s laughter that fills the park. Heart hammering, she reaches the riverbank, breath catching in her throat as her eyes take in the small body, tangled in the reeds, pale and lifeless.

Three years later.

Claire’s life is picture perfect. A new home in the countryside. A new-born baby. A doting husband by her side.

But behind closed doors, her life is falling apart.

And when a threatening note is posted through her letterbox, saying she doesn’t deserve her daughter, it’s clear that someone knows about her past…

Someone knows that Claire doesn’t deserve her perfect life. Someone’s going to do everything in their power to destroy it.

My Thoughts

Okay, I read this on my Kindle so it took me a while because I read a chapter before bed. I found the story to be okay, overall.  I felt that the plot was slower than it should have been,  things seemed to be happening slowly and it did make the story drag. I felt sorry for Claire because he mother-in-law was quite an unpleasant woman. I can’t imagine having to deal with someone like her, and she was my least favourite person in the book. That’s including the ‘baddie’ in this story.

I can appreciate the author’s intension in making the events that happened to Claire a slow build up to making her feel ‘crazy’ but they felt a little too slow for me.  Although, it was well written, I just found that I couldn’t really sympathise with Claire, because at times I found her to be aggravating and a touch annoying.

But don’t let me stop you. Please, read it yourself and let me know what you thought.

Thank you to Bookouture for my review copy.

I rates The Mother’s Mistake: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: My daughter’s Secret by Nicole Trope #bookreview @bookouture #bookblog @nicoletrope

Blurb

My baby girl, I’ll never forget you – your smile, your laugh, the way your hair sparkles in the sun. I cannot comprehend this pain. I cannot breathe through it.

In the middle of the night, Claire wakes up to discover that her beloved daughter, Julia, is dead – and life, as she knows it, is over.

Searching for answers, Claire stumbles upon a pile of letters, hidden under Julia’s bed in an old, battered shoebox, and feels closer to her daughter than ever before. They tell her that Julia was happy, that she was thriving at university, that she was in love.

But as the letters go on, Claire starts to feel uneasy at something hidden between the lines. Even as she grieves, she must prepare to face a shocking discovery. Because Julia was hiding a terrible secret – and when it’s uncovered, it will devastate a family already torn apart by tragedy.

An emotional, twisty and gripping page turner that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. Perfect for fans of Kerry Fisher, Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult.

My Thoughts

My first read from this author and I was pleased overall.  It’s a story that tackles two of the biggest stigmas to date, domestic violence and suicide.  Although I couldn’t entirely jel with all the characters, I could definitely understand Claire’s incredible grief when it came to her daughter’s suicide. It’s a tremendously shocking and sudden lose that many find it hard to comprehend.  I felt that.  Is it depressing, yes. But it’s also very real, and definitely strikes a chord among readers.  It certainly makes you think especially when it’s so prevalent in society today.  And then there’s the domestic violence. Shocking, infuriating, emotion provoking, and senseless. Again, it’s a topic that is current and needs to be talked about in order to spread awareness.  I felt the author did justice to both topics and thank her for making it a highlighted topic in her story. The more it’s talked about, the more we’re looking for it.

It was well written, overall, I did come across a few slowish moment and no real twists although I was left emotionally touched and happy that I crochet my blankets and donate them to a domestic violence safe house program!

Thank you Netgalley and Bookouture for my ebook copy to review.

I rated My Daughter’s Secret: 4/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline #bookreview @LisaScottoline #bookblog @HachetteAus

Blurb

Christine Nilsson and her husband, Marcus, are desperate for a baby. Unable to conceive, they find themselves facing a difficult choice they had never anticipated. After many appointments with specialists, endless research, and countless conversations, they make the decision to use a donor.

Two months pass and Christine is happily pregnant. but one day, she is shocked to see a young blond man on the TV news being arrested for a series of brutal murders-and the blond man bears an undeniable and uncanny resemblance to her donor.

Delving deeper to uncover the truth, Christine must confront a terrifying reality and face her worst fears. Riveting and fast-paced, with the depth of emotionality that has garnered Lisa Scottoline legions of fans, Most Wanted poses an ethical and moral dilemma: What would you do if the biological father of your unborn child was a killer?

My Thoughts

I have to admit, just reading the blurb sucked me right into this one.  I was definitely thinking, how would I act if I found out I might be carrying a serial killers child? The writing really was excellent. I forget I was reading a book and fall into the story so many times. I would have read it quicker if I wasn’t at the end of my semester and had exams and assignments to finish off!

Christine’s husband gave me the shits (aussie slang for annoyed, lol) but I also empathised with him at the same time which is extraordinary, because it would be quite easy to just write him of as a self-fish tool. However, the author did a spot on job of really diving into his feelings, thoughts, and behaviours when it came to not being able to biologically contribute to their growing child.  I was glad he came to his senses in the end and was able to enjoy what the future has to bring for them both.

When it came to Christine, the paralegal, I have to admit I groaned because I thought that seems so unlikely.  There’s no way that would happen in real-life. But I found that part quite…exciting. I like the pace change it gave the story and it actually ended up not being as cheesy as I thought and I really loved the memorial scene! Did I enjoy the DNA outcome at the end?  I actually wish it had of went the other way, I would have really liked to see how they would have handled it and what it would have meant for their relationship. But, I guess that’s more of a personal preference rather than a story flaw so I can’t take away any stars for that.

For me, it was an excellent read. It’s the second book I’ve read from the author and I think I can almost say that she’s a favourite (think I need to read 3 to give a definitive answer, ROFL) but I’m so super impressed!

Have you read it? What did you think?

I rated Most Wanted: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading!

Nat

Review: Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter #bookblog #bookreview

Blurb

Terror stalks a small Virginia town.

FBI rising star, criminal profiler Evelyn Baine, knows how to think like a serial killer. But she’s never chased anyone like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women and displays them, half-buried, deep in the woods. As the body count climbs, Evelyn’s relentless pursuit of the killer puts her career – and her life – at risk. And the evil lurking in the Burier’s mind may be more than even she can unravel.

Terror is closer than she thinks.

The Bakersville Burier knows he’s got an FBI profiler on his trail. He knows who she is and where to find her. And he’s biding his time, because he’s planned a special punishment for Evelyn. She may have tracked other killers, but he vows to make this her last chase. This time it’s her turn to be hunted!

My Thoughts

Once upon a time I was an avid lover of profiling.  One of my fav shows is Criminal Minds. However, I grew up, I went to university and learned about human behaviour and now I’m anti-profiling. Really, it’s the equivalent of fortune telling!

That’s not the say that I didn’t enjoy this read because I did. The story was very well paced, the characters (while not spectacular) were interesting, and I did enjoy some aspects of the killer. However, the profiling the main character did was so ridiculously weak, it made me a touch angry. There’s no denying that the author did an awesome researching researching, blah. And I do have to say that the main character was hard to like.  Her incident (I won’t say what so I don’t spoil it) was weak and not very believable. I’m usually the first to say, hey it’s fiction the author has the right to put in whatever she wants, but with so much ‘fact’ it just felt un-natural and would have been better to leave out I feel.

If you enjoy Criminal Minds and like shows, then you may just enjoy this one.

I rated Hunted: 3/5 starts

Happy Reading

Nat

Review: An Evil Mind by Chris Carter #bookblog #bookreview

Blurb

A freak accident in rural Wyoming leads the Sheriff’s Department to arrest a man for a possible double homicide, but further investigations suggest a much more horrifying discovery – a serial killer who has been kidnapping, torturing and mutilating victims all over the United States for at least twenty-five years. The suspect claims he is a pawn in a huge labyrinth of lies and deception – can he be believed?

The case is immediately handed over to the FBI, but this time they’re forced to ask for outside help. Ex-criminal behaviour psychologist and lead Detective with the Ultra Violent Crime Unit of the LAPD, Robert Hunter, is asked to run a series of interviews with the apprehended man. These interviews begin to reveal terrifying secrets that no one could’ve foreseen, including the real identity of a killer so elusive that no one, not even the FBI, had any idea he existed … until now.

My Thoughts

Well, like always the writing was great. Good character development, although I did think that the “bad guy” was a little too cliche’. Way too similar to Hannibal Lecture, if you ask me, and that sort of annoyed me because every time we saw him, it was like his superiority was being thrown in our faces. 

It was definitely a different read from the authors previous books.  I think to have done that in the middle of a series, was annoying as a reader. The first two chapters I was thinking, wow this is different. Like real different. By the end of it, I don’t know if it was a good different though.  I didn’t like that Garcia wasn’t in it, or the other regular characters.  And even Hunter himself, didn’t seem like his usual self.  I was shocked towards the end, with “the shooting” but other than that, i didn’t come across any twists or surprised so that was disappointing. Overall, it was ok, definitely not the best in the series.

I rated An Evil Mind: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat