AUDIBOOK REVIEW: The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman #audiobook #audiobookreview @HarperAudio

Blurb

ALICE gets off a bus in the middle of a snowstorm in Delphi, NY. She is fleeing an abusive relationship and desperate to protect…

OREN, ten years old, a major Star Wars fan and wise beyond his years. Though Alice is wary, Oren bonds nearly instantly with…

MATTIE, a social worker in her fifties who lives in an enormous run-down house in the middle of the woods. Mattie lives alone and is always available, and so she is the person the hotline always calls when they need a late-night pickup. And although according to protocol Mattie should take Alice and Oren to a local shelter, instead she brings them home for the night. She has plenty of room, she says. What she doesn’t say is that Oren reminds her of her little brother, who died thirty years ago at the age of ten.

But Mattie isn’t the only one withholding elements of the truth. Alice is keeping her own secrets. And as the snowstorm worsens around them, each woman’s past will prove itself unburied, stirring up threats both within and without.

My Thoughts

So I’ve been a little MIA these last 2-3 months because I’ve been in my final stages of my Masters, and I started a new job in a prison. There’s been little time to read. To when i realised that I’d be able to listen to audiobook instead on my 2 hour daily commute I dug in!

With an audiobook it’s SO important to have a good narrator. Excellent, really. I generally do a sample test before i buy/borrow and if the voice doesn’t suit me then I’ll save that book to read myself. The narrator on this one, for me, was perfect. I LOVE when they do different voices for different characters, even if it’s only minor. Gives it a “movie” feel.  I found that with the sound of the voice, and the pacing of the flow there were times in this book that I was gripping the wheel so hard I had white knuckles!

The story itself was quite riveting.  I really enjoyed Mattie’s story, she was very identifiable to me and I also loved her personality.  There were a few really great spots that had me gasping “WHAT!” “No-Way”, there was a twist or two, and there was afew evening on the way home I considered driving around the block so I could listen a little more.

My only complaints with the story was Alice. I didn’t mesh well with in in the beginning, but she did grow on me by the end.

If you haven’t read/listened to this, then I recommend you giving it a go. And if you have, what did think?

I rated The Night Visitors: 4/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

Advertisements

Review: Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline #bookreview #bookblogger

Blurb

Twenty years ago, in an upscale suburb of Philadelphia, four teenagers spent a summer as closest friends: drinking, sharing secrets, testing boundaries. When a new boy looked to join them, they decided to pull a prank on him, convincing him to play Russian roulette as an initiation into their group. They secretly planned to leave the gun unloaded–but what happened next would change each of them forever.

Now three of the four reunite for the first time since that horrible summer. The guilt–and the lingering question about who loaded the gun–drove them apart. But after one of the group apparently commits suicide with a gun, their old secrets come roaring back. One of them is going to figure out if the new suicide is what it seems, and if it connects to the events of that long-ago summer. Someone knows exactly what happened–but who? And how far will they go to keep their secrets buried?

My Thoughts

You know, I found this book hard to put down. Every turn of the page just kept you wanting to read more. I really enjoyed the differences in characters.  They each had their or personality and they were all very unique. I was so shocked when the actual shooting happened. I gasped out aloud. I. Did. Not. Expect. That. To. Happen.  I actually had to put the book down for a few seconds and come to terms with what I had just read. And that, to me, is a fantastic sign of a briliant read.

The pace was also a real winner. Another reason why you just wanted to get through it as quickly as you could. I really loved that the other did go back to the past and come back in choppy sections, but rather devoted half the book to the past, and allowed us to really get to know the characters before the incident, and the the second half of the book saved for them all grown up.  And wow, I didn’t see that end coming.

And I felt so so awful for the poor mother having lost her son, having had to endure the past regarding her relationship with her husband and what he had done. Your heart really ached for that poor little mother-son household. How unfair that any of that had to have happened.

I’m definitely a Lisa Scottoline groupie now. And I’m looking forward to my next read from her. Have you got any recommendations on what I should read of hers next?

I rated Someone Knows: 5/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

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

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: Those Girls by Chevy Stevens #bookreview @ChevyStevens #bookblog

Blurb

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

My Thoughts

This was a fantastic read. Right from the very beginning it pulled you in to the awful situation those poor three sisters faced. It’s unimaginable, and then come across those two boys!

The writing pace was fantastic. I basically didn’t want to put this one down. I was in that story with them and although it was horrific and hard to imagine, the author did a wonderful job of making feel so very real. I always find it slightly annoying that I can’t say what I want to say, especially about the ending because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it had my heart pumping and a few tears falling.

I think if you’re looking for something that’ll get your heart rate going, then try this. But be warned, it does have triggers relating to rape and violence so if that’s something you generally avoid you may want to consider it, or have a support person you can talk to about it.

My first read from this author and most definitely not my last!

I rated Those Girls: 5/5 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