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

Review: The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan #bookreview #bookblog @gillymacmillan @randomhouse

Goodreads Blurb

When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.

Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart. Diabolically clever, The Nanny reminds us that sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.

My Review

I’m always filled with guilt when I have to admit that a book/story for me, was only a 3 stars (average; not terrible but not spectacular).  But this one, just wasn’t it for me.  I found the pace quite slow which made it difficult to want to keep reading.  I couldn’t identify with the characters at all or feel anything for them other than disdain to be honest, especially for Jocelyn, who at first I was starting to like but then she turned into a bit of a twit halfway in. And the twists? Well, there didn’t seem to be many if any for me, and the very small ones that were there were a tad predictable.  I’m sorry to sound so unpleasant about it, there were parts I liked, I did enjoy the mother there were times where I found her relatable.  But The Nanny just didn’t grab me, and I’ve been reading some 5/5’s at the moment so it was obvious to me that this wasn’t one I’d be giving a 5 to.

I do look forward to reading more in the future from the author, just because this one wasn’t my cup of tea, isn’t to say that the next won’t be. Thank you so much to Random House UK for my ebook copy, I very much appreciated the opportunity.

I rated The Nanny: 3/5 stars

Happy Reading

Nat

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

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