Review: The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

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There are certain things I look for in a gripping psychological thriller.  Great characters, engaging storyline, plausibility, a nice little twist or two…if these things are present then I’m likely to enjoy and recommend it to others.  This newest release from Kerry Wilkinson fits the bill.

Olivia is the girl who disappeared 13 years ago, and now she’s back.  Her mom and dad couldn’t be happier, although there are other people in their small village who have their doubts.  Where has she been all this time?  What exactly happened that day she disappeared from their backyard?  And why has she suddenly reappeared?  Questions abound as the mystery deepens.  If she’s an imposter, what does she want?

This was a great little story, full of suspense.  It kept me guessing until almost the very end which is no small feat.  Grab it and settle in for an enjoyable ride!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Girl Who Came Back

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Review: Guilty by Laura Elliot

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I’m going to preface this review by saying that this one didn’t grab me right away as many psychological thrillers do.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the beginning.  In fact, I almost gave up on it.  I’m glad I didn’t.

Constance is missing.  When the thirteen-year-old suddenly disappears, all efforts are put into finding her.  Her much loved uncle Karl soon finds himself the focus of the investigation.  Through a series of circumstantial pieces of evidence along with a determined journalist, he quickly becomes suspect number one.

Fast forward six years…

And I’m stopping here.  If you read the blurbs on various book-related sites, you’ll find more details leading up to this point.  But I’m not going to give them to you.  Part of the pleasure of this story was the discovery, the itchy inkling feeling I had as I got deeper and deeper into the story.  And I’d like for you to have that same experience.  So go forth and enjoy!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Guilty

 

Review: A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

25613372Oh dear…I hate to give a review for a book I didn’t like much by an author that everyone seems to love. Especially if it’s a genre that I’ve made clear isn’t my favourite.

As I’ve wanted to read more books from this genre lately I have been asking myself more and more why it’s not a genre that I absolutely love.

This book is why! I’ve read some exceptional books that were classified “chick lit”. I’ve read some that make my heart swell…some that have made me laugh out loud…and some that have given me so many “feels” that I can’t help but to always seek out that next one that makes me feel all those emotions.

This book wasn’t awful. But I just had issues with the characters.

Why was the main character so stressed out from a job that she proclaimed meant so much to her, that she was so passionate about, but then was willing to just walk away for several months. I understand stress…I do! I understand needing a break…I do! However, this just seemed like it was over dramatic, especially since a few weeks later it was once again the best job in the universe with no issues at all…what was the real story going on there?

Second, I can’t stand where a character just falls for someone they don’t know…I mean, she didn’t even seem to find him that attractive when she first saw him…then suddenly after talking to her mate, she couldn’t stop thinking of him…then after one day she’s willing to do all sorts of things with him…

TBH, when we first heard of the *love interest* in this novel the description was so non-descriptive I didn’t have a clue what he was like…I pictured him as older man who didn’t speak much and might not even speak the same language…

Again, I’m not trying to be horrible here…the book REALLY was okay…

I just need some type of foundation to build a HEA on and I don’t feel like I received that in this novel. Little Kate was wonderful…the teddy was wonderful…the elderly Maisie was equally wonderful…

But that’s it…the rest just weren’t…and there were bits that really bothered me…How in an interview and discussing a new job the main character kept referring to the elderly as “old people”. Here she is in an interview and they ask her if she’s ever worked with senior citizens and she goes on about “one old lady in particular”. I’m not really one for strict PC, but I just found it a bit off-putting for me. It bothered me. Two days later it STILL bothers me…That “old woman” was meant to be her friend…and there you have it…I just found Emily shallow and fickle. I found Alasdair stern, controlling and unforgiving…and I didn’t seem them as an item at all…

I certainly didn’t hate the book, but I can’t reconcile myself a fantastic, deep felt relationship between two people who I never saw any evidence of…so this book was a pass for me…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy your copy here A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

Review: My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

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Yes, I’m doing it again.  I’m recommending a book about lying families with dark secrets.  Sorry, it is what it is!  But never fear, this one is heavy on the emotions and light on the mayhem.

Willow has lived with her aunt Hope for almost as long as she can remember. Orphaned at a very young age, she takes her aunt’s version of what happened at face value.  Why would she question the past, anyway?  But when she receives an invitation to a gallery exhibit, she begins to wonder.  And the more she wonders, the more she uncovers.  An aunt she didn’t know existed, questions about her parents’ death…all these things lead her to dig deeper.  Unfortunately her aunt Hope is no help, preferring to leave the tragedies of her youth hidden and forgotten.  So Willow is left on her own, with a lot of determination and a bit of help from both friends and strangers.

Alternating between the past and the present, the author successfully blends the two together into a story that covers all possible angles.  I found myself caring as much about Charity’s story as I did Willow’s.  It’s a rare author that can do this.  A great summer beach read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  My Sister’s Secret

 

Review: The Stepmother by Claire Seeber

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I seem to have a thing for stories about families so dysfunctional that it’s criminal.  Evil parents, deranged siblings, you name it and I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. So of course I couldn’t pass up a book with a title so intriguing as this one…

Jeanie feels like she’s living in a fairy tale when she meets Matthew.  After  a whirlwind courtship and marriage, she dares to believe that she’s found her happily ever after.  And she deserves it, after living through such a traumatic past.  Matthew is perfect, everything she could imagine wanting for the rest of her life.  Sure there’s the small issue of his teenage children, but Jeanie is sure they’ll come around with some time and patience.

But in this story, there’s no such thing as a happy ending.  Someone has discovered Jeanie’s darkest secrets and is trying their hardest to expose her.  The question is, just who is it?  And which one of her new family members is out to destroy her?

There are so many twisted characters in this story with so many secrets that I was left guessing until the very end.  I couldn’t decide exactly who the “bad” person was.  Was it Jeanie’s stepdaughter, Scartlett?  Or was it someone from Jeanie’s past?  An outstanding story that had me hooked from the very first page.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Stepmother

 

Review: The Sister by Louise Jensen

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I hate it when I wait too long to review a book.  And I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.  It’s not that we completely forget what the story was about.  It’s just that we are such voracious readers that sometimes characters and storylines from various books mesh together into one big bookish blob.  But still, I would be neglecting my role as a reviewer of “books that must be read” if I didn’t mention this little gem.

When Grace loses her best friend, Charlie, her world comes to an end.  Connected from childhood, everything she knows involves Charlie.  She just can’t come to grips with her death, with secrets left behind and questions unanswered.  So she digs.  She looks for answers to just who Charlie was.  And in the process, she uncovers more than she expected in the form of Charlie’s unknown sister, Anna.  Here’s where things start to get weird.  Grace begins to forget things, to lose things.  She’s sure someone is following her.  And the people around her are acting very strange.  Is she going crazy?  Or is something more sinister at work?

This debut novel is a thriller in the truest sense.  It plays tricks with your mind and leaves you guessing all the way while at the same time making it seem as if you’ve figured it out.  And of course there’s a fantastic twist that you’ll never see coming!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Sister