Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

My Sister is Missing – #4*Review – Carissa Ann Lynch @HarperImpulse @KillerReads @carissaannlynch

A twenty-year-old local mystery that has never been solved.

A bone-chilling VHS tape depicting a horrific crime.

Neighbors with something to hide.

And a sister who is missing.

Emily has to find out the truth. But is her sister Madeline the victim…or the one to blame?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Killer Reads via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric tale, with a small town setting, twisty plot and well-crafted characters. Excellent pacing and flow make this such an absorbing and easy read. 

Told from Emily’s point of view, as she answers her sister’s request to return to her home town after many years of absence, you discover that Emily is not keen to return, but the reasons why only become clear as the story progresses.

Ordinary events take on sinister connations and everyone has secrets. Emily’s fear and not knowing who to trust comes across well in this story. She feels alone and vulnerable, but this is what makes her determined to solve her sister’s disappearance, whatever the personal cost.

A good domestic suspense novel, that draws the reader in, from the first page.

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Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

Snow Angel Cove- 4* Review – RaeAnne Thayne

A fresh start is all Eliza wants for Christmas…

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar little town for Christmas.

Enter Aidan Caine. He can help Eliza find the perfect Christmas project – the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge. Soon he sees how quickly he could fall for her. But is he’s willing to risk his heart on a festive romance that could lead to forever?

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

A lovely small town, festive romance with some characters from a well-established series. I haven’t read the other series, but I still enjoyed this book. The story is emotional with a simple plot, perfect for Christmas romance. The characters are realistic and easy to empathise and the setting is a small town at a festive time of year. I received a copy of this book from Mills&Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

A Path to the Lake – Elizabeth Crocket – Author Interview and 4 *Review

Kate Browning longs to experience a life of her own again after caring for her parents the past two years. However, her sister Heather’s escalating depression threatens to thrust Kate into the role of family caregiver once again.

 Hungry for companionship, Kate begins a relationship with Frank Fetiscina, who was there when she and Heather needed him.
 A part-time writer, she is offered an opportunity writing an inspiration column for the local paper by the editor, Tom Smythe. Kate is instantly attracted to him, and they begin a flirtatious and sexual relationship with no ties between them.
 While Kate is on a date at the bistro with Frank one evening, Tom walks in unexpectedly. Tired of the expectations Frank places on her and the lack of commitment from Tom, Kate tells them she is done and storms out, realizing it’s time to take charge of her own life again.

Amazon UK

 Amazon

Author Interview – Elizabeth Crocket

What are the inspirations behind your story ‘A Path to the Lake?’

Jane, I was sitting on a bench by the lake one day, when a very large man lumbered by walking his dog. We engaged in some small talk that led to an enjoyable conversation. He was kind and lovely, and the character of Frank Fetiscina was born. I already had an idea of who the protagonist, Kate Browning, would be and once Frank entered the picture, the story started to come to life for me.

Do you have a set writing process? If so, can you describe it to us, and say why it works for you?

When I started writing A Path to the Lake, I became consumed with it. I started writing at my kitchen table and went back to it at every opportunity. I have written two more novels since A Path to the Lake, and quickly became consumed each of them, too. I suppose I can say that it worked for me, just because I finished all three. I sometimes wonder if my sense of urgency had anything to do with having had a really challenging cancer journey a few years before. Or maybe it’s just my personality!

How do you create your characters, are they from real life or are they purely a product of your imagination?

One or two of the characters in my books may initially have characteristics of people I have known, but quickly the characters all take on a life of their own. The things some of my characters do, surprise even me. They become people that I can visualize, who are completely separate from me.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

If I am reading a book to relax and enjoy, it’s women’s fiction. I have also read many autobiographies over the years, and of course, a book of Japanese short form poetry or contemporary poetry is always on my coffee table.

I know you also write poetry. What made you decide to become a writer and what made you write a novel?

I have always written, in one form or another, whether it was writing poetry or journaling at the end of the day. Writing a novel was a personal goal for me.

What’s next for Elizabeth Crocket? Are you writing another novel?

I recently found out my second novel, Full of Grace will be released this fall or next spring. My third novel, The Smell of Roses, is due out sometime in 2019. All three of my books are women’s fiction, and all have a strong romantic element. 

Thank you for this interview, Jane. I am honoured to be a part of your wonderful blog!

My Thoughts…

It’s lovely to read something different, and this story is like a breath of fresh air.

Kate has spent the last few years as a carer for her parents when her mother loses her battle with cancer, the only light on the horizon is the prospect of getting her life back, but her sister’s mental health deteriorates, and she finds herself in the caring role again.

Kate’s story is poignant, heartwarming and complex. She experiences love and friendship and a creative new career as she forges a new life.

The relationships are typical of any small town, but the dialogue is unique to North America and takes a little getting used to but remains authentic and informative.

The story is peppered with short poems and inspirational quotes, which add depth to the story, and insight into Kate’s motivations, personality and thoughts.

An insightful tale of coping with illness, the importance of family and friends and giving something back.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Crimson Cloak Publishing in return for an honest review.

Elizabeth’s short-form Japanese poetry has been translated into several languages and published internationally. Her chapbook, “Not Like Fred and Ginger”, published by Red Moon Press, was shortlisted for the prestigious Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. Her chapbook “Extra Candles” was also published by Red Moon Press.

Elizabeth has had short fiction and poetry widely published online and in print. Samples of her work can be found on her website, elizabethcrocket.wordpress.com. She has a diploma from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Elizabeth is married, has grown children, and six grandchildren.

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Posted in Book Review

A Little Bird Told Me – Marianne Holmes – 4*Review

Besides, if you were one-half evil, wouldn’t you want to know about the other half?

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.

As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum, a strange man is following her around, and worst of all, no one will tell Robyn the truth. But this town isn’t good at keeping secrets…

Twelve years later, Robyn returns home, to a house that has stood empty for years and a town that hasn’t moved on, forced to confront the mystery that haunted her that summer.

And atone for the part she played in it.

Amazon UK

Amazon

 My Thoughts…

Told from Robyn’s point of view as a child and a young woman this mystery of family secrets, relationships, friendships and violence plays out in the historic heatwave of 1976 and reprises twelve years later when Robyn and her brother Kit return to the town where that life-changing Summer took place.

The characters and setting are realistic and vivid if you lived through the 70s and 80s the ethos and events will be recognisable. The childhood characters make this story memorable. Significant events are glossed over, and smaller ones assume prominence through Robyn’s eyes, adding to the mystery and suspense of this family drama.

Parts of the story is slow and confusing, but this is intentional, to reflect the child who is living through and observing adult behaviour that she doesn’t fully understand. The mystery once revealed is tragic if not entirely unexpected, and there is a good resolution of most of the questions this story raises.

Perfect for those who appreciate literary fiction and enjoy authentic characters and settings.

I received a copy of this book from Agora books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

Poppy’s Place in the Sun – Lorraine Wilson – 4* Review

Sometimes you need to lose yourself to find your way home…

With only her trusty dogs Peanut, Treacle and Pickwick by her side, Poppy Kirkbride could be forgiven for having doubts about her move to a quiet village in rural France. But as the sun shines down on her ramshackle new home, Poppy knows she’s made the right decision. A lick of paint, and some TLC and her rustic farmhouse will be the perfect holiday retreat – Poppy’s dream come true.

Poppy is welcomed by her fellow villagers, except for brooding local vet Leo Dubois, who makes it clear Poppy isn’t welcome in his village – or his life! Leo might be gorgeous, but Poppy won’t be told what to do by an arrogant Frenchman – no matter how kind and gentle he is to her dogs!

Determined to stay, Poppy tries to understand the enigmatic Frenchman better. But as the two get closer, Poppy sees another side to Leo – a man with heartbreak of his own. Falling in love with Leo is easy, but can he ever return Poppy’s love? And what would this mean for her dream life and place in the sun?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Poppy is a likeable, independent character who makes her dreams reality when she moves to France. Things don’t go to plan, and she finds herself alone in a French village she knows little about, in a property that requires renovation and with a neighbour who makes no secret of the fact he wants her gone. Not the most auspicious of starts but Poppy is determined to succeed and sharing her journey with its ups and downs is a pleasurable read.

Well researched and with a precise local knowledge you learn about village life in France and its history in entertaining conversational bites, the detail is there but cleverly interwoven into the story without inhibiting the pace or the character development.

The book’s stars are the animals, the loveable dogs and quirky donkeys, they have individual personalities which bring them to life, and they provide many of the story’s comic and tender moments.

Another favourite character is Joanna who Poppy helps even though she is running from something. We learn Joanna’s secrets, but she is worthy of her own story and happy ever after too.

Romance is a major theme, and Leo and Poppy have a tempestuous relationship, which is often passionate with realistic, sensual love scenes that underpin the couples emotional development. The ending is believable and happy and makes a satisfying conclusion.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.