Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama

The Blossom Twins Carol Wyer 5* #Review @carolewyer @bookouture #crimefiction #PoliceProcedural #DetectiveNatalieWard #FamilyDrama #BookReview

#TheBlossomTwins

Their parents thought they were hiding…

One beautiful summer’s evening, thirteen-year-old twins Ivy and Erin Westmore snuggle down in a tent in their back garden, giggling and sharing secrets.

When their mother goes to wake the girls the next morning, their tent is empty.

The alarm is raised and Detective Natalie Ward is put onto the case. When the twins’ bodies are discovered on nearby marshland, covered with deep pink petals, an icy shiver travels down Natalie’s spine. Everything about the girls’ deaths reminds her of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career, which saw a killer of the worst kind placed behind bars.

The next day, that feeling is heightened when she receives a chilling note saying ‘I’m back’. Is this killer a copycat or did Natalie put the wrong person in prison all those years ago? In a small town, where no stranger goes unnoticed, what is Natalie missing?

Consumed by the case, determined to prevent more deaths, Natalie misses the fact that it is her attention the killer wants. And to get it, he has his sights set firmly on her precious daughter Leigh…

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An addictive mix of crime fiction and family drama makes the Detective Natalie Ward, series a must-read. for me. This one is particularly harrowing. Child abduction and murder are every persons’ nightmare, but you are immediately invested in the investigation and want the perpetrator to be found before anyone else goes missing or dies.

The story is immersive, from the first abduction to the journey into the past, and the return to the hell of the present. The emotions are close to the surface and so realistic. Natalie has lost part of herself, with every murder she’s investigated and solved, but these bring back guilty feelings from the past. Coupled with her dramatic home life, she is on the edge and struggles with the objectivity she needs to be effective.

The team of detectives are authentically written and familiar from past books. All the characters are complex and relatable. The plot undulates between high adrenaline, and slow-paced frustration, as the workload increases and the dead ends mount up.

The dramatic but plausible ending brings an emotionally draining story to a realistic, but shocking, unexpected conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Mystery, Romance

My Mother’s Silence Lauren Westwood 5* #Review @bookouture @lwestwoodwriter #ContemporaryFiction #FamilyDrama #Secrets #Lies #Mothers #Daughters #Sisters #Twins #Scotland #BookReview #Mystery

#MyMothersSilence

Some things you can never escape. I should know. I’ve been running away for fifteen years, and now I’m right back where I started…

Skye Turner’s family fell apart the day her twin sister Ginny died. Everyone in their tiny community in the Scottish Highlands accepted it was an accident, but more than one person in town is haunted by a secret from that night…

Skye left after the funeral, believing her mother blamed her for Ginny’s death. Skye should have taken care of Ginny, should have been there to stop her falling from the cliffs that night. Over the years, she’s barely spoken to her mother, until the day she receives a phone call asking her to return home.

As soon as Skye arrives in her childhood home, she knows something isn’t right. Her mother has kept the bedroom she shared with her sister like a shrine, Ginny’s clothes and diaries gathering dust, as though her mother thinks Ginny might come back. And there are whispers in town that Ginny wasn’t alone when she died…

Skye is desperate to find out the truth, but her mother just wants her family back together. As Skye begins to unravel everyone’s lies, she realises the truth might tear her family apart for good…

My Mother’s Silence is a twisty and emotional novel about the bonds between mothers and daughters, and what happens when we hide things from those we love the most.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A family tragedy resonates on a small Scottish community, It tears a local family apart, but now it’s time for Skye to come home. She’s unsure of her reception, but her younger brother insists her mother needs her. Her new life is in tatters, she has nowhere else, but can she face going back? This is a story about sisters, mothers and daughters and the secrets families keep to protect those they love most.

Told in the first person from Skye’s point of view, this is a compelling, emotional tale of a woman’s search for answers so that she can finally lose the guilt and move on with her life. Skye has done most of her growing up with strangers, always moving, never finding the peace, she unconsciously seeks. Circumstances, force her back home for Christmas, but what she finds is not what she expects.

The characters in the family and the wider village are well written and realistic. They are all hiding something, but Skye’s return opens Pandora’s box and finally, with the help of Nick, an ex-detective the truth is uncovered. The family relationships and tensions are believable and poignant, The mystery part of the plot is cleverly constructed and its resolution satisfying.

The romance is secondary to the family drama and mystery, but adds light to the darkness and makes the ending romantic and hopeful.

Ordinary families and tragic events make absorbing reading when instilled with a perfect balance of angst, hope, love, mystery, romance and sadness.

Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

Little Darlings -Melanie Golding – 5* #Review – #Author #Interview @HQStories @HQDigital @mk_golding #Thriller #MentalHealth #Folklore #WednesdayWisdom #WednesdayThoughts

THE TWINS ARE CRYING. 
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.

LAUREN IS CRYING. 
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her new-born twins when a terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves her convinced someone is trying to steal her children. Lauren, desperate with fear, locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive to investigate.

When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of overnight incidents that have been reported, she expects the usual calls from drunks and wrong numbers. But then a report of an attempted abduction catches her eye. The only thing is that it was flagged as a false alarm just fifteen minutes later.

Harper’s superior officer tells her there’s no case here, but Harper can’t let it go so she visits the hospital anyway. There’s nothing on the CCTV. No one believes this woman was ever there. And yet, Lauren claims that she keeps seeing the woman and that her babies are in danger, and soon Harper is sucked into Lauren’s spiral of fear. But how far will they go to save children who may not even be in danger?

Amazon UK

 Little Darlings –  Blog Tour – Interview Questions – Melanie Golding

What inspired you to write this story?

I began with a re-telling of an obscure folktale which features in the book, A Brewery of Eggshells. After a while, I started thinking about who thought it up in the first place and why. I thought maybe it was actually about postpartum depression and psychosis. Either that or fairies were real….

Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?

Characters begin as amalgamations of people I know; maybe they have one or two opinions in common with someone in real life. After a while, they become real people that live in my head, with no connection to anyone outside of it apart from the few seeds I might have used to create them. Often they are or contain aspects of myself, extrapolated.

When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?

The story comes first, and the characters are part of that; the story wouldn’t be happening to anyone else, it’s always because of something the characters are or are involved in. The setting is very important, but it tends to grow up around the story.

What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?

I think writing for many people is unavoidable. However, I did make a conscious choice to switch from writing lyrics and music to writing novels, as performing never seemed to fit around my personal life. I’m so glad I did because it turns out I’m a lot more successful, for whatever reason, at writing novels than being a singer/songwriter.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

All books! I will read anything, everything, always. If there is text in front of my eyes it gets read. In the shower, I have to turn the shampoo bottle away or I’ll keep reading the back of it, over and over.

What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?

Best thing: solitude

Worst thing: loneliness

I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

Where to start with this unusual thriller. It is a curious mix of folklore and medicine, seen from Lauren’s point of view, she is acting sanely to ensure her babies are safe. Seen from a medical perspective she has mental health issues, most likely puerperal psychosis. The question is what do you believe, and even at the end of the story, I’m not sure.

This story resonates. In Victorian times any non-conformist behaviour was considered a mental aberration, many young women incarcerated in mental institutions, just because they had children out of wedlock, So perhaps, in this case, the truth lies somewhere in between the folklore and the medicine?

Intense and suspenseful, you are torn between Lauren’s anxiety and need to find her children, and the prospect that if she isn’t stopped innocents will suffer. It’s an intelligent thriller, with many layers and possibilities and a poignant ending that makes you wonder what if.

Lauren is an unreliable protagonist, but she is easy to empathise, even though part of you believes she may be dangerous. Harper is a complex character, a police detective, who is drawn to the case by her own history, and even though she finds answers she is still not sure she’s discovered the truth. The cast of supporting characters are essential and give the story depth and diversion.

Prefacing each chapter with folklore concerning Changelings, .the reader compare them with what is happening in the story, adding to its complexity.

This is a creepy, unsettling thriller, exploring the grey areas of mental health and the power of folklore, why did it originate, was it to explain why some mothers seemed to endanger their children, or is there a twisted truth, we don’t understand?

‘Little Darlings’ is disturbingly different.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Thriller

Someone You Know – Olivia Isaac- Henry-4* #Review @AvonBooksUK @oisaachenry

You can trust your family, can’t you…?

Tess Piper was fourteen when her adored twin sister Edie disappeared.

She has spent the last twenty years building a life away from her fractured family, desperate to escape the shadow of the past.

Only now she needs to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in her life because a body has been found. The police are shining a spotlight on the Piper family. And secrets are about to surface.

After all, it’s common knowledge that more often than not, these crimes are committed by someone close to the victim. Someone they trust. Someone they know…

What really happened to Edie Piper?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is a fusion of family drama and psychological thriller and it works. Tess Piper is an unreliable protagonist, she is still grieving the disappearance of her twin sister twenty years later and lives her life on the edge as a memorial to her twin. She drinks and smokes too much and is estranged from her close family.

Told from the twins’ points of view, one historic and one present day, the background to Edie’s disappearance and its subsequent effect on Tess and her family’s life is explored. The characters are believable and in most cases hard to empathise, but you do understand why they are as they are.

When a body is found, Tess has to return home and confront the secrets she’s been hiding from. The story is easy to read but much of it is dark and you feel Tess and her family’s emotional angst. The plot is deceptively simple, but just as you think you know what happened, another piece in the puzzle is revealed and another player introduced.

This is an authentic family drama, full of poignant events. I did manage to work who betrayed Edie but not all the circumstances.

A well thought out domestic thriller with strong characters and a clever plot.

Posted in Book Review

Guilt – Amanda Robson – 5*Review

There is no bond greater than blood . . .

When the body of a woman is found stabbed to death, the blame falls to her twin sister. But who killed who? And which one is now the woman behind bars?

Zara and Miranda have always supported each other. But then Zara meets Seb and everything changes. Handsome, charismatic and dangerous, Seb threatens to tear the sisters’ lives apart – but is he really the one to blame? Or are deeper resentments simmering beneath the surface that the sisters must face up to?

As the sisters’ relationship is stretched to the brink, a traumatic incident in Seb’s past begins to rear its head, and soon all three are locked in a psychological battle that will leave someone dead. The question is, who?

Amazon UK

Amazon 

My Thoughts…

‘Guilt’ is a dark, intense thriller.

Beginning with a tragedy, it continues moving between the present and the past as it reveals the traumatic aftermath and explores the events leading up to the devastation of the twins’ lives.

Written in short chapters from the three central characters’ point of view. It is fast-paced, character-driven and a well-blended mix of action and internal conflict. Focusing on the twins’ Miranda and Zara’s complicated relationship and how it changes when Sebastion invades their lives.

Seb is a dark, troubled man who hides his true nature behind a friendly, open facade. Zara is an artistic, carefree woman who self-harms to alleviate her profound feelings of inadequacy. Academic Miranda is outwardly successful, but she is socially inept and finds it difficult to invest in relationships. The twins love each other but recognise they are polar opposites in personalities. Seb uses this weakness to come between them with devastating results.

Don’t be put off by the melancholy ethos of this story, it is addictive reading, and both the plot, characters and their often toxic interactions make this book a riveting, page-turning read.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.