All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Daughter-in-law by Fanny Blake

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend and able to curl up with a good book. I’m excited to be part of the tour for The Daughter-in-law by Fanny Blake. With secrets and potential family tensions, the blurb drew me in.

Scroll down to see if it met my expectations.

Book Review: The Daughter-in-law by Fanny Blake

The Daughter-in-law by Fanny Blake

Title: The Daughter-in-law

Author: Fanny Blake

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Release date: 16th February 2023

Genre: Women’s fiction

Blurb

‘A moving, relatable and heart-thumpingly good story about family secrets and the lengths we’ll go to protect our loved ones.’ CATHY BRAMLEY

When Hope’s only son Paul met and married Edie, Hope was delighted that he had found love and was settling down to make his own family. Hope has loved bringing up her own child, and is happy to step in and help out now and again – but is always worried about overstepping the line between grandmother and mother.

Edie was hoping that having children with Paul would fulfil her as much as her busy job as a barrister has. But the reality is far from her dream. And with her mother-in-law Hope constantly poking her nose in where it’s not wanted, she finds herself frustrated and alone.

Both women could be each other’s greatest ally, but both have secrets that could ruin their relationship. Secrets neither wants Paul to uncover…

My Thoughts

I was thrown into the tense family dynamics from the start, with a sunny Greek holiday that promised relaxation if only Hope and Edie got along. Told from both sides it was clear why each struggled to overcome the ever-increasing barriers in their relationship, but as much as I wanted to be neutral in my feelings, my sympathy kept being drawn to Hope. The love for her grandchildren and son, Paul, was clear and with a softer side, she was easy to connect to. While she had strong opinions, she was prepared to adjust to the needs of the relationship. 

Edie was more complex and her viewpoint showed a different side to motherhood than the usual I’ve read recently. She wants it all, her career, control and the perfect family, but despite her ambition is trapped by the guilt that brings. With clashes of personality, generational differences of the approach of parenthood and opinions, I kept me turning the page even before secrets were revealed and their consequences caused an earthquake in the family. Thanks to all the characters having depth, I became entangled in their lives so felt their emotional rollercoaster.

This is an emotional story of unexpected revelations, ramifications of decisions made with good intentions and family bonds. This was the first Fanny Blake book I’ve read but won’t be the last because of realistic characters, ability to describe the heart of the matter and emotionally connect to the reader. WIth a healthy back catalogue, my TBR pile has increased.

Have you read any of her books? Let me know your recommendations below.

Author Biography

Photo of Fanny Blake. White woman, with choppy dark blonde hair with highlights. Blue eyes
Fanny Blake

Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written various non-fiction titles, acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities, and is a former books editor of Woman & Home magazine. She has been a judge of a number of literary prizes, including the Costa First Novel award, the Desmond Elliott Award, the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award and the British Book Awards. She is also the commissioning editor for Quick Reads and a book reviewer. She has written seven novels, including Our Summer Together and An Italian Summer.

Thank you Sara-Jade Virtue for the invite and advanced copy of this book to so I could give an honest and unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: The Lonely Lake Killings by Wes Markin

I’m excited to share my review for The Lonely Lake Killings by Wes Markin as part of the blog tour. A new author for me, the Yorkshire location and blurb caught my attention.

Scroll down to read more.

Book Review: The Lonely Lake Killings by Wes Markin

The Lonely Lake Killings by Wes Markin

Title: The Lonely Lake Killings

Author: Wes Markin

Publisher: Boldwood books

Genre: Crime

Release date: 21st November 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3Xt9K80

Blurb

A lonely recluse. A missing girl and a community in fear.

When the body of a young local girl is found next to an isolated lake, the main suspect is the old recluse who has lived next to the lake for many years – especially when the young girl’s purse is found on the old man’s doorstep.

But DCI Emma Gardner and her partner DI Paul Riddick aren’t so sure. Why would the old hermit leave such an obvious clue? And who would want to set the old man up?

As they dig deeper into the murder they discover a community in fear, determined to keep hold of long buried secrets. And Riddick is convinced that his own dark past is somehow linked to this crime, too.

Gardner fears that she may never get the answers she needs, until a break leads her down a path she’d rather not face. One that runs directly to her own front door…

My Thoughts

This is the second book in the Yorkshire Murder series but can easily be read as a standalone as I did because all you need to know about the detectives from the previous book are revealed while reading. I love crime thrillers, but there are only a handful that make me search for the back catalogue as soon as I finish reading or browse for the next one. This is one of those.

DCI Gardner and DI Riddick are a complex  police duo with messed up personal lives which engaged my attention just as much as the crime they were solving. With a psychopathic brother, a traumatised niece and a fellow detective dealing with his own turmoil, Gardner’s life is on a knife edge personally and professionally.

While the murder promised to be simple, the twists and turns kept me on my toes and turning the page to until the unnerving truth was revealed. The novel is chocked full of action, traipsing into the underworld of Knaresborough and looking at how the stigma of being seen as different, and vulnerable can lead to suspicions correct or otherwise. All the characters have depth and backstories which played into the current investigation and beyond.

The investigative team were well formed, with a strong chemistry and camaraderie that gives a good foundation for the in future books and scope for more drama, betrayal and fissions. Set against the backdrop of the stunning locations in Yorkshire, I’m eager to read the next one and was thrilled that my local library had the previous one, The Viaduct Murders available for loan. It was just as thrilling as this The Lonely Lake Killings adding to my conviction that this series will soothe my crime drama addiction now Happy Valley is over.

Author Biography

Photo of Wes Markin. White man, short hair, smiling dressed in a shirt and jumper.
Wes Markin

Wes Markin is the bestselling author of the DCI Yorke crime novels, set in Salisbury. His new series for Boldwood stars the pragmatic detective DCI Emma Gardner who will be tackling the criminals of North Yorkshire.  Wes lives in Harrogate and the first book in the series The Yorkshire Murders will be published in November 2022.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WesMarkinAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wesmarkinauthor/

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/wes-markin

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Thank you, Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and advanced copy of this book to review.

Happy reading!

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers

After immersing myself in my stash of Christmas romances it was a refreshing change to start the year with a psychological thriller. My first review of 2023 is for The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for this blog tour invite and an advanced copy so I could give my honest opinion.

Scroll down to see what I thought

Book Review: The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers

Book cover for The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers. Predominantly yellow cover. A white open window with a white woman, long brown hair in red top staring out.
The Neighbour by Gemma Rogers

Title: The Neighbour

Author: Gemma Rogers

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Release Date: 5th January 2023

Genre: Psychological thriller

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3DkqDIy

Blurb:

Love thy neighbour or fear thy neighbour?

For myself and Lauren, my 10-year-old daughter No3 Beech Close was to be our refuge after two years of hell nursing my sick mother.

In need of a fresh start and wanting to distance ourselves from the bad memories of my mother’s house we moved to Beech Close, a small cul-de-sac of six houses situated around a picture-perfect green.

It seemed perfect but I had underestimated the secrets that this tightknit community shared.

Within hours of moving in my next-door neighbour Valerie made it abundantly clear we were not welcome.

I soon discovered that Valerie hadn’t welcomed the previous occupant either and she’d since disappeared without a trace.

Had I put myself and my daughter in danger moving to Beech Close?

Which neighbours, if any could I trust?

And how far would they go to keep their secret?

My Thoughts

With a blurb like the above, I was eager to start reading and the tension of reading a psychological thriller hit within the first few pages. When the newcomer, Shelly’s dog goes to the loo on the neighbour’s lawn, you know it isn’t going to be a happy outcome. After living in many places in my life with many neighbours, it was easily imaginable to see how it could escalate

Shelly’s longing for a nice environment for her daughter, Lauren, to grow up in after a turbulent few years was relatable and I liked them both. In a community of perfection, Shelly had a sense of normality about her and I could easily imagine being friend’s with her and chatting over a coffee, but I did find some of her reasonings and actions debatable especially when her suspicions were aroused about the previous resident of her house. It made me want to reach into the pages and shout at her, but I guess this is a positive as it meant I was invested in the story and her as a character.

This close-knit creepy road provides a significant cast of people to suspect in this thriller, as Shelly unpicks what happened beforehand and realises dangers await. The tension is set early on and I found my anxiety levels were kept high throughout, not helped by my concern over the dog. I think having two of my own who are like family means if there is a sense of danger concerning the fictional canines, the tension increases tenfold. Forget whether the residents of no 3 were going to survive the mystery surrounding the neighbourhood. I needed to know Teddy would be fine.

With unexpected twists, this was an enjoyable and refreshing read after the festive period and kept me reading into the night.

Would I recommend?

Yes, with sinister vibes from all the neighbours with hidden secrets galore to uncover this is an entertaining creepy thriller that will make you think twice about moving into your dream location.

Author Biography

Photo of Gemma Rogers. White background. White woman, short dark hair with pixie cut, and dark floral blouse. Smiling.
Gemma Rogers

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband and two daughters.

Social Media Links  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gemma.rogersauthor.35

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GemmaRogers79

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/gemmarogersauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/GemmaRogerNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/gemma-rogers

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Book Review: Together Again by Milly Johnson

The mobile library has dropped off some treats this week including Together Again by Milly Johnson. The reservation list on this book is miles long so I took notice of the sticky note telling me to read it quickly.

Library stash with a range of books but centre place is the cover of Milly Johnson's book Together, Again
Library Stash

Book Review: Together Again by Milly Johnson

Book cover for Together Again by Milly Johnson
Yellow cover with Blue and dark pink typeface. Shows an open front doorway with 3 sisters outside on the steps. One leaning against the pillared entrance, one sitting on the steps and the other sitting on suitcases.
Together Again by Milly Johnson

Title: Together Again

Author: Milly Johnson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Release date: 29th September 2022

Blurb

Together again after years apart, can they find a new beginning? The brilliant novel full of laughter, love, tears and hope from the Sunday Times bestselling author Milly Johnson.

‘This masterpiece honestly describes the strength and acceptance required to be a family. 5 STARS’ Adele Parks, Book of the Month, Platinum magazine

Sisters Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their beautiful family home, Fox House, following the death of their mother, the tricky Eleanor Vamplew. Born seven years apart, the women are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes about beautiful relationships even though her own marriage to the handsome and charming Warren is complicated.

Marsha, the neglected middle child, has put all of her energy into her work, hoping money will plug the gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian. Until now.

So when the sisters discover that their mother has left everything to Annis in her will, it undermines everything they thought they knew. Can saying their final goodbyes to Eleanor bring them together again?

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars and finding in each other support, forgiveness, courage and love.

My Thoughts

Milly Johnson is one author I know will have me laughing one minute and crying the next with her quirky observations and down-to-earth Northern humour, which balances out the heartache and sensitive topics she covers in her romantic fiction. I’m still reeling from the chocolate eclair scene in Woman in the Middle. If you haven’t read it, you need to pop it on your must-read pile with this one. While love, friendship and character’s finding their own self or strength are fundamental in all her books, this one is different.

Maybe it was because there was less romance and more focus on the relationship between sisters from a dysfunctional family, but it sent me on a powerful, hard-hitting, and  emotional rollercoaster. Each sister’s viewpoint got under my skin as they dealt with the emotions following their mother’s death, getting to know each other and the secrets each were hiding. Grief is tackled in many books, but usually the person is loved and missed for their warmth but in this case, the mother was horrid. This triggered different emotions and guilt usually seen, and it was refreshing to see another type of family dynamic shown.  I’m sure it will resonate with many readers. Despite the tough issues covered, Milly Johnson writes with warmth, depth and hope, so when I finished reading I was left with the comforting belief that anything is possible with friendship and support.

Have you read it? I’d love your hear your thoughts. Keep warm and happy reading!

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

It seemed to have been ages since I had read a thrilling psychological thriller so when an invite for this book landed in my inbox I had to say yes. The Sleepover by Keri Beevis’s blurb sounded creepy and promised to be an exciting read. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its potential.

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Book cover for The Sleepover by Keri Beevis. A brooding dark sky with a desolate farmhouse in the foreground with an abandoned child's bike nearby
The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Title: The Sleepover

Author: Keri Beevis

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Psychological thriller, crime

Release Date: 24th October 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3o2ugfb

Blurb

When you’re a kid, you imagine monsters to have horns and fangs. That they hide under the bed or in the wardrobe. And you believe they can only come after you when it’s dark.

You don’t expect them to look like everyday people or that they may be someone you already know…

The summer in question started out with hot, fun-filled days and new friendships.

We had just turned thirteen and had our whole lives ahead of us.

But that was before her…

Before we became known as the Hixton Six and our lives become defined by one night.

It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since she was locked away.

But now she’s free and strange things have started to happen.

When I close my eyes, the creeping anxiety and fear is overwhelming and all too real.

Because the monster is back, and I know she has a score to settle with us.

My Thoughts

This was a thrilling and tense read with unexpected twists and a surprise conclusion. As a page turner, I couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I was in hospital so had the perfect excuse to just keep reading. I read it in a day and it surpassed my all expectations.

It was creepy and held its sinister undertone throughout. Told in three different points of view with seemingly unreliable narrators, it was hard to know who to trust as the story unfolded and the truth of what happened on the fateful night was revealed. This suspicion and twists kept me gripped.

The present dealt with the aftermath of a traumatic event and the effect on adult lives. In some cases, relationships imploded and others the shared event forged deeper bonds. It felt realistic making me engage with the characters more even when their decisions made no sense to outsiders. The threat of vengeance added the tension between the group and was cleverly broken up by the memories of childhood friendships and idyllic summer. Knowing that something terrible would occur to the six children made me fearful for them. I needed to know the inciting event for all the horror and I wasn’t disappointed with the ending.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, it was a tense page turner where children’s lives were turned upside down by a danger hidden in plain sight and shows how childhood trauma has ramifications into adulthood. The childhood chapters were reminiscent to Stephen King’s Stand by Me in the emotions it evoked.

Keri Beevis is a talented writer and I need to catch up with her other books.

Author Biography

Photo of Keri Beevis. White woman, smiling with silvery long blonde hair wearing a red top.
Keri Beevis

Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. Keri wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years before she was published, after winning a contract in a competition run by a small press. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).

Social Media Links

Facebook: Keri Beevis – Author | Facebook

Twitter: Keri Beevis (@keribeevis) / Twitter

Instagram: Keri Beevis (@keri.beevis) • Instagram photos and videos

Bookbub profile: Keri Beevis Books – BookBub

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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