Always With a Book

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Review: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Title: Blood Orange
Author: Harriet Tyce
Published: February 2019, Grand Central Publishing
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

A young lawyer's outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this dark and twisty debut thriller for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena.
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise--she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...

Just one more night. Then I'll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.
But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything....

My thoughts: I was so excited to have this book in my is definitely going down as one of my favorites of the year, no question about it! I am in disbelief that this is a debut novel - this psychological thriller is smart, obsessive and voyeuristic in nature and will have you frantically flipping those pages trying to put everything together before the shocking ending!

I think what I loved most about this book is that none of the characters are particularly likeable, yet you just cannot seem to walk away once you start reading this book. It is utterly compelling and Alison, our main protagonist, is deeply flawed and I think that is what makes her so attractive. You just need to see where this book takes her. Is she a reliable narrator or not? I constantly asked myself this question over and over again throughout the book. There are things going on in her life that will make you wonder. Her personal life might be in a bit of a mess, but professionally, things couldn't be going better.  

She is given her first murder case and while that is certainly a case that is intriguing in and of itself , I was more interested with what was going on with Alison herself. And I loved the way the book was set up - we would be just getting into the murder case and finally making headway with that and then the focus would switch to Alison and her issues, and then it would switch again. It would be so frustrating, because as much as I wanted to know how the murder case ended up...I really wanted closure on Alison and her issues more. 

This book is the type that gets under your skin. So many things happen that you just can't walk away from it until you get that final resolution and yet...AND YET...let me just tell you, I was completely dumbfounded when I got to the end. I had my theories on where things where heading. I was making notes to myself along the way about what I thought was going to happen and I couldn't have been further from the truth. This one is good! It's dark and twisted and I loved it! I have definitely found a new author to stalk...Harriet Tyce, you have a new fan for sure and I hope your next book will be out soon!!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

Title: Never Tell
Author: Lisa Gardner
Series: Detective D.D. Warren, #10
Published: February 2019, Dutton Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 416 pages
Source: Publisher

#1 New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner returns with an unpredictable thriller that puts fan favorites D. D. Warren and Flora Dane on a shocking new case that begins with a vicious murder and gets darker from there. 

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman—Evie Carter—from a case many years back. Evie's father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim—a hostage—and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad's murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

My thoughts: This is the 10th book in the Detective D.D. Warren series and I am such a huge fan of not only this series, but of Lisa Gardner's books in general. They are such addicting thrillers that just pull you in, and when you put a tough detective together with a victim-turned-vigilante it just makes for a great team! 

I loved the way this story was told, alternating between three view points - Evie, who was found holding a smoking gun over her dead husband, Detective D.D. Warren, and Flora, who realizes she has seen Evie's husband before, when she was held kidnapped all those years ago by Jacob Ness. Getting into each of these three women's heads really gave a different perspective into what was going on as the story builds and let me tell you, it really keeps you guessing as to where things are going to end up.

Each of these three women are strong, fierce women in their own right. You might not always see it, but trust me when I say when it comes down to it, they can hold their own. These women are tough and willing to get the answers they need to figure out what the heck is going on. There are quite a few twists thrown in here and there that might just leave your head spinning, but it also keeps you flipping the pages to see where it ultimately all ends up. 

Each of these characters are fully developed and I loved that while I thought I knew where things were going, I couldn't have been further from the truth. This is one of those cases where things are definitely not what they appear to be. This book is dark and intense and is filled with lies upon lies. And the part about the dark web was utterly fascinating...disturbing, but fascinating nonetheless.

With each installment in this series, I find myself more and more invested in these characters and I find the character development to be top notch. This is definitely a case where the books can be read as stand-alones, though I do feel that you would be missing out on so much if you haven't read the previous books. They really do build on what has happened before - especially this book.

I cannot wait to see what happens next...I think Detective D.D. Warren and Flora Dane make a great team and I love that we have started to see some cracks in the armor that Flora has held around herself. I can't wait to see that developed further in the next book(s).

Books in this series: 

     1.  Alone                              
     2.  Hide                       
     3.  The Neighbor         
     4.  Live to Tell                               
     5.  Love You More
     5.5  The 7th Month
     6.  Catch Me
     7. Fear Nothing
     7.5  3 Truths & a Lie
     8.  Find Her
     9.  Look for Me   

     9.5  The Guy Who Died Twice
     10.  Never Tell


Monday, February 18, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley (audio)

Title: The Moon Sister
Author: Lucinda Riley
Series: The Seven Sisters, #5
Narrator: Imogen Wilde
Published: January 2018, Whole Story Audiobooks / February 2019, Atria Books
Length: 19 hours 53 minutes / 544 pages
Source: Audio - Personal copy via Audible / Print - ARC E-copy via Netgalley via Publisher

From New York Times bestselling author Lucinda Riley, The Moon Sister transports you to the grandeur of the remote Scottish Highlands and the gypsy caves of Granada, just as Spain descends into civil war, interweaving the stories of two women searching for their destinies, at the risk of potentially losing their chance at love.
Tiggy D’Aplièse spends her days experiencing the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands doing a job she loves at a deer sanctuary. But when the sanctuary is forced to close, she is offered a job as a wildlife consultant on the vast and isolated estate of the elusive and troubled laird, Charlie Kinnaird. She has no idea that the move will not only irrevocably alter her future, but also bring her face-to-face with her past.

At the estate, she meets Chilly, a gypsy who fled from Spain seventy years before. He tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home…

In 1912, in the poor gypsy community outside the city walls of Granada, Lucía Amaya-Albaycin is born. Destined to be the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation—and named La Candela, due to the inner flame that burns through her when she dances— Lucía is whisked away by her ambitious and talented guitarist father at the tender age of ten to dance in the flamenco bars of Barcelona. Her mother is devastated by the loss of her daughter and as civil war threatens in Spain, tragedy strikes the rest of her family. Now in Madrid, Lucía and her troupe of dancers are forced to flee for their lives, their journey taking them far across the water to South America and eventually, to North America and New York—Lucía’s long-held dream. But to pursue it, she must choose between her passion for her career and the man she adores. The Moon Sister follows these two women on their journey to discover their true futures—but at the risk of potentially losing the men they had hoped to build futures with.

My thoughts: Without a doubt, this series is going down as one of my favorites! This is the latest installment, book 5, in Lucinda Riley's The Seven Sisters series and with each subsequent book, I fall more in love not only with the D'Apliese family, but also with Lucinda's writing. It is magical and just pulls you into the story so that you don't want to put the book, or audio, down until you have reached the last page. I keep saying with each new book that it's my favorite, but really - they all have been so good that I don't know if I can just single out one over the overs.

I will say, though, that I did have a harder time getting into this book than I have had with the others. And, I didn't necessarily love all the characters as much as I have with the previous books. That's not to say I didn't love the overall book, because I absolutely did and I think it was a brilliant addition to the series. I just felt that with this one, it took me a little longer to warm up to the story, and Lucia, Tiggy's grandmother, grated on my last nerve. But once you read the story, I think you might agree with me on this...and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it's the way she was meant to be - her character was created this way and believe me, it came across loud and clear!

One of my favorite parts of this series is the cultural education I feel I am getting from each and every one of these books. This time around we go from the Scottish Highlands to the gypsy caves of Granada and then even into South America. I loved learning about the culture of the flamenco dancers and even the bit about the gypsy community. The book is set against the Spanish Civil War and WWII, and you feel the persecution that this community has felt and dealt with. It definitely has sparked an interest in me and now I want to read more about this culture...this is why I love reading historical fiction - it leads me to learn something new and wanting to read more about it.

I also love that there are some more clues dropped on us about the mysterious Pa Salt. I am so curious about him and with only two books left in this series, I cannot imagine how this is going to wrap up. Plus...who is the seventh sister? I know the next book is going to be Electra's story and I am quite excited for that. She is the sister we know the least about so I am quite anxious to dig into her life! 

This series is absolutely one of my favorites and I just know that once I have all the books and have read them all, I will certainly be revisiting them to see if I have missed any of the clues along the way. Plus, the stories are just so good that I know I will enjoy them again and again. Do you have a series that you revisit again and again?

Audio thoughts: This was another great audio installment in an overall fantastic series. I've listened to this whole series so far and I've enjoyed each one. And this is a case where it makes sense that there have been different narrators for each book. I think Imogen Wilde did a great job with the voices, giving each character their own unique voice and bringing each character to life. She made this book, which was quite long, a very enjoyable listening experience.

Books in this series:   
  1. The Seven Sisters
  2. The Storm Sister
  3. The Shadow Sister
  4. The Pearl Sister
  5. The Moon Sister 
  6. ??? - due out in UK in fall 2019, not sure when in US

About the Author:  
Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of over twenty novels, including
The Orchid HouseThe Girl on the Cliff, and the Seven Sisters series. Her books have sold more than fifteen million copies in over thirty languages globally. 

Lucinda was born in Ireland and divides her time between England and West Cork with her husband and four children.   

Authors Links: 

Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Goodreads   |   YouTube

The Moon Sister  by Lucinda Riley 
Atria Books
February 19, 2019
Hardcover ISBN: 9781982110611
E-book ISBN: 9781982110635


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Book Spotlight: Our Little Secret by Roz Nay -- with link to Giveaway!!!

Earlier this week, Roz Nay's book, Our Little Secret, was released in paperback. I read the book when it first came out in hardcover and loved it!!! And I am thrilled to be able to offer one reader a copy of this book ...But - the giveaway is over on my Instagram page. 

You can find my review of Our Little Secret here.

Read on to see what others have to say and then you can find out where to enter the giveaway below!!!  

Title: Our Little Secret
Author: Roz Nay
Published: February 2019, St Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback, 272 pages

Roz Nay's Our Little Secret is a twisted tale of love, pain, and revenge that will stay with the reader long after they turn the last page.

They say you never forget your first love. What they don't say, though, is that sometimes your first love won't forget you...

Angela Petitjean sits in a cold, dull room. The police have been interrogating her for hours, asking about Saskia Parker. She's the wife of Angela's high school sweetheart, HP, and the mother of his child. She has vanished. Homicide Detective J. Novak believes Angela knows what happened to Saskia. He wants the truth, and he wants it now.

But Angela has a different story to tell. It began more than a decade ago when she and HP met in high school in Cove, Vermont. She was an awkward, shy teenager. He was a popular athlete. They became friends, fell in love, and dated senior year. Everything changed when Angela went to college. When time and distance separated them. When Saskia entered the picture.

That was eight years ago. HP foolishly married a drama queen, and Angela moved on with her life. Whatever marital rift caused Saskia to leave her husband has nothing to do with Angela. Nothing at all. Detective Novak needs to stop asking questions and listen to what Angela is telling him. And once he understands everything, he'll have the truth he so desperately wants.

What readers are saying: 

"Nay's engrossing read is told from multiple perspectives, and from its chillingly mysterious opening to the subtle brilliance with which a revengeful saga unfolds, its steamy love triangle will hook you and never let you go. It's a debut thriller that's just delicious."―Entertainment Weekly

"Remarkable. Our Little Secret superficially resembles Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on a Train and similar psychological thrillers that have stormed the best-seller lists in the last decade. But Nay’s work transcends the subgenre. The plot is more textured and heartbreaking, and her prose contains startling turns of phrase that reveal the soul of a poet."―Associated Press

"Addictive."―US Weekly

"A sneaky-smart, charismatic debut that will win fans among those who enjoy the kind of duplicitous and deliciously complex psychological suspense written by Ruth Ware, Sophie Hannah, and Erin Kelly."―Booklist

"Fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware will devour this twisty psychological thriller; Nay has expertly crafted a narrative that has the potential to veer in several directions, keeping the readers enthralled and guessing until the end."―Library Journal

“An insidious and disturbing read, Our Little Secret is a stunning thriller about the deadly consequences of a first love.”―Buzzfeed

"[A] mesmerizing debut...Nay expertly spins an insidious, clever web, perfectly capturing the soaring heights and crushing lows of first love and how the loss of that love can make even the sanest people a little crazy. Carve out some time for this riveting, one-sitting read."―Kirkus Reviews

"Captivating...Nay is a writer to watch."―Publishers Weekly

"Heading to a cottage this weekend and need a guaranteed good read? Bring this book. Trust me: you're likely to read it in one breathless sitting. When you return to reality, it will be well past midnight and everyone else will have gone to bed. [A] winding, deceptive descent towards the truth about what happened. I didn't see it coming, and neither will you."―The Globe and Mail

"Seemingly every aspiring author out there is now busy capitalizing on the trend, crafting dark psychological thrillers with unreliable female narrators and wild plot twists. It’s increasingly difficult, then, to stand out in this crowded market... All of this is why first-time author Roz Nay’s debut Our Little Secret is so impressive."―Toronto Star

"Roz Nay keeps readers enthralled with prose that's at once lyrical and incisive. The author can make a drug trip seem poetic. Our Little Secret should keep readers tied to its pages."―Shelf Awareness


Giveaway Details
-- (US Only) 
Thanks to the publisher, one reader will win a copy of  Our Little Secret  by Roz Nay. To enter the giveaway, please head over to my Instagram page to this post. The giveaway ends Sunday, February 24th and is not affiliated with or sponsored by Instagram.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer

Title: Last Lullaby
Author: Carol Wyer
Series: Detective Natalie Ward, #2
Published: December 2018, Bookouture
Format: ARC E-copy, 338 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up.

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’
scrawled beside her.

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show.

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger.

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will send shivers down your spine. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

My thoughts:  This is the second book in Carol Wyer's Detective Natalie Ward series, and it was just as good as the first book in this series...just as addicting and thrilling! I was a huge fan of Carol Wyer's DI Robyn Carter series and while I was bummed to see that series come to an end, I can absolutely say I am now a huge fan of this new series, especially since it has another strong female lead!

I totally love Detective Natalie Ward. I love that not only is she a dynamic, fully developed character, but she is a flawed character. She is strong and tough, yet she has her issues and that is what makes her a good, intriguing main character. I not only want her to solve the cases that she is presented with, but I want to delve deep into her background, and find out what drives her. She's got family issues, mainly there are issues going on with her husband, and as that ending shows us...I think this is going to be a driving force in this series...which makes me quite happy! I also love that there is something - I'm not quite sure exactly what - but something going on with her and Mike and that is another avenue I can't wait to see develop more.

This case really kept me guessing and totally absorbed in the book. I was frantically flipping the pages to see what would happen next.  And those chapters between the killer and their therapist were downright chilling. But darn-it if I couldn't figure out the killer's identity during these sessions...I kept guessing, but my guesses got me no where!  

This is turning out to be another crackerjack of a series and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. If you like addicting, page-turning thrillers, you need to give this series a try!

Books in this series:

  1. The Birthday
  2. Last Lullaby
  3. The Dare - due out April 25, 2019


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Title: The Reckoning
Author: Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Series: Children's House, #2
Published: February 2019, Minotaur Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

The Reckoning is the stunning follow-up to The Legacy, which was the start of a thrilling new series that Booklist (starred) recommends for fans of Tana French.

Vaka sits, regretting her choice of coat, on the cold steps of her new school. Her father appears to have forgotten to pick her up, her mother has forgotten to give her this week’s pocket money, and the school is already locked for the day. Grownups, she decides, are useless.

With no way to call home, she resigns herself to waiting on the steps until her father remembers her. When a girl approaches, Vaka recognizes her immediately from class, and from her unusual appearance: two of her fingers are missing. The girl lives at the back of the school, on the other side of a high fence, and Vaka asks to call her father from the girl's house. That afternoon is the last time anyone sees Vaka.

Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are called in. Soon, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case.

From the international number one-bestselling author of The Silence of the Sea, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel Yrsa Sigurdardottir returns with the follow-up to The Legacy.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Children's House series, and I was quite excited to read it. I loved the first book in the series, The Legacy, and I was eager to pick up this sequel...needing to see what came next for Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja. I will just say though...this series is dark and a bit disturbing, so proceed with caution!

This book picks up where the previous book, The Legacy, leaves off. Now, you don't necessarily have to read that book in order to completely understand everything that happens in this book, but I just think you will have a more complete understanding of the character development if you do. That being said, the cases in the two books are completely separate, so they really do stand on their own.

This main focus of the case that Detective Huldar, and consequently child psychologist Frejya, are called to work on deals with judgement day...who is going to answer for their actions in the past? And it is up to Huldar and Frejya to put the pieces of this case together before too many more people are hurt or killed.

This case really kept me guessing as to who was behind everything. The crime happened years ago, but the vengeance is happening now and Yrsa does such a good job leading you down a path where you second guess everyone and never quite end up guessing the right person...I love books like that! It keeps you on your toes the entire time.

I also loved the continued development in the Huldar/Frejya potential relationship. While this is certainly not the focus of the book, or the series, I like that it has been poked at in each book so far in an organic way. These two work together and you can feel the tension between them. This is why I believe in reading series in get that character development as it is written and in following their "relationship" or whatever it might be, you need to see it happen from the start.

I really am enjoying this series, however dark and gritty it is. The murders are grisly and horrific, the cases keep you flipping the pages frantically and you easily become addicted to the storyline. I am hoping the rest of the series - I believe Yrsa has already penned books 3 & 4 - are translated into English soon!!! 

Books in this series:
  1. The Legacy
  2. The Reckoning
  3. The Absolution - (not sure about this title)
  4. ???


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review: The Burning Island by Hester Young

Title: The Burning Island
Author: Hester Young
Series: Charlie Cates, #3
Published: February 2019, G.P. Putnam's Sons
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Source: Publisher

The newest haunting mystery from the beloved author of The Gates of Evangeline, featuring Charlie Cates, a headstrong heroine who must confront her unwanted supernatural gift and bring dark secrets to light if she ever wants to leave the Big Island . . .
Journalist Charlie Cates has always believed in facts, in what can be proved--her career depends on it. Which is why she has never truly accepted the supernatural visions that guide her to children in danger. After her work on a high-profile missing-child case brings unwanted fame, she reluctantly flees to the lush Big Island of Hawaii with her best friend, Rae. Determined to avoid her disturbing visions, Charlie begins writing what seems to be a harmless interview of a prominent volcanologist, Victor Nakagawa. But her hopes for a peaceful vacation are soon dashed by haunting dreams of a local girl who went missing six weeks earlier.

In the small and sleepy town of Kalo Valley, Charlie and Rae come to realize that even paradise has its ugly secrets, and the Nakagawa family is no exception. In order to find the missing teenager and stop a dangerous predator from striking again, Charlie is forced to embrace the gift she has always tried to conceal. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, and the closer Charlie gets to the truth, the more distant her chances of ever leaving the island alive.

With a deliciously eerie and fast-paced story told in vivid prose, all with an overlay of supernatural suspense, The Burning Island is a pulse-pounding mystery perfect for fans of Jennifer McMahon and Kate Atkinson.

My thoughts: This is the third, and final, book in Hester Young's Charlie Cates trilogy and I was both excited and sad to read to read. I was excited to see what came next for our beloved Charlie - what case would she find herself involved in; yet I was sad because I do not want to see this series come to an end...I have loved each and every book so much - they have all been so thrilling yet haunting, different yet captivating, and this latest one is no exception.

Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, I highly, highly suggest reading this trilogy in just helps set the scene on the characters and the situation surrounding Charlie to put everything into context. But, rest assured if you decide not too, you are given just enough backstory so that you aren't completely lost. 

I flew through this book. It is both engaging and lyrical, while also totally underlined with that sense of dread that you just cannot walk away from. I have been a fan of Charlie Cates since the first book, The Gates of Evangeline, and have only come to love her character more and more. I am not a huge fan of the supernatural, but I love the way Hester Young uses it in this trilogy - the dreams/visions that Charlies gets are used sparingly and add just the right amount of tension and suspense to the story.

This is such a fast-paced book and is filled with so many twists and turns it will keep you on your toes. This is definitely not one of those straight-forward simply mysteries - it is an intricately woven, complicated, twisted plot. Things are definitely not what they seem. Every time I thought I had things figured out, or had some inkling of what was going on, I was proved the end, I didn't have a clue where this case was headed. I love when I am kept guessing and don't even get close to what is really the truth of the matter. 

I'm really sad to see the end come to this trilogy and while I do hope that we haven't seen the last of Charlie Cates I feel this story wrapped things up as if we have. I do know that I will certainly be keeping an eye out for what comes next from Hester Young. She is a talented author for sure and I will absolutely be reading anything she writes!!! In the meantime, I highly recommend this series...if you like a really good mystery with a stand-out heroine, this is the series to read!

Books in this trilogy:

  1. The Gates of Evangeline
  2. The Shimmering Road 
  3. The Burning Island

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