Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (audio)


Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Published: July 2018, Macmillan Audio / St. Martin's Press
Length: 11 hours 6 minutes / 320 pages
Source: Publisher for both


Summary:
Sweetness can be deceptive.
Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.



My thoughts: This debut novel is probably one of the most chilling, deliciously creepy books I've read in a long time and will definitely go down as one of my favorites. I actually listened to it - and the audio was fantastic - make sure to read my audio thoughts below.

This novel is getting some great buzz and it's well-deserved. It's such a great read. I literally could not tear myself away from it once I started it. It's a chilling look at a completely dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship - with the daughter being only seven years old. Hanna is manipulative, cunning and just about down-right evil towards her mother - oh and on top of all this, is mute! Of course, she never let's anyone else see any of this maliciousness but Suzette, most especially her father. On the flip side, Suzette's anxiety about motherhood comes out in spades. I could feel it, it was that palpable.

I loved the way this story was told, with the chapters alternating between Hanna and Suzette's points of view. It really allows you to get into their heads and see what is going on, but at the same time, it also brings up a ton of questions. My biggest question was what happened to cause Hanna to hate her mother so much? Was it just that Suzette had some of her father's affection or is there more going on here? I also liked that with the switching of narrators, while you think you know who's side you are on (#TeamHanna vs. #TeamSuzette), as you get deeper into the book, you might feel yourself flopping back and forth a few times...depending on who is narrating!

I was obsessed with this book...and whether you read it or listen to it, it will evoke strong feelings. This is certainly a book that will make you think a lot...and would even make a great book club selection. I highly recommend it!


Audio thoughts: I was fortunate to be given an early download of the audio version of this book...and WOW! This book was amazing on audio! This was the first time I've listened to Gabra Zackman narrate a book and she knocked it out of the park, especially for Hanna's voice. She really got the nuances of a little kid's voice and even made it sound a little creepy at times. I also appreciated her pronunciations of the Swedish words...I'm sure she did them better justice than I would have. As much as this book was creepy and suspenseful, it was super fun to listen to and that is definitely a tribute to the narrator!


***And don't forget: There's a #BookGiveaway going on until July 23rd for a finished copy of Baby Teeth. Be sure to enter if this is your type of read!


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Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Tomorrow, July 17th, Zoje Stage's debut novel, Baby Teeth, comes out, and because I ended up with an extra copy, I'm going to give that copy away - and it's a finished copy! I've just finished reading this book - it's a deliciously creepy read!!! - and will be posting my review later on today. You can see what others have to say below and then be sure to enter the giveaway below!!! 
 


Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Published: July 2018, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages


Summary:
Sweetness can be deceptive. 
   
Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.



Early Praise:

“Unnerving and unputdownable, BABY TEETH will get under your skin and keep you trapped in its chilling grip until the shocking conclusion.” ―New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline

“We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Gone Girl meets The Omen. Baby Teeth is a twisty, delirious read that will constantly question your sympathies for the two characters as their bond continues to crumble.” ―Ew.com

“A deliciously creepy read.” ―New York Post

“We bet that parents will find this novel particularly unsettling.” ―Bookish


“Deliciously creepy…the author keeps the suspense taut…offering a terrifying glimpse into the inner thoughts of a budding sociopath.” ―Library Journal

“Tightly plotted, expertly choreographed.... Stage palpably conveys Suzette's fear, anger, frustration, and desperation while exploring the deleterious effects that motherhood can have on one's marriage and self-worth. ...Stage fuses horror with domestic suspense to paint an unflinching portrait of childhood psychopathy and maternal regret.” ―Kirkus

"Stage’s deviously fun debut takes child-rearing anxiety to demented new heights. Stage expertly crafts this creepy, can’t-put-it-down thriller into a fearless exploration of parenting and marriage that finds the cracks in unconditional love." ―Publishers Weekly

“A totally engaging and unnerving read. Debut novelist Stage has convincingly created one of the youngest villains ever, and readers will be unable to resist the urge to meet Hanna.” ―Booklist

“Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth is cunning, sharp, and nasty, and wickedly funny until it isn’t funny anymore. This intelligent, unrelenting, layered shocker can stand proudly alongside classics like The Other and The Butcher Boy, with their ‘evil’ children uncannily reflecting our own sins.” ―Paul Tremblay, nationally bestselling author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

“Every time we read the premise of Baby Teeth, all the hair on the back of our neck stands up. Simply put, it’s about a sweet little girl who wants to kill her mother. And it. Is. Bonkers. Do you have goosebumps yet?” ―HelloGiggles


“Imagine WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN only with insight into what Kevin was thinking―and if Eva had fought back. This dark, terrifying novel unfolds as a battle of wits between a struggling mother and her psychotic young daughter―and its genius is that the reader’s allegiance isn’t allowed to linger too long on either side. You’ll be desperate to discuss the ending once you’ve recovered from the shock of it. A must-read.” ―Catherine Ryan Howard, USA Today bestselling author of Distress Signals

“Baby Teeth is electrifyingly creepy. It calls to mind the great monster children of The Fifth Child or We Need to Talk About Kevin, but has a devilish tension all its own. Twisted, playful, and deeply unsettling, Zoje Stage's debut announces her as a new voice worth celebrating.”―Colin Winnette, author of The Job of the Wasp

“Baby Teeth is deeply unsettling in the best possible way. Absolutely unforgettable and unflinching, it digs right into the painful nerve of family, obligation and dependence―it's a hell of a debut.” ―Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself


*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Giveaway Details -- (US Only) 
Thanks to the publicist, one reader will win a finished copy of  Baby Teeth  by Zoje Stage. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter by July 23rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends July 23rd.


Good Luck!!! 
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Spotlight & Recipe: The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe

Last February, The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe, the first book in her Thea Paris series, was released in hardcover.  Right now, the book is only  $2.99 on Kindle - only til July 16 and  I am helping the publishers get the word out. 

I also have a recipe to share - it's Thea's favorite Greek dish...check it out below!

 


Title: The Freedom Broker
Author: K.J. Howe
Series: Thea Paris, #1
Published: February 2017, Quercus
Format: Kindle Edition, 400 pages 


Summary:
Kidnap negotiator Thea Paris has spent her entire life with survivor's guilt, following an unspeakable childhood tragedy. At eight years old, she watched, frozen in fear, as her twelve-year-old brother, Nikos, was abducted from their home in Kanzi, Africa. Although he was recovered nine months later, he was never the same after that; worse, Thea discovers that she was supposed to have been the target.

This defining experience drives Thea to become one of the top operatives in the field of kidnap-and-ransom consultancy. Nicknamed "Liberata" because she once secured the release of a captive from the Sicilian mob without her client paying a cent, she travels the globe trying to bring hostages home--mostly through negotiation, but occasionally through more forceful means. She is very good at her job.

Twenty years after her brother's abduction, Thea's worst nightmare is revisited when her father, oil magnate Christos Paris, is taken on his sixtieth birthday. He disappears from his yacht while it is moored at Santorini, the ship's whole crew slaughtered mercilessly.

Thea immediately calls in her team at Quantum Security International, premier K&R specialists. Following protocol, they break down Christos' life, looking for leads, but the list of enemies and business competitors is endless. Not surprisingly, Christos Paris has imprinted his designer shoe on innumerable backs during his journey to the top of the oil business. And he was abducted only a few days before the biggest deal of his career.

From there, the case only gets stranger. Unlike most abductions, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests. Instead, the kidnapper sends foreboding quotes in Latin by text from burner phones. What does the kidnapper want?

And most importantly for Thea, will she be able to prevent a second kidnapping from destroying her family for good?



******************************************************************************************************

Thea’s favorite Greek dish

“Dolmadakia” is the Greek term for stuffed grape leaves, and these dolmas are a traditional Mediterranean dish that can double as appetizers or a main course. Grape leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and they act as the perfect low-sodium wrap—healthy and delicious, a great combination.

1 (8 oz) jar grape leaves (approximately 25 leaves)
1 lb ground round
1 lb ground lamb (feel free to substitute with pork for variety)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 box tabouli mix (4 oz) or 3Ž4 cup brown rice
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove (crushed and pressed into meat mixture)
3 cans organic low-salt chicken broth (or water)
4 lemons, squeezed
4 eggs

1.     Drain, rinse, and dry grape leaves, then place to the side.
2.     In a large bowl, mix ground round, lamb, salt, pepper, parsley, onion, garlic, and tabouli.  Mix well.
3.     Rest one grape leaf, stem up, on the counter and place one rounded teaspoon of the meat mixture near the stem.
4.     Fold the stem over meat mixture, then fold one side leaf over the mixture, fold the top over, then roll the rest.
5.     Use toothpicks to hold the stuffed leaves together.
6.     Place leaves snugly in a large pot.
7.     Cover all the leaves with chicken broth (adding water if you don’t have enough broth).
8.     Bring the broth to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer, cooking until tender (approximately 30 minutes).
9.     Remove one quart of broth from the pot and let it cool, so it is hot but not scalding.
10. In another bowl, beat four eggs until frothy, adding the juice from the lemon slowly.
11. Add the egg mixture slowly to the warm broth, a half ladle at a time, still beating the egg mixture.
12. After all the broth is mixed with the egg and lemon, slowly add it to the pot. 
13. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.
14. Let it sit for ten minutes, then serve.

If you prefer a tart, rich sauce, then use more eggs and lemon than the recipe calls for. You can also serve with lemon wedges or strained Greek yogurt.

******************************************************************************************************

The Freedom Broker  by K.J. Broker
Quercus

February 7, 2017 
Kindle ASIN: B01GQIY9VA

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall


Title: The Subway Girls
Author: Susie Orman Schnall
Published: July 2018, St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Publisher


Summary:
In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte's dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever.

Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job—and her future.

The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.



My thoughts: I adore reading books set in NYC and this one might just be one of my favorites. I had never heard anything about the Miss Subways, an advertising campaign that ran in the subways from 1941 - 1976. This was such a fascinating, enjoyable read that I devoured in one afternoon.

I was completely captivated by this story right from the start. It's told in alternating chapters via dual narrative, switching from 1949 to 2018 and I was equally invested in both timelines. I loved that both main characters - Charlotte from 1949 and Olivia in 2018 - were incredibly strong females for their times, and were not afraid to go after what they believed in and what they wanted.

I loved the history that is infused into this story - this is why I love reading historical fiction. You learn so much about a topic, yet in such a fascinating and compelling way. And believe me when I say, as soon as I finished reading this book, I was on Google looking up more about the Miss Subways program, more to see if any of my Great-Aunts had possibly been a Miss Subways and I just didn't know it! Unfortunately not, but still, it was quite fascinating to see some of the old posters and you can be sure the NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn in now on my list of places to visit next time I head into NYC. 

I loved the way Susie intertwined the two stories. Of course, I knew that at some point these two time lines would eventually merge, but I just wasn't sure how. I think the way Susie did it felt natural, never once contrived or heavy-handed. It had a good, natural flow, and seemed to all fit. 

The characters in this book, Charlotte and Olivia, and all the others we meet just jump off the pages. They are all so well-developed and full of life. While not all of the them are based on real-life characters, I think Susie did a great job of bringing the idea of how the Miss Subways campaign was handled back in the day, as well as imparting the idea that some things certainly haven't changed for women, sad as that might seem. 

This is a well-researched, well-thought out story that will certainly hook you from the start and keep you entertained, entranced and have you learning a thing or two about a part of history of NYC along the way. It's a charming story that will leave you inspired to keep at your dreams, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. 


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Book Spotlight: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

Yesterday, Sarah Morgan's latest novel, How to Keep a Secret, was published and to celebrate, I am helping the publisher get the word out. This book marks Sarah's transition from romance to multi-generational women's fiction. It sounds like it will be a great summer read - let me know if you decide to pick it up :)  I'll be listening to it on audio when I get a chance!
 


Title: How to Keep a Secret
Author: Sarah Morgan
Published: July 2018, HQN
Format: Paperback, 384 pages


Summary:
When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise

Lauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.

Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...

Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.



What readers are saying:

"Jane Green meets Sophie Kinsella. Heartwarming, emotional, funny and real - I adored this book." -- Jill Shalvis

"This sweeping novel will have you questioning all the secrets you've ever kept. I loved it." --Penny Parkes, author of Practice Makes Perfect

"I laughed, I cried, I held my breath. I absolutely adored it." -- Cathy Bramley, Sunday Times bestselling author




About the author: USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy, contemporary romance and women's fiction, and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. Described as "a magician with words" by RT Book Reviews, she has sold more than eleven million copies of her books. She was nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writes of America and won the award three times: once in 2012 for Doukakis's Apprentice, in 2013 for A Night of No Return and in2017 for Miracle on 5th Avenue. She also won the RT Reviewers' Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their Top Pick slot. 

As a child, Sarah dreamed of being a writer, and although she took a few interesting detours along the way, she is now living that dream. Sarah lives near London, England, with her husband and children, and when she isn't reading or writing, she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Instagram 

  
  HOW TO KEEP A SECRET by Sarah Morgan
HQN Books
  July 10, 2018
Paperbook ISBN: 978-1335613004
eBook ISBN: B0777M7LQM
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: Somebody's Daughter by David Bell


Title: Somebody's Daughter
Author: David Bell
Published: July 2018, Berkley Books
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: Publisher via GetRed PR


Summary:
In the pulse-racing new suspense novel from the bestselling and acclaimed author of Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away, the life of a little girl rests in the hands of the father who never even knew she existed...
When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica's nine-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price--the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity's safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.



My thoughts: I am a huge fan of David Bell's novels. I have now read quite a few of them and fall more and more in love with not only the characters he creates, but also his writing style. It's so addictive and riveting - once you start reading one of his books, you find yourself totally immersed in the story line and unable to walk away until you reach the last page.

This book completely mesmerized me - I read it in two sittings, unable to think of anything else while reading it. It takes place over the course of one night and let me tell you, I found that I was unable to trust anyone as I got deeper into the story...and I love that! As the story starts to unravel, secrets and lies are revealed that just hook you and keep you reading because you have to know where it is going.  

This is definitely a fast-paced, tense, suspenseful read. It has three different narrators and just as we learn something new, we are left with these mini-cliffhangers that just beg you to keep reading - oh and did I mention that the chapters are all relatively short, which just makes you want to keep reading. 

While I did figure out early on who had taken Felicity, I did not guess the why...and I'm totally ok with that. This in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this book. In fact, it made me think even more - if I was right, what would be the reason? 

This is such an addicting, thrilling read...one that would definitely be a great beach read! There is so much going on and so much to think about as it is all going on - you certainly won't be bored reading this one!


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Friday, July 06, 2018

Review: The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams


Title: The Summer Wives
Author: Beatriz Williams
Published: July 2018, William Morrow
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher


Summary:
New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—a spellbinding novel of romance, murder, class, power, and dark secrets set in the 1950s and ’60s among the rarified world of a resort island in the Long Island Sound . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the Island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans--the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph helps his father in the lobster boat, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and has a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same--determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naive teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice to the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.



My thoughts: Oh, how I adore Beatriz Williams and that love just grows more and more with each book! If you haven't picked up one of her books yet - what are you waiting for?!?! I love nothing more than getting lost in her stories. There is just something about her books - they are the perfect blend of historical fiction, compelling characters and fantastic writing that bring me back time and again. I just can't get enough of this perfect combination!!!

I loved the way this story was told with the changing narrators and changing time periods. There are a lot of characters and some overlap in the different time periods, but each of the narrators - Bianca Medeiro and Miranda Schuyler -  have different personalities, so it is quite easy to follow along. And one thing I found was that with all the characters, no one is insignificant...each character, no matter how small a role they play, is there for a purpose.

This book is filled with a great mystery, lots of secrets, and of course, some romance. The mystery is cleverly set up...Beatriz tells us up front that a murder has taken place, but not how or why. That is slowly pieced together throughout the rest of the book. And along the way there are some interesting secrets revealed. Some secrets I saw coming and some that completely shocked me!

This is a book to savior, not one to rush through. It's a book that you will be thinking about while you are reading it and one that you will be thinking about long after you finish reading it. It's the perfect book to escape with on a hot, summer day!

Beatriz Williams is definitely a must-read author for me...I've read just about every book she's written - I still need to read Overseas, which I have sitting on my shelf. I always know I am in for a treat when I pick up her books. Do you have an author like that - that you must-read?


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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Review: The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins


Title: The Night Visitor
Author: Lucy Atkins
Published: July 2018, Quercus
Format: Paperback, 356 pages
Source: Publisher


Summary:
How far would you go to save your reputation? The stunning new noir thriller from the author of the bestselling The Missing One and The Other Child. Perfect for fans of I Let You Go and The Ice Twins.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia's book is based. She has now become Olivia's unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?



My thoughts: This is just as creepy a book as the cover is and I couldn't have loved it more! I have to admit...I was a little worried that I was going to be freaked out by the beetles, but I actually loved the way they were woven into the story line - so unique and interesting. This is the first book I've read by Lucy Atkins, but it definitely will not be the last.

I loved the way this story was told, alternating between Olivia and Vivian's points of view. It draws you into their lives and really hooks you into the story...it's addictive and you will be hard-pressed not to find yourself totally immersed in this story. There are so many secrets that beg to be revealed...they are hinted at right from the very beginning, which totally hooked me and kept me captivated all the way through. 

As much as this book is a mystery, it is also a wickedly good character study about these two women. Olivia is a historian and television personality and is soon to be a published author. Vivian is a housekeeper and is rather socially awkward and a little odd. She has also been helping Olivia with the research on her book as she had in her possession the diary on which Olivia based the book. It was Vivian who brought the diary to Olivia's attention in the first place, but is the diary really what it purports to be? There is a lot of tension between these two women as well as a lot of secrets...and the relationship between them is fraught with stress because of this.

As much as you want to race to the end to figure out all the secrets, you also want to savor the words, savor all the happens in the middle - the creepiness and the intense sense of foreboding are just as menacing and intriguing as the ending - and boy oh boy, what an ending this book has! I loved every bit of this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a good psychological thriller to read...this is one that gets under your skin and doesn't let up!


***I was sent the UK version of this book, which had a different cover than the cover pictured above. It's just as creepy in my opinion - I'll be posting that cover on Instagram, come check it out :)

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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Review: The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger


Title: The Banker's Wife
Author: Cristina Alger
Published: July 2018, G.P. Putnam's Sons
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Source: Publisher via Get Red PR


Summary:
On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Lerner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew's death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies.

Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she's engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York's social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including some who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel's heartbreaking search—if Marina chooses to publish it.



My thoughts: This was my first time reading Cristina Alger and let me tell you, it will definitely not be my last! I really enjoyed this fast-paced thriller that delves into the financial world - a world of private banking and off-shore accounts. It kept me captivated and engaged from start to finish, and had some great twists thrown in to boot!

This book is driven by strong, fierce females and it was such a nice change of pace in a thriller. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for the unreliable narrator...but it's refreshing that our narrators here are not unreliable. They are strong, independent women in their own right. Annabel has just learned that her husband has been killed in a plane crash and she is determined to find the real truth of what happened. Marina, an investigative journalist, is writing one last story to honor the death of her boss and mentor, despite the fact that the information she uncovers could have severe consequences for herself and her soon-to-be-family. 

I loved the way this story came together, the way it alternates from Annabel's chapters to Marina's chapters. As the story progresses, vital information is slowly released and just at the right moment it seems, and it plays well off the two narratives - though never do the two women come together. This really hooks you and keeps you glued to the pages.

I fully admit I really don't know much about the world of finance, and know nothing about off-shore banking. But, I never once felt lost in this book. Cristina really does a great job taking us into this world without it getting too bogged down. It was enjoyable, it was thrilling, it was interesting - I felt that I learned something and yet I was still entertained. 

This is a fast-paced, fascinating, thrilling read that is sure to be a hit this summer. I found myself completely immersed in this book, not sure where it was all headed and enjoyed every second of it. It's certainly a binge-worthy, addicting read!

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Dead If You Don't by Peter James

Yesterday, Peter James's latest novel, Dead If You Don't, was published and to celebrate, I am helping the publisher get the word out. I will be reading this book and sharing my review soon.  I also have 1 copy of the book to giveaway - be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post for details!


Title: Dead If You Don't
Author: Peter James
Series: Roy Grace, #14
Published: July 2018, Macmillan
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages


Summary:
A PARENT'S WORST NIGHTMARE IS GRACE'S DEADLIEST CASE . . .
 
Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most complex case yet in Dead If You Don't.

Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose, big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.

Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.

Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought in to investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .



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Giveaway Details -- (US Only) 
Thanks to the publicist, one reader will win a finished copy of  Dead If You Don't  by Peter James. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter by July 9th.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends July 9th.

Good Luck!!!  
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