30 Aug 2020

, , , , , , ,

Book Review / Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?

Published:     30th June 2020
Publisher:  Dutton Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:   Owned




After reading all of this author's previous works this year, I was so addicted to his writing that I just could not wait until this new book came out.  Normally, I would have read it straight away but I have to admit that I am not too much of a reader when the weather has been hot and even though I bought this when it came out I have been waiting for the right moment to pick it up when it gets a bit cooler!  

I just could not put this book down!  This has all of the elements in a thriller that I really enjoy and actively look for.  We follow Maggie who we see with her parents living at Baneberry Hall when something happens which means that they had to flee the Hall seemingly never to return.  For some reason, her father never sold the Hall and Maggie inherits this.  She decides that she is going to live there to restore it so she can sell it but as soon as she is back things are not what they seem.  

Honestly, what I loved about this story was both the journey that Maggie goes through in this story, from being a kid living at the Hall to being an adult going back to the Hall, and also the very interesting twists and turns this story takes you through. 

It is not often that a twist in a thriller surprises me but this one did and I loved it!  











Continue reading Book Review / Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

29 Aug 2020


Book Review / The Broker by John Grisham



 In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive, there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?



Published:     10th January 2005
Publisher:  Delta
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:   Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



Having decided to read all of John Grisham's novels starting with his first published and working my way up, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey each and every book has taken me on.  It has also been very interesting to follow his writing, from book to book, and see his growth as an author.  This book was one of those that I had not picked up yet, so I was reading this for the first time and it definitely did not disappoint.  

I have to admit that I do struggle with stories based on political themes, especially if those are not in the country I am living in, but with this novel it really didn't matter too much.  Everything was told in a way that explained to me what was going on, without being preachy, and made it easier for me to understand what was going on.  

What I loved about this story was the main character Backman, following his story and watching him as he navigates his way through situations that he was being placed in.   You also have the character of Teddy Maynard who while I was reading this I was thinking that I recognised this characters.  Once I had finished reading, I checked out the character and indeed I had come across this character before in The Brethren!  I love it when you have things like this occur in books.

A intriguing and thrilling suspense that I would certainly highly recommend, especially if you like political thrillers.


Continue reading Book Review / The Broker by John Grisham

23 Aug 2020

, , , ,

Book Review / Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full-blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

Soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves--until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself, so how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Published:     10th January 2017
Publisher:  William Morrow
Goodreads :  Click Here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


I just can't stop reading Peter Swanson's novels.  There's just something about his writing style that keeps drawing me in! 

In this story, we follow Kate as she arrives in Boston having agreed to do a 'house' swap with her cousin Corbin.  Of course, nothing goes to plan and nothing is what it really seems to be.  Soon, Kate's stay in Boston turns into a nightmare! 

This story kept me at the edge of my seat for most of the book.  I do have to admit that I had figured out what was happening and what was going to happen just over halfway into the book but for me that was not the best part of the book for me.   Yes, it is good to be surprised with a thriller but if a thriller is written well enough (like this one) it really doesn't matter if you guess what is going on or not.  It is the journey the author takes you on and the characters you meet that make it worth it.   There are certainly some very big skeletons in someone's closet that are not going to stay in the closet for much longer!

I really enjoyed this story.  For me, it was fast paced and I liked the characters so I was certainly invested in finding out what was going to happen next and whether some of them were going to make it...

Continue reading Book Review / Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

16 Aug 2020

, , ,

Book Review / The Binding by Bridget Collins

Books are dangerous things in Collins's alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It's a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything. 

Published:     7th January 2019
Publisher:  The Borough Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


This was one of those books that I didn't know anything about before picking it up.  Every now and then (but not in the current circumstances) I like to pop into my local bookstore and just browse.  I am not going to lie, it was mainly the cover that made me buy it!  I also like books about either famil secrets or secrets that someone needs to discover and this book ticked a lot of boxes for me.

We follow Emmett who is living with his family on a farm but had fallen ill and we see him at the start of this story recovering from that and wanting to get back on the farm.  It doesn't take long for his family to get summoned by the local Binder who says that Emmett is destined to be a Binder also.  Although he does not want to go, his family sends him to the Binder (an old lady in a cottage a little while away) to learn the trade, where people's memories can be bound in books and 'forgotten'.  

As things usually go, things aren't always as they seem and from one thing after another Emmett discovers that there is a book that has his name on it.  At some time in his past, a memory of his had been bound but he was not aware that he had ever done it.  What follows when we discover his secret, was my favourite part of the story.  To avoid spoilers, I am not going to tell you any more about that but it was just a beautiful story. 

This is one of those books that should be devoured slowly, enjoying each and every word, and not speed read. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Binding by Bridget Collins

14 Aug 2020


Book Review / The Separation by Dinah Jefferies

What happens when a mother and her daughters are separated, and who do they become when they believe it might be forever?

Malaya 1955. It’s the eve of the Cartwright family’s departure from Malaya. Eleven-year-old Emma can’t understand why they’re leaving without their mother, or why her taciturn father is refusing to answer her questions.

Returning from a visit to a friend sick with polio, Emma’s mother, Lydia, arrives home to an empty house ─ there’s no sign of her husband Alec, her daughters, or even the servants. The telephone line is dead. Acting on information from Alec’s boss, Lydia embarks on a dangerous journey across civil-war-torn Malaya to find her family.

The Separation is a heart-wrenching page-turner, set in 1950s Malaya and post-war England.

Published:     19th June 2014
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


It has been a little while since I last picked up a book by this author but I had forgotten just how beautiful her writing is.  This story is split into two perspectives - the first being from the view of the mother, Lydia, who returns home to discover that both her husband and two children have moved away.  She understands that her husband had got an urgent job in another location and moved quickly with her to follow them when she can so we follow her as she travels the very hard and troubling path.  The second part of this story is that we follow Lydia's daughters as they travel with their father to their new home.

This truly was a heartbreaking story where you have a mother who is separated from her children and not sure how long it will take or whether it is possible for her to see them again.  Along the way, Lydia also meets several other characters including a boy who she is asked if he can accompany her on her journey to safety.  She agrees but there is more to this boy's history than she realises.  

This was such a beautiful story in a mainly sad kind of way and I would highly recommend. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Separation by Dinah Jefferies

6 Aug 2020

, , ,

Book Review / The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

Bestselling author Jennifer McMahon is back with a gut-wrenching mystery about an architect whose troubled mother has been found 25 years after being kidnapped-by a killer who is still on the loose.

The summer of 1985 changed Reggie's life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school's outcasts-Charlie, the local detective's son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother Vera-an ex-model with many "boyfriends" and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera's hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there's no body and Neptune disappears.

Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn't trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.

With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder.

Published:     1st January 2013
Publisher:  William Morrow
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


I've read one or two of this author's books so far and I am loving each one of them and if possible they are getting better and better the more I read (no matter in what order - whether it is backlist or new). 

We follow Reggie in this story and follow her story both in the past and the present day.  In the past we follow her when she is thirteen and her mother goes missing and is presumed to have been captured by the serial killer that is going around chopping off hands, leaving them at the police station and then after a period of a few days killing his or her victim.  In the present, we see Reggie who has moved away from her homedown and is a successful architect.  Now she finds that the mother that she had thought had been killed so many years ago is alive, she goes back to her home town. 

What I loved the most about this story was the plot and how many twists and turns could possibly be in this story.  Just when I thought the story was taking me one way it changes and I was left thinking what on earth was going on and I loved it!  The best part by a long shot was the double reveal twist at the end.  I wasn't expecting it.

A truly spectactular thriller that you need to pick up!

Continue reading Book Review / The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

1 Aug 2020

, , ,

Book Review / All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder—a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel in the vein of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Patricia Highsmith.

Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an "otherworldly" way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.

Published:     3rd April 2018
Publisher:  William Morrow
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


The more and more I read of this author the more I am just loving his style of writing.  Although there are times in this story were the content was a bit uncomfortable for me but all the twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat.

We follow Harry as he finds out that his father has died and the police think it is a suicide.  Harry heads back to his hometown for the funeral, to look after his father's business and to give his stepmother support.  However, as they usually do in these type of stories things are not always what they seem.   We also follow Harry's stepmother Alice and have a glimpse into her past and how she had led up to where she is now. 

There is a twist in the ending of this story but, for me, it wasn't as explosive as I had hoped it would be.  With all the lead up between the past and present, I kind of guessed before the reveal what was going on.  Even though I had guessed what was going to happen, that didn't take away from the fact that I loved this story and enjoyed being taken on the road each of the characters wanted me to go down. 

An amazing thriller that will take you around a few twists and turns.  

Continue reading Book Review / All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson