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People of Abandoned Character, Clare Whitfield

People of Abandoned Character by [Clare Whitfield]

Genre: General Fiction (adult), Mystery & Thrillers.

Well, my reading recently, in the midst of Covid19, has been patchy, with usual favourites genres unable to hold my attention. Talking to friends I’m not alone. This one though, this story had me gripped, took me away from 2020 and back into the late 1800s. I know little of the history of the murders, only what I’ve read in fiction, and what we all pick up from the news when something harks back to those times and events, so I can’t comment on how accurate the story is, but its feels very genuine.

At first it seems Susannah has fallen on her feet, a nurse in training, now married to a young and wealthy surgeon. As was the edict of the time she had to leave her employment, but marriage turns out to be anything but the wonderful paradise her adoring husband promised. Once back from honeymoon a very different man emerges, cold, cruel, mocking.
Bored, Susannah takes up following the recent murders, keeping clippings, puzzled at who it could be. Then her research has her worried that she might actually be married to the murderer. There are strange things afoot, he comes home scratched and bloodied, other times she doesn’t see him for days, and together with his housekeeper Mrs Wiggs they form a tight unit that has no space for Susannah.


There are fascinating side tales, little plots that seem unrelated but which all tie in to the ending. The time period, the description of life for those unfortunate enough to have been born in the lower classes of the time, was very well depicted. From birth, when many died anyway, most of these poor folk faced an uncertain future, risking lives every day in the struggle to survive, while those of the upper classes looked down on them, regarding them as barely human.


Its a story full of secrets, ones that pose unlimited questions. Would things have been different if? And as the title suggests, were these folk of that character because of being abandoned in life, is life really nature v nurture, or would they be that way anyway? What turns people to killers, what makes us do things that others find immoral, unbelievable? Would we make the same decisions faced with the same circumstances? Its easy to be moral when we have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and safety for our families. If things were different though, if we faced those hard choices what would we do?


I really enjoyed this, didn’t see those extra twists coming at the end. Its a book I doubt I’ll reread, but which held my attention in this time when little else does. I’d certainly love to read more from this author.

Stars: Five, a really engaging story that was full of un-predicable surprises

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

He Owns My Heart, (Owned Heart, Body, & Soul 1), Evie Drae

He Owns My Heart, (Owned Heart, Body, & Soul 1), Evie Drae

He Owns My Heart: A Contemporary MM Romance (Owned Heart, Body, & Soul Book 1) by [Evie Drae]

Genre: M/M romance |M/M romance.

I enjoy a good M/M romance sometimes, I like variety in my reading. I was offered the chance to read this, and as the story extends into a trilogy I thought that hopefully we’d get a romance with some solid dramas. I do love lots of drama in romance 😉

Landon’s a sweet guy, you can just feel how he wants to be loved, for himself, not for his fame, not for what he can do for the other person, just for someone that wants him. Maybe that stems from his background, his family made it clear a gay son was not what they wanted. His dad’s in politics, and I’m thinking maybe in book two, or even three, we might learn more about him, and the conflict he perceives Landon’s sexuality to be.
Then there’s Toby, poor kid, has been brought into prostitution to help his family, and he lives an awful life. Then when they meet its clear that both can offer something to the other. But – sadly – I didn’t really feel the attraction somehow, I felt desperation almost, and of course some hot lust, but I wanted them to get to know each other apart from all the sex.

I think that’s my issue with the story, I like sex in a romance, but there was so much here it almost became all the story, and I found myself skipping yet another sex scene to get to what would happen. There’s so many potential plots, Landon’s family, Toby’s family, Toby’s awful situation and how Landon can get him out. Steffan, Landon’s friend, a sharp guy who feels like if he’s in your corner he takes no prisoners when it comes to defence. And of course Garret and the reality show saga ( why does anyone ever think its a good idea to do one of those?).
Garret had so much potential but he didn’t really get up to much til near the end, and even that bit of drama was over quickly. Its a personal thing, but I want to wallow a bit in the sad parts, and when the drama ends so quickly I don’t get that. I did feel too, after all the PI stuff and questions about how to help Toby, that resolution of that came way to quick. If it was that simple why not do it before? It kind of makes me feel maybe Landon wasn’t as certain of what he wanted do do as he appeared.

It reads well as a stand alone with a HFN, and I’m in two minds about whether I want to read more. There’s the potential of several problems and dramatics that naturally attracts me, but I was put off by the eternal sex scenes. I wasn’t bothered by the content, by the light BDSM, just that it seemed the story couldn’t progress more that a short while without yet more sex…..

Stars: Three, well written and for many readers its perfect. Its just my quirks that make me want a bit more story, a bit less sex.

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Keep Her Quiet, Emma Curtis

Keep Her Quiet, Emma Curtis

Keep Her Quiet: The gripping new novel from ‘the queen of the unputdownable thriller’ by [Emma Curtis]

Genre: General Fiction ( Adult), Mystery and Thrillers

Wow, what a read, full of surprises I didn’t see coming. Some stories you can see way ahead whats going to develop but this one threw all the curve-balls….

Leo, what a narcissistic man, concerned only about himself. It made me wonder what Jenny ever saw in him. When she strays that one time she has no idea Leo knows the baby isn’t his and yet I felt it wasn’t so much for love of her he kept quiet but because he didn’t want to lose his cushy life that allowed him to be An Important Author. How much of that was down to his childhood, with a weird mother and a father who felt he’d had to give up his dreams of being an author to teach because of Leo. Who knows what shapes people, or whether they just are that selfish.
Jenny, poor Jenny. I don’t condone cheating but Leo must be a hard husband to live with, she had to do literally everything in their marriage, so the man could focus on his writing. He made that very clear, he was going to be a great Man, make his mark on the literary world and nothing would stop him. She strays just that once and that changes the direction of so many lives. I so felt for her, she had her life changed by things totally out of her control.
Then there’s Hannah, not much more than a child herself, yet abandoned by her family, abused by those she trusted and left to make her own way. She and Leo hatch a plan on the fly, trap each other into long standing events. In a way I understood her actions, and her later ones, though I found it hard to believe she would have acted that way. It proved to me really that however much I felt for her she was in her own way as selfish as Leo. Put herself above everyone else.
Then the later events of the book, well, once more we saw there was no end to Leo’s selfishness. He was callous in his musings about what to do, it was all about what worked best for him. At times it was incredible the way he casually went through possible scenarios, how he felt he’d had no choice, how he portrayed himself, even after these terrible actions, as a good guy, just doing his best in difficult circumstances.

Its a gripping read, stunning the way shock after shock gets delivered, the way that one cataclysmic event had consequences that lasted years, that get wrapped in lies, falsehoods, actions beyond imagining. I really didn’t see so many of the twists, big ones and even up to the end, smaller ones. That letter shocked me.
There’s one true innocent at the heart of this who gets a life she really didn’t deserve. I so felt for her. What long standing consequences could come from her innocent actions.

I think what I always had in the back of my mind too was this is so far fetched and yet…we see over and over it actually does happen. There’s one particular story that sticks in my mind from a few years back that reminded me so much of the events here, how we can do unimaginable things for our own ends, to save face, how we can justify wrongdoings to ourselves, telling ourselves we had no choice.

Stars: Five. A great read, full of surprises. The characters were so perfectly written, I felt as if I was there with them, a voyeur in their lives. A read to treasure, to whip out on a dull day and lose oneself in.

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The Storm, Amanda Jennings

The Storm, Amanda Jennings

The Storm: The most gripping and chilling psychological suspense novel of 2020, exploring coercive control, lost love, and buried secrets by [Amanda Jennings]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, New Adult

I’m not really sure why this is listed as New Adult, everyone in it is well past that except for Hannah’s son 😉 Anyway, I was expecting to love this, it sounded very intriguing.
I liked it, a lot but didn’t love it. Its one of those I’m glad I’ve read but won’t reread.
I didn’t really like any of the characters, except for poor Alex, he was the innocent victim in everything.

Nathan is obsessed with Hannah right from the start and manipulates his way into her life. He’s got money and uses it to carefully lure her in, not in an obvious way, but in more subtle ones once he susses that she’s not impressed by wealth. Her boyfriend Cam though….he’s stiff competition. Cam’s a fisherman, to Nathan its no contest but of course Hannah is in love and for her Nathan is just a good friend. And then something happens that changes everything.

Nathan goes from being a bit of a stalker to a total control freak. As events unfold I can actually see where his issues lie and they stem from way back in his life, to childhood and I did feel even the tiniest bit sorry for him. He knows way more than he admits, and what seems like heavy handed OTT control is his attempt to stop Hannah – his love, his life – from leaving. It made a hard life for her but she puts up with it for reasons of her own.

Then there’s Cam who I hated at first, for leaving when she needed him, but of course as events unfold it wasn’t that simple. I had guessed at some, though not all, some parts came as total surprise. I felt so sad for some of the characters, life in a fishing fleet is tough, harsh and death or life changing injuries never far away.
Its a classic story in a way of Teen ( imagined) Invincibility meets Real Life, and led to sadness all round. Alex was caught in a trap not of his making, Hannah was in a situation she felt she had only herself to blame, Cam did what felt right at the time even though he lost everything, and Nathan, well Nathan thinks he has the girl he loves but its only by controlling every bit of her life that he has her….A really sad group of characters, and even the ending holds a hint of more to come.

Stars: Four. A great read but not a re-reader for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Lake of Bad Dreams, (A Winston Radhauser Mystery 8), Susan Clayton-Goldner 


For UK readers this is currently just 81p, 99c in US. A bargain if you like crime novels, and i’m sure it will tempt you to get more from the series 😉 .

Lake of Bad Dreams, (A Winston Radhauser Mystery 8), Susan Clayton-Goldner 
https://amzn.to/308ZBk4

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

I love this series, and book eight is as fresh and original as book one was. Sometimes this far into a series books start to feel dull, plots repeat and the whole just feels like its time to stop. This though feels like there’s still lots more to come. It reminds me in a way of Patricia Cornwell’s novels. I used to read those avidly some years ago and recently was talking to th friend who introduced me to her books, returning the favour I’ve introduced her to Susan’s stories. Book one is currently free so well worth reading, if you like realistic crime stories you’ll be hooked and want more.

I’ve said before, if I was in the situation so many of Susan’s people find themselves I’d want a detective like Radhauser. He doesn’t just look at the obvious, doesn’t go for the easy solution but investigates all angles. He’s supported where its possible by Heron, the medical examiner for the police, but clashes frequently with his boss Murphy, who’s always wanting to wrap cases quickly, under pressure from the Mayor. I guess that’s where US and UK differ. Our policing is different, and Mayors have no say in police cases. I wonder if something will come of these clashes, Murphy seems to be more and more for the quick wrap up and praise for the force for doing so, rather than taking the time to find the real killer.

Its every parent and policeman’s nightmare, a school shooting, and as usual it looks clean cut. Radhauser isn’t so sure, and the more he investigates the less certain he is that Kristina Sterling was the shooter. Its a tough one because we just don’t know what is in another persons mind, what makes them do something like this. I’m so glad that are UK gun laws are so much more strict, we have occasions when knives are an issue, more than I’d like but the difference in killing numbers between a knife and gun is vast.
There are a number of possible suspects, and I was as usual trying to work out who dunnit. As usual I was wrong 😉 though I wasn’t really fixed on one person, I had no notion of the eventual person.

I love the contrasts between the horrific killings and the day to day minutiae, the way the police works, the stories each of the kids tell, Radhauser’s wife Gracie and their kids. The way he goes in to say goodnight to the horses each time he comes home for the night. I can smell the barn, that fragrance of horse, hay, shavings and feed that’s typical in a well run stable. The family and home provide that balance he needs to stay grounded, and Gracie really is a wife and mum in a million. Radhauser’s job, when he’s on a case like this, is long hours, days filled with sad stories, tragic families, and he needs Gracie and the family to keep him sane.

I was so sad at parts, and when Clive stand up to speak at Kristina’s funeral it had me in tears. A very emotional moment. Her parents were wonderful, and until now been a part of the town, valued and with so many friends. Now though, with the rumours seeping out, the bitterness and hatred directed at them is awful. Its very easy to believe though, as in real life folk want someone to blame and they were just There, a target for the anger that lurks beneath the sadness.
They forgot that Kristina’s parents were grieving too. They couldn’t go out, couldn’t get shopping, bombarded with hate mail and calls, and suffered from vandalism of their property. The crosses at school, how awful that must have been for them. Likewise organising her funeral, visiting her grave. No parent expects their child to die before them, and dealing with that is tough enough without having all this blame and hatred cast on them.
They really were in an awful place, grieving, wondering why this happened, convinced Kristina couldn’t have done this, but of course almost any parent would feel that way. The town has the girl judged, and her parents along with her though. How quick folk are to pass judgment, to blame the people they were friends with, who they respected, just days before. It made me think how tough it must be in real life for parents caught up in this scene.

Its another fantastic real life read, full of clues, motives and hints to keep the reader guessing at the culprit. There’s a twist at the end I really didn’t anticipate, that came as a shock, I’m still not sure how I feel about that. There’s good and bad possibilities I guess, caught up in this snippet. There’s one final, not twist, hmmmn, event I guess? I really liked that bit.

Stars: Five, once more Susan delivers a book to keep the reader hooked to the very end. A realistic story that at times was incredibly emotional.

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Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Midnight Temptation (Ravens Hollow Coven Book 2) by [Shari  Nichols]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I enjoyed book one but had a few reservations about the central characters. This book doesn’t have that issue for me, I was easily convinced of the burgeoning romance between Garret and Gillian.
Although they don’t get along, to the degree they really dislike each other, I could feel the attraction between them and once they really got talking the reasons for that dislike they each held were explained. Unlike book one where I felt they moved on too quickly, this time the romance was very convincing.

I loved Gillian in book one, and here she really comes into her own. She’s a very talented witch, and a loyal friend, and when her cousin is taken she will do anything to get her back, risking her own life in the process. I loved her anti vampire spray and the reactions when she used it 😉
Garrett doesn’t do human relationships, as a vampire that’s just too hard. He’s a good guy, could turn to the dark side like so many of his brethren and his sire, but he’s chosen to use his talents to fight for good. The attraction with Gillian is a struggle though, he avoids human relationships but what he feels for her is too strong to ignore.

Its a neat story, a solid romance, with the suspense of rescuing Brooke, and the link via the Du Sang guys to book one. You can read it as a stand alone, but I think you’ll get more if you’re read book one. I love that unlike so, so many fantasy reads, these characters are older, not teens. Somehow its difficult to take so many reads seriously when some 17 year old is calling the shots, ruling over hundreds of years old supernaturals. I can’t recall learning her age but Gillian feels to me to be about late twenties, maybe early thirties. Old enough to be believable, and to have learned much from life, unlike the teens that populate this genre. She’s a character I can identify with easily, ( though sadly I’m way past her age in years, just not in my heart).
Both books are easy to read, there’s no heavy, complex plots so its perfect for those times when you just want a story to escape everyday life with, one that’s easy to read and won’t have you flipping back and forth to work out who fits where in the tale. Sometimes I want a read that’s heavy and detailed, other times I want this, a simple beach read type story. ( I say simple – I couldn’t write it, I don’t mean simple in that way, just simple as in straight forward, no tricky plots waiting to turn everything on its head).

Stars: Four, another fun read from Shari, with a genuine romance and a suspense filled backstory.

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Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews


Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I enjoyed book one but had a few reservations about the central characters. This book doesn’t have that issue for me, I was easily convinced of the burgeoning romance between Garret and Gillian.
Although they don’t get along, to the degree they really dislike each other, I could feel the attraction between them and once they really got talking the reasons for that dislike they each held were explained. Unlike book one where I felt they moved on too quickly, this time the romance was very convincing.

I loved Gillian in book one, and here she really comes into her own. She’s a very talented witch, and a loyal friend, and when her cousin is taken she will do anything to get her back, risking her own life in the process. I loved her anti vampire spray and the reactions when she used it 😉
Garrett doesn’t do human relationships, as a vampire that’s just too hard. He’s a good guy, could turn to the dark side like so many of his brethren and his sire, but he’s chosen to use his talents to fight for good. The attraction with Gillian is a struggle though, he avoids human relationships but what he feels for her is too strong to ignore.


Its a neat story, a solid romance, with the suspense of rescuing Brooke, and the link via the Du Sang guys to book one. You can read it as a stand alone, but I think you’ll get more if you’re read book one. I love that unlike so, so many fantasy reads, these characters are older, not teens. Somehow its difficult to take so many reads seriously when some 17 year old is calling the shots, ruling over hundreds of years old supernaturals. I can’t recall learning her age but Gillian feels to me to be about late twenties, maybe early thirties. Old enough to be believable, and to have learned much from life, unlike the teens that populate this genre. She’s a character I can identify with easily, ( though sadly I’m way past her age in years, just not in my heart).
Both books are easy to read, there’s no heavy, complex plots so its perfect for those times when you just want a story to escape everyday life with, one that’s easy to read and won’t have you flipping back and forth to work out who fits where in the tale. Sometimes I want a read that’s heavy and detailed, other times I want this, a simple beach read type story. ( I say simple – I couldn’t write it, I don’t mean simple in that way, just simple as in straight forward, no tricky plots waiting to turn everything on its head).

Stars: Four, another fun read from Shari, with a genuine romance and a suspense filled backstory.

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The Chalice and the Crown, Kassandra Flamouri

The Chalice and the Crown, Kassandra Flamouri

The Chalice and the Crown by [Kassandra Flamouri]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Teens and YA

I’m way past the target age range, but reviews suggested that this book would still appeal and I’ve loved other fantasy reads aimed at this age group. Sadly I’m on the fence about this one.

I really liked the sound of this, a very different fantasy read and was excited to start. I found Sasha hard to like though, she’s really not a particularly nice girl to those around her. I know she’s worried about becoming ill like her mother, but that’s more recent and her behaviour seems to have always been like this.
I was puzzled at how things changed, how she actually got pulled in to the other world, it seemed one page she was in this world, worrying about illness, feeling strange and then she was in the next, though her body remained here. I didn’t see the transition, needed a bit more detail there.
Then she’s in a horrible situation, has become a thrall, among thousands more. For a time she simply doesn’t realise who or what she is but slowly that changes. Even then she’s still a hard to understand person, there are flashes of when she knows there’s something wrong, but mostly she carries on. As with the best war/slave/fantasy reads there’s an underground movement though and they see Sasha as someone they can help…..

I found the writing absorbing but the actual story very difficult to follow. I didn’t wholly see how things worked, how they found potential thralls, how they pulled them in. Sasha still remained someone I found difficult to understand.
I felt this book had a lot going on, but jumped too quickly from one situation to the next without fully explaining how things happened or worked. As a reader I had to follow the text and guess. There were explanations for parts, but other things just had to be accepted and the reader just go with. Its hard to explain, the apostate for instance, this person/name just popped up without explanation of who or what he was, ( other than he lived on an island) and yet he was a fairly important part of the story.
Overall for me it was an ok read, not one I’d re-read, and one that left me with questions as I was reading that largely seemed to be unanswered. If things like that don’t bother you, then like others you may love this unique fantasy read.

Stars: Three, an on the fence read for me. I loved parts but there were too many unanswered puzzles for me.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

One Last Verse, The Encore: Book 2, N.N. Britt

One Last Verse, The Encore: Book 2, N.N. Britt

One Last Verse (The Encore Book 2) by [N. N. Britt]

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction.

Gah, women’s fiction again…men write romance, men read romance, lets get with the 21st century.

So, book two. I loved the first book, but if anything, this was even better. The issues facing Frank and Cassy aren’t just the publicity, the media and her job, but the way Frank is coping with his injuries.
When they finally go public, the timing is bad, because within a short time Frank’s problems have them at odds once more. Poor Cassy, it feels like she’s always struggling, trying so hard to help Frank, and when he’s not drinking he’s wonderful. Caring, thoughtful, generous and the perfect man, but then – as anyone who’s had dealings with an alcoholic knows – the reverse side of this person is bitter, angry, cruel, and when the hangover is worn off, they’re sorry, won’t do it again. Its a continuous cycle.
Cassy saw all that with her dad, how her poor mum was ground under by it, and always vowed she wouldn’t be like that. She loves Frank though, she feels for him, understands some of why he’s so angry, upset, and in this book the bad parts get really heaped on Frank driving him t the edge. It was superbly written, having lived with an alcoholic I can vouch that part was spot on. The ups and downs, the highs when everything is wonderful, and then the sudden crash, often over the most trivial things.
I did feel for Frank, but as Cassy tried to tell him, he still has so much, but all he could see was what he had lost. His career was his life, and he’s lost if he can’t perform so he’s pushing himself, using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain so he can continue. He can’t see any other future, won’t admit he simply can’t do it. Its turning him into someone Cassy can’t continue with though, she loves him but can’t accept the person he is in the bad times.

I loved the drama in this, so intense, so perfect for me. Drama in a book is what I adore, proper drama, not the angsty, pseudo drama that many romances feature, but real, gritty, relatable stuff. I loved that Frank struggled, let people down, pushed Cassy away. His anger was palpable, I could feel his despair, even while I was so angry with him for letting others down, for his awful behaviour to Cassy. I loved that the drama lasted, wasn’t over in a few pages, but took a good chunk of the book to resolve. That made it feel real, I couldn’t get behind someone who claimed to be past the problems if they hadn’t used time to actually change their life. I so felt for Cassy, she was such a hard worker, looked after her family, tried to help Frank, and even Dante at times. She’s one of those folk that are good at heart, won’t hesitate to step up when its needed.
I loved her brother too, he was a typical teen, and really grew through this book. And of course Levi, her work partner for the past seven years.
Its not a rock star on the road type read, thankfully its not an alpha male, grunting, monosyllabic read, those ones that run “ you feel me?” “ I feel you” and that’s about the extent of a conversation. Its not a Kylie Scott or Kristen Callihan humour filled rock star read, they’re both Queens of Rock for me, but it is a superb book about fame, drama, human frailties, and lets N.N. Britt join that precious group, Queen of Rock Reads, for me. Its one that I know, along with the first book, will become one of my re-read staples. Right now, along with N.N. Brits other two books, they are on KU so a great time to read them.

Stars: Five, terrific read, a rock star romance, with so much extra in the story, full or drama and reality.

Arc via netgalley and publishers

Just My Luck, Adele Parks

Just My Luck, Adele Parks

Just My Luck: From the author of Sunday Times bestsellers, including the Number One bestseller Lies Lies Lies, comes the most gripping domestic thriller of 2020! by [Adele Parks]

Genre: Mystery and thrillers, women’s fiction.

Sigh…women’s fiction. C’mon, its 2020 not 1920.

Anyway, what a read this was, full of the very worst in people. Until the win the six have been friends for 15 years, though there are cracks at times, and Lexi has discovered something about one of them that she finds difficult to deal with. I would too. The characters are very real, warts and all, but TBH I only liked Lexi and Toma, the rest were selfish, vain, money obsessed. Toma had gone from being a hardworking family man to the depths of depression after his loss, and Lexi helps him crawl out, start living again. I rally liked him.
Jake her husband was not the man she saw, not the guy she fell in love with. I guess we all change along the way but while Lexi is all about helping others – hence her work in citizens advice – Jake is just money and self orientated.
The friends have fallen out, and then soon after their long held winning numbers come up. Jake and Lexi insist they’d dropped out, they insist it was just a tiff and they were still in. Who’s right? Who knows.
Complicating matters are their kids. Jake and Lexis daughter Emily is best friends with the Heathcote’s daughter, Megan, and the Pearson’s son Ridley is her boyfriend. We see much of the events after the win through Emily’s eyes, and she is a typical teen, spend, spend on big brands. Their son Logan is a bit younger, happy that he can have some new games.
Jake also can’t wait to get his hands on the cash and start spending. His greed shows right from the start when they ring in and one of his first questions is how soon can they get the cash. He seems to mostly want others to see how rich he is, to show off his new Lamborghini, throw a huge party, buy expensive new clothes, he’s all about flashing the cash.
We see quickly how the money brings problems, not just with their friends but themselves, it affects Lexi’s job as the CA office is inundated with people wanting help – or help in the form of money. Emily gets problems at school as Logan and Megan turn against her. The trio have been friends since childhood, don’t have other friends and it hits her hard.

Things get worse, trust is shattered and events quickly go downhill, showing how different Lexi and Jake have become. For me Jake was an awful man, I guess he must have been different when they met, Lexi is such a lovely person its hard to see what they have in common. Then the action ramps up, and the twist at the end has me rethinking things once more. I guess no-one is quite who we think they are.

Stars: Four, a gripping story, a bit predictable at times but then throwing in some curve-balls that had me rethinking.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Dear Child, Romy Hausmann

Dear Child, Romy Hausmann

Dear Child: The twisty thriller that starts where others end by [Romy Hausmann, Jamie Bulloch]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers,

Well, I didn’t know what to expect but was seduced in by the description. I just had to know how things played out.

It was one of those reads where just as I thought I’d got things worked out another facet was thrown in to the mix. It was very complex, very multi dimensional.
It felt very real, I could feel Lena’s horror, feel the anguish Lena’s parents felt, understand why her dad was so angry. Yet I also got annoyed at him when he kept charging in, on an “ I know best, somebody needs to do something” I guess any loving parent in their situation would get frustrated at what they see as lack of progress.

I could feel Lena’s terror, both in the cabin, when she realised just how dire her situation was, and when she escaped. You’d think relief would come from being home, but of course she’s got some real PTSD issues going on. She really was in a bad place.
Then there’s the children – how on earth do kids ever recover from something like this? On the face of it Hannah seems to have adjusted better, although she’s a little strange she is very intelligent, and that caught me out. At the end we could see just how programmed to ignore horror she had become, even when it was right in front of her.
I just wondered what would happen to her, would she ever get past the things she’d seen? I loved seeing so much from her POV, her thoughts, her complex explanations for every little thing, the way she cited statistics and facts so thoroughly, the way everything is black and white to her, her complete obedience, devotion and acceptance of everything Papa said. I felt she’d woven a world in her head that overlapped the real world and she genuinely found it hard to tell what was real. I loved when she talked about whispers – how she described her speech and mouse voice, or when she’s really insistent, the Lion voice. I could visualise her doing that. I felt Lena did so much to try to make these poor kids lives happy. I’d say normal, but that was impossible.
I guess what I had in my mind was that terrible story a few years back where some poor girl had been kept like that for 24 years, and she and the kids she had were living underground all that while. I remember then thinking how on earth can anyone pick up life after that? The characters in this book felt real to me and made me have the same feelings, wondering what kind of life they would/could lead after their escape.

Stars: five, a fantastic read, riveting and gave me much to think about.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

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