Saturday, 9 October 2021

The Silent Mother - Liz Lawler

 The phone rings. It’s the call every parent dreads. My beautiful son is dead.

He’d been the centre of my world from the moment he was born. Now my perfect life is shattered. In the midst of my grief, I receive an anonymous letter telling me that Tom’s death was not an accident.

So I’ve come to the apartment where my only child lived to find out what really happened. Tom was newly qualified as a doctor, he had a bright future ahead of him. Nothing about the day he died makes sense.

As I get to know the medical staff Tom worked with and his friends living nearby, I’m drawn into a tangled web of lies. Whispers and rumours circulate along the hospital corridors and I start to question how well I really knew my precious boy.

But a mother knows when things don’t add up.

His girlfriend has been keeping her pregnancy secret.
His best friend betrayed him in the weeks before Tom’s death.
His neighbours all have something to hide.

Which one of them would kill? As I get closer to the truth, the stakes become more dangerous. And I realise I could be next on their list…

Author Bio:
Liz Lawler grew up sharing pants, socks, occasionally a toothbrush, sleeping four to a bed. Born in Chatham and partly raised in Dublin, she is one of fourteen children. She spent over twenty years as a nurse and has since fitted in working as a flight attendant, a general manager of a five star hotel, and is now working with trains. She became an author in 2017 when her debut novel Don’t Wake Up was published by Twenty7.

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The Silent MotherThe Silent Mother by Liz Lawler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know that you've got a good thriller on your hands when you just can't put it down. The silent mother sucked me in from the moment that I started it and I couldn't resist the urge to keep reading until I had discovered everything that happened.
The Silent Mother tells the story of Ruth who sets out to find out the truth about her son. He was due to appear in court to face charges of stealing drugs from the hospital that he worked as a doctor, but he was found dead, apparently from suicide, the morning he was due to appear. Ruth is sure that he must be innocent and is determined to get to the bottom of what happened.
There are many twists and turns in this story and I'll admit that I suspected almost every character of being involved one way or another at some point. I did manage to work everything out long before Ruth though, who seemed to be spectacularly slow as we neared the end.
This was a gripping read and one that I didn't want to put down. The only reason that it's not a five star read for me, is that there were one or two little things that just didn't seem to make sense. Too much interest in something the police find that just didn't ring true for me and I wasn't convinced by some of Tom, the son's, actions. These were only minor niggles though and overall this was a great read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 8 October 2021

His Loving Wife - Miranda Smith

 I would do anything to protect my family. It’s my fault they’re in danger…

Our vacation house is beautiful. With its pastel-blue walls, the swimming pool outside, the boardwalk stretching down to the shore. My children play in the waves and my husband grills burgers on the deck. It is so peaceful.

But I can’t relax. When I drive to the store, or stroll down the beach, I am always looking over my shoulder, my heart racing. I am looking for him.

The man who nearly destroyed everything, a year ago, because of the secrets I kept.

I swear I didn’t do anything wrong. But no matter how hard my husband tries to pretend, we both know it’s not over.

This vacation was meant to be a chance to heal. Instead, I think it might break us. Because my husband still doesn’t trust me… and I’m not sure I can trust myself.

An absolutely compelling psychological thriller that will make you question how well you know those around you—and how safe you ever are. Fans of The Girl on the TrainBehind Closed Doors and Gillian Flynn will be completely hooked by His Loving Wife.

Author Bio:

Miranda Smith writes psychological and domestic suspense. She is drawn to stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Before completing her first novel, she worked as a newspaper staff writer and a secondary English teacher. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and three young children.

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My Review

His Loving WifeHis Loving Wife by Miranda Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

His Loving Wife was a gripping read. From the first page, we're thrown into the drama of Kate's family facing an intruder in her house. The book takes part both in the past as they deal with the aftermath of this attack and while on holiday a year later, trying to rebuild the family.
As the story unfolds we learn what happened and why it took place, along with how this has impacted all members of the family. It also becomes clear that although the initial attack is over, there is still much that the family has to deal with.
I enjoyed this book immensely. I did struggle slightly with a couple of Kate's decisions or the way that she reacted to things. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there is an incident that takes place that particularly impacts their son Noah and Kate herself. Personally, after something like that there's no chance that I would be repeating the activity or allowing any family members to do so. At least not in the near future. Kate does seem to be a little slow in picking up some of the signs as to what is going on. That might be understandable when you are so close to it all, but it left me wanting to reach into the book and give her a shake, surely she could see all wasn't well!
This was a great read and one that I would highly recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Timeless - Kaylene Winters

Kaylene Winter
(A Less Than Zero Rockstar Romance)
Publication date: September 29th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

I vowed nothing would keep us apart…
Fiona Reynolds is my other half.
It’s been that way from the day I was born.
I’ve dedicated my life to keep my promise.
Fate just laughs in our face.
She’s always out of reach, this time for good.
I’ll do anything to prove she’s my destiny.
If only she’d trust me one more time.

After what I’ve done, how can I deserve him?
Zane Rocks is my everything.
There’s no one I love or trust more than him.
It wasn’t his fault when he left me.
I always knew he’d find his way back.
Fear overwhelmed me, and I broke his heart.
Will most celebrated musician on the planet.
Really give me another chance?

When a rash decision changes their lives forever, hope for their future is all but shattered.
Stakes are high.
But Zane’s determined to prove a love this pure is timeless.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990's, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.

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My Review 

In all of the previous Less than Zero books, Fiona has been an almost shadowy figure. We see glimpses of her and there were hints that there might be something between her and Zane, but that's all they were, hints. I wasn't sure if I was going to take to her as a character, simply because I'd seen so little of her. When it came to Fiona and Zane's story though, that didn't matter, it was clear that they were going to be together one way or another and that was the way that it was supposed to be.
Zane and Fiona are best friends from when they are small children. Although they always remain close, the pressures that their parents put them under, due to their own mistakes and issues mean that for much of the time they are kept apart. It seems throughout their life, things are working against them to stop them from being together. Perhaps all that really means is that they stay apart until they are truly ready to be together properly, but it all takes a toll on them as people and individually.
This is a love story and so you can expect that they get their happy ending and it is a satisfying one. Having said that, there was one element that I wasn't happy with. Fiona's mother is emotionally abusive. Once she is old enough Fiona leaves her, but later in the story, there is a reconciliation of sorts. I just don't think that her mother deserved that in any way. I certainly wouldn't be allowing my children to have a relationship with someone like that and I was disappointed that it all seemed to be explained away and accepted that she was just being a protective parent. 
Overall this was a great read and a fantastic way to wrap up the Less Than Zero series. I believe that we've got some spinoffs to come and I'm looking forward to reading them. 

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Thursday, 30 September 2021

My Daughter's Mistake - Kate Hewitt

 I look at my daughter. My darling girl. I remember her tiny hand in mine, her first smile. I recall her
tears when she’d tumble over, healed instantly with a band-aid and a little kiss. I have to keep her safe. Even if it means someone else gets hurt…

In the pretty, privileged college town of Milford, New Hampshire, everyone is friendly, everything is safe. And on this cold autumn day, as red and yellow leaves begin to fall from the trees, and everyone wraps up for the first time, it would be easy to believe nothing bad could ever happen here.

Until a screech of tires is heard, a thud, a child’s scream. The crash that sees Jenna’s six-year-old daughter Amy Rose being hit by a car driven by seventeen-year-old Maddie.

Maddie’s mother, Ellen—a college professor with a warm, approachable reputation—insists it must have been an accident. Her daughter is always safe on the road—and she’s vulnerable herself.

But as Amy Rose lies unconscious in hospital, the town begins to take sides. With Ellen, who just wants to defend her daughter. Or with Jenna, a single mother with a past, whose child hovers between life and death…

The truth is that both mothers have secrets they’re trying to keep. And, with Amy Rose’s life hanging in the balance, one of them will stop at nothing to protect the person she loves—her daughter.

An incredible, powerfully emotional and heartbreaking read, with a dilemma that will make everyone wonder what they would do, in either mother’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain.

Author Bio:

Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives. 

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My Review 

My Daughter's Mistake is told from the point of view of two mothers. Ellen, whose daughter has crashed her car and run a young girl over in the process and Jenna, whose daughter is the young girl who has been hurt. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that for both women, this isn't a straightforward accident and both sides seem to be hiding things. The more that we learn about Jenna and Ellen's lives we see that everything is far from perfect for either of them.
While this is a story about an accident and the aftermath, it's also about the lives people lead and the things that they do to try and protect themselves and the ones that they love. Jenna has spent her life keeping people distant, which is hardly surprising when we learn of all that she has faced as she grew up. For Ellen, it's been about the differences between the life she knew growing up in an academic environment and the world that her husband grew up in.
Parts of this book are horrifying. The idea that you might have to move to a different hospital because your insurance won't cover the treatment, or worry about being sued is just unimaginable. The idea of dealing with a child that might not recover from such a serious accident and be worrying about how you might pay for their treatment.
This was a gripping read and although I had an idea of what had happened at the accident (which I was right about) I still couldn't put it down until I'd read it all.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

First Light - Isabel Jolie

First Light
Isabel Jolie
Publication date: September 28th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He could be my savior…or my downfall…

I was living a lie.

No one knew who I really was. Letting someone in could’ve been devastating for my family.

For the most part, isolation wasn’t a hardship. It’s not like I was looking for love or any kind of serious relationship.

But then I met Logan.

I tried to keep my distance. He wouldn’t let me.

Logan is gentle, kind, and loving. Everything I never knew I needed in my life.

He’s also a cop—exactly the kind of man who’d never understand my truth.

So, while he shared his deepest, darkest secrets, I kept mine hidden.

Too bad I couldn’t keep my heart locked away, too.

Because now, I’m falling for a man who can never be mine. Not truly, anyway.

How can I ask him to be my future when I can’t even let him help me survive my present?

First Light, book three in the Haven Island series, is a lightly angsty, sometimes suspenseful, small town, military contemporary romance featuring a grumpy protective, over hero and the heroine who steals his heart. All of the books in the series are standalone contemporary romance novels and can be read in any order.

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Author Bio:

Isabel Jolie, or Izzy to her friends, is an Amazon bestselling indie author with an unquenchable thirst for a good, sexy love story. Izzy’s heart pumps faster for stories with strong heroines, down-to-earth realism, and an unexpected twist.

When she’s not writing or reading, she can often be found with a glass of wine in hand relaxing with her husband, daughters, and good friends lakeside.

Izzy fills her Instagram feed with funnies, inspirational “brain candy”, and anything that meshes with her mood of the day. #mood.

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My Review

First Light is the third book set on Haven Island. Although previous characters are mentioned in each book and they are set in the same place, each one is very different and can easily be read as a standalone novel. This book deals with Cali and Logan. Logan has moved to the island after a messy divorce. He doesn't see his role as head of the police (which aren't even called police over there, there's so little crime) as a permanent position, but it's ideal for the time being. When he meets fellow divorcee Cali, he begins to hope that perhaps their growing relationship might be more than a simple rebound. The only problem is, that Cali isn't all she appears to be.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between Logan and Cali. They work really well together as a couple. Cali is lying to Logan, but it's not something that she's doing willingly or easily. Instead, she's found herself in a situation that she can't find her way out of. This is a romance and there's plenty of that, but it's also a story about hacking and cybercrime. This book only touches on that really, but I suspect with a book to follow this one, that will deal with at least one of the other characters that we briefly met, there's more of this to come.
Like all of Isabel Jolie's books that I've read so far, this is more than a light romance, it touches on darker and deeper themes. I'm really enjoying these books and would recommend them if you're looking for a little more than a light romance. First Light certainly gives you more than that. 

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Renovated - Nikki Kiley

Renovated: A Workplace Romance
Nikki Kiley
Publication date: August 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

They’ve been hired to remodel a mansion. Will they end up getting a room?

Marisa Sanchez has grand designs for her future. After taking over her grandfather’s construction firm, the successful vlogger and civil engineer is about to take the next step with a new show on the Home Design Network. But she’s not pleased to find out she can only have the lucrative gig if she agrees to work with a handsome rival.

Levi Chance takes the responsibility of providing for his brothers seriously. So when his biggest client asks him to come into the spotlight to co-host a new program, he reluctantly accepts. But he fears the pretty, camera-loving partner he’s been assigned might bring his top-notch reputation tumbling down if she can’t deliver the goods.

Discovering her teammate is quite capable, Marisa battles her attraction to him as she ambitiously turns the project upside down. And the more Levi works with the smart Latina, the more he worries he’s about to push the “no sex” morality clause in their contract into forbidden territory.

Will Marisa and Levi’s fixer-upper turn into a happily together forever?

Renovated is the charming first book in the moving Chance Brothers contemporary romance series. If you like sparkling attractions, comedic moments, and steamy action, then you’ll love Nikki Kiley’s well-built romp.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Nikki Kiley is an aspiring author of Contemporary Romance. Since she was a young girl, she dreamt of writing stories that would entertain and move her readers, like she was and still is, by talented authors.

When not working the day job running a medical office, she spends hours crafting and writing stories about heroes and heroines earning their chance at love. She makes her home in Puerto Rico with her husband, two young adult children, and a gentle giant, the bull mastiff, Kira.

She loves the beach, her Nespresso maker, and cupcakes (S’more in particular).

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

My Review

Renovated is a fun forbidden love romance. Levi and Marisa are working together and have signed contracts to say that they won't get involved in any way. Unfortunately, their chemistry is so strong that they just can't seem to resist one another. Marisa had a troubled childhood and she struggles to trust anyone or let them in. Levi knows what they have is real and isn't ready to let Marisa go without a fight.
Levi and Marisa work really well together as a couple, and I enjoyed reading about their relationship's growth. When Marisa's childhood comes to light, there are quite a few big issues dealt with and it works well within the storyline. I did find when this happens though, the other reasons that they can't be together are almost forgotten about and don't really seem to be an issue to anyone anymore, which was a little odd.
I enjoyed this read and it was a good start to what seems to be the start of a series. I'd be interested to read the rest of the books when they come out and spend some more time with the Chase family. 

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Sing For Me - Tam Derudder Jackson


Sing For Me
Tam DeRudder Jackson
(Balefire Series, #2)
Publication date: August 26th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


My entire life is my music—and all the trappings that come with it. Sex, booze, and rock ’n’ roll is all I ever wanted. Touring the world as the lead singer of Balefire, I have it all. Until on hiatus, I meet the girl next door.

Ashleigh Baker is nothing like the groupies and celebrities who usually have all my attention. In her cute floppy hat with her knees stained with dirt, she spends her days creating a flowering show piece from her rented yard. She’s the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever met, and she acts like she doesn’t want a damn thing to do with me. But from the moment I laid eyes on her, she’s all I can think about.


Growing up the only child of an Air Force Colonel, all I wanted was to stay in one place for more than a minute. When I score a pretty little house with a long-term lease, I just want to grow my flowers and my freelancing gig as a music reviewer. Then a loud Harley wakes me from a sound sleep and I discover my neighbor is Blu Connolly. Yeah, that Blu Connolly, lead singer for my favorite band Balefire. With his killer good looks and panty-melting voice, he’s a walking temptation to sin. Though I do my best to avoid him, it seems Blu has other ideas. He’s on a mission to wear me down, let him in, but what happens when he stops wanting to sing for me?

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram

My Review

Rockstar romances can be a bit of a mixed bag. It usually involves a hero that has already managed to sleep his way through a huge amount of female fans. While our hero here does fall into that category, our heroine doesn't meet him in that way. Instead, she is fully aware of his status as a musician and for a bad that she loves, but living next to his mother means that she meets him in his more 'normal' persona.
This was an entertaining romance and did well juggling the famous rock star with the side of his personality that wants to more conventional romantic life, once he meets the woman for him.
There were a few things that I felt were left a little unresolved by the end of the story. None of these was a major plot point. (Having said that, we don't really find out if there is any consequences for the person who tries to come between them.) I do wonder if this is because this is part of a series and we will find out more about some aspects of the band's life when we see the other band members stories.
Overall this was an entertaining read that I enjoyed. I'd be keen to read more in the series and follow the bad for a bit longer. 

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