Posted in Book Review

The Mother-in-Law – Sally Hepworth

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This is a well-written thriller that explores the family dynamics in an Australian setting. Having lost her mother at the age of 13, Lucy has since longed for a mother figure in her life. The Mother-in-Law examines the complicated relationship between Lucy and Diana, her mother-in-law.

The story is told from the perspectives of Lucy and Diana, and alternates between the past and the present, finally revealing the truth about Diana’s death. Good storyline with interesting characters. Overall a good read.

  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press ( 23 April 2019)
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Posted in Book Review

The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green – Erica Boyce

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The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green is a beautiful story of family, forgiveness and love.

Daniel makes crop circles. He travels across the country, creating intricate patterns in farmers’ fields that baffle people. Though he belongs to an anonymous group of crop circle artists, he prefers to work alone. He has come to Vermont to fulfil a dying man’s wish: create a crop circle on his farm.

There, we meet Sam, his wife Molly and their children; Nessa and Charlie. We follow their journey as Daniel sets out to create the crop circle. Soon we are drawn into the lives of these characters. As the story progresses, we observe the change in family dynamics and it’s not long before Daniel gets drawn into their family struggles.

The story is told through multiple viewpoints and interspersed with backstories of the characters. The characters are genuine and sympathetic and there were moments of difficulties that made me feel close to them.

Little details through Daniel’s perspective draw the reader into the setting of this small town:

Sometimes, I think the size of a farming town should be measured not by the number of horses or stoplights but by the number of old men sitting outside the general store. Munsen’s a pretty small town, so it has three, with pants pulled up over their bellies and big owl eyes behind their glasses.

I enjoyed the suspense in this book and I was left wondering whether the crop circle would be finished. The ending was quite satisfying and uplifting. Overall, a very enjoyable read, fitting title and a gorgeous book cover. I would highly recommend!

  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (2 April 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park – (Part 3): Oopsy Daisy – Bella Osborne

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I enjoyed the part three of Wildflower Park. Sophie is in her third trimester and is ready to give her husband a second chance. And Dave is making a lot of effort to win Sophie back—you can’t fault him for trying to be romantic. Bert and Maurice, Anna’s cat are featured largely in this instalment. I enjoyed Bert’s conversations with Anna.

Hudson turns down an offer to head up their New York office and instead recommends Anna for the job.
What did Hudson want to talk to Anna about? Engaging plot, love the characters—I’m invested in all of them. Including Maurice. Looking forward to part 4 and definitely recommend.

You can read the reviews for Part 1 and Part 2

  • Publisher: Avon (18 March 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

I Invited Her In – Adele Parks

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I found this the first half of this book to be engaging. However, I couldn’t say the same about the second half. The plot was too confusing to follow and I found myself mad and frustrated with the characters. I read on to see what other devious schemes Abi would come up with besides cradle snatching. I couldn’t warm up to the characters—I found them shallow and self-absorbed. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Liam. I was glad, however, that Mel’s husband, Ben, was wise enough not to get sucked into to stay out of the Mel-Abi drama.

Mel was so desperate to relive her carefree days at university that she was willing to ignore all the red flags and remain deaf to her husband’s complaints about Abi’s overdue stay. She compromised her family values, jeopardized her relationship with Ben just to impress Abi. To make matters worse, she even tried to justify her actions. Was it really worth it?

The book left me feeling underwhelmed and I couldn’t sympathize with Mel; she should never have invited Abi back into her life in the first place. The dialogue felt drawn out in some parts.

Overall, a good read. Adele Parks was very good at keeping my attention and interest.

  • Pages: 384
  • Publisher: Mira Books (5 February 2019)
Posted in Book Review

Knowing You – Samantha Tonge

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Knowing You tells the story of Violet, a junior editor who goes through a breakdown following a break up with her boyfriend Lenny over an intimate text she finds on Lenny’s phone from a successful book editor.

Hurt, she gets a new flatmate, Bella, and soon they develop a camaraderie. But Violet’s friends Kath and Farah think she’s not coping very well with the break-up. Kath encourages Violet to seek help.

Though the story was hard to follow, I enjoyed it. The characters were interesting and relatable. Would recommend this book.

  • Pages: 233
  • Publisher: Canelo (14 March 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

The Stranger Inside – Laura Benedict

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You come home to find your key no longer works in your front door and a stranger claims that your house is now theirs. What would you do?

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Kimber has just returned from a long weekend at Lake of the Ozarks to find out that she can’t get into her house because the locks have been changed. There’s a man living in her house!

Frantic, she calls the police. According to Lance, the new occupant, he’s been living there for 6 months after Kimber gave a lease because she was moving in with her boyfriend. She also said to take care of the yard until she decided whether to sell the house or keep it. He presents documents with Kimber’s signature.

How did he get Kimber’s signature on the papers if she was away the whole time?

To which Lance replies that he found the property on a rental website the previous week and rented the house unseen. Her nosey neighbor, Jenny even claims to have seen Kimber hand the stranger a set of keys and documents.

But Kimber insists that there must be a huge mistake; the whole thing is some kind of weird misunderstanding. Besides she has no boyfriend.

While trying to force the intruder out of her home he whispers in her ear, and out of earshot of the police.

“I was there. I know what you did.”

Kimber is shocked. She has no idea what this stranger is on about. Or does she?

As the story progresses, the reader learns that Kimber witnessed a crime twenty-five years ago, which she may be partly responsible for. Someone has discovered the truth and is threatening to expose her. Who is the stranger in her house? Is he someone from her past? And what does he want from her?

The Stranger Inside is a gripping, psychological thriller with enough suspense to keep any reader turning the pages. I would definitely recommend this one.

  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books ( 5 February 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park – (Part 2): A Budding Romance – Bella Osborne

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Wildflower Park: A Budding Romance is the 2nd book in the Wildflower Park series.

In Part 1 we were introduced to the main characters Anna and Sophie, and the mysterious Hudson. They went on a trip for a team building event. During a lighthearted game (organized by the team) Anna suddenly stormed out of the room in tears when someone asked her a question. Wildflower Park—Part Two follows the events that took place afterwards.
You can read the full review here.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed Part 1. In Part 2, Anna and Hudson seem to be getting along alright—is romance budding between these two? And Liam, is he being honest about his feelings towards Anna or does he have an agenda? We finally meet Anna’s mystery texter—they’ve even gone on a date. I sympathized with Sophie—she is definitely at the end of her rope. Will her husband, Dave finally step up? And Sophie’s surprise announcement—will she change her mind? Looking forward to Part 3 and I definitely recommend.

  • Publisher: Avon Books UK (4 February 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

The Social Affair – Britney King

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The story follows Izzie Lewis who works at a coffee shop. She is dissatisfied with her mundane life and is forever following people on social media, in an attempt to emulate their lifestyle. She’s even considered quitting her job.

And then one day, a seemingly perfect couple walks into the coffee shop where Izzie works and she is instantly drawn to them. Watching them together and observing how the man fawns over his female companion gives Izzie a glimmer of hope. She wonders what it’d be like being married to the man and she longs for what they have. Following their brief encounter, she decides to seek them out on the internet.

From Izzie’s viewpoint, Josie is happy, abundant, and living her best life. She’s married to a perfect man. Izzie starts stalking the couple in an effort to live vicariously through Josie. What starts as an innocuous past time escalates to something far worse than stalking. Suddenly, Josie becomes the object of her obsession.

“No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.”

Josie appears to live a charmed life. She’s married to Grant, a renowned plastic surgeon, who also happens to be good looking. They have a beautiful teenage daughter, Avery, and a gorgeous home in the best part of town.

But all is not as perfect as it seems. Beneath this facade, she feels suffocated in her marriage and is desperately seeking a way out. But her husband, who is quite controlling and manipulative, is always thwarting her plans.

Who is Izzie and how did she wheedle her way into their lives?

The Social Affair is an utterly gripping page-turner about the dark secrets that lie behind closed doors. This is my second book by the author and I look forward to reading more from her. 

Favorite quotes:

“She doesn’t walk back out into the great big world, she glides, taking all of the air in the room with her when she goes.”

“No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.”

  • Pages: 289
  • Published: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (18 January 2018)
Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park (Part 1): Build Me Up, Buttercup – Bella Osborne

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Wildflower Park tells the story of two friends Anna and Sophie. Anna has just been dumped by her fiance and is looking for a fresh start. She moves to a charming neighbourhood close to Wildflower Park, where her friend and colleague, Sophie lives.

Sophie is a married mom of two with a third baby on the way. Her kids are a constant source of stress—her husband, Dave is no help either and always irritates her. His nonchalant attitude makes her question if she really married the right man.

Enter Hudson, a charming, mysterious American and a new colleague who has been assigned to work with Anna on a project. Sophie thinks she has a huge crush on him. Or maybe it’s just her raging hormones. Anna disagrees with his ideas and they don’t get along. She can’t help rolling her eyes whenever Sophie brings him up in their conversation.

Their boss, Roberta assigns Anna and Hudson the task of organizing a morale-boosting event for the staff to motivate them and strengthen their bond as a team. Shortly after the team arrive at the rustic farmhouse Anna arranged for their stay, Roberta shows up with a stranger. She introduces this newcomer to the team as a consultant will be working with them for the next three months. Anna is furious when she finds out this person is. Her anger is somewhat tempered by the fact that Hudson shares Anna sentiments and this somewhat clears the tension between them which they had when they first met.

But then there’s a cliffhanger—we are left with questions we hope will be answered in part two of this book. Not to mention her mystery texter who ends his messages with a C.

Wildflower Park is a fun read which I enjoyed immensely. I like the author’s writing style. The characters are realistic and believable. I liked the camaraderie between Anna and Sophie and I found the office drama and dialogues between the coworkers entertaining. I could easily picture myself in the office setting and the park. This is my first book by the author and I can’t wait to read the next instalment. Highly recommend!

  • Publisher: Avon Books UK (28 December 2018)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Christmas With You – Heidi McLaughlin, L.P. Dover, Cindi Madsen, R.J. Prescott, Amy Briggs

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Christmas With You is a beautiful collection of five romance stories taking place during the Christmas season in the sleepy town of Friendship, Massachusetts. The stories happen within the same time frame and feature a homeless man named Gabe, who appears in the lives of the main characters at the most opportune time to help them find each other or to rediscover the Christmas magic in their hearts. These feel-good romantic stories are filled with Christmas magic and are guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Snowflake Lane Inn – tells the story of a fashion designer who decides to move to Friendship following a setback in her fashion line. She comes to Friendship for some peace and quiet and in hopes of finding inspiration. Instead, she meets, Colin, the owner of Snowflake Lane Inn and finds Christmas magic and so much more. But what happens when it is time for her to leave?

Runaway Christmas Bride – Regina has escaped to Friendship for Christmas after getting dumped at the altar. En route, she meets Emmett, the town’s sheriff and after a few drinks, she ends up staying at his sister’s. With the countdown to Christmas on, will the sheriff finally listen to his heart and admit he can’t live without Regina? With a little nudge from Gabe, the two realize they are meant for each other and together they find their Christmas magic.

Christmas Lights – Following the death of her parents, Samantha is having a hard time finding joy during the Christmas season. She meets Jason, a single father who is determined to bring some fill her with the joy of the Christmas season. 

Christmas Encounter – Lauren never had a great childhood and she never intended in following in her con-man father’s footsteps. After her encounter with Jensen, a Formula 1 driver, will she make him her next target or will Jensen help her find her Christmas spirit and become a better version of herself?

It’s a Wonderful Holiday – Rory, an investment banker, and his wife, Gwen used to have a happy marriage but now he seems more distant from his wife. With a job, which too often demanded him to put his work first, he has neglected his wife and daughter’s needs and his job takes priority over his family. Will he realize his family must come first before his work and rearrange his priorities before it is too late?

Quote:
“There is no love without forgiveness, and there’s no forgiveness without love.”

  • Pages: 335
  • Publisher: Forever Books (20 November 2018)