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Review – Review Bee https://reviewbee.errorfree.me Sun, 26 Sep 2021 01:30:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 Review: Home Sweet Home by Nicole Trope https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-home-sweet-home-by-nicole-trope/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-home-sweet-home-by-nicole-trope/#respond Sat, 25 Sep 2021 01:47:38 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=1021

Background

Despite having a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature, author Nicole Trope has become a well-known author of domestic thriller and family drama oriented novels. Trope often sets her stories in Australia, where she lives in Sydney with her family.

Synopsis

It’s a sweltering summer’s day on an ordinary Australian street, but something is wrong in one of the modest homes. The doors are locked, the curtains closed, and the children have not left for school. Neighbour Gladys is sure that something is going on in Katherine’s house. Katherine’s husband left with a screech of tires early in the morning, but since then, there hasn’t been a peep, not even from the couple’s rambunctious young twins. So what could be going on inside such a quiet suburban home?

If you heard a woman scream, what would you do?

Review

I picked up this book when it was under its original name—The Family Across the Street. The new title and synopsis reflect the novel better than the initial blurb, which implied a slow build-up as neighbours began to wonder what was wrong with the family. But Home Sweet Home is a very different story.

Although this book does start with a bang, the first half is very slow. I might have been in the wrong mindset when I was reading it, and it generally has very good reviews, so my lack of enjoyment in the first half may be an anomaly.

The first half is full of backstory, leading up to a fast-paced and thrilling second half that keeps you flicking through the pages looking for the answers to one big question—who will get out of this house alive?

Trope has done a fantastic job of imbuing a sense of danger and urgency throughout the novel.

We get to see a sadly common tragedy unfolding from multiple points of view. There is Gladys, the nosy neighbour who is known for calling the police at the slightest disturbance. Then there’s Logan, the delivery driver with an uneasy feeling about his customer. There’s Katherine, wife and mother, who never expected to be trapped in her own home at the end of a gun barrell.

And finally, there’s the perpetrator.

Home should be a place where you’re safe. It really should be.

For Australian readers, it’s a particularly topical, thought-provoking look at how we respond to uncomfortable and uncertain situations. I can think of a recent case where a woman was murdered in her home, with neighbours hearing her screaming for hours and nobody calling the police.

Trope leads you to look very closely at these situations. Which character you play, how easy it is to become “the bad guy”, and whether, if you hear a woman scream, would you do anything? Most people would probably say, of course, but this look into the psyche of those in contact with Katherine and her family delves deep into why they choose not to act when faced with such a situation.

Overall, Home Sweet Home is a tense and claustrophobic novel with genuinely relevant and heart-wrenching themes, offering insight into our connected yet distant modern world.

Why read Home Sweet Home by Nicole Trope?

  • Female author
  • Varied female characters
  • Strong theme
  • Domestic suspense
  • Multiple POV

Thank you!

I received a free review copy of Home Sweet Home by Nicole Trope from Bookoture in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: What Pretty Gets You by Chandra Hoffman https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-what-pretty-gets-you-by-chandra-hoffman/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-what-pretty-gets-you-by-chandra-hoffman/#respond Mon, 10 May 2021 04:28:06 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=947

Background

What Pretty Gets You is the second novel by author Chandra Hoffman. Hoffman is a well-travelled woman, and her experiences across the globe inform her poignant writing. While the characters and complexity of human nature are at the heart of her stories, the novel’s setting is truly its own character, full of beauty and turbulence, adding richness to the narrative.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Premise

When 19-year-old Maia strikes up a conversation with gorgeous commuter Joel, she is swept off her feet by his tales of the beautiful Colorado mountains. Joel imbues her with a sense of adventure, a sense of purpose, and an excuse to run from her boring but troubled life in Philadelphia.

Against her own better judgment, Maia boards a flight to Boulder, Colorado—the same flight Joel is on.

But once they reach the other side, she finds out that the adventurous and very single Joel is actually a husband, with a young girl, and another child on the way.

When she sees her husband departing his plane with a beautiful young woman, Carolyn is shocked. But Joel is her husband, and she trusts him. Even so, when Carolyn is put on bed rest, and her husband is out of town, Carolyn decides that she needs someone to help with childcare and the household duties. And who better than Maia?

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

With both women harbouring secrets, what unfolds over the Boulder summer has the potential to change both Carolyn and Maia’s lives in ways neither could ever expect.

Review

A compelling novel about women, female friendship, and how we interact with the world around us.

Teagan | ReviewBee

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What Pretty Gets You is a layered, eloquent novel. Although the husband-nanny affair trope is well worn out, it doesn’t feel tired here. Instead, the encounter between Joel and Maia is simply the knot between Carolyn’s suburban life and Maia’s manic existence, slowly pulling the two women together in ways you may not expect.

Hoffman has created a cast of flawed, but undeniably real, characters, whose personalities leap off the page. While you may not like them, you will certainly feel their presence and the impact that each character has on the two women at the centre of this story.

What Pretty Gets You is more than domestic suspense; it’s a descent into the lies we tell ourselves, our desperation to be in control of our own destinies, and the secret history behind every face in the crowd.

Why read What Pretty Gets You?

  • Female author
  • Female narrators
  • First-person POV
  • Realistic & flawed characters
  • Rated highly pre-release (avg 4.93/5)
  • Strong female characters
  • Covers tough life issues
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Review: Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-greenwich-park-by-katherine-faulkner/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-greenwich-park-by-katherine-faulkner/#respond Wed, 05 May 2021 03:53:09 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=942

Background

Katherine Faulkner is an award-winning journalist. Her debut novel, Greenwich Park, is set in the UK where she lives and grew up.

Synopsis

The last few years have been tough on Helen. She has been trying for a successful pregnancy with her handsome architect husband. But now she’s pregnant, and this time it’s different. She knows that this time, she’ll get to meet her little baby, and spend her happily after in their beautifully renovated home off of Greenwich Park.

Ready to revel in all aspects motherhood, Helen signs up for a local prenatal class. There, she meets young single mother-to-be Rachel. She isn’t the type of friend Helen can imagine herself with—a smoking, drinking, loud and obnoxious young woman, but in a way, she’s fun, and with little else to distract her, Helen wonders, “what’s the harm in being friends?”

With Rachel’s increasingly erratic behaviour, and Helen’s due date nearing, Helen begins to think that meeting Rachel wasn’t an accident after all.

Review

I feel kind of bad for not enjoying this read, as a lot of others definitely do! The writing itself is quite pretty, with interesting and compelling descriptions that make it easy to imagine the intricacies of many scenes. Unfortunately, though, most of my time reading this one just made me annoyed.

From characters with little redeemable qualities (I love bad characters a ton, but this one felt too unbalanced), to nonsensical actions; I couldn’t believe the behaviour of anyone in this book.

Sometimes, strange behaviour works fine in line with the characters, sometimes I even let it slide if it’s for a great plot reason, but there were a few instances in Greenwich Park that there didn’t seem to be any reason for it (a character at a pub down the road from the house of a pregnant woman on her due date, insisting that said pregnant woman come down to the pub in the sleeting night instead of going to her house?!).

If this kind of thing bothers you, you may want to avoid this novel. But if you have a high threshold for disbelief, you may want to read it for the compelling mystery. 

Why read Greenwich Park?

  • Mystery
  • Female author
  • Multiple POV
  • Domestic suspense
  • Varied female characters
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The Other Mothers by M.M. Chouinard https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/the-other-mothers-by-m-m-chouinard/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/the-other-mothers-by-m-m-chouinard/#respond Wed, 17 Feb 2021 02:06:09 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=922

Background

M.M. Chouinard is an award-winning author with a background in psychology. Her novel, The Other Mothers is the fourth novel in the Detective Jo Fournier series.

Review of The Other Mothers

There are some crimes that truly shock even the most experienced detectives.

When a five-year-old, Nicole, disappears from her elementary school playground, only to turn up murdered nearby, local families are thrown into shock. Who could kill a five-year-old? And why?

Nicole’s mother, Gia, struggles with her grief, as well as anger that her best friend was supervising that day on the playground. Why didn’t Karen protect her little girl?

Karen worries for her own child and the others at the school, but what worries her even more is Gia’s unusually flat reaction to the news of her daughter’s death. Everybody grieves differently, but Karen could never have expected her emotional best friend to be so calm in her grief.

Local detective, Detective Jo Fournier, is tasked with uncovering the truth behind Nicole’s death. But this time, the mystery hits a little too close to home. Having recently lost an unborn child, and being hounded for information about the case from her sister, whose daughters attend the same elementary school, Jo must solve this case quickly.

Because if somebody can kill a five year old, what else are they capable of?


With a focus on the women surrounding such a horrific crime, The Other Mothers was a truly compelling crime novel.

Chouinard has a way of creating fully-fledged, interesting, realistic female characters. Unlike some crime novels where the women are easily forgotten or could be easily exchanged, each character in The Other Mothers has an important, memorable story.

Detective Jo Fournier is a wonderful example of a well-rounded character. She’s smart, capable, and sometimes vulnerable – but always a strong woman, taking control of her life, one step at a time.

Although I hadn’t read any of the previous Jo Fournier novels, it was easy to jump into this fourth entry to the series. I never felt as though I was missing important parts of Jo’s back story, although now I do want to read more about her.

The instigating crime in The Other Mothers was tragic, leaving the reader to race to uncover the who, and the why. Chouinard carefully unravels the plot, leaving you with just enough suspense to keep you guessing, until the final shocking conclusion.

Why read The Other Mothers?

  • Well-rated series (4-4.5 stars average)
  • Strong female characters
  • Psychological thriller
  • Intriguing subplots handled well
  • Gripping mystery
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Hurry Home by Roz Nay https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/book-review-hurry-home-by-roz-nay/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/book-review-hurry-home-by-roz-nay/#respond Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:28:26 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=897

Background

Roz Nay’s debut novel, Our Little Secret, was a US bestseller, nominated for an array of awards and winning the Douglas Kennedy Prize for best foreign thriller in France. Her compulsive and thrilling writing has been likened to bestselling author Ruth Ware.

Hurry Home Review

Alexandra Van Ness is enjoying her life in a small resort town, sharing a beautiful loft with her model boyfriend, and spending her days working to better the world through her job in child protection. Although the job is tough, Alex lives for it; her calling is to save children from horrible homes, no matter the cost.

Alex’s life is perfect until one day her long-lost sister, Ruth, appears, begging her sister to help her out of a sticky situation. Alex agrees, on one condition—Ruth will never talk about their past. Ruth begins to wonder, why is Alex so adamant about hiding their childhood?

“The life we had is a tunnel that caved in a long time ago.”

Roz Nay – Hurry Home

Hurry Home is a fantastic depiction of two narrators who don’t quite agree on the truth. The story follows Alexandra Van Ness and her sister, following Ruth’s sudden reappearance. Despite having shared an upbringing, their recollections of childhood events don’t quite add up, leading the reader to wonder: can you trust your own memory, or is someone lying?

Roz Nay has crafted a novel that harkens to the slow burn style of cinema. It’s not an edge-of-your-seat thriller by any means. Instead, Hurry Home is a taut mystery that sends the reader in a suspenseful tailspin to the very final page.

If narrators pitted against each other is something you’ve enjoyed in other novels (think Gone Girl), then you should definitely give this novel a read. The same goes for fans of slow-burn cinema.

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Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/come-join-the-murder-holly-garcia/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/come-join-the-murder-holly-garcia/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2020 04:27:04 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=880

Background

Holly Rae Garcia is a new author inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel Keyes, Richard Matheson, and Stephen King. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and her debut novel, Come Join the Murder, was released in March 2020.

Content Warning for Come Join the Murder: Graphic violence/death, animal abuse/death.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Come Join the Murder Review

Four-year-old Oliver Crow is dead. His little, lifeless body was found in his father’s car, sunk at the bottom of a local river. With her family gone and being forced to distance herself from the only thing that ever keeps her sane—working—Rebecca Crow’s sole focus is on the man who killed her son.

That man is James Porter. Although killing a toddler wasn’t his plan he isn’t particularly worried about it. He has more important things to think about. Like his mother’s living conditions, her greedy landlord, and his best friend, Tommy, who might slip up with the police on their doorstep. And then, of course, there’s his newly growing addiction—murder.

What happens when a mother with nothing to lose but the edge of her sanity comes across one small clue to her son’s killer? How far will she go to seek vengeance?

Holly Rae Garcia writes in stunning prose, at times beautiful and at others eerie; she’s a perfect match for this literary suspense.

Alongside the stunning descriptive writing in Come Join the Murder, Garcia does something else that would be difficult for many seasoned writers, let alone a debut novelist; she successfully tackles two very distinct narrators.

I’ve read a lot of novels with multiple narrators, many of them are written well enough to not bring the story down in any way, but this book absolutely blew me away. It would be easy to know exactly where you were and which character you were reading about even if no names were ever mentioned (don’t worry, they are). I even wondered for a second whether there was only one author at work here.

The parallels between the two vastly different characters is interesting to consider and something that left me thinking long after I closed the book. There is clearly a lot of care and finesse put into this novel and I wouldn’t hesitate to call it a literary novel over a genre novel as the theme feels much more prevalent than the murder mystery or police investigation.

If you enjoy an atmospheric look into the mind of a killer than you will like this book.

The reader goes into this with eyes wide open. We, unlike Rebecca, know exactly who killed her son and why. This is what removes the suspense element, but it’s nothing to be too concerned about (some people definitely deserve to get arrested!), as it instead allows for the slow unveiling of each character’s motivations to draw the story forward.

All of these aspects teamed with well-rounded characters and an innovative structure has created an exciting debut novel. There would be no surprise if Holly Rae Garcia becomes a name recognised alongside her own hero-authors in the future.

You may also like…

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Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-only-mostly-devastated/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-only-mostly-devastated/#respond Deprecated: str_replace(): Passing null to parameter #3 ($subject) of type array|string is deprecated in /home/sweemhof/reviewbee.errorfree.me/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4245

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Fri, 20 Mar 2020 07:16:51 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=836
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Background

Sophie Gonzales is a Melbourne-based author writing in the YA queer space. Her first novel, The Law of Inertia, was a novel covering a myriad of heavy themes. Her new novel, Only Mostly Devasted is something a little different—a contemporary romance about love, high school, the unfairness of life, and, of course, love.

Thank you to the publisher and Pigeonhole for providing this book.


Only Mostly Devastated Review

Is there anything more romantic than a summer fling?

Ollie and Will fall in love. Or, more aptly, plummet into love—it’s fast and seems endless, despite Ollie only being around for the summer. Because once it’s over, he has to return home to San Jose.

When Ollie’s family decide to stay in town to help with his aunt’s struggle through cancer, it seems like a small silver lining. With Will living in a nearby town, maybe there’s hope for their relationship after all.

But heartbreak quickly crushes Ollie when he arrives at his new school to find out that Will is no longer the affectionate, caring, and sweet boy he met at the lake. At school, Will is the king of the basketball court, a class clown, and kind of a jerk.

Ollie’s world is turned firmly upside down. Although he’s quickly given a place among a small group of girls in the school, he doesn’t feel comfortable. His home life revolves around caring for his small niece and nephew while his parents spend time with his ill aunt, and his school life becomes almost unbearable while Will refuses to admit that summer ever happened.

How is a boy supposed to get his happily ever after when the love of his life barely acknowledges him?

This book is a treat.
Teagan Cox | Review Bee

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A book rarely manages to make me feel all the emotions. It’s even rarer when it’s a YA title. But this one did it! It made me laugh, smile, get a little teary, a little mad, and feel a whole lot heart-warmed.

Sophie Gonzales has managed to encapsulate the high school experience into one sweet story. Even for non-queer folk, the experiences at Collinswood High will feel familiar, both good and bad.

The cast of characters is beautiful in ethnicities, passions, personalities, hopes, and dreams. If you don’t recognise yourself you’ll recognise someone that you know.

Although the main character in this one is a male, there is a fantastic supporting cast of female characters. With the main character, Ollie, firmly surrounded by a small clique of girls (luckily not the Mean Girls type either), Gonzales has managed to show how women can be vastly different and still be amazing and strong in their own way.

The guys in this novel are equally varied. While there are some jerks (both male and female), they are often misguided and just like every other teenager on the planet—wrapped up in hormones.

Although the theme isn’t explicit from the summary (and I won’t state it here, because it plays an important part in the growth of the characters), Sophie Gonzales has done a beautiful job putting it onto paper. It seems particularly important for YA fiction to have a prominent theme or lesson and Only Mostly Devastated demonstrates exactly how it should be done. There is no heavy-handedness here.

As a fellow Australian, I was impressed by Sophie Gonzales’ writing of the life of someone in an American town. It felt natural and reminded me of so many American teen shows I’ve seen. Even more importantly, Only Mostly Devastated is packed full of pop culture references and none of them fly over the head of a non-American. Instead, it’s perfectly-timed, genuine, and relatable.

Overall, this is a novel full of humour, heart, a little bit of hurt, and how love, family, and our friends, help us through. Only Mostly Devastated is a solid entry into the world of YA contemporary romance and is a sign of great things to come from this author.

This feels like a long review, but I have to leave you with the final thought I had when I finished reading.

Only Mostly Devastated is like eating toasted marshmallows. You forget how much you enjoy them until you bite into one. They’re each a little unique but they’re all warm, toasty, and comforting. And, although some bits are a little too toasted, they just make the rest of the marshmallows taste that much sweeter, stickier, gooier, and lovelier, and you know you’ll be back for more.

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Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/six-minutes-by-petronella-mcgovern/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/six-minutes-by-petronella-mcgovern/#respond Deprecated: str_replace(): Passing null to parameter #3 ($subject) of type array|string is deprecated in /home/sweemhof/reviewbee.errorfree.me/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4245

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Wed, 26 Feb 2020 11:08:01 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=811
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Background

Petronella McGovern is an Australian-born writer. Her first fiction novel, Six Minutes, was published in 2019. With a childhood on farmland in New South Wales, the beauty and danger of the Australian bush features prominently in her debut. Prior to her debut in fiction, McGovern authored the non-fiction book Trailblazers: The Story of Australia’s First Olympic Equestrians.

Six Minutes Review

Lexie Parker leaves her daughter, Bella, in the care of four responsible playgroup mums. She’s gone for just six minutes.

What’s the worst that could happen?

When Lexie dashes back from the shop, specially requested biscuits in tow, she searches for her daughter. It’s only been six minutes. 

But Bella has disappeared.

At first, everybody is keen to help in the search for the toddler. Fellow parents, school teachers, police, and other well-wishing locals spend hours searching the streets, buildings, and dense scrub. But, of course, any seemingly helpful face could be hiding darker intentions.

As the search continues on with no hint of little Bella, online mystery-solvers and true crime enthusiasts begin to question Lexie and her husband’s past. The hate messages and claims of involvement from the parents catapult the missing child investigation into another sphere entirely.

The setting of Merrigang draws Six Minutes out from being a somewhat closed room mystery to a slightly larger one. With Bella last seen in the playground outside the building, it’s first believed that she couldn’t have gone far. Even by vehicle, there are high hopes that she will be found quickly.

But the once-beautiful Brindabella Ranges become an oppressive force with every passing hour of Bella’s disappearance. How long could a little girl last in a place like that?

An impressive piece of debut fiction.
Teagan Cox | Review Bee

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McGovern has chosen a wide array of characters to cover this story from every angle. Readers witness Lexie’s distraught response to her daughter’s disappearance, her husband Marty’s pull toward a kind female coworker, the local teacher’s desperation to hide his link with Bella, a playgroup’s mum determination to draw attention and fame to herself and Bella’s case, and the intense investigation of a local police detective.

Given the small-town setting, this range of characters really lets the reader dive into every suspenseful layer of the novel. Despite flipping between so many points-of-view, the reader is never left in the lurch. McGovern has done a remarkable job of ensuring a strong thread as the reader is catapulted into each character’s internal world.

In the past, I have read novels where I found myself flicking back to the start of each chapter to re-orientate myself (which character am I reading?), which quickly creates confusion and loses suspense. In Six Minutes, McGovern keeps the suspense flowing throughout the novel no matter whose point of view, skilfully leading the reader to question every thing and everyone. 

McGovern adds even more elements of intrigue by layering the story with elements of social media. The creative use of blog, forum, and social media post excerpts add another interesting new dynamic.

A truly impressive piece of debut fiction, there is no doubt that Petronella McGovern will be a name to watch in the Australian publishing landscape.

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Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Lexie Parker leaves her toddler, Bella, in the care of four playgroup mums. She’s gone for just six minutes. But when she returns, Bella is …

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Title image for novel Truth Hurts by author Rebecca Reid

Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid

When Drew suggests that he and his wife, Poppy, start their newlywed life by not revealing anything from their past, Poppy jumps at the chance. …

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The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/the-caretakers/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/the-caretakers/#respond Deprecated: str_replace(): Passing null to parameter #3 ($subject) of type array|string is deprecated in /home/sweemhof/reviewbee.errorfree.me/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4245

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Thu, 23 Jan 2020 03:49:04 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=775
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Background

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of The Caretakers in exchange for an honest review.

Eliza Maxwell is an experienced author hailing from Texas. She has written six novels in mystery fiction with a focus on the countryside she grew up calling home. Goodreads authors have applauded her work with an average four star rating across her six titles.

Review

Tessa Shepard is on her way up in the world of documentary film making. After spending time speaking with and fighting for a man incarcerated of a young woman’s murder, Tessa and her team are overjoyed for his exoneration. Until, shockingly, he kills again. With the killer on the run from the police, Tessa is drawn back into the media spotlight. Only this time she’s the subject.

To make matters worse, Tessa receives news of the sudden and unexpected death of her mother. Following the death, Tessa must reconnect with her twin sister, Margot, and settle their differences once and for all. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done – especially with a killer haunting her days and nights. Most upending of all is the revelation that Tessa and Margot have inherited a strange derelict property, Fallbrook, hidden from them for years by their mother.

The cracked and crumbling building stands as an eerie monument to a horrific crime decades earlier. The property’s secrets and mysteries are carefully guarded by ageing siblings: The Caretakers. Desperate for a refuge from the media circus, Tessa runs to Fallbrook, hoping for only to realise that she must face her darkest fears, her own history, and that of her family.

“A small dark seed of worry burrows down deep, settling in. Something is rising. If only she could remember what it is.”

Eliza Maxwell, The Caretakers

Although The Caretakers focuses on Tessa there are an abundance of other stories and mysteries woven throughout the narrative. There is the story of Oliver Barlow, ex-prisoner and murderer on the run, Tessa coping with the death of her mother, the mystery surrounding Tessa and Margot’s years-long estrangement, questions about the crime that originally put Oliver in prison, the truth behind Fallbrook’s disturbing history, and of course, the truth about the Caretakers.

The fact that this list of elements seems overwhelming just goes to show how masterfully Eliza Maxwell has crafted this novel. Maxwell elegantly intertwines the various narratives in an easy-to-follow, enjoyable reading experience. She seamlessly draws information from each character’s past throughout the alternating chapters without overloading the reader on information or creating confusion.

Maxwell elegantly intertwines the various narratives in an easy-to-follow, wonderful reading experience.
Teagan Cox | Review Bee

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A problem that often arises in psychologically-focused novels is a lack of physical action. This is not an issue in The Caretakers. Maxwell has managed to effortlessly use external psychological and emotional pressures to create strong tension throughout the novel, resulting in a true page-turner with real surprises and shocking revelations.

Overall, this is an excellent novel featuring impressive writing skills and story-crafting. I would recommend it for anybody interested in psychologically-driven novels and suspense. I will definitely be picking up another book by Eliza Maxwell in the very near future.

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Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-truth-hurts-by-rebecca-reid/ https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/review/review-truth-hurts-by-rebecca-reid/#respond Deprecated: str_replace(): Passing null to parameter #3 ($subject) of type array|string is deprecated in /home/sweemhof/reviewbee.errorfree.me/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4245

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Fri, 29 Nov 2019 01:57:06 +0000 https://reviewbee.errorfree.me/?post_type=rcno_review&p=535
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Background

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rebecca Reid is a freelance journalist. Her experience writing for The Telegraph’s Women’s section has lead Reid to write tantalising tales of female relationships from friends to foes. She made her fictional debut last year with her novel Perfect Liars, which I reviewed here.

Review

Poppy and Drew’s lives began anew the day they signed their wedding papers. They’ve only known each other for a short time. Poppy, a nanny for an uptight and formidable family back in the UK is thrown out of her employer’s holiday home. Left with nothing, her decision to drown her sorrows and the last of her cash at a local bar, initially appears to be the best decision she ever could have made. She quickly catches the eye of a fellow Brit, a wealthy (and gorgeous) man, visiting for work and a short holiday.

They begin a whirlwind romance, falling in love, or at least lust, immediately. But Poppy and Drew quickly realise that what they have is more than just a holiday fling. They decide to get married then and there. They’ll arrive back in the UK as a beautiful couple; husband and wife.

In the rush of new love, Drew proposes a somewhat romantic idea—neither of them will tell the other about their past lives. From now on, they will only live in the here and now. There won’t be any uncomfortable discussions about past loves, bad breakups, or unflattering childhood haircuts.

I don’t believe that total transparency is always the way towards happiness.

– Rebecca Reid, Truth Hurts

It all sounds innocuous at first. A fresh start. And, for Poppy, a lifesaver. Because, beneath her girl-next-door demeanour, she has a secret. One that’s very difficult to explain. Poppy knows that there must be a deeper reason for Drew to suggest the arrangement, but the chance to forget her own sins is too good to ignore. Until she begins to wonder if what Drew is hiding is worse than her own secrets.

With Poppy, Reid has proven again that she has a talent for writing flawed and complex women. The thought of being whisked away by a rich man isn’t something I encounter much in my lack of romance novels, but I won’t say it’s an unappealing thought. It seems that Poppy feels this way too. She is constantly concerned with what others might think of her; that she’s a gold-digger, a younger woman wheedling her way into a rich man’s heart through her good looks and “working class” humour.

Throughout the novel, Reid carefully draws out Poppy’s past, leaving the reader guessing, wondering, and waiting, to find out what it is that’s so awful she might jump at the chance to marry a man who won’t even tell her his mother’s name.

I think sometimes you have to give up on the idea that someone is going to change.

Rebecca Reid, Truth Hurts

Truth Hurts is a simple idea turned into a crafty and compelling plot. Reid set the bar high with her debut novel, Perfect Liars, but she manages to pull it off again with this new stand-alone novel. This talented author seems to have carved out a niche with both novels covering similar themes of truth, deception, and the lies that family and friends will tell.

Although not action-packed, the unyielding feeling of something being just not quite right drew me through this read in only two sittings. Reid’s writing permeates the novel with a sense of unease, pulling you through the pages and not letting up until the jaw-dropping finale.

For the reader who likes characters (and mysteries) that are not quite so black-and-white, this is the author to watch. From her twisted first novel to this secretive thriller, Reid’s novels are great fun (and a little scary) to experience.

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