Review of yet another sensational thriller SAFE HOUSE, from the author of Sticks and Stones

Review of yet another sensational thriller Safe House, from the author of Sticks and Stones
Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Publication date: October 31st, 2019 
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon(99p) | Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story…

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything.

And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really payed the price for what she did.

– My Thoughts –

Steffi Finn fell in love with Lee Fisher, then she went to jail because of him. Now, years later, she’s been released and she wants to start over in a new town with a new identity. Steffi is now Charlie, living in a sleepy little village in Cornwall. No-one here seems to recognise her and life seems good but not for long. As Charlie starts to renovate her house, she feels that she’s being watched. Accidents start happening every other day and Charlie can’t think who might be set on harming her. Her ex Lee Fisher is in jail and any other enemies she’s acquired because of him shouldn’t be able to find the “new” her….right?

Written in alternate timelines and dual POVs, we learn what kind of a person Steffi was before she became Charlie. We see how Lee controlled her and how Steffi couldn’t believe that he was a serial killer. It kinda reminded me of Ted Bundy..Lee Fisher was charming and manipulative sure, but he didn’t fit the profile of a serial killer(not at first glance, at least). Steffi was a victim of Lee’s too and it’ll break your heart reading her character arc.

The pacing was good even if I had a bit of trouble getting into it during the beginning. The setting of the village where Steffi/Charlie settled and the uneasiness she felt every moment was perfectly written. I liked the unpredictability of the twists as the author kept my mind working to find out who Steffi/Charlie’s stalker was and why was he/she(/they) were trying to kill her.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a slow-burn thriller with a captivating female lead. This story literally gives a terrifying meaning to the phrase “Love is blind.”

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review and for including me in the blog tour!

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

– About the Author –

JO JAKEMAN was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.

Thank you for reading! Do you like reading thrillers? If you’ve read Safe House or the author’s debut, then I’d love to know what you thought!

Spooky October reads: The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox | Blog Tour

Spooky October reads: The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox | Blog Tour
The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

Publication date: October 17th, 2019 
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Historical,Mystery
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Her secret will tear the town apart.

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him after his wife’s death, so he takes a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbour.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a madman inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbour will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

– My Thoughts –

A town gripped by fear.
A woman accused of witchcraft.
Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?
 

It should come as no surprise that I loved The Widow of Pale Harbour, probably as much as I did the author’s debut The Witch of Willow Hall. It is perfect for spooky October even though it’s more on the mystery side.

Set in 1846, Pale Harbour, Maine, the story starts with a young widow Sophronia who lives with her maid/companion Helen in a daunting mansion called Castle Carver. Sophronia spends her days reading submissions for her magazine, drinking tea and taking short walks around her property.

Soon, a mysterious man called Gabriel Stone arrives in this quiet village to escape from the memories of his past. Gabriel arrives as a transcendentalist minister but he feels like a fraud. When everyone starts warning Gabriel about Sophronia, he becomes intrigued by the strong woman he sees. However, someone is not quite happy seeing Sophronia’s happiness; soon, dead things and cryptic messages start arriving at Sophronia’s doorstep. Things start to escalate from dead animal carcasses to murder where all evidence points to Sophronia as the main suspect.

If you liked The Witch of Willow Hall, then don’t waste any time picking this up. The Widow of Pale Harbour has a murder mystery and romance which combined with the setting and eery atmosphere in the book makes this a page-turner. In the beginning, the plot takes time to build up but that anticipation proves fruitful. I loved Sophronia who has been mistreated a lot but despite that, she manages to aid others in need. Gabriel is yet another favourite character -okay, yes..that might be because he’s a hunky priest- and I loved watching his and Sophronia’s relationship bloom. He doesn’t lie to Sophronia, respects her boundaries(Is it really that hard?) and even after hearing about the times he was wronged.. he didn’t bear ill will for that person. You know what? They were freaking perfect for each other. Broken in different ways and yet they were the ones who could piece each other together.

I also loved the friendship between Tom and Gabriel; Tom was a perfect addition to the plot during its darker transition. Then there’s the relationship between Helen and Sophronia.. which was complicated but very intriguing.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a gothic murder mystery/romance with a twist of Poe‘s words in it. If you’re looking for a fall read, then pick up this beauty and dive into the haunting story. Hester Fox is already on my list of auto-buy authors and I can’t wait to read her next book!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Also, thanks to HQ for including me in The Widow of Pale Harbour blog tour! Please take a look at the blog schedule and visit all the other lovely bloggers in this tour.

– About the Author –

Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark…so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful.

Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their son. Please visit Hester Fox here to learn more


Thank you for reading! Have you read Hester Fox’s debut? Or, Will you add The Widow of Pale Harbour to your TBR? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

What happens when you find out the child you gave birth to isn’t really yours.. find out in The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

What happens when you find out the child you gave birth to isn't really yours.. find out in The Swap by Fiona Mitchell
The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

The Swap

Publication date: September 19th, 2019 
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

What would you do if you found out your child wasn’t yours? Two women. Two children. But whose is whose?

When two strangers, Tess and Annie, undergo IVF at an American clinic, their embryos are mixed up and each woman gives birth to the wrong child. And whilst they are ignorant to this fact something has always felt a bit ‘off’ in regards to their children.

The women only discover the devastating error three years later, after one of them is involved in an accident. Tess will do anything in her power to swap the children back; Annie doesn’t want to. As the pair wrangle, neither of them expect what unfolds.

This is a novel full of the complexities of how what happens when things can go wrong with IVF and the impact this can have on so many people. The moral issue about whose is whose child, the right versus the wrong and nature verses nurture. This is a powerful and thought provoking novel about making the best decision for your children no matter how painful that can be.

– My Thoughts –

The Swap is a story of two women separated by oceans but connected by their children.

Tess Rossi, a 40-something british woman, couldn’t be more different from Annie, a wannabe American artist; yet, fate brought them closer together during an IVF transfusion. Tess and Annie have always felt that there was something “off” about their kids. It wasn’t until Tess got into a car accident with her two kids that the truth saw light. It wasn’t until Tess was informed by a nurse that Freddie – Tess’s son – was not genetically hers.

When Annie receives the news that her daughter Willow isn’t genetically hers, she doesn’t want to get in touch with the other family involved in this swap. However, after an emotional interaction, Annie can’t stop herself from meeting her “son”. What follows next is an emotional meeting where both Tess and Annie will have to make some very important decisions that could change all of their lives.

An IVF mixup has happened before and it’s traumatic, to say the least. The process of IVF itself is not a walk in the park and on top of that, these women had their embryos swapped without their knowledge. I can’t imagine the maelstorm of emotions that the family -especially the women and the children involved- have to go through. This is a wonderfully engrossing story that made me emotional at times. However, I expected the ending to be a bit more sensational but that’s just a personal preference.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a thought provoking read or a interesting book for your book club!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Many Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for including me in this blog tour! I’m seriously late in posting my review so please accept my apologies for the late posting!

– About the Author

Fiona Mitchell is an award-winning writer and has worked as a journalist for many years. She spent almost three years living in Singapore and now lives in London with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel The Maid’s Room was published in 2017.

Thank you for reading! Have you read any similar stories where characters have been switched before or after birth? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Blog Tour: The Christmas Holiday, written by Sophie Claire | ARC Review

Blog Tour: The Christmas Holiday, written by Sophie Claire | ARC Review
The Christmas Holiday, written by Sophie Claire

The Christmas Holiday

Publication date: October 3rd, 2019 
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 384
Genre: Holiday Romance
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

A charming Christmas story, with a European twist, of how love can surface in the unlikeliest of places. From an exciting new voice in festive fiction.

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex- boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But can they avoid the magic of the season from changing things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

– My Thoughts –

The Christmas Holiday is a beautiful Christmas romance about love, loss, grief and the struggle to comes to terms with it and moving forward.

The story is about Evie Miller who has recently moved into a small village of Willowbrook and has set up her fabric and sewing shop, leaving behind her cheating fiancé and dreaded job. Although Evie is talented at what she does, she is facing financial problems this Christmas; it certainly doesn’t help when her ex-fiancé Tom keeps harassing her and her parents keep trying to persuade to give up her shop and give Tom another chance. Evie doesn’t give up and instead starts making fitted curtains to give her finances a boost.

When Evie visits a client’s home -a local manor house- for fitting curtains, she encounters the rude owner(her client) and his wonderful dog Smoke. Jake Hartwood is inebriated and is in no mood for company..especially not cheery and bright Evie. Jake specifically chose this place to be alone and away from his family, to grieve for the loss of his beloved wife, Maria. Jake doesn’t like Evie’s colourful personality and her easy optimism, he goes as far as calling her ‘Pollyanna’. Jake, however, doesn’t know that Evie’s life is not all rainbows and sunshine; she’s still grieving for her dead sister Zara, her self-esteem has been thoroughly butchered by her ex-fiancé Tom who has even followed her to her village.

Jake’s friend offers him the use of a villa in France and Jake readily agrees as this holiday season, he wants to be far away from home. Evie loves Christmas but it seems this year her family wants them to spend the holiday with Tim’s family. Rescue comes in the way of Jake’s sister who suggests Jake take Evie with him to France. Jake and Evie slowly start becoming friends but will it develop into something more? Will Jake ever be able to escape the clutches of his grief over losing his wife?

Overall, I would highly recommend this book but if you’re looking for a beautifully written Christmas romance that’ll warm your cold, dead heart(like mine). Before diving into this, I had thought this would be a silly, cheesy romance(nothing wrong with that) but this had so much depth with wonderful and relatable characters(including an adorable dalmatian). Christmas seems like a cheery season but it can be depressingly lonely and this book shows exactly that..Furthermore, it shows us that if only we allow ourselves to be open, we find ourselves not so alone after all.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Many Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for including me in this blog tour! Please have a look at the banner and visit the other bloggers on this tour.

About the Author

Sophie Claire, born to a French mother and Scottish father, grew up in Manchester where she still lives with her husband and two sons. She writes stories centred around sunny Provence, where she spent her summers as a child.

Thank you for reading! Do you like reading Christmas romances? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Blog Tour: Butterfly in Frost, written by Sylvia Day | ARC Review

Blog Tour: Butterfly in Frost, written by Sylvia Day | ARC Review
ARC Review: Butterfly in Frost, written by Sylvia Day

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Publication date: August 27th, 2019 
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pages: 199
Genre: Womens fiction, Adult, Romance, Novella
Buy:Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Sylvia Day comes a hotly anticipated and passionate new love story.
Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.
Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.
He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.
And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.

– My Thoughts –

“I’m tired of hurting,” he says softly. “You remind me that my body can feel things other than pain.”

I remember reading Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series and it was sexy as hell. That is why I was interested in this novella.

Butterfly in Frost is related to the Crossfire novels and Eva, the heroine of Crossfire series, does make an appearance in this novella. The story is about Dr. Teagan Ransom, a cosmetic surgeon who’s recently divorced. She’s heartbroken as a result and isn’t ready to move on just yet. When a new guy moves in their neighborhood, Tegan’s carefully laid foundations are shaken to the core.

There was a great story in here but I felt it was not covered in great detail. I loved the plot twist and it would have fared better if this was a full length book.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you are a Sylvia Day fan and are looking for a light and easy romance novel.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author 

Sylvia day

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Globe and Mail, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print.

For more about Sylvia, visit her website and her Goodreads page, or follow her on Twitter.

Thank you for reading! Have you read the Crossfire books or will you be reading this novella? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!