A perfectly twisty thriller from Sophie Hannah | Book Review: Perfect Little Children

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Publication date: February 4th, 2020 
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today, or ever again.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except… There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As Beth would have expected. It’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then.

They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Hilary hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.

They are no taller, no older… Why haven’t they grown?

Trigger Warnings: Miscarriage, Infant Death, Abortion, Child Abuse⁣

– My Thoughts –

Perfect Little Children is a standalone thriller/psychological suspense, also known as “Haven’t They Grown”, from the author of The New Hercule Poirot Mysteries and other mystery novels. Even though this book had an interesting premise, I found it a bit too far-fetched in some places.

Beth, our protagonist, takes a detour while dropping off her son at his football match. My confusion, my “head-scratching” starts from here. I wondered why would she suddenly park her car in front of her ex-best friends’ old house. Flora and Lewis Braid who were once close friends of Beth and her husband’s, have now moved to Florida with their three children. After dropping off her son at his match, Beth drives back to her friends’ old house and notices Flora Braid entering her home. However, that’s not THE surprise. The surprise is that Flora’s two children Thomas and Emily looked exactly like they would’ve 12 years ago.

The story gets crazier from here on and I had to constantly remind myself that this is fictional.

After Beth drives back home, she confides in her husband and daughter Zannah and both of them are dubious about the whole incident but Beth has unwavering faith in what she saw. So, she starts investigating and her daughter starts helping her too; soon, they realize that indeed something sinister is going on. Beth’s husband was also supportive of her need to uncover the secrets despite being aggravated by her obsession at times. There are several twists which with the pace demand your attention to the book; however, all the build-up gave way to a very dissatisfying ending.

What I didn’t like was every time Beth reminded Zannah to revise for her GCSEs, she was the one who quickly forgot about it. I would’ve liked to see Beth’s son solving these mysteries alongside his parents and sister too but we see very little of him. I have already mentioned how disappointed I was with the conclusion.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you loved Sophie Hannah’s previous books or if you’re looking for a mind-bending thriller with a unique premise.

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


– About the Author –

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

Thank you for reading! Will you add Perfect Little Children / Haven’t You Grown to your tbr? Have you read any of the author’s previous books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

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!

Blog Tour | Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North


LINKS

Buffy is the last Slayer or is she? | ARC Review: Slayer by Kiersten White
cover(Goodreads)

 BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY



SYNOPSIS

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.
But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.
Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window…


Should You read The Whisper Man by Alex North?

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.

If you’re lonely, sad and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.

I want to thank the publisher for including me in this blog tour. I’m the fourth stop in this tour and I’ll leave the tour banner for you down below so that you can check out the rest of the stops. I’m also including some trigger warnings; should someone need it.

CW: struggling alcoholic, child abduction

The Whisper Man by Alex North is a brilliantly written thriller that’ll demand your attention until you finish reading it. Is it worth your time, though? Let’s find out.

The book starts with an unnamed father confessing a lie to his son Jake. He says that he lied when he said that there was no such thing as monsters. In the upcoming chapters, we’ll see exactly who those monsters are and how they hide in plain sight waiting for the moment to whisper in your child’s ears.

The story is divided into five parts and in part one, we come to learn of a boy called Neil Spencer who is being stalked by someone and later, kidnapped. That’ll be the last we see of the boy. Then, we get a glimpse of DI Pete Willis who’s searching for Neil and remembers an old child abduction case. The quote, “The first forty-eight hours following a disapperance are the most crucial.” appears twice in this book, which heightens the feeling of emergency.

Next, we meet the Jake and his father, Tom Kennedy and this is way before he wrote the aforementioned words to his son. Tom is a widower, who’s trying his best to care for his son Jake while coming to terms with his life without his beloved wife. Tom is a writer and hasn’t written a book in a long time but despite of the state of his finances, he knows that Jake and he need a fresh start. It turns out their fresh start comes with more surprises than they can handle.

On one hand, you have two DI’s- DI Pete and DI Amanda- trying to search for the abducted boy Neil. Pete is called to help in on the investigation because their Chief thinks it might have something to do with a case years ago…when The Whisper Man abducted and killed four children before Pete caught him. Pete, however never caught his “accomplise”, if there was anyone..or is there a copycat now? There’s no time to waste as the killer already has Neil and may soon have yet another child.

DI Pete Willis suffers from alcoholism and you could feel his emotions as if they were leaping off of the pages. The author does sugarcoat anything and I loved the openness of the characters especially someone who’s described as fit and lean for his age struggling with depression, alcoholism and probably PTSD as well. It shows us that if someone looks good on the outside, it doesn’t neccessarily mean that they’re feeling good on the inside. This realness to characters continue with Tom and his son Jake and as well as DI Amanda and the killer. In Tom’s case, you can feel his frustration with Jake and his struggle with playing with or even taking care of Jake. I loved the pace of the story; it took me a day and a half to finish but I loved the anticipation. There’re quite a number of shady characters and you keep wondering if this was the killer or that one. I didn’t expect the killer at all and theme that time was of the essence basically amped up the thrill of finding The New Whisper Man.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love reading thrillers that are carefully plotted and has an amazing cast of characters. This’ll make a perfect rainy day read, in my opinion. The gloomy weather is a perfect setting to this dark and creepy novel.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT: 


Author: Connect with Author Alex North here.

  • Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph
  • Publication Date: 13th June , 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 389 Pages
Slayer by Kiersten White

What do you think? Will you read The Whisper Man? If you have read it already, then let me know if you liked it or not. Did you know that this book is going to be adapted into a movie soon? Do you like reading or watching thrillers? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A creepy but modern retelling of the Grimms’ Fairytales | Blog Tour Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

A creepy but modern retelling of the Grimms' Fairytales | Blog Tour Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

LINKS

A creepy but modern retelling of the Grimms' Fairytales | Blog Tour Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
US cover(Goodreads)

  BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY


SYNOPSIS

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Should You read Little Darlings by Melanie Golding ?

She had to play the game, even before she knew what the rules were.

It takes a lot to creep me out but Little Darlings did that and did that early in the book. Little Darlings is Melanie Golding’s debut novel and I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour. Don’t forget to check out the other stops in the tour.

The story starts off with our protagonist Lauren Tranter, who is giving birth to her twins. She is exhausted- rightly so – but her husband has to go to work and therefore, has to leave her alone in the hospital. Lauren looks over to the opposite of her bed and sees another set of twins but upon inquiring from a nurse, she is shocked to hear that hers is the only set of twins to be born until now. The next time she’s alone, she encounters a strange woman with twins and Lauren thinks her a homeless person and tries to help her but she shouldn’t have.

Besides Lauren, there’s yet another character whose POV we read and it is DC Harper’s. DC Harper is drawn to Lauren’s story when she hears a 999 call(emergency contact no.) from Lauren who’s asking for help as someone is trying to kidnap her babies. Although this emergency has been ticked off as a Mental Health problem, Harper’s instincts tell her otherwise.

Look at someone every day for long enough and you stop seeing what everyone else sees. You start to see what no one else sees, what is kept hidden from most people.

After a hospital visit to Lauren, Harper has to let this case go as she has no evidence but she soon gets a call from Lauren who saw the strange lady from the hospital again! Outside her house! Is Lauren just paranoid ? Or, is the threat real? Why does Lauren’s husband look so worried? To uncover all these secrets and more, you need to read Little Darlings.

The story of Little Darlings is said to be a modern retelling(of sorts) of the Grimms’ Fairytales. It’s an incredible blend of fantasy, thriller and horror. It urges you to question your beliefs…are the stories about fairies or changelings all just farce or are they real? At first, I had assumed that Lauren is suffering from psychiatric disorders which were common post-partum but it somehow turned out to be much more ..more twists and turns..more creepiness. I didn’t have any trouble with the pace, or the plot but I hated Lauren’s husband. It may remind you a bit of Gine Girl’s Amy and her husband.

Overall, I recommend this book if  you love reading Neil Gaiman and psychological thrillers mixed with some elements of horror(and fantasy).

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT: 

Author: Connect with Author Melanie Golding here.

  • Publisher: HQ Stories
  • Publication Date: 2nd May , 2019
  • Hardcover: 384 Pages
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Will you read Little Darlings ? If you have read it, then let me know if you liked it or not. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

A creepy but modern retelling of the Grimms' Fairytales | Blog Tour Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding