The Perfect Mother

The Perfect MotherThe Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caroline Mitchell returns with an outstanding psychological thriller novel “The Perfect Mother” and one of the best reads I have read so far this year!

Young, jobless and penniless Roz finds herself in a very peculiar situation. Her secret one-night stand left Roz with a “little bundle of joy” on the way. Unfortunately, the occasion was not at all joyful. Having grown up in a broken home with an unfit mother, Roz makes a decision to protect her daughter from childhood she has experienced. With this idea in mind, the expecting mother joins an elite adoption agency, and with the luck of the Irish, she is matched with a “diamond” couple. With hopefull wishes for her child’s grand future, Roz boards the plane in her small town in Ireland and traves to a big and shiny NYC.

Upon her arrival in NY and meeting the “diamond” couple Sheridan and Daniel, Roz signs an adoption agreement. And just like in Cinderella’s story, Roz’s is whipped off her feet, settled into a luxury basement apartment, with a personal maid, gourmet cooked meals with all the best vitamins for her unborn child, exercises, medical staff, and equipment. But it doesn’t take long for Roz to realize that she is kept captive like a bird in a golden cage. And as weeks go by, Roz learns more and more of the couple’s gruesome secrets.

The Perfect Mother” is great suspense that honestly pulled me in right from the start. The plot was great and I thought the story flowed well, it certainly had me guessing throughout trying to figure out how it would all end. Thank you, NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer publishers for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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The Whispers of War

The Whispers of WarThe Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the author of “The Light Over London” comes a new debut novel “The Whispers of War“.

Three childhood friends…
Two hostile nations…
One great war…

We’ll always be… just us three… A mantra the three girls have shared for ages since they have met at all-girls school. Years after the graduation, the three girls: German-born Marie, proud feminist, and homeowner Nora, and married matchmakers Hazel remained as close as sisters. When Germany invaded Poland, Marie’s relation to Nazi sympathizers put her life into great danger. While defending and standing by her friend’s side, Nora became dismissed from her job, but shortly after she has found a new calling by joining WREN. However, the biggest surprise came from Hazel, who decided to fight german discrimination and help fellow German-born individuals in her own way. The beginning of WWII has tested their friendship, taught each and one of them a greater life lesson, and changed their lives in different ways.

The novel covers the first year of the war (’39-’40), and it gives the reader a front-row view of London based British and german-born residents’ reaction to Hitler’s action and the beginning of the second great war. This is the time we see women starting to step up in their roles, voice and stand by their beliefs and opinions, and find their place in the world. A great story, a wonderful set of characters. Beautifully and tastefully written. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel, and big thank you to Julia Kelly for a heartfelt story.

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Two Girls Down

Two Girls Down (Alice Vega #1)Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Louisa Luna’s novel “Two Girls Down” covers every mother worts nightmare – the abduction of the children.

When two young girls are taken from the busy mall parking lot – the family hires Alice Vega, the private investigator. Alice has successful eighteen cases behind her back and Jamie’s family put all their trust in her. In the first days of the investigation, Alice enlists a former police officer, Max Caplan, and with his connection to the local police to help resolve the case. Alice and Cap, determined to reunite missing girls with their mother, follow on every tip, interview multiple suspects, untangle every web of lies and finally fall on the right track of girls’ abductors.

I enjoyed this book, although at times I found it slow, and Jamie’s character to be flawed and unlikeable. And finally, my biggest peeve – too many characters that had not much to do with the story and suspects that kept Vega and Cap running around like hamsters in a spinning wheel. The ending was appalling and not at all expected.

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House on Endless Waters

House on Endless WatersHouse on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flipping back and forth between the years of WWII and the present, this novel follows the lives of the Blum family and their hidden family secret.

Yoel Blum’s fame as an author brings him back to Amsterdam, his birthplace, despite the promise that he has made to his late mother – to never return to the place that caused his family a lot of sorrow. While in the city, Yoel and his wife decide to visit a Jewish Museum. During the tour, in one of the photos, Yoel recognizes his mother’s face. And the more he examines the photo – the more questions filled his mind.

In the spur of the moment, one photograph flipped Yoel’s life upside down. And just like that, piece by piece, with his sister’s and mother’s remaining friends’ memories and a little help of his own research, like a puzzle, Yoel builds a true picture of his past.

You have a mother, and you have a sister, and you have yourself. That’s it, nothing else matters.

The past and present timelines wove together so beautifully. The tragedy of Blum’s family left me devastated, however, their ability to forgive gives me hope in humanity. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books publishers for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Tenant

The TenantThe Tenant by Katrine Engberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit when I started this book I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. However, after the first chapter – I got sucked right into it.

The novel starts with the murder of a young girl, followed by another murder of her friend. Copenhagen detectives Korner and Werner were assigned to resolve the mystery of the double murder, and the more they looked into the past of the young girl – the more twisted it became: young pregnancy, affairs with older men, and more murders.

And the frightening (and in my opinion the best) part of it all – the murder was written a month before the victim’s death by her very own landlady. Shocker, I know! This little twist spiced up the storyline.

This book held my interest from beginning to end. I had a few issues along the way with the characters and plot, but none of those issues were enough to ruin the reading experience. Thank you, NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird (To Kill a Mockingbird, #1)To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began reading “To Kill a Mockingbird“.

This classic is about the small 1960s Alabama family: widower and father Atticus and his two kids Jem and Jean Louise ‘Scout’. The main plot of the novel revolves around Atticus’ criminal case: he is defending a black man who has been accused of insulting a young white girl. Besides the big trial, the novel covers other main topics of the 60s – race, gender, and social class. Our young characters Jem and Scout are raised by an open-minded father who teaches them the differences between love vs hate, good vs bad, kindness vs inhumanity.

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out of us.

Despite the unhappy outcome, the end of the novel brings closure and a lesson for the reader. It is sin to kill a Mockingbird, and sins do not remain unpunished for long.

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The Paris Mysteries

The Paris MysteriesThe Paris Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Edgar Allan Poe’s writing is unique, I absolutely think he was ahead of his time. His novel composition style is very dark and detailed. I’ve enjoyed all his stories that I’ve read in the past, therefore when I saw a new deluxe publication of his works – I wanted to give it a try.

“The Paris Mysteries” edition includes three stories: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Mystery of Marie RogĂȘt” and “The Purloined Letter”. All three cases are investigated by dazzling Chevalier Auguste Dupin. Some sections of the stories were graphic, which was very unusual for the 1800s writers, however, it made Mr. Poe’s stories to stand out.

I have mixed fillings about this collection of mysteries. I loved the writing and plots, however, I felt it was too short. I wish there was a lot of info provided for each case. Nevertheless, the new addition is an entertaining read. It’s perfect for first-time readers of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Thank you NetGalley and Pushkin Vertigo publishing for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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The Christmas Lights

The Christmas LightsThe Christmas Lights by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like Karen Swan’s writing style. most of her books have dual storylines that are always connected. The prologues are always intriguing and pull the reader into the story from page one.

This year our main characters are Signy and Bo. Besides coming from different eras and backgrounds, the two have one thing in common – they both have experienced a trauma that has made a big effect on their lives. An incident has changed Signy’s life when she was fourteen years old. But an awful event shaped the young girl into a wise woman who in the end, overcame her sorrow and found the way to move on with her life. And when Bo’s brother passed away in her arms, she found her escape in constant running mode from the typical daily life. However, everything has changed when wise and old Signy entered Bo’s life.

I love everything about this book, location, characters, and storylines. It covers infidelity, physical and emotional abuse, murder. This is not the typical happy go lucky kind of novel, but that’s what I love about Karen Swan’s writing.

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