The Lost Girls of Willowbrook

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A shocking discovery of her twin sister’s fate sends Sage on the way to the most chilling place on Staten Island, Willowbrook. Driven by an eagerness to find and help her sister, unknowingly Sage walks into a hell on earth. And a spread-of-the-moment visit to Willowbrook is going to change her fate.

It has been a few days since I finished the novel, and I still have full-body chills. The treatment of mentally challenged children that was described in the novel was disturbing. This book is a work of fiction, however, the novel is based on real-life facts about the Willowbrook State School which has been a dumping ground for unwanted children. The physical abuse, neglect, and other mistreatments of the children are thoroughly incorporated into the book. It is not an easy read, and I give full credit to the author for the courage to bring back the story from the 1960s and remind us of the horrors of the so-called “institution” for children with an intellectual disabilities.

Thank you, NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.

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The Blame Game

The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Growing up in a domestic abuse home, and losing her mother and sister at a very young age, gave Naomi a great push of opening her own practice to work and help peoples who are suffering from physical and domestic violence. But Naomi does so much more for her patience, which draws an issue in her own marriage. But she has no idea that one of her latest clients is playing a very dangerous game of life and death.

This novel had my mind working from the very first to the very last pages. It has been a few days since I finished the novel, and my mind is still on this last plot twist. Phenomenal writing, and a great plot, loved Naomi’s back story, although I was a bit disappointed by the latter. Wish there was more of it to the novel. Nevertheless, Naomi’s clients produced enough drama for one book. I enjoyed all the twists provided in the story. It was a fast-paced read, I was very intrigued and had a hard time putting the novel down, hence it took me a bit more than one day to finish it.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and Sandie Jones for providing this complimentary ARC through NetGalley.

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Die Around Sundown

Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A past comes to hunt Henri Lefort. Years after the ghastly affair, he is met face to face with the truth. Unfortunately, he has very little time to deal with this problem. Nazi’s occupation of his beloved Paris is in full swing and he has unsolved murder on his hands. On top of this all, Princess Marie Bonaparte decides to introduce Henri to psychological therapy, which should help our headstrong detective to improve his post-war irritable triggers.

I absolutely enjoyed every aspect of this book. And can’t choose what I loved more: Henri’s humorous sarcasm or the jaw-dropping twist at the end of the novel. From the very first pages of the novel, Henri made me chuckle out loud. His sassy attitude gives the character a distinctive appeal and reminds me a lot of Hercule Poirot. But the shocking twist of the story took me by a surprise. I had a completely different scenario playing in my head. I am a HUGE fan of Agatha Christie’s novels and their unpredictable endings, and this specific book gave me the same spine-chilling exciting feeling. I cant hardly wait for the next adventure of Henri Lefort.

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The Visitors

The Visitors by Miranda Rijks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mike and Nadia, with their young daughter, are Hannah’s new visitors at her beloved barn that was recently restored and set as a holiday rental. Shortly after their arrival, Hannah begins to dislike the couple. But the worst is yet to come.

I have not been disappointed by Miranda Rijks’s novels yet, and this new read is quite enthralling. Ignorant, rude, and inadequate tenants are the host’s worst nightmare. Mike and Nadia are falling under the listed categories. And it only gets worst. It is very easy to tell from the plot of the novel that the visitors are here with an ulterior motive. Their hidden agenda is revealed towards the end of the novel, and the twists it comes with are worthwhile. And finally, the last chapter… I could have not thought of a better ending for Hannah.

Overall it is a great fast pace book. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy light thriller novels. It would make a great end-of-summer beach read.

Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Light We Left Behind

The Light We Left Behind by Tessa Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sudden death of Maddie’s mentor gives her an opportunity to help her country to fight an enemy. While the brave men protected their lives on the front lines, Maddie and her team worked on extracting the war secrets from their jailed enemies. Using the psychology and Dr. Baskin’s notes, she is trying to break into the mind of the Nazi captured general.

I did enjoy the psychology part of the novel, the way the British intelligence agency was able to read the minds of Germany’s most notorious generals. I was impressed by the treatment the high-rank Nazi generals received while being detained on English soil. Nevertheless, let’s get back to the story. Great plot, loved the spy act of the novel. A cute love triangle that played an essential role in the book. I would not call this novel intriguing. It’s a great, light, feel-good read, perfect for lovers of WWII history. Honestly, after reading multiple gruesome WWII books, the mind and soul demand something pleasing and hopeful, and this book was a perfect choice.

Thank you Harper Collins for a free copy of the novel.

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Unforgivable by Natalie Barelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laura walks into Jack and Charlie’s life after Bronwyn has deserted her family. Years after blending into the abandoned duo, Laura is finally about to become an official member of her already beloved family. But Bronwyn is making a come back into their lives, and with the re-entrance into her old home, Laura’s old secrets come to hunt her.

A very intriguing read. But honestly, I was very annoyed with Laura and especially her actions. At first, she comes across as a victim, but later in the novel, we see her true colors as well. Did she deserve everything that has happened to her… well, you know what they say about karma? So… Nevertheless, I have enjoyed the novel, especially because Laura and Bronwyn’s two strong characters play not-so-innocent roles. Both are angry and envious of each other’s lives. Basically, they have met their equal match. Great plot, fast read. I would absolutely recommend the novel to my friends.

Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Red Cross Orphans

The Red Cross Orphans by Glynis Peters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kitty follows the steps of many women during WWII who wanted to give a hand in the fight against the enemy. After a long training period, she reaches one of her many goals – a nurse pin. During this period, alongside her nursing experience, she meets lifelong friends, enemies, and… love. Unfortunately, the war has other plans and the couple is obliged to put their dream of marital life on hold.

Red cross nurse and a Canadian doctor find love on the battlefield in a midst of WWII. Cute story but lacks anticipation. Since this is the very first book of the series, I am hoping the following books will produce more suspense. The build-up of the plot was strong. I enjoyed all the characters and am eager to know what will happen to them all in the future. Also, the part about the VIP patient was intriguing, although it ended abruptly, which makes me hope the character will make an appearance in future novels.

Overall it is a good, light read. Perfect for romance lovers with a little history.

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What She Knew

What She Knew by Miranda Rijks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alison’s disappearance nine years prior has put a very rough toll on her flatmate and best friend Stephanie. And the old feeling returns when a researcher begins to dig into Alison’s old case. Overwhelmed by the past and guild Stephanie makes it her mission to find out what really has happened to her friend. And by discovering the truth, she reveals decade-long secrets that put her own life in danger.

Miranda Rijks keeps surprising me with her novels. Each one is a unique story full of multiple puzzle pieces to be discovered and connected. What She Knew is another mystifying thriller that kept me questioning every character and every detail. I enjoyed the fast pace of the novel, and the ending was quite satisfying. Stephanie’s character surprised me at the end, her determination to get to the truth has proven she is not a total pushover as she appeared to be throughout the novel.

Thank you, NetGalley, Miranda Rijks, and Inkubator Books for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review

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Midnight on the Marne

Midnight on the Marne by Sarah Adlakha

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you had a chance to go back in time and change one significant moment, would you do it? Keeping in mind, that your life may never be the same?

A parcel from America lands on Marcelle’s lap. A dairy that contains information she has never shared before, memories she does not remember but feels so close to her heart. Is old age playing tricks on her? Or has that occurred?

I am having a hard time expressing my feelings about this book. The first two halves are beautiful stories of survival, love, and courage. Such a strong set of characters, I cried when they cried, and my heart ached when their hearts were broken to pieces. I held my breath when they held to their lives by the strand of their hair… This novel was written in a manner that made me feel I was there, a part of their strange but loving circle. But let me tell you about the last part of the novel… the language and story were so intense, that I had full-body chills. I cried when George described his final moments with Philip.

“Midnight on the Marne” is beautiful work of fiction. It is different from many other WW novels due to its alternative timeline, which gives this novel a different direction. Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Stepson

The Stepson by Jane Renshaw

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lulu and Nick’s paths crossed during a holiday trip, and ever since the couple has been inseparable. Meeting a handsome and ultimately rich Nick has changed Lulu’s life for the better. But despite his privileged upbringing, Nick’s childhood was overshadowed by a dark tragedy. By the age of sixteen, he lost his whole immediate family and became estranged from his surviving relatives. Troubled by his recent queer behavior, Lulu insists for Nick revisit his childhood home, but she is completely unprepared for the shocking discoveries.

The fast-paced novel, dual timeline, filled with multiple twists and a spine-chilling ending. As much as I’ve enjoyed the twisty plot, I was taken aback by how mistaken and naive Lulu was about Nick’s character. Although all the facts were right there in front of her face, she blindly followed her husband’s lies. You would think a psychotherapist would be a lot sharper. Oh well.

Nevertheless, my thriller-loving heart was finally at peace as I read the last chapter. The justice was served most satisfyingly. Although I would not call the novel’s plot twists shocking, the hints are very well placed throughout the novel, so if you pay attention, you will enjoy the revelation at the end. Would I recommend this book to my fellow readers? Absolutely! Happy Reading!

Thank you, NetGalley for a free copy of the novel.

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