Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain

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When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back. Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part. And all for the love of her unborn child. A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

My review:

There’s something about Diane Chamberlain’s writing and the worlds she creates, something that grabs me from the very beginning. Maybe it’s the southern setting, the historical side of the story, or the way she makes you care about the characters after only a few pages. I’ve read some of her books and although I haven’t loved all of them, a couple are among my personal favorites. And The Dream Daughter is probably my favorite of hers yet. It’s a WONDERFUL book.

I admit that, at first, I didn’t consider reading it because her last one had left me a bit indifferent. But after reading wonderful reviews from some of my favorite bloggers, I realized I wanted to give it a chance. The blurb doesn’t really say anything about the plot, but I guess I must’ve seen what it really was about in a review, because I knew the “real plot” before I started reading it. Without saying much, I can promise you that the book is SO MUCH MORE than what the blurb says. In fact, I can assure you that the blurb doesn’t make me want to read it at all. Remember A Mother’s Confession? Don’t get me wrong, these two books are not similar at all, but they are both wonderful novels that I wouldn’t have read at first because of their title, cover, or blurb, and yet they ended up being favorites of mine.

This is going to be a top 5 of the year for me, and I have no doubt about that. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to tell everyone about this book, I literally explained the whole story to my boyfriend and I couldn’t stop thinking of what I would’ve done had I been in Carly’s situation. This book made me cry more than once, as it was emotional, sad and yet comforting at the same time.

The storyline is super hard to predict and there was a particularly shocking twist that I never saw coming and left me speechless. I read the book in less than two days because once I picked it up, I couldn’t let it go. I was consumed by it. And I’ll never forget it.

 

Review: Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

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When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead? As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident. Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked. With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim? The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet.

My review:

To be honest, I hadn’t yet recovered from Angela Marson’s last Kim Stone book (Dying Truth) when I saw that the new installment was already out! I admit I was kind of angry when I finished reading #8, but of course, I still wanted to continue reading this series, as it’s one of my favorites. I love how Angela Marsons continues to write amazing mysteries every time, and they’re always thrilling and addictive as the first one.

Fatal Promise was another great book featuring two different cases that our team have to solve as soon as possible. One of the characters from the last book is actually the victim in this one, and there’s a mysterious serial killer who’s not stopping anytime soon… As usual, the plot was top-notch. And the prologue featuring the mysterious killer was so fantastic that it grabbed me right away. This is not a slow-burn at all.

As I kept on reading, I realized Stacey’s case about the missing girl was the one that I was most interested in. This mystery was not entirely unpredictable because of a certain fiction with the same plot that has become popular this year, but I nevertheless thought the young girl’s story was heartbreaking and emotional. I always love this kind of revelations.

As for the characters, I really loved the new addition and I enjoyed learning more about his backstory. And of course, I liked that Stacey was more of a protagonist this time around. Kim’s personal storyline was also really touching and I almost cried during certain scenes.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle

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Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found. Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman’s corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan’s past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods–if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister. Both cases reveal old secrets–about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they’ve been hiding from each other their whole careers.

My review:

As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read Idyll Hands. I didn’t know this series so I hadn’t read the previous books, but I believe this can be read as a standalone and I had no issues following the characters and their backstory.

This is a police procedural set in the 90s, and it features two different cold cases that must be solved many years later. Although the main character is chief Tommy Lynch, we also have Detective Finnegan narrate his side of the story, and the disappearance of his sister was my favorite case out of the two.

I really enjoyed this book, not only because of the mysteries, which were smart and well-written but because of the interaction between the characters. I loved reading about Lynch’s love life, and I found incredibly interesting that he was the gay chief of police, as I haven’t encountered many characters like him in mystery books. He was so likable!

As for the investigation, I did think that the first clue for the Finnegan’s sister case was a bit too coincidental (Seriously? No one thought of that? And are we supposed to believe that many years later someone just spills the truth after speaking to Tommy Lynch for the first time?), but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story at all.

This is a great cop procedural featuring a unique protagonist and a set of interesting secondary characters. Stephanie Gayle is an amazing writer and I loved reading all the references to 90s movies and culture.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

My review:

First of all, I want to say that I haven’t read all the books in this series. I read the first one years ago when it came out and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. But then, I watched the tv series last year and I really enjoyed it, especially because of Cormoran and Robin, whose relationship I adored.

As I knew what was going on because of the tv series, I decided to read the fourth book, Lethal White. When it arrived, I couldn’t believe it was almost 700 pages. Surely, JK Rowling is following the same path as with the Harry Potter books. But would Lethal White be as entertaining as the latter HP novels? I couldn’t wait to find out.

This was a buddy read with a friend and I’m not proud to say that it took us almost three weeks to finish it. I started another book while I was reading Lethal White, but it wasn’t really a matter of lack of time, it was just SO LONG that I never felt I was making progress.

The plot was super addictive at first (the mystery of Billy was what made me want to keep reading) but as I kept on reading, I realized the main mystery was a political storyline that I didn’t really enjoy that much. Halfway through the book, the intrigue picked up and it became more engaging because of a sudden death that left me wondering what had happened.

Overall, I would say that this book interested me more because of Cormoran and Robin’s personal lives than because of the mystery storyline. I truly believe this novel could’ve been like 50% shorter and the result would’ve been the same. And that’s a pity because I really like JK Rowling, and I love Robin and Cormoran, but unfortunately, this was not a favorite of mine.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers ‏

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Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him. When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

My review:

A few months ago I wanted to read something different and so I came across Sadie, which looked like a young adult novel but with a mystery touch. I don’t usually read YA (although I enjoy some) and everyone was raving about it, so I thought it would be a great idea to give it a chance.

Sadie was a sad story and quite different from the other two books I read by Courtney Summers (like 10 years ago), but I can’t say I loved it the same way. It was a good novel, it didn’t take me long to read it, and I certainly loved the podcast format, but it wasn’t a memorable read for me.

This is the story of a young girl who flees her hometown in search for someone she believes killed her little sister. At the same time, there’s a podcast about them called “The Girls” which follows Sadie’s disappearance. I found this section of the book rather interesting, the format made it a quick read and the chapters where Sadie was the narrator were also compelling and intriguing.

In the end, the main reason why I think I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted is that it was pretty predictable in my opinion. The reason behind the disappearance and the secrets that Sadie was hiding weren’t shocking. We’ve read this same story many times before and this wasn’t a favorite of mine.

Would I recommend this? Yes. If you enjoy Courtney Summer’s writing -nothing to complain here, she writes beautifully-, and edgy YA stories, this could be a winner for you.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review