Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

I am pleased to start this week with a review for The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas. As many of you know I love books about the supernatural so I was excited to be given the chance to be on this blog tour organised by @rararesources

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

The House of Secrets_FINAL (1)

The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

Title: The House of Secrets (The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book 2)

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Genre: paranormal crime

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release Date: 11th April 2019

Blurb

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

Purchase News: The House of Secrets is 99p throughout June as part of the June Kindle Monthly deal. The Spirit of Grace, book 1 in the series is also 99p throughout June.

My Thoughts

The opening scene grabbed my attention but the verdict of Sarah’s father murder trial clinched it, I knew I would like this book . The House of Secrets is the second in the Sarah Bennett series but it can be read as a standalone. It does make you curious about Sarah Bennett’s and Zeke’s back story which is why the previous one The Spirit of Grace is on my TBR list . The premise of a psychic protagonist investigating crime is not unique but set in the 1940s  the threat of being admitted to an asylum is ever present adding to the overall tension. Sarah is haunted by the past but determined not to sucked under by the spirits she hears or the gossip that follows her.

The prose and imagery made it a relaxing read and reminded me of the Agatha Christie Mysteries but with ghosts which I think is a wonderful combination. I was immersed in the working of the Geisler household and its occupants. It has been converted into an institute for psychiatric patients but with Dr Geisler’s interest in the occult some are also believed to have psychic abilities. Minna is a classic damsel in distress from a Gothic novel and was fun to read but my favourite character was sophisticated Cynthia. I would love to read about her and hope she plays apart in any future books. All the characters including Dr Gleiser have an air of secrecy about them and I felt any of them could prove to be Sarah’s undoing. Like Sarah I was unsure who to trust and where the story would go.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a refreshing, cosy read for lazy days on the beach, Sunday mornings or hiding under the duvet. I am looking forward to reading more of the series and other books by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Author Biography

The House of Secrets Headshot

Author Terry Lynn Thomas

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources, and HQ Digital for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. For more information and reviews on The House Of Secret why not visit the other blogs on the tour.

I love ghostly reads so feel free to share your recommendations below and if you have read this series please let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading !

Love

The House of Secrets Full Tour Banner

Other blogs on this tour

Book Review: The Lost Children by Helen Phifer

Book Review: The Lost Children or Dark House by Helen Phifer

The first book I have finished this month, September is a complete contrast to the last book I read in August. From a heart felt romance, I Give You My Heart I have skipped to a cold blooded murder mystery The Lost Children by Helen Phifer. Confusingly it has been republished under the new name of Dark House.

I found this on the shelf at the library; the dark ominous cover and corresponding creepy blurb called to me demanding to be read.

The Lost Children by Helen Phifer

The Lost Children book cover

Title: The Lost Children

Author: Helen Phifer

Publisher: Bookoutre

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Blurb

A shadowy figure in the dark was dragging something heavy behind them. Lizzy pulled the covers over her head, then realised what was being dragged. She rammed a fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For years, the Moore Asylum housed the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But now, a man is found brutally murdered in the derelict building, strapped to a steel trolley, launching a terrifying investigation for Detective Lucy Harwin.

Lucy quickly discovers the victim was once a Moore Asylum doctor, and when a woman also linked to the home is found murdered on her doorstep, Lucy knows she must dig into its history. What dark secrets lie within the asylum’s walls – what was the scandal leading to its closure thirty years ago?

With her own demons to fight, Lucy starts to uncover the shocking tale of the Moore Asylum children, and begins to wonder: who will be the next victim?

Just as Lucy thinks she’s closing in, a disturbing clue makes her suspect the killer is watching her every move. Can she catch this twisted individual before another life is lost, or will they get to her first?

A terrifying serial killer thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone.

My Thoughts

The discovery of a body in the old asylum set the tone of this book and I was instantly hooked. DI Lucy Harwin was introduced and she was refreshingly not the badass loner detective with a tragic upbringing I have come to expect but a struggling stressed mum of a troublesome teenager. This made her instantly relatable. She has depth and a back story which I am sure will be revealed in future books as well as a the possibility of discovering more of her dating exploits.

The novel is gruesome without being gory and the pace is just right for it to be page turner urging you forward into the criminal investigation with its unexpected twists and turns. The case is creepy and dark; perfect for a thriller hit to read autumnal or winter evenings.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. As it says it would attract fans of MJ Arlidge and Sharon Bolton.

I have already ordered the next one of the series, Dying Breath and can’t wait to read it.

Discover more about the author on her website https://www.helenphifer.com/

Twitter @helenphifer1

Facebook @Helenphifer1

Have you read this series? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Book Review for the Quaker

Book Review: The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

This book was not the typical crime novel I would chose to read  but the title spiked my interest and the blurb lured me in to read. Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Book review for The Quaker

The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

 

Title: The Quaker

Author: Liam McIlvanney

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

Genre: Crime

Release Date: 28th June 2018

Blurb

His name fills the streets with fear…

In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Liam McIlvanney, a serial killer stalks the streets of Glasgow and DI McCormack follows a trail of devastating secrets to uncover the truth…

A city torn apart.
Glasgow, 1969. In the grip of the worst winter for years, the city is brought to its knees by a killer whose name fills the streets with fear: the Quaker. He takes his next victim – the third woman from the same nightclub – and dumps her in the street like rubbish.

A detective with everything to prove.
The police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands, is ordered to join the investigation. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair. Soon he learns just how difficult life can be for an outsider.

A killer who hunts in the shadows.
When another woman is found murdered in a tenement flat, it’s clear the case is by no means over. From ruined backstreets to the dark heart of Glasgow, McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…

 

My Thoughts

Set in 1960’s Glasgow the author descriptions took me into the heart of city and East End. I have no knowledge of Glasgow and my knowledge of the 1960’s and the police is a mish mash of the television programmes Call a Midwife, Heartbeat and vague recollections of Inspector George Gently and a hint of Life on Mars but Liam McIlvanney made it real. I could taste the whisky,  smell the cigarette smoke and hear the music of the dancing halls as he took me into the slums and condemned buildings and murky criminal underworld.

The story follows DI McCormack as he deals with the backlash and resentment from murder team after he arrives because they have been unable to crack the case. He is deep, thoughtful and has is own secrets. I enjoyed the tension and relationship between him and Goldie who takes the role of his antagonist.

Liam McIlvanney wove the threads murders, backstories and gangsters together to produce a novel I struggled to put down. It may not be fast paced like some crime novels where action follows action but the strength of character and plot made me want to read one more chapter. He produced twists I did not see coming which left me wanting to read more of his work and I truly hope this book will not be the only time I meet DI McCormack.

Would I recommend?

Definitely if you enjoy a crime whodunit novel with strong characters and powerful imagery.

Book Review: If I want you by Rachel Brimble

If I want you by Rachel Brimble is a romance/crime novel and I was instantly drawn to it because of its blurb. Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

 

Cover (med)

 

Title: If I want you.

Author: Rachel Brimble

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc

Release Date: 8th Nov 2017

 

Blurb

When local journalist, Tori Peterson, fails to prevent a child abduction outside her niece’s school, her horror and guilt sparks a vow to do whatever it takes to get little Abby Brady home to her parents.

While Tori battles the vile memories of her own kidnapping as a child, she accepts the help of widowed father, Mark Bolton. As he and Tori join forces with the local police, their attraction and intimacy grows…along with their fears for Abby.

Links are uncovered between Abby’s disappearance and Tori’s kidnapping, and Tori is forced to accept the monster who held her captive is back. But this time, Tori is all grown up, and there is no way she will let him hurt another little girl.

 

Purchase Links–

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/190CYmx

Amazon US: http://a.co/c5O5R7s

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-i-want-you-rachel-brimble/1127157672?ean=2940158911118

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/if-i-want-you

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_Brimble_If_I_Want_You?id=E-g7DwAAQBAJ

My Thoughts

The suggestion by the blurb that this is a psychological thriller is in contrast to the cover with its predominantly sultry male protecting the heroine which gives away its romantic nature; though fiercely, independent Tori is not your damsel in distress who needs a knight in shining armour to rescue her.  It is a high tension romance entwined with a gripping crime.

Rachel Brimble throw you into the action from the first page when Tori witnesses an abduction that takes her back to own kidnapping as a child. Despite her traumatic experience, she is a strong, feisty character who is prepared to fight when she realizes the two events may be linked rather than cower away. This trait means it is a shock when she discovers her attraction to the overprotective father, Mark Bolton. There are twists and turns as the story unfolds and as a reader, like Tori, you are unsure who to trust.

This is a highly enjoyable, page-turning romance with the added excitement of its unusual thrilling premise. It is set in the UK. I had to double check because it has many Americanisms and I assumed it was set in America. In a way, this would have made more sense because in the UK with its smaller population, everyone would remember the name of a kidnapped child – my only gripe but it is easily overlooked as the suspense grows.

I look forward to reading more from this author. For one lucky winner, her backlist can be won – see giveaway below.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you are looking for a high tension, steamy romance with a unique edge

Author Bio 

Author pic - Dec 2017

Rachel Brimble

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Jan 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press as well as writing several single titles for the Wild Rose Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Social Media Links 

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Giveaway

Giveaway to win a PDF of any book from Rachel Brimble’s Back List (Open Internationally)

Rachel Brimble has a rather varied and extensive backlist,  and one lucky winner can win a PDF of a book of their choice from it.  Full backlist can be viewed here – https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949478/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

If I Want You Full Tour Banner

 

Happy reading and good luck in the competition!

Book Review: Hangman by Daniel Cole

After reading Ragdoll by Daniel Cole earlier this year, I was excited to receive an ARC of the next book in the crime series, Hangman. Thank you to NetGalley and Orion for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review.

Hangman by Daniel Cole cover

Title: Hangman

Author: Daniel Cole

Publisher: Orion Publishing Group

Release date: 22nd March 2018

 

Blurb

The new thriller from the bestselling author of Ragdoll

A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose

18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.

In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.

Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?

My Thoughts

What a thrill! This book grabbed me from the beginning,  once I had got my head around the plethora of characters introduced there and it did not let me go until the last page. By the middle, I was tempted to read it behind a cushion and was grateful I was reading not watching the scenes on a screen. If you are put off by powerful gruesome murders I would give this book a miss –  it isn’t for the squeamish or faint-hearted.

All the characters have depth and backstory adding to the plot which is full of complicated, intricate twists.  Investigations in UK and America with the involvement of FBI and CIA are not my usual read but the relationships between the three units held my attention. This is not a book to skim read but one to immerse yourself in without giving yourself nightmares.

The introduction says you do not have to have read the first book of the series, Ragdoll but personally, I think it is an advantage because it introduces you to main characters, Emily Baxter and Wolf and their complex relations and motivations.

I loved the intensity of this book but now need to catch up on all the things I postponed so I could keep reading.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes! Daniel Cole is someone to read if you love crime thrillers, complex characters and don’t mind gory imagery. It is reminiscent of the books by Mo Hayder.

Deep in the forest

Book review: Senseless by Andrea Jutson

This is the first book in James Paxton series about a reluctant medium. I love crime novels and the supernatural so when both genres collide I have to read that book. Thank you to  Williams & Whiting for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Senseless by Andrea Jutson cover

Senseless by Andrea Jutson cover

 

Blurb

A small park in a nice Auckland suburb is the least likely spot to stumble across a body. The discovery of a man recently bludgeoned to death shatters the illusion of midwinter calm.
But unfortunately for James Paxton, death is nothing out of the ordinary. Suspicion falls all too easily on the Englishman who’s hiding a secret. Not only did Paxton find the dead man – he spoke to him, too. Gifts he wished he never had are called into play when Mark Bradley begs him to track down his killer, for the sake of his daughter. Paxton’s carefully constructed new world threatens to crumble as he is sucked into the hunt for a predator, while the police snap close at his heels. And the corpses keep on mounting, one by one …
A darkly gripping mystery with an other-worldly twist.

My thoughts

This debut is based in Auckland, New Zealand and it is refreshing read about a different location away from America or UK because it adds another location to my list of places mentioned in fiction I want  visit one day.

James Paxton is a likable character who finds himself in difficult situation when he stumbles over a dead body in a park. The murder victim, Mark Bradley speaks to him and promises are made sending him on a mission to track down a killer.  There is a natural relationship with Lena, Mark’s daughter and I enjoyed the flow of dialogue and dark humour between them which drives the story forward. There were times I questioned whether someone grieving would say or do certain things she did but then I  remembered members of my family and had to agree some people would.

The antagonist is a perfect contrast to the ease of personalities of Lena and Paxton. It is a plot that keeps you guessing and the increased tension towards the end meant sleep was forgotten until I read the last page.

I am looking forward to reading more books in the series and hope some of the detectives who make an appearance in this also appear in the next one.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an enjoyable read with a blend of crime and paranormal. The crime gets more graphic as killing escalates so it not for squeamish.

If you want to know more visit:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Senseless-1-James-Paxton-Mysteries/dp/1911266829