All posts by Marnie Harrison

Deep Dark Secrets by Keri Beevis #BookReview #DeepDarkSecrets #PsyhologicalThriller @keribeevis @Bloodhoundbook #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing on its publication day Deep Dark Secrets by Keri Beevis, published by Bloodhound Books.

Book Blurb

The darkest minds hide the deepest secrets…

Lizzie Kent wasn\’t supposed to babysit the night she was murdered. She was covering for her best friend, Nell. Nell has lived with the guilt ever since.

Eighteen years later Nell returns to the area, desperate to escape a bad relationship after inheriting her aunt\’s rundown guesthouse. But her return isn\’t welcomed by everyone – in particular Sam Kent, who blames Nell for his sister\’s death. And after a few unsettling incidents, it becomes apparent that someone is trying to scare her.

Is Sam responsible or has Nell\’s abusive ex-boyfriend managed to track her down?

Or is someone else, with a more sinister agenda, responsible?

*** This book was previously published as The Darkness Beneath ***

How have I not read anything by this amazingly talented author before!! A mistake that I am so glad I have now rectified by reading this outstanding book! What a read this is and one that will have you up until all hours reading it, just like I did. The only thing stopping me reading this in one sitting was my family Christmas celebrations and if this wasn’t the case I could have done it easily. Between us though, there were times I did disappear to sneak a couple of cheeky chapters in throughout the day! With a chilling and captivating cover, a plot that keeps you in its grip until the last page, the beautiful sea side setting in the fictional Purity Island, well developed characters and spectacular writing, this book has it all and it is definitely a contender to be part of my best books for 2020.

The plot of this story drew me in straight away and had me hooked! Imagine living with the guilt of your best friend being murdered on the night when she helped you out to babysit so you could go out on a date. There would be nothing worse and this is what Nell has lived with for the last eighteen years. To make matters worse, the murder of Lizzie was never solved. Now living in Chicago, having left Purity years ago she finds herself returning when she needs to escape from her abusive boyfriend. Inheriting her aunts guesthouse when she passes away, this is the perfect place for Nell to go but not everyone is happy she is back, especially Sam the brother of Lizzie who still blames Nell for her murder. When strange things start to occur, Nell is terrified that her boyfriend has found out where she is or could it be Sam out to gain his revenge against her? When revealed, it will shock you!

In terms of the characters, there are quite a few, but they are all integral to the story and Keri has done a fantastic job with them all and each one comes to life through the pages extremely well, even the unlikeable ones! Sometimes having so many characters in a story can be quite overwhelming for me, but Keri does a great job in ensuring that each one’s role is clear and there is never any confusion. For me the standout was definitely Nell. As the main protagonist she carries the story on her shoulders well. Continuing to blame herself for her best friends murder and living in an abusive relationship, my heart just went out to her. On top of this, she also lives with anxiety. Being a sufferer myself, I thought Keri did an amazing job at conveying this so realistically. Another favourite was definitely chief of Purity police Alex Cutler. When first introduced to him, I wasn’t sure but as the story progressed I really enjoyed his character.

As I mentioned at the start of this review Keri’s writing is spectacular and she has such a gift of keeping the reader engaged. She is also a master at building up tension and suspense throughout. I was on the edge on my seat so many times and at one point I nearly fell off! True story! I also enjoyed how an additional layer was added to the story with a subplot to another mystery when Nell discovers the name Sarah written a number of times on a wall in the attic of the guesthouse. There wasn’t a big focus on this to start with and I was wondering how it was all going to come together, but when the story moved to Sarah’s point of view, this is when it really kicked off. It really compliments and ties into the main story seamlessly as well as its part it plays into the thrilling conclusion, which also pulled at my heartstrings.

All up this is one hell of a read and I am so glad that Keri is now on my radar and I can’t wait to read what I hope will be many more books to come from her. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to read and review Deep Dark Secrets which I can’t recommend highly enough.

Thank-you to Heather Fitt from Bloodhound Books for inviting me to the publication day party and for providing me with a copy of the ebook of Deep Dark Secrets which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.

The Man She Married by Alison James #BookReview #TheManSheMarried #PsychologicalThriller #NetGalley @AlisonJbooks @Bookouture #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing The Man She Married by Alison James. This was released on the 13th of January, published by Bookouture.

Book Blurb

How well do you know your husband?

Since Alice’s fiancé walked out on her, she never thought she’d meet ‘The One’. But all that changes when she meets Dominic. Handsome, charming and kind, Alice can’t believe her luck when he proposes a few months later and moves into her West London home.

Three years on, Alice’s catering business is thriving and she is married to a man she adores. So when she sees that little blue line, it should be the happiest moment of her life: they’re going to have a baby. But then the police knock on her door and Alice’s whole world is turned upside down… Dominic is dead.

Distraught, Alice goes to identify the body. There’s no doubt that it’s her husband. Yet when his estranged brother comes to view the coffin, he insists the man lying there is not Dominic. Alice refuses to believe it at first, but when confronted with irrefutable proof, she finally has to face the truth:

The man she married is not the person he said he was. And if he lied about that, what else was he hiding from her?

Wow what a read!. In the immortal words of the legendary Bette Davis from the classic, All About Eve, “Fasten Your Seatbelts, It’s Going to be a Bumpy Night!”, this was definitely my experience when reading this book. I was up all night reading this and loved how Alison wasted no time in getting things going and how she had me buckling up as she took me on a wild ride into the lives of Alice and Dominic. As the blurb suggests, it is an absolutely gripping psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page.

Alison has created a plot that is everything I love in a psychological thriller. Full of mystery and suspense with twists and turns to keep you on your toes, I was completely hooked on this plot when I read what this story was about. It is so much more than a boy meets girl, they get married and live happily ever story. It is a frightening insight and account into how the person you thought you could trust with everything in your life, isn’t the person that they have portrayed themselves to be, which makes the life that you have been living a complete lie. How is Alice able to move on from that? Well you will just have to read this book to find out won’t you…

The characters of Alice and Dominic are very well developed and definitely had me feeling mixed emotions between the two. My heart broke for Alice. Having given herself to the man she believed loved her, only finding out he was not who she thought he was, was just a massive kick in the guts for her. Although I did find her naive at times, I guess this was due to her love for him. It is easy to have an opinion looking in from the outside than actually living it. Now Dominic on the other hand was an ass and a master manipulator. As the villain he has been perfectly written in this role. Aside from my views of him, I really did enjoy reading the story from his point of view and to find out how he was able to cover his tracks and lies. It was actually quite exhausting to read in how it was done.

With writing that is both engaging and captivating, what I really loved the most was how Alison structured this book. It starts with a prologue that gives you goosebumps and sets up the tone of the story, it then moves into Alices point of view of when she met Dominic, It goes back to the current day in the middle of the book where it leaves you on a cliffhanger, then moves to Dominic’s point of view then back to the current day where it all comes together in the thrilling conclusion. It is very cleverly done, different and kept my attention throughout.

Even though this is only the second book I have read from Alison, I have quickly learned that you need to make sure you have nothing else to do when starting a book from her as you cannot not put them down! The Man She Married takes you hostage right from the start and keeps ahold of you till the end. I am so glad that I have been introduced to Alison’s work and I look forward to I hope many more books to come from her. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to read and review The Man She Married which I highly recommend.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Alison James for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Man She Married which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.

Rules if Murder by Rob Sinclair #BookReview #RulesOfMurder #CrimeThriller #Series #NetGalley @RSinclairAuthor @canelo_co #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing on its publication day Rules of Murder by Rob Sinclair, published by Canelo.

Books Blurb

The case was closed. Now everyone connected is getting killed. Let the games begin…

Henry and Caroline Redfearne’s annual ball is the hottest social event of the year.

But the fun is cut short by the discovery of their son’s body, apparently the victim of a frenzied assault. He was last seen heading off with 17-year-old Sophie Blackwood, and a blood trail seems to show that Sophie has been kidnapped.

DI Dani Stephens, still struggling after an attack by her serial killer brother, is thrown into a desperate search for a murderer who kills and keeps on killing. With Sophie still missing, and no clues in sight, she has nowhere to turn. Nowhere, that is, except her brother…

The next gripping instalment of the DI Stephens series is an unputdownable and twist-filled crime thriller, perfect for readers of Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza and LJ Ross.

There is so much I want to say about this brilliant book, but my words are so jumbled in my head, which is spinning so fast, I can’t articulate them properly. Ok, so I took a break and now I’m ready to get stuck into this review. What a ripper of a read The Rules of Murder is. The second book in the series, (which can be read as a standalone) this has fast become one of my favourites and I hope there will be many books to come.

Rob has created a very dark, chilling and gripping story that is not for the faint-hearted. There is no settling into the story as Rob sets the pace at lightning speed. You know when you go to get into a car and the driver starts to take off before you are fully in it, well this is exactly what the start of this book feels like! You are thrown in and at no point does Rob take his foot off the accelerator until the final page!

It was great to catch up with Dani again to see how she has gotten on after the events in The Essence of Evil. This time, the layers are peeled back a bit further and we get more insight into her and her relationship with her serial killer twin brother, who I must say as a villain, is perfectly written in this role. In terms of the structure of the book, I enjoyed the story being told from Dani’s point of view, but I thought it was great to also have chapters told from the voice of the killer. It was really interesting that Rob revealed the killer quite early on in the story, making it a point of difference and away from the norm of waiting till towards the end for the big reveal.

Rob is absolutely on fire in this book and for me, it is his best yet! Everything about this is just on point from the plot, the characters, the pace, the writing and that thrilling ending. Just WOW! There were so many times throughout that I had to remind myself to breathe and slow down flicking the pages on the kindle as I was starting to miss some things in my haste to get to the conclusion.

I think you get the idea that I loved this book, so it should be no surprise that I am including this in my best books for 2020. It just delivers on so many aspects of what makes a book great and I can’t wait for the next instalment. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review The Rules of Murder which I can not recommend highly enough.

Thank you to NetGalley, Canelo and Rob Sinclair for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Rules of Murder which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage #BookReview #BabyTeeth #Thriller @zooshka #PenguinEbooks #onceuponatimebookreviews

Today I am reviewing Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. This was released on the 16th of July, published by Penguin eBooks.

Continue reading Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage #BookReview #BabyTeeth #Thriller @zooshka #PenguinEbooks #onceuponatimebookreviews

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson #BookReview #NeverHaveIEver #SuspenseThriller #NetGalley @JoshilynJackson @WmMorrowBooks #onceuponatimebookblog

 

Today I am reviewing Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. This was released on the 30th of July, published by William Morrow and Company.


Book Blurb

In this game, even winning can be deadly…

Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it–teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy\’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it\’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way–a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they\’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn\’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she\’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she\’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can\’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson\’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.

This is a really great read that will keep you enthralled right from the get go through to the thrilling conclusion. If you love a story that is full of mystery, suspense, one kickass of a showdown and where you are taken on a wild ride, then this is the book for you!

The plot of the story is quite twisted. Joshilyn has created a world where everyone has something to hide and how each person will do whatever it takes to keep their secrets hidden. An innocent book club meeting hosted by Amy for her friends that all live the same street, turns sinister when new resident Roux turns up and moves the direction of the meeting to a dangerous game of Never Have I Ever.

Mostly nothing ever good comes when playing this game and it should never be played when copious amounts of alcohol have been consumed! In this case, inhibitions are shed and secrets are revealed, and for these women, it changes the course of the perfect lives that they have portrayed to have. But for Amy, she has the biggest secret to hide and Roux has set her sights on her to make sure that Amy pays for the tragic event that occurred in her past and she won’t stop until she gets what she wants, no matter the consequences and who she hurts along the way.

There are a few characters in this book but the main players of Amy and Roux are definitely the standouts. Both have been written extremely well with Amy as the more likeable character that I felt sympathy for, where Roux is just a despicable calculating human being who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Both play their parts in the story well and have been created as very believable. Let’s just say I would never want to come across Roux alone in a dark alley!!

I really enjoyed Joshilyn’s writing style. Whilst at times I would have liked the pace to be a bit quicker, for the most part it did move at the right speed and built just the right amount of tension along the way. There was a part towards the end of the book where it took a bit of an unexpected turn and the subject matter was a bit confronting and a surprise, but it did not ruin the overall story for me and the final outcome was satisfying. All up this is a thoroughly enjoyable read which I definitely recommend.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Raven Books and Joshilyn Jackson for granting me the wish and allowing me to read an advanced copy of Never Have I Ever which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.

Buy here

The Girl Across the Street by Vikki Patis #BookReview #TheGirlAcrossTheStreet #PsychologicalThriller #NetGalkey @VikkiPatis @Bookouture #onceuponatimebookblog

 

Today I am reviewing The Girl Across the Street by Vikki Patis. This was released on the 8th of March, published by Bookouture.


Book Blurb

You’re hiding a secret that only she can see.

Her name is Beth. She came into my life when I needed her the most. We lead very different lives, but she’s the only person who understands me.

She was the only other witness to the terrible accident on the street between our homes. The only person who saw the cracks in my perfect life before I had the chance to cover them up.

It’s been so long since I’ve had a friend. Someone to talk to, to listen to, to laugh and dream with.

Beth would never do anything to hurt me.

She only wants what’s best for me, for my marriage.

Doesn’t she?

An unputdownable psychological suspense thriller that will grip you until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Couple Next Door.

After both witnessing a tragic accident, Isla and Beth form an unlikely friendship.

Both different with Isla coming from wealth and Beth struggling to make ends meet both women have secrets that become entwined in each others lives and first appearances are not what they seem.

Isla seems to have the perfect life but behind closed doors she is in a controlling and abusive marriage with Jake.

When Beth comes into her life, Isla feels she has finally found a friendship that she craves but she can no longer hide her secret life when circumstances bring Beth into her home to stay. But is Beth the friend that Isla believes her to be and what is her connection to Isla\’s husband Jake?

What follows is a story of lies, deceit and murder…

This is the first book I have read from Vikki Patis and it won\’t be my last. it is a fast paced psychological thriller which had me hooked right from the start. I highly recommend this book.

This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.

Buy here