All posts by Marnie Harrison

The Strangers Wife by Anna-Lou Weatherley #BookReview #TheStrangersWife #PsychologicalThriller #Series #NetGalley @annaloulondon @Bookouture #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing on its publication day The Strangers Wife by Anna-Lou Weatherley, published by Bookouture.

Book Blurb

Beth and Cath are leaving their husbands.

This is a story about two very different women.

One is wealthy and having an affair with a man who gives her the kind of love that her cold, detached husband does not.

One is living hand to mouth, suffering at the hands of a violent partner who would rather see her dead than leave him.

You may think you know these women already and how their lives will unfold.

Beth will live happily ever after with her little girl and her soulmate.

Cath will go back to her abusive husband.

And these two women will never cross paths.

But you will be wrong.

On the 3.15pm train from London to Bristol, Beth and Cath are about to meet and discover they share one shocking thing in common.

A clever, engrossing and absolutely unputdownable page-turner of a read about what really lies beneath the surface of a marriage. Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will be hooked on The Stranger’s Wife.

I am such a sucker for a great cover and sometimes this is what makes me want to read a book before I even know what it is about. This was definitely the case with The Stranger’s Wife. It is so compelling and had me drawn to it straight away. After then reading the blurb, it was a no brainer that this was a must read and it didn’t take me long to get completely caught up into the worlds of Beth and Cath and the drama that Anna-Lou has expertly created. I also really enjoyed the quote used in the epigraph from William Shakespeare “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”. It is one of my favourite quotes from the great man and is quite fitting to this story.

The Stranger’s Wife is one twisted addictive read and is absolutely brilliant! Anna-Lou had me completely immersed in this story and invested into the characters of Beth and Cath right from the beginning and I could not turn the pages fast enough to see how it was all going to unfold. When I got there I was not disappointed at all, only that it had come to an end. Starting with a chilling prologue that sets the tone of the story, the reader is then taken on a wild ride full of twists and turns that evoke so many different emotions with plenty of suspense and surprises along the way. I was exhausted by the end of it, but in a good way.

The characterisation in this book is second to none. Anna-Lou has created Beth and Cath perfectly and I loved them both and was rooting for them throughout the story. One from wealth and one from squalor they couldn’t be more different looking in from the outside, but when looking in on the inside they are both one and the same. Both living with abusive husbands although one is psychical where the other is more a silent abuser, these men are despicable and I absolutely detested them both. I do have to say though they have been written so well as the villains that on multiple occasions I just wanted to reach into my kindle and slap them both!

This is the first book I have read from Anna-Lou, but what made The Stranger’s Wife even more appealing to me was the execution. Anna-Lou has a very unique style and everything just comes together so seamlessly without any effort. I found it hard to pull myself away from it at times as it certainly got and kept my attention throughout. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it which for me is what makes a book great. Even after having finished it for awhile now it still comes into my head every now and then.

When I started this review, I had read from other reviewers that this book is the third in the Detective Dan Riley series. Not realising this, I would not have even noticed to be honest if I didn’t read that. The book can definitely be read as a stand-alone and in no way changes my view or rating by not knowing this upfront. For me it is actually a bonus. Having really enjoyed Dan’s character and always having it in the back of my mind that he would make for a great series front runner, I will be looking forward to going back and reading the first two books and gaining more insight into him.

All up The Stranger’s Wife is the perfect book to get lost in. With a gripping and intriguing plot, strong characters and writing that is engaging, it is a first class psychological thriller all round. I am so glad that I have been introduced to Anna-Lou’s work and I am really looking forward to seeing what that wicked mind of hers comes up with next! It was an absolute pleasure to be able to read and review The Stranger’s Wife which i can’t recommend highly enough.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Anna-Lou Weatherley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Stranger’s Wife 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 Beach House by P.R. Black #BookReview #TheBeachHouse #Mystery #Thriller @PatBlack9 @HoZ_Books #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing on its publication day The Beach House by P.R. Black, published by Head of Zeus.

Book Blurb

This vacation is about to turn deadly…

Cora\’s on the island vacation of her dreams: a private beach in paradise, a romantic proposal, and an eight-figure cheque following the sale of her new fiancé’s business.

When their island turns out to be not so private after all, Cora tries to make the best of a bad situation by inviting their strangely friendly neighbours to celebrate with them.

But it doesn\’t take long for her once-in-a-lifetime holiday to take a very sinister turn…

What an absolute thrilling read this is and just reinforces why I don’t go on holidays. Ok so this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but if I was ever offered the opportunity to vacation on an island with my own private beach, I would definitely think twice before accepting after reading this book! If it was PR’s intention to make the reader feel this way, he has succeeded and has put the fear into me now. Thanks PR! Thanks a lot! 😂😂

Starting with the ominous cover of this book which sets up the tone of the book perfectly, PR takes the reader into the lives of Cora and Jonathan as they embark on what was supposed to be the perfect holiday. Everything starts out great as Jonathan has just proposed to Cora and with the sale of his business which is going to set them up for life financially, life is great, but when they meet Dylan and Hazel, their perfect holiday soon becomes their worst nightmare as things take a sinister turn.

Although I did not really connect with any of the characters in this story, they have all been exceptionally well written and are very believable in the roles that they play. They are all well rounded and each are not without their complex traits but this just makes them all work well together through the chapters. As the story progresses, there was many a time where I was questioning each and every one of them and who was actually playing who, which just made the story all the more interesting and engaging.

I really enjoyed the ease of PR’s writing which made the experience of reading this book all the more enjoyable. I did feel that the story moved at a slow pace to start with, but when it kicked in, boy did it take off and had me hanging on tight as I was taken on a wild ride that was full of twists and turns in the lead up to the thrilling and satisfying conclusion.

This is the first book I have read from PR and even though he has now ruined holidays for me, I will be definitely be reading more of his work in the future. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to read and review The Beach which I recommend.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Aria and PR Black for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Beach House 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.

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