When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill #BookReview #WheTheTimeComes #Mystery @adelesbooks @Aria_Fiction #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing When the Time Comes by Adele O\’Neill. This was released on the 21st of November 2019, published by Aria Fiction.

Book Blurb

Her husband says it\’s suicide. The police say it\’s murder.

Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she\’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can\’t cope alone.

One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it\’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it\’s murder.

Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it\’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer\’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.

As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…

When the Time Comes is a compelling read that had me in its clutches right from the beginning. What drew me in immediately, was the tag line in the synopsis “Her husband says it’s suicide. The police say it’s murder!” I didn’t even read what the rest of the story was about. I didn’t need to, as I was already hooked!

Adele has created an intriguing plot that is both thought-provoking and heartbreaking. It is more of a family drama about the tragedy that befalls the Buckley family with the death of ex-wife, mother and friend, Jennifer Buckley. As an advocate for euthanasia, Jennifer had wanted to end her life as she was losing the battle against Motor Neuron Disease. Not convinced, the police at once set their sights on Jennifer’s ex-husband Liam as the murderer. Isn’t it always the husband? Hmmm, you will just have to read this to find out, won’t you…

All of the characters have been well developed and all come to life so well through Adele’s writing. Although I can’t say I connected with all of them, the standouts for me were definitely Jennifer and her daughter Abbie. Both of them provided more of the heartwrenching moments in the story and really tore at the heartstrings. Have the tissues handy!

Adele expertly draws the reader in and does a great job in keeping your attention throughout. All told through writing that is engaging, emotive and descriptive, Adele sets up the opening scene really well and wastes no time in kicking things off and getting stuck into it.

I didn’t realise that this was the 3rd book in the Kelly and Kennedy series and in no way did this hinder my enjoyment of the book. It can easily be read as a standalone and honestly, I would not have even known if it wasn’t brought to my attention from other readers.

All up When the Time Comes is an utterly gripping tale that is a must-read. A new author to me, Adele is a great storyteller and I look forward to reading more from her. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review When the Time Comes which I recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley, Aria Fiction and Adele O’Neill for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Other Woman 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.

Jack Jansen and the Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh #BookReview #JackJanseandtheStormCaller #Fantasy @AndrewFMarsh #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing Jack Jansen and the Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh which was released on the 1st of November 2019.

Book Blurb

Jack Janson is nearly fourteen, an only child living with his parents who hate him almost as much as they hate each other. The only good things about his life are the girl next door, Sarah-Jane Farmer, whom he adores, and his Granny Jean in Cornwall who he spends the summer holidays with.

His gran is cool but she has been hiding a HUGE secret. As her health fails, she decides to share the secret with Jack.

Gran leads Jack to a cave.

“Boom Tom tum” a loud voice echoes and a rock opens up to reveal a young giant called Winfred Storm Caller. Gran has been looking after the friendly giant since pirates killed his mother, but she now needs Jack to care for Winfred.

Sarah-Jane arrives to help and they uncover The Book Of Lore hidden in the cave.

What magic does it possess?

Have they found a way to get Winfred home to his own lands?

Are Sarah-Jane and Jack brave enough to use the book to save Granny Jean’s life?

I very rarely leave my comfort zone of reading crime fiction, but when I was asked if I would like to review Jack Janson & the Storm Caller, I was intrigued by the story and thought why not. I have read a few young adult books in my time and since the days of Twilight and Harry Potter, apart from the Nevermoor series, I really haven’t seen a lot of newness around that is high in popularity as those series were and still are. Jack Janson & the Storm Caller has, in my opinion the potential to be the next big series that everyone will want to read.

What drew me to this story more than anything when I read the blurb, was the relationship that Jack had with his Granny Jean. Having lost my Nanna over a year ago now and who was also one of my best friends, you don’t see many stories nowadays where a teenager, let alone a teenage boy, is excited to spend his summer holidays with his Granny. It is really a refreshing change and added a level of sweetness to the story where we are now in a world, that for teenagers, revolves around their smartphones, social media, video games and being closed off from their families.

Andrew has created a great cast of characters that hold their own very well throughout the story. The character of Jack as the unlikely hero, is such a great loveable boy. I saw so much of myself in him back to when I was a teenager. I was also bullied at school and loved nothing more than escaping to and spending my school holidays with my Nanna. Although they weren’t spent with a friendly giant, they were some of the happiest moments of my life. I also really enjoyed the character of Sarah-Jane who compliments Jack really well. It also goes without saying that Winfred Storm Caller stole the show and I loved the development of friendship between him and Jack.

I enjoyed Andrew’s writing. It is very engaging, which is so important to keep the attention of the younger reader, but in saying that, Andrew has put together a magical world that is appealing to draw the reader in. I was also pleased to see that Andrew will be releasing two more books in the series. To quote Andrew:

I am going to publish at least two more books in the Jack Janson series, book 2 Jack Janson and the Pirates of Nathir and book 3 Jack Janson and the Treasure of V’Laddek. These tell the tale of Jack’s adventures in Ishkarr, the land of the giants as the giants face great danger from enemies on the outside and within.

With an enthralling plot and great characterisation that ties in so well with enthusiastic writing that is woven throughout, Jack Janson & the Storm Caller is a really fun read to get lost into. Not just for the young ones, I enjoyed getting back in touch with my inner child and was really taken with this story. It was a pleasure to be able to read and review Jack Janson & the Storm Caller, which I highly recommend.review

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 Three Women by Valerie Keogh #BookReview #TheThreeWomen #PsychologicalThriller @ValerieKeogh1 @Bloodhoundbook #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing on its publication day The Three Women by Valerie Keogh, published by Bloodhound Books.

Book Blurb

How well do you know your friends?

When Beth, Megan and Joanne meet at university, they become inseparable friends who’d do anything for one another — even agreeing to keep what happens one shocking night a secret.

Now in their forties and outwardly successful, each of the three has dealt with what happened in their own way. But secrets and lies leave their mark.

When Megan decides to tell her fiancée the truth about that night, it threatens to ruin the lives of everyone around her.

And someone is prepared to do anything to stop that happening…

Valerie Keogh is also the author of The Dublin Murder Mysteries. The Three Women is an utterly compelling psychological thriller which fans of authors like Louise Jensen, B A Paris and K.L. Slater are sure to love.

Brilliant, superb, impressive, terrific, fantastic, amazing, incredible and spectacular, are just a few words to describe my thoughts on The Three Women. It is no secret that I am a BIG fan of Valerie’s work and I have really loved each and every one one of her books that I have read, but The Three Women trumps all of them and is her best one yet! It is utterly breathtaking, addictive and gut wrenching. It is going to stay with me for a long time to come. Mark my words you need to buy this book right now, drop everything and get reading this amazing book immediately!

With a prologue that is so intense, that had me shaking with a pounding heart and is up there as one of the best I have ever read, this book had me glued to the pages and I could not tear myself away from it. Everything just stopped and I was instantly hooked, as I was taken on the journey and into the lives of three friends, Megan, Joanne and Beth and how one terrible event that occurred in their past during their university days, shaped the course of their lives in the years after. When Megan decides that she needs to tell the truth and confess to what really happened that fateful night to not only her fiancé but also Joanne and Beth, it creates a domino effect as more lies and secrets are exposed which puts the women’s friendship to the test.

Valerie has done a great job not only with the plot and the characters, but also the structure of the book. Told through alternating chapters, she gives each of the women their time to tell their part of the story, which I really enjoyed. She does not get to bogged down in the backstory though and gives the reader just enough information from the past for her to then concentrate more on the present day and the explosive after effects. This is where the story really kicks off and moves full steam ahead leading to the thrilling and jaw dropping conclusion.

Valerie is a fantastic writer and is at her best when she is writing in the psychological thriller genre. While reading this one, it still captured everything I love about her writing in terms of being engaging, fluid and emotive, but it felt different to me this time around and I found it to be more personal, straight from her heart and through her writing, I could tell that this story and it’s characters mean a lot to her. I was even in tears a couple of times throughout, it is that powerful! If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I definitely would!

So I think you get the idea that I loved this book, but I am going to take this to the next level and say that The Three Women is one hell of a read and is not just a contender to be part of my best books of 2020, no siree, it IS one of my best books for 2020 and just reinforces why Valerie is one of my favourite authors. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review The Three Women which I cannot recommend highly enough.

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 Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley #BookReview #TheWreckage #Thriller #NetGalley @rmorganbentley @TrapezeBooks #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley. This was released on the 2nd of February, published by Trapeze Books.

Book Blurb

One fatal crash. Two colliding worlds. Three wrecked lives.

School teacher Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to work.

A day like any other…

Except for one man who, in a final despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car, turning the teacher’s world upside down in a single horrifying instant…

Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, he develops a friendship with Alice, the dead man’s wife, and her 7-year-old son Max.

But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could he go too far in trying to make amends?

How would you cope, knowing you’d caused someone’s death?

Robin has created a plot that is straight out of your worst nightmare! Told via alternating chapters from the perspective of the two main protagonists Alice and Ben, we are taken on a journey into how the actions of Alice’s husband Adam, changes their lives forever. As I like to say in some of my reviews, less is more when discussing the plot, as I think the blurb gives the reader enough without going into any further detail. This is definitely the case for The Wreckage.

The characters in this story are very well developed, but I was not really able to connect with them. Having said that though, this did not hinder my enjoyment of the book and in some ways, I think they were supposed to get the reader to feel this way. Alice was the most interesting to me. Cold and detached and at times a downright you know what, she is the one that has the most growth throughout and as the story progresses the layers are peeled away and you understand why she is the way she is.

Ben, always had me feeling uneasy. I sympathised with him of course, but perhaps it was also the fact that I was questioning his intentions. Robin had me second guessing which way his character arc was going to go and it was his level of intensity and straightforwardness that made me most uncomfortable. With Adam, we don’t get a lot of insight into his character straight away. We know from bits and pieces from Alice’s perspective, that he was suffering and struggling with life, but it isn’t until we get his side of the story where everything then falls into place in a chilling account.

I enjoyed the ease of Robins writing, which was engaging, descriptive (though not overdone) and emotive. He gives a raw and honest insight into the sensitive issues of depression, mental illness and suicide and he handles these respectively and extremely well. I liked how he was able to get me comfortable into the story and keep my attention, but I do have to admit, that I was wondering where it was going to go and I was preparing myself for an ending that was not going to be satisfying. I am pleased though to report, I had nothing to worry about there…What a shocker!!

The Wreckage is a slow burn to start with, but as soon as Robin notched up the speed of it, this was when it really kicked into high gear and took off! With a clever twist interwoven that I did not see coming and a jaw-dropping ending that chills you to the bone, as a first-time novelist, Robin has done a great job with this book and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next. It was a pleasure to be able to read and review The Wreckage which I recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley, Trapeze and Robin Morgan-Bentley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Wreckage 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.

Kalopsia by Lucinda Lamont #BookReview #Kalopsia #Fiction #LucindaLamont #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing Kalopsia by Lucinda Lamont. This was released on the 31st of July 2018, published by Creativa.

Book Blurb

Kalopsia – (n.) The delusion of things being more beautiful than they really are.

They say you never know what goes on behind closed doors, but do you really know what goes on outside your front door either?

Kate is a twenty-something, successful woman. Funny, attractive and independent, she seemingly has everything going for her. But when it comes to love, Kate wouldn’t know a good idea if she stopped at a zebra crossing and watched it pass by in front of her.

Suffering at the hands of her mentally abusive partner, she doesn’t quite have the gumption to leave. That is, until Greg shows an interest.

With Greg by her side and offering her everything she has ever wanted, Kate thinks she has finally met her prince. But will temporary feelings have permanent consequences?

Kalopsia drew my attention immediately, firstly because of the beautiful cover art, just stunning! But also because Kalopsia is a word I had never heard of before. After reading the definition and this book, I definitely now understand, not only it’s meaning, but it’s attraction. It can be really tempting for all of us to overlook or forgive the flaws we see in others, but where do you draw the line? What would you be willing to compromise for the love of another person?

Lucinda has created a plot that is real, raw and honest. Told from the perspective of Kate, we follow her story as she escapes the clutches of a mentally abusive partner, only to fall into the arms of one, that is in some ways a lot worse. Lucinda has done an amazing job of creating a situation, where we as the reader, can almost not just empathise, but sympathise with Kate’s lack of self esteem and self confidence. It is the way Kate tries to show the world that she has it all, but how underneath, it is her brokenness that leads her into these devastating personal relationships.

The character of Kate broke my heart. She is a good soul who has made some terrible choices in the love department. A familiar trap, I am sure, for those who want to see and believe the best in others. At times I wanted to hug and comfort her, while at others, I wanted to confront her, try to make her see sense and to believe that she deserves better. While I don’t condone some of her actions, the complexity of her character helped me understand why she did the things that she did. She is very relatable and is brought to life through the pages beautifully.

The characters of Tom and Greg on the other hand, although written well as the typical bad guy on the surface (well, let’s face it for Tom he is a bad guy through to the core!) the depth of their characters, highlights the ways in which Kate’s tendency towards Kalopsia reveals itself in her life and choices. The contradiction of what she wants to see and the human failings of who these men are, creates a complex backdrop in Kate’s quest to find love.

This is the first book I have read from Lucinda. I really enjoyed her writing style which is very engaging and emotive. At times I actually felt like I was Kate and I could feel her pain, her fear and her desperation to just be loved which is, apart from great wifi, all anyone ever wants, right? Perhaps her great writing style comes from her diverse background, I feel like she has been drawn back to the arts and writing for a reason and I look forward to reading more great work from her.

Kalopsia is a fast paced read that will draw you in and keep you hostage until the final page. From the striking cover to the believable plot, Lucinda captures the balance of Kate’s outwards strength and inner weakness beautifully. With an ending that invites you to question where Kate will go next, this has left me really hoping for more from Lucinda. I really hope she chooses to revisit Kate and share with us the next chapters of her story, (even if it is just in the form of a short story). It was an absolute pleasure to read and review Kalopsia which I highly recommend.

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.

Trap Door by Dreda Say Mitchell #BookReview #TrapDoor #PsychologicalSuspense @DredaMBE @Bloodhoundbook #onceuponatimebookblog

Today I am reviewing on its publication day Trap Door by Dreda Say Mitchell, published by Bloodhound Books.

Book Blurb

100 years ago young women were killed in this workplace. Is history about to repeat itself?

Rachel, a young woman in serious debt, needs to find a job fast before she’s made homeless. She gets a lucky break when she is offered a great position in a successful company. Then she discovers that the building was once a Victorian sweatshop with a tragic history. Is this why Rachel feels something increasingly sinister?

Soon her new job becomes a living nightmare. Rachel desperately wants out, but she has no other way of escaping her debts. She’s trapped. Then she makes a shocking discovery.

Haunted by the death of others and as the present and past begin to close in, Rachel needs to find answers before she finds herself in grave danger…

What is really going on in her workplace?

And can she ever escape her inner demons?

I have heard so many good things about Dreda’s books, that when I was offered an advance copy of Trap Door to read, I jumped at the chance. I was immediately drawn to the plot of this story and couldn’t wait to dive in and get underway. When I did, I was hooked right from the get-go and had trouble tearing myself away from it. Dreda wastes no time in kicking things off, which she does in spectacular fashion, with a chilling prologue that sets up the rest of the story extremely well. It is addictive, scary in some parts, downright terrifying in others and had me holding my breath and breaking out in a sweat multiple times.

There are a few characters in the book and interestingly Dreda has only used one to be the main voice of the whole story. A risky move, as I have read some books where the author has not been able to pull this off, but Dreda has created Rachel with so much depth, that she is able to carry the story on her shoulders well and keeps the readers attention for the duration. The supporting characters are well written and developed and each one has there own set of complexities and secrets to hide, which adds to the drama of the story.

This is the first book I have read from Dreda and I really enjoyed the ease of her writing that just flowed, making this is a quick and enjoyable read. She definitely knows how to get and keep the reader’s attention and she did a great job in making me feel everything that Rachel went through. Being claustrophobic, there were times when I had to take myself away from it to get my heart rate back in control, where I would then jump back into it flicking the pages on my kindle furiously as Dreda kept on building up the tension and suspense, which then lead me to the thrilling and satisfying conclusion.

Trap Door is everything and more in what I love from a psychological suspense book and even though this is only the first book I have read from Dreda, she absolutely nails this genre. With an intriguing plot and great characterisation that is all captured through engaging and visual writing, Trap Door has it all and I am really looking forward to seeing what Dreda will come up with next. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to read and review Trap Door which I highly recommend.

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 Trap Door 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.

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