Review by Norma: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See YouI See You by Clare Mackintosh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Date read:  April 23 – 26, 2017

When I first realized that this author had a new book out I quickly snapped it up as I absolutely loved her first novel I LET YOU GO and was totally shocked with that unforgettable major twist!  Although I have no intentions of comparing the two novels as they are completely different, this one just didn’t work out as well for me.

I SEE YOU by CLARE MACKINTOSH is a good mystery/crime thriller that had me engaged, entertained, and interested enough throughout most of this book to keep me turning those pages but then it lost me somewhere near the end. In my opinion there was an unnecessary twist with the reveal that just didn’t pan out for me as the reasoning behind it just didn’t seem all that realistic to me and I had a sneaky suspicion who the culprit was going to be.  So I definitely missed out on the shock-factor of the final reveal.

I found the cover and title of this book to be appealing and very fitting which draws you right into this sinister tale of how women are being targeted, watched, and followed while commuting to and from work on the London Underground.

CLARE MACKINTOSH delivers a slow-building suspenseful storyline that is well-written and an angst driven read here. I couldn’t even imagine how scared I would be if I seen a picture of myself in the classifieds for a dating site and was one of the women being stalked and followed like our main character Zoe.  Scary!

I SEE YOU is told in three different alternating points of view between Zoe Walker, PC Kelly Swift, and the stalker.  PC Kelly Swift was told in the third person and sometimes I found her to be a little confusing when she would be recounting some incidences from her past.

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, mostly enjoyable, suspenseful, steady-paced, quick and easy read with a twist ending.


Review by Norma: The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

The Night the Lights Went OutThe Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date listened:  April 17 to 26, 2017

This was an impressive first book for me by this author and a delightful listen with enjoyable narrators that was entertaining and filled with southern charm! I will definitely be reading more books by this author.

THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT by KAREN WHITE is a relaxing, comforting, and amusing women’s fiction and suspense/thriller novel that had me totally engrossed and savouring every moment while I was listening to this book.

I absolutely love the cover of this book and found the title also appealing and very fitting which draws you right into this modern day southern tale of family drama, a murder mystery, revenge, secrets and lies while exploring the true meaning of friendship.

THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT is cleverly told in three different points of view of Merilee Talbot Dunlap, Sugar Prescott, and an anonymous blogger all from Sweet Apple, Georgia. Sugar’s point of view also alternates between stories of her past and her present day voice bringing past mysteries into the storyline which come together in the present. Sugar was my favourite character but I am not going to say why as you have to experience her personality all on your own!

I absolutely loved each installment of the blog as the blogger was extremely entertaining, funny, cheeky, and spirited. I even loved the title of the blog! The Playing Fields Blog: Observations of Suburban Life from Sweet Apple, Georgia; Written by Your Neighbor. The blogger reveals some local gossip, observations, life lessons, and offers a few entertaining Southernism sayings at the end of each installment which I found absolutely amusing! No one knows who the anonymous blogger is but I had a sneaky suspicion who I thought it might have been and my observations were correct and it was pleasing.

I really liked KAREN WHITE’S writing style, narrative, and how the storyline was delivered as I was entertained and interested to the very end. Even though I had a good idea how it was all going to play out it was still an extremely enjoyable listen. Would recommend!


Thoughts by Brenda:  My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name Is Lucy BartonMy Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read April 24-25, 2017

My Name is Lucy Barton is a short, simple, and quiet story that took me away from the noise and to that quiet place that I love. Just me, my tea and the beautiful powerful words of this magnificent story. The simple and quiet books are starting to become a favourite of mine.

I loved Lucy and her ability to find kindness, her understanding of people, her compassion and how she can see light through all the hurt and darkness of her childhood. I liked how the relationship with her Mother and some things in this story were left unsaid leaving me to ponder and savour this story.

I found it took me longer to gather my thoughts and write my review than it did to actually read the book and after pondering this story and thinking of the things said and left unsaid. I am going to leave the rest of my thoughts unsaid and highly recommend reading My Name is Lucy Barton.

Thoughts by Brenda:  The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are FireThe Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read April 22-24, 2017

I started off giving The Stars are Fire 4 stars, however while writing my review I realized that there was a few things that were missing for me or did not really work for me.

When we first meet Grace Holland she is in a dutiful and loveless marriage to sour Gene who is a man of few words. The setting is based on the real life fires from October 1947 that raged in Maine following months of severe drought. I thought Anita Shreve gave me a good feel of the daily life in 1947 and the impact the fires had on Grace’s life. The fires left quiet and meek Grace Holland alone with her children and homeless. She becomes brave, resilient, and resourceful and as she rewrites her life for herself and her family. I found myself rooting for Grace as she discovers new freedom and finds joy in her life.

All the other characters all seemed like an uninteresting “type” to me with no depth or development. I wanted to learn, understand and have some more insight to why Gene was so sour and angry with little words to share. Even though Gene was a menacing character, I found I had no emotions towards him whether it be dislike, sympathy or anger. I wanted more from his character.

I enjoyed Shreve’s writing and Grace’s story as she goes through the devastation and finds the courage to create a new life. It was not an absorbing read me but a comfort read with a satisfying ending.

Review by Norma:  Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a SoundNot a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read: April 18 – 23, 2017

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars as I loved Amelia and Stitch! I am a huge fan of this author and was extremely excited and considered myself lucky to receive an advanced copy of this book!

NOT A SOUND by HEATHER GUDENKAUF is an interesting, moving, emotional, and lightly suspenseful mystery/thriller that hooked me in right from the get go with that ever surprising and unexpected first chapter. I love it when a book grabs my attention like that right away.

HEATHER GUDENKAUF delivers a well-written, fast-paced, captivating, and vivid read here told through the eyes of our main character Amelia and the ears of her loyal service dog Stitch. I was totally immersed in Amelia’s character even though she was imperfect at times she was such a powerful, unique, and strong female character with endearing and likeable traits.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Amelia & her service dog, Stitch! I hope that we get to visit these characters again in future books!

This wasn’t necessarily a gripping page-turner and was somewhat predictable but what I loved and enjoyed were the characters, the setting, the words written and the satisfying ending. Sometimes that is all I need to make it an enjoyable read for me. Would recommend!

Publication date: May 30, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Heather Gudenkauf, and Harlequin / Park Row Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

Next Sister Read: Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1)Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

From Goodreads:  Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in British crime fiction.

Watch out for more from D.I. Kim Stone

A Detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. Silent Scream is the first book in the series – watch out for EVIL GAMES coming soon.