And Now There’s You

A NetGalley Book Review

Title : And Now There’s You

Author: Susan S. Etkin

Publisher: Spark Press

Date of Publication: 24th September 2019  

Number of Pages : 326

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Leila Brandt is a widow in her mid-fifties. Her daughter, Hillary, and business partner, Michelle, feel that she needs to start dating again as she has been alone for five years. To get this going, they give her an interesting birthday gift – they sign her up with a matchmaker.

In the meantime, Leila meets Ayden, who is the architect contracted for her latest interior design project. Though she feels a keen attraction to him, Ayden has been divorced for many years and she doubts whether he can give her the sort of relationship she is looking for.

I was drawn into this story by the premise of love at a later stage in life. I wanted to see how the story would progress and how the dynamics of previous spouses, full engaging careers and family would play out. The story started quite well and I loved the way the author described Leila’s character and her state of mind at the beginning.

Unfortunately, after that, the story dragged on a bit. It took quite a long time to develop and I felt like there wasn’t much to hold my interest. While well written and easy to follow, I found some of the detail distracting, I guess I’m not used to being told everything characters in a book eat and drink in such detail!

Whilst the premise was interesting, the story ended up being too predictable for me without much to distinguish it and keep me interested. I found myself wishing the characters were just a little more complex to give the story that edge that would have made it a great love story.

This is Susan S. Etkin’s debut novel. I rate it at 3 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone who loves romance or has an interest in interior design as it features that too.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


Lock Me In

A NetGalley Book Review

Title : Lock Me In

Author: Kate Simants

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Killer Reads

Date of Publication: 3rd October 2019

Number of Pages Kindle Edition: 400

My Rating : 4 out of 5

One morning, Ellie Power wakes up with bruises all over her body. Her bedroom door is broken. This is a bad sign as her mother usually locks her in when she leaves for her night shift at her hospital job. Ellie has to be locked in at night.

You see, she has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and believes there is another identity living inside her. Her alter, Siggy, sometimes takes Ellie over at night. Ellie has no recollection of what she does when Siggy takes over.

She is terrified of Siggy who seems to get violent, as evidenced by the bruising on her own body as well as her mother’s injuries. To prevent any harm, Siggy must not be allowed to get out at night.

Detective Sergeant Mae met Ellie and her mother years ago when he was investigating the mysterious disappearance of Ellie’s best friend, Jodie. That investigation ended badly for him and his partner but when Ellie’s boyfriend, Matt, goes missing, DS Mae cannot help but take a keen interest in the case.

Ellie is worried about what transpired on the night following which she woke up with bruises, as it was the last time that Matt was seen.

This is an interesting, well written and captivating psychological thriller that kept me hooked from the beginning to the end. I’m always amazed as to how our brains function and DID is such a complex subject that I find myself wanting to understand it more.

The author narrates this story from Ellie’s (first person) and Matt’s (third person) points of view in addition to recordings from Ellie’s treatment sessions, and with only a brief narrative from Ellie’s mother.

This gives us great insight into the thoughts and motivations of these characters. I was drawn into Ellie’s struggles with her conflicting identities and really empathized with her.

I found the characters well developed and easy to relate to, although I was left with some unanswered questions about Dr. Cox and Ellie Power’s father. To me, it felt like some parts of their story lines were not totally closed off. I would have liked to understand some aspects that the author introduced about them.

Although at some point I thought I could tell where the story was going, there were some twists that surprised me. I totally did not see the ending coming! I loved the chemistry between DS Mae and his Trainee Investigator, DC Catherine Ziegler and the way they worked well together.

This is Kate Simants’ debut novel and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work. I rate it at 4 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone who loves psychological thrillers with a twist.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

What Happened That Night


A NetGalley Book Review

Author: Deanna Cameron

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Date of Publication: September 2019              

Number of Pages: 328

My Rating: 4 out of 5

When Griffin Tomlin is found dead in his parent’s swimming pool, the Porterfields’ lives are irreversibly changed. Shortly thereafter, Emily Porterfield is arrested and charged with his murder.

Her sister Clara, who has had a crush on Griffin for a long time, knows more about the murder than she is saying. The family is torn apart, with Emily in jail and her parents unable to reconcile their reactions to the news.

It turns out that Griffin was not as perfect as previously thought by all. Clara told her sister about a traumatic event and believes this to be the reason that led to Emily’s act. With the aid of her new friend, Aniston, who is a writer for the school paper and amateur sleuth, she begins to see that there may be more to Emily’s act than she initially believed.

What they uncover is as shocking as it is unexpected. Clara is tormented by what she knows and its aftermath. She also finds herself drawn to Griffin’s best friend, Kolby further complicating her feelings.

This is book addresses the deep themes of sexual assault, torture, and murder. Clara narrates the story vividly. Her complex emotions are extensively explored and prominently displayed.

We equally see the reactions of those around her and how they impact her. The considerable pain and social isolation of sexual abuse victims is evident throughout the book.

The author seamlessly moves from the present to the past as she develops the plot. I found this book interesting and engaging, although it was not an easy read because of the subject.

I was drawn to Clara’s character and acutely felt her pain. I felt like Emily’s character could have been better thrashed out to help us make more sense of her behavior.

I am absolutely going to look out for more of Deanna Cameron’s work, as I love her writing style.

I rate it 4 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading mysteries and does not mind delving into deep heavy themes.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Murder in Venice


Book Review

Title : Murder in Venice

Author: Maria Luisa Minarelli

Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK

Genre : Historical Fiction/Mystery

Date of Publication: August 2019

Number of Pages: 294

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Murder in Venice is a historical fiction novel set in picturesque Venice in the 1750s. It revolves around a murder investigation carried out by Marco Pisani, who is an avagadore (high magistrate of Venice).

When an apprentice stumbles upon a dead body on the streets on his way to work early one morning, Marco is called in to prepare the trial and prosecution charges. The dead man, Barbaro is an impoverished noble.

What at first seems to be an open and shut case of a robbery that has gone badly turns into something else when two more bodies are found. With the invaluable aid of his lawyer friend Zen, his resourceful gondolier, Nani and the beautiful Chiara, Marco sets out to uncover the truth.

As Marco works to solve the mystery, we are able to see his exceptional thoroughness and his remarkable dedication to his job. What he discovers challenges the very core of his beliefs and eventually he finds himself torn between his duties as an avagadore and his sense of morality.

This book is the first in a series. It was originally written in Italian. The author gives us a glimpse into the lives of the Venetian people during the 1750s. Venice is no longer the center of commerce that it used to be. As a result, many nobles who relied on trade with the Orient for their livelihood find themselves without the trade interests that sustained them.

The author develops the story against this background. She demonstrates to us how the fortunes of the people have declined. Venice is a city that was once a ‘world leader in civilization and wealth’ but whose citizens now live in abject poverty.

I liked the vivid description of Venice at the time. I was transported into the lives of the people and got a good understanding of issues like the place of women in society and the power of the noble families.

The story is well-paced and interesting and kept me engaged until the end. It was easy to read and follow, and I loved the ending. I rate it 4 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries and historical fiction.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.