Thursday, September 29, 2022

Review - The Midnight Children

Title:   The Midnight Children
Author:  Dan Gemeinhart
Publisher:  Henry Holt & Co.
Genre:   Childern's Fiction
Format:  Audiobook ARC
Narrator:  Andre Santana
Length:  9 hrs 39 min
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:   August 30. 2022
My Rating:   4 Stars


An extraordinary story about a family of runaways who take up residence in a small town, and the outcast boy who finds his voice and his people.

In the dead of night, a truck arrives in Slaughterville, a small town curiously named after its windowless slaughterhouse. Seven mysterious kids with suitcases step out of the vehicle and into an abandoned home on a dead-end street, looking over their shoulders to make sure they aren't noticed.

But Ravani Foster covertly witnesses their arrival from his bedroom window. Timid and lonely, Ravani is eager to learn everything he can about his new neighbors: What secrets are they hiding? And most mysterious of all...where are the adults?

Yet amid this shadowy group of children, Ravani finds an unexpected friend in the warm and gutsy Virginia. But with this friendship comes secrets revealed—and danger. When Ravani learns of a threat to his new friends, he must fight to keep them safe, or lose the only person who has ever understood him.

Full of wonder, friendship, and mystery, The Midnight Children explores the meaning of "home," what makes a family, and what it takes to find the courage to believe in yourself.

The Midnight Children is an enjoyable middle grade book that delivers friendship, family and adventure. One night Ravani Foster sees a truckload of children emptying. There are seven in all and they are all carrying suitcases. Ravani wants to know more and he soon starts an unlikely friendship with one of them named Virginia.

It doesn't take long for the "evil villain" to begin looking for the seven children. Hopefully they can all outsmart the villain and manage to stay out of his clutches. Now, I had this book as an audiobook ARC and as I was listening to the narrator, I was completely pulled in. In fact, before I realized it, I heard the narrator say "epilogue". Yes, this book was that captivating and enjoyable. Middle Grade is still rather new to me, as is the name Dan Gemeinhart, but I do know that I will be reading more of his books in the future. 

Many thanks to Henry Holt and Co. and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Dan Gemeinhart lives in a small town smack dab in the middle of Washington state with his wife and three young daughters. He was lucky and grateful to be a teacher-librarian in an elementary school for thirteen years, where he got to share awesome books with awesome kids. He loves camping, cooking and traveling. He also plays guitar (badly) and reads (constantly). His house is always a mess. He is really pretty darn happy.

BLOG TOUR - The Child Between Us


My beautiful girl, you are my missing piece. You came into my life and changed everything, placing your warm little hand in mine, and looking up at me with your sky-blue eyes, so full of hope. Little did we know what lay ahead, but for a while at least, we had each other…

When I first met you, darling Marina, you were just five years old. You took my breath away, with your long, dark waves and pink cheeks. You needed me, and I instantly knew I’d do anything to protect you. When six years ago, my heart was shattered, I was left utterly broken – but I didn’t know just how lost I was until you filled that hole in my heart.

You quickly became the centre of my world, your sweet laugh my favourite sound. But then things started to change… I put my pain down to work stress, but when the diagnosis came through it was worse than I could ever have imagined.

Our world is about to come crashing down around us, little one, and I don’t know how to stop it. I’ve finally discovered the truth behind the betrayal that rocked me to my core all those years ago. The pain of my past could be the one thing that saves us – or tears us apart. We’re just becoming a family, Marina, should I risk everything to trust the one person who hurt me? They could be your only hope.

We only have each other… But if I don’t make it, what will happen to you?

The Child Between Us is a heart-wrenching story about an impossible choice and what it really means to be a mother. Readers who love Kate Hewitt, Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain will be utterly gripped.

Title:   The Child Between Us
Author:  Alison Ragsdale
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   309
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

In this heartbreaking story, Cassie is about to become guardian to her sister Isla's daughter Marina. However, she wasn't even aware that she had a niece. What is more is that Isla had not been in contact with Cassie or their mother in years. Cassie is more than willing to be there for Marina, but she also wants answers about why Isla drew away from the family. More than that, Cassie is also very much concerned about their mother Sadie and the trials she is enduring.

Make sure to have a box of tissues nearby as this story hits hard. Some serious subjects, most notably loss, but also mental illness are factored into this story. However, this is also a story of connection when it comes to what happens to Marina. This is also a story of kindness, compassion and love, even while grief weighs heavily for everyone concerned. 

There was no way to read this story without tears falling. While worrying about Marina was only natural while reading this book, readers will no doubt also be completely drawn to Cassie for what she is facing. Alison Ragsdale is gifted when it comes to writing emotional stories where the reader is pulled in to the actions and experiences of the characters. She has proved that she can make the readers think, but especially feel. This utterly compelling story comes highly recommended.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


A former marketing executive, originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives near Washington D.C. with her husband and dog. She was educated in England and holds an MBA from Leicester University.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

BLOG TOUR - The New Couple


The perfect marriage. The perfect house. The perfect secret…

As I step through the cherry-red door of my new home, I know I should feel like the luckiest woman alive. I have a handsome husband, a beautiful daughter and now the house of my dreams. And to everyone else my life looks perfect…

When the neighbours stop by to welcome us, I tell them my name is Stephanie Hamlin and, under the watchful gaze of my husband Richard, I introduce him and our curly haired little girl Poppy. I smile as wide as I can and desperately hope I can fit in to this exclusive place with its pretty communal gardens. Because I’ve risked everything to be here.

Behind closed doors I try to relax, to unwind in the huge clawfoot bath and forget about my complicated past. It’s hard being the new couple on the street when you’ve got secrets.

Because the truth is, my charming husband isn’t really my husband.

And I’m not Stephanie Hamlin…

An absolutely gripping psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page. If you love Behind Closed Doors, My Lovely Wife and The Perfect Couple, you’ll be hooked.

Title:   The New Couple
Author:  Alison James
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   300    
Date of Publication:  September 27, 2022  
My Rating:   4 Stars

With a perfect marriage - not...the perfect couple - not...the perfect house. Well, one out of three is correct. Stephanie Hamlin, husband Richard and baby Poppy are about to move into a beautifully renovated house in an exclusive neighborhood. The thing is, Stephanie and Richard are not married. And Poppy is not there little girl. The manner in which this fabricated family move into the house is the mystery that goes from bad to worse in this latest book by Alison James. 

Stephanie and Richard are trying settle into the new house in a low key manner. However, they have a welcoming new neighbor named Jane Headley. Stephanie is not so appreciative of Jane noticing that they have moved in and is more than a bit rude. Therefore, Jane is then rather surprised when Stephanie ends up knocking on her door and all but pushes Poppy into her arms and asks her to babysit. Jane agrees, and ends up watching the baby a few times, but she still does not see much of Richard. 

As the story progresses, the nefarious nature behind Stephanie and Richard's activities begins to come clear. The story is full of intrigue as Stephanie, Richard and his brother create a plan, begin to follow through with it, all while not caring about any consequences that might face them. 

In this book, while Jane's suspicions grow by leaps and bounds, she pushes and pushes in order to figure things out. Meanwhile, the other characters who are not who they portend to be continue on an irreversible past. Kudos to Alison James for writing such a different story with difficult characters, lots of twists, even pacing, devastating secrets and a satisfying read. Definitely another winner for me.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review - 


Alison James was born in the Cotswolds but spent most of her formative years abroad. She studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist and author, returning to university after her two children to take a law degree. After a three-year stint as a criminal paralegal, she worked as a commercial copywriter and then a TV storyliner, before coming full circle to write fiction again.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Review - 6 Ripley Avenue

Title:   6 Ripley Avenue
Author:  Noelle Holten
Publisher:  One More Chapter
Genre:   Psychological Thriller 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   September 27, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars



Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…

Noelle Holten takes a departure from her fabulous DC Maggie Jamieson series for this exciting, stand-alone thriller. 6 Ripley Avenue has all of the ingredients for a gripping novel where a murder takes place at Ripley House Approved Premises. One thing is for certain, either one of the ex-cons residing at the probation hostel or one of the staff committed the murder.

Senior Probation Officer Jeanette Macey is trying to keep things running as smoothly as possible as the police begin their investigation. They are not the only interested parties. In fact, Sloane Armstrong, freelance investigative journalist, with a focus on crime, takes a strong interest in the investigation, and stays as involved as possible. She is not the only one, as there is yet another person who has a vested interest in what is going on at Ripley House.

As this compelling story moves forward with various third person perspective from key characters, there is also the chilling first-person point of view of the killer, and their part in what is going on while the police are working on the case. With a house full of high-risk criminals, suspicion reigns king from the start. While, the hostel has upset the community already, if this case is not solved, and quickly, the doors might close indefinitely. 

I have heard it said more than once to write what you know. As a former probation officer, Noelle Holten knows her stuff. Coming from experience, her writing led credence to a well-written story that was impossible to put down. The book never once let me go as I could not wait to figure out who the killer was. With an excellent storyline, incredible pacing, a few surprise twists and a satisfying conclusion, 6 Ripley Avenue kept me on my toes as I was pulled into the story from the very start. 

Many thanks to One More Chapter and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review as well - 


Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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BLOG TOUR - The Italian Daughter


Italy, 1946. “Estee, I bought this ring years ago and have kept it safe ever since. You’re the only woman I’ve ever loved.” She reached for Felix’s hand and gently closed it over the box. “No,” she whispered. “I want you to propose only when you’re truly free.”

Estee always believed that she would spend her life with her childhood sweetheart Felix. But when her incredible gift for dance gave her the opportunity to move to a big city and provide for her mother, she knew she had to sacrifice her happiness for her family’s future and a chance at a better life.

But years later, in a city of over a million people, Felix finds Estee. Due to marry the daughter of a prominent family, he is prepared to sacrifice everything to be with the love of his life. But Estee knows what is at stake: his family’s love and his livelihood could be lost forever if she says yes. Can she really follow her heart if it means him losing everything?

London, present day: Lily clutches a faded piece of paper in her hands, knowing that her life will never be the same again. Whilst grieving for her late father, she is told that her grandmother was born in a home for unmarried mothers, the only clues to her past contained on a handwritten Italian recipe and an old theatre programme.

Desperate for answers, Lily accepts a job on an Italian vineyard – a dream her father once shared. Lily receives a warm welcome from the owner’s charming son Antonio and as they chat long into the night, Antonio offers to help her discover her family’s heritage.

But arriving in Estee and Felix’s village, Lily unearths a tragic love story which has the power to change her future. As she unravels the truth of her own legacy, she begins to fall for Italy and for Antonio. Can Lily give up everything she has ever known to rebuild her life or will the risk of heartbreak force her home?

An utterly enchanting and heartbreaking novel about lost loves, family secrets and enduring hope. Perfect for fans of Santa Montefiore, Lucinda Riley and Victoria Hislop.


Title:   The Italian Daughter
Author:  Soraya M. Lane
Series:  The Lost Daughters #1
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   305    
Date of Publication:   September 23, 2022  
My Rating:   5 Stars

In this heartbreaking story, In 1945 Lake Como, Estee shows amazing strength of character. Estee started off as a young ballerina with hopes of joining La Scala, a highly sought after ballet company. With a very demanding mother, and a new friendship struck with Felix, Estee finds herself torn more than once. As a child, she has big dreams, and was being taught by her mother that winning came at a price. Thankfully, she struck up a friendship with 14-year-old Felix when she was 12 years old. Her story continues with heartbreak, love and loss. 

In present day London, we have Lily, who has just come back from New Zealand. Lily is a winemaker who travels to different countries learning every nuance involved in the making of wine. She got her love for winemaking from her father, and has been following her dreams ever since. Grapes, soil and every aspect of winemaking comes naturally to Lily. Lily is hoping to make another trip, but before she sets out, she finds an odd note among her grandmother's belongings. This leads her to a box that bore her grandmother's name. The contents of that box will change Lily's life forever.

Lily is about to take on a new job, working with a winegrower and his family in the Como region in Italy. Perhaps this is fortuitous, as the contents of the box she found proves that her grandmother may have been Italian. While heading off to Italy for the next several months, she hopes to ask around to try and dig up things about her grandmother's past. More than finding answers, Lily also meets Antonio, the winegrower's son in Como, and she just might finally take a chance with her heart.

Estee from 1945. Lily from present day. In what ways do their lives converge? While Lily's story was one of hope, it was Estee's story that broke my heart into pieces more than once. We find how Estee's relationship with Felix began, flourished and floundered. Along the way we realize how her heart was fully his at a time when he could not offer her the same, although the love he had for her was palpable. It was this book that finally made me understand why certain decisions are made when they come with good and altruistic reasons.

The Italian Daughter is book one in the The Lost Daughters series by Soraya M. Lane. I was fully enthralled with this story and could not put it down. I got this ebook also as an audiobook which was expertly narrated by Zoe Mills. Listening to this book brought both sadness and joy, and the narrator did a fabulous job helping my emotions to ride that roller coaster of all the feels. This wonderful story wrapped up with a wonderful conclusion and now I cannot wait for book two in this series, which I believe will be The Sugar King's Daughter. That second book will also be in dual timeline fashion.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review - 


Soraya Lane graduated with a law degree before realising that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, including the #1 Kindle bestselling novels The Last Correspondent and The Secrets We Left Behind. 

Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Taken Before Dawn


The early morning light illuminates the girl’s ivory skin. Little cuts are carved into her cheeks—one under each eye. But her body is still. The perfectly round wound above her heart has stopped it beating forever…

Detective Casey White is called to a murder scene on an empty stretch of coastal road, her whole team is in a panic. Could the body be their missing colleague Samantha? The promising investigator was last seen two days ago, going home after an evening of dancing with friends. Her family are beside themselves with worry.

Casey’s relief is short-lived when she sees the short dark hair of another woman. 
Pauline Rydel has been missing for a week. Devastated that anyone would take this innocent life, and terrified Samantha will be next, the tear-shaped cuts on the victim’s face make Casey’s heart stop. She’s seen these marks before…

On one of her very first cases a murderer known as the Midnight Killer stole young women in the darkest hours, kept them alive for seven days, and abandoned their bodies at dawn. Casey was seconds away from catching him when she made a deadly mistake that’s haunted her ever since. After all these years, is he back?

Knowing every second counts, Casey is pouring over forensics when another body is found. This time, markings on the back of the victim’s neck spell out Casey’s name.

With everyone in this small community scared for their daughters’ lives, Casey must face up to the past in her most personal case yet. 
But even if she sacrifices herself, will it be too late to save one of her own?

An utterly addictive thriller that fans of Kendra Elliot, Lisa Regan and A.J. Rivers won’t be able to put down!



Title:   Taken Before Dawn
Author:  B. R. Spangler
Series:  Detective Casey White #7
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers 
Format:  Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:   273
Date of Publication:   September 23, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

After a night out, Samantha is snatched. Samantha is part of Detective Casey White’s team and several of them were out together that night. Casey is now on the job, Not only has Samantha disappeared, telltale marks on a very recent murder victim bear strong resemblance, and irrefutable proof that a serial killer from Casey's past is back in play. The killer was called "The Midnight Killer”. Casey does not doubt that Samantha is in the killer’s hands. With a race against time, Casey and the rest of her team search feverishly for Samantha with hopes of finding her alive.

The killer was active when Casey was working on the Philadelphia police force, and kept victims alive for seven days before they were killed. This gives them hope that if this killer does have Samantha, they have a short window of time to find her alive. When another victim has a clue that points right to Casey, the pressure is truly on. Everyone is terrified that not only will Samantha be killed, but other victims, including Casey, could possibly lose their lives.

As I have been reading this series from the very beginning, Casey has become a character that I have come to know and love especially with her painful past as her daughter was kidnapped at three years of age. That case has been solved, and it is that part of Casey’s personal life that comes up from time to time in this newest book in the series. In fact, as concerned as Casey is about what is going on right now, she is also contemplating her future, and this affects other characters in this compelling book and series.

While reading this compelling story I was hit with more than one chilling revelation. So chilling, that goose bumps hit me more than once. B. R. Spangler is a fabulous writer and has made this series better and better with each book. Although this newest book could be read as a standalone because enough snippets of Casey’s past come to light, the series really would be better if consumed from the beginning and read in order. With excellent pacing, relatable characters, personal connections between the characters, a thrilling plot and an exciting conclusion, Taken Before Dawn is a stunning seventh book in an utterly engaging series. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review - 


B.R. Spangler is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Mysteries and Crime Thrillers.

A resident of Virginia with a wonderful family, including five cats, two birds and a lizard. During the day, the hours are filled with engineering work. Off hours, time is spent writing, editing, and thinking up the next great story.

With too many stories to write, books are split across pen names, writing crime thrillers, science fiction, horrors, paranormal and contemporary fiction.

To keep up to date, sign up for the BRSpangler newsletter by copying and pasting this link into a browser: No spam will ever get sent, just some random musings or a heads up on when the next book is published.

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BLOG TOUR - The Foster Family


In their holiday home, a stone’s throw from the beach, Elizabeth dials the police with trembling hands. ‘My little boy, he’s missing.’

Elizabeth is Joe’s foster mother, but she loves him like her own. The five-year-old, who adores superheroes and watching the birds outside, is the child she has dreamed of. As she looks into the garden, where he was playing just moments ago, her heart feels like it has been ripped from her chest.

She was meant to save Joe from his birth mother who almost harmed his chances at life. The woman who has been trying to desperately get him back.

She was meant to protect Joe from her husband. The man who, right now, lies to the police, saying he was making breakfast when Joe disappeared. Who squeezes her shoulder, ordering her to be quiet.

She was meant to look after Joe. They are just footsteps from the ocean, and little Joe can’t swim.

Then Joe’s tiny blue sandal is found in the water. If the worst has happened – the unimaginable – Elizabeth will never forgive herself. Because what if the secret she has been keeping for years, the guilt eating her alive, has somehow hurt her little boy?

It’s time to tell the truth – even if it means losing the child who is her whole world. Even if it could be the death of her.

A totally addictive, twist-packed psychological thriller about family secrets, a marriage on the edge, and the deadly line between love and hate. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Liane Moriarty and Freida McFadden.


Title:   The Foster Family
Author:  Nicole Trope
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   305
Date of Publication:   September 21, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

Elizabeth and Howard are foster parents to five-year-old Joe. For years they always wanted children, and now they have this adorable little boy. For Howard, this will at least keep Elizabeth happy. For Elizabeth, she loves Joe with every fiber of her body. The little family goes away on vacation but before long Joe turns up missing.

Before Joe becomes missing, both Joe and Elizabeth met their elderly neighbor Gordon. Gordon is a very kind man and one of his hobbies is birds, and viewing the birds makes little Joe happy. Gordon is in the early stages of dementia but there is a side of him that notices things are not quite right with Joe and his family. However, just when Gordon wonders if he will say anything about his concerns, his memory fails him, even causing him to doubt whether or not he actually had any suspicions at all.

Regarding Elizabeth's marriage to Howard. They are far from being a happy couple. In fact, Howard is controlling and abusive, sadly including explosive episodes of physical violence. For their twenty-year marriage, Elizabeth has experienced cycle after cycle of Howard's abusive treatment. Sadly, with Joe entering into the picture, Howard's violence is often directed to the precious little boy. In fact, it go without saying that this book comes with trigger warnings of domestic and child abuse. 

There are alternating points of view in this emotional read by Nicole Trope. Also, there are two more characters that come into play in this riveting read. With intense drama, a sharp emotional edge and a satisfying conclusion, Nicole Trope has written another winner.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review as well -


Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because-as her professor pointed out- 'It's not meant to be a story.' She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters' degree in Children's Literature.

The idea for her first published novel, The Boy under the Table, was so scary that it took a year for her to find the courage to write the emotional story. She went on to publish a further five novels in Australia before joining Bookouture in 2019. She is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller in the USA, UK, AUS and CAN.

She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.


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