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Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018

No Second Chance by Harlan Coben – Book Review #5

I love Harlan Coben books. I read loads of them last year and enjoyed watching the series, Safe, on Netflix last year. I’ve just found out that No Second Chance has also been made into a Netflix series and I’ll be adding it to my list 🙂

No Second Chance

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought of my daughter…

Shot twice by an unseen assailant, Dr. Marc Seidman lies in a hospital bed. His wife has been killed. His six-month-old daughter has vanished. But just when his world seems forever shattered, the ransom note arrives: We are watching. If you contact the authorities, you will never see your daughter again. There will be no second chance. With no one to trust, and mired in a deepening quicksand of deception and deadly secrets, Marc clings to one unwavering vow: bring home his daughter, at any cost.

My Thoughts

Harlan Coben remains one of my favourite authors and I really enjoyed No Second Chance.
I spent a lovely, relaxed Saturday afternoon reading the majority of this book because it was hard to put down; I just had to know what happened to baby Tara!

No Second Chance by Harlan Coben book cover

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 5 books read


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The Trap by Melanie Raabe – Book Review #4

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Trap since I came across it in the charity shop. I looked it up on Goodreads and saw that it’s not very highly rated, but I decided not to read any of the reviews as I wanted to make my own mind up.

The Trap

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

In this twisted debut thriller, a reclusive author sets the perfect trap for her sister’s murderer–but is he really the killer?

For 11 years, the bestselling author Linda Conrads has mystified fans by never setting foot outside her home.

Haunted by the unsolved murder of her younger sister–who she discovered in a pool of blood–and the face of the man she saw fleeing the scene, Linda’s hermit existence helps her cope with debilitating anxiety.

But the sanctity of her oasis is shattered when she sees her sister’s murderer on television. Hobbled by years of isolation, Linda resolves to use the plot of her next novel to lay an irresistible trap for the man.

As the plan is set in motion and the past comes rushing back, Linda’s memories–and her very sanity–are called into question. Is this man a heartless killer or merely a helpless victim?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Trap. It kept me reading because I just had to know if Linda was right about Lenzen or whether all the years she’s spent as a recluse since her sister’s murder had messed with her mind.
I liked the way the chapters alternated between the book Linda had written about the murder and back to Linda in the present day.

If I see more books by Melanie Raabe I’ll be buying them 🙂

The Trap By Melanie Raabe book cover

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 4 books read


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The Blackhouse by Peter May – Book Review #3

I received this Peter May trilogy for Christmas from the children. The Blackhouse is the first book in the series and I’ve decided not to read them one after the other. I’ve learnt my lesson from last year when I read a series of Harlen Coben books and ended up having to take a break in the middle. I started to lose the enjoyment because I think I overloaded my brain, reading about the same characters for weeks!

The Blackhouse

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith.

A MURDER
Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.

A SECRET
Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister.

A TRAP
As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

My Thoughts

It took me a really long time to get into this book. It wasn’t what I was expecting, which was a regular murder investigation.
Instead of just reading about the investigation and how the detective, Fin McLeod catches the killer, we are learning everything about the detective, from his childhood to present day.

At the start of the book, I kept wondering why I needed to know all this about Fin, and it was the reason I was struggling to connect with the story.
I’m not sure what changed, but just before halfway through I started to want to know more about Fin and all the people he grew up with.

I didn’t see the ending coming at all and now I can’t wait to read the next book so I can get back to the island and read more about Fin!

The Blackhouse by Peter May book cover

The Blackhouse by Peter May book cover


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A Stranger In The House – Book Review #2

I enjoyed another of Shari Lapena’s books last year and I’ve been waiting for A Stranger In The House to come into the charity shop for ages.
It was worth the wait 🙂

A Stranger In The House

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Why would you run scared from a happy home?

You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day.

That’s the last thing you remember.

You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town.

The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend isn’t so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe . . .

My Thoughts

This book wasn’t as good as her first book, but I still enjoyed it and I didn’t see the twist coming at the end. I thought I’d worked out what was coming, but I was wrong!

I’ll be keeping an eye out for another of her books, An Unwanted Guest.

a stranger in the house by Shari Lapena

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 2 books read


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Friend Request – Book Review #1

Well, my Goodreads challenge is not off to the flying start I was hoping for! I seem to be having trouble finding any time to sit and read at the moment which means I’m already 1 week behind.
It was really annoying only being able to read Friend Request for about 10 minutes a night because I was itching to find out what really happened back at the school leavers party!

Hopefully, things will start calming down again and I’ll be able to catch up soon 🙂

Friend Request

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

My Thoughts

I’ve had this book for a while. I knew it was going to be the first on my list for my 2019 Goodreads challenge.
Any books with social media at the heart are for me. I do love being able to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away from me, but I also know it can be a dangerous place.
Anyone can get any Facebook profile they like. It’s always being used in ways it was not designed for and it can be a powerful tool for the bullies out there.

Friend Request is about bullying in school, but where we are usually told the story from the victim’s point of view, this time we’re hearing from one of the bullies.
I wouldn’t have thought I’d have much sympathy for a bully, but I did feel for Louise and liked the person she had grown into.

She was full of remorse for her actions and her behaviour back in school has had a negative impact on the rest of her life, just like it can with the victim and I found it refreshing to see it from this angle.

I’ll be on the lookout for more Laura Marshall books.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall book cover

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 1 book read


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The Christmas Town By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #52

Well, I’ve completed my challenge and over a month early as well! The Christmas Town is the 8th book in this series and the 9th has recently been released.

The Christmas Town

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My Thoughts

I think this is probably one of my favourites of the series. I love the notes that Ben writes then drops them in their grocery bags while he’s packing them.
It’s lovely that everyone wants to go to the till where Ben works so they can get one of his special messages. They don’t care how long the line is, it’s worth the wait for them!

I’m now back to my thrillers, but I’m staying with the Christmas theme and reading The Advent Killer by Alistair Gunn.

 

The Christmas Town By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge - 52 books read and challenge completed


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The Christmas Light By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #51

The Christmas Light is the 7th book in this series.

The Christmas Light

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas. Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past.

Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope.

My Thoughts

I’ve enjoyed all of these books and I’m a little sad that I’ve only got 1 more to read. I’ve decided to just add the last book to my wishlist rather than buying it now because I don’t know if I’m going to get time to read much more now with Christmas fast approaching.

I enjoyed this book as I have done all the others. I must say, though, that I’ll be happy to get back to reading a thriller or two. It seems I can have too much Christmas schmaltz after all!

The Christmas Light By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads reading challenge 2018 51 books read


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The Christmas Note By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #50

The Christmas Note is the sixth book in the Christmas Hope series of books by Donna VanLiere.

The Christmas Note

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into a condo with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. As they build a life together in their new community, they notice a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, who lives next door. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help Melissa, but the apartment is a gut-wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished, but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers secrets about her family that she never could have imagined. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?

My Thoughts

This book has also been made into a movie and I enjoyed both the book and the film. As with previous movies made from this book series, I knew what the twist was before it came. I do wish I’d have known about the series before seeing all the movies!

It’s another feel-good Christmas story and I love seeing characters pop up from previous books. It makes you feel like you’re a part of this charming little town!

The Christmas Note By Donna VanLiere book cover

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge 50 books read


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The Christmas Secret By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #49

The Christmas Secret is the fifth book in The Christmas Hope series of books by Donna VanLiere.

The Christmas Secret

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love.

Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she’s often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she’s forced to use. When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious “Christy.” Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is “above” working at Wilson’s. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for.

The Christmas Secret is a novel for anyone who wants to see how love is a gift that keeps giving back; that hope is a treasure that never runs dry, and that faith is a miracle that is reborn with each new day.

My Thoughts

I remember seeing the movie of this and absolutely loving it so I was really looking forward to reading the book.
It didn’t disappoint, but I think seeing the movie first kind of ruined the book for me because I knew what was going to happen.

 

The Christmas Secret By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge 49 books read


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The Christmas Promise By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #48

The Christmas Promise is the fourth book in Donna VanLiere’s Christmas Hope series, the first three being The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing and The Christmas Hope.

The Christmas Promise

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Each Christmas we are given a promise from heaven. And each year on earth we make promises to each other.

This is a story about how a promise from one person to another shows us the true meaning of faith, remembrance, and love.Seven years ago Gloria endured a family tragedy that almost shook her faith entirely. Each Christmas she places a card in an envelope on her tree, restating a promise she made to her husband before he died.

Now, having moved from her small town and all the painful memories it held, she is building a life by caring for people in need. Whether it’s a young mother who can’t pay her electric bill or a family who needs some extra food, Gloria always finds a way. Miriam is a thorn in Gloria’s side. Miriam is a constantly critical, disapproving neighbor who looks with suspicion at all the good things Gloria does. When a twist of fate makes them roommates instead of neighbors, it’s the ultimate test of patience and faith.

Chaz has a good job as head of security at Wilson’s Department Store, but each night he returns home to an empty apartment. He longs for a wife and family of his own but realizes that the life choices he’s made have alienated him. He befriends a young boy whose mother has fallen on hard times, giving him a chance to have a life he thought impossible.In The Christmas Promise, the lives of these characters collide and we learn that even as we move ahead, the past is never far behind. And when we are forgiven much, we love much.

In this warmly humorous and deeply poignant story, we are reminded that the Christmas Promise is the promise of second chances.

My Thoughts

We’re introduced to more characters in this 4th book and it got a little confusing at times. I read the book in a day, however, because I was on holiday and spent the day relaxing. If I’d had to keep stopping I might have found it more confusing trying to remember who each person was!

It was still an enjoyable read and Miss Glory is a lovely character.

The Christmas Promise By Donna VanLiere book cover

Goodreads-2018-reading-challenge-48-books-read


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