Review: The Windsor Knot (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #1)

Title: The Windsor Knot (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #1)
Author: S.J. Bennett
Genre: Mystery, Audiobook
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The first book in a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties.

It is the early spring of 2016 and Queen Elizabeth is at Windsor Castle in advance of her 90th birthday celebrations. But the preparations are interrupted when a guest is found dead in one of the Castle bedrooms. The scene suggests the young Russian pianist strangled himself, but a badly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect foul play was involved. The Queen leaves the investigation to the professionals—until their suspicions point them in the wrong direction.

Unhappy at the mishandling of the case and concerned for her staff’s morale, the monarch decides to discreetly take matters into her own hands. With help from her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian and recent officer in the Royal Horse Artillery, the Queen secretly begins making inquiries. As she carries out her royal duties with her usual aplomb, no one in the Royal Household, the government, or the public knows that the resolute Elizabeth will use her keen eye, quick mind, and steady nerve to bring a murderer to justice.

SJ Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen: kind yet worldly, decisive, shrewd, and most importantly a great judge of character.

Review:

After a dinner party at Windsor Castle, one of the guests is found dead in his room the next morning. The immediate investigation shows that he strangled himself, but they quickly realize he was murdered and staged to look like a suicide. The Queen isn’t happy with how the murder is being investigated so she puts her own employees on the case. The Queen continues to carry out her royal duties, while also leading this investigation.

This was a fun twist on a detective mystery. No one would expect the Queen herself to be investigating a murder that happened in her own castle. Many of the characters felt nervous around her, especially when discussing the delicate nature of the murder. But, she got the job done.

This story mentioned other members of the royal family too. They were the same as the real British Royal Family, but made into fictional characters. It’s fun to imagine the Queen actually conducting her own investigations in the palaces.

I really liked the narrator of this audiobook. It was fairly short and a fun story. I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book!

Thank you Harper Audio for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Have you read The Windsor Knot? What did you think of it?

Review: The Case of the Disappearing Pets (Mina Mistry (Sort of) Investigates #2)

Title: The Case of the Disappearing Pets (Mina Mistry (Sort of) Investigates #2)
Author: Angie Lake, Ellie O’Shea (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Mystery
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2021
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Disappearing hamsters? Vanishing toads? Missing snails? This needs investigating.

This looks like a case for Mina Mistry… 

An explosion at the local pet shop shows Mina that this pet palaver can’t be a coincidence. But why is someone stealing all the animals? What do they want them for?

About the Mina Mistry Investigates series: 
Introducing Mina Mistry, witty schoolgirl detective and soon-to-be Private Investigator. Mina Mistry Investigates is a fun detective series packed with comic-style illustrations and mystery-solving throughout.

Great for reluctant readers aged 7+ and fans of Planet Omar and Dork Diaries.

Review:

After a pet presentation at Mina’s school, a bunch of the pets who were brought in by students go missing. Then, there was an explosion at the pet store in town, with all the animals in the store going missing as well. Mina Mistry starts investigating the disappearance of all the pets.

This was another entertaining Mina Mistry mystery. I found some parts gross, like the bugs that children kept as pets, but young readers would probably find that funny. The illustrations were great at telling the story. They made the story a quick read. Some of the illustrations were funny, such as the way Mina’s best friend Holly would dress her hamster up in clothes and jewelry. Her hamster, Harriet, was famous on social media for all of her glamorous clothes. I loved those illustrations because they really showed how fashionable the hamster looked in clothes.

I didn’t really like the ending of the mystery. There were multiple solutions to the various different kinds of missing pets. Since they were all investigated together, I thought the different missing pets would have been connected, but they had each disappeared to a different place.

This was a great illustrated children’s book, but the solution to the mystery was disappointing.

Thank you Sweet Cherry Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Case of the Loathsome School Lunches by Angie Lake

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Case of the Disappearing Pets? What did you think of it?

Review: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Title: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
Author: Sheela Chari
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Based on the Peabody Award-winning podcast, this tech-filled adventure series pits intrepid Mars Patel and his outcast friends against a brilliant, enigmatic billionaire as they race to figure out why kids are disappearing from their school.

Mars Patel’s friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up–after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India. Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help–smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars’s hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt’s mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems–and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, and an endearingly nerdy protagonist make this a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.

Review:

Mars Patel and his friends are brilliant but also outcasts at school. They are constantly correcting teachers and things around school, which lands them in detention. One of their friends has been missing for days, but no one is really worried about it. When another friend disappears suddenly, Mars knows something is wrong. Everything seems to be connected to Pruitt Prep, an elite school which accepts gifted students. Mars is obsessed with the podcast that Oliver Pruitt, the creator of Pruitt Prep, creates. He hears clues to finding his friends on the podcast, which sends him and his friends on an adventure.

I wasn’t familiar with the podcast that inspired this book before reading it, but I’ll have to look it up now. This story was thrilling and creepy right from the start. Mars’s friends disappeared without a trace, including their home phones being disconnected and their homes being emptied. When Mars would get a warning from the podcast that something would happen, I got goosebumps, because it was like the podcast was speaking directly to him.

The story ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. The final chapters were very intense, but not as creepy as the beginning of the story. It felt like a new story was beginning on the final pages. I would love to see what happens to Mars Patel next.

This is a great middle grade novel.

Thank you Candlewick Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Whispering Pines by Heidi Lane and Kati Bartkowski

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

Have you read The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Last to See Her

Title: The Last to See Her
Author: Courtney Evan Tate
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A woman disappears into the dark city night…

Gen is on the verge of a divorce from her cheating husband. When her sister, Meg, has a convention to attend in the Big Apple, she invites Gen along to celebrate her newly found freedom. But the perfect sisters’ getaway quickly goes awry when a tipsy Gen defiantly throws her wedding ring off the hotel room’s balcony. Then, wanting some fresh air, she decides to take a late-evening walk alone and vanishes without a trace.

The investigation that follows uncovers secrets–and betrayals–between sisters and spouses that will twist the truth in on itself until nothing is clear.

What really happened to Gen and who, besides Meg, was the last to see her?

Review:

Gen is about to finalize her divorce. Her sister, Meg, invites her on a girl’s weekend in New York City to celebrate. After they get drunk on the first night, Gen goes out for a walk by herself in the middle of the night. She doesn’t return. Now, Meg is frantic trying to find her missing sister. Both of them have devastating secrets, which are revealed during the investigation of Gen’s disappearance.

This is another thriller that I thought I had figured out at the beginning, but I was very wrong. The clues to the mystery of Gen’s disappearance were slowly revealed, which kept me guessing. At first, I wondered why there was so much focus on Gen’s and Meg’s pasts, from before that night in New York. Their histories actually played an important part in revealing the truth, so I was glad that was included.

There were some parts about mental health that I didn’t really agree with. Mental health was blamed for some of the characters’ problems. There was a character who had brain damage and was developmentally delayed. I can’t say much without giving anything away, but I think that the ending of the story relied too heavily on that character’s actions. I didn’t think that part of the plot was believable.

Regardless, this was a gripping thriller that I couldn’t put down!

Thank you MIRA for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

About the author:

Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume (and darker side) of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Cole. As Courtney Evan Tate, she is the author of Such Dark Things and I’ll Be Watching You. Courtney grew up in rural Kansas and now lives with her husband and kids in Florida, where spends her days dreaming of new characters and storylines and surprising plot twists and writing them beneath rustling palm trees. Visit her on Facebook or at courtneycolewriters.com

Have you read The Last to See Her? What did you think of it?

Review: The Cousins

Title: The Cousins
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You’ll never feel the same about family again.

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

Review:

Twenty-four years ago, Mildred Story disinherited each of her four children. She ended contact with them by sending a note that said, “I know what you did.” Now, her three grandchildren have received a letter inviting them to visit her island and work at her resort for the summer. Jonah, Milly, and Aubrey are unsure about going to meet this woman who cut her children out of her life, but their parents insist that they go. Soon after they arrive, they discover that there is a dark family secret that tore the Story family apart. The cousins won’t stop digging through their family’s past until they find out what really happened.

This story was built on secrets. Every character, even the minor characters, had secrets. Some of them were secret events in their pasts, while others were secret identities. These secrets didn’t necessarily put the characters in immediate danger, but they created suspense since all of the characters were hiding something.

This was a complicated story. There were three generations that were involved in the mystery of the story. It was a little confusing to keep track of everyone’s secrets by the end. One thing that made it even more complicated was that Mildred’s children had similar names starting with A: Adam, Allison, Anders, and Archer. I kept getting the three brothers mixed up, which slowed down my reading when I had to figure out which was which. This story would have been much easier to read if the names weren’t so similar.

This was a suspenseful mystery!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Have you read The Cousins? What did you think of it?

Review: Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot #39)

Title: Hallowe’en Party
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2001
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…

Review:

At a children’s Halloween party, 12-year-old Joyce brags about once seeing a murder. Later in the evening, she was found drowned in an apple bobbing barrel. Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate her murder, which leads him to solve the murder that Joyce witnessed.

This was a complicated murder mystery. I thought it would have more of a Halloween theme, since the title is Halloween Party. After the initial scene of the party where Joyce is murdered, the Halloween theme disappeared from the story.

Before Poirot could solve Joyce’s murder, he had to solve the possible murders that Joyce could have witnessed. On the surface, these murders didn’t seem connected to each other or to Joyce. These incidents were complicated and distracted from the main mystery of Joyce’s murder.

The ending of this mystery made sense, but it was a complicated journey to the answer. This wasn’t one of my favourite Agatha Christie mysteries.

What to read next:

Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Have you read Hallowe’en Party? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle

Title: Premeditated Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries #1)
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

Review:

In 1893, Myrtle Hardcastle is a twelve-year-old girl who loves to study crimes. Her father is a prosecutor and her mother studied medicine. One evening, she notices some strange activity at her neighbour’s house. She calls the police and they find that her elderly neighbour has died. They think it was natural causes but there are too many clues that suggest to Myrtle that this was murder. With the help of her governess, Miss Judson, Myrtle investigates the murder of her neighbour.

Myrtle is a clever young girl. She reminds me of Nancy Drew and Flavia de Luce. Her family life was also similar to those classic detectives, since she lived with her father and her mother died when she was a child.

This was a great mystery. It could be read by middle grade children or adults. It had some mature themes, with murder and poisoning, though nothing too graphic. One part that was disappointing was that one of the major clues was glossed over at the end. A character’s past wasn’t fully explained. I even went back to reread that section but I don’t think there was a clear answer to that clue.

This is a great start to a new mystery series!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: How to Get Away with Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries #2)
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Before the train has left the station, England’s most accomplished new detective already is on a suspect’s trail, and readers will be delighted to travel along. 

Myrtle Hardcastle has no desire to go on a relaxing travel excursion with her aunt Helena when there are More Important things to be done at home, like keeping close tabs on criminals and murder trials. Unfortunately, she has no say in the matter. So off Myrtle goes—with her governess, Miss Judson, and cat, Peony, in tow—on a fabulous private railway coach headed for the English seaside. 

Myrtle is thrilled to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Bloom, a professional insurance investigator aboard to protect the priceless Northern Lights tiara. But before the train reaches its destination, both the tiara and Mrs. Bloom vanish. When Myrtle arrives, she and Peony discover a dead body in the baggage car. Someone has been murdered—with Aunt Helena’s sewing shears.

The trip is derailed, the local police are inept, and Scotland Yard is in no rush to arrive. What’s a smart, bored Young Lady of Quality stranded in a washed-up carnival town to do but follow the evidence to find out which of her fellow travelers is a thief and a murderer?

Review:

Myrtle Hardcastle, her Aunt Helena, and her governess Miss Judson have been sent on a vacation in a seaside town. As soon as they board the train, Myrtle can sense a mystery coming. A priceless tiara is on display on the train, with an insurance investigator on board to protect it. However, the tiara is stolen during a power outage on the first night. Myrtle and the insurance investigator, Mrs. Bloom, search the train for clues. The next day, Mrs. Bloom can’t be found. Her body is eventually found in the luggage car when they arrive at their destination. The murder weapon points to Myrtle’s Aunt Helena. Myrtle doesn’t trust anyone else to investigate the connection between the robbery and Mrs. Bloom’s murder, so she takes the investigation into her own hands.

I enjoyed this story more than the first Myrtle Hardcastle mystery. The first one was a good introduction to the characters. This one had a clear, straight forward mystery to solve.

I loved the classic setting of a train. It is an enclosed setting that limits the people who can be involved. The murderer has to be on the train with everyone else because there isn’t any way to escape the train without getting hurt. This is a great classic setting.

I’m looking forward to reading more Myrtle Hardcastle books in the future!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce #7) by Alan Bradley

About the author:

Elizabeth C. Bunce grew up on a steady diet of Sherlock Holmes, Trixie Belden, and Quincy, M.E., and always played the lead prosecutor in mock trial. She has never had a governess, and no one has ever accused her of being irrepressible, but a teacher did once call her “argumentative”—which was entirely untrue, and she can prove it. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and their cats. Premeditated Myrtle is her first book for middle-grade readers. You can find her online at elizabethcbunce.com.

Have you read Premeditated Myrtle or How to Get Away with Myrtle? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Stranger in the Lake

Title: Stranger in the Lake
Author: Kimberly Belle
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Park Row
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 9, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

Review:

Charlotte is known in town for marrying the wealthy widower, Paul, who is ten years older than her. On the day that she tells Paul that she’s pregnant, she sees him talking to a stranger in town. The next morning, the stranger’s body shows up in the lake, under the dock at their house. Charlotte lies for her husband, but she ends up unraveling secrets and lies that are decades old.

I love stories set in small towns with a dark history. There were a few other mysterious deaths in this town that were brought up during the investigation of the stranger’s death. There was a death of a drug dealer twenty years ago, as well as the death of Paul’s ex-wife. These were all mysterious deaths that weren’t solved sufficiently for the public, so they were brought up again in this story.

There were some parts of the story that were difficult to read. Charlotte’s mother had a substance abuse problem. The scenes that involved children as well as the drugs were upsetting. However, it added some depth to the story and explained Charlotte’s decisions.

The ending of the story was kind of complicated. I figured out one of the guilty characters fairly early on in the story. I felt like the original mystery of the stranger in the lake was lost with all the other mysteries. There was a lot more going on in the story, so that mystery ended up being pushed to the side and wasn’t as important at the end of the story. I would have liked it more if it had focused on the main mystery, which was also the title of the book.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon

About the Author:

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Have you read Stranger in the Lake? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: This is How I Lied

Title: This is How I Lied
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Park Row
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny 

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Review:

Twenty-five years ago, Eve Knox was found murdered in the caves near her house. She was just fifteen years old. Now, her former best friend, Maggie, is a detective who is assigned to reopen the cold case with new evidence. Eve’s abusive boyfriend was one of the main suspects, though there wasn’t any evidence that he killed her. Eve had a strange younger sister, Nola, who was fascinated by dead animals and their anatomy. Maggie has to investigate this murder, while also keeping her own secrets.

This story was told from three different points of view. Eve’s story was from the day she was killed. Maggie and Nola’s perspectives were in the present, as Maggie investigates the murder. My favourite parts were Maggie’s chapters because those were the ones that really moved the story forward. Eve’s chapters were a little slow because they followed her actions of her final day, and Nola’s were creepy because she was fascinated by dead things.

I loved the unique format of the story. At just over the halfway point of the book, the killer was revealed. Since it only about halfway through, I knew there must be more to the story. There was still loads of tension until the end, when the details of the murder were revealed.

I really enjoyed this thriller!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Still Mine by Amy Stuart

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

About the Author:

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. 

Have you read This is How I Lied? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Truths I Never Told You

Title: Truths I Never Told You
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Things We Cannot Saycomes a poignant novel about the fault in memories and the lies that can bond a family together—or tear it apart.

With her father recently moved to a care facility for his worsening dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.

As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker. Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.

Exploring the expectations society places on women of every generation, Kelly Rimmer explores the profound struggles two women unwittingly share across the decades set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true. 

Review:

Beth has been struggling since she had her son. She doesn’t know why she hasn’t adjusted to motherhood, but she’s uncomfortable with this new life. Her stress gets worse when her and her siblings have to move her father, who has dementia, into a nursing home. Beth volunteers to clean out his house, where she finds some secrets about her mother. Beth’s mother, Grace, married young against her parents’ wishes. She quickly has children, and she also has trouble adjusting to this new life. However, parts of Beth’s memory and Grace’s story don’t add up. Beth has to figure out what happened to her mother, while dealing with her own struggles.

This story had two perspectives: Beth in 1996 and Grace in 1957. They have similar experiences with depression after they have children, but they don’t know how to ask for help. When Grace asks for help, she’s told she needs to be stronger. Beth is scared to ask for help because her job as a psychologist could be compromised if she is diagnosed with depression. Though their stories take place forty years apart, they still have the same challenges.

There were feminist themes in this book. Some of the issues were abortion, contraception, and postpartum depression. Between the two storylines, there was some progression, though there still was a stigma attached to these things. Even today, the stigma is still there. Someone like Grace would get more help for her depression than she got in 1957, but I imagine that someone in Beth’s position would still have a problem with being diagnosed with depression as a psychologist. The world has improved for women since Grace’s time, but it isn’t perfect yet.

This was an emotional and moving historical novel.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

Author Info:

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide and USA TODAY bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, Me Without You, and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at www.Kelly.Rimmer.com 

Have you read Truths I Never Told You? What did you think of it?