Review: The Unforgotten by Laura Powell


Fifteen-year-old Betty Broadbent helps her erratic and beautiful mother run the Hotel Eden, a boarding house now besieged by reporters, keen for juicy gossip and eye-catching headlines. They are there because the Cornish seaside town has recently witnessed a string of murders, young girls stabbed to death. Among the newspaper jackals, Mr. Gallagher stands out. Quiet, serious Mr. Gallagher—Betty is fascinated by his mysterious nature and desperate to be noticed by him and not be treated as a child. As he and Betty get to know each other, through snatched conversation and illicit meetings, their feelings for each other grow. But she soon starts to realize how little she knows about the older, enigmatic journalist. With a dangerous cloud looming over the town, Betty starts to take risks to see him and hide secrets from her mother, her friends, and even herself—secrets that will echo through the years and affect the lives of many. Beautifully written with skilllfully drawn characters, evocative language, and set partially in 1956 with perfect period depiction, this is an astonishing tour de force from debut author Laura Powell.


This is a raw, emotionally charged tale of a mother and daughter living in the midst of serial killer invasion in their small town in Cornwall.

It’s difficult to believe this one is a debut, the writing is great and the story flows. It alternates between 1956 and 50 years later – the past being more fleshed out and interesting from my perspective. There are several twists and turns along the way which keep the pace going strong and keep the pages turning quickly.

I first picked this one up due to its comparison to one of my favorite BBC dramas, Broadchurch. While I don’t really get the same vibe here, I will say it’s still an intriguing mystery.

There are so many emotions here, fueled by an undercurrent of melancholy. It’s a story of love and obsession and regret, and how one decision can affect you for the rest of your life.

There are a couple triggers in this one, without going into spoilers, the first is a highly uncomfortable love scene. If you’d like to know the other, please feel free to message me as I don’t want to spoil anything for the other readers.

Thank you to Netgalley, Laura Powell, and Gallery Books for a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

Review: The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen


The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.

Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?


A mystery based around a 700 year old Irish castle where the secrets lie within the antiquated books of its library. A bibliophile/history buff/reader’s dream scenario.

This book has a lot going on in it, and I mean A LOT. Several different mysteries and timelines with elements of police procedural, gothic, historical fiction, murder mystery, supernatural, romance, and Irish geography, history, and folklore. Phew! But somehow the author managed to make a cohesive, flowing story while incorporating all these ideas together.

I had some minor issues with the flow of the book. While it was cohesive, the constant jumping from timeline to timeline and character to character was a bit jarring for me as a reader.

Still a very entertaining read, if gothic mysteries are your thing, I encourage you to try this one out!

Thank you to Netgalley, Laura Andersen, and Ballantine Books for a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

Review: The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke


When Cassie Maitland needs a holiday from her glamorous but stressful job in event management, she escapes home to gorgeous Seashell Cove, where her family’s cosy café sits perched on the cliffs above sparkling waves and golden sand.

But a lot has changed while Cassie’s been away: her parents have transformed their tired café into a welcoming haven, her friends Meg and Tilly have whole new lives, and old flame Danny’s twinkling eyes and winning smile make Cassie feel even more flustered than they used to.

Keen to throw herself back into local life, Cassie starts to run themed events – including a not entirely successful cat-café day, complete with dozens of felines. Luckily Danny is always around to lend a helping hand, and Cassie soon begins to wonder if her life in London was really all she made it out to be…

Could a new start in Seashell Cove be exactly what Cassie needs?


Karen Clarke has become a fast favorite for light, humorous reads with a dash of serious topics thrown in for good measure. For someone who reads a lot of thrillers, it’s imperative to break them up with characters who put a smile on my face and make me laugh out loud. And that is exactly what you’ll find when you pick up one of Clarke’s novels.

Cassie has returned home to Seashell Cove after being sacked from her glamorous, high stress event planning position in London. Yet everyone is under the impression that she’s taking a sabbatical before setting up her own business. The characters are real and flawed, yet have the humor and banter dialogue that make this a highly enjoyable read.

Another author whose entire back catalogue of books I’ve gone and purchased after being so impressed with her latest titles!

Thanks so much to Netgalley, Bookcouture and Karen Clarke for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review – you have a forever fan!

4 stars

Review: Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley


Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.

Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.

Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.


This is a historical mystery which shows a great deal of research and thoroughness from the author. It is less of a whodunnit and more of a slow moving, character driven suspense. I especially enjoyed the delicious and lush imagery of the cook’s recipes and cooking and my mouth was watering the whole time I read.

I found myself to be slightly confused while reading – it reads like a sequel, but it is the first book in an upcoming series. There were certain plot points that I felt as if I’d missed or didn’t fully grasp. So I went through they whole book a bit confused, then learned in the afterword that the author had previously written a novella prequel to this story. So. For someone like me who enjoys reading series from the very beginning to understand the character development and full picture, this kind of threw me off. Not to say that it can’t be read as a stand alone, but if you feel the same as me, you may want to pick up the prequel first.

It was also frustrating not to learn the true identity of one of the main characters throughout the entire book – it ended a bit abruptly, and I feel it was a major plot point that was glossed over and would have really engaged the reader into picking up the next book in the series.

Thank you to Netgalley, Berkley and Jennifer Ashley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3 stars

Book Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris


A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?


Addictive, fast-paced, and mind boggling!

It’s been awhile since I could refer to a book as “unputdownable” but here we are. Finally!

Every single theory I had about where the plot was going was given to the main character as part of his ideas at a little past the halfway point, and I was stuck there with my jaw dropped thinking, well then. This author just flipped the script and threw out everything I was thinking so where are we going to go from here?!

I did figure it out at about three quarters of the way through but I didn’t even care because it was that good!!

I have a feeling this is going to be a polarizing book (like another book I’m thinking of which will remain unnamed because it could be a potential spoiler) – readers are going to either love it or not. I’m for sure on the loved it side of things!

Thanks a mil to B.A. Paris (I’m going to go buy your other books now!), St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Murder on Sister’s Row (Gaslight Mystery #13) by Victoria Thompson


With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered.

Though the brothel’s madam is immediately considered a suspect, Sarah and Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate, uncovering some unpleasant truths about the victim and her charity-and the woman and child Sarah risked her own life to save.


Fun fact: (actually not fun at all, pretty terrible if you ask me) in late 19th century New York, when charitable organizations really began to take off with society folk, there was a register in which your name was recorded if you received any charitable contributions from an organization so that you couldn’t receive it from any other. The leaders of these organizations believed that only the “worthy” poor should be eligible to receive assistance, and most were turned away due to something deemed inappropriate by the charities. These people believed that poorness bred laziness and if they were given assistance, they would lack the drive to work in order to better themselves. Meanwhile, people were working in factories for 12 hours a day and barely making enough to survive.

This book highlights how many women turned to prostitution, not because of immorality, but because it came down to this: prostitution or starvation. And these women were turned away because they were seen to be unworthy.

Victoria Thompson has once again done her research and it shows. In addition to another well-plotted mystery and whodunnit, she has once again managed to teach me something of these times.

4 stars

Vintage Nancy Drew Collection

Awhile back, I happened upon an entire collection of vintage Nancy Drews at a used book sale, and I maybe might have screamed a little. She is the reason I still love mysteries and I credit her for my lifelong love of reading. Anyone else grow up on Carolyn Keene?