Review: The family upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The family upstairs is a mix of mystery book and family saga. This isn’t my usual read but lately, I’ve been straying from romance and trying new things. This particular book was a last minute recommendation as I left the bookstore and I’m glad I picked it up.

For me, the best part about the book was how quickly it caught my attention and refused to let go. The heroine, Libby finds a letter in her mailbox that simply changes everything for her and this is what starts the plot of the book. I loved Libby from the start. She’s intelligent, cautious, eager to know things and pretty reasonable. She doesn’t do foolhardy things that some heroines do in some movies or books that drive me crazy. Libby was interesting from the start and I didn’t want to close the book and not know what was going to happen to her.

This is a family saga book and the story threads include more than just Libby’s story. Since I don’t like to give away parts of plots of the book, I won’t explain too much here but I will mention that it was delicious because it told the story of a family and what happened to each member. Parents and children made serious decisions with serious consequences and I got to watch it all.

Since it was a mystery, there were twists. Now, I have to be one of the worst people to predict twists in movies or books; I can’t even foresee them coming in a Disney movie, let alone a book. So, to me, the twists were shocking, amazing and a complete surprise. There was even a point where I simply put the book down and stared at the words in disbelief. True, I’m pretty gullible, but I thought the twists were absolutely genius.

Definitely not one of my usual reads, it is still a great read that I inhaled in under 3 hours. I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in mysteries or family sagas, or even anyone who likes a book that is a page turner. I had never read anything by Lisa Jewell but this one was a definite hit.

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Review: Sins of the Father

I had read another of Ms. Barker-Simpson’s books and hoped I was going to like this one. I wasn’t disappointed.

One of the things I like the most about Sins of the Father is its clear sense of direction. There is a reason for every scene and conversation. The tension doesn’t grow haphazardly or uncontrollably. It doesn’t ebb for no reason. It rises clearly and unerringly to the climax and delivers a beautiful resolution.

I particularly loved the dialogue. Fresh, light and so real I could hear voices and intonation, it kept me turning pages. Nothing is over-stated or repeated, instead quirky humour kept me smiling and drew me into the story.

In a few paragraphs, I both knew and liked Alicia. She was determined without being pushy, courageous in the face of overwhelming odds and passionate about her friends and family.

Brad is the bodyguard I’d like to have if I had a choice. Tall, handsome, confident, competent and just a little bit dangerous. Their meeting is one of my favourite parts of the book.

The characters are deeply layered and I’m not just talking about the hero and heroine. Even minor characters have histories, stories and quirky comments that make them stand out and take them from ordinary to fascinating. And that awful villain…I have to admit, I really loathed this villain. He scared the socks off of me.

I was more than a little terrified for Alicia. She, on the other hand, faced problems with a determination and clear mind that left me awed. Unlike other books, where the heroine’s job magically disappears, Alicia keeps working and facing danger every day. To say that I admired her is an understatement, by the end of the book, I was cheering for her happy ending with Brad.

Fast paced, with delightful characters, lively dialogue and a touch of humour, this is a great read for anyone who likes mystery or romance. The writing is superb and the story really well put together. I would highly recommend it.




Note: click on cover to go to site.

Review: Hands of Evil

Hands of Evil caught me from the get go. It’s incredibly well written but that’s not what got me. What caught my interest and didn’t let it go was the humanity of the characters, their honest appeal. Add to that the fact that the book is like a fantastic version of CSI and I was hooked.

We meet JJ who’s a tough guy who is also caring and protective without losing a sliver of that meanness. JJ is the kind of guy I’d want watching my back. He’s smart, dedicated and can drop a bad guy in under two seconds. I liked him from the start and reading the book only increased his appeal.

Grace is a survivor of abuse. Not a victim. The difference is powerful and delightful. She’s a woman determined to find her wings again even if life has thrown her some tough cards. I loved that she was into self-defence and she worked out. I loved that she had a job and stood up to bullies without caving in. She was awesome.

There’s a bad guy in Hands of Evil and I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice it to say that this particular nemesis had a tragic past that gave him a touch of humanity sometimes laking in romance.

This book is rich with stories and likeable characters without taking away from the main love story. I wanted to know more about Justin and the rest of the team. I was curious about their lives and histories. They were tough as nails, smart as they come but somehow approachable and funny. I got a sense they’d be awesome friends.

I love romance and I don’t usually like mystery but this book had me. I had to find out what happened. The pace wasn’t rushed or slow, it was exciting. I had to stop myself from gobbling up the book and I know I’ll read it again to savour it slowly. A really great read, I’d highly recommend it.



Note: click on cover to go to site.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Dean knew why Paris was reluctant to leave. Her news-gathering instinct had kicked in.” Pg. 100 from Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown.



Shadow Woman Update

The book was absolutely delicious and will go on my keeper shelf. I highly recommend it. It’s got fast-paced mystery and awesome romance. What a great mix. I ramble on about it on my review for Goodreads. You can access it on the sidebar…as soon as they link it over here.

Or use this link (because they’re taking forever!)