Sunday 19 June 2022

Book Review: THE BIRDCAGE by Eve Chase



Author:  Eve Chase

Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Read: March 2022

Expected publication: 19 July 2022



Book Description:


Kat, Flossie and Lauren are half-sisters who share a famous artist father - and a terrible secret.

Each has found their way of burying it. Over the years they've grown apart, and into wildly different lives. But an invitation to Rock Point, the Cornish cliff house where they once sat for their father's most celebrated painting, Girls with Birdcage, reunites them.

Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets, electrically charged with the one subject the family daren't discuss. And there is someone in the shadows watching the house, their every move. Someone who remembers the girls in the painting. What they did.

The sisters must unlock the truth to set themselves free - and find each other again.


My musings:


Eve Chase knows how to write sister relationships, as she proves once again in her latest book, which was a delicious read full of family secrets and intrigue. THE BIRDCAGE. She is also very skilled in creating an atmospheric setting, so it wasn’t really a surprise that I instantly felt transported to Rock Point, the old artist’s mansion on top of a Cornish cliff. It is here that half sisters Kat, Flora and Lauren meet, summoned by their father, the eccentric artist Charlie Finch. Each one of the sisters embarks on the journey with some trepidation, owing to the dark secret they have been harbouring for 20 years, each of them honouring the unspoken Finch code of silence that has weighed heavily on them. Has the time come to finally confront the past? 


As with Chase’s previous books, each character is colourfully drawn and instantly came to life in my mind, especially the eccentric Charlie. There was even a talking African grey parrot, Bertha, who will spill a secret or two in this ill-fated family reunion. I loved the way each sister has a very distinct personality, which added to the complexity of their relationships.  


Told in two separate timelines, the story focuses not only on the family reunion and the sisters’ waiting for Charlie’s big announcement, but also on the events of twenty years ago, the year of the famous eclipse, when a terrible tragedy tore the sisters apart. The central mystery was intriguing and further aided by the little morsels Bertha would reveal at the most inopportune moments. It’s the first time I have ever seen a parrot used to give clues to the reader to solve the puzzle, and I loved it! The old house featured like a character in its own right, making this a most colourful and interesting cast that easily swept me along on their quest for the truth. 


I first fell in love with this author when I read THE GLASS HOUSE, and her latest book continued this trend. I now look forward to reading her entire backlist. If you love a good sister mystery and family secrets, then you can’t go wrong with this one! 



Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

Thursday 16 June 2022

Book Review: THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY by Sulari Gentill



Author:  Sulari Gentill

Publisher:  Poisoned Pen Press

Read: May 2022

Expected publication: out now

My Rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ1/2


Book Description:


The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman's terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers sitting at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.


My musings:


I’m trying to decide where to start with my review of THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY, because this book is unlike anything I have ever read. If you think that Sulari Gentill broke the mould with her previous book, AFTER SHE WROTE HIM, then you will be thrilled to hear that she has done it again! The book within a book theme may not be new, but Gentill has added elements to it that were unique and clever and had me eagerly anticipating the course of action the story would take.


I am torn – on one hand I want to tell you all about the brilliant course this book took (call it a “twist” for lack of a better word), on the other hand I absolutely don’t want to give you any spoilers. When the moment came, I was so taken aback that I gasped loudly, waking my dog out of a deep sleep. So I am going to take the latter option and keep my mouth tightly zipped, even though I am dying to discuss it!


I can safely give away that the story features a book-within-a-book and correspondence from one of the author’s devout fans who is giving feedback on her novel as she is writing it. The story also contains a solid mystery that was fun to solve, so really it ticked all the boxes for me. But most of all, it was original and intriguing and made me grin a few times with that subtle Aussie humour that maybe only Aussies get, but which was refreshing and quirky.


Sorry folks, I am going to leave it at that! Let’s just says that THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY will appeal to readers who are looking for a mystery that transcends all the boundaries and breaks the mould of the sea of same-old books out there. When you get to the spot in the novel that I am (not) talking about, you will know, trust me! I enjoyed every minute of it and look forward to what crazy idea the author will cook up next.



Thank you to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Book Review: THE LAST TO VANISH by Megan Miranda



Author:  Megan Miranda

Publisher:  Scribner / Marysue Rucci Books

Read: March 2022

Expected publication: 26 July 2022

My Rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ1/2


Book Description:


Ten years ago, Abigail Lovett fell into a job she loves, managing The Passage Inn, a cozy, upscale resort nestled in the North Carolina mountain town of Cutter’s Pass. Cutter’s Pass is best known for its outdoor offerings—rafting and hiking, with access to the Appalachian trail by way of a gorgeous waterfall—and its mysterious history. As the book begins, the string of unsolved disappearances that has haunted the town is once again thrust into the spotlight when journalist Landon West, who was staying at the inn to investigate the story of the vanishing trail, then disappears himself.

Abby has sometimes felt like an outsider within the community, but she’s come to view Cutter’s Pass as her home. When Landon’s brother Trey shows up looking for answers, Abby can’t help but feel the town closing ranks. And she’s still on the outside. When she finds incriminating evidence that may bring them closer to the truth, Abby soon discovers how little she knows about her coworkers, neighbors, and even those closest to her.

My musings:


A suspenseful mystery set in a small town near the Appalachian trail? Yes please! Good mysteries that feature wilderness areas and hiking are not easy to find, but Megan Miranda, an avid hiker herself, has nailed it with her latest novel THE LAST TO VANISH. From a deliciously claustrophobic wilderness setting, to an old unsolved mystery, to small town secrets, this book contained everything that I love in a mystery and was a delight to read. The best books are those who make you come up with the wildest theories, and then still manage to prove you wrong. 


Over the last few years, Miranda has firmly engraved her name on my favourite authors list. I particularly enjoy her atmospheric setting and the interpersonal dynamics between her characters, which add an extra layer to her mysteries. Abigail Lovett, our protagonist in THE LAST TO VANISH only gradually gives up her own secrets as the story unfolds, which provided some unexpected twists that I certainly didn’t see coming. Personally, I loved the way the story got off to a slow simmer, but soon heated up as we got closer to finding out the truth. And what can be more enticing than the unsolved cases of hikers vanishing off a mountain without a trace? Add a remote lodge, patchy phone and internet reception and a bunch of locals who want the past to stay hidden, and the stage is set. 


I would hate to give spoilers, so I won’t say any more than that, only that I savoured this book like a treat every night and found it hard to tear myself away. A lot of mysteries become repetitive or predictable in a “been there, done that” way of a seasoned reader, but not here – I was thrilled until the end and the armchair detective in me had to admit defeat. 




All in all, THE LAST TO VANISH once again confirmed why Miranda is one of my favourite thriller writers today. With her trademark atmospheric setting, enigmatic young female lead and an intriguing unsolved mystery from the past, it ticked all the right boxes for me! 

Thank you to Scribner / Marysue Rucci Books for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.