#BookReview : Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry #BlogTour #DontTurnAround #Thriller @vintagebooks @jazminamarsh @jessbarryauthor

Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry
Expected publication Date : July 30th 2020
Publisher : Vintage Publishing, Random House UK
Genre : Thriller
Pages : 320

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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The riveting follow up to Jessica Barry’s debut Freefall—a controversial, of-the-moment thriller about two women fighting for their right to live.

322 miles of road. 6 hours. 2 strangers. 1 killer. Too many secrets.


Midnight. Cait Monaghan and Rebecca McRae are on a desolate road that slices through the New Mexican desert. They’ve never met before tonight. Both have secrets to protect. Both of their lives are in danger.

When a truck pulls up fast behind them, they assume it’s punk teenagers or run-of-the-mill road rage, but it soon becomes clear that whoever is driving the truck is hunting them for sport—and they are out to draw blood.

As the miles unspool and the dangers mount, the pasts they’ve worked so hard to keep buried have come back to haunt them. Someone wants one of them dead. But which one? And given the lives the two women have been leading, that someone could be almost anyone.

If Cait and Rebecca are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust one another—and themselves. But trust is a costly business, and they’ve both paid the price before. . . . 


*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Jasmine @ Vintage, PRH UK for tour invite and review copy. ***

Don’t Turn Around was intriguing, fast paced thriller that revolved around Cait and Rebecca’s 322 miles journey from Lubbock to Albuquerque. It was about social media abuse and trolling, suffocating relationship, abortions and women’s feeling about, patriarchy and people’s judgement.

Don’t Turn Around was written in third person narrative from Cait and Rebecca’s alternative POV with past and present and chapters counting down the miles from Lubbock to Albuquerque. Writing was compelling, tense, and atmospheric with dangers on the road and past that was going to catch up these women.

Plot was most interesting. I haven’t read a thriller that took place on road and in car. It started with Cait picking up Rebecca from her house in the middle of night who was supposed to take her to Albuquerque at the centre of Sisters of Service. At first I wasn’t sure what this service was about and why they took so much precaution and swore the confidentiality but as the book progress and we read the past stories of characters we know what was going on.

First few chapters were all about character building and telling readers what was going on in their life, what happened to them in past and how they came to be in present situation. We don’t see much conversation between characters until the truck hit their jeep and tried to take them off the road. After that hit things started to reveal one by one, we see what Cait was hiding and why Rebecca needed to take Sister of Service’s help.

I was curious to find out who was driving the truck. There were intermittent chapters from other characters of the book created tension and made me think who from these characters was after these women. Past chapters gave the clear idea on why and yet there were enough surprises that I couldn’t guess.

Characters and mystery were intriguing. Both Cait and Rebecca were flawed, scared with what was happening to them and yet they were stronger than they thought. I felt for Cait who was victim of abuse. She wrote an article about it that took her life downhill. I did feel she was making mistake as soon as she went after that musician. She was being honest in article, admitted she went willingly and wrote how she felt violated and yet people were trolling her telling she deserved it and should die! I was shocked at people’s reaction to it. Right or wrong nobody deserve this. The level of threat scared me and made me anxious for Cait and yet she was brave to carry on with her life until everything got worst. I admired her for being conscientious even though she felt rage and vengeance and doing right thing and sticking with Rebecca after knowing her story. She kept feeling guilty for writing that article but it’s those people trolling her should feel guilty.

Rebecca was most relatable character and I really felt bad for her. She was nice and lovely wife who loved her job as teacher in school, her hometown California and her father but she left it all for her single-minded husband, Patrick, who wanted to make career in politics from his hometown Texas. Once they moved there and things started to go left for Rebecca. It was clear she wasn’t happy with this change in life and in Patrick and I was surprised that idiot husband ignored that. Life of politician’s wife was not for her and I felt bad how both Patrick and his manager belittle her and made her feel bad for not doing it right. I wanted to shake her tell her just leave him, you don’t have to do this for him. And then there were many miscarriages and present condition. She was timid, too yielding for my liking. She was sensitive with world’s reality and death of her parents and yet it was amazing to see how a child can make a woman strong beyond her limits. I loved her for sticking with Cait and helping her even after knowing her secret and I admired her for what she did in climax and at the end.

Men in this book were written to hate. Every single men this book thought what they do and think is above everyone, especially women. I hated Ken for passing judgement on what Cait did and about women going to abortion clinic. Mike for driving his anger of injustice and losing love to totally wrong direction, Patrick for thinking he had right over deciding what Rebecca should do about her body and over baby, and that bastard manager who thought he was most clever of all. I hated those pro-life protestors who didn’t even want to see in what condition women went to abortion centre, what it felt to be violated, how it is for women to carry a child of abuse or even worst a child that is going die or born with condition that make child and mother suffer for whole life. It was outrageous to read their thoughts.

Mystery was cleverly written. There were lots of red herrings. It turned out different than what I expected but in good way. I couldn’t guess who was driving the truck until climax. And goodness that villain was clearly maniac and delusional. Last 25% of the book was full of action and chase. I enjoyed reading this adrenaline inducing part. When they came out of it there was another shock. I knew Rebecca’s husband planned something and other men in book but what happened was unexpected. End was perfect.

Why 4 Stars-

My only complaint is he way women fought even after accident was a bit implausible. I mean you can’t just get up and drive after you are beaten badly in such condition.

Overall,

Don’t Turn Around was riveting and fast paced thrill ride with amazing characters and thought-provoking theme. I definitely recommend this.

About author:

Jessica Barry is a pseudonym for an American author who has lived and worked in London for the past fifteen years. Look for Me (previously published as Freefall), her debut thriller, has sold in more than twenty-two territories around the world and has also secured a major Hollywood film deal.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Pre-order | Amazon.UK | Amazon.com | Amazon.in
Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my reviewhave you read this book already or going to add it to TBR. Have you read a Road Trip Thriller?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Flying Solo by Zoe May #FlyingSolo #romcom @rararesources @zoe_writes

Hello Readers! I’m excited to share my review of Flying Solo by Zoe May as part of blog tour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for tour invite and author for providing review copy.

Flying Solo by Zoe May
Publication Date :  6th July 2020
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Pages : 250

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a homeowner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.

According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.

Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.

Flying solo to India is definitely not on Rachel’s Life List, but could her trip teach her some unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all?

Other books I read by the same author:

Perfect Match

When Polly Met Olly

Flying Solo was delightful romantic comedy that revolved around Rachel’s unplanned trip to Indian ashram. It was about realizing life is better unplanned, finding yourself and true happiness, and finding love at unexpected places at unexpected time.

Writing, like previous books, was entertaining and fun with beautiful setting of Indian ashram in Bangalore. It was first person narrative from Rachel’s POV that made book refreshing and light-hearted.

It started with Rachel expecting to be proposed after 6 years of relationship with her boyfriend, Paul. She planned her whole life, checked all boxes of life list within time period she had set, but getting engaged and hitched. What she didn’t plan/expect was flying to other side of the world. Paul broke up with her on the night she expected him to propose her, packed his bag and gone to some random ashram in India. She couldn’t let go of this long time relationship, she thought this is Paul’s midlife crisis, she could change his mind and win him back. And so started her unplanned adventure in India. I was excited to find out what she would experience in India, how she would adjust to different life style of Ashram, could she win Paul back, what would she learn from this experience and how it would change her.

What I didn’t predict was Paul behavior when he saw Rachel at ashram, his new competitive girlfriend, and how attracted Rachel felt towards a handsome Canadian neighbor in ashram who vowed celibacy. But it all turned out really entertaining and dramatic.

All characters were fun to read. Rachel was lovely throughout the book. She was workaholic, home furnishing obsessed who had her Life List with timeline but she had reason for all that. Her childhood story was realistic and I could see why she was the way she was. At first I didn’t like how she was behaving, taking everything as joke and I couldn’t  believe how she didn’t talk about ashram with her Indian friend before on her way to airport, she had no idea what she was going to find there. But I liked how she tried everything in ashram even though she was skeptic, didn’t believe in meditation or spirituality and how she had her own opinion, kept open mind, and enjoyed her stay.

Her development was great. She got over her break up, made friends, found some shocking things about ashram, and found love. At heart she was nice and lovely and knew her elements, learned that life was better unplanned, keep hobby enjoyable rather than obsess over it, there is nothing wrong in being workaholic but it’s also important to enjoy life, go with the flow, step out of comfort zone, and experience knew thing.

Paul was total jerk. It was unbelievable how he suddenly decided to leave without discussing his decision with her like 6 years of relationship was nothing to him and then disrespecting it by latching on new girl and making Rachel feel bad about how she lived and what she did. Seb was cute. He was friendly and lovely guy and I liked his story. I loved Meera and Priya for how friendly they were and how they helped Rachel.

This is not just romance book, in fact there is very little romance and more about Rachel’s new experience and development. Both Rachel and Seb felt spark, supported each other, and spent time knowing other as best as they could, and we don’t know if there was happily ever after till the end, which I felt was good thing.

What I loved most was seeing India from non-Indian’s eyes. Some titbits about India were real and funny.  Rachel’s thoughts and experience after setting foot in India was hilarious. I laughed at her appalled look on seeing Indian toilet and her room in ashram, and most epic was what she packed in her suit case. Who brings dildo to ashram! Most hilarious scene was Spirit Animal Workshop.

I’m not a fan of Ashram but I liked how author added another layer to story by showing reality behind ashrmas and gurus. What Rachel found about it was not shocking for me as I know these things really happen in some ashrams. I agreed with what she thoughts, how crazily people follow scamming Gurus, throw their logics out of window and make it easy for such scammers to take advantage.

Climax was great with Rachel finding reality of Ashram, her new case, what happened to Paul, and lovely date. End was fun. I liked that end conversations and Rachel’s decision.

Why 4 stars-

I wanted a bit more at the end. An epilogue telling what happened to case or if romance lasted or how long it took for them to get together would have been great.

Overall,

Flying Solo was entertaining, dramatic and lovely romcom with amazing setting and some hilarious scenes. If you are looking for light-hearted, entertaining read that make you laugh, I highly recommend this.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B082K48FX8/

US  – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082K48FX8/

Author Bio:

Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she’s not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she’s probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes. Zoe’s Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/zoemayauthor/

She posts updates and blogs on her website, http://www.zoemayauthor.co.uk

Social Media Links : Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what do you think about the book, if you have read this already or any books by the same author. Which is your favorite book set in India.

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli @PRHGlobal #SayYesSummer #YA #Contemporary

Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli
Publication Date : May 12th 2020
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA Contemporary
Pages : 256

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Netflix/Hallmark Channel rom-coms, this is the story of a girl who decides to give in to the universe and just say yes to everything, bringing her friendship, new experiences, and, if she lets her guard down, true love.

The perfect book to kick off summer! For as long as Rachel Brooks can remember, she’s had capital-G Goals: straight As, academic scholarship, college of her dreams. And it’s all paid off–after years of following the rules and acing every exam, Rachel is graduating at the top of her class and ready to celebrate by . . . doing absolutely nothing. Because Rachel Brooks has spent most of high school saying no. No to dances, no to parties, and most especially, no to boys.

Now, for the first time in her life, there’s nothing stopping Rachel from having a little fun–nothing, that is, except herself. So when she stumbles on a beat up old self-help book–A SEASON OF YES!–a crazy idea pops into her head: What if she just said yes to . . . everything?

And so begins a summer of yes. Yes to new experiences and big mistakes, yes to rekindled friendships and unexpected romances, yes to seeing the world in a whole new way. This book is a fresh and fun take on the coming-of-age novel that explores the quintessential themes of growing up: taking risks, making mistakes, and, of course, love. And who knows? Lindsey Roth Culli’s hilarious and heartwarming debut may just inspire your own SAY YES SUMMER. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Say Yes Summer was cute and fluffy YA Contemporary, a coming of age story of Rachel and her summer of saying yes to everything. It was about pros and cons of saying Yes or No that comes with opportunity cost, experiencing the world for the first time, friendship, family, and love.

Writing was simple, easy, and entertaining. It was super-fast paced, I finished this book within a day, which rarely happens with me.  It was first person narrative from Rachel’s perspective that made me understand her feelings and how she was seeing the world and experienced her summer adventure. Setting of Michigan and all beautiful touristy beach, Kalamazoo lake, Lake Michigan, Mt Baldhead and Rachel’s parents’ new venture cream cart and ice-cream gondolas (yum yum) gave the story whole summery vibe.

Plot was simple that started with Rachel suddenly realizing she missed out so much in four years of high school by saying No to everything except studies. Now she felt nobody knew her, she successfully made herself invisible and boring and now she wanted to change that. When she found her grandma’s self-help book ‘The Freedom to Say Yes’, she got idea of saying yes to everything and fully enjoy this summer. In doing so, she experienced many good things but also messed up lot of things.

It was interesting to read how Rachel came out of her shell, overcame her fears, rekindled friendship, found lovers, learned many things specially what it’s like to be free and live out in real world. It was pretty simple plot, I knew how this was going to end but at the same time it was cute and lovely to read Rachel’s summer adventure.

“I think balance is the key to finding out what you really, actually want. Not just what you’re forcing yourself to say yes to.”

I loved all characters specially Rachel. She was smart, caring and lovely person. We see her thoughts towards her classmates and friends, how she saw them through their social media life and gossips she heard but not by knowing and interacting with them in real but as soon as she started interacting with them, she learned how wrong and judgmental she was, how much she blocked out reality and picturized them how she wanted to see them. It was bit weird to see she was observing Clayton so much that she could tell what was going on in his life but at the same time she literally didn’t know what Miles felt whom she knew in real for her whole life both in school and at job at her parents’ restaurant. She was wrong about lot of things and I liked how she realized that. Her development was best part in the book.

Clayton was popular guy, Westfield’s Soccer star and so very handsome but he was nothing like those famous boys who act like they own the world. He was lovely, kind, and gentle soul. Rachel thought he was perfect guy but in reality he was normal human who had his own issues. I loved him for being true and real all the time, even when Rachel messed things.

Miles was Rachel’s childhood friend and worked at her parent’s restaurant. He too was going through his own issue, trying to get over grief and loss. He was not bad. I knew he liked her. I felt for this guy and his reaction to both loss and feeling for Rachel was genuine but still I wasn’t completely at his side.

Carrie was my favorite secondary character. She was wise and smart and lovely girl. I liked the way she helped Rachel and how they sorted their problems. Bethany and Rouxi, her family and Nona were also great.

Love triangle and dating two boys at same time didn’t work that long. Romance and two-timing was wrapped pretty soon. But there were cute moments that made me smile and I liked how they knew each other better in this short relationships.

I liked message in the book given through Rachel’s development- not judging people based on what they show out to the world, even popular girls and boys have their problem and behind all their fame they are normal human being; it’s never easy for anyone to be out in the world and experiencing the real world and life; even best laid plans can go wrong; it’s okay and to mess things but important to not to hurt anyone’s feeling and make things right later; going out of comfort zone is good but also should stay true to yourself; and most importantly it’s okay to say NO.

“Every choice has embedded within it an opportunity cost. Saying yes isn’t free. When you said no to parties and to boys, you were saying yes to your family, and to your friends, and to your responsibilities. And sometimes that- learning when to say no and especially what to say no to- is just as important.”

Climax was filled with lots of drama with boys and then with family. But then Nonna’s wisdom made Rachel gather all courage and make things right by apologizing for her royal mess. End was lovely with packing, time with friends and surprise gift from family and Rachel finding her love.

Why 4 stars-

It’s not like I don’t like love triangle but what makes me not so inclined for love triangle stories is protagonist always going with a boy I don’t like as much as I like the other boy. And that’s what happened here! And another reason was, I have read/seen something like this before. It sounded a bit clichéd and predictable.

Overall,

Say Yes Summer was fluffy, feel good, enjoyable, cute and coming of age YA contemporary with lovable characters. I recommend this to fan of this genre.

Books Links : Goodreads | Amazon

Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review and this book, if you have read it already or going to add to TBR. What are your favorite fluffy contemporaries?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner #TheJaneAustenSociety #HistoricalFiction

Hello readers! I’m excited to be part of virtual online book tour of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, Natalie Jenner’s highly acclaimed debut novel and to be one of the Seventy-five popular blogs and websites participating in this biggest tour. Check out book details and my reviews of this historical fiction novel in this post. Many thanks to Laurel @austenprose for tour invite and publisher providing review copy.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Publication Date : May 26th 2020
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, General Fiction, Austenesque
Pages : 320

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

ACCOLADES:

  • An Amazon Best Book of May 2020 
  • One of Goodreads Big Books of Spring & Hot Books of Summer
  • One of Audible’s Top 50 Most Anticipated Spring Audiobooks
  • June 2020 Indie Next Pick
  • May 2020 Library Reads Pick
  • Starred Review – Library Journal
  • Starred Review – Booklist 

AUDIOBOOK NARRATED BY ACTOR RICHARD ARMITAGE:

The full unabridged text of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was read by the distinguished English film, television, theatre and voice actor Richard Armitage for the audiobook recording. Best known by many period drama fans for his outstanding performance as John Thornton in the BBC television adaptation of North and South (2004), Armitage also portrayed Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit (2012 – 2014).

Link to YouTube audiobook excerpt: https://youtu.be/OJ1ACJluRi8

ADVANCE PRAISE:

“Just like a story written by Austen herself, Jenner’s first novel is brimming with charming moments, endearing characters, and nuanced relationships…Readers won’t need previous knowledge of Austen and her novels to enjoy this tale’s slow revealing of secrets that build to a satisfying and dramatic ending.”Booklist (starred review)

“Few things draw disparate people together so quickly as discovering they love the same writers. Few writers cement such friendships as deeply as Austen does. I believe that the readers of Jenner’s book will fall in love with the readers inside Jenner’s book, all of us thinking and dreaming of Austen the whole while. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what! A wonderful book, a wonderful read.” ―Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club

“Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST:

Spotify users can access a playlist for THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY at the following link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Q1Vl17qyQQIvvPGeIPCkr?si=-iMhVz8uRk2v2mTdolrPdg. The playlist includes music from various film adaptions of Jane Austen’s books, as well as film scores by such incomparable artists as Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, and Michael Nyman.

The Jane Austen Society was beautifully written historical fiction that revolved around seven characters, their love for Jane Austen books and their idea of Jane Austen Society. It was about getting over loss and grief, camaraderie and companionship one find in mutual love and passion for books, romance, village and Post WWII life, and power of reading.

Writing was beautiful. It had that classic feel that took me right to post WWII, 1940s era, written multiple third person narrative set in the quaint village, Chawton, Hampshire where Jane Austen spent last few years of her life writing her world famous books. It was so well written that I had hard time believing this was author’s debut novel.

Plot was simple yet enjoyable, refreshing and uplifting. It started with introduction of all 7 main characters and their life- Adeline, Dr. Gray, Mimi, Adam, Evie, Andrew, and Yardley. Each were introduced in different chapters with ups and down in their life, how they are big fan of Jane Austen and love all her books, how they met each other and later formed Jane Austen Society to preserve history and legacy and to spread their love to more people.

All characters were going through hard time, fighting their own battle to keep their ship afloat in the ocean of life. They all were so different from each other both in nature and profession and yet one thing that bound them in solid camaraderie was Jane Austen’s books and also saved their ship from sinking.

Dr. Gray was widowed general physician of Chawton who knew everybody in village with their past and future. This smart, down to earth and humble and gentle soul couldn’t see the signs of love that was always there. I liked his moment of realization. Adeline was school teacher and now young widow. She was my favorite character in book. I felt for her and I admired her for getting out of her grief.

Frances was lonely woman and only living child of Knight Family, living with her ailing father who never appreciated her. It was hard to understand her resignation, calm and cool demeanor to all that happened to her, nonetheless I liked her. Andrew was Knight Family’s solicitor who respected and admired Frances. It was mystery why he never told her- or if he did, what happened- which was revealed near the end.

Mimi– She had most interesting back story of all. I loved her from the beginning. Her journey to Hollywood star and love for everything related to Jane Austen was mind-blowing. I can’t believe how this smart, with so much self-restrain and self-respecting person can end up with likes of Jack. I didn’t like him a bit. I loved her for not losing her head in relationship, her view towards Hollywood and village life, and doing right thing at the end.

Adam was lonely and quiet farmer who had hard life. It was lovely to read his thoughts while reading Jane Austen. This man was full of surprises. Yardley brought liveliness in this book. I wasn’t sure if I liked him or not in the beginning but in second half he was great. Evie was brilliant. This girl surprised me. Her observations, love for books, foresight and thorough-mindedness was amazing. She literally saved everything.

What I loved in this book was backstory of all characters, beautiful description of Chawton, home of Jane Austen, Knight Estate and its library, her family history, tradition, legacy and villager’s view point towards it, and their culture and mindset.

Best of all banter and discussion between characters on Jane Austen books, their dissection of all Austen characters and their passionate love for all her books and more importantly how they understood Jane Austen through her writing, her view towards society and observation of people through her characters. I have only read Pride and Prejudice and I have to say I didn’t understood the book the way these characters did.

Romance was fun to read. We can see couples’ admiration and who liked who but who ended up with whom was mystery itself. There was misunderstanding and drama just liked Pride and Prejudice, jealousy and possibility of love triangle which was flamed by busybody of village.

There was mystery of a will by old Knight that decided the fate of Frances and cottage the society wanted to turn into museum. I couldn’t tell till the end what will happen to cottage, if they could save it or not and how. Climax was tense but they were still hopeful because of Evie’s smartness, and then the biggest secret was revealed. It was shocking but the unlikely decision and then a scheme gave it whole new turn. It was at the end and in epilogue was actually revealed what exactly happened to cottage. Epilogue was lovely, feel good and exhilarating.

And lastly, I listened audiobook narrated by Richard Armitage. This was my first audiobook, I struggled a bit, wouldn’t have tried it without e-book but after few chapters I loved it. One thing was sure, I got so used to Richard’s voice. Pitch and changes he made for different characters was amazing.

This made me want to reread Pride and Prejudice and read all Austen books. It was said many times in the book Jane Austen’s novels act as balm to wounded, sooth the soul and get us through disturbing times. Well this is best time to read Austen books and see if it works in the time like this.

Overall,

The Jane Austen Society was simple yet beautiful, lovely and refreshing historical fiction with amazing characters and setting.

AUTHOR BIO:

Natalie Jenner is the debut author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with degrees in English Literature and Law and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She recently founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORYINDIEBOUND | AUDIBLEGOODREADS | BOOKBUB

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 25           Jane Austen’s World
May 25           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog
May 26           Frolic Media
May 26           A Bookish Affair
May 26           Courtney Reads Romance
May 26           Margie’s Must Reads
May 26           The Reading Frenzy
May 27           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina
May 27           Gwendalyn’s Books
May 27           Romantically Inclined Reviews
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I hope you enjoyed this post and review. Let me know what do you think about the book or if you have read this already and what are your thought on this book, which is your favorite Jane Austen book?

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Cover

#BookReview : From the Shadows (Monica Kennedy #1) by G.R. Halliday @HarvillSecker @GR_Halliday #FromTheShadowsBook

From the Shadows (Monica Kennedy #1) by G.R. Halliday
Publication Date : April 18th 2019
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Genre : Scottish Noir / crime fiction
Pages : 432

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A stunning, atmospheric police procedural set against the grit of Inverness and the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands, this is the first book in the DI Monica Kennedy series.

Sixteen-year-old Robert arrives home late. Without a word to his dad, he goes up to his bedroom. Robert is never seen alive again.

A body is soon found on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. Detective Inspector Monica Kennedy stands by the victim in this starkly beautiful and remote landscape. Instinct tells her the case won’t begin and end with this one death.

Meanwhile, Inverness-based social worker Michael Bach is worried about one of his clients whose last correspondence was a single ambiguous text message; Nichol Morgan has been missing for seven days.

As Monica is faced with catching a murderer who has been meticulously watching and waiting, Michael keeps searching for Nichol, desperate to find him before the killer claims another victim.

From the Shadows introduces DI Monica Kennedy, an unforgettable new series lead, perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves’ Vera, Susie Steiner and Peter May.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia @vintagebooks for tour invite and providing review copy. ***

From the Shadows was intriguing crime fiction that revolved around Monica trying to solve murder and a social worker trying to find his missing client.  It was about work-life balance, trying to find peace with traumatic past, and race between killer and detective.

From the Shadows was written in third person narrative mainly from Monica and Michael’s POV and occasional killer’s perspective under title ‘watcher’. Atmospheric setting of Scottish Highlands and Inverness beautiful yet remote with its weather and history of missing people added more darkness to story of murders by a delusional psycho killer.

Story took place in one week that started with, as synopsis said, Robert arriving late at home who was found murdered next day. D.I. Monica could tell this wasn’t killer’s first murder and it won’t be last. At the same time, a social worker, Michael, was trying to find his client who was missing for a week. A gruesome murder, marks on body, and mysterious stone that Michael saw with Nicol made him fear the worst. And then another body was found. It made me curious to find out where was Nicol, did he knew these dead boys, how he had that stone that were found in dead boys’ body, had killer kidnapped him or was he next, how would Monica find killer and how Michael find Nicol. With killer observing their all moves and staying two steps ahead of them made the story thrilling and intriguing.

All characters were interesting. They had traumatic past. Their flaws and vulnerability made them realistic. Monica was clever, observant, and strong but she had her issues. Her past made people gossip about her. Her height references and her uncomfortability related to her height and shoe size was a bit too much but her doubts as a mother, trying find work-family life balance was genuine. I liked her intuitions and logic in this case, she was right most of the time. Her mistakes and ‘not-so-perfect’ character made her more realistic. The only complain I had about her was her decision in climax. It was actually stupid, looking at her concerned motherly nature.

Michael was great character. Lonely, affected by past and tragedy in life, still couldn’t find closure and messed up many things in life. He was different from his colleagues. He cared too much and was empathetic but also reckless social worker. He had many flaws but it was admirable how much risks he took in finding a boy who probably didn’t want to be found.

Michael and Monica, made story interesting. They had their differences but at the end they started supporting each other. Monica’s colleagues D.C. Connor Crawford and D.C. Ben Fisher were also different from each other. There was competitive tension between these two, one didn’t care about appearance and showing superiority while other was orderly, prim and proper, doing everything by book. They made unusual team but I liked how they all worked in the case. There wasn’t much story about them so it was hard to connect with them but I hope I can know them more in next book.

Description of murders was gruesome but not unbearable or overly graphic. Suspense was solid. I couldn’t identify killer till climax. There were not many suspects and we can rule out if they were really culprit or not from killer’s narration which made it more difficult to figure out who he was. Climax was tense and surprising. I didn’t like Monica’s decision but it made me fear for her and her daughter for the first time. I liked surprise at the end. I wish I could see Lee’s (criminal psychologist, who was made to dislike) reaction for being wrong about everything. That would have been satisfactory.

Why 4 stars-

That height references were too much. It made Monica look like some freak woman. And also reference popped at really unexpected time, like when they were visiting Robert’s father to hear his side of story and to let him know his missing son is dead. Monica’s decision near climax was biggest complain. She was smart capable of making better decision but this made me rethink that because no parent would do that.

Overall,

#FromtheShadows was compelling, dark and interesting #ScottishNoir with many twist and turns. It was commendable debut novel and definitely recommend it.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon.(IN) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post and review. Let me know what do you think about the book or if you have read this already and what are your thought on this book, which is your favorite Noir Fiction?

Happy Reading!

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