Review: Heartbreak Bay (Stillhouse Lake #5) by Rachel Caine

They’re hunting a killer so silent, so invisible, that his unspeakable crimes are the only proof he exists.

A car submerged in a remote pond. The bodies of two girls strapped into their seats. The mystery of their mother, vanished without a trace, leads Gwen Proctor and Kezia Claremont into dangerous territory.

On the surface, Gwen’s life is good—two children approaching adulthood, a committed partner, and a harrowing past dead and gone. But that past is attracting the attention of someone invisible…and unstoppable. Trouble’s just beginning. So is the body count in this backwoods Tennessee town.

As threats mount and Gwen’s hunted by an enemy who pulls all the strings, Kezia has her back. But working to solve these vicious and unreasonable crimes will expose them both to a killer they can’t for the life of them see coming.


This is such a hard review to write, so I will keep it brief. I have just finished reading this book. I was absolutely stunned and saddened by the Author’s note at the end and the news about her health. I stopped and said a quiet prayer for her to pull through. Unfortunately, a quick look at Goodreads brought me the sad news of her demise back in November, 2020. I had no idea. A blogger friend had mentioned that the series is ending but not why. Rest in Peace Rachel Caine and thank you for the wonderful books. I have never had a series end because of an author’s death. Its truly sad and heartbreaking. May God grant your loved ones peace and comfort.

I enjoyed this story just like the other 4 in the books. Gina/Gwen now feels like someone that I know and I adore her family. It has been interesting to see the characters develop with the series progress. Once again, danger is knocking on their door. As much as Gina tries to outrun her past, it never seems to let her go.

Fast-paced, action-packed and highly entertaining, this is one not to be missed. If you haven’t yet, please do read this series.

Review: The Songbook of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon

New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.

Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.

It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.


From the moment that I turned the first page, I just knew that The Songbook of Benny Lament was going to be a special read. The kind of story that would move me and find a place in my list of favorites. I was right!

This is Benny’s story but its also Esther’s, the Minefield’s, Bo Johnson’s. Its a story of love, hate, revenge and music. Benny Lament writes music and has made a name for himself in the industry. However, Benny isn’t your usual musician. He has roots and a past that connects him to a darker world. Benny met Esther and her brothers while they were singing in a little known club. He took them on to try and give a successful musical career and together they made music and tried to change the world. Nonetheless, the past kept knocking them at each turn.

There is a lot that I can say about the characters. They were so deftly crafted that I at times forgot that they are fictional. I wanted to Google pint-size Esther in her ‘power’ heels and see pictures of ugly, beautiful, big Benny. The author did such an amazing job with the characterization. She made me care about the characters and this made me enjoy the story even more. It wasn’t just the main characters, even the support characters were memorable. I loved Esther’s brothers and especially Alvin and his prayers. I was also intrigued by the mob family and missed Jack as if he is someone I know in real life.

The story is gripping. With chapters alternating between a radio interview and Benny’s narration, I was captivated. I wanted to know Benny’s journey but I was scared of the danger that seemed to follow him. I like how the Radio Show interview cleverly acted as an interlude and introduced different turns of Benny’s story. The narrative style worked out perfectly.

There is a lot to love about this book. From the characters to the story and the description of the times, I loved it all. I never really know how to aptly describe a book that I absolutely love so let me just say that y’all need to read this book. Its a story that will stay with you. The enchanting writing will haunt you and the characters will steal a place in your heart and mind. Please read The Songbook of Benny Lament by Amy Lament !

Review: Beneath an Indian Sky by Renita D’ Silva @RenitaDSilva @Bookouture #BlogTour


  1. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend… 2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? And who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years – and which will change the shape of her life forever…


Last year I read Renita’s book, A Daughter’s Courage. It was a beautiful, emotional read that has since claimed a spot in my list of favorites. I was delighted to find out that the author has a new book . I am totally honored to share my review of Beneath an Indian Sky as part of the blog tour organized by Bookouture.

The story is set in India and partly in England. It is narrated through two main timelines and three narrators. The author did a fantastic job in seamlessly interweaving the story between narrators and timelines.  Through the chapters, we get to meet two young girls growing up in India, Sita and Mary. Sita is a fearless, rebellious Indian girl. Mary on the other hand is a shy, reserved English girl. Right from the start, readers get to see how the friendship changed the girls’ lives.  The effects of this childhood friendship are felt again when the girls later reconnect as grownups.

I really liked the description of the setting. The vivid imagery took me to India. I could visualize the exotic locations, the trips on elephants and the beautiful cheetahs that Sita liked. The author made me feel like I was right there in the beautiful garden with Mary. In my mind, I could see the vibrant colors of the plants against the background of the majestic palace.  I don’t know another author who brings settings alive like Renita does. I could see, smell and even feel India just from the way that she described it. She really does paint pictures with her words.

The setting wasn’t the only thing that was brought to life in the story; the characters were equally masterfully crafted and easy to connect with. It didn’t matter whether they were good or bad. The author made me care about all of them. I understood their motives even when I didn’t agree with their actions. The supporting characters were also very well portrayed. There are some that were present in only a few chapters but they greatly affected the course of the narrative and left their mark. The two that stood out to me the most were Charles and Sita’s mother-in-law.

This book has a number of heavy, interesting themes. One that really stood out for me was motherhood and how it is perceived in different situations. How in some circumstances, it is celebrated but in others, it only brings heartache and pain. Gender roles were also covered in the narrative and so were family ties. Another theme that I thought was quite well developed was ambition. It was interesting to see how the characters were influenced by their ambitions and just how far they were willing to go to achieve their goals. Although this is historical fiction, the themes are still relevant today. They are so realistically portrayed that they will make you identify feelings that you didn’t even know that you have experienced before. I know I have been examining my friendships a bit differently since reading this book.

This was a beautiful narrative but it was also quite heartbreaking.  It covers a span of decades and readers get to follow the girls’ lives from childhood to old age. There were disappointments along the way, a lot of betrayal and pain.

I ended up devouring this book in a day because I couldn’t stop turning the pages. This is the kind of story that brings characters into your life who end up claiming a spot in your mind and heart. I still can’t get over the heartbreak that I felt while reading the story and again, when I got to the last page and had to say goodbye to the characters.

If you have never read Renita’s books, you need to rectify that. Start with Beneath an Indian Sky or A Daughter’s Courage. I am currently on a mission to read everything that she has ever written. Definitely recommended!


About the author: 
Renita-D'Silva-author-picture-bio-250pxRenita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this zine’, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’,’The Forgotten Daughter’, ‘The Stolen Girl’, ‘A Sister’s Promise’, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, ‘A Daughter’s Courage’, ‘Beneath An Indian Sky’.
Author’s links: Facebook, Twitter, Website.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour.

Beneath an Indian Sky - Blog Tour.jpg


Beneath an Indian Sky is now available for purchase. You can get your copy here.

Review: Bloodline by Jess Lourey

In a tale inspired by real events, pregnant journalist Joan Harken is cautiously excited to follow her fiancé back to his Minnesota hometown. After spending a childhood on the move and chasing the screams and swirls of news-rich city life, she’s eager to settle down. Lilydale’s motto, “Come Home Forever,” couldn’t be more inviting.

And yet, something is off in the picture-perfect village.

The friendliness borders on intrusive. Joan can’t shake the feeling that every move she makes is being tracked. An archaic organization still seems to hold the town in thrall. So does the sinister secret of a little boy who vanished decades ago. And unless Joan is imagining things, a frighteningly familiar figure from her past is on watch in the shadows.

Her fiancé tells her she’s being paranoid. He might be right. Then again, she might have moved to the deadliest small town on earth.


Joan and her boyfriend move to the small town of Lilydale, a seemingly perfect place. However, right from the start it was clear that something was terribly wrong with the town. The was an almost cultic vibe. I know it is said that everyone knows everyone in small towns but the level of familiarity and intrusion in Lilydale was skin crawling.

The characters are an interesting mix. The MC, Joan, is complex. She is easy to root for as the outsider in the small, creepy town. She did have her own weirdness though and hence made an unreliable relator which I always enjoy in thrillers. I won’t say much about the other characters so as not to spoil the story but also because they were quite many. I still can’t keep most of them straight in my mind.

This was a disturbing, creepy read that made me appreciate city life. I enjoyed the description of the town and the 1960s time period. I liked seeing how things played out before the internet era, a time when people still had to make calls on the phone booth. The author did a magnificent job with the imagery, the town and time really did come alive through the chapters. The claustrophobic feeling created by the setting and characters made this an even more tense read. In the end, I didn’t love the story like I thought I would but I certainly did enjoy it enough.

Review: The Girl from Berlin by Kate Hewitt

Berlin, 1936: From her beautiful new home a young woman named Liesel Scholz barely notices the changes to the city around her. Her life is one of privilege and safety thanks to her father’s job working for the new government.

But soon a chance encounter with Rosa, the daughter of their Jewish housekeeper, leaves Liesel in no doubt that something isn’t right. That this government’s rules are not fair and that others aren’t as safe as she is. When Rosa begs Liesel to help—pressing her grandfather’s gold pocket watch into Liesel’s hand—Liesel recklessly agrees.

She will help hide Rosa and her family—in the dusty, unused rooms at the top of their house—even if it means putting everyone she loves in danger. Even if it means risking her own life.

Frankfurt, 1946: An idealistic American captain, Sam Houghton, arrives in Germany to interrogate prominent Nazis on trial and to help rebuild a battered country. He hires an enigmatic and damaged woman named Anna as his interpreter. But, as sparks fly between them, the question of what happened to Anna in the war raises its head.

Because Anna has secrets—ones that link her to the Nazi party, the darkest days in Europe’s history, and the story of one gold pocket watch and two young women who became friends even when they were told it was impossible…


I have read so many books set around the world wars and especially about the Nazi regime. However, each books gives me something new to think about.

Liesel is a German girl living in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party. She notices the change around the city as the party grows along with German’s love for Hitler. At first, nothing sinister seems to be going on apart from the blind, fanatical allegiance to a man with a crazy vision. However, that soon changes with the focus on Jews. Over time, things take a turn for the worse and Berlin practically goes up in flames.

This story is narrated through two main POVs. One is set in the 1930s and illustrates Liesel’s experiences in Germany during Hitler’s rule . The second timeline is narrated by Sam Houghton, an American Captain in Germany after the collapse of the Nazi rule. Sam is in Germany to interrogate members of the Nazi party in a bid to seek justice and also help in the restoration of Germany.

This was quite an emotional story. My heart broke so many times when I read about the atrocities committed by the Nazi party. Having a protagonist who is German and at the helm of the Nazi rule gave this a fresh, interesting angle. I could empathize with Liesel and her family and their predicament. I admired her strength to try and stand up against the injustice around her. However, it also broke my heart to see just how bad things got. I still cannot understand how Hitler was able to convince so many people to embrace some crazy notion about white supremacy and antisemitism.

As I already mentioned, this was also a thought-provoking read. We can get angry now and do much more in the face of such atrocities as committed by the Nazi regime. However, what would it have been like to actually exist in that period? The Jews may not have had many choices but how about the Germans? Was it easier to keep quiet, burry your head in the sand and just wait for the storm to pass? Was it easier to pretend not to see the Jews being packed away like their lives were meaningless? I’d like to believe that I’d have stood up against the injustice. At the same time, realistically, I don’t know if there is anything I’d have done apart from helplessly and fearfully remaining silent as a form of self-preservation. Sad, isn’t it?

Poignant, well written with great character development, The Girl from Berlin by Kate Hewitt is an excellent read.

Review: The Shadow Man by Helen Fields

He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.

Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.

Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.

And he’s watching.

Helen Fields is back with a heart-pounding new book, perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Stuart MacBride.


I have heard about the ‘Perfect’ series by Helen Fields but haven’t yet had a chance to read it. I grabbed ‘ The Shadow Man’ immediately I saw the ARC and now I am hooked to the author’s writing.

This story is dark with a terrifying yet strangely captivating unsub who stalks and abducts people. I was captivated right from the first page. What are the unsub’s motives? This was the main question running through my mind as I read this book. On the hunt for the Perpetrator are Dr. Connie Woolwine, Forensic Psychologist and Detective Brodie Barda. I enjoyed the psychologist angle as it gave me the opportunity to dig deep into the dark mind of the Perp. Through this angle, I also found out about a terrifying mental condition which both fascinated and repulsed me.

This is a quite well written thriller that is fast-paced and utterly captivating. Its dark, creepy and will have you looking under your bed before you sleep. As I already mentioned, the Unsub is disturbed but yet fascinating in a twisted way. I needed to figure out how their mind worked so as to uncover the motives behind the crimes. I liked the investigators and Dr. Connie’s unorthodox methods were something memorable. I wish this was a series so that I can see this team work on another case. Twisty, shocking, captivating, fans of this genre cannot afford to miss this title.

Review: The Orphan’s Daughter by Sandy Taylor

Orphan's DuaghterIreland, 1924. For thirteen-year-old Nora Doyle every day is a fight for survival. In the rural Irish village she calls home, she is no stranger to funerals or feeling the cold wind blowing through the windows of the small cottage where she lives with her family. Somehow Nora manages to keep smiling, but she longs to escape the poverty surrounding her.

One day, Nora’s life changes when her sense of adventure leads her and her best friend, Kitty, through a hole in the wall of the huge house on the top of the hill. In the secluded, carefully tended garden they discover on the other side, Nora and Kitty meet Edward, the young boy who lives there, and they instantly form a strong bond.

Soon Nora is spending every moment she can spare in the secret garden. But in escaping from her life in the village, Nora is going against the wishes of her family, who have forbidden any contact with the big house. Because Edward holds the key to a family secret that will change Nora’s life forever, and force her to make an impossible choice between her family and her future…


I have always enjoyed Historical Fiction by Sandy Taylor and this wasn’t an exception. The Orphan’s Daughter is what I’d describe as a quiet story. Reading it transported me to Ireland and into the life of Nora Doyle. Hers wasn’t a fast, overly exciting life but it was beautiful and interesting in its simplicity.

Sandy Taylor writes beautifully. Nora and her best friend Kitty had me smiling almost throughout the book. The story is so descriptive that it fully transported me into their lives. I could picture them sitting on the wall watching funerals, sitting by the fires, dipping their fingers in the holy water. I love good, descriptive writing and the imagery in this one was wonderfully done.

This story tackles a number of themes including love, family and friendship. It is quite emotive and had many moments of highs and lows. I laughed with Nora through her highs and felt her sadness through her low moments. I think the author did a brilliant job in creating a character that is so easily likable and easy to sympathize with.

The Orphan’s Daughter was everything that I thought it would be. Beautifully written, poignant, riveting and quite memorable. Definitely recommended to all fans of this genre.

Review: The Broken Ones (Detective Gina Harte #8) by Carla Kovach

Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.

The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.

At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.

The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.

Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.


Detective Gina Harte is back! The Broken Ones is the eighth book in this series. The story begins with a young woman on her way for a night out. She never makes it to the bus station. There are so many questions right from the start. Who took her? Was it someone she knew? Why was she taken?

The story is narrated in multiple POVs including the baddie’s which was dark and chilling. There were also chapters that were narrated by victims which were quite emotional but definitely a great addition to the story. As always, I was captivated by the chapters narrated by Gina as I nervously waited for the case to be solved.

This was a complex case with so many suspects. I kept changing my guesses. Was it her neighbor, tutor, friend,a stranger, landlord, a blind date? Everyone looked suspicious. Once again, the author managed to surprise me as the culprit was someone I never suspected at all.

I have always had a complex relationship with the lead MC. She is one of my favourite fictional detectives. However, in some of the books, she kinda annoyed me. I loved her in this one. She was keen on the case and as always had great instincts. I enjoyed her interactions with her colleagues and also liked seeing her softer side when she was dealing the victims. I can’t wait to catch up with Gina and her team in the next installment.

The Broken Ones by Carla Kovach is another great installment in the Detective Gina Harte series. Although it can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the entire series in order as the character development is best enjoyed this way. This is a fast-paced, edge of your seat, tightly-plotted crime thriller series that I highly recommend to all fans of this genre.

Review: A Caller’s Game by J.D Barker

Controversial satellite radio talk show host, Jordan Briggs, has clawed her way to the
top of the broadcast world. She doesn’t hold back, doesn’t spare feelings, and has no
trouble sharing what’s on her mind. Her rigorous pursuit of success has come at a price,
though. Her marriage is in ruins, she hasn’t spoken to her mother in years, and she’s
distanced herself from all those close to her. If not for her young daughter, Charlotte,
her personal life would be in complete shambles.

When a subdued man calls into the show and asks to play a game, she sees it as
nothing more than a way to kick-start the morning, breathe life into the beginnings of
drive-time for her listeners. Against her producer’s advice, she agrees, and unwittingly
opens a door to the past.

Live on the air with an audience of millions, what starts out as a game quickly turns
deadly—events long thought buried resurface and Jordan Briggs is forced to reconcile
with one simple fact—All decisions have consequences. 


This is the second book by J.D. Barker that I have read this week. I thought Coast to
Coast Murders was quite action-packed. A Caller’s Game is on the next level. The
marketing tagline that compared this to Die Hard was spot on.

I won’t say much about the plot because this is the kind of book best enjoyed without
much prior knowledge. I didn’t even read the blurb before turning the first page. All I can
say is that a talk show is in progress when someone calls in and starts a deadly game.
All the participants have to play. Refusing to do so has deadly consequences.

Jordan Briggs is the talk shows host and the main character caught up in this dark,
twisted game. As a professional, she is driven to the point of ruthlessness. Jordan is the
kind of character who is easy to dislike. However, the author gave her a complex
personality and my feelings about her kept changing. There are other key characters
who I enjoyed reading about. Jordan’s daughter Charlotte is my favorite. She made me
smile even when I was reading the most intense scenes.

This is a fast-paced, highly entertaining, suspenseful thriller that reads a lot like an
action movie. You might have to suspend your disbelief as you read it, I know I did. I
stopped asking questions and went with the flow and was rewarded for it. J.D. Barker is
such a masterful narrator.

Review: Honor by Elif Shafak

HonorThis is a dramatic tale of families, love and misunderstandings that follows the destinies of twin sisters born in a Kurdish village. While Jamila stays and becomes midwife, Pembe follows her Turkish husband, Adem, to London, where they hope to make new lives for themselves and their children.

In London, they face a choice; stay loyal to the old traditions or try their best to fit in. After Adem abandons his family, Iskender, the eldest son, must step in and become the one who will not let any shame come to the family name. And when Pembe begins a chaste affair with a man named Elias, Iskeder will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them.


Honor by Elif Shafak was my book club’s read for February. This is a book about culture and religion and how different people interpret the two. A murder occurs in form of honor killing. Was it justified or was it a case of religious fanatism?

Allow me to gush over the writing in this book. It is brilliant. The story is narrated in short chapters by various characters with the timelines moving back and forth like a pendulum. The writer used foreshadowing in the first chapters. Instead of diminishing the suspense, it heightened it. Readers find out about the murder and the killer within the first three chapters. I was curious about the why, how and when after that.

Chapter by chapter, the author unravels the mystery by taking us back to where it all began and showing us how the present was long determined by the past. The multiple POVs helped in the character development. I felt like I really got to know each of the characters. I understood them, their actions and emotions. I liked the twins, Pembe and Jamila although both their stories were so heartbreaking. I was also drawn to young Jonah who was trying to find his place in the world.  Each of the characters whether good or bad had an impact on me.

This story is rich in cultural nuances. There is a lot to unpack from this angle, the main thing being the place of a woman in the society. A lot of things depicted in the story are on the extreme but still relevant in today’s society. Women are still judged more harshly than men. For instance, a woman’s sexual history is likely to receive a very different reaction compared to a man’s. We might not have honor killings but the double standards are still there.

Honor was a very addictive read. I was lost in the characters’ world. The story took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride that had me taking breaks to catch my breath.

This is also an immigrant’s story that tackles various themes about immigration. It’s also a cultural story that introduced me to Turkish/Kurdish culture and Islamic honor killings. All this is done without sounding like a lecture but instead, the story remained engrossing, thought-provoking, skillfully written and yes, utterly heartbreaking.