The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
The House on Foster Hill 
by Jaime Jo Wright (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: It was long rumored that the Foster Hill oak tree was not only the largest but also the oldest tree in Oakwood. While its top rose to a marvelous height, it was still dead and its branches never blossomed. The trunk was very wide at the base and split open to reveal a hollow inside. Many a child had hidden there during a rambunctious game of hide-and-seek. They wouldn’t hide there any more. Not after today.

The petite body was curled into the position of a babe, inside the tree’s womb. Blonde hair hung free over her cold, bare shoulders and floated out on the wind. Her torso was covered in a paper-thin dress of grey calico. It was nowhere enough to keep her warm, but it was more than the cold that tinted the young woman’s skin blue. It was death.

THE BLURB: Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

MY THOUGHTS: 3 stars for The House on Foster Hill from me.

I was excited by the first few chapters of this book. Their tone was insidiously creepy and hinted at great things to come, but for me, they never quite materialised.

I loved the character of Ivy, author of the book of deaths, where she recorded her thoughts and memories of the people of her town who passed away so that they would not be forgotten. She is a strong willed, unconventional young woman who has not recovered from the tragedy that robbed her of her beloved brother Andrew.

I found it harder to relate to Kaine, whose story is interspersed with Ivy’s, but occurring a century later. I could not warm to her and found her decisions and actions hard to understand.

Ultimately, I think that the author of The House on Foster Hill tried to make this book too many things, all being given equal billing, and as a result it all becomes slightly muddied. We have in Ivy’s story, a historical, Christian, romantic-suspense, people trafficking, murder mystery. With Kaine, we have a contemporary, Christian, romantic-suspense, stalker, murder-mystery. And then there is the family connection between the two women, voila! A genealogical mystery to boot!

I applaud Jaime Jo Wright’s intentions in her debut novel. If I have one piece of advice for her, it is this. Make one aspect of the novel the main thread, the star if you like, and the other aspects become side stories feeding into and supporting the main story, acting as the supporting cast, instead of all battling with one another to reign supreme.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page v

Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith

Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith
Jazz Funeral (Skip Langdon, #3) 
by Julie Smith (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: “At $250 a pop,” fumed a red-faced man, “you’d think we’d at least get a drink.”

The shrill, uncertain buzz they’d noticed was developing a hysterical note. This was a party that wasn’t fun. Bemused, Skip and Steve worked their way back around to the front.

“Ham I could see,” said Skip. “He could have had to work late—it’s his busiest time. But where’s Ti-Belle?”

“Oh, ‘bout two houses away, I’d say. Approaching at a dead run, having just parked a Thunderbird with a squeal of wheels.”

Skip had heard the squeal, but had paid it no mind. Now she saw a very thin woman coming towards them, hair flying, long legs shining brown, sticking out from a white silk shorts suit. Over one shoulder she carried a lightweight flight bag. Golden-throated Ti-Belle Thiebaud, the fastest-rising star on the New Orleans music scene.

Steve said, “I’d know those legs anywhere.”

She never performed in any garment that wasn’t short, split, slit, or halfway missing. Some said the whole country would know those legs soon. They said she was going to be bigger than large, larger than huge.

Thiebaud was approaching at a dead trot, fast giving way to a gallop. She was wearing huge hoop earrings. She had giant black eyes and shining olive skin, flyaway blond hair that looked utterly smashing with her dark complexion. Her skin clung to her bones, hanging gently, as naturally as hide on a horse.

“How’d Ham get her?” she blurted.

A black man waved at the singer, tried to slow her progress, pretend it was a party: “Hey, Ti-Belle.”

Thiebaud paid him no mind but cast a look at the crowd in general. Skip saw twin wrinkles at the sides of her nose—one day they’d be there permanently if she worried a lot in the meantime.

“Hi, y’all.” She was trying to smile, but it wasn’t working. “Excuse me a minute.” She let herself in and closed the door behind her.

Almost immediately, a scream that could have come from anyone—the hottest Cajun R&B singer in America or any terrified woman—ripped through the nervous buzz.

THE BLURB: Smack in the middle of the summer, Skip finds herself investigating the stabbling death of the universally beloved producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Then the victim’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears, and Skip suspects that if the young woman isn’t herself the murderer, she’s in mortal danger from the person who is. And with her long-distance love, Steve Steinman, and her landlord, Jimmy Dee, to assist her, Skip trails an elusive killer through the delirium of a city caught up in the world’s most famous music bash….

MY THOUGHTS: 2 stars from me for Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith. This book really missed the mark with me, and was barely an okay read.

I love books set in the south. I have a fascination for New Orleans. And as y’all know I love a good murder-mystery/Detective story. But even with all these things going for it, Jazz Funeral failed to ignite my reading senses. At times, with its lack of atmosphere and lack of suspense,I considered dnf’ing it, and in retrospect, I should have. But I persevered as it did not take a great deal of effort or concentration to read. But then it gave about the same amount of satisfaction – not a great deal.

Yes,I know that this is #3 in a series of which I have not read the first two books. Would reading them have added to my enjoyment of Jazz Funeral? I think not. And no, I am not going to continue with the series.

The Kindle edition of Jazz Funeral I read was full of very basic typo errors which did nothing to endear it to me, and I really can’t recommend this read to anyone.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Just because I didn’t enjoy this book, doesn’t mean that you won’t. If you enjoyed the excerpt above, and like the sound of the blurb, then go ahead and read Jazz Funeral. I enjoy the fact that we all have such diverse reading tastes.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Friday Favorite – The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I started off by rereading the earlier books in the Simon Serrailler series, and then catching up on the latest book, The Soul of Discretion, which I read this week. WOW!!! I think my review says it all. ….

The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
The Soul of Discretion (Simon Serrailler, #8) 
by Susan Hill

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: He went through the gate and stopped. Later, he said that he would never forget the child’s face until his dying day. Later, he could not sleep because the face was in front of him. Later, he was haunted during his waking hours by sudden flashbacks to the child’s face as it looked up at him. . .

It was a girl. She was perhaps four years old. She was filthy, she had smears of blood on her arms and legs. Her long, fine, fair hair was matted to her scalp. She was completely naked.

THE BLURB: The cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. As part of the same rapidly changing world, it shares the same hopes and fears, and the same kinds of crime, as any number of towns up and down the land.

When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieron Bright, he is met by four plainclothes officers. He is asked to take the lead role in a complex, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone – not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work that will test her dedication to the NHS. But an urgent call about her and Simon’s father, Richard, soon presents her with a far greater challenge much closer to home.

To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. As the op unfolds, Lafferton is dragged into the sort of case every town dreads. And Simon faces the fight of his life.

MY THOUGHTS: OMG!!!!! This is the most compelling, gut wrenching book I have read by this author.

Over the previous seven books in the Simon Serrailler series Susan Hill, while holding me spellbound with her writing and storytelling skills, has lulled me almost into a sense of complacency, of security. Then she goes and turns everything upside down and gives it a shake for good measure.

I am almost speechless. I never saw any of this coming. I read The Soul of Discretion in one sitting. And now, the next morning, I am still shell-shocked. Still reeling.

I have only one more thing to say. Susan Hill, I hope you are already hard at work on book #9. You can’t leave Simon there!

☆☆☆☆☆ bright, bouncy, shining stars for The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick

The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick
The Hanged Man (The Bone Field #2) 
by Simon Kernick (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: Picture the scene. You’re at an isolated farm in the middle of the Welsh countryside. You know a young woman has been taken there by men who are going to rape and kill her. You’re certain you know who these men are. You’re also certain that they’ve killed women like this before a number of times, and yet you have no real evidence against them.

In one of the farm’s outhouses you discover huge vats of acid that will be used to dissolve her body when they’ve finished with her, just as they’ve dissolved the bodies of others. You investigate further and discover a windowless cellar with occult signs on the walls that you’ve seen at other crime scenes associated with these men.

Like a modern day night in shining armour, you rescue the young woman in a blaze of glory, arrest the perpetrators, and now, thanks to your detective work and personal bravery, you have enough evidence to put them away for mass murder for the rest of their miserable lives.

End of story.

Except, of course, that wasn’t how it happened.

THE BLURB: A house deep in the countryside where the remains of seven unidentified women have just been discovered.

A cop ready to risk everything in the hunt for their killers.

A man who has seen the murders and is now on the run in fear of his life.

So begins the race to track down this witness before the killers do.

For Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd, the road ahead is a dangerous one, with bodies and betrayal at every turn…

MY THOUGHTS: This is a crime thriller. It contains a lot of shooting. And fighting. Action man stuff. Not usually my forte. I usually prefer something a little more subtle. But I couldn’t have not finished Simon Kernick’s The Hanged Man had you paid me.

However, I do recommend that you read #1 in the series, Bone Field, before you embark on The Hanged Man. It will answer a lot of questions, fill in the blanks. I didn’t. I am reading them in the wrong order, but read Bone Field I must.

Thank you Mr Kernick for an unexpectedly good read. I am sure that my husband will enjoy it immensely. After he has read Bone Field.

Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on

Shadows on the Street by Susan Hill

The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill
The Shadows in the Street (Simon Serrailler, #5) 
by Susan Hill


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: They could never quite decide if he was OK or not. He wasn’t weird. He wasn’t anything. All the same. . .

‘Say what you like,’ Hayley had said, ‘not normal.’

Only he seemed normal, watching them eat the sandwiches he’d made for them, pocket the chocolate bars he’d bought out of his own money, finish off the hot tea or coffee. He had a normal coat, normal blue wool scarf. Normal black shoes. Normal. He was clean, he shaved, he hadn’t got anything special about him or anything peculiar either. Just normal.

Only not.

THE BLURB: Simon Serrailler is on sabbatical on a Scottish island, recovering from an exhausting murder investigation, when he is urgently summoned back to Lafferton. Two local prostitutes have been found strangled. By the time Serrailer has reached the town, another girl has vanished. Is this a vendetta against prostitutes by someone with a warped mind? Or a series of killings by an angry punter? Then the wife of the new Dean at the Cathedral goes missing – has the killer widened their net or is there more than one murderer at large?

MY THOUGHTS: Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series is one of my favorite series, for many reasons. It is about so much more than a detective. It encompasses the story of a family, three generations of it, their struggles with their lives, their jobs, and each other. Disappointments, expectations, petty jealousies, health problems, deaths, remarriage, and the joys and problems of raising families. Moral dilemmas. Faith. Loss. Love. Grief. Adjustment. Belonging, or being on the outside looking in.

But there is always a crime to solve, and nothing is ever straightforward. Simon Serrailler, DCI, artist, loner, does not always feature hugely in the plot, but is a presence all the same. In the Shadows in the Street, he doesn’t feature in his police role until quite well into the book. And yet this doesn’t detract from the story at all, instead we get to see a side of Simon rarely shown to us, the recluse, the loner, the artist very much at home on a remote island.

There is always so much more to her books than is at first apparent. And discovering the hidden depths is always a pleasure for me.

A very fond ☆☆☆☆☆ for The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill, published by Chatto and Windus, a division of Random House. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Dying Day by Stephen Edger

Dying Day by Stephen Edger
Dying Day: Absolutely gripping serial killer fiction 
by Stephen Edger (Goodreads Author)


Reviewed by

EXCERPT: He pulled back the sheet and for a few cold heartbeats Kate was back in the South London mortuary, and she was staring down at the body of Amy Spencer. She shook her head, and the new victim’s face returned to the table. The pale skin clung to the slender frame, save for the patches of yellow and purple bruising around her torso. She couldn’t have been much older than twenty-two; such a tragic waste of life.

THE BLURB: Her dark skin looks almost grey; the effect of the elements and death’s touch. Her limp body left pressed against a wire fence like trash. I make a silent promise that I will do everything I can to catch the person who did this to her…

Exactly a year ago, Amy, a young detective on Detective Kate Matthews’ team, was killed when she was sent undercover to catch a serial killer targeting young girls.

Kate never forgave herself for letting the killer slip through her fingers…

As the case is reopened and the campaign to find the culprit begins again, Kate is told to stay well away, and for good reason: another girl’s body has been found.

Kate is determined to connect new evidence to the old to catch this monster before more innocent lives are taken. The trail runs cold when her prime suspect is found dead. But then why is the body count still rising?

The answer is more terrible than Kate could possibly have imagined, and the killer so much closer than she thinks…

MY THOUGHTS: I read Dying Day by Stephen Edger basically in one sitting.

This is a great example of the British crime genre.

The story is told over two timelines and points of view. Amy’s starts prior to her death, twelve months earlier, and counts down towards the event. Kate’s story is in the present, twelve months after Amy’s death, which she is haunted by, her guilt a driving force and coloring all her decisions.

Kate is a very strong character, following her own path irrespective of the restrictions placed upon her by her superiors. But it seems that no matter what she does, the solution to the riddle of Amy’s death remains just out of reach.

Dying Day is full of twists and turns, and although I had my suspicions as to the identity of Amy’s killer, I had no idea of the motive nor the means, and my suspicions were not confirmed until right at the end.

Fast paced and action filled, Dying Day is a solid ☆☆☆☆ read.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dying Day by Stephen Edger for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White

The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White
The Lullaby Girl (Angie Pallorino, #2) 
by Loreth Anne White (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: “It affected us all, you know, finding that bleeding and mute toddler inside. She was a beautiful child – that pale complexion, the long dark-red hair, and that tattered little pink dress with frayed lace.” A pause. “We all thought someone would come forward to claim her instantly – that she had to have some family who was missing her. But no one did – not a soul. No mother presented at Saint Peter’s with injuries later. The other hospitals in this health-care region reported nothing suspicious either. It was a mystery. An absolute mystery.”
“Tell…tell me more about the child,” Angie said, her voice husky.
“Her mouth had been slashed open by a sharp weapon – it had sliced through both the upper and lower lips on the left side of her face. She was bleeding copiously from the wound. Blood saturated her dress, the bassinet. She was clutching the Teddy we’d placed inside, like a lifeline. Blood soaked the Teddy as well. She was in shock, grey eyes like saucers. And she made no sound at all. As though she was beyond crying and had perhaps been that way for a long time before.”

THE BLURB: Detective Angie Pallorino took down a serial killer permanently and, according to her superiors, with excessive force. Benched on a desk assignment for twelve months, Angie struggles to maintain her sense of identity—if she’s not a detective, who is she? Then a decades-old cold case washes ashore, pulling her into an investigation she recognizes as deeply personal.

Angie’s lover and partner, James Maddocks, sees it, too. But spearheading an ongoing probe into a sex-trafficking ring and keeping Angie’s increasing obsession with her case in check is taking its toll. However, as startling connections between the parallel investigations emerge, Maddocks realizes he has more than Angie’s emotional state to worry about.

Driven and desperate to solve her case, Angie goes rogue, risking her relationship, career, and very life in pursuit of answers. She’ll learn that some truths are too painful to bear, and some sacrifices include collateral damage.

But Angie Pallorino won’t let it go. She can’t. It’s not in her blood.

MY THOUGHTS: The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White is a fast paced, action packed read. The storyline is complex, without being complicated, the writing punchy, the characters interesting. There is romantic content and reasonably explicit sexual content, both of which are handled well and integral to the plot.

This is the second book in a series, the first of which, The Drowned Girls, I have not yet read. I probably should have as there are references to the content of that book throughout The Lullaby Girl. But at no point when I was reading did I feel lost or out of the loop, there was enough explanation of past events given to make everything clear.

The Angie Pallorino series is one I am going to follow with interest, including going back to read the first book. And at the end of The Lullaby Girl, is a teaser for the third book in the series, which has whet my appetite for more.

A good solid ☆☆☆☆ read.

Thank you to Montlake Romance via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
Two Nights 
by Kathy Reichs (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


My right-­hand neighbor thinks I’m crazy, so she brings me cheese.

I heard the one-­two crunch of her boots on the path. A pause, then the oyster shells crunched again.

I lifted a corner of the towel covering my kitchen window. She was already five yards off, a shadow-­laced smudge among the live oaks.

Six years, and I still didn’t know her name. Didn’t want to. Had no desire to exchange recipes or comments on the tides.

I cracked the door, snagged the plastic-­wrapped package, and shoved it into the fridge.

Truth is, I don’t mind the cheese. What I hate are the sharp little eyes plumbing my soul. That and the pity.

And the goats. When the wind is right, the bleating bullies into my dreams and I’m back in Helmand with the blood and the dust.

Or maybe I’m reading the old gal wrong. Maybe the cheese is a bribe so I don’t murder Billie or Nanny.

My left-­hand neighbor hanged himself from the end of his pier. His dog curled up and died by his head. Double suicide. Maggot jamboree by the time the bodies were found.

Arthur was a wood-­carver, Prince a collie. I prefer their silent company. Fits my two-­pronged plan for life. Need no one. Feel nothing.

THE BLURB: Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

MY THOUGHTS: I kind of went off Kathy Reichs when they corrupted her Tempe Brennan series into the TV show Bones. That was a seriously bad idea.

So I was kind of wary of reading Two Nights, but my reluctance was unnecessary. This is a seriously good read/ listen.

The story is over two timelines, now while Sunday and her brother Gus (August Night as in Neil Diamond’s Hot…..) are trying to track down the bombers and the missing girl, with flashbacks to Sunday’s own traumatic experience.

This is a fast paced and engaging read. There is plenty of action, plenty of twists. Strongly recommended ☆☆☆☆ read.

I listened to Two Nights by Kathy Reichs narrated by Colleen Marlo and Kim Mai Guest via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Friday Favorite – Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M. Appel

Millard Salter's Last Day by Jacob M. Appel
Millard Salter’s Last Day 
by Jacob M. Appel (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: The trouble was that Millard didn’t feel seventy-five. Maybe when he bent over to retrieve one of the grandkids’ toys, or when carrying his fishing tackle out to the skiff, but not often. Some mornings, he honestly believed he might live another twenty years. Good years. Of course, there lay the dastardly trap. Nobody really believes in quicksand until they can’t extricate their feet.

THE BLURB: In the spirit of the New York Times bestselling A Man Called Ove, this is the heartwarming story of a man who decides to end his life before he’s too old—but then begins to reconsider when he faces complications from the world around him.

In an effort to delay the frailty and isolation that comes with old age, psychiatrist Millard Salter decides to kill himself by the end of the day—but first he has to tie up some loose ends. These include a tête-à-tête with his youngest son, Lysander, who at forty-three has yet to hold down a paying job; an unscheduled rendezvous with his first wife, Carol, whom he hasn’t seen in twenty-seven years; and a brief visit to the grave of his second wife, Isabelle. Complicating this plan though is Delilah, the widow with whom he has fallen in love in the past few months. As Millard begins to wrap up his life, he confronts a lifetime of challenges during a single day—and discovers that his family has a big surprise for him as well.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Jacob Appel’s writing. I love the depth of his characters, the way we get to know their little foibles, their likes and dislikes, their innermost thoughts.

And as I read, I grew to love the anti-social Millard Salter. He knows himself, warts and all. He knows he did wrong by his first wife, Carol, but even in retrospect, wouldn’t change a thing. I love the love he feels for the dying Delilah, his compassion, his devotion. I love his thoughts and opinions on the people he works with. We all have people like these in our lives at some point or another. I loved his take on dealing with people who verbally ‘down’ you, and I loved his wit and puns.

I felt sad when the book was finished. I felt like I had lost an old friend. I am going to miss Millard Salter, but on the flip side, I can pick this book up again and go visit any time I like. And I am sure I will.

Thank you to Gallery Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M Appel for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Thursday Thoughts. …..

With all the lovely fine weather we have had, I am working daylight til dusk out on the farm, and so my reading has taken a bit of a back seat this week.

I have just finished Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M Appel, but I am saving that for my Friday Favorite tomorrow. Yes, it’s that good!

I am currently reading

The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill

 One of my favorite authors. And listening to
Two Nights
I am about to start
The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White
Which was published this week. And then
Dying Day: Absolutely gripping serial killer fiction
Which is due to be published tomorrow.
Books I have been approved for via Netgalley in the past week are
Beneath the Water
Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)
The Runaway Children: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction
Her Best Friend
Happy reading!