ARC REVIEW: The Perfect Mother – by Caroline Mitchell @amazonpub @caroline_writes

Title: The Perfect Mother
Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: January 14th 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: December 26th 2019
Pages: 368

“People thought they knew her. They hadn’t got a clue.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’m a big fan of Caroline Mitchell‘s books and I always look forward to a new one… I was sold soon as I first read the blurb for The Perfect Mother and I have been looking forward to read it ever since. And now I’ve had the chance to read it, I think I might just have found a new favorite title! From start to finish, this story is everything I look for and more in a psychological thriller. I was hooked from the very first page, unable to put down my kindle until I reached that final page, and I literally finished it in less than a day. This might sound like one of those review cliches or oneliners, but it is 200% true when it comes to The Perfect Mother!

There is a lot to love in The Perfect Mother, and I’m struggling a bit to decide where to start. The beginning maybe? The premise of the story is without doubt fascinating. We start with a young and broke Irish woman with an impossible dilemma as to how to solve her current situation. Some of her options might not be orthodox, but there are underlying secrets in play as well that will influence her decision. Conflicting opinions about her decision aside, it without doubt makes for one heck of a story. I’m not sure if I would have trusted the offer as it simply sounded too good to be true, but I guess being desperate makes you overlook the details… Once the story starts taking place in New York, things are getting truly interesting and I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I started discovering what was really going on at the celebrity couple’s house and what secrets they were hiding.

The story is told with the help of multiple POVs and two different settings (Ireland and New York). Focusing mainly on Roz and Sheridan, we slowly learn more about both their past and how the current situation came to be… Multiple plot twists and secrets are hidden along the way to keep you on your toes, and the plot will definitely have some surprises for you in store. The different POVs and settings also give this story a multidimentional feel and definitely enhanced both the plot and the suspense. The Irish setting was well described and really came alive for me; both through the characters and descriptions themselves. The New York setting mostly focuses on the celebrity couple’s house, but those chapters are by no means dull and will definitely satisfy your need for suspense and shocking plot twists.

As for the characters… Even if you don’t agree with what Roz decided to do, she is still quite easy to like and connect to. Her best friend is likewise easy to like and it was interesting to discover what role she played in the story as a whole. I wasn’t a big fan of the celebrity couple, but I guess they are ment to be that way for the story to work and they are intriguing characters to try and decipher. Other New York characters were easier to like, including George, but the most important thing is that each character added a little something extra to the plot and played the role he/she had to play to turn The Perfect Mother into the little masterpiece it is. This book is definitely right at the top of favorite 2020 releases so far, and it is a story that will stay with me for quite some time… If you enjoy a well written, suspenseful and twisty psychological thriller, you should definitely add The Perfect Mother to your wishlist!


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WWW Wednesdays #249 – January 1st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Happy new decade! A new year means new reads, and I’m still working through my mountain of ARCs… Big Lies In A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain is up first; a title I’ve been looking forward to. I’m also starting the sequel Nothing To Lose by Victoria Selman so I have one less series to catch up with in 2020. Especially since the sequels seem to be coming out in record speed!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Black Summer by M.W. Craven (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
While I do think I loved the first book a tiny bit more (please don’t hit me!), Black Summer was without doubt a brilliant sequel and as soon as Tilly made her entrance there was no way on earth I was putting down my copy. Thankfully I was able to spend most of Christmas Day in the company of my kindle, lots of tea, a sleeping cat closeby and a pile of leftover chocolate, so my wish came true and I was able to reach that final page almost in one sitting. And what a read!

2. The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell (5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/01
I’m a big fan of her books, and I always look forward to a new one… The Perfect Mother is without doubt a fantastic read that had me absorbed from the very first page and I literally finished it in less than a day. Definitely right at the top of favorite 2020 releases so far!

3. On The Bright Side by Hendrik Groen (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/01
I loved my first meeting with main character Hendrik Groen a few months back, his character reminding me of all time favorite Ove. I’ve been looking forward to meet up with him again in the sequel, and while I thought On The Bright Side was a tiny bit slower and I think I liked the first book a tiny bit better, I still had a great time reading this book.

4. A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 09/01
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour…

5. Blood For Blood by Victoria Selman (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/01
I loved the third book of the series when I read it recently, and I decided to read the first two books of the series ASAP so I have one less series to catch up with in 2020. The first book is without doubt an entertaining ride, and while I think the third book shows just how much this series has grown over time I did love learning more about Ziba. And what a way to start the story with a bang!

6. Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain (?/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 16/01
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading the rest of my pending January ARCs first, so I can focus on reading mostly my own books during the rest of the month… The last three pending ARCs are Dark Mother Earth by Kristian Novak, The Home by Sarah Stovell and The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allan. I also plan to finally read my latest TBR jar pick Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton!


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WWW Wednesdays #248 – December 25th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I hope everyone who celebrates is having a wonderful Christmas so far! I gave myself an early Christmas gift and finally started reading Black Summer by M.W. Craven, a title I’ve been eagerly anticipating after being blown away by the first book earlier this year. I might just have finished it by the time this post goes live depending on how much free time I could sneak in to read in between Christmas preparations yesterday. I’m also reading On The Bright Side by Hendrik Groen as a second Christmas gift. Who says I can’t spoil myself? 😉 I loved the first book and I’m enjoying the same snarky tone in the sequel as well. Hendrik reminds me so much of Ove!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/12
There are so many characters I loved in this story, and they all play their role in teaching us more about Cuba as well. The plot itself is complex, multilayered and shows a thorough research into Cuban history as well as a wonderful romance story to counter the darker elements in Next Year In Havana. This story is an absolute must-read for historical fiction fans!

2. The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/12
The Rules Of Murder is by no means a meek story and it will have plenty of action, suspense and properly twisted and graphic scenes for you in store. If you like your detective/serial killer thrillers fast and dangerous, you should definitely try this series!

3. Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR STOP 08/01/2020
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour… A little spoiler: it’s a true pageturner!

4. Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/12
I really enjoyed my first encounter with this Finnish mastermind of black humor and nordic noir, so I’ve been excited to pick up Palm Beach Finland. It’s without doubt another excellent read and the combination of the dark humor and the nordic noir elements is what makes this story so unique. It might not be for everyone, but I myself was very entertained by what was going on in the coldest beach resort on earth!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m hoping to get through a few more January ARCs and blog tours to take the pressure off next month… First up is A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, which I’m really excited about as I loved his other title Breakers earlier this year. Then it’s pending blog tour number two (probably): Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain. I’m also planning on reading Caroline Mitchell‘s newest The Perfect Mother soon. My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I probably won’t be able to get to this year even though I’m looking forward to it.


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ARC REVIEW: The Secret Child – by Caroline Mitchell

Title: The Secret Child
(DI Amy Winter #2)

Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: April 18th 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: March 3rd 2019
Pages: 336

“We are all justified by our wants and needs. Who’s to say my reasons aren’t just as valid as yours?”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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As a thriller fan, every time I see Caroline Mitchell‘s name pop up my heart skips a beat. She has become one of my trusted thriller authors and her stories haven’t failed to entertain me yet… Last year I was able to meet a new detective with a fascinating past, DI Amy Winter, and it’s time for a second date in The Secret Child. I have a weird obsession with serial killer stories and the main character’s past is definitely one of the things that stands out most in this new detective thriller series. Things can be said about her difficult past and flawed personal life being quite cliche, but Lillian will get under your skin and will give Amy Winter an original twist. The writing is more than solid, draws you right in and will make you reach the final page before you know it. It’s something I’ve become used to with Caroline Mitchell‘s thrillers and one of the reasons I would pick up one of her titles without even reading the blurb first. The Secret Child has a fascinating premise though and I love that part of the plot is set in the past and in the Soviet Union at that. This international twist makes the plot all the more interesting and gives the story an original touch. Past and present are mixed in a way that adds maximum suspense and intrigue about what really happened to Luka and the other children all those years ago. There are quite a lot of different elements in the story, with the 1984-1985 flashbacks, the present kidnapping and Lillian Grimes… I did feel they were better balanced than in the first installment, and the story will definitely have some plot twist bombs and surprises for you in store. All in all I had a great time reading The Secret Child and I’m already looking forward to discover what will happen next.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

There are no solid leads after four-year-old Ellen was kidnapped from her very own bed at night. Until her mother Nicole receives a package with four phials and a message that will chill her to the bone. Suddenly her darkest fears have come true, and the past has come back to haunt her… Nicole is given a deadly challenge: one of the four phials is poisoned, and she has to drink one in order for the kidnapper to reveal Ellen’s location to the police. The kidnapper claims to be someone that is long dead… Is he telling the truth, and what does the past have to do with what is happening in the present? DI Amy Winter and her team will have to give it all in order for the truth to come out.

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If you, like me, enjoy fast-paced detective thrillers that aren’t afraid to go dark and twisty, you should definitely meet DI Amy Winter. Not only has she a serial killer connection, but she also isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to get things done. The Secret Child reads like a train and the flashbacks don’t slow down the pace at all… In fact, they only add extra dept and an original touch to the story. I’m really enjoying my time with DI Amy Winter so far and I’ll definitely be looking forward to meeting her again in the future.


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WWW Wednesdays #212 – March 6th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading another installment of one of my favorite detective series: The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan. It’s great to meet up with Josie Quinn again! With the pace I’m flying through the pages, I’ll finish it in no time at all… I’m also starting The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld as my next physical copy read. I do love this cover version! Fingers crossed I will be able to connect to the magical realism elements this time around.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/03
Yes, the story of The Bird King is without doubt just as beautiful as that stunning cover. It’s a perfect mix of historical fiction elements, a magical realism feel and fantasy elements… With different cultures coming together through the journey of Fatima, Hassan and the people they meet along the way. The historical setting, details and descriptions are perfectly elaborated with a gorgeous and magical prose you will cannot help but fall in love with. The pace of this story is slow, but it will make it that much easier to fully savour every single chapter and detail of their journey. Fans of slower-paced historical fiction stories who don’t mind a little fantasy mixed in will most likely enjoy this fantastic story as much as I did.

2. Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo (DNF 32%; 0 stars) REVIEW 
I feel sad I had to take the decision to DNF as I rarely do that, but I’ll try to explain in my review why I didn’t see other way out. First of all I like to state that this is probably another case of this story simply not being a right fit for me. Sadly, I wasn’t all that impressed by Angie. It felt like an overload of different elements being dumped on you instead of creating a realistic situation and this made the story less credible. I also really struggled with the writing style. Between the writing style, almost cartoonish extreme reactions and violence, overload of different elements stuffed in the same character and that same character being unlikeable I saw no other choice than to DNF Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution.

3. The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/03
If you, like me, enjoy fast-paced detective thrillers that aren’t afraid to go dark and twisty, you should definitely meet DI Amy Winter. Not only has she a serial killer connection, but she also isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to get things done. The Secret Child reads like a train and the flashbacks don’t slow down the pace at all… In fact, they only add extra dept and an original touch to the story. I’m really enjoying my time with DI Amy Winter so far and I’ll definitely be looking forward to meeting her again in the future.

4. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/03
This is an absolutely fantastic and heartbreaking read! Well worth the 5 stars and without doubt one of my 2019 favorites. There is just something about the writing style that will draw you right in and I wasn’t able to let go until I reached the final page. I loved how big of a role music played throughout the story, the many musical references both relevant to the plot and enchanting at the same time. The power of A Thousand Perfect Notes is in its characters though. A Thousand Perfect Notes will make you laugh and cry and the characters will stay with you for a long time. It’s a fantastic contemporary read which balances happy moments and a romantic interest with a thousand musical notes and a dark twist.

5. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/03
I normally prefer a more developed story, but there are exceptions where I’m able to connect to a short story in the same way. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer is one of those exceptions. Not only is it good to see Alzheimer in the spotlight, we also see its effects on both the person itself and those close in a refreshing way. This novella has an almost surreal touch where memories and the real world overlap and exist at the same time.

6. The Fever King by Victoria Lee (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/03
Gorgeous cover aside, this was without doubt an entertaining start of a new dystopian alternative future series. In The Fever King magic is in fact a virus that will kill most and leave the survivors with superpowers. A very interesting take on magic and without doubt one of the stronger features of this story. While the worldbuilding is a bit simple and not that developed, the three most important characters (Noam, Dara and Lehrer) mostly make up for it as they all have something special to add to the story. I would have liked to see the other important characters being more developed though, and the pace did start out a bit slow. But the story ends in a whirlwind and will definitely leave you craving for more.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I was going to read Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton last week, but I had some other ARCs popping up I needed to read first… This one is up next now. I don’t want to neglect my backlist titles though… And next up I have Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga because I seem to be in the mood for contemporary and I loved her other story. I’m also keeping my next thriller ready: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. My TBR jar pick is still Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


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ARC REVIEW: Truth And Lies – by Caroline Mitchell

Title: Truth And Lies
(DI Amy Winter #1)

Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 30th 2018
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: August 16th 2018
Pages: 348

“She has always vaguely aware of something dark and monstruous buried deep inside. Something that made her blood turn cold.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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!! Happy publication day !!

After highly enjoying Caroline Mitchell‘s thrillers in the past, of course I couldn’t resist the request button when I saw this title pop up on Netgalley. Although I still wish I could have another dose of Ruby Preston, it was great meeting a new detective. And boy, does she have an explosive past! I love a good serial killer thriller and the husband-and-wife serial killer team described in Truth And Lies will give you goosebumps. 200% twisted and Amy Winter’s background definitely sets the tone for this first installment of a new detective series… The writing is solid, and will make you fly through this story. There are a lot of different elements incorporated into the plot, including the serial killer duo, their victims, Amy’s past, a new kidnapping case, the Truth Keepers and domestic abuse. While each element on it’s own is intriguing and adds something to the story, I do think it was a little too much. Why too much? Because there were so many different elements, I felt some of them lacked the development and attention it deserved. Also, I felt that some elements and subplots were kind of abandoned halfway and simply cut off instead of neatly ended. As for the credibility… I’m still on the fence about that one, but I don’t think I was completely convinced. There were a few surprising plot twists though and I will be curious how things will continue, because Truth And Lies ended with a pretty big cliffhanger with mayor consequences for the main character’s private life. All in all Truth And Lies wasn’t my favorite, but still an entertaining serial killer thriller.

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DI Amy Winter is hoping to make her father proud, who was a highly respected and successful police officer himself. Then her whole life falls apart when receives a letter from prison written by the infamous Lillian Grimes. She is one half of a husband-and-wife serial killer duo, and also claiming to be Amy’s biological mother. Memories long repressed start resurfacing again… Especially as her mother claims to finally want to reveal the location of three of her victims, but only if Amy does exactly as she says.

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I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers, and I really like the original angle used in Truth And Lies. It’s not the first time I’ve read a story written from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter, but it hasn’t been done a lot either. The details about the past, the memories resurfacing, the broken family story… It definitely adds something fascinating to the story. But for me this element kind of got a bit lost in between all the other elements used in this story; there was simply too much going on, too many different elements and subplots to make for a proper coherent and believable plot. I felt some angles were left unfinished and I think the story would have benefitted by simplifying things and leaving some elements out. That said, it was still an entertaining read and a good start of a new series.


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WWW Wednesdays #184 – August 22nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch… Mostly because I’ve started a new crochet project and I can’t crochet AND read a physical copy at the same time. I can combine it with my kindle, so that’s basically why I’ve been reading other titles instead. I’m putting crochet on hold today though so I can hopefully finish it! I’ve also started reading The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages and I’m really excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine (3/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
I had really high expectations when I started reading Ink And Bone, and this just might have been the problem here. I was really surprised it took me a long long time to get into the story… I can’t exactly put my finger on the way, because the writing itself is excellent, but it might have been the slowish pace or my lack of connection to the plot itself. There is no doubt there is a lot to love in Ink And Bone, but somehow I just didn’t feel it. I felt some of the spark was missing, and only towards the final part did that spark finally ignite.

2. The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
The Mysterious Affair At Styles is actually her very first book and it was interesting to discover how her long career had begun. This first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot was an interesting one. The references to the war were interesting and gave the story a little something extra. True, the pace was a tad slow and this story is more about cleverly concealed twists and descriptions than real suspense. It was interesting to see how the case evolved over time and how Hastings tried to figure out what really happened, and his interactions with Poirot himself. I figured out the basics of the ending early on, but being able to see the techniques Agatha Christie used to reach that ending was still satisfying.

3. Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers, and I really like the original angle used in Truth And Lies. It’s not the first time I’ve read a story written from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter, but it hasn’t been done a lot either. The details about the past, the memories resurfacing, the broken family story… It definitely adds something fascinating to the story. But for me this element kind of got a bit lost in between all the other elements used in this story; there was simply too much going on, too many different elements and subplots to make for a proper coherent and believable plot. I felt some angles were left unfinished and I think the story would have benefitted by simplifying things and leaving some elements out. That said, it was still an entertaining read and a good start of a new series.

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
Initially, I really enjoyed this story and I was positive it would receive a really high rating. The writing style is just wonderful, the worldbuilding is intriguing, I loved the many references to the Polish culture and Agnieszka’s character has an interesting background. I liked seeing the magic evolve and even tolerated the Dragon. But why o why does this story have to be destroyed by unnecessary and disturbing romance?!?!

5. The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
The Shadow Cats is actually a prequel to the first book and focuses more on Elisa’s older sister Alodia. I never really liked her, but if possible she comes over as even worse in this novella. In fact, I had a problem with a lot of the characters in general. The writing is solid though and I loved the use of many Spanish words, both in names and other descriptions. Very creative!

6. The Confession by Jo Spain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
Normally, finding out the who behind an attack or murder is one of the main drives of a crime thriller. So how can The Confession work that well if we know who did it right away? It has to do with both the well crafted plot and the also important question ‘why’. We may know the who, but readers are left clueless when it comes to the reason behind this attack. What secrets are J.P., Harry and Julie hiding? What connects them? Why was Harry attacked? Oh yes, you will keep wondering why, why, why as you keep turning pages and encountering the next clever twist. A very solid read indeed!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m starting Call To Arms by Rachel Amphlett as soon as I finish my current read on my kindle… I need another dose of Kay Hunter! I also want to read both I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, depending on how long it takes to finish the other three titles. As soon as my N.E.W.T.s readathon begins on the 31st, I won’t be having time for other reads! My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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