Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell


source: free review copy arrived via the author
title: Our Trespasses
author: Michael Cordell
genre: paranormal mystery/horror/suspense
pages: 247
published: October 15, 2021
first line: Ruth stood at her ironing board, working her way though a pile of clothes in the bottomless laundry basket at her feet, mindlessly sweeping the iron back and forth across a blue denim work shirt, breaking her rhythm only to fire shots of steam at particularly stubborn wrinkles.
rated: 4 out of 5


blurb:
Drowning in a meaningless existence flipping burgers, Matthew Davis suddenly collapses from a powerful psychic connection he shares with his twin brother, Jake. The pain is violent and immediate, and Matt knows exactly what it means… hundreds of miles away, Jake has been viciously killed. But instead of severing their connection, the murder intensifies it and Matt begins to suffer the agony of Jake’s afterlife.

Hell bent on solving Jake’s murder in order to break the connection, Matt travels to his troubled hometown of Hatchett, Nebraska, where an old lover and savage new enemies expose the festering wounds that Jake left behind.

Fans of Stephen King’s The Outsider, Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist will find this new paranormal thriller impossible to put down.

my thoughts:
Our Trespasses by Michael Cordell is a great paranormal thriller with plenty of twists and turns that had me hooked from the start.

At the center of the story are identical twins Matt and Jake. The brothers grew up in small town Hatchett, Nebraska and have lost touch since Matt moved way to New York city after high school. These two have a strong psychic connection and this is the reason why Matt moved out of town, in order to get away from this overwhelming supernatural bond he had with his twin.

Without giving too much away, one day Matt feels intense pain and he realizes Jake has just been murdered. After being gone for several years, Matt finds himself back home for his brother’s funeral. While trying to make amends at home with his mother and a few old friends, Matt also tries to find answers as to his brother’s murder which remains unsolved.
He comes to find out that Jake had plenty of demons and was not a well liked person around town. Matt wants to make things right not only for himself but for his brother. He feels that if he can try and right what his brother did wrong, Jake’s soul can be at rest.

This was a fast paced story and with a few unexpected plot twists and terrifying scenes. I find the twin connection to be very interesting. I watched a documentary not loo long ago about the identical twin connection. One of the twins featured were brothers who were adopted separately as infants and had never met, yet the two wound up living nearly identical lives… down to their career choices, the houses they bought and the names they gave their children. How fascinating.

So back to Our Trespasses, I really enjoyed this book. I love it when a story just pulls me along and keeps me guessing like this one did. I can always appreciate scary scenes and this book delivered that in spades. There is a creepy movie theater scene that was a favorite.

The supporting cast of characters added to the storyline as they helped Matt find some answers. In reconnecting with his ex Claire and with his mom, Matt comes to realize what his leaving town abruptly years ago did to his loved ones. I had no idea who murdered Jake until the author revealed it and it made sense. I enjoyed the way the story culminated in an exciting conclusion.

With themes of family issues, addiction, good vs evil and redemption, Our Trespasses was a great thrill ride and I recommend it if you enjoy paranormal stories with a nice dose of horror and mystery.

“The human-shaped form behind the curtain moved again, creating a soft rustle, as if trying to escape the small, dark space between drape and wall. Then the bulge silently glided along the wall toward Matt’s row like a huge, red velvet wave rippling forward, before returning to where he’d first spotted it.” -Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell, 51% Kindle

“I wasn’t just living on my own, I was literally on my own. Jake tried his best to reconnect, but I overpowered it. At the same time, I felt so incredibly alone. I never realized that part of my self-confidence came from the connection. We had always been a team, and even though we fought, he was still part of me, far more than I realized.”- Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell, 71% Kindle


about the author:
Michael Cordell is a novelist, playwright and produced screenwriter. He has sold three screenplays to Hollywood, including Beeper, an action-thriller starring Harvey Keitel and Joey Lauren Adams.

Michael currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he has taught screenwriting at the University of Virginia and at Writer House.

You can reach Michael at michaeljcordell@gmail.com- quoted from Goodreads




Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of Our Trespasses came via the author.

The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) by Tracy Rees


source: ARC via NetGalley/Bookouture
title: The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1)
author: Tracy Rees
pages: 277
published: August 24, 2022
genre: fiction
first line: Kitty, it’s time to go home now.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

about:
Bluebells bob in the salty sea wind and the cottage gate swings open to reveal the inky-blue cove. It’s exactly how Kitty always pictured it… except in her head, she wasn’t standing here alone.

Kitty Roberts spends her days searching for the perfect home for two… until her boyfriend dumps her. Devastated, she flees to a tiny seaside village called Pennystrand, where she spent golden summers as a child, before her family fell apart.

At first, Kitty’s dramatic escape proves to be exactly what she needs – golden sunsets over warm, sandy beaches, lovably eccentric new neighbours and even a blush-inducing run-in with Cory Hudson, a floppy-haired local surfer with a heart-stopping smile.
But just as Kitty feels herself beginning to heal, Cory reveals that his time in Pennystrand is nearly up. What’s more, some strange reactions to Kitty in town make her wonder if her connection to this place might go deeper than she thought.
What is this tranquil little village hiding? It seems there’s a secret in Kitty’s past that is about to turn her life on its head once more… Is she ready for the truth? And will it bring her and Cory closer together, or drive them apart?

A page-turning story full of unexpected twists and turns. It will make you smile, laugh and wish you could visit Pennystrand! Absolutely perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Heidi Swain and Carole Matthews.

my thoughts:
The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) by Tracy Rees is a light, summery book and I breezed right through it.

As the story starts off, Kitty Roberts spends her days working at a job she doesn’t really like but saving her money to buy her dream home with her live in boyfriend Mitch. That is until she and Mitch suddenly break up leaving Kitty totally heartbroken. She decides to visit a psychic who suggests she should move to a house by the sea and so she does. She ends up renting a house for 6 months in Wales in the small town of Pennystrand where she would visit as a child with her parents and sisters. She has her savings to count on for now until she decides what to do next but she starts looking for work in Pennystrand in the meantime. What she finds there is a small community of locals, gorgeous views and a lot of time to self reflect.

“Running away to find myself in a beautiful new place was a romantic-sounding idea. But this is real. I’m hurt, scared and alone, my dreams in smithereens, and I’ve displaced myself further by coming here.”- The Little House by the Sea by Tracy Rees

The story moved along quickly and I rooted for Kitty, she’s a down to earth relatable type of character. I wondered how it would end up for her as she tries to meet new people in Pennystrand and tries to move on with her life. What a nice idea, to pack it up and move to a quaint little beachside town right? Pennystrand is described so nicely I could easily envision the small town setting and the sounds of the ocean waves. The supporting cast of characters was well written and the story moved at a steady pace and held my interest throughout. The plot took a few twists and turns as Kitty settles into Pennystrand life and there is also a secret woven into the storyline that I did not see coming. It all wraps up nicely in the end while leaving it open for the next book in the series. This is a story about starting over and second chances.

The Little House by the Sea is one of those feel good stories best read in your comfy pajamas while sipping a warm cup of tea and enjoying homemade cookies which is exactly how I read most of it.

“I crack the window open an inch and smell the sea, though I can’t see it. A fresh, sweet breeze drifts in. It’s the sky that seals the deal for me-pale blue, like old, ironed sheets, stretched across a faintly glowing lemon sun, with scuds of cloud and gleams of light. I’ve never seen so much sky.”- The Little House by the Sea

We fall quiet, jokes forgotten, and take in the immensity of the ocean around us. Sharp cliffs rear into the sky, and I can see a coast path and the tiny figures of walkers. Above, the sky is vast and blue and white, an endless canopy. The most hypnotic thing is the lap and hiss of the water retreating and renewing, sighing and seething.-The Little House by the Sea


about the author:
Tracy Rees is a Cambridge graduate with a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages. After an eight-year career in nonfiction publishing, she worked as a counselor for people with cancer and their families. Amy Snow is her first novel. She lives in Swansea, Wales.



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) by Tracy Rees came via NetGalley/Bookouture.

The Thin Place by C.D. Major

source: free review copy via NetGalley/Amazon Publishing UK
title: The Thin Place
author: CD Major
published: April 15, 2021
genre: mystery thriller
pages: 319
first line: She stands on the bridge.
TW: child abuse, dog death and death of a loved one
rated: 3 out of 5

about:
She has to know the truth about Overtoun Estate, but there is a reason it has stayed buried for so long. When journalist Ava Brent decides to investigate the dark mystery of Overtoun Estate—a ‘thin place’, steeped in myth—she has no idea how dangerous this story will be for her. Overtoun looms over the town, watching, waiting: the locals fearful of the strange building and the secrets it keeps. When Ava starts to ask questions, the warm welcome she first receives turns to a cold shoulder. And before she knows it, Ava is caught in the house’s grasp too. After she discovers the history of a sick young girl who lived there, she starts to understand the sadness that shrouds it. But when she finds an ominous old message etched into a windowsill, she is forced to wonder—what horrors is the house protecting? And what will it cost her to find out? With her own first child on the way, Ava knows she should stay away. But even as her life starts to unravel, and she receives chilling threats, the house and the bridge keep pulling her back…

my thoughts:

The Thin Place by CD Major is a slow burning mystery thriller revolving around an old mansion called the Overtoun Estate. The title The Thin Place refers to the place where heaven and earth meet, where the veil is lifted. The story alternates from the POV’s of three different characters; Marion in 1929, Constance in 1949 and Ava in the current day.

Marion is unhappily married to Hamish West, Constance is a sick bedridden child and Ava is a reporter working on a piece about the estate. The Overtoun Estate is the thread that binds these three together and throughout the entire book you feel the large house looming in the background ever present. In this way, the estate is a character in and of itself.

I found the storyline started off slowly but once it got going I was invested in what was going on. The author writes the alternating POV’s seamlessly from past to present day. She does a good job at leaving one chapter off at a little cliffhanger before starting another.

I found Ava to be the most fleshed out character of the three and as the story progresses we get to see her family and her everyday life. She has become somewhat obsessed with the Overtoun Estate and it seems to call to her. I didn’t particularly like Ava because I dislike characters who start to behave cluelessly and who should know better. I’ll leave it at that in order to avoid spoilers, but I kept wondering about her actions. I felt bad for poor Constance and it was hard reading what was going on with her.

Now while I enjoyed reading The Thin Place, I did have some qualms. First of all, I do have to mention trigger warnings for child abuse, dog death and death of a loved one as this was a very heavy read. I even found that an unnecessary scene was added at the end of the book almost in order to really get the reader before the final page is turned.

Also there was an awkwardness between Ava and her mother. It just didn’t sit quite right with me and the main issue between them felt almost forced as far as how her mother was behaving. There was also weirdness going on with another supporting character had me scratching my head in confusion. I didn’t find any of it fully explained and I found it was a little all shoved under the rug at the end so the story could be wrapped up.

Unfortunately the reason given that Ava was drawn to Overtoun Estate made no sense to me. I felt a little bit cheated with that. Also of note, the Overtoun Estate is a real place in Scotland, I thought that was interesting.

While I had some issues with this one I think if you enjoy dark, mysterious thrillers that move at a slower pace, you might enjoy The Thin Place by CD Major. Even though I had a few qualms with it, I was up late nights reading and I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere surrounding the estate.

“The house sees me. The bridge guards my secrets. I feel them both, like solid arms around me, drawing me to them.”The Thin Place by CD Major.


Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of The Thin Place came via Amazon Publishing UK.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah



source: purchased
title: The Great Alone
author: Kristin Hannah
genre: fiction
published: 2018
pages: 448
first line: That spring, rain fell in great sweeping gusts that rattled the rooftops.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

my thoughts:

I have to start my review off by mentioning I’m slightly obsessing over author Kristin Hannah’s books now after this one and I plan on reading more. After reading The Four Winds last year I quickly ordered The Great Alone. It has taken me several months to get to this one but I was up past midnight this weekend reading I was so hooked. At the center of the story is 13 year old Leni Allbright and her parents Ernt and Cora. Ernt is a Vietnam POW. This family of three is dysfunctional to begin with and Ernt is an alcoholic and abusive towards his wife and he now suffers from PTSD. When his late war buddy leaves him a house in remote Alaska, Ernt packs the family up to live off the grid. Why on Earth the wife Cora would agree to move to the middle of nowhere with little planning and next to nothing but the clothes on their backs with an abusive alcoholic husband who also sufferers from PTSD is beyond me but off they go. Ernt promises that the Alaskan setting will help him be better. This almost reminded me of The Shining.

Once in Alaska, the Allbright’s meet the locals and settle into life off the grid and harsh climate living. As the years pass and Leni gets into her teen years she falls in love with a local boy. She sees her parents differently as a young adult and wonders if her mother can ever have the strength to leave her abusive marriage.

Now, as I said, I was hooked late into the night reading this one. Kristin Hannah has a way of drawing you in with her writing. However, as much as I enjoyed this book I also had a few qualms with it. Firstly Ernt. His character seemed underdeveloped. Why was he physically abusive to his wife? It’s hinted at that this was going on before he left to Vietnam so why? We know nothing about his background. Secondly, Cora. Why was she so weak? I wanted to scream at her while reading. She seemed to have a twisted lovesick teenage relationship with Ernt. Often times they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and didn’t care who was around. Cora’s parents are in the story but again there is nothing explaining why she clings to an abusive husband.

The first 200 pages or so were riveting, I loved reading about the Alaskan landscape and was curious to see where the story would go once the Allbright’s settled into their cabin in the middle of nowhere. I find that this author is great with writing the settings in her stories and The Great Alone was no different. Then the story started to drag a little but I saw that the author was setting things up for the latter half of the book which picked right back up again. I liked Leni’s character alot. This was a coming of age story for her. I liked seeing her realize how toxic her parents are and that that she decided to take a different path. This is also a story about mothers and daughters and the bonds between women. The book took many twists and turns and I was stunned, I teared up, I was on the edge of my seat while reading. This would make a great mini-series.

So while I had a few issues with the story I was still up late into the night reading even though I had to be up early for work the next morning. I’ve already ordered The Nightingale because this author has a way of pulling at my emotions with her stories. What grabbed my attention most about this book was Leni and the bond she had with her mother.

“In the naivete of her youth, her parents had seemed like towering presences, omnipotent and all-knowing. But they weren’t that; they were just two broken people.” -p.249, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

“Such a thin veil separated the past from the present; they existed simultaneously in the human heart”. – p. 433 The Great Alone

About the author:
Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week.-quoted from Amazon

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde



source: review copy via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley
title: Seven Perfect Things
author: Catherine Ryan Hyde / Twitter
genre: fiction
pages: 320
published: May 2021
first line: When Elliot opened the door, the woman on his welcome mat stuck him as bizarrely young.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
A heart-stirring novel about the joy that comes from finding love in unexpected places by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.


My thoughts:
I have yet to read a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I didn’t enjoy. This author has a way of writing wonderful stories about everyday people who do everyday things to help each other out. She writes about everyday heroes so well.

Seven Perfect Things revolves around 13 year old Abby, her mother Mary, newly widowed Elliot and 7 puppies. Abby finds herself responsible for a litter of 7 puppies and in trying to take care of them she’s also learning life lessons about responsibility and trust. The puppies need her, and she needs them.

Abby’s mother Mary married young and has lived in an unhappy marriage to her verbally abusive and controlling husband since then. Dependent on her husband financially she continues to say with him.

Elliot’s wife recently passed away and he goes to his vacation cabin in the woods for peace and quiet before he returns to work in the city. At the cabin is when he meets Abby and the puppies by a twist of fate. As the story flows, Mary, Abby and Elliot form a bond. The puppies bring theses three together.

Like I said, I really enjoyed Seven Perfect Things. I sped right through it. I found myself invested in these characters and the puppies tugged at my heartstrings of course. Abby was written really well and I rooted for her from the start. She finds these puppies who need help and she does everything she can to care for them. I felt bad for Mary who was always on edge worried about her husband’s moods. She has an awakening and finally realizes how her life revolves around her husband and that staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her daughter is doing more harm that good. Elliot is grieving the recent loss of his wife and in meeting Abby and Mary he finds a new purpose in helping them out.

The ending was nice as well and nothing felt rushed. These three seemed like real people with real daily struggles to overcome. I recommend Seven Perfect Things if you’re looking for an engaging read with realistic and relatable characters.

“Though she couldn’t quite put it into words, she resented having been thrust into a world where such perfect little beings could be treated as worthless. She knew she had been living in that world all along, but she resented having been forced awake. Forced to recognize it. But the puppies themselves…they were perfect.”Seven Perfect Things, 21% Kindle



About the Author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of forty books (and counting). An avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she shares her astrophotography with readers on her website.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow list, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals; in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts; and in the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Copilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and have been nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in the annual Best American Short Stories anthology.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at www.catherineryanhyde.com. – quoted from Amazon



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde came via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.