Book Reviews

#Review: Safe With Me by K.L. Slater @bookouture @KimLSlater

Safe with Me cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

When Anna was a child, something terrible happened and destroyed her family. Anna has always laid the blame for that horrific event at the feet of a single person: Carla Bevin. Thirteen years later, Anna is leading a boringly routine life and having difficulties at work, her only friend her elderly neighbor, when she is witness to a car-motorcycle accident. She is enraged when she recognizes the driver as Carla, who calls herself Amanda Danson. Anna is determined to make her pay for what she did to her family, and manages to ingratiate herself with Liam—the injured motorcyclist—and his grandmother, Ivy, in order to keep tabs on the police investigation. Anna’s obsession with Amanda, and the need for revenge drives her to do whatever it takes to protect Liam from Amanda. But who really needs protection—and from whom?

This is not a book to be read while half-asleep. Told from multiple POVs, with scenes taking place in the past as well as the present, you can easily get confused about who did what, when they did it, and why. I certainly did, so much so that I started and stopped reading it a couple of times before I finally got serious and paid attention… otherwise known as NOT reading while I was half-asleep. (It’s amazing how much your reading comprehension improves when you can actually concentrate on the words you’re looking at…)

If ever a character ran me through the full gamut of emotions, it was Anna. There were times early on that I thought she was quite possibly the most uninteresting character I’ve ever read in my life. Ah, but those first impressions aren’t always to be trusted! Anna was actually a character of surprising depth. Once I knew all the details of what shaped Anna into who she was, everything she said and did made perfect sense to me. Huge kudos to Slater for creating such an intricate character!

All was definitely not as it seemed in this deliciously convoluted story, and I absolutely LOVED that.  K.L. Slater definitely has a fan in me. I can’t wait to read more of her work!

(Can convoluted be used in a complimentary way? I hope so, because that’s how I meant it!)

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Author: K.L. Slater

Title: Safe With Me

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: November 3rd, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

 About the Author

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Author K.L. Slater

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Book Reviews

#Review: Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick @franvicksays @bookouture

Bad Little Girl cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

Everyone, even her parents, says Lorna Bell is a bad little girl. But when a child tells you someone is abusing her, you have to believe her, no matter what. Because a little girl would never lie about something so terrible. Would she?

Bad Little Girl is a dark psychological thriller that will leave you feeling horrified at how truly evil someone can be, and how far they are willing to go in order to get what they want.

There were several things I liked about this novel. The story is much different from anything I’ve read in a while, with strong characters and vividly written throughout. I could easily picture everything in my mind as I read; even as I write this review more than a month later, I can still ‘see’ several scenes that played out in the story.

The one thing I was disappointed with, and what ultimately led me to give a three star rating rather than a four star rating, was being able to figure out a few key things in the story long before it was ultimately revealed near the end of the novel. I’m still torn on whether or not it’s fair to give it the lower rating, but I’ll leave it as that’s how I rated it immediately after I finished it.

Rating uncertainties aside, Frances Vick is definitely a worthy addition to my Author Radar. I’ll be on the lookout for more of her work!

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Author: Frances Vick

Title: Bad Little Girl

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: February 22nd 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled?

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

An utterly unputdownable and darkly compelling read that will have fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister, and Gone Girl absolutely hooked.

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About the Author

frances_vickThe only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a guinea pig for medical trials. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with homeless teenagers and refugees.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Book Reviews

#Review: The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron @annaklebaron @TyndaleHouse

The Polygamist's Daughter cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Tynedale House.

I’m not quite sure how my fascination with polygamy began. It may have been a news report that sparked my curiosity, or perhaps it was an article in a magazine, or an interview on a talk show. However it started, I’m usually unable to pass up the chance to read the memoir of someone who chose to share their personal experiences of such a life.

The Polygamist’s Daughter is the memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious Ervil LeBaron. Ervil was the self-proclaimed “prophet” of the Church of the First Born of the Lamb of God. As leader of this polygamous Mormon fundamentalist group, LeBaron ordered the murders of 25+ people, citing the doctrine of blood atonement as justification for killing rival leaders, members of his family, and followers. It began with the murder of brother Joel LeBaron in 1972, and finally ended seven years after his death with the “4 O’Clock Murders” in 1988—carried out by seven members of his family, who killed their targets at exactly 4pm.

Anna’s childhood was spent being moved from one location to another, often in the dead of night, in an effort to prevent the authorities from tracking down her father. Often separated from her mother and siblings, her childhood years were marked with uncertainty and fear, living in poverty and having very little contact with her father. When she was 13, Anna made the decision to leave the cult, and it changed her life forever—but it was not without long-term consequences.

LeBaron’s writing style is engaging, drawing you in without over-dramatizing even the most shocking events of her life. She tells her story in a straightforward manner that reflects not only the wisdom she’s gained over the years, but also the strength that came out of enduring hardship and devastation… culminating in a spiritual peace that was lacking when she was a child.

Definitely worth reading if this is a subject you’re curious about.

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Author: Anna LeBaron

Title: The Polygamist’s Daughter

Genre: Memoir

Published: March 21st, 2017 by Tyndale House

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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“My father had more than fifty children.”

So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult—a radical branch of Mormonism—Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run with the other sister-wives. Often starving and always desperate, the children lived in terror. Even though there were dozens of them together, Anna always felt alone.

She escaped when she was thirteen . . . but the nightmare was far from over.

A shocking true story of murder, fear, and betrayal, The Polygamist’s Daughter is also the heart-cry of a fatherless girl and her search for love, faith, and a safe place to call home.

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About the Author

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Author Anne LeBaron

One of more than fifty children of infamous, polygamist cult leader, Ervil LeBaron, Anna LeBaron endured abandonment, horrific living conditions, child labor, and sexual grooming. At age thirteen, she escaped the violent cult, gave her life to Christ, and sought healing. A gifted communicator and personal growth activist, she’s passionate about helping others walk in freedom. Anna lives in the DFW Metroplex and loves being Mom to her five grown children.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.