LITTLE DARLINGS by Melanie Golding {Review}


Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.


LITTLE DARLINGS is a creepy and addictive psychological thriller about a new mother of twins who fears her babies are changelings. Was this brought on by postpartum psychosis, or is there something sinister going on?

What a nightmare to think your babies were swapped with strange river creatures, yet they look the same on the outside…and no one believes you.

I enjoyed this modern dark fairy tale very much. Lauren, the mother, was a compelling character, and her whole situation gave me a terrible feeling of dread. I also loved Jo Harper, the detective investigating the case, and her complicated relationship with a journalist covering the story.

LITTLE DARLINGS is a chilling and suspenseful debut novel that perfectly blends folklore and domestic thriller. Unique!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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THE SHADOW GUEST by Hillary Waugh {Review}

The Shadow Guest
The Shadow Guest by Hillary Waugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE SHADOW GUEST is a fantastic mystery/suspense novel from the vintage Gothic fiction genre. An American couple, Howard and Angela, move to a cottage on the coast of England after her breakdown.

Howard is hesitant to be so secluded with their medical issues, but some strange force compels Angela to stay at Heather Cottage. Even with unexplained happenings at night – frightening noises, shadowy figures, and bizarre dreams – Angela refuses to leave. Is there something supernatural afoot? Or does someone want them gone?

I enjoyed this creepy book very much. The author created the perfect atmosphere of sinister suspense. Best of all I had absolutely no clue what the ending would bring. So twisted! ♥ My copy of THE SHADOW GUEST was published by Dell in July 1972.

THE MISSING YEARS by Lexie Elliott {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★


An eerie, old Scottish manor in the middle of nowhere that’s now hers.

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago—her father.

Leaving London behind to settle the inheritance from her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home, nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, joined by the half-sister who’s almost a stranger to her.

Ailsa can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her—as if her past hungers to consume her. She also can’t ignore how the neighbourhood animals refuse to set one foot within the gates of the garden.

When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything.


Ailsa Calder has just inherited half of her childhood home, an estate known as the Manse in Scotland. The other half is owned by her father who has been missing for over 25 years. Legally she can’t do anything with the property until her father is found, except live there, which is what she decides to do.

THE MISSING YEARS is a quiet suspense novel. Ailsa’s return to the Manse isn’t celebrated by all she comes in contact with, and odd occurrences keep happening in and around the house. The heart of the book is the mystery of her father’s disappearance, the toll it’s taken on her over the years, and what answers the eerie old manor home can give her.

I enjoyed the setting most of all, the house full of secrets and memories, standing among “the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands.” Sounds amazing and gothic! On the flip side, I was hoping for a faster pace and more twists. Though the build up was slow, the ending was wild.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths {Review}


Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


Death lies between the lines when the events of a dark story start coming true in this haunting modern Gothic mystery, perfect for fans of Magpie Murders and The Lake House.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary:

Hallo Clare. You don’t know me.

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?


THE STRANGER DIARIES was creepy good fun! Clare is a high school English teacher, as well as a scholar of 19th century Gothic novelist R.M. Holland, who once lived in the building where she teaches. When one of her colleagues is murdered, mysterious events begin to mirror those in Holland’s famous short story, “The Stranger.” Is there a flesh and blood killer on the loose, or is there a connection with the restless spirit rumored to haunt the school?

I enjoyed this book very much. All of the characters were unique and realistic. I liked the alternating POVs between Clare, her daughter Georgie, and DS Kaur. There was a 4th voice too — the “Stranger” from Holland’s story. It was a mystery within a mystery. The old haunted school by the sea was the perfect Gothic setting. Loved it!

Elly Griffiths is a new favorite author, and I’m looking forward to checking out her other books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts on Books (#16): Northern Encounter / Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Short Stories / A Discovery of Witches


Northern Encounter
Northern Encounter by Jennifer LaBrecque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I needed an uplifting change of pace from my usual dark suspense/thriller reads, and NORTHERN ENCOUNTER fit the bill perfectly. A romance set in Alaska is the perfect escape. I’ll probably never get there, so reading about it is the next best thing.

Clint is a Native Alaskan and wilderness guide who’s hired by Tessa, a videographer from Arizona. She’s come to the town of Good Riddance to film the magnificent landscape for her latest project. They feel an attraction to each other, though both have reasons for not wanting a relationship. The characters were strong, and their conflicts were realistic. Of course, I absolutely loved the small town Alaska setting. The secondary characters were likable and interesting too. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series!


The Complete Short Stories
The Complete Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A motley collection of short stories from Poe (the complete collection!) – horror, suspense, comedy, detective, general life observations, even science fiction. At times the stories are too wordy, but Poe always entertains with his grand imagination. I greatly enjoyed Bob Thomley’s narration of the audiobook. ♥


A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m finishing up this chunkster book today. I liked it, though maybe not as much as I thought I would. The world building was quite interesting, and I was impressed with the scientific and historical research. I’m very curious about the magical book Diana found, and why the various creatures want it.

On the flip side, the many descriptions of things — rowing, horseback riding, food, wine, hunting, etc — slowed the pace down. I liked witchy Diana, but never warmed up to Matthew. Does he get more likable in future books??

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES has been sitting on my TBR shelf for 8 years (!!!), so I’m glad I finally read it. Will definitely continue the series at some point.


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