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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 6 star ratings
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Mystery drama

    This is one of the best books I've read for mystery, drama, intrigue and dysfunctional families. Ava is a very young girl who thinks she is in love. Her mother is far from loving and nurturing to her. The love she does posses is all doted on Ava's older sister Gail. Ava's brother ran away from the mother and the father left soon after Ava was born. When Ava becomes pregnant at 16 the mother is horrified at the shame it will bring to the family. Ava however, a dreamer of happy ever after and white picket fences will not get an abortion. Her daughter Willow is born and she is the sunshine of Ava's life. Her sister Gail is getting married and even though she seems to hate Ava she is allowing her to be in the wedding. Rory, Gail's soon to be husband is a rich and domineering man. Willows dad is a loser who can't help support Ava and Willow and can't even be faithful. When Peter, the brother who ran away years before comes home to give Gail away he takes over the care of Willow while Ava works. As hard as Ava tries to give Willow a good life life isn't good to Ava. Her future is not the happy ever after she dreamed it should be. This book goes back and forth from past to present and from different persons perspective. Keeping track at first is hard but then you get into the characters and it becomes smoothe. So much happens to so many and you never know what will happen next to the very very end. Great read. Thank you NetGalley, Amanda Brittany and publisher HQ Digital for this ARC. This is my honest opinion. You will enjoy this book if you like a good mystery.
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    Psychological thriller, great twist

    A good psychological thriller, I enjoyed reading this book, I did get a little muddled with so many characters at times, but the overall story is very good. Well plotted well laid out. Told in a dual timeline, Ava from the past and Rose from the present. Rose is a headmistress living in Hertfordshire. She is used to her stepsister Willow disappearing, so has thought nothing of not hearing from her for a month. But when Willow does call, she sounds different, desperate. She is staying in a cottage in Cornwall and wants Rose to come and help her, she thinks she has found the person who killed her mother years ago. Rose also receives 4 photos of different men sent to her by Willow. Rose and her daughter Becky drive down to Cornwall but when they reach the cottage Willow is nowhere to be found, Rose knows she wouldn’t have left, not with knowing that Rose was coming to her. Where is Willow? So Rose starts looking for the men in the photographs to see if she can find where Willow is, and to gauge their reactions. Rose’s anxiety and paranoia at times, just ramps up the tension, keeping you turning the pages. It turns out Ava, Willows mum was full of secrets. She had had numerous relationships with different men. Rory, Peter, and Maxen which really makes them all suspects. Rory has a past history of being abusive and violent, so he has to be in the mix as main suspect, but then just as you think you are figuring things out along comes Gail, Rory’s wife. There are so many twists and turns in this story it makes you dizzy. There are characters who aren’t what they say they are. The story is quite complex and involves a totally dysfunctional family, to say the least. With many secrets and lies. If you like a psychological thriller with a twist at the end you won’t see coming then grab this book for a read. You may guess who the killer is or you may not. Depends how much of a detective you are. I found the beginning a little slow, but once I got into the story it was fairly fast paced. There were characters I liked, and some I just didn’t. There a couple of bits that you actually thought why would you do that there’s a killer on the loose and you do that, really! Overall a good read thank you to #netgalley and #HQdigital for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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    Chilling & Haunting

    Amanda Brittany writes a powerful story, with excellent characterisation and a gripping plot. I was instantly drawn to the cover of the book and just knew I had to read 'Traces of Her' before I had even cast my eye over the synopsis! The story opens with a prologue that immediately sets the tone of the book. It is all-consuming and chilling and from this point onwards, Amanda had me totally engrossed in this story. Told from the perspectives of Rose and Ava, this book crackles with tension. With alternating chapters between Rose in the present, and Ava in the past, Amanda Brittany's cleverly crafted and intriguing plot follows two sisters, Willow and Rose, in Willow's journey to root out the truth, having discovered that she was adopted, also learning that her birth mother, Ava, died in tragic circumstances. When the irresponsible, flighty Willow disappears to Cornwall, Rose later receives a package from her, containing four Polaroids of different men, and she is sure that Willow is in trouble. Each of the men are possible murder suspects in relation to the death of Willow's mother. And so, their family life begins to unravel, leaving some crucial questions unanswered…who killed Willow’s mother and where is Willow now? There were a fair few characters in this book that had me baffled, initially, as to exactly how they fitted into the story, although I managed not to become overwhelmed by this. I think it actually enhanced the story and kept me second-guessing precisely to what degree each was involved. I felt an instant connection with the three main players of Rose, Willow and Ava, who were well-drawn and 100% convincing. However, as befits all of the best thrillers, there were some less personable ones, though each had their relevant roles to play (once I had established what they were). I totally adored Amanda Brittany’s emotive and descriptive writing style. It flowed effortlessly and the narrative was very well structured. 'Traces of Her' was a story that was rammed with suspense, mystery, and twists as it spiralled it way to the surprise denouement. It is a must-read for fans of the psychological thriller genre. A new author for me, Amanda is definitely now on my list of go-to authors and I look forward to reading many more books from her. I read 'Traces of Her' with enormous relish and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from HQ Digital via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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    A gripping classic mystery/thriller!

    ‘Rose. Rose. Pick up, please. I know who killed her. I know who killed my real mum. I’ve worked it out.’ Funny story: I don't really remember requesting/taking this book. So, when I found it in my dashboard, I had this foreign sense of it. Seeing that the release date is nearing, I looked upon the description and it sounded pretty interesting. So, now that I have read it, I have no regrets and in fact, I am a pretty mad at myself for whatever.: missing it out or not knowing if I requested it. When Rose’s flighty stepsister Willow disappears to Cornwall, she can’t help but roll her eyes. Willow is always taking off and there is always some kind of emergency. But after Willow discovers that she was adopted and her birth mother died in tragic circumstances, her trip to the coast sparks a search into her past. Two days later, when a package arrives at Rose’s house containing a series of four polaroids of four different men, Rose knows that Willow is in trouble. Each photograph a possible murder suspect, their family life begins to unravel, leaving one crucial question unanswered…This book entirely explores the secrets underneath all the unsolved: who killed Willow’s mother and where is Willow now? The storyline of this book is quite simple but it doesn't stop it from being interesting, gripping and absolutely intriguing storyline. The plot is well developed and the twists are completely unpredictable until the last few chapters but even then, it goes on to surprise you. Every character is well written. When I started this book, I was terribly disappointed because the plot takes time to start but now that I have finished it, I know that even then it was providing necessary details and in fact, the plot began on the very first page. Amanda is an incredible writer and her writing will keep you hooked. It was a quick read: one can finish it in a day! I enjoyed reading this book and hope to read more of her works. You'll definitely find this book immersive! Recommended: Any classic mystery/thriller fan, looking for a light yet a gripping read, pick this book already!
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    A brilliant chilling read

    I have read some outstanding books this year and Traces of Her is another one to add to that list! I was instantly drawn to the cover of the book and knew I had to read this before I read what the story was even about! The story opens with a prologue that sets the tone of the book instantly. It is haunting, chilling and still gives me goosebumps when I think about it. From this point on, Amanda had me so engrossed in this book. I was hooked and I couldn’t put it down, which resulted in me devouring it in one sitting. Told through alternating chapters between Rose in the present to Ava in the past and spanning across three timelines, Amanda has crafted an intriguing and interesting plot that follows two sisters Willow and Rose in Willows journey in seeking out the truth when she finds out that she was adopted and that her birth mother Ava died in tragic circumstances. When Rose receives a package from Willow containing four photographs of men who she thinks are potential murder suspects in the death of her mother, Rose then becomes concerned when she does not hear from Willow again and it takes her, with her daughter Becky to the seaside town of Cornwell where she needs to solve the mystery in order to save Willows life and exposed who was involved in the murder of Ava all those years ago. There are a few characters in this book that keep you on your toes as to where and how they fit into the story. At no time did this cause confusion for me and I think it enhanced the story more and kept me second guessing as to who is involved. For me there was no obvious choice and I enjoyed not thinking too much and just letting Amanda take control and take me on the journey. I instantly connected with the three main players of Rose, Willow and Ava. They are well developed and have been written perfectly. I really resonated with them. Amanda has also balanced this out with some unlikeable characters which have also been written extremely well in the roles that they play. I really enjoyed Amanda’s writing style. It flows seamlessly through well structured sentences and is effortless in its approach. It is emotive and descriptive, but not over the top where you just wish it would move along. I often listen to meditation music when I read and in the case for this book, I was listening with the sounds of a thunderstorm and rain which was perfect and fitted in so well with the tone of the story. Especially with the following extract taken from the prologue. Through these sounds and Amanda’s writing, I felt I was a part of the story watching from the sidelines as it all unfolded. Extract from the Prologue: She lies on the sand dressed in yellow satin, a ring of sodden flowers clinging to her blonde hair like seaweed. The pendant around her slim neck says “Mummy” – a gift from Willow. Grasses stir in the howling wind and a mist rolls in from the Celtic Sea, moving over her lifeless body – ghosts waiting to take her hand, lead her away from this lonely place where seagulls cry. A new author to me, Amanda is definitely now on my radar. I look forward to many more books from her. Traces of Her is a story that is full of mystery, suspense, twists and turns that result in a jaw dropping reveal and is definitely a must read for fans of the psychological thriller genre. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review this Traces of Her which I can not recommend highly enough. Thank-you to NetGalley, HQDigital and Amanda Brittany for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Traces of Her which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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