WWW Wednesdays #194 – October 31st

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


I’m still reading An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris… It’s taking me a lot longer than planned, mostly because I’m finding the pace rather slow and can’t really stay interested in the story. The fact that I’ve put it down repeatedly to read something else instead is a clue here. I’m still going to finish it though, although I’m not sure if I will do so before the end of the evening to make it count as another October read. 😉


1. The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
I have enjoyed every single of the psychological thrillers Shalini Boland has written so far, and The Perfect Family is no exception. The writing is just as strong as ever, drawing you in from the start. The plot is very cleverly constructed and the final reveals definitely add an original touch to the story (despite the fact I saw part of it coming). The development of the plot and the plot twists are excellent, revealing just enough each time to keep you on your toes at all times. Without doubt a suspenseful, well crafted and simply splendid psychological thriller!

2. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
Spell Bound went slightly better than the second book, and I started to enjoy the sarcastic kind of humor and writing style in general again. Then… BOOM! The annoying romance and frustrating love triangle was back to ruin the day again, and things went downhill from there. I hate that the romance has ruined a potentially excellent trilogy for me, especially since I really enjoyed the first book and thought it had so much potential.

3. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
While there is no complicated poetry style to admire and the main technique seems to be the use of the space bar, somehow I wasn’t as bothered by that. Because there is one thing for sure: where The Princess Saves Herself In This One might lack in proper technique, it’s the words themself and the powerful message behind them that will blow your socks off. WOW! It doesn’t happen often that I’m able to connect this much with poetry… Relatable, emotional, clever wordplay; these words will no doubt move you.

4. Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott (4/5 stars) REVIEW 06/11
I had a blast going through the letters in Dear Mr Pop Star. I love that they sent letters to famous musicians in the first place, and the fact that so many actually responded is simply brilliant. And so many are such clever and funny replies at that. Dear Mr Pop Star would make a perfect gift for any pop and rock music fan. The letters will make you shuckle out loud and bring a smile to your face on numerous occasions, and it’s interesting to see how the pop and rock stars react to those letters in the first place.

5. Her Last Move by John Marrs (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/11
I really like how Her Last Move isn’t just another detective thriller, and adds its original twist to it. The plot itself is quite complicated with three different POVs to consider as well as various background stories. But it all just worked for me, and both the suspense and plot twists are well handled. The story also has a few surprises in store, and the character development is very well done. Plus, getting to look inside the head of another twisted serial killer is always a bonus, right? Fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
This story has once again reconfirmed my love for her work. What an absolutely brilliant and moving story! I think this is one of the first times I wasn’t bothered at all by the appearance of a love triangle, and somehow I actually enjoyed the romance. Between the wonderful writing style, the excellent character development, an interesting plot and the paranormal angle The Smallest Part has everything and more needed to turn this into one of my top reads this year.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/11
First of all, I have to say that I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot better if I would have read it 15-20 year ago. I have been meaning to read this so-called modern classic for years, and I think the story itself has a bigger impact on younger readers than adults. That said, the worldbuilding and story of The Giver reminded me a bit of Brave New World with a new twist. It was quite an interesting take on a dystopian world, where everything is controlled in such a way everything seems the same. This contrast with Jonas and his experiences once he starts training as a Receiver on its own is fascinating. Especially as he starts discovering more about his world and his eyes are truly opened… But somehow, I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would.

8. Small Time Crimes by Paul D. Brazill (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/11
I was looking forward to this short story bundle, as it sounded like the perfect way to get myself in the Halloween mood. Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be. Part of me thinks I’m the wrong target group here, although I normally love my dark humor and I don’t mind violence and graphic scenes. But this was just too much for me. I didn’t like the writing style, most of the stories completely lacked plots or stopped in the middle of a story, some were simply disgusting and my overall experience wasn’t a good one.

9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/11
I needed a distracting after Small Time Crimes, and then I remembered I have been wanting to read this picturebook classic for ages now. While I can see the appeal and the writing style is spot on, I did have my doubts about the message behind this story… Because the tree isn’t exactly treated with respect and only gives and gives without ever getting something real in return; not exactly a healthy relationship I would want to show to my kids.

10. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
I’ve heard a lot of things about Baby Teeth, and it’s definitely been making me want to read it before the October month is over. And it was without doubt a great read to get in the Halloween mood. I understand all the comments about Hanna now, because she truly is something that comes right out of your worst nightmare! She definitely gave me the creeps and more; it’s not exactly convincing me to have kids one day. xD The ending was kind of open and made me wonder if there will be a sequel one day?


I’m going and try to read as many Goodreads Choice Nomination titles as possible as well as read upcoming ARCs… First up is The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, a title I’ve been looking forward to read and the awards are an excellent excuse to do so. I’m also going to pick up The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas soon. My next ARC willbe Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it! I also (finally!) have a new TBR jar pick: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it in November, but I’m definitely reading it before the end of the year.


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Teaser Tuesdays #191 – October 30th: An Officer And A Spy

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

Oh yes, I’m finally FINALLY reading my TBR jar pick An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris. I haven’t finished one since July, so it’s about time I do… I’m not that far into the story yet, but I’m hoping to finish it before the end of the month. The beginning is quite slow though; I hope things will pick up later on.

My teaser (12%):

“I am supposed to change and go straight out again. I should leave it until I return. But my curiosity is too strong.”

What are you reading right now?


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YVO’S SHORTIES #56 – Rebel & Evidence Of The Affair

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA sci-fi sequel and a contemporary romance novella… Two completely different genres, but both stories I enjoyed.

Title: Rebel
(Reboot #2)
Author: Amy Tintera

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: May 13th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: October 20th 2018
Pages: 352

“Maybe you need to take a look at who I am, instead of who you wish I were.”


It took me years to finally start this duology, but after enjoying Reboot recently I decided to pick up the sequel while the first book was still fresh in my memories. I have to say that the second book didn’t disappoint and is just as good or even slightly better than the first. Between the writing style and likeable characters it was really easy to fly through Rebel. Sure, I would have liked to see a slightly more complicated and developed dystopian world, but its simplicity didn’t bother me all that much either. The idea behind the Reboot duology might not be completely original, but it works as a charm anyway. This success has a lot to do with the writing, fast pace and the main characters. Wren and Callum are so easy to like and the romance somehow didn’t bother me at all… The humor is spot on and it was interesting to see how the duology ended. I really appreciate this story being wrapped up in two books; it saves us from the story being dragged out and instead gives us two strong books to savour. If you haven’t read this duology yet, enjoy reading YA sci-fi/dystopian stories and like me treasure ‘love triangle free’ stories, both Reboot and Rebel are must-reads.

Title: Evidence Of The Affair
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Novella
First published: September 20th 2018
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Finished reading: October 21st 2018
Pages: 115

“It is funny the crazy things our brains make up to save us from the truth.”


Even though contemporary romance isn’t really my genre, ever since reading The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo I had no choice but add Taylor Jenkins Reid to my list of exceptions. There is just something about the way she writes that makes me forget all about the fact that is not my favorite genre, and she is one of the few authors that can make me enjoy it. I’ve heard great things about this novella, and there is no doubt that Evidence Of The Affair has only reconfirmed to me that I have to read more of her work. I loved the fact that the story is told exclusively through letters, and just how well we get to know the characters despite its short length. It was interesting to see how things developed, and I actually quite liked the ending as well. It’s short, well written, well crafted and entertaining, and 200% worth your time.


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ARC REVIEW: The Perfect Family – by Shalini Boland @bookouture

Title: The Perfect Family
Author: Shalini Boland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 24th 2018
Pages: 284

“Confidence is the key to ninety-nine per cent of everything.”

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


I’ve been a big fan of Shalini Boland‘s psychological thrillers ever since my first experience back in 2016 and I have read every single one she wrote since. Delivering one gripping and well written story after the other has turned her into one of my favorite psychological thriller writers, and of course I’m always highly anticipating any new title. Book number seven The Perfect Family is yet another strong addition to the family. There is just something about the writing style that draws you right in, grabs you and won’t let you go until you reach the final page. This is one of those books you’ll have to clear up your schedule for, because you’ll want to read it in one sitting! The funny thing is that initially I wasn’t too sure about the characters. I didn’t find them particularly enchanting, and I was worrying whether I would be able to properly connect to them or the story. I shouldn’t have worried, because as soon as the two different POVs started to merge those feelings don’t matter anymore. The suspense and plot twists are spot on and will create an atmosphere of suspicion and intrigue. You will want to scream at some characters, tell them to open their eyes, while you are also biting your nails as you wonder how things would continue. I did see part of the final twist coming, as it’s pretty obvious, but there is also an extra spin that most definitely will come as a surprise. The Perfect Family is another well crafted, suspenseful and deceiving psychological thriller that won’t let you go until you know it all… Perfect for fans of the genre.


It all starts when one morning Gemma Ballantine is getting ready for work, and her eldest daughter makes her realize her six-year-old has disappeared. With the front door open, Gemma fears the worst and runs out to find her little girl… Her mother-in-law Diane ends up finding Katie wandering around a few streets away, and Gemma is both relieved and thankful the nightmare is over. But it turns out that it’s only just beginning…


I have enjoyed every single of the psychological thrillers Shalini Boland has written so far, and The Perfect Family is no exception. The writing is just as strong as ever, drawing you in from the start. The plot is very cleverly constructed and the final reveals definitely add an original touch to the story (despite the fact I saw part of it coming). The development of the plot and the plot twists are excellent, revealing just enough each time to keep you on your toes at all times. Without doubt a suspenseful, well crafted and simply splendid psychological thriller!


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Stacking The Shelves #64 – October 27th

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I know, I know, I wasn’t going to request any new titles, but we all know that wasn’t going to happen right? 😉 The Paper Wasp is actually a 2019 release due to be published recently in June next year, so lots of time left before I need to read it… There was just something about the cover and blurb that caught my eye, and I couldn’t resist.

Number two and three I was able to add when I made the mistake of browsing my auto-approve list and I just couldn’t resist a couple of new thrillers. Then Bookouture happened once again, meaning even more books being added to my NG shelves… Goodbye getting my NG shelf below 10 before the end of the month, but at least I’ve got a couple of new titles to look forward to right? xD (And yes, of course I requested the new Carol Wyer as well, but since the request is still pending it doesn’t count for this week’s haul 😉 Also, you might notice I haven’t added The Songbird to my Goodreads shelf yet; mostly because it’s not classified as the sequel of the Detective Tom Fabian series and I’m picky like that. xD)


Click on the summaries below to go to the Goodreads page… 

Continue reading

ARC REVIEW: Before She Falls – by Dylan Young @bookouture

Title: Before She Falls
(Detective Anna Gwynne #3)
Author: Dylan Young
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 21st 2018
Pages: 338

And there it was. The big, lumbering elephant that stomped into the room whenever Rainsford mentioned Whitmarsh prison. Hector Shaw.”

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


Before She Falls is already the third book in a detective series that has quickly become one of my favorites. I have been looking forward to meeting detective Anna Gwynne again, and once again it has been one hell of a ride. This series so far has been a perfect mix of an interesting cold case angle and a disturbing serial killer thriller. Before She Falls doesn’t disappoint and brings us more of this mix, more of the serial killer we’ve been following since book one and a new case that will manage to give you goosebumps. The writing is razorsharp, engaging and will make you fly through the pages as you try to figure out what is going on… And we will see a whole lot more of Hector Shaw as well. Because of the importance of this character in relation to the rest of the plot (and because the previous books are excellent in the first place), it is a MUST to read the books of this series in order. They are well worth your time! It has been interesting to see the main characters evolve over time and I really like Anna Gwynne as a character. The plot in Before She Falls is once again fascinating, disturbing and will definitely make you think about just how far the reach of the internet really is. The way everything connected was very cleverly executed! And there is no doubt the ending will leave you wanting for the next book. If you are looking for a well written, thrilling and dark detective series with an original twist, you should definitely go meet detective Anna Gwynne.


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

Kimberley Williams decided to take her own life and jump off Southdown Cliff, leaving everyone close to her shocked. They can’t understand why she would end her life like that, and the investigation brings something very disturbing to light. Detective Anna Gwynne and her team are called in after it is discovered that Kimberley has been receiving messages that eventually made her do what she did. And it turns out she wasn’t the only one… And serial killer Hector Shaw has a personal interest in this case as well. Will Anna Gwynne be able to get to the bottom of this?


The Detective Anna Gwynne series just keeps delivering and Before She Falls is another excellent edition. This story has everything I could want of a thriller: a creepy serial killer, a clever plot, suspense, plot twists, interesting characters, an original touch… All blended together into a perfect detective thriller smoothie. Before She Falls is creepy, dark and disturbing with a lightning fast pace and a few heartstopping moments; any fan of the genre will be in for a treat with this series is general.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #55 – Demonglass & Before Her Eyes

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a YA fantasy sequel that was an unpleasant surprise for me and a very satisfying psychological thriller by an author I always seem to enjoy.

Title: Demonglass
(Hex Hall #2)
Author: Rachel Hawkins

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: March 1st 2011
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Finished reading: October 17th 2018
Pages: 365

“It sucks that we miss people like that. You think you’ve accepted that someone is out of your life, that you’ve grieved and it’s over, and then bam. One little thing, and you feel like you’ve lost that person all over again.”


I really enjoyed the first book of the series, so when I was browsing proper Halloween themed books I thought about Demonglass almost immediately. I was fully expecting a repeat experience of Hex Hall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. While I had a blast reading the first book, sadly Demonglass suffers from the so-called ‘weak-sequel-syndrome’. Instead of being entertained, I found myself to be mostly frustrated and just wanting to get it over with, not caring about the outcome whatsoever. It’s not the writing, because I still liked it. It’s not the sarcasm, because that kind of humor almost always hits the mark for me. My main problem is with the tremendous overdose of romance and lack of a proper plot. Not only do we have to deal with a very very VERY annoying love triangle, but most of the time we have to suffer through Sophie pining over Archer and other romance-related nonsense. Most of the plot seems to be build around Sophie and her pining… That and love triangle related cringeworthiness. Basically, she’s mostly hiding out in the countryside and nothing much is happening until the end; the plot felt weak compared to the first book. Definitely not the reading experience I was hoping for, and I’m not sure if I want to read the final book after this (although I probably will just so I can cross off another series on my list).

Title: Before Her Eyes
Author: Jack Jordan

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 16th 2018
Publisher: Corvus
Finished reading: October 18th 2018
Pages: 448

“She often thought how much better off society would be if everyone were blind and incapable of making judgements on a person’s appearance.”


Jack Jordan has done it again! Before Her Eyes is without doubt yet another powerful and dark story. Although not my favorite, the change to a detective thriller was a nice surprise and the writing was just as strong as I’ve become used to. If you are looking for something dark and twisty enough you will get all tangled up in the plot, Before Her Eyes is definitely an excellent choice. I liked how one of the main characters is blind, adding a whole different dimension to the story as our main witness can hear and feel, but not actually see the killer. This kind of ‘twisted’ relationship between the two without doubt added an original touch to the story. Before Her Eyes treats difficult themes as racism, abuse, rape, suicide, animal cruelty and violence, so trigger warnings are in place if you can’t stomach those. Things can get dark and disturbing at points, so make sure to brace yourself for some graphic scenes! Nothing is as it seems and I like how the story was able to mislead me. I always love when that happens! The only reason I didn’t end up giving it the highest rating is because of some of the more prominent characters I just really couldn’t stand. This negative feeling did influence my reading experience slightly. But overall there is no doubt that Before Her Eyes is a disturbing, twisted and misleading detective thriller that I can recommend to anyone who loves reading darker thrillers.


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