September 2019 TBR

Time is flying by so fast and we’re already about to start month number nine of 2019… #NEWTsReadathon2019 month passed in a blink of the eye! My August TBR was really successful and I’m not surprised, as they were all titles that fitted the prompts for the readathon in the first place. ūüėČ

>>> Find a complete list of my TBR on Goodreads <<<

I have two blog tours and three other ARCs lined up for September, but for the rest of the month I’m hoping to slow down and finally get to a couple longer backlist titles I’ve been meaning to read… Including the Outlander sequel, which I’m a bit hesitant about since I’ve heard it’s not as good as the first and a bit overlong. Fingers crossed it won’t be too much of a struggle!

# TBR #

  • Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (300 pages) BLOG TOUR 20/09
  • VOX by Christina Dalcher (336 pages)
  • Finders Keepers by Stephen King (545 pages)¬†
  • In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (535 pages)¬†
  • Secrets Of The Mist by Kate Ryder (? pages) NETGALLEY¬†

  • Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon (976 pages)
  • The Noble Path by Peter May (544 pages) NETGALLEY
  • The Essence Of Evil by Rob Sinclair (394 pages) NETGALLEY BLOG TOUR 07/09
  • I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll (320 pages) NETGALLEY
  • The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A. Denzil (290 pages) NETGALLEY¬†

Have you read any of these and/or do you recommend them?


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Stacking The Shelves #94 – August 31st

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 should know better than to enter the Bookouture Netgalley page, because that whole auto-approval business means it’s almost too easy to add new¬† titles to my shelves. I’ve been trying to resist The Liar’s Sister, but I knew I was going to regret I didn’t read it as soon as those reviews started coming in… So it somehow magically appeared on my shelves. xD Then I saw Cold Fear, and as I really enjoyed the first book of the series last year and I’ve been wanting to read more Nordic noir, I just couldn’t resist hitting that Read Now button. ūüėČ And then I was invited to read The Lies We Tell and against better judgement I hit that button as I just couldn’t resist a good serial killer story. Whoops?

I also couldn’t resist signing up for three blog tours, one in October, one in November and one recently February next year… The Birthday House is a novella and I really liked the sound of the blurb. Also, I’ve been meaning to try Claire North’s books for ages and The Pursuit Of William Abbey sounds fantastic! I also couldn’t resist The Unlikely Escape Of Uriah Heep even though the blog tour is still months away. I’ll be looking forward to them!

# NETGALLEY #

# BLOG TOURS #

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

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BOOK REVIEW: The Willow Woman – by Laurence Westwood #buddyread

Title: The Willow Woman
(Philip Ye #1)

Author: Laurence Westwood
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
First published: January 7th 2019
Publisher: Shikra Press
Finished reading: August 8th 2019
Pages: 440

“He plays the game very well. But anyone who thinks Philip Ye is not his own master is blind. As a friend I would never turn my back on him, as an enemy I would never underestimate him.”

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*** First of all I have to say thank you to Kelly for introducing me to The Willow Woman and hosting a¬†giveaway a while back and to the author Laurence Westwood for sending me a wonderful signed copy!! ‚̧ This hasn’t influenced my opinion about this book. ***

It doesn’t matter that there is a whole ocean and thousands of kilometres between us, thanks to the wonder of Twitter Nicki (Jersey in the Channel Islands) and myself (Argentina) are always able to make our buddy reads work. With only a few hours time difference, it was easy to catch up, discuss what was happening in the story, guess what would happen next and of course share the necessary photos of both book and the obligatory dose of sugar we found ourselves needing occasionally. ūüėČ It was without doubt another successful buddy read!! Make sure to read Nicki’s review as well if you want to find out exactly why and if we felt the same about this story.

I was curious about¬†The Willow Woman¬†as soon as I first saw Kelly mention it on her blog. I’m always in for a good detective thriller and the fact that the story has a (for me) foreign setting is a huge bonus. I haven’t had the chance to read many stories set in China before, and¬†The Willow Woman¬†was therefore a little goldmine filled with local culture. Oh yes, this story will transport you right to Chengdu with excellently elaborated descriptions of both the setting and Chinese culture in general. Both the local culture as well as the spirituality play a very important role in the development of the plot and the plot twists you will encounter along the way. Especially the spirituality was a very interesting touch, with many references to the spirit world and main character Philip Ye actually asking the spirits of the deceased to help him with the case. His beliefs are then contrasted in Xu Ya, who seems more pragmatic and doesn’t seem to believe in the paranormal. The inclusion of both Chinese culture and the paranormal aspect without doubt gave this detective story an unique twist and made this story stand out for me.

Another thing you notice almost straight away is just how complex this story is, and in a good way. While it’s true that the sheer amount of characters can be intimidating in the beginning,¬†The Willow Woman¬†has a very helpful index to check who is who and how they are related when in doubt. Trust me, you will find the index very helpful especially in the first couple of chapters! It will make juggling all those different characters so much easier and allows you to properly enjoy the story from the beginning. This story isn’t just complex due to the amount of characters though.¬†The Willow Woman¬†has an abundance of storylines and different point of views to revel in. These are used to build the plot and plot twists brick by brick and help you keep guessing about what is really going on. While it’s true that I made certain predictions about for example the professor and the boy that ended up being true quiet early on, there were also a lot of twists I could have never guessed. The story was getting more intriguing, complicated and intense by the minute and we both had to ease the tension with a dose of sugar more than once… Never underestimate the power of cake!

As for the characters… While there are a lot of them, the ones that stood out most for me (and won over my heart almost straight away) were probably Philip Ye, Xu Ya, Fatty Deng, Ma and Mouse. Each is well developed and plays an important role in this story, although the role of some might not seem as important straight away. I’m not sure I agreed with certain decisions of some characters, including Xu’s actions towards the ending, but that was more me biting my nails and shouting ‘why would you do that?!‘ rather than a reason to enjoy the story less. You will have to ready yourself for some intense moments, especially towards the explosive ending! But I really liked how everything was wrapped up. I also really appreciated how references to the so-called Willow Woman were incorporated into the plot and how this element was ultimately explained.

In short, The Willow Woman is both excellently written and well constructed; the intricate plot, foreign setting with insights in Chinese culture and spirituality, abundance of characters and what you can roughly call a conspiracy angle making for a most fascinating read. If you are a fan of detective thrillers and are looking for a story with an unique twist, you should definitely schedule yourself a meeting with Philip Ye.


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ARC REVIEW: What You Did – by Claire McGowan

Title: What You Did
Author: Claire McGowan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: August 1st 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: August 4th 2019
Pages: 282

“We always think we want to know secrets, but what we forget it that they come with their own weights, heavy as millstones, and if you aren’t careful this weight can crush you.”

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


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After being bombarded by positive reviews during the respective blog tour, I just couldn’t help giving in and request a copy when I saw it on Netgalley… There is no doubt that the premise of What You Did¬†sounds absolutely intriguing and I couldn’t resist picking up this story almost immediately. And while I ended up having mixed thoughts myself, I can also see why others have a more positive reaction to this story.

It’s all in the characters.¬†What You Did¬†fits the definition of a slower paced and character driven psychological thriller perfectly, and this means that your reaction to the different main characters as a reader is fundamental and directly linked to your experience with a book. Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be between the main characters of¬†What You Did¬†and me. Out of all the main characters, I think the only one I actually liked was Bill, and I still wanted to hit him for certain actions and basically for having no backbone. The other characters… Sigh. Where do I even begin? I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say it involves things like a love triangle, lying to someone for twenty five years, abusing the trust of someone close to you, forgiving someone even though they don’t deserve it at all… I could go on and on, but I don’t want to spoil the fun. Ali was so so frustratingly ignorant and stupid and I basically wanted to shout at her to get a grip and open her eyes already. I don’t think her actions and reactions were natural at all and she managed to frustrate me A LOT. Likewise, Karen, Mike and Callum were basically disgusting and I really didn’t care about what was happening to their characters as they were unable to raise sympathy at all. I know some of them were ment to be unlikeable, but still… My feelings of frustration prevented me from enjoying this story as much as I thought I would.

As for the plot… At first I liked the idea of six university friends meeting again after twenty five years during a reunion. These situations always make for an interesting backdrop and gives the story a lot of posibilities; both by introducing possible flashbacks and character development and growth in general. What You Did¬†gives us both, but not to the degree I would have liked to see… The flashbacks to the events of their final ball of the final university year, 1993, felt rather rushed and I would have liked more background and development here. I guess the main focus of this story is on the present and what happens during their reunion… I wasn’t sure up to what point certain aspects of the plot were completely credible though, and I did see some twists coming quite early on, but as a whole I guess the plot was entertaining enough if you enjoy slower paced stories with a few bursts of suspense.

The writing itself is engaging enough and made it quite easy to keep turning the pages despite my reaction to the characters. These were my personal feelings about said characters though, and if you can stomach unlikeable characters and enjoy a good character driven psychological thriller that packs a punch, you might consider adding What You Did to your wishlist.


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WWW Wednesdays #235 – August 28th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the final three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019. I’m hoping to have finished The Madness Underneath¬†by¬†Maureen Johnson¬†by the time this post goes live… I’m also starting¬†The Hiding Place¬†by¬†C.J. Tudor¬†and¬†The Passengers¬†by John Marrs; both 2019 releases I’ve been super excited about and can’t wait to finally read.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Sleepover by Carol Wyer (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/09
I’m a fan of¬†Carol Wyer’s books as her detective thrillers are a garantuee for an entertaining and thrilling ride.¬†The Sleepover¬†is already the fourth meeting with detective Natalie Ward and she is really growing on me… Fast, thrilling and entertaining; this is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. Natalie’s personal story evolved a lot this time around as well and I really hope she will stick with her final decision in the next book…

2. The Cellar by Natasha Preston (3/5 stars) REVIEW  15/09
The premise of this story is absolutely fascinating and I’ve been looking forward to read it ever since. But somehow, I didn’t enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. The elements are there: a twisted serial killer, a kidnapping, a prolonged hostage situation… But somehow it was all overshadowed by just how whiny and annoying the main character Summer was.

3. The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever read¬†Ernest Hemingway‘s books before. *hides in a corner* I’ve been meaning to pick up¬†The Old Man And The Sea¬†for quite some time now, and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I thought of this title when I was browsing for short reads to fit one of the prompts for #NEWTsReadathon2019, because I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would.

4. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Warning: it’s unpopular opinion time again! The story started out strong for me and I had high hopes it would be a winner for me… But I guess it wasn’t ment to be in the end. There were a lot of things I loved, but the characters and romance made me enjoy this story a lot less than I thought I would.

5. Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
After so many recommendations as well as loving the first book, I knew I was going to be in for treat with this one. And this story most definitely disappoint. Shocking, harrowing and absolutely brilliant… This sequel again blew me away! I can’t wait to read book three as soon as I can get my thoughts together and finish my review for this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU‚ÄôLL READ NEXT?

As I don’t think I can squeeze in more #NEWTsReadathon2019 books after finishing my current reads, it’s back to ARC business… First up is The Essence Of Evil by Rob Sinclair as my blog tour stop is right around the corner. Then I’m changing genres and get my dose of romance with Secrets of The Mist by Kate Ryder… I also want to finally read VOX by Christina Dalcher some time soon. And I have a new TBR jar pick!¬†The Museum Of Extraordinary Things¬†by¬†Alice Hoffman, a title I’ve been wanting to read for a while and will be looking forward to.


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ARC REVIEW: The Sixth Wicked Child – by J.D. Barker @jdbarker

Title: The Sixth Wicked Child
(4MK Thriller #3)
Author: J.D. Barker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 27th 2019
Publisher: Hampton Creek Press
Finished reading: August 12th 2019
Pages: 560

“You can bury a bad thing, but those bad things have a tendency to claw their way back out of the dirt.”

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

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!! Happy publication day !!

Hello, my name is Yvonne and I’m addicted to serial killer thrillers. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but every time I see the word serial killer mentioned in a blurb, my heart starts beating faster and I can’t help myself but to read the whole story as soon as possible. The more disturbing, twisted and gruesome the serial killer, the happier I end up feeling after I finish it… I’m not sure what that says about me and my (possibly?) disturbing mindset, but you won’t be able to stop me from getting my dose of serial killer thrillers like you can’t you keep me from my cheese or chocolate either. And addicted or not, there is no doubt that this trilogy is the cr√®me de la cr√®me when it comes to serial killer thrillers. Holy cow, what a read!

The first thing you have to know about this trilogy is that it’s an absolute must reading the three books in order, because you won’t be able to follow the story or get the references otherwise. Rather than three separate stories, we deal with one big plot devided into three parts and past information is crucial to keep following Sam Porter and Anson Bishop’s story and properly enjoy the ride. And with each book being more twisted and brilliant than the previous one, you will be in for a treat with all three if you haven’t started them yet. Exactly because this is such a fluid story divided into three parts, it is very hard to discuss the plot and character developments without giving away the plot twists of the previous two books while discussing¬†The Sixth Wicked Child. I will keep it short to avoid spoilers, but if you haven’t read the first two books yet, I suggest you skip the rest of this review just to be on the safe side.

Remember those giant cliffhangers at the end of book one and two?¬†The Sixth Wicked Child¬†picks up right where the second story left, and starts with a bang at that. From the very first page, I found myself glued to my seat and I couldn’t help myself devouring those pages like there was no tomorrow. 560 pages might seem a bit long for a thriller, but trust me, you won’t find a boring minute in this brilliant final episode of the 4MK trilogy and you will enjoy every suspenseful minute of the ride. You thought the first two books were intense? Guess what,¬†J.D. Barker¬†found a way to take the intensity up a notch and make this third book the strongest¬†4MK¬†yet. Disturbing, twisted, dark, hair-raising, shocking and one heck of a crazy ride: this series is not for the weak-hearted and it will include a healthy dose of graphic scenes, abuse and violence in general.

As for the characters… I’ve grown close to Sam Porter, Ansom Bishop and the others over time and I enjoyed seeing them develop in¬†The Sixth Wicked Child. I love how this final book gives us the necessary background information of Ansom’s childhood and connects all the dots that were still missing. The main characters are basically all flawed, but described and developed in such a way that you cannot help yourself rooting for them and hoping everything will turn out to be okay in the end.¬†The Sixth Wicked Child¬†makes multiple references to the first two books, and it was great seeing everything connect and work towards the big finale. There will be a lot of twists and intense moments involved, and with the help of the diary and different POVs it’s easy to get the full scope of what is happening. Guessing those twists will be another matter though, and this story will definitely have a few plot twist bomb surprises for you in store.¬†If you have a taste for dark and disturbing thrillers and haven’t had the chance to meet 4MK yet, I can highly suggest remedying that ASAP. Why? All of the above, but in short: this series is an absolute must-read for serial killer thriller fans. Go, go, GO!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #117 – The Rose & The Dagger & An Unwanted Guest

Time for another round of¬†Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles I’ve been meaning to read for a while and I both ended up enjoying a lot.¬†The Rose & The Dagger¬†by¬†Renee Ahdieh¬†is an excellent conclusion of the duology and I loved the premise of¬†An Unwanted Guest¬†by¬†Shari Lapena.


Title: The Rose & The Dagger
(The Wrath & The Dawn #2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: April 26th 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: July 30th 2019
Pages: 420

“True strength isn’t about sovereignty. It’s about knowing when you need help and having the courage to accept it.”


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Let’s face it: I’ve been meaning to read this sequel for years. I really enjoyed the first book of the The Wrath & The Dawn duology back in 2015 despite the slow start, but somehow I never picked up the second book when it came out in 2016… I‚Äôm glad I finally did though, because it’s without doubt a worthy sequel! While it’s true that it has been four years (whoops!) since I read the first book and it’s a bit hard to compare the two as it has been so long, I think I actually prefer The Rose & The Dagger¬†over the first book. The annoying love triangle is still there, and it’s still one of the main focuses of the story, but I liked what the rest of the story had to offer. Between the writing, bantering between characters and the magical elements I had a great time reading The Rose & The Dagger and I had forgotten how interesting this high fantasy world was… Some aspects of the plot came a bit as a anticlimax, but overall I liked the developments of this story. War, love, magic and despair; you will find it all in¬†The Rose & The Dagger. It’s without doubt a worthy ending to this duology and Shahrzad and Khalid’s story. Also, I adored the epilogue! If you enjoyed the first book, you will without doubt have a great time reading the sequel as well.


Title: An Unwanted Guest
Author: Shari Lapena

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 26th 2018
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Finished reading: August 2nd 2019
Pages: 304

‚ÄúI’ve told the truth, but I’ve found that people believe what they want to believe. I can’t help that.‚ÄĚ


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After enjoying¬†The Couple Next Door¬†last year, I’ve been looking forward to try more of¬†Shari Lapena‘s books. I came across¬†An Unwanted Guest¬†when I was putting together my N.E.W.T.s Readathon TBR, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally read it. I definitely enjoyed what I found! The plot of this story kind of has that¬†Agatha Christie¬†and¬†And Then There Were None¬†feel, with a limited amount of characters being ‘trapped’ in a remote location and one by one characters starting to turn up dead. I always have a weak spot of this kind of premise and I definitely loved how¬†Shari Lapena¬†developed the plot in this story! The beginning of¬†An Unwanted Guest¬†might be a tad confusing with the introduction of so many characters in such a short time, but as soon as you are able to keep them apart it is really easy to start enjoying yourself. The setting in the remote hotel in the middle of winter is an interesting one, and definitely works perfectly for the plot. And as soon as the first body is discovered, you will feel the suspense building up page after page. Was it an accident? Or is there a murderer amongst the small group? The character and plot development is really well done and helps build up the suspicion between the different characters. Plot twists and secrets are used to keep you on the wrong track, and the situation quickly spins out of control. And that ending! If you are looking for an entertaining psychological thriller with a violent twist and, like me, love the whole ‘locked room’ premise, An Unwanted Guest¬†is without doubt a great choice.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #116 – Dead Scared & The Archived

Time for another round of¬†Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two completely different genres that both turned out to be winners. The Lacey Flint sequel¬†Dead Scared¬†by¬†Sharon Bolton¬†was a twisted and very intriguing read, and I just loved¬†The Archived! Then again I’m a bit biased when it comes to Victoria Schwab‘s work haha. I can’t believe I still hadn’t started this series! I’ll be reading the sequel VERY soon.


Title: Dead Scared
(Lacey Flint #2)
Author: Sharon Bolton

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Finished reading: August 1st 2019
Pages: 384

“There are times when just waking up can feel like the hardest thing anyone could ever ask you to do. The first morning after your child has died, perhaps. Or after the man you adore has walked out. You would give anything, certainly the rest of your life, to stay down in the darkness of not knowing.”


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I had my first encounter with¬†Lacey Flint two years ago and while I didn’t manage to warm up to her character then, I’ve been meaning to read the sequel ever since as I thought the series had a lot of promise. I’m glad I finally picked up¬†Dead Scared, because I ended up loving it! It’s been too long since I read the first book to make a proper comparison, but based on my general feelings I can say this book is without doubt stronger than the first book. What a plot! What a disturbing and twisted situation Lacey finds herself in! The writing is engaging and makes you turn the pages at hyperspeed, but it is the plot that is the true star of¬†Dead Scared. The whole situation with the bad dreams, the creepy things happening to the characters and the suicides without doubt chilled me to the bone. The plot was very cleverly contructed, complex and filled with twists to keep you guessing about the full scope of the situation. There are a lot of twisted and disturbing scenes included in Dead Scared, and trigger warnings are in place for abuse, rape, violence, mental health and suicide among other elements. This story is definitely not fit for those with a weak stomach! But if you think you can manage, Dead Scared will attack you both with psychological terror and disturbing action scenes that will leave you feeling uneasy and looking over your shoulder. I really loved the undercover angle and the psychological aspect of this story as well! In short,¬†Dead Scared is without doubt a very twisted and disturbing read, and literally stuff made out of nightmares. I’m curious to see if book three will be able to live up to this book!


Title: The Archived
(The Archived #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: January 22nd 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Finished reading: August 1st 2019
Pages: 336

‚ÄúBecause the only way to truly record a person is not in words, not in still frames, but in bone and skin and memory.‚ÄĚ


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I think most of you will know by now that Victoria Schwab is one of my absolute favorite authors and I still can’t explain it to myself why I haven’t started this series before. It’s true that¬†The Archived¬†is one of her earlier series and not as widely known as some of her other books, but it is without doubt one worth discovering. I’m still kicking myself for not reading¬†The Archived¬†sooner! This first book is a mix of contemporary with paranormal fantasy and I personally really liked the balance of the story. Elements as family, death, grief and moving on in the real or ‘Outer’ world are mixed with a fantasy setting we can find in the Narrows and The Archive. Main character Mackenzie Bishop is able to show us the different worlds and their meaning through her job as a Keeper. She was an interesting character and I enjoyed seeing her develop over time and handle the mystery and escalating situation as in the plot. I loved the idea behind the worldbuilding and its symbolism and the setting in the converted hotel added an eery atmosphere to the story… And the writing is just as brilliant as ever. I’m definitely going to read the sequel VERY soon!


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Stacking The Shelves #93 – August 24th

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!

Sooo… What’s the ARC damage during the first three weeks of August? First of all, an auto-approve title I just couldn’t resist after seeing various positive reviews during the blog tour: What You Did. I did already read and review it though, so technically it doesn’t count right? ūüėČ And I’ve been meaning to read Peter May’s books for ages now as they have been recommended to me multiple times over the years, so of course I couldn’t resist requesting his newest stand-alone.

I was also invited to join a blog tour I just couldn’t resist… I mean, having a DI lead with a serial killer twin brother?! How am I supposed to say no to that? Looking forward to my stop of the blog tour on September 7th. And I literally squeeled and danced around in my living room when I saw the final book of the 4MK series was a Read Now on Netgalley. Of course I couldn’t hit that button fast enough and since I have already finished it anyway (such a brilliant read!!!), it doesn’t count either right? xD ‚̧ Also, I requested Secrets Of The Mist on a whim as I was looking for a change of genre and both blurb and cover really spoke to me. And then I was invited to read S.K. Tremayne’s newest title The Assistant, and since I loved The Ice Twins And The Fire Child I just couldn’t resist. Whoops! There’s no blurb on Goodreads yet, so I copied the description on Netgalley.

# NETGALLEY #

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

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ARC REVIEW: Date Night – by Samantha Hayes

Title: Date Night
Author: Samantha Hayes
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: August 20th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: August 10th 2019
Pages: 350

“My thoughts are all over the place. Finally, my head catches up with the panic in my heart.”

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

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After being blown away by The Liar’s Wife last year, I couldn’t help myself and requested a copy of Date Night¬†as soon as it was available. I mean, the blurb alone sounds absolutely fantastic: a missing girl, a murder, lots of secrets and a possibly innocent and wrongly accused main character… How could I resist that? And I’m glad I didn’t, because¬†Date Night¬†turned out to be a highly entertaining read. This is a psychological thriller created to mess with your mind and this story will make you doubt every single fact you thought you learned as you keep turning the pages. The strength of this story is in the complex and well crafted plot, designed to mislead you and hide certain facts from you to keep you guessing. And while it’s true that the whole unreliable narrator technique is getting a bit old, I found the idea of having a possibly innocent main character wrongly accused very refreshing and definitely fascinating.

Date Night¬†starts like most domestic psychological thrillers, with the typical family of two successful working parents and their children and this balance being disrupted by a turn of events. In this case in the form of a ominous note left for the wife, Libby. What you first think is a simple cheating husband or ‘someone with a grudge’ scenario soon turns out to be a whole lot more complicated as their babysitter Sasha goes missing… And a few weeks later somehow the police thinks that Libby killed her. Date Night¬†switches between the (recent) past and present, making full use of the unreliable narrator technique while slowly revealing more facts about what really happened that night and exactly what secrets are in play. And trust me, there will be a LOT of those. Oh yes,¬†Date Night¬†is basically a web full of lies and secrets you will find yourself trapped in, trying to untangle the truth while you wonder if Libby is really innocent, and who could have been behind Sasha’s disappearance otherwise. And while it’s true I guessed part of the final twists right, there were other aspects I wasn’t able to guess at all.

There is one thing that made me enjoy this story slightly less though: the characters. I know it’s common for unreliable characters to be unlikeable as well, and sadly in this case I wasn’t able to connect to the main characters at all. I found especially Libby’s behavior in general to be very frustrating, and while her flawed character worked well to hide those twists and keep the suspense up, not being able to connect to her made me care less about her possibly being wrongly accused. I wasn’t a fan of the other main characters either… But with an intricate and well developed plot, excellent writing and lots of secrets and twists to discover, I had a great time reading¬†Date Night¬†anyway. Fans of the genre will enjoy this one!


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