YVO’S SHORTIES #165 – The Queen And The Cure & The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two sequels of two completely different genres. One, The Queen And The Cure, turned out to be a more than solid read, while the other, The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man, failed to blow me away…


Title: The Queen And The Cure
(The Bird And The Sword Chronicles #2)
Author: Amy Harmon
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: May 9th 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace
Finished reading: May 22nd 2020
Pages: 342

“Most of the time the obvious blinds us to the hidden.”

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After enjoying the first book The Bird And The Sword and falling in love with main characters Tiras and Lark, I decided to read the sequel while memories of this high fantasy world were still fresh. I had been looking forward to spend more time with both characters, so I was a bit disappointed when I discovered The Queen And The Cure is mostly focusing on Tiras’ brother Kjell instead. It’s not that I didn’t like his character in the first book, but I liked both Tiras and Lark more… That said, both Kjell and new character Sasha grew on me quickly and I enjoyed seeing their dynamics as well as the characters themselves develop. The writing is just beautiful, but then again I didn’t expect any less of Amy Harmon of course. I loved the new details about the magical elements and it definitely enriched the plot. The whole love triangle vibe was a bit of a let down for me though, and some of the reveals around Kjell and Sasha were just a tad too farfetched as well as too convenient. BUT. I still very much enjoyed this story despite a few misses, and while I do prefer the first book, The Queen And The Cure is still a solid YA high fantasy read.


Title: The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man
(The Hundred-Year-Old Man #2)
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: August 2018
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Finished reading: May 26th 2020
Pages: 448
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Hundraettåringen som tänkte att han tänkte för mycket’)

“The hundred-and-one-year-old certainly had his issues, but if there was anything he was good at, it was surviving.”

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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared is one of my all time favorites, and as soon as I learned that Allan Karlsson would have a second adventure I knew I just HAD to read it. I’m still not sure why it took me this long to finally pick up the sequel, but in a way I’m glad as I would surely have felt even more disappointed if I had read it straight after the release in 2018. Oh yes, I feel that The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man by no means lives up to the first book,,. In fact, if it weren’t for the Allan-Julius duo and their dry humor, I don’t think I would have made it to the last page. Why? Well, this sequel is just way too political for me. The story is basically a constant critique on and satire of the recent political situation in the world, including characters such as Trump, Merkel, Kim Jong-Un and Putin… And it was all just too much for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the dry and sarcastic humor and Allan and Julius are once again brilliant, but they were kind of buried under a huge pile of political comments that distracted instead of entertain. I wasn’t too impressed by new character Sabine either… And sadly what was one of my most anticipated releases in 2018 simply fell flat for me.


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ARC REVIEW: The Catch – by T.M. Logan

Title: The Catch
Author: T.M. Logan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 11th 2020
Publisher: Zaffre
Finished reading: May 23rd 2020
Pages: 332

“There was nothing that could stop you if you were willing to do things that others didn’t have the stomach for. Nothing.”

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

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I had an excellent first experience with T.M. Logan’s writing last year in 29 Seconds, and I have been looking forward to pick up more of his work ever since. I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of The Catch, and my instincts were not wrong. This newest story turned out to be another scorcher! Trust me, psychological thriller fans will be in for a treat with this one… Because holy smokes, T.M. Logan has done it again!

I was literally hooked from the very first page until those explosive final reveals; both due to the excellent writing and the clever building up of suspense. This story is definitely perfectly designed to draw you right in, and that is exactly what happened once I started reading… I just couldn’t stop until I discovered the full truth. A lot of the success of this story is due to the technique of obscuring the truth and letting you in the dark about Ed and Ryan for a long time. Is Ed just seeing things that aren’t there? Is Ryan who he says he is? Trust me, The Catch will have more than one shocking surprise in store.

Another reason this story works so well is due to the structure of the plot. We not only have different parts, but also multiple POVs in play. This is used both to make it easier to get a proper feel for the characters, hide certain facts as well as introduce doubt and suspense in the plot. Ed and Claire are initially the main focus, but both Abbie and Ryan are key to the plot too and especially later on. Plot twists, secrets and lies are brilliantly developed and used to maximum effect; there is no doubt that the final reveals will be a total shocker.

As for the characters… I loved how well developed they were; they are realistic, flawed and make it easy to stay invested in the story. Ed himself is a fascinating character with a tragic past and really made this story work. The fact that you keep wondering if he is just being an overbearing father not wanting to see his daughter with any man, or if he is on to something and something is really off with Ryan will most definitely keep you on your toes. This doubt enhanced the suspense and is basically the driving force behind the majority of the plot and story. Ryan is likewise interesting; not exactly likeable at any point, but the doubt around his character keeps you hunting for clues either way as you keep turning those pages. Both Claire and Abbie were easy to like and were likewise well developed.

In short, The Catch is a brilliantly written and suspenseful psychological thriller with an explosive ending you won’t see coming. It’s an excellent read for anyone who enjoys the genre and loves stories that are able to mislead you.


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WWW Wednesdays #270 – May 27th

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 You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen; I’ve heard mixed things about this one so I’m definitely curious to see how I will react. I’ve also picked up a new physical copy: The Child by Sebastian Fitzek, which has an absolutely fascinating blurb and I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/06
There is a lot to love in Fifty Fifty and while I do think Thirteen is my absolute favorite of the series so far, Fifty Fifty comes a close second. This is without doubt one of the most exhilarating legal thriller series I’ve read to this date and I definitely can’t wait to find out what Steve Cavanagh has in store for Eddie Flynn next.

2. The House Guest by Mark Edwards (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
The holy guacamole is back! Oh yes, The House Guest turned out to be one of those reads that left me completely mindblown and gulping for air… I literally finished reading it in one sitting, unable to stop before reaching that final page. Unputdownable indeed! My first experience with Mark Edwards’ work last year, Here To Stay, made me an instant fan, and this story only reconfirms my love for his writing.There is no doubt whatsoever that The House Guest is an absolute must-read for fans of intense psychological thrillers!

3. The Queen And The Cure by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 31/05
I loved the first book and I had been looking forward to spend more time with Tiras and Lark… So I was a bit disappointed initially that the focus in The Queen And The Cure was on Kjell and a new character instead. The writing is beautiful though and I loved the new magical elements introduced in the sequel. The love triangle was a bit of a let down and some things a bit convenient, but all in all it was still a solid YA fantasy read.

4. The Catch by T.M. Logan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/05
I had an excellent first impression with T.M. Logan’s writing last year in 29 Seconds, and I have been looking forward to pick up more of his work ever since. I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of The Catch, and my instincts were not wrong. This newest story turned out to be another scorcher! Trust me, psychological thriller fans will be in for a treat with this one… Because holy smokes, T.M. Logan has done it again!

5. Moederkruid by Carry Slee (1/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I won’t be writing a full review for this one… I honestly should have DNFed this one, because I REALLY struggled with it. I know I’m not a big fan reading in Dutch in the first place and it always means I struggle a little, but I think the problem here was mostly the book itself and not me. Horrible characters, didn’t like the tone or writing, events as described are basically child abuse, weak plot… I sadly couldn’t find one positive point about this story and I confess that I ended up skimreading most of it as I just couldn’t take it anymore. Such a shame, because I remember liking her children books when I was little.

6. Stranger In The Lake by Kimberly Belle (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 08/06
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

7. The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man by Jonas Jonasson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 31/05
This author has been a bit of a hit and miss for me… I LOVED the first book though, so I had high hopes my second meeting with Allan would be a successful one too. I think the Allan-Julius duo and their dry humor is the only reason I made it to the final page. This sequel was just way too political for me and fell mostly flat after initial high expectations.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

My next read depends on how much time I have left before June arrives after I finish my current reads… I’ve been wanting to read more MG, so I’ll probably pick up my ARC of The Republic Of Birds by Jessica Miller even though it’s not due yet. Afterwards, depending on time and what genre I’m in the mood for, I might pick up either Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten or Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts. My latest TBR jar pick is still Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain


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ARC REVIEW: The House Guest – by Mark Edwards @amazonpub

Title: The House Guest
Author: Mark Edwards
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 3rd 2020
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Finished reading: May 20th 2020
Pages: 294

“I felt like I was turning into a new version of myself. One who lived in a world where violence was expected. Where anyone who passed by could be part of this secret, threatening alternate reality.”

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

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The holy guacamole is back! Oh yes, The House Guest turned out to be one of those reads that left me completely mindblown and gulping for air… I literally finished reading it in one sitting, unable to stop before reaching that final page. Unputdownable indeed! My first experience with Mark Edwards’ work last year, Here To Stay, made me an instant fan, and this story only reconfirms my love for his writing.There is no doubt whatsoever that The House Guest is an absolute must-read for fans of intense psychological thrillers!

There is so much to love in The House Guest… The first thing that stands out is both the plot and its cult element. I really liked the structure of the plot in general with multiple parts; each with a different vibe while also complementing each other. The story starts out with that ominous feel that something is bound to go wrong sooner than later; basically true psychological thriller material that sets the tone for the rest of the story. Afterwards, we have the mysterious missing person case and more action involved as well as a private detective vibe… Only for things to turn even darker and dangerous with the introduction of the cult element. I just loved how the whole cult element was developed in general, and it definitely gave the story an unique touch. It’s also quite hard to put The House Guest into a specific genre box, and this multi-dimentional feel is another reason this story stands out for me.

Like I said before, the cult element is basically the star of the show, but in the beginning the main focus is mostly on the main characters. This is a great way both to get to know the characters in play as well as preparing you for what is yet to come… The story is mostly told from Adam’s POV and it was fascinating to see him develop and react to the events as they occur. His girlfriend Ruth is likewise interesting, and through her we get to know more about what happened after she disappeared. Eden is someone I failed to trust from the very beginning, but guessing and learning more about her story and motivation was without doubt entertaining enough. As a whole, not every character is exactly likeable, but they all played their role and felt realistic. It’s the perfect cast to tell this story and The House Guest will probably stay with me for a long time.

The writing itself is excellent. I literally wasn’t really in the mood to read, told myself to try the first chapters so I would get an idea of what the story would be like, and suddenly hours had past and I found myself staring at the last page. I was hooked from the very beginning, and this is definitely one of those stories you should clear your schedule for. Both the building up of suspense, the placement of the plot twists and the technique of witholding information only to be released at a crucial moment were simply spot on. You get that ominous feel, you get a missing person case, you get a cult, you get a conspiracy plot, you get danger… And you definitely get that satisfied feeling after reading a brilliant story. And talk about an explosive ending! I’ll repeat it again: The House Guest is an absolute must-read.


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Stacking The Shelves #113 – May 23rd

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!

Soooo… What has been the ARC damage since my last STS post two weeks ago? Let’s just say that I should be ashamed of my inability to stop getting new ARCs… I couldn’t resist getting a copy of Can I Give My Husband Back? as it sounded like a hilarious read and I needed more of those… I read it already, so that one doesn’t count right? xD Afterwards, I saw the newest Robert Bryndza was a Read Now and hit that button so hard I think my phone broke down haha. I love his books and I’m already looking forward to read the second Kate Marshall book! And I just couldn’t resist getting a copy of Susi Holliday’s newest as the blurb sounded fantastic and I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about her books.

I also honestly didn’t expect that my request for the newest JP Delaney would be approved at all… Not that I’m complaining of course. xD And I’ve been a fan of Carol Wyer’s books for a while now and have been following the Natalie Ward series since book one, so of course I HAD to get book seven as soon as it was available on Netgalley. Afterwards, I was invited to read Saving Ruby King, and there was just something about this title I couldn’t say no to… Last but not least, I was invited to read Noelle Holten’s third Maggie Jamieson book, and of course I hit that Read It button straight away. 

To make the situation even worse, I also ended up signing up for THREE upcoming blog tours… Whoops? At least they are due in July and late August recently, so still some time to breathe I guess? xD

# NETGALLEY #

# BLOG TOURS #

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

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YVO’S SHORTIES #164 – Tweet Cute & The Bird And The Sword

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a YA version, although two different genres… But both turned out to be excellent reads. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord turned out to be the dose of contemporary cuteness I was craving, and The Bird And The Sword by Amy Harmon was a wonderful mix of high fantasy and romance.


Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: January 21st 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Finished reading: May 9th 2020
Pages: 362

“It’s weird, how you have no idea how far you’ve come until suddenly you can’t find the way back.”

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After a few misses with recent romcoms, I was really putting all my hopes on Tweet Cute for one last try… And it looks like I finally hit the jackpot: what an absolutely adorable adorable read this was! Trust me, this book is gold if you are looking for a supercute YA contemporary romance read, and it’s without doubt a debut to keep your eyes on. While not without cliches and even a dose of teen angst, those were mostly forgiven thanks to the sheer cute factor of Tweet Cute as a whole. Both Pepper and Jack are extremely easy to connect to and I loved both the Twitter and the food elements in the story. Warning: this story will make you crave grilled cheese and all kinds of delicious sounding desserts though… Although for me that wasn’t a bad thing. The friends to lovers trope is a bit cliche, but Pepper and Jack make it worth it and I can even forgive the hint at a possible love triangle. There is some teen angst and drama going on at points, but overall I had an excellent time with this supercute read and any fan of fluffy and adorable romcoms should give Tweet Cute a try.


Title: The Bird And The Sword
(The Bird And The Sword Chronicles #1)

Author: Amy Harmon
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: May 6th 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Finished reading: May 19th 2020
Pages: 352

“You are what you are. I am what I am. It matters little what we want.”

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I think that it’s no secret that Amy Harmon is one of my absolute favorite authors and I basically adore anything she writes. One of the things that stands out in her work is just how diverse and unique each story is, spanning different genres and even age groups. The Bird And The Sword is the first book of a YA high fantasy duology which has both a high dose of romance and magic. And while I’m normally not a big fan of too much romance in my fantasy reads, Amy Harmon is one of the few authors who can make it work for me. Of course it’s always a blessing not having to deal with a love triangle… I loved the worldbuilding and the descriptions of Jeru; the main focus is mostly on the magical aspects of the high fantasy world, but this was more than enough for me. The writing is simply wonderful and managed to enchant me from the very first chapter. The main stars of this story are Lark and Tiras though, who basically run the whole show. They are both extremely easy to like, excellently developed and make it almost impossible not to fall in love with this story. I loved every single minute of my time with The Bird And The Sword, and while the ending is close and the book can be considered as a stand-alone, I’m already excited to return to Jeru and meet up with the characters again in the sequel. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a well balanced YA high fantasy with thoroughly developed characters, magic and a dose of romance as well as danger.


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WWW Wednesdays #269 – May 20th

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 an ARC of the fifth Eddie Flynn book Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh… I know it’s not due a couple of months yet, but I just couldn’t resist picking it up after binge-reading the first four books… I’m also starting another ARC: The House Guest by Mark Edwards, which I’ve been looking forward to. And I’ve decided to start my Dutch read of the year as well: Moederkruid by Carry Slee. I’m not sure how long it will take to actually read it (depends on how much I like the story I guess), but at least it’s a short read either way. xD

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Plea by Steve Cavanagh (4/5 stars) REVIEW
After an excellent experience with The Defence, I was more than ready for more Eddie Flynn with The Plea. And while I do have to say that I might have enjoyed my second round a tiny bit less, there is also no doubt that The Plea is still a more than excellent read. We are in for another action-packed and thrilling ride, and I’m not joking when I say that this series is hands down one of the most exhilarating legal thriller series I’ve read to this date.

2. Can I Give My Husband Back? by Kristen Bailey (3/5 stars) REVIEW 11/06
I was desperate for a funny read, and the blurb of this story seemed to tick all the right boxes. I had high hopes, but somehow the author’s humor and me are definitely not on the same page. Because guess what? I didn’t laugh once. Nope, not even a snort, not even a giggle… And this was a major letdown for me. I know from the few first reviews popping up that I’m an exception though… But still, what I thought was going to be a funny ride, turned out to be as fun as a trip to the dentist. Ouch?

3. The Liar by Steve Cavanagh (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
Eddie Flynn; round number three… And without doubt another successful and thrilling ride! While I think book number one and four are my absolute favorites of the series so far, The Liar by no means disappoints. Once again I can repeat that The Liar is hands down one of the most exhilarating legal thrillers I’ve read to this date! And it’s all on Eddie Flynn. He is such a powerful character and his charms won me over as soon as I first met him last year.

4. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh (4,5/5 stars) REREAD (OLD REVIEW)
Thirteen was my first meeting with Eddie Flynn last year, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The reread has confirmed to me that this is hands down my favorite book of the series so far, and I definitely had an excellent time the second time around.

5. The Bird And The Sword by Amy Harmon (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/05
I think it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of anything Amy Harmon writes, and I still can’t believe it took me this long to read The Bird And The Sword. I’m not surprised that I ended up loving my time with this story! The magic, the world of Jeru, the characters, the writing… Oh yes, this was definitely a winner for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll probably read The Queen And The Cure by Amy Harmon next as I loved the first book and want to read the sequel while memories are still fresh… Afterwards, it’s back to ARCs with Stranger In The Lake (June blog tour) by Kimberly Belle and a The Catch by T.M. Logan. My latest TBR jar pick is still Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain, which I probably won’t be able to read this month as I have a pile of thriller ARCs I should read first.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #163 – Eddie Flynn Edition (Book #1-3)

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a special Eddie Flynn edition as I decided to binge-read the whole series this month in preparation for the release of book number five… Below a shorties review of the first three books of the series: The Defence, The Plea and The Liar. I can say that these books have only reconfirmed my love for this series! I won’t be reviewing Thirteen this time around, as I already read and reviewed it last year here.


Title: The Defence
(Eddie Flynn #1)
Author: Steve Cavanagh
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Orion
Finished reading: May 12th 2020
Pages: 321

“I felt like I’d just dipped my fingers into a black pool, that there was a good deal more about this murder and this whole situation hidden below the surface. What I didn’t realize then was how deep those waters ran.”

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Last year, I somehow ended up with an ARC of Thirteen before I realized it was actually book four of the Eddie Flynn series. Whoops indeed! I absolutely loved my time with the fourth book and Eddie Flynn’s character made a huge impact; I’ve been looking forward to spend more time with him ever since. It took me way longer than expected to finally return to where things started with Eddie, but better late than never right? The Defence has definitely reconfirmed my love for this series. I think this is the most exhilarating legal thriller I’ve read in a long long time! The Defence basically feels like an action movie: think Jack Reacher, think Die Hard, and you will have an idea what vibe this book and series gives off. The Defence is lightning fast, explosive and basically one life-threatening moment after the other… You will feel breathless by the time you reach that final page; running a marathon is nothing compared to reading this story.

Key in the success of this book is not only the sharp writing, the constant threat of danger and the plot development, but also Eddie Flynn himself. I took to him almost instantly, his former con artist status and general kickassness reminding me of what would be a mix of Saul Goodman and John McClane (Die Hard)… A very interesting character cocktail indeed! You will find yourself rooting for him from the start as you wonder how on earth he will get himself out of all this mess. A huge trial, kidnapping, two rival mafia families, bribes, violence, bombs, improbable escapes, gunfire and a bucketload of action… The Defence somehow manages to juggle it all and more. Brace yourself for an explosive and exhilarating ride, as you won’t be given time to breathe until you reach the final page. This was exactly the dose of action thriller I was craving… Eddie Flynn to the win!


Title: The Plea
(Eddie Flynn #2)
Author: Steve Cavanagh
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 19th 2016
Publisher: Orion
Finished reading: May 14th 2020
Pages: 400

“I heard old-timers call it a bullet con because it’s launched so quickly – like pulling the trigger. In reality, the name derives from the fact that if the con fails, the hustler can expect to eat a bullet.”

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Eddie Flynn series binge-read, round two… After an excellent experience with The Defence, I was more than ready for more Eddie Flynn with The Plea. And while I do have to say that I might have enjoyed my second round a tiny bit less, there is also no doubt that The Plea is still a more than excellent read. We are in for another action-packed and thrilling ride, and I’m not joking when I say that this series is hands down one of the most exhilarating legal thriller series I’ve read to this date. Oh yes, this is not your average legal thriller, and while most of the story evolves around a court case and legal proceedings, you won’t find a boring minute in The Plea. This series basically reads like an action movie; think Jack Reacher or Die Hard and you will get an idea of the vibe of these books. Action, guns, murder, a conspiracy plot, billions of dollars and Eddie Flynn once again in a very tight spot: The Plea will leave you breathless all over again while also wondering how on earth Eddie will find a way out of this mess this time around. Especially since the very first chapter reveals that Eddie’s newest case might just be his last… Like I said before, I might have enjoyed this one a tiny bit less than book one and four, but it is still a more than solid mix of action and legal thriller I can recommend to anyone who enjoys a fast, action-packed and thrilling ride.


Title: The Liar
(Eddie Flynn #3)
Author: Steve Cavanagh
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 18th 2017
Publisher: Orion
Finished reading: May 16th 2020
Pages: 336

“The ugliness which lies at the heart of some people is their most closely guarded secret – they don’t like others knowing about the beast that lies inside.”

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Eddie Flynn; round number three… And without doubt another successful and thrilling ride! While I think book number one and four are my absolute favorites of the series so far, The Liar by no means disappoints. Once again I can repeat that The Liar is hands down one of the most exhilarating legal thrillers I’ve read to this date! And it’s all on Eddie Flynn. He is such a powerful character and his charms won me over as soon as I first met him last year. He’s not your average lawyer: as a former con artist he understands both sides of the coin perfectly. While he doesn’t exactly tend to follow the rules, he does have a high moral compass and he’s always willing to fight for those on his side. We have yet again a fascinating and highly dangerous plot in The Liar. What seems like two separate cases will blur as events occur and things are spinning out of control… Danger, kidnapping, conspiracy, murder trial, wrongly accused, explosions, guns: oh yes, this is another action movie worthy plot indeed. The flashbacks to Julie’s past were an interesting touch and helped slowly reveal more of the ultimate truth… Although it is Eddie who has to step in to save teh day and try to solve the puzzle before it’s too late. The Liar (and the whole series for that matter) will appeal to legal and action thriller fans alike.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: This Is How I Lied – by Heather Gudenkauf @parkrowbooks #blogtour

Hello and welcome to my stop of the This Is How I Lied blog tour! A huge thanks to Lia Ferrone for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I’ve been meaning to try Heather Gudenkauf‘s books for a while now and just couldn’t resist the blurb of This Is How I Lied… And it turned out to be an excellent first impression of her writing! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: This Is How I Lied
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 12th 2020
Publisher: Park Row Books
Finished reading: May 11th 2020
Pages: 352

“Dark places made it so much easier to be cruel, to exact revenge.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Park Row Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been meaning to try Heather Gudenkauf‘s books for a while now and just couldn’t resist the blurb of This Is How I Lied when I received the blog tour invitation… I’ve been looking forward to read this story ever since, and I wasn’t disappointed by what I found. It turned out to be an excellent first impression of her writing, and I will definitely be wanting to read more of her work in the future! This Is How I Lied is a suspenseful and addicting story that will speak to detective and psychological thriller fans alike.

So, what made This Is How I Lied so successful for me? The first thing that stood out for me was the writing, which is both engaging, flows naturally and manages to draw you right in. While I do feel that this is a slower read than expected and mostly focuses on the characters, the story did have a healthy dose of suspense and action in store for you as well. I guess this dual approach has something to do with the fact that This Is How I Lied can be seen as a mix of a cold case detective thriller and a dark psychological thriller, and you basically get the best of both worlds offered as you read.

This Is How I Lied is not afraid to go dark and has more than one difficult topic incorporated into the plot, including abuse, grooming, mental illness, hoarding, dementia, violence and what some may consider a form of animal cruelty. This might seem as a lot, but each topic is woven into the plot with care and contributes to the background of certain characters… Together they turn this story into a considerably complex and multi-faceted read.

This complexity also has to do with the structure of the plot: the story is told with the help of multiple POVs as well as flashbacks to 1995-1996 (when Eve was killed and the original investigation took place). The story switches between Maggie and Nola in the present and adds Eve’s POV in the past… This structure is used to hold back certain details while slowly revealing other facts as well as secrets, and it definitely added to the whole building up of suspense. Eve’s murder has in fact multiple viable suspects and more than one is quite unlikeable too… The interesting part is that the twist is revealed quite early on to help build tension between certain characters, which was both kind of a letdown as well as an intriguing technique at the same time. Why? Well, you didn’t get the full truth either and you were kept wondering how the character would deal with having the secret threatened to come out after so long… It’s definitely a different take on the typical ‘whodunnit‘ stories.

I have to be honest here and say that the ending did end up being a letdown for me. Especially when the story shows you a certain truth at first and sticks with it, but you are also kept uncertain about who really killed her (there are at least four viable suspects at all times), only to have the DNA bomb dropped at the last possible moment to confirm who actually did it. This honestly felt like a huge anti-climax after such an intense read and especially after the scenes before the final reveal… And I can’t say I found it a satisfying ending after all that happened. That said, I do think this was my only main issue with this book.

A quick note about the characters… While they are not exactly likeable, I did find them to be well developed and with their flaws and issues they felt realistic. It was easy to worry about both Maggie and Eve (although you already know it will end badly for Eve), which made it easy to stay invested in the story itself. Furthermore, we have a long string of suspects and basically unlikeable characters, including Nick, Cam Harper and Nola herself. Abuse, grooming, maiming and dissecting animals, violence, mental health issues… Oh yes, those characters are no picnic indeed. Maggie’s father and former chief is another interesting character with his dementia, as you wonder why he never sold Eve’s murder case and if he knew more back then… Especially now those memories are seemingly lost forever.

In short, This Is How I Lied is a multi-dementional and suspenseful mix of a cold case detective thriller and a dark psychological thriller that isn’t afraid to drop some heavy topics on you as you try to discover what happened in Grotto all those years ago. Recommended for fans of the genre!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

BUY LINKS

Harlequin // Barnes & Noble // Amazon // Books-A-Million // Powell’s

SOCIAL LINKS

Author Website // Twitter: @hgudenkauf // Instagram: @heathergudenkauf // Facebook: @HeatherGudenkaufAuthor // Goodreads


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Ash Mountain – by Helen Fitzgerald #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @Orendabooks @annecater

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Ash Mountain Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I keep hearing fantastic things about Helen Fitzgerald‘s work and the blurb of Ash Mountain was simply irresistible… It turned out to be an excellent first experience with her writing. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: Ash Mountain
Author: Helen Fitzgerald
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: March 14th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: May 7th 2020
Pages: 210

“This town is no more shit than any other place. It’s just that when you live in a small town, you know everyone, you know their tragedies, and you feel their pain.”

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

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I keep hearing excellent things about Helen Fitzgerald‘s writing, and I just couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to join the blog tour for her most recent title as the blurb of Ash Mountain simply sounded irresistible. The Australian setting, the bushfire, the combination of domestic noir and disaster thriller… Oh yes, bring it on! I was mesmerized as soon as I started reading and this feeling didn’t go away at any point. Brazen, sharp and a dose of humor mixed with an emotional rollercoaster as well as a topping of danger… Without doubt a mind-boggling thriller sundae with a truly unique flavor, and something you shouldn’t miss out on!

The first thing that stood out for me was the writing. It’s my first experience with her style, and I must say that I’m a fan. The sharp and sometimes even snarky and self-deprecating humor added an interesting tone to this story that is part domestic noir and part disaster thriller. You get the best of both worlds as you learn more about the town and its inhabitants, while also knowing that danger is just around the corner… The bushfire really gave the story that sense of foreboding as you got to know the characters and wonder where they would be on the day of the fire and if they would survive… It also gave the story a sense of urgency and stressed the vulnerability of those characters.

I loved the structure of the plot. Not only do we have multiple POVs of different people in Ash Mountain, but we also have a lot of timehops and flashbacks to deal with. As the bushfire is basically the main event that affects everyone in town, each timeframe is compared to the day of the fire, going back days and sometimes years in the past. The story starts with a proper bang as Fran experiences the bushfire… I mean, the story is basically on fire from the very start! Afterwards, we get to see the events both days before the fire and 30 years in the past back when Fran was 16. Time and character hops keep you on your toes without being confusing, and it is truly fascinating to learn more about the people in town while only YOU know the threat that hangs above them. The sense of foreboding definitely added a healthy dose of suspense; the building up to the day of the bushfire was brilliantly done and it’s easy to say that the story both started and finished with a bang.

The setting in the Australian outback is brilliantly described. The descriptions really made the small Ash Mountain town come alive for me and I loved the use of Australian words to make the story feel more authentic. The same goes for the thorough descriptions of the bushfire and its aftermath. I’ve heard of bushfires before of course, but I would never have pictured it this well without the brilliant descriptions of Helen Fitzgerald. The wall of fire, the smoke, the seemingly random path of destruction… An image of fear, helplessness and danger and very current after the terrible fires in 2019. I particularly loved the story behind the cover too, as it was an actual photo taken during those fires.

Ash Mountain also had a very interesting cast of characters and I had a great time getting to know them. Fran is the main focus of the story, and we can see her features both in the flashbacks as well as the present. That said, the story also shares multiple POVS to help you to get to know the people in town as well as learn more about several events in the past and present. The story furthermore includes difficult themes as child abuse, teen pregnancy, sickness and death, although the bushfire is the actual star of the show and its danger is omnipresent. The story does show that even a small town has secrets you can’t run away from…

This book turned out to be a real firecracker! Unique, sharp and with that ominous feel, Ash Mountain is the perfect balance between domestic noir and disaster thriller set in a small Australian town. Highly recommended!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.


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