ARC REVIEW: Fifty Fifty – by Steve Cavanagh @orionbooks

Title: Fifty Fifty
(Eddie Flynn #5)

Author: Steve Cavanagh
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 9th 2020
Publisher: Orion
Finished reading: May 20th 2020 
Pages: 368

“No one is infallible. Everyone can be conned. Even me.”

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

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I first met Eddie Flynn last year reading Thirteen, which made me an instant fan of the former con artist and clever lawyer. I decided to do a series binge-read of the first four books of the series in May, and I just couldn’t help myself reading the ARC of Fifty Fifty straight after even though it’s not due for quite some time… Because one thing is true: these books are seriously addicting. You’ve been warned!

Fifty Fifty is no different than the previous books, and reads almost like an action movie. Book number five gives us another mindblowing case to lose ourselves in… Although this book does have a different feel than the previous books. Instead of focusing on Eddie Flynn as the main POV, Fifty Fifty opts for a multiple POV structure where both Eddie, new character and lawyer Kate and the murderer (named ‘She’) share the spotlight. On top of that, we have other POVs popping up as needed, both to add suspense and give us clues of what is going to happen next… But the main focus is always on both Eddie, Kate and the killer. This new POV structure by no means made me enjoy the story less though, and it made for a very interesting change in tone of this series.

I liked that the Fifty Fifty title made reference to more than one aspect of the plot. How? Well, not only do we have two sisters and a 50% probability of guessing right which sister is guilty, but we also have Eddie now having to share the attention fifty fifty with new character and lawyer Kate. While in a way I was a bit sad to see less of Eddie, I did like the introduction of Kate and her friend and investigator Bloch. Both are strong female characters that added their little something to the plot, and I hope to see more of them in the future!

Talking about the characters… Apart from being introduced to new characters, old favorites like Harry, Eddie and Harper make their appearance again too. Every time I start a new Eddie Flynn book it feels like meeting up with old friends, and these characters are definitely part of the reason this series is one of my favorites. The characters are realistically developed and feel rounded, especially since they have flaws as well as strength. Fifty Fifty does have a twist involving one on the characters that completely shocked me and left me feeling sad even after I finished the story… I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers, but those who have already read Fifty Fifty will know what I’m talking about.

The writing itself draws you right in and the different POVs allow different angles to be brought to attention while also making you doubt what is true and which sister is guilty. Fifty Fifty is no ordinary legal thriller, and while part of the focus is on the court case, you will also get plenty of action, violence, a serial killer and a conspiracy plot to frame their sister. Basically, the story has a lot going on at once, will keep you on your toes and the danger grows as it becomes clear that those who know too much about the case tend to lose their lives… The building up of the suspense is simply spot on and that vibe of foreboding and danger is omnipresent.

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.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #168 – Evil At Heart & The Night Season

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a double dose of Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell with book three and four of the series written by Chelsea Cain: Evil At Heart and The Night Season.


Title: Evil At Heart
(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #3)
Author: Chelsea Cain
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: 2009
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Finished reading: May 31st 2020
Pages: 317

“Susan shook her head. She had a copy to write. She didn’t have time to be murdered by Gretchen Lowell.”

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This is the second time my TBR jar had to remind me I needed to continue this series… I’m not sure why, as I loved the first two books, but it is not happening again as I’m now determined to finish the series ASAP. Book three Evil At Heart is without doubt another winner. I have a weak spot for serial killer and detective thrillers, and this series gives us best of both worlds by putting Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell and detective Archie Sheridan in the spotlight. Before I continue, I have to stress that this is one of those series you need to read in order, because you won’t be able to understand the complicated relationship between Archie and Gretchen otherwise (and Claire, Henry and Susan as well for that matter). It’s worth it though! It has been fascinating to get a glimpse inside the head of such a twisted mind as well as seeing the development of Archie after surviving such a horrible event. Evil At Heart provides us with an interesting new twist and I literally raced through the pages while trying to discover the truth. This book is dark, this book is disturbing, this book is seriously twisted… But oh so good if you think you can stomach it! A little warning is in place though as some scenes can get pretty gory, but if I love a well written, dark and twisted serial killer thriller this is series is a must.


Title: The Night Season
(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #4)
Author: Chelsea Cain
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 1st 2011
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Finished reading: June 1st 2020
Pages: 335

“It had an extra weight, given Archie’s stay in the psych ward. Crazy was not such a faraway place for him. Crazy lived just up the road.”

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I decided to read The Night Season straight after book three, because when you are on a roll, you are on a roll… And I was also in the mood to spend more time with Archie and Gretchen. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Beauty Killer Gretchen hardly made her appearance in book four! The Night Season is the first book of the series without a heart element in the title, and also the first where Gretchen isn’t in the spotlight… And it shows. Sure, we still have Archie, Susan and the rest. Sure, we have a new twisted serial killer on the loose and the danger of the rising Willamette river to up the stakes. But it was the Archie-Gretchen dynamics that gave the previous books an extra edge, and I don’t think this story lives up to the previous ones. It is still a solid serial killer thriller; I liked the link to the past and both the impending flooding and the serial killer added a healthy dose of suspense and danger to the plot. Things will get dark, things will get disturbing, and nobody is safe… But on the other hand this story left me wanting for more as well and the final reveals were a bit too convenient. That said, I’m still looking forward to read the final two books!


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Stranger In The Lake – by Kimberly Belle #blogtour @parkrowbooks @HarlequinBooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Stranger In The Lake 2020 Summer Reads blog tour! A huge thanks to Justine Sha for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I knew I wanted to read Stranger In The Lake as soon as I read the blurb, and there is no doubt that my instincts were right about this story. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: Stranger In The Lake
Author: Kimberly Belle
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 9th 2020
Publisher: Park Row
Finished reading: May 24th 2020
Pages: 352

“Sacrifice.

Penance.

Atonement.

Justice.

In the end, we all reap what we sow.”

*** 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’ve heard nothing but great things about Kimberly Belle‘s books and they have been on my radar for a while now. This makes it easy to explain why I just HAD to jump at the chance to read her newest story Stranger In The Lake early, especially after reading the blurb… And you can definitely consider me a fan now. I literally read this story in less than a day and I can recommend it to anyone who loves psychological thrillers involving dark secrets.

There is lots to love in Stranger In The Lake, and that includes the writing style. There is just something about the writing that managed to draw me straight in and I was literally hooked from the first chapter. The story is mainly told from the POV of Charlotte (Charlie), who gives us a very interesting view on everything in Lake Crosby considering her personal background. To further enrich the plot, we also have flashbacks to 1999 with multiple POVs, designed to slowly let you in on past events that might or might not have influenced the present situation. This made the plot feel a lot more complex and definitely enhanced the reading experience for me!

I really liked the plot as a whole, as it felt multi-dimentional and was filled with secrets, lies and suspense. As a first layer we have Charlotte and her personal situation as a poor girl who married a rich widower and who is now shunned by most people in town. Then we have the layer involving the death of the first wife Katherine and the mysterious circumstances around her death. While it’s true that her husband Paul was cleared, you can’t stop wondering if he escaped justice or if he was really innocent… Another layer is next with the discovery of the body and the investigation into her death, which leads to yet another layer relating to the victim herself and the whole reason she was in town in the first place. And on top of that we have a flashback layer that will slowly unravel past secrets of what happened back in 1999 and how these events might have influenced the present. That’s basically more layers than an onion and a perfect ingredient to prepare that delicious psychological thriller meal with.

As for the characters… Charlotte is the star of the show of course, and she is quite easy to connect to thanks to an excellent and realistic character development. She can be seen as both an outsider and right in the middle of the action at once; she isn’t originally from the rich part of town, but now lives there and suddenly finds a body almost in the same spot the body of her husband’s first wife was found. Talk about an explosive situation! It’s easy to understand why it’s so difficult for her, especially with her husband behaving so strangely. I really liked her strength, development and growth over time and she is one of the reasons this story works well in the end. The three friends Paul, Jax and Micah are likewise well developed, but somehow less easy to like as you keep wondering what they are hiding… They all played their role in the story perfectly though, as well as the other characters in play.

Both the secrets, lies and plot twists play a key role in Stranger In The Lake. You are being mislead along with Charlotte, and together with the main character you will find yourself on a quest to discover the truth. Why is Paul so furtive? What is he hiding? What about Jax? And why did he become the way he is? What about the victim? Who is behind her death and what was she doing in town in the first place? What does the past have to do with it all? There are a lot of questions you can’t wait finding answers for as you start reading this story, adding a healthy dose of suspense as well as making sure you keep turning those pages. The plot twists are expertly placed for maximum effect and while I saw some coming, other surprised me completely. The secrets and lies definitely took this story to the next level!

In short, Stranger In The Lake is a well written, multi-layered and suspenseful psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Secrets, lies and plot twists are designed to keep you on the wrong track, and fans of darker stories will have an excellent time with Kimberly Belle‘s newest offer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

SOCIAL LINKS

Author website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Goodreads

BUY LINKS

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Bookshop // IndieBound // Books-A-Million // Kobo // AppleBooks // Google Play


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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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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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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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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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ARC REVIEW: The Girl Beneath The Sea – by Andrew Mayne @amazonpub

Title: The Girl Beneath The Sea
(Underwater Investigation Unit #1)
Author: Andrew Mayne
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 1st 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: May 8th 2020
Pages: 328

“Sometimes you don’t get to choose your struggles – they choose 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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I’m always in for a good detective thriller, and I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw the Florida police diver angle. It sounded like a mix of CSI Miami and one of my favorite action thriller series Lori Anderson, especially with the treasure hunter and diver angle as well as the promise of a kickass female main character. And I definitely liked what I found! The Girl Beneath The Sea turned out to be exactly the thrilling and exhilarating dose of action and detective thriller I didn’t even know I was craving until I started reading it.

I love that it’s not just your average detective thriller. Not only is the main character Sloan McPherson a police diver and not a detective, but her father is a treasure hunter and her uncle is actually currently in jail. Talk about a colorful background for a colorful character who without doubt kicks ass! Sloan is very easy to connect to and I really liked both her attitude and her resourcefulness in general. She is not an official cop perse, and mostly lended out to help other police forces when an expert diver is needed. This gives the story an unique and very entertaining angle indeed… And when faced with danger, Sloan is not scared to take things in her own hands either and investigate unofficially. This whole premise makes for some very entertaining and action-packed reading!

I loved both the diving and treasure hunt angle, and especially just how big of a role both played in the plot as a whole. These elements give the story an unique touch and the Miami setting definitely helps setting the right tone for this extremely fast and sharp action thriller. I also liked how the diving element is incorporated not only through the fact that Sloan is a police diver and we see her at work, but also through her father and his treasure hunts as well as later on in the plot as it evolves. This isn’t just your plain detective case and things are bound to get very wet and perilous indeed! Especially towards the ending as the tension and danger are about to explode… Definitely make sure to brace yourself for a thrilling ride that doesn’t even give you room to breathe until you are desperate to come up for air.

The plot itself is entertaining, action-packed and basically a mix of a detective and action thriller with that mafia vibe and a hint of a conspiracy plot thrown in as a bonus. It has that lightning fast CSI Miami vibe and plenty of threats and action around every corner… It has plot twists in store for you as well, although the main focus is mainly on the action itself and Sloan trying to solve the case and save their lives. If you like your thrillers fast and dangerous, you will be in for a treat with this first book of a new series!


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Creak On The Stairs – by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @Orendabooks @annecater

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Creak On The Stairs Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I have a weak spot for nordic noir and as soon as I read the blurb of The Creak On The Stairs I knew I just had to read it. Especially since two fellow trusted bloggers had already raved about it too… And now I’ve had the chance to read this first book of a new series, I can say that they were absolutely right to do so. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: The Creak On The Stairs
(Forbidden Iceland #1)
Author: Eva Björg Ægisdóttir
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 24th 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: April 25th 2020
Pages: 315
(Originally written in Icelandic: ‘Marrið í stiganum’)

“She had to remind herself that she wasn’t a little girl anymore.

That the real evil wasn’t to be found lurking in dark corners but in the human soul.”

*** 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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It’s no secret that I love my nordic noir and I’m always looking for new authors to discover. I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of The Creak On The Stairs, and the raving reviews of two fellow trusted bloggers (yes, Eva and Kelly, YOU!) only confirmed to me that I made the right decision to join the blog tour. I have been looking forward to read The Creak On The Stairs ever since I read those reviews and I now completely agree this is a fantastic start of a new nordic noir series.

There is a lot to love in The Creak On The Stairs… The first thing that stands out is the Icelandic setting. I love foreign settings as it makes me feel like I’m travelling from the comfort of my own reading chair… And the atmospheric and extensive descriptions did just that and really made Iceland come alive for me. Thanks to the thorough descriptions, it is very easy to visualize the different Icelandic settings and it makes it feel as if you were right next to the main characters seeing the world through their eyes. The Icelandic setting was the perfect backdrop for this story and gave the plot that cold and daunting feel any nordic noir fan will be delighted with.

I also loved both the plot and the writing. And that means the writing in general, and not just the previously mentioned descriptions… The writing is enticing, well paced and very successful at drawing you in from the very first chapter. The plot itself is intriguing and I really liked the structure of the story in general. You are thrown in without knowing much of the main characters and have different POVs and flashbacks to juggle, but it only added to the suspense and intrigue instead of slowing you down. The complex structure of the plot allows the story to hide things from you, with the result that you have more than one secret to unravel. The woman showing up dead, who is behind it, the secrets of her past, the secrets of our new lead character Elma… There are a lot of puzzles to solve and isn’t that the best thing while reading a detective thriller?

As for the characters… It looks like we have another lead character detective with a complicated past on our hands, although we are not exactly told what happened in her past and this definitely added to the intrigue around Elma. We actually don’t get to know her all that much in the first Forbidden Iceland book, but the bites we get offered were more than promising and leave you wanting for more. I liked the dynamics of the detective team in Akranes in general too. The other characters in play were all well developed and felt realistic, and even though most were not all that easy to like, I wasn’t too bothered by that as they all played their roles flawlessly. Especially Beta turned out to be an absolutely fascinating character study.

The Creak On The Stairs also isn’t afraid to go dark and this includes difficult topics such as (child) abuse and alcoholism. Especially the first plays quite a big role and might be a turn off for some… But the element was developed realistically and played an important role in both the plot and the character development. The plot twists and reveals of the different secrets are well balanced out in the plot, and the ending definitely left me wanting for the next book of the series. Because while the case in the first book was solved, I’m more than ready to see more of Elma and her team!

Dark, ominous and atmospheric, this first book of the Forbidden Iceland series shows us an image of Iceland any nordic noir fan would love to discover. It’s an excellent start of a new series that is more than worth being on your radar if you enjoy the genre!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.

Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.


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ARC REVIEW: What Lies Between Us – by John Marrs @amazonpub

Title: What Lies Between Us
Author: John Marrs
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: May 15th 2020
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Finished reading: April 21st 2020
Pages: 371

“We remain like two scorpions, each circling one another, poisonous tails aloft and waiting for the other to strike first.”

*** 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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Holy guacamole, what did I just read?! So dark, so twisted, and oh so glorious! I guess it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of John Marrs‘s writing and I have been looking forward to read What Lies Between Us ever since I first heard about it… And this story turned out to be exactly the dark psychological thriller dose I was craving right now! Oh yes, his newest title definitely didn’t disappoint, and I found myself to be absolutely speechless as well as shell-shocked by the time I reached that final page. Make sure to brace yourself for a dark, intense and twisted ride!

Let’s leave the superlatives for a little, and talk about why What Lies Between Us turned out to be yet another winner for me. The first thing that stands out when you read one of John Marrs‘ books is the quality of the writing and the plot development. From the very first chapter, both the writing and the plot are able to draw you right in, entice you and keep you hooked until the very end. In fact, I knew this was going to be another favorite even before I finished the first chapter; such is the power of his writing. As for the plot… Even though I do admit that I saw some of the plot twists coming very early on, strangely enough I wasn’t too bothered by that. The mystery and suspense around the past events and the complicated relationship between mother and daughter were enough to distract me from my suspicions and ultimately right guesses, and I was honestly too busy devouring this story to really care about the lack of surprises and 100% effective plot twist bombs.

The story is told with the help of a dual POV, switching between Nina and her mother Maggie as well as between the past and present. This way, we are presented with snippets of the past as well as the present, never discovering the full picture of the truth until after those final reveals. The POV switches and flashbacks are used to successfully build up the suspense until you find yourself biting your nails and continuously shocked about the events that took place both in the past and present. Trust me when I say that What Lies Between Us will go darker than the blackest night and this story isn’t for those with a weak stomach! The development and structure of the plot is excellently handled though, and really took the story to the next level for me.

Key in this pitch black psychological thriller are also the two main characters who star the show. The development of both Nina and Maggie is thorough and realistical; both women are extremely flawed and have mental issues as well as a bulk load of secrets waiting to be uncovered. Nina is an extremely troubled character and it was interesting to see her development and learn more about her past as well as discovering more how she became the woman she is today. Maggie is likewise intriguing, with her decisions in the past playing a key role in her present situations… I’d be lying if I said that I liked either character, but they definitely both make for a fascinating character study.

As you might have guessed, I had a fantastic time reading this dark dark and oh so disturbing psychological thriller. I can recommend What Lies Between Us to anyone who is a fan of the genre and doesn’t mind things getting pitch black and seriously twisted before you reach that final page.


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