YVO’S SHORTIES #8: The Secret Mother (ARC) & The Lost Child (ARC) @bookouture

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around it’s all about two Bookouture thrillers I basically read waaay too long ago and still had the review pending. Both were great reads and without doubt recommended… The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland and The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney.


Title: The Secret Mother
Author: Shalini Boland

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: November 9th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 4th 2017
Pages: 244

“Why is all this crap happening to me? I know why. This is trial by media: I’m guilty until proven innocent.”

*** 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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I’m a big fan of Shalini Boland’s psychological thrillers and I have literally devoured each and single one (The Girl From The SeaThe Best Friend and The Millionaire’s Wife) so far. It’s easy to say I had very high expectations for The Secret Mother, and those expectations were more than met. This newest psychological thriller is without doubt another winner. I was hooked from page one and the plot was intriguing. The suspense building and introduction of plot twists are both well handled and I found myself flying through the story. I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character, but I also have to say this didn’t affect my reading experience all that much as I was too busy wondering about the what, who and why. If you like well written and suspenseful psychological thrillers, definitely give The Secret Mother a go!


Title: The Lost Child
(DI Lottie Parker #3)
Author: Patricia Gibney

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 27th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 24th 2017
Pages: 483

“Sometimes knowing is worse than not knowing.”

*** 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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I have been enjoying my time with detective Lottie Parker so far, and this third book The Lost Child has been one of my most anticipated releases last year. Why? Lottie Parker somehow never fails to deliver another suspenseful and thrilling adventure, and both the writing and plot development have always been excellent. The Lost Child is no exception. Book number three is without doubt another great read and provides us with yet another exciting story and more mystery around what really happened to the main character’s father. And while I do think I enjoyed it a tiny bit less than the first two books for reasons I can’t exactly put my fingers on, I had a great time reading The Lost Child and any fan of the genre will probably feel the same. I’m looking forward to the fourth book, which is scheduled to be published in March!


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ARC REVIEW: Keep Her Safe – by Richard Parker @Bookwalter @bookouture

Title: Keep Her Safe
Author: Richard Parker

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 11th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 3rd 2018
Pages: 285

“She couldn’t even begin to imagine how she’d accomplish that. But the last week had taught her exactly what she was capable of when Penny’s life was at stake.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

I’ve become a fan of Richard Parker‘s intense, action-packed and fast-paced thrillers ever since I read Be My Killer (now called Follow You) last year, so you can imagine I was over the moon when I found out there was going to be a new thriller coming out this January. Keep Her Safe went to my list of most-anticipated releases as soon as the cover was first revealed, and I have been looking forward to read it ever since. And there is one thing for sure: Keep Her Safe doesn’t disappoint. Basically it was one crazy, intense and blood coiling rollercoaster ride that didn’t let me go until the very end… What a way to start 2018 with a bang! Both the prose and the suspense around the situation the main character finds herself in from the start managed to grab me straight away. This thriller simply reads like a train! You won’t find one boring minute as plot twist after plot twist gets thrown at you and the intense feeling of danger never leaves. The psychological aspect of this novel is an interesting as well, as it makes you wonder how far mothers do go to protect their children… A trigger warning for those who are sensitive to violent and gruesome scenes, because Keep Her Safe can get pretty extreme at points. But I personally loved every single minute of the ride and I can highly recommend it to anyone who likes their thrillers action-packed, gripping, suspenseful and intense. Also, I might have squeeled when I saw my name mentioned in the Acknowledgements. Thank you!

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Maggie would do everything to protect her daughter Penny, so when she wakes up one night to find a strange woman in her home, she runs to lock herself and her daughter in. But she does know why the stranger has come to their house… Because someone has been targeting mothers, kidnapping their children and offering them a choice: follow their orders or never see their child again. It seems like the woman in Maggie’s house is the next victim… What will happen to the two women and their children?

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I already had a feeling this was going to be good, but I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better book to start the reading year with. Keep Her Safe was one heck of a thriller with so many intense moments I found it impossible to stop reading. I practically devoured this story and its many plot twists and the final part of Keep Her Safe definitely had some jaw droppingly fierce moments. A trigger warning for those if extreme and violent scenes aren’t your thing! Otherwise, I can highly recommend this thriller.


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ARC REVIEW: Murder Game – by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes @bookouture

Title: Murder Game
(Detective Ruby Preston #3)
Author: Caroline Mitchell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 31st 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 29th 2017
Pages: 285

“It was easy to identify with the killer as some inhuman monster, impervious to their efforts to stop him in his tracks. But killers were people. And people made mistakes.”

*** 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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I’m slowly getting back on track with my blogging… No memes, other posts or bloghopping just yet, but I’ll be posting some long overdue reviews during what’s left of October. I’ve missed you all! ❤

I have to confess it took me a while to warm up to the main character Ruby Preston and that was one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy the first book as much as I thought I would. Fortunately enough I had no such problems with book number two, leaving me with very high hopes for Ruby Preston’s newest adventure in Murder Game… And this newest installment definitely didn’t disappoint. No, I found myself on the edge of my seat as soon as I started reading the first page, craving popcorn as a way to calm my nerves while I turned the pages impatiently to find out what would happen next. Because there is no doubt left that Caroline Mitchell has succeeded in creating another monsterly masterpiece of a serial killer! I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers and this series without doubt manages to satisfy my somewhat onorthodox cravings for creepy and disturbing characters. You will be in for a treat with this one! The writing is very engaging and draws you right in, and I literally finished Murder Game in one sitting. This story works as a stand-alone as well, although especially the second book is highly recommended as well for serial killer/detective thriller fans. You won’t find a boring minute in this story and the fast pace will help you fly through it! Without doubt one of my preferred detective series and one to keep an eye on if you enjoy the genre.

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There is a new killer out there, seemingly playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims… Sending clues to the relatives in the form of three disturbing photos: alive, tortured and dead. Ruby Preston and her team will have to race against the clock to solve the puzzle and stop the killer from striking again… But then there is the question of the uncanning similarity to the crimes of a convicted serial killer. A coincidence or a copy cat? Or did the notorious Lonely Hearts Killer have a partner in crime? It is up to Ruby Preston to find out before it is too late, even if that means using less orthodox methods. Will they succeed?

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If you are looking for a fast-paced, engaging, twisted serial killer thriller that is packed with plot twists, Murder Game is the right fit for you. Unputdownable and action-packed indeed! I literally finished this third book of the Detective Ruby Preston series in one sitting and it was one hell of a ride. Murder Game was just as good as the sequel Sleep Tight and I can definitely recommend giving this series a go even if you weren’t completely convinced by the first book like me!


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BOOK REVIEW: Flowers For Algernon – by Daniel Keyes

Title: Flowers For Algernon
Author: Daniel Keyes

Genre: Classics, YA, Science Fiction
First published: 1966
Publisher: Mariner Books
Finished reading: September 21st 2017
Pages: 311

“How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibilty, who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes—how such people think nothing of abusing a man with low intelligence.”

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I’ve had this modern classic on my TBR for a long time, although I admit I was completely clueless about the plot and didn’t even have a general idea of what the story was going to be about. Then again, I do like my surprises… And Flowers For Algernon turned out to be a very pleasant surprise at that. Because WOW. This is one powerful story that managed to break my heart completely by the time I reached the last page… I can definitely understand why this novel by Daniel Keyes has become a modern classic. Brilliant prose, intriguing plot, well developed characters… This story has it all. Flowers For Algernon is a science fiction read with a very interesting theme: intelligence enhancement with the help of a brain operation. This theme is very well developed with the help of the main character Charlie, showing both the before and after of this experimental operation. First of all I just loved how the writing itself was a very clear demonstration of Charlie’s mental state and how things change over time. I agree I was a bit surprised when I first encountered myself with the seemingly horrid spelling, but once you understand its significance and the fact that this story is told with the help of Charlie’s progress reports during the experiment, you will realize the brilliancy of it all. Charlie is the perfect character to help show the light on the prejudices around (the lack of) intelligence and how people treat others differently accordingly. You will become really invested in this story and will find your heart broken before the story ends. Flowers For Algernon will go straight to my list of favorite classics and I can highly recommend this one.

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Charlie is a mentally disabled man, but he has always wanted to improve his intelligence and be ‘normal’ as his mother always wanted. He participates in an experiment and undergoes a brain operation that will possibly increase his IQ and change his life. The experimental procedure starts to work and slowly Charlie’s intelligence starts to expand… But at what cost?

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up my copy of Flowers For Algernon, but I’m more than happy with what I found. The writing is simply brilliant, as both the progress reports and the prose itself give the perfect insight of what happens to Charlie during the experiment. The way others react to Charlie during different stages of the experiment is both intriguing and unfortunately very accurate as well. Hopefully an eye opener! Flowers For Algernon is able to provoke strong emotions and is utterly heartbreaking in the end.


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ARC REVIEW: The Surrogate – by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction @bookouture

Title: The Surrogate
Author: Louise Jensen

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 27th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 7th 2017
Pages: 374

“But then, we all have things to hide, don’t we? Our version of the truth is pliable, we mould our reality to mask our lies, and sometimes it sounds so plausible we even convince ourselves.”

*** 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 reading The Sister and The Gift last year, I was left no other option than to add any future Louise Jensen books straight to my most-anticipated-releases list. This is exactly what happened as soon as I heard about her newest book The Surrogate and I was over the moon when I was granted a copy early. And WOW. Be ready to get your socks blown off when you read this psychological thriller! Basically I was left speechless and mindblown when I reached the final page, and to be honest I still haven’t recovered fully from this story. What starts out as an excellent, but seemingly straightforward psychological thriller will manage to leave you flabbergasted before you reach the ending… Because there is one thing I know: I was SO wrong about every single suspicion I had while was reading The SurrogateLouise Jensen is a pro at creating the perfect suspenseful atmosphere with that feeling you can’t trust anyone or anything… But she is also brilliant at misleading her readers. It doesn’t happen often, but The Surrogate managed to surprise me entirely with the final twists and I just love whenever that happens! Apart from the final plot twists bombs, the plot itself is very well executed and very capable of misleading you without losing your interest as you suspect you have already figured everything out quite early on. The suspense and suspicions are real until the very end and combined with the excellent writing you will find it really hard to put this story down before you know what happened and will happen to the main characters. The characters themselves are well developed and feel realistic, even though if I am honest I didn’t exactly like them. I found Kat to be a bit too trusting, but I guess this part of her personality does make the story work all the better. And this minor speed bump by no means makes The Surrogate any less brilliant. If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers, I can highly recommend Louise Jensen‘s work in general. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by her books!

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Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, but maybe it just wasn’t ment to be… Kat cannot get pregnant and their efforts to adopt a little one into their family haven’t been successful. Something always seems to go wrong and they are on the point of giving up; they simply cannot take the stress anymore. But then Kat runs into her childhood friend Lisa by chance and it seems like the couple has been given one last chance to fulfill their wish. It all sounds too good to be true… Can Lisa really be trusted with something this delicate?

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If you are looking for your next psychological thriller, you have just found your story. Because The Surrogate is perfect for any fan of the genre and will leave you both speechless and mindblown by the last page. The story starts out rather conventional and gives you that false security that you have already figured out what is probably going to happen… And then the plot twists bombs start falling and you will discover you were SO wrong about everything. Oh yes, The Surrogate will mess with your mind and you will love every single minute of it. Because this is one brilliantly executed psychological thriller.


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ARC REVIEW: Cold Blood – by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @bookouture

Title: Cold Blood
(Detective Erika Foster #5)
Author: Robert Bryndza

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 20th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 1st 2017
Pages: 300

“We’re all a few pieces of bad luck away from having to make horrible choices to survive.”

*** 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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Those who follow my blog are probably already aware of the fact that I have become a big fan of the Erika Foster series ever since I finished reading the first book last year. Now book number five is already about to come out, and my feelings haven’t changed. In fact, Cold Blood has only reconfirmed my love for this series. Because this story yet again blew me away… There is no doubt that every new Erika Foster adventure simply delivers and will have you on the edge of your seat for the duration of the ride. Cold Blood is another serial killer thriller with a twist; it has a great plot, lots of action and twists that will keep you invested until the very end. It has been very interesting to see the main characters develop over time and it almost feels like you know them personally. Erika Foster is without doubt a very powerful character and is an important part of why this series is such a success. The case in Cold Blood is another fascinating one; you find out the who quite early on but the character development is spot on and intriguing. Also, the final scene is GOOD! I definitely can’t wait for the next installment and Cold Blood hasn’t even been published yet. If you enjoy reading crime thrillers, I can highly suggest picking up this series. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! The books are highly entertaining, well written, suspenseful, have the right amount of creepy, lots of twists and a kickass main character. What more to ask?

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

A battered suitcase washed up on the shore of the Thames, and what is inside shocks everyone. The suitcase contains the dismembered body of a young man… They are not able to identify him immediately, but as Erika and her team start working on the case, they make the link with another victim that was found under similar circumstances two weeks ago. Could it really be that another serial killer is on the move? Why were the two victims killed? Things will spin out of control fast and Erika and her team will have to do everything it takes to stop the killer. And they might be in for a surprise or two…

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I’m a big fan of the Erika Foster series and book number 5 was definitely one of my most anticipated releases. The wait was worth it, because Cold Blood was definitely everything I  hoped for and more. Suspenseful, fast-paced, a kickass character, thrilling plot, another serial killer thriller and entertaining read in general. This book has only reconfirmed my love for this series and I’m already waiting impatiently for the next one! Oh yes, I’m seriously addicted to Erika Foster adventures. They simply read like a train.


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ARC REVIEW: The Missing Girls – by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture

Title: The Missing Girls
(DI Robyn Carter #3)
Author: Carol Wyer

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 14th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: August 24th 2017
Pages: 408

“Words can hurt. They can injure as deeply as a knife can, or be as deadly as a gunshot.”

*** 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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The Missing Girls is the third book of a relatively new detective series I’ve become addicted to ever since I read the first book back in February. I admit it wasn’t love at first sight when I first met the main character Robyn Carter, but she has definitely grown on me since that first encounter and I’ve become a fan. The Missing Girls is just as good as the first two books and offers the same quality writing, suspense and another serial killer on the loose. Because there is no doubt about it: these books read like a train. The writing style is very engaging and the pace is fast; combined with the many plot twists you’ll definitely be on your edge of your seat to find out what will happen next. I did guess a few things about the ending early on, but fortunately this didn’t make the journey less enjoyable for me. The social media and cyber bullying theme and the dangers involved were an interesting touch as well. The main characters are well developed and it is great to see Robyn Carter evolve over time as she is trying to recover from her loss. I’m also really liking Ross both as a character and subplot, and the way his storyline also adds a little something to the main plot. And that ending! I’ll definitely be waiting impatiently for book number four to come out… If you enjoy reading fast-paced crime thrillers, definitely give the DI Robyn Carter series a go.

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A body of a teenage girl is found inside the trunk at a Midlands storage unit, and detective Robyn Carter is called in to lead the case. The body has been there for a while and it is too decomposed to find proper clues… But Robyn is determined to catch the one that harmed the girl. The leads seem to go nowhere, but then another body is discovered… And this time the clues are a lot easier to follow and Robyn starts to suspect they might have a serial killer on the loose. Will she be able to find the killer on time? Someone close to her might be in danger…

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The Missing Girls is a true detective thriller winner for quite a few reasons. Fast-paced, well written, a healthy dose of suspense, one creepy serial killer, plot twists, an interesting character… This third book of the DI Robyn Carter series has all that and more. I really liked the way the social media and cyber bullying theme is incorporated into the story and how it shows the dangers of using those apps. The story definitely ends with a bang though and I will be waiting impatiently to find out what will happen next. Recommended!


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