ARC REVIEW: Black Heart – by Anna-Lou Weatherley @bookouture

Title: Black Heart
(Detective Dan Riley #1)
Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 31st 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: February 6th 2018
Pages: 307

“They say you dig two graves when you seek revenge and for the most part of my life I have agreed with this statement.”

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

myrambles1reviewqqq

I couldn’t resist requesting a copy of Black Heart after certain bloggers (hint hint) kept going on about how great this detective thriller was… And I definitely agree for the most part. It’s refreshing to follow a male detective again for a change, even though he has the ‘usual’ complicated past baggage with him… And I do have a weak spot for a serial killer thriller. The writing draws you right in and it was without doubt a lightning-speed fast thriller ride… Just the way I like them. The plot was a bit predictable though and it was quite clear early on who the killer really was. There just weren’t all that many plot twists and surprises? There is more focus on the development of the serial killer and her background as well as some fleshing out of our new star detective… The ending didn’t came as such a big surprise either, although if you somehow manage to not see the clues you will be in for a good twist. Black Heart was without doubt a very entertaining read and has a healthy dose of creepy and disturbing serial killer. The writing is great and I’ll be looking forward to find out what will happen next… Detective Dan Riley’s personal life surely raised some questions. And while Black Heart wasn’t that intense and didn’t have the expected plot twists and suspense of a typical serial killer, it shows that the characters were the main focus of this story and fans of more character-driven thrillers will have a blast reading this one.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

When the body of a wealthy banker is found in an expensive London hotel room, it appears to be a suicide. His wrists are slashed and there is a note, but detective Dan Riley suspects there is more to the case than just a ‘simple’ suicide. His instincts are right as the pathology report confirms the victim was first poisoned… And the crime scene evidence didn’t add up either. Dan Riley and his team has to deal with a murder case that is getting more complex as they find new clues… And things will escalate when the body of a woman is found in a similar way.

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

Black Heart is fast-paced and reads like a train. The plot and case are interesting, although I do feel it lacked the tension and suspense serial killer thrillers tend to have. It shows the focus was more on the characters rather than on the plot twists and the creating of false clues and a highly suspenseful read… But there is no doubt Anna-Lou Weatherley was able to great a creepy and intriguing serial killer in this first detective thriller of a new series. I will be looking forward to see more of Detective Dan Riley in the future!


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

Advertisements

ARC REVIEW: The Lot Of A Nobody – by Dave Johnston

Title: The Lot Of A Nobody
Author: Dave Johnston
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Humor
First published: March 22nd 2017 
Finished reading: February 5th 2018
Pages: 256

“Lot often thought he’d make a great Where’s Wally, cos even in red stripes he was difficult to spot.”

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

myrambles1reviewqqq

I admit I’ve had this title on my list way longer than originally planned, and I’m kind of kicking myself now for not reading this sooner. The Lot Of A Nobody first appeared on my radar after a glowing review, so I was happy to give it a go myself. The other day I needed something fun to brighten up my day, and this was EXACTLY the read I needed in my life. I already knew I was probably going to like it after seeing a couple of positive reviews from bloggers with a similar taste in books, and I’m definitely a new member of the Lot Nobody fanclub. I was able to take to the main character straight away and the writing style is just spot on. Engaging, quirky, direct, funny, a little blunt… The right kind of tone for a story I didn’t even know I was looking for when I started reading The Lot Of A Nobody. Between the writing and main character this story had me enchanted straight away… Although the plot played a role as well. This story is a perfect balance of contemporary and fantasy elements and maybe even a big of magical realism, although only in the best possible way. What seems to be another typical high school story with a quirky outsider as a main character soon takes an interesting turn that makes the story very much original. And it’s definitely my kind of humor that is used in The Lot Of Nobody! Very funny indeed… Also, I just loved the Nobody quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Such an original touch! This story is without doubt a winner.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Lot Nobody is average in every possible way, and so lonely that it seems like he has become invisible. He is almost like a ghost floating through his high school experience, but that changes after his sixteenth birthday. Not only is he able to make a friend, but he also suddenly starts disappearing for real. And not in his dreams either, but somehow he finds himself sent to a magical island and back to reality again repeatedly. The catch of these unexplained adventures? He always seems to arrive at his destination fully naked, making for some very embarrassing situations… And that is not the only thing that has been going on.

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

If you are looking for a fun, quirky and well written mix of contemporary and magical elements, you will be in for a treat with The Lot Of A Nobody. The main character is very easy to like and it has been fun seeing his character develop over time. The story starts out as a contemporary, but the appearance of the magical island adds a little something extra to the story and I just loved the descriptions of the life there. The plot itself is quite interesting as well, and leaves room for quite a lot of funny moments. Recommended!


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

YVO’S SHORTIES #17: Under Rose-Tainted Skies & Station Eleven


Another day and another round of Yvo’s Shorties… This time around two Beat The Backlist titles I managed to read last month. The first, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, I mostly picked up on a whim because I was in the mood for a YA contemporary read. I didn’t remember it had a mental health angle, which was a nice surprise, but I did feel the story was way too similar to Everything, Everything. The second title, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, is one of those books I have been wanting to read for ages, but always felt slightly intimidated by. I’m glad I finally did pick it up, because the writing was wonderful!


Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: July 7th 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Finished reading: January 29th 2018
Pages: 330

“We can assume the best, but we can’t choose how people perceive us. We can, however, chooce how those views affect us.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I kind of picked up this title on a whim while I was browsing my kindle looking for a YA contemporary since I was in the mood for the genre. I didn’t look up the summary before I started reading, so it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered Under Rose-Tainted Skies has a very prominent mental health angle. I can always appreciate when a story focuses on this illness and helps spread the word… In this case, the main character suffers from agoraphobia and OCD, and her situation plays a very big role in the story. The main focus of Under Rose-Tainted Skies is on Norah, how she is trying to live with her illness and how it affects those close to her. I think the author did a good job portraying this element as well as addressing a few misunderstanding and cliche reactions along the way. The writing and pace made this story easy and fast to read and overall it is an engaging and entertaining read. BUT. I did feel it just all felt too similar to Everything, Everything. The girl ‘trapped’ inside her house due to her illness, the single mom, the cute neighbor… Even the unnatural ‘fast’ development of the relationship felt kind of the same. Also, I wasn’t too sure about the ending or credibility of certain parts of the plot. In short, I ended up having mixed thoughts about Under Rose-Tainted Skies, but I do think contemporary romance fans will enjoy this one better than I did.


Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Knopf
Finished reading: January 31st 2018
Pages: 336

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

Station Eleven is one of those books that has been on my shelf for years and somehow I just kept posponing it. One of the reasons is probably that this story by Emily St. John Mandel is such a popular one and I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype… Even 3+ years after the publish date. You can also say I was a bit intimidated by it. I’m glad I did finally pick it up though, because I ended up enjoying it considerably. I went in with no idea what to expect whatsoever and the whole dystopian setting came as a huge (but pleasant) surprise. I don’t think I was expecting the story Station Eleven ended up delivering, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it less because of it. I always love my surprises! The first thing that stood out for me was the writing style, which had me under its spell immediately. Station Eleven starts out as a contemporary and then suddenly throws the bomb (or should I say, Georga Flu) on you and turns dystopian. This ‘after’ is in fact the most dominant storyline and I really liked reading about the different characters and how their stories connect or overlap. There will be a few plot twists in story for you as well! I do have to say that, while I really enjoyed this story, I do think the plot felt a bit disjointed with all those flashbacks and different storylines. Especially in the beginning it was hard to put each storyline and character in its correct place and this might slow down the pace a little. This is only minor compared to how I felt about Station Eleven overall though, and I can recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good dystopian story with a perfect character/plot/background/action balance.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

Stacking The Shelves #33 – February 10th

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

I know, I know, I wasn’t going to request any new titles… But somehow I can’t see my NG shelf almost empty and as soon as I reach the magical final five, I end up requesting new ones. xD Two new Bookouture titles this time, although the first is already read and reviewed, so not too bad. I’ve been waiting for a new K.L. Slater read! Definitely going to read that one soon… And the other two are basically two for one on both accounts: they are historical fiction reads AND translations of international authors, something I’ve been meaning to read more this year. Looking forward to these!

# NETGALLEY ARC #

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

Continue reading

Best Of… January 2018 @Orendabooks @bookouture @AndrewsMcMeel

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. Because as the title already suggests, I will be doing a special post from now on mentioning my absolute favorite read for each month… Always tricky since every month seems to have various serious contenders, but we’ll see how things will go. In January, there are actually four titles I could call a winner here, and it has been hard to pick just one favorite, especially since there are three different genres here and I loved each book for a different reason. I considered cheating and name more than one as my winner, but that wouldn’t be a good way to start this feature right? 😉 So, without further delay, January 2018’s favorite was… *drumroll*

Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb!! It was a tough call, but kick ass bounty hunter Lori Anderson has won the prize. What I said in my review:

“WOW. What a firecracker of a thriller! Between the writing style, premise and characters this book had me under its spell shortly after starting it and I had a blast reading this action-packed and fast-paced thriller.”

“Bounty hunter Lori Anderson seriously kicks ass and isn’t afraid to step on a few toes to get the results she is after. The writing is strong, filled with plot twists and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page…”

Click here for my full review


Honorable mentions go to the following three titles (yes, I couldn’t just NOT mention these, because each of them deserves all the praise as well):

What I said in my review:

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.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“Not only did I instantly connect with her style of poetry and the way she expresses herself, but I could also relate to some of the topics she discusses in her poems. Powerful, enchanting, inspiring and so well represented in both the words and format of her work!”

Click here for my full review


What I said in my review:

Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. “

“Honest, heartbreaking, funny, engaging and gripping… Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget. “

Click her for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in January?


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

ARC REVIEW: A Castle In Romagna – by Igor Stiks

Title: A Castle In Romagna
Author: Igor Stiks
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: 2000
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Finished reading: February 2nd 2018
Pages: 128
(Originally written in Croatian: ‘Dvorac u Romagni’)

“He was overcome by the immobility one feels upon meeting something long sought after, that silent tension of the body that, before we take the object into our hands, forces us to pause for a moment, as if every passing second increases its value.”

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

myrambles1reviewqqq

One of my goals this year is to read more international authors and translation, and I’ve been meaning to read more historical fiction that is not set during WWII as well. A Castle In Romagna manages to tick both boxes, and the blurb itself had me more than intrigued. Sadly, my reading experience wasn’t what I hoped it would be… Here’s why. First of all, I REALLY struggled with the writing style. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fact it is a translation and some of the magic is lost, but I do know it was really hard to stay focused and keep reading. The prose doesn’t flow and more often than not ‘formal’ or less natural phrases are thrown in. This slows down the pace considerably and kept distracting me from trying to follow the plot. Another thing that didn’t work for me was the dual storyline. I felt neither story had enough dept because of it, especially since this novel is not that long to start with. Both plot, background and characters in both storylines lacked fleshing out and honestly I think I would have rather seen two completely separate stories. Also, I think the connection of the two storylines through the 1995 setting and friar telling both stories was actually quite weak, as apart from the fact that both storylines are about doomed love they do not have all that much in common. I do have to say both the 16th century setting and the one in 1948 have a lot of potential, and I truly wish each would have been more developed. As it is, I failed to connect to any of the characters and I’m afraid to say I wasn’t able to enjoy my time with A Castle In Romagna.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

A young refugee of the Bosnian conflict decides to visit the old Mardi castle in the north of Italy in 1995. But instead of wandering around exploring the fortress, he will meet a guide who will tell him all about the past: both his own and how he ended up as a refugee himself in Italy in 1948 and the tragic fate of the poet Enzo Strecci back in the 16th century.

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

I had such high hopes for this story, especially since the blurb sounded really promising, but unfortunately the story fell completely flat for me. Between the writing style, lack of dept and development in both the plot and characters and the failed dual storyline, I had a hard time reading A Castle In Romagna. Although I keep wondering if some of its charm has been lost in translation.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #162 – February 7th

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 so excited to be finally starting our buddy read of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly with Nicki @ Secret Library! This title was actually a TBR jar pick months ago, but somehow I never actually picked it up… But no longer! I’m so excited to be finally reading this one. Also on my currently reading list is Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter, a 2016 most-anticipated release I somehow never actually picked up either. It’s the third and final book of the series, so I’ll be able to cross off yet another series on my to-do list soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I’m definitely happy I finally gave this one a go… I went in completely blind and was pleasantly surprised with the whole dystopian angle being dropped after what seems like a contemporary beginning. The writing is enchanting and I really liked the ‘after’ storyline set twenty years after the disaster… Very intriguing. I did feel the plot felt a bit disjointed with all those different storylines, and things might get a bit confusing with all the different characters in the beginning, but that doesn’t take away I really enjoyed reading it.

2. As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/02
While I still think the first book is the strongest, As Dead As It Gets without doubt makes a comeback from what I call a ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’. The writing is engaging and reads superfast as always, making it a fun, exciting and speedy paranormal read. The plot is darker than the second book and adds a level of suspension to the story… Without doubt an interesting final adventure, although I’m still on the fence whether I like the ending or not.

3. A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/02
I had such high hopes for this story, especially since the blurb sounded really promising, but unfortunately the story fell completely flat for me. Between the writing style, lack of dept and development in both the plot and characters and the failed dual storyline, I had a hard time reading A Castle In Romagna. Although I keep wondering if some of its charm has been lost in translation.

4. The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I needed something fun to brighten up my day, and this was EXACTLY the read I needed in my life. I already knew I would probably like it after seeing positive reviews a while back from bloggers with a similar taste, and I will definitely add myself to that group. I was able to take to the main character straight away and the writing style is just spot on. Engaging, quirky, direct, funny, a little blunt… The right kind of tone for a story I didn’t even know I was looking for when I started reading The Lot Of A Nobody. I LOVED the Nobody quotes at the beginning of each chapter as well as the perfect balance of contemporary and fantasy elements. Maybe even magical realism? Although only in the best possible way… Definitely a winner.

5. Black Heart by Anna-Lou Weatherley (4/5 stars) REVIEW 12/02
I couldn’t resist requesting a copy after certain bloggers (hint hint) kept going on about how great this detective thriller was… And I definitely agree. It’s refreshing to follow a male detective again for a change, even though he has the ‘usual’ complicated past baggage with him… And I do have a weak spot for a serial killer thriller. The writing draws you right in and it was without doubt a lightning-speed fast thriller ride… The plot was a bit predictable though and it was quite clear early on who the killer really was. There just weren’t all that many plot twists and surprises? That doesn’t take away I had a blast reading this one and I will definitely look forward to the next book in the series.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading Hollo by Devon Michael next depending on what genre I’m in the mood for. It’s another ARC I was supposed to read ages ago… (sorry!) I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And since I don’t have any pressing NG thriller releases anymore (YAY!!!!), I’ll be finally picking up my very first Karin Slaughter book The Good Daughter. I know I’m more than fashionably late to the party, but I’m having high hopes of becoming an instant fan of her work. I also should pick up The Last Star by Rick Yancey to get rid of another unfinished series on my list… I can’t say I was a fan of the first two books, so it will probably be a bit of a struggle reading that one though.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. FacebookBloglovin’.