ARC REVIEW: Little Girl Lost – by Carol Wyer

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Title: Little Girl Lost
(DI Robyn Carter #1)
Author: Carol Wyer

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: January 19th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: February 10th 2017
Pages: 412
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“It’s a gift of the truth. Lies harm. Lies hurt. The truth liberates. You should try it sometime. In fact, you should try it now before it’s too late.”

*** 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 always have a weak spot for a good psychological thriller, so even though I shouldn’t have, I requested a copy of Little Girl Lost anyway after hearing a lot of great things about it. This book by Carol Wyer is the first book of a new detective series and I’m glad I listened to the positive reviews. It’s without doubt a worthy psychological thriller! The writing style is really enjoyable to read and there were lots and lots of plot twists to enjoy. The new main character of this series surely stumbles across some very disturbed and twisted characters during her first appearance! Robyn Carter is your typical DI main character with cliche messed up past and impressive detective skills, but I’ve grown to like her during the story. It wasn’t love at first sight, but I will be looking forward to find out what happens to her in the future. Some of the other characters were on the border of annoying, but I guess some of them are supposed to be unlikeable/unreliable in the first place. The plot itself was a mix of messed up, intriguing, shocking with a healthy dose of paranoia. I’m sure most of the twists and revelations will surprise you, even though (part of) the ending was a little predictable. If you are looking for an entertaining, well written and twisted psychological thriller, Little Girl Lost is without doubt a great choice.

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A teacher goes missing under suspicious circumstances and a millionaire is murdered during a run, but there doesn’t seem to be an obvious link between the men. Detective Robyn Carter has just returned to the force and told to work on the cases. When she starts her investigation, things don’t exactly add up. Her investigations lead her to Abigail, a woman with a seemingly perfect life and a beautiful little daughter Izzy. Robyn has the feeling the woman is hiding something though… What is Abigails connection to the victims? And why is someone threatening Abigail?

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Little Girl Lost doesn’t only belong to one of my favorite genres, it also involves a serial killer. It might sound weird, but serial killer thrillers truly fascinate me… And the killer in this one definitely is a ‘beauty’. Twisted, disturbed, messed up childhood and a touch of humanity, all put together in a huge bowl of REVENGE: that is basically the description of the perp in Little Girl Lost. The true identity is hidden for a long time, although it’s quite easy to guess who it is before you reach the ending. A lot of the other twists will definitely shock/surprise you and if you are looking for a gripping psychological thriller I can definitely recommend this one.


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ARC REVIEW: Don’t Look Behind You – by Mel Sherratt

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Title: Don’t Look Behind You
(Detective Eden Berrisford #2)
Author: Mel Sherratt

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 23rd 2017
Pages: 252
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“You don’t see it coming. They manipulate you, they smother you with love and affection, making out you’re the only thing that matters in their lives, and by the time you realise who they really are, it’s too late. They have you.”

*** 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 read the first book of the Detective Eden Berrisford series some time last year, and when I saw the sequel was about to be published I couldn’t help myself and grabbed a copy. I have to say Don’t Look Behind You by no means suffers from the so-called ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’! In fact, I enjoyed this psychological thriller sequel significantly better than the first book, and that says something. First of all, the writing style is excellent and really makes it that much easier to enjoy the ride. Don’t Look Behind You reads like a train and the amount of plot twists is just right. And while I had some minor problems with the main character Eden in the first book, she is really starting to warm up to me despite the fact that the recent problems in her private life does make her look more like the typical cliche detective character. Is this bad? In this case I don’t think so, because it makes her so much more ‘real’ and her private connection to the recent events is intriguing. I could also really appreciate the fact that the whole abuse theme was given such a big role and was portrayed so realistically. It’s a very important topic not nearly enough people are aware of, and on top of that it’s also refreshing to read about after one too many typical murder/missing person case. All in all a great read and I will be looking forward to the next installment of the series!

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Three women are brutally attacked within days of each other in the small city of Stockleigh, and it is up to Detective Eden Berrisford to figure out who is behind the attacks. Are they random acts of violence or are the cases linked? Eden also has to keep contact with the women at a safe house, all hiding from their abusive men, since there have been some problems lately. As the investigation closes in on the attacker, Eden might end up being in danger herself… Will she be able to stop him on time AND keep the women safe?

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If you are looking for a fast-paced and well written psychological thriller with a slightly different angle than usual, Don’t Look Behind You is without doubt a great choice. It’s actually the second book of a series, but in this case can also be read as a standalone without missing too much background information. The writing style, realistic feel of the story and the whole abuse topic definitely turn this title both a refreshing and entertaining psychological thriller!


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ARC REVIEW: Those Who Lie – by Diane Jeffrey

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Title: Those Who Lie
Author: Diane Jeffrey

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: January 27th 2017
Publisher: HarperCollinsUK
Finished reading: January 17th 2017
Pages: ?
Rating 3,5qqq

“Everything looks the same, but everything has changed, she realises with a jolt. She has the strange impression that she has just stepped into someone else’s life.”

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

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Is it just me or has the whole amnesia angle been quite a popular angle in psychological thrillers lately? I personally don’t mind that much because I find it fascinating to read about, but it does get less original… Luckily in Those Who Lie, amnesia doesn’t actually play as big as a role as I thought initially. Sure, the main character Emily Klein suffers from mild amnesia after the accident and doesn’t remember the details around her husband’s death, but that is only minor compared to her very messed up past and her history with mental illness and eating disorders. Those elements turn her into what is basically the perfect unreliable narrator and an easy victim to anyone who wants to play with her mind. The writing was very enjoyable and the story itself quite intriguing, although I do have to say I kind of already guessed the ending about 60% into the story and it was kind of predictable. The lack of surprise put a minor damper on things, but I still found it enjoyable to find out all the details on both what exactly happened to Emily to made her into the person she is today and what really happened to her husband. If you are looking for an entertaining and fast-paced psychological thriller, Those Who Lie is definitely a great choice.

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When Emily Klein wakes up in the hospital, she doesn’t remember what happened to her or how she ended up in the hospital in the first place. Even worse, she doesn’t even know her husband has died until the day of his funeral… Apparently, the two were in their car and it crashed, but was it really a tragic accident or is there more at play? Emily is trying to piece together the events before his death and get her memory back. But does she really want to remember what is going on? Or are some things better left alone?

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Even though the ending wasn’t exactly a surprise, there were still quite a few plot twists that did manage to do so. And more importantly, the writing style was very enjoyable to read and I was able to finish Those Who Lie in record time due to its fast pace. The main character might not be all that likeable, but she is without doubt intriguing and I liked both her development and learning more about her past. All in all a worthy psychological thriller!


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ARC REVIEW: His Kidnapper’s Shoes – by Maggie James

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Title: His Kidnapper’s Shoes
Author: Maggie James

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 15th 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Finished reading: November 27th 2016
Pages: 286
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“Sometimes the people who touch our lives the most are only passing through.”

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

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The main reason I decided I wanted to read His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James is the whole idea of a story that is partly written from the kidnapper’s view sounded both intriguing and refreshing. And it definitely turned out to be another great psychological thriller with an interesting twist. The character development in His Kidnapper’s Shoes is probably the most interesting part of this story, as we see how both the kidnapper and her ‘son’ evolve over time and deal with everything that happens in their lives. The characters are not exactly likeable, but they are well developed and the author took her time explaining the why behind the kidnapping and the woman’s motive. The story switches between past and present and touches some very sensitive topics; you’ve been warned. That said, it’s without doubt an interesting psychological thriller for those who enjoy the genre. With it’s fast pace and easy-to-read prose it is an entertaining read despite the sensitive topics.

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Deep down Laura Bateman knows something is wrong and that her relationship with her son isn’t what it should be. Their relationship is actually based on lies, but bad things have happened to Laura in the past that have changed her forever. When twenty-six-year-old Daniel finds out the truth about his mother, he doesn’t know what to do with it. His world has turned upside down, and he is left with nothing but questions… Why did Laura do what she did? And can Daniel ever forgive her?

 

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If you like reading psychological thrillers as much as I do, you will probably enjoy His Kidnapper’s Shoes as well. It’s a fast-paced read with a refreshing new angle that adds a lot of dept to the story. It’s interesting to learn more about both Laura and Daniel and how they ended up in their current situation. I don’t want to reveal too much to avoid spoilers, but it’s definitely worth the try.

BOOK REVIEW: The Butterfly Garden – by Dot Hutchison

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Title: The Butterfly Garden
Author: Dot Hutchison

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
First published: April 26th 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: November 26th 2016
Pages: 288
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“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.”

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I’ve been intrigued by this title ever since I first heard about it a few months ago, and the Goodreads Choice Awards were the perfect excuse to finally pick up my copy of The Butterfly Garden. And boy I definitely got more than what I had expected! This book is mentioned in the horror genre for a good reason, because this is without doubt one sick and messed up story. I will never look at my butterfly tattoo the same way again… The Butterfly Garden is a well written story, although the beginning and ending were a lot stronger than the middle part. In fact, the pace slowed down considerably at one point, almost dragged and it took me longer that imagined to finish it. I’m not sure if all of it is all that believable either (for example: why don’t those girls ever fight back?!?!). That said, it is without doubt one hell of a horror story and both the Gardener and the Garden itself very well executed. The Garden even sounds beautiful when you read the descriptions, until you start to think about the true horrors the place is hiding… Despite its minor flaws, I would definitely recommend The Butterfly Garden to anyone who enjoys a good horror read and doesn’t mind shocking and sensitive details.

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The Gardener has build a beautiful garden nearby his isolated mansion, but his garden doesn’t only grow flowers and trees… A collection of ‘butterflies’ also live there; young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. The Gardener is a brutal and twisted man, obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens… Until one day the garden is discovered. A survivor is brought in for questioning, and the FBI has a hard time piecing together all the details of what has to be one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. And the girl isn’t making it any easier for them… She seems to be hiding something, but what is it? And can her story be fully trusted?

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This story definitely isn’t for the weakhearted: abuse, kidnapping and a very twisted story in general. For those who enjoy a proper horror story this will be an excellent read though. Sure, the middle part is a bit slow and takes a bit longer to read. Sure, the credibility of the plot might not be all that good. But there is one thing for sure: Dot Hutchison knows how to set the right atmosphere and create a pretty darn good creepy story.

BOOK REVIEW: It Ends With Us – by Colleen Hoover

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Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 2nd 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 12th 2016
Pages: 367
Rating 5qqq

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

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Colleen Hoover has done it again! Those who know me are already aware of my not-so-good relationship with the romance genre, but this author has convinced me yet again I can actually enjoy romance when it’s done right. I seem to be having a love-hate relationship with CoHo‘s work, but that doesn’t take away I did LOVE November 9 last year. I decided to give It Ends With Us a go after seeing nothing but raving reviews everywhere, and those reviews were absolutely right. This title just became the second 5 star CoHo book on my list, and that is no small achievement for a genre I normally tend to avoid. Why is It Ends With Us so brilliant that it deserves the highest rating? First of all, there is no denying the fact that Colleen Hoover is a master in creating realistic and believable characters that you can easily relate to. It Ends With Us is filled with strong characters, and on top of that it’s an exceptionally well written story with an intriguing plot. This novel isn’t just another fluffy contemporary romance story either. Instead it deals with a very important and probably very sensitive topic: (abuse). It’s not an easy topic to write about, but the author has done an excellent job of describing it realistically. Have I managed to convince you to read It Ends With Us yet? I certainly hope so, because it was hands down one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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Lily hasn’t always had an easy life, but that has never stopped her from trying to find a way to succeed in life. She managed to escape the small town in Main where she grew up in and after graduating from college she decided to move to Boston. She first started to work at a firm, but then someone inspired her to follow her dream to start her own business. And that is not the only positive thing that is happening in Lily’s life… When she feels a spark with the gorgeous neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid, everything seems almost too good to be true. Sure, he doesn’t do relationships and might be stubborn and even a bit arrogant. But Ryle seems to have a soft spot for Lily and she is having a hard time to resist… But is he really who Lily thinks he is?

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I’m having a hard time writing a proper review for this one without it sounding like I’m just blabbering all over the place, but It Ends With Us is just THAT good. Forget the fact that I’m normally not a fan of romance. Forget the fact that I normally detest love triangles. This book is simply brilliant! Realistic and strong characters (Lily is such an awesome character), extremely well written prose and intriguing plot… It Ends With Us just has it all.

ARC REVIEW: My Girl – by Jack Jordan

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Title: My Girl
Author: Jack Jordan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
First published: July 4th 2016
Publisher: JJP
Finished reading: July 5th 2016
Pages: 240
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“Her memory was awful after she’d been drinking, like a broken film reel. Whole segments of time were missing, fuzzy, unsalvageable. In fact, her recollection of most her life seemed to be full of taunting gaps, so that she only had a handful of memories to look back on.”

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

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Wow! My Girl left me lost for words… This book is probably one of the most twisted and disturbing thrillers I’ve read so far this year. I literally finished this book written by Jack Jordan in one sitting, which hasn’t happened to me in a while. The fast pace, well written prose and many plot twists had me literally flying through the pages and on the edge of my seat the whole time. My Girl starts out as a ‘simple’ plot where we see a mother being completely destroyed by the disappearance and violent murder of her daughter and her husband’s suicide. And there is no doubt that Paige has a very messed up life and is basically your typical unreliable character. Paige cannot deal with the real world and uses alcohol and prescription drugs to numb her pain; losing her grip on reality and making you wonder if the things that happen to her are just the consequence of her addictions or something more. And then… BAM! A mayor (and very disturbing) plot twist happens that will make you see the whole story in a whole new light. I can’t go into details without ruining the story, but let’s just say the second part makes My Girl into a truly disturbing and intense pageturner. If you enjoy reading these kind of thrillers, make sure you try out this book!

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Ten years ago, Paige Dawson’s daughter disappeared… They never found her body, but there is no doubt her daughter is dead after they discovered her mutilated arm. Both Paige and her husband Ryan never recovered from her violent death, up to the point that Ryan decided to end his life two months ago. Her husband’s suicide destroyed Paige, and she feels she has nothing left to live for… Falling further and further down the negative spiral of addiction. But then she finds a hidden handgun in a drawer of Ryan’s office. Why did he need a gun? And did he know something about their daughter’s death? Paige decides to try and find out what her husband was hiding, but that won’t be easy with all the alcohol and prescription drugs fogging up her brain. Will she finally find out the truth about her daughter?

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My Girl is without doubt a very intense, disturbing and well written thriller with a plot twist that will most likely blow you away. The first part of this book is already interesting when we follow the main character Paige as she falls deeper and deeper into the downwards spiral towards destruction, but I can promise you that the plot twist and the second part will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you like dark and twisted thrillers, make sure to add My Girl to your wishlist!