AUDIO ARC REVIEW: The Shadows – by Alex North @MacmillanAudio #netgalleyaudio

Title: The Shadows
Author: Alex North
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
First published: July 7th 2020
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Finished reading: July 16th 2020
Pages: 336

Duration audiobook 9 hours 5 minutes
Narrated by Hannah Arterton & John Heffernan

“And as I listened to the ominous thud of silence in the house behind me, the foreboding I’d had all day moved closer to the dread I remembered feeling twenty-five years ago.

Something awful was going to happen.”

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

myrambles1reviewqqq

After having an excellent reading experience with The Whisper Man last year, my expectations for his newest story The Shadows were high. The blurb sounded both thrilling and creepy, and I’ve been looking forward to read this story ever since I first heard about it… And I can say that my expectations were more than met. What a delightfully creepy and engaging read! Fans of well written thrillers with that psychological horror vibe will be in for a treat.

While I have to say that I’m an audiobook newbie, I think I picked the right book to give them another chance. This dark and atmospheric story managed to grab me from the start, and that sense of foreboding and danger kept me interested the whole time. The story is narrated by Hannah Arterton and John Heffernan; each tackling one of the two POVs of The Shadows. One of my main issues with audiobooks in the past was that I was never able to connect to the narrator’s voices, but I had no such issue here. I felt that both narrators did an excellent job giving a voice to main characters Amanda and Paul, and they really made the characters come alive for me. I think their voices fitted the characters very well, and I liked the pace and flow of the story throughout. The only bit of the audio that bothered me a bit was the chapter where Amanda was reading about the forum as it didn’t flow as naturally, but that might just have been me…

I do have to say I had some issues with the Netgalley Shelf App; it seemed to skip certain chapters while listening and it didn’t remember the place where I stopped correctly each time I took a break. This of course has nothing to do with the audiobook itself and I didn’t take it in account when rating and reviewing The Shadows, but it could get confusing and sometimes even frustrating trying to hunt down those missing chapters. I’m not sure if it was my phone or the app, but I do hope my next audiobook won’t do the same thing!

As for The Shadows itself: I absolutely loved the idea behind the premise as well as the execution and the building up of suspense. The hint at the supernatural, the psychological horror vibe, the idea behind the dream diaries… The mystery around what happened 25 years ago as well as what happens in the present really gave the story that edge. The story is told with the help of a dual POV, where we switch between detective Amanda Beck and Paul. On top of this, Paul’s POV divided between flashbacks to 25 years ago and the present… The flashbacks both helping to clear up questions about the past as well as adding suspense and that sense of foreboding in the present. I enjoyed each storyline equally, as they all completemented each other and slowly merged into one. There were some well executed plot twists along the way as well, and I definitely liked the direction the story took.

The characters in play are without doubt intriguing; they are well developed, flawed and very interesting to read about. Sure, they might not all be exactly likeable, but their background and stories will keep you invested and I personally couldn’t wait to discover the truth about it all. The psychological horror element is very well done, and I loved how everything was explained in the end. I had a brilliant time listening to The Shadows and I’m really tempted to revisit the story on my kindle in the future.


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #278 – July 22nd

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 still trying to get those August ARCs read before we reach the painting/cleaning stage of our home improvement project (probably in two weeks if all goes well)… Currently I’m making my way through Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks for the upcoming blog tour in August. I’m also planning to start Playing Nice by JP Delaney straight after as it’s due soon.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Shadows by Alex North (AUDIO) (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/07
While I have to say that I’m an audiobook newbie, I think I picked the right book to give them another chance. This dark and atmospheric story managed to grab me from the start, and that sense of foreboding and danger kept me interested the whole time.What a delightfully creepy and engaging read! Fans of well written thrillers with that psychological horror vibe will be in for a treat.

2. Lobizona by Romina Garber (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/08
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

3. The Silence by Luca Veste (4/5 stars) REVIEW
This was my first time reading one of Luca Veste‘s books, and it definitely won’t be my last as The Silence made me an instant fan of his writing. Engaging, suspenseful and intense: this story had me in its claws and I wasn’t released until I reached that final page. This was without doubt a highly successful serial killer thriller and I will be looking forward to read more of his work in the future.

4. His & Hers by Alice Feeney (AUDIO) (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been meaning to try one of Alice Feeney‘s books for a while now, and I thought that listening to the audiobook with the new Netgalley Shelf App feature would be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. The fact that the blurb of His & Hers intrigued me immediately and I’ve seen positive reviews popping up everywhere only made this decision easier to make… And I’m definitely glad I did choose the audiobook option, because I ended up having a fantastic time with this story and I think the audio only enhanced the experience for me. What a read!

5. Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/08
Okay… I’m still not sure what happened here, as I thought this story would be a perfect fit and the blurb sounded fantastic. I have a special interest in stories set in Latin America, and even more so if they are related to the (war on) drugs world… I still think the premise itself is fantastic, but somehow I felt such aversion towards the writing style that I seriously struggled to finish this story.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll probably take a little break from thrillers and ARCs next with The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. I’ve been looking forward to this one! Afterwards, it’s back to my August ARCs with two blog tour reads: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin and  Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland. My newest TBR jar pick Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will probably have to wait until at least mid August, as I really don’t have time for it right now (and I also have a bunch of other reads I want to read first 😉 ).


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #277 – July 15th

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 couldn’t resist giving audiobooks another chance and I’m trying out the new Netgalley audiobook ARC feature… Of course the fact that The Shadows by Alex North was a most anticipated release and I didn’t have a copy yet did play a part too. 😉 So far I’m enjoying my time with it! I also really need to get those August NG ARCs read before we reach the painting/cleaning stage of our home improvement project (probably in two or three weeks if all goes well), so I’ve started another ARC Readathon to get them done. Currently I’m making my way through Lobizona by Romina Garber (also a blog tour read), and I’m loving the many Argentinian culture references so far! I’ll also be starting Playing Nice by JP Delaney as soon as I finish my audiobook.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn (3/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
I was in the mood for a cute contemporary, and really thought Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend was going to be a perfect fit… But I guess things weren’t ment to be. Things started out well as Katie Finn has a very readable and engaging writing style that makes it easy to fly through the pages. I initially really enjoyed this story, and was looking forward to see what would happen that summer in the Hamptoms… BUT. Things started to get really frustrating, as it was so clear what was really going on and I really just can’t believe Gemma didn’t realize what was happening right under her nose.

2. Deadly Vengeance by OMJ Ryan (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

3. Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 02/08
I know that I’ve said this before, but there is no denying that the Detective Josie Quinn series is one of my favorite detective thriller series and I’m always looking forward to a new installment. Save Her Soul is already book number nine of the series, and without doubt another excellent ride. This series just doesn’t stop delivering!

4. Echoes Of Guilt by Rob Sinclair (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/07
I enjoyed the previous two books of this series, and I’ve been looking forward to meet up with DI Dani Stephens again. Echoes Of Guilt is without doubt another solid detective thriller, and I loved the Romanian angle and the significance of the Strigoi folklore element. I did feel that the whole serial killer twin Ben storyline and his involvement was a bit forced this time around, but that might just have been me… The case itself was fascinating.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m still not done with my August ARCs after my current reads, and next are two blog tour titles: Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland and Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks. I might take a little break and finally read Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras in between though, as I’ve been dying to read it. My newest TBR jar pick Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will probably have to wait until at least mid August, as I really don’t have time for it right now (and I also have a bunch of other reads I want to read first 😉 ).


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

YVO’S SHORTIES #130 – The Near Witch & The Whisper Man

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two titles I’ve been highly anticipating, and both turned out to be solid reads. I still can’t believe I’ve left Victoria Schwab‘s books until last, but I’ve finally read it and I’ve now officially run out of Schwab books to read until next year. xD And I admit I’ve been afraid to actually pick up The Whisper Man because of all the hype around it, but it turned out to be a good one.


Title: The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: August 2nd 2011
Publisher: Titan Books
Finished reading: October 29th 2019
Pages: 320

“Sometimes people need something -someone- to blame. It gives them peace until they can find the real answers.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of Victoria Schwab‘s books, and I’ve been meaning to read her debut for ages now. I guess in a way I have been saving it, because now I’ve read it I have officially run out of Schwab books to read until new titles are published next year. Not a pleasant thought, although it might give me time to reread some of my favorites in the mean time? First things first though, and let’s talk about her debut. The Near Witch shows just how much she has grown as an author since this first story! I still loved my time with Lexi and Cole of course (then again, I might be a bit biased when it comes to her work), but the story reads a bit slower than usual and if you look at it objectively there isn’t really much going on in the plot. I really wasn’t expecting the pace to be this slow and the romance, while not that present thankfully, still kind of distracted from the fantasy elements in The Near Witch. It might just have been that somehow certain parts of Lexi’s personality started to bother me though, but I did like Cole’s character and what he represented. And the descriptions of the moor setting are simply glorious! Beautifully illustrated and it made the setting really come alive for me… The whole hint at the supernatural is spot on as well; the writing putting you under its spell from the very first chapter. It’s just like magic! I still wish I could have read this debut before her more recent work though, because those titles kind of outshined what is still a wonderful story.


Title: The Whisper Man
Author: Alex North

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 13th 2019
Publisher: Penguin
Finished reading: October 31st 2019
Pages: 400

“Some investigations stayed with you, sinking their claws in and hanging on, so that you would always have to drag them behind you no matter how hard you tried to dislodge them.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I think The Whisper Man is probably one of the most hyped thrillers released this year, and to be honest I’ve been a bit hesitant to pick it up exactly because of that hype. I decided to wait for a while, but I couldn’t resist reading it during Halloween month as more than one had recommended to me it would be perfect for the time of the year. And I definitely agree! The Whisper Man isn’t just another crime thriller, as it toes the line with the horror genre and has quite a few delightfully creepy scenes included. The eery and twisted atmosphere sets the right tone for this story, and I definitely enjoyed my time with The Whisper Man. And while it’s not among my absolute top thriller reads of the year, I can also see why so many people seemed to love it. I had some minor issues with the pace in points as well as the predictability of the plot… The basics behind the plot are not exactly all that original, but I do love the development and execution of that plot. The story definitely ends with a bang as well, although I’m still not sure what to think about how things ended… I did like how past and present were connected, the different POVs helped enriching the plot and it was interesting to see things slowly unfold through the eyes of the different characters. It’s without doubt a solid read and I will be looking forward to read more of his work in the future!


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #244 – October 30th

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 finally reading The Whisper Man by Alex North and I’m looking forward to discover if the hype around the title is actually worth it! I’m also starting The Last by Hanna Jameson, a title I’ve been curious about despite the mixed reviews as the premise sounds absolutely fantastic. My Spanish reread of the sixth Harry Potter book Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter y El Misterio Del Principe) is going really well and I’m about a third into the book already.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Cold Fear by Mads Peder Nordbo (3/5 stars) REVIEW
After enjoying the first book, I was totally expecting to have a good reading experience with the sequel as well… But it turns out I ended up having mixed thoughts about it. I felt that the focus point of Cold Fear was basically on the extreme violence and making this story as brutal and shocking as possible, and as a consequence I don’t think the sequel reached its full potential nor lived up to expectations for me.

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (5/5 stars) REREAD
This is one of my all time favorites and after watching the movie again last week I decided to just give in and reread the story now I have a physical copy of it. And it was just as magical and heartbreaking the second time around! I don’t often cry when reading or watching a movie, but this story gets me every time.

3. Deadly Silence by OMJ Ryan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
There is a lot to love in Deadly Silence, but let’s just start with the fact that this first installment of a new detective series is so damn readable! I found myself hooked from the very first chapter and flying through those pages like there was no tomorrow…Engaging, well written, suspenseful, shocking and even a dash of dark humor here and there… The writing was definitely everything I could have wished for and more. I really enjoyed my time with Deadly Silence and I will be looking forward to the next book. If you are, like me, a serial killer and detective thriller fan, you should add definitely add this title to your wishlist! Thanks again Meggy for putting Deadly Silence on my radar. ❤

4. The Noble Path by Peter May (DNF 35%; 0 stars) DNF REVIEW LATER TODAY!!
I have to say that it is most likely a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me‘, especially since The Noble Path has such a high rating on Goodreads and overall positive reviews. I’ve tried really hard to warm up to the story, giving it a second, third and fourth chance and even reading other books in between to see if a change of scenery would help me finally connect to The Noble Path afterwards. But no such luck, and after days of struggling and seeing myself starting to skimread just to try and turn those pages, I knew it was time to just throw in the towel and let this story be. I hardly ever DNF a story and I still feel mighty guilty about this, but it has become painfully clear that The Noble Path just isn’t the right story for me and I might just not have been the right target group to begin with.

5. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/12
It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of her books, and I’ve been meaning to read her debut for ages now. The Near Witch shows just how much she has grown as an author since this first story! I still loved it of course (then again, I might be a bit biased when it comes to her work), but the story reads a bit slower than usual and if you look at it objectively there isn’t really much going on in the plot. But the descriptions of the moor setting are glorious! And the whole hint at the supernatural is spot on; the writing putting you under a spell from the very first chapter. It’s just like magic!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to make the most of my blogging break and finally read those books I’ve been dying to read! First up are either Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner, Nevernight by Jay Kristoff or The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware depending on which genre I’m in the mood for next. My newest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I will probably pick up soon as well as I’ve been looking forward to continue the series.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #243 – October 23rd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two ARCs that are due soon… The first is Cold Fear by Mads Peder Nordbo, a nordic noir sequel set in Greenland I’ve been looking forward to as the first book was excellent. The second is my first Peter May read (finally!): The Noble Path. I’m looking forward to see how I will react to his writing! And I’ve also decided to continue my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series… Book number six it is!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Thin Air by Michelle Paver (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
Partly a historical adventure story set in the 1935 Himalayas, partly a ghost story, Thin Air turned out to have a very interesting mix of different elements and it’s a story perfect for this Halloween month or the winter months for that matter.

2. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 28/10
I’m not sure if this was the wrong book at the wrong time for me, or if it’s just that I’m not that used to middle grade books in the first place… But the fact is that I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by this story. While the historical aspect of Fever 1793 was brilliantly handled, the characters somehow ended up falling a bit flat for me… I seem to be in the minority though.

3. The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/10
After reading Call Me Star Girl earlier this year, I already knew I was going to be in for a treat with this title. I’ve been warned to keep tissues and comfort food close, and that was without doubt solid advice as this story left me with my heart shattered into a million little pieces. The Lion Tamer Who Lost isn’t my usual genre, but I should have worried as Ben and Andrew’s story won me over right from the very first chapter.

4. The Museum Of Extraordinary Thingsby Alice Hoffman (DNF 38%; 0 stars) REVIEW 28/10
I’m not sure if it’s just not the right time for this story or if my book hangover after The Lion Tamer Who Lost would have made me struggle with any book in the first place… But the fact is, I REALLY struggled with The Museum Of Extraordinary Things and I just couldn’t force myself to keep reading any longer. The pace is so so slow and I find the main characters to be quite flat and cliche… I’m really struggling to stay focused and even started skimreading some bits; I definitely wasn’t expecting this reaction as the premise of The Museum Of Extraordinary Things is fascinating.

5. The Neighbours by Nicola Gill (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/01/2020
That’s my first 2020 release in the pocket! xD If you are looking for a fun and entertaining romcom with that Bridget Jones vibe, The Neighbours should definitely be on your 2020 wishlist. It’s a superfast read and has both funny and more serious moments incorporated into the plot. Ginny and Cassie make a very unlikely pair, but I had a great time following them despite some of their character traits starting to get on my nerves…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As the blogging slump is getting worse every day and it’s becoming almost impossible to write a proper review, I’ve decided to put those ARCs and Orenda beauties on hold and only read backlist titles I can write shorties reviews for. I feel sad for having to do this, but I see no other way out… Also, I’ve decided to go on a blogging break in November (and maybe December too); more about that soon.

I’m hoping to read The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab next as I’m really in the mood for a Halloween read… I’m also going to try and finally read The Whisper Man by Alex North to see what the hype is all about. And what is Halloween month without a Stephen King read?! I was going to read Pet Sematary, but then I remembered I had promised myself to finish the Bill Hodges Trilogy first, so Finders Keepers it is. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it better than the first book. xD And I have a new TBR jar pick! The third Lacy Flint book Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton… I really enjoyed the first two books, so I have high hopes for this one.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.