ARC REVIEW: All Fall Down – by Tom Bale

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Title: All Fall Down
Author: Tom Bale

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 1st 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: August 11th 2016
Pages: 398
Rating 4qqq

“And Wendy understood. They all understood. There were no limits.”

*** 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 know I was trying to stop requesting new Netgalley thrillers for a while, but this title was just too hard to resist. I have seen various raving reviews about Tom Bale‘s other thriller See How They Run, so as soon as I saw All Fall Down I knew I had to give it a try. And boy, this was one dark, twisted and gripping thriller! The plot might have a few minor holes, but the story itself is so intense that it personally didn’t bother me. In fact, All Fall Down managed to grab my attention from the start and the many plot twist kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the ride. The story has quite a few surprises in store, although the ending is kind of an anti-climax. The descriptions and prose are excellent and set the right atmosphere for this dark thriller. I’m not sure I actually like the main characters, but I can’t deny the character development is well done and it was interesting to see the different reactions to the psychological (and physical) torture they had to indure. In short, if you are looking for a fast-paced and properly dark thriller, All Fall Down is an excellent choice.

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What started out as a quiet Sunday bbq for the Turner family, soon turned into a nightmare when a dying man shows up at their gate. He is beaten beyond all recognition and barely able to utter his last words: HELP ME. Rob, Wendy and their children are shocked by what happened, but try to explain it all away by calling it an unfortunate coincidence and the fact that the man picked their house completely random. But in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine, and none of them knows exactly why… They are unaware of the fact that they are watched and that their lives will soon be in the hands of someone with a very twisted sense of right and wrong. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance, or is something else to blame? And will they be able to save themselves before it’s too late?

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If you like dark and twisted thrillers with a healthy dose of graphic and violent scenes, you will most likely love All Fall Down. It’s a fast-paced and gripping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat partly because of the many plot twists and ‘hidden secrets’. I personally didn’t really like the Turners, but their characters are well developed; Gabriel and his followers are seriously creepy and twisted and the perfect ‘bad guys’. I can’t wait to read more of Tom Bale‘s work!

WWW Wednesdays #103 – August 10th

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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?

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I started my previous TBR jar pick Secret Letters by Leah Scheier a few days ago, but I’m really struggling to get into the story. I’m not sure if it’s because of the prose or the main character, but I cannot seem to manage to convince me to continue it. Maybe after I finish my last pending Netgalley ARC: All Fall Down by Tom Bale? That one is turning out to be yet another brilliant thriller! I’ve also finally FINALLY picked up my copy of A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I’m hoping I will be able to make a dent into this monster during my 15 hours on a plane this Sunday…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last WWW is The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. It was a fast read and I LOVED the comic/geeky references, but the many high school cliches and the fact that the main character was ashamed of liking comics and seemed to prefer being popular ruined the story slightly for me.
* I then gave in and read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It was quite an entertaining read and brought back a lot of nostalgic memories, but it wasn’t as good as the first seven books. The fact that it’s a script makes it less pleasant to read as well…
* The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland is yet another psychological thriller to add to my list of favorites. SO good! It’s well written and the fact that the main character has amnesia and therefore is an unreliable narrator is a refreshing twist. Recommended!
* The last book I finished is The Last Girl by Joe Hart, which unfortunately didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. It’s not a bad read and the synopsis sounds interesting, but I felt it was missing that little something that would turn it into something special. In fact, it all sounded all too similar to the typical dystopian story with a strong female character… I did really appreciate this story has almost no romance and NO love triangle. Definitely a miracle when it comes to the YA dystopian genre.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I can’t wait to finally start Red Rising by Pierce Brown! If I like the first book I will probably read both sequels as well… I also want to read Vicious by V.E. Schwab (and This Savage Song as well, but I have decided to read this one first). The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is also high on my list. A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas is my newest TBR jar pick, which is really convenient since I wanted to read it soon anyway. I will probably reread ACOTAR first though…

BOOK REVIEW: All Fall Down – by Ally Carter

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Title: All Fall Down
(Embassy Row #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA, Mystery. Thriller
First published: January 20th 2015
Finished reading: August 24th 2015
Pages: 320
Rating 4,5qqq

“Power has always corrupted, my dear. Even the promise of power. It is a hard thing to look at through the fence for hundreds of years without wondering what it would be like on the other side.”

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To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect of this novel and All Fall Down ended up to be more than a pleasant surprise. I loved the international setting and the fact the main characters lived in the different embassies in Adria. Ally Carter‘s prose is easy to read and the past is fast, making this first part of the Embassy Row series a quick and entertaining read. The story is full of action and the whole mystery around the death of Grace’s mother is intriguing. Grace clearly suffered after her mother died and people think she is crazy when she claims it was actually murder. When she goes back to the US Embassy to live with her grandfather, she is determined to find proof she’s right… Clearly, Grace is a very interesting character and I liked most of the other main characters as well. If you like YA mystery/thriller stories with a lot of action and an international setting, you would probably enjoy All Fall Down as much as I did. The only minor drawback is that the sequel has yet to be published…

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After Grace saw her mother die in a fire, she is certain that it was actually murder. She tells everone she saw the man that killed her mother, but people believe she’s simply overreacting and losing her mind. Grace doesn’t care and is determined she will find the killer one day and make him pay for what he did. But since nobody actually believes what she saw, there is no one she can completely trust. When she is sent to the US Embassy in Adria to spend with her ambassador grandfather, Grace is ready to go looking for answers. She is not like her mother and doesn’t exactly feels herself at home in this new formal diplomatic world. They can’t really control her and she has a tendency towards trouble; will she be able to keep safe as her past comes back to haunt her?

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I was looking forward to this novel ever since I first heard about it and I’m glad I’ve finally read it. It wasn’t exaclty what I was expecting, but I actually ended up enjoying it even better! The prose, plot and characters make All Fall Down into a very entertaining and fast read that I would definitely recommend if you like the genre. The ending is a mayor cliffhanger though; I need the sequel NOW!!! Hopefully the new publish date this December won’t be posponed…

WWW Wednesdays #54 – August 26th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins the other day and so far I’m really enjoying it. Fingers crossed that it will live up to the hype! I’ve also decided that I want to finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the end of the month, so I will try to dedicate more time to it. Hopefully I will be able to finish it before my next WWW post!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Partly thanks to the Bout Of Books read-a-thon last week I was able to finish no less than NINE books. I guess this month is going to be a new record! I’m seriously behind on my reviews though, so I will have to start writing them soon before I start mixing up the different plots and characters…
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The first one on the list is Fairest by Marissa Meyer. Not as good as the main series, but it was interesting to learn more about how Levana became the person she is in the series. The prose was solid as always.
I continued with My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and it was just as good as I was hoping for. Interesting characters, prose, plot… And the author described depression really well.
I read The Death Cure by James Dashner next and wasn’t impressed. I felt it lacked a proper plot and I wasn’t a fan of the ending… Definitely my least favorite book of the series so far.
Joyland by Stephen King was good: I loved the 1973 carnival setting and the prose was interesting as always. I didn’t see the ending coming for sure!
The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith was my TBR jar pick last week and unfortunately not as good as I thought it would be… Some of  the scenes just were too cheesy for me.
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Next up is Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I’m still not sure what to think of it; it’s highly original, but I’m not sure the humor didn’t go too far at points or if I actually liked some of the main characters.
I then couldn’t wait any longer and read Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher.  This part was even better than the first and unfortunately ended with a big cliffhanger as well.
Anatomy Of A Misfit by Andrea Portes wasn’t that great. I didn’t like most characters or the fact that it has a love triangle and the ending felt forced.
Last up is All Fall Down by Ally Carter, a read I have been looking forward to and even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I ended up really enjoying it! The ending is a mayor cliffhanger though; I need the sequel!!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish the series…Hopefully I will like it better than The Death Cure. I have been wanting to read Legend by Marie Lu for ages, so hopefully I will be able to finally start that series… And I have been wanting to read None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio for a long time as well. The last one on this list is my newest TBR jar pick: I Was Here by Gayle Forman. This one was already on my Bout Of Books TBR, so I will probably get to it soon.