ARC REVIEW: Her Last Secret – by Barbara Copperthwaite @bookouture

Title: Her Last Secret
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 13th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 24th 2017
Pages: ?

“Life was sweet. Until it turned sour.”

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

myrambles1reviewqqq

I really enjoyed reading The Darkest Lies earlier this year, so I was really looking forward to Barbara Copperthwaite‘s newest psychological thriller. And as the title might already suggest, this one is yet another story packed until its limits with lies and secrets. Her Last Secret is mostly a character-driven psychological thriller and focuses on the many different characters that play a role in the event of that damned Christmas day. I do have to admit the pace was initially a lot slower than expected and I found myself struggling a little in the beginning. This was due both to the slower pace and my lack of connection to the characters. Somehow was never able to warm up to any of the main characters (except mayby for Mouse) and some of their actions and opinions actually started to frustrate me (the father is despicable!). I can’t deny their development feels realistic and rounded though; each of them having a different web of lies and secrets and adding a different level to the story. This complexity of characters and different subplots is what saved this story for me. Once you get used to the different characters, start learning about the events leading up to Christmas day and start guessing what really happened, you will find yourself hooked. The second half of the story definitely made up for the slow start for me. I loved the whole countdown idea and how slowly more of the present day event is revealed… Leaving you in the dark and guessing what could have happened and who is to blame as you learn more about the characters. And the final part is more than shocking! Basically, Her Last Secret will make you think a lot of things and suspect a lot of people, but I can garantuee you won’t guess the final truth about what really happened. I could also really appreciate the role (cyber)bullying played in this story. All in all, if you enjoy reading character-driven psychological thrillers, you will have a great time with this one.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

On the outside, they seemed like a perfect family. Ben Thomas is a successful business and lives with his wife Dominique in a beautiful house along with their two daughters Ruby and Mouse. But this perfect image is just a mirage, as they seem to be hiding a lot of secrets… And then on Christmas day the police is called to their home, only to find a horrific scene. What happened in their home? What secrets were they hiding? And did those secrets have anything to do with what happened on Christmas day?

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

Her Last Secret turned out to be a slowburner for me. While I initially struggled with the slower pace and my lack of connection to the characters, I was seriously hooked by the time I reached the second half. This character-driven psychological thriller has more layers than an onion and a huge dose of secrets to go with it. The complexity of the plot and how the different storylines slowly merge is what makes this story so intriguing; the countdown chapters mixed with the slow Christmas day revelations only add to the suspense.


signature

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

Advertisements

WWW Wednesdays #156 – September 27th

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 close to finishing Bentwhistle The Dragon: A Threat From The Past by Paul Cude, a YA fantasy read with dragons. The pace is quite slow, but there is no doubt that the worldbuilding is extensive with a lot of attention to details and descriptions. I’m also about to start Heartless by Marissa Meyer, a story I’ve been wanting to read for months… I’m really looking forward to that one. IT by Stephen King I decided to put temporarily on hold until October so I can finish some other books first… Plus, it’s probably the perfect Halloween read for next month in the first place right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
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.

2. Snuggle And Play Crochet by Carolina Guzman Benitez (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
These patterns are absolutely adorable! I will be looking forward creating at least a few of these as gifts for a few of my friends who have either young children or are about to be parents… I’m having a feeling the loveys will be a huge success, although the plush animals are adorable as well. I’m still a crochet newbie, so I could really appreciate the helpful explanations of the different stitches and how to put the different parts together!

3. Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/09
This psychological thriller is mostly a character-driven story and the pace was a lot slower than expected. I struggled a little in the beginning, both because of the pace and my lack of connection to the characters, but the second half of the story more than made up for it. I loved the countdown idea and how slowly more of the present day event is revealed… And the final part is more than shocking! The story will make you think a lot of things and suspect a lot of people, but I can garantuee you won’t guess the final truth about what really happened.

4. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 01/10
I’ve only just finished this one so I need a little time to think… It’s a character-driven story set in 1914 on a lifeboat, where the characters have to survive after their cruiseship sinks on the way to New York. The pace is quite slow and I’m not a fan of the characters, but the historical setting is quite well done and it shows in the way the characters interact as well. Nothing much happens during the story though. I’m still on the fence about this one to be honest.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I’m dying to find out how the series continues.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. I also want to read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh; I’ve had that one on my TBR for way too long now. My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up.


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #155 – September 20th

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 both my latest TBR jar pick Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes and my 800+ pages book for this year It by Stephen King. I’m only a few pages into both so I don’t have anything substantial to say yet… Other than that I’ll probably end up finishing It next month since I want to read a few other titles first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and blurb, and there is no doubt that the writing is just as beautiful as the stunning cover. The Dollmaker Of Krakow is a truly unique story that mixes historical events with a fairytale-like fantasy world and sometimes feels a lot like magical realism. This innocent way of approaching the holocaust is a truly fascinating angle and very well executed; the fantasy elements only add to the overal originality of the story.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
It took me a while to warm up to this story and to be honest in the beginning I wasn’t convinced by the multiple POVs and the amount of characters introduced. I’m not a hockey fan and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the prominent role the sport has in the story… But all those worries disappeared as soon as I reached the second half and found myself fully invested. I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers (since the original blurb had a few as well), but some things will happen that will provoke very strong emotions and these feelings won’t let you go until you reach the final page. The fact that there are so many conflicting emotions will leave you wrecked, but fully satisfied. The ending is quite interesting as well, and will make you wonder about how the story started. All in all recommended despite the not that convincing start!

3. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
Even though this wasn’t my favorite story, I still very much enjoyed it and I was surprised there wasn’t as much romance involved as I would have expected. Blue was a great character even though she wasn’t exactly likeable and I love her art and what it symbolizes. I wasn’t a big fan of Darcy though and I could have done without the love triangle… But the writing was excellent as always. Beautiful, raw, strong and emotional story!

4. The Mistake by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/09
I’ve been looking forward to this one… And although it’s not my favorite of the bunch, it is still without doubt a very well written and suspensful psychological thriller. The main problem I had was with the main characters, which I found highly unlikeable… Rose and Garreth made me cringe A LOT. But. The writing is excellent and the situation and consequences of grooming very well and realistically described. I liked the idea of the chapters going back between past and present; showing this way both what happened all those years ago and how this effected Rose’s life even after all those years.

5. Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (?/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I’ve only just finished this one as I’m writing this WWW, and I’m still struggling to decide what to make of this one. The writing style is very engaging and made this story into a very fast read. The whole funeral business definitely gives this story a unique touch and actually adds to the plot as well. I’m still not sure about the characters, but I’m hoping to write something a bit more coherent in the next few days or so.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite next even though it’s recently due next month… I’ve been looking forward to this one. I also want to read Heartless by Marissa Meyer; I’ve been posponing this one for way too long now. Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma… And I have a new TBR jar pick! Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up. I can’t wait to finally read it!


signature

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

ARC REVIEW: The Darkest Lies – by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @bookouture

Title: The Darkest Lies
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: May 12th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: May 6th 2017
Pages: 433

“One week ago you had home home as usual, chatting about homework, rushing around, laughing. Until you’d lies to us, and gone out for the night. Then everything had changed.”

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

myrambles1reviewqqq

I always have a weak spot for a good psychological thriller and Bookouture has never disappointed me with its selection of the genre so far. The Darkest Lies just sounded too good to ignore and I can now say this story definitely didn’t disappoint. What at first glance looked like another missing girl/brutal attack case, turned out to be so much more than that. Because everything is covered and trapped in a huge web of lies. Nothing and nobody is as it seems and you will find yourself shocked as you slowly start finding out what really happened to Beth that night and what secrets she was hiding. The ending was definitely a huge surprise! I did see some things coming and had my suspicions, but overall the plot twists were more than satisfactory. The writing style is enjoyable to read and adds to the whole suspense and mystery around what happened to Beth. I really liked the setting as well and the important role the marsh played in the story. I did have mixed thoughts about some of the main characters in The Darkest Lies and I’m still not sure if I liked some of them, but this mostly didn’t distract from the story itself. I did wonder about Melanie’s reaction to what she saw Jacob do with her own eyes… And I found her a bit naive in general. The many plot twists will make you forget all about that though, and in short The Darkest Lies was without doubt another excellent psychological thriller with a rather shocking ending.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Everything seemed to have worked out perfectly for Melanie Oak, who still lives in the small village she grew up in, married her childhood sweetheart and now they have a teenage daughter. They live a happy life together, until one day her daughter Beth goes missing. She was supposed to spend the night with her best friend, but she never arrived… And while Beth is found shortly after, almost beaten to death and frozen, the police is having difficulties finding out who is behind the attack. Melanie is frustrated and decides to find her daughter’s attacker herself; she just can’t believe nobody saw anything that night. But she might not like what she finds out… Because Beth has been hiding secrets of her own.

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

The Darkest Lies started out strong and stayed that way during the whole ride. I did find some of the characters less likeable than others, but that’s really easy to forget about with so many plot twists to keep you busy. If you like suspenseful reads that will surprise you, you are in for a treat. Because you won’t believe what really happened the night Beth went missing… And the web of lies and secrets that has been cast over the small town. Recommended!


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #136 – May 10th

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 about to start Roses Of May by Dot Hutchison; another Netgalley ARC and a title I’ve been looking forward to. I read and loved The Butterfly Garden last year and I didn’t realize it was a series until I saw this sequel on NG… Can’t wait to dive into this disturbing story again! I also started reading Aurabel by Laura Dockrill, a NG fantasy ARC with mermaids, but I had to put it on hold after 5%. Why? I felt like I was reading a story written in a foreign language I could just barely understand. Things just didn’t make sense at all… And after investigating, this story apparently takes place in the same world as a previous book which I didn’t know about. That could probably explain the lack of worldbuilding, but does make it extremely difficult to properly enjoy it without reading that one first (which I don’t have time for xD ).

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first book I finished since last week is Anything For Her by Jack Jordan, which turned out to be an excellent psychological thriller and even better than his other title My Girl. It’s fast, it’s entertaining and it manages to catch your attention right from the first page… And the whole mystery around ‘that night’ is intriguing and definitely makes you want to keep on reading. More in my review.
* I then read All The Good Things by Clare Fisher, another ARC I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately I ended up having mixed thoughts about it, mostly because I couldn’t connect to the main character Beth. Which is shame, because she’s a truly fascinating character and I really wanted to love this story. More about my mixed thoughts in my review.
* I actually wasn’t going to continue this series after my experience with book three, but I gave in since already had a copy on my kindle and it would mean I could cross off another series. Unfortunately, The Murder Of An Angel by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro continued down the same road as book three, and the only reason I made it to the end is that the prose at least reads superfast. Want to know why I didn’t like it? Here‘s why.
* After two mediocre reads, I decided to play it safe and pick up another Bookouture thriller. And I wasn’t wrong, because I’ve now added The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite to the growing list of Bookouture winners. This story started out strong and stayed that way until the very end. Not every character is all that likeable, but you will forget all about that as you find yourself trapped in the same web of lies and secrets as the rest of the town. Many many plot twists and a surprising ending! Find out more in my review which will be posted later today.
* I then continued Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, a high fantasy read I had been posponing during the last few weeks due to its length and wordbuilding. I’m glad I finally continued it and I really like the idea behind this story. That said, I do think the story itself is overlong and would have been more enjoyable with more focus on the action and less on ‘insignificant’ details and dialogue. In fact, some of the main characters were starting to become really annoying; especially the bantering between Cassie and Andrea. I love that it’s a YA fantasy read with a glbt angle though; you don’t see that too often (or at least in the stories I’ve read so far…)
* The last book I was able to finish is Room by Emma Donoghue, which has been on my TBR for way too long. The worst part is that I kept hearing great things about it, but somehow I never actually picked it up… I’m regretting this now, because it was such an excellent read! I literally flew through the pages and finished it in less than a day. I love that it’s told from the POV of a 5-year-old; it makes the story that much more powerful (Think The Boy With The Striped Pajamas, which has a similar effect.)

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

After I finish my current reads, I’m planning to pick up the other titles on my Bout Of Books TBR. One of them is another one that has been collecting dust for way too long: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. It will be one of the exceptions were I’ve already seen the movie before reading the story, so we’ll see how that goes. The next ARC I’m picking up will be Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, which I’ve heard great things about and can’t wait to finally pick up. Also on the ARC list is Heartborn by Terry Maggert, which is another fantasy read. Last up is One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus, which I requested after a recommendation and I’m really excited about. I wanted to pick up the thriller Be My Killer by Richard Parker first, but it doesn’t have a pagecount yet and I need that for it to count for the readathon. xD


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #135 – May 3rd

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’ll probably finish Anything For Her by Jack Jordan later today, which has been a very good thriller read so far. I’m definitely glad I finally picked it up! And as soon as I’m finishing that title, I’ll be diving into another Netgalley ARC: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite. I’ve heard great things about that title and it has all the signs it’s going to be another Bookouture winner! I’m also still reading Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, although it’s still temporarily on hold until I’m in the mood for (high) fantasy again.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first title I finished since last week is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which turned out to be a brilliant read. I’m still kicking myself for not picking it up sooner! From the writing style, character development, plot to it’s very important topic; I just couldn’t find one detail I didn’t like about this powerful story.
* I then read The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero, which I ended up having quite a lot of issues with. It took a long time for the chapters to connect, the plot felt chaotic and there was excessive swearing, but that was only minor compared to my biggest problem with this story: the main character. I absolutely despised him and it was really hard to enjoy a story involving such an arrogant, cheating, drunk, womanizing bastard. Definitely not for me…
* Afterwards I decided to try my hands at fantasy again, especially since I enjoyed the first book of The Hero Rebellion series last year. Riven by Belinda Crawford was without doubt an entertaining read and the best part is that it’s a YA sci-fi series that is actually 100% romance free. Yes, you read that right, there’s no romance in this series and the story focuses on the worldbuilding and action instead. It took me a bit longer to adapt to the worldbuilding and some of the unique features and the plot wasn’t as strong as the first book, but there is definitely a lot of potential for what is still to come. Action-packed and very entertaining!
* The last book I picked up is Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh, one of my most anticipated releases this year. I still can’t believe my request was actually approved!! I had high expectations after reading a teaser earlier this year, and somehow this book managed to be even better than expected. I practically devoured its pages and LOVED it. The setting, the writing style, the characters (Mariko, Okami!!!), the plot… It doesn’t happen often I have two 5 star reads in a week, but I just couldn’t give this one anything lower than perfect rating. The wait for the sequel is going to be painful though…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Like I’ve said before, I still have a huge pile of ARCs pending so I’ve made May into another ARC month. I have the following four ARCs lined up to be read next, depending on the genre I’m in the mood for... Be My Killer by Richard Parker and The Roses Of May by Dot Hutchison are both Netgalley ARCs and titles I’m looking forward to. Heartborn by Terry Maggert is another pending fantasy ARC I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I also want to pick up the ARC Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, which sounds like a fascinating read.


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #134 – April 26th

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 making good progress with Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, and I will most likely end up finishing it some time today or tomorrow. I’m still kicking myself for waiting this long to pick it up, because it’s without doubt brilliant. Well written, intriguing story and a very important focus on racial problematics and racism as well as an interesting mix of characters. I’m also about to start another ARC, The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero, which sounds like an action-packed read. I’m also still reading Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, although I have put temporarily on hold until I’m in the mood for (high) fantasy again.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first title I finished is the travel memoir Among Friends: Travels In Cuba by Heather Murray. Unlike other non fiction reads about Cuba, this memoir focuses mostly on the personal experiences of the author during her various trips to Cuba and what she could see of the daily life of the Cubans rather than on the complicated political and social-cultural situation. It’s a well written and enjoyable read and the descriptions of the various locations in Cuba made me feel as if I were visiting the country myself.
* I then picked up The Millionaire’s Wife by Shalini Boland, which has turned out to be yet another winner. I’ve been a fan of her work ever since I picked up The Girl From The Sea last year… This is my third suspense thriller and my opinion hasn’t changed a bit. This story is well written, filled with many plot twists, unrealiable characters and a very intriguing plot. The POV switches between past and present and the Swedish nationality of one of the main characters is very well used. Gripping until the very last page!
* Next up was (The Original) Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig, which I had heard lots of excellent things about. Ginny is without doubt one of the most original and interesting characters I’ve came across lately, although I do have to say I was a bit confused in the beginning. It took me a while to get used to the voice of the autistic Ginny, and while I feel the author did an excellent job of describing autism and what it is like to live and interact with someone autistic (I’m not surprised since he has personal experience), I did understand why her ‘Forever’ parent got so frustrated with her. I felt the same frustation as well and it made me enjoy the story slightly less than I thought I would, although like I said before I feel the author did a brilliant job of putting autism in the spotlight it deserves.
* The last book I finished is This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack, another memoir. I was surprised my request was actually approved last Saturday, especially since the publish date was that close (yesterday). I decided to give it priority since I was in the mood for a non fiction read anyway, and I ended up really enjoying this bundle of coming to age essays. The writing style really stands out and combined with the honest and personal tone and just the right dose of humor this is a very enjoyable read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m slowly catching up with my pending ARCs, but I will probably be making May into another ARC month just so I can deal with most of the still pending backlog. Both Anything For Her by Jack Jordan and The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite are pending Netgalley ARCs and thrillers I’ve been looking forward to. I also want to pick up the ARC Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, which sounds like a fascinating read. And I want to read The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware soon as well, although I have been reading a lot of thrillers lately and I might read something of a different genre instead.


signature

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