BOOK REVIEW: Block 46 – by Johana Gustawsson @Orendabooks

Title: Block 46
(Emily Roy & Alexis Castells #1)

Author: Johana Gustawsson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 21st 2016
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: July 26th 2019
Pages: 300
(Originally written in French: ‘Block 46’)

“Whatever she did, the words were dislodged by her thoughts; like a swarm of bees hounded from their hive, they scattered erratically, unable to organise themselves.”


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It’s been three weeks since I finished reading Block 46 and I’m still struggling to get a word on paper. Oh yes, such is the power of this story! After multiple recommendations and reading fantastic reviews about both Block 46 and Keeper, I knew I could not go wrong with this series and I’ve been meaning to pick it up for quite some time now. I think the only reason I hesitated was that I knew I was going to be blown away and that it would be impossible to write a decent review afterwards… Guess what? That is EXACTLY what happened! Even three weeks later, I’m still recovering from the shock of this brilliant and harrowing read, but the time has come to stop procrastinating and try getting something constructive on paper. I do have a copy of Keeper waiting for me I want to read before the blog tour for Blood Song starts next month after all…

The first thing that stands out is that Block 46 is basically a combination of two of my favorite genres: historical fiction and crime fiction. Having both genres merged so beautifully and successfully was a huge bonus for me, as well as the fact that I have a weak spot for WWII stories and the chapters set in Buchenwald were both harrowing and fascinating at the same time. I’ve read my share of WWII fiction, and I truly believe Johana Gustawsson describes and developes the events in the Buchenwald concentration camp thoroughly and realistically. Shocking, gut-wrenching and definitely not for the weak-hearted, but then again the Holocaust was no picnic in the first place. The WWII flashbacks are expertly incorporated into the plot and give us background information as well as a possible explanation about what is happening in the present. They give this crime thriller an unique touch and really enhanced the reading experience for me.

Another thing I loved was the setting: I have a weak spot foreign settings and having part of the present story set in Sweden was a huge bonus for me. Descriptions of both London and Sweden setting were again thorough and really made both places come alive for me. I loved the references to Swedish culture and customs and it gave Block 46 another unique touch. Likewise, I found it to be really easy to connect to the main characters of this story. I’ve become an instant fan of Emily Roy and Alexis Castells, their character development well crafted and realistic and making me root for them as they try to get to the bottom of what is going on. I love that instead of having the typical detective leads, we have a profiler (Emily Roy) and a true-crime writer (Alexis Castells) instead. Talk about an interesting combination! The other characters were likewise well developed and I always love it when we get to glimpse inside the head of a serial killer.

The writing is beautiful and combined with the pace and plot I found myself to be fully absorbed in the story from the very first chapter. The structure of the plot is complex, with multiple POVs and flashbacks, adding to the richness of Block 46 and really taking this story to the next level. This story has also quite a few surprises for you in store; certain developments you definitely won’t see coming and will leave you with your mouth hanging wide open. The suspense is well present and Block 46 definitely ends with a bang! This first book of what I already know will be a very successful series for me is a beautifully written and harrowing read, and 200% worth your time. If you enjoy unique crime thrillers and haven’t met Emily Roy and Alexis Castells yet, now is the time to change that… Go get a copy! Trust me, you won’t regret it.


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WWW Wednesdays #233 – July 31st

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 Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton, a title I picked up on a whim when I was browsing for a quick read before the Magical Readathon N.E.W.T.s Edition starts tomorrow. I can’t believe it took me this long to meet up with Lacey Flint again! So far I’m flying through it and it’s turning out to be another winner.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I’ve been a fan of this series ever since I read the first book about eighteen months ago. With each new meeting with Detective Josie Quinn, my love for this series is only reconfirmed all over again and each book brings the promise of yet another intense and suspenseful ride. Her Silent Cry is no exception to the rule, and already the sixth successful installment of this detective series. If you are a fan of intense and thrilling detective thrillers that pack a punch, you should definitely schedule yourself a meeting with Detective Josie Quinn soon!

2. Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 03/08
After multiple recommendations and reading fantastic reviews about both Block 46 and Keeper, I knew I could not go wrong with this series and I’ve been meaning to pick it up for quite some time now. I think the only reason I hesitated was that I knew I was going to be blown away and it would be impossible to write a decent review afterwards… Guess what? That is exactly what happened! I’m still recovering from the shock of this brilliant and harrowing read and I’m hoping I will be able to get something constructive on paper in the next few days. But in short: go get a copy and meet Emily Roy and Alexis Castells if you haven’t already!!

3. The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (0 stars; DNF at 38%) REVIEW
I never in a million years would have guessed I would be having this reaction to The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein. I’m really sad I ended up having to make the decision to DNF The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein, especially as I fully expected to love this Frankenstein retelling… Was it simply the wrong book at the wrong time? Or did the unpopular opinion curse strike again? Who knows, but the fact is that this story and me really didn’t get along.

4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
There has been so SO much hype around The Silent Patient ever since it came out earlier this year, and honestly I’ve been too afraid to pick it up myself. Hyped books and me don’t tend to get along, so I thought it was wise to stay away for the time being, but curiosity took over and I ended up giving in anyway. I’m happy to report that I definitely understand the love for this story now! True, I didn’t LOVE love The Silent Patient like most, but I still thought it was a more than solid psychological thriller that made me race through the pages like there was no tomorrow.

5. The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
I really enjoyed the first book of this duology back in 2015 despite the slow start, but somehow I never picked up the second book when it came out in 2016. I’m glad I finally did though, because despite the love triangle being just as annoying as ever, I really enjoyed the new developments and appearance of magic in The Rose & The Dagger. Finally reading this one also means I now have one less series to finish!

6. Física Hasta En La Sopa by Hernán Grecco (4/5 stars) BABELIO
I also read and reviewed Física Hasta En La Sopa, a book I received through the Masa Crítica Argentina program at Babelio and was provided to me by the publisher earlier this month. This title can’t be found on Goodreads and as it’s only 48 pages long anyway, I won’t count it towards my read books this year… If you are interested in what I thought of this title, you can find my review (in Spanish) clicking the Babelio link above. It’s a great website for anyone who reads in Spanish!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

The Magical Readathon N.E.W.T.s edition starts tomorrow, and during the month of August I will only be reading titles that fit the different prompts… First up are An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena and Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan; both titles I’ve been looking forward to finally read. I also plan to read Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee soon. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston, which I will definitely pick up later in August as soon as I have ‘unlocked’ the prompt it belongs to.


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

WWW Wednesdays #232 – July 24th

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 reading Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this series in general and I’ll be looking forward to catch up and join the blog tour for the third book in September. ❤ I’m also very excited to be meeting Josie Quinn again in Her Silent CryLisa Regan sure knows how to write a fast and suspenseful ride, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Josie and her team this time around. And I’ll be reading the Frankenstein retelling The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been looking forward to read it, and I definitely didn’t realize just how twisted things were going to get during this story. Oh yes, Pretty Girls is without doubt a breathtakingly disturbing read that will chill you to be bone… Just when you think it can’t get more disturbing and twisted, Karin Slaughter let’s you know another nugget of the full truth and disturbing is taken to a whole another level. And again. And again. My main issue with Pretty Girls is simply the credibility of it all. The writing itself was of course excellent and twistedness of the story without doubt made my blood curl. I just think that less would have been more in this case.

2. Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/07
I admit I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of Along The Broken Bay, as you don’t often see a WWII fiction setting in the Philippines and Gina’s story of working in the resistance sounded absolutely fascinating. I was looking forward to fully emerge myself in what I thought would be a new favorite story, but sadly fate had a different reaction for me in store. Because while I still think that the premise of this story is fascinating, unfortunately I can’t say I enjoyed the execution all that much. More in my review on Friday.

3. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 05/08
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour on August 5th!

4. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/08
This story has once again proven to me that Amy Harmon is a truly brilliant writer and can tackle completely different genres with utter and total success. This is the first time reading one of her fantasy stories (I’ve been meaning to try The Bird And The Sword for ages though), and I was blown away by it. The worldbuilding, the Norse mythology influences, the characters and their development, the plot, the writing… Oh yes, there were plenty of reasons that made me give The First Girl Child the full five stars it deserves.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m looking forward to a little break from ARCs and finally start reading those titles I’ve been meaning to read for ages… First up is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which I’m a bit afraid to pick up to be honest because it’s so SO hyped; fingers crossed the hype won’t affect me this time around. I’ve also be meaning to finish another duology by reading The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, which is also one of the last pending titles I need for my BTB Bingo challenge. And I think it’s about time I read Malala Yousafzai’s memoir I Am Malala as well.  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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Friday Finds #131 – May 5th

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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