ARC REVIEW: The Secret Admirer – by Carol Wyer

Title: The Secret Admirer
(Detective Natalie Ward #6)

Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: April 2nd 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 10th 2020
Pages: 413

“I can see right through you because we are the same. We’re not what the world sees.”

*** 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’ve been a fan of Carol Wyer‘s detective thrillers for a few years now, and I’m always looking forward to new titles. I’ve been following Natalie Ward ever since the first book came out back in 2018, and book number six is without doubt another shocking and more than solid ride. Just the dose of detective thrilller I needed! Technically you can read The Secret Admirer as a stand-alone, but you will be missing out on a lot of background information about the main characters and you might not get the full experience if you don’t read the previous books first… Especially since book six is another one that focuses on developments Natalie Ward’s private life as well as a new investigation. Plus, if you are a fan of the genre in the first place, you will be missing out on hours of detective entertainment!

I’m going to keep things short to avoid spoilers, but those who’ve read the previous books will know what I mean when I say that book number five had the most shocking ending I still can’t believe actually happened. I’ve been dying to start The Secret Admirer to learn about how things would continue afterwards, and this story definitely delivers when it comes to further development of Natalie’s personal life. The bigger focus on her private life was more than needed after that nuclear plot twist bomb in the previous book, and while it does give the story a different vibe, I was personally more than satisfied with this new balance. The investigation in The Secret Admirer is intriguing, although I do have to admit I saw the ending coming early on… But the developments in Natalie’s private life were less easy to guess.

The writing makes it really easy to keep turning those pages, and while the pace might be a tad slower in the beginning, things will get more intense as the investigation gets more complicated. Secrets, twists, manipulation, abuse, addiction… Why was Gemma attacked and who was behind it? What are the people close to her hiding? Things take a personal turn after new development, and while I did see the final reveals involving the investigation coming, I was completely flabbergasted by the developments in Natalie’s private life. Prepare yourself for another shocker, as things won’t be easy for her in book number six either! That said, I do have to say that I will never like David as a character and even the events in The Secret Admirer weren’t enough to make me feel sympathetic towards him… Call me coldhearted, but it is what it is I guess. I did enjoy seeing the development in the other characters involved, and I already can’t wait to discover how things will continue for all the main characters in play in the next book.

This detective thriller series has been highly entertaining and suspenseful from the very first book, and The Secret Admirer is already book number six and no exception to the rule. Both the previous book and this new installment have very shocking developments in store for our main character Natalie Ward; plot twists that will most likely catch you completely unawares. If you enjoy the genre, you will most likely have a great time with this series!


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WWW Wednesdays #259 – March 11th

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 flying through Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb in preparation for my upcoming blog tour stop… It’s so good to meet up with favorite character Lori again! I’m also starting yet another ARC: The Missing Sister by Elle Marr. And of course I’m still reading the Spanish version of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte… I’m currently about a quarter into the book and I’ve already rediscovered so many details I had completely forgotten about!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Strangers by C.L. Taylor (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/03
I think it’s safe to say that I now have a new favorite C.L. Taylor title. What a read! I’m glad I cleared my schedule before diving into this story, because there was just no way on earth I was going to stop reading before I knew how it would all end. What an absolutely masterful and simply brilliantly constructed psychological thriller!

2. The Body In The Garden by Katharine Schellman (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
I loved the historical setting in 1815 London and the final twist was without doubt well played. I did have some issues with The Body In The Garden, including the pace, focus on frivolous high society events and characters, but I also think this might not have been exactly right story for me. If you enjoy character-driven and slower paced cozy mysteries with a historical setting and a hint of crime, you will be in for a treat with The Body In the Garden.

3. Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 23/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

4. The Secret Admirer by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/03
I’m a huge fan of Carol Wyer‘s detective thrillers, and Natalie Ward book number six is without doubt another shocking and solid ride. The writing makes it really easy to keep turning those pages, and I think the bigger focus on Natalie’s private life was definitely needed after that nuclear plot twist bomb in book five. The investigation in this one is intriguing, although I do have to guess I saw the ending coming early on… But the developments in Natalie’s private life are less easy to guess. That said, I will never like David and even the events in The Secret Admirer weren’t enough to make me feel sympathetic towards him… I can’t wait to discover how things will continue for all the main characters in play though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need a little break from thrillers, so I’ll probably read Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren next. Then I have one March ARC left pending: She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker. It’s a big one with almost 800 pages, but I loved his writing in the 4MK books and I just can’t wait to dive into this one. I also want to read my first Rachel Abbott book, And So It Begins, in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month…  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott; I’m hoping to read that one soon in between upcoming thrillers.


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WWW Wednesdays #258 – March 4th

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’ve finally started my Spanish reread of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte. Way overdue! I’m planning on reading a chapter or two each day in between other reads if I have the time… I always love revisiting this series. ❤ I’m also finally reading Strangers by C.L. Taylor, a most anticipated read I’ve been really excited to pick up. I’m having a feeling I will finish it in no time at all depending on how much time I have to read today, and afterwards I’ll start straight away with The Body In The Garden by Katharine Schellman, which I’ve heard good things about.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/03
It took me a while to get used to the short and snappy writing style, and I also had a hard time figuring out who was who in the beginning. The flashback chapters were especially confusing at first, as you have no background as to who is who and how they all fit together. I honestly wasn’t sure if this story would be for me… BUT. Somehow, after I decided to take a little break and continue with fresh eyes, I started to warm up to Blue Night. Once I got the hang of both the writing style and the different characters in play, I was hooked. Or more than hooked; I literally devoured the pages, hungry for more.

2. Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/03
While it took me some time to get used to the writing and characters in Blue Night, I had no such problem with Beton Rouge. I was fully hooked as soon as I read the first chapter, and the same short and snappy chapters kept me turning those pages like there was no tomorrow. Beton Rouge is a lot more ‘readable’ and easier to follow for those without a proper background of the main characters, and the case Chas finds herself involved in is without intriguing. Her character is simply brilliant and I can’t wait to discover what happens in the next book.

3. Deadly Waters by OMJ Ryan (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 14/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/03
I’m probably the last person on the planet to read this one! I’ve been meaning to try If I Stay for years now, but to be honest I wasn’t so sure if this story would be for me… I was afraid it was going to be too sappy and cliche for me, and that the hype around it simply wasn’t worth it. I confess I kept my expectations low, and the unexpected happened: I ended up being so much more invested in this story about Mia and Adam than I thought I would be!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

With a possible trip happening in the second half of March, I’m planning on reading as much ARCs as possible in the first half so I hopefully won’t miss any deadline. First up is blog tour title Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz, which I’m really excited about after Beton Rouge. Then I’ll probably read The Secret Admirer by Carol Wyer first to give me a little time to get that blog tour review ready… Followed immediately by Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb, which is my final blog tour this month. I can’t wait to meet up with Lori again!! ❤ #TeamLori My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott, which I’ll probably try to read soon as a little break in between all those thriller ARCs.


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ARC REVIEW: The Blossom Twins – by Carol Wyer

Title: The Blossom Twins
(Detective Natalie Ward #5)
Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 12th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: December 10th 2019 
Pages: 399

“Natalie had worked some tough cases in her time, but none had left their mark as much as the Blossom Twins.”

*** 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’ve said it before that it seems like you can’t go wrong when it comes to Carol Wyer‘s detective thrillers, and the announcement of every new title always make me feel giddy with delight. I’ve been following Detective Natalie Ward since the beginning, so of course I was very excited when I heard Natalie was ready to give us her fifth adventure… After how things ended in her personal storyline in book four, I was definitely most curious to see how things would continue. And as I’ve been enjoying my time with Natalie Ward so far, the decision whether to read book number five was simply a no-brainer. I’m not sure why it took me longer than expected to actually get to it, but there is no doubt that The Blossom Twins is another solid sequel with and ending that left me completely shellshocked, flabbergasted and simply destroyed.

So, The Blossom Twins. First of all I have to say that you can technically read this story as a stand-alone, although you will be missing certain key background information about the main characters and you might not get certain clues and character dynamics. You will be able to follow the case itself easily though. I felt that the balance in The Blossom Twins was slightly different than in the previous books, with a little more focus on Natalie’s personal situation at home. We definitely get a good glimpse at their current situation as well as quite a few changes… I don’t want to reveal too much to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that things won’t be static in book five. That said, I did have an issue with how the current situation was described and portrayed by the characters involved. There was quite a lot of complaining and nagging going on in The Blossom Twins, both by Natalie and those around her and both on a personal and professional level. I can understand a bit of bickering and frustration, but it soon became a little too much for me and it started to affect my reading experience negatively.

I still can’t put my finger on the why, but The Blossom Twins wasn’t my favorite of the series so far. Part of this had to do with the bickering and probably also the current team and work situation at the station. The whole ‘enemy’ and ‘sneaky’ colleague element came over as a bit of a cliche for me and I found myself soon very annoyed with the whole situation… Also, I thought it distracted from the case itself, which on its own is without doubt both shocking and spine-chilling. A serial killer hunting teenagers and seemingly leaving no trace behind… Without doubt the worst nightmare of any parent! Things were a bit slow to start developing, but once the ball started rolling it was on a collision course and ready to bowl you over without warning. I wasn’t kidding when I said before that the ending left me shell shocked, flabbergasted and unable to render a word! Oh yes, the ending will most likely destroy you and it left me personally especially desperate to find out what will happen next in Natalie’s life.

In short, while The Blossom Twins wasn’t my favorite Natalie Ward installment so far, there is no doubt that it is still a solid serial killer thriller that ends with a bang the size of an atomic bomb. Fans of the genre and series will enjoy spending more time with Natalie Ward!


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WWW Wednesdays #246 – December 11th

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?

Between pending DIY projects around the house and the superhot weather (I’m talking close to 40°C here; I’d swap for cold and snow any day), I haven’t been able to read as much as I had originally planned… I was expecting to be finished with The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham by now, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be. I’m hoping to finish it today though! I’m also currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett for one of this week’s prompts for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge I’ve decided to join again this month. I still can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet! Afterwards I’m starting Snakes And Ladders by Victoria Selman, a title I’ve been excited to read after all the buzz around it.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Missing Letters Of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller (3/5 stars) REVIEW 07/01/2020
There was just something about The Missing Letters Of Mrs. Bright that made me want to read it instantly. I think it was a combination of the blurb itself and the comparison to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove; two of my favorite books with characters I absolutely adored. I might have set my expectations a tad too high, because somehow I didn’t end up enjoying this story as much as I thought I would…

2. How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/12
I’m probably the last person on earth to pick up How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, but somehow Dr. Seuss just wasn’t all that known in the Netherlands back when I was little… Or at least I never came in contact with his books (and trust me, I basically raided the library on a weekly basis back then). I’ve seen the movie adaptation multiple times, so I was very familiar with the story already, but finally being able to read the original book was an absolute delight.

3. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/12
I think a lot of you know by now I’m a huge fan of the Erika Foster series, so of course I just HAD to try his newest series ASAP. I was stoked when I received an ARC earlier this month, and I can now say that my first meeting with new main character Kate was an absolute success. What a read! I’m already having a feeling this series will be a new favorite…

4. The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/12
I always enjoy Carol Wyer‘s books and I’ve been enjoying my time with Natalie Ward so far, so the decision whether to read book number five was a no-brainer. It’s without doubt another solid sequel with an ending that left me completely shocked, flabbergaster and simply destroyed… Although somehow there were some things that started to get on my nerves, including quite a lot of complaining and nagging going on in book five. Especially those moments related to Natalie’s personal life… The Blossom Twins wasn’t my favorite of the series, but the ending definitely left me desperate to find out what will happen next in Natalie’s life.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up is my second book for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time so I’m happy I found an excuse to finally do so! Then it’s back to ARCs for a bit… First up is an most anticipated 2020 release: Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine. I can’t wait to dive into this series again! Afterwards, I’ll probably pick up The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair… My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I’m hoping to read soon, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to it this year.


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WWW Wednesdays #245 – December 4th

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 probably already finished with The Missing Letters Of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller by the time this WWW post goes live, as it is turning out to be a superfast read… It’s also the title for the contemporary read prompt I needed to read for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge I’ve decided to join again this month. I’m also starting Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza, one of my most anticipated 2019 releases I was stoked to be granted an ARC of the other day.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Wow, it’s been a while since I last did a WWW post! I won’t be listing every book I read since October 30th (check out my Month In Review post that went live yesterday if you are interested in what I read during my break), but below are the five books that I managed to finish in the last week or so.

1. The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/12
The Fountains Of Silence managed to completely blow me away and I was left without words to describe my feelings about this story as well as with a new all time favorite to add to my list. It shows that so much research has gone into this story and I bow to the author for her detailed descriptions and thorough information about what happened in that difficult time period in Spain. I loved The Fountains Of Silence from the very first page until the very last… If you are a historical fiction fan who appreciates a complex and rich plot with fantastic descriptions and brilliant character development, you are missing out if you haven’t tried this story yet.

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/12
Dark Matter is on my list of all time favorites, so I’ve been curious about Recursion  ever since I first heard about it. The premise of this story sounds absolutely compelling, and now I’ve had the chance to read this story I can say that it definitely lived up to expectations. Recursion introduces some fascinating concepts that will definitely make an impact on you. And even if you are not really a sci-fi fan, I can still recommend trying Recursion if you enjoy complex, thrilling and captivating stories.

3. The Family by Louise Jensen (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/12
I’ve been a huge fan of her psychological thrillers since the beginning, and I can now say that Louise Jensen has done it again! The Family is definitely one of those psychological thrillers you will want to read in one sitting; between the plot, writing, character development, secrets and twists, you will find it a very easy job to do just so. It’s simply a brilliant read and an absolute must-read for fans of the genre!

4. A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 24/12
I haven’t read nearly enough YA high fantasy this year, and it turns out I was long overdue for a dose of the genre. I ended up enjoying A Curse So Dark And Lonely so much more than I hoped I would!

5. Down The Darkest Road by Kylie Brant (4/5 stars) REVIEW 09/12
I really enjoyed my first meeting with Cady Maddix last year, so of course I couldn’t resist requesting a copy of the sequel as soon as I saw it was available on Netgalley. While I think I enjoyed the first book a tiny bit more, there is no doubt that Down The Darkest Road is a superfast and entertaining thriller with a lot of action and suspense to keep you on edge. I’m not sure about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot, as certain details did become a bit too fantastical, but there is no denying that I had a great time reading this sequel despite this.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m currently drowning in a huge pile of ARCs, so I’ll be reading mostly ARCs this month… First up is The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer, a title I’ve been looking forward to. Then it’s a little break with my Christmas read of the year: How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. I can’t believe I’ve never read that one before! Afterwards it’s back to ARCs and next up is The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham. My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I’m hoping to read soon, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to it this year.


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ARC REVIEW: The Sleepover – by Carol Wyer @bookouture

Title: The Sleepover
(Natalie Ward #4)

Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 5th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: August 21st 2019
Pages: 411

“Some days I wonder what on earth I’m doing. The world’s such a fucked-up place with millions of fucked-up individuals causing mayhem. We’re fighting a losing battle all the time.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

I think most people know by now I’m a fan of Carol Wyer‘s books, as her detective thrillers seem to be a guarantee for an entertaining and thrilling ride. I still might prefer Robyn Carter a tiny bit more, but there is no doubt that Natalie Ward is a worthy contender. The Sleepover is already the fourth meeting with detective Natalie Ward and she is really growing on me despite initial reservations. I like the way she handles the investigations as well as the interactions with the rest of her team… I think this team work in general is what really makes the books work for me. The Sleepover is fast, thrilling and entertaining; without doubt another excellent addition to the series.The writing and plot development are more than solid and make it really easy to fly through this fourth installment. The plot will grab you straight away, and with its many twists, secrets and surprises you will find it difficult to stop reading before you discover the truth about it all. More and more secrets and lies are slowly untangled, still leaving you with more questions than answers as you try to solve the puzzle along with Natalie Ward and her team. It makes for an engaging and compelling read, and any fan of the detective thriller genre will have a great time reading it. Natalie’s personal story evolved a lot this time around as well, and I really hope she will stick with her final decision in the next book… Fingers crossed!


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