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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WWW Wednesdays #235 – August 28th

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 the final three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019. I’m hoping to have finished The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson by the time this post goes live… I’m also starting The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor and The Passengers by John Marrs; both 2019 releases I’ve been super excited about and can’t wait to finally read.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Sleepover by Carol Wyer (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/09
I’m a fan of Carol Wyer’s books as her detective thrillers are a garantuee for an entertaining and thrilling ride. The Sleepover is already the fourth meeting with detective Natalie Ward and she is really growing on me… Fast, thrilling and entertaining; this is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. 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…

2. The Cellar by Natasha Preston (3/5 stars) REVIEW  15/09
The premise of this story is absolutely fascinating and I’ve been looking forward to read it ever since. But somehow, I didn’t enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. The elements are there: a twisted serial killer, a kidnapping, a prolonged hostage situation… But somehow it was all overshadowed by just how whiny and annoying the main character Summer was.

3. The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever read Ernest Hemingway‘s books before. *hides in a corner* I’ve been meaning to pick up The Old Man And The Sea for quite some time now, and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I thought of this title when I was browsing for short reads to fit one of the prompts for #NEWTsReadathon2019, because I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would.

4. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Warning: it’s unpopular opinion time again! The story started out strong for me and I had high hopes it would be a winner for me… But I guess it wasn’t ment to be in the end. There were a lot of things I loved, but the characters and romance made me enjoy this story a lot less than I thought I would.

5. Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
After so many recommendations as well as loving the first book, I knew I was going to be in for treat with this one. And this story most definitely disappoint. Shocking, harrowing and absolutely brilliant… This sequel again blew me away! I can’t wait to read book three as soon as I can get my thoughts together and finish my review for this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I don’t think I can squeeze in more #NEWTsReadathon2019 books after finishing my current reads, it’s back to ARC business… First up is The Essence Of Evil by Rob Sinclair as my blog tour stop is right around the corner. Then I’m changing genres and get my dose of romance with Secrets of The Mist by Kate Ryder… I also want to finally read VOX by Christina Dalcher some time soon. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, a title I’ve been wanting to read for a while and will be looking forward to.


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WWW Wednesdays #234 – August 21st

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

I’m baaaack!! ❤ I should have known not to take a break during #NEWTsReadathon2019 month, as I couldn’t resist reading a LOT for the readathon and spending a lot of time on Twitter anyway. xD Below an update of what I’ve been reading since my last WWW post three weeks ago!

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019: a new Carol Wyer and sequel The Sleepover, which I will probably finish soon, the TBR jar pick The Cellar by Natasha Preston and the modern classic The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve had the last two on my TBR for quite some time, and I’m looking forward to finally read them.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
2. Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW  25/08
3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/08
4. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
5. Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09

6. What You Did by Claire McGowan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 29/08
7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
8. The Willow Woman by Laurence Westwood (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/08
9. Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09
10. Date Night by Samantha Hayes (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08

11. The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
12. Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
13. To Drink Coffee With A Ghost by Amanda Lovelace (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/09
14. 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/09
15. Twisted by Steve Cavanagh (5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/09

16. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/09
17. Smoke In the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/09

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll be reading more #NEWTsReadathon2019 titles next… I’ll probably pick up Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco first, a title I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Then I’ll read Keeper by Johana Gustawsson, which I’m so SO excited about because it has Jack The Ripper references too and the first book was fantastic… I already have a feeling it will be a new favorite. I also want to read The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The sequel The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson; I really enjoyed the first book so I have high hopes for this one. It’s also the third story that has references to Jack The Ripper on this list… xD


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WWW Wednesdays #217 – April 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 currently reading the final book I need to complete the exams for the Magizoologist career in the #OWLsReadathon2019 which is The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. I’ve been curious about this title ever since I found it during our trip last year; fingers crossed it’s a good one. I’m also starting Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney as it’s due soon. I’m looking forward to spend time with Lottie Parker again!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Release by Patrick Ness (3/5 stars) REVIEW 14/04
I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. In fact, something similar happened with The Rest Of Us Just Live Here (the chapter introductions vs. the rest of the chapters) so I’m guessing this particular writing style and me just don’t really get along. What do I mean? Well, while I mostly enjoyed Adam’s chapters, I wasn’t so sure about the other more fantastical one (Katie). Both were so extremely different in tone and even genre that they mostly just clashed for me (like what happened in The Rest Of Us Just Live Here).

2. The Dare by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/04
If you are looking for a well written, suspenseful and entertaining detective thriller that reads like a train, you know you can always turn to Carol Wyer. Both this series and her detective thrillers in general have been consistently solid so far and The Dare is no exception to that rule. I found myself flying through those pages to discover more about the killer and how things would unfold… It’s true I never grew to like Natalie as a character, but her team’s chemistry mostly makes up for that. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to discover whatever will be thrown at them next.

3. The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/04
I really loved this historical fiction story set in early 20th century Mexico. With a Gabriel Garcia Marquez feel, The Murmur Of Bees tells us the story of a wealthy land owner family and how the appearance of the mysterious Simonopio both saved and changed their lives forever. Historical facts are mixed with the surreal in such a way that will keep you invested until the very end… The writing is lush and wonderful and will take you to a different time.

4. Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/04
I love Greek mythology retellings, and Song Of Sacrifice is a new favorite. If you enjoy reading about the Troyan war and what happened to cause it, I can without doubt recommend this first book of a new series… The writing is more than solid and while there are many different characters involved it never distracted me (I guess it does help having a general idea of who the main characters involved are). I really liked that the story doesn’t focus on one character, and instead offers us multiple views and stories to treasure.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ve been trying to work through my ARCs and since quite a few were longer reads I didn’t get as far as I hoped. Little Darlings by Melanie Golding is up next; I’ve been hearing good things about that one. I also need to continue reading books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so How To Walk Away by Katherine Center and The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows are up soon… My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain; I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it this month since I still have three more ARCs and a bunch of readathon books (five including the two I mentioned here) I still need to pick up first.


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WWW Wednesdays #216 – April 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’m currently reading two books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge, the first a backlist title and the second an ARC. I’ve heard mixed things about Release by Patrick Ness so I’ve gone in with low expectations and I’ll be crossing my fingers… And I’m excited to be reading another Carol Wyer title and to be meeting Detective Natalie Ward again in The Dare.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Tell The Wolves I’m Home is a (recent) historical fiction slash contemporary story with a focus on family, AIDS and death. Tough themes that are very tricky to get right and sometimes not that easy to talk about, but the 1987 setting made for a very interesting backdrop for this story. I can’t put my finger on the why, but while I did find the Tell The Wolves I’m Home a very interesting read, there was also something about it that didn’t work for me. Part of this might have to do with the main characters…

2. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
With this new story she has once again proven to me she belongs on my list of favorite authors. What a read! What really stands out for me is the uniqueness of the format of Daisy Jones & The Six. The story is told through a series of interviews with the different members of the band and a few others close to them. This is done in a way that you start wondering if your memory failed you and there really was a band called Daisy Jones & The Six in the seventies… The different characters really came alive for me and it felt like a real biography of a rock band with a very colorful history.

3. Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/04
While I don’t feel Wolfhunter River was as good as the previous two books, I can’t deny I still highly enjoyed my time with this serial killer thriller. Suspenseful, twisted, explosive and lightning fast: once you get past the first few chapters and the setting changes to Wolfhunter, it will be really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. I had some doubts about the credibility of the plot and the way things wrapped up was a bit too convenient to my taste, but the story has a lot of promise for what it yet to come and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book.

4. The Blue by Lucy Clarke (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
The Blue turns out to have been an excellent choice. As someone who has been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in the past, I love reading travel related stories. Add a destination I haven’t been able to visit myself and that is another bonus… And if you combine it with one of my favorite genres (suspense), the book and me most likely are going to get along. This is exactly what happened with The Blue.

5. The Silver Ladies Of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/04
I was really looking forward to this one as I loved The Getaway Girls last year, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be… I had quite a few issues with this story and surprisingly none had to do with the fact that contemporary romance normally isn’t for me. I’m going to try to keep things easy in my review, but it might turn out into a rant… You’ve been warned.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get a few ARCs in before the due date, so both Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon and The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia are up next. They both fit the prompts for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so that is a bonus. 😉 I’m also picking up The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows for the same challenge. My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’m hoping to read that one once my ARC schedule has cleared up a bit.


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ARC REVIEW: Last Lullaby – by Carol Wyer

Title: Last Lullaby
(Detective Natalie Ward #2)

Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 7th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 15th 2018
Pages: 361

“I thought she was heartless, but I’d no idea she was prepared to go to such lenghts to destroy other people’s happiness, to wreck my happiness.”

*** 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 ever since I first read Little Girl Lost, and I’m always looking forward to any new installments. I was excited when I found out we were going to meet a new detective only a couple of months ago, and while I still prefer Detective Robyn Carter as a character, I have been looking forward to meet up with Detective Natalie Ward again. Last Lullaby is without doubt a great sequel and a chance to learn more about Natalie Ward and her team. While I admit I’m still not a fan of her, I liked how her team worked as a whole. The writing is of course as strong as ever and part of the reason her detective thrillers work so well for me. The same goes for the pace, plot and plot twists and the level of suspense. The case they are investigating in Last Lullaby seems to be quite straightforward at first glance, but turns out to have so many layers I would never have guessed. The plot twists are being executed brilliantly and the suspense is spot on, both only adding to the overall reading experience. There are a lot of wrong turns here and I like how we get to have a glimpse inside the head of the killer without the identity being revealed. Definitely a very strong case and a very strong sequel! I will be looking forward to the next book.

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When Adam finds the battered body of her wife Charlotte Brannon in their bedroom, detective Natalie Ward and her team are called in to investigate. Not only is her body badly beaten, but the killer has left a message on the wall: the word ‘why?’ written in her blood. As Natalie and her team begin digging into their lives, they discover both have been hiding a lot of secrets… It’s up to them to discover if they are related to the crime, and who is behind the death of the young mother.

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There is no doubt that Last Lullaby is a strong sequel and another excellent detective thriller by Carol Wyer. I always enjoy her way of writing; it’s engaging and really makes you fly through the pages. The case in this sequel is another fascinating one, especially since it’s almost like a Russian doll with all those hidden layers slowly being discovered. I love it when a story manages to surprise me and keeps me guessing about the identity of the killer until the final reveal. And even though Natalie Ward still isn’t a favorite of mine, I’m still looking forward seeing more of especially her team as a whole.


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WWW Wednesdays #197 – November 21st

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 read as many Goodreads Choice Awards nominees as possible and I’ve been meaning to read Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi for months now, so I’m looking forward to see what I’ll make of it. I’m also finally reading my final pending NG ARC for this month: Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt. Western themed historical fiction it is!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Educated by Tara Westover (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/11
I have been looking forward to finally read Educated for months now, especially after reading so many glowing reviews. This is probably one of the reasons my expectations might have been too high, that and the fact that this memoir has been compared to The Glass Castle. The fact is: I was quite underwhelmed by all of it. This was not what I was expecting, and I feel sad for feeling this way, but it is what it is… Be prepared for a loooong ‘shorties’ review explaining why.

2. Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 24/11
There is no doubt that Last Lullaby is a strong sequel and another excellent detective thriller by Carol Wyer. I always enjoy her way of writing; it’s engaging and really makes you fly through the pages. The case in this sequel is another fascinating one, especially since it’s almost like a Russian doll with all those hidden layers slowly being discovered. I love it when a story manages to surprise me and keeps me guessing about the identity of the killer until the final reveal. And even though Natalie Ward still isn’t a favorite of mine, I’m still looking forward seeing more of especially her team as a whole.

3. The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender (3/5 stars) REVIEW 14/12
I first fell in love with the cover of The Cottingley Fairies, and after I read in the blurb it was based on true events I was fully intrigued. Proof that fairies really exist, and a reference to the famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? It cannot get more intriguing than that. I was looking forward to find out more about Elsie and Frances’ story, since this was the first time I had heard about it. In the end I was unfortunately quite underwhelmed by The Cottingley Fairies.

4. Not A Clue by Chloe Delaume (DNF 9%) DNF REVIEW 30/11
As soon as I started reading Not A Clue I knew we won’t be able to get along. Why? The writing style. Right from the very first sentence, I found myself scratching my head and wondering what the heck I just started reading. The writing style is just one big humble bumble of random words and nonsense being woven together, short ‘sentences’ mixed with randomness and endless weird descriptions and repetitions over and over again.  I’m not sure if this is a case of ‘lost in translation’ or a writing style that is 200% not for me, but I just couldn’t bring myself to keep struggling through the pages. I almost never make the decision to DNF, especially this early in a story, but sadly Not A Clue and me just weren’t ment to be.

5. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 03/12
I was surprised when I saw just how well I reacted to the story initially. Of course I already knew I liked Holly Black‘s writing style, and this is part of the reason this story worked for me. And what a start! I like it when a YA fantasy story isn’t afraid to go dark and throw some blood and action at us. Of course things turned south later on and I had some problems with this book… But overall it was still mostly an entertaining read.

6. Cold Dark Places by Kylie Brant (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/11
I had a good feeling about Cold Dark Places and it turns out my instincts were right. I do love my detective thrillers, but I also love when a story is able to bring something original to the mix. Being able to get a glimpse inside of the head of both the serial killer Samuel and Eryn as well was simply fascinating. Another bonus was that both other POV characters Cady and Ryder were easy to like… The writing is spot on, the pace is superfast, the plot twists are brutal. Oh yes, this was one hell of a ride and an excellently constructed and complex one at that. I’ll be looking forward to see more of Cady Maddix in the future!

7. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (3/5 stars) REVIEW 03/12
I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again! I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but part of the reason The Wife Between Us didn’t manage to convince me probably has to do with the fact I felt this book was simply trying to hard. Sure, there are a LOT of twists involved and a lot of things I couldn’t guess beforehand, but I’m not sure if I actually LIKE how these plot twists are presented or developed. Instead of being shocked and saying ‘wow, I definitely didn’t see that coming!’, I was mostly left confused and not in a good way. Let’s just say my eyebrows worked overtime with this one…

8. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (/5 stars) REVIEW 09/12
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  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Depending on how fast I finish my current reads, I’m going to try and squeeze in more Goodreads Choice Awards nominees before the final round closes. The two titles that have caught my eye are When The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and The Death Of Mrs Westaway. I’ve heard good things about both so fingers crossed. I also need to continue with my ARCs so I can hopefully keep my promise to mostly read my own books in December. Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard is up next. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble; I don’t think I’ll get to it this month, but I’m hoping to read it before the year is over.


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