ARC REVIEW: Truth And Lies – by Caroline Mitchell

Title: Truth And Lies
(DI Amy Winter #1)

Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 30th 2018
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: August 16th 2018
Pages: 348

“She has always vaguely aware of something dark and monstruous buried deep inside. Something that made her blood turn cold.”

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

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!! Happy publication day !!

After highly enjoying Caroline Mitchell‘s thrillers in the past, of course I couldn’t resist the request button when I saw this title pop up on Netgalley. Although I still wish I could have another dose of Ruby Preston, it was great meeting a new detective. And boy, does she have an explosive past! I love a good serial killer thriller and the husband-and-wife serial killer team described in Truth And Lies will give you goosebumps. 200% twisted and Amy Winter’s background definitely sets the tone for this first installment of a new detective series… The writing is solid, and will make you fly through this story. There are a lot of different elements incorporated into the plot, including the serial killer duo, their victims, Amy’s past, a new kidnapping case, the Truth Keepers and domestic abuse. While each element on it’s own is intriguing and adds something to the story, I do think it was a little too much. Why too much? Because there were so many different elements, I felt some of them lacked the development and attention it deserved. Also, I felt that some elements and subplots were kind of abandoned halfway and simply cut off instead of neatly ended. As for the credibility… I’m still on the fence about that one, but I don’t think I was completely convinced. There were a few surprising plot twists though and I will be curious how things will continue, because Truth And Lies ended with a pretty big cliffhanger with mayor consequences for the main character’s private life. All in all Truth And Lies wasn’t my favorite, but still an entertaining serial killer thriller.

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DI Amy Winter is hoping to make her father proud, who was a highly respected and successful police officer himself. Then her whole life falls apart when receives a letter from prison written by the infamous Lillian Grimes. She is one half of a husband-and-wife serial killer duo, and also claiming to be Amy’s biological mother. Memories long repressed start resurfacing again… Especially as her mother claims to finally want to reveal the location of three of her victims, but only if Amy does exactly as she says.

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I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers, and I really like the original angle used in Truth And Lies. It’s not the first time I’ve read a story written from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter, but it hasn’t been done a lot either. The details about the past, the memories resurfacing, the broken family story… It definitely adds something fascinating to the story. But for me this element kind of got a bit lost in between all the other elements used in this story; there was simply too much going on, too many different elements and subplots to make for a proper coherent and believable plot. I felt some angles were left unfinished and I think the story would have benefitted by simplifying things and leaving some elements out. That said, it was still an entertaining read and a good start of a new series.


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WWW Wednesdays #184 – August 22nd

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 reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch… Mostly because I’ve started a new crochet project and I can’t crochet AND read a physical copy at the same time. I can combine it with my kindle, so that’s basically why I’ve been reading other titles instead. I’m putting crochet on hold today though so I can hopefully finish it! I’ve also started reading The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages and I’m really excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine (3/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
I had really high expectations when I started reading Ink And Bone, and this just might have been the problem here. I was really surprised it took me a long long time to get into the story… I can’t exactly put my finger on the way, because the writing itself is excellent, but it might have been the slowish pace or my lack of connection to the plot itself. There is no doubt there is a lot to love in Ink And Bone, but somehow I just didn’t feel it. I felt some of the spark was missing, and only towards the final part did that spark finally ignite.

2. The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
The Mysterious Affair At Styles is actually her very first book and it was interesting to discover how her long career had begun. This first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot was an interesting one. The references to the war were interesting and gave the story a little something extra. True, the pace was a tad slow and this story is more about cleverly concealed twists and descriptions than real suspense. It was interesting to see how the case evolved over time and how Hastings tried to figure out what really happened, and his interactions with Poirot himself. I figured out the basics of the ending early on, but being able to see the techniques Agatha Christie used to reach that ending was still satisfying.

3. Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers, and I really like the original angle used in Truth And Lies. It’s not the first time I’ve read a story written from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter, but it hasn’t been done a lot either. The details about the past, the memories resurfacing, the broken family story… It definitely adds something fascinating to the story. But for me this element kind of got a bit lost in between all the other elements used in this story; there was simply too much going on, too many different elements and subplots to make for a proper coherent and believable plot. I felt some angles were left unfinished and I think the story would have benefitted by simplifying things and leaving some elements out. That said, it was still an entertaining read and a good start of a new series.

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
Initially, I really enjoyed this story and I was positive it would receive a really high rating. The writing style is just wonderful, the worldbuilding is intriguing, I loved the many references to the Polish culture and Agnieszka’s character has an interesting background. I liked seeing the magic evolve and even tolerated the Dragon. But why o why does this story have to be destroyed by unnecessary and disturbing romance?!?!

5. The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
The Shadow Cats is actually a prequel to the first book and focuses more on Elisa’s older sister Alodia. I never really liked her, but if possible she comes over as even worse in this novella. In fact, I had a problem with a lot of the characters in general. The writing is solid though and I loved the use of many Spanish words, both in names and other descriptions. Very creative!

6. The Confession by Jo Spain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
Normally, finding out the who behind an attack or murder is one of the main drives of a crime thriller. So how can The Confession work that well if we know who did it right away? It has to do with both the well crafted plot and the also important question ‘why’. We may know the who, but readers are left clueless when it comes to the reason behind this attack. What secrets are J.P., Harry and Julie hiding? What connects them? Why was Harry attacked? Oh yes, you will keep wondering why, why, why as you keep turning pages and encountering the next clever twist. A very solid read indeed!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m starting Call To Arms by Rachel Amphlett as soon as I finish my current read on my kindle… I need another dose of Kay Hunter! I also want to read both I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, depending on how long it takes to finish the other three titles. As soon as my N.E.W.T.s readathon begins on the 31st, I won’t be having time for other reads! My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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WWW Wednesdays #183 – August 15th

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 close to finishing Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine, a series I’ve been wanting to start for ages and since it worked perfectly for the Magical Readathon I’m finally doing so. I’m not as impressed as I thought it would be though… The idea behind the story is interesting, but I’m just not feeling it. I’m also currently reading The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie… I thought it was about time I read her first book, and it fits a bunch of challenge prompts as well, so that’s a huge bonus. And I’m still reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch as well, which I’m really enjoying so far. And I love LOVE the cover art. ❤

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Harry Potter Y El Prisionero De Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I always love rereading Harry Potter, and book number three is one of my favorites of the bunch. I started my reread in Spanish some time ago and The Prisoner Of Azkaban was up next; it fitted one of the prompts for the Magical Readathon perfectly so it was an easy choice. It was so great rereading this one again! It’s always great rediscovering little details I had completely forgotten about.

2. The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
If you enjoy reading non fiction historical texts and have an interest in the Second World War, The Tango War will without doubt interest you. It’s not the fastest read of the world and the essay-like chapters might slow you down, but this book shines the light upon a wide variety of topics related to the role of Latin America during the war. Would I have liked to see a more neutral point of view instead of a clearly US influenced perspective? Maybe. Would I have liked to see more of Latin America itself? Probably. But there is no doubt The Tango War is still a little goldmine of information.

3. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
After Ali mentioned this book in one of her posts, I had no other choice but to stop procrastinating and start reading Every Heart A Doorway. I’ve been wanting to read this story ever since I first heard about it, and it looks like first impressions sometimes really hit the right spot. What a wonderful wonderful read! My only complaint would be that I wish the story would have been longer, because there is so much to love and only a limited amount of pages to do so.

4. The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (5/5 stars) REVIEW 17/08
This was a buddy read with Nicki @ Secret Library… We’ve been taking things slow as to fully savour this little masterpiece. WHAT A BOOK!! Claiming that The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle is absolutely brilliant and a true masterpiece might just be an understatement… I’m not sure how to properly describe my feelings for this book other than the phrase ‘just read the damn book‘, because that actually seems like the right thing to say here. Yes, this debut is THAT good, as you might have guessed from all the other (and most definitely more proper) reviews out there… What are you waiting for? My only complaint would be that this book might have ruined any future books of the same genre for me… How on earth can they still be satisfying after The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle has raised the bar that high?

5. The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/08
If you are looking for something different to read, don’t mind disturbing the dead and enjoy a well developed historical setting and a strong main character, The Impossible Girl is just the book for you. The perfect balance of a strong historical setting, a dose of creepy, a mystery, some violence and romance makes this story work like a charm. It was interesting to see the story and the characters evolve and I had a great time reading this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read the books for the Magical Readathon in time, so I need to pick up Uprooted by Naomi Novik ASAP (I don’t care about Divination, so I’m probably not picking up that title). I also need to read the ARC Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell and The Confession by Jo Spain some time soon since the publish date is coming up. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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WWW Wednesdays #182 – August 8th

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 buddy reading The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton with Nicki @ Secret Library… We’ve been taking things slow as to fully savour this little masterpiece… WHAT A BOOK!! This is definitely going to appear on my list of 2018 favorites. I’ve also picked up The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay, a non fiction WWII book about the role of Latin America in WWII. I’m not really far into it, but so far it’s interesting. And last but not least, I’ve started another Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! The third book is one of my favorites and I’m looking forward to spend more time with Sirius and Lupin. Harry Potter Y El Prisionero De Azkaban it is!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. It’s Okay To Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort (DNF 66%, 0 stars) REVIEW 16/08
I like reading memoirs every once in a while and when I saw It’s Okay To Laugh being compared to the memoirs of Jenny Lawson, I just HAD to get a copy. Fierce and hysterically funny? Sign me up for that! Sadly, I’m feeling kind of cheated now I have picked it up… Because there is no way It’s Okay To Laugh bares any similarities with the work of that author. Both the writing style and tone were just off for me, and it felt rather repetitive and almost nagging to me.

2. The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse (2/5 stars) REVIEW 13/08
If you like science fiction, are looking for something different and don’t mind repetition in the plot, you will probably enjoy The Echo Room a lot better than I did. I still really like the idea behind this story, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy actually reading it. Between the lack of crucial information, repetitive chapters and lack of connection to the story and characters I had a hard time making it to the final page, although things did improve later on. The story was just too strange and vague for me… But like I said before, the problem might just have been me.

3. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/08
Britt-Marie Was Here is already the fourth book I’ve picked up, and this story has only reconfirmed my love for his stories. Fredrik Backman is a true master in creating unique and flawed characters that you cannot help falling in love with. It was so great seeing more of Britt-Marie! Basically, I loved every single minute of this book, and while nothing can beat Ove, both My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt-Marie Was Here currently share a second place on my list of Backman favorites.

4. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (3/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
I admit I wasn’t completely convinced by the first book when I read it last year, mostly because the whole just felt a bit too chaotic and too many different elements trying to be squeezed into one story. I picked up the sequel anyway, both because I was curious to see how things would continue and because it fitted the Magical Readathon challenge… While things did improve and the story seemed to be more coherent, I still wish more focus would have been on the Library. There is a lot going on, we have werewolves, dragons, fae and magic, the story is partly set in Venice… But somehow the spark is missing? The whole thing actually felt a bit dull and rather slow-paced for a story about magical creatures and a plot to start a war that might destroy an alternate world or two.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I’m still reading Evelyn Hardcastle, I’ve been posponing other thriller read as to not confuse the two plots. I’m hoping to pick up the NG ARCs The Confession by Jo Spain and Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell some time soon though, because the publish dates are coming closer… I also need to read the ARC The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang soon. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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ARC REVIEW: Murder Game – by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes @bookouture

Title: Murder Game
(Detective Ruby Preston #3)
Author: Caroline Mitchell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 31st 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 29th 2017
Pages: 285

“It was easy to identify with the killer as some inhuman monster, impervious to their efforts to stop him in his tracks. But killers were people. And people made mistakes.”

*** 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’m slowly getting back on track with my blogging… No memes, other posts or bloghopping just yet, but I’ll be posting some long overdue reviews during what’s left of October. I’ve missed you all! ❤

I have to confess it took me a while to warm up to the main character Ruby Preston and that was one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy the first book as much as I thought I would. Fortunately enough I had no such problems with book number two, leaving me with very high hopes for Ruby Preston’s newest adventure in Murder Game… And this newest installment definitely didn’t disappoint. No, I found myself on the edge of my seat as soon as I started reading the first page, craving popcorn as a way to calm my nerves while I turned the pages impatiently to find out what would happen next. Because there is no doubt left that Caroline Mitchell has succeeded in creating another monsterly masterpiece of a serial killer! I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers and this series without doubt manages to satisfy my somewhat onorthodox cravings for creepy and disturbing characters. You will be in for a treat with this one! The writing is very engaging and draws you right in, and I literally finished Murder Game in one sitting. This story works as a stand-alone as well, although especially the second book is highly recommended as well for serial killer/detective thriller fans. You won’t find a boring minute in this story and the fast pace will help you fly through it! Without doubt one of my preferred detective series and one to keep an eye on if you enjoy the genre.

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There is a new killer out there, seemingly playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims… Sending clues to the relatives in the form of three disturbing photos: alive, tortured and dead. Ruby Preston and her team will have to race against the clock to solve the puzzle and stop the killer from striking again… But then there is the question of the uncanning similarity to the crimes of a convicted serial killer. A coincidence or a copy cat? Or did the notorious Lonely Hearts Killer have a partner in crime? It is up to Ruby Preston to find out before it is too late, even if that means using less orthodox methods. Will they succeed?

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If you are looking for a fast-paced, engaging, twisted serial killer thriller that is packed with plot twists, Murder Game is the right fit for you. Unputdownable and action-packed indeed! I literally finished this third book of the Detective Ruby Preston series in one sitting and it was one hell of a ride. Murder Game was just as good as the sequel Sleep Tight and I can definitely recommend giving this series a go even if you weren’t completely convinced by the first book like me!


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WWW Wednesdays #157 – October 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 still reading The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman, and I’m still not all that far into it. I normally would have finished it by now, but I’ve been distracted by a new hobby during the last few days. I discovered I absolute love to crochet! I wanted to try a few patterns out of the Snuggle And Play Crochet book I finished last week even though I had no knowledge of the crochet techniques… And it turns out it was easier to learn than I thought! (Or at least the basics haha.) Meet Mr. Red Fox a.k.a. the reason I’ve been slacking on my reading during the last few days. He still needs some arms but I ran out of red yarn. xD I actually made a granny blanket for the zebra I will be making soon as well, but decided to make Mr. Fox first since he seemed to be easier haha.

I haven’t continued with IT by Stephen King yet, but I’m planning to do so soon. I haven’t been reading much during the last couple of days in the first place, so that’s probably why as well.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to love Heartless and I was sure I was going to after reading the first couple of chapters. The writing is wonderful and take you right to the magical world these famous characters live in. I just loved Cath and her baking; I’m craving to start baking something myself right now (and eating it afterwards of course!). Everything was going great until the love triangle, which positively ruined Heartless for me. After the introduction of this romance trope, the main focus was on this relation and I felt kind of betrayed. Oh well, most people seem to love this story, so I guess this will be yet another unpopular opinion to add to the mix… If you dislike love triangles as much as I do, consider yourself warned though.

2. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/10
I know I wasn’t convinced by the first book of this series, but I loved book two and this third book is just as good as the previous one. I literally finished Murder Game in less than a day and found myself on the edge of my seat the whole time! Fast-paced, well written, suspenseful… An excellent serial killer thriller!

3. Bentwhistle The Dragon by Paul Cude (2/5 stars; DNF at 49%) REVIEW 06/10
Honestly, I’ve tried. I’m not saying the writing is bad and it truly shows just how much time is put into the detailed and extensive descriptions and worldbuilding. The thing is, the pace is supersuperslow and I just can’t get myself to keep interest. One superlong and extensive description after the other kind of had the reverse effect on me and instead of finding myself intrigued by another story about my favorite mythical creature, I was rather bored by it all. I don’t think the age group would be happy with so many descriptions and the lack of action either… All in all definitely not for me, and unfortunately I just couldn’t bring myself to torture myself any further with more extensive descriptions (especially since I found the mystery and ‘dangerous’ situation not all that suspenseful to be honest).

4. The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I must have read this classic a dozen of times before and I don’t think I can add anything new to all the reviews that have been written about it before… I had my first experience with her diary during high school, where we read the book in Dutch and went to visit the place where she was hiding with her family in Amsterdam. This diary is such a powerful story and really shows what it was like for Jews in hiding during the war… Very intriguing read everyone should read at some point in their lives.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I absolutely loved her previous thrillers and can’t wait to start her newest.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. And after so many glowing reviews, I’m also reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This novel has all the signs of becoming my next 5 star read! My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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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.


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