YVO’S SHORTIES #192 – The Coral Bride & The Guest List

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a double those of suspense with The Coral Bride and The Guest List… With the first I have confirmed that the writing style of the author just isn’t for me, but the second has me wanting to read more of the author now.


Title: The Coral Bride
(Enquêteur Moralès #2)
Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 18th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: November 7th 2020
Pages: 355
(Originally written in French: ‘La mariée de corail’)

“The dead leave everything behind them. Especially the living.”

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


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So… The Coral Bride. I’m still surprised myself this happened, but apparently this series marks the first time an Orenda title somehow didn’t work for me. I struggled considerably with the first book, which was my reason to swap my stop of the blog tour last month to a content post just in case… I’m kind of glad I did, because this sequel has confirmed to me that there is just something about Roxanne Bouchard‘s writing that simply isn’t for me. I did enjoy The Coral Bride slightly better, which might have something to do with less repetitive phrases and different characters in the spotlight. I liked how both detective Moralès and his son make their appearance and are important in the plot here, and I can’t deny the power of the sea and its many descriptions. BUT. Somehow I found the actual plot and development to be a little slow, and the whole cheating element and objectifying of women was a real turn off for me. I enjoyed the detective angle a bit more in The Coral Bride, although I did see part of the ending coming… But overall I’ve decided to just leave this series be in the future, as it clearly shows that Roxanne Bouchard‘s writing style and me don’t see eye to eye.


Title: The Guest List
Author: Lucy Foley

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: February 20th 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: November 24th 2020
Pages: 400

“In my experience, those who have the greatest respect for the rules also take the most enjoyment in breaking them.”


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Between the fact that I love a good locked room mystery and that I’ve been meaning to try this author for quite some time now, I decided to just give in and pick up my copy of The Guest List. And I definitely liked what I found! Engaging and fast writing style, fantastic eerie setting, multiple characters with something to hide… And multiple POVs along the way to keep you on your toes. The small island definitely makes for the perfect ominous backdrop for this story, and it is one of the reasons The Guest List works so well for me. The descriptions really made the setting come alive for me, and the bad weather fits the building up of tension perfectly too. I do have to admit that I guessed some of the twists early on, but I never guessed the full truth about it all so that was still a win for me. I will most definitely be looking forward to read more of Lucy Foley in the future! Starting with The Hunting Party which I’ve failed to get to until now…


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YVO’S SHORTIES #188 – He Started It & Only Mostly Devastated

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two Goodreads Choice Awards nominees belonging to different genress. He Started It sadly didn’t live up to expectations for me; something I’m still surprised about… Only Mostly Devastated turned out to be a great read though.


Title: He Started It
Author: Samantha Downing

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: April 30th 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Finished reading: November 10th 2020
Pages: 400

“I wonder how many bad things have been explained by such a simple phrase, a simple idea. Because I could. Because no one stopped me. Because it was easy.”


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Well, well, well, what do we have here? I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again… So many people have praised He Started It and after loving her previous book My Lovely Wife I was fully expecting to have a repeat experience with this one. Especially since I always enjoy road trip stories in the first place… I’m not sure if it’s because psychological thrillers don’t seem to work as well for me right now, but the fact is: I was bored. A LOT. Up to the point that I kept wondering when the cursed road trip was finally going to end so I could get this story over with. The pace was just way too slow for me, which is strange as the characters are basically in constant movement… But there was just something static about the whole story. Top this with highly unlikeable characters and I had a really hard time to stay invested. True, there were some surprises including the ending, but overall sadly I can’t say I enjoyed my time with this one.


Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Finished reading: November 13th 2020
Pages: 272

“We had no way of knowing what the future held. People changed their minds, people passed away, people moved unexpectedly. The only thing we could ever really do was play it by ear.”


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I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw the Grease mention… I must have watched that movie a million times as a kid, so I simply HAD to read Only Mostly Devastated for nostalgic reasons alone. I must say that I was expecting more of a fluffy romcom after the cover and blurb, which I can confirm that this story is not. In fact, Only Mostly Devastated is quite heavy on the more serious topics and has a healthy dose of drama as well as heartbreaking moments. And no, they are not just relating to the relationship between the main characters as the blurb might make you think… There is a big focus on Ollie and his parents trying to help his aunt and her family as she is fighting cancer, which might be triggering for some readers. That said, I did think this topic was quite well handled. Thankfully we will see lighter moments too, and I especially loved seeing Ollie interact with his new friends as well as his niece and nephew. Both Will and Ollie could get a little frustrating at times, but overall I did have a great time reading this story. Would I have loved to see more Grease elements? Most definitely. But I liked this spin off very much and it has a great cast of characters that will most likely appeal to those who enjoy the genre. Just make sure to brace yourself for quite a few heartbreaking moments thrown in instead of just your regular dose of fluff… Chocolates and tissues are probably mandatory.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #186 – We Were The Salt Of The Sea & Anxious People

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Today is translated fiction day with two translations… The first, We Were The Salt Of The Sea, somehow sadly didn’t work for me at all, but I absolutely loved my time with Anxious People. No surprise here, as I adore everything Fredrik Backman writes in general…


Title: We Were The Salt Of The Sea
(Enquêteur Moralès #1)
Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: 2014
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 25th 2020
Pages: 300
(Originally published in French: ‘Nouse étions le sel de la mer’)

“Sometimes all we want is for time to stop catching up with us.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here, but I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again? I’m still surprised as I’ve never had an Orenda miss before and fellow bloggers seem to love We Were The Salt Of The Sea… But somehow this story just didn’t seem to work at all for me. It might just have been the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact this that I really struggled with both the writing style and plot in general. Somehow, I was never able to connect to the writing, and the catch phrases of some of the characters (‘Heee’ and ‘Christ in a chalice!’) REALLY got on my nerves after a while. Instead of making it easier to recognize the characters, it only made me like both the characters and the story considerably less… Always a complication but even worse in a mostly character-driven story. And as much as I loved the setting and the many descriptions of the sea, the plot was a bit all over the place for me as well. On top of this, We Were The Salt Of The Sea also included one of my mayor pet peeves: cheating. I never react well to this element and although this is a personal reaction, it made me dislike Morales considerably. It didn’t really help improving my reaction to the story in general either… All in all We Were The Salt Of The Sea definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, but most people do seem to enjoy it a lot better so don’t give up on my account.


Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 25th 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 3rd 2020
Pages: 336
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Folk med ångest’)

“Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”


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This was easily one of my most anticipated releases this year and I simply couldn’t wait to pick it up… I know that I am a bit biased when it comes to Fredrik Backman‘s books, but I absolutely adored every single minute I spent with Anxious People. There is just something about his writing and humor that is a match made in heaven for me and this newest story has once again shown me why he is one of my absolute favorite authors. He is an absolute master in creating flawed and strangely likeable characters, and we have another fantastic cast in Anxious People. True, there are a lot of different characters in play here, but each is so unique that it is really easy to keep them apart… And they all add there little something to the plot too. I liked the structure of the plot, with different POVS mixed with police interviews with the different witnesses. You are kept in the dark along with the police officers about what really went on inside that apartment, and I thought that the different twists and the hidden identity of the bank robber was cleverly done. Humor and heavier elements are blended perfectly, and I found myself snickering more than once along the way. Fredrik Backman‘s characters have once again won over my heart and this is hands down one of my favorite stories I have had the chance to read this year.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #183 – The Bird Tribunal & Mexican Gothic

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around It’s All About Books has turned to the dark side with an eerie nordic noir story (The Bird Tribunal) and a piece of historical gothic horror set in Mexico (Mexican Gothic).


Title: The Bird Tribunal
Author: Agnes Ravatn

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 1st 2013
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 11th 2020
Pages: 192
(Originally published in Norwegian: ‘Fugletribunalet’)

“But here was the thing: it required willpower to build willpower.”


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I’ve had The Bird Tribunal on my radar for a while now, and after a fantastic experience with her newest title The Seven Doors I decided to simply give in and finally read it. I’m honestly a bit lost for words as this turned out to be such an odd and intriguing story! Basically there isn’t all that much happening plot wise; the focus is instead on the main characters and what is an absolutely fantastic description of the Norwegian setting. Oh yes, both the setting and the brilliant creation of that eerie and ominous vibe steal the show and are definitely the strongest asset of this piece of nordic noir together with the beautiful writing. Where the characters were a tad too unlikeable for me and I found the ending to be too predictable, it was the writing and the stunning descriptions of the Norwegian setting that swept me off my feet… And we even get a dose of Norse mythology along the way as well. Like I said, I wasn’t really a fan of the characters though, which did cause some inconvenience as this is mostly a slower-paced and essentially character-driven story. Somehow I was never able to warm up to Allis nor Sigurd… But that might just have been me. You will want to read The Bird Tribunal for the stunning writing and descriptions alone though if you are a fan of the nordic noir genre.


Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror
First published: June 30th 2020
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: October 20th 2020
Pages: 304

“The serpent does not devour its tail, it devours everything around it, voracious, its appetite never quenched.”


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I confess that I was going to try Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s other story Gods Of Jade And Shadow first, but there has been so much hype around Mexican Gothic that I simply couldn’t resist trying it myself. Now that I’ve finally gotten the chance to read it, I can understand the love for it. This story is dark, this story is eerie, this story is gothic horror at its best… It’s simply glorious! I loved the 1950s Mexico setting and the ominous and gloomy atmosphere of the High Place mansion is simply spot on. Historical elements are mixed with horror and even the supernatural and the writing itself is simply exquisite. I can’t deny the pace is considerably slow in points though… And this can definitely be a turn off for those who prefer a story with a faster pace. The glorious writing mostly made up for this feeling of slowness for me, and I liked how the secrets of High Place are only slowly revealed as the main character Noemí discovers them herself. She might seem like a flighty character, but I liked how she reacted to the situation in High Place as well as her determination in doing what is best for her cousin. The plot itself is once again quite slow-paced, but does work towards a final escalation and the story definitely ends with a bang. If you enjoy the gothic horror genre, don’t mind a slow pace or a touch of the supernatural and appreciate dark and atmospheric reads, Mexican Gothic might just be the perfect match.


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ARC REVIEW: The Book Of Two Ways – by Jodi Picoult

Title: The Book Of Two Ways
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 20th 2020
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Finished reading: October 15th 2020
Pages: 400

“We all have stories we tell ourselves, until we believe them to be true.”

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

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Well, well, well, what do we have here? I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again… Sigh. I have loved Jodi Picoult‘s recent books without fail, so I was fully expecting a repeat experience with The Book Of Two Ways. The blurb sounded absolutely fantastic, and I had high hopes of adding another title to my list of 2020 favorites… But fate had different plans in store, and somehow I ended up having a completely different reading experience instead. I’m not sure if this was just the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact is that I struggled considerably with The Book Of Two Ways. How much? Well, let’s just say that I started skimreading long before I reached the halfway mark just so I could be done with the story quicker… And that is never a good sign. I’ll try to explain shortly why this story didn’t work for me below.

First of all, I have to say that I still love the premise of this story. Both the elements involving Egypt and its past and the death doula element are intriguing topics and definitely stand out in The Book Of Two Ways. BUT. I didn’t like how especially everything relating to Egyptian history was incorporated into the plot. There was a LOT of info-dumping going on, up to the point where I felt like I was reading a dense history book on the ancient burial sites and Egyptian history instead. I love learning new things in my books, but this was just way too much for me and really took the pleasure out of reading about Dawn’s time in Egypt. The focus on the death doula element was better incorporated, although once again there was some info-dumping going on and it sometimes it felt like the author was trying to explain what a death doula does in general instead of focusing on Dawn’s work in particular.

I also struggled with the flashbacks and switches between past and present as well as different locations. Instead of adding dept, it slowed down the pace even more for me as I tried to figure out which Dawn was in the spotlight. I would have preferred clearer boundaries between the different moments in time, as I felt that the different storylines were kind of bleeding into each other and less strong as a result. The writing itself is solid of course, but that is what I’ve come to expect of her work… But somehow the actual story just didn’t do it for me. The fact that I didn’t like the main characters, or that the story included one of my mayor pet peeves (cheating) didn’t really help either… I seem to be in the minority though, so definitely don’t give up on The Book Of Two Ways on my account.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Waiting Rooms – by Eve Smith #Orentober @Orendabooks

In the spirit of celebrating all things Orenda during #Orentober month, I will be sharing my thoughts on The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith: a compelling and terrifying thriller set in a dystopian world that feels a little too realistic to be comfortable… The current COVID-19 situation gives this story an even bigger impact.

Title: The Waiting Rooms
Author: Eve Smith
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: May 9th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 16th 2020
Pages: 379

“That’s the trouble with hope. Just when you think you’ve weaned yourself off it, its devilish little head rears up and sucks you back in.”

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I actually won an e-copy of The Waiting Rooms in a Twitter giveaway back in March, but with the whole COVID-19 situation I haven’t been in the mood to read it until now… I’m glad I waited, because this story might just have been too much for me back then. Why? The Waiting Rooms is a compelling and terrifying thriller set in a dystopian world that feels a little too realistic to be comfortable… The current state of the world gives this story an even bigger impact and makes the dystopian world seem like a logical possible next step. Most terrifying indeed! If your nerves can stomach it, this story is absolutely brilliant though.

It’s hard to put The Waiting Rooms into a neat little genre box… Part dystopia, part medical thriller, part mystery and part domestic/family focused, we get a wonderful mix of different elements that together form a recipe for a terrifyingly perfect cocktail. This story has multiple POVs, multiple settings as well as different timeframes. We switch back between past and present (or pre-Crisis in this dystopian world), but we also switch between South Africa and the UK as well as the different characters in play… This gives the story a rich and multi-layered feel, and the different parts are combined splendidly.

The chapters in South Africa really stood out to me, but this has a lot to do with the fantastic descriptions of the setting and fauna. The descriptions made the setting really come alive for me, and I loved how the research looked into using plants and knowledge of the locals to try and create new medicins. The whole cheating angle was a bit of a letdown for me, but then again it’s one of my mayor pet peeves to that was just a personal reaction. That said, this feeling was just a blip on the radar as the rest of the story is simply fantastic.

The medical element as well as the dystopian world are truly terrifying. The current COVID-19 situation gives this story an even bigger impact, as you wonder just how much worse things can get. Imagine a world where antibiotics no longer work and people can die of a scratch… The dystopian world as described in The Waiting Rooms sounds bloodcurdlingly realistic and all too possible considering the recent situation: a true nightmare situation that will have you biting your nails and will chill you to the bone.

Thankfully the pre-Crisis chapters as well as the time Kate spends looking for her birth mother distract a little from the dystopian present, and the different elements were brilliantly balanced. The Waiting Rooms turned out to be an absolutely fascinating, captivating as well as alarming read. It’s one of those stories you have to be in the mood for, but if you think you can stomach it, The Waiting Rooms will blow you away.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Betrayal – by Lilja Sigurðardóttir #RandomThingsTours #Orentober @RandomTTours @Orendabooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Betrayal Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I loved my time with the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy, so of course there was no way I could resist a new stand-alone written by the same author. And it turned out to be another solid piece of nordic noir! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: Betrayal
Author: Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 4th 2020
Pages: 276
(Originally written in Icelandic: ‘Svik’)

“If only it was as easy to delete people in real life as it was on Facebook.”

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

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I loved my time with the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy last year, so of course I couldn’t wait to try more of Lilja Sigurðardóttir‘s writing. This time around we have a stand-alone to enjoy with Betrayal, and it is without doubt another solid piece of nordic noir. Get ready to transport yourself to Iceland and enjoy an intricate and multi-dimentional story! Fans of the genre will have a great time with this one.

The Icelandic setting really shines through, and I loved how the translation stayed true to the original Icelandic names. On that note, a round of applause to Quentin Bates for the flawless translation and for enabling us to read this piece of Icelandic fiction in the first place! Betrayal is essentially a multi-dimentional story with a multiple POV structure and various different storylines in play. We have our main character Ursula and the focus on her work as a minister, we have Gunnar as her driver and bodyguard, we have the cleaner Stella and the LGBT angle, we have Petur and the mysteries around the past as well as the present… Lots of different angles and different storylines to keep you busy along the way. And of course that all important question: who is ‘the devil’ and what did he do?

There are multiple heavy elements in play… We have Ursula’s background with her work for Doctors Without Borders; the ebola in Liberia and the bombings in Syria. We have the rape case where a police officer is accused of rape and the case doesn’t seem to be investigated properly. We have the politics element and possible corruption. We have the stalking case and all it entails. We have the mystery around the death of Ursula’s father and Petur’s character in general. We have the alcoholism and addiction element. We have the cheating… And more. This seems like a lot of different elements to try and squeeze into just one story, but somehow it worked in Betrayal and I liked how the different elements were incorporated into the plot. It’s true that I’m never a fan of the whole cheating angle in a story and Ursula’s character let me down a bit because of it, but that is just a personal pet peeve I guess.
It was interesting to see the different storylines and characters develop over time. As the threats on Ursula’s character seem to increase, so does the tension and suspense and it was interesting to see those secrets and lies slowly unravel. Betrayal definitely ends with a bang too, and I like how our main character isn’t afriad to hand out a punch. Betrayal raises important questions about politics, how rape cases are handled and about women in power positions in general… And how the media can destroy a person in the blink of an eye. It is fascinating to see those small betrayals and lies building up and escalate until the situation really gets out of control… Betrayal is an excellent piece of nordic noir and perfect for fans of the genre who like diverse and complex reads.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Confessions On The 7:45 – by Lisa Unger #blogtour @HarlequinBooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Confessions On The 7:45 blog tour! A huge thanks to Justine Sha for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger‘s writing in the past and I was intrigued by the promise of a Strangers On The Train element, so I simply couldn’t resist this story. And it definitely turned out to be an intriguing read! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: Confessions On The 7:45
Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Park Row
Finished reading: September 24th 2020
Pages: 368

“You can’t con someone who doesn’t want something, who wasn’t willing to wade into a gray area to get it.”

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

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I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger’s writing in the past and I admit that I was intrigued as soon as I saw the mention of an Strangers On The Train element in the blurb. Confessions On The 7:45 managed to grab my attention immediately, and I have been looking forward to dive into this story. And it most definitely turned out to be an unique, multi-dimentional and intriguing read! If you like psychological thrillers and are looking for a little something different that packs a punch, this story is a great choice.

There are so many layers, secrets and plot twists in Confessions On The 7:45 and I’ve decided to keep my rambles short as to not spoil the fun of peeling away all those layers yourself to discover what is underneath. Trust me, this is a story where it’s best to go in blind so you can fully savour the complexity of the plot and the twists! True, I do have to confess that I found the story to be quite confusing initially, as there are a lot of different POVs in play and there are even multiple identities of the same character as well as the story switching back and forth between past and present. It was quite hard to place all those different storylines initially, but once you get the hang of the basic situation you will find yourself hooked.

What initially seems like the typical psychological thriller with the complicated home situation and the cheating (an element I confess I’m never a fan of), ends up being so much more… The cheating is almost lost in the background as more urgent storylines and events take their spotlight. We have a missing person case, we have the mysterious meeting in the train, we have multiple characters with a tragic background, we have the con element… Nothing is as it seems, and while I did guess some of the twists, there were also other reveals I never saw coming.

The placement of all those different layers, plot twists, secrets and different identities is more than solid. It definitely keeps the tension and suspense in the picture, and Confessions On The 7:45 is a story that will keep you on your toes as you try to fit all the different pieces of the puzzle together. I wasn’t really a fan of the characters though, but the uniqueness and complexity of the plot mostly made up for that. Confessions On The 7:45 is a multi-faceted story that will be a perfect fit if you are looking for something different.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 (Oct. 2020). With millions of readers worldwide and books published in twenty-six languages, Unger is widely regarded as a master of suspense. Her critically acclaimed books have been voted “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today showGood Morning AmericaEntertainment WeeklyAmazonIndieBound and others. Her essays have appeared in The New York TimesWall Street JournalNPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Author Website // TWITTER: @lisaunger // FB: @authorlisaunger // INSTA: @launger // Goodreads

BUY LINKS

Harlequin // Indiebound // Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Books-A-Million // Target // Walmart // Google // iBooks // Kobo


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ARC REVIEW: Love Among The Recipes – by Carol M. Cram

Title: Love Among The Recipes
Author: Carol M. Cram
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 20th 2020
Publisher: New Arcadia Publishing
Finished reading: September 15th 2020
Pages: 325

“I think that’s what we all want. To be left alone to make our own decisions, even if they’re the wrong ones.”

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

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I know that contemporary romance isn’t my typical genre, but I seem to be craving more contemporaries than usual lately and I do always love a food or travel element incorporated into the plot. Once I realized that Love Among The Recipes would have both, it sounded like a match made in heaven… Sadly, this blind date turned out to be mostly a disaster. I’ll try to explain briefly why below.

First of all,  I do have to say that I loved the travel element with its many sights of Paris. During this story, you will visit many many known and lesser known sights within the French capital and the descriptions really made the city come alive for me. It almost felt like I was walking through Paris exploring the city myself! The whole travel/cookbook combination is a brilliant idea and the way different recipes are combined with the different sights is probably the main reason I kept reading. It definitely does make you crave French food though!

That said, sadly the travel and food elements were the only parts of the story I did enjoy. The rest of the story somehow simply didn’t do it for me… Why? A lot of reasons, but my first main hurdle was with the main character Genna. While I loved the idea behind her character, her being a cookbook author moving to Paris to work on a new cookbook, her actual personality and character development were kind of off-putting. Her way of constantly mentioning ‘what Drew did to her’ without clarifying started to get old really fast, and instead of adding intrigue I just wanted to slap her and spit it out already. I didn’t like how she acted or interacted with most of the characters either, and actually felt bad for poor Pierre and Bill and how she treated them. As for the whole home situation… I didn’t like how it was developed at all, the ‘secret’ only revealed towards the ending while it was quite obvious for a long time what probably happened. Drew was despicable and somehow I didn’t really warm up to especially Becky either. This lack of connection to the characters in play made it really hard to stay invested to be honest.

On top of this, I felt that the pace was rickety and slowed down considerably in parts. The recipe and visiting the different sights in Paris part of the story was basically the only part that did keep my interest, but mostly I started skimreading whenever there wasn’t any food or travel talk going on, which is never a good sign. The romance itself was quite frustrating as well, and then I’m not even talking about the love triangle (or should I say square?). There were lots of events and elements in Love Among The Recipes that unfortunately ended up annoying me considerably, and I personally struggled to reach that final page. Like I said before, I basically only kept going for the food and travel parts… But otherwise this story sadly turned out to be a quite a disappointment. Fans of the genre might have a different reaction though depending on how they react to the main character and the romance.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Hinton Hollow Death Trip – by Will Carver #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours @Orendabooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Hinton Hollow Death Trip Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I finally read Good Samaritans earlier this year and it left me completely flabbergasted… And I’ve been looking for a repeat experience with Detective Sergeant Pace ever since. Want to know what my reaction was to yet another mindblowingly unique story? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: Hinton Hollow Death Trip
(Detective Sergeant Pace #3)
Author: Will Carver
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 12th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: June 25th 2020
Pages: 276

“Everyone is now two people. The physical person. And the online persona. The trouble is that nobody is fully their physical self nor their online alter ego.”

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

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Okay… Where do I even start when describing my reading experience with Hinton Hollow Death Trip?!?! I already knew I was in for reviewing trouble after a mindblowing experience with Good Samaritans earlier this year, but even days after finishing Detective Sergeant Pace number three I’m still lost for words. Please bear with me while I try to make sense of the mess this story left my brain in… Because I can guarantee you one thing: this book will hit you with a sledgehammer.

Shocking. Mindboggling. Mental. Extremely unique. Provoking. Infuriating. This book doesn’t follow the rules and isn’t afraid to step on more than one toe along the way. Hinton Hollow Death Trip is under no circumstance your regular thriller, and instead delivers us a completely unique story and perspective that will blow your mind regardless of the fact if you actually enjoy reading the story itself. Sure, this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I confess that I didn’t enjoy it as much as others myself this time around, but you cannot help but feeling intrigued and applaud its sheer originality. Told by Evil itself in person, Hinton Hollow Death Trip is a story about how a whole town is affected by its touch and how multiple lives change forever in a very short time. Talk about an unique perspective and premise!

A little note: the first book of this series, Good Samaritans, still stands out above the rest for me. It might have been because I preferred the serial killer POV and tone in that one (although the next two books were plently deadly too), it might be that I’m just not in the right mindset for his writing right now… I still can’t put my finger exactly on the reason behind this feeling, although I do have to say that I still mostly enjoyed my time with Hinton Hollow Death Trip. I’m taking a guess here and say that my main issue with this story probably involved the fact that a few elements rubbed me the wrong way. The innecessary animal cruelty, the cheating, the sexy scenes, the tone in certain parts… I know this story is ment to provoke and anger, but I guess I just wasn’t in the right mindset for this kind of read.

That said, both the premise and perspective of Hinton Hollow Death Trip really made this story stand out far above the average thriller. You all might remember a certain popular YA story narrated by Death, but this story is narrated by Evil instead, and boy do you notice the difference. This book is dark, this book is disturbing, this book is twisted… It really shows what evil things humans are capable of with just a little nudge in the ‘right’ direction. Hinton Hollow Death Trip is narrated by Evil, but we get to know a wide variety of inhabitants of the little town along the way as Evil focuses on them. This change in focus and POV helps enrich the plot further and will have you occupied juggling the different storylines and characters while you wonder just how far out of control things will spin.

The plot itself is brilliantly constructed, and designed to escalate, shock as well as send you on the wrong track. Evil things are happening in Hinton Hollow, and you won’t understand the full scope and connections between the different events until it’s too late… And those final reveals will most likely make your jaw drop right to the floor. Oh yes, Hinton Hollow Death Trip will leave you absolutely flabbergasted and staring at that final page wondering if you really understood what just happened… Is it true? Is it another trick? I’m still not sure myself, but what I’m sure of is that Will Carver sure knows how to handle that sledgehammer. What a read!

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is an extremely unique, mindboggling as well as infuriating read that will manage to blow you away regardless of the fact if it’s really your cup of tea or not. While there were a few elements that just didn’t do it for me, I simply applaud the sheer originality and wow factor of this story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series.
He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.


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