ARC REVIEW: Run And Hide – by Alan McDermott

Title: Run And Hide
Author: Alan McDermott
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Action
First published: August 22nd 2018
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: July 26th 2018
Pages: 304

“When we signed up, we were sold a dream. America’s invisible protectors, keeping the country safe from enemies foreign and domestic.”

*** 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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Before I start with my review, I have to be honest here and say I’m probably not the right target group for this one. While I like my thrillers fast and action-packed, it becomes pretty obvious early on that Run And Hide is basically a male-focused story and some of the comments included can come over as sexist. This probably has had a negative influence on my opinion and I do think male readers who like fast spy and action thrillers will have a lot better time than I did with this story. But let’s talk a bit further about my own experience with this story. Besides the sometimes crude comments and other possibly sexist references, I had a hard time connecting to the writing style in general. This made it harder to fully focus on the story and keep myself invested in the plot. The plot itself was a little too much for me and not credible at all, but I guess it would probably make for a perfect Hollywood blockbuster action movie. Over the top, extreme, with a lot of gun action and fighting scenes… National safety at stake and a conspiracy plot and all; oh yes, Run And Hide would probably translate very well to the screen. As a book I wasn’t too sure the story actually worked though. There were too many different storylines and POVs for me, making it hard tracking them all and figuring out who is who. While most of them turned out to be important to the plot, I would have preferred less POVs and a more indirect introduction instead. The main characters have potential, but I personally wasn’t convinced by how Eva Driscoll was described. Again, this might have just been me not belonging to the intended target group though. Overall I was fully expecting to enjoy this story better, especially since I like a healthy dose of action scenes, but sadly Run And Hide wasn’t for me.

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Eva Driscoll is used to be the one doing the chasing, but now the bad guys are after her and they won’t stoy until she’s dead. Eva has been on edge ever since she heard her brother was killed in a fake suicide, and decides to team up with the one person who can help her find the answers she needs. Together, they are determined to find out why members of the Special Forces squad both Eva’s brother and her new partner Rees Colback belonged to are dying under suspicious circumstances.

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Run And Hide is fast, ruthless and lethal. I’m positive the right target group will absolutely love this action-packed spy thriller that reads like a blockbuster action movie. I myself had problems with both the credibility, male-focused comments and writing style in general, but like I said before that might just be me not being the right target group for this one. If you are able to connect to the writing style, you won’t find a boring minute in this story.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #18: As Dead As It Gets & Take The Key And Lock Her Up

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a double dose of third and final book of a series… Yes, I’ll be marking two more series as finished with this post! Sadly both of these weren’t as good as I hoped. As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender is a bit stronger than the sequel, but the main character is annoying and I still prefer book one. Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter is by far the weakest book of the series and I don’t really care for the ending either… Things have been going downhill since book one. Oh well, at least it’s two series less to worry about right?


Title: As Dead As It Gets
(Bad Girls Don’t Die #3)
Author: Katie Alender

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: May 15th 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Finished reading: February 1st 2018 
Pages: 448

“Find the people who treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Tell everyone else to go to hell. And don’t look back.”


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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Don’t read my rambles if you haven’t read the first two books of this trilogy yet… You’ve been warned.

As part of my promise to finally start finishing those poor neglected series, I decided to pick up the third and final book of the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy while my memories of the second book were still fresh. And while I still think the first book is the strongest, As Dead As It Gets without doubt makes a comeback from what I call a ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’. No more sunny and miss nice girl, because Alexis has another paranormal problem on her hand and things are quickly spiralling out of hand… And things might turn ugly. The writing is engaging and reads superfast as always, making As Dead As It Gets a fun, exciting and speedy paranormal read. The plot is darker than the second book and adds a level of suspension to the story… Without doubt an interesting final adventure, although I’m still on the fence whether I like the ending or not. Strong final words though! I do have to say I still find Alexis annoying with her whole ‘I need to do this alone’, ‘I clearly need help, but I won’t ask anybody even if they are willing’ and ‘I don’t want others hurt, but they somehow do anyway’ attitude. I could have done without the love triangle as well… But there is no doubt that As Dead As It Gets is still a solid and entertaining YA paranormal read.


Title: Take The Key And Lock Her Up
(Embassy Row #3)
Author: Ally Carter

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: December 27th 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Finished reading: February 7th 2018
Pages: 336

“There are some ghosts that live inside us, and we can never lose them, no matter how far we run.”


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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Don’t read my rambles if you haven’t read the first two books of this trilogy yet… You’ve been warned.

I was a big fan of the first book when I read it back in 2015. I liked the sequel as well, although the main character was realy started to bother me… But still I had added this third and final book to my list of most-anticipated 2016 releases. Why didn’t I pick up Take The Key And Lock Her Up sooner then? I have no idea, other than that it probably slipped between the cracks of my exploding TBR pile. I had forgotten about the details, including the supposedly enormous cliffhanger ending, by the time I was able to get to it… But it was quite easy to pick up the thread anyway. That said, it was by no means the reading experience I was hoping for. Unfortunately, Take The Key And Lock Her Up is by far the weakest book of the trilogy and it’s sad to see a series end on this note as it started out so promising. One of the biggest problems I had was with the main character Grace. I already had these feelings in the sequel, but Grace becomes almost unbearable in book three with her constant whining about just how crazy she is, how she is endangering others by just being close, that she should be punished, that she doesn’t deserve positive things happening to her etc… Yawn. Her whole attitude, dialogue and actions seriously annoyed me and it was one of the reasons the final book didn’t work for me. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the writing either, but this is probably mostly related to Grace and her dialogue. And the whole love triangle and romance put a damper on things as well. As for the plot… If you look critically, nothing much is actually happening during this final adventure, or at least I missed the intensity and suspense. It has some interesting pointers, but overall I was quite disappointed by Take The Key And Lock Her Up.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #13: The Ends Of The World & The Hating Game


Ready for another round of Yvo’s Shorties? This time around I will be reviewing two books I actually read this year. Shocking, I know haha. Both are Beat The Backlist books and titles I’ve been meaning to read for a while… The first to finish a series: The Ends Of The World by Maggie Hall. The second from a genre I normally tend to stay away from, but ended up being a more than pleasant surprise: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.


Title: The Ends Of The World
(The Conspiracy Of Us #3)
Author: Maggie Hall

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: July 18th 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: January 10th 2018
Pages: 320

“You’re a survivor. I’d never wish it on anyone, but you’re just like the rest of us now. Welcome to the world’s worst club.”


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I picked up this title as part of my goal to finish more series this year. I really enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy so I was looking forward to it, but unfortunately the third and final book The Ends Of The World ended up disappointing me. Why? First of all, I found there was way too much focus on the romance, significantly more than in the previous books and this took away a lot of the magic of this series. Sappy romance scenes, cliches, love triangle, you name it; this third book is coated with it and I wasn’t happy with that development. Especially since I enjoyed the first books a LOT. The spark that put this series on my radar in the first place was definitely missing in The Ends Of The World and I found there was too much focus on the political side rather than the mystery and conspiracy. The international settings saved this final book for me somewhat, but  all in all not the thrilling and explosive ending I was expecting.


Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 9th 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Finished reading: January 12th 2018
Pages: 387

“Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game – and you have to win. Why? Your heart and your ego. Trust me, I should know.”


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Spoiler alert: I usually don’t like the romance genre, especially if it involves sexy scenes and love triangles. Was I afraid to go against my instinct and pick up The Hating Game? Hell yeah, but sometimes you just have to think outside the box, jump right in and live a little. Right? And I guess my jump into the unknown has turned out to be a right bet this time. Oh yes, I definitely understand why so many people love this book now. Because even though I’m not into romance and hate both sexy scenes and love triangles, Sally Thorne made me completely forget about that and I had a blast reading this one. Even though there are a lot of cliches in this book and the whole ‘gorgeous, gorgeous, I’m drooling’ thing can get annoying, somehow the dynamics worked and resulted in a highly entertaining read. It’s a miracle, but I here’s the proof I can actually enjoy a sexy romance read. Shocking, I know.


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ARC REVIEW: Each Little Lie – by Tom Bale @t0mbale @bookouture

Title: Each Little Lie
Author: Tom Bale

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 29th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: June 25th 2017
Pages: 417

“How do I prove my innocence, when all this evidence says I’m guilty?”

*** 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’ve been looking forward to read another Tom Bale thriller ever since I finished reading All Fall Down last year, so I was stoked when I heard a new thriller was going to be published. What stands out as soon as you start reading the first page is the writing style and how easily Each Little Lie is able to grab your full attention. And not only that, but Tom Bale is a master of plot twists and is able to leave you absolutely clueless about the what and why of the things that are happening to the main character Jen. And that is a feeling I absolutely love when it comes to my psychological thrillers! I do have to say that after All Fall Down I was expecting this story to be a whole lot more intense, dark and twisted… Don’t get me wrong, Each Little Lie is without doubt a great thriller, but the pace is a bit slower and overall the story just didn’t make the same impact on me. Especially the first half of the story, while intriguing and very well executed, felt a bit slow and left me waiting for a little more action. The second half mostly made up for that feeling and the final stretch of Each Little Lie was without doubt intense. There is also no doubt that the whole intrigue around what is happening behind the scenes is real and the plot twists and revelations are very well executed. I had a few theories about who was behind it all, but I didn’t guess the full truth about what was going on until the very end. As for the characters: they might not be exactly likeable, but their development is very realistic and it was especially interesting to see how Jen reacted AND acted to the things happening to her. All in all still a very good psychological thriller even though it wasn’t as intense or twisted as I was expecting.

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Jen Cornish is currently going through a nasty divorce and trying to make the best of the situation for the sake of her seven-year-old son Charlie. Then one day an impulsive good deed to help someone has turned into a disaster… Setting off a chain of events that will quickly go out of control. Jen is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, but all the evidence seems to be confirming her guilt instead. Is someone setting her up, or is she losing her mind? If she wants to keep Charlie, she will have to find a way to clear her name… But that might be even more dangerous than she initially guessed.

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There is no doubt I really enjoyed reading Each Little Lie even though it wasn’t as dark and intense as I would have liked. The writing style is very enjoyable to read and manages to draw you in straight away; the plot and plot twists well executed to the point that you really have no idea who is behind it all for a very long time. And while I guessed some things right, there were also a lot of things I didn’t see coming at all.


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BOOK REVIEW: Map Of Fates – by Maggie Hall

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Title: Map Of Fates
(The Conspiracy Of Us #2)
Author: Maggie Hall
Genre: YA, Mystery, Romance
First published: March 8th 2016
Finished reading: April 9th 2016
Pages: 311
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“Do you think all those people believe in fate? Or do you think they’re just living their lives the best they can with whatever’s thrown at them?”

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I think this is one of the first series in a long time where I actually needed to pick up the sequel straight after finishing the first book. The Conspiracy Of Us is seriously addicting! This series by Maggie Hall is basically almost everything I want in a good story, with only the romance scenes putting a slight damper on the otherwise perfection. And while Map Of Fates isn’t as good as the first book and the romance scenes are becoming more annoying (read: love triangle related), the sequel is still very much a solid read. London, India, Venice, Greece, Paris, Cannes… I simply love the internationality of this series. The pace is incredibly fast and the story so engaging that it is definitely hard to put this story down. The main characters are still likeable in general, although what was just a hint of a love triangle in The Conspiracy Of Us has grown into some quite annoying and cheesy romance scenes in the sequel. Luckily enough the rest of the story is good enough to make up for it, and I will be waiting anciously for the third book to find out what happens next. The wait sure will be a long one, since there isn’t even an official title or publish date yet. Sigh…

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Two weeks ago, Avery West thought her life was pretty much ordinary besides the fact she had to move all the time. Now she has discovered she is actually the heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, her mother was taken hostage and her future will most likely involve marrying the One. She is determined to change destiny, free her mother and solve the clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle… But she only has two more weeks before it’s too late and both her mother will be killed and her freedom taken away from her. Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues with the help of some of her new allies. Will they find out the truth on time?

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I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot to avoid any spoilers, but what I can say that this series is definitely worth reading. The Conspiracy Of Us series mixes old conspiracy theories with action, international locations, romance and a healthy dose of mystery and plot twists. The result? A VERY engaging story that is without doubt worth your time if you enjoy the genre. One of my new favorites!

BOOK REVIEW: Death Of Secrets – by Bowen Greenwood

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Title: Death Of Secrets
(Secrets #1)
Author: Bowen Greenwood
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: January 31st 2014
Finished reading: February 8th 2016
Pages: 336
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“I’m not sure what’s left of privacy right now, but whatever is left, I want to keep it for a while.”

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I got my copy of Death Of Secrets on a whim some time last year and I decided to pick it up last month because I was in the mood for a mystery/thriller read. Unfortunately I wasn’t impressed at all by this story by Bowen Greenwood. It took me ages to get into the story and I had actually originally decided to DNF it. The slow pace, characters that I couldn’t really care about and a prose that just didn’t grab my attention all disencouraged me to continue reading… And the only reason I decided to finish it in the end is that I almost never DNF a book. I continued reading even thouh I wasn’t convinced by it, and it took me a long time to reach the final page. I don’t like being so negative in my reviews, but it is hard to find positive points in a story I really didn’t like and still wish I hadn’t picked up again… The pace was just beyond slow even though it’s supposed to be an action story and the characters and their actions were not believable. And example? Imagine two main characters spending their time shopping and going on a romantic walk while being on the run from a mysterious enemy that wants to kill them… And then tell me that sounds plausible. The dialogue between the characters felt really unnatural as well. The general idea in Death Of Secrets is actually quite interesting though, but I can’t say that’s enough to actually enjoy the story.

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Kathy Kelver is just another student on her way home when she becomes a witness to a murder. Just before the man dies in front of her eyes, he gives her a USB stick and tells her to make sure Jakarta gets it. Kathy is terrified and runs to her dorm to call the cops, but when she goes back with her roommate, the body is gone and all evidence washed away. The police think she didn’t tell the truth, but Kathy soon finds herself in the middle of a very dangerous conspiracy. She has to run for her life and is determined to find out what is on the mysterious computer file on the USB. What she doesn’t know is that that file contains new technology that can change the future and privacy as we know it forever…

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The general idea of Death Of Secrets sounds intriguing and I guess that is why I decided to get a copy in the first place. Unfortunately the novel itself ended up being a disappointment. With a slow pace, flat characters with unbelievable actions, a prose that couldn’t catch my eye and a plot that is more than chaotic I almost wish I had sticked with my original decision to DNF it… Because I’m sorry to say I really struggled to finish this read.