ARC REVIEW: Gone To Ground – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Gone To Ground
(Detective Kay Hunter #6)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 8th 2018
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: September 8th 2018
Pages: 376

“She had tried to push the memory away over the years, heeding the advice of the psychologists her parents had consulted, but she would never forget the stench of burning human flesh.”

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

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I have been mentioning this series a lot during the last couple of months, and Detective Kay Hunter has quickly grown into a new favorite of mine. I’m still kicking myself for not starting this series sooner, but at least I have another new favorite discovery to add to my list of 2018 top reads… Gone To Ground is already book number six in the series, and once again an excellent read. This series hasn’t disappointed me yet! I always look forward spending more time with Kay Hunter, and time always flies as soon as I start reading the first page. I literally flew through Gone To Ground and finished it in less than a day. I really like the new dynamics between Hunter and her team and reading about them is like returning to an old friend. The writing is sold, engaging and the plot twists are very well executed. I had no idea who was behind it all until the very end! And I do love my surprises. This investigation starts out a little slower than usual, as there are a lot of unknowns, but it leaves us with more time to spend with our favorite main characters instead. It was interesting to see how things slowly started to fit together and boy, what an ending! Disturbing, shocking and chilled me to the bone… Gone To Ground is without doubt another excellent to this series. I can highly recommend all six books to any detective thriller fan.

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

When a discarded body part is found by a couple of cyclers, DI Kay Hunter and her team have no idea about the who, how and why. It’s hard to identify the victim based on the little evidence they have, but as more body parts start showing up, they are slowly starting to piece things together. Kay realises they have another serial killer on the loose, and they will have to step up their game before he kills again.

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If you are looking for a detective thriller series that keeps delivering, a plot that will keep you guessing until the very end or simply a very engaging and absorbing read, you will find all those things are covered in every single Detective Kay Hunter book. Gone To Ground is no exception and has exactly the same high quality I have become used to. I liked spending more time with my favorite team and while the case they investigate took some time to start rolling, the ending left me completely shocked. I definitely didn’t see that coming! Yet another detective thriller winner and without doubt worth the read.


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ARC REVIEW: The Birthday – by Carol Wyer @bookouture

Title: The Birthday
(Detective Natalie Ward #1)
Author: Carol Wyer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 27th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 4th 2018
Pages: 316

“You work with what you’ve been given. Don’t turn your attention to what might happen. It hasn’t yet.”

*** 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 have really enjoyed Carol Wyer’s books so far, so of course I knew I had to try out her new detective series as soon as I heard about it. And who can resist that cover and blurb?! I was looking forward to reading The Birthday and while not perfect, it was without doubt a good start of a new series. Of course the writing is just as strong as ever, with a quality I have become used to and a way to charm you into flipping page after page without putting the book down. The case in The Birthday is both intriguing and will chill you to the bone… Child kidnappings are always so hard to read about, especially if there are multiple lives on the line. The things that happen in this detective thriller will give any parent nightmares, and even childless readers will be emotionally invested. There is definitely a lot to love in The Birthday, so why didn’t I rate it higher? Well, this mostly has to do with the new main character we meet. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect to the new detective or most of her team. Instead of refreshing and interesting, I found especially Natalie Ward to be mostly cliche and I really do hate cheating characters. There was nothing ‘new’ this team added to the genre for me, nothing original to cause a spark. I am willing to give detective Natalie Ward and her team a second chance though, mostly because the writing, plot development and suspense are spot on. And there are without doubt a few twists hidden in there that will manage to surprise you!

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The five-year-old Ava Sawyer went missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre two years ago, and not a trace of her whereabouts are found during all that time. But then her body is finally found, and not long after another little girl goes missing. A girl who strangely had attended the exact same birthday party where Ava had disappeared… Detective Natalie Ward and her team will have to work hard to discover if the two cases are related, and who is behind it all. The clock is ticking, as the killer doesn’t seem to be stopping on his own…

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As I said before, there is a lot to love in The Birthday. The writing is solid and engaging, making you fly through the pages. The plot is interesting, suspenseful and has just the right amount of twists for me. I did guess part of the ending, but overall you are left in the dark most of the time. My only problem was with the new detective and her team; I simply wasn’t able to warm up to her and found both her personal life and way of investigating to be mostly cliche or at least not that original. I’m still curious about the sequel though.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #41 – Rivers Of London & Mortals And Immortals Of Greek Mythology (ARC)

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around an urban fantasy slash murder mystery that was highly entertaining, Rivers Of London, and a very beautifully illustrated guide to Greek Mythology for both young and old: Mortals And Immortals Of Greek Mythology.


Title: Rivers Of London
(Peter Grant #1)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
First published: January 10th 2011
Publisher: Gollancz
Finished reading: August 22nd 2018
Pages: 392

“Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the “London once-over” – a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport – like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.”


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I’ve been meaning to start this series for a long time and already had a copy on my kindle, but during our Europe trip I was able to get a physical copy of the first two books. And I love LOVE the details on the cover! I couldn’t resist picking up my copy of Rivers Of London and as I started reading the story made an excellent first impression. Why? First of all, the writing style is engaging, strangely funny at points and solid in general. This made it easy to connect to the story and fully emerge myself in this urban fantasy slash detective story. The second thing that stands out is exactly this mix of genres. Paranormal elements, Gods, ghosts and other monsters are mixed with a good old murder mystery in such a way that just hit the mark for me. Part of this success is the main character Peter Grant, since he is discovering this strange new angle of the city of London along with us. Did the story drag at points and became a tad too slow? Probably. Did my initial enthusiasm fade away a little towards the end? Maybe. But while not perfect, I still had a great time with Rivers Of London despite a few minor flaws and problems. Between the main character and the mix of genres, I was pleasantly surprised by this first book of a series I will definitely be continuing some time soon.


Title: Mortals And Immortals Of Greek Mythology
Author: Francoise Rachmuhl

Genre: Children, Fiction, Mythology
First published: September 18th 2018
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Finished reading: August 23rd 2018
Pages: 129

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


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I’ve had my share of Greek mythology during high school in my ancient Greek and also Latin classes. Knowledge has slipped a little since, so when I saw this title on Netgalley, I couldn’t resist. Mortals And Immortals Of Greek Mythology is ment to give children a little insight in who is who in Greek mythology with the help of both lovely illustrations and easy to follow short descriptions and stories around the characters. The cover gives you a perfect example of what the illustrations are like, and this beautiful style is used throughout to show us both the characteristics of each mortal and immortal described as well as illustrating the stories themselves. Wonderful to look at and educative at once: this handy and interesting guide will be an entertaining journey for both young and old. Confuse the different Gods and how they relate? Heard about some story or character before, but not sure about the details? Mortals And Immortals Of Greek Mythology will take away those doubts while also giving you a wonderful reading experience.


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ARC REVIEW: Call To Arms – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Call To Arms
(Detective Kay Hunter #5)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 11th 2018
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: August 24th 2018
Pages: 360

“A cold chill crawled over his shoulders as fear began to overcome his anger. It wasn’t meant to be like this. Everything was out of control.”

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

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First of all a shout out to the wonderful Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles who made me finally get to know Kay Hunter after I won this book in her giveaway a few months back. Thanks again for introducing me to what has become one of my new favorite series this year! ❤ ❤ ❤

I became an instant fan of the main character of this series as soon as I got to know her in the first book back in April, and this feeling hasn’t changed since. If anything, my love for Kay Hunter has only increased and picking up another book of this series is like putting on your favorite sweater, snuggling up in a comfortable spot and spending the day forgetting about your own problems. I hadn’t expected any different by now, but book number five Call To Arms has exactly the same quality I have become used to. Strong, solid and engaging writing, excellent character development, an interesting plot… This detective thriller has it all. I really liked that we see a vulnerable side in various characters; this makes them only more human. The characters feel like old friends and you cannot help but feel and root for them as they try to figure out what really happened as they reopen a ten year old old case. It was interesting to see them all working together to rescue one of their own… The plot and plot twists are well executed as always, and I definitely didn’t guess the final revelations! Call To Arms is another excellent addition to this series and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book. I can highly recommend this series if you enjoy the genre!

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

Kay Hunter managed to survive a brutal attack some time ago, but not without consequences. It has taken time for her to recover, both mentally and physically, and she is not the only victim. DI Devon Sharp is still suspended from duties as they investigate allegations made by a now former colleague. Kay Hunter is slowly going crazy being put on desk work until she is fully recovered, and finds herself something to keep her mind occupied instead. She is determined to clear Sharp’s name and reopens a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser, hoping that solving the case will bring the truth to light.

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Basically, you can’t go wrong when you pick up one of the Detective Kay Hunter books. This series has been consistently strong so far and Call To Arms is no exception. Less fast-paced and violent than the previous book, Call To Arms instead focuses more on the main characters we have become to love, show a sensitive side and just how well they work together as a team. The cold case they investigate is another good one, with many twists, secrets and turns to keep things intriguing. Things are getting personal, and digging up the truth might hurt more than one person. Fascinated yet? You won’t regret reading Call To Arms or the other books in the series if you can appreciate a good detective thriller.


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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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YVO’S SHORTIES #39: Ink And Bone & The Mysterious Affair At Styles

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around another two titles for the Magical Readathon: O.W.L. Edition. The first, Ink And Bone, I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages, but wasn’t as good as I would have hoped after absolutely loving the Stillhouse Lake series. The second, The Mysterious Affair At Styles, is part of a promise to myself to finally start reading more of Agatha Christie‘s work… It was entertaining enough, but I still prefer her And Then There Were None.


Title: Ink And Bone
(The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: July 7th 2015
Publisher: NAL
Finished reading: August 15th 2018 
Pages: 352

“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”


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I have had The Great Library series on my TBR for way too long… After my love for the Stillhouse Lake books, I just knew I had to give in and finally try more of her work. And let’s be honest: who can resist after that cover and blurb? 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, from the main bookish references, the idea of the Library to the main characters being trained to work for the Library and the steampunk elements… And of course the war and the Burners threatening the peace. 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. The conspiracy plot and the promise of a whole lot more action and twists makes me curious about the second book, and the final part of Ink And Bone is definitely what saved the story for me.


Title: The Mysterious Affair At Styles
(Hercule Poirot #1)
Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Classics, Mystery, Thriller
First published: 1920
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: August 15th 2018
Pages: 304

“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”


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I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve only recently started discovering Agatha Christie‘s books, starting with And Then There Were None in 2016. I then read Murder On The Orient Express earlier this year, going against my self imposed rule to try and always read series in order. So this is me trying to make up for that and starting at the beginning, where it all once started. 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. All in all not my favorite, but I’m definitely looking forward to continue the series.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #38: The Masked City & Every Heart A Doorway

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two Tor books and two books belonging to a series. The first a sequel, The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman, which I enjoyed slightly better than the first book, but still didn’t manage to convince me. The second, Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire, was absolutely wonderful and I’m glad I finally did pick it up.


Title: The Masked City
(The Invisible Library #2)
Author: Genevieve Cogman

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure
First published: December 3rd 2015
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: August 7th 2018 
Pages: 340

“People want stories. You should know that, more than anybody.”


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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. This element is one of the most unique features of this story, and I think any booklover out there would love to see more of it. In The Masked City, there is a lot going on: we have werewolves, dragons, fae and magic, the story is partly set in Venice… But somehow I feel 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. I did love the fact that part of the story was set in Venice, the idea of different chaos/order infested words and both the worldbuilding and plot have potential. I’ll probably end up reading the next book at some point since I already own a copy… But the first two books didn’t convince me enough to do so straight away.


Title: Every Heart A Doorway
(Wayward Children #1)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery
First published: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: August 11th 2018
Pages: 176

“The duality of the phrase was like the duality of the doors: they changed lives, and they destroyed them, all with the same, simple invitation.”


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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. The idea of different realities, belonging to different directions like Nonsense, Logic and Wicked is simply fascinating and I love how each world is reflected in the different characters as well. For such a short read, the character development is sublime and part of the reason this story works so well. Nancy, Sumi, Kade, Jack and Jill… I just loved the diversity of the characters, and I can really appreciate the inclusion of lgbt elements. The mystery around the deaths gives the story a purpose and direction, giving you something to hold onto while you try to absord everything about the different worlds. A shame we only get a glimpse of the worlds the characters once lived in, but as far as I can see the sequels will give us more. I’m already looking forward to see more of these characters!


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