ARC REVIEW: She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be – by J.D. Barker

Title: She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be
Author: J.D. Barker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
First published: March 31st 2020
Publisher: Hampton Creek Press
Finished reading: March 21st 2020
Pages: 774

“I can’t imagine living in anything but a fairy tale. The real world can be an abhorrent place.”

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

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I’ve been a huge fan of J.D. Barker’s writing ever since I first started reading the 4MK Thriller books… I’ve been looking forward to read more of his work ever since I finished the trilogy, and as soon as I first read about She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be I was completely under its spell. The title, the cover, the blurb, the promise of another masterfully written story… I don’t tend to read a lot of books over 600 pages as they can be a painful investment of time if you don’t end up connecting to the story, but I made an exception for J.D. Barker as I already knew his writing would most likely be right up my alley. And boy, did I make the right decision!

Some stories just need more pages, and manage to keep you fully invested along the way. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is one of those stories. Somehow, even though this newest J.D. Barker book has almost 800 pages, I never felt bored and I never felt like the story dragged or could have been told in less words. No, Jack and Stella’s story needed to be this elaborate, as their history spans decades and it is necessary to go slow and thorough to go deep and fully understand their characters. I’m aware that She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be might not be for everyone, but don’t let the daunting page count dissuade you if you love an intricate and well developed thriller with a supernatural/horror twist! Trust me, you won’t regret spending time with this story.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot to avoid ruining surprises and plot twists, so I will keep my rambles short this time around. What I can say is that I loved the structure of this story. It’s not easy to take on this big of a project and tell a story that not only spans decades, but also has a big cast of primary and secondary characters… Especially without the result being a very hard book to keep up with, let alone enjoy. But J.D. Barker seems to have found the right formula. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is divided into multiple parts, focusing on the life of main character Jack Thatch as we see him growing up over the years. His POV is used to introduce the many characters important to the plot, and he helps put them into perspective. Of course he is not the only POV, as we also have the mysterious subject ‘D’ to deal with for example… I personally liked the little observation chapters featuring this character, as the mystery around both his identity, his supernatural abilities and his role in the plot added that extra level of suspense.

As you might have expected from a book this big, the character development is both extremely detailed and very well handled. The characters are both flawed and realistic, and I personally loved the dynamics between Jack and Stella as well as the other more important characters in this book. Whether you like the characters or not, you will find yourself to be invested in what happens to them either way… And the mystery around the supernatural and the secrets of the past only enhance these feelings. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is not a full-blown urban fantasy read, but instead mostly a mix of an action and detective thriller, a dark contemporary and a story with a horror and supernatural feel. It’s a hard book to put inside a box, and I personally love a story that manages to defy genre boundaries and provide us with a new and unique story cocktail. This story has so many different elements to treasure and enjoy, and it felt like a true treasure hunt to keep turning those pages and keep reading those chapters. You never knew what direction the story would take next, and I personally love a story that keeps me on my toes.

She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is as unique as its long title, and the right person will treasure this story as much as I did. I had a fantastic time reading every single chapter, and I never felt like the story was overlong or should have gone in a different direction. Big is in this case most definitely better! And this book has only reconfirmed to me J.D. Barker belongs on my list of favorite authors.


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WWW Wednesdays #261 – March 25th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Josie Quinn book number eight Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan… I have a weak spot for this series and I just couldn’t resist getting a copy of the newest on Netgalley. I’m also starting And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. I Am Dust by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 18/04
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is as unique as its long title, and the right person will treasure this story as much as I did. I had a fantastic time reading every single chapter, and I never felt like the story was overlong or should have gone in a different direction. Big is in this case most definitely better! And this book has only reconfirmed to me J.D. Barker belongs on my list of favorite authors.

3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I definitely had a great time revisiting an old childhood favorite of mine. I loved Pippi when I was little and I must have read the book at least a dozen times back then… I remember loving the TV show too, and even dressing up as Pippi during carnaval once. She is a wonderful character most children will be able to connect to instantly!

4. Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I finally completed my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! It had been too long since I last read the seventh Harry Potter book and I had forgotten about so many details… I always love revisiting this world and this has been no exception!

5. The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I still can’t believe it took me this long to read this story! I love bookish books and this is without doubt a new favorite. The writing, the bookish elements, the characters, the plot, even the romance… I loved it all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I finish my current reads… I also need to read the upcoming ARC The Lost Orphan (also known as The Foundling) by Stacey Halls soon. And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us either even though I have other ARCs I should probably read first haha. I’m also hoping to read Manhunters by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña soon, as I have a weird interest in the war on drugs and I loved the Netflix series.


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WWW Wednesdays #260 – March 18th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker, which is as long as the title and a most anticipated 2020 release as I loved his 4MK series. I will also start I Am Dust by Louise Beech tomorrow as a birthday present to myself… There is no need saying that the other reads will be on hold while I read this one. 😉 ❤ And of course I’m still reading the Spanish version of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte… I’m currently about halfway into the book and I’m planning on finishing it within the next week or so depending on how long it takes to finish my other current titles.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 30/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. The Missing Sister by Elle Marr (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
There was something about the blurb that intrigued me back when I first saw it on Netgalley, and I couldn’t resist getting a copy… It wasn’t necessarily a bad read and there were things I loved including the setting and premise of the story, but overall I was unable to fully connect to the story or characters and certain aspects of the plot and plot twists were just a bit too farfetched for me.

3. Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren (4/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I loved my first encounter with their work back in January, so I’ve been really excited to pick up Love And Other Words to see if their magic would make me enjoy contemporary romance once again. I’m not sure if it was because I was in need of a change of genre, but I had a brilliant time with this story! I literally flew through it and finished it in no time at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

It’s been a while since I last read an Agatha Christie title, so I’ll probably end up reading the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd soon. I also want to read my first Rachel Abbott book, And So It Begins, in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month… And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us much longer, so I’m going to read it as another birthday present to myself. 😉 My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott; it will be the first contemporary I will read when I’m in the mood for a change of genre.


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WWW Wednesdays #259 – March 11th

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 flying through Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb in preparation for my upcoming blog tour stop… It’s so good to meet up with favorite character Lori again! I’m also starting yet another ARC: The Missing Sister by Elle Marr. And of course I’m still reading the Spanish version of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte… I’m currently about a quarter into the book and I’ve already rediscovered so many details I had completely forgotten about!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Strangers by C.L. Taylor (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/03
I think it’s safe to say that I now have a new favorite C.L. Taylor title. What a read! I’m glad I cleared my schedule before diving into this story, because there was just no way on earth I was going to stop reading before I knew how it would all end. What an absolutely masterful and simply brilliantly constructed psychological thriller!

2. The Body In The Garden by Katharine Schellman (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
I loved the historical setting in 1815 London and the final twist was without doubt well played. I did have some issues with The Body In The Garden, including the pace, focus on frivolous high society events and characters, but I also think this might not have been exactly right story for me. If you enjoy character-driven and slower paced cozy mysteries with a historical setting and a hint of crime, you will be in for a treat with The Body In the Garden.

3. Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 23/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

4. The Secret Admirer by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/03
I’m a huge fan of Carol Wyer‘s detective thrillers, and Natalie Ward book number six is without doubt another shocking and solid ride. The writing makes it really easy to keep turning those pages, and I think the bigger focus on Natalie’s private life was definitely needed after that nuclear plot twist bomb in book five. The investigation in this one is intriguing, although I do have to guess I saw the ending coming early on… But the developments in Natalie’s private life are less easy to guess. That said, I will never like David and even the events in The Secret Admirer weren’t enough to make me feel sympathetic towards him… I can’t wait to discover how things will continue for all the main characters in play though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need a little break from thrillers, so I’ll probably read Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren next. Then I have one March ARC left pending: She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker. It’s a big one with almost 800 pages, but I loved his writing in the 4MK books and I just can’t wait to dive into this one. I also want to read my first Rachel Abbott book, And So It Begins, in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month…  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott; I’m hoping to read that one soon in between upcoming thrillers.


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ARC REVIEW: The Sixth Wicked Child – by J.D. Barker @jdbarker

Title: The Sixth Wicked Child
(4MK Thriller #3)
Author: J.D. Barker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 27th 2019
Publisher: Hampton Creek Press
Finished reading: August 12th 2019
Pages: 560

“You can bury a bad thing, but those bad things have a tendency to claw their way back out of the dirt.”

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

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!! Happy publication day !!

Hello, my name is Yvonne and I’m addicted to serial killer thrillers. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but every time I see the word serial killer mentioned in a blurb, my heart starts beating faster and I can’t help myself but to read the whole story as soon as possible. The more disturbing, twisted and gruesome the serial killer, the happier I end up feeling after I finish it… I’m not sure what that says about me and my (possibly?) disturbing mindset, but you won’t be able to stop me from getting my dose of serial killer thrillers like you can’t you keep me from my cheese or chocolate either. And addicted or not, there is no doubt that this trilogy is the crème de la crème when it comes to serial killer thrillers. Holy cow, what a read!

The first thing you have to know about this trilogy is that it’s an absolute must reading the three books in order, because you won’t be able to follow the story or get the references otherwise. Rather than three separate stories, we deal with one big plot devided into three parts and past information is crucial to keep following Sam Porter and Anson Bishop’s story and properly enjoy the ride. And with each book being more twisted and brilliant than the previous one, you will be in for a treat with all three if you haven’t started them yet. Exactly because this is such a fluid story divided into three parts, it is very hard to discuss the plot and character developments without giving away the plot twists of the previous two books while discussing The Sixth Wicked Child. I will keep it short to avoid spoilers, but if you haven’t read the first two books yet, I suggest you skip the rest of this review just to be on the safe side.

Remember those giant cliffhangers at the end of book one and two? The Sixth Wicked Child picks up right where the second story left, and starts with a bang at that. From the very first page, I found myself glued to my seat and I couldn’t help myself devouring those pages like there was no tomorrow. 560 pages might seem a bit long for a thriller, but trust me, you won’t find a boring minute in this brilliant final episode of the 4MK trilogy and you will enjoy every suspenseful minute of the ride. You thought the first two books were intense? Guess what, J.D. Barker found a way to take the intensity up a notch and make this third book the strongest 4MK yet. Disturbing, twisted, dark, hair-raising, shocking and one heck of a crazy ride: this series is not for the weak-hearted and it will include a healthy dose of graphic scenes, abuse and violence in general.

As for the characters… I’ve grown close to Sam Porter, Ansom Bishop and the others over time and I enjoyed seeing them develop in The Sixth Wicked Child. I love how this final book gives us the necessary background information of Ansom’s childhood and connects all the dots that were still missing. The main characters are basically all flawed, but described and developed in such a way that you cannot help yourself rooting for them and hoping everything will turn out to be okay in the end. The Sixth Wicked Child makes multiple references to the first two books, and it was great seeing everything connect and work towards the big finale. There will be a lot of twists and intense moments involved, and with the help of the diary and different POVs it’s easy to get the full scope of what is happening. Guessing those twists will be another matter though, and this story will definitely have a few plot twist bomb surprises for you in store. If you have a taste for dark and disturbing thrillers and haven’t had the chance to meet 4MK yet, I can highly suggest remedying that ASAP. Why? All of the above, but in short: this series is an absolute must-read for serial killer thriller fans. Go, go, GO!


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WWW Wednesdays #234 – August 21st

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

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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

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

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

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

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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


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ARC REVIEW: The Fifth To Die – by J.D. Barker @HMHBooks

Title: The Fifth To Die
(4MK Thriller #2)
Author: J.D. Barker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: July 10th 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Finished reading: June 16th 2018
Pages: 416

“Sometimes it’s good to remember the bad, it makes other things seem not so terrible.”

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

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In a way I’m glad I’ve only recently found the time to pick up the first 4MK thriller. Why? Well, let’s just say that book one and two both start and end with a bang and leave you wanting for more. Oh yes, if you think the cliffhanger of The Fourth Monkey was a bad one, you will be in for a painful ride with The Fifth To Die. What a way to mess with your mind! I was in the mood for a twisted, disturbing and complicated serial killer and there is no doubt this story delivered all that and more. Hooked from the first page? Check. More twistedness and new disturbing and horrifying killings? Check. A healthy dose of plot twist bombs that will leave you absolutely flabbergasted? Check. New insights in the backgrounds of the main characters? Check. Fleshing out of the previous plot while adding a LOT of new suspense and a very strong and promising base for an excellent third book? Check. Oh yes, as you might have already guessed, I had a great time with detective Porter and the so-called 4MK killer. Warning: this is one of those series you HAVE to read in order, because you won’t be understanding the many references to the case and characters otherwise. (Since it’s basically the same open investigation we are talking about, with a new angle and subplot added of course.) The Fifth To Die is just as strong as the first book and this series is quickly becoming a new favorite of mine. Then again, I love a well written, dark, disturbing and gritty serial killer thriller. Is it too early to ask when the next book is coming out? Because I NEED to know what happens next after that humongous cliffhanger ending.

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

Detective Porter isn’t ready to let go of the 4MK killer, especially since he is still on the loose somewhere. But he has something else to worry about as well, since a new serial killer seems to be operating in Chicago. He isn’t supposed to concentrate on the 4MK killer anymore in the first place after the feds took over the case… But it seems he cannot stay away. He secretly continues his hunt, and when this is discovered, he finds himself suspended and his team left without a leader during their hunt for the new killer. Detective Porter isn’t one to let things go easily though… Even if this will have terrible consequences for his future.

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I’m a sucker for a good serial killer thriller and this series is quickly turning into one of my new favorites. If you like your thrillers dark, gritty, disturbing and don’t mind graphic scenes, you will be in for a treat with this series. Trust me, reading these two thrillers in order will be worth your time! You will find yourself staring at the last pages wanting for more though, because the cliffhanger ending is pretty brutal. What a way to reveal something like that and leave us staring open mouthed knowing we won’t find out more until the next book comes out! It’s been a while since an ending hit me that hard.


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