ARC REVIEW: The Wife’s Secret – by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture

Title: The Wife’s Secret
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 10th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 22nd 2018
Pages: 338

“You hear people saying it’s the not knowing that really affects a person. If there’s a death, you can start the process of grieving; without that, you’re left hoping – and it’s the hope that gets you in the end.”

*** 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 have enjoyed Kerry Wilkinson‘s books in the past, and combined with an intriguing sounding blurb I found The Wife’s Secret to be impossible to resist. I’m definitely glad I followed my instincts, because I found myself hooked from the moment I sat down and opened the first page. This might just be my new favorite story by this author so far! The writing is solid, engaging and makes you fly through the pages as you try and figure out what happened to Seth’s wife and what she is hiding. And what a shocking history that is! I literally finished The Wife’s Secret in less than a day and there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming. The suspense is very well done and the plot and plot twists crafted in a way that will keep you guessing as certain aspects are only revealed towards the ending. I always love it when a psychological thriller manages to surprise me! And such shocking reveals at that… As for the characters: most of them are not exactly likeable, but somehow that didn’t bother me all that much. I was too focused on the whole mystery around Charley, both around her past and her disappearance, to be put off by them. If you like suspenseful psychological thrillers, you will be in for a treat with this one.

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Charley Willis was only thirteen years old when her famous parents were killed in their own home. She was found unharmed and hiding in a closet upstairs… Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It is her chance at a clean slate, as Seth doesn’t know much about her past apart from the facts known to the general public. But the past may have come back to haunt her… Hourse after the wedding ceremony, Charley is missing. And Seth is about to find out his new wife kept a lot of things from him…

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I like Kerry Wilkinson‘s writing style and The Wife’s Secret is no exception. Suspenseful, well written, shocking twists and slightly disturbing… There is a lot to love in this story and there is a lot to keep you on the wrong path for a long time. There are definitely plot reveals that will manage to surprise you before you reach the final page! The Wife’s Secret is an excellent psychological thriller and a true pageturner.


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WWW Wednesdays #189 – September 26th

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 two more titles for the N.E.W.T. Readathon… I think they will be my last two, but who knows, I might squeeze in one more after these. The first is In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which I haven’t been able to continue since yesterdat but looks promising so far. I’m also starting All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo, a translation and a story set in Spain I’m quite excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The King’s Guard by Rae Carson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
This third and final one is probably my favorite of the bunch. The King’s Guard is partly set in the royal palace and is partly an adventure and rescue mission. Hector makes a great main character of this novella and his character is very easy to like. The writing is solid as always and I managed to read it in no time at all… The plot and setting are well fleshed out for a novella and I had a great time reading this one.

2. Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
While Radiance Of Tomorrow is a fictional story this time around, it has the same setting in Sierra Leone and the same emotional rollercoaster ride. Make sure to brace yourself before you start this one, because it won’t be a happy journey. Radiance Of Tomorrow tells the story of what happens in the ruined village Imperi after the war in Sierra Leone ended. The beginning sets the tone of what will become a heartbreaking, devastating and very emotional read, with little lights shining upon the hope the characters have things will become better in the future.

3. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/09
It was a fascinating and wonderful ride to learn more about all those characters and stories. Norse Mythology is a collection of short stories, but told in a way that really flows and makes it easy to connect the different characters, myths and happenings. The writing is of course rock solid and of a high quality I’ve come to expect of Neil Gaiman. If you are interested in Norse mythology in particular or simply are looking for a well written and interesting collection of short stories, I can highly recommend this one

4. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/09
I guess I wish I would have listened to those instincts now, because hello unpopular opinion review once again! Oh yes, there is one thing that is for sure: Pretty Little Liars 200% isn’t for me. The only reason I didn’t DNF is that I needed it for a challenge, and didn’t have time to go looking for a different title that fitted the prompt… That bad? Oh yes. Highly annoying and frustratingly obnoxious characters… Check. One high school cliche stacked on top of another high school cliche… Check. Writing I couldn’t connect to and atrocious behavior of the main characters… Check. Plot that didn’t do anything for me at all… Check. Lack of connection to the characters and plot and overall lack of interest in how things would evolve… Check. I did warn you it was going to be another unpopular opinion review!

5. The Wife’s Secret by Kerry Wilkinson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/10
I always seem to enjoy Kerry Wilkinson’s books, and this one is no exception. The suspense is very well done and I think this is my favorite story yet. The writing is solid, engaging and makes you fly through the pages as you try to figure out what happened to his wife and what she is hiding. What a shocking history! There were a lot of things I definitely didn’t see coming and if you enjoy suspenseful psychological thrillers, I can definitely recommend this one.

6. A Thousand Devils by Frank Goldammer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/10
This is actually the second book of a series, and one I really enjoy. It’s a mix of historical fiction and detective thriller, with a detective trying to solve cases just after WWII in the German city of Dresden. Learning more about the situation just after the war is fascinating, especially in the subtle way Frank Goldammer incorporates historical elements and develops his setting perfectly. I can highly recommend this series!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

If I’m able to squeeze in one more N.E.W.T. book, it will definitely be Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while and I’m looking forward to it! I also need to read Tell Nobody by Patricia Gibney since the publish date is really close… The same goes for The Passion According To Carmela by Marcos Aguinis. I’m also curious about The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.


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WWW Wednesdays #188 – September 19th

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 three more titles for the N.E.W.T. readathon… The first is Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah, a book I’ve been wanting to read ever since I read his memoir which made a huge impact on me. I’m finishing the last Fire And Thorns novella The King’s Guard by Rae Carson first though… And I’m also starting with Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Girl Made Of Clay by Nicole Meier (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/09
If you enjoy reading character-driven stories with flawed characters that are described in a realistic way, The Girl Made Of Clay is without doubt an interesting read. The pace is not the fastest, but the story captures quite well how the characters evolve over time. Did I think every aspect of the plot and behavior was credible? Not exactly. Did most of the characters annoy me and made me enjoy the story a lot less? Most definitely. But as one of the cliches goes: ‘it’s not you, it’s me…‘. And I really think that is what happened here.

2. City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
City Of Ghosts delivers right from the cover until the very last page. I knew I could trust my instincts when I picked up this title, but this first book of a new MG paranormal series has proven once again you cannot go wrong with anything Schwab writes. It was hook, line and sinker when I started reading City Of Ghosts and I had to put all other tasks on hold until I finished reading it. The writing, the characters and their development, the Scottish setting, the ghosts, the plot… There is a lot to love in this story, and Cassidy and Jacob have already found a place in my heart.

3. Half Bad by Sally Green (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
I initially started reading Half Bad in Dutch, wanting to savour seeing that cover waiting for me near my reading chair. I have to say, I struggled a lot. First I thought it was the language, but I decided to switch to my English kindle version halfway through and I can confirm it wasn’t. There is just something about the writing style in Half Bad that really got on my nerves. There are a lot of short and halted sentences I just couldn’t grow used to, although I admit the writing style as a whole sadly just didn’t work for me. I struggled to keep reading as some parts of the story dragged, and I have to say that for a story this promising the plot kind of lacked action and more filling out in general.

4. The Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/09
There is no doubt that this second novella is a lot stronger than the first one. I think this has a lot to do with the main character of this short story, which is quite easy to like and root for. Mara is a very interesting and strong character and she does some amazing things along with the other characters. The romance in The Shattered Mountain didn’t bother me one bit even though some cliches were involved. I think this mostly has to do with the fact there is a lot of focus on the dire situation the group is in instead as well as the worldbuilding of this high fantasy story.

5. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (2/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
I really do think this story has a lot of potential, but instead of focusing on the more interesting aspects of the plot, All These Things I’ve Done is mostly just another teenage romantic drama with a few twists. Instead of focusing on the dystopian setting, when chocolate! and coffee! are illegal and resources seem to be limited, or the whole mafia background of Anya’s family, we mostly see the typical high school scenes with star-crossed lovers, food fights and other cliche elements. Definitely not what I thought I had signed up for. To make things worse, the main character Anya is absolutely despicable.

6. The Ballroom by Anna Hope (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/09
This historical fiction read set in a 1911 asylum has a very interesting premise and a lot of potential, but the story sort of fell flat for me. The pace was considerably slow and it took me a lot longer than expected to read this story… The focus was on the characters and their development, but sadly there was nothing much for me to keep me focused to them or create a proper connection; instead I was mostly left both just wanting to get it over it and wanting the story to deliver something more.The fact that Charles is a very unlikeable character doesn’t really help either. Surprisingly though, the romance in this story didn’t bother me that much.

7. Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/09
I am so excited to have finally read this title by a fellow book blogger! I admit it took me some time to get used to the multiple POVs and I was confused at times how everything fit together, but there is no doubt this is a complex and very cleverly executed psychological thriller debut. I did guess some of the twists, some of the names are misleading and I was left with some questions after the final page… But overall it was still a very satisfying read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up two pending ARCs next: All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo and The Wife’s Secret by Kerry Wilkinson. I’m also dying for a change of genre, so I’m hoping Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard will be the fun read I’m looking for. I also want to read In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware soon.


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ARC REVIEW: The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker – by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture

Title: The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal
First published: July 26th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: July 14th 2018
Pages: 315

“The moment you allow yourself to be frightened of everything is the moment you stop living your life.”

*** 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 was intrigued by both the cover and blurb as soon as I first heard about The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker, and I just couldn’t resist temptation. And WOW, this story is definitely something else! I’ve enjoyed reading Kerry Wilkinson’s books in the past, and while going down a different road with this story, the writing is just as solid as ever. It’s really easy to fully emerge yourself in the story when the writing simply flows and grabs you straight away. The plot itself is both fascinating, surprising and quite original. Ever seen the movie Deaeth Becomes Her with Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep? The main character of this story would sort of be a teenage version of Goldie or Meryl, then add a murder mystery and a healthy dose of teenage drama: an improvised recipe for The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker. Could I have done without the love triangle? Yes please. Did certain aspects of the behavior of the main characters annoy me? Without doubt. But I was so intrigued by Ellie’s situation I was able to forgive the story for it. Mystery with a hint of paranormal and a LOT of plot twists; oh yes, you will be in for one entertaining and intriguing ride. Although there are many suspects, I’m sure you won’t be able to guess the final outcome early on! I really enjoyed this original twist to what could have been just another murder mystery mixed with YA elements. Different in this case is definitely a good thing!

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When seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up one morning cold and alone in the river, she has no memory of how she got there or what happened to her. Last year, a girl from the same village was drowned in the same river… Is she a victim of the same killer, especially since the killer was never caught? She has no proof though and she is still walking, although she notices a few disturbing changes in herself… And things get worse when another teenager disappears.

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If you are looking for something different, fascinating and entertaining to read, definitely give The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker a go. I love my murder mysteries, but personally I really liked the added paranormal touches as it was a nice counterweight for the more cliche teenage drama and love triangle. The plot is well developed with some mayor plot twists that will make you doubt everything until the final twists are revealed. Definitely one of the more original stories I’ve read this year!


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WWW Wednesdays #179 – July 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 still reading Hunted by Meagan Spooner… Mostly because I decided to finish my previous TBR jar pick first. I’m also starting with another ARC: Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint. I didn’t realize when I requested it it was part of a series, so fingers crossed it won’t be too difficult to follow the plot. I also started Misery by Stephen King last week, but I’ve put it temporarily on hold as I couldn’t get a proper feel for the writing style after a few pages.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (3/5 stars) REVIEW 27/07
I think Slaughterhouse-Five and me simply got off on the wrong foot. So it goes. It’s not the story, it’s most likely me that’s the problem here. So it goes. While I can completely understand why so many people have so much love for this story, and I can also understand why this is a modern classic, somehow this story just didn’t work for me. I highly enjoyed the historical aspect of the story and the parts set during WWII. I could have handled the time travel elements as well, since they do add dept to the story… But add aliens to the mix and sign me out. So it goes.

2. The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/07
This story is definitely something different! I’ve enjoyed his work in the past, and while going down a different road with this story, the writing is just as solid as ever. The plot itself is fascinating and quite original. Ever seen the movie Death Becomes Her with Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep? The main character of this story would be a teenage version of Goldie or Meryl, then mix the story with a murder mystery and add a dose of teenage drama: an improvised recipe for The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker! Could I have done without the love triangle? Yes please. Did certain aspects of the behavior of the main characters annoy me? Without doubt. But I was so intrigued by Ellie’s situation that I was able to forgive the story for it.

3. Crochet Animal Rugs  by Ira Rott (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/07
If you are looking for interesting and cute patterns to brighten up your child’s bedroom or gift something adorable to someone else, you will be in for a treat. There are patterns for beginners as well as advanced crocheters, indicated accordingly. There is even advice for left-handed crocheters like myself, which is highly appreciated. This book uses US terminology, but there are useful conversion charts included if you need to convert to different terminology. In the back, stitches are explained clearly with pictures, helping you understand which is which.

4. Thin Wire by Christine Lewry (3/5 stars) REVIEW 29/07
This memoir was my previous TBR jar pick and I title I’ve had on my kindle for over two years now. It is without doubt a difficult read with a difficult theme and in a way I’m struggling to review it. I feel I cannot judge such a personal struggle in any way, but what I can say is what I thought about the story itself. First of all, the pace is quite slow and the story dragged at points; it took me a lot longer than expected to reach the final page. I liked the switches in POV, which made it a bit easier to see both sides of the addiction and its consequences.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I’ve been saying I need to read more Agatha Christie, I’m going to start with Hercule Poirot book number one The Mysterious Affair At Styles. I also have a pending August ARC lined up: Run And Hide by Alan McDermott. And as part of me trying to read all the books on my monthly TBR for the second month in a row, I want to pick up Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. My new TBR jar pick is An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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WWW Wednesdays #178 – July 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 finally continued Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut yesterday as part of my promise to read more (modern) classics this year… I can’t say it’s my cup of tea unfortunately, but that might have to do with the science fiction angle (I like the WWII bits though). I’m also starting with The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson since it’s the last pending NG ARC this month and I also started Misery by Stephen King as another backlist read.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Secret by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/07
Let me tell you a secret: the secrets and twists in The Secret will have you flabbergasted by the time you reach the last page. Oh yes, you will be in for one hell of a surprise and shocking ending with this one… Make sure to brace yourself. It is true that the strong dislike for one of the main characters did get a little frustrating, but the story would not have been the same otherwise and the suspense and general plot made up for it. What a read!

2. Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl (3/5 stars) REVIEW
While without doubt still an entertaining story with the wonderful illustrations of Quentin Blake and the same writing that is able to enchant child and adult, I don’t think it’s as strong as his other books. Or in fact the first book and highly popular Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. After such a strong first book, the sequel falls kind of flat for me and doesn’t have the same magical feel despite the space adventure.

3. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
For a story that is ment for such a young audience, it is surprising just how much you will be able to relate to the underlying message as an adult. The illustrations and easy and well written prose are to help kids understand and enjoy, but I truly think this is a story for all ages. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! has a strong moral message and shows us that there is a whole world out there… Waiting for us to just step outside and discover it

4. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green (3/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
Do I regret reading the story? No, because I would have always wondered otherwise. Is it a bad read? Not exactly. But it was definitely one of those cases where the story just didn’t work for me. Which is actually kind of strange, because I’m always intrigued by a story with a mental illness theme and I do love my quirky and unique characters. But there was just something about Aza that just didn’t do it for me.

5. The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/07
If you love a good road trip story with well developed and interesting characters, lots of sightseeing, funny moments, a dash of suspense and a dose of romance that is just right, you will love The Getaway Girls as well. I had so much fun following Connie, Gill and Maggie around and I loved the fact that they were seventy-year-olds, as I don’t see older main characters around that often. Entertaining, uplifting, a pinch of suspense and a healthy dose of summer romance… This story will make you forget about your own problems for a while as you join the main characters on their journey.

6. Champion by Marie Lu (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/07
I didn’t enjoy the final book of the trilogy as much as the previous two. I didn’t think the plot was as interesting and the whole love triangle was quite annoying as well. It just lacked that little something extra from the previous books for me… Also, I didn’t like the ending at all. But I guess it’s kind of an ending that can go either way for you, because there are some twists that will mess with your emotions for sure.

7. Het Jaar Dat De Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond (The Year Of The Rat) by Clare Furniss (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/07
I still can’t believe I was able to finish my Dutch read of the year this quickly! The Dutch translation of The Year Of The Rat was quite a fast read and that definitely helped me reach the final page easily. I’m not a fan of reading in Dutch, but I liked this story well enough and it was interesting to see what loss and grief can do to a person. Not perfect, but well developed and I definitely appreciated that there almost wasn’t any romance included in the plot.

8. Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/07
I’ve become a huge fan of Kay Hunter in the short time I’ve gotten to know her, and this book is no exception. This might just be my new favorite! Although it’s hard to pick favorites when all the books are good… The writing is excellent, the plot well developed and this one definitely has some shocking surprises in store. Like an explosive ending? This one will more than deliver that. SO good!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to clean out my NG shelf so Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint is next. And as I’ve been saying I need to read more Agatha Christie, I’m starting with Hercule Poirot book number one The Mysterious Affair At Styles. Also, as I’m trying to read all the books on my monthly TBR for the second month in a row, I want to pick up The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott. My newest TBR jar pick is Thin Wire by Christine Lewry, a memoir about a woman addicted to heroin and her mother. I’m having a feeling it’s going to be a tough read, but the blurb sounds pretty good.


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Friday Finds #144 – August 11th

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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