ARC REVIEW: Finding Grace – by K.L. Slater @bookouture

Title: Finding Grace
Author: K.L. Slater
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: February 14th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 10th 2019
Pages: 253

“I keep constantly wishing – willing – for the chance to make different decisions and of course it doesn’t work. I should’ve learned by now.”

*** 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’m sure most of you will know by now that K.L. Slater is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors and I always squeal a little whenever a new title comes out. And guess what? It’s that time again! Oh yes, a new psychological thriller is coming to the stores very soon and what an absolute scorcher at that! K.L. Slater has truly outdone herself with her newest story Finding Grace, and I’m already having a feeling it will appear on my list of 2019 favorites… Such suspense! Such twists! If you like nailbitingly good psychological thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, look no further because you have found something new to read. I literally cancelled all plans, sat down and devoured Finding Grace in one sitting. Yes, it was just THAT good. You can never go wrong with her books, but this one might just be my new favorite… So, what’s to like? First of all, it’s the writing style which is just as solid, engaging and fabulous as always. You get not one, but TWO chilling storylines and secrets and mysteries to unravel… Flashbacks to sixteen years ago are mixed with the current dreadful situation, done in such a way that greatly enhances the suspense without things becoming confused or slowing down the pace. My heart went out for all of them and I just had to keep turning those pages to find out both what happened to Grace and what happened with Lucie all those years ago… And trust me, I definitely didn’t see the reveals coming. Plot twist bomb after plot twist bomb will be dropped on you as you get more tangled up in the web of secrets and lies. They just keep coming! And trust me, some of them are seriously shocking. Finding Grace ticked all the boxes for me and more, and I can 200% recommend it to any fan of the genre. It’s simply a must-read!

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Lucie and Blake agree to let their daughter Grace walk home alone from a friend’s house just down the street for the first time just after her ninth birthday. She’s been asking for a long time, and they decide to finally give in thinking they can watch her walk between both houses the whole time. But they were wrong… Somehow, Grace never makes it back home. And despite the police and local community stepping in immediately, Grace doesn’t reappear… She seems to have vanished into thin air. What happened to her?

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Finding Grace is definitely a great way to start the year with a bang. Well written, intriguing, suspenseful, complex and nailbitingly good: oh yes, say hello to my very first 5 star read of the year! I’m a big fan of her work in general and this one might just be my new favorite. What seems to be another kidnapping case at first glance turns out to be so much more… With a lot of extra layers, flashbacks and twists to form a properly complex and well executed plot. You will want to clear your schedule for this one, because it will be VERY hard to stop reading before reaching that final page.


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ARC REVIEW: Lies Between Us – by Ronnie Turner

Title: Lies Between Us
Author: Ronnie Turner
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 1st 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Finished reading: September 18th 2018
Pages: 384

You miss the truth in its brutal, disgusting form. Far better to only see the sweet picture. But by missing the small things, you miss everything. Everything.

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

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First of all, it’s SO exciting to see another fellow book blogger getting her book published! I’ve been looking forward to read Lies Between Us ever since I first saw that cover, and there is no doubt that this is a very cleverly constructed psychological thriller debut. I admit it was a slowburner for me for reasons mentioned below, but above all the potential shines through and I will already be looking forward to what she will come up with next. Let’s talk a bit about my experience with Lies Between Us. Like I said before, I admit it took me some time to get used to the multiple POVs and I was confused as to how everything fit together at times. Especially the second person POV took some time getting used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s badly written or doesn’t fit the story. In fact, it only enhances the dark and slightly disturbing feeling around this character and adds to the overall suspenseful atmosphere of the book. There is no doubt that Lies Between Us is a complex and very cleverly executed psychological thriller that will keep you on edge. I did guess come of the twists though and some of the names are misleading… Those who have the chance to read this debut will probably understand what I’m referring to (don’t want to give away any spoilers!). Also, I was left with some questions after the final page, and would have liked to have some details explained to avoid the confusion. Still, Lies Between Us was a very satisfying psychological thriller with one heck of a creeper as one of the main characters… Talk about getting a look inside the head of a very disturbing individual! Fans of the genre will have a great time read this one.

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Three people with very different lives will soon be crossing paths under circumstances nobody wants themselves to find to be in. They all have something in common, although none of them know it yet… But the truth will not stay hidden forever. John has had a comfortable and happy life so far, but this is about to change as his daughter goes missing. Maisie is a nurse in a hospital and very dedicated, but hides a very traumatic experience in her past. And Miller has been struggling ever since he was little to fit in and be a ‘good boy’. How will they react to the things that happen to them and how does everything connect?

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While a slowburner for me, once I got the hang of the story I found myself to be absolutely hooked. Lies Between Us is a well crafted and complicated psychological thriller with multiple POVs and flashbacks that will keep you on your toes as you try to take everything in and fit everything together. The writing is solid and especially ‘Miller’s character development is extremely well done and spot on; he sure will give you goosebumps before the story is over. And despite a few minor problems mentioned above, I enjoyed spending time with Lies Between Us and it is without doubt a very promising debut.


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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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ARC REVIEW: Blood Runs Cold – by Dylan Young @bookouture

Title: Blood Runs Cold
(Detective Anna Gwynne #2)
Author: Dylan Young
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 16th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: April 18th 2018
Pages: 331

“I don’t know if that’s normal, but when you’re caught up in it, trying to understand, you read and research and watch. Sometimes until your blood runs cold.”

*** 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 stumbled upon this new detective series earlier this year and I admit I was sold as soon as I heard the word ‘serial killer’. But Detective Anna Gwynne has proven to deliver so much more than that. With a mix of a cold case and a current investigation, a kickass detective to lead the investigation and some very disturbing and twisted plots and suspects, this series is a treat for every true detective thriller fan. I myself am completely hooked, and found Blood Runs Cold to be even better than the first book. The fact that the lead detective in this series isn’t the typical ‘disastrous past/personal life’ character and instead has a very unique personality that helps get things done is truly refreshing. And the same thing goes for the cold case angle and the fact that the investigation of Anna and her team start with reinvestigating a cold case. But not only that, on top of the refreshing lead character and investigation angle there is also an extra subplot with a very twisted and dangerous captured serial killer in the spotlight… Mix it all together, add another creeper of a suspect and a jumbo-pack of plot twists and you will find yourself a recipe for one hell of a ride. Like in the first book, Blood Runs Cold managed to convince me right from the start and I was unable to funcion normally until I reached the final page and found out the truth. This both has to do with the engaging writing style, pace, plot and plot twists and of course with the fact it’s really easy to like Anna and her team (I’m not talking about the new member though!). In short, I can highly recommend this sequel! Detective Anna Gwynne is worth introducing into your lives.

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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…

Detective Anna Gwynne is back at work and investigating a cold case involving the kidnapping and murder of the young Rosie Dawson. They reopened the case after new evidence showed up years later, and they are determined to find out who is behind her death this time. The new evidence isn’t a lot; an old photo of Rosie posted on a chat room on the Dark Web… But enough to start looking, and when they find a possible connection to an active kidnapping case, they are desperate to solve the puzzle before it’s too late.

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I really enjoyed my first meeting with Detective Anna Gwynne back in January, and this sequel has only reaffirmed my love for this series. From the engaging writing style to the characters, plot and plot twists… Blood Runs Cold is action-packed, suspenseful and will chill you to the bone. You will not have dealt with one, but TWO serial killers by the end of this book! And on top of that, the whole cold case angle is fascinating as well as the cybercrime element. There is a lot to love in Blood Runs Cold and while I couldn’t stand a certain new member of the team, this is all forgotten with everything else that is going on. Anna Gwynne to the win! I will definitely be waiting impatiently for the next one.


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ARC REVIEW: Scared To Death – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Scared To Death
(Detective Kay Hunter #1)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 3rd 2016
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: April 5th 2018
Pages: 380

“She’d never baulked at the horrors her job entailed, but it was this, this human element that kicked her in the gut and kept her focused.”

*** 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 know, I know, I’m kind of late to the Kay Hunter party, but better late than never right? I’ve been meaning to pick up this detective series for a long time now, and winning wonderful Meggy‘s giveaway turned out to be the perfect excuse to do so. A huge thank you to Rachel Amphlett for not only sending me the giveaway prize of the fifth Detective Kay Hunter book, but also giving me access to the previous books!

Ever had that feeling you have a million books you should get to first, but a different title keeps calling your name and you just HAVE to drop everything and read that one instead? That is exactly what happened with Scared To Death. True, I have been meaning to start this series for ages after numerous glowing reviews, and somehow seeing the first book near the top of my kindle library just made it impossible to resist any longer. About time as well, because I am now kicking myself for waiting this long. Say hello to another new favorite detective series! Oh yes, it didn’t take long for me to figure out my feelings for the Detective Kay Hunter series and consider me completely and entirely hooked. Why? First of all, Scared To Death has everything I look for in a detective thriller. Well written, fast-paced, an interesting plot with lots of twists, a healthy dose of suspense, a creepy suspect/killer and a strong investigation… This first Detective Kay Hunter book ticked all those boxes and more. Another thing that stood out for me was the main character Kay Hunter. Not only is she very easy to like, but she has a very strong personality and lacks the overly dramatic and disaster personal life a lot of (female) lead detective seem to suffer from. Sure, she has her background and problems (some details I am really curious to learn more about), but overal she has an almost ‘ordinary’ life and I can’t stress enough how refreshing that is. Furthermore, the case her team has to investigate is without doubt an interesting one, and soon turns out to be more complicated than they imagined. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse and violent/graphic scenes, but nothing too extreme and the elements helped set the right atmosphere. The title of this first book is spot on! What a way to start a story… I can highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys detective thrillers. I myself can’t wait to pick up the next one!

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Detective Kay Hunter and her team are called in after the body of a teenager is found in an abandoned building. It turns out she was abducted days ago, the parents only finding out later when they came home from vacation… And out of fear for the life of their daughter, they never contacted the police before it was too late. The general opinion seems to be to treat the case as a kidnapping gone wrong, but Detective Kay Hunter isn’t so sure. What really happened to the teenager and who is behind the kidnapping?

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Every once in a while you come across a series and/or a main character that manages to convince you from the very first chapter. Scared To Death and Kay Hunter are a perfect example of this feeling. I knew I was going to love this detective thriller almost right away, and not just because I knew fellow bloggers with a similar taste did. There is just something about the writing style and perfect use of suspense that will manage to hook you straight away. And I’m so glad I finally got to meet Kay Hunter! She is hands down one of my new favorite female detectives and the fact that she is both a strong female lead and doesn’t have a completely destroyed personal life was truly refreshing. The case itself was intense, slightly disturbing and had just the right amount of twists to keep things exciting. Without doubt a worthy crime thriller!


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ARC REVIEW: Proof Of Lies – by Diana Rodriguez Wallach @EntangledTeen

Title: Proof Of Lies
(Anastasia Phoenix #1)
Author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Finished reading: February 23rd 2018
Pages: 400

“People don’t become powerful without having secrets.”

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

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I have stumbled across this series recently after I was invited to join the blog tour for the sequel. I love myself a good spy thriller and I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Proof Of Lies. An international setting, conspiracy theories… Can it get any better than that? This is definitely my kind of story and decided to dive into the first book straight away. I confess it took me a little while, but as soon as the story changed setting I was completely hooked. Where the story starts out a little slow despite everything that happens, the second half was that fully made my heart race. Partly because it was set in Italy and the descriptions of the different places were very well done, but also because of the non stop action and plot twists as Anastasia is trying to find her sister. The first part set in the US did serve very well as an introduction and base line which the rest of the plot stands on. Another thing I really liked (probably the philologist in me speaking here) were the introduction of (mainly) Spanish phrases into the text. I did detect some spelling mistakes, but it’s always tricky when it comes to foreign languages in texts. The mention of local food was another nice touch, although I do have to say that even though I’m Dutch I had never heard of ‘spekdik’ before. Might just be me though… As for the characters, I kind of have a weak spot for Marcus, probably because he’s from Madrid and I spent some time there studying abroad. And I agree with Anastasia: I do love a Spanish accent. Talking about Anastasia though, I think she is the main reason I couldn’t rate this story higher than I did. Instead of feeling sorry and rooting for her, I found myself rather annoyed by her dramatic, whiny and dramaqueen attitude. I can understand feeling low after all that happened, but she really took it to extremes… The constant ‘I can’t have anything positive happening to me while my sister is gone’ and ‘I shouldn’t be flirting for the same reason’ and the crying in general really were too much for me. And as for the romance… The romance itself wasn’t as bad, but Anastasia’s attitude towards it was. One moment she was all over him, then the next she’s all cold and distant because it’s not fair to her sister… What about the other person in the equation? Ugh. The writing really flows though and makes it easy to keep turning those pages. And while I had my guesses, the plot twists and conspiracy theory elements are well executed and mostly managed to surprise me. Also, that ending! I will definitely be looking forward to the sequel to find out what happens next. In short, this YA spy thriller is fast-paced and entertaining and perfect for fans of the Embassy Row and The Conspiracy Of Us series.

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Anastasia Phoenix has been moving all around the globe ever since she was little, her scientist parents being transferred multiple times over the years and taking their two daughters with them. Their latest home in Boston became a lot more permanent when both parents die in a car crash, and Anastasia’s older sister Keira is left to take care of both of them. But now Keira has disappeared and the police presume her dead… The only one who believes she is still alive is Anastasia, and she is determined to find her. But that is easier said than done…

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I have a weak spot for both an international setting and the whole spy/conspiracy theory element, so reading Proof Of Lies was an easy choice. Both these elements were what made this first book of a new series into a succesful and entertaining read for me. While I can’t say I liked the main character, not only because she is over dramatic and whiny, but also because she is quite naive and doesn’t seem to care about possible consequences of her actions, I somehow still very much enjoyed reading about her search for her sister. The non stop action and international setting in the second half definitely had a lot to do with that. I did wonder about the credibility of it all (A teenager in Europe without supervision?? Everything that happens to them in general??), but I guess at least the second part can be explained away by the conspiracy itself. All in all without doubt still a very entertaining read and I will be looking forward to read the sequel.


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ARC REVIEW: Vanishing Girls – by Lisa Regan @bookouture

Title: Vanishing Girls
(Detective Josie Quinn #1)
Author: Lisa Regan

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 17th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 21st 2018
Pages: 334

“You can’t always be all roses and sweetness,” she had always told Josie. “That don’t get shit done.”

*** 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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Bold and striking: two words that describe the cover perfectly. And these words apply to Vanishing Girls itself as well, because this new detective series goes all out and buries you under a mountain of intense and action-packed scenes. I picked up this thriller on a Saturday afternoon and found myself to be so utterly engrossed I completely forgot I had other things to do. The writing style is engaging and allows you to jump right in. There is a lot going on in Vanishing Girls and there is not one boring minute with the non-stop action and plot twists getting thrown right at you. That said, I almost felt there was too much going on and I started to doubt about the credibility of it all. I’m not saying I didn’t love this story, especially since I like my thrillers dark, intense and suspenseful, but still… Especially the final part felt a little bit too close to the credibility border. The main character Josie Quinn is without doubt another interesting one and a perfect example of a kick ass female detective. The fact she is on a suspension and doing her own investigation anyway adds a little something extra, and I like how well fleshed out and rounded her character felt. There are a few cliches involved, like the complicated and dark past and personal life in general, but Josie Quinn is mostly forgiven for those cliches as she bulldozers through the secrets and lies and gets things done. I do wonder how things could continue on the same level after such an explosive ending, but I’m definitely curious and will be coming back for more. Intense, fascinating, disturbing, suspenseful… Thriller fans, read this book!

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When seventeen-year-old Isabelle Coleman goes missing, the whole town of Denton helps looking for her. But their search turns up nothing but the girl’s phone… That and another girl they didn’t even know was missing. The girl is unresponsible and it is clear she has been through hell and damaged beyond repair. Detective Josie Quinn only gets a name from her: Ramona. Who is Ramona and what does she have to do with the missing girls? What is really going on in Denton?

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If you like dark, intense, action-packed thrillers, you will be in for a treat with Vanishing Girls. The case described in this first book of a new detective series is both disturbing and fascinating, and this story is not for the weak-hearted. Trigger warnings are in place for violence, abuse and graphic scenes! Vanishing Girls is without doubt my kind of thriller and I had a blast following this rollercoast ride. The plot is so packed with action and twisted that it’s on the border of credible, but there is no doubt you won’t find a boring minute while reading this one. The main character Josie Quinn is on fire in this one!


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