ARC REVIEW: The Perfect Stranger – by Megan Miranda @MeganLMiranda @simonschuster

brtheperfectstrangerTitle: The Perfect Stranger
Author: Megan Miranda

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: April 11th 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Finished reading: January 6th / April 4th 2017
Pages: 352

“The story doesn’t truly begin at first, not when the person disappears. It begins when they are found. Emmy had disappeared, and now I felt like I was waiting for something inevitable, a clock that I had no power to stop.”

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

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Ever since I finished reading All The Missing Girls last year I’ve been an instant fan of Megan Miranda‘s writing style. She was on my list of favorite 2016 discoveries and you might already guess I added her newest thriller The Perfect Stranger to my list of most anticipated 2017 releases as soon as I heard about it. Just imagine my happy-dance when I was actually approved for an ARC a few months ago… And even though I normally read my ARCs closer to the publish date, I just couldn’t resist temptation when I got my copy and decided to make an exception for this one. I read The Perfect Stranger for the first time back in January and it ended up being my very first 5 star read of 2017. Because even though my expectations were set high after her thriller debut last year, Megan Miranda managed to outdo herself with her newest story. Well written, fast-paced, lots of plot twists, suspense, interesting characters… In short an excellent psychological thriller! I decided to wait with my review and reread The Perfect Stranger closer to the publish date, and I have to say I enjoyed the story just as much the second time around. I found myself hooked right from the first page and she is without doubt one of my new favorite authors of the genre. The way the author is able to build suspense, add plot twists and slowly reveal more about the characters is simply impressive. It’s unreliable characters at its best and it took me a long time to figure out what was the truth behind it all as everyone seemed to be having something to hide. There’s no ‘backwards’ plot this time for those who didn’t enjoy that aspect of All The Missing Girls, so if you like the genre there really is no excuse to not grab a copy of The Perfect Stranger. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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Journalist Leah Stevens finds herself in a tough corner after one of her articles causes her trouble. With a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit hanging over her head, she needs to get out of Boston and find a way to start over. Then she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, by chance and Emmy seems to have been looking for the same fresh start after ending a troubled relationship… She proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, and Leah decides she has nothing to lose. Leah is able to get a teaching position there and everything seems to be working out, until a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake… And not only that, Emmy disappears only days later. What happened to the two women?

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If you like suspenseful, well written and plot twist-filled psychological thrillers, you are in for a treat. The Perfect Stranger ticks all those boxes and more… And I’m not even talking about the gorgeous cover. I’ve read The Perfect Stranger twice now and the story still managed to keep me under its spell. Every main character seems to be having something to hide and you don’t get the full picture of what is going on until the very end. Suspense at its best!


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WWW Wednesdays #131 – April 5th

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 books; the first two being for the Beat The Backlist challenge because I have been neglecting this challenge terribly in March. The Color Purple by Alice Walker is a (modern) classic I somehow never picked up before and I’m still deciding what to think of it. And I’ve been wanting to read the sequel ever since I finished the first book, so I’m hoping to continue Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken as soon as I finish  the first. Although I might read the ARC sequel Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell first, because I’m in the mood for another thriller.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* I first finished The Yellow Envelope by  Kim Dinan, which didn’t turn out to be as good as I was hoping for. Instead of a travel memoir, it was more of a self-discovery journey and I had a lot of problems with the tone, focus of the story and (negative) cliches. More details in my review
* I then read the collection of short horror stories Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson, and it sure turned out to be a proper horror read. There are four stories in total and each is unique in its own way and represents a different subgenre. Warning: some of them have very graphic descriptions!
* The last book I was able to finish in March was History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and I can definitely understand why so many people seem to love this book. I enjoyed reading this book, although it kind of feels bad to say that since part of it is really sad. Excellent character development and loved the prose! Not a 5 star read as expected (it felt a bit messy), but definitely more than recommended for fans of the genre.
* My first April read was an ARC: Blood Moon by John David Bethel. The fact that this story is somewhat based on a true event is without doubt shocking, because the main character sure has to go through a lot. Interesting read with a lot of action and graphic scenes (warning if you don’t like those!), and I liked the use of Spanish even though there were quite a lot of mistakes.
* My last read was actually a reread: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. Back in January I couldn’t help myself and had to read this ARC as soon as I got a copy, and I decided to reread it before writing my review, since it’s going to be published soon. I enjoyed this thriller just as much the second time around. She is definitely one of my new favorite authors of the genre. I love LOVE her writing style.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are three more ARCs… All for the April ARC month. What Doesn’t Kill You by Ed James is a Netgalley ARC and part of a detective series I’ve been enjoying so far. Among Friends: Travels In Cuba by Heather Murray was sent by the author and sounds like an intriguing travel read. Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw is a Reading Alley ARC and will give me just the dose of fantasy I need (hopefully). I also still want to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult , probably after I finish these three ARCs though.


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WWW Wednesdays #119 – January 11th

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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?

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I’m currently almost finished with The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about this book and to be honest I was a bit afraid to pick it up, but the story has pleasantly surprised me so far. I like the main characters and the fact that they belong to different ethnicities rather than the typical stereotype ‘white-American’ main character. I guess as an immigrant in Argentina, I can really relate to some of the problems they have to face. As soon as I’ve finished it, I’m reading The Thankful by Jamie Campbell, an ARC set during WWII I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. I’m also still reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but I haven’t been in the mood for classics so I’m not sure when I will actually finish it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first picked up The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, a title that has been recommended to me over and over again and wasn’t able to pick up before the end of 2016. And boy do I wish I would have read it sooner! I can understand why so many people seem to love this story, because I’m now one of them. I was a little worried about the amount of religious talk included when I first started about it, but that soon went to the background. The story is exceptionally well written and basically an emotional rollercoaster. What an excellent way to start 2017!
* I then read a pending short story ARC I have been meaning to for too long, Americosis Vol. 3 by Haydn Wilks. I had forgotten just how weird and messed up this story is! In one word MADNESS, although you have to be in the mood to absorb such an amount of crazy action and weirdness.
* Afterwards, I picked up one of my most-anticipated-2017 releases, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, and it turned out to be just as good as I thought it would be. Well written, fast-paced, plot twists, suspense… Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and my first 5 star read this year.
* I then decided to pick up Mosquitoland by David Arnold on a whim; another title I have been wanting to read for a long time now. I literally flew through the pages, and enjoyed every single minute of the ride. Another well written story with interesting characters and (road trip) plot… Looks like I have been lucky with my reading choices so far!
* Next up was another pending ARC, That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially if they are set during or around WWII, but I wasn’t too convinced by this one. It took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story, although I cannot put my finger exactly on the why. It might have been the tone, it might have been the pace, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.
* The last book I picked up is You by Caroline Kepnes, a book that has been on my radar ever since I found out it had a serial killer element. I was so excited about this one, but to be honest I don’t understand why so many people seem to love this book. It might just be that this isn’t for me, but I had to make the tough decision to DNF it after only 5%. Between the annoying prose and constant swearing and sex talk/scenes, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have to Netgalley ARCs pending I want to get to first: Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey and Missing by Monty Marsden. I’m also searching for my next fantasy read, which will probably end up being Splintered by A.G. Howard since I’m in the mood for an Alice In Wonderland retelling. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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WWW Wednesdays #118 – January 4th

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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?

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I have been wanting to read The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda ever since my request was first approved, and words cannot describe how excited I am to be reading this story. I’ve only just started it, but I can’t wait to continue! I’ve also finally picked up Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which was about time since I have been posponing it for WAY too long.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, a coming of age story and modern classic that had a truly unique voice. The main character Molly is without doubt one of the most interesting characters of the contemporary genre I’ve encountered last year.
* I then decided to pick up After You by Jojo Moyes on a whim, mostly to have one less series on my still-to-finish list. I confess I wasn’t too impressed by Me Before You unlike most others, and I think this sequel was quite unnecessary and a lot weaker than the first book. The plot felt forced and the daughter was REALLY annoying.
* I then finally finished Point Of No Return by Martha Gellhorn, a novel that was first published in 1948 and then republished last month. It was a very interesting historical fiction read, although it did read a bit slow and I thought there would be more focus on the concentration camps… That final part felt a bit rushed if you ask me.
* My last book of 2016 was Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, an audiobook and a classic I enjoyed a lot better than I thought I would. It’s my first experience with the sisters’ work, but I’m definitely going to try and read more!
* My first read of 2017 was actually a graphic novel and ARC I was looking forward to: Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen. I had a lot of fun reading it and it was really easy to connect to the stories.
* The last book I finished is Witness by Caroline Mitchell, which turned out to be a more than excellent psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m probably going to read Bird Box by Josh Malerman next, depending on which genre I’m in the mood for. I also have the ARC That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson on my list, as well as The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. And I finally have a new TBR jar pick: The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.

WWW Wednesdays #117 – December 28th

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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?

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I’ve picked up another (modern) classic as I’m trying to finish a challenge: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. It’s turning out to be a fast and entertaining read, so I will probably finish it today. I’m also still reading Point Of No Return by Martha Gellhorn, a Netgalley ARC that has been republished last week but was actually first published back in 1948. I’m hoping to finish it before the end of this year, because it will bring me only one classic away from finishing my last pending challenge. And that classic I’m keeping my fingers crossed will be Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I’m listening to the audiobook version of this one and I’ve made quite some progress so far, so I’m hoping I will be able to listen to the last part while I make preparations for New Years Eve. I’m enjoying this classic so much better than I thought I would!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished is The Gift by Louise Jensen. As I’ve said in my review yesterday, I enjoyed this second book even better than her debut novel and she is without doubt one of my favorite new discoveries this year. Her stories are well written, fast-paced, have an interesting plot and basically keep you on the edge of your seat for the duration of the ride. I was hooked right from the beginning and I loved the refreshing angle in The Gift. Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller I can recommend to any fan of the genre!
* I then picked up What Light by Jay Asher, trying to make up for the fact I completely ignored the Christmas themed stories so far. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed by this story. Thirteen Reasons Why was such a strong novel, but What Light was basically a whole lot of cheesiness, cliches and drama wrapped in Christmas lights to make it appropriate for the holiday season. I liked the idea of the Christmas tree lot and I’m sure contemporary romance fans will love this story, but there was just SO MUCH DRAMA everywhere! It almost felt like an overdose, and not in a good way. The prose is easy to read though and it was quite a fast read as well.
* The last novel I was able to finish is From Sand And Ash by Amy Harmon. I finally know why so many people seem to love her work! I really enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel and it has without doubt a very strong plot… The pace slows a bit at points, but you forget all about that when you reach the final part. Make sure to keep your tissues ready! Amy Harmon both writes beautifully and is able to make you feel connected to the characters and the things that happen to them. It’s a haunting story that will keep with you for a long time… If you enjoy reading historical fiction, I can strongly recommend this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Since I probably won’t be able to start any new titles this year (I still can’t believe the year is nearly over!!!), my next reads will be the very first of my 2017 TBR. First up is The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, which I only haven’t read yet because I needed to read other titles first before the end of 2016. Words cannot describe how excited I am to be reading this one next week! I’ve also been convinced to pick up the Alice In Wonderland retelling Splintered by A.G. Howard next. I have been wanting to read another fantasy story anyway so it works perfectly. The Netgalley ARC Witness by Caroline Mitchell is also on my list… And my next TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott. (Yes, I’m quite ashamed I haven’t been able to pick up this classic yet.)

TOP 10 Favorite New Authors Discovered In 2016

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With this year almost coming to an end, I thought it was about time to look back at all those books I’ve read and all those amazing new authors I have discovered in 2016. Some of the authors on this list have published their debut this year, while others have been writing books for years and I’ve only started reading their work recently. But what all have in common is that they have written some pretty darn good books! ❤ ❤


1. VICTORIA (V.E.) SCHWAB

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There is simply no way I can talk about favorite new authors without mentioning this author and her work. I don’t know why I have started reading her books before 2016, but what I do know is that V.E. Schwab is now one of my all time favorite authors. Everything she writes is simply brilliant!! A Darker Shade Of Magic is still my absolute favorite, with This Savage Song coming in a close second. But both A Gathering Of Shadows and Vicious were excellent reads as well. I will be looking forward to the sequels that will be published in 2017!

2. FREDRIK BACKMAN

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Although this Swedish author has been publishing books for years, I’ve only recently found out about his work. Fredrik Backman has been all over the book blog community lately, and his work is worth all the hype around it. I read A Man Called Ove last month and completely fell in love with both the character, the prose and the humor used. Not many authors can make me laugh and cry with the same story, and he is without doubt one of my favorite new discoveries this year.

3. BLAKE CROUCH

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I was vaguely aware of this author and his Wayward Pines series, but with so many other pending series I never actually bought a copy of the first book. But then earlier this year suddenly Dark Matter was literally EVERYWHERE. I admit I don’t read a lot of science fiction; not because I don’t like the genre, but there are other genres I simply like better. But it was really hard to ignore this book after so many recommendations, and Dark Matter is definitely one of those books that is actually worth the hype. It was simply BRILLIANT.

4. SHALINI BOLAND

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I requested a Netgalley copy of The Girl From The Sea a few months back, and it turned out to be one of the best psychological thrillers I was able to read this year. Shalini Boland instantly made it to my new favorite authors list, so I was more than honored when she contacted me with the question if I wanted to read/review her newest book The Best Friend as well. it turned out to be yet another excellent psychological thriller, and I will definitely be looking forward to any new thriller titles.

5. MEGAN MIRANDA

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Megan Miranda is another author that became an instant favorite after reading a Netgalley ARC. All The Missing Girls is without doubt one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read and one I cannot recommend enough. I have just received a copy of The Perfect Stranger as well, which will be published next year, and words cannot describe how excited I am to be reading this book soon! 😀

6. TIFFANY MCDANIEL

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Did I mention already how happy I am that I finally signed up for Netgalley this year?! TIffany McDaniel is yet another Netgalley find, and it’s without doubt one of the most interesting and well written stories I’ve read this year. The Summer That Melted Everything is the author’s debut novel, and what a brilliant way to start!

7. ROBERT BRYNDZA

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned before the mystery/thriller genre is one of my favorites, and the books in DCI Erika Foster series always seem to deliver. And to be honest, I’m in awe with the pace Robert Bryndza is able to write and publish so many quality thrillers! The Girl In The Ice, The Night Stalker and Dark Water have all been published in 2016, and although the second book is my absolute favorite, I highly enjoyed all three of them. I will be looking forward to the next book of the series!

8. MAGGIE HALL

theconspiracyofusseriesTo be honest, I wasn’t to sure if this series was going to be for me…But besides the romance scenes I didn’t particularly care for, The Conspiracy Of Us is basically an example of what I would call a perfect read. A fast pace, easy-to-read prose, an interesting plot with just the right amount of plot twists, an international atmosphere, characters I can connect to… Check. Check. CHECK! I loved the first book so much I decided to read the sequel Map Of Fates straight away and trust me, that doesn’t happen often. The third book is one of my most anticipated 2017 releases… And Maggie Hall one of my new favorite authors.

9. HEATHER DEMETRIOS

I saw this book around a lot last year, but was afraid to read it because I thought it was going to be another sappy romance novel. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Heather Demetrios has made it to my new favorite author list with I’ll Meet You There, a well written story full of raw and honest emotions, flawed characters you cannot help but fall in love with and just the right dose of romance. I practically flew through this book and it’s without one of my favorite reads so far this year.

10. JULIE BUXBAUM

tellmethreethingsI always seem to be complaining about romance scenes I didn’t like, but there are authors that can make me forget I don’t actually like the genre all that much. Julie Buxbaum turned out to be one of them. Sure, Tell Me Three Things is in fact quite cheesy and even has the dreaded love triangle, but I fell in love with the story anyway. It’s the perfect ‘feel-good’ read and very very addicting.


I can’t believe how hard it was to narrow it down to just ten authors! I guess it’s a great sign I was able to read a LOT of excellent books this year though. 😉 Have you read any of these books? And what are your favorite new authors this year?

Friday Finds #111 – December 9th

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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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