YVO’S SHORTIES #186 – We Were The Salt Of The Sea & Anxious People

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Today is translated fiction day with two translations… The first, We Were The Salt Of The Sea, somehow sadly didn’t work for me at all, but I absolutely loved my time with Anxious People. No surprise here, as I adore everything Fredrik Backman writes in general…


Title: We Were The Salt Of The Sea
(Enquêteur Moralès #1)
Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: 2014
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 25th 2020
Pages: 300
(Originally published in French: ‘Nouse étions le sel de la mer’)

“Sometimes all we want is for time to stop catching up with us.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here, but I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again? I’m still surprised as I’ve never had an Orenda miss before and fellow bloggers seem to love We Were The Salt Of The Sea… But somehow this story just didn’t seem to work at all for me. It might just have been the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact this that I really struggled with both the writing style and plot in general. Somehow, I was never able to connect to the writing, and the catch phrases of some of the characters (‘Heee’ and ‘Christ in a chalice!’) REALLY got on my nerves after a while. Instead of making it easier to recognize the characters, it only made me like both the characters and the story considerably less… Always a complication but even worse in a mostly character-driven story. And as much as I loved the setting and the many descriptions of the sea, the plot was a bit all over the place for me as well. On top of this, We Were The Salt Of The Sea also included one of my mayor pet peeves: cheating. I never react well to this element and although this is a personal reaction, it made me dislike Morales considerably. It didn’t really help improving my reaction to the story in general either… All in all We Were The Salt Of The Sea definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, but most people do seem to enjoy it a lot better so don’t give up on my account.


Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 25th 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 3rd 2020
Pages: 336
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Folk med ångest’)

“Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”


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This was easily one of my most anticipated releases this year and I simply couldn’t wait to pick it up… I know that I am a bit biased when it comes to Fredrik Backman‘s books, but I absolutely adored every single minute I spent with Anxious People. There is just something about his writing and humor that is a match made in heaven for me and this newest story has once again shown me why he is one of my absolute favorite authors. He is an absolute master in creating flawed and strangely likeable characters, and we have another fantastic cast in Anxious People. True, there are a lot of different characters in play here, but each is so unique that it is really easy to keep them apart… And they all add there little something to the plot too. I liked the structure of the plot, with different POVS mixed with police interviews with the different witnesses. You are kept in the dark along with the police officers about what really went on inside that apartment, and I thought that the different twists and the hidden identity of the bank robber was cleverly done. Humor and heavier elements are blended perfectly, and I found myself snickering more than once along the way. Fredrik Backman‘s characters have once again won over my heart and this is hands down one of my favorite stories I have had the chance to read this year.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #185 – Maria In The Moon & Clap When You Land @Orendabooks

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a double dose of contemporary with two absolutely outstanding reads: Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.


Title: Maria In The Moon
Author: Louise Beech

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: August 15th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 27th 2020
Pages: 280

“But even with four aces, I always chose to lose.”


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I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since I first tried her work last year, and I’ve been saving her final backlist titles for special occasions… I thought that Orentober month fitted the bill perfectly! Sadly the blogging slump prevented me from writing a lengthy glowing review in time, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Maria In The Moon absolutely deserves one. While I do confess that initially I wasn’t 100% sure about this story, it soon snuck up on me and it managed to bowl me over completely in the end. The Beech effect has struck again! The writing as well as character development is once again of an extraordinary quality, and the plot itself all powerful, raw, shocking as well as heartbreaking. Maria In The Moon is memory loss as you never saw it before, with a plot and characters that will continue to haunt you long after you reach that final page… Not an easy read, but absolutely worth it in the end. If you enjoy heavier/darker fiction with wonderful writing as well as excellently developed characters, Maria In The Moon should definitely be on your radar.


Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 5th 2020
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Finished reading: November 1st 2020
Pages: 432

“Fight until you can’t breathe, & if you have to forfeit, you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win.”


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Both The Poet X and With The Fire On High simply blew me away, so I have been eagerly anticipating her newest story Clap When You Land… And I can now say that my expectations were more than met; what an absolutely stunning read! The fact that the story is told through free verse, the glorious writing, the two sisters, the Dominican Republic setting and culture references, the plot itself… There is so much to love in Clap When You Land and it is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long time. I love that the story switches between Camino and Yahaira’s point of view to help us get to know both sisters. It was interesting to see both girls react to the news of the accident as well as see how different their lives are… Especially the chapters set in the Dominican Republic had glorious descriptions that really made the setting come alive for me, but I loved the fact that the culture really shines through throughout the story. I also loved the little Spanish phrases and words thrown in, as they gave the story that extra authenticity without making it too hard for non-Spanish speakers to at least get the gist of what is being said. Clap When You Land is a story of family, loss, love as well as hope, and I personally devoured every single page of that delicious free verse writing. Stunning, unique, powerful and emotional, and absolutely worth the read!


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BOOK REVIEW: We Begin At The End – by Chris Whitaker #buddyread

Title: We Begin At The End
Author: Chris Whitaker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: March 26th 2020
Publisher: Zaffre
Finished reading: October 27th 2020
Pages: 464

“You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved.”

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This was an impromptu buddy read pick with Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog… I’m so glad we decided to read We Begin At The End together, because it turned out to be the perfect buddy read and I think I was able to treasure this story even more by reading it more slowly and being able to discuss it along the way. I definitely understand the love for this story now… It’s been a week and I’m still struggling to get a proper word on paper; such is the power of this book! I confess that I went in blind (something I tend to do to avoid spoilers) and I wasn’t sure what kind of story to expect, but I ended up being completely bowled over by this story. It’s such a raw, emotional and simply heartwrenching read! I’ve decided to keep this review short as I’m not only lost for words to describe my experience with this stunning story properly, but it is also one of those books where it’s best to go in with a blank slate so the experience is even more rewarding.

While it is true that Nicki and I both struggled to get a grip on the story initially, it wasn’t long before Duchess, Robin and the rest of the cast wormed their way into my heart and I started to understand why more than one fellow blogger calls We Begin At The End their book of the year. The story uses a multiple POV structure and switches between past and present, creating a multi-dimentional story with a rich cast of intriguing and well developed characters. As the present storyline started to unfold, the emotions starting to get more intense and my heart went out for poor Duchess and little Robin. Walk is likewise a fascinating character that will win you over quickly, and he makes for the perfect link between past and present.

I love that We Begin At The End doesn’t reveal it all straight away, and that you only slowly learn more about exactly what happened in the past as well as what is happening in the present as the story evolves over time. We had a great time speculating on Twitter what would happen next and if we would be right with our suspicions on certain things that happened… And it is always a bonus when it isn’t easy to guess where the story is going. The plot development in general was excellent, and we most definitely didn’t see those final reveals coming! There was plenty of room for shocking twists that broke my heart a little each time… Heartwrenching and emotional indeed! Trust me, you will need a dose of something sweet long before you reach that final page, as Duchess and Robin’s story will keep smashing your poor heart with a sledgehammer along the way. The journey is absolutely worth it though!

We Begin At The End was the perfect buddy read and an absolutely stunning story that I cannot recommend enough. It is an extraordinary as well as highly emotional journey that will leave you a blubbering mess long before you reach that final page… Make sure to have some tissues and chocolate at hand just in case!


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ARC REVIEW: The Last Resort – by Susi Holliday

Title: The Last Resort
Author: Susi Holliday
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
First published: December 1st 2020
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Finished reading: October 28th 2020
Pages: 300

“It’s easy to paint a picture of happiness on your social media channels, when in reality you’re dying inside.”

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

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I’ve been meaning to try one of Susi Holliday‘s books for ages now, so I jumped at the chance to read her newest story The Last Resort early. I always love a good locked-room mystery, so I fully thought I was going to find a new favorite with this story after reading the blurb. Unfortunately, it wasn’t ment to be… And sadly the actual story didn’t live up to the blurb at all for me. I’ll try to explain briefly why below; it’s hard to talk about this story without giving away any spoilers and I don’t want to spoil the fun for those who find this story to be a better fit.

Like I said before, I still love the idea behind The Last Resort. I’m a sucker for a good locked-room mystery and this element is definitely present with the seven main characters being ‘trapped’ on a mysterious island. I don’t think the element itself reached its full potential though… Part of this probably had to do with the characters, which sadly were considerably unlikeable. I can live with unlikeable if they are at least interesting and well rounded, but most felt like stereotypes and there were a lot of cliches involved. I wasn’t able to connect to them at all, so I honestly didn’t care less about what happened to them… So the whole suspense around them possibly being in danger was lost to me.

As for the science fiction element… I love a good futuristic technology element when done right (I’m looking at you, John Marrs), but in this case I felt this element lost its mark. Sure, the whole memory-tracking device itself sounds intriguing and adds that technology and science fiction vibe to the typical locked-room thriller. But once again I hoped it to be a bit… I don’t know, more exciting? More thrilling? I can’t put my finger on what exactly would have worked better for me, but I do know that this element didn’t do the story any favors in its current state.

That said, I do have to say that if you look at the writing alone I can’t deny that it’s well written and easy to read. Despite the fact that I wasn’t actually enjoying the story and the pace was quite slow in points (for a story which such a fascinating blurb, nothing much happened most of the time and it was mainly focused on the cast of unlikeable characters), I did somehow finish this story rather quickly. This has a lot to do with the writing itself, so I will definitely try more of her work in the future to see if my reaction is different. The Last Resort, sadly didn’t work for me though, and not in the least because of that over-the-top and rather absurd ending… But I guess your reaction could be completely different depending on how you react to the main characters, pace and the science fiction element.


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ARC REVIEW: The Chalet – by Catherine Cooper

Title: The Chalet
Author: Catherine Cooper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 31st 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Finished reading: October 18th 2020
Pages: 400

“For many years I’ve managed to live a normal life, thinking I’d escaped what happened in the past.”

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

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There was just something about the blurb of The Chalet that made it impossible to resist the invitation to read this debut… It might have been the setting in the French Alps, it might have been the mystery around the missing man and the promise of secrets and a potential killer… But my instincts told me I was most likely going to enjoy my time with this story. Thankfully my instincts didn’t fail me! The Chalet turned out to be a multi-layered and entertaining thriller with a setting that makes for the perfect backdrop for this story. Fans of the genre will have a great time with this one.

The Chalet is mainly set within the La Madière ski resort in France, and the many descriptions of the setting definitely made it come alive for me. The snow, the brutal weather, the chalet, the bars with its mulled wine, the ski resort in general… It almost feels like a little vacation in the form of a book, and I love it when a story is able to make me feel as if I were traveling myself. The cold winter weather is also the perfect backdrop for this story, with a man going missing in the middle of a storm and the bad weather affecting the characters in the present too. It gave the story a hint of foreboding and definitely added to the suspense.

The Chalet uses a multiple POV structure as well as switches between past and present. Not only do we slowly get to see what happened back in 1998, but we also get flashbacks of a little girl with a very difficult home situation back in London as well as multiple POVs set in the present. While initially this might seem a bit of a struggle, it is quite easy to keep the different POVs apart and I liked how the plot itself was developed. While I did see some of the twists coming, I didn’t mind too much as the plot was interesting and layered enough to keep you focused.

As for the characters… I can’t say that I actually liked them, but as a whole they make for an interesting enough cast of characters to follow. The multiple POV structure might also work in favor of the story here, as you never spend too much time with one character to actively feel annoyed by some of the actions and plot developments. The writing itself is engaging and makes it really easy to keep turning those pages. I literally finished this story in less than a day! I will be looking forward to read more books by this author in the future.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Nesting – by C.J. Cooke #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Nesting Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I admit it was cover love at first sight when I first heard about this book, but it was the promise of a gothic thriller set in Norway that sealed the deal for me. And it definitely turned out to be a winner for me! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: The Nesting
Author: C.J. Cooke
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 29th 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: October 6th 2020
Pages: 416

“What they don’t realize is that nature has been around much longer than humans. We don’t understand it, not really.”

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

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!! Happy publication day !!

I admit that it was cover love at first sight when I first spotted The Nesting, but the blurb itself had me fully intrigued as well. The promise of a gothic thriller set in Norway was simply irresistible… And I’m happy to say that the story most definitely ended up living up to that gorgeous cover for me. Eerie, atmospheric with a hint of the paranormal and a healthy dose of Nordic folklore… There is simply a lot to love in this modern gothic thriller.

The Norwegian setting is beautifully described as well as incorporated into the plot, and it made for the perfect backdrop for this story. You will find that eerie, dark and ominous vibe around the Nordic setting and the house itself, which sets the tone for the rest of the story and really complemented the plot. You will find yourself instantly on edge as soon as you arrive in Norway along with the main character, wondering what happened in the past and how this might relate to the present. I especially loved the incorporation of the Nordic folklore and how this element was used to add that eerie vibe as well as the hint at the supernatural. Likewise, I loved how big of a role nature itself played in it all.

The Nesting uses a multiple POV structure, which includes flashbacks with Aurelia’s POV, the past and present with Tom and the present with Lexi. While I do confess that the initial chapters with Lexi didn’t impress me too much, as soon as the story takes you to Norway I found myself to be hooked and the unique vibe of the story started to shine through. While I never did warm up to Lexi or Tom, they did make for fascinating characters to follow and the same goes for the rest of the cast. The mystery around Aurelia’s death and the flashbacks to the past were perfect to inject that supernatural vibe and it definitely gave the story that gothic and creepy feel. It was interesting to see especially Lexi develop over time and I also enjoyed seeing those secrets and lies slowly being revealed as the story evolves.

The Nesting is part supernatural with Nordic folklore elements as well as a ghost story, part domestic drama and part thriller, all dipped in a delicious horror sauce with ecological sprinkles. It’s without doubt a rich and captivating story with lots of different elements that add dept and intrigue to the story. I did have some minor issues with the plot and lack of connection to the characters, but the beautiful writing mostly makes up for that and the eerie atmosphere so present in most nordic noir stories is brilliantly developed as well. If you enjoy gothic thrillers and don’t mind dealing with unlikeable characters or stepping into the supernatural, The Nesting is an excellent addition for your wishlist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.J. Cooke is an acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist and academic with numerous other publications under the name of Carolyn Jess-Cooke. Born in Belfast, she has a PhD in Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast, and is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health. She also founded the Stay-At-Home Festival.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #180 – Dead Wrong & A Heart So Fierce And Broken

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two sequels, albeit two completely different genres. Dead Wrong turned out to be just the dose of crime thriller I was craving and A Heart So Fierce And Broken made me realize I really need to dive into the high fantasy genre more often again.


Title: Dead Wrong
(DC Maggie Jamieson #2)
Author: Noelle Holten

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 14th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter
Finished reading: September 27th 2020
Pages: 432

“She was always in awe of the landscape around some prisons and secure units. Beautiful on the outside, but housing evil behind the walls.”


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I really enjoyed my time with the first book Dead Inside last year, and I have been looking forward to continue the series ever since… I’m not sure why it took me this long to actually do so, but I guess that in a way I’m kind of glad I did now because that cliffhanger ending is nuclear!! Oh yes, Dead Wrong has the most shocking ending and I will definitely be diving into book three ASAP to find out what happened there. The ending isn’t the only exciting thing happening in this sequel though. While Dead Wrong has a slightly different feel than the first book due to the focus on the murder investigation this time around, both the psychology angle with criminal psychologist Kate and the probation angle with probation officer Lucy will make its appearance along the way. Both women give this crime thriller series a refreshing touch and I really liked the balance with the rest of the murder investigation team. We get to know main character Maggie a little better this time around too, and she is a great character to follow while you are trying to uncover the truth about it all. Dead Wrong will definitely have some twists and surprises for you in store! The writing reads like a train too, and if you are looking for a well written and suspenseful crime thriller, this series in general is an excellent choice.


Title: A Heart So Fierce And Broken
(Cursebreakers #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Finished reading: September 29th 2020
Pages: 464

“Choices are never easy. There are good and bad options, but the most dangerous is to not make any choice at all.”


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I really enjoyed A Curse So Dark And Lonely when I read it last year, so I have been looking forward to read the sequel ever since… It took me longer than expected to finally do so, but I ended up really enjoying my time with A Heart So Fierce And Broken too despite the slower pace in points. There is a shift in focus on the main characters in this sequel, but I actually liked spending more time with Grey instead of Rhen. While I did miss Harper, most of the other interesting characters of the first book take the spotlight along with Grey and a couple of new characters; some might be disappointed by this, but I personally didn’t mind. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I love Grey’s character, and I really liked new character Lia Mara and what she added to the plot. A bonus: no clear love triangle and instead a slowburn romance between two interesting and easy to like characters. I call that a win! On top of this, we have more magic, a fascinating creature (scraver) and a whole new complicated situation in Emberfall… And that ending!! I definitely can’t wait for book three now to see how things will develop next.


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ARC REVIEW: The Coast-To-Coast Murders – by James Patterson & J.D. Barker

Title: The Coast-To-Coast Murders
Author: James Patterson & J.D. Barker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 21st 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Finished reading: September 22nd 2020
Pages: 560

“Fire is one of the few things in life that can truly cleanse. Anything else is no better than slapping a coat of paint on a rusty car.”

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

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I actually received an invitation to read this title a few months back… I’m a big fan of J.D. Barker‘s writing, so there was just no way I was going to be able to say no to this one. I’m glad I didn’t now, because I ended up having an excellent time reading The Coast-To-Coast Murders! This story is part action thriller, part crime thriller and part multi-state serial killer hunt, all doused with a psychology angle, lots of violence and a huge pile of plot twists. An extremely intense thriller with a high voltage entertainment factor!

I’m going to keep this short to avoid spoilers, as it is the plot development and the plot twists reveals that make this story pop. The Coast-To-Coast Murders uses a multiple POV structure where we keep switching back and forth between the main characters in play. Most are set in the present and correlate with the plot development, but we also have a little something different with Megan’s statement written after the facts and some flashbacks to the past to add more dept to certain characters. The multiple POV structure keeps you on your toes and definitely adds that high level of intensity and movement to the story. It also gives us multiple angles on what is happening and definitely gave the story more dept.

As for the plot… I do have to say that the plot might be a bit over the top in points, and things can be said about the credibility of certain events. BUT. The Coast-To-Coast Murders has a very high entertainment factor if you are willing to overlook that, and it definitely almost reads like a Hollywood action movie. The multi-state serial killer hunt, the psychology angle, the fact that nothing is as it seems, the constant sense of danger and violent acts… There is a lot going on and it will most definitely keep you busy. This thriller might not be for everyone, but if you like your thrillers intense, fast and action-packed as well as gruesome, The Coast-To-Coast Murders is a great choice. It might be a bit long, but it’s all worth it in the end. The story definitely ends with a bang too!


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: A Song Of Isolation – by Michael J. Malone #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours @Orendabooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the A Song Of Isolation Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I’ve been wanting to try Michael J. Malone‘s stories for a long time now as I keep hearing fantastic things about his books. I even have a couple of his backlist titles waiting on my kindle, so I’m still not sure why I didn’t follow through with my intentions until now… But what I do know is that I mean to return to his writing ASAP after a fantastic first experience with his work. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts.

Title: A Song Of Isolation
Author: Michael J. Malone
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 17th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: September 18th 2020
Pages: 300

“Please. Live well. Be my revenge, Amelie.”

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

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I’ve been meaning to try Michael J. Malone’s psychological thrillers for quite some time now, and especially since as far as I can remember I’ve only seen positive reviews so far. I figured that joining the blog tour for his newest title A Song Of Isolation would be both the perfect way to ensure I finally tried his work and also the little push I needed to pick up the backlist titles I have waiting on my kindle as well… And now that I have finally sampled his writing, I am most definitely hungry for more. Atmospheric, compelling, powerful, moving, brutal, emotional… A Song Of Isolation will claw its way into your head and heart and it is a story that will stay with me for a long time.

The story is told with the help of a multiple POV structure that follows three different characters over time: Amelie, Dave and Damaris. On top of this, the story is divided into three different years… First we have the flashbacks Amelie experiences from her time in London back in 2010 that will help explain why she moved to Scotland. Then we have the part of the story set in 2015, where all three characters feature and most of the time is spent. This part includes some fascinating perspectives on Dave’s side including the day when Dave is first arrested, the trial and the chapters set in prison. Then we have Damaris and the effect the events have on her during and after the trial… And last but not least Amelie struggling to support Dave and her time in France afterwards. The last part of the story is set in 2019, and this is were everything comes together and the story will have more than one surprise for you in store.

Nothing is as it seems in A Song Of Isolation and you are constantly wondering about what is true and what ended up being a fabrication. As the truth about the whole situation is key in interpreting the story, it feels as if you are walking on a knife’s edge the whole time, and this suspense never went away. The story includes multiple difficult themes, including child abuse, the possibility of false imprisonment, dealing with the aftermath of negative press, stalking, mental health issues and grief. Each element is incorporated realistically and fitted very well in the story as a whole, rather than just being a little something extra designed to shock alone. I was especially intrigued by the questions this story raises about child abuse and possible false imprisonment. I’m all for believing the child and its accusations first to protect the child, but what if the accusations are wrong? This could utterly destroy the life of an innocent man, but on the other hand you don’t want a guilty predator to get away with what he did… This dilemma really messed with my head and it’s one of the reasons this story ended up having such an impact on me.

The psychological aspect in general and the development of the different characters in play is simply sublime. Each felt realistic, flawed and really added something special to the story; while not all were exactly likeable, I couldn’t help but feeling that urge to discover how they would evolve and what would happen to them. Especially those chapters set in prison were fascinating, and I love the chapters set in France too as the descriptions really made Bordeaux come alive for me… But A Song Of Isolation as a whole is designed to mesmerize. The writing itself is a true pleasure to the eye and mind. In fact, the only reason I didn’t finish it in one sitting is because I started it too late in the day and couldn’t afford an all-nighter… Because trust me, it was extremely hard to tear my eyes off those pages and stop reading.

A Song Of Isolation was my first experience with his books, but I will rectify that mistake soon. I have multiple of his backlist titles all ready and waiting for me on my kindle and I have no doubt that they will bring more hours filled with a fantastic reading experience. Fans of darker psychological thrillers NEED to read this one!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died and In the Absence of Miracles soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber &
Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.


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ARC REVIEW: The Minders – by John Marrs

Title: The Minders
Author: John Marrs
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
First published: September 17th 2020
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: September 11th 2020
Pages: 400

“It’s always what we don’t know about someone that piques our curiosity.”

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

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Speechless. Flabbergasted. Mind blown. Oh yes, John Marrs has done it once again and the holy guacamole is most definitely back!!! I know I might be a bit biased when it comes to his books; he’s easily one of my absolute favorite thriller authors and I’ve loved every single story I’ve tried so far… But there is no denying just how unique and original his stories are. The Minders is already the third book set in that same near future world with that sci-fi/dystopian feel, and it’s another fantastic story. Mind, this is officially a stand-alone story and you can quite easily without reading The One or The Passengers first as it’s no official sequel. BUT. Both books are absolutely brilliant as well and you won’t be able to spot references to those stories if you don’t read them first, so I can highly recommend just clearing your schedule and read all three if you haven’t already gotten yourself started.

So, The Minders. I’ve decided to keep these rambles short both because I’m still recovering from the massive book hangover this book gave me and because it’s simply one of those stories where it’s better to go in blind so you can fully savour the experience. The Minders is a bit of a mash up of a sci-fi, crime and action thriller all set in a near future world that seems surprisingly realistic and makes you worry about how our own future would look like. Why? Well, let’s just say that this particular future isn’t exactly a picnic, but at the same time a highly probable escalation of the present. This will put you immediately on edge and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat the whole time. I know I was!

The story uses a multiple POV structure where we switch between the different main characters in play. This might seem a bit much to handle initially, but trust me, it is absolutely worth it as you slowly get to know them better and understand the full scope of the situation. Each character is well developed and feels realistic; they might not seem exactly likeable, but they are each fascinating and their backgrounds explain perfectly why they would opt for a fresh start. The cast of characters is used to introduce a wide variety of different topics into the story, giving the story so much dept without it distracting from the plot itself. You will get crime, you will get violence, you will get emotions, you will get action, you will get suspense, you will get a psychological angle… The Minders is a true rollercoaster ride that will leave you breathless and shell shocked by the time you reach that final page. It’s a story that doesn’t fit into a neat box; a truly unique thriller with a sci-fi feel set in the near future that is destined to simply blow you away.


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