ARC REVIEW: Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters – by Emily Carpenter

Title: Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters
Author: Emily Carpenter
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: October 20th 2020
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Finished reading: October 12th 2020
Pages: 332

“Sometimes you’ve got to tear something down before you can build it back up again.”

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

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I’ve enjoyed Emily Carpenter‘s books in the past, although I confess that I haven’t read Burying The Honeysuckle Girls yet myself. I didn’t realize this newest story was set in the same era, but fortunately Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters works perfectly well without reading that story first. I was intrigued as soon as I read the blurb; both the historical setting and Dove’s character sounded absolutely fascinating. And while somehow I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I thought I would, I can’t deny that the premise alone will make the heart of any historical fiction fan beat faster.

Like I said, I really liked the premise and idea behind this story. Especially the historical part set in the 1930s; you can clearly see that the author researched the era thoroughly and the descriptions make it feel as if you stepped into a time machine. I also liked the symbolisms and the significance of and reference to the hawthorn tree throughout the story. It’s always a nice touch when the title can be connected to the story in multiple ways! I do have to say that I found parts of the story to be quite slow and even repetitive. This haltered pace made it harder to properly enjoy the story, and the repetitions did the same… Especially the whole mention of the coin over and over again became really annoying.

The story uses a dual POV structure as well as a dual timeline. We have the part set in the 1930s with Dove, and the part set in the present with Dove’s granddaughter Eve… Dual timelines can be tricky for me, as I tend to prefer one over the other, and that is exactly what happened here. I found Dove’s POV to be considerably stronger and way more intriguing than the present timeline. Not only is her character and development that much more fascinating, it is the historical setting that steals the show and Dove just seems to be so much more important as a character in the first place. Eve came over as a bit bland in comparison, and I found the present POV in general to be quite slow and repetitive with the coin hunt and constant repetitions of how she feels about her grandmother and her having to care for her family. She definitely lacked that spark her grandmother seemed to have…

I wasn’t a fan of the whole religious angle, but I know that is a personal pet peeve of mine and I probably should have investigated more before reading this story. Luckily Dove’s chapters weren’t just focused on the religion, and boy has she an absolutely fascinating history! I definitely applaude her resourcefulness and ability to survive. It was interesting to slowly uncover her secrets through Eve’s POV in the present, although I did see quite a few of the plot twists coming. The ending was also a bit too convenient for me… All in all sadly Reviving The Hawthorn Sisters wasn’t my favorite title of hers, but that might just have been me. Most people do seem to enjoy this story better, so if you enjoy historical fiction and don’t mind a slower pace and repetitions in parts this might just be a great read for you.


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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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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Betrayal – by Lilja Sigurðardóttir #RandomThingsTours #Orentober @RandomTTours @Orendabooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Betrayal Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I loved my time with the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy, so of course there was no way I could resist a new stand-alone written by the same author. And it turned out to be another solid piece of nordic noir! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: Betrayal
Author: Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 4th 2020
Pages: 276
(Originally written in Icelandic: ‘Svik’)

“If only it was as easy to delete people in real life as it was on Facebook.”

*** 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 loved my time with the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy last year, so of course I couldn’t wait to try more of Lilja Sigurðardóttir‘s writing. This time around we have a stand-alone to enjoy with Betrayal, and it is without doubt another solid piece of nordic noir. Get ready to transport yourself to Iceland and enjoy an intricate and multi-dimentional story! Fans of the genre will have a great time with this one.

The Icelandic setting really shines through, and I loved how the translation stayed true to the original Icelandic names. On that note, a round of applause to Quentin Bates for the flawless translation and for enabling us to read this piece of Icelandic fiction in the first place! Betrayal is essentially a multi-dimentional story with a multiple POV structure and various different storylines in play. We have our main character Ursula and the focus on her work as a minister, we have Gunnar as her driver and bodyguard, we have the cleaner Stella and the LGBT angle, we have Petur and the mysteries around the past as well as the present… Lots of different angles and different storylines to keep you busy along the way. And of course that all important question: who is ‘the devil’ and what did he do?

There are multiple heavy elements in play… We have Ursula’s background with her work for Doctors Without Borders; the ebola in Liberia and the bombings in Syria. We have the rape case where a police officer is accused of rape and the case doesn’t seem to be investigated properly. We have the politics element and possible corruption. We have the stalking case and all it entails. We have the mystery around the death of Ursula’s father and Petur’s character in general. We have the alcoholism and addiction element. We have the cheating… And more. This seems like a lot of different elements to try and squeeze into just one story, but somehow it worked in Betrayal and I liked how the different elements were incorporated into the plot. It’s true that I’m never a fan of the whole cheating angle in a story and Ursula’s character let me down a bit because of it, but that is just a personal pet peeve I guess.
It was interesting to see the different storylines and characters develop over time. As the threats on Ursula’s character seem to increase, so does the tension and suspense and it was interesting to see those secrets and lies slowly unravel. Betrayal definitely ends with a bang too, and I like how our main character isn’t afriad to hand out a punch. Betrayal raises important questions about politics, how rape cases are handled and about women in power positions in general… And how the media can destroy a person in the blink of an eye. It is fascinating to see those small betrayals and lies building up and escalate until the situation really gets out of control… Betrayal is an excellent piece of nordic noir and perfect for fans of the genre who like diverse and complex reads.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.


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ARC REVIEW: Dead Perfect – by Noelle Holten

Title: Dead Perfect
(DC Maggie Jamieson #3)

Author: Noelle Holten
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: October 16th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter
Finished reading: October 1st 2020
Pages: 448

“The overcast sky and spittle of rain hitting her face on the way into work that morning almost seemed to perfectly reflect Maggie’s mood that day.”

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

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I’ve been a fan of this series and its main character ever since I read the first book last year, and I’ve been looking forward to meet up with DC Maggie Jamieson and the others again. Dead Perfect is already book number three of the series, and while it technically can be read as a stand-alone, it would be easier to properly connect with the characters in play if you have the background information provided by the previous two books. Both are excellent and absolutely worth your time in the first place!

Dead Wrong ended with cliffhanger of atomic bomb proportion, and book three continues right where the second story left off. This surge of adrenaline sets the tone for the rest of the story, and Dead Perfect will definitely have some disturbing scenes for you in store. The story is told with the help of a multiple POV structure, which is used to learn more about (among others) Maggie and Kate as well as the killer and the motives behind the crimes. There will be personal developments as well as a new case to investigate, and it will definitely hit close to home this time around… The pressure to solve the case seems even higher with one of their own at stake, and it shows in the level of suspense. We have the Living Doll element, the stalker case, kidnapping, murder; things will get hot and dangerious along the way, and the clock never stops ticking.

I do have to say that I felt a bit bummed that I guessed the identity of the killer almost immediately. I kept hoping I was wrong, but that didn’t turn out to be the case and I ended up feeling quite disappointed because of it. There definitely seems to be a bit of a lack in other viable suspects this time around… I also wondered about how credible it would be for Maggie to keep investigating a case when someone she has such strong feelings for is involved. Even if she says she can keep her feelings under control, I feel it would be a conflict of interest to do so? Anyway, while I still think Dead Perfect is a solid crime thriller, it’s not my favorite of the series so far. The ending left me wanting for more though! Oh yes, this one ends once again with a cliffhanger… You’ve been warned.


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Confessions On The 7:45 – by Lisa Unger #blogtour @HarlequinBooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the Confessions On The 7:45 blog tour! A huge thanks to Justine Sha for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger‘s writing in the past and I was intrigued by the promise of a Strangers On The Train element, so I simply couldn’t resist this story. And it definitely turned out to be an intriguing read! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: Confessions On The 7:45
Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Park Row
Finished reading: September 24th 2020
Pages: 368

“You can’t con someone who doesn’t want something, who wasn’t willing to wade into a gray area to get it.”

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

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I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger’s writing in the past and I admit that I was intrigued as soon as I saw the mention of an Strangers On The Train element in the blurb. Confessions On The 7:45 managed to grab my attention immediately, and I have been looking forward to dive into this story. And it most definitely turned out to be an unique, multi-dimentional and intriguing read! If you like psychological thrillers and are looking for a little something different that packs a punch, this story is a great choice.

There are so many layers, secrets and plot twists in Confessions On The 7:45 and I’ve decided to keep my rambles short as to not spoil the fun of peeling away all those layers yourself to discover what is underneath. Trust me, this is a story where it’s best to go in blind so you can fully savour the complexity of the plot and the twists! True, I do have to confess that I found the story to be quite confusing initially, as there are a lot of different POVs in play and there are even multiple identities of the same character as well as the story switching back and forth between past and present. It was quite hard to place all those different storylines initially, but once you get the hang of the basic situation you will find yourself hooked.

What initially seems like the typical psychological thriller with the complicated home situation and the cheating (an element I confess I’m never a fan of), ends up being so much more… The cheating is almost lost in the background as more urgent storylines and events take their spotlight. We have a missing person case, we have the mysterious meeting in the train, we have multiple characters with a tragic background, we have the con element… Nothing is as it seems, and while I did guess some of the twists, there were also other reveals I never saw coming.

The placement of all those different layers, plot twists, secrets and different identities is more than solid. It definitely keeps the tension and suspense in the picture, and Confessions On The 7:45 is a story that will keep you on your toes as you try to fit all the different pieces of the puzzle together. I wasn’t really a fan of the characters though, but the uniqueness and complexity of the plot mostly made up for that. Confessions On The 7:45 is a multi-faceted story that will be a perfect fit if you are looking for something different.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 (Oct. 2020). With millions of readers worldwide and books published in twenty-six languages, Unger is widely regarded as a master of suspense. Her critically acclaimed books have been voted “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today showGood Morning AmericaEntertainment WeeklyAmazonIndieBound and others. Her essays have appeared in The New York TimesWall Street JournalNPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Author Website // TWITTER: @lisaunger // FB: @authorlisaunger // INSTA: @launger // Goodreads

BUY LINKS

Harlequin // Indiebound // Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Books-A-Million // Target // Walmart // Google // iBooks // Kobo


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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: Flowers For The Dead – by Barbara Copperthwaite

Title: Flowers For The Dead
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: September 2nd 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 17th 2020
Pages: 353

“It is the aftermath that normally catches people out, of course. They get too caught up in the moment, the build-up, and don’t bother giving a thought to what will happen after they have killed someone.”

*** 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’ve read and enjoyed various of Barbara Copperthwaite‘s psychological thrillers in the past, but somehow this earlier title had slipped between the cracks of mount TBR until now. Thanks to Bookouture republishing Flowers For The Dead and putting it on my radar again, I’ve now finally had the chance to meet Adam! And boy, he must be one of the most interesting serial killers I’ve gotten the chance to meet to this date, and probably the first that won over my heart and I felt really sorry for. Wait, feeling sorry for a serial killer?! Trust me, once you read Flowers For The Dead and get to know Adam, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Flowers For The Dead uses a multiple POV structure, although the two main POVs can be seen as Adam and Laura. Detective Sergeant Michael Bishop plays a smaller, but still important role too, but his perspective isn’t as developed and pales next to the other two. Adam’s POV is further divided into the present and flashbacks to his past and childhood where we get to know him better and the flashbacks also help to understand how he became the person he is today. Reading about his childhood is both shocking and heartbreaking; like I said before, this might just be the very first time my heart went out to a serial killer character. Laura’s POV is an interesting contrast to Adam, and we also get some glimpses to the past as she relives the car crash that killed the rest of her family. The main focus is on the present though, with what is happening to her. It was fascinating to see the two POVs collide and complement each other; slowly working toward that big finale.

This story incorporates quite a few difficult topics, including (child)abuse, stalking, grief, mental health issues and of course the crimes themselves. Each element is well incorporated into the plot, and plays its role perfectly. An element that also really stands out in Flowers For The Dead is the use of flowers as symbols and messages. I really liked how it was incorporated into the plot throughout and not only had a special meaning for the main character, but also had a mention at the start of each chapter. This element really made this story stand out for me.

The writing itself is engaging, and makes it really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. In combination with the building suspense and escalation of events, you will have a hard time letting go of this story! And I most definitely didn’t see those final developments coming. Flowers For The Dead is an excellent serial killer thriller where the focus is on the serial killer and the victim rather than the detective angle for once. Perfect for fans of darker thrillers with an excellent character development!


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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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