WWW Wednesdays #172 – April 18th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Blood Runs Cold by Dylan Young and literally flying through it. It’s proving to be a worthy sequel so far. I’m about to start A Secondhand Lie by Pamela Crane (kindle freebie!) afterwards, which is a companion novella to A Secondhand Life I read last week  and I want to read it before I forget all the details about the story.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane (4/5 stars) REVIEW
If you like your thrillers fast, well written, suspenseful and with an unique touch, A Secondhand Life is the one for you. I personally loved the incorporation of ‘organ memory’ in the plot and how this element played such an important role in the investigation. I admit I didn’t really warm up to the main character, but her development is well done and my feelings for her didn’t influence my general feelings for the story. I was just too intrigued by the plot and twists to pay attention to minor details and possible flaws. A highly entertaining and addictive serial killer thriller with a twist, and without doubt worth reading.

2. The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer (4/5 stars) REVIEW
Historical fiction is mixed with a classic detective thriller, as a serial killer and air raid bombs fight for the title of ‘most feared’ by the inhabitants of the city of Dresden. The writing style and initial plot make it really easy to get a proper feel for the story, and the first half of the story is without doubt the strongest part of the book. I would have preferred a continued focus on the detective thriller side of the story, which felt a bit rushed in the second half. But I also understand the switch and need for a focus on what happened in Dresden during those final days and after. While not perfect, The Air Raid Killer is without doubt a great read for anyone who wants to read a WWII story with a slightly different focus and angle.

3. The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison (4,5 stars) REVIEW 19/04
I thought it was going to be hard to outshine The Butterfly Garden, since it’s one of the best/most disturbed serial killer characterizations I’ve come across. But somehow, I think The Summer Children is the best book yet. From a consistant and superfast pace to likeable and realistic characters, a well developed plot and another intriguing and disturbing case… This third book just ticked all the boxed for me. Add the joy of revisiting old favorite characters and their bantering, and you have a new favorite The Collector book. Can you guess already I can recommend this one if you can stomach the graphic scenes and child abuse triggers?

4. The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer (4,5 stars) REVIEW 20/04
DI Robyn Carter is one of my favorite detective thriller series and I always find myself looking forward to a new installment. Not only have the books a consistently strong writing, plot and plot twist development and interesting cases to lose yourself in, but there is also the mystery around Robyn Carter’s past that won’t let you go. The Chosen Ones has another shocking case and the final reveals will leave you wanting for more… And I think this fifth book might just be my new favorite. Recommended!

5. The Poison Plot by Elaine Forman Crane (DNF 31%; 0 stars) REVIEW 22/04
I really wanted to like this one because the promise of a murder plot, an 18th century setting and the blurb in general sounded fantastic. Sadly I had to end up DNFing it. Why? More in my review, but it had to do with both the writing style, general guesswork in a supposedly NON fiction read, overload of unrelevant and unimportant details unrelated to the key characters and the fact there is no proof whatsoever Mary ever poisoned her husband or that he was poisoned at all. Kind of destroys the purpose of this book, doesn’t it?

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have one pending May NG ARC left: Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley, and I’m hoping to get to it before I leave next week. Fingers crossed! I’ve decided to only read non ARCs during our trip, and will be doing shorties reviews when I’m back. Yay for getting to read backlist titles! I’m probably picking up The Book Of Lost Things by John Connolly first depending on the mood I’m in. I want to finally start with The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater; maybe bingereading the final three books depending on how I like book two. And I’m finally going to pick up my latest TBR jar pick Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider as well.


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ARC REVIEW: A Secondhand Life – by Pamela Crane

Title: A Secondhand Life
(Killer Thriller #1)
Author: Pamela Crane
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Tabella House
Finished reading: April 11th 2018
Pages: 314

“How could anyone determine one person”s value over another based on where they lived and how much money they had?”

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

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I like the way Pamela Crane writes, and I admit I was sold as soon as I hit that blurb. A serial killer AND the promise of ‘organ memory’ as one of the key elements in solving the case? How can I say no to that?! I had high hopes for A Secondhand Life and I found myself hooked as soon as I started reading. Honestly, I would have finished this killer thriller in one sitting if I would have had more time… It is without doubt a suspenseful and intriguing pageturner. The plot itself is an interesting one and both past and present play a role in putting together the story. I’m not sure I actually liked the main character Mia, but her development is interestingly done. And then I’m not even talking about the ‘organ memory’… I loved how this element was incorporated into the story and it was also interesting to find out how the author first came across this topic. This phenomenon of changes in personality and having memories of the donors after an organ transplant is simply fascinating. These memories and dreams are key in the plot of A Secondhand Life and definitely give this thriller an unique touch. The crime/investigation part is mix of cold case with new murders and has some graphic details, but nothing too gory. There are quite a few twists and turns as well, although I did had a hunch quite early on that turned out to be right. I didn’t guess the full truth though and the final reveals were definitely a surprise. I had a great time reading this one and I will be looking forward to read the companion novella A Secondhand Lie soon.

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When she was twelve, Mia Germaine lost her father and almost her own life as well in a car accident. She survived, but only after a heart transplant from a young murder victim… Or so she found out after twenty years, when suddenly Mia started having horrifying nightmares about an unsolved murder, triggered by the recent death of a teenager. She discovers that the dreams she is having are actually memories… Due to a scientific phenomenon called ‘organ memory’, she somehow has the memories of the girl that was killed on the night of Mia’s accident, the girl that saved her life by donating her heart. Mia is determined to find out the identity of both the girl and her murderer… But by doing that she might be putting herself on the radar of the serial killer that is currently on the loose.

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If you like your thrillers fast, well written, suspenseful and with an unique touch, A Secondhand Life is the one for you. I personally loved the incorporation of ‘organ memory’ in the plot and how this element played such an important role in the investigation. I admit I didn’t really warm up to the main character, but her development is well done and my feelings for her didn’t influence my general feelings for the story. I was just too intrigued by the plot and twists to pay attention to minor details and possible flaws. A highly entertaining and addictive serial killer thriller with a twist, and without doubt worth reading.


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WWW Wednesdays #171 – April 11th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane, and I’m absolutely hooked so far. I was in desperate need of a fast thriller after my last read, and this book is giving me exactly what I needed! Also, I’ve decided to put Het Laatste Offer (the final offer) by Simone Van Der Vlugt on hold for now, both because I have quite a few ARCs I need to get to first, I’m not really convinced by the story so far and I simply feel too lazy to read in Dutch right now. 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/04
Every once in a while you come across a series and/or a main character that manages to convince you from the very first chapter. Scared To Death and Kay Hunter are a perfect example of this feeling. I knew I was going to love this detective thriller almost right away, and not just because I knew fellow bloggers with a similar taste did. There is just something about the writing style and perfect use of suspense that will manage to hook you straight away. And I’m so glad I finally got to meet Kay Hunter! She is hands down one of my new favorite female detectives and the fact that she is both a strong female lead and doesn’t have a completely destroyed personal life was truly refreshing. The case itself was intense, slightly disturbing and had just the right amount of twists to keep things exciting. Without doubt a worthy crime thriller!

2. The Letter For The King by Tonke Dragt (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/04
This was my very first MG read of the year and a translation of an older (1962) Dutch publication. I thought I had read it before when I was a kid, but apparently I was wrong, because I didn’t recognize the story. That said, I think I probably would have enjoyed it a lot better back then. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just couldn’t get used to the writing style and tone and it took me ages to finish this one. I felt it was rather slow and dragged at points… This story is over 500 pages long and I think it would have worked better with a faster pace and 200 pages less. The story itself is interesting as well as the quest the main character is on; I liked the worldbuilding. But overall it was just too slow for me. The right age-group will enjoy this story a lot better though, as long as they don’t have a short attention span.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really need to finish some ARCs before I go on my trip, because the deadline falls during my planned hiatus time… There are now five in total (probably not going to happen…), but here are the three I’ll be trying to read next. First up is Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley, because I’m in the mood for thrillers in the first place. The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer is another translation and set during WWII, so fingers crossed it will be a good one. And I also need to read The Poison Plot by Elaine Forman Crane, although I have heard mixed things about it and I’m not sure if it will be the right time for me to try and read it (even though I miss the deadline otherwise) My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider, which I’ve decided to read during my trip on one of the many train/bus rides in between places.


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WWW Wednesdays #170 – April 4th

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 the first detective Kay Hunter book Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett, a title I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and I’m SO excited to be finally doing so!! I’ve also started my first Dutch read of the year, partly in preparation for our Europe trip, although I admit I haven’t been picking it up much so far. Het Laatste Offer (the final offer) by Simone Van Der Vlugt is a thriller partly set in Egypt, but I’m having a hard time getting used to the writing style and tone so far (although part of the reason is me not being used to reading in Dutch and feeling awkward when doing so. xD)

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Good Twin by Marti Green (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
There is no doubt whatsoever that The Good Twin has everything I look for in a psychological thriller and more. A well developed plot, interesting characters, just the right amount of suspense and plot twists to keep me guessing… And of course a writing style that is engaging and flows naturally. The premise of The Good Twin is fantastic, and the execution without doubt lives up to expectations. It’s easy to say I can recommend it to any psychological thriller fan. You will be in for a treat with this one!

2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
I’ve been meaning to read this one for years, but there has been such a hype around this title that I’ve been a bit afraid to actually pick it up. I read Armada first last year, and wasn’t really blown away… But I was still determined to read Ready Player One one day. And I’m so glad I did, because I loved it so much better! From the setting to the characters, the worldbuilding and the game references… Such a great, well written and entertaining read!

3. Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez (3/5 stars) REVIEW 09/04
I admit I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and mention of vikings. I’m a huge fan of the TV show Vikings and I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about vikings before, so I was really excited to by reading Jilliand. And it was by no means a bad read, just that it didn’t manage to blow me away. There was just something about the tone and writing style that felt a bit distant and made it harder to connect to the story. Also, I felt there were sudden changes between scenes that either didn’t feel natural or simply didn’t connect with each other. More than once I found myself wondering suddenly what was happening, where they were or who the story was talking about… Not a good sign. I also felt the characters lacked some dept.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read all the ARCs due during the upcoming hiatus, so I have three NG ARCS lined up next. The first is a translation of an older Dutch book I think I have read before: The Letter For The King by Tonke Dragt. It’s also going to be my first MG read this year! I’m also looking forward to A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane since the blurb sounds brilliant. The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer is another translation and set during WWII, so fingers crossed it will be a good one. My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider.


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WWW Wednesdays 169 – March 28th

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 started reading one my pending ARCs The Good Twin by Marti Green yesterday evening, and although it’s still early days, I’m having high hopes for this one. I’m also about to finally pick up Ready Player One by Ernest Cline… I’ve been saying this for ages, but now the time has finally come! Definitely looking forward to it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/03
I had high expectations for this newest DCI Erika Foster story and I’m happy to say those expectations were more than met. I enjoyed every single minute of Deadly Secrets! Book number six takes a bit of a different direction and Erika Foster is not as present as normal, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of action and a very interesting police investigation to follow. This case is another disturbing one that will lead to many misleading twists as the team is trying to untangle the lies and secrets that surround the life of the victim. Very much recommended for fans of the genre!

2. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/03
Wing Jones is a YA contemporary romance story with a twist. You will find a healthy dose of drama, with the main character Wing’s brother being in a coma after a car accident he was to blame for. There will be romance scenes as well, which can be distracting, but gladly at least did not include a love triangle. But the main element of Wing Jones, besides showing how they have to live with the aftermath of the accident, is running. I just love how important running is in this story and how Wing uses this newly found talent to try to move on and make a life for herself.

3. The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter by Julia Drosten (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/03
I really wanted to like this one and I still think the plot itself has a lot of potential. The worldbuilding and descriptions of the era and setting are thorough and it shows the background of The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter was very well researched. Sadly, I’m still on the fence about this one, as I didn’t manage to enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Part of the problem was the tone and writing style as well as the fact the story didn’t really flow… Which made it hard to properly connect to the story. The setting is fascinating though as well as the time period the story is set in with its consequences of the British invasion.

4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction in general and I hadn’t heard about the Wilhelm Gustloff incident before, so that was a double bonus for me. It truly shows in the little details just how well researched this novel is and the descriptions made it feel as if you were there yourself along with the characters.  I admit it took me a while to get used to the multiple POVs and remembering who is who, which slowed down the pace inicially, but each different character and POV does show a different view on the situation and add something to the story.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have two pending ARCs lined up next. The first, Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez, I’m super excited about since it’s a historical fiction read about vikings that made me think of the TV show Vikings immediately (which is a good thing, since it’s one of my favorites!). I’m looking forward to A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane as well since the blurb sounds brilliant. And I’m superhappy to be finally starting with the Kay Hunter series! I will definitely be starting with Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett ASAP. My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider.


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WWW Wednesdays #167 – March 14th

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 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, but it’s not the reading experience I was hoping for. I’m not saying the writing is bad, but the topic itself is making me very very angry and I think I would never have read it if I would have known exactly what this book was about. People might be offended by this, but I’m totally on Anna’s side here. She should NOT be treated as a walking human donor bank and just being pressured giving up everything and going through all those treatments just because her parents say so… It should be her choice and her choice alone. Honestly, the whole reason they had her in the first place makes me sick. I’ll finish it just to see how the second half of the book will go, but it’s not going to be a good rating for me.

I kind of want to pick up The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter by Julia Drosten instead and read something different… Although I might need something light and fluffy to calm me down first before I do.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Art Of Fear by Pamela Crane (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I had really high hopes for The Art Of Fear, especially after such an explosive and dark beginning. But sadly I was never able to warm up to the characters, and the multiple POVs and flashbacks slowed down the pace considerably and didn’t help keeping the tension. Like I said before, The Art Of Fear is by no means a bad read, but I don’t think it lived up to expectations either. There is a lot of potential though, and I did like the writing style. Graffiti Palace had all the potential to blow me away, but instead I was left struggling and feeling confused about it all.

2. Graffiti Palace by A.G. Lombardo (DNF at 49%, 0/5 stars) REVIEW
I’ve tried several times over the last two weeks to start reading Graffiti Palace, but unfortunately I have been struggling with it right from the very first page. The main thing that stood out for me was the writing style, which simply wasn’t for me. It felt confusing, chaotic, haltering… And it simply made it hard to make sense of it all. Some might call it literary fiction, colorful and exuberant prose, but the sad hard facts are that I personally found it a constant struggle to reach the end of each page.

3. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/03
As soon as I started reading Wink Poppy Midnight, I was blown away by the writing style. So so beautiful, mysterious and intriguing! The writing style is by far what stood out most for me in this book and it’s the only reason I’m giving this story the benefit of the doubt. Why the low rating, would you ask? I’m keeping things simple and give one main reason: Poppy. I understand we are not supposed to like her in the first place, but I absolutely utterly despised her character. This extremely negative feeling for Poppy ruined the reading experience for me and made it really hard to just forget about her and enjoy the other chapters.

4. The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/03
Powerful, inspiring, infuriating, heartbreaking, but also full of hope and forgiveness. The Sun Does Shine shows us how racial discrimination and prejudice helped send an innocent man to death row and keep him there for thirty years despite solid proof of his innocence. The pure injustice of it all makes you want to scream, but both his case and experience is very well documented in this memoir and makes for a painful, but inspiring, intriguing and very powerful read. I’m truly impressed by his views on life and his ability to be able to forgive the unforgivable. Highly recommended!

5. The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/03 
The Child Next Door is psychological thriller at its best. Just the right amount of tension, a rich plot and a healthy dose of twists and false leads, but also well rounded characters and a pace that is just right. To top things off, the writing style will make you want to keep on reading and you will have a hard time letting go. I didn’t see the ending coming at all, as it kind of came out of nowhere, but it was shocking as well. And like I said before, that final reveal left me both speechless and wanting for more. Recommended!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really need to read The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat, especially since I should have read it months ago… Sorry! I also want to read The Good Twin by Marti Green since it sounds so good. I might go for something different and read Wing Jones by Katherine Webber first though… And I have a new TBR jar pick: Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider. I haven’t been reading much summery books this Summer, so I might just pick this one up before the season officially ends down here!


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ARC REVIEW: The Art Of Fear – by Pamela Crane

Title: The Art Of Fear
(The Little Things That Kill #1)
Author: Pamela Crane
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 18th 2017
Publisher: Tabella House
Finished reading: March 8th 2018
Pages: 306

Everybody avoided the words the day your sister died, as if saying them aloud brought the curse upon themselves. Those words were the Lord Voldemort of my life.

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

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I had added this title to my wishlist when it was originally published last year, so when I saw it pop up on Netgalley scheduled to be published last month, I couldn’t resist requesting it. I know there have been mixed thoughts about The Art Of Fear, and honestly that cover makes me very uncomfortable. Am I the only one who thinks that expression on her face should be x-rated? Anyway, despite the doubts I was still looking forward to start this one. And I was literally blown away with the intense start of The Art Of Fear. What a way to start a story! It was hook, line, sinker and I quickly cleared out my schedule to be able to read this one without distractions… Sadly, this enthusiasm for the story didn’t stay. After such an intense, dark and thrilling start, I was actually a bit disappointed by the fact that The Art Of Fear didn’t turn out to be as fast-paced as I would have liked. Sure, there will be some very messed up twists and details thrown at you, but in general somehow the plot and pace just didn’t manage to convince me. The multiple POVs and flashbacks probably had a lot to do with the slower pace and lack of connection to the story. And honestly, I was surprised to find myself not invested at all in who would be behind it all. Also, trigger warnings are in place for rape, abuse, suicide and violence in general! The writing style did make it quite easy to read, and I really liked the inclusion of the Mexican bits. But as for the characters… I felt there were too much of them, making it harder to connect to them and I honestly I don’t think I ever did. Most of the characters are broken and have a lot of potential; there is no doubt they are intriguing, but not being able to connect to them made me feel less invested in the story. I could have done without the romance as well; it went so well during a lot of time I was already getting my hopes up I would be spared this time, but no luck. I’m not sure what to think of the ending either… Although I guess it shows potential for the sequel. The Art Of Fear is by no means a bad read, but unfortunately it didn’t manage to convince me either.

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Ari Wilburn’s life ended the day she watched her little sister die in a tragic accident and she was blamed for it by her parents and sent away. She has been struggling with life ever since, not really living, but as she joins a suicide support group and meets Tina, she starts to doubt her memories. Tina had been sold as a sex-slave when she was only six years old, but was able to escape and ended up where she ended up. When Tina finds her father dead, she suspects foul play and not suicide, and asks her new friend Ari to help her find evidence. But this might just be more complicated and dangerous than they would have thought…

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I had really high hopes for The Art Of Fear, especially after such an explosive and dark beginning. But sadly I was never able to warm up to the characters, and the multiple POVs and flashbacks slowed down the pace considerably and didn’t help keeping the tension. Like I said before, The Art Of Fear is by no means a bad read, but I don’t think it lived up to expectations either. There is a lot of potential though, and I did like the writing style.


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