ARC REVIEW: Blink – by K.L. Slater

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Title: Blink
Author: K.L. Slater

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 16th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 26th 2017
Pages: 295
Rating 4,5qqq

“You don’t always know how you’re going to react to a sudden tragedy breaking your life into little pieces.”

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

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I have been looking forward to read another K.L. Slater book ever since I finished Safe With Me last year, and this second book simply blew me away. Her debut psychological thriller was already good, but Blink was just BRILLIANT. Basically I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time trying to figure out what was going on, and I ended up being SO wrong about everything. This title is without doubt psychological thriller at its best! Excellent prose, excellent plot and plot twists, excellent use of suspense, excellent character development… Blink has all the right ingredients for a great story. The main characters are maybe not all that likeable, but I personally didn’t care. The fact that the main character seems to be paralyzed and in coma but is actually awake is truly fascinating and adds another excellent plot twist to the story. I loved every single minute of Blink and it doesn’t happen often that a plot is able to mislead me that much. More than recommended if you like the genre!

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Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after school. The police were never able to find a trace of the little girl; there were no witnesses or evidence to give them a solid lead. But Toni belives her daughter is still alive. And as she begins to piece together her memories of the events around her daughter’s disappearance, the full story of her past begins to reveal itself… Will Toni find a way to make herself heard and find her daughter before it’s too late?

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This title will definitely appear on my list of favorite psychological thrillers. Blink basically has everything I look for in a good thriller and I enjoyed every single minute of it. The ‘paralyzed’ chapters and the flashbacks are without doubt intriguing and add an extra original touch… The plot twists are excellent and had me guessing until the very end. Some of them are so shocking you would have never seen them coming!


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ARC REVIEW: Those Who Lie – by Diane Jeffrey

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Title: Those Who Lie
Author: Diane Jeffrey

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: January 27th 2017
Publisher: HarperCollinsUK
Finished reading: January 17th 2017
Pages: ?
Rating 3,5qqq

“Everything looks the same, but everything has changed, she realises with a jolt. She has the strange impression that she has just stepped into someone else’s life.”

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

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Is it just me or has the whole amnesia angle been quite a popular angle in psychological thrillers lately? I personally don’t mind that much because I find it fascinating to read about, but it does get less original… Luckily in Those Who Lie, amnesia doesn’t actually play as big as a role as I thought initially. Sure, the main character Emily Klein suffers from mild amnesia after the accident and doesn’t remember the details around her husband’s death, but that is only minor compared to her very messed up past and her history with mental illness and eating disorders. Those elements turn her into what is basically the perfect unreliable narrator and an easy victim to anyone who wants to play with her mind. The writing was very enjoyable and the story itself quite intriguing, although I do have to say I kind of already guessed the ending about 60% into the story and it was kind of predictable. The lack of surprise put a minor damper on things, but I still found it enjoyable to find out all the details on both what exactly happened to Emily to made her into the person she is today and what really happened to her husband. If you are looking for an entertaining and fast-paced psychological thriller, Those Who Lie is definitely a great choice.

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When Emily Klein wakes up in the hospital, she doesn’t remember what happened to her or how she ended up in the hospital in the first place. Even worse, she doesn’t even know her husband has died until the day of his funeral… Apparently, the two were in their car and it crashed, but was it really a tragic accident or is there more at play? Emily is trying to piece together the events before his death and get her memory back. But does she really want to remember what is going on? Or are some things better left alone?

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Even though the ending wasn’t exactly a surprise, there were still quite a few plot twists that did manage to do so. And more importantly, the writing style was very enjoyable to read and I was able to finish Those Who Lie in record time due to its fast pace. The main character might not be all that likeable, but she is without doubt intriguing and I liked both her development and learning more about her past. All in all a worthy psychological thriller!


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ARC REVIEW: Witness – by Caroline Mitchell

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Title: Witness
Author: Caroline Mitchell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: December 20th 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: January 3rd 2017
Pages: 338
Rating 4,5qqq

“You come into this world alone, and you go out of it alone. As soon as you make peace with that, the sooner you learn there’s no point being afraid.”

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

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I wasn’t going to request any new Netgalley titles, but I had heard so many great things about Witness that I just HAD to click that button again. I’m so glad my fellow bloggers convinced me to pick up this title, because this newest psychological thriller by Caroline Mitchell turned out to be another more than excellent read that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Due to its well written prose,  full-speed pace, intriguing plot and many, many plot twists, I literally flew through the pages of Witness and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Sure, the main character Rebecca isn’t exactly reliable and I’m not sure I actually like her. Sure, I don’t exactly agree with the things see did. But that suspense, those twists! The plot is without doubt very original and you probably won’t see the ending coming. I kind of suspected something was a bit off, but definitely not THAT. If you are looking for your next suspense-packed psychological thriller, Witness is surely an excellent choice!

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What to Rebecca was a brave decision that would finally free her from domestic abuse, had enormous consequences for Solomon. Rebecca’s testimony locked Solomon away for ten years, but his good behavior gets him out early. Rebecca doesn’t know about his release; she left her old life without a trace to be able to rebuild her life and put the past behind her. But the past always finds a way to catch up… And one day, a phone rings in her bedroom, but it’s not hers. Solomon has been in her house, and left a very terrifying message. Let the game begin…

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Every time I think of the plot, I cannot stop thinking of how original, twisted and intriguing it is. I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers, but any fan of suspenseful psychological thrillers will appreciate Witness as a story. Sure, the main characters are not that likeable, but the writing is very strong as well as the plot (twists). It shows what someone will do to protect their own… And how the past always catches up in the end. More than recommended!


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ARC REVIEW: The Gift – by Louise Jensen

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Title: The Gift
Author: Louise Jensen

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: December 16th 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: December 21st 2016
Pages: 320
Rating 4,5qqq

“A heart is not just an organ. The heart stores secrets and lies. Hopes and dreams. It’s more than a muscle. I know it is. The heart remembers.”

*** 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 really enjoyed reading Louise Jensen‘s debut novel The Sister back in July, but I had so many other pending Netgalley ARC’s I didn’t immediately request a copy of her newest story The Gift. Big mistake! I’m so glad Donna convinced me to request my copy, because this new story was possibly even better. All those raving reviews were absolutely right to praise The Gift, because it is without doubt a very well written, original and exciting story. I have read many psychological thrillers this year, but this one stands out from the rest with both its original and refreshing plot and its excellent prose. The pace is fast, the mystery around Callie’s death is intriguing and I simply couldn’t put this story down until it was finished. I also liked the main character Jenna better than the main character in The Sister; Jenna makes a lot of reckless moves, but they are easily forgiven when you think about her situation. I don’t think I have read many stories where heart transplantation plays such a big role and it is without doubt one of the reasons I found The Gift such a refreshing psychological thriller. This one will without doubt appear on my list of 2016 favorites! If you enjoy reading the genre, I cannot recommend this author enough.

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Jenna is seriously ill and has lost just about all her hope of getting the heart transplant she needs to live on time. But just as she is giving up, she learns that a donor heart has become available. She receives her heart from a girl called Callie, and as she recovers Jenna wonders who her new heart belonged to. Who was Callie and how did she die? But as she becomes closer to the family, her death is becoming more and more suspicious to Jenna…

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I’m so glad I was convinced to request a copy of The Gift, because it has turned out to be one of the best and most refreshing psycholical thrillers I’ve read this year. It’s well written, fast-paced and has an interesting and original plot with many many plot twists you won’t see coming. It’s a true pageturner that will have you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride, and it’s without doubt one I can recommend to any mystery/thriller fan with my eyes closed.

ARC REVIEW: While You Were Sleeping – by Kathryn Croft

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Title: While You Were Sleeping
Author: Kathryn Croft

Genre: Thriller, Mystery
First published: November 16th 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 23rd 2016
Pages: 296
Rating 3,5qqq

“Lies and secrets are only ticking time bombs, waiting for the moment they can wreak the most havoc.”

*** 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 always enjoy a good thriller and I had heard great things about While You Were Sleeping and Kathryn Croft‘s work in general, so it was an easy choice. And I agree the story had without doubt an interesting premise and a lot of potential, but I don’t think it actually lived up to my expectations. I’m not saying it’s a bad read and fans of the genre will probably enjoy reading this psychological thriller. While You Were Sleeping started out strong and the mystery around Lee’s death is without doubt intriguing. That said, I did find part of the plot and plot twists either too farfetched or quite predictable. It made me enjoy the story less than I was anticipating, and the unlikeable characters didn’t really help either. Another thing that slightly bothered me was the unnecessary romance. I understand it was probably done to add a little suspense and more suspects to the case, but I found it distracting instead. Predictable plot twists or not, the ending was definitely a surprise. I’m not sure I was happy with it though… But I guess anyone who enjoys reading psychological thrillers will find While You Were Sleeping an entertaining read anyway. It does have a fast pace!

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Tara Logan has quite an ordinary life with her husband Noah and their two children Rosie and Spencer. That all changes when one morning Tara wakes up in her neigbor Lee’s bed with no memory of how she got there or what happened the night before… The worst part: he has been stabbed to death and there is blood all over the place. Tara panics and flees the scene. She is convinced she didn’t kill Lee, and decides to stay silent fearing her family will be torn apart if the truth comes out. But things are getting out of control anyway, and it seems like the truth might hit closer home than she thinks…

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While You Were Sleeping had a very promising start and in general it is without doubt a fast-paced and entertaining psychological thriller. I had a few minor problems with it, especially with the unlikeable characters, some of the plot twists and the unnecessary romance, but that doesn’t take away the case is quite interesting. Not perfect, but without doubt an entertaining read with a surprising ending.

ARC REVIEW: Before You Leap – by Keith Houghton

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Title: Before You Leap
Author: Keith Houghton

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: November 9th 2016
Pages: 302
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“Well-wishers will tell you that wounds heal over time. Don’t believe them. The only thing time heals is other people’s memories.”

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

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I have to admit I couldn’t believe my eyes when I received a message from Netgalley that they granted my wish and sent me a copy of Before You Leap. I’ve wanted to read this title ever since I first heard about it, so I’m glad I was given the chance to do so. Unfortunately, I did end up having mixed thoughts about this novel by Keith Houghton. It is without doubt a very interesting psychological thriller and I liked the general plot, but it wasn’t all good.  First of all, the prologue is a quite confusing and it took a long time before it started to make sense. I feel the start of Before You Leap would have been a lot stronger without the prologue, because it kind of feels more like a ‘filler’ than something that adds a little extra to the story. I liked the prose and creative descriptions, but the plot twists were all over the place. Some of the twists definitely add the right amount of suspense to the story, but others were a bit farfetched. The ending was quite predictable, maybe even disappointing, and Greg’s character development wasn’t that strong either. That said, I still managed to enjoy most of the story, and fans of the genre will most likely do so as well.

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Greg Cole hasn’t been the same since the murder of his twin sister, Scarlett. He escapes his old town and tries to start a new life in Florida. For years he seems to have succeeded, but old wounds are reopened when Scarlett’s killer is released early from prison with a cast-iron alibi. Greg realized his past is about to come back to haunt him. As a talk therapist, Greg knows all about dark secrets and he is not sure up to what point he can actually trust his own memories. His life is starting to come apart and he is starting to loose his grip on reality… Will Greg discover the truth before it’s too late?

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While Before You Leap without doubt has a lot of potential, I did have a few problems with it. The prose and general plot are without doubt intriguing and I liked the psychological twist as well, but unfortunately the prologue and beginning were quite confusing and it took me a while to properly understand what was going on. The plot twists in especially the second half were a bit weak and the ending wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be. It’s still an entertaining read though for those who enjoy the genre.

ARC REVIEW: Love You To Death – by Caroline Mitchell

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Title: Love You To Death
(Detective Ruby Preston #1)
Author: Caroline Mitchell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 11th 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 30th 2016
Pages: 315
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“She lived and breathed the streets, and would lay her neck on the line to protect its occupants. But how did she tell an idealist that the world was not black and white?”

*** 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 heard great things about Caroline Mitchell‘s books, so when I saw Love You To Death mentioned at Netgalley, I just HAD to request it. I had high expectations for this crime thriller, but unfortunately the story didn’t turned out to be as good as I thought it would be. I have been reading a lot of detective series lately and Love You To Death doesn’t really stand out from the rest. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to my opinion since most of the reviews I’ve seen are really positive, but it seems like I had a completely different experience. I had a hard time getting a proper feel for the story and the first part was a bit slow. That might just be because the POV switch between chapters was a bit confusing in the beginning though. That said, the plot and plot twists are great and Lucy has a lot of potential. She sure has a very twisted mind! I wasn’t really convinced by most of the other characters though. Especially Ruby felt a bit weak as a main character and I had a hard time warming up to her. Nathan’s role in the story makes for a nice twist, although I didn’t really appreciate the romance OR love triangle. In short, while not perfect, Love You To Death offers without doubt still quite an entertaining story with a very promising plot. And I definitely wouldn’t say no to reading the sequel either.

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Detective Ruby Preston and her team are called in after a body was found. And what seems to be an easy case, soon turns out into something a whole lot more complicated… And it seems like they are having a serial killer on the loose. Ruby and her team will have to find out who is to blame before the killer can strike again, but that’s easier said than done. The killer seems to be targetting women who gave up a child for adoption, but it’s a race against the clock to connect the dots on time. And when Ruby receives a sinister email, the case takes a terrifying personal twist… Will she be able to find the killer on time? And what secrets does she hide herself?

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The general plot and plot twists are without doubt excellent and the killer has a lot of potential as a character. Lucy is the perfect ‘crazy’ serial killer and without doubt carries a healthy dose of creepy with her. I actually liked her better as a character than detective Ruby, is that weird? The Ruby chapters are not as strong as Lucy’s, mostly because of the romance/love triangle and the fact that I found her a bit weak as a main character. Aside from that, Love You To Death is still a solid thriller.