ARC REVIEW: Bitter Falls – by Rachel Caine

Title: Bitter Falls
(Stillhouse Lake #4)

Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 21st 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: December 16th 2019
Pages: 336

“Women are always, somehow, to blame for the acts of men; that’s more true now than it ever has been.”

*** 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’ve been a fan of this series ever since the first book came out, and the first two books are on my list of all time favorites. Book number three, while solid, didn’t have that same wow factor for me and I was hoping that missing spark would be present again in book number four… But unfortunately I’m starting to think that maybe this series has been going on for too long, and maybe it’s just better to leave things as it is? Don’t get me wrong, I still think this series as a whole is brilliant and Bitter Falls is without doubt another solid read. BUT. I guess you can only have that many bad things happening to the main characters before it starts becoming REALLY unbelievable.

Like I said, I still think the writing itself is brilliant and Bitter Falls is without doubt an intense, twisted and thrilling ride. I still devoured every single page and the story once again had that unputdownable vibe, but I also started looking a bit more critical at certain aspects of the plot and that is never a good sign. Basically book four, like book three, misses some of that spark that turned the first two books into all time favorites for me. With everything that has happened already to Gwen, Sam and her kids, it is extremely hard to put together another believable plot and create a new life threatening situation they have to get themselves out of. The plot of Bitter Falls and its cult element is without doubt intriguing and definitely has that disturbing and twisted feel. It links back to things that happened in the previous book and gives us another backdrop for a story that will have your heart racing the whole ride. BUT. Like I also said, I started wondering about the credibility of it all and especially the ending felt a bit over the top. I’m still on the fence as to what to think of the second half of Bitter Falls… It was without doubt highly entertaining, filled with action, suspense and a lot of disturbing scenes, but unfortunately once again that wow factor I was hoping for wasn’t present for me.

In short: I had a great time reading Bitter Falls and it is without doubt a solid and simply thrilling crime thriller, but sadly didn’t live up to the sheer brilliance of the first two books. If you are a fan of Gwen Proctor and the other main characters and keep those expectations in check, you will find yourself having a great time though! A little note: this is one of those series that has to be read in order, because you will be missing out on too much background information and character development otherwise… And trust me, you definitely don’t want to miss out by not reading the first two books especially!


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WWW Wednesdays #247 – December 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 finally reading Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton for one of last week’s prompts for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge… And I’m also starting The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair. I really enjoyed the first book a few months back, so I’m looking forward to meet up with main character Dani Stephens again! Also, you might remember I was starting Good Omens last week… I read the first few pages and couldn’t get into it, so I’ve decided to put it on hold for now and picked a different title for the readathon instead.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/12
Tthere were things I loved in The Secret Messenger, including the WWII setting in Venice, its history and the story of the resistance and Stella’s story as a whole. There were also things that didn’t work for me, incluiding the slow pace during most of the story, the dual timeline and main character Luisa’s POV in general. As a result, I ended up having mixed thoughts about The Secret Messenger despite the fact that this story should have been a perfect fit, but fans of the genre should definitely give it a go as most people seem to react a lot better to the elements that didn’t work for me personally. I guess it was unpopular opinion time once again?

2. Snakes And Ladders by Victoria Selman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
As soon as I read the first line of the blurb on Netgalley I was sold. I mean: Psycho meets The Silence Of The Lambs… How on earth would I be able to resist that?! Add the promise of a serial killer and profiler angle, and I just HAD to add it to my shelves. I confess I wasn’t aware that Snakes And Ladders was actually the third book of a series when I requested a copy, but thankfully it turns out that this story works really well as a stand-alone as well. Fans of darker, complex and twisted serial killer thrillers who love a profiler and psychological angle will have a great time with this one!

3. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/12
Even though I wasn’t as impressed by the sequel when I finally read it a few months back, when I discovered I had to read an urban fantasy for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge my thoughts went to this series almost immediately. I decided to give Rory another shot, and see if the third book would make me fall in love with the series again… Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be and The Shadow Cabinet turned out to be the weakest link of this series yet.

4. Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/01/2020
The first two books of this series are on my all time favorites list, and I still think this series is brilliant, but I’m starting to think that maybe it’s just better to leave things as it is? Don’t get me wrong, the writing is still brilliant and it is without doubt an intense, twisted and thrilling ride, but you can only have that much stuff happening to the main characters before it starts becoming REALLY unbelievable. Book four, like book three, misses some of that spark of the first two books… I still devoured every single page, but I also started looking a bit more critical at certain aspects of the plot and that is never a good sign. This story will have your heart racing though!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I don’t want to fall behind with the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge, so I’m probably reading Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen next. When I saw the third chapter prompt mention a book with pink or purple cover, I KNEW I had to pick up my pink and fabulous copy of this one! Then it’s back to ARCs and I’m planning on reading two early January blog tour books: Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph and A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. I can’t wait to read both! My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I probably won’t be able to get to this year even though I’m looking forward to it…


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WWW Wednesdays #246 – December 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?

Between pending DIY projects around the house and the superhot weather (I’m talking close to 40°C here; I’d swap for cold and snow any day), I haven’t been able to read as much as I had originally planned… I was expecting to be finished with The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham by now, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be. I’m hoping to finish it today though! I’m also currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett for one of this week’s prompts for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge I’ve decided to join again this month. I still can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet! Afterwards I’m starting Snakes And Ladders by Victoria Selman, a title I’ve been excited to read after all the buzz around it.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Missing Letters Of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller (3/5 stars) REVIEW 07/01/2020
There was just something about The Missing Letters Of Mrs. Bright that made me want to read it instantly. I think it was a combination of the blurb itself and the comparison to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove; two of my favorite books with characters I absolutely adored. I might have set my expectations a tad too high, because somehow I didn’t end up enjoying this story as much as I thought I would…

2. How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/12
I’m probably the last person on earth to pick up How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, but somehow Dr. Seuss just wasn’t all that known in the Netherlands back when I was little… Or at least I never came in contact with his books (and trust me, I basically raided the library on a weekly basis back then). I’ve seen the movie adaptation multiple times, so I was very familiar with the story already, but finally being able to read the original book was an absolute delight.

3. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/12
I think a lot of you know by now I’m a huge fan of the Erika Foster series, so of course I just HAD to try his newest series ASAP. I was stoked when I received an ARC earlier this month, and I can now say that my first meeting with new main character Kate was an absolute success. What a read! I’m already having a feeling this series will be a new favorite…

4. The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/12
I always enjoy Carol Wyer‘s books and I’ve been enjoying my time with Natalie Ward so far, so the decision whether to read book number five was a no-brainer. It’s without doubt another solid sequel with an ending that left me completely shocked, flabbergaster and simply destroyed… Although somehow there were some things that started to get on my nerves, including quite a lot of complaining and nagging going on in book five. Especially those moments related to Natalie’s personal life… The Blossom Twins wasn’t my favorite of the series, but the ending definitely left me desperate to find out what will happen next in Natalie’s life.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up is my second book for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time so I’m happy I found an excuse to finally do so! Then it’s back to ARCs for a bit… First up is an most anticipated 2020 release: Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine. I can’t wait to dive into this series again! Afterwards, I’ll probably pick up The Rules Of Murder by Rob Sinclair… My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I’m hoping to read soon, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to it this year.


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ARC REVIEW: Wolfhunter River – by Rachel Caine

Title: Wolfhunter River
(Stillhouse Lake #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 23rd 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: March 30th 2019
Pages: 330

“My past is a wrecking ball. I’ve always known it was out there, rushing toward me. I just never imagined how much it would hurt when it finally hit.”

*** 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’m a huge fan of the first two Stilhouse Lake books (both were 5 star reads for me, and I don’t hand those ratings out easily), so it’s easy to say I might have screamed when I saw that an ARC of Wolfhunter River was up for grabs on Netgalley. I have been highly anticipating this third installment of one of my all time favorite serial killer thriller series… And this might just have been the problem, because while I still highly enjoyed my time with Wolfhunter River, I don’t think the story actually lives up to the first two books. I’ll try to explain why without giving away any spoilers. The first thing I wasn’t 100% convinced about was the plot. I’m not saying it’s a bad plot and there are definitely fireworks and a lot of action and violence involved, but the first part of the story went on too long about previous events and the Wolfhunter part was a little too much for me to consider it completely believable. Plot twists, flying bullets, conspiracy theories, a kidnapped little girl, a shady town… There is a lot going on and having all of this linked with Gwen Proctor and her family can get a little too much. The whole Lost Angels and secret past element is something that can go both ways for you, because if you think about it it can come over as a bit cliche. The writing is mostly on fire though and once I was past the first few chapters and the focus turned to Wolfhunter, I dropped everything I was doing and kept turning those pages to see how things would end. While I did started to doubt the credibility of it all and some things were just a little too farfetched to be believable (and the ending was just too convenient of a wrap up), Wolfhunter River was still a very entertaining ride with a lot of promise for the next book.

WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Gwen Proctor might be wanting to move on after being acquitted of helping her serial killer husband and then having to escape him all over again, but there are others who don’t believe in her innocence and want to make her pay no matter what. Gwen no longer wants to hide as she’s trying to build a normal life for her kids, but that is easier said than done as she still has a lot of enemies set out to destroy her. When a woman from Wolfhunter calls Gwen asking for help, she initially doesn’t take notice but soon sees it as a way to escape life in Stillhouse Lake for a little while… But things turn out to be way more dangerous and shady in Wolfhunter than she could ever imagine.

While I don’t feel Wolfhunter River was as good as the previous two books, I can’t deny I still highly enjoyed my time with this serial killer thriller. Suspenseful, twisted, explosive and lightning fast: once you get past the first few chapters and the setting changes to Wolfhunter, it will be really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. I had some doubts about the credibility of the plot and the way things wrapped up was a bit too convenient to my taste, but the story has a lot of promise for what it yet to come and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book.


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WWW Wednesdays #216 – April 3rd

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 two books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge, the first a backlist title and the second an ARC. I’ve heard mixed things about Release by Patrick Ness so I’ve gone in with low expectations and I’ll be crossing my fingers… And I’m excited to be reading another Carol Wyer title and to be meeting Detective Natalie Ward again in The Dare.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Tell The Wolves I’m Home is a (recent) historical fiction slash contemporary story with a focus on family, AIDS and death. Tough themes that are very tricky to get right and sometimes not that easy to talk about, but the 1987 setting made for a very interesting backdrop for this story. I can’t put my finger on the why, but while I did find the Tell The Wolves I’m Home a very interesting read, there was also something about it that didn’t work for me. Part of this might have to do with the main characters…

2. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
With this new story she has once again proven to me she belongs on my list of favorite authors. What a read! What really stands out for me is the uniqueness of the format of Daisy Jones & The Six. The story is told through a series of interviews with the different members of the band and a few others close to them. This is done in a way that you start wondering if your memory failed you and there really was a band called Daisy Jones & The Six in the seventies… The different characters really came alive for me and it felt like a real biography of a rock band with a very colorful history.

3. Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/04
While I don’t feel Wolfhunter River was as good as the previous two books, I can’t deny I still highly enjoyed my time with this serial killer thriller. Suspenseful, twisted, explosive and lightning fast: once you get past the first few chapters and the setting changes to Wolfhunter, it will be really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. I had some doubts about the credibility of the plot and the way things wrapped up was a bit too convenient to my taste, but the story has a lot of promise for what it yet to come and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book.

4. The Blue by Lucy Clarke (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
The Blue turns out to have been an excellent choice. As someone who has been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in the past, I love reading travel related stories. Add a destination I haven’t been able to visit myself and that is another bonus… And if you combine it with one of my favorite genres (suspense), the book and me most likely are going to get along. This is exactly what happened with The Blue.

5. The Silver Ladies Of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/04
I was really looking forward to this one as I loved The Getaway Girls last year, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be… I had quite a few issues with this story and surprisingly none had to do with the fact that contemporary romance normally isn’t for me. I’m going to try to keep things easy in my review, but it might turn out into a rant… You’ve been warned.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get a few ARCs in before the due date, so both Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon and The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia are up next. They both fit the prompts for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so that is a bonus. 😉 I’m also picking up The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows for the same challenge. My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’m hoping to read that one once my ARC schedule has cleared up a bit.


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WWW Wednesdays #214 – March 20th

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 finally reading The Dry by Jane Harper, an author I’ve been meaning to try for ages now and it’s definitely living up to expectations so far. I’m also starting my latest TBR jar pick Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt… I’m going to finish my Spanish reread of the fourth Harry Potter book Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego first though as I’m having too much fun revisiting their world.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (2/5 stars) REVIEW 
I really wanted to enjoy The Fourth Courier and it initially had all the signs I would. But between the chaotic plot, too many characters, sexist comments and negative stereotypes and cliches I ended up really disappointed by this story. I confess I probably would have DNFed if it wouldn’t have been an ARC… And I can’t say that reaching the final page was all that satisfying, with the forementioned negative comments and plot getting on my nerves every single page. Like I said before, I might have been the wrong target group here, so I suggest deciding for yourself if you want to give this story a try or not.

2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
While I did find it an entertaining read in general I can’t say the story managed to blow me away completely. It was fast-paced and the writing is engaging and really flows, but I found the plot to be quite predictable and I saw most plot twists coming from a mile away. This lack of surprise was a bit disappointing, but because I was warned before starting Then She Was Gone I already saw this coming.

3. Verity by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
While not my all time favorite CoHo, I still had an excellent time reading this story. Some parts were a bit predictable and I did see some twists coming, but I think the shock of that ending made me completely forget about that. What a way to mess with our minds and leave us hanging like that! It’s an open ending that will most definitely leave you wanting for more and second-guess what you just read and thought was true. And aren’t those just the best feelings when reading this genre?

4. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (2/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
There is one thing for sure: this story was most definitely not for me. Why? Let’s just say that the sheer amount of adult content and sexy scenes made me want to throw my kindle against the wall and run away screaming. I know this has everything to do with me and nothing with the book, but it did mean 99 Percent Mine and me started off the wrong foot… While I can normally tolerate a certain amount of steam if the rest of the story makes up for it (her debut proves that for example), I didn’t feel the plot or characters made up for those scenes in this case.

5. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 27/03
Look out for my thoughts during my stop of the blog tour on March 27th!! Spoiler: I really enjoyed it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up I Know You by Erik Therme next as I’m trying to make a dent in my NG shelves… And I’m not sure how much longer I can resist Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine as it’s one of my most anticipated releases, so I’m going to read that one soon as well even though I shouldn’t. I’m also thinking about picking up Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras as I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. And I have a new TBR jar pick! Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’ve been saying I was going to continue the series for years now, so I’m glad my TBR jar thought it was about time I really made that happen.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #39: Ink And Bone & The Mysterious Affair At Styles

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around another two titles for the Magical Readathon: O.W.L. Edition. The first, Ink And Bone, I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages, but wasn’t as good as I would have hoped after absolutely loving the Stillhouse Lake series. The second, The Mysterious Affair At Styles, is part of a promise to myself to finally start reading more of Agatha Christie‘s work… It was entertaining enough, but I still prefer her And Then There Were None.


Title: Ink And Bone
(The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: July 7th 2015
Publisher: NAL
Finished reading: August 15th 2018 
Pages: 352

“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”


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I have had The Great Library series on my TBR for way too long… After my love for the Stillhouse Lake books, I just knew I had to give in and finally try more of her work. And let’s be honest: who can resist after that cover and blurb? I had really high expectations when I started reading Ink And Bone, and this just might have been the problem here. I was really surprised it took me a long long time to get into the story… I can’t exactly put my finger on the way, because the writing itself is excellent, but it might have been the slowish pace or my lack of connection to the plot itself. There is no doubt there is a lot to love in Ink And Bone, from the main bookish references, the idea of the Library to the main characters being trained to work for the Library and the steampunk elements… And of course the war and the Burners threatening the peace. But somehow, I just didn’t feel it. I felt some of the spark was missing, and only towards the final part did that spark finally ignite. The conspiracy plot and the promise of a whole lot more action and twists makes me curious about the second book, and the final part of Ink And Bone is definitely what saved the story for me.


Title: The Mysterious Affair At Styles
(Hercule Poirot #1)
Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Classics, Mystery, Thriller
First published: 1920
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: August 15th 2018
Pages: 304

“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”


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I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve only recently started discovering Agatha Christie‘s books, starting with And Then There Were None in 2016. I then read Murder On The Orient Express earlier this year, going against my self imposed rule to try and always read series in order. So this is me trying to make up for that and starting at the beginning, where it all once started. The Mysterious Affair At Styles is actually her very first book and it was interesting to discover how her long career had begun. This first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot was an interesting one. The references to the war were interesting and gave the story a little something extra. True, the pace was a tad slow and this story is more about cleverly concealed twists and descriptions than real suspense. It was interesting to see how the case evolved over time and how Hastings tried to figure out what really happened, and his interactions with Poirot himself. I figured out the basics of the ending early on, but being able to see the techniques Agatha Christie used to reach that ending was still satisfying. All in all not my favorite, but I’m definitely looking forward to continue the series.


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