ARC REVIEW: The Songbird Girls – by Richard Parker

Title: The Songbird Girls
(Detective Tom Fabian #2)
Author: Richard Parker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 19th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: December 2nd 2018
Pages: 269

“Must be the first time a serial killer has ever tried to empathise with the detective dealing with the crime scenes he’s created.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

I always seem to enjoy reading Richard Parker‘s thrillers and his new Detective Tom Fabian series is no exception. After reading the first book, I have been looking forward meeting Tom Fabian again, and it was another interesting journey. The writing style makes it easy to fully emerge yourself in the story, and the case detective Tom Fabian has to investigate this time around is without doubt fascinating. I love myself a good serial killer mystery! And there is definitely something both intriguing and disturbing about the serial killer in The Songbird Girls. I did have my doubts about certain aspects of the credibility of it all and I was surprised to see that this story was rather ‘mild’ compared to his other dark, twisted and nailbiting stand-alones… But it was without doubt an entertaining and still thrilling read. And that ending! I’m definitely impatient to find out what will happen in the next one. Because there is one thing for sure: The Songbird Girls will have some shocking surprises for you in store. Detective  and serial killer thriller fans will definitely appreciate this series.

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

A ghost from the past seems to be haunting detective Tom Fabian… It’s been years since the most famous case of his career, where he managed to catch the infamous serial killer Christopher Wisher. But it’s not the last Tom Fabian will see of him, as Wisher summons him to his prison and Tom Fabian realizes his games are far from over… And when a body is found bearing Wisher’s signature, Fabian and his team are desperate to find out who is behind it all.

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If you like your detective thriller fast, entertaining and slightly twisted, you should probably meet detective Tom Fabian. The serial killer in The Songbird Girls is without doubt an intriguing and quite disturbing one, and it’s interesting how big of a role he plays even though he is behind bars. There are quite a few surprises waiting for you as well as a healthy dose of action and suspense. I’m not sure everything was completely credible, but I sure had a blast reading this sequel anyway.


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WWW Wednesdays #199 – December 5th

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 almost finished with Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, the final book for the When Are You Reading? challenge. I could have finished it days ago, but I’ve been busy prepping and painting walls, ceilings and other DIY stuff, leaving me without much free time to do other things… Including all things bookish. It also explains why I’ve been MIA lately… The fun part is that I’m still not finished either. xD I promise I will bloghop and answer all pending comments soon!

I’m also starting the ARC My Life In A Cat House by Gwen Cooper. How could I resist that cover? It sounds like an interesting read as well… And yes, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon finally appears on my currently reading list. I’m hoping to making a dent in the story as soon as I finish my other current reads.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Blue Blood by Sara Blaedel (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/12
This translation from a Danish crime writer (also called Call Me Princess in some translations) was without doubt an entertaining ride. The writing style was easy to like, and I just loved the setting in Denmark. I was drawn to the story and plot straight away, and found myself literally flying through the pages… Trigger warnings are in place for rape and violence, but the subject is really well handled and reading more about the dangers of online dating is definitely intriguing.

2. A Woman Of War by Mandy Robotham (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/12
There is no doubt that A Woman Of War offers quite an original take on a what if? situation that could have changed everything. I’m not sure what to make of the way the pro-Nazi characters are portrayed, but it is definitely quite unique no matter how you feel about it. The writing was solid and I especially enjoyed Anke’s flashbacks even though the parts set in Ravensbrück were quite brutal. All in all an interesting although a bit unorthodox WWII historical fiction read.

3. Love Looks Pretty On You by Lang Leav (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/12
Unfortunately, I can’t say Love Looks Pretty On You turned out to be an entirely positive experience. There was just something about the writing style and tone this time around that didn’t manage to convince me completely. I found that the poems in Love Looks Pretty On You lacked proper cohesion between them and there was no absolute theme and obvious connection between all of them. Instead of the positive tone I was expecting from the title, there were a lot of negative feelings portrayed in the poems. Not bad perse, but not what I expected and somehow I wasn’t able to connect to most of the poems.

4. The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/12
I always enjoy reading Richard Parker‘s thrillers, and this sequel to a new detective series is no exception. The writing style makes it easy to fully emerge yourself in the story, and the case detective Tom Fabian has to investigate this time around is without doubt fascinating. I love myself a good serial killer mystery! I did have my doubts about certain aspects of the credibility of it all and I was surprised to see this story was rather ‘mild’ compared to his other dark, twisted and nailbiting stories… But it was without doubt an entertaining and still thrilling read. And that ending! I’m definitely impatient to find out what will happen in the next one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Sorry Not Sorry by Sophie Ranald is one of my next pending ARCs, and it sounds like a superfun read at that. Just the change of genre I need! I also want to read A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult some time soon… And I need to read the ARC The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo soon as well. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble.


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WWW Wednesdays #198 – November 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’m currently reading two titles… The first a historical fiction ARC set during WWII: A Woman Of War by Mandy Robotham. The second one of the physical copies I got during our Europe trip and one I’ve been meaning to read: Blue Blood by Sara Blaedel. I totally didn’t realize this was the second book of a series, so fingers crossed it can be read as a stand-alone.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Children Of Blood And bone by Tomi Adeyemi (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/12
While I do have to say that this first book of a new high fantasy series failed to blow me away completely, I can also understand the love for this story. In fact, I was going to give it an even higher rating before the appearance of the romance scenes… Which I felt were completely unnecessary and made me feel a little disappointed. The writing is good though, and I really like the idea behind Children Of Blood And Bone. The quest was a bit too simple to my taste, and the plot twists a bit too abrupt, but overall it was without doubt a very entertaining YA fantasy read with pleasant enough characters.

2. Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
If you are looking for an interesting thriller read with an original touch, Hunting Annabelle is a good option. Set in 1986, this story doesn’t follow the typical thriller structure and plot and with the help of unreliable narrator Sean you will find yourself spinning in circles while you try to figure out what is happening. The final twists were a bit too farfetched and over the top to be credible for me, but it definitely isn’t something you will see coming… Dark, intriguing, a healthy dose of blood and serial killer and a very interesting mental health angle: Hunting Annabelle has it all.

3. Babel by Gaston Dorren (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/12
Some of you might already know I’m actually a philologist and linguistics has always been one of my favorite areas of study. Therefore I thought Babel would be perfect for me… I mean, traveling the world through twenty languages that together can make you communicate with at least half of the world population? Sounds like pretty much a dream topic for philologists to me. Sadly, this book failed to hit the mark completely for me.

4. Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt (3/5 stars) REVIEW 05/12
The idea of a historical fiction read with a Western vibe about a gang of female outlaws sounded absolutely fascinating, so I’ve been looking forward to Heresy. While I still think the idea behind this story is fascinating, somehow I wasn’t able to enjoy the execution as much as I thought I would. Between the slower pace, lack of cohesion and parts that dragged, it took me a relatively long time to reach the final page. And while I rooted for Margaret and her gang, I also somehow just wanted to get it over with… And that’s never a good feeling. I do think this was mostly me though, so if you don’t mind a slower pace and an unusual format, you will probably enjoy this one.

5. PLUS+ by Bethany Rutter (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/12
I know, I know, you are probably as surprised as I am to see this title pop up on my blog. PLUS+ isn’t just a little out of my comfort zone, it’s waaaaaay out. But, as someone who has struggled with her weight her whole life, there was just something about this title that drew me in.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

With only one month left in 2018, I really need to step up my goal game and finally read my 800+ pages book. So I’m going to start Outlander by Diana Gabaldon soon! I’ll probably read it in between other books depending on how much I like it. I also need to read a few more pending ARCs… The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker and Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen are probably next. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble; I won’t be able to get to it this month, but I’m hoping to read it before the year is over.


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ARC REVIEW: Never Say Goodbye – by Richard Parker @bookouture

Title: Never Say Goodbye
(Detective Tom Fabian #1)
Author: Richard Parker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 14th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: July 30th 2018
Pages: 284

“There was never definitive justice but there were pockets of it.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

After an excellent experience with the author’s previous work, I just HAD to try out his new detective series. My experience with Richard Parker‘s thrillers has shown that he writes them to be dark, disturbing and lightning fast, so I might have set my expectations a tad too high. There is no doubt that Never Say Goodbye was a very interesting start of a new detective series, and I had a great time figuring out the who and why. BUT. I was expecting something with a little more impact to actually be able to blow my socks off. It was fast, it had a creepy serial killer, it had twists and disturbing moments, but overall there was just something about the story that didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It might just have been that I’ve read one too many detective series already, but the new detective didn’t really stand out for me. It’s not that the character development is bad, and I guess there is a strong base for the future books, but I’m not sure detective Tom Fabian and his team stood out from other detective teams so far. The case was an interesting one though, and I liked the idea of the murder map and the different streets in London. It’s weird to say this as the murders are quite gruesome, but I would have liked a little more focus on them and/or more disturbing details to add more suspense? I guess Never Say Goodbye didn’t manage to creep me out as much as I thought it would, but again this could have been just me having different expectations after his previous books. That said, I’m definitely curious about the next book after that cliffhanger ending.

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Detective Tom Fabian hasn’t had a big success on his name after catching the serial killer Christopher Wisher two years ago, and the word is going around that his days are numbered. But then he is put on a new case after an unfortunate incident, and he has another chance to prove himself. What seemed to be a series of random stabbings, might just be something a whole lot more complicated and sinister… And Tom and his team will have to race against the clock to stop the attacker before another person gets hurt.

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If you enjoy detective thrillers and solving whodunits, Never Say Goodbye is a very entertaining addition to your reading list. While for me it lacked the little something extra to really make it stand out from other detective series, there is no doubt that the writing is strong, the plot twists are there and the killer is well disguised. The idea behind the plot is an interesting one as well! And the ending is a killer. All in all not a bad start of a new detective series!


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WWW Wednesdays #181 – August 1st

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 buddy reading The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton with Nicki @ Secret Library and I definitely understand the love for this book now… WOW. This is definitely promising to be another full 5 star read to add to my short list of absolute favorites this year… Fingers crossed! I also picked up It’s Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort, a memoir that is being compared to Jenny Lawson’s memoirs, but I’m just not feeling the humor yet.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Run And Hide by Alan McDermott (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/08
Run And Hide is fast, ruthless and lethal. I’m positive the right target group will absolutely love this action-packed spy thriller that reads like a blockbuster action movie. I myself had problems with both the credibility, male-focused comments and writing style in general, but like I said before that might just be me not being the right target group for this one. If you are able to connect to the writing style, you won’t find a boring minute in this story.

2. Misery by Stephen King (4/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
I definitely had a great time reading Misery, although it doesn’t feel the right word for a story this creepy. I liked the Misery chapters in between the actual plot, as it added another level and more dept to the plot itself. And I wouldn’t wish Annie upon my worst enemy! Boy, she is a true nutter… Writers, beware. She is stuff nightmares are made of. If you enjoy reading his work, Misery should definitely be on your reading list as well.

3. Kids Of Appetite by David Arnold (2/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
Unfortunately Kids Of Appetite just wasn’t for me. I have seen this story has pretty extreme reactions, people either loving or strongly disliking it, so definitely don’t give up on it yet if you enjoy stories with unique characters and writing style. Because that’s the main struggle here: the writing. While unique and original, it is something that either works for you and makes you want to sing out loud, OR makes you want to throw things at the wall in frustration. Not that my singing would actually make anyone happy in the first place, but sadly my walls might have taken a hit or two here.

4. Murder Map (now called Never Say Goodbye) by Richard Parker (4/5 stars) REVIEW 14/08
If you enjoy detective thrillers and solving whodunits, Murder Map is a very entertaining addition to your reading list. While for me it lacked the little something extra to really make it stand out from other detective series, there is no doubt that the writing is strong, the plot twists are there and the killer is well disguised. The idea behind the plot is an interesting one as well! And the ending is a killer. All in all not a bad start of a new detective series!

5. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/08
This is the perfect book to use as a gift for anyone working in a bookshop or library, or any booklover in general for that matter! Fun, entertaining and full of weird situations that will make both your eyebrows raise and wonder what those customers were thinking when they opened the door to the bookshop that day… But at least it has given us this book to brighten up our day.

6. Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone (3/5 stars) REVIEW 10/08
Click’d wasn’t a bad read and I really liked the idea behind this story, but overall I found the story to be rather bland. The plot has that geeky feel with two of the main characters creating an app/game and the whole progress of coding and dealing with bugs in the code plays a big role throughout the story. The other main theme is friendship, which could work really well, but there were just too many cliches for me involved. I don’t mind a cliche or two, but if there are just too many piling up it starts to get annoying and less interesting.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to make a dent into my NG ARCs, so I need to pick up both The Confession by Jo Spain and The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse some time soon. And since I seem to be in the mood for lighter reads, I’ve put Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman on the top of my TBR pile. He is easily one of my absolute favorite authors and I can’t wait to read more about Britt-Marie. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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ARC REVIEW: Keep Her Safe – by Richard Parker @Bookwalter @bookouture

Title: Keep Her Safe
Author: Richard Parker

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 11th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 3rd 2018
Pages: 285

“She couldn’t even begin to imagine how she’d accomplish that. But the last week had taught her exactly what she was capable of when Penny’s life was at stake.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

I’ve become a fan of Richard Parker‘s intense, action-packed and fast-paced thrillers ever since I read Be My Killer (now called Follow You) last year, so you can imagine I was over the moon when I found out there was going to be a new thriller coming out this January. Keep Her Safe went to my list of most-anticipated releases as soon as the cover was first revealed, and I have been looking forward to read it ever since. And there is one thing for sure: Keep Her Safe doesn’t disappoint. Basically it was one crazy, intense and blood coiling rollercoaster ride that didn’t let me go until the very end… What a way to start 2018 with a bang! Both the prose and the suspense around the situation the main character finds herself in from the start managed to grab me straight away. This thriller simply reads like a train! You won’t find one boring minute as plot twist after plot twist gets thrown at you and the intense feeling of danger never leaves. The psychological aspect of this novel is an interesting as well, as it makes you wonder how far mothers do go to protect their children… A trigger warning for those who are sensitive to violent and gruesome scenes, because Keep Her Safe can get pretty extreme at points. But I personally loved every single minute of the ride and I can highly recommend it to anyone who likes their thrillers action-packed, gripping, suspenseful and intense. Also, I might have squeeled when I saw my name mentioned in the Acknowledgements. Thank you!

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Maggie would do everything to protect her daughter Penny, so when she wakes up one night to find a strange woman in her home, she runs to lock herself and her daughter in. But she does know why the stranger has come to their house… Because someone has been targeting mothers, kidnapping their children and offering them a choice: follow their orders or never see their child again. It seems like the woman in Maggie’s house is the next victim… What will happen to the two women and their children?

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I already had a feeling this was going to be good, but I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better book to start the reading year with. Keep Her Safe was one heck of a thriller with so many intense moments I found it impossible to stop reading. I practically devoured this story and its many plot twists and the final part of Keep Her Safe definitely had some jaw droppingly fierce moments. A trigger warning for those if extreme and violent scenes aren’t your thing! Otherwise, I can highly recommend this thriller.


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WWW Wednesdays #158 – January 10th

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

It’s been a while since I last did one of these! Three months to be exact… Oops? This time around it’s all about the books I’ve been reading so far in 2018; next week will be back to normal. (Hopefully)

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m almost finished with The Ends Of The World by Maggie Hall, which will be the first series I will be able to finish this year. I loved the first two books of the series, but I’m kind of struggling with the final one… I’m just not feeling it, there is way too much politics involved and I can’t find the same magic of the first two books. It might just have been me, but definitely not the experience I was expecting. I’m dying to read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne though, which I’ve sampled already and sounds like a winner.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/01
I already had a feeling this was going to be good, but I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better book to start the reading year with. Keep Her Safe was one heck of a thriller with so many intense moments I found it impossible to stop reading. I practically devoured this story and its many plot twists and the final part of Keep Her Safe definitely had some jaw droppingly fierce moments. A trigger warning for those if extreme and violent scenes aren’t your thing! Otherwise, I can highly recommend this thriller.

2. Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil (3/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
I love my geeky/nerdy reads and I was so sure I was going to enjoy this one… But I guess it just wasn’t ment to be. Basically I feel this book is trying too hard. The geeky/nerdy elements felt forced and unnatural and I wasn’t a fan of the characters either… And there were a LOT of high school cliches involved.

3. Her Last Lie by Amanda Brittany (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I had high hopes for Her Last Lie, but unfortunately I can say that only the last part of this story actually lived up to expectations. The writing is good, the premise is promising and the ending is surprisingly strong. There were a few plot twists I didn’t see coming either, and I loved the travel elements. That said, I found there was too much focus on the romantic relationships of the main character, I found the cheating/love triangle highly annoying and the main character itself very unlikeable. My feelings for this book are basically all over the place, because while I felt a strong dislike for the story during most of Her Last Lie, I absolutely loved the final part (starting with the Northern Lights scene). It’s hard to wrap my head around these feelings, but I do admit these positive feelings sure took their time making an appearance. Fans of slower paced psychological thrillers with a romantic focus might enjoy this one a lot better though. Just don’t expect a lot of suspense and excitement until the very end.

4. The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
I was intrigued as soon as I started reading The Bunker Diary and this is both an addictive, shocking, thought-provoking and emotional read. I sure wish I would have picked it up sooner! The writing is interesting and we learn about what is happening through the diary of the main character. Not only tells us about the events in the bunker, but it also shows the mental state of the character as well as how the things that happen have their effect. It’s hard to talk properly about this story without giving away too much, but The Bunker Diary will crush your heart, make you stare at the final page and at loss for words. A trigger warning for some graphic descriptions, but all in all I can really recommend reading this story. It definitely blew me away.

5. The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction, so I just had to request a copy of this title as soon as I heard about it. This book is based on real events and the author has interviewed the main character of this story personally. It gives a remarkable insight in the life at Auschwitz and how the main character manages to survive by having given the task of tattooing the numbers on the arms of the prisoners of Auschwitz. You won’t keep your eyes dry with this one!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As part of the whole finishing my series goal, I’m probably picking up The Last Star by Rick Yancey next. I’m not a big fan of the trilogy, but since I have already read the first two and have a copy of the last book on my kindle, I’ll give it a go anyway. I also need to read my last pending January ARC The Silent Girls by Dylan Young… And I want to read The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter ASAP as well (although I might pick up another thriller first since it’s a ‘sort of’ ARC?) My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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