ARC REVIEW: The Silent Sister – by Shalini Boland

Title: The Silent Sister
Author: Shalini Boland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 16th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: June 18th 2018
Pages: 144

“But I’m gradually realising that, given the right circumstances, anyone can have their self-esteem eroded.”

*** 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’m a huge fan of Shalini Boland‘s psychological thrillers, so of course I was superexcited when I first heard about The Silent Sister. It might just have been that I had sky high expectations, or it might have been it was the wrong story at the wrong time, but somehow I didn’t react in the way I thought I was going to when I started reading it. Oh yes, I’m really surprised by my initial reaction to The Silent Sister, because normally I find myself hooked from the very first page. Before I continue a little note: I seem to be in the minority so far, since most people seem to absolutely love this story, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Ok, with that out of the way, let me try explaining why I somehow didn’t love this story as much as her other psychological thrillers. Apart from the reasons I already mentioned above, I think the main problem I had was with the main characters. There was just something about them that irked me, and as a result it took me a long time to warm up to the story. Also, the beginning of the story wasn’t as suspenseful and absorbing as I’ve come to expect, but I do have to say things improved a lot as the story continued and the second half definitely has a lot more twists and turns. I’m happy to say that I despite some reservations I was still able to enjoy the story in general and the second half is without doubt very strong! Especially regarding the plot twists and the creation of suspense. I did have an idea of what was happening, but I wasn’t able to guess the full truth at all. And that is always a good sign in a psychological thriller. In short, while not my favorite, I can still recommend The Silent Sister to fans of the genre.

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Lizzy Beresford discovers what appears an old letter inside her own home, but the content makes her feel really uncomfortable. Who sent the message? How did they get into her home in the first place? Lizzy doesn’t seem to have any enemies in her life, so who would want to do such a thing to her? Especially since more letters and threatening messages start piling up… And things are starting to escalate. Will they be able to discover who is behind all this before things go too far?

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Like I said before, I’m still surprised by my reaction to this story, but The Silent Sister turned out to be a slowburner for me. It took me a long time to warm up to the story, both because of the slower pace in the beginning and my lack of connection to the characters. I enjoyed the second half of the story considerably better though, and The Silent Sister will have some surprises and unexpected twists for you in store.


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WWW Wednesdays #175 – June 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 so excited to be currently reading The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli! Besides the fact that I was in need of a change of genre after so many (psychological) thrillers, I have been wanting to read this title for ages now and it fits the Pride month theme as well. I’m also about to start another Bookouture ARC: The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite. I’ve been looking forward to pick up another of her psychological thrillers!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m aware of the fact that Bring Me Back has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, and I can understand why. If you read a lot of psychological thrillers and go in with high expectations, you will probably be disappointed by the rather predictable plot and completely implausible ending and final twist. But if you instead take it slow and don’t focus too much on those points, you will be able to enjoy the solid writing and an otherwise slower paced but enjoyable story. And trust me, you won’t be looking at Russian dolls in the same way after finishing Bring Me Back.

2. The Map Of Us by Jules Preston (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/06
The Map Of Us has a lot of potential, both because of the general idea behind it and the two most important characters Tilly and Violet. I honestly feel that with more development and focus on those two characters, a more fluent writing style and less jumping between different characters would have made The Map Of Us into another fantastic read similar to the likes of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. As it is, I don’t think that comparison would do The Map Of Us a favor, since unfortunately they are not on the same level. But I do want to stress that especially Tilly has the same potential and quirkiness in her personality that made Eleanor Oliphant into such a success for me. So again, with more focus and development of that character (and Violet as well), I would probably have enjoyed The Map Of Us considerably better.

3. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/06
I’m a sucker for a good serial killer thriller and this series is quickly turning into one of my new favorites. If you like your thrillers dark, gritty, disturbing and don’t mind graphic scenes, you will be in for a treat with this series. Trust me, reading these two thrillers in order will be worth your time! You will find yourself staring at the last pages wanting for more though, because the cliffhanger ending is pretty brutal. What a way to reveal something like that and leave us staring open mouthed knowing we won’t find out more until the next book comes out! It’s been a while since an ending hit me that hard.

4. The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/06
I’m a huge fan of her psychological thrillers, so I was actually really surprised by my reaction to this newest story. It took me a long time to warm up to the story, mostly because there just was something about the main characters that irked me. The beginning wasn’t as suspenseful and absorbing as I would have hoped, but I do have to say that things improved a lot as the story continued and the second half definitely has a lot more twists and turns. I had an idea of what was happening, but I wasn’t able to guess the full truth at all.

5. Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/06
I’m still kicking myself for not starting this series sooner, but I’m glad to be slowly catching up now! My second experience with Kay Hunter was another good one, and I had a blast spending more time with her. This series is quickly turning into another favorite of mine, and I’m definitely curious about her personal story. The case they had to investigate was another interesting one, although I did guess a few of the twists early on. But I was too busy turning pages and enjoying myself to really let that bother me. I can’t wait for book three!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading The Year Of The Snake by M.J. Trow next since the publish date is coming up soon… I can’t wait to dive into the ancient Rome setting! I also need to read the ARC Saigon Dark by Elka Ray soon since it has been on my TBR for too long. The Border by Steve Schafer is also high on my list, both because I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and because it’s on my June monthly TBR. And I’m probably going to try and read my latest TBR jar pick When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore before the end of Pride month.


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ARC REVIEW: The Child Next Door – by Shalini Boland @bookouture @ShaliniBoland

Title: The Child Next Door
Author: Shalini Boland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: March 29th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 12th 2018
Pages: 279

“My stomach gives a sudden lurch, and I have the sensation that something has irrevocably shifted. That nothing in our lives will ever be quite the same again.”

*** 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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Birthday review!! 😀 Because receiving the message my request was approved last week was like an early birthday present in the first place.

I’ve been a big fan of Shalini Boland‘s psychological thrillers ever since she first reached out to me with the question if I wanted to read The Girl From The Sea back in 2016, and these feelings haven’t changed after reading her next three psychological thrillers. The Child Next Door is already book number five and was yet again very much another winner. There is just something about the writing style that has you hooked from the very first page and literally doesn’t let you go… I finished The Child Next Door in less than a day! This psychological thriller starts with a bang and every mother’s worst nightmare, setting the tone for the rest of the story. Who were those voices Kirstie heard? Are they after her little girl? Oh yes, you are starting to feel paranoid yourself as well as you keep reading and things start to happen to Kirstie. The characters are well developed and feel realistic in general and it was interesting to see them react to the different situations, although I’m not sure they are completely likeable. The pace is perfect for a good psychological thriller and the amount of plot twists and false leads is just right as well. There are a lot of different angles included in this story, making for a rich plot and a wide pool of suspects and possibilities. I did feel the general ending came a bit as an anticlimax after all that was being build up, but it was definitely not something that I saw coming and shocking as well. And that final statement!!! I SO need a sequel or something to know more… I was left staring open-mouthed at the last page because I just couldn’t believe what I just read. If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers, I can highly recommend both The Child Next Door and any of her other books. They are excellent!

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When Kirstie wakes up and hears her child crying through the baby monitor, she hurries upstairs to tend to her. But then she hears an unknown voice in the baby monitor, telling someone to just take the child and go. Kirstie panicks and flies up the stairs, only to find her daughter safe asleep in her cot. Who was the voice she heard? There are no other babies living closeby… And neither the police nor her husband believe she actually heard the voice. But Kirstie knows something isn’t right, and these feelings only increase when things start happening…

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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!


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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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Teaser Tuesdays #169 – March 13th: The Child Next Door @bookouture

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’m currently reading The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland… Although I might just have finished it by the time this post goes live. Because even though I only started it yesterday right after my request was finally approved, I am flying through the pages with such speed it would be strange otherwise haha. Shalini Boland is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors and I’m stoked to be able to read this one early. The Child Next Door is proving to be another winner so far!

My teaser (5%):

“My stomach gives a sudden lurch, and I have the sensation that something has irrevocably shifted. That nothing in our lives will ever be quite the same again.”

What are you reading right now?


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YVO’S SHORTIES #8: The Secret Mother (ARC) & The Lost Child (ARC) @bookouture

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around it’s all about two Bookouture thrillers I basically read waaay too long ago and still had the review pending. Both were great reads and without doubt recommended… The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland and The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney.


Title: The Secret Mother
Author: Shalini Boland

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: November 9th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 4th 2017
Pages: 244

“Why is all this crap happening to me? I know why. This is trial by media: I’m guilty until proven innocent.”

*** 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’m a big fan of Shalini Boland’s psychological thrillers and I have literally devoured each and single one (The Girl From The SeaThe Best Friend and The Millionaire’s Wife) so far. It’s easy to say I had very high expectations for The Secret Mother, and those expectations were more than met. This newest psychological thriller is without doubt another winner. I was hooked from page one and the plot was intriguing. The suspense building and introduction of plot twists are both well handled and I found myself flying through the story. I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character, but I also have to say this didn’t affect my reading experience all that much as I was too busy wondering about the what, who and why. If you like well written and suspenseful psychological thrillers, definitely give The Secret Mother a go!


Title: The Lost Child
(DI Lottie Parker #3)
Author: Patricia Gibney

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 27th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 24th 2017
Pages: 483

“Sometimes knowing is worse than not knowing.”

*** 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 enjoying my time with detective Lottie Parker so far, and this third book The Lost Child has been one of my most anticipated releases last year. Why? Lottie Parker somehow never fails to deliver another suspenseful and thrilling adventure, and both the writing and plot development have always been excellent. The Lost Child is no exception. Book number three is without doubt another great read and provides us with yet another exciting story and more mystery around what really happened to the main character’s father. And while I do think I enjoyed it a tiny bit less than the first two books for reasons I can’t exactly put my fingers on, I had a great time reading The Lost Child and any fan of the genre will probably feel the same. I’m looking forward to the fourth book, which is scheduled to be published in March!


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WWW Wednesdays #157 – October 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 still reading The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman, and I’m still not all that far into it. I normally would have finished it by now, but I’ve been distracted by a new hobby during the last few days. I discovered I absolute love to crochet! I wanted to try a few patterns out of the Snuggle And Play Crochet book I finished last week even though I had no knowledge of the crochet techniques… And it turns out it was easier to learn than I thought! (Or at least the basics haha.) Meet Mr. Red Fox a.k.a. the reason I’ve been slacking on my reading during the last few days. He still needs some arms but I ran out of red yarn. xD I actually made a granny blanket for the zebra I will be making soon as well, but decided to make Mr. Fox first since he seemed to be easier haha.

I haven’t continued with IT by Stephen King yet, but I’m planning to do so soon. I haven’t been reading much during the last couple of days in the first place, so that’s probably why as well.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to love Heartless and I was sure I was going to after reading the first couple of chapters. The writing is wonderful and take you right to the magical world these famous characters live in. I just loved Cath and her baking; I’m craving to start baking something myself right now (and eating it afterwards of course!). Everything was going great until the love triangle, which positively ruined Heartless for me. After the introduction of this romance trope, the main focus was on this relation and I felt kind of betrayed. Oh well, most people seem to love this story, so I guess this will be yet another unpopular opinion to add to the mix… If you dislike love triangles as much as I do, consider yourself warned though.

2. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/10
I know I wasn’t convinced by the first book of this series, but I loved book two and this third book is just as good as the previous one. I literally finished Murder Game in less than a day and found myself on the edge of my seat the whole time! Fast-paced, well written, suspenseful… An excellent serial killer thriller!

3. Bentwhistle The Dragon by Paul Cude (2/5 stars; DNF at 49%) REVIEW 06/10
Honestly, I’ve tried. I’m not saying the writing is bad and it truly shows just how much time is put into the detailed and extensive descriptions and worldbuilding. The thing is, the pace is supersuperslow and I just can’t get myself to keep interest. One superlong and extensive description after the other kind of had the reverse effect on me and instead of finding myself intrigued by another story about my favorite mythical creature, I was rather bored by it all. I don’t think the age group would be happy with so many descriptions and the lack of action either… All in all definitely not for me, and unfortunately I just couldn’t bring myself to torture myself any further with more extensive descriptions (especially since I found the mystery and ‘dangerous’ situation not all that suspenseful to be honest).

4. The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I must have read this classic a dozen of times before and I don’t think I can add anything new to all the reviews that have been written about it before… I had my first experience with her diary during high school, where we read the book in Dutch and went to visit the place where she was hiding with her family in Amsterdam. This diary is such a powerful story and really shows what it was like for Jews in hiding during the war… Very intriguing read everyone should read at some point in their lives.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I absolutely loved her previous thrillers and can’t wait to start her newest.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. And after so many glowing reviews, I’m also reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This novel has all the signs of becoming my next 5 star read! My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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