ARC REVIEW: One Dark Night – by Tom Bale @bookouture

Title: One Dark Night
Author: Tom Bale
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 23rd 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 11th 2018
Pages: 426

“In a situation as chaotic as this, with tempers frayed, it wouldn’t take much for a tragedy to occur.”

*** 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 read and enjoyed a few of Tom Bale‘s thrillers in the past, so of  course I couldn’t resist his newest title. I mean, that cover alone is on fire! I’ve experienced so far that Tom Bale likes to write his thrillers to be fast, extremely intense, disturbing and overall shocking. One Dark Night is no exception to this rule and is yet another tense and nailbiting story. Intense is an understatement here! The writing style is lightning fast, gripping and draws you right in… If you are looking for an intense and disturbing thriller, you will get a healthy dose of creepy and extreme emotions right from the start. Because One Dark Night starts with a bang, and will keep you on edge until the very end. Sure, there seems to be a break in the middle, but be ready to get a plot twist bomb thrown at you and brace yourself for a surprise… Nothing is as it seems, and it will only be over when the author says it’s over. That said, I did have to ditch a star for the overall lack of credibility of the plot. It seems more like something taken out of an action movie rather than something that could really happen, and a lot of events were quite farfetched and not really credible. If you manage to get your head around that and just let yourself be swept away by a rollercoaster story, you will end up having a blast anyway. And if you like your thrillers to be intense and disturbing, you can stop looking for your next read. A little warning for the weakhearted: graphic and violent scenes are included in One Dark Night, so consider yourselves warned.

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They are just driving home after a family outing, reading to end their Sunday on a high note in their comfortable home. But it seems like it wasn’t in the cars, as a split decision to follow a speeding car that nearly crashed into them will change their lives forever. When Adam pulls over to confront the driver, he seems something he wasn’t supposed to. A woman’s cry for help will change the fate of all four of them, as they are now being held against their will as well…

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There is no doubt that One Dark Night is a superfast, entertaining and action-packed thriller, with a few scenes so intense and graphic it almost borders on the horror genre. The situation of the family is horrific, and the story definitely has a Hollywood action movie feel about it. I had my doubts about the credibility of it all, but overall I still enjoyed the ride. And what a rollercoaster it was!


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ARC REVIEW: Closer – by K.L. Slater

Title: Closer
Author: K.L. Slater
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 24th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 8th 2018
Pages: 331

“Little did I know it was a portent of far worse to come.”

*** 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 K.L. Slater‘s psychological thrillers and I’ve read every single one published so far. Of course I’m always stoked when I find out a new book is about to come out, and my reaction to Closer was no different… I’ve been excited to start reading this one ever since I was granted a copy. Closer once again shows us just now good of a psychological thriller writer she is. The writing style is spot on and makes you fly through it! I literally finished it in less than a day… It was just THAT good. While I do think it wasn’t my favorite and there were a few things that didn’t completely convince me, overall this was yet another solid, well written and thrilling read. Why not five stars? I think it has a lot to do with the predictability of the plot; sadly I was able to see the final twist coming from a mile away, or at least a big part of it. I guess I wished I would have been wrong about it all, but in the end my instincts were right. The ending was also quite abrupt to me, and I would have liked to see a more elaborated one. I’m still on the fence about the characters as well. BUT. The writing is excellent, the suspense well crafted and it brings attention to two very important topics (eating disorder and bullying). I enjoyed my time with Closer, was invested enough to really experience some of the nail biting and frustrating moments and it’s always a great sign if you are emotionally invested in a story right? If you enjoy reading well written psychological thrillers, I can definitely suggest adding Closer to your wishlist.

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Emma and Shaun realized their marriage no longer worked, but decided to keep living in the same house to give their daughter Maisie a stable homefront. They have worked out a routine that worked for both of them… Until Shaun falls in love again and wants to move on with his life. Emma is desperate to protect her little girl, and doesn’t trust his new girlfriend or the daughter… But Shaun just sees it as jealousy. Does Emma just see things or is there really something shady going on?

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Closer is yet another solid psychological thriller I’ve read by K.L. Slater, and has only reconfirmed to me I will always have my eyes out for any of her feature reads. While not perfect, since I guessed part of the final reveals early on and found the ending a bit abrupt, the plot is still well crafted and the creation of the suspense is spot on. I always have a great time with her books, and Closer is no different. I really appreciated the discussion of eating disorder and bullying as well, since it’s something that cannot get enough attention. If you are a fan of the genre, I can highly recommend all of her books.


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ARC REVIEW: The Wife’s Secret – by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture

Title: The Wife’s Secret
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 10th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 22nd 2018
Pages: 338

“You hear people saying it’s the not knowing that really affects a person. If there’s a death, you can start the process of grieving; without that, you’re left hoping – and it’s the hope that gets you in the end.”

*** 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 have enjoyed Kerry Wilkinson‘s books in the past, and combined with an intriguing sounding blurb I found The Wife’s Secret to be impossible to resist. I’m definitely glad I followed my instincts, because I found myself hooked from the moment I sat down and opened the first page. This might just be my new favorite story by this author so far! The writing is solid, engaging and makes you fly through the pages as you try and figure out what happened to Seth’s wife and what she is hiding. And what a shocking history that is! I literally finished The Wife’s Secret in less than a day and there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming. The suspense is very well done and the plot and plot twists crafted in a way that will keep you guessing as certain aspects are only revealed towards the ending. I always love it when a psychological thriller manages to surprise me! And such shocking reveals at that… As for the characters: most of them are not exactly likeable, but somehow that didn’t bother me all that much. I was too focused on the whole mystery around Charley, both around her past and her disappearance, to be put off by them. If you like suspenseful psychological thrillers, you will be in for a treat with this one.

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Charley Willis was only thirteen years old when her famous parents were killed in their own home. She was found unharmed and hiding in a closet upstairs… Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It is her chance at a clean slate, as Seth doesn’t know much about her past apart from the facts known to the general public. But the past may have come back to haunt her… Hourse after the wedding ceremony, Charley is missing. And Seth is about to find out his new wife kept a lot of things from him…

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I like Kerry Wilkinson‘s writing style and The Wife’s Secret is no exception. Suspenseful, well written, shocking twists and slightly disturbing… There is a lot to love in this story and there is a lot to keep you on the wrong path for a long time. There are definitely plot reveals that will manage to surprise you before you reach the final page! The Wife’s Secret is an excellent psychological thriller and a true pageturner.


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ARC REVIEW: All This I Will Give To You – by Dolores Redondo

Title: All This I Will Give To You
Author: Dolores Redondo
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: November 3rd 2016
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Finished reading: September 30th 2018
Pages: 494
(Originally written in Spanish: ‘Todo Esto Te Daré’)

“He’d lied to the only being in this world entitled to know the truth: himself.”

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

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This might just be one of those cases where the problem is me, and not the book… So take this review with a grain of salt. I was actually looking forward to read All This I Will Give To You, since I love stories set in Spain and the blurb sounded fantastic. It might have been the translation, since I prefer reading Spanish books in the original language as the exuberant prose doesn’t always translate well… But the fact is that it didn’t turn out to be the reading experience I was hoping for. Overlong, with difficult to read prose and a writing style that makes it really hard to stay focused as you have to read some lines over and over again… Oh yes, it’s easy to say I really struggled with this story. The pace was superslow and the story felt halted; ever had car engine problems and tried to move the car with your whole body? That’s how I felt while I was trying to make it to the end of this story. Don’t get me wrong, I love detailed descriptions and the area described in All This I Will Give To You is a perfect excuse to do just so. I just think this story took it one step too far. I truly think this story would have benefited from a brutal editor cut and at least 150 pages less. Because there is no doubt that the idea behind this story and plot is fascinating as well as the many secrets of Alvaro’s family and history. It is just buried under so many unnecessary descriptions and overly baroque prose that the intrigue ends up being completely lost. Which is such a shame, because the complexity of the plot itself, with many twists and secrets to discover about the family, is excellent.

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The life of novelist Manuel Ortigosa changes forever when he learns one morning that his husband Alvaro has been killed in a car crash. Because that is not the only shock for Manuel, as it turns out Alvaro has been keeping secrets from him. He wasn’t in Barcelona as he told he was, instead Manuel had to travel to Galicia to the place where Alvaro died. It turns out that the man he married fifteen years ago wasn’t the man Manuel thought he was… And Manuel soon finds himself to be deeper and deeper involved in the secrets around both Alvaro’s life and death.

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There were things I did enjoy in All This I Will Give To You. The fact that the main character is a novelist. The detailed descriptions of the setting in Galicia. The general plot, suspense, plot twists and secrets. The complexity of the story. But. Sadly overall I mostly ended up struggling with All This I Will Give To You. Between the very slow and halted pace, the overdose of descriptions and an overly barque prose I had a hard time to keep myself going. I felt like a potentially excellent story was buried under a pile unnecessary words and pages that prevented it from reaching its full potential.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #52 – In A Dark, Dark Wood & Without Merit

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two popular authors and two different genres. I was really excited about In A Dark, Dark Wood, but sadly it mostly fell flat for me. And Without Merit was without doubt an entertaining read, although not my favorite CoHo book either.


Title: In A Dark, Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 30th 2015
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Finished reading: September 27th 2018
Pages: 339

“You’d think people would be wary of spilling to a writer. You’d think they’d know that we’re essentially birds of carrion, picking over the corpses of dead affairs and forgotten arguments to recycle them in our work—zombie reincarnations of their former selves, stitched into a macabre new patchwork of our own devising.”


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I had my first experience with Ruth Ware‘s books last year with The Lying Game, and I’ve been meaning to pick up another of her titles ever since. So when I had the perfect excuse to do so, I decided to finally pick up my copy of her debut In A Dark, Dark Wood. I’ve heard mixed things about her work in general, so I decided to go in with low expectations… Discovering I did probably well by doing so. In A Dark, Dark Wood is by no means a bad read and is without doubt as dark and menacing as that glass house in the middle of the woods chosen as a setting. The writing is engaging and the suspense is mostly handled well. I had two significant problems with this book though. The first thing that stood out for me was the fact that none of the characters is easy to connect to; most are unlikeable and overall I can’t say I really cared about what would happen to them. And then I’m not even talking about the whole fact that Nora and Clare hadn’t seen each other for ten years and suddenly Clare invites Nora to her hen? And not telling about James before? And Nora stays even after all the things that happen? So not credible to me. And that is not the only thing that made me doubt the credibility of the plot and events. There were several eyebrow raising moments involved, and not in a good way. I also did see quite a few of the plot twists coming really early on, and I didn’t like how the amnesia angle was incorporated into the story. It wasn’t a bad read, but nothing like I hoped it would be either.


Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 3rd 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: September 28th 2018
Pages: 385

“Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.”


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I seem to be having a love-hate relationship with Colleen Hoover‘s books… Somehow she is able to get strong emotions and opinions from me, positive or not. Without Merit ended up belonging somewhere in the middle. While not my favorite and a bit different than I’ve become used to, there is no doubt that it is still a good story and I can understand why so many love it. It felt more YA than NA to me, but that on it’s own wasn’t a problem for me. The romance was also doable for me, which is something I have become used to with CoHo… Somehow she manages to make me forget I’m not into the whole romance genre most of the time. There are a lot of things to love in Without Merit, and I think that this abundance of different elements actually worked against the story in the end. Depression, agoraphobia, the Syrian refugee situation, lgbt elements, Honor and her boyfriends, Wolfgang and the church, family problems… Those and other elements are all incorporated into the plot, making it almost feel crowded and I don’t think each of these get the attention it deserves. I would have preferred less topics and a more developed appearance during the story. As it is, some of the more important elements are just skimmed over (suicide, the Syrian refugee situations etc) and feel more like plot fillers rather than something important to talk about. I still enjoyed reading Without Merit though and especially Sagan won over my heart easily. I like that the characters are flawed and feel realistic despite their strange names. All in all an interesting read, although not perfect.


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ARC REVIEW: Lies Between Us – by Ronnie Turner

Title: Lies Between Us
Author: Ronnie Turner
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 1st 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Finished reading: September 18th 2018
Pages: 384

You miss the truth in its brutal, disgusting form. Far better to only see the sweet picture. But by missing the small things, you miss everything. Everything.

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

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First of all, it’s SO exciting to see another fellow book blogger getting her book published! I’ve been looking forward to read Lies Between Us ever since I first saw that cover, and there is no doubt that this is a very cleverly constructed psychological thriller debut. I admit it was a slowburner for me for reasons mentioned below, but above all the potential shines through and I will already be looking forward to what she will come up with next. Let’s talk a bit about my experience with Lies Between Us. Like I said before, I admit it took me some time to get used to the multiple POVs and I was confused as to how everything fit together at times. Especially the second person POV took some time getting used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s badly written or doesn’t fit the story. In fact, it only enhances the dark and slightly disturbing feeling around this character and adds to the overall suspenseful atmosphere of the book. There is no doubt that Lies Between Us is a complex and very cleverly executed psychological thriller that will keep you on edge. I did guess come of the twists though and some of the names are misleading… Those who have the chance to read this debut will probably understand what I’m referring to (don’t want to give away any spoilers!). Also, I was left with some questions after the final page, and would have liked to have some details explained to avoid the confusion. Still, Lies Between Us was a very satisfying psychological thriller with one heck of a creeper as one of the main characters… Talk about getting a look inside the head of a very disturbing individual! Fans of the genre will have a great time read this one.

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Three people with very different lives will soon be crossing paths under circumstances nobody wants themselves to find to be in. They all have something in common, although none of them know it yet… But the truth will not stay hidden forever. John has had a comfortable and happy life so far, but this is about to change as his daughter goes missing. Maisie is a nurse in a hospital and very dedicated, but hides a very traumatic experience in her past. And Miller has been struggling ever since he was little to fit in and be a ‘good boy’. How will they react to the things that happen to them and how does everything connect?

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While a slowburner for me, once I got the hang of the story I found myself to be absolutely hooked. Lies Between Us is a well crafted and complicated psychological thriller with multiple POVs and flashbacks that will keep you on your toes as you try to take everything in and fit everything together. The writing is solid and especially ‘Miller’s character development is extremely well done and spot on; he sure will give you goosebumps before the story is over. And despite a few minor problems mentioned above, I enjoyed spending time with Lies Between Us and it is without doubt a very promising debut.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #44 – I Let You Go & Hex Hall

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two books with a similar color combination in the cover, but two completely different genres. The first, I Let You Go, is one of those psychological thrillers I’ve been meaning to pick up for years, but only just did so. Hex Hall on the other hand is not my typical genre, but I ended up enjoying it way more than expected.


Title: I Let You Go
Author: Clare Mackintosh

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 6th 2014
Publisher: Sphere
Finished reading: August 30th 2018
Pages: 371

“I was stupid to think I could escape the past. However fast I run, however far: I will never outrun it.”


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The fact is that I have been meaning to read this psychological thriller for years, especially since I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. I’m not sure if it was the original hype around I Let You Go making me set my expectations too high or this being unpopular opinion time again, but sadly I didn’t end up having the reading experience I was expecting. Why? There is no doubt that this psychological thriller is well written and there are some clever twists included that will mislead you. That said, I did encounter a few problems along the way that made me enjoy the story less. The biggest obstacle was the fact that I guessed the big reveal really early on… It was just too easy to figure out the key information after the initial surprise was revealed, and this was quite a let down for me. I also had problems with the two leading detectives of the case; I couldn’t warm up to them and I always hate cheating main characters. The pace was quite slow in points as well, although it did pick up in the second half of I Let You Go. I did like the setting in Penfach and the beach atmosphere… And while at times disturbing to read, I appreciated I Let You Go shining a light on what domestic abuse can do to a person. But sadly overall I can’t say I was all that impressed by this story.


Title: Hex Hall
(Hex Hall #1)
Author: Rachel Hawkins

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: March 2nd 2010
Publisher: Hyperion
Finished reading: August 31st 2018
Pages: 323

“Humans are always going to be scared of us. They’re always going to be envious of our powers, and suspicious of our motives.”


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I have to admit I was a bit nervous to pick up Hex Hall, both because it’s not my typical genre and I was afraid there would be too much romance involved. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about, and this first book of a magical series was a pleasant surprise. I still can’t believe how much I enjoyed this story despite a love triangle and the presence of a vampire! There is just something about the writing style that draws you right in and makes you fly through the pages. I literally finished this story in one sitting. Highly entertaining, addictive and just enough magic and supernatural atmosphere to keep that delicate balance with the romance elements. I loved Jenna’s character and while Sophie does come over as a bit annoying at times and there were cliches involved, somehow it just didn’t matter to me. The mystery around the attacks, the magic, Hecate Hall itself, the different supernatural characters… It just all clicked in a way that turned Hex Hall into a very successful and very entertaining ride. I’m definitely looking forward to book two!


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