ARC REVIEW: The Killing Game – by J.S. Carol

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Title: The Killing Game
Author: J.S. Carol

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 11th 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: February 22nd 2017
Pages: 380
Rating 4,5qqq

“It didn’t matter how sparkling the future was, the past always had a way of sneaking up on you when you least expected 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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I actually feel REALLY bad I didn’t manage to read this title by J.S. Carol sooner, because I was supposed to pick it up over FOUR months ago… I guess book alone was enough punishment for that fact already, because this was one hell of an intense ride! The Killing Game is not just another fast-paced, action packed and intriguing thriller full of surprises. Sure, it has all those elements and more, but what is more important than that is the originality of the plot. After one too many crime thriller (don’t get me wrong; I love the genre), The Killing Game is like taking a refreshing dive in the sea on a hot summer day. Because instead of your typical thriller plot, this story is centered around a very messy and dangerous hostage situation. To make things even more interesting, you learn more about the POV of both the bad guy, the victims and the press as the situation evolves. This multifaceted aspect of The Killing Game made the story just that much more intense to read, and then I’m not even talking about the explosion of plot twists and excellent writing! I wasn’t sure about the Hollywood setting before I started reading this story, but I was easily convinced by the more than twisted start. I guess money really can’t buy you everything… If you are looking for an excellent and refreshing thriller you won’t be able to put down, this one is a great option.

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JJ Johnson is a very talented publicist and can make any problem just about disappear… But even her skills have a limit. When she is having lunch in a famous restaurant along with a few of Hollywood’s hottest stars, a masked and armed man walks in and takes them all hostage. The man is more than dangerous and carries a bomb; word soon spreads of the hostage situation and both the victims and the police will have to bargain for the lives of those inside the restaurant. Killing him is no option, because if his heart rate changes too much the bomb will go off… How will they be able to save everyone before it’s too late? The clock is ticking…

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I have to be honest and say I wasn’t sure about the Hollywood element at first, but it fit in brilliantly with the rest of the story. The famous characters work in perfect harmony with the whole hostage situation, press chaos and backstory in general, and I can garantuee you the ending will be a surprise. Well written, fast-paced, full of twists and impossible to put down; The Killing Game is without doubt an excellent thriller read!


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #126 – March 1st

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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?

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I have only one current read right now, which is basically a miracle haha. I’m trying to get rid of the backlog of reviews before I start a new story, so that might explain why though. I’ve only just started my ARC copy of I Found You by Lisa Jewell, but it’s without doubt a story I’ve been looking forward to.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is The Killing Game by J.S. Carol, an ARC I wasn’t able to read before the publish date and I feel kind of bad now I’ve waited this long to finally pick it up. I ended up really enjoying this disturbing and plot twist-packed thriller! The plot was quite refreshing as well; a hostage situation where you learn more about the POV of both the bad guy, the victims and the press. Fast-paced, well written and REALLY hard to put down before the story was finished!
* I then read A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, a historical fiction story I have been looking forward to ever since I first heard about it and I was delighted to receive an ARC copy of. I LOVED the setting and the prose! This is without doubt a beautifully written novel and even though the pace isn’t fast, the character development and many many descriptions made up for it. Fans of the genre will more than appreciate this story.
* The last book I read was The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller; just in time to count as one last book for February. I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages now… And not just because so many fellow booklovers seemed to enjoy it; I’ve read/translated part of the ‘original’ story during my high school Latin/Ancient Greek classes and I really wanted to revisit the story. I definitely understand the love for this book now! Not only is the story well written, but the character development is very well done and I loved Patroclus’ character. The pace is quite slow at points, but I personally didn’t mind. This mythology adaptation of the Achilles & Troy story is without doubt excellent!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’ve decided to use March to try and get rid of the backlog of pending ARCs, so I have the following three lined up to read next: Bull by David Elliott, Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer.  I also want to read Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken as part of my promise to start finishing more pending series.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #125 – February 22nd

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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?

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I’m currently reading two Netgalley ARCs, depending on the genre I’m in the mood for. The first is the thriller The Killing Game by J.S. Carol, which I actually should have read two months ago and it’s about time I finally picked it up… And the other title is A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, a historical fiction story set in the Russia of the 1920s and a very enjoyable read so far. I’ve also read the first few pages of The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and I’m definitely looking forward to continue it as soon as I finish my current ARCs. And I’ve decided not to mention my current audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) anymore until I actually make progress again. 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is The Truth Will Out by Brian Cleary, an ARC that has been on my TBR for way too long. And wow, what a disturbing and messed up story! This crime thriller is set in Ireland and the plot is without doubt intriguing. On top of that it’s well written, full of twists and without doubt a gripping story in general.
* I then read The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew, which I had picked up on a whim after browsing my kindle. I should have checked goodreads first instead, because I can definitely understand the very low rating now… I had a REALLY hard time reading this story and was close to DNFing it more than once. I had a strong dislike for the prose and the story simply didn’t make sense at all. I guess I was as lost as the light in the title…
* To make up for the previous read (and also because I finally finished the Rebel Of The Sands review) I continued with Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. And this series is definitely one of my new favorite fantasy series! I enjoyed this sequel just as much or even better than the first book, and it will be a long long wait for the last book. The writing, the plot, the characters, the magic… Everything just works.
* The last book I finished is The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro as part of my promise to start finishing more series. I enjoyed the first book of this series last year, but the books are steadily declining in quality. This third book was actually quite a struggle. I don’t think I would have finished it if it wouldn’t have been for the superfast pace… Because between the extremely annoying main character, sappy romance scenes and general blah I had a hard time finishing this story. It makes me really worried about the final book…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m trying to tackle the mountain of pending ARCs that are waiting for me, so I have the following three lined up: I Found You by Lisa Jewell, Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer.  I also want to read both Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken as part of my promise to start finishing more pending series.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #113 – November 30th

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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?

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I’m currently trying to finish Another Day Gone by Eliza Graham before the end of today, although I’m not sure if I will actually be able to since it’s still early days when it comes to my progress. I guess part of the problem is that I’m not sure if I’m actually in the mood for historical fiction right now… That and my Crooked Kingdom book hangover.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first reread Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo in anticipation of the second book in this duology. I loved it just as much the second time around! This one is without doubt my all time favorite Bardugo and among my favorite YA fantasy books as well.
* I then finished reading While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft, which turned out to be a good enough read. I admit it wasn’t as good as I was expecting and part of the plot and plot twists were either farfetched or even a bit predictable. The ending was a surprise, although I’m not sure I actually liked it. Also, the characters were not exactly likeable.
* Next up is my very first audiobook experience with Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis. I’ve tried my hands at audiobooks in the past, but could never actually get into the voices that told the stories. I was offered a copy of this one, and I ended up enjoying the whole experience a lot better than I thought I would. The story is full of action and plot twists, and the characters are without doubt interesting. Could have done without the romance and wasn’t sure about the ending, but overall it is without doubt a very entertaining story. It also worked perfectly as an audiobook and I was able to multitask while listening to it. I’m not sure I will switch to audiobooks any time soon, but one or two every once in a while have become way more tempting.
* Next up was one of the Goodreads Choice Awards finalists: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. And boy I definitely got more than what I had expected! This book is mentioned in the horror genre for a good reason, because this is without doubt one sick and messed up story. I will never look at my butterfly tattoo in the same way again… The story is well written, although the beginning and ending are a lot stronger than the middle part. In fact, the pace slowed down considerably and it took me longer than imagined to finish it. I’m not sure all of it is believable (for example: why don’t those girls ever fight back??!!), but it is without doubt one hell of a horror story. And it definitely isn’t one for the weakhearted…
* I also read His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James, which turned out to be another interesting psychological thriller with an interesting twist. The character development is probably the most interesting part of this story, as we see how both the kidnapper and her ‘son’ evolve over time and deal with their lives. The story switches between past and present and touches some very sensitive topics; you’ve been warned.
* And the last book I finished since last week is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I’m not sure if it was just because my expectations were set too high, but while I thoroughly enjoyed reading this sequel I don’t think it’s actually as good as the first book. Sure, I loved the characters and the twists and I no doubt have a small book hangover after finishing it. But it missed the spark of Six Of Crows. That doesn’t take away I’m sad to say goodbye to these characters…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I  want to try and read my very first Reading Alley ARC next: Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne. I also have another Netgalley ARC pending (sooo close to the 80% now!) The Killing Game by J.S. Carol. I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m looking forward to finally picking it up. I also want to finally dive into This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. I have loved everything written by this woman so far this year, so I honestly don’t understand what’s taking me so long. Lastly, my newest TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott.

Friday Finds #107 – November 11th

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FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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