WWW Wednesdays #194 – October 31st

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 An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris… It’s taking me a lot longer than planned, mostly because I’m finding the pace rather slow and can’t really stay interested in the story. The fact that I’ve put it down repeatedly to read something else instead is a clue here. I’m still going to finish it though, although I’m not sure if I will do so before the end of the evening to make it count as another October read. 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
I have enjoyed every single of the psychological thrillers Shalini Boland has written so far, and The Perfect Family is no exception. The writing is just as strong as ever, drawing you in from the start. The plot is very cleverly constructed and the final reveals definitely add an original touch to the story (despite the fact I saw part of it coming). The development of the plot and the plot twists are excellent, revealing just enough each time to keep you on your toes at all times. Without doubt a suspenseful, well crafted and simply splendid psychological thriller!

2. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
Spell Bound went slightly better than the second book, and I started to enjoy the sarcastic kind of humor and writing style in general again. Then… BOOM! The annoying romance and frustrating love triangle was back to ruin the day again, and things went downhill from there. I hate that the romance has ruined a potentially excellent trilogy for me, especially since I really enjoyed the first book and thought it had so much potential.

3. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
While there is no complicated poetry style to admire and the main technique seems to be the use of the space bar, somehow I wasn’t as bothered by that. Because there is one thing for sure: where The Princess Saves Herself In This One might lack in proper technique, it’s the words themself and the powerful message behind them that will blow your socks off. WOW! It doesn’t happen often that I’m able to connect this much with poetry… Relatable, emotional, clever wordplay; these words will no doubt move you.

4. Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott (4/5 stars) REVIEW 06/11
I had a blast going through the letters in Dear Mr Pop Star. I love that they sent letters to famous musicians in the first place, and the fact that so many actually responded is simply brilliant. And so many are such clever and funny replies at that. Dear Mr Pop Star would make a perfect gift for any pop and rock music fan. The letters will make you shuckle out loud and bring a smile to your face on numerous occasions, and it’s interesting to see how the pop and rock stars react to those letters in the first place.

5. Her Last Move by John Marrs (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/11
I really like how Her Last Move isn’t just another detective thriller, and adds its original twist to it. The plot itself is quite complicated with three different POVs to consider as well as various background stories. But it all just worked for me, and both the suspense and plot twists are well handled. The story also has a few surprises in store, and the character development is very well done. Plus, getting to look inside the head of another twisted serial killer is always a bonus, right? Fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
This story has once again reconfirmed my love for her work. What an absolutely brilliant and moving story! I think this is one of the first times I wasn’t bothered at all by the appearance of a love triangle, and somehow I actually enjoyed the romance. Between the wonderful writing style, the excellent character development, an interesting plot and the paranormal angle The Smallest Part has everything and more needed to turn this into one of my top reads this year.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/11
First of all, I have to say that I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot better if I would have read it 15-20 year ago. I have been meaning to read this so-called modern classic for years, and I think the story itself has a bigger impact on younger readers than adults. That said, the worldbuilding and story of The Giver reminded me a bit of Brave New World with a new twist. It was quite an interesting take on a dystopian world, where everything is controlled in such a way everything seems the same. This contrast with Jonas and his experiences once he starts training as a Receiver on its own is fascinating. Especially as he starts discovering more about his world and his eyes are truly opened… But somehow, I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would.

8. Small Time Crimes by Paul D. Brazill (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/11
I was looking forward to this short story bundle, as it sounded like the perfect way to get myself in the Halloween mood. Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be. Part of me thinks I’m the wrong target group here, although I normally love my dark humor and I don’t mind violence and graphic scenes. But this was just too much for me. I didn’t like the writing style, most of the stories completely lacked plots or stopped in the middle of a story, some were simply disgusting and my overall experience wasn’t a good one.

9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/11
I needed a distracting after Small Time Crimes, and then I remembered I have been wanting to read this picturebook classic for ages now. While I can see the appeal and the writing style is spot on, I did have my doubts about the message behind this story… Because the tree isn’t exactly treated with respect and only gives and gives without ever getting something real in return; not exactly a healthy relationship I would want to show to my kids.

10. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
I’ve heard a lot of things about Baby Teeth, and it’s definitely been making me want to read it before the October month is over. And it was without doubt a great read to get in the Halloween mood. I understand all the comments about Hanna now, because she truly is something that comes right out of your worst nightmare! She definitely gave me the creeps and more; it’s not exactly convincing me to have kids one day. xD The ending was kind of open and made me wonder if there will be a sequel one day?

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going and try to read as many Goodreads Choice Nomination titles as possible as well as read upcoming ARCs… First up is The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, a title I’ve been looking forward to read and the awards are an excellent excuse to do so. I’m also going to pick up The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas soon. My next ARC willbe Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt. It’s been ages since I read a Western themed historical fiction story, so I’m looking forward to it! I also (finally!) have a new TBR jar pick: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it in November, but I’m definitely reading it before the end of the year.


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ARC REVIEW: The Perfect Family – by Shalini Boland @bookouture

Title: The Perfect Family
Author: Shalini Boland
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 24th 2018
Pages: 284

“Confidence is the key to ninety-nine per cent of everything.”

*** 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’ve been a big fan of Shalini Boland‘s psychological thrillers ever since my first experience back in 2016 and I have read every single one she wrote since. Delivering one gripping and well written story after the other has turned her into one of my favorite psychological thriller writers, and of course I’m always highly anticipating any new title. Book number seven The Perfect Family is yet another strong addition to the family. There is just something about the writing style that draws you right in, grabs you and won’t let you go until you reach the final page. This is one of those books you’ll have to clear up your schedule for, because you’ll want to read it in one sitting! The funny thing is that initially I wasn’t too sure about the characters. I didn’t find them particularly enchanting, and I was worrying whether I would be able to properly connect to them or the story. I shouldn’t have worried, because as soon as the two different POVs started to merge those feelings don’t matter anymore. The suspense and plot twists are spot on and will create an atmosphere of suspicion and intrigue. You will want to scream at some characters, tell them to open their eyes, while you are also biting your nails as you wonder how things would continue. I did see part of the final twist coming, as it’s pretty obvious, but there is also an extra spin that most definitely will come as a surprise. The Perfect Family is another well crafted, suspenseful and deceiving psychological thriller that won’t let you go until you know it all… Perfect for fans of the genre.

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It all starts when one morning Gemma Ballantine is getting ready for work, and her eldest daughter makes her realize her six-year-old has disappeared. With the front door open, Gemma fears the worst and runs out to find her little girl… Her mother-in-law Diane ends up finding Katie wandering around a few streets away, and Gemma is both relieved and thankful the nightmare is over. But it turns out that it’s only just beginning…

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I have enjoyed every single of the psychological thrillers Shalini Boland has written so far, and The Perfect Family is no exception. The writing is just as strong as ever, drawing you in from the start. The plot is very cleverly constructed and the final reveals definitely add an original touch to the story (despite the fact I saw part of it coming). The development of the plot and the plot twists are excellent, revealing just enough each time to keep you on your toes at all times. Without doubt a suspenseful, well crafted and simply splendid psychological thriller!


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WWW Wednesdays #193 – October 24th

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 Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott, a story I’ve been looking forward to ever since I’ve been invited to read it. It’s taking a bit longer than expected to read it, as my kindle doesn’t seem to agree with the file and I have to read it on my laptop, but so far it’s great. I’ve also started The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland, and I’m looking forward to continue this psychological thriller later today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Book Love by Debbie Tung (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/11
Book Love would make the perfect gift for any booklover out there. Adorable illustrations and many many bookish situations you will be able to relate to instantly… This graphic novel is a little goldmine of bookish love and speaks for all of us booklovers out there. Funny, relatable, entertaining and well crafted… Book Love is one to add to your 2019 wishlist!

2. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (2/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
I was fully expecting a repeat experience of Hex Hall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. While I had a blast reading the first book, sadly Demonglass suffers from the so-called ‘weak-sequel-syndrome’. Instead of being entertained, I found myself to be mostly frustrated and just wanting to get it over with, not caring about the outcome whatsoever. It’s not the writing, because I still liked it. It’s not the sarcasm, because that kind of humor almost always hits the mark for me. My main problem is with the tremendous overdose of romance and lack of a proper plot.

3. Pruning Simplified by Steven Bradley (4/5 stars) REVIEW
Pruning Simplified is a great guide for beginners and professionals alike, with an insightful introduction and a detailed instruction on how to prune no less than 50 popular trees and shrubs. Each plant not only has instructions on how to prune and keep your plant healthy, but also when exactly you should prune. Very helpful! There is also a detailed description on how to prune trees and hedges, all combined with illustrations to help visualize where and how to cut. Pruning Simplified is a great reference for anyone wanting to learn more about pruning plants.

4. Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
If you are looking for something dark and twisty enough you will get all tangled up in the plot, Before Her Eyes is definitely an excellent choice. I liked how one of the main characters is blind, adding a whole different dimension to the story as our main witness can hear and feel, but not actually see the killer. This kind of ‘twisted’ relationship between the two without doubt added an original touch to the story. There is no doubt that Before Her Eyes is a disturbing, twisted and misleading detective thriller that I can recommend to anyone who loves reading darker thrillers.

5. Rebel by Amy Tintera (4/5 stars) REVIEW 29/10
I have to say that the second book didn’t disappoint and is just as good or even slightly better than the first. Between the writing style and likeable characters it was really easy to fly through Rebel. Sure, I would have liked to see a slightly more complicated and developed dystopian world, but its simplicity didn’t bother me all that much either. The idea behind the Reboot duology might not be completely original, but it works as a charm anyway. This success has a lot to do with the writing, fast pace and the main characters.

6. Before She Falls by Dylan Young (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/10
The Detective Anna Gwynne series just keeps delivering and Before She Falls is another excellent edition. This story has everything I could want of a thriller: a creepy serial killer, a clever plot, suspense, plot twists, interesting characters, an original touch… All blended together into a perfect detective thriller smoothie. Before She Falls is creepy, dark and disturbing with a lightning fast pace and a few heartstopping moments; any fan of the genre will be in for a treat with this series is general.

7. Evidence Of The Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/10
I’ve heard great things about this novella, and there is no doubt that Evidence Of The Affair has only reconfirmed to me that I have to read more of her work. I loved the fact that the story is told exclusively through letters, and just how well we get to know the characters despite its short length. It was interesting to see how things developed, and I actually quite liked the ending as well. It’s short, well written, well crafted and entertaining, and 200% worth your time.

8. Sadie by Courtney Summers (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
I was fully expecting to love it: this story gives off all the right vibes, and I still think that the story itself was fascinating. But somehow, I didn’t actually enjoy reading Sadie all that much. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why though… The idea of the podcast is very cleverly done, mixing those chapters with Sadie’s POV. There is a lot of mystery around Sadie and her sister, and it’s interesting to slowly figure out more and more about the past. I wasn’t sure what to think of the ending though… I was left wanting for more. I also wasn’t able to connect properly to the characters, and I think that is part of the reason Sadie didn’t work for me in the end. The writing style didn’t click with me either (the same happened with All The Rage, so it might just be that her writing is not for me).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to get my pending NG shelf below ten, so I’m probably reading Her Last Move by John Marrs next. And even though I wasn’t sure at first whether to continue the series, I’ve decided to read the final Hex Hall book anyway since I already have a copy and want to cross off another series. So Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins it is… (I did decide not to read the other book set in the same world though.) I also need to read Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier some time soon so I can finally finish the When Are You Reading? challenge. My current TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris; I’ve decided to wait until next month to read that one.


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