ARC REVIEW: One Of Us Is Lying – by Karen M. McManus

Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: May 30th 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Finished reading: May 18th 2017
Pages: 368

“Nobody could stand him, but they’re all holding candles like he’s some kind of martyr instead of a gossipy douchebag.”

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

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I had actually wrongly assumed One Of Us Is Lying was a contemporary romance read the first time I saw it and wasn’t sure it would be for me, so I didn’t add it to my wishlist straight away… So I guess I have to thank Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm for putting this book on my radar with her review. One Of Us Is Lying is without doubt one of the best YA mystery stories I’ve read so far this year. This is unreliable narrators and plot twists at its best; I did kind of guess part of the ending early on, but there is no way this story won’t at least partly surprise you. The story starts out strong and it sets the tone for the rest of the story. The main characters start out as high school cliches, but as you continue reading they slowly start to evolve and their development is very well executed. Despite the cliches it’s really easy to connect to the four suspects and they are one of the reasons this story works so well. My favorites would be Cooper and Bronwyn, but all four have their charm. The plot twists are excellent and definitely make you wonder what is true and who is lying; the ending wasn’t a complete surprise but was still satisfying. If you like the genre and you’re up for a healthy dose of high school secrets and excellent twists, One Of Us Is Lying is the book for you!

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Five students at Bayview High walk into detention, and only four walk out alive… Had any of the four something to do with the dead of Simon, an outcast and creator of the notorious Bayview High gossip app? The investigators say his death wasn’t an accident, and they are looking at the four students for their suspect. Bronwyn is the brain and never breaks a rule, Addy is the beauty and a homecoming princess, Nate is the criminal and on probation for dealing and Cooper the athlete and all-star baseball pitcher. Did one of them kill Simon? Because it seems like they did have motive, because Simon had planned to post juicy reveals about all four of them the next day…

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One Of Us Is Lying ended up being even better than I thought it would be. Sure, the characters started out as cliches, but they were really easy to connect to and ended up growing into something so much more… The writing style is highly enjoyable and only adds to the fast pace of this story. The plot twists are excellent as well and all in all I had a great time reading it. More than recommended!


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ARC REVIEW: Be My Killer – by Richard Parker

Title: Be My Killer
Author: Richard Parker

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 26th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: May 17th 2017
Pages: 379

“That’s the reality of it. It’s not fodder for entertainment; it’s a chunk of me gone. It’s just pain and emptiness, and there’s nothing remotely sensational about 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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As soon as I saw Be My Killer, I was drawn to it like those moths on the cover and knew I didn’t stand a chance. The combination of a potential serial killer, a social media twist and the documentary angle just sounded too good to resist and I’m glad I gave it a go. Be My Killer is without doubt a very intense and gripping psychological thriller! I found myself literally flying through the pages trying to discover what would happen next and who was behind it all… And there is no doubt this story introduces one of the most twisted and disturbing serial killers I’ve read about in a long time. A little warning for those with a weak stomach: some of the scenes are quite graphic as the killer doesn’t mind ‘getting his hands dirty’ so to speak. They do set the right creepy and gloomy atmosphere for the book and the setting in an abandoned amusement park only adds to that. I also liked the social media angle and the whole Twitter ‘Be My Killer hastag’ serial killer idea. I’ve seen social media used quite a lot in psychological thrillers lately, but this plot is without doubt quite original. Talking about the plot, it’s impressive how many plot twists are stacked on top of each other in Be My Killer. You literally don’t know who’s next and what happens next until the very moment you are reading it and even though I had a few ideas who might be behind it, the story mostly kept proved me wrong. There’s something to say about the credibility of the plot and I didn’t exactly like every character, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and had a great time reading this story. Recommended if you like the genre and don’t mind gory details and a graphic scene or two.

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What started out as an online prank on Twitter ended up going viral. And soon people responding to the ‘Be My Killer’ hashtag actually started to die in the horrible ways they had Tweeted about… And the police is completely in the dark about who is behind the murders. Is it just one killer or are there more? And do the murders really connect to the hashtag? One of Hazel’s childhood friends is found murdered and she is determined to find out what happened to her. Hazel has a theory she wants to test even though the police don’t believe in it. She decides to make a documentary about the killings, hoping to lure out the killer and find justice to her friend and the other victims… But isn’t it dangerous to play with such a disturbed individual?

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As soon as I read the blurb I just knew I had to read this story. I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers and the one described in Be My Killer sounded like a true ‘beauty’. And I was right, because the murders were both gruesome, twisted and disturbing in general. Suspense and plot twists are stacked up to dangerous heights until you find yourself unable to stop reading until you reach the last page… I didn’t like every character and had some minor problems with the credibility, but that didn’t stop me from reaching the last page in record time. And what a ride!


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ARC REVIEW: Liar – by K.L. Slater

Title: Liar
Author: K.L. Slater

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 16th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: May 12th 2017
Pages: 303

“I’m not myself at all. There are times I feel like I don’t know who I am any more.”

*** 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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You know those times a book simply screams your name and you have to drop everything else and read it? Well, that is what happened when I saw Liar appear on my kindle. I have been looking forward to another of K.L. Slater‘s psychological thrillers ever since I finished Blink, and this one has definitely turned out to be another masterpiece. Fast-paced, well written and enjoyable prose, unreliable characters, many many plot twists, an explosive ending… Liar has simply the full psychological thriller package! I’ve read stories about the mother-in-law-daugher-in-law and stepmother relationship before, but I think this one might just be the best one yet. Especially the first one is portrayed brilliantly in this newest story and both Amber and Judi’s character are both realistic, well developed and highly unreliable. This ‘unreliable narrator’ technique doesn’t always work in stories, but was very well executed in Liar and resulted in some very shocking plot twists. There is no way the explosive ending will not completely shock and surprise you! Secrets, plot twists, unreliable characters, suspense… This story will have you in its claws from the very first page and won’t let you go until the very end! If you like the genre, add this to your wishlist. You’ll be in for a treat.

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A few years ago Ben’s wife Louise passed away and he has been raising his two sons alone ever since with a little help of his devoted mother Judi. She lives for her family and doesn’t mind helping out at all; she’s actually happy she can spend so much time with her grandchildren. But that might all change when Ben meets someone new… Everyone seems to think Amber is the perfect match for Ben and adore her, but Judi isn’t all that sure. Something about the girl just doesn’t seem to add up…

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Liar turned out to be another excellent psychological thriller read full of surprises. I found myself literally flying through the pages as I kept wondering about the chapter the story started with… Because Liar both started and ended with a bang. This is unreliable narrating at its best, and I loved every single minute of the ride. More than recommended for fans of the genre!


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ARC REVIEW: Roses Of May – by Dot Hutchison

Title: Roses Of May
(The Collector #2)
Author: Dot Hutchison

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: May 23rd 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: May 11th 2017
Pages: 300

“The public steals tragedies from victims. … These things happened to us, to our loved ones, but it hits the news and suddenly everyone with a TV or computer feels like they’re entitled to our reactions and recoveries.”

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

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I’m going to be honest and admit I was completely unaware The Butterfly Garden was actually the first book of a trilogy when I read it last year. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw Roses Of May mentioned and realized it was a sequel; I instantly knew I had to read it after my experience with the first book. It was interesting how some of the main characters of The Butterfly Garden reacted after what happened in the first book, but Roses Of May can in fact also be read as a stand-alone since it’s mainly about a completely different case and serial killer. Dot Hutchison has without doubt created another creeper with this one and the case is intriguing, although I do have to say I was slightly disappointed by the fact I figured out his identity really early on in the story. The writing style is just as enjoyable as book one and I liked the main character Priya, her kick-ass attitude and relation with the feds. I think I still prefer the first book, just because it made a little more impact for being such a dark, twisted and shocking story, but Roses Of May has its share of horror as well. I liked that the POV switches between the present and the voice of the killer… It really adds to his character. As with the first book, it has a rather closed ending, so no painful cliffhangers (thankfully). I’ll be wondering what the third and final book will be about though!

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

Four months after what happened in the Garden, the three FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian and Mercedes Ramirez are still dealing with the aftermath. The butterflies are still struggling to adjust to life on the outside, but that is not the only case on their mind. Because as the winter slowly coming to an end, a different serial killer seems to be preparing to find himself another victim… And the agents know that if they don’t find him, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers. Will they be able to stop them on time? And what has Priya, one of the victims’ sister, to do with all of this?

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While not as strong or twisted as the first book, I still very much enjoyed Roses Of May. Especially the final part had a very fast pace and the writing style is very enjoyable to read. The serial killer and plot itself are both intriguing and the chapters with the killer’s thoughts added another level of suspense. I also might or might not have squealed when I saw my name mentioned in the story (doesn’t happen often, trust me!). The plot twists are interesting as well, although I did find out the killer’s identity early on. Without doubt still recommended though!


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ARC REVIEW: The Darkest Lies – by Barbara Copperthwaite

Title: The Darkest Lies
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: May 12th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: May 6th 2017
Pages: 433

“One week ago you had home home as usual, chatting about homework, rushing around, laughing. Until you’d lies to us, and gone out for the night. Then everything had changed.”

*** 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 always have a weak spot for a good psychological thriller and Bookouture has never disappointed me with its selection of the genre so far. The Darkest Lies just sounded too good to ignore and I can now say this story definitely didn’t disappoint. What at first glance looked like another missing girl/brutal attack case, turned out to be so much more than that. Because everything is covered and trapped in a huge web of lies. Nothing and nobody is as it seems and you will find yourself shocked as you slowly start finding out what really happened to Beth that night and what secrets she was hiding. The ending was definitely a huge surprise! I did see some things coming and had my suspicions, but overall the plot twists were more than satisfactory. The writing style is enjoyable to read and adds to the whole suspense and mystery around what happened to Beth. I really liked the setting as well and the important role the marsh played in the story. I did have mixed thoughts about some of the main characters in The Darkest Lies and I’m still not sure if I liked some of them, but this mostly didn’t distract from the story itself. I did wonder about Melanie’s reaction to what she saw Jacob do with her own eyes… And I found her a bit naive in general. The many plot twists will make you forget all about that though, and in short The Darkest Lies was without doubt another excellent psychological thriller with a rather shocking ending.

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Everything seemed to have worked out perfectly for Melanie Oak, who still lives in the small village she grew up in, married her childhood sweetheart and now they have a teenage daughter. They live a happy life together, until one day her daughter Beth goes missing. She was supposed to spend the night with her best friend, but she never arrived… And while Beth is found shortly after, almost beaten to death and frozen, the police is having difficulties finding out who is behind the attack. Melanie is frustrated and decides to find her daughter’s attacker herself; she just can’t believe nobody saw anything that night. But she might not like what she finds out… Because Beth has been hiding secrets of her own.

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The Darkest Lies started out strong and stayed that way during the whole ride. I did find some of the characters less likeable than others, but that’s really easy to forget about with so many plot twists to keep you busy. If you like suspenseful reads that will surprise you, you are in for a treat. Because you won’t believe what really happened the night Beth went missing… And the web of lies and secrets that has been cast over the small town. Recommended!


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BOOK REVIEW: The Murder Of An Angel – by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Title: The Murder Of An Angel
(Confessions #4)
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Genre: YA, Mystery, Fiction
First published: October 15th 2015
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Finished reading: May 5th 2017
Pages: 304

“There were three sides to this story: hers, his, and mine. But who cares about theirs? My side had been vetted and psychiatrically approved.”

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Confession: the only reason I decided to read the fourth and final book is that I can cross another series off my list that way. Confession: I still think this series should have stopped at the first book. Confession: I really wish I could turn the main character Tandoori into chicken tandoori food so I don’t have to listen to her any longer. Confession: there is a considerable amount of whining included in The Murder Of An Angel and that might make you want to throw your kindle/book against the wall. Confession: I don’t think the plot of this final book really lives up to the first either book. Confession: I actually think the conclusion is quite weak and there is a lot of repetition going on in the plot. Confession: Tandoori thinks she is pretty darn important, but she’s basically an unstable brat. Confession: I guess at least it’s a superquick read, although I’m not sure if it’s because of the pace or writing style. Confession: the fact that this series reads fast is probably the only reason I made it this far. Confession: if you ask me, stick to just reading the first book if you haven’t read the series yet. It will save you a lot of pain. Confession: I’ve grown tired of this format, so this will be my final confession. Done. Finito. Over and out.

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

After all that Tandoori Angel and her family have been through during the last year, the next murder case just could be her own. But she is not sure the new treats are real, or if the stalker she’s convinced will take her life actually just lives inside her head… Because let’s face it: she’s not exactly stable. A series of events lead her to believe it might all be real, but is this true or is it all the result of her own paranoia?

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In case my confessions weren’t clear, I didn’t exactly enjoy this final installment of the Confessions series. I actually really enjoyed the first book, but things went downhill from there and the last two books are basically pretty bad. It just seemed like more books were squeezed out for monetary reasons as the plot was weak and didn’t add anything substantial to the story at all. The main character Tandoori becomes intolerable and the romance/love triangle subplot plain annoying. I kind of wish I would have stopped after the first or even the second book, but I guess it’s too late for that… It is true though that The Murder Of An Angel is again a superfast read I managed to finish in less than a day. And thank the stars for that.


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ARC REVIEW: Anything For Her – by Jack Jordan

Title: Anything For Her
Author: Jack Jordan

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: June 1st 2015
Publisher: JJP
Finished reading: May 3rd 2017
Pages: 370

“What I’ve learned, Dominic, is that it isn’t us that’s weird, for not following the rules – it’s those who cannot think for themselves that are the weird ones.”

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

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I actually added this title to my list shortly after reading and enjoying My Girl last year, and I’m still not sure why it took me this long to finally pick it up. I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers and I really like Jack Jordan‘s writing style. It’s fast, it’s entertaining and it manages to catch your attention right from the first page. Anything For Her starts out strong and stays that way during the rest of the story. The whole mystery around ‘that night’ is intriguing and definitely makes you want to keep on reading… I don’t think I agree with the choices the main character Louise makes, but it is without doubt a very suspenseful read with quite a few plot twists. I sort of saw some of them coming, but others managed to surprise me and all in all I had a very good experience reading this book. In fact, I think I enjoyed this debut even slightly better than My Girl… Although both titles are more than recommended. The characters are without doubt interesting as well even though some are not all that likeable, and it was quite easy to relate to most of them (not the cheating husband though; he deserves the worst). If you are looking for your next psychological thriller read, Anything For Her is a great choice.

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Louise and her family used to have a perfectly happy life, up until that one fateful night… Only Louise and her daughter Brooke know exactly what happened that night, but the consequences affect all of them. Louise has grown distant and Brooke is depressed; her husband ended up cheating on her with her own sister. But things can always get worse… Because one day Brooke is suddenly missing. What has happened to her? And does it have to do with that night?

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If you like suspenseful reads that are both well written, keep you on the edge of your seat and entertain you along the way, Anything For Her is a great choice. The characters are maybe not all that likeable, but they feel realistic and ‘that night’ will haunt you right until you find out the complete truth. There are some very interesting plot twists as well and I liked the ending, which was quite original. Recommended!


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