ARC REVIEW: The Couple On Cedar Close – by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Title: The Couple On Cedar Close
(Detective Dan Riley #2)

Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 18th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 6th 2019
Pages: 378

“And I wonder then, if there’s no one to witness your life, do you even exist at all?”

*** 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 !!

After enjoying the first book of this detective series Black Heart last year, it was an easy decision whether to continue meeting up with detective Dan Riley. And now that I have gotten the chance to read The Couple On Cedar Close, I definitely don’t regret making that decision. There is one thing for sure: this is a very entertaining detective thriller sequel to be starting the year with. Not only is the writing style solid and easy to read, but the plot is filled with plot twists, suspense and a lot of mystery around what really happened that night. The Couple On Cedar Close also has one of the most interesting and well developed unreliable characters I’ve encountered with in a while. I know this technique might get a bit old, especially combined with an amnesia angle, but trust me: you will forget about your doubts as the story will put you under its spell. There are a lot of twists and turns as well as flashbacks that are ment to help you solve the puzzle as well as keep you guessing. Sadly I was able to guess most of the final reveals quite early on myself, but that might just be me having read so many detective thrillers that I can see through most tricks by now… Anyhow, it didn’t mean that I enjoyed the ride because of that tiny speed bump. I did have my doubts about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot and not all characters were exactly likeable. I never like cheating in a story either… But I do think The Couple On Cedar Close shines an important light on the fact that psychological abuse is still abuse and should be treated in the same way. All in all not perfect, but worth your time if you enjoy the genre.

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

Cedar Close used to be a nice and quiet suburban street to live in. Up until Laurie and Robert Mills moved in… First the scandal at the annual summer barbecue, and now something a whole lot more sinister happened inside number thirteen. Late one evening, Robert is found dead in his bedroom by his own wife. She doesn’t remember what happened during the last few hours, but she does know she didn’t kill him… Or did she?

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If you enjoy detective thrillers and unreliable characters, you will definitely have a blast with this detective Dan Riley sequel The Couple On Cedar Close. There is a lot of mystery around both Robert and Laurie and their past, adding suspense to the plot and it will keep you entertained as you guess about the details. The flashbacks are interesting as well as you try to fit them into the rest of the story… I did have some issues regarding the credibility of some parts of the plot and wasn’t sure about some of the characters, but overall it was still an entertaining ride.


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ARC REVIEW: Finding Grace – by K.L. Slater @bookouture

Title: Finding Grace
Author: K.L. Slater
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: February 14th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: January 10th 2019
Pages: 253

“I keep constantly wishing – willing – for the chance to make different decisions and of course it doesn’t work. I should’ve learned by now.”

*** 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 sure most of you will know by now that K.L. Slater is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors and I always squeal a little whenever a new title comes out. And guess what? It’s that time again! Oh yes, a new psychological thriller is coming to the stores very soon and what an absolute scorcher at that! K.L. Slater has truly outdone herself with her newest story Finding Grace, and I’m already having a feeling it will appear on my list of 2019 favorites… Such suspense! Such twists! If you like nailbitingly good psychological thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, look no further because you have found something new to read. I literally cancelled all plans, sat down and devoured Finding Grace in one sitting. Yes, it was just THAT good. You can never go wrong with her books, but this one might just be my new favorite… So, what’s to like? First of all, it’s the writing style which is just as solid, engaging and fabulous as always. You get not one, but TWO chilling storylines and secrets and mysteries to unravel… Flashbacks to sixteen years ago are mixed with the current dreadful situation, done in such a way that greatly enhances the suspense without things becoming confused or slowing down the pace. My heart went out for all of them and I just had to keep turning those pages to find out both what happened to Grace and what happened with Lucie all those years ago… And trust me, I definitely didn’t see the reveals coming. Plot twist bomb after plot twist bomb will be dropped on you as you get more tangled up in the web of secrets and lies. They just keep coming! And trust me, some of them are seriously shocking. Finding Grace ticked all the boxes for me and more, and I can 200% recommend it to any fan of the genre. It’s simply a must-read!

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Lucie and Blake agree to let their daughter Grace walk home alone from a friend’s house just down the street for the first time just after her ninth birthday. She’s been asking for a long time, and they decide to finally give in thinking they can watch her walk between both houses the whole time. But they were wrong… Somehow, Grace never makes it back home. And despite the police and local community stepping in immediately, Grace doesn’t reappear… She seems to have vanished into thin air. What happened to her?

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Finding Grace is definitely a great way to start the year with a bang. Well written, intriguing, suspenseful, complex and nailbitingly good: oh yes, say hello to my very first 5 star read of the year! I’m a big fan of her work in general and this one might just be my new favorite. What seems to be another kidnapping case at first glance turns out to be so much more… With a lot of extra layers, flashbacks and twists to form a properly complex and well executed plot. You will want to clear your schedule for this one, because it will be VERY hard to stop reading before reaching that final page.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #74 – Artemis & Beneath The Sugar Sky

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two anticipated releases, one that turned out to be a disappointment and one that turned out to be a success. Artemis by Andy Weir sadly didn’t live up to expectations at all (although I was warned), something I had hoped wouldn’t happen since The Martian is one of my all time favorites. Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire turned out to be a very strong third book and definitely just as good as the first one.


Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction
First published: November 14th 2017
Publisher: Crown
Finished reading: January 7th 2019 
Pages: 322

“It’s a simple idiot-proofing scheme that’s very effective. But no idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot.”


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Part of me already knew this was going to happen, because people did warn me about Artemis before I started reading it… But even lowering my expectations didn’t prevent me from feeling very much disappointed by Artemis, especially since The Martian has a special place on my list of all time favorites. I know it’s not right to compare the two books and I won’t be don’t that here actively, but let’s see if I can put together just exactly why this story didn’t work for me. The first mayor problem has a lot to do with the main character Jazz. Let’s just start with saying I had no clue the main character was actually female until she was referred to in that way. And that was one heck of an unpleasant surprise… Because while Mark Watney’s personality really worked for him in The Martian, having a very much similar attitude and personality implanted in an Islamic young woman REALLY gives off the wrong vibe. I don’t mind sassy, I don’t mind attitude, but what is with the constant sexism, adult jokes and sex references? And why do other treat her that way, talk to her in that way, and think that it’s okay to do so? Not only did it feel unnatural, but I also found it offensive. In short, both Jazz and the way others reacted to her really ruined the story for me. It seems that this personality that was once successful just doesn’t work for a different gender or a situation where a lot more characters are involved. The writing on its own isn’t bad and I do like part of the dry humor (when it’s not sexist); the worldbuilding is also quite interesting and I liked the idea behind the plot. This story could have worked really well, but sadly went in the wrong direction for me… As for the credibility: well, it IS a story set on the moon and sci-fi at that, but I couldn’t help start wondering about how Jazz and only a few others were supposed to do all that without getting killed in the process. Or blowing up the moon. This was only minor compared to my problems with Jazz and what she represented though, and I’m really sad to be feeling this way about what I had hoped would be a new favorite. Oh well, at least now I know for sure…


Title: Beneath The Sugar Sky
(Wayward Children #3)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: January 9th 2018
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: January 8th 2019
Pages: 157

“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.”


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I fell in love with the worldbuilding and writing in Every Heart A Doorway last year, and have been looking forward to read more about the different worlds and doors ever since. Don’t let the shortness of these little gems fool you, because there is a lot to love in each story and the only downside is that it will leave you wanting for more. Beneath The Sugar Sky is already book number three and bumped straight to the top of this series favorites along with the first book. I think part of this has to do with the fact that we go back to the ‘real’ world temporarily and meet a lot of the characters mentioned in the first book again. This mixture of reality and a healthy dose of a glimpse of not one but multiple magical worlds made the story really stand out for me. Old and new characters are mixed naturally and I love just how diverse Seanan McGuire is able to make her characters without them becoming a cliche. I could really appreciate the focus on the whole body image issue through the eyes of Cora… There is so much truth in her experience and it’s sad the real world has to be this way. That said, I loved the whimsical, nonsense and basically impossible quest the main characters find themselves on in Beneath The Sugar Sky and I’m already curious about what the next story will bring us.


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ARC REVIEW: Mala Vida – by Marc Fernandez

Title: Mala Vida
Author: Marc Fernandez
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: October 1st 2015
Publisher: Arcade
Finished reading: January 5th 2019
Pages: 240
(Originally written in French: ‘Mala Vida’)

“Franco is dead, but not the evil he brought into the world.”

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

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I’ve had an interest in Spanish history and especially the Franco period even before I picked it as my thesis subject. It’s easy to say that when I came across Mala Vida and read the blurb I was sold immediately. A story partially set in one of my favorite European cities and one I know closely: check. An intriguing historical background and mystery: check. A healthy dose of crime fiction, suspense and plot twists: check. Oh yes, while Mala Vida is mostly a contemporary crime thriller, it also included a historical element and a very intriguing and devastating one at that. This story was originally written in French back in 2015, and will be available in English next week. The translation works splendidly and I had a great time reading this story. The writing style made it easy to keep myself invested in the story; there are flashbacks, different point of views and plot twists that will keep you on edge until you have everything figured out. The setting was a huge bonus for me and I liked the inclusion of cultural elements to make the setting feel more authentic. The historical case discussed in Mala Vida is fascinating and I liked how we get multiple views on the topic through the different characters. Diego’s character is very interesting and I liked that he is a journalist. The same goes for the other main characters: each has their own personality, background and adds a little something unique to the story. All in all a very successful read for me!

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The radical right has just won the election after twelve years of Socialist rule in Spain, and things are about to change drastically. As the country is preparing itself to retrace its steps to the past, there are other things happening as well. A series of murders is committed in various cities in Spain, and there are no clues found as to who is behind them or why they were killed. There seems to be no obvious connection between them, but isn’t there? And that is not all either, because a national scandal is about to be revealed as well…

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If you like stories with an international setting that can offer a little something different and outside the box, you should definitely consider Mala Vida. Part legal thriller, part historical, part mystery and part crime fiction, this story is a mix of a lot of different elements and very well executed at that. I personally loved the Spanish setting, the diversity of the main characters and the story as a whole. The historical element is both well executed and shocking and will definitely leave a mark… A very interesting read and one I’m very glad I came across.


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ARC REVIEW: The Girl Without Skin – by Mads Peder Nordbo

Title: The Girl Without Skin
(Greenland #1)

Author: Mads Peder Nordbo
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 27th 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Finished reading: December 29th 2018
Pages: 352
(Originally written in Danish: ‘Pigen uden hud’)

“If you want to understand why a ball is rolling, you need to find out what set it in motion. The rest is nothing but effect, and the effect is visible to everyone.”

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

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I’ve been meaning to read more Nordic crime, so when I saw this title popping up I just couldn’t resist. That cover does look kind of daunting, doesn’t it? I went in The Girl Without Skin full of expectations and they were more than met. The first thing that stood out for me was the setting. It shows that the author knows Nuuk and Greenland from his own experience living there, because he is able to describe it in a way that makes it truly come alive. I also like that the main character Matthew is a Danish ‘outsider’ like the author himself. Being able to see both Nuuk and Greenland through his eyes was truly insightful, and I feel like I’ve learned a bit about the life there as well as having read a solid crime thriller. Because solid it was. Bloodcurdling, twisted, disturbing and bodies piling up as you turn the pages… Oh yes, The Girl Without Skin isn’t for those who don’t like to see their crime thrillers bloody. But if you, like me, don’t mind things getting messy, you will have a great time with this little shocking story. I really liked the writing style, which was engaging and made me keep reading until I suddenly reached the last page. The pace is good and I liked how the plot was constructed, which 1973 flashbacks as well as the current (2014) storyline. It was interesting to see how the author slowly tried to link both point of views and there is one thing for sure: The Girl Without Skin will have some shocking surprises for you in store!

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Journalist Matthew Cave is called in to investigate the body of what is suspected to be a mummified Viking discovered out on the edge of an ice sheet. He is eager to cover the story, knowing that this discovery might just be his big break… But the next day the body is gone, and all evidence with it, leaving only the mutilated body of the policeman who was keeping watch. Gutted and flayed, his death resembles the victims of a chain of murders back in the 1970s, crimes that were never solved. Are the two crimes linked? Matthew might be in more danger than he realizes as he tries to investigate.

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I was without doubt more than pleasantly surprised by The Girl Without Skin. I like my crime thrillers dark and disturbing, and an interesting international setting is always a bonus for me. This story isn’t for those with a weak stomach, as there are a lot of graphic scenes involved including violence, bloodcurdling murder scenes and abuse. The Greenland setting is excellently executed and it felt like I were there myself along with the main characters… The story itself chilled me to the bone. If you like dark crime thrillers, you should definitely give this one a go!


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ARC REVIEW: Bridge To Burn – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Bridge To Burn
(Detective Kay Hunter #7)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 13th 2019
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: December 25th 2018
Pages: 360

” ‘Two steps forward, one step back,’ said Carys. ‘It’s like the murder investigation version of bloody tango,’ said Barnes.”

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

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Detective Kay Hunter has quickly grown into a new favorite series and character of mine this year. I’m sure you’ve seen me mentioning this series numerous times during 2018, and I’m sure this won’t stop in the future. Why? Every single book so far has been a complete hit for me, of a consistent quality and well written story after story after story. Bridge To Burn is already book number seven and trust me, if you are a detective thriller fan and haven’t tried this series yet, you have been seriously missing out. Bridge To Burn is yet another winner and I loved every single minute of it. Make sure to have your schedule clear, because you will want to read it in one sitting if possible! Kay Hunter is one of my favorite detective characters and reading about her adventures is like returning to and old friend. The writing is excellent, the plot was once again intriguing and the main characters will win over your heart all over again. There are lots of twists and turns to consider and Bridge To Burn has just the right dose of suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. And honestly, this series in general just has it all.

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

When a mummified body is found in a recently renovated building, detective Kay Hunter and her team are called in to discover what happened and who was behind the crime. It turns out to be a far more complicated investigation than initially expected… And includes men who will do anything to protect their business interests. Kay Hunter and her team will have to tread carefully to discover the truth before it’s too late…

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It’s always a wonderful feeling meeting up with an old favorite again, and that is exactly what I feel every time I get to spend more time with detective Kay Hunter. This series has quickly become one of my favorites and I can highly recommend it to any fan of the genre. If you enjoy reading detective thrillers, getting to know Kay Hunter is a must! Every single book so far has been well written with intriguing plots, interesting and easy to like characters and just the right amount of suspense and plot twists. What is not to like? Trust me, you don’t want to miss out…


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YVO’S SHORTIES #68 – The Couple Next Door & Vengeful

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two completely different genres, but two titles I ended up really enjoying. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab


Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 14th 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books
Finished reading: December 11th 2018
Pages: 352

“Everyone is faking it, all of them pretending to be something they’re not. The whole world is built on lies and deceit.”


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I have been meaning to read this domestic thriller debut for quite some time now. I know there have been a lot of mixed reviews about this one, and I definitely think I have benefitted from waiting until the hype died down. I ended up enjoying The Couple Next Door way better than I thought I would. There are some things to be said about the writing style, which I wasn’t always are sure about, but overall I managed to keep turning those pages fast enough. This has a lot to do with the pace and both the mystery around Anne’s past and other secrets in play… I do have to say that I’m not sure about the credibility of it all and some aspects and plot twists seemed a bit too absurd to be believable. But there is also no doubt that The Couple Next Door was still a very entertaining ride and I’m glad I finally took the time to read it. The ending was definitely unexpected! It kind of made me wish there were more pages to see how things would develop after that bombshell. I’ll be looking forward to read more of her work in the future…


Title: Vengeful
(Villains #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
First published: September 25th 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Finished reading: December 14th 2018
Pages: 592

“Some people were matches, a bit of light and no heat. And some were furnaces, all heat but little light. And then, once in a blue moon, there was a bonfire, something so hot and bright you couldn’t stand too near without burning.”


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I enjoyed reading Vicious, so of course I was excited about Vengeful ever since I first found out there was going to be a sequel. I was going to do a reread of the first book first, but with so many other titles pending I decided to dive straight in and see if I could pick up the thread. And as soon as I started, I just couldn’t make myself stop… V.E. Schwab is one of my absolute favorite authors, and Vengeful is without doubt a brilliant sequel. It’s been too long to properly compare it with the first book, but what I do know is that I loved every single minute of my time with book two. While the plot is actually quite simple, it is both the writing style and character development that blow you away. There is a reason she is one of my favorite authors, because her writing is of such a high quality that you just cannot help but fall in love with it. The same goes for the characters… We have a lot of old favorites, and a few new introductions as well that will leave a very strong mark. Marcella and June, I’m looking at you! The whole superpower/villain angle works fascinatingly well and while maybe not that original, the incorporation of those elements is done in such a way that you will have no choice but enjoy the ride. Vengeful will take a well-deserved place on my shelf of favorites, and I will already be looking forward to reread both Villains books together in the future.


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