Before I Find You by Ali Knight #BookReview

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Maggie is a husband watcher. A snooper, a marriage doctor, a killer of happy-ever-afters. She runs her own private detective agency specialising in catching out those who cheat. And she’s very good at it. Until Helene walks through her door.

Helene is a husband catcher. A beautiful wife, a doting stepmother, a dazzling presence at parties. She counts herself lucky to have married one of the most eligible men in town – Gabe Moreau. Until she sees something that threatens her little family of three.

Alice is a perfect daughter. Apple of her father’s eye, a kind stepchild to Helene, a tragic daughter of a dead mother. She lives a sheltered but happy life. Until she finds a handwritten note on her father’s desk: ‘You owe me. I’m not going away.’

All three women suspect Gabe Moreau of keeping secrets and telling lies. But not one of them suspects that the truth could result in murder . . .

amazon uk amazon com

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star three and a half

I was lucky enough to read Before I Find You via the Pigeonhole app installed on my tablet, so I received one stave each day over a course of ten days.

Before I Find You is a story dominated by women, very strong women to be exact.  I can’t say I felt much sympathy for any of them, unfortunately. Helene, the woman who suspects her husband Gabe of cheating, was too snubby and composed for me to like her. I hate to say it because there really shouldn’t be any excuse but in a way I could even see why her husband might have done what she suspects him of. Alice, the daughter, is a spoilt little brat who I wouldn’t want in my house and who happens to be smart beyond her years. I knew not to underestimate her. As for Maggie, the PI, who I would have expected to like and love, well she didn’t seem like a bad person but even she’s quite rude and standoffish. I also knew she was hiding something about her past so that didn’t make her very trustworthy either.

Aside from the characters, the storyline was quite good and kept me on my toes. The start of the story was a bit of a slow burner but it really kicks into higher gear when the murder happens. I quickly became engrossed and hooked from there. I didn’t know who to put my money on from thereon and if I thought it would end here, well no no.. the author had a brilliant twist up her sleeve that really lifted the story up to a higher level. I very much enjoyed the last part of the novel and I’d give it 4 stars easily for the ‘where the hell did that came from’ plot but I’m afraid the characters influenced my rating in this case more than I wanted. It’s still a good read though so I’m sure to keep an eye out for another one of her novels.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via The Pigeonhole. This is my honest opinion.

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New BFF: Lunarlucibooks

BFF

It’s the middle of the week so yay, that means only two more days and it’s the weekend again! I don’t know what your favorite day of the week is but mine is not even a day, it is only a few hours and it’s Friday evening. I love Friday evenings, I love the pizza and the tv and that feeling that it’s finally there and there’s nothing you have to do (unlike Saturdays).

Anyway, I’m digressing, today I want to introduce you to a new blog friend of mine: Luci blogs at Lunarlucibooks. I love her Beyond the Books series where she shares stuff outside of reading: what she listens to, what she watches but also new nailart every month. I like looking at nail art, maybe not so surprising if you know how much I love looking at book covers :-). She loves kitties too, is even called a cat whisperer by some, so of course we’re BFF’s :-). OK let’s see what else we can find out.

QandA

Name: Luci

Luci is an English feminine given name variant of Lucy and an Italian surname derived from the Latin personal name Lucius (from Latin Lux, genitive Lucis, meaning “light”).

Blog: lunarlucibooks.wordpress.com
Twitter: twitter.com/lunarlucibooks
Instagram: Instagram.com/lunarlucibooks

Age: 20

Birthday:  January 16th

What did you study or do you study now / what is your current job? I currently am in college (for the Dutch people that follow Inge: HBO jaar 1, Mechatronica ;)) and I’m having quite a hard time haha

Mechatronics

Do you have any other hobbies? Hmmmm taking walks, or cycling, I recently picked up crocheting again and I love skating!

Your favourite color? Definitely black (although by official rules it isn’t a color but sshhhhh)

Do you collect anything (besides books)?  CD’s? (yeah I’m that old ;-)) Oh and nail polish! I have over 300 bottles and I like to do nail art myself. Also, my secret weak spot… notebooks. I just love the feeling of an all-new blank notebook!

Lunar L nailpolish

I do have more now, but they’re arranged in my bookshelves now, which is shown later in this post.

What’s the name of the book that you’ve had the longest? Have you read it?

If we’re talking about childhood books, it’s De Schippers van de Kameleon, and Paultje en het Paarse Krijtje [= Harold and the Purple Crayon, a book translated by Annie MG Schmidt]. Ahhh, brings back memories ❤

Have you ever regretted a book you purchased? A book that sounded so promising but you wished you’d have spent your money on another book after reading it?

So far, I don’t think I have.. Except for Shadow and Bone, but I bought the trilogy secondhand.

Blurb: Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Follow Alina Starkov through Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising as she discovers her dormant powers and is swept up in a world of luxury and illusion. As Alina struggles to fit into her new life, a threat to the kingdom of Ravka grows—one that will test old alliances and challenge the very limits of magic, one that will forge a leader from a frightened girl.

Do you listen to audio books? I do, these days! I cycle 40 to 50 minutes to school (and back) every day, so audiobooks are amazing for that. I do have to watch the road too though, so I can’t concentrate well on difficult books.

Cycling music

Do you have a favorite genre? Young Adult, Sci-fi and Fantasy. I’ll occasionally read a crime book (like the Millennium series, one of my favorites!)

What is the book highest on your wishlist right now? 

Right now it’s probably the Twisted Tales collection. It was at quite a low price earlier this month, but I didn’t have money left. Now, the price has gone up and honestly, fairytales are my weakness xD

twisted tale collection

Unravel the dark secrets surrounding the Beasts curse in this intriguing tale. Trapped in the castle with the terrifying Beast, Belle learns there is much more to her angry captor when she touches the enchanted rose. Suddenly, her mind is flooded with images of her mother, a woman Belle hardly remembers. Stranger still, Belle realises that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle and all his staff. Stunned and confused by the revelation, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel years of mystery.

 

How is your library organized? Currently, by color (and it took a damn while to do that! Haha) This pic is from a while ago so I’ve added new stuff but it’s the most recent I have.

Lunar L library

Do you read more ebooks or physical books? Definitely physical. I’ll read ebooks on my phone when I can’t pull out a physical one, which is usually at a time I can’t concentrate that well on anything, including reading. Reading ebooks is difficult for me, but I try!

Do you have a favorite book? IMPOSSIBLE TO ANSWER! Haha, nah I’m kidding, but one favorite…. Damn. I love my Pratchett collection, I reread Vampire Academy every once in a while… and I specifically loved The Night Circus, Geekerella, and since most recent discovery, all Alice Oseman’s books. As I’m writing this, I just finished Two Dark Reigns so that’s atm my favorite series haha

three dark crowns series

What’s the cover in your collection that you’re most proud of? 

I have actually no idea.. there are so many beautiful ones!

Do you have any idea how many books you own? <100, >100, >200, >300 …?

Let me count! At my own house, its 239, at my boyfriend’s 45, plus 7 new books I got since counting which makes it… 291 books! Damn.. that’s more than I expected hahaha

What’s the title of the last book you purchased? 

I think it’s… The Last Namsara and Vicious, which I bought just today with the Book Depository discount!

Discount

What was your favorite author when you were a child?  Hmm… I was a big BIG fan of this Dutch book series, Pinkeltje, so it’s probably Dick Laan. I also was quite the fan of the Kameleon series later in my childhood, so Hotze de Roos is in the list too.

From which author do you have most books?

Number 30

Terry Pratchett, I think, after that it’s Rick Riordan (but to be honest he just has SO MANY BOOKS), Richelle Mead and Marissa Meyer comes quite close too:

Terry Pratchett: 30
Cassandra Clare: 11
Richelle Mead: 12
Rick Riordan: 14
Sarah J Maas: 12, soon to be 13 when Kingdom of Ash comes out!

Are there books you’ve read 2 or 3 times? Vampire Academy! I just love that world to be honest ❤ And I’ve read Cinder 3 times but the first two times was when I checked it out at the library, then I couldn’t find the second one, then a while later I bought Scarlet, forgot what happened in Cinder, and read both of them. Then it took another while before I could order Cress and Winter, and now I’m still planning on reading them all at once, which means it’ll be the 4th time for Cinder hahaha

How many books are there on your Goodreads challenge this year and how many have you read already? I put my challenge on 50 and as I’m writing this, I’m at 41! I’m doing quite well, yay!

Can you spell your name with the first letters of titles in your book case ? 

I have quite the short name so I did my full username. Ironically enough, out of all these books I have read exactly one: Ignite me. And I don’t even remember so my entire name in books is on my tbr still 😉

Lunar L name  Lunar L Name 2

The Last Star
The Upside of Unrequited
The Names They Gave Us
Alice in Zombieland
Red Queen

Library of Souls
Uprooted
The Cruel Prince
Ignite Me

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In case you missed it, here are the 5 last BFF’s (Blog Friends Forever) I posted about. If you want to read the previous posts, you can find the tab with links on my home page.

Lorna – On The Shelf Reviews
Vera – Unfiltered Tales
Kelly – Another Book In The Wall
Zoë – What’s Better Than Books
Umut – Umut Reviews

I don’t want my BFF club to be complete just yet! There’s still room for plenty more so give me a shout if you want to be added! 

 

For the Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter # BookReview

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She must find Annabelle. Before it’s too late.

THE MISSING
Nora’s daughter Annabelle has disappeared, last seen on her way home from a party.

THE LOST
Gullspång’s inexperienced police are wilting under the national media spotlight – and its residents desperate for answers.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING . . .
Stockholm DI Charlie Lager must return home to find Annabelle, and then get out of town as soon as she can. Before everyone discovers the truth about her.

amazon uk amazon com

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Two detectives from Stockholm are sent to a Swedish rural village to investigate the disappearance of a 17 year old girl Annabelle when she didn’t come home after a party. If you’re looking for an interesting police procedural with focus on two very talented detectives with great deduction skills then I’m not sure you’ll be satisfied. Much of their progress actually comes from one or two witnesses who eventually tell them something useful. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to get invested in a character-driven story which relies heavily on an interesting backstory, all of which happens to be a police detective, then this is worth your while.

DI Charlie (Charlene) Lager fled from this same village 20 years earlier and she’s not looking forward to revisiting her past. The story’s focus is predominantly on Charlie and I got to know her first as someone who drinks, who’s on some sort of medication and who leads a promiscuous lifestyle; getting it on with a married colleague doesn’t even stop her. Not the most admirable person I believe but she is very intelligent and no detail escapes her so she has her good qualities too.

Throughout the story there are many flashbacks to her past which show a very unconventional upbringing by her mother Betty. She keeps calling her Betty all the time which felt a little weird but maybe it was just another sign of how different a family they were too. There was never a label on her mother’s mental illness but I believe she did have one, probably a manic depression of sorts. In any case her mother didn’t really raise her how she should have, although I do believe she loved her daughter in her own way. At the end of the story it made me understand better how Charlie became so messed up with the childhood she had. It took me a long time to understand why she never returned, I couldn’t really define her exact emotion, but in the end I think she was consumed by guilt. It might have been better if the author had made this more clear right at the start, it would have heigthened the intrigue even more from the beginning.

Besides the succint investigation and Charlie’s youth with Betty, there were also two little girls Rosa and Alice in other alternating chapters. These chapters didn’t seem to be related to the rest at all so I was all the more curious how they fit in. I didn’t like the way their friendship was evolving at all and I had that imminent feeling that something was wrong early on in the story but I was still surprised how important their role comes into play.

I enjoyed reading the past sequences most of all because they held most of the mystery. The ongoing investigation was a bit slow and as soon as a key character came into the story I knew it was a likely suspect. Even though the ending was still surprising, I would have been more satisfied with a big climax revealing her murderer, now it fizzled out a little bit for me.

Overall a commendable debut where I especially enjoyed reading about Charlie. You’ll definitely have a feel for this detective in this new series and it’s great to know where she came from.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia #BookReview

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There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

Purchase

amazon uk amazon com

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This was the first novel I read by Mindy Mejia. I had heard plenty of positive echos about her first novel The Act of Hattie Hoffman and I was also very attracted by Maya’s occuption as a language therapist. It’s an uncommon job and it triggered me, wanting to know more about it.

I was also very drawn to the story of father and son disappearing. What were their reasons and how did they survive? The wilderness and threats of the Boundary Waters were vividly depicted, the nature described in a beautiful manner but from an outsider’s point of view. I would have loved to read scenes of their way of life (as in The Marsh King’s Daughter), their hardships and the struggles of a young boy with his father but the story’s setting doesn’t involve the past but focuses on the present, from the moment Lucas is arrested for breaking into a camping store.

Maya and Lucas’s interactions were interesting and I understood how Maya’s past made her want to help Lucas. Maya was left behind by her mother when she was little and I felt for her. Her past intrigued me and I could really see how this formed her character. The girl who doesn’t want to bond with anybody starts to get an unhealthy interest in Lucas though. She then becomes a bit of a loose cannonball and I raised my eyebrows when I saw what unprofessional conduct she shows. There was definitely a YA vibe in the second part of the novel which came as a bit of a surprise to me and then it seemed to change course once again when Maya and Lucas find themselves in a bit of action as well. It bothered me just a little bit because I was mostly interested in the mystery and I felt I was being kept away from getting to the heart of the story.

In short, I enjoyed the first and last part of the novel where the different pieces of the puzzle fall into place and everything was all brought together brilliantly. It was maybe a bit of a different read then I was expecting but I enjoyed the reveal of Lucas and Josiah’s reasons for taking off and I was satisfied how it was all wrapped up in the end.

I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

WWW Wednesday (05-12-2018)

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.

The three W’s are:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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What I finished reading:

I’ve read quite a few of her novels now and she never fails me. How much will I like this one compared to It Ends With Us though.. you’ll have to wait for my review to find out :-).

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

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What I’m reading now:

Can this book live up to the hype that was created? It’s a dangerous thing to create such high expectations. So far so good though, I’m hooked.. even though I don’t have a clue yet why she’s not talking :-).

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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What I’ll (probably) read soon:

I was invited to read this one and be in the blog tour in January but even if they hadn’t invited me, this one would have been on my radar soon anyway. I didn’t realise it has over 500 pages though (ohoh) so I better get a move on and start reading it in the next weeks.

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

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One blustery October morning in a quiet Copenhagen suburb, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead; the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. The man who confessed to her murder is behind bars and the case long since closed.

Soon afterwards, a second woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the killer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

‘As in The Killing television series, Sveistrup offers lessons to seasoned practitioners of the serial-killer whodunit in how to inject new energy into this near-exhausted subgenre, and a reminder (via his portrayal of the families, homes and workplaces that his cops visit) that crimewriting has the potential to be eye-opening, panoramic social realism’ Sunday Times

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So that’s it, what are you reading this week? Share your link in the comments below so that I can come and take a look !

My 2018 bookish gift ideas

Christmas gift ideas for book lovers

It’s that time of the year again that everyone’s looking for orginal gifts. It’s not easy to find something a bookworm doesn’t have yet but I believe here are some interesting ideas. Take a look and tell me what you think!

1. Bookmarks

Etsy shop Kraze4Paper (located in the US)

Personalised bookmark

Franklin Mill: Bookjigs (5,99 USD)

Bookjigs

2. Home decor 

Maisons du Monde: doormat for the bookworm (16,99 euro)

Paillasson

3. Clothes

Out of Print: Always popular to give: tees, scarves, mugs etc, but this site also offers gifts for toddlers and boxers for men. Next to clothing there are also some home and office supplies and you can search in 6 different genres (science fiction, british lit, fantasy, mistery, spooky, plays & poetry).

Outofprint

4. Journals

Canterbury Classics on Amazon

Novel Journals : These literary keepsakes bring an element of fun to any writing project! These compact editions of our classic Novel Journals are available in a hardcover, smaller size that is easy to slip into a purse, briefcase, or backpack. Additional features include illustrated endpapers, foil stamping, colored edges, a pocket on the inside back cover, and a matching elastic band to keep the notebook closed or mark your page.

 

There are 15 different ones, from Alice in Wonderland to Sherlock Holmes. About the last:

With the entire twelve-story series in tiny print serving as the journal’s lines, readers and writers can delight in having their own words juxtaposed against those of the literary great. Whether simply recording the happenings of a day, or imagining a murder mystery anew, whatever is written on these pages will be in the company of greatness.

Packaged in a luxurious heat-burnished cover with illustrated endpapers and a colored elastic band to close pages tight, this book is a great gift or collectible for mystery and literature fans alike.

5. DIY 

Foldedbookart: create your own folded book art DIY Starters Kit

Foldedbookart

This kit includes the following:

Suitable hard back book
Voucher for any pattern
Step-by-step manual
Folding tool
Metric Ruler
Decorative ribbon

6. A handbag (if you want to spend some money)

Beretun Designs by Linda Johnson

Okay they are a bit expensive (I’m not going to tell you how much because you must click on the link and see the other handbags as well) but so nice to look at, I’m sure nobody has one of these!

… or a purse (for a more reasonable budget)

Vendula London : coin purse (24 euro)

Seriously, go to this site, it’s such a cute site with lots lots lots to see!  They have a few of the above items as well..

Vendula shop

7. Lunch box

Amazon shop Black + Bum

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8. Jewelry

Etsy Xanne Fran: open book ring

Ring

9. Kitchen utilities

Amazon shop Fred&Friends: Romeo & Julienne Cutting BoardBook

Romeo &amp; Julienne

10. Perfume

Immortal Perfumes

Immortal Perfumes is a micro-perfumery specializing in historically inspired, handmade perfumes. They offer a wide range of handcrafted scents inspired by fictional characters such as Montague & CapuletHeathcliff & Catherine, and Hades & Persephone. Also, explore the Dead Writers collection, which includes scents like Pemberley (inspired by Edgar Allan Poe), and Sylvia (as in Plath). Cost: $30-75

 

Bonus tip for the Dutch readersSomething4you: candles

Woodwick macaron collection: BerryWood, Coconut, Pistachio, Pineapple, Lavender or Tiramisu. It’s a bit on the expensive side but it must smell sooooo nice!

Tiramisu

 

Bonus tip for those without a budgetLiterary vacation

If you really want to splurge, take your book-loving friend, lover, or family member on a memorable literary vacation! Check out the Literary Tourism archives for ideas and inspiration.

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So there you have it, don’t say I gave you no ideas now :-). I love all of these but I’d really love to have the bookjig of the hedgehog myself (lots of other ones though if it’s not your style). I don’t know what the shipping to the UK is but to Belgium it’s crazy (4 times the price of the bookmark) so not an option. Anyway, tell me if you like anything you see on the list!

If you need more inspiration, you can also take a look at my 2017 and 2016 gift ideas.  

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen #BookReview

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Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive, and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr Shields may know what she’s thinking . . . and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what is real in her life, and what is one of Dr Shields’s manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

amazon uk amazon com

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This novel was very high on my wishlist and I might have squeeled a little when I was invited by the publisher to read it on Netgalley. It’s as if they read my mind!

I was’t only very excited to read the novel though, I was a little anxious as well. I don’t need to be reminded how unexpectedly twisted The Wife Between Us was so I didn’t know if the follow-up of that bestseller would be as satisfying as the first. The bar was set quite high but it definitely lived up to my expectations!

An Anonymous Girl really plays the psychological card and is for me THE perfect definition of a ‘psychological’ thriller! The book contains quite a bit of psychological warfare and I couldn’t be happier about that as I’m always fascinated by secrets and lies, how some people can derive answers from non-verbal clues, how they can read people and instinctively know their strenghts and weaknesses, what drives them and what makes them afraid. If you have an interest in the human psyche and psychology then this one is a real hit.

The novel is told in alternate chapters by Jess (Jessica), a girl working as a make-up artist and Dr. Shields, a psychology professor. Their interaction commences with Jess taking part in a survey where she has to answer truthfully on some thought-provoking questions that form the basis of a morality study. I loved getting to know Jess by working my way through her answers. Her thoughts and feelings were there, stripped from every disguise, and I liked her character, it shows she’s flawed but her honesty was touching. It also made me think what I’d answer on the questions myself. The novel takes a bit of a turn when her loyalty is being tested though. It’s not clear what Dr. Shield’s intentions are at first but I did have an unsettling feeling that there was an unseen threat and Jess was being used for something. There’s definitely manipulation in this novel involved but is it Dr. Shields or the third person who joins their little triangle who is lying to Jess? Trust is an important issue in the novel and I have to admit I was quick to judge some people as well… I liked and trusted some characters first, to change my mind about them as the story progressed, until I was completely at a loss about who to trust.

An Anonymous Girl is a novel of action and reaction, and as it nears the end it has something of a chess game with the main characters playing some serious mind games. Halfway through the book Jess doesn’t know who represents the real danger in this tangled web she finds herself in anymore. The tension hung in the air and it was great not knowing what their next move would be. The confrontation and finding out who would lie and who would tell the truth in the end was fascinating to see unfold.

I can’t wait to see what the authors come up with next.

I received a free copy of the novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.