Goodreads Monday (March 2017)

goodreads monday

I saw this meme on Books, Vertigo and Tea and I thought this one seemed fun to join and feature on my blog from time to time as well! The original post of Goodreads Monday was posted by Lauren’s Page Turners. Thank you Lauren for this great idea. This really is a great way to help me take another look at all the books added to the wishlist so long ago and at the same time I can share some interesting titles.

There’s only one rule: Simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page turners and add your own links!


The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller by L.B. Simmons

I shelved this one in May 2014, when I was still reading relatively more contemporary romance and New Adult novels but I still haven’t read it in the 4 years that have passed. It has an average rating of 4.09 on Goodreads though so that’s worth another look.

The ressurection of Aubrey Miller

“As long as you continue to travel through life in this darkness, you will never know how beautiful your light truly shines when you let yourself love and be loved. Trust me when I say, it’s a breathtaking sight to see. You burn as bright as the sun.”

When Aubrey Miller begins her education at Titan University, she is no longer the beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl of her youth. In fact, she’s no longer even Aubrey Miller.

Overcome with guilt and unable to cope with the loss of her beloved family, she has long since buried eight-year old Aubrey along with them and transformed herself into Raven Miller. Now with jet-black hair, multiple sets of eccentric contact lenses, and several facial piercings, she’s veiled herself in complete darkness as a form of protection for herself, as well as others.

As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the overtly cheerful pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend who never really let her go.

Over the years, as their connections intertwine and strengthen, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three. And eventually, the ties of friendship and discovery of first love begin to coax her from her darkened path as they slowly bring Aubrey back to life.

But when faced with the possibility of yet another death, one from which she may never recover, Aubrey finds herself lost again, burying herself deeper than ever before beneath the familiar abyss of her fears.

Spanning the course of four years, this is the story of a young woman’s plight to finally reemerge, finding strength within unbreakable bonds as she delivers herself from her own manufactured darkness and safely back . . .

Into the Light.

So what do you think, yay or nay?


I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamera #BookReview

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A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade – from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

‘You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.’

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called the Golden State Killer. Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death – offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic – and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

amazon uk amazon com



Isn’t it unbelievable that a person is able to stay undetected for so many years while he attacked more than 50 people in their homes and even escalated to murder? Well sadly this is the incredible but true story of the Golden State Killer, although he goes by a few other names as well in his early days such as the East Area Rapist or the Night Stalker.

After a very impressive introduction by Gillian Flynn I wanted to dive right in and see for myself what an unsurmountable task Michelle took upon herself. It was clear right away from the huge listing of places where he attacked that she had made an immense engagement to write this novel and to try and propel the investigation forwards.

I didn’t quite know what to expect of this novel, written by a woman who ploughed through so many documents, testimonials and notes but sadly passed away in her sleep before she could finish the story she had started. What I discovered from the parts she left behind was an intriguing portrait of the man responsible for so much grief over such a long period of time. Case after case passed before my eyes and it became clear how illusive this man is. What makes it even weirder is that even though there were many encounters with him – and we know it’s him because he has some particular markers of the things he does and pretty specific habits – his persona remains ever so vague. One time he’s described as blond haired, another time he has brown hair.. I couldn’t really get a good image of him in my head nor get a grip on who he is and what drives him.  He’s really just as slippery as an eel and an important factor why he was able to stay out of the hands of the police for so long must have been because he was clever enough to expand his territory so it spanned several states. In those days there wasn’t a computer system yet that could detect the same MO in crimes over state borders and finger printing methods were also near non-existent, which became painfully obvious from this novel.

Where the first part of the novel was mostly a historical overview where I could feel the desperation that this perpetrator couldn’t be found, the second part of the novel was more hopeful and it shone a light on possible suspects, letting me scrutinize every morsel of additional information that was offered. Thoughts and ideas are tossed around and shared with the reader, even if dismissed subsequently. It was fascinating to read what possibilities there were and which loose ends needed more work. Michelle had interviews with retired detectives, went around to look at old crime scenes and her obsession for the investigation is almost palpable.

As much as this is a quest to find the Golden State Killer, it is also one to find out who Michele McNamera is and I think at least that last part was achieved. The novel didn’t feel finished and it really isn’t all neatly wrapped up and organised, but it gives a pretty good idea of all the work Michelle already did and what she was working on and you can feel what could have been if she had had the chance to continue her hard work.

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is a novel that is begging to be discussed among readers and true crime lovers and I’m positive new ideas and courses of action will find root from this work. There are no set answers in the end but at least this novel will make sure that it is not put to rest and new energy can be drawn from this laborous oeuvre.

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

New BFF: A Haven for Book Lovers


I’m back with a new Blog Friend Forever! It’s been two months since the previous post so I’m very very thankful Diana wanted to do this! Diana really is a wonderful friend and I’m grateful I was able to get to know her a little bit outside of the blog too. In case you don’t know yet, she’s quite famous because she has written a book of her own. I’m on first-name basis with a real author, yay for me! If you haven’t checked out her wonderful blog A Haven for Book Lovers yet, hop on over. You won’t find a lot of tags on her blog but she posts a lot of honest and very well-written reviews. I seriously want to read 95% of the books she has read!

OK I’ll shut up and I’m going to let Diana answer some real questions now:


Name: Diana Gitau

30ish birthday


Age: 30ish

Birthday: 3rd July


What did you study or do you study now / what is your current job? My first degree was in Linguistics and Literature. I also have an M.A in Communication Studies (Public Relations major). I graduated in December, 2017. Two degrees

I currently work in Administration at one of the Private University here in Kenya.


Do you have any other hobbies? I love travelling and trying out new things and I am also a thrill seeker. I like activities such as bungee jumping, risky bridges exploration (yeah, this is a thing here), wild water rafting, zip lining and moderate hiking. My worst terrain was on a rocky hill which ended up being a painful experience when the soles of my shoes came off. I had to trek down on rocks with hanging soles.

D001  D002

On my bucket list this year is a high ropes challenge.

Your favourite color? I don’t think I have one but I do own a lot of clothes in blue, black and white.

Do you collect anything (besides books)? Not sure if this counts but I have a small collection of sea shells, rocks and carvings (African Artefacts).


Here is a pic of some of them. All these are souvenirs from friends and family. Some of them represent different cultures. The paintings are of Maasai mothers, there is also a carving on an old man from the Turkana tribe in Kenya. The sea shells are from trips down to the coast(Mombasa). There are also camel carvings from Northern Eastern part of Kenya.

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

There is only one book that I have had for more than four years because I lost my entire book collection in 2014 to a burglar. Yesterday I Cried by Iyanla Vanzant survived because it was in my purse so the burglars didn’t get it. I read a few pages in 2014 but never got back to it after that.




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?

I can’t really think of any book that fits this description.

Do you listen to audio books? I am yet to listen to any.

Do you have a favorite genre? I do enjoy thrillers and Historical Fiction. I also love African Literature.

What is the book highest on your wishlist right now? The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

How is your library organized? It is not. Sometimes, I arrange the books by size but mostly, I just keep moving them around.

Do you read more ebooks or physical books? Lately, I have been reading more ARCs hence more eBooks.

Do you have a favorite book? I have read and loved so many books. Three that come to mind right now are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Nightingale by Kristin Hanna and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

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


It might not be the most beautiful cover but it’s the only one with my name on it. I am so proud of this one.

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

What’s the title of the last book you purchased


I read a review of this book and then saw this copy being sold in the streets Of Nairobi on the next day. This was an exciting purchase!

What was your favorite author when you were a child? Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. I read a lot of Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and Hardy Boys but Ngugi’s books are the ones that ignited my passion for books. They are the stories that I still remember.

From which author do you have most books?


I have three books by Sophie Kinsella and three by Ceclia Ahern.  

Are there books you’ve read 2 or 3 times? I never reread books. I do like being surprised by plotlines especially in thrillers so I struggle with rereading since there are no surprises.  

Surprise me

How many books are there on your Goodreads challenge this year and how many have you read already?

I set my goal at 60 books this year. I have already 21 books. I thought that my reading would slow down this year but I should have known better, can’t stay away from books.  

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

Diana 008

Desert Flower by Waris Dirie
Incubus by Carol Goodman
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Never the Bride by Paul Magrs
After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman


In case you missed it, these are the BFF’s (Blog Friends Forever) I posted about before :

Martina – The Mystery Corner
Liis – Cover to Cover
Anne – Inked Brownies
Danielle – Books, Vertigo and Tea
Drew – TheTattooedBookGeek
Jillian – Rant and Rave About Books
Meg – Magic of Books
Betty – Bookish Regards
Anais – Zeezee with Books
Nicki – Secret Library
Donna – Chocolatenwaffles’ Blog
Chitra – Books & Strips
Annie – The Misstery
Dee – Novel Deelights
Stephanie – Teacher of YA
Tina – Reading Between the Pages
Savanah – Off-Color Lit
Delphine – Delphine’s Babble on Some Good Reads
Lisa – Rambling Lisa’s Book Reviews
Alex – Coffeeloving Bookoholic
The Readers Bay
Kathy – Books and Munches

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! It’d be very appreciated!

Behind A Closed Door by Adele O’Neill #BlogTour #QandA

Behind a Closed Door def


What if everything in your life was a lie? An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. Perfect for the fans of Louise Jenson.

DUBLIN – For the past two years Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?

When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that stretch far and wide.




Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her home town in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.


Amazon|Kobo | Google PlayiBooks


Twitter | Facebook


I noticed the character names are kind of special: the last names are also first names. How and why did you come up with this idea?

Naming a character for me is a bit like naming a child. I like to check the meaning of the names and make sure that the name is one that would have been around when the characters were born. I speak them out loud and make sure they fit the character. It’s important to me that the names are special and strong in a way that make them memorable and easily identifiable and that there is no potential confusion with similarly named characters in the story. My motto is to keep it short and sweet. The use of Tony Kelly’s second name in the first and second book is done to symbolise his position within the force and the acceptance of the other detectives around him by referring to him by his nickname. It also creates the necessary distance between him and some of his less desirable colleagues as using his first name in these instances may seem a little too personable. You’ll also notice it’s rare that he gets his full title of Detective Kelly and this is used in a way to demonstrate his lack of appreciation for protocols and authority and hint at his discontentment with his job. Naming the other character with surnames that could also be used as first names wasn’t a conscious decision but now that you’ve brought it to my attention I’m intrigued as to what was going on in my head subliminally!

There seem to be a few strong women in this novel, which one is your favourite character and why? 

My favourite strong female character is Martha. I love the way she is a quiet force of strength observing and assisting from the sidelines. I love writing females of this generation as they tend to have a good grasp on reality and a determination that drives them to achieve their goal with a lack of regard for consequences in the way that younger generations might.

This is the second novel about families and their secrets and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Why is this and how do you find inspiration again? Will you continue this line of topic in the future too?

I’m fascinated by Irish Society and the way that generations before us have allowed religious and political institutions to dominate the women of Ireland in a way that was deliberately detrimental to their development. They say that Ireland is the Land of Saints and Scholars, I’d like to say that Ireland is the land of Saints and Scholars And Secrets. The patriarchal bias that has shaped who we are as a people has always been focused on power, secrecy and self-preservation at the expense of women and the more vulnerable people in Ireland and in a way by writing a very issue based story that has its origins in the mindset of the society, I get to shine a light on discriminative practices, male dominance and the way that even today, women can be in danger of being oppressed. I’ve always challenged injustices and writing typical issue based stories is just another way for me to get to challenge certain injustices in society. The historical notion that women should be defined by their family positions is no longer credible and the silence that was once afforded to crimes of the past is no longer acceptable or available. As generations mature I suspect that more and more horrific secrets from Ireland’s past will come to the fore and horrify generations to come. A quote from one of my characters is ‘I might not always do what suits but I always do what’s right.’ And this is the premise with which I challenge certain characters by giving them impossible dilemmas and encourage the reader to ask, what would they have done in a similar situation.

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Follow the rest of the blog tour as well, first up tomorrow: Good ‘N ‘Ready

Behind a Closed Door

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig #BookReview #BookAtBedtime

How To Stop Time def


“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'”

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live.

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half

How to Stop Time is the first audiobook ever that I completed. I think the narrator, Tom Hollander, had as much to do with it as the story itself because his smooth velvety voice was wonderful to listen to and and made the story interesting and come alive through his different voices.

Tom Hazard tells his life story in How to Stop Time and it’s not one I’ve ever heard before. My god this man has seen it all, lived it all and now I felt like I had the privilige to hear it from someone first hand. This is someone’s intriguing life history that I became privy of, hearing it from him first hand instead of from the history books. It makes all the difference!

Tom Hazard is a man who looks like he’s about 41 but is more than 400 years old in reality. He has a rare condition that makes him visibly age one year for every 15 years that pass. Should we be envious of him though? He has to change locations every 8 years because it would become awkward otherwise and people could remark that he’s not changing, and what about love? If you happen to find love and you know that person will be taken from you, that will inevitably become a burden to bear and I don’t know who suffers most from it in the end.

I was transported into time, even going so far back to a time where witchhunts were real, a time where Tom meets historical characters and can tell first-hand about how it was to meet the icons of that time. Tom doesn’t see his condition as a gift however but he has promised two people to keep on living and so he does. But the secret society has made him promise not to fall in love. The heart can’t stop time either but he’ll have learned a valuable lesson in the end about life and living.

I’m not normally one to read historical reads and I don’t know if I would have appreciated the novel as much if I would have read it but as an audiobook this really was interesting and it just really worked. I’ve decided to rate this novel with 3.5 stars though because even when I liked it so much and I even contemplated a 4 star rating at first, I don’t see myself rereading or listing to this book again in the end, so that’s why I’m settling on the current rating. If historical fiction is your genre however then definitely check it out, you’ll find it very enjoyable.

I listened to this audiobook on BBC Radio4 – Book At Bedtime. 

Let’s talk about author reviews #discussion



Hi everyone!

An author posted a dilemma he had on Facebook about a week ago and I’m quite interested to hear your opinion about it. Lemme break down the situation: the author posted a review of his own book (on Netgalley in this instance). He did sign off with a winky emoticon and a mention that he was the owner of the book so it’s not that he misled people that way. The thing is that another reviewer did take offence and feels that he has no right to do this and now he wonders if he should take his review down.

The opinions were divided to say the least. Plenty of people said to him to leave it and ignore the message, it was just one person’s opinion and he didn’t really do anything wrong as he made it clear he was the author but others were of the opinion that authors should stay away from reviewing their own books.

So where do I stand in all this? I have come across a few other author reviews (rating their own book 5 stars as well of course) on Goodreads before and they were often the first ones to see so, first of all, this is definitely not a standalone case and does merit some thought.

As I already said in response to that Facebook post, I personally feel cheated when I read an entire review and THEN see in the end that it was written by the author. It might have spiked my interest in the novel even more but it usually also feels like a waste of time. I can’t just take their word for it that it’s so amazing because they are biased obviously. I don’t value their review the same as I do others and so I don’t know what their point is really. All I can think of is that they are doing some sort of a sales pitch with their review and use it at the same time to crank up the rating, which is not ok really. Authors shouldn’t rate their own books and shouldn’t write reviews of their own books on Goodreads, Netgalley or Amazon.

So what is your opinion? Just let them be and let authors review if they want or not? Let me hear. All opinions are welcome!

The blog turns 2!

The Belgian Reviewer is 2 !

Hi everyone,

My blog came to life exactly 2 years ago and I can’t believe so many people found this little piece of the web where I share my thoughts. This is my day but also yours as I want to thank all of my 1032 WordPress followers (and the 12 people who signed up and get their inbox spammed three times every week with new blogposts). I’m super grateful for all the likes I received in that time, the comments left under my posts, the shares from you lovely lot of bloggers, the friendship that I found when I wasn’t expecting it, and of course for the free books I received from so many wonderful publishers. I don’t get presents in real life so getting book post is super special and I feel like it’s my birthday every single time!

It wasn’t always easy to find time and deal with the pressure and I’ll make a confession here, I even thought a few months ago of stopping with the blog on this symbolic day when those 2 years came in sight, but you know what, I just can’t miss it. I’d miss the blogging community that I’m now a part of too much and I’d definitely miss telling you that you just have to read that one novel, so I guess I’ll continue for another year at least, even if I might take a blog break somewhere for the first time :-). You can’t get rid of me yet ha (but please don’t unfollow me)!

I had so much fun this year as well though and here’s my top 6 of most viewed posts (only 2 reviews however, how crazy is that):

  1. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
  2. Book folding tutorial: a simple heart/home
  3. My first subscription box
  4. Do you have a Bookbuddle?
  5. A new hobby for a bookworm
  6. Final Girls by Riley Sager

So to celebrate I’m organising a Rafflecopter giveaway for a FREE PAPERBACK COPY OF YOUR CHOICE (max. 20 euro) (or a kindle ecopy if you really don’t like paperbacks). It’s open internationally (as long as Bookdepository ships to your country) until Sunday 4 March 2018 and you can enter by clicking the link below. Please note that you’ll have to provide me with your address for shipping purposes. Good luck!


One of the options is liking my book swap page on Facebook ;-). I love every single book I have received or bought but I really need to do something about the growing number of books so I’ve decided to try to swap books. It’s still going to be difficult to part with some of them but there’s only so much room to stack them and this way they can be enjoyed by someone else as well. So check it out 🙂

Have a great day everyone!