Same book, different cover #13

battle-of-the-books

I’m back with 5 new book covers to pick and choose your favorite one. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

Dirty Little Secrets 01  Dirty Little Secrets 02

I choose cover number 2. It feels much more ominous and makes me wonder what goes on in that house.

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

The rumor 02 The Rumour

Definitely cover 2, it’s so telling of the gossip at the school gate, which is how the whole story starts.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Force of Nature 02   Force of Nature

Difficult! The first gives me strong ideas about it being in the wilderness and forest, the second one is more open but looks like it really is the storm that could be dangerous for the chances to survive with nowhere to hide. After careful weighing of both, I stick to cover 2.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie 02  Sometimes I Lie

That’s easy, I definitely choose cover 2! I love the two sides represented like this. She’s not Alice falling down a rabbit hole, is she?

The Sight of You by Holly Miller 

The Sight Of You The Sight Of You 02

Oh I was sold as soon as I saw the first cover and that hasn’t changed. It feels like I’m getting an emotional story, especially with a tagline like that, whereas the second one only screams romance to me.

Line

So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out my previous post in the series: Battle Of The Books #12 

Also don’t forget to check out the Secret Library Book Blog where Nicki holds a book battle with some AUDIObooks.

 

Same book, different cover #12

battle-of-the-books

I might have stopped doing these post but I did continue to collect covers of books I read or are on my readlist. So I’m finally back today with 5 new book covers to pick and choose your favorite one. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe

Forget My Name Forget My Name 02

Hmm difficult because it feels basically like it’s the same cover, although it’s not because if you look closely you see the woman is not in the window of the second cover. It took me a minute to even notice this to be honest. Anyway, I think I’ll go for the first one because in this case the woman feels even more intriguing.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room 02  The Escape Room 03  The Escape Room

I love the first cover! The last one feels too clinical and makes me think it’s more of a sci-fi read and the second cover is very dark but also makes me think of a chase in the woods and the novel is a locked-room mystery so that doesn’t really give the right impression for me.

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

never tell 02  never tell 01

I choose the second cover here. The first one makes me think I’m going to read a memoir of a ballerina or something. I also really like the tagline which flows so naturally into the book title.

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

The Craftsman The Craftsman 01 The Craftsman 02 The Craftsman 03

I love the first and second cover most of all. The third cover is okay but I’ve seen this figure plenty of times on covers already, and it doesn’t even appear in the novel at all.. it should be a clay effigy if they want to do it right. The fourth novel looks like an ’80s novel, that one doesn’t attract me at all.

Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge

WatchingFromTheDark 02 WatchingFromTheDark

I prefer the second cover again. I totally get the first cover, although I had to think it through. It’s the spyhole in a door, right, or am I seeing things now? I think I’d like it more if it didn’t have these colours, it gives me more of a YA fantasy vibe. The second cover isn’t really so special, but I still like it, and also the typesetting feels better in this one.

Line

So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out Battle Of The Books #1 – #2#3 – #4 – #5#6 – #7#8#9#10#11

Also don’t forget to check out the Secret Library Book Blog where Nicki holds a book battle with some AUDIObooks 🙂

I Am Dust by Louise Beech #BookReview

IAmDust def

whats-it-about-2

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her? Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2/5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

As you all probably well know by now, I’m not very attracted to the supernatural, and the mention of witches, magic or ghosts in a novel makes me shiver horribly, and usually not how I want it to. But, newsflash!, this novel was able to enthrall me, and I really have to credit the wonderful author for being able to do so. I Am Dust is very, very different from the psychological thriller Call Me Stargirl, which was my first novel by this author and made me an instant fan, and is much more of a mix between mystery and teenage drama with a good dash of gothic, BUT it’s equally hard to put down and the ending was as heartbreaking as ever.

The story is told over two timelines, perfectly balancing scenes in the present and past. Both timelines keep you alert and I felt even more excited to see that links to the past gradually start to shimmer through in the present when Chloé starts to remember the game she played. For one or the other obscure reason – and believe me this novel is drenched in darkness and obscurity – Chloé doesn’t remember a lot about the time she spent with Jess and Ryan in 2005. I know I have a faulty memory at the best of times but that’s nothing compared to the big black hole in Chloé’s memory. When she hears that the musical Dust is being revived and especially when she sees who will be the lead actress who will have to tread in the footsteps of the murdered actress of the first show, it starts to jog her memory and little by little memories start to surface, unsettling memories, which might perhaps give an answer to the question why she has to wear long sleeves even at summer time and how it all ended between the three of them back in 2005 when they were such good friends and why they have no contact in the present.

I Am Dust is so much more than a ghost story, it is also a story of unrequited love, jealousy and betrayal. I really loved the atmosphere of the novel, the gloomy light of a few single candles, the board with its Welcome and Goodbye sign, the moving of the glass with the tip of their finger (or even without the use of their finger), the internal debate whether Chloe is some kind of a witch with special powers or not… but I was happy to find the story was also serving my appetite for a conventional story at the same time and the murder mystery and the issues at play between the three of them made it all the more addictive.

‘I’m still here; I am dust.
I’m those fragments in the air,
the gold light dancing there,
that breeze from nowhere.’

I’m not one for ghost stories but those words, lyrics actually from the musical in the book that plays such a huge role, are so beautiful. I loved that they were repeated often throughout the story so that I could read them over and over again.

In the end I felt nothing short of bereft and I wasn’t expecting to feel this way. I finally had the HUGELY surprising answer who killed Morgan Miller but even more than that I was caught in the emotional rollercoaster of Chloe, Jess and Ryan’s story because Louise Beech certainly knows how to write a hard-hitting ending. I had no idea I was so deep under its spell until I felt my heart bleed. I so wish I had discovered this author sooner and had listened to the words of praise from everyone from the start. Don’t be me, so just get one of her books, I’m sure they are all amazing. Ah, now let me read that poem one last time, it felt special before but even more special now that I finished it.

I received a free paper copy of this novel from the publisher, Orenda Books. This is still my honest opinion.

4 years of blogging: my highlights

Celebrating

Hi people! Yesterday was a special day for two reasons. First of all I handed over the keys to the home I had for 20 years. I’m ok and fine, the day before my move last week was a difficult one but it was all better after a good night’s sleep. I found a temporary location with a bit of a change in scenery (I’m not used to seeing traffic and pedestrians all the time so I’m glued to the window instead of my cat who doesn’t care too much) and I’m hoping to move to my own apartment somewhere in April. I haven’t seen my books since the end of December and I miss them, so fingers crossed! I also found a very cool bookcase that I’m thinking about. I don’t have a lot of space for it (I think 150m is max length) so my options are limited and this is playful which is why I like it… If you have other ideas I’m always happy to hear them, now is the time :-).

Boekenkast

Anyway, you’re not here to hear about my personal affairs today, so the other news is that the blog also turned four yesterday whoohoo!

It’s been such an adventure these past years and so many things happened to me that I still can’t believe. I’ve always been a person who lacks confidence, I can’t help it, but now, even at work, they say I’m more confident. They probably think it grew naturally but I really believe it’s all thanks to blogging and the kind words I hear every week, even daily from so many lovely people.

In the past four years I have received so many wonderful and amazing novels, from authors, publishers, even other bloggers that I’d never have been able to read otherwise. Books have an average price of 20 euro here (well you can usually have a party like it’s 19,99) so I could never buy all the books I want to read and be up to date and able to talk books with my fellow readers without help. Libraries here also lack a serious selection of English books and we still don’t have any systems like Overdrive (they give you an ereader with some 30 books on it if you want to read digital but it’s also very limited), so I can only be very very grateful for every single book I receive this way. Also, bookpost is just amazing, a letter addressed to you that isn’t a bill is just thrilling, it NEVER EVER grows old.

I’ve had bookpost arrive here (I always give my work address because my mailbox at home was too small for some books) that was just an empty envelope, I had envelopes without my last name (lucky there’s only 2 possibilities out of 250 people here), without the company name, even with my blog name written on it. I’ve seen it all 🙂

Blog name bookpost

I was quoted in several novels (written by bestselling authors such as Riley Sager and Johana Gustawsson), and my real name was even mentioned in the acknowledgements by the very sweet Carole Wyer.

The appreciation is so big, every time I see a comment like this my day is made! Orenda Books is an amazing publishing company and Karen is so sweet…

IMG_3271

… and her authors are as sweet as she is!

IMG_3300

One of my first followers on Twitter was the great Peter James and since then many lovely authors and bloggers found my profile and want to see what I like, love and hate. I feel blessed that so many people want to be my friend!

Blog is 4

It feels amazing that I HAVE THE POWER to make people want to read the same novel I read. I find it difficult in real life to put my emotions into words and express myself, but appearantly if it comes to books, people do get me 😉 and you get reactions like these:

About The Guestlist:

IMG_3279

About Passengers:

IMG_3160

About Call Me Star Girl:

IMG_3301

About Blackberry and Wild Rose:

IMG_3168

Blog is 4 comment

About The Lion Tamer Who Lost:

Blog is 4 comment 2Blog is 4 comment 3

So many lovely words and it’s no surprise these people are my bestest blogfriends (there was a time that I did BFF posts and of course they had to be part of it).

Thanks to my fantastic decision to start blogging I also met a few magnificent people in real life: Kathy, Meggy, Zoe, Ronnie, Danielle, Jen, Vanessa, Marina… Each and every one touched my heart and I’m grateful to have met all of them because they bring me happy memories every time I think of the meet-up. I also never had imagined me going to a book event IN ANOTHER COUNTRY where everyone likes to read just as much I do. It was so memorable and a highlight not only of those 4 years but for eh ‘all’ the years of my life so far.

Line

So, thank you for reading, for being here for me and with me. I thought about stopping with my blog the past year but when I see this all for myself now, I don’t think I can. I might be a little quiet for a few more weeks, or months, but once the dust has settled, I hope to get back into the swing of it. So till later!

When The Time Comes by Adele O’Neill #BookReview #BlogTour

WhenTheTimeComes

Welcome to my stop for When The Time Comes by Adele O’Neill. Thanks so much to Aria Fiction for the invitation to join this blog tour! I don’t review on blog tours very much but this one sounded so good that I grabbed the chance right away. So I’m sharing a review today but first a little more info about the book.

whats-it-about-2

Her husband says it’s suicide. The police say it’s murder.

Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can’t cope alone.

One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it’s murder.

Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.

As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…

Purchase

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Author

thumbnail_AdeleO'Neill[1]

Adele is a writer from Co. Wicklow who lives with her husband Alan and her two teenage daughters. Influenced by writers across all genres she has a particular fondness for fiction that is relatable and realistic.

Her debut novel was awarded The Annie McHale Debut Novel Award for 2017 and is a character driven story of survival, dark family secrets and sibling loyalty, just like life. Her second novel Behind A Closed Door is another emotionally harrowing tale of impossible choices, loyalty and friendship.

Adele writes overlooking the Irish Sea, which she credits for the tumultuous dynamics in the relationships and lives of her unsuspecting characters in her third novel, When The Time Comes, another dark tale that tests the lengths we go to protect the ones we love.

Connect

Twitter: @adelesbooks
Facebook: @adeleoneillbooks

review-2

I only found out this was the third novel in a detective series after I finished reading the novel. Louise’s life did make out part of the story so I presume there are still things I don’t know about her and her partner but I never had a feeling of not knowing enough. I can say that the author wrote about the investigators in a realistic way and there were ups and downs in their personal life too. Some readers may find it distracting from the main story, it is sort of a side story after all, but I liked seeing them as people with real problems too, Louise wasn’t a detective in the abstract sense after a while anymore.

I might say I could see the novel as divided in three parts. The first was about the side characters mostly, Liam and Alex and Louise and (Tony) Kelly. Then came the part about Jennifer, which built up to the trial in the third part of the novel.

When The Time Comes is a novel that tells the reader everything about Jennifer Buckley, her ex-husband Liam and their two children Josh and Abbie. By extention there’s also Liam’s new lover involved and her sister, who happens to be the detective who becomes involved in the case. There’s quite a few characters but I like how they’re all linked and it didn’t pose any problems following who’s who. The only thing that threw me at the start and I had to get a bit used to were two of the character’s names, because Alex is more often a guy’s name here and Kelly is always a girl and in this story it’s the other way around (well Kelly is a last name but for some reason it’s the only character whose first name is only mentioned once).

I thought that the focus of the novel would be largely on the murder investigation and the question whether Liam – suspect numero uno – did or didn’t kill his ex-wife but the author kept me in suspense as the investigation is mostly covered in the final part of the novel. Although this was of course what I was waiting for and therefore one of my favorite parts of the novel, I also became more invested in the family themselves in the build up to the trial.

When The Time Comes was almost more of a family drama than a murder mystery, well if it was a murder in the first place that is because Jennifer Buckley was pro euthanasia and didn’t make it a secret exactly. She hated that the motor neurone disease she’d been diagnosed with left her feeling more trapped  in her body with each passing day. She called it the 1000 day disease and when 900 of them passed she made arrangements for her children to be looked after by their father. It meant Liam moved back in to take care of them but as soon as he did she wound up dead. Coincidence? I think not ;-).

The impact of her disease and the consequences on everyone around her were prominent and made me care for this little family. The novel deals with some emotional and hard topics but it was still very enjoyable and easy to read.

At first I wondered who would have killed her, or helped her to kill herself, but after a while I had nothing more than a hunch to go on about what happened. The way the truth was revealed left me with a smile on my face though, quite clever from the author!

Follow Aria

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

*** Don’t forget to check out the rest of the book tour ***

 

Review Crimibox : The Case of the Ashes @crimibox

Crimibox As 01

Are you a wannabe Sherlock? Well I certainly am at times and if you are too then I have good news because I found this puzzle game on the internet from game developer Crimibox that will put you to the ultimate test. I certainly couldn’t resist purchasing one of their mysteries as a Christmas present. Do you want to place any bets (hypothetically of course) as to whether I solved the case or not? No, I’m not saying anything yet, keep on reading 😉.

When you first go to their website you can choose your language. Unfortunately for you guys, there’s only one English case available at the moment and I’ll come back to that at the end, but I’m sure they’re very busy developing more cases because it’s becoming very popular to enjoy this type of thing from your own home.

In the Dutch version there’s a little more choice right now. They offer three cases that are either completely digital or you can play them analog which means you still get some of the evidence on paper delivered to your home address. I can’t help it but this makes it even more real so I chose the latter and for 25 euro (with free delivery) the box was sent to me.

Crimibox As 06

Because I didn’t know what to expect and I thought it might be easier (ha!) to play in my native language I chose the Case of the Ashes which seemed the easiest case with an estimation of 180 minutes game play and a difficulty level of 3 out of 5.

This is what was in the box I received: documents, police reports, photos and eh well I don’t know, it looks like ashes…

Crimibox As 02

The case was about a lady in a retirement home who died and when her daughter clears the room she finds an urn. The very mysterious part of it all is that it’s not empty! Are they human remains, and if so, whose remains are they and why are they there? Ah a perfect job for Detective Inge to find out.

When you scan a code with your phone it starts the game and you can really investigate. I could choose an action and had the options then to investigate, interrogate or accuse someone. If I was stuck I could also ask for a hint from DS Hunter, but I do have to say that it is an automated program so I got the same hints quite a few times.

Crimibox As 03

The start was fairly difficult because I had no idea where to begin but when it became clear you also had to investigate web pages and a Facebook page, I was off to a good start and I started reading every post and article available on a certain site. There was a bump in the road though that got me completely stuck a little later and I had to sleep on it because the hint didn’t help. I just didn’t know what to do or what to investigate about a certain item but the next day I found the right keyword to ask the police, and from thereon I was on a roll.

The investigating work was great and challenging. I had to study dna and pieces of handwriting, open a safe with a code I had to find somewhere, and decypher a cryptic language. It was all really well done and kept me pretty occupied for a good few hours. I did ask for a hint several times but then I also had to solve this case all alone so some extra little help was very welcome. You can play this alone as I did, but it certainly looks even more fun (and helpful as well) if you play it with 2, 3 or even 4 persons.

In the end I did it though!!

Crimibox As 04

I really liked solving this, the mystery was impressively complicated and everything made perfect sense in the end. I had a fun time playing the game and I can totally recommend this mystery case (you’re welcome to DM me on Twitter or Instagram for extra help if you need it). I’m worried that the other cases with more difficulty would prove to be too complicated for me though and it would be a shame to spend money on it and then be completely stuck. So I don’t know yet if I’ll order another box – the next level up – in the future but I’ll let you know if I do.

As I said, there’s one English game, Missing in Jericho, it’s all digital and it certainly sounds amazing to play as well. So if you liked what you read, maybe you want to try it out yourself. If I can do it, then you can do it! You can also buy a digital voucher on the site, so maybe, just maybe, you can start a new Christmas list already with the perfect gift for someone ;-)?

Crimibox As 05

So what do you think? Any thoughts or comments about the crimibox? Have you played other boxes perhaps that are worth recommending? Let me know! 

10 most anticipated reads of 2020

Can't Wait

Happy New Year to all my readers!!! I wish you all the very best and a great year to come!

I don’t know what 2020 will bring for the most part, but one thing I do know for sure: there will be plenty of amazing books to read! I have listed 10 novels that are already on my wishlist. I have read and loved previous novels from 9 of these authors and there’s one author I haven’t read yet but her debut novel has a 3.91 average on Goodreads so I have a good feeling I’ll love her writing, and her next novel sounds like one I don’t want to miss either.

Here are 10 of my most anticipated books:

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

You have been cut off from society for fifteen years, shut away in a mental hospital in self-imposed exile as punishment for the terrible thing you did when you were a child.

But what if nothing about your past is as it seems?

And if you didn’t accidentally shoot and kill your mother, then whoever did is still out there. Waiting for you.

For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by gaps in her memory and the certainty that she is responsible for her parents’ deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns, in a quest for answers, to the place where she once felt safest: her family’s sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on the day her parents were murdered, she learns–as her mother did years earlier–that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and that the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendrickx and Sarah Pekkanen

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

Beast by Matt Wesolowski

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire’…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.

Anna Andrews finally has what she wants. Almost. She’s worked hard to become the main TV presenter of the BBC’s lunchtime news, putting work before friends, family, and her now ex-husband. So, when someone threatens to take her dream job away, she’ll do almost anything to keep it.

When asked to cover a murder in Blackdown–the sleepy countryside village where she grew up–Anna is reluctant to go. But when the victim turns out to be one of her childhood friends, she can’t leave. It soon becomes clear that Anna isn’t just covering the story, she’s at the heart of it.

DCI Jack Harper left London for a reason, but never thought he’d end up working in a place like Blackdown. When the body of a young woman is discovered, Jack decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim, until he begins to realise he is a suspect in his own murder investigation.

One of them knows more than they are letting on. Someone isn’t telling the truth. Alternating between Anna’s and Jack’s points of view, His & Hers is a fast-paced, complex, and dark puzzle that will keep listeners guessing until the very end.

The Keepers by John Marrs

Everyone has secrets. They know yours…

In the 21st century information is king. But computers can be hacked, files can be broken into. So a unique government initiative has been borne. Five ordinary people have been selected to become the latest weapon in thwarting cyber terrorism. A revolutionary medical procedure has turned them into the ultimate secret keepers – the country’s most secretive information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every Government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. Only somebody has discovered who the secret keepers are. And one by one, they are being hunted down…

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.
Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

In this new thriller from the author of The Escape Room, a podcast host covering a controversial trial in a small town becomes obsessed with a brutal crime that took place there years before.

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

From the twisted mind behind mega hit My Lovely Wife comes the story of a family—not unlike your own—just with a few more violent tendencies thrown in….

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

So are any of these on your list too? Any other novels that I should know about? Do let me know!

The Belgian Reviewer’s top 10 of 2019

Bookmark

I’m finally ready to share my top 10 of the year. It was so difficult to choose only 10 and I made changes to this list twice but I’m happy with every book that’s on it and I’m trying not to feel too bad for the ones that should be on it too. I opted for books that were unique, orginal, with great twists and endings that really stay with me, even months after reading, so this is what you get then :-).

Of these 10 novels there are new authors for me (Søren Sveistrup, Heidi Perks, Louise Beech..), there are debut novels that really deserve to be on everyone’s readlist (The Doll Factory, The Escape Room) and there are a few authors who you can find (again and again) on previous lists of the past years (Matt Wesolowski, John Marrs).

 

 

Out of these 10 novels I read 7 in paperback and 3 in e-copy, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful publishers that I had a chance to read these amazing novels, so I’m eternally grateful for that, thank you loads if you’re reading this! I’m also extremely thankful for the e-copy that I won in a giveaway and turned out to be an unexpected revelation and an author I want to follow from now on. Last but not least, I find it really telling that I read 4 Orenda Books titles this year and 3 of them made it on the list. They have such great authors I shouldn’t be surprised really.

So what do you think, did I choose well? Any titles that are on your list as well? Let me know in the comments! 

Bookish gift ideas 2019

Christmas gift ideas for book lovers

It’s officially that time of year. Yep, it’s almost Christmas and it’s time to start looking for gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself). No need to panic though, I’ve got you covered! I’m sure you’ll find some inspiration in the bookish gift ideas I listed for you. Check these out:

GIFT IDEA 1

Etsy : book clock

Book clock

GIFT IDEA 2

Amazon UK: Roy Kirkham Creative Writing Single Breakfast Cup and Saucer

Roy Kirkham cup and saucer

GIFT IDEA 3

Amazon UK: Kikkerland Boiled Wool Bedside Pocket, 22x 28.2x 4 cm, Grey

Beside pocket

GIFT IDEA 4

Literary Emporium : Handmade Tale’s Gift Set

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Handmaid’s Tale gift set with a t-shirt, enamel pin, book.

GIFT IDEA 5

Amazon.com: DOSS Cloud Book

IMG_3258

DOSS Cloud Book Wireless Portable Bluetooth 4.0 & Wi-Fi Straming Music Speaker

A great idea if you know someone who loves to listen to audiobooks in the living room. You can listen up to 12 hours before recharging.

GIFT IDEA 6

Amazon.com: Night Light

IMG_3261

It says night light but it’s actually a really good reading lamp too. It has a touch-actived led lamp and offers 48 combinations of brighteness and colors. You can play audiobooks from a microSD card, AUXinput or flash drive. You can wirelessly connect your kindle or other device with audiobook app. It has a 4400m AH battery so it’ll last hours and hours.

GIFT IDEA 7

Amazon UK: Word Puzzles for Mystery Lovers

Word Puzzles for Mystery Lovers

Each of the puzzles relates in some way to the wonderful world of MYSTERY NOVELS AND SHOWS.

The Double Jumbles are each based on a quote by a mystery novel writer or one of their characters. Solving these puzzles requires you to unscramble words to find the letters to complete the quote. Double Jumbles have been around for years in the comic ad puzzle section of newspapers. But these jumbles are ALL ABOUT THE MYSTERY / DETECTIVE NOVEL.

The next part offers entertaining word search puzzles, each with a mystery-based theme. To solve the puzzle, find the clues in the letter grid.

In the third section will have five crossword puzzles.

We’ve made our puzzles in large type to make them easier on the eyes. Even our solutions are in an easy-to-read format.

Oh and while you’re at it, why not add these Word Puzzles for Cat Lovers too?

Word Puzzles for Cat Lovers

GIFT IDEA 8

MX Publishing: Dear Holmes

You can become a detective now with Victorian era-mysteries sent to you by mail, or gift a mystery package to someone of course. I love the sound of this (and yes they send international)!

IMG_3356

Dear Holmes

GIFT IDEA 9

Etsy: Coffee and Crime Vintage Mystery Box

One-off or subscription (1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month packages)

Coffee and Crime

In each box you receive:
• A newsletter which highlights upcoming releases, personal favourite reads, puzzles and more!
• Two personally selected surprise vintage mystery novels (although vintage in origin, with some signs of previous use, they will all be in good condition ).
• A sachet of luxury coffee (Great for indulging in whilst reading your latest books). Hot chocolate and tea alternatives are possible too.
• Book/Mystery related goodies, such as notebooks, tote bags, coasters and more!

GIFT IDEA 10

The Literary Tea Company: Agatha Christie Inspired Teas

IMG_3361

GIFT IDEA 11

 

The Booktaster: Christmas Inspired Taster Box

Christmas taster

Included:

A festive inspired handpicked by ‘The Book Taster’
Unique ‘Tasting Card’ – providing tasting notes about the book to wet the reader’s appetite.
A personalised book themed note-card to the recipient
A unique The Book Taster Bookshelf Bookmark
A delicious 100g bar of Christmas Creighton’s Chocolaterie (May contain traces of nuts.)
A selection of Joe’s Tea Company Matchbox Tea Bags
A gorgeous 50g Cinnamon & Orange Clovelly Bar Soap
A beautiful Cinnamon and Orange Votive Candle by The Clovelly Soap Company

GIFT IDEA 12

Crimibox: Missing in Jericho 

Crimebox 2

A little heads up, I’ll probably post about the Crimibox at a later time again because I ordered a box from this site (for Dutch readers there are also 5 physical and 2 digital Crimiboxes available in Dutch and I ordered one of these and I’ll receive it in December). The Jericho case (for now the only one in English) is a digital case.

Crimibox

Line

So, did you see anything you like? Let me know in the comments! Do check out my previous posts: 2018 gift ideas,  2017 gift ideas and 2016 gift ideas.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #BookReview

TheLionTamerWhoLost def

whats-it-about-2

Be careful what you wish for…
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

What is there to say except that it was… exceptional! After finishing Call Me Star Girl I wanted to see if another story would have a similar effect on me. So, a few weeks later I’m on my second Louise Beech novel and I can officially say that I have added her to my list of must-read authors. This novel is, again, heartbreakingly beautiful.

I loved reading about Ben’s adventure in Zimbabwe with the lions. I had put off reading this novel for soooo long because I was afraid to find out what the setting would entail. I have such a tiny heart when it comes to animals and I thought it might be depressing or that there would be a mention of animal cruelty towards the lions but it was quite the opposite, it gave me so much joy to read how Ben tried to create a bond with his lion cub. Of course Ben had to say goodbye at some point and that was hard but it was also a satisfying and beautiful moment, so if this is the only thing keeping you from reading this as well then I can tell you, you need to pick it up pronto, as you’re really missing out on an amazing story. No, the hardest parts of the novel were definitely yet to come and had really nothing to do with the animals but with Ben, Andrew and their families.

When Ben was in Zimbabwe I knew he had such strong feelings for Andrew but for some reason he had left him behind and they had no contact. I couldn’t imagine why that was and I first suspected it was for some trivial reason but that didn’t last long as it was quickly replaced – her previous novel working as my reference point – with a sense that it would go deeper than that, and I was so right! If you’re thinking this is just a run of the mill love story, you are dead wrong. This is an unprecedented love story, one I haven’t read before. Oh how I felt for Ben and Andrew and the whole impossibility of the situation. Andrew is older than Ben and has long come out but Ben is afraid of the reaction he’ll get, especially from his father. As if that wasn’t enough, Louise Beech ripped my heart apart with more tragedy. Have I already told you that I love star-crossed lovers themes and Romeo and Juliet are forever in my heart? Well I had the same feel here, Ben and Andrew’s initials are not only carved in a tree but also in my heart. Oh and that wishbox, that damn box… when I realised what was in there, god I wanted to stop time, I wanted to go back in time, anything to avoid that moment where everything would collide as in a heads-on car crash.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a remarkable novel, it left me spoilt and spent. She’s only done it again. I highly highly recommend this novel and even though I didn’t cry, I did have a lump in my throat and felt emotional. So did Call Me Star Girl though so the struggle for favorite novel so far is real. Because Star Girl was the first one – first love – I’ll keep it at first place but you don’t need to twist my arm. Either way, I can’t wait to read her next novel and become all emotional all over again!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.