3 years of blogging #giveaway

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At first I didn’t want to make a fuss about it but in the end (2 days ago actually) I decided I do want to say a little something. My blog wouldn’t give me such a huge pleasure if it weren’t for everyone else involved. So I really want to thank all the lovely readers who follow my blog, who take their time to read my blog posts and reviews, even the ones of books I didn’t really like so much.

This is my 479th blogpost and what a ride it has been these 3 years. This last year has been a bit of a struggle but I’m proud I’m able to celebrate this day, that I’ve not given up yet. I’ll never regret starting my blog and if you read this and it has played in your head too then I can only tell you to just go for it, you have only to gain and nothing to lose! I know I’m much quieter, that I post even less and almost don’t take part in blog tours anymore, but it’s not that I don’t want to. There’s just not enough energy and room in my head like there was 2 or 3 years ago. I think it’ll come back though, I have hope :-).

In the meantime, thanks for sticking by me! I love you all! I lead a quiet life and it means so much to me that you are in my life and I’m in yours. Alexandra, Nicki, Nikola, Yvo, Norrie, Jonetta, Meggy, Sheila, Ali, Hayley, Nina, Kelly, Stephanie, as well as so many others (the list could really go on and on), you really brighten my days! Anyway, I feel I’m getting all emotional so I’m going to stop here.

What’s a blog birthday without a giveaway huh, so in good tradition this year I’m giving away a signed copy of this lovely paperback of Day Of The Accident by Nuala Ellwood. I really loved this novel and I kind of want to keep it myself but I also want someone else to discover this great author. Here’s my review if you want to find out more about it.

The Day giveaway

How do you enter the (INT) giveaway ?

  • Follow me on Twitter (@ingstje) and RT this blogpost; and/or
  • Folllow me on Instagram (ingstje), like my post there, tag 2 friends and share in your stories (ever since I started Instagram I dreamt of giving this instruction one day)

The competition runs until Sunday 3 March at midnight and I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday 5 March.

Before I go I’ll share my 5 top viewed posts again, you never know you missed them :-).

End Game by Matt Johnson #guestpost (4200 views!)

Book folding tutorial: a simple heart/home

Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan #guestpost

Let’s Be Just Friends by Camilla Isley (free download) #bookreview

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen #bookreview

Thanks again and I hope I’ll talk to you some more this next year of blogging!

Inge

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Sunshine in February #BookTag

February

Hi everyone! What do you think of my calendar (it hangs up at work)? I so love those eyes, I want to keep February forever :-).

I don’t even know how long it’s been since I did a tag and it definitely isn’t because I don’t have any. I think I have a list of 30 (that I kept) but I always procrastinate because the questions are always so difficult to answer and it takes so much time to think. But I was recently tagged by the lovely Norrie @Reading under the Blankie and I think I can answer these so hey-ho let’s go!

Here are Norrie’s questions:

QandA

#1 Do you believe in ghosts?

No sorry, absolutely not, I don’t believe in anything I can’t see. I know not everything can be explained and I would feel differently if I experienced something unexplainable myself but hearing it from other people isn’t enough for me. Now that I think of it, I don’t even like reading about ghosts in books, I always find that such an easy way out of it.

#2 Have you ever sneaked out of the house to go to a party in your wild teen years?

What wild teen years? I didn’t even have those! I wasn’t allowed to go out before I turned 18 (I know, but let’s just say it was a different era.. I don’t think that could still happen nowadays without being considered very very anti-social). I also lived outside of the city so there was literally nowhere to go (or sneak off to) or anything to do. I didn’t mind at the time though, I was an introvert after all and I was happy with my books for company :-).

#3 What’s your take on flowery food? (Lavender biscuits, wild flowers in salads, and so on). Yey or nay?

Eh no it’s not really my thing. I like flowers and I love the colours but eating them? I had a dish like that once at a restaurant and I put the flower on the side (ok I was much younger and I didn’t know you could eat it but even if I had known, I’d probably still do the same).

#4 What’s a book that you thought was kind of trashy but you still enjoyed?

I had to really search for it but I found one. I read Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1) by Tara Sivec in 2015. I don’t remember much about it but I think it was pretty hilarious. The blurb says it holds enough sarcasm to choke a horse and I guess it was so over the top that even I got it :-).

#5 Imagine it’s time for a cookie. Do you dip it in milk, sip coffee with it, or munch on it in its dry glory?

Coffee and Lotus

I’m not a big dipper :-). I usually eat cookies dry to really savour all the deliciousness of the cookie, the only exception I make is dipping a gingerbread cookie in my coffee.

#6 Would you say you are a morning person?

I am definitely not a morning person but I don’t have problems getting up, I don’t need any extra time or something. I do not want to talk or listen to anyone so early in the morning though and want to be left alone for the first half an hour, ok let’s just make that an hour to be sure. Lucky for me I’m also not very social 😉 so I have my quiet time on the train and when I get to work I have my coffee first and then all is ok.

#7 Winter sports. Yey or nay?

Nay nay nay.. as if sports itself doesn’t sound horrific already, winter sports is even worse 🙂

#8 Has it ever happened that you liked a film or series adaptation of a book? If so, which book was it?

I liked Big Little Lies, the tv series with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I enjoyed And Then There Were None, the mini-series of Agatha Christie’s novel and I also liked the Big Friendly Giant animation movie which I only saw recently for the first time.

#9 Do you find house chores (cleaning, dish-washing, etc.) relaxing, or necessary evil?

People find house chores relaxing? After a hard day’s of work? I know a few other things that are relaxing then. They are necessary, just like cooking (nope don’t like it either but only way if you want to really eat). Before you think I’m a total lazy bum, I actually like ironing and I don’t mind doing the dishes by hand so I don’t even use the dishwasher very often (I sometimes let it air-dry though). If you don’t cook very elaborate there’s really not much dishes right ;-).

#10 Do you chill in your pjs all day when you don’t need to leave the house?

No, I don’t. I like to get dressed when I get up. I wear a jogging tracksuit for lazying about if I don’t go out. It’s different at night though, sometimes I come home from work and instead of changing into something comfortable I go for reaaaally comfortable and already put my pjs on at 18.30h :-).

#11 What was the last book that knocked your socks off?

I think it was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides because I just didn’t see that ending coming. But as a whole book definitely Changeling by Matt Wesolowski.

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OK here are my questions! I’ve done a mix (I like doing the this or that questions most myself so.. ) and can’t wait to read your answers should you accept the challenge (make it Sunshine in Marsh perhaps ;-))!

#1 Text message or call?
#2 Do you read before bed?
#3 Salt or sweet?
#4 Do you believe in love at first sight? 
#5 Do you have a special strategy to get more followers for your blog?
#6 Sandals or sneakers?
#7 Name one book you read (or bought) because of the cover
#8 Hamburgers or hot-dogs?
#9 What is the most recent book you couldn’t finish?
#10 A skirt or pants? (For the man here: short or long pants ;-))
#11 What was your favorite holiday so far and why?

I’d love to hear the answers from these lovely bloggers, but don’t feel obliged!

Malanie Loves Fiction
Mug Full of Books
Macsbooks
The Cozy Pages
The Reading Closet
Not Another Book Blogger
Booked up girl
A Love of Books and Life
The Reader’s Corner
Zooloo’s Book Diary
Postcard Reviews
Kiera’s Bookish Thoughts

 

Verity by Colleen Hoover #BookReview

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Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

Sexy. Twisted. Consuming.

amazon uk amazon com

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I wanted to read this novel as soon as I heard about it. I’m a longtime fan of Colleen Hoover’s romance books and I happen to be quite a bit of a thriller lover too so this combination of my fav author writing a suspenseful novel was all I needed to hear!

This might be her first novel in the suspense genre but she obviously doesn’t look at the world hearty-eyed all the time and has a pretty wicked mind as well. It was much darker than I expected and I really appreciate that she didn’t hold back at all just to appease some of her readers who aren’t used to this.

While Lowen is staying at the Crawford residence where she’s meant to finish Verity’s manuscript, a woman who became paralysed after an accident, she stumbles upon a manuscript. Intermittent to Lowen’s presence at the house are chapters of this manuscript which slowly reveal a pretty disturbing secret.

It might be an upsetting topic for some readers but it’s CoHo’s trademark to make you feel emotional and I can say that I did feel very strongly about Verity, her actions seriously made my toes curl. Lowen is feeling increasingly disgusted and so was I. Should she tell Jeremy the truth about his wife or not though, that’s quite the dilemma.

At the same time it wouldn’t be a CoHo novel if there wouldn’t be a bit of romance in it as well although I really wouldn’t catalogue this novel in or even near the romance genre. There’s a lot of attraction and it was addicting to read the interactions between Lowen and Jeremy. There were a few too many graphic scenes in the novel for me if I’m being honest, be it with Lowen or the scenes in the manuscript with Verity, but in the end it seems that they kind of served a purpose so that makes me more forgiving :-).

The ending is absolutely worth mentioning the most! It’s one of those endings that I’ll remember in every detail even in 5 years of time. I saw one part of it coming and I felt myself already quite clever but I had no idea there was more! There was another part and it caught me completely off guard. I was quite stunned by this development to say the least. I don’t know if everyone will agree with me and will like hearing so but there’s plenty of room to question the ending and to decide on what you think has happened. It is designed to make up your own mind and I quite liked it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Verity, the plot was clever, the novel was quite sinister and played with my mind. I truly hope she writes more novels in the genre!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts #BookReview

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. 

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

amazon uk amazon com

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The Flower Girls is a novel that largely centers around Hazel, a woman with a haunting past. Even if she can’t remember anything of it she’ll never be able to leave her past behind. She was only 6 years old when her sister – only 10 herself at the time – murdered a little girl and although Hazel received this new identity there’s always that fear that she might be recognised. And now Georgie, a little girl, is missing and she was in the vicinity… even after almost 20 years she knows it’s only a matter of time before she’ll find herself in the eye of a media storm again.

The plotline mainly highlights the impact of such a crime through the eyes of several people, each with their own personal angle. There’s a writer Max, a policewoman, and also a victim’s rights advocate who also happens to be the aunt of Kirstie, the murdered girl in 1997. The aunt, Joanna, really resonated with me and I enjoyed those entries most of all. She wants her niece’s killer to stay in jail forever, never getting out on parole, she doesn’t believe in rehabilitation.

I enjoyed reading the different angles but I missed hearing from the killer herself for most of the novel, what are her thoughts now, looking back on the events and why did she do it, what did she think then? The novel isn’t really about what happened exactly almost 20 years before, but I still kept wondering about what had happened for 90% of the novel and it’s only in the last pages that I finally received some answers about that eventful day, be it still quite briefly. I wanted to find a way to understand her reasoning or what made her do this in the first place so that I could take my own stand in this but I didn’t get to hear much of her for most of the novel. It didn’t make it any easier to find absolution. I didn’t hear the motive in both cases so I guess I have to assume it’s a matter of nature and of a person born evil. I know a lot of killers are just born bad but it didn’t feel as satisfying as I wanted it to be because I didn’t know all the facts. Of course in real life we don’t always get these answers as an outsider either and only learn what we know from reading the paper. Yet I still wonder if it would change my feelings. If this novel is anything, it’s certainly making you stand still and really think it through.

The Flower Girls definitely felt more psychological than thriller, maybe I’d even go so far as to call it an interesting study. It’s a novel that sets you up to think about accountability at a young age among other things, and how it can mark a person for the rest of their live. It makes you think about the real cases, what sort of lives the child killers lead now and if they’re also still looking over their shoulder.

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

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner #BookReview

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A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

amazon uk amazon com

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This novel is on fire! It has a burning hot cover and there are actually quite a few fires to put out in this novel as well ;-).

I read a few of the previous books in the series (nrs. 5 and 6 and one in her other series too) and looking back on those reads (I gave Love You More five stars) I was very tempted to read Never Tell even though I didn’t know if it was a good idea to jump in at book 10 again. I took the plunge though and I’m so happy I did. Never Tell is another strong and fabulously suspenseful thriller and can be read as a standalone perfectly. The only thing you won’t really fully experience is the story of Flora at the time when she was held captive in a present narrative (which is a plotline in another novel). In Never Tell she’s looking back on it which was chilling and unsettling to read but makes me want to hear even more as well so I think I’ll go back and pick up that novel later.

The story itself is told in alternating chapters by the woman who is suspected of killing her husband, a detective and this Flora. The latter helps D.D. Warren professionally as an informant but she’s also an important link to the murder because she saw the victim, Conrad Jones, when she was held captive in conversation with her abductor. She tried to bury what happened to her but now she’s feeling strong enough and is determined to unearth Jacob Ness’ secrets and lies with the help of one of those true crime buffs on the internet and to find out who Conrad Jones was and what he was hiding from his wife.

I loved all three characters although Flora, whip-smart and headstrong, is probably my favorite. I don’t think one of them was less than the other two though, they were quite evenly matched. Evie was mysterious and I felt a little unsure about her. She’s the underdog of course, suspected of murdering her husband but on the other hand she might be holding some secrets too. I knew she was smart and resourceful right away, the way she was trying to find out what her husband was hiding in the months leading up to his death and I couldn’t help finding her initial reaction, shooting a computer, quite strange too and certainly enough to raise my eyebrows. I loved hearing about her past as a young girl and how she loved her brilliant father so much but at the same time it also made me wonder even more about his death. What lead to his death, and was it an accident after all?

If you enjoy reading police procedurals then you should definitely put this one on your list, there is excellent investigative work in Never Tell. 

The story is one spidery web of secrets and lies, taking you deep into Flora’s history and Evie’s past and as I said already, it sets quite a few fires alight along the way to the action-packed ending. Surprising twists and a great cast make this a brilliant page-turner that I can recommend to everyone.

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

WWW Wednesday (13-02-2019)

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 read three of Lisa Gardner’s books in the past and gave them 3, 4 and 5 stars respectively so I’ll just keep you in suspense a little longer about how much I liked this one. It can definitely be read as a standalone, I’ll tell you that much ;-).

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

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What I’m reading now:

I only read a few pages of this one so can’t really comment on it yet but so far so good. I hear a lot of praise about it and read a very positive review by Ludwig’s Thrillers last weekend so I have high hopes!

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

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What I’ll (probably) read soon:

When I came across this novel on Twitter and looked up the synopsis on Amazon I definitely wanted to add it to my readlist. It’s published in May in case you’re interested.

The Furies by Katie Lowe

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You’d kill to be one of them.

1998. A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing. No known cause of death.

Four girls know what happened.

And until now they’ve kept their silence.

Violet is returning home, back to the sleepy coastal town which holds so many memories.

In 1998, after a tragic accident claimed the lives of her father and sister, she joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls’ school with an unpleasant history of 17th century witch trials.

There she is drawn to Robin, Grace, Alex and their charismatic teacher, Annabel; she is invited to join them in their advanced study group.

There they learn about art, literature and the grisly history of the school. Though Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals, she warns them off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology. However, the more the girls learn, the more they start to believe that magic is real, and that together they can harness it.

But when the body of a former member of the society is found on campus nine months after the she disappeared, fingers are pointed at those closest to her. Leading Violet to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

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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 !

Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox #BookReview

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They left four children safe upstairs.
They came back to three.

On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young boys are left alone while their parents dine downstairs.

But when one of the parents checks on the children at midnight, they discover one of them is missing.

The boys swear they stayed in their room. CCTV confirms that none of them left the building. No trace of the child is found.

Now the hunt is on to find him, before it’s too late – and before the search for a boy becomes a search for a body…

amazon uk amazon com

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This is the 3rd novel in a series but I hadn’t even noticed until I saw it mentioned on Goodreads after I finished reading it. Gone by Midnight scored highly for me both on the mystery and the wonderfully crafted characters. Oh and of course I want to mention the glorious setting of the Australian outback with its croc-infested creeks as well which made me feel happy as can be for once that I wasn’t actually there.

But the first thing that made me want to read this novel was the blurb of course. Seriously, how good does this sound?! Can you tell me how on earth a little 8-year old can disappear into thin air while he wasn’t caught on camera anywhere and the other kids claim they haven’t left the room at all? No? Me neither, no matter how hard I thought about it, and even while I was reading it, I still couldn’t come up with anything that could explain it or tell me where the child could be. If we’re talking about puzzling stories then this one’s definitely on top of the heap.

I adored Ted and Amanda, the two detectives on duty. They were such a contrasting pair, Ted rather straight-laced and Amanda quite the opposite, but they were both big personalities and so great together. They both have a lot of baggage though with lots of unpleasant memories in the last years. Ted was wrongfully accused of a crime and goes through life still having to bear sideway glances. He’s divorced and has to find his feet juggling the new case with the care for his 3-year old daughter Lillian who’s come to stay with him for a short time. Amanda is a tattooed biker woman – and the last woman on earth I’d ever associate with a fairy btw which makes it so funny she’s called a fairy – but she has a knack of seeing details others miss and I was in awe of her deducting skills. It took me a bit longer to warm up to her –  she’s so extraverted and disliked by so many people so don’t hold it against me that I didn’t want to hand over the prize for Ms Sympathy either – but then I found out they were actually both huge animal lovers and that kind of sealed the deal. It’s so endearing to see how much Ted loved his dog Celine and his geese (he has named them all too and they’re even quite prominent in the novel) and Amanda is the crazy cat lady of service.

There’s a lot going on with both of them and their personal stories were as fascinating as the search for the missing child. There were a few red herrings thrown at me and even though I was rather sceptical of the plotline the author lead me to believe, I had only a feeling to go on and I didn’t have a clue how it would play out. I enjoyed the last part of the novel but I did feel that the transition to the final stage was pretty brusque and a big revelation was kind of dropped on me out of thin air. I was surprised yes, definitely, but also confused about the lead up to the revelation, as I didn’t see any good reason for it. Apart from that one gap, it had a great ending that made me really cross my fingers and hope for the best. The danger can come from where you least expect it ;-).

It wasn’t hard to see where the idea for the novel originated from and even though Ms. Fox changed quite a few details, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann immediately sprang to mind when the boy disappeared. She made it her own story though and put a great spin on it. I can definitely recommend this novel!

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