The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis #BookReview

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There’s trouble in paradise . . .

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy.

It should be paradise. But it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes.

After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

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review-2

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Blimey! Let’s skip to the best part right away and let me tell you, this one sure packs a punch in the end. I can’t get over it, I’m still thinking about it! I’ve got a lot of respect for anyone who can figure out how this story will unfold on her own :-).

I can’t say much about the plot, only that Jemma, the main character, wanted to get married for a long time and when it’s finally happened, she doesn’t feel very happy at all. What’s more, the newlyweds have a massive blow-up in front of another couple who are honeymooning in the Maldives too and Jemma doesn’t even remember the rest of the evening, she was so drunk. Her spouse goes missing that same night. Queue the perfect unreliable narrator. What did she say to her new female friend after he stormed off, what did she do? She’s kind of worried about that and that made me edgy too. Suspicion soon falls upon her, from other couples, from the staff in this dreamy resort, from the media who have caught on very quickly and sense a great story to sell.

What struck me as well was that Jemma was so much aware of how she looked and how she had to act in front of other people. I can understand you don’t want the police to scrutinize you but still, it felt strange and it sure added to my doubts if she was to be trusted.

So why did I like this novel but am I not using a thousand superlatives? Well Jemma was a little too erratic in behaviour for me sometimes. She misses her husband, but in other parts of the story she detests him, can’t stand him, hates him even. I had high expectations about what happened to make her very suddenly feel so strongly but honestly I still don’t completely understand. Something did happen but I still don’t feel it should translate to these overly negative feelings towards her hubby.

There are a few twists and turns in this novel and one of them came quite early in the novel which made me almost squeak from surprise because I wasn’t expecting anything to happen so soon in the story. Unfortunately there’s nothing of exitement following this first thrill and there isn’t happening very much at all on the island, it’s pretty much status quo all the time regarding the investigation so even though I still had the burning question that I wanted to know if her husband was dead or alive and if she had anything to do with it, I had nothing but the past and the lead up to their honeymoon to read about. There sure is a lot of drama to be found there. The story unfolds much more in the past than in the present which was intriguing and interesting but I felt the storyline about his disappearance was a bit slow-going and I kind of wanted more intrigue there. You’ll have to wait for it, you’ll probably fervently check how many pages there are left in the novel like I did and then – finally – all will be revealed in an astonishing and gripping ending. My overall conclusion is that The Honeymoon had a really very strong beginning and a truly astonishing ending :-).

One word of advise to those engaged.. I wouldn’t go to The Maldives and plan on reading this novel, it might give you ideas!

If anyone wants to do a bookswap for this one, let me know 😉

Zodiac by Sam Wilson #BookReview

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What’s it about?

In a society divided along Zodiac lines, status is cast at birth – and binding for life.

When seemingly random murders plague the city, is it a rebellion against the system or the work of a twisted serial killer? Zodiac is an imaginative and gripping thriller from debut author Sam Wilson.

Even for the most experienced detectives, every once in a while a murder can shake them to the core. Like when the Chief of Police is killed in his own home.

For Detective Jerome Burton, catching the killer will change his life forever.

Because this murder is only the first piece of a vast and twisted puzzle made of secrets, lies and tragedy.

The signs are everywhere. But is the truth written in the stars or hiding in the shadows?

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Review

star three and a half

I really wanted to read this novel when I saw the stunning cover with that caption line. Those who know me won’t be surprised though if I tell that I really never read dystopian books. The first and last one I read was years ago and didn’t really appeal to me in the end. So it might be even more suprising if I say that I actually enjoyed Zodiac.

A lot of it of course is the merit of this really interesting concept of a society based on different signs and the idea that you can’t treat people of different signs the same way because people of different signs behave differently. Sounds plausible right ;-)? Right, until of course there’s a whole hierarchy based upon this principle and some signs are regarded more highly than others. This novel focuses mainly on 2, 3 signs: being a Capricorn or a Taurus brings you a good status, but the lowest sign of all is Aries. They are prone to violence, they live in bad neighbourhoods, they are the most unemployed and the biggest population in prison are Aries too. But then of course they get caught most because – according to some – they are sought out, a stop and search for them is the new norm. One of them who raises his voice against the oppression of his sign is Solomon Mahout, leader of Aries Rising. On the other side there’s also the RAM Squad, a special unit set up to control the Aries population.

I read it all with a lot of interest and really didn’t think I could get lost in this world as much as I did. There is an overview about each sign before the novel kicks-off. I was apprehensive about what I would find further on in the novel because the mention of a sci-fi and fantasy culture didn’t seem like it was talking about me as a Virgo. In the novel itself I did find one reference to my own sign that sounds more like it though ;-):

Virgos […] were smart and interesting and independent, but they were often so socially blunt that talking to them was like boxing.

Anyway, onto the story itself. The first murder victim they find was working at the police force in one of the highest ranks. Detective Jerome Burton is assigned to the investigation and gets help from astrologer Lindi Childs. She’s going to see if the murderer’s profile fits based on his birth charts. Riiiight. Queue my sigh ;-). Thankfully the weight of this approach wasn’t hanging over the novel at all :-). Burton has his own personal struggles too, about his sign and about the sign his unborn child will be born into. Children will be born sooner to get the right sign but that might have consequences for its health too of course. Of course there’s also fraud with birth certificates and there’s even a school, The True Signs Academy, for children who have to learn the necessary code of behaviour to fit into their sign then. There was obviously put a lot of thought in all of this and it’s strange but I was completely loving this!

At the same time there’s a guy (capricorn) Daniel who stumbled upon a secret his father kept from him and is following his own investigation with the help of some Aries kid he ran into. Until suddenly someone Burton interviews leads them to the same place. The thing that confused me a little were these two plotlines and it took me quite a while to realise that they don’t start out at the same time.. the plotline with Daniel starts much earlier than the other one but that wasn’t made clear, it’s actually years ago in the past and it’s only towards the ending that they are both coming together gloriously in the present.

The last part of the novel held threats, danger and quite a bit of battle and action. Unfortunately, I still didn’t grasp all that well what the murders were about in the end and I found that the motive for the murders wasn’t explained thoroughly enough. Personally, I found the world-building and everything in it a little more interesting than some people’s fantastical ideas but then it might be just me, so don’t let that put you off.

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

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen #BookReview

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What’s it about?

She knows there’s a killer on the loose.
But no-one believes her.
Will she be next?

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

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Review

star three and a half

Hannah is staying in a private pschychatric clinic and it seems it wasn’t entirely out of her own volition. The reason for her stay is carefully dodged but I’m great at making lists of possibilities in my head and cross-referencing them with details I find so I thought I had her backstory figured out quite soon. I was pleasantly surprised my nose was pointed in the right direction and that I didn’t have to wait for the reveal of her reasons to stay until the end of the novel, which was what I kind of expected. It was a pretty little bomb dropped at the exact moment that you’ve got that feeling that you really just have to know now ‘what exactly is going on’ and I can only say that it’s very much in line with what I was expecting from Ms. Cohen. If you’ve read other books by this author, you know that there’s no limit to what she can write and in my books she’s known for her great plot twists and plotlines that are running very deep and are intricately crafted. A great start of this novel because Hannah suddenly becomes a very unreliable narrator, there’s no denying that you’ll have her backstory in your mind all the way through now. I’m still impressed with how cleverly she made Hannah to be doubted now at all times. A woman who did ‘that’ is surely not to be trusted?

Hannah’s convinced two of the patients there – one of them happened to be one of her best friends – didn’t kill themself.

“I’m frightened. I’m frightened that I’m right and I’ll be next. I’m even more frightened that I’m wrong, in which case I’m as crazy as they all think I am.”

Then her mother finds a picture of a woman on her daughter’s nightstand with the eyes pierced out. Who is she and why so much hatred? She starts investigating on her own and soon enough you can’t stop but wonder if the threat is actually coming from in- or outside the clinic.

People are lying and not everybody is who he or she claims they are and it’s up to Hannah and her mother to dig around and make people talk. Lots of deceit and lies to go round but are any of these people responsible for killing someone? I knew the who early on and the author didn’t really disguise it all that much, it’s not like it all really came out of the blue, so what really intrigued me the most was finding out why? What was the motive? And is Hannah in real danger?

As I was racing towards the end, I got really on edge how this was going to go down… I felt fearful but also relished that sense of danger lurking in the shadows. Ms. Cohen held out a long time and made me wait for it, keeping me on tenterhooks for the grand finale!

Maybe this isn’t my favorite novel by her, I still think When She Was Bad or Dying for Christmas proved to be just that little more exciting and sinister but it was still a good read with a couple of nice twists!

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

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

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What’s it about?

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania (population three thousand outside of tourist season).

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works. For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. There’s an immediate connection, and it’s more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. It’s something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something she is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

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Atria Paperback | ISBN: 9781501133381 | On sale: June 27, 2017 | 368 pages | $16.00
Atria eBook | ISBN: 9781501133398 | On sale: June 27, 2017 | 368 pages | $7.99

Giveaway

K.A. Tucker and Simon & Schuster are giving away 5 signed paperback copies of this brand new novel! 

All you have to do is ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE

About the author

K.A. Tucker

 

K.A. Tucker is the author of He Will Be My Ruin and the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series. She currently resides outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.

 

Connect with the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Review

star three and a half

I read two novels by K.A. Tucker in the past, and still have fond memories of reading those to this day, so I didn’t have to think twice when I saw an opportunity to read her newest novel Until It Fades. Its promise of some swoonworthy romance was everything I wanted to hear. Her other novels also have plenty of romance but this one definitely is a little different and a bit of a lighter read, she says so herself in the acknowledgements.

The worlds of the two main characters couldn’t be further apart, one of them is constantly in the spotlight and the other tries to avoid all public attention. Catherine was the talk of town at the age of 17, a time she really doesn’t want to be reminded of and she’s quite happy that everyone has moved along and the attention has faded. Agreeing to one (bad) date changes everything though because on her way back home she becomes a witness to a car accident. When she gets home a media storm breaks out because the guy she helped out of the car is a famous hockey-star, Brett Madden. She tries to keep her identity a secret because she really doesn’t want any attention on her person but Brett is determined to find the woman who saved him. When he does, he finds more than he was looking for. But will this fairytale stay or will it fade?

I really liked Catherine, besides from being a heroine, she’s such a strong person in general and I enjoyed reading about her past, it was given a lot of attention and made me really get to know where she was was coming from. She’s not had an easy life but she’s positive and she made it all by herself. I really liked Brett as well, he’s rich, very rich but stays grounded and he’s considerate, caring and of course very yummy, but the person I liked perhaps most of all was Brenna. She’s a feisty 6-year old who always knows the right things to say and holds more wisdom in her little body than you could imagine.

This novel was definitely a slow-burn in the romance department but I wouldn’t necessary call it a bad thing that Catherine took her time. With all that she’s been through it would only be odd if she were to jump right in. She has learned to protect her heart and you can’t just let your guard down after someone’s giving you a few crooked smiles, right?

This novel is most of all about a girl who has learned a lot already in her young life and is trying to trust people again, it’s about how deep her family and friendship ties run in the end, it’s heart-warming and a fun read. Maybe, and this is just the smallest remark, I might have missed a little more drama and a few surprises along the way. There was one intended twist but I knew how that was going to play out right from the start really. I was really curious though what the consequences would be when this would have to be explained but as I said, there’s a lot of love and friendship to go round in this one.

This was a sweet and lovely story, maybe a tad less memorable than her other novels, but with the same easy and enjoyable writing and a cast of lovely characters that are her signature style.

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

Deceived by Heena Rathore

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What’s it about?

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, unwittingly to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

Review

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First of all, I was completely sold when I saw the cover of this novel. It’s such a strong image, I knew this would have to be an interesting story and I wasn’t wrong in my assumption.

The prologue of Deceived contains a very interesting insight that makes it possible to make a distinction between a psychopath and a sociopath. It ends with the instruction to look out for the listed traits for one or the other throughout the novel and I was keen to make my own discoveries of these personality disorders… I didn’t need to be told twice to dig into the story.

The story has a brilliant opener with an old newspaper article reporting a 13 year old girl’s disappearance after she seemingly has killed her parents. The girl, Elisabeth, is one of the voices in this novel and she will make an appearance now and again between chapters of the present. I was clueless how she fit in to the present story but I was quite hooked on her storyline and paradoxically, even though she’s a bad character, I was still concerned for her well-being.

In the present day we follow Allison Stone, a girl whose mother and baby brother were murdered 9 years prior. She lives with her best friend Sam and Max, her dog. There’s so much interaction with her dog that at times he felt like a real person to me. He stole my heart easily, as well as her best friend Sam. It’s great to have such a good friend who you can call no matter what. Sam would drop everything and come running to the rescue. I never really did warm up to her boyfriend Danny, however, even though she’s so in love with him that she goes to live with him. As soon as she moves in, things are starting to get really weird and it looks like her family’s tormentor is back and she’s next on his list. It doesn’t help that her cousin Steve has moved back as well and he’s got his investigating hat on. Will that keep the killer in check? I wouldn’t place any bets :-).

I found the story interesting and there was a lot of creepiness and unease, especially when I read the diary entries from one very disturbed individual, as well as the onslaught of unsettling events happening to Allison in an attempt to destabilize her. It gets worse even, there’s quite a bit of violence in the final act that made me cringe. Unfortunately I did figure out who was behind it all quite early on and I didn’t even have to put much effort into it. I would have liked it to have been a bit more inconspicious and to have seen a few real herrings planted perhaps. What I really couldn’t see though was what Elizabeth’s connection to the story was, if any. I was amazed how this plotline morphed into the present one in the end.

Overall, it wasn’t as spectacular as I expected but it was a good, enjoyable read nonetheless and a great debut. It reminds me a lot about another novel written by a bestselling author, which has been getting a lot of praise and they both have a few similar elements, only this one is for the readers who can take it just a little harder.

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

Woman of the Hour by Jane Lythell

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What’s it about?

StoryWorld is the nation’s favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the scandals and backbiting that happen off-stage.

But then simmering tensions erupt at the station, trapping Liz in a game of one-upmanship where she doesn’t know the rules. As the power struggle intensifies, can Liz keep her cool and keep her job? Does she even want to?

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the glamorous, pressurised world of live TV.

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Review

3-half-star-def

Liz Lyon is the woman in Woman Of The Hour who showed me the other side of what we usually see on our tv screen. A job at a television station is something that seems galaxys away from your ordinary joe’s life, it speaks to the imagination, something one can only dream of and seems nothing but exciting, glitzy and glamerous but is it really all glam and shine? I believe that you’ll have a much more realistic image of the tv world after finishing this novel.

Liz is a woman trying to hold her own in a world dominated by men. Her job? To comfort, put out small fires, deliver bad news, stand up for her people against angry publicists and mitigate time and again between several characters with quite a bit of an ego.

She’s got a diverse cast of characters under wings, there are 8 of them: there’s tv presenter Fizzy, cook Ledley, agony-aunt Betty, researchers Simon and Molly, astrologer Gerry, runner Ziggy and an intern new-comer Harriet under her supervision. Their problems become her problem and believe me when I say that they all have their big and smaller problems that she’ll have to solve. While she’s juggling to placate and appease everyone, she too has her own personal problems. I really liked that insight I got into her as a mother and in another role than in the work place.

Personally, I thought the television world was much more of an individual scene, but if this is anything like the real thing then they are more tightly-knit than in a normal (male dominated) corporate environment like the one I’m working in so I was pleasantly surprised in that respect but it really isn’t a gift to Liz to have to choose her battles and be the middle woman every time again.

This novel held a lot of drama and intrigue, there’s plenty of lies and deceipt, affairs and blackmail going on behind the scenes of StoryWorld. This is not my usual kind of read perhaps but I still enjoyed watching their life and world from the sidelines and it was written in an easy and compelling fashion. After reading this, I’m not really all that jealous about her job anymore though :-).

Many thanks to the author, Jane Lythell, for sending me a free copy of her novel. All opinions are unbiased and my own.  

The Killer On The Wall by Emma Kavanagh

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What’s it about?

The first body comes as a shock.

The second brings horror.

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare.

When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.

Who is the Killer on the Wall?

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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I loved The Missing Hours so much that I really jumped at the chance to read Emma Kavanagh’s new novel The Killer On The Wall. Maybe my expectations were too high after the previous one because in this novel I did find a few things that kept me from falling in love like the first time.

There are 2 investigating characters in The Killer On The Wall: Mina who’s a detetective and Isla, the woman who found the first victims of Heath McGowan at the Wall 20 years ago. Isla has dedicated her life and work into the research of psychopaths brain scans. She has tested and MRI’d plenty of convicted killers and she now even sees the Killer On The Wall eye to eye because he agreed to her request.

Then new victims are made with the same MO as before. Coincidence, I think not! But is it a copycat or did Heath instruct someone in prison to mess with the community of Briganton after all these years?

The author makes a lot of suggestions and steered me into one direction for a suspect on the outside only to change direction again in another chapter. I felt myself on a carousel after a while. Although I read this novel with lots of questions on my mind too, most of what was offered didn’t really convince me as a motive and I wasn’t really buying any it. I didn’t know who, why or how but I trusted my own instinct and definitely knew there was something wrong with the picture that was being proferred. When all was finally said and done, the ending was not entirely surprising for me, simply because so many were already suspected and dismissed. What I found a bit strange was there wasn’t much of a motive for the actual killer either and I had high hopes actually for an explanation why these people, and these people in particular, were targeted.

I’m afraid I have to admit that on top of this, I also had a bit of difficulty to fully connect with Isla and Mina, although from both of them I liked detective Mina most. She’s unrelentless in her perusal through boxes and in her investigation she doesn’t want to give up even if it means taking risks and doing unfavourable things. She’s looking for the truth and she will find it, even if it means she’s got to put her own feelings aside.

My overall conclusion is that this was a okay read and there’s no question that she’s a good writer but this one just didn’t tick all the boxes for me. I’m not giving up though and I still look forward to reading her next novel.

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