Book Review · Books

A Darker State by David Young [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.
Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.
Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

I have mixed feelings about A Darker State (Karin Müller #3). It has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time, and when I finally managed to read it, I thought I would be in for a treat, for something special. But it wasn’t special. I did enjoy a bit of the mystery, but it is most certainly not a favourite of mine. 

Apparently, this is the third book of a series, and the books can be read as standalone. The only thing they have in common is the character and how it develops throughout the books. 

From the very beginning, the book came across as unrealistic. Karin has recently become a mother, and she is just getting back to her job, when suddenly, she is being promoted as the Major of the People’s Police and is put on a very dangerous case. Now I don’t know about your police forces, but ours would certainly not promote a person just like that. 

Karin’s character was too forced upon me.

At least that is how I felt. Like I needed to like her, and I needed to respect her. And I just wasn’t having it. She was not really that good of a character. Maybe it’s because I missed on reading the previous two books and don’t know her well enough. And maybe she was just a poor creation.

I didn’t enjoy the political webs and plotting. I think I prefer a much more realistic, straight up mystery novel. There was a huge lack of mystery drama, suspense, excitement or fear, which I think was crucial for me rate this book low. There were only a few actual scenes where the scene was discussed and the causes of death, etc. I wish there were more scenes like this, rather than mysterious conversation with politicians and secretive tycoons.

I loved the author’s writing and description, but I don’t think his style fits my preference, so I don’t think I will be reading any more books from this series. 

Let me know if you have read it. I would love to know what you think.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

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I am so thankful to the team at Mills & Boon for letting me a part of this amazing blog tour. It is an honour, and a pleasure! Click HERE to read the first chapter!

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★★★★

When recently widowed Melinda sees an advert for a midwife in the quiet town of Virgin River, she decides this is the perfect place to escape her heartache and to revitalise the nursing career she loves. 

However, her dreams are shattered as soon as she arrives. The cabin is uninhabitable, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor has nothing to do with her. But when a tiny baby is abandoned on a front porch, Mel needs to make a decision.

Helped by a local barman and former marine, Jack Sheridan, Mel has to face her past, and realises that there may be a future in Virgin River after all. 

First Impression

I don’t usually go for the drama romance stories. But I do love a bit of new town girl, and I also love watching medical shows, despite knowing close to nothing about medicine. Grey’s Anatomy, The Resident, Doctor House, The Good Doctor, ER, etc. fans – please let yourselves known! 🙂

I loved this book. It has a very good vibe about if from the beginning until the end. First of all, I fell in love with Virgin River. A lovely quiet place, with amazing selfless people living in it. I would love to live in a town like that! The author described the place so well, that it made me feel like I was there, in the pub, in the doctor’s office, by the river…

Characters

We found ourselves to have Mel as a main character, followed by Jack. However, we had a lot of side characters, who actually played a crucial role in the development of Mel and Jack and their story.

Mel is a city girl, born and raised.

Always lived in big cities, most recently in L.A. and she is used to all the poshy posh stuff that come along with such a lifestyle. She was married to Mark, an emergency doctor, who recently passed away. We never get to meet Mark, but we get to know him through Mel’s memories of him. 

Wanting and needing change, she sells everything and moves to Virgin River, a promising quiet town, where she can start again. But things don’t go as planned. They never do. When struggling with challenges, she has to find a way to cope with her pain, then learn how to live with it, so she can move on and be happy in life. 

Then we have Jack, who owns a bar in Virgin River, and who is the person that helps everyone around.

When Mel arrives, he is determined to make her stay and show her that this place is not so bad after all. But as a former marine, he also has his demons, and as much as he will help Mel, he also needs her to help him get over his pain as well. 

From the side characters, I really loved Doc, the sassy old doctor, Preacher, Jack’s friend from the marines and Joey, Mel’s sister. Even though I hated Joey at the beginning, she started to grow on me as time passed by. 

Very interesting story, a lot of dramatic events that change our characters and teach them something. The plot was predictable in the sense that I knew there would be a love story between Jack and Mel, but it was still adorable and cute to read how both of them grow by each other. 

The Netflix Show

You might have heard, but now Virgin River also has a TV show as well. My plan was to read and watch them simultaneously, and I did watch the first few episodes. I love the show, and I will definitely continue watching. However, the plot is changed a lot and it is quite different from the book, so I suggest you read the book first before watching the TV show. 

Have you read this book? Have you read something similar? I would love to read your thoughts. 🙂 

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Book Review · Books

You, Me and the Movies by Fiona Collins [BOOK REVIEW]

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You, me and the movies is the perfect book for the fans of the movie theaters. It will fill an emptiness you have felt all your life, because such a book previously didn’t exist. Perfectly entwined movie references with one incredible love story is the only thing you might need for a perfect reading date. Okay, maybe hot chocolate too. And a warm blanket. And a few tissues… 

Two people. Ten classic films. A love story you’ll never forget.

Arden has just started university when she meets Mac – and quickly falls head over heels for the handsome, charismatic film lecturer. Their love affair is dramatic, exciting and all-consuming; the sort of thing you only see in the movies. But it didn’t last…

And thirty years later, leading a very different life, Arden is visiting a friend in hospital when she suddenly comes across the man she never forgot. Badly injured in an accident, Mac can only make brief references to the classic films they once watched together: Casablanca, A Star is Born, Pretty Woman among others… and they make Arden remember everything.

Chapter by chapter we dive into the memories that Arden holds close to her heart. All the feelings she though she forgot now flow back to the surface. Mac can’t say more than a few words, but those words mean the world for Arden.

The bittersweet memories of their relationship help Arden re-connect with the world in a way she no longer thought was possible. But will a movie-worthy love ever be hers again?

This book gave me a story I wasn’t prepared for. I am a sucker for romance in real-life, but when it comes to books, I don’t ship couples easily, and I don’t do “awws” and “aaahs”. But this book got me. It captured my heart and then broke it into a million pieces. 

I loved every single moment. Every single situation, every memory, every scene at the hospital. The whole story is surreal. Imagine encountering your ex from thirty years ago in a hospital, badly injured, and he can’t say anything more than words that mean so much to you. 

And that is amazing, because he can at least say those words. But after so many years, don’t you want to know? Aren’t you curious about the why’s and the how’s and what happened after parts? 

Arden had so many questions, unable to be answered. And maybe that was for the best. Leave the past behind and start again? 

The time flow was immensely written, jumping from past to present, but in a very tidy and clear way, easy to get into. I knew exactly when in time we were, which made the reading experience significantly better for me. 

And despite all this praise, I will still give this book four stars instead of five, and here is my why: 

In a couple of years, I will probably remember only the vague details of this book. The movie references and the love story between Mac and Arden. But I will never forget how this book made me feel…

All those tears that I have shed because of them, all those movies I have watched, pausing the book for a while, just so I can grasp the whole meaning, and most importantly, all the ANGER I felt in the end. I finished the book, I read the last few pages and I was angry! Angry at Mac, and angry at Arden, angry at destiny and angry at the writer, for ending this book in this way. 

I am slowly beginning to realise and understand why this was the perfect ending, but I can never get over the feeling of anger, and I don’t remember feeling anger in such a way about any other book. (This could be counted as a compliment, I suppose). And that is why this book can’t be my favorite. But it definitely did change something in my life and my experience, and I will carry that with me forever.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers Corgi , part of Penguin Random House, for sending me an ARC copy of You, Me and the movies, in exchange for my honest review.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton [BLOG TOUR]

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It’s an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

I am glad I got the chance to be part of the blog tour for Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton. I was reading this book while I was on a plane, travelling to Macedonia, and it was a great adventure all the way through. In all honesty, I enjoyed it a lot, but it didn’t make my favourites list. 

A school is under a siege and the headmaster has been shot. The story is being told from the point of view of everyone involved – the students, the teachers, the worried parents, the investigators, even the bad guys… Different people are hiding in different places in the school, all hoping this is just a dream. 

During the book, we follow a few story lines:

  • Hannah, the teenage girl who is in love for the first time, trying to help the wounded headmaster.
  • Rafi and his younger brother Basi, Syrian refugees, still suffering from PTSD
  • the parents that are gathered together, desperate for news that their children are safe
  • the police psychologist and investigators, who are trying to identify the gunmen
  • the students hiding in the school theatre, who rely on a Shakespeare play to calm themselves

As the chapters go through, the time passes and we get a better glimpse of the whole picture, and the story behind the whole attack of the school. It is very nicely written and amazingly put together. 

The ending was unpredictable.

I loved the ending. Even though I had a lot of guesses, and I desperately tried to convince myself that the person responsible couldn’t possibly be the guilty one, the book proved me wrong in the most unpredictable way possible. The book’s ending is the ending you have been waiting for in a thriller for a very long time, and I was quite pleased for a few days after reading it.

Throughout the book, you will get hundreds of small clues that you won’t even notice, and in the end it will all make sense. I may have to read this book again, just to enjoy all those little hidden clues throughout the way and cherish them for the amazing clues they were. Also, to simply mock my inability to spot them as well. 🙂

If you love fast-paced thrillers and multiple point-of-view books, Three Hours should definitely be on your radar. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to Penguin House, for sending me a copy of this book!

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Move by Felicity Everett [BLOG TOUR]

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I am very excited to be part of the Blog Tour for The Move by Felicity Everett. Especially on New Year’s Day, finishing the year with a blog tour. Thank you to the team at HQ, for sending me an advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Karen moves into a new home with her husband Nick. It is a new house and a fresh start. But it is still the same husband. 

I do love myself a bit of family thriller and drama novels. The Move seemed like the perfect choice to get myself cosy, right before saying goodbye to the old year and entering the “new year – new me” attitude. And in the end, it does have this vibe, as our main female protagonist finds her true self and starts making the right choices in her life. 

However, this book was not as exciting as I expected it to be.

There is a woman that is going through a hard time and a mental health recovery, judging by her memories and thoughts. Her husband had an affair and she didn’t handle that well at all. But now, it seems that she is well. Her husband got them a new home, with new neighbors, in the idyllic little village, where she can do the things she loves the most. 

But her neighbors are not the best kind of type – they all seem weird. And her husband is not really listening to her when she speaks. Her child Ethan is here and there, the relationship shattered by the actions of his father. 

And we spend the whole book standing by Karen’s side, watching all the dull things she is doing in the house, talking to her neighbors and being depressed and constantly worrying about everything. 

I felt bad for Karen, because she is still going through a mental breakdown, even though really trying to figure out her life. She is really trying, but her husband, friends and neighbors are slowly pushing her down again. The Move has a very big voice on mental health. How important it is that we have our support network next to us, and I am glad that Karen finds Cath in all that mess of a life. Also, how important it is to trust your own guts. When all your friends keep telling you your marriage is perfect and you are so lucky, only because it looks so from the outside, you shouldn’t always believe them. Don’t ever ignore the little things. And don’t ever stay with a man that doesn’t believe in you.

As far as the book goes though, it was quite monotonous and uninteresting. No major plot twists, no big cliff-hanger. I was reading the whole time, waiting for the big moment to come, and it never did. 

And in the end, even though we clearly know what choice Karen makes for her life, we don’t have a conclusive ending. We have one of those endings that sort of finishes and lets the reader figure out what happens next. I am not a fan of those, and it might be why I am slightly disappointed in how it all wrapped up. 

I would still recommend it if you love family dramas and thrillers. However, if you are expecting for a book that will keep you on the edge, I am afraid you need to still keep looking.

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