Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter [BLOG TOUR]

I am so happy to be participating on this blog tour for We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter! Huge thank you to the team at Andersen Press and Kaleidoscopic Tours, for sending me a copy of the book. Please check out the other participants as well.

★★★

Inspired by a true story of the Fox sisters, the girls who made their fortune in 19th century America by speaking to ghosts, We Played With Fire is a story you won’t want to miss!

Synopsis:

Maggie has witnessed impossible things. But no one believes her, and now her family has taken her away to spend the winter upstate in a remote, freezing farmhouse.

Bored and angry, Maggie and her younger sister Kate start to play tricks: rapping on the floorboards above their parents’ bedroom, cracking their toes under the table, and telling tales about noises in the night. Then the house starts to make sounds of its own. Neither Maggie nor Kate can explain it, but it seems as though someone – or something – is trying to speak to them…

My Thoughts:

We Played With Fire takes a much more serious and realistic approach on the subject of ghosts and people being able to speak to them. What starts as a game begins to grow into something much more and gets out of hand very easily.

“Besides, it’s not wrong to deceive people if they want to be deceived.”

Maggie is quite a unique character; kind and thoughtful, yet strong-willed and not afraid to speak up for what she believes in. She is very observant, and through her eyes we can see things that many people would usually rather ignore. This was something I really admired about her! We can realise early on how affected she actually is from being banished from her town and being labelled of doing something she is sure she didn’t do.

I loved the spontaneous spookiness in the book and the uneasy atmosphere.

During their seances, we are aware that the girls love to pull pranks, and create the random knocks to make people believe there are ghosts in the room. But as readers, we don’t get to know whether something is a prank or a supernatural activity, which leaves us wondering. The mood fills with intensity and these scenes managed to make me shiver many times. It’s such a gripping and eerie novel and I think people would really enjoy reading it during Halloween.

“She remembered hearing somewhere once that when somebody died you should open a window to let their soul out.”

Aside from the spooky elements, this book covered many different topics that are very important, especially today! Activist against racism and slavery existed, but it was led by white people who didn’t let people of colour to speak at events on topics that concerned them directly. The corruption of the church and their propaganda against not only people like the Fox sisters, who talked to ghosts, but against anyone that disagrees with their agenda. And the fact that women weren’t treated as equals, and their opinion, knowledge, experience wasn’t even taken into consideration. I found myself so infuriated with these issues. But also glad that they were mentioned in the book, so we can highlight them, and start discussions.

“When a person is determined to see the world in one way, they won’t allow anybody to challenge it. I’m sure it’s a kind of illness.”

We Played With Fire is a magnificent book!

The perfect eerie book to give you the shivers and transport you to a 19th century. Imagine an old house full of candles and knocking sounds coming out of nowhere. If you love horror and ghost stories of the past, pick up We Played With Fire today!

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Keeper by Jessica Moor [BLOG TOUR]

I am so happy to be the one starting this amazing blog tour for Keeper by Jessica Moor! Huge thank you to the team at Viking, for sending me a copy of the book, to read and provide an honest review. Please check out the other participants as well.

★★★

Keeper by Jessica Moor is one of the most gripping thrillers I have read this year!

Synopsis:

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut- case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

My Thoughts:

As soon as I started reading Keeper, I couldn’t put it down. The story is gripping from the very first moment, and the intensity keeps growing with each page.

Scenes from THEN and scenes from NOW give us a story of Katie’s life before, and the investigation of Katie’s death now. In the past, we get a detailed view of Katie’s life in her new relationship, and how it progresses from true love to something very unhealthy. In the current time, we meet a couple of refuge women, who all suffered domestic violence, as they are being interviewed by the detectives, in the hope to shine some light to Katie’s death.

There is no evidence to point out that Katie took her own life, but there is also no evidence to suggest that she has been killed. And the detectives now have to rely on small clues, to try and figure out what exactly happened that day. Some secrets that Katie kept also don’t help their investigation at all.

Even though this is Katie’s story, it is also the story of the refuge women. Even more so. Through their experiences, we can fully understand Katie’s perspective. And through their lives, we find out secrets hidden that should never have come to surface.

The main subject of the book is about domestic violence, both physical and psychological. This can be a trigger warning, as many scenes go into a lot of detail. We meet different characters that suffered in their relationships in different ways. And while they are in the refuge home, we see the aftermath that these relationships have on the women. Some women are unable to speak to men anymore. They are unable to trust people. Nothing is ever the same. And some decide to go back to that horrible environment, because it’s the only thing they know. On average, a woman tries to leave her partner seven times before she succeeds. This tells you all you need to know, of how hard it is to leave in the first place, and why it is so easy to also go back.

I loved the main mystery. The fact that we assume something happened to Katie, but we are not sure. It is not until the very end that we actually find out the truth. The plot twists in the end were very well done, and I really enjoyed that WOW factor. I have the urge to read the book again now, just to capture the secrets clues that were right in front of me, but I never saw them coming. I also loved the issue this book raises about domestic violence, the refuge centres, and how little help they are getting. Struggling for budgets and being ignored by large organisations is very a very common practice, and the women staying there can feel this, which results in them not feeling as safe as they should be, or not getting the help they really need.

Keeper is set in a very uncomfortable atmosphere. In each chapter, you can almost feel what these women are feeling, and even though I cannot relate to them, I could feel their pain and felt so anxious to help them. Jessica Moor was able to perfectly capture their fear, their anxiety, their struggle, and I could empathise with them.

Beautiful fast-paced thriller that you can’t put down, with amazing plot twists and topics so unfortunately common and infuriating! I definitely recommend it, you won’t be able to forget Keeper easily.

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent [BLOG TOUR]

I am so glad to be part of the blog tour for Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent. Huge thank you to the team at Penguin Random House, for sending me a copy of the book, to read and provide an honest review. Please check out the other participants as well.

★★★

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent took me on a wild journey I never knew I needed. Be ready for a very intense family and many unpredictable secrets!

Synopsis:

This is a story about three brothers. One of them is dead, lying in a coffin.

Will, Brian and Luke grew up competing for their mother’s unequal love. As men, the competition continues – for status, money, fame, women… They each betray one another, over and over again. Until one of them is murdered.

But which one?

My Thoughts:

Our Little Cruelties is the first book I have read by Liz Nugent, and now I know why her books are so gripping. This book is very dark and brutal, but also raw and honest. It captured a troubled family so well and created a very uncomfortable and unpredictable atmosphere.

The book is split into four main parts; three parts from the perspective of each brother, and the last part that covers the conclusion scenes and culmination. There are also special parts throughout the book, where the two brothers are attending the funeral of the third brother. The full beauty of this setting is that we don’t know who the dead brother is until the very end, and the reason why he was murdered.

Throughout the book, we slowly get to know all three brothers, their parents, their loved ones , their hopes, dreams and fears. But most importantly, the rivalry between them, than only increases over the years. All the brothers are fighting their own battles. They all do horrible things and they are all mean to each other. Being three of them, there is always a two versus one game as well, and they keep changing their sides and alliances. It was very interesting to read about their thoughts and experiences, especially when they have different opinions on the same situations, and each opinion is valid and makes sense based on their personality. This was very cleverly written.

After the first part, I made my own opinions about the characters, but after reading the other parts, my opinions changed drastically. Because there are always more sides to one story. And people react in different ways. Also, small things trigger to bigger chain events.

I absolutely loved the psychological aspect. How three brothers can grow up with different childhood experiences while living in the same household. The power and responsibility that the mother has when raising her children. This has always fascinated me and I loved discussing it with my boyfriend and my friends.

The book itself is very dark and has a lot of plot twists. The last part of the book is very intense and was so fun to read. Sometimes it had too much drama for my taste, but considering that this is a family thriller, it was inevitable.

Our Little Cruelties is the perfect thriller to make you wonder how dysfunctional your family is. It is gripping and dark from the very first pages, and keeps this atmosphere until the very end. I loved it and I definitely suggest you pick it up.

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy [BLOG TOUR]

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy is the first book I read this year, and my first 5 star as well. I am now confident that 2021 won’t be that bad. I knew I was going to enjoy it, I just didn’t expect to enjoy it this much. Huge thank you yo Kaleidoscope Tours and Scholastic Press, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Synopsis:

Niamh just moved to London, with the hope to pursue acting, meet friends and have fun. When she starts making new friends and these women keep getting attacked and murdered, she realises that this might be all somehow connected to her. Because all women that are being attacked look very much like her.

My Thoughts:

Last One to Die is suspenseful from the very beginning, because Niamh knows that she’s in danger. She just doesn’t know what/who the danger is. Trusting people is hard and so is making new friends again. And as the book goes on, the intensity increases and the stakes get higher.

It’s so hard to write a spoiler-free review for this book, because I want to share everything I felt while reading it. Niamh was a character I really liked, and she was very easy to relate to as well. I went in for a YA thriller and I got a supernatural horror that kept me on my toes.

The friendship with Jess, the family closeness and the love interest scenes were a wonderful addition to the suspense we get, like breathing a bit of fresh air as well. I loved it when scenes made me giggle or give me the butterflies. It was very light as well, which helped break the scary moments and make you believe everything was good, before another plot twist happened.

I also loved the history element too.

The library, the museum, the old scary stories that happened in the part and brought eeriness… These were some of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

This is one of those books where you’ll have a theory, be eager to know the villain, and see your theories change at least three times. I made so many prediction, and got it correct in the end, but even then I still had to wait until the end to confirm it and get a satisfying explanation.

If you love YA thrillers, with horror elements and supernatural moments, don’t miss this one. This trope is now on my books. It might even be my favorite genre if my next reads are good as well. Cynthia Murphy as an author is also now on my list. I will make sure to read the next book she writes! I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

This January, I read Virgin River and watched Season 1 of the Netflix TV Show. And I fell in love. With the small town, with the characters, with Robyn Carr’s writing. When the team at Mills & Boon offered me a chance to Return to Virgin River, I couldn’t say no.

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Synopsis:

Return To Virgin River is actually the 19th book in the series. But the amazing thing is that you can read each book as a standalone as well. Each book is set in Virgin River, but it focuses on different characters and their lives in the same town. It is just the chronological part that changes.

In this book, we follow Kaylee. Her mother passed away recently and she rents a house in Virgin River to try and get back to writing and to cope with her grief. But as she arrives, she finds out that the house had burnt. Devastated, she goes to Jack’s bar to figure out what’s next. Yes – the same Jack we meet in the first book. He still has his bar, and the same old charm.

As she meets more people and spends more time in Virgin River, Kaylee slowly starts to heal. And not only she heals, but she starts to find happiness, love and motivation again. Because there is no better place to mend a broken heart than Virgin River.

My Thoughts:

I loved Virgin River, but I loved Return to Virgin RIver even more. Coming back to this town and reading again about Mel, Jack, Preacher and the other characters felt good. It felt like seeing your long distance cousins for Christmas, and talking like no time has passed. And I felt this, after only reading the first book. I can only imagine how people that have read all the books might feel.

I think it was also the happy tone of the book that I loved as well. Despite the sadness, grief and stress Kaylee was going through, this book shouts with positivity. The long walks, the caring people, the caring for the animals and the kindness – it filled me with positive vibes. And reading it during the Covid pandemic felt like the perfect escape. There is something about a small, fictional village that offers second chances that feels like home.

I highly recommend it to everyone that may need to find a little bit of escape. Or to people that love heartwarming stories, and second chances in life and love.

And don’t forget that there is a Netflix TV Show of this as well – with the new season coming out. Season 1 was incredible, and I cannot wait to see Season 2 as well – I am sure it will as good!

Purchase Links:
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