My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber [BOOK REVIEW]

my name is anna - lizzy barber books books review blog diary of difference diaryofdifference

★★★★★

Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

My name is Anna is one of those books that captures your attention from the moment you look at its cover. Then, it drags you into a story, makes you bite your nails throughout, lifts you up in the air with the amazing writing and than smashes you back into the ground with the incredible twist at the end. Exactly what you want and need from a thriller.

The story is being told by two girls:

  • Anna, a girl raised with a religious mother, where everything is forbidden and everything is a sin. And when on her 18th Birthday, Anna decides to disobey her mum and go to a theme park, she feels like she has been here before. And then random events lead to her realising that she was taken away when she was a little girl. And her real name is not Anna at all…

  • Rosie, a girl whose big sister has been missing for fifteen years. And when the media is ready to let the story go after the fifteen years anniversary, Rosie is determined to do whatever it takes to discover the truth of what actually happened on that day at the theme park.

The first thing I noticed in this book, that makes it different than all the stories about the kidnapping is – that the plot is being revealed in the first chapters. I was not expecting to immediately know that Anna and Rosie are sisters and Anna was kidnapped as a girl, but this was stated in the first chapters in the book. I personally thought that this would be the big twist, but the twist came to be so much better than that.

I loved how you could relate to both girls, for different reasons, and how even though they were sisters, how one little moment changed their lives completely. How Anna was raised with different beliefs than Rosie, and how they grew up to be so different, but the same…

This was a great story that give you thoughts about ‘’what could’ve been…’’ and it makes you wonder – if certain things didn’t happen, would our lives be the same?

The end for me, was particularly meaningful. The last moments, the realisation, the conclusion, the story that ended, or the one that never begun, all the things we could’ve been, but are not, and all the things that we wish we could have changed, but we can’t.

If you, like me, are into kidnapping stories, amazing twists and thriller stories that take your breath away, this will definitely be the perfect book for you. This will be a hit at the beginning of 2019, and it will hit the top shelves. I know it hits my favourite shelf – for sure!

My Name is Anna is being published on 10th January, but you can pre-order your copy today on the links below:

Amazon 
Penguin House UK
Waterstones

A huge thanks to Penguin Random House UK, for providing me with a hardback copy, in exchange for an honest review of this book. The opinions in this review are entirely my own, and completely unbiased.

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Delusions – Amy Crandall [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

A must-have for all the lovers of psychological thrillers and mysteries – this is a book that will show you a twisted side of a human being so well, that you will not know what happened once you reach the end! A masterpiece of a thriller – a delight for all the murder solvers out there! 

Synopsis: 

A deadly game is being played. The question is . . . who will survive?

  ***

As she waits to give her statement in one of the interrogation rooms of Arcata Police Department, Abigale recites the same line over and over inside her head.

I did not kill anyone.

I did not kill anyone.

But there’s a trail of bodies, and it leads straight to her. The events that brought her to this very moment all point to one thing . . . her guilt.

She must convince Detective Collins of her innocence, but how can she explain her ties to the victims, and the evidence that has her name written all over it?

Then there’s the mysterious Facebook profile, DarkHeart434.

Who is DarkHeart434? And why does it seem like this person has all the answers, including the identity of the real murderer?

As pieces of the puzzle start to come together, everything about Abigale’s life begins to unravel–her past, her present . . . and even her self-proclaimed innocence.

Delusions - Amy Crandall - book review - books blog diary of difference - mystery - thriller - murder

”She remembered now. The deaths. They weren’t just delusions planted in her mind by others. They were real.”

This book starts in an interrogation room, where two detectives are questioning Abigale about the murders that happened – and she is the main suspect. As the interrogation happens in the present, we follow the story in the past from Abigale’s point of view, from the moment she moves into the new town.

The story and plot are so well set, and the past and present are so well connected that give you clues step by step, until you reach the grand ending, and nothing is as you expected. Even though I realised what is happening around the middle of the book, I still had to keep reading to find out whether it was true in the end.

This is, for certain, the best ending of a mystery book I have read so far!

The characters – some of them – are so twisted, and so psychologically unstable and scary, that it makes you wonder. Such possessiveness and anger, and twisted mind – Amy managed to perfectly such a rare condition. ( I am trying so hard here to stay away from all the spoilers.)

”Abigale wasn’t the outgoing type. She’d rather sit in her room with her nose buried in a book than socialise with anyone outside her inner circle of friends, which was small to begin with.”

I wish I could connect with Abigale’s character – but I just couldn’t. That was the only flaw I had with this book. I didn’t care enough for her, and for what was happening to her. The side characters were amazingly portrayed though – I enjoyed reading about Julia and Mike, and Damien – what an interesting character!

”There was something about him that made her feel alive and ready for anything, but there was another part that screamed danger. She wasn’t sure she liked either half.”

The ending, as I already mentioned, was the best one I have read – it was so unexpected and so amazing – I can’t explain that feeling of satisfaction when all the little pieces from the puzzle throughout the book finally come together – spectacular!

If you love mystery, psychological thrillers and good book that keeps you on your toes all the time – this is the book for you. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to the author, Amy Crandall, for sending me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Get a copy of DELUSIONS here: 

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The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton [BOOK REVIEW]

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The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton book review books blog diary of difference

★★★★

Mind blowing and unputdownable, this is one of those mystery thrillers that will keep you up at night until you see how it ends!

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die every day until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Grab a copy today: 

Honestly, the first couple of pages, I didn’t know where this book was going and whether I am going to enjoy it at all. But as you go through the chapters and get familiar with the story, you realise how clever this book is, and you enjoy it like you have never enjoyed any other book before.

As a debut novel, Stuart Turton did an incredible job with this book. It starts slowly, and grows into a great story. We follow the main character Aiden through many bodies, day by day. The book is set into one place, one town, one house and its surroundings, and sometimes moves backwards and forwards in time.

If you love mysteries and closed escape room books, you will enjoy this book so much!

I have always admired Aiden. Even though all the bodies he was in tried to make him forget about who he really is, he would always fight so his character can flow on the surface! I loved the sacrifices he makes towards Anna, and their relationship.

The ending, the last 30 pages are so smart, amazing and perfectly wrapped up that I couldn’t believe I never noticed those clues.

I am giving it 4 stars out of 5, because, even though I really, really enjoyed it, it was extremely hard for me to follow the times and bodies, and I couldn’t get along with the stories and solve the mystery together with Aiden – I always felt like I was falling behind, that put me under stress.

If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, please grab a copy as soon as you can. This is the escape room mystery that we have all been waiting for!

I want to thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me an advanced reader e-copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) – Ransom Riggs [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

It doesn’t hurt me to say that I have watched the movie before I read the book. What hurts me to say is that even though I loved the book, I enjoyed the movie way more. But I am not here to compare the book and the movie, because I loved them both in a different way.

‘’I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.’’

Jacob was raised by his grandfather, who told him stories about the amazing house he used to live in, and all the children that lived with him, that had amazing abilities and were different than ordinary people. Grandpa Portman would even show Jacob pictures of the children and their peculiarities – he would tell him stories about the invisible boy, the girl that could float if she didn’t have iron boots, the girl that could breath out fire and the children that could easily lift the heaviest rocks. He would also talk about the danger and the big monsters that the children were so scared of.

And Jacob believed and loved these stories – he shared an amazing bond with his grandpa. Until, of course, he grew up. Suddenly, he was old enough to know this isn’t true, and stopped believing. His grandpa would try to convince him, and warn him that the monsters are coming, but the only conclusion he had is that his grandpa lost his marbles.

But then his grandpa dies, and Jacob sees the monsters himself. Despite everyone believing that he is crazy, just like his grandpa, Jacob now has no choice but to find these strange children – and get answers to all his questions.

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children books book review blog diary of difference

The book moves quite slow, and it is not until half of the book that we actually get to meet the children. As a person that watched the movie, this was extremely frustrating, as I kept waiting and waiting, and nothing special happened for 90 pages.

The author puts photographs in the book, and they are perfectly put in the book to explain how a character looks, and to describe the scene better. This was the strawberry to my cake in this book. I immensely enjoyed the beautiful photographs and how perfectly well they fitted with the book and detailed the characters. The only character that I couldn’t imagine was Miss Peregrine – her picture is not at all what I expected. At first, I thought about sharing some of those pictures here – but then, I assumed you might enjoy them more if you explore them yourself while reading the book, as they come – as I could never be able to do that as well as Ransom Riggs did.

For the ones you watched the movie first – the movie is not at all the same as the book. So lower your expectations, otherwise you will be disappointed. The movie seemed to have put three books into one, and swapped people’s abilities, and made up some scenes and places.

The book, however, had parts that you wouldn’t see in the movie, and its own magic of detailed descriptions to your favorite stories and characters.

I hated Jacob. Not just at the beginning, but all the way through. Mister ‘’I-am-too-good-for-everything’’ , Mister ‘’My-family-is-so-rich-I-will-try-my-best-to-get-fired-from-work-because-my-uncle-owns-the-shop’’. No – Just no. As much as I enjoyed his story, his character is very egocentric and unlikable. I actually liked Grandpa Abe so much more, even though he was only partially and ghostly present in the book.

Miss Peregrine didn’t reveal much of her character as she does in the movie. We don’t get to read a lot about her to be honest, and she was the one person I expected to see more of.

We get to hang around with the children a lot though, and meet Emma, the girl that has fire powers, and that used to be Grandpa Abe’s lover and now Jacob – which is more than weird, but oh well…

‘’She moved to pinch me again but I blocked her hand. I’m no expert on girls, but when one tries to pinch you four times, I’m pretty sure that’s flirting.’’

We get to meet Millard, the invisible boy, Olive, the girl that can float without her iron boots, Fiona, who can make plants and trees grow in seconds and many other lovely children with even lovelier abilities.

This is an amazing story about extraordinary people, children who will amuse you with how cute they can be, a bit of (well, a lot of) time travel and a great valuable lesson that everyone in this world is peculiar and extraordinary in their own way! A must-read to all of you that love some fantasy stories and different worlds.

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The Stone of Destiny: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure – Richard T. Ryan [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Fans of Sherlock Holmes, fans of mystery, fans of adventure and suspense – this might be your next favorite book! Now, I have never read a Sherlock Holmes book before, so I can’t compare this book to the original books from Arthur Conan Doyle. But, what I will do for you is tell you all I thought about this book!

The story begins when during the funeral of Queen Victoria, a group of Irish separatists steal the Coronation Stone, on which every royal has been crowned. To retrieve this important object, the royals will hire Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery. Holmes and his friend Watson travel to Ireland and try to infiltrate the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a group they think is responsible for all that happened.

the stone of destiny: a sherlock holmes adventure richard t ryan book review blog diary of difference

Even though this is a Sherlock Holmes book, we actually unravel the story through a Watson-first-person point of view. He, to me, is a very interesting character, even though he follows Holmes like a puppy and doesn’t seem to have a personal opinion.

As for Sherlock Holmes, even though I really like the mysterious aura about him, and how smart he can be – I also see him as one of the rude aristocrats that refuse to speak to other people that seem to be lower in the hierarchy to them. This is of course, not presented in the book in any way – but I simply had that impression.

I loved the beginning, and I loved the mystery and suspense throughout the whole book. I was never ahead of the book, and my assumptions were never correct. I loved how the author kept us in the dark right until the end.

The small things I didn’t like though, were the slow pace – I have to admit, the pace was really slow for me, and I couldn’t wait until a chapter is finished to see if there would be more action. Then, even the action scenes weren’t as thrilling as I would expect them to be. And finally, there were no big plot twists, which I think we might have used in the book.

But – we did have a lovely mystery solving story, and we had a lot of history information floating around. We also had another book with Sherlock Holmes, that for you – lovers of the Sherlock Holmes books will of course be something you enjoy.

I greatly recommend it to you if you love the good old Sherlock Holmes adventures!

Many thanks to the author, Richard T. Ryan, for sending me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The Dead Sagas: Volume I, Part I – Lee Conley [BOOK REVIEW]

The Dead Sagas: Volume I, Part I by Lee Conley is a dark fantasy novel, a horror saga unlike any other. This is not a book for the weak. This is the book for the bravest, the ones who dare to read it, and the ones who can handle to continue living with what they now know.

Book description:

In a land called Arnar, where brave warriors fight for glory, a great evil comes alive.

The secrets of which the scholars were writing about in the past years, the scary stories that were being told in families throughout the generations are becoming true.

Creatures we thought were dead are now walking through the streets, spreading their disease, killing innocent people, and are about to take over Arnar.

The brave warriors are prepared to die defending their lands, but how can you fight creatures that barely feel pain? Are the warriors strong enough?

 

the dead sagas lee conley book review blog

 

My Thoughts:

A story that will leave you breathless until the very end, a story that will push you into anxiety and make you bite your nails. A story that speaks about evil, and good, love, bravery and survival, a book that will sit on your shelf after reading it, and you’ll give it a look once in a while, and say: Ahh.. that was good!

In The Dead Sagas we have the chance to follow the stories of many characters. We will meet scholars and apprentices, we meet warriors and lords, we meet people from the street, doing everything they can to survive, we meet survivors that have seen things and we will meet sailors that are dying.

From chapter to chapter, the story goes from one character to another, and we slowly see the progression of the evil creatures, the spreading pace by pace. While it starts with sailors getting sick and dying afterwards on a ship, it slowly continues to become more and more intense, as we see people literally transforming into dead walkers right after they die, right in front of our eyes.

You will meet Bjorn, who escaped a tribe that cooks and eats people, you will meet Arnulf, who sees unimaginable things will being a lord of the watch. You will see him go through the greatest pain in life, you will see him afraid and brave, you will see him fighting, even though he wants to go and cry in the corner and die.

You will meet a girl that sells her body, so she can buy food for her and her little brother. You will meet a woman warrior, and learn about her amazing and brave story, you will watch how people see their loved ones die right in front of their eyes, and sometimes, they even have to be the ones to kill them in order to survive.

Even though we learn so much about the characters and their stories, it was hard for me to really connect with any of them, as the chapters moved fast from one character to another. This is probably the reason to why I also found the beginning quite slow. It took me around 90 pages, to start realising what is happening.  

There will be a lot of violence in this book, a lot of swearing, and scenes that might upset or offend you. This book is not for the weak ones, that is for sure. And while for some of you this might put you off this book, I do have to say that if the book didn’t have a strong language and violent scenes like it does, it wouldn’t have been the same.

The biggest ‘’flaw’’ I had was the ending. I won’t say anything spoiler-ish , as I don’t want to ruin the book for you, but let’s just say that I didn’t expect it to end the way it did.

Even though this is a story about the dead people walking around and killing everything in front of them, this is actually a book about the survivors, the ones that managed to retell this story – the ones that lost anything and everything to be where they are now. This is for the lives of the brave souls, the mighty warriors, that were noble and tried to protect their lands.

A massive thanks to the author, Lee Conley, who managed to find me in the deep waters of Twitter, and who agreed to send me a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.   

Read and Gone – Allison Brook [BOOK REVIEW]

This is the second book of the series, and even though I haven’t read the first part, I was able to follow this book quite easily. There are a few references to the past and you can quickly realise what happened. Though, if you wish to read the series, don’t start with #2, because there are a few spoilers here that you wish you hadn’t read if you read book #1. I won’t be reading #1 because the spoilers kinda ruined it for me. But I am sure it’s an amazing story as well.

Carrie works in a library and has a cat that brings with her at work. Her father is a famous bad guy, that spent all her childhood in jails. One day, he returns to town, trying to get his share of a box of jewellery that he stole with another man. But a murder changes everyone’s plans, and Carrie has to make some dangerous decisions. It is a wonderful story about family, love, Christmas and tragedy that ends well. 

This is a book full of mystery and crime, but it also is warm and family-oriented. I loved the mystery – crime part of it, I loved the scenes where everyone, mostly Carrie plays out to be a detective, but there were also scenes where things were so obvious, and she made terrible choices that made me cringe.

I struggled a lot to understand and like Carrie –  I didn’t like the way how she gets quiet and doesn’t talk and just cries, and suddenly when she leaves the situation, she bitches about everything and how things should’ve been done differently. WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING WHEN YOU HAD THE CHANCE, THEN? But then, there were also moments when she would come up with some interesting hypothesis and actually succeed into making a right choice, and I would think – YEAH, that’s my girl.

All in all, definitely a beautiful read, with a few tweaks here and there. I would love to read something similar to this, and for you that love chick-lit and detective stories, you would most probably enjoy this read 🙂

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books  for giving me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

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