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.

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Book Review · Books

The Spiral by Iain Ryan [BOOK REVIEW]

The Spiral by Iain Ryan [BOOK REVIEW] This book really took me on a rollercoaster and I still feel the adrenaline after the ride.

★★

I was reading The Spiral by Iain Ryan as part of a readalong with some amazing people on Instagram. I have a few readalongs in the pipeline for 2021 for both book bloggers and bookstagrammers, and you can read more and join HERE if you want to. Reading The Spiral was a very unique experience!

Synopsis:

Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

My Thoughts:

First of all, I feel the need to say that I still feel confused after finishing The Spiral. But in a good way. This book really took me on a rollercoaster and I still feel the adrenaline after the ride. And don’t let my 3-star rating put you off, because it’s a very strong 3 star. The Spiral is definitely one of those books that is bound to give you a hangover. The characters will haunt for me for a while, especially Erma.

Erma’s life changes when her assistant Jenny tries to kill her and then kills herself. With Jenny dead, Erma has no answers on why Jenny did that, and all she can do is try and follow her steps and try to reveal the reason why.

Through Iain Ryan’s amazing writing and creativity, this book takes a very unique approach. I loved how the author incorporated the “choose your own adventure” narrative not just in the book, but also as part of the book plot. It was a very new experience for me, and I had lots of fun reading it! If you are not familiar with the “choose your own adventure” format, these types of books are written with a narrative that give you an option, as the reader, to make certain choices. And they usually contain sentences like this one:

” You are standing between three doors. If you choose the red door, go to page 35. If you decide to go for the white door with blue sparkles, go to page 46. And if you are feeling brave today, and want to choose the black door surrounded by thorns, proceed to page 59.”

– Please note that this quote was a product of my imagination, and is not an actual quote from the book.

But now you sort of get the point. You go to a certain page, and then read a story based on your choices. Then you end up making more choices along the way. These books usually have a lot of different endings that you can unravel. The Spiral, however, uses this “choose your own adventure” narrative to provide more information on different character’s plotlines, but doesn’t actively impact the outcome in the end. Well, not completely. Just a little.

I still feel like there are many questions that were left unanswered, and I am currently in between two worlds. The curious part of me wants a conclusive ending, and doesn’t like to keep wondering. And the creative part of me things that this is the point of the book – to give us a chance for us to imagine how the character’s future will unfold.

The Spiral is a very dark, very eerie, very unpredictable book. It’s also full of twists, or dare I say, spirals 😂. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope you’ll give it a chance if the synopsis pulls you in.

“Memory isn’t fact. Memory is subjective and loose. A memory can get close enough to fiction that the line blurs. What good is it?”

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Book Review · Books

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

The Love Letter was my first book by Lucinda Riley, and I can’t believe I haven’t read a book by this author before. This is a magnificent book, full of secrets, forbidden romances and unsolved mysteries of the past.

Synopsis:

Set in London in 1995, this book starts off when Sir James Harrison passes away. He was one of the greatest actors of his generation. During his funeral, a lot of people gather, considering how impactful he was. Among them, one old woman, that sits alone in the crowd…

Joanna Haslam is a young journalist, and she is assigned to cover the actor’s funeral. Many famous celebrities will be there, and she can’t miss this moment. But something else captures her attention. An old woman, that shares a secret letter Harrison left behind, which needs to keep a secret forever.

The closer she gets to tracking down the source, the more she realises how dangerous this secret is. Many people are interested to keep this letter a secret, and they’ll stop at nothing.

My Thoughts:

The Love Letter is a book my mum chose for me, when “Mama Pick” came up on my TBR game. It’s a book she really enjoyed and I am so glad I was able to share this with her. I am very excited to see what she’ll pick next when the next prompt comes up for her.

I find it very intriguing that there seems to be a certain mysteriousness of the censure this book received. It was mentioned in the acknowledgments that some obstacles occured with the ability to get it published, due to the fact that there is a royal family involved, even though a fictional one.

The Love Letter is mysterious from the very beginning, when Joanna meets the old lady. Little does she know that she will be involved with keeping a very dangerous secret that happened many moons ago. Things start to get very interesting when the reporter gets close to the actor’s family. Each of these individuals keeps their own little secrets too, and everyone keeps playing games to their own liking.

The storytelling, the characters and the many plot twists were incredible.

I was turning the pages so fast, desperate to see what happens next. Desperate for more. I was eager to discover all their secrets and found myself hoping for their wellbeing. The plot twists would happen in places I would least expect and I loved the ending.

The Love Letter takes you to a very different set of culture, and reading this in 2020, I could easily notice it is set in 1995. There are many small things in the book that happen, which reminded me that time has passed since, and I really enjoyed that. It has been a while since I have read something over two decades ago.

A wonderful fiction, full with secrets, drama, suspense and a bit of romance. I loved every single moment of it. Lucinda Riley is definitely an author I will read more books from in the future.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

The Flight (also known as The Last Flight) by Julie Clark is a suspenseful novel, with two very different characters that share the same goal – to escape their past and start a brand new life. I am glad my fascination with planes put this book on my radar! Thank you to the teams at Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley, for providing me with an e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for my book review.

Synopsis:

Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook lives a perfect life. On paper. She is married to a political figure, lives in a lovely place full of staff. She is surrounded by elegance, her days are planned and her future already known. But when no one is looking, nothing is as it seems. Her perfect husband has a bad temper, and he’s tracking Claire’s every move, making sure she lives up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has been planning for months on how to disappear.

At the airport, she somehow encounters a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they choose to make a last-minute decision to switch their plane tickets. Claire takes Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva now has a ticket to Puerto Rico. They believe this swap will be the final action they’ll have to take to finally leave behind their identities. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realises it is no longer a head start, but a completely new life. Cut off and out of options, with news surrounding her death in the media, Claire now has to pretend she is Eve and live as her. But when what Eve told her on the airport is a lie, and she has no clue who Eve was, Claire has new challenges facing her. Challenges full of danger.

My Thoughts:

The Flight follows these two different characters and their lives, as destiny connects them at the airport. They both have their own story and they both need to escape from something. While we know from the very beginning what Claire is escaping from, we know nothing about Eve’s secrets. And as we go along the story, the dynamic stays the same. Claire’s future combines with Eve’s past, as we follow a present narrative. And this part was very interesting to follow and read, and it was all I ever wanted it to be – intense, mysterious and exciting!

“That sometimes, the death of a dream can finally set you free.”

I am and have always been fascinated with planes, especially plane crashes. There is an irrational fear I always have when I am flying, and because of this I have spent many hours of doing research, learning about planes and how they work, as well as reading about the most unfortunate plane crashes. This was the main reason I chose to read this book. Somehow, I had the feeling that the plane and the crashing, or even the airport scenes would be more prominent in the book, but this wasn’t the case. The airport was just a pit stop for the plot to thicken, and not realising this at the beginning is on me. This is the main reason why I probably didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. But this also doesn’t mean that the book is not good, because it truly is!

“But what I’ve learned in life is that in order for true forgiveness to occur, something has to die first. Your expectations, or your circumstances. Maybe your heart.”

The characters are very well written and they are likeable.

I couldn’t connect to them enough to care, but both their stories were really intriguing. I have never been in association with rich people, or a victim to violence or surveillance without consent to be able to identify with Claire. Additionally, I also didn’t experience the type of life Eva had either, so that might have been the case. I did, however, really loved Danielle, who plays a critical role at the end of the book.

The writing was great and the intensity kept increasing as I kept reading, which I loved. It was very easy to read and I finished it very fast. The ending wasn’t predictable, but it also wasn’t as intense as I hoped the climax would be. The Flight was definitely a solid read and it kept me engaged all the way through. If you love suspenseful novels with vivid characters, I highly recommend it!

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Book Review · Books

Shiver by Allie Reynolds [BOOK REVIEW]

Shiver by Allie Reynolds [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Shiver by Allie Reynolds is one of the most intense thrillers I have read this year, and I am so glad I came across it. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher – Headline, for approving me the ARC copy. Also thanks to the team at Tandem, for letting me join the readalong and chat with amazing people while reading the book.

Synopsis:

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

My Thoughts:

Shiver is set in two timelines; one in current day, and the other 10 years ago. The story is told from Milla’s point of view, but we get to read about all the other characters in great detail. As you dive into the book, you start to get a very good idea of what goes in people’s heads and what they are like.

I used to be a professional karate athlete for the Macedonian team for many years. This experience made me feel connected to Shiver in a much deeper level. The competitive spirit, the rivalries, the effort they put into everything they do – it all came back as a deja-vu to me. Even their fears of failing and their anger when injuries prevented them from competing.

The winter setting is so well written.

I could picture them on the snow so easily, imagine their jumps and their warm sports gear. The snowboarding setup for the competitions, the people watching, the ice rink, and the glaciers – it was so vividly written!

“There’s something about fresh snow that brings your inner child to the surface.”

The mystery was amazing as well, and it was also my favorite part of the book. To gather a group of people and be around them alone. All while knowing one of them is capable of doing horrible things is quite scary. And this feeling lingered throughout the whole book. I had many different theories of the ending and the reveal, and they kept changing as I was reading. In the end, I did manage to predict it, but it still caught me off guard when the reveal happened.

I also enjoyed the romantic element in Shiver as well. I didn’t expect a romantic part, but it was quite pleasurable to read about. It brought a nice balance between the many intense moments. And it wasn’t too much as well, which I also liked.

I loved Shiver and would never have guessed this was Allie’s debut novel. If you love winter, snowboarding, thrillers and people that are quite good in keeping secrets, you shouldn’t miss this one!

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