The Guilty Party – Mel McGrath [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

A mystery that left me curious until the very end. A psychological paradise of a thriller that captures people at their very worst, right when they realise their lives are at stake. These people did nothing. But that doesn’t mean they’re innocent…

Four friends are returning from a festival, and they see a woman being raped in the forest. They all decide to do nothing about it. A few days later, her body is found in the river. Are they guilty for not doing anything? If it was you, what would you have done?

The story begins with the event mentioned above. The plot opens straight ahead, and I loved that fact. We witness the story through the eyes of all these four friends. They have always been together and stood for one another, but after so many years, their friendship has turned into a group of frenemies, a group of proving to each other, lying all the time and negative emotions.

Because nothing is straightforward, least of all the human heart. At some point or other, we all become mysteries to ourselves.

Purchase links: Amazon  🌟 Barnes & Noble

Even though we get to see through the lives of Anna, Bo and Dex, Cassie is the one member of this group that gets the most exposure in this book. She is the one that seems to feel the most guilty about not doing anything to intervene that night, and she is the one that keeps bringing this subject to her friends, even though they refuse to listen. Cassie is the most reasonable one, but this seems to bring her into more trouble. The more she pushes the group, the more she realises how capable they are of stopping her from sharing their secret.

Anna is the person that leads the group. She seems to control everyone and everything, and they all seem to obey her and be fine with this. She comes out as this controlling and annoying person, the one hard to ignore or say no to. But when she feels threatened and scared, she is prepared to do anything.

Bo and Dex, for me, didn’t have much direct impact to the story, except one of them right at the very end. They seem to have snuck out throughout the book quietly, without any direct noice, but leaving a mess behind them.

We have four characters, all different and unique, all really complicated, with their own thoughts and lives. And we have one evening, and all their actions indirectly result in this girl’s death. None of them killed her, but all of them are guilty. They all have their own secrets, that they don’t tell to anyone, and they all are ready to go until the very end, keeping their secrets safe.

I loved how the plot and what actually happened on the nights slowly reveals itself, where we have two parallels happening – one from the night of the incident, and from everyone’s perspective, and one from around a month later, when they gather around together for a weekend. The chapters were so well made that made you keep going, and right when you think you know something, you get another point of view with a bit more information and another plot twist. Very smart and enjoyable to read.

And even though a mystery, and a thriller, this book was also hilarious and made me laugh out loud at times. Needless to say anything, I will let you read the quote below and judge for yourselves. This quote was so unexpected and I think it highlighted my year so far… Amazing!

Ink Man’s real name is Jake but for the purposes of sex he likes to be called Gandalf. Really. Being Gandalf is what turns him on. That and the ink of Middle Earth on his back.  

I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to reading more books from Mel McGrath. A huge thank you to HQ Publishers, and Joe Thomas for sending me a hardback copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
#AreYouGuilty 

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An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

If someone offered you $500 to answer a few personal questions and stay anonymous, would you do it?

The makeup artist, Jessica Farris goes into a client’s house to do her job. Just the usual. And then she hears her teenage client mentioning the survey that gives you huge amounts of money for a few anonymous questions. When the teenager says she won’t be able to attend, and she is too lazy to let them know, Jessica decided to use this chance and go instead.

But what happens when after a  few simple questions a woman starts telling her deepest secrets? And the money will increase, but so will the difficulty of the tasks she needs to do.

”It’s easy to judge other people’s choices.”

I was hyped about this book before I even started to read it. I read the synopsis, and it intrigued me from the very first moment. Of all the mysteries and thrillers, I have enjoyed the psychological the most. Something about how a twisted mind works triggers my pleasure senses. It’s creepy, but I wish you all get that feeling for a genre.

Right after the first chapter of the book I was satisfied, and happy. This book was all I needed right then, and it just kept getting better and better.

We get to meet Jessica and see how she thinks, follow her as she answers question after question, revealing secret after a secret. With each question, and each task, and each secret being revealed, the book kept becoming darker and darker, better and better.

It reminded me of the Harry Potter series, with the content getting darker after time. If you remember the first Harry Potter book, it is Children’s fiction, but the significantly darker compared to the first. Same happens with the movies as well.

I loved the questions that were asked on the survey – they are really meant to make you think through and try and give your answers.

Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

The relationship between the people in this book is twisted. It’s all about playing games. It’s all about the cat and mouse chase. As much as I loved it, it also annoyed me at times, as I wanted it to stop.

The twists, cliff hangers and unexpected moments were brilliant. Pure skill, I tell you that. I haven’t been so surprised, excited, thrilled at the same time by any book I’ve recently read.

And with such twisted moments, and thrills throughout the book, and chapters ending leaving you breathless, you would expect the most thrilling ending.

I did. I expected it.

And I was very disappointed. It ended… rather bland. Like a Sunday Roast without gravy.

”We all have reasons for our actions. Even if we hide the reason from those who think they know us best. Even if the reasons are so deeply buried we can’t recognise them ourselves.”

I have a hard time judging this book now, as it was all hype and thrill, until it stopped dead. Maybe the authors wanted to ensure that we experiences exactly this feeling – I am not sure. Maybe for such a twisted book, calmness is all it needs to end with. I’ll leave this judgement up to you, as you experience the book and its ending on your own.

At this time, I feel like giving it 4 stars, as the ending was the only things that bothered me. This book is still a gem, and deserves to be read by people that enjoy psychological thrillers.

This book comes out on 7th February 2019, so make sure you pre-order your copy.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble (signed copy)

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

A book that speaks about feelings, and lack of them. Love and emotions. Art and passion. Psychology and memories. And how our childhood might define who we will become.

I have never felt such urgency to read another chapter as I have felt it with The Silent Patient. Such impatience, such excitement. It’s a feeling I wish I can get with all the books in my life.

 

ALICIA

Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO

Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

Get your copy of THE SILENT PATIENT here:

I love these types of books. Besides the mystery and thriller, the psychological part was an incredibly well-put together piece of art.

The beginning of the story is nice and slow, but with a temptation in it, that makes you flip the pages so fast. A great world and character building, and great character hopping from Theo to Alicia, from chapter to chapter.

Even though we don’t get to have Alicia talking in the book, she says so much. All her movements, all her reactions, or lack of reaction is so well written. Her lack of speaking doesn’t stop her from moving the story forward, and being the main protagonist here.

On the other hand, we have Theo, who we see and get to know more and more with each chapter. A complicated character, with a cute oddness to himself, a characteristic I find with many psychotherapists. He is the person we see at the front of the screen, presenting himself in the spotlight, together with Alicia.

A well-written plot, with an amazing cliff-hanger and a wonderful plot-twist in the end. I didn’t expect it, and I am awfully satisfied of how the authors decides to conclude the book.

I enjoyed this book so much, and I recommend it to all the psychological thriller book readers here. Don’t miss this one, and get your copy today. It’s so worth it!

Thank you to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group, for providing me with an e-copy, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and completely unbiased.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Of The Accident – Nuala Ellwood [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

When Maggie wakes up from a coma, her whole life has changed. The nurse tells her that she has been in an accident, her little daughter is dead, and her husband sold the house and left her.

Maggie doesn’t remember a thing.

With no home, no family, and no memory, she has to find a way and discover what happened that day.

A thriller that will uncover the greatest of secrets everyone could have. A nail-biter, this one, I tell you.

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My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★★

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.

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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.