Book Review · Books

All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

All That’s Dead is book number 12 in the Logan McRae series, however, each of these books can be read as a standalone, as it features Inspector Logan McRae in different situations. This was my first novel from the series, as well from Stuart MacBride, and I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve only just met the hero that is Logan McRae and I’m planning on hanging out with him more in the future.

Synopsis:

Scream all you want, no one can hear…

Inspector Logan McRae is looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

My Thoughts:

I had the pleasure to listen to the audiobook by a narrator with a Scottish accent and I loved it! It managed to bring Stuart MacBride’s humour and beautiful writing to life like I wouldn’t be able to do it myself by simply reading.

It took me a while to fully get into the story, and to be quite honest, I never truly did. Mostly it’s because the political aspect of the book was not interesting to me, and I was merely into it from the investigation side of things. This is also the only reason I gave this book a 3-star rating.

Aside from the political aspect, I enjoyed the thriller elements in the book. I was hooked on the investigation scenes, and there were many plot twists that kept me intrigued. Same goes for the storytelling. Stuart MacBride did an amazing job there. I could vividly imagine the scenes only from his descriptions and I really enjoyed his hilarious metaphors. Each character was amazingly done, with their own little storylines and personal development, all culminating into a great ending to sum everything up.

Even though my first, this book will definitely not be my last from the author. If you are looking for a gripping political mystery thriller with a witty inspector, read All That’s Dead!

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor [BLOG TOUR]

I am delighted to be part of the huge blog tour for The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor. Huge thanks to Gaby from Michael J Books, for this amazing opportunity. If you have a chance, please go and check out the other participants as well!

★★

The Burning Girls was the first book I read from C. J. Tudor and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the horror elements, as well as the multi-layer mysteries over the years, and the many plot twists. It is definitely a thriller you will not want to miss this year, and I’ll certainly pick up more books by the author. I was only disappointed with the very end of the book, and I’ll elaborate more on the why’s below:

Synopsis:

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest…

My Thoughts:

From the very first moments, The Burning Girls grips you and doesn’t let you go until you’re finished. I started this book very late, and was quite certain I’d miss my blog tour deadline as well. But I was so intrigued by it, that I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in a day.

I loved Jack and Flo, and their mother-daughter relationship.

It shows quite well that it doesn’t matter what profession the parent might be having, the children always treat you the same. The need for attention that they’ll never admit to, the secrets they will keep from you, and the mischievous ideas they are going to come up with.

When they move into the new village, they both feel both excited and sad. It’s never easy to leave behind a life you’ve created, especially for a teenager like Flo. Going into a new school, meeting new friends, being distant to the old friends – it’s all very scary at first. And through Jack, we can see how she feels about it all as well – not happy that she’s leaving, but also trying to make it the best experience at the time.

The horror and mystery elements come very early in the book, which is something I really enjoyed. I was very intrigued with not one, not two, but three mysteries that were going on, all in the same town, and all not quite resolved. Those parts, where more clues would come, or something supernatural would happen would be my favorite scenes in this book, and I was eagerly waiting for more. The atmosphere was spooky and very uncomfortable at times. I mean, you only need to imagine a chapel, burning girls and paganism, and you get the idea.

I also liked the town setting, and their behaviour.

Everyone in the small town seemed to be hiding their own secrets, and doing their best to protect them, and this part reminded me a bit of Tana French’s The Searcher. You could feel the townspeople’s animosity in every interaction, and you can’t help but get the chills.

To conclude, this book did satisfy my needs for horror, mystery and plot twists. I definitely did not expect all of those plot twists that came my way, and the book just kept surprising me in a spectacular way. I definitely recommend it to all fans of horror, mystery and thriller, it’s a book that you will devour!

The Disappointment:

My disappointment at the end of the book was huge, and it was the only reason this book went from 5-stars to 3-stars. I can’t share my full thoughts, because of obvious spoilers, but I will do my best to do this right. If you have read the book and want the full notes, please send me a message.

As soon as I read the last few chapters, we end up finding an answer to a mystery that was lingering from the very beginning of the book, and throughout. But knowing what we know now, it feels as if the whole book was a lie, and I cannot really trust a particular character because of it. The knowledge made me question my whole opinion of the book and left a bitter taste in my mouth, and that’s the only reason why I can’t give this book a higher rating. I feel that many things could have been written in a different way, and from other people’s perspectives.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

The Glass House by Eve Chase [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

I am so glad I got the chance to read The Glass House by Eve Chase! I read it for a readalong, alongside some amazing people! It was a very good book, and I enjoyed it a lot. However, it lacked some mystery elements, which was the main reason I picked it up.

Synopsis

When the Harrington family discovers an abandoned baby deep in the woods, they decide to keep her a secret and raise her as their own.

But within days a body is found in the grounds of their house and their perfect new family implodes.

Years later, Sylvie, seeking answers to nagging questions about her life, is drawn into the wild, beautiful woods where nothing is quite what it seems.

My Thoughts:

The Glass House is a well written drama with a couple of mysterious elements. Through a couple of characters and two different timelines, we discover how two families end up connected to each other, and what secrets they have been keeping over the years.

It was very easy for me to get into this book, as the writing is captivating and colourful. I started to connect the dots very early and from then on, I was more and more curious to see what direction the story will take.

I loved Rita, the nanny. She was the one person in the book I truly cared about and I really wanted the best for her. I was invested in the other characters as well – they were all likeable in their own way and I enjoyed getting to know them better. However, apart from Rita, no one else made a huge impact on me.

The story and the development were set up very nicely.

I could predict almost all plot twists way before they happened, which was slightly disappointing. I was expecting more thriller elements, as there is a murder involved, but that wasn’t quite the case. The focus was on secrets and family drama, and this part managed to keep me entertained. There was a slight lack of suspense though.

The Glass House tells a lovely tale about how secrets can connect two completely different families. And also how fate can reunite them. It was gripping and full of family secrets and drama. If you are looking for the next murder mystery or suspenseful thriller, this is not it. But if you love a good story with likeable characters and a lot of family secrets buried in the past, you will definitely enjoy this one!

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

The Push by Ashley Audrain [BOOK REVIEW]

The Push by Ashley Audrain [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

I read The Push by Ashley Audrain as part of a global readalong. Huge thank you to tandem and to Michael J Books, for sending me a hardcover copy of this book so I can join the readalong. The Push really intrigued me from the very first start and it was one of those books I devoured in a day, needing to know the next chapter. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, it will not let you down.

Synopsis:

Blythe is afraid that history will repeat itself when her first child, Violet, is born. Having a complicated relationship with her own mother, she is dedicated to give all the love and attention to Violet.

But Violet is not an easy child, and something is not right. She doesn’t smile at all, and no matter how much Blythe tried, Violet seems to not like her at all. Blythe’s husband, Fox, is certain that Blythe is just imagining this. But he cannot understand what Blythe has experienced as a child.

Fighting a battle that she might never be able to win, Blythe is on the verge of losing her daughter, her family, her husband, her marriage, and everything she does seems to be wrong. Is her child really evil, or is she just being delusional?

My Thoughts:

The Push was certainly a different book, unlike anything else I’ve read. Many people in our group have compared it to “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, because of the style of writing. I haven’t read that one, so I couldn’t compare it, but it’s definitely on my radar now.

The Push is written in a first person perspective, where Blythe is telling her story to her husband, Fox. There are also parts in the book where we follow the stories of Blythe’s mother and Blythe’s grandmother. These parts help us learn more about those relationships and help us understand Blythe better, as well how her childhood plays a part in her relationship with her daughter, Violet.

The relationship between Blythe and Violet was presented in such a unique way, full of anxiety. Their interactions made me uncomfortable many times, but I enjoyed that. It’s not often that a book can push me out of comfort zone like that and I hope to find more books like this in the future. I am not a mother myself, but this book might be a hard read for parents. Especially during certain scenes, I could barely read chapters without taking a break.

The short chapters and the many plot twists are what made The Push unputdownable for me.

I was staying up all night, flipping pages and I loved that. I mostly felt for Blythe, because of what she was going through. no one should have to experience that and she should have received more support from her husband. However, there were also instances where she was neglecting Violet as a child and I wonder whether this had any consequences to Violet’s personality later on, as well as her development.

I loved the suspense of The Push, as well as the fact that we can never truly trust Blythe to tell us the truth, because this is her story, but it may not necessarily be completely true. The only part that I wanted more of was the ending. It didn’t finish as concluded as I’d hoped, but that’s just my personal preference. I also hoped to see Violet’s point of view, as well as what was going on through the husband’s mind – I feel like this might have brought more plot twists, or make people choose sides and discuss this.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Push.

It was a very interesting and dark psychological thriller. Extremely fast-paced and full of plot twists. If you are looking for something to keep you on your toes, look no further.

Purchase Links:
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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:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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