Book Review · Books

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters left me unprepared for what I was about to read.

A perfect blend of mystery, spookiness, friendship and psychological trauma. This book will keep you away from social events until you are finished. And a few days after…

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real – and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

From the beginning of the book, you can feel the intensity, the guilt and the mystery behind it, which was something I very much enjoy in my books. We get to see the life of Heather 30 years after the death of Becca, and we know from the very first chapter that Heather killed her.
But they were best friends. And Heather loves Becca, even now, with every atom of her body. They were those BFFs that were always together, and knew each other’s secrets. They both loved mystery and talking about serial killers. And then things somehow start to go wrong. They are slipping from the friendship slide, and they can’t do anything to stop it…

The heart, the other half of which once hung around my neck, even after, is a cheap thing of nickel, stainless steel, or some inexpensive alloy. Originally affixed to a cardboard square and purchased by two girls who saved their allowance. Best Friends Forever. We meant it, she and I. We meant it with every bone in our bodies and every true and good thing in our souls. We didn’t know forever didn’t always last that long.

This is one of the few stories where I rooted for a killer. I know how horrible it sounds, but I loved that perspective. The innocence behind a terrible act. The belief that what you did might have been wrong, but you still did it for the right reasons. The ultimate friendship and the boundaries.
I loved Heather, and I also loved Becca. I hated all the things that were standing between them, driving them further away from each other.
This is a book about a murder, and about a scary story becoming real. But this book is also about friendship, about psychological trauma, and about the force a person needs to get trough it. The crucial support this person requires to get through the rainy days. Heather was struggling, and there was no one beside her to help her. Everyone she knew and trusted suddenly abandoned her, and this tells a sad and realistic story about the reality people with mental health issues are facing. No one wants a damaged person in their lives, I get that. But when this person is your friend for life, when this person is your life companion, you know. You know how they were before it, and you should always be there to support them, and get them to become their healthy selves again. We all need a person in life that will push our boundaries and be there for us when we are not able to be there for ourselves.
The Dead Girls Club covers so many topics that warm and crush my heart. And I love it for it. If your book taste is similar to mine, I am sure you will love this book too, and I recommend it! 
Huge thanks to Melissa and the team at Crooked Lane Books in the US, for sending me a paperback ARC copy in exchange for my honest review!

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Book Review · Books

Her Crown of Fire (Molten Crown, #1) by Renee April [BOOK REVIEW]

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Her Crown of Fire is the first book of the Molten Crown series.

Rose Evermore is a girl trying to survive high-school. But she suddenly has dreams that can predict the future and she seems to be able to control fire.

Curious about the power she possesses, she finds herself in the fantasy realm of Lotheria with her best friend Tyson. When she arrives, she is welcomed as a fire mage at the academy, while Tyson is forced to hide in order to survive.

With a lot of plot twists and new power discoveries, Rose and Tyson are in trouble and have to find a way back home.

I enjoyed this book, and I loved the characters.

It is quite difficult for me to find characters I actually feel for in young adult fantasies, but I loved Rose and Tyson. Both characters were full of energy and wisdom. I especially loved the way Tyson developed into a man during his time in Lotheria.

Aside from Rose and Tyson, we also met many side characters which were instantly lovable, such as Laela, Orin and Amisha. They all had something about them that made them special, and I loved every scene that they were in.

I wish that the academy had a more welcoming feeling about it. But given the circumstances, I also loved the mystery and danger that is surrounding it. I loved the the scenes when they talk about their classes and magic, and I loved the runes class. It gave me a Hogwarts vibe.

I enjoyed reading this book, and I cannot wait to read the next book of this series. If you love young adult fantasy, magic, danger and adventure, followed by incredible friendships, you will absolutely love Her Crown of Fire!

Thank you to the team at White Plan Publishing, for sending me an ARC paperback copy, in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review · Books

Death in the Dojo by Sue Leather [BOOK REVIEW]

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I remember reading The Death in the Dojo a few years ago. I still remember the story and the feelings it brought me. This is a story about a mystery, about karate and the love between a daughter and her dad. I need to just say that this book has and always will have a special place in my heart. 

I have been in a dojo since I remember myself. And the sensei is no one else, but my dad. From the very first kata and my first wins and losses, till the days when I started becoming a national champion and travelling across countries, my dad was always the person beside me. The one to guide me and show me the right way. The one to pick me when I fall, and the one who believed in me, when everyone else didn’t. 

“I went over to the Asano dojo for the last half hour of training and saw a good fight among six black belts. I stood and watched the white gi’s moving quickly round the wooden floor, black belts flying. There was something beautiful about this, more like a dance rather than a fight. It made me feel sad, not to be there doing it. “

Even though this book is not the best mystery you will ever read, I doubt that was its real purpose.

I believe that the purpose of this book was to show us a glimpse of what karate really means, to show us the honour, the respect, the persistence we all share in unison. 

“It was true that the great masters seemed to have an unusual sense of peace around them.”

Death in the Dojo starts off when Kate, a journalist, is tasked to investigate the recent murder of the famous karateka Kawaguchi. It is a complete mystery how he would be killed with just one punch called gyaku zuki and die. The mystery is not behind whether it’s possible for him to die from one punch, but the mystery is why he allowed for this to happen. As a master, he is very well able to defend himself against just one punch. 

On this note, I have to mention that in the book, the punch is spelled as “yaku-zuki”, which is incorrect.   

When this mystery is connected to another mystery that happened many years ago, Kate is determined to find the full truth once and for all. 

Even though it is quite a short book, it contains a lot of information and a couple of unexpected plot twists. It captures perfectly the cultural differences between England and Japan, which is shown through the love and relationships between daughters and their dads.

“It was my Dad who taught me how to fight. He never treated me any differently than my brother. He showed me how to fight with my fists up when I was five and to get up quickly if I fell down. I was never allowed to give up. … It was a lesson that would be useful to me many times over the years. Whenever something bad happens in my life and I feel like giving up, I hear dad’s voice in my ears, telling me to get up off the floor.”

I truly loved this book. It will always stay in my heart. I will keep coming to it when I miss my karate days. I recommend it if you like mysteries and martial arts. Also if you are a fan of the Japanese culture. The ending wasn’t the best mystery ending ever, as the story went sort of unfinished, and we didn’t truly solve one of the mysteries, but it was still a lovely read for me.

This blog post is dedicated to my amazing and one and only dad! I love you! 

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue [BOOK REVIEW & AMBASSADOR BOOK BUZZ]

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Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

The Temple House Vanishing left me with a tiny scar in my soul after reading it. It is intriguing and mysterious, it is real and delusional. The next time when I mention a special mystery, with a cruel end – this will be the first book that pops in my mind.

Louisa and Victoria are two friends that study in a Catholic girls’ boarding school. Both of them have something unique about themselves. They can both see the world in a different light and disobey the rules slightly.

They both also manage to become intrigued with their young, bohemian teacher and act in silly ways when they are around him. Until, one night, he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Twenty-five years later, one journalist dives into the story again, hoping to finally find out the truth. The search for truth will uncover many buried secrets and a suppressed desire. It will break hearts and lay a lost soul to rest.

This novel might be the most intense novel I have read in 2019, right next to The Silent Patient. And The Devil Aspect. To witness the life of Louisa, and be aware of what is happening around her is quite intense. As soon as she meets Victoria, they click, and they both know they will become best friends. But even Louisa can feel that there is something odd about Victoria. After all, her last best friend left the school and no one knows what happened.

On that subject – why didn’t we find out what happened to this girl?

One friendship, and a very interestingly weird love triangle. I felt so bad for Louisa, because all she ever cared about was Victoria. And all she ever wanted to do is to help in any way. She loved Victoria, but she should’ve said something. If she spoke – everything would now be different.

The teacher reminded me of one of my high-school teachers. The type of person that will show you that the world isn’t how you’ve always known it. There is a meaning behind it all, and there is a purpose for everything. My teacher, she could make me feel like I was able to achieve everything. Anything was possible, if we only followed the right path. Mr Lavelle made all the girls feel like this, and counting his beautiful face as well, it’s no surprise that most of them fell in love with him. But he encouraged them, in his own subtle way. Sweet look in the eyes, gentle touch on the shoulder, and that is all it takes to confuse a teenage girl.

What I loved most in this book was the fact that I had so many theories whilst reading it. I was certain I knew how it all ended. But I was wrong. I didn’t have a clue on what was actually happening until the very end, and I was still surprised. After finishing the book and having a little think, as I always do with books that amaze me – I realised something. The clues were there from the very beginning. But unless you already know the ending I doubt you will notice them. And that is the great masterpiece of writing. And for that, I salute you, Rachel Donohue.

If you love mysteries, thrillers, disappearances and unpredictable endings – I will guarantee you will love this book. And not only that, but you will also devour it in a day!

The Temple House Vanishing

Thank you to the team at LoveReading UK, for letting me part of the Ambassador Book Buzz and sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Check out the other amazing bloggers too! 

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Book Review · Books

Close To Home by Cara Hunter [BOOK REVIEW]

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Close To Home is, I believe, the first mystery/thriller book I have given one star to. I had very high hopes for this one. And it crashed my hopes quite hard. 

Close To Home is the first book in a series called DI Adam Fawley.

The books are not related to themselves and can be read as standalones. They all feature the detective Fawley, therefore the series solution. Something similar to Dan Brown’s series. I listened to the audio book, and I think that the format might have a little blame on my rating.

In this book, the 8-year-old girl Daisy Mason disappears from her parents’s summer party. No one in the neighbourhood saw anything, not even the parents, and the detective is trying to keep an open mind in this whole situation, as someone is clearly lying.

The story begins with an interesting premise, and I loved the initial interviews that are happening, right after the disappearance. And after this initial moment, everything goes downhill.

There are many twists in this book, and they all are happening based on dumn luck or weird circumstances.

I would understand if this happened once or twice, but they have solved the whole mystery with coincidences happening one after another as well as random plot lines being added in the middle of nowhere, just to keep the story going.

Oh – we’re running out of clues. Let’s add a secret random second family the dad has. Oh – we’re running out of clues again. Let’s add a suspicious background for the mother. And now, let’s make both these events come up at them at the same time, right when we’re trying to solve an investigation. And now, let’s add a mental issue with the brother. (Despite receiving all doctor’s reports at the beginning)…

Too many events that came up afterwards and that I still have trouble to believe could make sense.

And on top of all this, I need to mention that the book doesn’t have chapters as such. The parts are split with excerpts from social media. Something which I truly believe I would have enjoyed if I read the book. But instead, I was listening to it. And it is so annoying.

The below excerpt is not a quote, as I don’t have the paperback copy. However, it does represent the true format of how this sounded in the audiobook: 

Twenty-ninth of October, nine twenty five.

Angela G Bettaton at angela dot g bettaton. I hope they find the person that took Daisy. Hashtag Daisy Mason. Hashtag Find Daisy.

Mike eighty seven at mike dot eight seven The person that did this should take responsibility. Hashtag Find Daisy. Hashtag Missing Girl. 

The ending – it just wasn’t worth the wait, and it was the most unsatisfying ending I have ever encountered in mystery novels.

I regret picking this book up and I regret reading it. I really wish I love it, as I was looking forward to Cara Hunter’s new novel, but now, I am not so sure anymore.

If you think you might enjoy it, please pick it up! Perhaps you might love it, who knows! 

Thank you to the team at Penguin Random House, for proving an audiobook for me listen to, in exchange for an honest review.

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